Monday, May 14, 2007

Not much to post on

Hi everyone!

There's not a ton to post on, but I figured I'd say hello again since it's been a while. We're settling into life as a married couple a little more. The last month has been uneventful, with us just learning our way around our little town, working on tilling up a garden, and being home-bodies in general. It's hard to do a whole lot since Neal is working the night shift. Even on his days off, he has to have some transition time to the life of the living again. So it doesn't leave us a whole lot of time to gallavant around. But he'll be switching back to days in a few weeks, so that will change.

Neal got his scooter fixed a couple weeks ago, and we've taken a few rides together on it. It's a lot of fun, and I'm going to be taking the motorcycle safety course later this month so I can drive it too, just in case. I'm actually taking the course on Harley-Davidson's sport bike, just so I can have the motorcycle endorsement on my US license. We just both thought I might enjoy learning to ride. But we're leaving the option open for me to chicken out once I get there!

A while back, we went to a cookout at the house of one of the other security guys, Jake Moore. He and his wife are awesome, and they have adorable kids. Jake drives a Harley, and just for my best friend Ellen, we had to take a picture of me on it, thought I didn't get a ride yet. Jake said he'll take me out next time we're over. Jake is the one in the picture with the "Kiss me, I'm Irish" shirt on, and his little boy, Bryce, is at my feet.

And here's a picture of Neal, being a pain in my backside, not wanting to have his picture taken:

Neal just took his bi-annual physical readiness test (PRT) this morning, and he did really well. He was a little concerned, given that we've both just gotten back to regular working out, but he blew the bottom out of his run, and had his best time since he's started running again! As for me, running has always been a challenge, and it's no less so this time. But I'm determined to stick to it. I've started a program called "Couch to 5K" which helps non-runners to be able to run a 5K in about 10 weeks. I'm hoping to be done by mid-July. The beach that's close to us is about that long, so I'm going to test myself out and see if I can run it around then.

The weather has finally gotten to be consistently hot, and though we've not made it to the beach yet (other than a walk back in March), we're planning on it soon. Neal keeps getting called into work on his days off, so it's been hard to schedule, but I may just have to make that first trip by myself. We're definitely both getting the itch for some serious sand between the toes!

We're going to try and go back to Rome later this month. We want to make a trip specifically to see the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel. And since we didn't get to go inside the Colosseum last time, we'd like to do that too. We're trying to keep our enthusiasm at a reasonable level so we don't kill ourselves trying to do everything, so we're taking chunks of Rome at a time. At some point this summer, the Fleet and Family Services office (schedules trips and helps families adjust to the area) is planning a wine-tasting trip to a town nearby. It's an all-day trip, and will include antipasti and local honey-tasting (Neal's favorite part, after the wine). We can't wait to see when it's scheduled so we can know if Neal's going to be able to go.

Neal is waiting on results from the Chiefs' panel. The exam he took in January was part of the process in moving to E7, and he did really well on it, especially considering it was the first time he took it (usually takes people multiple times just to pass). He not only passed, but he scored high enough to "go to board." What that means is that he submits evaluations, scores, etc. to a board who then decides who gets promoted to Chief, depending on how many are needed. That board meets in June, so he should know whether he got promoted by the first of July (that would be a nice birthday present for him). If he makes it, he has to attend a multi-week class on how to be a chief, then will be official sometime around August-September timeframe.

Neal is finishing up his bachelors' degree in history. He's figured out that he's just about 36 credits shy, so he should definitely be finished by the time we leave Italy. He's just started his first history class this week, but I'm sure he'll have tons of fun with it. He had to take an orientation class before this one, and he was really good about doing the readings and assignments at work and turning them in early and such, so he should be good. I've also decided to go back to school. Everybody says it's a hard transition once you graduate, and it really is. But I'd always had a master's degree in the back of my mind, I just didn't think it would be this soon. I had originally thought about nutrition, but that would essentially mean earning another bachelor's because of so many classes. So I opted for an MBA. Neal and I figured this made the most sense anyway, since we want to open a restaurant. And we thought it was a better idea for me to do it now, while I have the time and before we start having kids.

Other than that, we're not up to a whole lot. Night shift is horribly boring for Neal, but he's getting regular workouts in since it's so quiet. I usually just hang out at the house after he goes to work, and it's no fun going to bed alone again. I remember my Aunt Rhonda saying that she and Sean used to "pass like two ships in the night" when he was on night shift, and I can really relate to that now. But I get a lot of time to cook now and plan meals, situate the house the way I like it, etc. so it's not too

I'll post some more recent pictures of the now lived-in house in a few days. We still have a couple of boxes here and there that I want to clear out, then I'll take some more. Until then, we hope that everyone is doing well! We love you all, and love hearing from everyone!

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