Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm On a Boat

By the time you all read this..I will be setting sail on a boat.  A U.S. Warship that is.

I am deploying for a long time with a Carrier Strike Group.  Looking forward to the adventure, but already missing my family and friends.

Love you all...hope to keep you posted on my travels.  See you when I get home!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dear Dad

It has been 16 years since we celebrated Fathers Day.  I honestly don't remember that particular day, but I do know that we usually celebrated with a BBQ.  Grandma, Aunts and Uncles would come over, and we would BBQ, exchange gifts, and enjoy the start of a great Chicago summer.  This would kick off one of many BBQs for you.  I loved seeing you in your baseball apron, in the backyard grilling dinner.  You were the best behind the grill and in the kitchen.  You taught me how to cook.  I still brag about your skills.  You taught me so much about being a good Catholic, a good person, and about life in general.  I remember so many great things about you.  Me beaming when I saw you at any school events.  Me loving each meal you made, because I knew you traveled throughout the city to find the ingredients.  I was talking to my roommates today about TomTom Tomales.  If they only knew.

I set sail this week for an adventure of a life time.  I will be gone for so long, and have one hell of a responsibility.  I hope that I can count on your wisdom, guidance, and love to get me through this.  I have gotten this far because of you.  I still choke up every Fathers Day when I think of you.  How I wish I could spoil you with stuff I know you would never buy yourself, despite needing it.  So today I will honor your memory.  Pray for you, think of you, and love you that much more.  I just wish I could get one more big bear hug.  Those were the best.  I love you Dad.  Always.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What Inspires You..

I have had a pretty rough week at work.  I think I have rolled with the punches quite well.  At least that is what my Captain said.  His opinion is the one that matters.

I have had a lot of kinks in plans, but I have overcome many of the issues.  Nothing multiple 70+  hour work weeks can't fix.

Yesterday was especially terrible.  Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  Most of my support staff were not in the game.  This made me go into overdrive.  I was spent by 4pm.  Just dog tired.

Then one of my Chiefs asked me to re-enlist him yesterday.  I said of course.  I was honored to.  He has been such a blessing for me since I reported onboard, showing me the ropes.

I was his re-enlisting officer.  Normally I would administer the Oath Of Enlistment, but he had a different idea.  I asked him what his plan was...and I was smiling ear to ear after he told me.

We gathered at the 5 inch gun mount, which is the gun he is responsible for.  His wife and kids met us out there for the ceremony.  I was introduced to his beautiful family: wife, two daughters, and two sons.  Then he told me that his kids wanted to swear him in.  They each had a few lines of the Oath, and took turns re-enlisting their dad. It was a sight to behold.  They were dressed in patriotic attire, and were so happy to be there, supporting their dad.

This made all the negative energy, bad things, etc from the day just disappear.  It was nice to see what inspires my Chief to come to work, and excel on a daily basis.  It also made me realize what I have to be thankful for, and what inspires me.  My family, my guy, my friends, and my Sailors inspire me every day.  If it wasn't for all of those folks, I couldn't do what I do each and every day.  It also made me miss my guy that much more.  He has been in Europe for over a week.  It is tough not being able to see how his day was, but I guess it is just preparing me for the next year.

I just hope I am this optimistic in the next coming months.  I need more moments like yesterday.  Those are the great ones.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moving Day..From Hell

So I was super excited to see my stuff once again.  I lived in a furnished place in Rhode Island, and am currently in a furnished house.  Thus, I have moved my stuff from storage in one place, to storage in Florida.  I have some stuff, clothes etc here at the Florida house, but majority of my items went to a storage place until after my deployment.  I am lucky to have some amazing houses that I have, and am living in!

Today was the day that most military members fear.  Moving day.  And this is why.

I woke up, lucky to have the day off to do this.  Slept in til 6..don't tell my boss.  I showered, got ready, and drove to my storage unit.  Got some DD coffee, and called the moving company.  Fail #1.  They did not call me yesterday to give me a window for delivery times.  The nice lady on the phone said the truck was being loaded, and would arrive shortly, at least before 9.

I sat in my car, taking work phone calls on the cell.  9 am passes.  930.  10.  WTH?!  I call the nice lady again.  They were around the corner.  Nice.  Sigh of relief.  1030.  1100.  #$%@!  I call the HR company who set up my move.  I am livid.  I have sat in my car for over 3 hours waiting.  1130 I get a call from the moving truck.  They arrive at 1135.

Holy moly, not a good start.  Then the fun begins.  They are all pissed off because they got lost. If they had called me to begin with, it would have never happened.  Whatever.  Lets get this party started.  Then the unloading starts.  Checking items off the bill of lading.  Box #222.  Got it.  Box #226.  Got it.  You get the idea.  Then, as we unfold a mysterious looking furniture pad, I see it has a broken leg in it.  A leg that belonged to a new dresser.  #%*@!  Seriously?   So then I get even more suspicious of everything.  I check the condition of all the items off the truck, but woah.  Then they bring up a mattress.  A soiled, urinated on, pepsi stained, holy bodily fluids everywhere, nasty mattress.  Mine was months old when they packed it, IN A BOX.  This was wrapped, and had no # on it.  I told them it was't mine, and spent 15 minutes convincing him.  At least I keep good files, so I can prove which one IS mine. No box spring either.  Lost both!

So a broken dresser, missing mattress and box spring.  Here comes the couch.  It was wrapped and sealed in plastic.  The plastic was ripped, and mold covered the bottom of the couch.  OMGoodness!  It just kept getting worse.

I just tried to keep my cool the whole day.  Tried valiantly.  So I ended up doing some $400+ in retail therapy at Target.  Stocked up with toiletries and other items necessary for deployment.

Tomorrow is a new day.  A day where I go to work, and start my claims process.  Looks like I am getting some new furniture.

Moving Day!

Today is my moving day.  Not sure how it is going to go, but hopefully quickly!

Trying to run an insane amount of errands because I have the day off to do all of this.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Goodbye Party

I went to Chicago last weekend for a quick trip back home.  I have been working my booty off at work, and was given a 3 day pass.

I needed it!

It was good to see family and friends.  I am going to miss them, I just hope email and snail mail is enough for when I am gone.

I was able to sleep, spend serious quality time with my guy.  Just what I needed.

Saturday night I had a going away drinks/dinner with friends at Fado.  Here are some group pics from the night.  Didn't include all of them..just a few good/funny ones!

I am lucky to have such good friends that came out.  Seriously.  Thanks for the well wishes and prayers!

Me n my guy.  Plus the best photo bomb ever.  

Southside High School best buds.  Love you guys!

Navy crew!

M and M.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

A week in good ol Virginia

After a horrible bout of food poisoning, I finally began my drive down to VA.  I got there in 12 hours from Newport to Virginia Beach.

I was able to see some amazing friends.  Liz, Brad, Bogie, Sarah, and I just relaxed with the folks in my class.  I am lucky to have such good friends all over the country.  Living in VA, I forged some great relationships.

We went to Harpoon Larrys, Greenies (a few times), Taste Unlimited, Press, Hells Kitchen..

My old haunts as I like to call them.  Something about a day/night at Greenies that just makes it feel like home.  Beer, beach, live music.  No judgement, just cocktails.

Gibbs would be jealous.  A boat on a porch!

Me n Liz

Typical night at Hells.  Met some NHL coaches too.  No biggie;)

USS Wisconsin BB-64

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Graduation Re-Cap

It has been forever since I have been able to post photos.  So here is a mega download.  Don't worry, I won't bore you with silly stuff.  Just the meat and potatoes.

I graduated on May 10th, and life has been non stop since then.  I moved to VA for a week, then moved to Florida.

I was happy to graduate, but it was bittersweet.  I was able to reunite with old friends, and make new friends.  So fortunate to have learned so much, and build relationships that I will have for the rest of my life!

My first Commanding Officer and I.  He has been an amazing mentor.  Glad he was there to cheer me on at graduation!

Me and Katie.  I have known her since 2001.  One of my best friends.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

These Past Few Weeks..

Have been a blur.  I have been incredibly busy at work, learning my job, ordering supplies, meeting new Sailors, and preparing for our deployment.  I have been working 12+ hour days, every day of the week.  I knew I had to take this weekend off, or I would get too burnt out.

What makes it all worth it?  All of my Sailors have specialties.  They are incredibly talented, and are extremely hard workers.  This week I had to work one on one with a particular Petty Officer, and she gave me a great compliment.  I had ordered her 2 things she needed to do her job.  These two parts didn't cost a lot of money, and were readily available, but no one else listened to her about why she needed these things.  It took me 5 minutes to help her.  Sailors need tools to do their job, but we as leaders are usually the first ones to yell at them because they couldn't do it, and not even ask why.  She told me after we had finished for the day, "Ma'am.  I really like you.  You haven't been here long, but you treat us well, listen to us, and change what needs to be changed.  Thank you for that."  I was blown away by that comment.

It is amazing what you can do as a leader. If you have a problem, find a solution.  Find multiple solutions.  It was a pretty stressful week, but that comment made it all better.  I know my Sailors have had similar weeks, and just a simple "I appreciate you working "x" amount of hours on that, you really did a good job", can make a huge difference.

I am looking forward to this tour of duty.  I am sure the next few weeks and months will be just as stressful, but I am eager to learn my job better, and continue to become a better leader.