Two Years Later

We bought a house!

I’m not actually dead, so I suppose I need to update this finally. After two years of disappearing, it’s probably about time to update this. From my last post, a lot has finally changed, and for the better. In March 2017, I went on terminal leave from the Navy and moved from Hawaii to Idaho to work as a government contractor for the Department of Energy. My wife, Carissa, also ended up getting a contractor job for the DoE. I actually like the amount of freedom I have now, even though a lot of the government, uh, intricacies, are still present from the Navy. That said, I normally have three day weekends every other weekend and Carissa has three day weekends every weekend. That alone makes this job amazing to me.

Visiting beautiful Yellowstone

Thanks to the VA Loan program, I was able to buy our first home, a too large for us house on the edge of the suburbs with a view of the mountains right outside my door. Our dogs, Molly and Jameson, are still doing well and enjoying the large backyard. Since moving here, we’ve been on a vacation to Savannah, GA and up to Yellowstone, but we’re looking forward to hiking, camping, and cabining much more this summer. The winters in Idaho are long, windy, and colder than anything I’m used to, but Spring is nearly here (I hope…). I sold my 2013 Camaro and bought a 2016 F-150 to better fit in Idaho and to help haul any future campers or toys we may buy. It’s also a lot more practical in the snow, that’s for sure. Currently, we’re finishing our outside patio/deck area so we have somewhere nice to sit outside on warmer days, until we get a hot tub for colder ones.

Jameson perches to get a better spot to defend the home

This last December, I passed my CFA, Chartered Financial Analyst, Level 1 exam. In the Navy, I found myself saving some money, but not really putting it to use or understanding why or how to do things with it. I decided, based off of my former shipmate Downing’s advice, to pursue financial literacy and now I spend a lot of my time researching markets, plotting the future in spreadsheets, and helping those around me develop financial plans. Man, that sounds really boring, but I guess I’m getting older and more boring as times go on. That’s probably why I don’t update this much. However, now that I’m out of the Navy, I’ll probably tell a few of my favorite Navy stories that I didn’t want to risk telling while I was in. Nothing classified, of course, I just didn’t want to get my ass chewed out for making fun of a Chief who took things too seriously or something.

The winters here are… cold

I’d like to say that I have some other exciting details, but most of what we wanted after the Navy is a calm, stable life. And I think we finally have that. A boring life, but one that we could enjoy time together in, one with lots of dogs, good food, and, of course, stories, because I always seem to have a few.

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Hawaii Life

Here I am thoroughly drunk at sub ball in downtown Honolulu
Here I am thoroughly drunk at sub ball in downtown Honolulu

Well, after my last downer of a post, I stopped posting for a while out of anger, being out to sea, and working my ass off. As it turns out, submarine life is pretty hard, but it seems doable (some days more than others). I’ve made good progress on all of my qualifications, getting phone talker, primary valve operator, and engineering laboratory technician finished ahead of schedule. I’m just a few more days away from standing shutdown roving watch and engine room lower level, which are most of the key qualifications I’ll need to be a decent ELT. It’s hard to think that I’ve been on board since January — most of the people on-board hardly even know I’ve been around so long (I was recently told they thought I had just got on last month!). I pretty much keep to myself and my division, except when I need to interact with other divisions for maintenance, training, or check outs.

My division is full of people I enjoy that are knowledgeable and helpful, and they provide good backup when I make a mistake — which is a pretty common for a new ELT. Most of what I’ve been doing recently is trying to enjoy my weekends and free time after work; deployment is looming closer and closer. I’m sort of looking forward to the idea of going to sea and having a deployment under my belt, but also dreading leaving Carissa. If I was single, I would be so much happier at sea because I wouldn’t have my wife at home alone to worry about. It really has been tough trying to balance work and home life.

My dog plays hard...
My dog plays hard…

Since I last updated, Molly, our new puppy, has gotten much bigger and slightly smarter. We also have a cat, named Cat, which Molly absolutely dominates. I feel like they are my children and it will actually be hard to leave them behind as well. I’ll have to have Carissa send me dog and cat updates when I am able to actually get e-mails. I’ve done a few underways, which definitely makes leaving easier, but it will never be fun to leave my family for half a year (or more).

... And sleeps even harder!
… And sleeps even harder!

In other news, I’m still a third class petty officer, even after taking the test six times for advancement. Instead, a guy who just got to the boat got it. Amazingly, the other new person on my boat is Pendergrass, a guy I went to boot camp, A-school, Power School, Prototype, and almost ELT school with. It’s pretty amazing that we ended up on the same boat after 3 years of being together through the pipeline.

Right now, I consider this the calm before the storm. I’m more focused on getting things done at home and relaxing than hard charging at work. I have so much more time to do that when we leave. By the time I come home, I certainly hope everything is just as I left it (except my bank account, which I hope to be full of money!).