So tonight is my last night in the States for awhile...
I took myself out for a nice dinner...steak and ribs...and had some time to myself to think.
About family. About work. About places I've been and people I've known that I haven't thought about in years.
Big events tend to do that to me. While others go out for their last hurrah...I go in for some thinking. It hasn't always been that way, I used to be the one that would go out...the first one out...party hard, don't even need a reason. I'm not that guy anymore. No longer do I want to be the center of attention or the life of the party...I think I got old.
But a new adventure starts.
I'm deploying to Afghanistan for 6 months to work as a structural engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Most people that know me don't understand why I would volunteer for this. There are a number of reasons...and I want to try to explain the biggies.
My job, I love it. I really enjoy working for the Corps. I like the size and scale of our project. I like the idea that we have a Mission and a commitment to the public, instead of a mission statement and a commitment to shareholders. I want to continue working for the Corps for a very long time. So when they sent out an email saying that they needed help with other parts of the mission; supporting military efforts and the war in Afghanistan...and they specifically needed structural engineers. I was interested, but it was a little more than that.
I'm grateful to the Corps. Prior to getting my job with the Corps, I was working for a structural design firm and not really enjoying it. I was scared because I saw architects and developers all around us...our clients...laying people off, stopping projects, and slowing down all work. As they slowed, work at my office slowed. I was grouped with a bunch of very smart engineers with great experience, if we downsized I was going to be out the door. I saw the job posting for the Corps, right up my alley, and I applied. A tense 3 months later, I got an interview...3 hours before my company downsized and I was laid off. Within 2 weeks I was offered the job I still have. Many people got laid off, at my firm and at many others, I feel so fortunate that I was able to get this job. So fortunate. All around the country, people are still out of work, cashing out nest eggs, losing homes...that could've been us if I hadn't gotten this job. I can't imagine what things would've been like for me and my family if I was without work for a year or more. I'm so grateful for this job. So when they needed people to volunteer to help, and they requested structural engineers, I knew they meant me. And I talked to Kristi.
There are other reasons, too. Maybe I'll go into them at a later time...I've rambled on for long enough.
I miss my family. Everything I see reminds me of them. Sam, Matt, Kristi...I love you very much. Kristi, thank you for your understanding and support as I do this...I couldn't go if I thought you couldn't handle it. I'll let you wear the pants for the next 6 months but don't get used to it, I'll be putting them back on when I get back.
I miss my family, but feel very fortunate that I get to go serve in this manner.