Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maintaining Perspective

Selling a house (under any circumstances) can be stressful, but these days... Well, with bad news everyday about the economy, mortgage industry, etc. well it can be a bit much. Fortunately, little suprises can bring things back into perspective.

Tonight, as I was un-shelving books off of one of the many unfinished bookshelves we purchased from the shop on Guadalupe back in Austin (right close to 45th street) I found a copy of a A Prayer Book of The Armed Forces that I was given in November 2001 by our new church that we had just joined in Austin.

In the heady months following September 11, I watched on the web as, one by one, Army Reserve and National Guard Intelligence units were activated. Finally the call came that selected members my Information Operations unit would be ordered to Fort Belvoir. My CO (or XO, I can't remember) asked if there were any reasons I could not go. I said, "no." The events are kind of hazy but I believe my wife and I started talking with my son, not yet 3, who we still called "Kolya" at the time ( because that nickname is used in the message from a St. David's parishioner who wrote of encouragement in the prayer book) about Dada going away for a while. I remember sitting down at the retro table in our retro kitchen in our 1948 1200 sq ft house on Brentwood -- the one that sold for full price the first day on the market.

I started packing my duffle bag, looking at activation checklists, wondering if how hard it would be to get on Camp Mabry to visit the JAG office. Camp Mabry on MOPAC was not the same place I had gone to every month while in college. I notified Cisco of my impending activation and found out that I could keep my salary for a year. I believe they ended up extending it to two years (as did many companies) which was important since I was an E-6 who made just a little bit less than a Software Engineer III at Cisco.

In the end, the orders were rescinded somewhere at the Army level, and like many others who had enlisted in the last days of the Cold War for college money, I did not re-enlist. Something I feel a little bit guilty about. And over a year later, my final ETS date came and went -- a month before the stop-loss on Intelligence personnel (and aviation and special forces and more), but I always wonder how things would have turned out if events had happened differently.

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