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.

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Well…

So,

Let’s say that last week I was living in an apartment and wondering if we’d ever get to leave.  You know how these things work out, you move somewhere with high hopes and then life happens and 10 years later you think to yourself, I was only supposed to live here for six months.  Well, that is how I was feeling last week.

This week has a little bit of a different feel for me.  I feel like I am about to move…oh…let’s say in…well…less than 30 days.  Yes that’s right, the Yamada’s are buying a house.  It’s not as grand as the one we wanted when we first moved here, but it’s nice.  A little back yard but behind the back yard is one of the housing community’s parks and, ya you guessed it, one of the pools.  It’s like having a pool in my back yard but I don’t have to worry about upkeep on the thing.  (Sounds good, right Scott?)  Small patch of grass in the front, which means I’m really going to have to figure out how to convince Jo to let me get that riding lawn mower.

Could use some paint on the inside and I’ll have to get a washer and dryer and of course the refrigerator.  I’m getting one with an ice maker and I’m throwing my stupid ice trays out.  MAN I hate those things.

I’m pretty excited about it, I haven’t gotten any pictures yet, when we went to look at houses I went from work and I didn’t have my camera with me.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get some good snaps tomorrow, Jo wants to look at it again.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for now, I’ll show you what I did in my latest class in a bit.

What’s Next?

So,

I have been in the Navy for 13 ½ years, and last week I found out that my last day on active duty is the first of September 2012.

The Navy has decided that certain rates, STG…me, are over manned and they need to get rid of some of those that are overmanning those rates.  They said they were going to kick out the people who had been to Captain’s Mast, or have failed their PRT(Physical Readiness Test).  I haven’t done any of those and I still am getting the axe.  They were given a quota of 2,888 to kick out and in the end cut 2,947.

It’s been a good run though, I’ve lived in Hawaii(a tropical island paradise), even got married there.  I’ve lived in England, although it was Cornwall way down south it was still another country and we did do a lot of traveling and site seeing, and they speak English.  I’ve also lived in Japan, although that was Okinawa…again, way down south, and they don’t speak English.  Still, we’ve lived in some pretty fantastic places and have seen and done some pretty amazing things.

I was planning on going into photography, starting my own business and trying to earn a living at something that I actually enjoyed rather than doing something that wasn’t my favorite.  I’m a bit short on that and have a ton to learn still…I thought I had time.

So now what am I going to do?

I do have a secret clearance, that’s gotta help, right?  I will have 14½ years of experience in the world of sonar.  I do have leadership experience.  All that has to count for something, right?  Jo reminded me that we will be debt free when tax time finally gets here, we can go anywhere and do anything and be anything…what do I want to be?  MAN, this is a more difficult decision than deciding Canon or Nikon.

I’m a Worrier….

So…

One of the things I got, if you believe things like this get passed on, from my mother is that I’m a worrier.  When I was growing up, the bus my brother and I were riding on broke down and we got home late.  Since my mom was a teacher she also got home late but that day she beat us home.  We walked in to her crying and worried sick something had happened to us.  We were fine and really thought is was silly for her to be so worried that the bus broke down and she beat us home.  I mean how crazy is that, buses break down all the time, right?

Today, I was cleaning up some of Moka’s poop in the boys room.  Ya, she doesn’t whine at us when she needs to go out like wonderful Nala did.  Anyway, my phone rang.  Now on my phone I had an alarm sound for the ringtone, I just changed it and gave that one to my wife so I’d know when it rang it was her.  I answered the phone and said hello, a little bit disgusted because I was cleaning up poop. (Mad might be a better word)  Jo was crying and said she was just in a pretty bad accident but she was ok.  Now, I’m typically a slow thinker, sometimes it takes me days to come up with a good response to an argument I had 2 days ago, but when I get calls like this my mind starts  racing super fast.

I mean so fast that by the time she says she’s had the accident I’ve already thought about both the good and the bad.  After she says she’s ok, she starts saying “I killed them all, they’re all dead”.  Ok, bad accident, calling me so she’s ok but everyone else is…what…dead?!?  I try to get out of her  if the kids are ok and it’s like pulling teeth.  I’m about to freak out.  I mean get in my car and drive way to fast up there, calling my mom and having her drive way to fast to get down there, meanwhile I’ve got to call the in-laws and tell them…what?  And while I’m driving.

She, I think, finally heard the panic in my voice and told me they are all ok and the police just got there and she’d call me back when she knew more.

At this point I still didn’t know about the people in the other car, and to be completely honest it’d suck if they had been killed but my concern right then was my family.  I start calling people and when they answered the phone I gave all the pertinent details before I said hello, “Jo was in an accident and is ok, the kids are ok, they’re all ok.”

I made it through about 2 phone calls before I lost it, unfortunately I lost it at Pop’s secretary.  She took it in stride and when I called back I apologized and understood.

They’re all ok, the car is dented pretty good in the back driver’s side by the trunk and the other car ended up getting pretty smashed up.

I’ve been going around the house crying because I could totally have lost my entire family today.  Some things just never get thought of and now I know why…they’re just too horrible to have to think about.  As I’ve been walking through the house I’ve been thinking about being alone again.  And you know what?  I am absolutately terrified of the prospect.  That woman makes this house run, my credit score is 750, or something like that, because of her, we are almost out of debt because of her, I eat good food because of her, I’m back in college because of her, I love photography because of her, I have three wonderful children living with me because of her, she is why I have a relationship with God, she makes my world go ’round and I have no idea what life would be like without her.  Hopefully, and God willing, I will never have to find that out.

Dear Jesus, thank-you for my wife and my family.

How Has My Life Been That….

So…

I’m on Facebook these days.  It’s been nice to re-connect with some folks I normally wouldn’t have ever spoken to again for the rest of my life.  I’ve got friends now, again, in my list, I was friends with but have lost touch over the years.  Now I can “talk” to them through the ol’ FB…you know how it is.

At this point I feel like I need to send out a pre-emptive sorry to “L” for not asking if you mind if I write about our short conversation on “The World of Brent”.

So…Facebook.  I’m checking my e-mail and I open another tab and put FB in that tab just so I can see what people are doing in their lives, or if I can pick a fight with someone about Japanese whaling, or just in case I see something that peaks my interest.  So…I check my e-mail, of which I get so few it only takes a minute…if that…I click on the FB tab and low and behold I have a message.  How exciting!!!!  Ohhhh, a FB message, I wonder who could be messaging me????  I’ve been hearing about these people going to Whidbey Island and I’m wondering if this woman I know from Japan is writing me to tell me she has told everyone I want to come out there and they are going to fight for me…they are going to get the detailer to change my orders…they WANT me…they NEED me…YEAH, WHIDBEY ISLAND HERE COME THE YAMADA’S AND THEIR HIPPY…Oh, it’s from someone else.

I open the thing up and when it comes up this girl…again, sorry “L”, I know you are a woman now but I’ve got this problem…I’m still remembering when you guys first got to Hanford and you used to come over and watch the A-Team….  She says she reads my blog.  Now I am not really one to need people to read my stuff…it’s mostly for family…who know I am a horrible caller and an even worse e-mailer, in general I’m just not as communicative with “home” as I should be…right Mom and Hannah?  Anyway, “L” reads my blog once in a while, sweet, but…she tells me…as she remembers it, I am an athiest.  I’ve written a few things, here, and here, but also here, here, and here, about God.  Not a prolific writer but enough to let it be known I’m listening and trying, really trying….

Since then, I’ve been wondering…what have I done in my past…during my life, that would make someone think I am an atheist?  I’ve been wracking my brain…I’ve replayed countless events…I’ve thought and thought and thought…an atheist?  Really?  Dictionary. com defines atheism as 1.the doctrine or belief that there is no God.  2.disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.  (noun)  How much of a wishy-washy Christian have I been in my life that I could have inadvertently given someone the impression that I don’t believe in God?  An atheist chooses to not believe in God, or a god(s).  Ok, ok, yes, it is true I AM going to church on Sundays now…but it’s a Nazarene church…Joelle says it’s the closest to SDA…it’s fun, I enjoy the people, I listen to the sermon(not just because I’m running the slides), OH…I RUN THE SLIDES…but I’m still going to give one or several SDA churches a chance to tickle my fancy when I get back to Sandy Eggo…SD…San Dawg.  I went to PUC out of High School…I went to Armona Union Academy, for like 14 years(no, not because I was held back, my mom taught there)  I’ve brought donuts to my moms 7th and 8th grade classes, many times.  I used to go to Armona SDA church, then Hanford SDA church…I got into a car accident and probably should have at least been hurt…virtually unscathed…except a little scar on my toe.  Our guardian angels were watching over us that day for sure…otherwise at least one of the three of us would be dead.  Atheist?

Hmmmmm.  I’ve not really been able to come up with any reason or any time in my life when I’ve even come close to NOT BELIEVING that God just didn’t exist.  There have been times when I’ve not walked with the Lord…I’ve left Him outside the bar waiting for me to return, so he could help me back to the ship…drunk.   He’s helped me not died from getting my head kicked in because I was to drunk to run.  He has shown me the “green flash” as the sun goes down below the horizon, and countless other things…I rode an elephant, a real live elephant…fed them bananas.  So many things He has shown me….

“L”, Please accept my most humble apology for leading you to believe that I didn’t believe.  I’m sorry if I have ever influenced you to consider He doesn’t exist.  Please know that my walk with God has only gotten stronger, it has wavered, but I’ve always known He was there with me, waiting for me.  I do believe in God, He does exist and is with us to this day.

I’ve Narrowed It Down

So…

I know I keep writing about what God’s voice sounds like to me, I’ve done it here and also here.  Ok, so the title is a bit off, I’m not actually getting anything narrowed down I just wanted to have different title.  I didn’t want it to be the boring 3rd part in a trilogy, the ever so boring title “God’s Voice, part III”.  I mean, really?  Who’d want to read that?  The new one is much more mysterious, more exciting.  Don’t you think it’s like “ohhhhhhh, what did Brent do now?”  Maybe?

Anyway, let’s get to it.  So just to recap, God’s voice sounds like the TV or TV shows…ummmm…detailer…and just as an added emphasis possibly a website.

Wow that was quick, whatever who cares it’s a recap, it’s supposed to be quick.  Now for the real story.  So, the other day…I was putting the boys to bed and I usually get a request from one or both of “Dad will you lay down with me for  a couple of minutes”, or “Dat, nay doun me”, I think there may be more words in that last one but Quinn’s enunciation is not quite up to Jake’s level, but then again, I don’t think I’m at Jakes level either.  So I lay down with Quinn first, it’s part of a strategy, if I start out with Quinn, when I lay down with Jake I will still be in the room with Quinn and maybe he won’t need me to lay down some more with him when I get up to go down stairs, does that make any sense?  So, this night, by the time I get to lay down with Jake, it’s more than a few minutes later, I MIGHT, have dozed off.  Jake is pretty much asleep and stirs a bit when I get into bed with him, he rolls over, gives me a big hug and says…”It’s ok dad, Sandy Eggo is better than Whidbey Island anyway.”

I said “Thanks buddy” and gave him a big hug and a kiss lay there for 30 seconds and ran downstairs to tell Jo what had just happened.  Of course she is amazed and we were both like…well…WOW (which of course should not be confused with WoW or World of Warcraft)  How amazing is that?  …Ok, but that’s not all…

So the other night we’re watching the Olympics on the TV.  Of course we were since we can’t actually be THERE watching them it has to be on TV.   Duh.  Anyway, this commercial comes on…Ok, we need a little bit of back ground…Jo and I have been thinking about buying a house.  We want someplace close to base but not that close, we want some place safe, we want someplace where there are things to do for the kids but not so far away that it makes a trip into town an impossibility.  We’ve fou…ok, ok, Jo has found a couple of places that fit the bill.  One such place is called Jamul, and it is almost directly east of Sandy Eggo, 8 acres, nice house.  The other one, and Jo’s favorite is in a place called Santee, the house is cheaper, it is near a chain of stocked lakes with trout and something else for fishing, there are some kids nature classes and more all within an easy walk from the house.  We’ve prayed about what to do because it is such a huge step and we don’t know what the plan is.  With Whidbey Island we knew we were going to stay there, with Sandy Eggo we are sure we aren’t but aren’t that sure.  Back to the story…I…we, were doing our usual watching of TV during the commercial, not paying any attention because it’s AFN(Armed Forces Network), not the best commercials.  So you can understand, I either skip the Superbowl all together or I watch the Superbowl not for the commercials but because I am hoping to see an amazing game.  All of a sudden I look up and I am watching all these people scroll across the TV from left to right…I can see their name tapes…Smith…Jones…Fredrickson…Santee…Phil…wait a minute…I look over at Jo and just simply ask “did you see that” she actually missed all the other name and just looked up in time to see Santee.

At this point there has not been any more discussion about Sandy Eggo, I think at this point we are both shocked and amazed.

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW SANTEE WAS A REAL PERSONS NAME.

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW SANTEE WAS POPULAR ENOUGH TO PUT IN A COMMERCIAL.

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW SANTEE WAS A REAL THING.

Until a week or so ago I didn’t even know Santee was a place, never heard of it before.  Now it’s on a guys uniform?  And I’m sure it’s not just because we are thinking about buying a house there, that I am “tuned” into the word.  I tend to see people names on their uniforms in the military just because it’s their name and I want to see if they are out of uniform.

At this point, I think we’ve surrendered to God’s will.  We are waiting for orders, we are waiting to find out for sure where we are going and what we are doing, where He want’s to send us, to do what He want’s us to do.  We’ve stopped looking on the internet for houses, we’ve only been preparing for a move.  Selling some stuff, straightening up some rooms for easy packing.  And what a great feeling, to know that we are in such loving hands, such powerful hands.

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.