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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 7/26/09 - 8/2/09

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Friday Night Flights

Neal: What's the flight situation?
Del: Simple. There's no way on earth we're going to get out of here tonight. We'd have more luck playing pickup sticks with our butt-cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak.
Neal: I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Del: Yeah, but by the time the airline cancels this flight, which they will sooner or later, you'd have more of a chance to find a three-legged ballerina than you would a hotel room.
Neal: Are you saying I could be *stuck* in Cincinnati?
Del: I'm saying you *are* stuck in Cincinnati

This is what I was faced with on Friday night. I substituted "Cincinnati" for "Wichita", which was the city those guys were really stuck in.

I haven't talked much about my work lately, I guess. Since I came home from the desert, I'd laid low somewhat, taking some drill days in June, and now I'm on this batch of drill days for the first weekend of August. Now that we're in Nebraska, we have to book my flights to and from Shaw AFB for my reserve work. Not easy. Obviously, I can't just hop on a plane from Omaha to Sumter, booking my flights involves layovers in hub airports and rental cars. This travel adds a day onto each end of my trips to SC. The majority of the time there are delays and I tend to make my flying schedules so tight, and missed connections and maintenance delays translate into missed duty hours, which I make up by paying visits to my unit's troops on their night shifts.

I had quite the time attempting to get from Omaha to Columbia, SC (via Cincinnati) this past Friday, poor weather in Atlanta meant the crew waiting at Atlanta to go to Cincinnati to eventually transport us blew their crew rest -- thus canceling the Delta Airlines flight -- and I ended up having to spend the night in Cincinnati. Thankfully, our awesome unit NCO worked out a hotel room for me at the local Residence Inn and arranged a flight to Charlotte, NC for Saturday morning. Since lunchtime Saturday, I've been working hard, mainly wrapping up loose ends of paperwork and saying goodbye to the people I've served with these past 2 years.

And for those loyalists to my blog (all 2 of you?), yes, I remembered my own tips from last December.

Things are a-changin'!

From when I came home from the desert, I immediately began to ask about job openings closer to home. I'd received several leads. Fortunately, Offutt AFB is a big base with a number of Air Force Reserve opportunities. Unfortunately, most of their positions are filled. But someone who works at my Major Command Headquarters had some inside information about a possible opening at US Strategic Command right there at Offutt. The work is very very very similar to the work I did when I was assigned in Norfolk, VA.

I submitted a resume just after the July 4th holiday, and this past Monday I'd received word that I'd been hired and I could start in September! I'm so happy about how much easier my Reserve work will be now! I just have to drop the boys off at school and head to work...instead of dropping off the boys, driving to the airport, flying on two flights, renting a car, driving to Shaw AFB....then doing the whole thing in reverse 2-4 days later.

I will seriously miss my job in South Carolina. It's among the most rewarding work I've ever done, and I had so much fun! It's personally challenging, especially with the deployment earlier this year. But I will seriously NOT MISS the commute.

Hopefully we can use this saved time to really truly explore the great things the Central Plains States has to offer: Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Yellowstone National Park, skiing in Iowa (yes, IOWA -- 40 minutes away!), etc....

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Friday, July 31, 2009

How to Ride an Escalator with Crocs

1.) Stand in the CENTER of the step.
2.) Stand STILL!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"We Hold the World Ransom For....FOUR...BILLION...STUDS...."

We have a Nintendo Wii. Some of you know that already...Dave got it as a graduation gift last summer when he finished his PhD. But of course the kids have all-but-taken-over it with some of their games.

From 2008 06 13 DavePhDDefenseWii

As a family we have a great time playing games on the Wii. We have a modest selection of games, most of which are family-friendly...the grownups can have just as much fun with Boom Blox as with Rayman's Raving Rabbids.

Before our move from NC to NE last summer, after Jacob had a such a great time playing on his friend Daniel's Wii last spring, we let Jacob take his own money and choose a game. He chose Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Last summer we were outright worried about Jacob, he seemed obsessed with the game, and it wasn't till he started school in August that his attention was diverted enough that we didn't have to seek outside help. All he wanted to do was play Lego Star Wars, and he didn't seem very happy with the world otherwise. I think it was his way of coping with the move. It wasn't easy for him.

During the school year, the boys are only allowed to play Wii on weekends and holidays, and we're usually pretty busy on weekends and holidays, so it wasn't often at all. I think that helped Jacob come off this "I'm only happy when I play video games" phase.

Fast forward a year, and Jacob is still working on that same Lego Star Wars game! Unlike last summer, Jacob isn't obsessed with it, but he still enjoys completing one or two tasks at a time that would eventually lead him to "finishing" the game: earning 160 gold bricks and all the cool bonuses. He doesn't fuss anymore when we tell him he has to stop playing to do other things.

As of this morning, Jacob was at about 140 gold bricks, and was about 85% finished with the entire game. This has been about 300 hours worth of play time over the past year (the game tracks this for you, aren't they kind?)

Timmy decided he wanted to start his own game. On occasion he'd play with Jacob, you can bring up a 2nd player to "help out" with tasks, and when Jacob was in a patient mood, he'd let Timmy participate. This week Timmy was delving into his own game, and he's about 5% through with lots of help from the rest of the family. Timmy isn't bad, he just misses some of the finer points.

Then the unthinkable happened this morning: Timmy started another game today and accidentally saved it over Jacob's 85% worth of work! I was sitting right there next to him advising him NOT to save it in the game-save space that Jacob already occupied, and he did it anyway.

Jacob's year of hard work is now gone. I checked online: once it's gone, it's gone.

Every single character: gone.
Every single spaceship: gone.
Every single minikit: gone.
Every single Power Brick: gone.

(Did you realize that the video game tops out at 4 billion studs? You can't get any more than that.)

All he had left to do were the Bounty Hunter missions and a couple of the bonuses.

While there's part of me who is thinking "It's only a game...", to a 6 1/2 year old, this is going to be a HUGE deal! Jacob comes home from camp in an hour and I know there will be tears flowing, angry language and (if I'm not careful) punches flying. I'm dreading this like you wouldn't believe --

I had called Dave in a panic, he and I discussed a punishment for Timmy -- while it was indeed an accident, Timmy didn't listen to Mommy when she was helping him. He's been on a somewhat stubborn "I can do it myself" phase, and hopefully today he's learned that sometimes he should listen to the grownups.

Timmy's punishment: he won't be playing Wii until Jacob has caught up. Jacob will not take anywhere near 300 hours to get back to where he was, thanks to cheat codes and completion guide websites that we can access to help us remember how to complete all the tasks. But it'll probably still be several weeks.

If I had backed up the saved games, there might have been hope, but I honestly didn't give thought to doing such a thing till now.

Lesson learned: for those of you with Nintendo Wiis, use that SD card slot on the console to SAVE YOUR WORK! You can back up your games. Just follow the instructions here, where this parent had a similar incident 1 1/2 years ago with Super Mario Galaxy.

If you're wondering what that title means, just hit play here:

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pumpkin #2

No other female flowers pending at the moment.

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