Temperatures soared into the 50's here this week, a far cry from the previous week where our average temperature was 9 (not our average low....our average temperature). We're in the lower teens today, heading down to zero this weekend. I've gotten pretty good at saying warm so far. I'm coping fine. But I expect this to be my last "cold" winter so I can do this.
I was thinking a little about Christmas today. I can't believe it's coming next week. It really doesn't have any impact on my world anymore. For a long time it was about my son. On Christmas in 1998 I had no way of knowing that my dad would pass less than a week later, and it would be my last Christmas with my wife and son. When I lived in Scottsdale when I needed minor surgery I'd typically do it over Christmas - I called the week between Christmas and New Year's the "Lost Week" because I'd often be on pain killers, recuperating. Now - it's just a day....I don't like it, I don't hate it....it's just a day.
I'll be headed to Charleston on Tuesday, and I'll be there for almost a week. Charleston is beautiful over Christmas (link here) and I expect to spend part of the day with dear friends, part of the day biking, and part of the day just walking around downtown taking photos and soaking it all in. I haven't been back in quite a few weeks so I'm overdue for the psychic rejuvenation that my visits provide.
I'm going to share a little about my world at the moment. I'm here in Nebraska working at a secure military facility housed at an Air Force base nearby. It's an extraordinary thing - I can't do it anywhere else and I'm very much enjoying it. A highlight of my day is typically driving through the guard gate and chatting with the sentries in the morning. I like the job, I like the people I work with, I'm doing some really fascinating things in a one-of-a-kind environment, and I have no regrets whatsoever coming here.
I work in a big room with 50 or so engineers of various flavors. Most of them have some things in common. Most are retired from the military as it's one of the easier ways to get the security clearance required to even set foot in the room. Another similarity is that most are men - there is only one other woman and myself. We're outnumbered, but we hold our own. These guys are a great group, even when they're burping or making other disgusting noises. Some of us have grown close. That's what will make leaving the most difficult.
I originally signed on for 6 months. That date passed at the end of November. I can't believe it has been that long already - still not sure where the time goes. It would be easy to ask, if I'm enjoying it so much why leave? Well, this isn't home. This is someplace I came to do a job but it's almost time to go home. Lately I've started to thing - what next? Well....I have a feeling that I'll be able to answer that here very soon.
My son had his 28th birthday this week. I'll be driving the 8 hours from here to Denver tomorrow morning to spend a little time and have dinner with him before doing it all in reverse on Sunday. Lots of driving, but I'm looking forward to seeing my man.
Speaking of "my man"....recent experience has validated for me that I'm really not into guys. I think part of me would like that, but the reality is that it's just awkward and forced for me. I'm not into it. I did meet one guy a couple of years ago that I felt differently about but that lasted as long as it took for me to share my unique history. That was the last time we talked....
So - as we head into the home stretch for 2013 I'm getting ready to watch another chapter of life end while another begins. I've watched a number of these things over the years and part of it is knowing that it's coming. I can feel it. It's not like it's a surprise as I've made all this happen. But knowing that and seeing the reality of it are two different things. Kind of like coming out.