Monday, April 26, 2010

M-Cubed for 4/26/2010

Monday Morning Musings for April Twenty-Sixth, Twenty Ten. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.

- Yes, a bit of blog-slacking this past week. I normally average 2 posts per week but given the past week, there wasn't time nor heart enough to right one. So where to start?

- Monday: published M-Cubed for 4/19/2010. Gunner had just come home and I missed my morning run...but I did start the day off with my favorite Starbucks Iced Coffee, soy milk, cinnamon dulce syrup

- Monday en route to work: conversation about Gunner and how he fits in our lives and what his needs are...with Marjie...after the kids went to school.

- Monday at lunch: Marjie left work and came home to take Gunner out and realized how tough this routine was going to be. You see, she has some significant responsibilities these days at work and leaving every day just introduced a whole new stress that hadn't existed before. Did I mention I missed my morning run? Instead, I was snuggled up on the living room floor with Gunner while he snored.

- Monday after work: I had a huge weight on my chest. I knew about what responsibilities came with a puppy. I had said "No" many times before but this time, I kept my head high in the clouds and convinced myself I'd make it work out. That was not reality. Reality = 2 full-time jobs, many weekends away, and a bunch of other excuses. I was an irresponsible leader in my family and moved ahead with getting Gunner. I let him down, my wife down, and most painfully, my girls down.

- Monday at dinner: "the discussion"..."the phone call" to Gunner's original parents...and the presentation of the "Worst Parents Award" to Marjie and I for telling our girls that Gunner was going home to his real mom and sister. Sobbing little girls and buckets of tears. As I picked up Gunner and carried him out, I couldn't help but get chills that I last felt 2 years ago when I carried Bailey out to take him to be put down. It felt so sadly familiar. Luckily, Gunner was going back to a place to be happy...quite the opposite.

- Monday evening: Gunner "attacks" his mom and sister when he sees them at the home where he was born. He was so excited to see them...it was like he never left. I'll admit: I sat in the car with Gunner in my lap in their driveway, feeling the tears welling up behind my eyelids. I had already bonded with him. This, however, was necessary, and also something I brought on myself. It was time to "man up" and do what had to be done.

- Monday late: Gunner had only been in our home for about 54 hours. The only thing that remained at home were a few choice teeth marks on one spindle of a dining room chair. Everything else had returned to "normal" as we knew it. It was surreal, too. "what just happened?" we thought. If we didn't think about him, it was like he was never there. We do remember, though. How couldn't we? We had so much anticipation leading up to his arrival. Hours upon hours of shopping for the perfect invisible fence, finding the perfect dog food, ordering his crate, getting his custom blue "Gunner Billock" name tag made. Hmmm. It was quite a Monday.

- So Tuesday morning started out different...with a 7 mile loop run on "AmyI's Loop." It's a perfect 7.00 mile loop from my home. I rocked it out nice and easy then came back on Wednesday and did it again but 4 1/2 minutes faster. Felt good to move the legs fast again like old times.

- Thursday was yet another day chock full of emotion: it started with the annual "Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day" so my oldest daughter accompanied me on my 9hr workday including my traditional stop at Starbucks. She had a blast that day but I didn't get to spend as much time with her as I wished. Sometimes in my job with the government where I work face to face with the public, it's not appropriate for kids to be part of that. This was one of those times where the person was grieving and going through a painful time. It was one of those times in my job where I get to serve two functions...the one I get paid for...and the other is to be compassionate and just be one positive light in a person's dismal day/week/month. It is these intangible things about my job that I most value and hold dear.

- Friday couldn't be better. I was on the trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park at 5:30am sharp alone and happy as could be. My goals were to run the Valley Bridle Trail to the Virginia Kendall area and catch sunrise over Kendall Lake. That I did! I was bookin' at a pretty good pace, too, at just a hair over 6mph. I got a good handful of pictures and a few of some Spring foliage. View them here starting at Picture 21. Afterwards, it was time to get home lickety-split. After-all, we had an informal dinner social hour waiting for us north of Chicago.

- 400+ miles later, Marjie and I found ourselves at Naval Station Great Lakes, the "Quarterdeck of the Navy," as it is called. "Why?" you ask? The quarterdeck of any ship or command is the entry point for all personnel. Since Naval Station Great Lakes also serves at boot-camp for all enlisted sailors...thus serving as the entry point into the Navy...it is the "Quarterdeck of the Navy."

- Our weekend in Chicago was designed for training, mentoring, networking within the Navy Supply Officer community, and to build esprit de corps. After a nice Friday evening, a good night sleep in our suite just feet away from Lake Michigan, Saturday was full of super great information from some of our finest Navy Supply Officers. It was proof positive about how much can change in only 2 years since the last symposium we had in Columbus. As the global climate changes, our emphasis shifts from Iraq to Afghanistan in the Global War on Terrorism, so does our Supply Corps and what is demanded of us. Seeing it in action and what our role is only motives me (us) and keeps us all unified together.
- Saturday evening was humbling, encouraging, and fun. A long-lasting Navy tradition with it's roots in the Army called a "Dining Out" took place on base. The "Dining Out" (versus the Dining-In where spouses are NOT invited) is a fancy affair as we wear our full dress uniforms, bow-ties included and our spouses dress to the hilt. There were some very scripted parts that are almost "pirate" like and some key officers play key roles in the night's proceedings. There are rules (and penalties if broken) to be followed and courtesies to be shown. After a fun night, it ends with a series of toasts to things such as fallen comrades, deployed sailors and Marines, our Allies, the President, to the Supply Corps, and to our Navy. We even had a very special guest who was a retired Captain from World War II and even survived the sinking of one of his ships. We had officers in the room with no experience and then those with 40 years of experience in their 60s, 70s, and 80s but still looking just as sharp in their uniforms and standing just as proud as they did before. What an evening...and what a truly special time to share with my peers and with Marjie who continues to support me as we serve our Country together.

- So as you can see, it was a busy week. It wasn't a week about running (although I had a great Friday trail run) but a week taking care of family, making some tough decisions, and renewing my passion to press on and stand ready to serve my Country...anytime...anywhere.

- On deck!: “Here, Piggy Piggy…it’s time to make you squeal!!!!” I’ll be pacing Marjie to her first “all-running” ½ marathon this Sunday at the Flying Pig Half-Marathon in Cincinnati. As promised, I will squeal and oink all 13.1 miles while wearing my piggy-nose. (I think I’ll take my camera, too.)

Have a great week, everyone, and as always...Happy Trails!

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