One Month In

After months of house hunting, mortgage applications, moving company disasters, long-distance commuting (sorta), unanticipated major home repairs, government administrivia and last-minute projects at work, I’m finally retired.  Again.

I’ve told folks for years that the eight months after I retired from the Army were the best months of my life.  While that’s only a slight exaggeration, not working for those eight months was wonderful.  I could see a movie in the middle of the day, schedule medical appointments at my convenience, go to a real, actual bank and make a real, actual deposit with a real, actual teller – all without taking a single minute off from work.

It didn’t suck.

So here I am once again, one month post-retirement.  Things are mostly settled in and I’m finally starting to learn my way around the area.  I have an Ohio driver’s license and Ohio plates on my car.  I guess I’m committed, huh?

In my former neighborhood in Prince William County, one of our neighbors, also a government retiree of some sort, told me that I would surely suffer “Potomac fever,” (not to be confused with Potomac horse fever) described as an overwhelming desire to return to the NCR and engage in professional inside-the-beltway shenanigans.  He figured that I’d need to get back to the rough and tumble of life as part of or at least adjacent to the Federal government; that I would feel unsettled outside of it all.

I’m pleased to report that I have not even experienced a Potomac sniffle let alone a fever of any kind.

Yup, this time I think I got it right.

I’m still getting up early in the morning, but instead of engaging in a minimum 60-minute commute in occasionally high-speed and mostly no-speed DC traffic, I’m making the occasional breakfasts for the boys and seeing them off to their new schools.  I’m driving the 1.8 miles to Einstein Brothers Bagels over on The Strip, as I have learned it’s called, and bringing home a baker’s dozen pretzel bagels, but only on Mondays when they have a reduced price on such things.  If I need dog food, I can travel the 1.8-mile trip to PetSmart.  Milk is a paltry .6 miles away.  Even the movies are just .2 mile further than the milk.  I can walk to the Cinemark’s ten screens and if I’m ambitious, I can walk another .9-ish miles to ANOTHER ten screens.

Unlike living in Woodbridge, EVERYTHING is close by.

I do miss my colleagues at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, particularly those on my team: Lisa, Dawn, Maria and TaM. To all of you, thanks for making the experience of working there such a positive one.  Especially my team leader, Lisa Shuler.  Your support over these last five years was phenomenal and I appreciate your leadership, candor, kindness and compassion.

Apologies go out to Dr. Jim Shurbutt who worked in the cubicle next to me.  He never complained when I was loudly editing video, hearing the same audio over and over and over again through the cubicle walls.  He tolerated me talking to myself through the editing process and swearing at Adobe Premiere to do what the hell I thought I’d told it to do.  He put up with a lot of that and deserves some kind of medal ‘r something.

Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

The Center is a collection of engineers, chemists, computer programmers, behavioral psychologists and… Well, let’s just say it’s a multi-disciplined collection of people with advanced degrees all of whom are engaged in making the highways and bridges here in the U.S. and around the world cheaper to build and safer to drive.  I would love to be able to send a shout out to all of you by name.  I am honored to have been welcomed into your world and to have worked with this great collection of minds.  Thanks for all that you do.

Oh!  One other thank you to local resident Todd Herberghs.  Todd and I worked together back in DC and now he’s a telecommuter.  He sold me on this area when I came to do the home inspection.  Todd, you were right – this area has a lot to offer its residents.  We need to get together again now that I’m here full-time.

Bottom line: I’m doing well.  No regrets on the retirement and I am convinced that despite the obstacles in getting here, this is going to work out just fine.

And I don’t even need to be vaccinated for Potomac fever.  Looks as though I’m already immune.




I did it again.

It’s not an unusual thing for me, crashing a server or two or three of four. So it’s taken me a few days to get it all back and working, but it’s there. I’m missing some information and posts and the like because I trusted (stupidly) an automated backup system.

I should have known better.

I’ll restore what else I can over the next few days, and for my one reader (and that’s me) mea culpa, I’m sorry, Apologies abound.  I screwed up.

Ah well, I learned plenty in the process.  I suppose that’s something.  🙂

Nighty night, and I hope y’all had a very merry Christmas while I was restoring.


A Necessary Face Lift

Perhaps I’m setting my goals too high, but in anticipation of actually posting something to this blog, it got a makeover:

– Moved from Google to my very own server and started using WordPress as the blog backend.

– Linked it to Facebook.  So this blog post shows up on Facebook and if you like it or comment, it post those back to the blog site.  Pretty cool!

– Linked it to Twitter, so it looks like I’m actually using my Twitter account, which I’m not.

– Added a News Headline feed to the front page via a Twitter list.

– Other cosmetic improvements.

One of the reasons, sez me, to maintain a blog in the first place is that the lifetime of a Facebook post is pretty short.  Going back to find something I wrote way back when is inconvenient.  This way, I can have it both ways.(Yeah, that’s kinda narcissistic.  I like reading my older stuff.  I recommend “A Snowy Tail” from 2009.)

So that’s it.  I’m hoping for a newfound discipline in keeping this site current.

Current is easy.  Interesting is difficult.

Testing 1, 10, 11…

Yeah, I’m doing some testing with my old, musty blog.  It’s getting a facelift and it’s getting lined to Facebook, hence this test.

Oh, and there’s a mobile version of this blog now, too.  That’s for those of you dying to read the months-old posts on your phone.  Losers.

From Facebook Today

I’m frustrated.

I was on my way to the store to get breakfast things for the boys so I asked Beth if she wanted anything.  She thought for a moment and said “Hash browns?”  I told her that sounded yummy and I’d get some shredded potatoes along with the eggs, butter and milk for the small humans. 

Of course I forgot the shredded potatoes.

When she reminded me of this, I was stunned and shamed.  She protested when I told her I’d go back to the store and insisted that I wasn’t to do that.

No problem.

Once the kids were fed, I peeled three small potatoes, shredded them using the low-mileage Cuisinart, chopped up a fresh jalapeno, and threw it all on the griddle.  They came out just fine.  🙂  Beth added some gravy, which I think should become a tradition everywhere.

So all this discussion has two goals:  One: to show that when it comes to breakfasts, I keep my promises and Two: to ask the assembled masses how the hell do you get hash browns to crisp up like the do at the Waffle House?  I can’t get ’em to crisp up no matter whose potatoes I use!  The griddle’s nice and hot.  I can’t figger it.

Anyone with any knowledge of how to do this, please discuss.  

Thank you. 

Control Your Freakin’ Kids!!!

I’m at McDonalds the other night. It’s like 9pm or thereabouts.  I’m tired and hungry and grumpy and all the other dwarves.  Two kids come in with “adult supervision.”  Minus the “supervision.”

I’m sure they’re perfectly nice kids when heavily sedated.  These two little shits came over to the corner where I was quietly sitting and munching away on a Big Mac and fries.  They decided it was appropriate to play on the table and chairs next to mine laughing loudly and chasing each other about like ferrets.  When I made disapproving eye contact, they looked at me as if to taunt me to do something about them.

Hey mister!  Yeah, you over at the freakin’ counter waiting for your freakin’ order like a freakin’ statue.  Yeah you, ya’ jerk!  Come collect your freakin’ kids and keep them under some kind of freakin’ control will ya?


Oh, and minutes later?  You might want to hold their hand so they don’t dash out behind my car when it’s backing up….





What the hell is the MATTER with people anyway?