Let me tell you a story.

So….

I was sitting and thinking, no…maybe I wasn’t sitting…let’s say I was just thinking.  I haven’t told anyone the whole story of getting fired.  I thought that since I have this blog and I’ve been sometimes keeping people informed on my life and school and photography I’d just write the story and put it out there for you to read if you want, or don’t whatever.  Just fair warning, it’s probably going to be long and I’ll probably break it up over a couple of weeks or something just so you don’t end up to bored.  Or that I don’t end up to bored.

The first time I ever heard of the ERB…I was in San Diego at the TPU (Temporary Processing Unit, or something like that) waiting to get flown out to my ship.  I was there for a couple of days and I hear that there is another dude waiting to fly out to the USS Preble.  Now my friend Snively is there as well but he’s just getting done at the ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) base in Point Loma. I’ve known him since Okinawa, we got there around the same time, and to Point Loma around the same time and as fate would have it the Preble the same time as well.  Anyway, this other dude.  I find him and introduce myself and get his number, after all I’m the highest ranking petty officer and I’m going to start now taking care of my guys.

Before I get to far into the story I’d better finish the ERB thing.  In listening to the guys in charge of TPU I realize I need more information because this is something that could affect me.  They said they would give me all the information and if I needed anything they would be happy to help me.  Of course that was the CO talking and so when I went to find out more information no one had any idea.  I kept on trying but there was just no information out and no one knew anything about this…in retrospect it seemed to start out as a big secret and has remained pretty much a big secret through the whole operation.  Hmmmmmmmm.

As the days wear on a couple of girls show up, let’s call them Maggie 1 and Maggie 2…Yeah, really.  Then a couple of Chiefs show up, now I’m not one to try and shirk my responsibility so I step up like a good STG1 and introduce myself, get their names and numbers and let them know that I am in touch with all our sailors, all 12 of us and that I’ve got everything under control and they just need to do their chiefly stuff and if I need them I’ll give them a call, whew.

One month turns into two, we get the word our flight is ready, even though we have been trying to delay things until the ship actually comes back home so we don’t have to go on deployment.  Haha, fat chance.  My wife has decided before we even left that she was going to drive back east in the Ford to her brother’s house to spend the summer.

We flew through Frankfurt, Germany.  We had 18 hours there and they said, “don’t leave the airport”, ya, right.  So we shared a cab into town.  As a side note on travel, while we were stationed in England and after several trips to London to pick people up from London Heathrow.  I understand that if you only have 18 hours in a big foreign city take the Big Red Bus tour to maximize your time and see the city.  After our Big Red Bus tour we sat at a bar and drank the hard apple cider that was a specialty of the area.   The waitress said, it was refreshing on a hot day, and that most people think it has a bitter taste but after the first one it gets better.   She wasn’t wrong.  Seven drinks later I was about ready to go but couldn’t find my shoes, just kidding.  We made it back to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

I ended up having to rearrange my bags in line because evidently Ethiopian Air is really strict with the weight of your luggage and I didn’t have an extra $300 to pay for an overweight bag.  We arrived at the Ethiopian airport and we to tired to go out this time, besides this time we only had 8 hours.  We ate, drank and napped.  Let me just say this, I don’t know if it was who they hired at the airport or if it was the crew that was working that day but at least in the airport Ethiopia has some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in person.  After such a good nap we were recharged and ready to get to the final leg of our journey…the trip in to Djibouti, Africa.  My impressions are, as we flew in I was looking out the window and thought it looked a lot like District 9. 

We got our luggage and found a way to get to the base, I think a guy called a driver and a truck for luggage and people.  As our luggage was getting loaded it was really hot…at night…really hot…at night…hot…night…darkness…hot….  After three days on the base in Djibouti I now know what it means when someone says “it’s Africa hot.”  The black flag was being raised by 0900 every day and you really did walk from AC to AC as you walked around the base.  At the base club you could buy two beers at a time but you just didn’t because by the time you got done with the first one the second was already hot, that’s hot, not just warm but hot.

Anyway, we couldn’t leave base so we didn’t.  We got a few extra supplies and ended up on an oiler that would take us to the USS Preble.  It was comfortable, we got served our meals and I had my own stateroom.  After three days we met the Preble and finally were able to end our journey.  Well, maybe not the end, let’s say we had reached our destination for that leg of our journey.

Advertisements

So, I Realize….

So,

I’m back right.  And since I’ve gotten back from deployment I realized that I have not written very much of anything since I left Okinawa.  I know earlier I said I was going to and then I didn’t and now what, I’m going to say I’m going to and I might not again but the bottom line is that I am back.  Back in the states from both Okinawa and from a short deployment to the…well…let’s just call it a Western Pacific Deployment.

Ok so here is what I think I am going to do with the ol’ blog here.  I am really going to make an effort to keep up with it and post some pictures just to share some of the stories that go with the pictures while I was gone.  Nothing really interesting happened but I did get a chance to dive in Bali, and visit Da Nang, Vietnam, I got to go out in town in Singapore this time and finally made it to Hong Kong.  I never once stepped foot in Bahrain this time ’round, but I did get to go to Djibouti, Africa.  I now know what they mean by African Heat, I flew over Ethopia and got to drink some apple beer in Germany.

As a photographer I am disappointed in the amount of pictures I ended up with but as a sailor who was in a lot of new ports I really did pretty good getting the pictures instead of just finding out what the inside of the various countries bars looked like.  Although I did do some of that, and I have to tell you, very much like every other bar I’ve ever been in.  I did discover that I think I am about ready for a camera upgrade but I am still trying to figure out how I am going to afford that.

Thanks for bearing with me and in the meantime let me leave you with this.

The Breakaways

The ship has a band…it’s the ship’s band and they call themselves…The Breakaways.  This is the…well, I guess he’s the lead guitarist, and he’s pretty darn good.  The Hard Rock café in Hong Kong.  It was a pretty good concert and they really did a good job for a bunch of guys that are stuck on a ship and have other things on their minds than practicing.

Are we Island People?

It’s not official, like official.  I don’t have official hard copy orders yet but I’ve been put in the spot for…you guessed it.  Whidbey Island.  So that makes Hawaii, England, Okinawa and Whidbey Island.  The only time in my Naval career I haven’t been associated with an island…San Diego and Bootcamp in Great Lakes.

Now I understand Whidbey Island, while it IS an island it’s really, really close to the mainland, and there’s a bridge connecting the island to the mainland.  Still, it’s in the name.  It’s also not tropical but then again neither was England.

Hmmmmmm, I wonder where I’ll end up living when I retire from the Navy?

What DOES God’s voice sound like?

So….

I know I’ve told this story before, I just don’t remember who I’ve told it to, I know, I know…my memory… ok, I’m pretty sure I’ve told it before…how’s that.

I’m in England.  Joelle and I are trying to decide where to go for our next duty station, or get out.  As a side note my vote was for getting out, I was unhappy and was just FINISHED WITH THE NAVY.  My son was born with mild birth defect that had to be operated on in the spring of 2006 at Lakenheath Air Base just north of London.    So we are up there TAD(Temporary Assigned Duty) for 10 days or so.  Nothing to do but keep Jake happy, give his meds, make sure things are clean, and…you guessed it…watch TV.  What did we hear?  Japan this, Japan that, this week in Okinawa the weather is going to be sunny and warm with a chance of showers…Okuma somethin’ somethin'(Okuma is the military resort on Okinawa where we live) Okinawa, Okinawa, Okinawa…we began to wonder if God was trying to tell us something through the TV…So here we are Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan.

It’s time again to pick orders.  Our prayers about where to go next have not been as complicated as they were in England.   I guess part of that is I’m starting to realize I’m just gonna have to stay in this sucker ’til I hit my 20.  (That’s when I get to retire from the Navy)  We’ve prayed but we’ve heard that we can make it to Whidbey Island, near Seattle,  pretty easily from here.  There’s also some orders to Naples, Italy that would be divine (and Joelle’s favorite place in the world) and the food….  So I e-mail my detailer, he’s the guy that issues me orders, and he says he’s got some openings for the sea component that didn’t make it on the requisitions that are on the internet, do I want them?  (That’s a bunch of military jargon that means I can go to Whidbey Island)  Oh man, I’m gonna have to ask Jo if we should take a chance and see if those Naples orders come back up.  I got home from work and we just figured a bird in an egg is worth 3 in the half shell or whatever.  We are watching Brothers and Sisters and some chick on the show is moving to…you guessed it…Seattle.

Joelle says “this is just funny”, I’m trying to be totally cool about it but I think maybe God’s talking to us through the TV again.  I think I am probably going to end up in Whidbey Island, Washington near Seattle.   I’ll of course keep you posted on what is happening, but I did write the guy back and tell him yes we want to go.

Here’s another one.  I’m reading the Pioneer Woman Cooks and the recipe looks interesting when I get down to where she adds the sea salt…guess what kind she has.   No really, guess…Okay…Puget Sound Sea Salt.

I guess the bottom line is, I don’t know what God’s voice sounds like.  I don’t “hear” Him talking to me try as I might, I have a hard time putting the stories in the Bible together with one another.  I believe He exists, I believe He died for my sins, I believe he answers prayers.  It seems for me, when he wants me to KNOW He’s talking to me…He puts it on TV.

So…What ABOUT Bob??

So….  While GranDee was here, we got to go to this place called “The Cottages at Ourawan Beach”.  It is way up at Camp Schwab, now way up  can mean a couple of different things.  Consider, in this case, that I’ve lived on an island for my last 3 duty stations, that is 10 years or so, and in that time things have gotten a bit skewed.  Like if I have to be in the car for 45 minutes…whew…man…what a drag…such a long trip.

Anyway, as you could’ve probably guessed it is at a beach, a small beach, but nice enough especially during the week…all the marines are at work during the morning/afternoon.  So we were pretty much alone the 6 of us.

I don’t really know how this came about, but Quinn and GranDee came back from down the  beach with Quinn holding a hermit crab named Bob.  And it wasn’t just a hermit crab named Bob… it was that all hermit crabs ARE Bob.

DAD:  Hey Quinn, whacha got there?

QUINN:  Bob

DAD:  Oh, I thought it was a hermit crab.

QUINN:  (Head shakes no) Bob

DAD:  So the hermit crabs name is Bob?

QUINN:  (Head shakes yes) Bob

An unknown quantity of time passes(Like 5 minutes) and we are back at the water.

DAD:  Hey Quinn, where’s Bob?

QUINN:  (points in the general direction of mama)

JAKE:  Hey dad, look it’s Bob.  Quinn it’s Bob.

QUINN:  BOB!!!!!!

JAKE:  Dad, another Bob.

QUINN:  Bob!!!!

This is Bob

This is Bob

Another Bob

This also is Bob

Look, it's Bob.

Look, it's Bob.

And....Bob

And....Bob

I was walking along with Jake when all of sudden I see this little thing on the sand skitter away from where I was walking.  I looked real fast but it was to late to see so I just kept on my merry way…there it is again…hmmmmm, I wonder what that could be?!?  Certainly not Bob.  The next time I see the movement I stop and look, really fast ’cause this time I’m prepared.

Could this be Bob's cousin....Mike, or Tom?

Could this be Bob's cousin....Mike, or Tom?

I don’t know but he was hard to see and he could run in bursts really, really fast.

There were some rocks nearby the boys got to go and climb around on…it was a super good day.

Handsome boy

Handsome boy

Grrrrrrrrr

Grrrrrrrrr

We had a couple of days there at the Cottages, they are pretty nice.  It’s a short walk down to the beach, during the week you pretty much have left over people from the weekend, or the early weekend starters.  The night scenery is nice, there is a light house you can see and a hotel across the bay.  The boys were great, I got to grill and make pancakes, and not be at work, and Jo got to rest, and GranDee got to play with the boys, and Kira…  well, she slept and nursed and pooped.

A great time was had by all.

The Answer, part II

So,

We were at home for about 2 weeks getting everything ready and making one last visit  to friends and family before heading back to the far east.  We just jumped on the plane, planning to somehow get back to Japan on Space-A, no real plan other than that.  The Patriot Express only flies on Thursday and we have no plan so we head to Travis figuring the more time we have to catch a flight the better our chances are of getting something to Okinawa.  Travis to Hickam or Guam, but Alaska and Korea weren’t out of the picture.  So, we manage to make Travis to Yokota…to Okinawa.

Hannah was in school right away and the year progressed pretty well.  Not ever having had a teenager full-time before there were quite a few adjustments that were made on both sides but we made it through the year without too many bumps or bruises.  The best part is she met a couple of really nice girls and became good friends.

Hannah with M & M

Hannah with M & M

Just before the end of the school year when we were trying to get the flights figured out for her trip home she started to think about staying another year for 8th grade.  Having 2 famlies that she loves is so hard to make a decision and did she ever fret.  She made lists, talked to us, her friends, thought, cried, weighed, and pondered.  Finally it was time to talk to her mom.  Hannah talked, I talked, A. talked.  We prayed, argued, thought, cried, weighed and prayed.  Three weeks later A. had decided to let Hannah make the decision, and she decided to stay.

Hannah with my birthday cookie

Hannah with my birthday cookie

Hannah and the girls dressed up for Halloween

Hannah and the girls dressed up for Halloween

A week ago I get an e-mail from A.  The suspected but dreaded e-mail in which she says she missed Hannah too much to let her spend another year with us in Japan.  I called and tried to argue, but really how can I argue about it?  I feel exactly the same way except the other way around.  The last year has been an answer to prayer — I’ve bristled and yelled, I’ve been proud and embarassed, I’ve taught and learned, but the most important thing this last year has been…getting to spend a whole year with my little girl and getting to see and know the woman she is becoming.  As well as a lesson in God answering prayers, somtimes He says yes, sometimes He says no and at other times He says wait 12 years….  We will keep praying and preparing for the next step if there is one…who knows…high school…maybe….

Dad and Hannah

Dad and Hannah

Sad to see Hannah go

Sad to see Hannah go

This picture sums up how we are feeling about Hannah both going home for the summer and not coming back for this year of school.

The Answer

So….

It was almost 14 years ago now, when a prayer was said.  It was…not a desperate prayer, more of a request.  Just a simple prayer from a man with a simple understanding of how to pray.  (Is there a wrong way?  A better way?  Hmmmmm)  The prayer went something like this:  “…Lord one of these days could I have a chance to have my little girl live with me….”

One day, late August, there was a phone call from A, Hannah’s mom, and she said she would let Hannah come out for the school year, what a wonderful experience that will be….  I’ve never seen my wife work so fast and get things put together for the trip.  All I had to do was run a leave chit.  She got the dog taken care of, she got tickets arranged to get us from place to place.  The whirlwind that is my wife was at peak efficiency.  A week later we show up to get on the Patriot Express…0600…6a.m.  I don’t know that I have ever been more excited in my life…I’m going to pick up my little girl and she is going to come and live with me for a year!!!!!!!!!!!!  August, eh?  Did I mention August is in the middle of PCS(Permanent Change of Station) season.  NO SEATS!!! are you kidding me it’s a 747, my little girl is waiting for me…aaaaaaugh!!!!!!!!!!  Ok, in 2 days there is another plane leaving…got on…to Hawaii.

Hickam Airfield…It’s been awhile since we’ve been here but as we get off the plane and into the terminal to collect our luggage there is an announcement for…North Island, San Diego.  Not exactly where we wanted to go but my best friend in the whole world lives at Pendelton maybe he could pick us up and get us to the train or something…anything.  We manage to get in touch with my mom and she helps us make calls because we will, of course, be in the air.

Come to find out the aircrew is late, they can’t find them…they are on their way home from flying around for 6 months and the last 2 stops, Hickam and North Island…oh boy.  They show up, get us on the plane and take off, C-130.  About 20 minutes from the time they showed to wheels up.  10 hours later….

North Island in the middle of the night and we now have to try and find transportation, phone calls were made blah, blah, blah, my best friend in the whole world shows up.  Sleep, rental, trip to SFO to STL and….

Dad and Hannah

Dad and Hannah

Hannah and the boys

Hannah and the boys

My little girl isn’t quite so little anymore but she is still my little girl.  I suppose most fathers of daughters feel this way.

The trip out to Pick up Hannah at her Aunt and Uncle’s house in St. Louis to bring her back here to Okinawa was, we  believe, PLANNED by God.  Everything fell right into place, from missing the Patriot Express, to my best friend in the whole world picking us up to St. Louis.  Sometimes we had to wait a few minutes to get a car or a ride or the next plane but all in all the trip went so smoothly it is hard to believe.  A plan that was 12 years in the making.

To be continued….