Monday, April 14, 2014

Terminal Leave (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 310

I could have went to Ft. Lewis and signed out at midnight last night, but I actually started my new job today. There was no way I was going to mess around with my sleep the night before starting my new job. The day consisted of paperwork with HR and setting up my computer. I left work at around 430 and drove to Ft. Lewis in my civilian clothes and partial beard. I arrived at the WTB staff duty desk and told them I needed to sign out on leave. By 5:54PM I had my copy of my leave papers and I was officially signed out. I am now on terminal leave…and I am now free! One of the best feelings I’ve had in quite a while. I am so happy to finally be away from all the BS…it’s such a relief.

I’ll make a couple more updates when some important events happen, but for now I’ll be back to being a normal civilian with an actual I.T. job where I’ll be doing actual I.T. work!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 308 & 309

This weekend was all about spring cleaning. We still had boxes in our garage from the movers that had stuff in them. Saturday we cleaned out the garage, washed the cars and cleaned up the house. Of course when Sunday rolled around I found out I did too much once again. I woke up in quite a bit of pain. I always think I can do more than I really should. We spent the day at the in-laws just doing laundry and hanging out. It was a pretty laid back day to try and recover and feel better. I really hate that I am so limited in what I can physically do now. I have to remember that even though sometimes I may feel like I can do anything in my head, I am limited and will be paying for decisions that I make.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Last Day Wearing the Uniform (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 307

Put on the uniform for the last time is the flag I received as my parting gift

I woke up at 0700 and casually got ready, the same as yesterday…except as I put on my uniform I realized this would be the last time I would be doing so. It all seemed a little surreal. I headed to Ft. Lewis at 0800 and went straight to Waller Hall. I arrived at the transition center a little before 0900 when they opened up shop. I signed in and waited about 10 minutes before being seen. The same guy I spoke to yesterday was helping me. I had given him all my paperwork yesterday, so he had everything ready. I could tell today was going to be a better day than yesterday.

The guy had me look over my DD214 one last time to check the accuracy of it. Once I said it all looked good, he had me digitally sign it. He then printed out two copies for me. I also received a certificate of appreciation, a certificate of retirement, an American flag, and even a certificate of appreciation for my wife. An army wife does have to put up with a lot as well, so this is a nice (small) token of appreciation for her as well.

I took everything and drove to the WTB parking lot. Once there I headed to the SFAC and made copies of my DD214. The DD214 is a very important piece of paperwork. It’s the certificate of release or discharge and pretty much shows the entire army career compressed onto one sheet of paper. It’s used a lot after the military to prove your service and apply for things like veteran’s preference in job applications.

I then went to the barber and got my haircut…the no maintenance cut (a bald head…my usual). After that I had lunch, a slice of pizza in the hospital food court. Finally I headed to my VA exit interview, which turned out to be a group exit interview with about 7 of us. We went into a small conference room and the VA rep basically just answered everyone’s questions. We found out usually 90 days after our final day in the army (the last day of terminal leave) is when we should start receiving our pay from the VA. After the brief was over, everyone handed him a copy of their DD214s and then took off. I drove to my brother-in-law’s restaurant to do a little network consulting for him.

I then went home, met my wife and then went to my in-laws for dinner. After that we went home and I did schoolwork.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Final Out (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 306

I woke up at 0700 and casually got ready for the day, then headed to Ft. Lewis at 0800. I drove straight to Waller Hall and signed in at the finance station. I had to complete all others before coming to the finance station. I waited about 15 minutes to get called up. Once at the desk they looked over all my paperwork, then signed and stamped their portion. I also had to turn in a copy of my retirement paperwork with them as well. Once done at the finance station, I took my stack of paperwork to the In/Out Processing station to final out. I signed in and then took a seat.

After about waiting about a half hour, the guy at the desk says their copier is down. He then tells everyone who is waiting that the process will go much quicker if we can walk over to the library and make 2 copies of all our paperwork. I figure quicker is better, so I walk with a handful of other soldiers over to the library. When we get there we are told that the copier costs money to use. I’m not going to pay money to out-process, this is something the army is definitely going to pay for. I walked back, sat down and waited. After a half hour of waiting, I went up and checked the sign in list only to find that while I was gone trying to make copies they passed me because I was gone. This just keeps getting more stupid. I tell the guy at the desk and he takes all my paperwork and tells me to have a seat. They wait until they have about 4 or 5 people’s paperwork, then one of the guys takes the stack to another office and uses their copier to make the required copies.

When the guy finally gets back with all the copies I finally was called up once again. He keeps the originals and gives me the two copies…one for my S-1 and one for the transition office. It’s now been an hour and a half and I’m finally out-processed from the army. I went straight to the transition office, but because it’s a Thursday they have training and do not open until 1300…FML! I go to Subway and have lunch. I then head out to my car to hang out and listen to the radio for a while to pass the time. 

I went in a little before 1300 and went to the DEERs office first. I was told to get an official print out of my dependents to give to my VA rep at the mandatory exit interview. I made my way to the transition office about 10 minutes before they opened up and by this time there were already a bunch of people waiting around. They placed the sign in sheets out right at 1300 and I signed in and waited. Once I did get called, I find out that I have to come back tomorrow at 0900. I can’t receive my DD214 until the day before I go on terminal leave. At this point I’m pretty pissed off. I just spent hours here waiting around to be told to come back tomorrow. Typical army.

I drove home and worked on schoolwork. I’ll really be glad when I get done with both the army and school. I will really be happy to get back to a normal life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New ID Card (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 305

This morning I woke up in extreme pain and nauseous. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m guessing all the activities yesterday was a little too much. One of the games I was sitting in was a little jerky as I was flying around, but I didn’t think it was too much at the time. I just have to remember that I have to take it easy at all times. I have to dial my activities back a bit…forever now because of my injuries.

I dropped my son off at the ferry, then drove to Ft. Lewis. I out-processed from the ID center. I had to get a new ID card. At first I thought that was pretty stupid and redundant, I’ll be getting a retirement card soon enough. I guess it’s smart though to get a new active ID card with the new expiration date though. I then received a text from my platoon sergeant stating that I have a retirement briefing tomorrow. I told him I already attended one on the 27th of last month and if I have to go and sit through another 3.5 hour brief I’m going to be one very depressed individual!

I then went to my last PCM appointment. My doctor put in 90 day prescriptions for all my meds to hold me over until I start seeing the VA. She also gave me a hug and wished me well. I went from there straight to the pharmacy to pick up all the meds. I had quite the bag full leaving there! I took some because I was still feeling pretty bad all the way from this morning. On the drive home they started to finally kick in. When I got home I worked on schoolwork for a while.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GameWorks (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 304

A photo of the naval shipyard while pulling into Bremerton on the ferry

I still had my son with me, so we took the ferry to Seattle and spent some quality time together. We met with a friend of mind and his son at GameWorks around 11:00 right after it opened. GameWorks is a large arcade with a large variety of everything from the latest video games all the way to classic video games along with a restaurant and bar. There is also competitive games that we could all play against each other like the basketball, 4-person air hockey and various racing games. Going during the weekday turned out to be a great idea. There weren’t a lot of people there and we could buy three hour passes and play as much as we wanted. We all had a blast…a great boys day out!

Afterwards we walked down to the original Starbucks store, had coffee, and hung out for a while before taking off. My son and I took the ferry back to Bremerton. Once home we ordered pizza for the family and had dinner. I spent some of the evening working on Schoolwork. I also received a text from my platoon sergeant saying that I had my last self assessment still to do. I haven’t checked my army email in a while…so it has been sitting in my inbox since last Thursday. I was able to log on from home with my CAC reader and complete the assessment. Done with those for good now!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Last Week Active (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 303

My son and I at the driving range today we both ended up hitting golf balls straight up, 
hitting the very loud metal roof! LOL

I had no plans or need to go to Ft. Lewis today. My wife headed off to work and I slept in. When I did wake up, I did my schoolwork. My girls ended up leaving, but my son is staying for a few more days since it’s spring break. We headed to a golf course that is located just a few minutes away from my house. My son has been wanting to go golfing for a while. I figured I’d see how far he’s come, so we each got a large bucket of balls and went to the driving range. I’ve never been good at golf, but it is fun to do…especially on a nice day. After our buckets ran dry we went to the putting green for a bit before leaving. I told my son that I’d taking him golfing for real at some point this season. He can’t be any worse than I am.

We then went and watched 300: Rise of an Empire. This sequel to the movie 300 was decent. It takes place a little before, during, and after the first movie…but tells the story of the naval battles that take place. We both enjoyed it and just hanging out with each other. We then went home and waited for my wife to get off work. Once she was home we all walked to her parents house. The walk is about a half hour. It was a nice day out and my wife and I wanted to get out and about. Walking is good for your health!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 301 & 302

Saturday I slept in, but it seems I always get up before my kids. I spent the morning doing my schoolwork. When everyone was up and ready to get started with the day, we all met with their cousins and my mom at a local 50’s style diner called the “Big Apple Diner”. Food was good and my wife and I even saw an old co-worker of ours back from our newspaper days. After lunch we went to the movies and watched “Non-Stop”. It’s pretty cool going to the movie theatre somewhat early and seeing a movie that has been out for a while…we had the entire room to ourselves to watch the movie! It was a pretty good action packed movie too! About an air marshal who has to try and find a killer on board the plane.

Sunday I slept in once again and then did schoolwork. A similar start to yesterday. We headed over to my sister’s house so the kids could play with their cousins. We also ended up going out to have an early dessert at Cold Stone, then for dinner we went to a Chinese buffet that everyone loves called “Kings Wok”. I’m stuffed! Back at home the kiddos decided they wanted to watch “Now You See Me”. A pretty good flick with some good twists about magicians who are constantly out-smarting the police. We had all seen it before except for my oldest daughter, but the movie is good enough to watch a few times for sure.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Schoolwork (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 300

Woke up at 0700 and got ready for the day, unfortunately I woke up in quite a bit of pain. At 0800 I called the school district IT director and let him know I selected another job. He was disappointed and I felt like crap for having to turn down his job offer after initially accepting it. I then sat down at my desk and did schoolwork for a while.

I then took a break and watched “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden”. 

Yeah…this documentary may be a little out-dated, but it was still pretty good. Created by Morgan Spurlock, the guy who brought us “Super Size Me”. The documentary is more about how America is viewed from the outside, especially Muslim countries. I’ve been out and about around the world and I’ve already been exposed to how even other western countries view America. It was a pretty interesting documentary, and Morgan Spurlock always brings a little humor to the situation…so far I’ve enjoyed all the documentaries this guy has made.

I then drove to a local competitor casino to my wife’s casino and met her there. She is doing a little spy work, checking out the competition. Since this was my first time there and I joined their players club, I was given 2 $5 coupons to use in their slots. I played the slot machines for a while, then a little bit of blackjack. We didn’t stay too long because my kids called and said they just arrived at the house. After all was said and done I left with about $35…not too bad for not even spending a dime of my own money!

We drove home and hung out with the kiddos. They are now on spring break. We decided to watch a little survivor marathon, before turning in for the night.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Another Job Offer! (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 299

I woke up at 0700 like yesterday and got ready for the day. At 0800 I headed to Ft. Lewis, I had no desire to go in for formation. There was a town hall today and I don’t have time for that. At around 0900 I headed to the security office to out-process…again. Yup I already cleared from security once…another case of army efficiency. Luckily the process was pretty quick since I’ve already been there.

At 1000 I went to the SFAC and checked my army email. I then drove to the PX to check on something for my mom, but they did not have it in stock. I then received a call from the second place I interviewed at recently and was offered a job. Even though I really wanted to work for a school district, this place is non-profit, does some real good for the community, and they really pursued me. I have a really good feeling about this place, so I accepted the job offer from them. Now I have to call the school district back and tell them I have to turn them down. I’m not looking forward to that.

I met up with my friend for lunch. It was great to see him again, we hung out quite a while after lunch and just chatted the entire time. After lunch I drove to the naval submarine base outside of Silverdale and checked out their PX for my mom. I was able to get her item for her there. I drove over to her and dropped it off, visited for a while, then drove home where I worked on my schoolwork.

When my wife got home we made a Costco run, then came home and watched a Netflix DVD called “88 Minutes”. The movie was decent. I’m sure I added it because the entire movie is set in Seattle. It’s about a university instructor who is told he only has 88 minutes to live…kind of an action/thriller.

Later on in the night I received an email from my Finance instructor. This guy is really pissing me off. I received a zero on my last paper I turned in because he said I was out of compliance with the University’s academic integrity policy. I was thinking to myself WTF? He had attached a PDF of my paper and I’m guessing ran a program to see what matched exactly from the sources I gave him. Of course I quoted and gave my sources, but I also paraphrased a little earlier in the paper. I have written all my papers pretty much the same way for every college paper. I read something, I ingest it, then I regurgitate it out in my own words along with my perspective and such…pretty much the same as every other student. I looked at the PDF I was sent and see that the highlighted areas that are representing exact matches to my references include items such as “There are” and “variables that” and “of the”. This instructor is freakin’ retarded! There were a couple other lines that had some items that were about 80% word for word from my source, but there really was no other way to state it and get my point across. I’m so pissed and so frustrated with this class and this instructor. I really can’t wait until it’s over. At least the instructor said I could re-submit this paper and get credit for it once I clean it up.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Job Shadow (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 299

I woke up at 0700 and got ready for the day. I made my way to pick up the required paperwork from the HR department at the school district. I have to schedule a physical, it’s required before working for the school district which I thought was a little odd. No worries though, I called the place and scheduled an appointment for this Friday. I should be able to get everything done before I go on terminal leave. This will allow me to start right when I get out of the army. Even though I had just accepted a job at the school district, I had already been invited to come in for a second interview and job shadow at another organization…so I made my way there.

After I arrived, I hung out briefly with the CIO, then he handed me off to the help desk manager. I was shown their ticketing system and everything that he deals with on a daily basis. I then sat with the network administrator, who showed me the ins and outs of the network and each of their nationwide locations. We all went and had some Mexican food for lunch at a local hole in the wall location. I had never even noticed this place before…and it was pretty good! After lunch I hung out with the systems administrator for a bit and checked out the server room and everything that he’s been working on. After that the CIO took me around and had me meet some various employees and then the CEO of the organization. After that I took off.

I’m really struggling now what decision to make. This organization is pretty awesome! They have a lot of great people working for them and they do a lot of good for the community. I know they are going to make a job offer to me, and I really don’t know what to do. I’ve wanted to work for a school district for a long time, because I thought it would be a great place to be a part of something bigger than just me…bigger than just making profit…a place that makes a difference. A school district is just that, but after today…so is this other organization.

I drove to my grandma’s house and visited with her for a while. I haven’t seen her for a bit and I didn’t have anything else planned for the day. After visiting with her and my aunt who happened to stop by, I drove back home and did schoolwork. When my wife came home, we decided not to work out at the YMCA, but walk around the neighborhood instead. It’s another nice day, and sometimes it’s just nice to be outside. We ended up going a bit over 2 miles when it was all said and done.

We spent the evening at my sister’s house for our Wednesday night dinner with my sister’s family and my mom as well.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Job Offer! (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 298

I slept in today, had no desire to get up. Since it’s the beginning of the month I did my usual and paid our monthly bills. I do this on the 1st and the 15th of each month…and do it all electronically. I also did the monthly maintenance on my own personal computers…one Mac Pro and two MacBook Pros. I like to do this first thing each month to make sure everything is running as well as possible at home.

I got a call from the school district where I interviewed and received a job offer. I’m really stoked about this, I was a little worried that the interview didn’t even go that well! After I accepted, I was told I’d need to call the HR department and get some paperwork started. I then settled down and did some schoolwork of my own. Once finished with the schoolwork for the day, I went outside and did some yard work. It was a nice day out and I wasn’t in too much pain. It had been pretty windy recently, which had left a lot of branches around. I also used the blower and cleaned off all the pine needles from our driveway. I have to take advantage of the times when both the weather is good and I’m not in a lot of pain. When my head is killing me, I have no desire to do much of anything.

I spent the afternoon watching another Netflix DVD “The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior”. I think a while back, I was watching the MMA news show “Inside MMA” and they had Randy Couture on promoting his latest acting gig. I have to say, the movie was not that great and Randy was a much better UFC fighter than an actor.