Monthly Archives: January 2014

Another move…but a welcome one

Andrea and I are about to move for the 15th time in our almost 28 year marriage. Assuming the inspection passes tomorrow, we’ll start carting things over tomorrow night and then all day Friday and Saturday. I was recalling the different moves over the years and came up with 11. Andrea reminded me of another and then I remembered three more.

April 1986

We were married on March 29th, 1986 and after a two day “honeymoon” in cold, sterile Cincinnati, we packed up a rental truck with her things (mine were already shipped from Saratoga Springs, New York) and headed to an apartment in Newport News, Virginia, where I was to be stationed on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Funny thing happened a couple of months later … the Pill didn’t work. Andrea didn’t wanted her son to grow up in an apartment, so we bought a shoebox which prompted move #2 in …

November 1986

… to Hampton Virgina. That shoebox was 800 square feet of fuel oil-furnaced, severely under-insulated “all ours”. Now, it did have the biggest blueberries I’ve ever seen, and eventually I built a large arbor paved with a ton of bricks (more than literally a ton – we hauled them from a demolition site in our 1969 Country Squire station wagon), but it was small!

After three years, and a change of ship (Abraham Lincoln), I was picked up for the Enlisted Commissioning Program, so we sold the Hampton house and the Navy sent us on move #3 in …

May 1989

… to Norman, Oklahoma, where I was to get my degree in not more than three years at the University of Oklahoma. Despite being cautioned against it, we bought a huge house there (1620 SF). No trees. Talk about culture shock.

We added son #2 in 1990, and our first custom van in 1992…right before we got orders for move #4 in …

June 1992

…to Naval Station Staten Island…for five weeks. Talk about culture shock again…

But, that was short-lived because we had to cross the country for move #5 in …

July 1992

…to Oxnard, California for me to attend Civil Engineer Corps Officer School, where we lived in a condo. After that, move #6 in…

October 1992

…found us heading back to the East coast to Staten Island. We were assigned the upstairs two bedroom cheaply-built unit in a duplex over a couple who didn’t have kids and didn’t like Brandon and Colin “stomping”. They left before the base was closed in 1993, but we stayed. Andrea and the boys got Nathan in December, and that one-of-a-kind cat made many moves with us.

With the closed and pretty much empty base, it only took a little persuading that it made sense to mothball the smaller unit we were in while we still had families living in a larger four-plex and in …

March 1994

…we made a door-to-door move (#7) to a double two-bedroom unit right across the street. “Double” in that a doorway joined two units. “Double” in that we had two kitchens as well. Two Christmas trees (why not?).

We had a blast in New York – shows, museums, day trips to Pennsylvania…fond memories. We pulled Brandon out of public school around the same time of move #7 and started on the very scary path of home schooling our son.

As always, the Navy has needs and in …

June 1995

…we were sent to Port Hueneme, California again for move #8. We celebrated Colin’s 5th birthday at Hershey Park on the way out. Cold water. Never again. There wasn’t any on-base housing when we got there, so we rented a condo for a year. As soon as something opened up on base, we grabbed it, which turned out to be move #9 in…

June 1996

Living on base was a lot of fun…the block parties were especially fun … particularly in October 1996 and September 1998 (Dylan was born in May of 1997 and Drew in April 1999…you figure it out.) We tried the public school thing again for two years, but this is where we started home-schooling in earnest and have never turned back.

I was up for graduate school next and got accepted to MIT, but we got sent instead for move #10 in…

July 1999

…to Texas A&M for a Master of Engineering program that I actually couldn’t do  – it required an internship that was a no-go for the Navy. So, I switched to a brutal straight-up Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. “Brutal” because I had 10 months to get my degree.

In November, we traded in the wonderful Chevy custom van – that logged more than 135,000 miles back-and-forth across the U.S. playing “Fievel Goes West” and Power Rangers and lots more on the VCR – for another Chevy custom van. This time, we got the boat on top. To this day, I’ve never seen “Fievel Goes West”, but I heard it enough to have most of the dialogue memorized.

So, while looking for the next duty station, I got an email on February 4, 2000 from my detailer saying, “Jim, we’ve got to send you overseas. Your choices are Adak, Alaska unaccompanied, South Korea or South Korea.”

We chose Korea. The van cost us $860 (both ways) over and above the normally free-to-us shipping, but we took it, four kids (two under four years old), two car seats and Nathan on a 14 hour flight for move #11 in…

August 2000

… to Chinhae, South Korea. Talk about culture shock! So we settle in to a four bedroom house, waiting for the slow boat that was bringing the majority of our household goods and in …

October 2000

…the Commanding Officer insisted on us moving up to “officer country”. Move #12 happened fortunately before the big load came in, so door-to-door wasn’t too bad. And “up” is literal…the base is on a hillside and we lived up near the top…of the base – the hill kept going up.

I retired in November 2003, and we stayed more than three more years. Andrea searched for a year before finding THE house. I found out when she called me and said, “I found the house we’re buying. You can come if you want.” We bought it sight-unseen in November 2006. Lots of pictures went back and forth, and the realtor was fantastic, but Andrea didn’t actually see it for herself until the day before closing! Time for a new chapter in our lives, post-military, and in …

February 2007

… we made move #13 from Korea to Rowlett, Texas. This time, we had two cats and no car seats. The people on those two flights will never forget Oliver – 18 hours with the layover in Detroit and he never stopped yowling the entire time.

I had to go back to Korea and move myself out of family housing into bachelor quarters, but that doesn’t count as a joint move. Even though I was supposed to stay until June, I joined the fam in April 2007 in Rowlett. Talk about culture shock!

January 2014

So tomorrow night, January 23rd, 2014, we start on move #15, which was necessitated due to the unplanned and unwanted move #14 back in August 2013. It’s going to be a bugger of a door-to-door, but…

We’re ready.

“I’m the same person”

No…that’s not me. It’s part of a quote I heard yesterday from a candidate for state office:

“When I see people that have known me my whole life they tell me I’m the same person, you haven’t changed.”

How sad.

Oh, I know he’s saying what he thinks needs to be said to get elected, and my taking exception by my interpretation of his comment is a little over the top. But think about it: to never improve oneself violates a fundamental moral imperative. I know am not the same man I was twenty years ago – our family doctor is an osteopath and I only knew what Martin Gardner had to say on that subject from 1952 (chiropractic is still quackery, though. I am not the same man I was even five years ago – if I were, I wouldn’t be receptive to the concept of emotional intelligence. I’m certainly not the same man I was last year.

Anyway, everyday I learn something new and I adapt … change. To proudly claim to be the “same man”? For that alone, the undistinguished gentleman running for office wouldn’t get my vote. But it gets worse… he wants “creationism” taught in schools, because

“Science has been proven wrong in many different areas. I think when it comes to the (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency, they utilize political science and not environmental science all the time. And I think we need to sue … we need to present all theories so students can have options. I believe in creationism.”

Um … he’s wrong on so many levels it’s really unfair to pick on him. “Political science”?  Let’s set aside that there’s not much “science” in political science (opinion, but then this is my blog!) How does anyone make that statement? How does anyone tie the EPA to creationism? He clearly doesn’t understand scientific theories, and that “creationism” is not one. Unsaid, but just in case, calling creationism “creation science” still doesn’t make it science.

And he also clearly doesn’t understand that the only thing that has ever proven science wrong has been more science. Science needs to be taught. Teach whatever else you want at home.

The candidate pickings are scary here.

…of the Year 2013

Now that 2014 is here, I’m going to try to exorcise 2013 from my memory as much as possible. Our tragedy took over our lives after July 31st, but several friends have faced life threats that have put things in perspective.

Too many bad things, so I’m going to take a page from Time magazine and the editors’ Person of the Year chosen for the impact/influence good or bad.

Scroll down for my choices for Person, Engineering & Physics & Chemistry & Biology Achievements, Operating System, Most Disturbing & Funniest websites, Misinformer & Political A**, Movie, Book review and last but not least…

…Beer of the Year!… Continue reading