Thursday, August 1, 2013

Awesome August and a furry friend

Yesterday, I decided to be better in everything I do. Like BOOM; gonna be awesome. It's a deliberate mindset change that declares in no uncertain terms that it's both possible for me to achieve and that I will do it.
I found it hard to not pepper this declaration with jubilant expletives.
I found myself in a 3-week slump of not doing PT, spending too much time browsing the same familiar websites while somehow feeling like I both wasn't getting enough sleep and that I was too busy to tackle personal tasks/projects. I'm not sick, but it was still uncomfortably similar to the lifestyle pattern that lead to me falling out of sorts and eventually withdrawing from Pitt.  I could make excuses and say "work is hard, I need to decompress/relax" but it's just not true. Work is hard, but when I work harder and do PT I sleep both better and less and every day will be more productive and efficient. I think of how good I got at basic training; fitting my "me time" into a packed schedule and getting so much done. I know I can do better here without the military ritual and pageantry. This will probably include less time chillin' on the internet, reading the everything people post, and having languorous Facebook-chats.

To this end, and for my own accountability, I'm putting some goals out here on the interweb for all to see.

Thus far I think I've been generally frugal in life, but willfully ignorant of financial machinations. I think it's time for me to put on my big-boy pants and change that. Sarah and I are already planning on a concrete family budget for when I return. I feel like it's time to really grasp what we spend on and be deliberate about goals and saving. In the meantime:

  • Start Deployment savings program allotment
  • Re-establish contact with my pennsylvania bank account
  • Re-establish contact with Student loan Accounts
  • Track balances and make a student loan repayment plan
  • Open Vanguard Roth IRA
  • Populate and maintain profile
  • Chill out on Car/Motorcycle shopping (won't need it for many more months)

I've known all along that I wasn't going to be a career military guy, so I didn't really worry about jumping through the right hoops to be promoted. But after reenlisting to 2015, I now really need to make at least corporal for my termination of service documents to pass the resume sniff test. I should have made a much bigger fuss about not getting any personal award for my tour in Iraq; those are promotion points down the drain.

  • Serious PT for an hour a day at Kandahar Crossfit (rumor of September PT test & I'll sleep better)
  • Promotion tracking
  • Studying for promotion board (do more than carry the book around)
  • Be ambitious and thorough with my role in the TOC

I'd decided on education and leaning towards earth science in particular months ago, but I'd not been using all of the considerable family, personal, and institutional resources at my disposal. Sarah's Social work career will be in the driver's seat soon enough and I want to hit the ground running when I part ways with the army.

  • Find degree programs for Geosciences and Secondary Education in every destination location (TX, PA, NY, DC, MA?)
  • Get physical, edifying books to digest in the TOC (I truly love my Kindle, but I cannot take it into secure areas with Secret computer systems)

There are many things outside of my control that will affect this. I am still one of the lowest ranking people in my area, I can't change when the bad guys will interrupt my day with mortars, and I expect the pace and load of my job to increase significantly when Ramadan ends. But can at least be prepared to meet these challenges with a full head of steam.

We got a Boxer-Labrador puppy from the Fort Hood shelter.
And by 'we' I mean mostly Sarah, given the situation
Her name is Luna and she's a little over a year old. She knows her name, how to sit, and where it's generally okay to poop.

So far Luna and the cats have been very good together. The cats are curious and the Luna is rather indifferent. I'm already imagining she and miss Darwin becoming pals.


  1. What a lovely post! It was refreshing to read something so positive when I've been feeling so aimless. Congrats on the new puppy!