Back in the Pacific Northwest. We packed up most of the squadron and left Turkey early in the morning 5 March and flew 5 hours up to Mildenhall Air Base, England, where we stopped there for some gas and some tasty breakfast burritos (insert witty "breakfast-burrito-gas-comment" here). We took off for McChord AFB about 9:30 that morning, arriving 10 hours later. It was daylight the whole trip over and we had some great views of Iceland, Greenland, and Northern Canada. We were about a thousand miles South of the North Pole.
That was my longest sortie in about 9 years. I had forgotten how difficult it is for me to sleep on a plane, so I arrived at 11:45 in the morning Seattle-time pretty tired. Of course, you can't go to bed at 2 in the afternoon; you'd be wide awake at 2 in the morning. So I stayed up until 9 that evening...and woke up wide awake at 2 in the morning. This jet lag thing is a big drag.
I'm finally past the jet lag now, though. I've found me a little extended stay hotel to park my stuff in for the next 2 months until Arlene and the kids roll in. I'm busy looking around for a new car now. I test drove a 2008 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 crew cab on Saturday. My eyes glazed over and I was transported to a magical place somewhere beside a pristine mountain lake. My new Tacoma was parked underneath a giant redwood. My tent set up next to a small campfire. Trout were jumping in the background, dancing to the music of nearby songbirds. Soon my eyes drifted down to the sticker price and I was immediately ripped from my fantasy--I am convinced I heard a witch-like cackle from the car salesman. I phone call with my wife later brought me back to my senses. This Tacoma truck is not the smartest second car and we can take the Ritter Family Truckster camping.
So, I was sent with new marching orders to the local Honda dealership, a new Civic in the crosshairs now. Fun...removed. Okay, the Civic was nice, but it kind of cramps my "Mountain Man" image of myself. I thus reported back in to the Commander-in-Chief and brought my pouting "A Game." She said she could almost see my shoulders slumping and my bottom lip poking out from Germany. I smiled to myself. This might work. I may get the Tacoma. "These aren't the droids you're looking for," I continued.
"Have you looked at the Honda Fit like I asked you to?" AAARRRGGGHHHH! "Yes, dear."
Back to the Honda dealership for a test drive. What a pleasant surprise! I had a smile on my face the entire time I drove that thing. Maybe it was the shifter knobs at 3 and 9 on the steering wheel a la Formula 1 racing car. This car definitely appealed to the Michael Schumaker part of me. I'm sold. The wife was shocked but pleased. Everyone wins (except the cackling Toyota salesman).