As I indicated in my previous (quick) post, there’s a lot to catch up on. This will only touch on most of that, but here goes.
First Cut — Military Issues
Last month was my final drill with my Army Reserve unit. Four days after that, I was out of the Army for good. I went in last week to turn in what gear and equipment they’d take back; the excess, I sold to a military surplus store.
Eleven years, for nearly twenty-two of total service. All through that last drill, I kept noting final moments: This is the last time I’ll stand in formation. This is the last time I’ll sign the roster. This will be the last leaders’ meeting I ever attend. Until, finally, This is the last time I’ll take off this uniform.
I still have to work out issues of prior service before I can qualify for a pension, so my business with the Army will continue for a bit. My time in the Army, however, is done for good.
And it makes a difference. For the last … well, a span of years before I had even heard of LiveJournal, much less established a niche for myself … military duty had been not only my primary activity, but a large part of my identity. I loved it, loved the duty and the deployments and the training, most of all loved the fact that I could take pride in being a soldier. The pride is still there, but now it pertains to something in my past. I’m something else now, and I’ll be awhile working out just how I feel about that.
Close First Cut
Second Cut — Family Issues
A bit over three weeks ago, I drove to New York with my daughter to pick up a friend of hers from the drama ministry they’d once belonged to. We all traveled back together, with the intent that two of them would live together in the small domicile in center-state last occupied by my son before he left for China (and, before that, both kids and my no-longer-ex-wife). That particular plan has been put on brief hold, partly because of economic issues and partly because of scheduling complications. To wit —
My son came back from China for a two-week visit, bringing his fiancée and her mother for wedding planning. Susan and I, of course, had been to China in February, but this was the first time his sister had seen him in two years.
Highlights of the visit? Well, let’s see.
One. In appreciation for our hospitality, Mei-li and her mother gave me an iPad. Wow. I’m still learning how to get the best use out of it, but I already got a keyboard/case, and downloaded a basic word processing app, and hope to eventually use it for most of the things for which I previously relied on a laptop.
Two. Susan had made three days of wedding dress appointments for Mei-li. Mei-li tried on three dresses, settled on the very first. At the first place we visited. And it was a good choice. It did, however, require canceling all the other appointments. But dang!, she looked good!
Three. Mei’s mother is a nice lady — and a fine hostess, when we were the ones visiting — but not a good traveler. She opted out of about a third of the things Susan had planned for them, which meant the schedule had to be shifted abruptly toward the end to find something she would like. At additional expense to us.
Four. Speaking of expense: counting the plane tickets, this trip has cost us over $10,000. (I know, because I watched it drain from my bank account in inexorable increments.) And that still leaves us the wedding to pay for next year; the one here, since Mei’s folks will pay for the wedding in China. Counting that, and other costs already incurred but not yet met, the final price tag will be at least $20,000 total. Trust me, that’s a major deal for us. Never again.
They don’t leave for another couple of days yet, but I’m in a different part of the state now, doing something else. Which leads to —
Close Second Cut
Third Cut — Work Issues
Phase Two of my new occupation as a truck driver lasted longer than Phase One (in which my truck broke and I had to sell it back to the dealer, then sign on with a national company), but ended about as abruptly. My Reserve unit cut me orders to spend a month at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana, and the trucking company told me You know what? we don’t need you anymore, and there was more to it than that but it really did happen in that order and that quickly. So then I had to do the JRTC duty, then I had to spend time preparing for our China visitors, then I was looking toward working out the end of my Army Reserve time … While all that was going on, though, I was following out other avenues, and Tuesday (yesterday) I started orientation at another major trucking company.
With fewer distractions this time, I’m hoping I can make this one last longer.
Close Third Cut
Fourth Cut — Fanfic Issues
While I was at JRTC, I made a start on a story I’d been planning for years, but ground to a stop 1,700 words in. I did three other fics in the meanwhile — for buffy-remix and summer_of_giles — but now I’m back to the one that was stalled. Meanwhile, I’m really pushing sroni to finish her segments of “Reversible Error” so I can start posting it.
In the most recent round of the Running With Scissors Awards (rwsawards), I was happy to be informed that “Ex Post Facto” had won in the Rusted Scissors (Old Fic) category … but even more gratified when sroni’s “I Kissed a Girl (the Scientific Method Remix)” took third place in the Doomed (Het) category. This is sroni’s very first fanfic award, with her first posted fic having been done in 2003, meaning recognition after ten years. Fantastic.
And, now, I just learned that several of my stories have been nominated at the latest round of the Sunnydale Memorial Fanfiction Awards. I’ve never done particularly well there (a runner-up five years ago), but it’s probably the most prestigious Buffyfic award site operating right now, so any notice from that corner is more than gratifying.
Finally, together sroni and I opened this year’s third Circle of Friends Remix (cof_remix) yesterday. I created it, she’s running most of it this time around (since I’ll be on the road so much), and I look forward to the same kind of good time we had on the last two rounds.
This year I intended to average one fic per month. I’m FAR behind on that, and don’t anticipate meeting it now, especially not the particular fics I named out. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing, though. Slowed down, is all.
Close Fourth Cut