Friday, August 31, 2018

Has it really been 5 years?

I just happened across my timeline today, and I realized that it's been over 5 years since my last post. I guess life happened, and I just kept pushing it back. It's odd how that happens. So, here's where we are today...

In my last post, I was heading home from Afghanistan to work for NetGain Technologies. That was a great gig, but lasted only 18 months before I was laid off. So what was my solution? Contracting seems easy enough, right? So I went back. I spent 6 months working in the Southwest Asia Cyber Center (SWACC) as a Systems Administrator before discovering that it was a dead-end place with leadership that was complacent to just let things to 'status quo'. That didn't work for me. So I took yet another contract with TCS to work in Kuwait at a little ol' base called Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base. It's an odd place--only 1/4 mile square, surrounded by the Kuwaiti air base. It's a combined Air Force/Marines base with very little to offer. But it was where I was.

Fast forward a year to my departure from 'The Jab' to come home to work for what I thought would be a decent job. Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong. I was hired as a Systems Administrator (surprise) for a company called Central Research. Wow...what a zero gig that was. After just a few weeks, I was once again sent on my way because they "decided to go another direction". Whatever. The job was garbage, anyway. So here we go again!

Next up, I decided I didn't want to go back into contracting overseas, so I started taking local contracts. Joplin, Dallas, Little Rock...there were several short-term gigs. I even worked for Facebook for a few weeks bringing a new datacenter online. That wasn't exciting, but it was quite profitable. But even that began to dry up. The writing was on the wall once again. Coincidentally, I received a call out of the blue from the project manager for Kuwait--he was wondering if I would be interested in coming back to Al Jaber as a Systems Admin again. As luck would have it, I was at a point where I figured "what the hell", and I set out on my way.

Here we are, back to present day, and my year at The Jab is nearly done. I have begun the job search back home once again, as I am tired of the long, hot days in Kuwait, and the 7-day-a-week schedule. I'm ready to go home and be normal again, with normal problems like flat tires and family gatherings. Life doesn't stand still while I'm gone, but it seems like it from my point of view. Nothing here changes--it's the same thing, day in and day out. But hopefully, things will change for the better.

New house in Eureka Springs
A lot has changed since I last posted. We moved from the house in Little Rock to a gorgeous home just outside of Eureka Springs, with a view that is unrivaled and no neighbors! It's been 2 years now, and I have yet to feel a single regret about moving. The neighborhood we left in Little Rock is no longer the quaint, safe place it was; it's now riddled with crime, and it's just going to get worse. I hate that the house we worked on for so many years and put so much blood, sweat, and tears into is now owned by someone else...but the decision had to be made.

The 'new and improved' Challenger at WAM3 'Friday Night Lights'
I have also made some changes to the Challenger. It's been in the family now for nearly 8 years, and it was time for some changes! So, after months of work in a half-dozen different shops, I came up with the 'piece de resistance'! The car was transformed from the bright, shiny orange to a matte finish Alice Cooper-themed wrap, complete with all sorts of lighting mods--color flow underbody and interior, color flow underhood and trunk, color flow halos for the headlights and fog lights, and even lighted badges for the grille. I also replaced the stock chrome wheels with Demon replicas, installed Eibach lowering springs, and treated the calipers and rotors to a full upgrade with paint and slotted/drilled rotors. Lastly, all of the light bulbs were replaced with LEDs, giving the sequential tail lights a whole different look. If it weren't for the patience and hard work of my under-appreciated, overworked wife, none of it would have been possible. She ran the car back and forth, made all of the appointments, and even fretted and fumed when something didn't go as planned. But it worked out in the end! The car made its debut in the 'We Are Mopar 3' show in Dallas this summer, and although it didn't place in the top 100 (out of 2000 cars), I know we made an impression. I look forward to more shows and more road trips once I'm home, and the car is geared for it.

In the end, the last 5 years have been very busy, but very fulfilling. We've endured moving to a new town, new jobs, a tornado, marriages and divorces within the family, and the death of Leslie's dad. One of the lowest times in our relationship came on that day. There will never be a complete recovery; we just continue on. The world stops for nobody, and that includes us. Tommy was a great person and a kind soul. I hope he meets up with John and they can laugh and joke about the stupid things the kids did. Two great men, gone far too soon.

I'll wrap up for today. Perhaps it won't be 5 years until my next post. I'm too old at this point to wait that long, and I don't even know that anyone reads this anymore. I just hope to put a little of my mundane life out there in hopes that you'll find your life isn't so mundane, after all. Until next time...