Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A day in the life of a first sergeant

This was obviously not written by an Army 1SG, but the gist is the same.  This is what we're about to get into...

I AM A FIRST SERGEANT.  My job is people -- Every One is My Business. I dedicate my time and energy to their needs; their health, morale, discipline, and welfare. I grow in strength by strengthening my people. My job is done in faith; my people build faith.  My job is people --  
That's the first sergeant's creed. That's what he or she strives for, every day. There are no enlisted personnel in the military with more authority, more responsibility, and a downright busier day than a first sergeant (Leading Chief Petty Officer in the Navy).  
Some of the "complaints" a first sergeant hears most often are "I can never get hold of you," (untrue, as all "shirts" or "tops" carry a beeper or cell-phone with them 24 hours per day, 7 days per week), or "You're never in your office," (true, because a good first sergeant is out and about, being the eyes, ears, and mouth for the commander).  
Let's walk a day in his/her shoes:  
0230: The phone rings, jarring you from a too-short sleep, just when you had settled into that deserted tropical island in your dreams -- the favorite dream where it was just you, the beach, and no phones or pagers. You pick up the phone. It's the Security Police (Military Police) Desk. They're very sorry to disturb you (not really!), but they just picked up one of your troops on a drunk & disorderly, and minor in possession charge. It seems that the rocket-scientist thought it would be a lot of fun to streak around the barracks wearing just his girlfriend's panties. Unfortunately for him, his girlfriend didn't think it was funny, and locked him out of his room. (Editor's note: This scenario really happened -- Edwards AFB, 1987).  
After grumbling that you'll be right there, you call the individual's supervisor to request that he meet you at the cop-shop. The supervisor responds that he really doesn't want to, as he has to be at work at 0700, and he got to bed late. Because you haven't had your first cup of coffee yet, you convince the supervisor, via a one-way-conversation that it would be advisable not only to meet you there, but to beat you there, as well.  
You start the coffee, do a quick shave while the coffee is perking and put on your uniform. Although the phone call did not wake up your spouse (he/she has learned to sleep through them), you don't bother leaving a note. Your spouse knows, from long experience, where you've gone.  
0300: You arrive at the cop-shop and meet the supervisor. You and the supervisor get briefed by the apprehending officer about the situation. You read a copy of the police report, and sign custody for the brain trust. You turn him over to the supervisor with instructions to make sure he gets to the dorm, into his room, and put to bed. You tell the supervisor you'll call him later in the morning with more instructions.  
0330: You're up, you're dressed, so you figure you'll sneak into the office to catch up with some badly neglected paperwork.  
0500: You're in the middle of reviewing performance reports, promotion rosters, decoration submissions, general correspondence, reenlistment recommendations, detail rosters, and other pieces of dead trees when your pager lets out a shriek. It's the Red Cross. Like always with the Red Cross, it's not good news: The father of one of your troops has passed away.
You call the supervisor at home and tell her about the situation. You inform her that you will notify the individual, and let her know about any emergency leave plans. You get into your car and drive to the individual's base housing unit. Fortunately, this turns out to be one of the "easier" situations. The individual has been in touch with his family and is already aware of the death. You express your condolences, and tell him and his family that you, the commander, and the unit are at their disposal for anything at all that you can do. You explain the emergency leave procedures, and ask him if he plans to travel home. The answer is yes, so you call your chief clerk and ask her to come in a begin preparing emergency leave paperwork. You inform the individual that the paperwork should be ready by the time he gets into the unit.  
0600: You stop by the Chow Hall to get something for breakfast, and to do a "periodic check" on the quality of food being supplied to your people. After filling your tray (fruit and toast -- you're not getting any younger, and running off those extra pounds is getting harder and harder each day), you find a table that some of your troops are sitting at. For the next 45 minutes you sit and chat with them about this, that, and everything, giving advice and answering questions about regulations, policy, pay, leave, work hours, etc.  
0700: You arrive back at the unit and proceed to the commander's office to brief him on the morning's events. The commander decides to go with an Article 15 for the drunk streaker. On the way out, you stop by the commander's secretary to make an appointment for tomorrow with the commander for you, the supervisor, and the individual concerned to begin the Article 15 process (the whole process will actually take three separate meetings, spaced out over five or six days).  
0730: You return to your office and sign the emergency leave paperwork. You telephone the legal office and instruct them to prepare the Article 15 paperwork. You then telephone the folks at the Drug & Alcohol center and make a referral appointment for the brain-trust. You call the supervisor to let him know about tomorrow's appointment and the appointment for the alcohol abuse referral. You call the supervisor of the individual going on emergency leave, and let her know about the individual's plans. You then instruct your chief clerk to make sure she picks up the Article 15 paperwork. from the legal office later in the day.  
0805: You arrive at the NCO Club for the weekly first sergeant meeting. As usual, you're a few minutes late due to the morning's events, but then again, so are several other "shirts." For the 90 minutes, you receive briefings from the Command Chief Master Sergeant (Command Sergeant Major), the legal office, personnel office, family advocacy office, etc., ad infidium, about the latest changes to various programs.  
0930: You swing by the barracks to let your "dormitory manager" know that you and the commander plan to do an inspection this Friday. You go over the problems found on the last inspection, and request that he take special care to make sure the commander doesn't see these same problems again. While you are there, you take a quick walk-through of the common areas, and talk to the folks who have been detailed for barracks cleanup this week.  
1000: Your schedule is open for an hour, so you pick one of the duty sections to "drop by" on. While there, you talk to the supervisors and the troops about this and that, various policies, various programs, etc. While speaking, however, you examine each and every face. You're always on the lookout for potential problems that can be nicked in the bud before they blow up. Finally, before leaving, you speak to the section supervisor about any particular problem areas in the duty section.  
1100: Time for lunch at the NCO Club. Not a normal lunch, however. This is the quarterly luncheon for the Airman/Soldier/Sailor of the Quarter program. You sit through the lunch, the speeches, and the announcement of the winners. None of your folks have won this time. But, when they do win, it makes the boring quarterly luncheons all worthwhile.  
1230: You attend a family advocacy committee meeting about one of your troops who was involved in a domestic situation the past week. The family advocacy investigation has determined that a "minor" incident did occur. The committee recommends whatever disciplinary action the commander finds appropriate, and attendance at the anger management classes. You approve the recommendations and make a note to talk with the commander about disciplinary action (probably a Letter or Reprimand in this particular case -- more "paperwork." you will have to prepare later).  
1330: Back at the office. You try to leave a couple of hours open each afternoon in the office so your clerk can fill it with appointments. Until 1500, you're "booked" with various individuals who want/need to see you. You talk with folks about their dependent care plans, financial management (you even show one two-striper how to balance a checkbook), Professional Military Education, "minor disciplinary problems (i.e. a "chewing out"), weight-control program entries, dependent-support problems, domestic situations, off-duty employment applications, cross-training opportunities, reenlisting......pretty much everything the military has "invented" over the past 200 years.  
1500: Commander's Staff Meeting. All Senior NCOs and officers meet to brief the commander on what's going on in the unit. You impart the applicable information you obtained at the first sergeant's meeting.  
1600: Your beeper goes off again. This time it's good news. The folks at personnel have the promotion listing for promotions to E-6. You have seven people on the list. You quickly drive over to personnel to pick up the listing. Upon returning to your office, you examine the list to make sure there isn’t anyone there who the commander may want to "redline." You call the various supervisors and tell them to keep the individuals around the duty-section, using one excuse or another.  You reach into the bottom of your desk drawer and take out seven sets of E-6 stripes (you always keep extra stripes there).  
1630: You and the commander visit the applicable duty sections and give out the promotions. It's always good when you can end the day on a positive note.  
1730: Final daily meeting with the commander. You discuss the day's events and reach a consensus for items requiring additional attention. The commander agrees with your recommendation for a Letter of Reprimand for the domestic case. You make a note to yourself to prepare a letter of reprimand in the morning.  
1830: A quick trip to the gym. After all, you don't want to have to put yourself on the weight control program. 30 minutes on the "Stair-Master" then 15 minutes of steam.  
1900: Super! It's just 1900 and the day is done! Your spouse is going to be happy that you come home at a "decent" hour, for a change. You get into your car and check out your pocket calendar for tomorrow's schedule. Oh, no! You forgot about the Unit Softball Game, starting right now. You rush to the field and lend your support with the other "fans." 30 minutes after the start of the game, your spouse arrives with a little KFC. As you and your spouse sit there, watching your unit win its way to victory, KFC-juice on your fingers, the world isn't so hectic anymore.  
2200: Time for bed. It's been a long, long day (as usual). Hopefully, tomorrow will be shorter. You don't need any sheep to fall deeply into sleep and bring back that image of the deserted island......just you, no phones, no beepers.......Suddenly, the telephone rings......

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The house I'm really hoping we get

So many things I really like about this house.  Lots of storage (including under the stairs).  Kitchen island.  Computer station built in upstairs (our computer armoire probably isn't going to survive another move).  Three separate areas - living, dining, family (although who needs a nook AND a dining room?  not us...).  Fence.  A/C.  Two car garage.  Is that a covered lanai in the back?

What I don't like about the house.  Washer and dryer not located with the bedrooms.  I wonder if there's really no door between the master bedroom and bathroom?  D gets up much earlier than I do...  I suppose the bedroom over the garage isn't ideal (garage door opener early in the morning), but that's just being picky.  And yeah, that's all I've got.

PCSing to Hawaii with pets

We've PCSed plenty of times.  We've even PCSed with cats.  But this one has been a new experience for us.  It's the first time we've moved with dogs, with the added complication of thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean.

Fortunately, Hawaii no longer requires quarantine as long as their detailed process is followed.  Our dogs are good to go on their microchips and rabies antibodies, so no worries there.

In the past, we've packed up the cats with us in the car on the move.  There's no way to do that this time - our eleven day cross country trek would definitely be too much for all of us bringing the dogs along since we'll only have one car and it'll be stuffed with kids and baggage.  If this were a regular CONUS move, we'd have both vehicles with the ability to spread out a little.  But, there's that pesky ocean to cross and we're shipping the truck weeks ahead of us so it'll be waiting there when we arrive.

So, we've hired Island Pet Movers to do most of the work for us.  They have great reviews from just about any website I've found on moving to Hawaii.  The only negative I've read (and experienced) is that they're not very prompt in replying to email, but they do eventually get back to you.  Once the animals are en route  though, they answer their cell 24/7 for emergencies.  They've provided advice on the paperwork process, called our vet directly to make sure the blood serum samples were taken correctly, emailed us the forms that the Hawaii Department of Agriculture requires, arranged the dogs' flights, and will pick them up from the airport and take them to the kennel.  I'll give a post-PCS report on how they did with everything, but I'm pleased so far, and the relief knowing I'm not going to screw something up out of ignorance is absolutely worth the price we'll be paying (which will unfortunately be considerable - this is not an inexpensive undertaking).

The dogs are one of the main reasons why we'll be living on post in Hawaii.  The rental houses I've seen in the areas we're willing to live have been great and within the housing allowance allotted to us, but very few of them allow pets, and even fewer still allow multiple large dogs.  The on-post housing pet policies allow two pets, size immaterial (although I'm sure they balk at horses), as long as they aren't one of a handful of specific breeds.

I'm not too thrilled with the idea of the dogs being kenneled for a month or more, but there aren't many options that I'm willing to consider and we're bound by a few regulations that others are willing to ignore but we aren't.  From what I've been told, the kennel gives the dogs lots of socialization time which is something they desperately need anyway.  We'll visit them regularly once we arrive and hope we move into a house quickly.

So that job I thought I had...?

So, there's this memo...

Lots of yada yada, but the relevant paragraph (to me, anyway), is this:

I haven't heard from the Tripler HR department, but it seems pretty clear to me that I won't be starting in March.

Hopefully, the budget cuts being threatened won't actually happen and the hiring freeze will be lifted.  Until then, I expect federal employment opportunities to be few and far between.  I'll keep applying to anything I'm qualified for on USAJobs just in case.

Nothing else to do but wait...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Not just for lupus...

I was talking with a coworker today about choices.  Everything we do is the result of a choice that we make, either consciously or not.  Some decisions are worth a great deal of energy.  Others are ...... not.
Years ago, I worked with a woman that had lupus.  She pointed me to this story online, and it resonated with me.  Now, I don't have lupus, but I love the idea behind it regardless.  We all have a limit to what we can handle.  We should all make wise choices as to where we spend our energy.  Trying to take care of everything just exhausts a person; rather, we should decide what is truly important and spend our "spoons" on that.

The Spoon Theory

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking.  As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy.  Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time.  We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.
As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation.  She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick.  I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus.  She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom.  She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn't seem satisfied with my answers.  I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus.  Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand.  She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.
As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think.  I was trying to find the right words.  How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself?  How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity.  I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand.  If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else?  I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born.  I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables.  I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”.  She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons.  The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.

I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn't have to.  The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people.  For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions.  So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point.  I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew.  If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

She grabbed the spoons with excitement.  She didn't understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics.  Little did she know how serious I would become.

I asked her to count her spoons.  She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”.  But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with.  It doesn't guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting.  She counted out 12 spoons.  She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn't even started yet.  I've wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she?  I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple.  As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do, I explained how each one would cost her a spoon.  When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon.  I practically jumped down her throat.  I said ”No! You don’t just get up.  You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late.  You didn't sleep well the night before.  You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make yourself something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.”  I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn't even gotten dressed yet.  Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs.  Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn't want to scare her right away.  Getting dressed was worth another spoon.  I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about.  You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick.  I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question.  If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on.  If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn't even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons.  I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone.  Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”.  I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous.  So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them.  I didn't want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.

We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long.  She was forced to make choices and think about things differently.  Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.

When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry.  I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left.  If she cooked, she wouldn't have enough energy to clean the pots.  If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely.  Then I also explained that I didn't even bother to add into this game that she was so nauseous that cooking was probably out of the question anyway.  So she decided to make soup, it was easy.  I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.

I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her.  I didn't want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit.  She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it?  Do you really do this every day?”  I explained that some days were worse than others; some days I have more spoons than most.  But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it.  I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve.  I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve.  You need to always be prepared.”

It’s hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything.  I fight this to this day.  I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to.  I wanted her to feel that frustration.  I wanted her to understand that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one.  I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing.  When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war.  It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy.  It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do.  I miss that freedom.  I miss never having to count “spoons”.

After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad.  Maybe she finally understood.  Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands.  But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine.  I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner.  I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing.  I have been forced to think about everything I do.  Do you know how many spoons people waste every day?  I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”

Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people.  In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time.  It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do.  Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too.  I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness.  Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general.  I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything.  It has become an inside joke.  I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.

© Christine Miserandino (Source)

There's another analogy out there that I love:

Take a jar and fill it with ping pong balls.  Is it full?  Yes, but only of ping pong balls.  There’s plenty of room for gravel.  So, pour in gravel until it’s full.  Is it full?  Yes, but only of gravel.  There’s plenty of room for sand.  So, pour in sand until it’s full.  The ping pong balls represent the most important things in your life.  You have to start with them first, because if you start with the gravel (urgent but not important) and sand (not urgent or important), there’s no room left for the ping pong balls.  Now is the jar full?  No, there’s always room for coffee with a friend.  J

I don't consider myself an optimist or Pollyanna or the like.  I define myself as a realist who chooses to look for silver linings.  There's almost always something positive that can be gained from any given situation.  It's all a matter of choice.  Whatever is happening is going to happen regardless of how much you stress about it.  So, rather than stress yourself out, choose to look for the silver lining.

I also do a time-check often.  "Will this matter to me in a week?"  Or a month, or a year?  If not, why spend so much energy worrying about it today?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Road Trip!! Eleven days, three thousand miles. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Ok, the plan...   We'll be at the mercy of the weather, but hopefully it'll go something like this...

  • Leave PA on Friday, February 15th.  About ten hours later, arrive in St. Louis, probably stopping at Pantera's on the way.
  • Spend Saturday the 16th in St. Louis.  [Note to self - D's driver's license]
  • Sunday the 17th is Justin's 1/2 birthday!  Leave late morning, catching lunch at HuHot on the way out.  Arrive in Manhattan in time for La Fiesta for dinner.  We'll stay at the birthday hotel (the Wienkes know *grin*) for the night.
  • Monday the 18th, drive seven hours to Colorado Springs.  Elephant Bar for dinner?
  • Spend Tuesday the 19th in Colorado Springs.  [Note to self - K's driver's license]
  • Then ugh, the two worst days.  Long 9-10 hours driving time, plus the Rockies, plus mid-February.  The 20th will be a nine hour drive to Salt Lake City; the 21st will bring us another ten hours to Suisun City.  Both will probably take us much longer than that.
  • Spend the 22nd in Suisun City, drive to Petaluma for the night.
  • Spend the 23rd in Petaluma, drive to Santa Cruz for the night.
  • Spend the 24th in Santa Cruz.  Might spend the night again - still working this out.
  • On Monday the 25th, drive up to SJC, pick up rental car.  Drive to Oakland, drop off the Rav4.  Drive to Aromas to spend the rest of the day/night.
  • Tuesday - airplane day! - Need to be at SJC at 7am to drop the car, check the bags, get through security, yada yada...

View Larger Map

I have even started the After Arrival Plan.  Too much going on between now and then!  I know I need to start, though, as the days are zooming!

Research and decisions

Now that the plan seems to be ironed out, and the GO date is getting closer, it's time to start locking in reservations.

Up first - vehicle shipping companies.  The truck will be shipped by the Army, and fortunately there's a drop-off point seemingly next door to family in the St. Louis area.  Score!  Darrell will drive it down, drop it off, spend a day or two with family, and fly back.  Very convenient, and the flight back didn't cost as much as we expected.  Excellent.

Shipping the car, though, is on us.  We looked into prices - it's MUCH less expensive to ship from the west coast, and that works into the plan quite nicely.  We'll be driving from PA to CA, stopping along the way to visit family and friends.  There are many options, but after some investigating and suggestions from those who have been there and done that, we're going with Horizon.  It's about $1100, and should take a week and a half between dropping off Monday morning and arriving Wednesday.

We're hoping/expecting his truck to arrive before we do.  However, we'll need another vehicle to get the boys to school and for me to take care of other things during the three days in between Darrell's return to work and the arrival of my car.  We're USAA customers, so I looked into all four companies they have deals with.  Enterprise wins by a mile.  After discovering which locations are open on Sundays and comparing prices with the others, it looks like we can get a three day rental for under $100, including all taxes and fees.  Excellent!!

Next up - hotel reservations for the road trip.

DC trip next weekend

Before we move thousands of miles further from DC, we figured we'd squeeze a trip in.  With only two days to work with, we're focusing on the monuments, memorials, and a couple of the museums (Air & Space, of course being one of them).  Thanks to Susan's suggestion, we'll probably stay at the Navy Lodge and Metro to the Mall on Saturday, then drive by a few places (Capitol, White House, Pentagon) that we'd just like to see, not necessarily walk around.

We're total public transportation noobs, so we still have that to figure out.  Can't be that hard, right?

The countdown is at 41 days to departure.  Still doesn't feel entirely real...

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Hibiscus Half Marathon, here we come!

My only goal/resolution this year is to complete a half marathon before my 40th birthday.  Checking the Hawaii races list, it looks like the best bet is the Hibiscus Half Marathon in late May.  Darrell said he'd run it with me.  He's in good enough shape that he could run it tomorrow.  I... am not.

I'm not a fan of hills, but I suppose it could be worse.

I asked for and received a FitBit One for Christmas.  Today, I've taken over 15,000 steps.  My usual work day, not counting days I get in some exercise, is about 2500 steps.  I've been sedentary for quite a while.

I also have about thirty pounds I hope to lose.  I'm not making weight loss part of my resolution, but I will be eating less and moving more to assist in my race preparation.  I'm really hoping to get to 10 minute mile pace, and enjoy the training and the race enough to keep the running motivation going.  Is there a full marathon in my future?  Doubtful, but I certainly won't count it out.