Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30 Years in 30 Days: years 11 throuth 15

Year 11: 1994
The year started out very cold.  It was down to 5 degrees in Southern VA and I remember our downstairs toilet water line freezing as it ran up the outside wall.  The house was pretty cold for a while.

As our second child grew in Lisa's belly, I could tell we were enjoying being home owners.  I made a big deal about being able to do whatever I wanted to my house and yard as it was OURs.  I planted three trees in the back yard and had a small garden.

As I continued my training, I attended my longest school.  Luckily it was in Portsmouth so I wasn't away from the girls.  The class was two months long and we had a good group of students.  We had a little cookout at the house and hosted those who were away from home for an extended time.  It was a good group of people.  I remember competing with another soon to be ETC to be #1 in the class.  I'm pretty sure I won.

I reported aboard the Northland in the middle of May as a Frocked ETC.  That meant I wore the anchor, but didn't get the pay just yet.  I started getting the pay 21 days later, so all was good.

So Lisa was due sometime around the beginning of August and I went on my first patrol in the end of June with a return to home port of about July 24th.  We had some issues with our gun, so we actually arrived home on the 22nd.  I had to stand duty on the 23rd and when I arrived home on the morning of the 24th, Lisa was already in labor.  It had started about 4 am that morning.  This was a littler quicker than the first one and Brandi Marie Harold was born at 1708 (5:09pm) on July 24th, 1994.  She weighted 7 lbs 7 oz and was 20 and 1/4 inches long.  We cut it pretty close, but I was able to be there for the birth.

Brandi had been born on my Father's birthday.  They still blow out the candles together if we happen to be together when the day arrives.

As always, life continued.  The ship's schedule basically had me going away for six weeks, then returning home and staying in port for six weeks.  Repeat about 13 times.

I know Lisa had it harder than me when I was away.  With a four year old and a new born, things had to be hectic at times.  I am reading some of her letters to me that she sent when I was underway.  Not easy.  I'm also pretty sure I would disrupt her routine by coming home, but I sure liked coming home and seeing and being with my girls.

Year 12: 1995
This year consisted of me getting underway every three months for six weeks at a time and Lisa taking care of and raising our two daughters.

Shauni was riding a bike with training wheels and she may have said the word fuck at some time.  Lisa wasn't sure and I'm sure her reaction made Shauni clam up.  I have no idea where she got that from.  Maybe from a movie...  Brandi was starting to sit up all by herself when Lisa wasn't looking.

We had a new dog Dusti.  We had gotten her over in Portsmouth at the SPCA.  Supposedly her mother had been hit by a car and Dusti and a couple other brothers and sisters were all together walking around in their own shit.  We had decided to get her for Shauni's forth birthday, but conventional wisdom says don't present the actual dog at the party as that is just too much attention and stress for a little puppy.  So we had Shauni unwrap a dog dish and leash and treats and she didn't know what the hell we were trying to say.  The look of confusion on her face was priceless until we explained what it meant.

Dusti got her name by climbing under the back deck and getting all, well, dusty.  Her name had to end in an i just like all my daughter's names.

Brandi was already well on her way to being a geek at 9 months old.  We had a simple computer game that would make sounds and show pictures or something when she would hit a key and she would play it all the time, and would get excited when Lisa put her in front of the computer and get ready to play.

Shauni was taking dance classes and going to pre-school.  Brandi was learning to walk.  I missed a lot being underway and I would keep a list of the things that happened while I was gone.  It was hard, but we knew it when we signed up.

I had a little thing with Shauni where I said that if you are ever missing me when I'm away all you have to do is look at the moon.  I will look at the moon all the time too and then we will be together in our minds.  We still talk about that.

I was initiated into the Chief's Corps in March of this year after working as a chief for over nine months.  It's called indoctrination now, but back then it was still initiation.

These rememberings are mostly based on Lisa's letters to me while I was underway.  So they are mostly what was happening at home.  It seemed like we pulled into GTMO a lot that year.  I would hang out a lot with the first classes down at Cable Beach.  I guess the Chiefs didn't want to come down there as much.  I got along good with all the first classes, so that is where I hung out.

There was a lot of Alien Migration Interdiction that year so we did a lot of back and forth between GTMO and Port Au Prince, Haiti.  Other ports of call were Key West, Nassau, Ocho Rios, Jamaica  Cartagena, Columbia, Grand Cayman and Trinidad.

In June, Lisa took the girls to the beach and on the way back it was raining and everyone stopped and she slid into the car in front of her.  No one got hurt and Brandi slept through the whole thing.

In December I was allowed to leave the ship before the end of a patrol and return home so I could get a vasectomy.  I also got my ear pierced when I got back.  I was a real sailor now.

My first Christmas on the ship we were underway,  this year we were in port and I was able to spend the holiday with my family.

Year 13: 1996
This year started out with the ship doing a patrol in the Gulf of Mexico and thereabouts.  I remember writing a story for Shauni that paralleled my patrol, except we were going to Mars on a spaceship and not to New Orleans for a mid patrol break during Mardi Gras.  I actually had duty on Fat Tuesday and didn't mind at all.  One walk through Bourbon St was enough for that trip.  I remember coming out on the flight deck to relieve the watch on a cold morning and see a lone couple copulating in the middle of the field.  We had a good laugh at that.  They either didn't care that we were there or were oblivious.  It was very cold while we were there.  I think it got down to 19 degrees one night.  Not common for Louisiana.

On the way down to the gulf, the ship pulled in for an overnight on Super Bowl Sunday.  My Steelers had finally made it back to the big game after 16 years or so and they lost.  It had to happen some time.  Oh well. I remember going to a party on Duval St where you pay one price and drink all night.  The hangover the next day was compounded by the loss.

I made a batch of Cyser from the apples of my tree at home and some local honey.  It came out rather well and was a good 15% alcohol. 

Lisa and I went to see Crosby, Stills and Nash and Chicago.  It was a cool concert.  Sitting on the grass and just listening to good tunes with my bride.

Shauni started kindergarten this year.  She had to take a bus and everything.  It was kind of weird, since we never had buses when I was growing up walking up hill both ways in the snow with no shoes.

At the end of our last patrol of the year, we went up to Baltimore and had about four days there at the Inner Harbor giving tours.  I couple of us rented a car and drove home for a couple days.  I was able to take Shauni to the bus stop while I was home.  I had to get back by that Sunday to stand duty.  It was worth it to see my girls.

This year I was underway for Thanksgiving and the wardroom served the crew dinner.  Not as good as being with the family, but it was good seeing the officers work. 

Brandi continued to grow.  Her binky was her best friend.  She was doing things like moving her little chair next to the snack shelf, climbing up and yelling that she wants something.  Shauni played soccer this year.  I didn't get to see too much, but five-year-olds all play the same way.  Brandi's video obsession was Winnie The Pooh.  She would watch the same shows over and over.

Brandi has now learned to look at the moon when I'm away and say "Hi Dada".  I love my girls.

Year 14: 1997
This year was another transition year.  I did about two more patrols, stayed on board one extra month (and got a little extra pay for it) and then it was time to go again.  We had some stress with selling the house, but in the end we found a buyer.  It was hard since I was underway a lot, but Lisa did great.  I remember calling from I think Tortola and Lisa saying that someone had made an offer.  I said take it and we had us a deal.

The orders I received were for Engineering Logistics Center in Baltimore.  At first I wasn't sure of the place, but after talking to some people, I found out it wasn't so bad there.  Actually described it as a diamond in the rough.  We packed up and moved out in June and headed up to our temporary lodgings in Philly.  Lisa and I went down for some house hunting in Baltimore.  We didn't want to buy again because we thought we would only be in the area for four years max, and we didn't want the stress of having to sell again.  (This would turn out to be a huge mistake, but you learn from those, right?).  We found a place near the end of June, but couldn't move in until August.

So in July we went to Cape May, then I checked in and later that month we went to Conneaut for another vacation.  I stayed in the barracks until we got our house, while Lisa stayed in Philly with the girls.

Brandi was three and Shauni started first grade.  The school was only about a block and a half away.  Our rental house was nice, it was a rancher with three bed rooms and a basement.  The yard was a good enough size for us and the street was a quiet cul-de-sac.  The owners had moved to Hawaii.  We didn't know how long they would be there, but we were happy renting.

I settled into my new job and life on shore continued on.

Year 15: 1998
Early in the year I moved from the Platform division down to the Network division.  Now I was working with computers and networks.  I really liked working down there. The group of people were very nice and the work was interesting.  I built the first live website for the unit.

This year, Brandi took the train down to Florida with Esther and we had a little excitement getting them on the train.  We didn't realize how fast they load and take off, so when we took the luggage on board for them we all got stuck on the train and were headed to Washington, DC.  Shauni got a little anxious, but it wasn't a big deal to get a voucher for our mistake and just take a train back north to our car.  Brandi and Esther had and interesting trip.  I think the train hit someone on the way back or something.  Lisa's Grandmother passed away while they were down there.

This year marked our tenth anniversary and Lisa and I went on a cruise down to the Western Caribbean.  Esther stayed with the girls and we had a wonderful time.  They put us at a table with a group of younger people and we got along pretty good.  We had a lot of silly fun at the dinners and the other tables thought we were a little childish.  Just like we wanted to be.  We even had a toga party the last night and came to dinner dressed in sheets.  We did some snorkeling and even a nice 40 foot scuba dive.  When we were in Jamaica, we got revisit some of the places I had gone to when I was on the ship.  One awesome place was Dunn's Rivver Falls where you walk up the falls in the water.  Very refreshing.

We had a very nice anniversary party at dinner and the whole cruise was a great time.

I was playing with model rockets this year.  We would shoot them off in the field by the school.  I wanted the girls to enjoy them like I did a a kid.  Some of them went up pretty far.

We discovered that wallyball was fun and not some crazy game that mocked volleyball.  We started playing at the gym on base and before long we were playing at Severna Park.  We still play to this day.

After a week up Conneaut, we went over to Hershey to see Hanson.  I enjoyed it and I'm not afraid to admit it.  We camped out somewhere nearby some train tracks and it was a very good time, except for all the trains that came by during the night.

Shauni started second grade and Brandi started doing Pre-school.  I was taking CLEP tests, trying to get some college credit together.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Class of 13 - Weekly (sorta) Update

Boo Boo seems to be suffering from shin splints and will be taking a couple days to heal.

The rest seem to be traveling well, each at their own pace.  Rash has his dog with him for now, Hot Dog and here group made a cool video when they walked 500 miles.  Guess which song they used.

Hike on Class of 13.

Trail Name Start Date Last Entry Location Total Miles Days since Start
PrayerWalker 14-Feb-13 27-Apr-13 Sams Gap  317.2 72
Blues Man 16-Feb-13 17-Apr-13 Buena Vista 802.3 60
Rash 17-Feb-13 26-Apr-13 4 Pines Hostel 698.8 68
Groundpounder 18-Feb-13 24-Apr-13 Pearisburg 631 65
Boo Boo 21-Feb-13 24-Apr-13 VA 630 680.1 62
punkin pie 1-Mar-13 27-Apr-13 Daleville, VA 743.4 57
HotDog 6-Mar-13 25-Apr-13 Near Wise Shelter 500 50
Karma 7-Mar-13 24-Apr-13 Greasy Creek Hostel 355 48
Lady Grey 8-Mar-13 27-Apr-13 Pearisburg, VA 630.4 50
50/50 15-Mar-13 26-Apr-13 Moreland Gap Shelter 413.3 42
Brown Squirrel 17-Mar-13 21-Apr-13 Hot Springs, NC 260.4 35
Jacko 21-Mar-13 25-Apr-13 Erwin, TN 341.4 35
Odat 25-Mar-13 26-Apr-13 Iron Mountain Gap 361.2 32
Mother Goose 28-Mar-13 20-Apr-13 Hot Springs, NC 273.9 23
Acorn 30-Mar-13 27-Apr-13 Erwin, TN 341 28

Thursday, April 25, 2013

30 Years in 30 Days - Years six through ten

Year 6: 1989
We had another adventure coming our way during this year.  I received orders to Petaluma, CA where the ET School was moving to. So, after living in the gritty city for only a year, it was time to pack up and travel across country once more.  The three of us (Lisa, me and Anthony) had the movers come and pack our meager goods and we set out once again with our sights on California.  I had bought a Ford Ranger in Cape May and that is what we traveled in.  The back was full of our short term stuff and some camping equipment.  I don't remember much about the trip out to CA, but I do remember staying at a campground near Petaluma when we first arrived and sitting through a rain storm that completely soaked our gear.

After a short time staying in guest housing, we were told we had a house in Novato, CA about 20 miles south of Petaluma.   We arrived at Acme Ct in Smurf Village to our new home for the next four years.  I say new, but the houses were anything but.  They dated back to at least the last world war, but it would be home for a while.

Almost immediately upon our arrival, our next door neighbors came over to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood.  Sandi, Paul and their little baby girl Felicia were an Army family.  Both Paul and Sandi had been active duty and had met in Germany.  We very quickly became fast friends and have kept in touch all these years as the services have pulled us here and there.

Like the shop had been for us in Cape May, this neighborhood became our favorite place to live during my career.  Our cul-de-sac was such a mixing pot.  We had families from the Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Marines.  We mostly got along great and I know the spouses loved the support they got from each other as they all sat "in the same boat" and could relate to the hardships of being a military spouse.

We lived at the end of the street and there was a small yard like area between our house and Paul and Sandi's and we quickly set up a volleyball court.  We spent many a weekend day playing there and trying to not hit the ball over the fence into the woods and stream that ran behind the house.  

Back at the ranch.  I say this because the Training Center was on an old sheep ranch, I settled into my old job which was new again.  A brand new building at a new place for us.  We were far from the sea.  The only waves were the rolling hills of Two Rock Valley where the Training Center resided.  A lot of us instructors who were in NY were transferred out to CA, but there were a few others who had come strait here from other places.  So there were new people to meet and new things to do.

After being in our new home for around a month or so, I arrived home one day after work and was standing in the living room talking to Lisa when all of a sudden the whole house started to shake.  I reached out to hold the flimsy entertainment center steady and waited for the earthquake to end.  We had just had our first earthquake and it was a pretty serious one.  The Loma Prieta Earthquake.  It did some extensive damage down in the city, but we were left rather unscathed.  We did take the opportunity to have a neighborhood party outside where we made a fire in a Weber grill and hung out talking about the excitement. 

Year 7: 1990
Life continued out in California.  Work was good.  I moved down to the LORAN section and started teaching that.  I had never been to a LORAN Station, but I always said it was just electronics and I adjusted well and taught the technicians the basics of the system and some of the equipment.

During the Superbowl, we all went to Pt Reyes Lighthouse instead of watching the game. The Niners were in it again and they were gaining on the Steelers for number of wins, so we had no interest.  It was a cold and windy day, but we had fun.

Later that year Lisa and I went on a backpacking trip out on Pt Reyes.  We stayed out two nights.  The first night brought us to a nice clearing that had tent spots and tables (Glen).  At first we were all alone and a grey fox kept circling around the camp and checking each site for left food.  He came right into our camp while we laid in the tent and Lisa got a couple of pictures.  After a while an older lady showed up and set up here bag right out in the open.  No tent, just a little tarp over her upper body.  We thought that was cool.

The next day we hiked to the beach and stayed there overlooking the ocean  (Wildcat).  We had a nice driftwood fire.  The hiking wasn't too strenuous, but Lisa kept getting tired and the going was slow at times.  We found out later that she was expecting our first child, and the little parasite (JK lovely daughter) was sucking up all her energy.

The Cul-de-sac transitioned throughout the years as every military neighborhood does. When we moved in the street looked like this:  Paul, Sandi and Felicia, Larry and Tracy, Paulette and Mark, Ann Marie and Mark, Dave and Penny, Ken and Jean.  The other half of our duplex was empty.

Year 8: 1991
Let's see, what happened in 1991. hmmmm. Oh yeah!  Lisa and I became parents.  Shauni Lee Harold was born at 1021 on January 31, 1991.  She weighted 8 lbs 8.6 oz and was 21" long.  Lisa did a very good job of delivering Shauni and the two bonded immediately.  Becoming a parent was a new challenge and boy was it different from anything else we had ever done, but we were looking forward to seeing what we would do.

Right away we figured out that a Ford Ranger with two bucket seats wasn't going to get the job done, so we went out and bought a Hyundai.  (we probably did this in 1990, but my memory is very foggy in my old age).

We "baptized" her Roots style by holding her up to the night and presenting her to the stars proclaiming "Behold, the only thing greater then yourself."

Acme Ct was transitioning again as any military neighborhood will do.  Now instead of  Larry and Tracy, we had Richard, Sonya and Ricky.  Another family we still keep in touch with (and will someday hike with on the AT).  Alice now lived in the other half of our house and Mary and Ray had moved in across the circle.

Work continued as usual.  I was trying real hard to advance to Chief and did pretty good on the test that year.  It would be quite a while until I put on my anchor, but I didn't have to test for it again.  Just wait.

I found my old journal that I used to write in sproadically back in these times, so it is helping jog my memory.  Here is a quote from the journal.  October, 1991: "Shauni is eight months old.  She has 6 teeth, crawls, will walk with help, talks to herself in her own language.  Momma is a common term.  Laughs a lot, knows where her nose is, is the light of my life."

Year 9: 1992

We went out to Pilsbury Lake a lot during this time.  One time we were sitting around and a earthquake came flowing through.  It was the most peaceful earthquake I ever felt.  Also the first time we went there Shauni developed a fever and we had to come home early.

Early in the year my brother Tom and my Dad came to visit.  My Mom couldn't come due to an ear infection.  We had a real good time.

I re-enlisted for six years and got a decent bonus.  I guess this sealed the fact that I was going to make this a career.

The court changed again.  Paul and Sandi were gone and John and Candy had taken their place. Gretchen and Rob, Scott and Becky, Joe and Nicole were the nubes.

I started brewing homebrew and Anthony was picked up by an UFO.  That is how I would explain it anyway as Lisa had heard him climb up to the roof as he liked to do and we never saw him again.  By the end of the year another cat had adopted us.  Momma Kitty was living in the woods after Rob stopped caring for her and Lisa started feeding her.  She would stay with us for around 14 years.

I got rid of my Ranger and bought a Toyota 4Runner and went to my first Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

We went to PA for the holidays and Shauni saw her first snow.  She thought it was bugs as the flakes flitted by her face.  While at home I had found out that I was going to make Chief.  There were a lot of SNAFUs with the list, but in the end I was sitting pretty.  The waiting game had begun.

One last quote:  December, 1992. "Shauni can count to 10.  Can you believe it?  Potty trained and counting before she's two."  It was Dec 22nd and I still had shopping to do.  Some things never change.  :)

Year 10: 1993
The year started off with a New Year's Party over John and Candy's with her mother and brother.  It was a pretty memorable party.

Shauni's obsession during this year was the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.  She would watch it 2 or 3 times a day and I can still recite the next line if I ever catch a piece of it on TV.  Be our guest, be our guest.  Put our service to the test..

Lisa and I celebrated our five year anniversary.  She got me another wedding ring, since I has lost my original in the Russian River during a canoe trip a while back.  

We finally received orders to leave Petaluma and I was headed back to sea.  We would head to Portsmouth, VA and I would train for a year or so and then do a tour on one of the 270s there.  It was time for a new adventure.

Our sixth cross country trip was pretty fun.  We towed the car and Momma Kitty hung out back there.  We just camped and and stayed in hotels as we made our way across country.  Camping on the edge of the Utah salt flats our tent almost got blown away as Shauni slept peacefully and we tried to hold down the corners.  I remember seeing snow in the air in Rawlins, WY on June 24th.  Gotta love those mountains.  We enjoyed some time in PA then it was time for me to head to Portsmouth and check in.

I left the girls in Philly and found an apartment to rent.  I don't remember Lisa telling me not to get an apartment, but she swears to this day that those were my instructions.  Well, I (we) regretted that decision as the apartment I found wasn't in the best of neighborhoods.  I'm pretty sure the 12 year old kid that hung out in the complex was the major drug dealer of the area.  You could just tell by looking and talking to him.  The late night gun shots were a little alarming and the constant battle to kill the cockroaches that kept coming in from the next apartment was a lost cause.  We cancelled the lease and found a townhouse to buy.

Our latest adventure was to become homeowners.  The place was near our old Cape May friends Gerry and Wendy who lived down the street.  Gerry was out of the CG now and working for NOAA.  Tom Daley also lived nearby and was stationed on the Northland which was the ship I was hoping to go to after my training.

Marty and Michele came down and helped us move to the new place and we settled in to our new neighborhood.

I went back to PA to do some deer hunting that year, but didn't get anything.  It was good being (relatively) close to family and PA again.

At the beginning of December we found out that having sex makes you pregnant (but my dad said it was because we bought a new house).  Lisa had pretty much known but the doctor confirmed it for us.  We checked the underway schedule of my likely ship the Northland and were "pretty" sure I would be in port for the birth.  We would find out how close that can be in the months to come.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Where Are The Class of 13 Now?

Time for another update.

Trail Name Start Date Last Entry Location Total Miles Days since Start
PrayerWalker 14-Feb-13 19-Apr-13 Standing Bear Farm 240.5 64
Blues Man 16-Feb-13 12-Apr-13 Daleville, VA 723.7 55
Rash 17-Feb-13 20-Apr-13 Pearisburg, VA 630.1 62
Groundpounder 18-Feb-13 7-Apr-13 Marion, VA 531 48
Boo Boo 21-Feb-13 18-Apr-13 Trent's Grocery 614.3 56
HotDog 6-Mar-13 20-Apr-13 Wilbur Dam Rd 429.3 45
Karma 7-Mar-13 16-Apr-13 Jones Meadow 259.6 40
Hiking Home 7-Mar-13 23-Mar-13 Newfound Gap/Home 206.8 16
Lady Grey 8-Mar-13 17-Apr-13 Damascus 467.1 40
50/50 15-Mar-13 20-Apr-13 Erwin, TN 341.5 36
Brown Squirrel 17-Mar-13 20-Apr-13 Hot Springs, NC 260.4 34
Jacko 21-Mar-13 18-Apr-13 Hot Springs, NC 273.8 28
Odat 25-Mar-13 19-Apr-13 Hot Springs, NC 273 25
Mother Goose 28-Mar-13 18-Apr-13 Max Patch 254.1 21
Acorn 30-Mar-13 10-Apr-13 NOC? 137 11

Saturday, April 20, 2013

30 Years in 30 Days - The first five years

I am posting on Facebook my memories of my 30 career and the things me, my bride, my girls, my pets and my friends did during those times.  I do one year each day.  Here are the first five years.

Year 1: Aug 1983 to Nov 1984
After boot camp in Cape May, NJ I was stationed on the USCG Cutter Midgett in San Francisco, CA. (Actually Alameda). I flew out to CA with nothing but a sea bag of stuff. No car, no major possessions. 

 I spent the first six months carless. During that time I took a bus to visit my friend Turk who was in the Air Force down in Merced, CA. We went camping up in Yosemite. I did two long cruises during my 1 year and 6 days on the ship. My first cruise was to Panama and the second was to Alaska. Quite an experience. 

After six months I took out a loan (didn't get paid too much back then) and flew home on leave. My brother and his first wife drove back with me with my Camaro. This was my first time driving cross country. 

I spent a lot of time on Webster St in Alameda. It was within walking distance and had all a poor boy needed. I got my first tattoo on that street at Ricky Tattoo. $35. 

After a while I received orders to Electronics Technician A School...

Year 2: 1985
In November of 84 I drove across country for my second time. This time alone and along a southern route to avoid the snowy mountains. I spent the next six months learning how to be an electronics technician in New York City.

I received orders to Cape May, NJ and reported at the end of June. I moved into the barracks and met my room mate. The next day he asked if I wanted to go to Wildwood and I did. We went into a McDonald's where he introduced me to a beautiful redhead.

Our first "date" was that night I think. We went to the beach at night. It wasn't very long until we were going on our own dates without the other couple. I remember my first meal at their house. Esther made me hamburger gravy. 

I settled into the shop and made friendships that I still hold dear to this day. We worked together and played together, a close nit group.

Year 3: 1986
Life at the ET Shop and in Cape May fell into a very pleasurable routine. Work was great, with great people. My only fear was to arrive at work early in the morning after a big breakfast and be told I had to get underway on the 55 footer and jump on to the Large Navigation Buoy (LNB) and repair the engine controller. That was one of my jobs that I didn't look forward to. I only puked once, but the 55 and bobber like LNB didn't sit well with a big breakfast. 

I made Second Class this year and we moved from the old shop behind the small boat station to our new shop by the Air Station. We spent the summer in one part of an abandoned boot camp squad bay. No AC or running water. The porta-potty was our friend. 

We had great times on liberty hanging out and having fun. Thirsty Thursdays were epic as Lisa could get served. We also learned how to play Volleyball this year thanks to Willie and Wanda. Our team won the finals and we found a favorite sport that we still enjoy today (in the form of Wallyball). 

Other things I remember (maybe 1986, not sure): Partying at Gerry and Wendy's. Grain punch party where Jim Emery lost half his beard (and Rick one eyebrow). So many good times.

Year 4: 1987
I was going to talk about the Light House Adventures, but Lisa covered them pretty well with last night's post. Actually she cleared my memory of the events, which my mind had homogenized into one event. The fact remains that she was with me both times and I will never forget that bright beam of light revealing the giant snow flakes.

This is the year I asked my girlfriend to become my bride. I had been planning this for a while and had a ring on layaway. Lisa was upset that I had to go away to another C School, so I went to the exchange and picked up the ring and came back to ask my best friend to become my wife. Little did she know what she was getting into by saying yes. We had a year to plan.

By now I think Anthony our black cat had come to live with us. He was very skittish and almost hairless when we adopted him, but would turn out to be a very faithful and well traveled cat. We had also adopted Cleo a female black kitten a while back, but she disappeared rather quickly.

Shop life was a good routine. We would come a little early and watch Deborah Norville on NBC News at Sunrise each morning. By now I had worked my way into the Supply room. The title was call Stock Cow.

A couple other memories are the nasty smell and taste of the water in the house I rented with Chris. Hardly stayed there, but I kept a few things there and paid rent. Also, the wine & cheese nights along the Washington St Mall. We would go from place to place snacking and drinking and getting into the holiday mood.

Party at the house. Rick, Chris, Wendy, Gerry and Tom's head

Year 5: 1988
This year had quite a few transitions.  The most important event of 1988 was making Lisa my wife.  For our honeymoon we took an actual month and traveled the country.  My bride and I drove out west stopping in places like Graceland in Memphis, the Grand Canyon in AZ, Las Vegas, NV and Disneyland in CA.  We camped out just as much as we stayed in hotels and hiking down into the Grand Canyon made us sore for quite a few days.  So that was cross country trips three and four.  It was a good time, but we got tired of driving after a while and just did a marathon drive to get back east after a while.

 My tour at ESMT Cape May, NJ was coming to an end.  I still hold a special place in my heart to that shop and the people I worked with and for.  Mr, G, Willie, Tony, Rick, Tom, Chris, Gerry, Dennis, Brad, Korey, Jim, Mike, Al, Mark and others made this the best shop I worked in during my career.

My next unit was going to be Governors Island, NY where I would learn to put aside my fear of public speaking and become an instructor.  I made First Class shortly  after reporting aboard and qualified in the classes I was to teach.  

We lived in the high rises on St Marks Place on Staten Island and taking the two ferries every day back and forth became a skill.  Anthony came with us and even though pets weren't allowed, no one ever made us get rid of him during the short time we lived there.  Lisa got a job at the exchange on the island, so she too got to live the joys of commuting by water in the Big Apple.  

When I accepted the orders to NY, there was a strong rumor that the school would be moving to CA soon.  That hope would become reality and a new adventure would be starting for us.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wedding bells

Yesterday we headed to PA for the weekend where my niece is getting married. The ride over was pleasant and warm, but when we arrived it was windy and cold.
Went and visited Dad and planned for the next day's events.
It is still cold out this morning. Let's see how the day goes.

Wedding was great. Everyone had a great time.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Trail Names

I've mentioned it before, but it is time to think about trail names.  I have used Jefe on the trail since I started seriously section hiking the AT.  It works, but wasn't born on the trail.  I have run quite a few new names through my mind and I think I am going to try on Earth Tone for a while.  All my hiking clothes and most of my gear fall within the earth tone chip chart.  I like wearing the colors of the planet and don't like wearing bright pastel colored clothes.  One exception is my O2 rain jacket, but yellow was the only color it came in. 

Lisa is trying on Lo Gear (or Low Gear) I don't know how she wants to spell it.  She likes to slow down and take her time when we go down hill, so she shifts it into low and gets to the bottom, no problem.

 We will see how they fit, but I'm liking them.  They are fresh and new and neither one seems to have been used much lately. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Day Hike

Today we plan on doing another day hike in Patapsco Park.  We have a different route planned out this time and the weather looks great.

Later: The day was beautiful, around 70 degrees and we headed up to the park and ride area and hit the trail.  We went up and down some ravines and along some meadows and across a power line a few times.  

Taking a short break as I play with my phone
 As we headed up the last trail, the path crosses the creek a few times.  Ginger took advantage of the crossings to lay down and cool off for a few seconds each time.  The hike was about 3.3 miles and my ankle held up just fine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Class of 13 - Another Update

"borrowed" from Clever Girl's blog
Let's see where everyone is. We had a new start this week. Acorn started on her birthday, March 30th and is moving along nicely. No one has left the trail since last update and the two who were temporarily off, still haven't returned, but still seem to plan to. We shall see.  

Trail NameStart DateLast EntryLocationTotal MilesDays since Start
Blues Man16-Feb-1327-Mar-13Damascus468.339
Rash17-Feb-135-Apr-13Vanderventer Shelter435.947
Boo Boo21-Feb-132-Apr-13Stan Murray Shelter389.840
HotDog6-Mar-135-Apr-13Walnut Mountain Shelter260.830
Karma7-Mar-135-Apr-13Newfound Gap/Gatlinburg206.829
Hiking Home7-Mar-1323-Mar-13Newfound Gap/Home206.816
Lady Grey8-Mar-134-Apr-13Spring Mountain Shelter284.327
50/5015-Mar-135-Apr-13Newfound Gap/Gatlinburg206.121
Brown Squirrel17-Mar-135-Apr-13Stecoah Gap145.619
Jacko21-Mar-135-Apr-13Licklog Gap12215
Odat25-Mar-136-Apr-13Cold Springs Shelter125.712
Mother Goose28-Mar-131-Apr-13Deep Gap Shelter664
Acorn30-Mar-135-Apr-13Blueberry Patch Hostel786

I follow a number of other hikers, but don't list them here.  A few of them are Ember and Passover a young couple that have just left their home state of NC for good.  Jessica in Progress and her husband Tom who are making their way through the Smokies.  Kaboose and Sassafras, a father, daughter team who seem to be having a great time.  Sassafras is quite young, (in middle school).  Hotdog has teamed up with a threesome of Clever Girl, Dump Truck and Apollo.  They seem to be having a great time together. 

There's more, but that is all that come to mind for now.  I constantly fall down a hiker's rabbit hole when I stumble on their journal.  I love to hike along with them for a while until it is my turn.

On Another Note:
Lisa and I were discussing trail names yesterday.  When we did our hike last fall, I started calling her Lo Gear as she always slowed down on the down hills like she had shifted into low gear.  She mentioned yesterday that she liked it and I had thought she didn't care for it.  So she will probably be Lo Gear or whatever spelling she chooses when we hit the trial in a month and a half.

I have been El Jefe or just Jefe for a while now, but that name wasn't born on the trail, so I'm always open to something new.  I mentioned yesterday that Earth Tone may work for me as all my hiking clothes come in Green, brown, black, grey, tan, etc, you get the idea.  So maybe I can try that on for a while when we hit the trail. 

Some others that have crossed my mind. Stiller Fan (I get a lot of comments on my tattoo), Scar (a reference to the huge scar on my arm from my last melanoma fight), AT-Tude (attitude), Awesome (not necessarily because I am, but I say that a lot) and many more I'm sure.