Saturday, May 24, 2008

3 o'clock and all is well

Just sitting in the USO at SeaTac airport. It's 3:10 in the morning and I've got a 6:20 flight out that will get me to San Antonio at 2 in the afternoon. It's going to be a long day. It's like Jonestown right now. People are sprawled out asleep all over the place. One lady is asleep on the floor...I've never heard a woman snore so loud before. She passed gas a little while ago. That was a little awkward for the few guys that were awake with me. What do you say? Do you laugh? If it were a guy you would. No, there was just a nervous chuckle and everyone pretended it didn't happen.

Think I'll take a walk.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Officially Homeless...Again

Just moved out of my crappy, long-term hotel room. I hit the road tonight for San Antonio, where I will join the rest of the Ritter Clan for a week of sun and refried beans.

All in all, it was a good week at work. I flew on Saturday, giving one of the squadron's copilots his Mission Evaluation. It was a beautiful day for flying. Some folks call it "Field Grade Weather." That means there is no bad weather around that older guys like me have to fly around or through. Less to worry about which is good because I haven't been flying nearly enough. I was pretty rusty, making calls on the wrong radios, forgetting to put the landing gear down, flying the wrong way...well, not really. I did screw up a few radio calls, though. I need to fly more.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new "Indiana Jones" movie with the kids. I've caught myself whistling the tune this past week. I even remembered once wanting to become an Archaeologist because of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Archaeologists are quick to point out that theirs is a life of boredom with occasional moments of discovery. No snakes, no Nazis, no giant rolling boulders. In my career choice I believe I chose....wisely.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thinking Ahead to Retirement

I attended a going away dinner last night in honor of the vice wing commander here at McChord AFB. This was the end of his third assignment here, and it was obvious that he was going to miss this area. There were the obligatory speeches and the standard going away gifts. The thing that struck me was how heartfelt it all was. I can't help but choke up sometimes when people express such warm affection for others. I guess I'm just a big softy.

I head out one week from today to join my family for a week in San Antonio, Tx. I'm looking forward to having a big ol' steak on the riverwalk washed down with an ice-cold Shiner Bock. I love San Antonio. It's in my top 5 potential retirement locales. Some others in contention:

- Somewhere in the South Carolina low country between Charleston and Savannah
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Ashville, NC
- Nashville, TN
- Flagstaff, AZ

I'm constantly refining this list, adding and taking away places. The Seattle area could be added very soon. Today is an absolutely beautiful day (low 80's and clear, blue sky). It's growing on me fast.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Disposable Wipe Lady Strikes Again

I went to the gym again the other evening. After I finished on one machine I got up and started to walk away. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the same lady who had gotten on to me two weeks ago for not wiping off the machine. Before I realized what I was doing, I stopped, completely changed directions, and got a disposable wipe and wiped down the machine I had just used.
As I walked passed the lady, I couldn't help but look her way. What was I looking for? Perhaps it was for some recognition on her part of my new-found sense of hygene. I reflected on this event later and likened it to when I was 6 years old and finally did what my mom had been scolding me about for the past few days. Picking up my socks, taking my plate to the sink, wiping my face off after eating BBQ chicken--it's like this lady owed me something for my troubles.

I guess this is my tribute to Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Manly Skill

I was at the gym the other day and had just finished a particular exercise and was walking away to the next when I was accosted by a woman. "Aren't you going to wipe that machine down," she said. I stared blankly at her for a moment and said, "Ahhh, sure." Grabbing a nearby disposable wipe, I dutifully wiped down the seat and back pads of the machine I had just used. Justifiably chastised, I watched this woman over the next half hour move to various machines doing her workout and noticed that after every workout she would diligently wipe each machine down. I then conducted a totally non-scientific observation of both men and women at the gym at came to the conclusion that women are much more concerned about hygiene than men.

I think perhaps it's something in the male brain which allows us to switch off feelings of disgust that arise from immediately following a sweaty man on an exercise machine. Women, it would seem, are incapable of ignoring incidences like this. Other times this ability comes in handy are:

- Taking a drink of soda after your child without doing the "floaty check"
- Using a public bathroom toilet right after someone else and not caring that the seat is still warm
- Tossing a smelly shirt into the dryer for a quick warm up because "it's got one more day left in it"
- Letting your dog lick your face (no telling what it was licking 10 minutes ago)

A handy skill indeed. I've found that sometimes ignorance is bliss. It's just better not to think about those things and just press on.

Any other ideas of when this most manly of skills comes in handy?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Touring With Friends

Time for my weekly (weakly?) post...

Two weeks away from seeing the family again. They fly into Dallas next weekend only to be swept up with the grandparents and whisked off to Oklahoma City where I'll join them the week after. I'm looking forward to settling in and getting the Ritter family clicking on all 6 cylinders again.

I finished the simulator portion of my airdrop requalification. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I picked it all up again. I was scheduled to ride along on a big exercise yesterday. We had 5 C-17s from McChord doing drops over at Moses Lake and joining up with more C-17s from Charleston for a pass over a drop zone near Nellis AFB, NV. Our jet had some maintenance problems and we had to scrub while the rest pressed on. C'est la vie.

Have big plans today. Operation GOOD TIME kicks off this afternoon. I'll be rejoining with Kirk Squadron for a tour of McChord AFB. We've got plans for a C-17 tour and a ride in the simulator. Harper's looking forward to trying to pick out her house from the "air." Jay's looking forward to trying his hand at air refueling. I'm looking forward to zooming over Seattle at 300 feet and 300 knots.

This is a standing invite for all my friends out there. Let me know if you're ever up this way and we can set something like that up as well.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Little Politics

Seems like I'm able to break away and post about once a week now.

Anyone see the Bill O'Reily interview with Hillary? I actually came away from that with a modicum of respect for her. I don't agree with most of her ideas/policies, but you have to respect her for agreeing to the interview. I think she more than held her own. Obama scares me. The whole Rev Wright thing IS a big deal. "Birds of a feather flock together." How could he have associated with that guy for 20+ years and not been influenced? Influenced? I think they associated that long because they share the same thoughts on things. Scary. What even makes this worse is that Obama tossed him under the bus this past week and has totally written him off. So much for friendship. I don't always agree with John McCain, and Lord knows the hard-core Conservatives have a problem with him, but he stands up for what he believes least from what I've seen so far. He doesn't strike me as the type of guy who would sacrafice what he REALLY believes in for the sake of political expediency. I guess we'll see as this campaign trudges along.

One month until the family shows up in Seattle.