The end of last year was an interesting one- I left the space program after 22 years and became an unemployed, mid-40’s space shuttle worker ready to market my skills. After about a month, I was picked up by Lockheed Martin to man aerostats for the Army in Afghanistan. Being flexible in a tight job market is essential; several of my co-workers who choose not to relocate or travel for work are still unemployed. I feel everyone is given a choice in life- you have to adapt to your situation or become a victim and blame the world for your choice.
I wouldn’t have been comfortable choosing this job if it weren’t for the strength of my wife and our marriage. She is someone who is stronger than she believes she is and it is one of the traits I am most attacted to in her. I could not do this job if I were constantly worried about how she handled things or if there were a fidelity issue. Even more of a reason to show respect to our troops and their families for dealing with situations like this.
So Thanksgiving weekend of 2010 I was sent to Arizona for training on how to operate an aerostat. I won’t go into that too much but I will give my impression of the town I was in: nice people, lots of farms, migrant workers, nothing to see. We spent most of our time on base learning operations and equipment which is good because there wasn’t much to see in town (keeps you out of trouble anyway). The topography and environment was very close to Afghanistan’s, so it was interesting.
Ended up being stuck there for over 2 months waiting for a slot to open up so I could be “processed into the Army” as a contractor but made the best of it.
Flew the family out and got to see the Grand Canyon- something that we never had the opportunity to experience. Had Elk medallions on Christmas Eve… so good… tender cuts of meat that melted in your mouth. It was amazing being there, even if it is 10 degrees F out with a stiff wind on Christmas morning (Typical Floridians- don’t have cold weather gear for that kind of cold).
We hit Las Vegas after that- not as fun when you’ve got the kids with you, but we tried to keep it interesting for them.
It was good to see them once more before I was sent over here- it helped to ease the separation blues that followed. Next post- heading overseas! Happy New Year from Afghanistan!