Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Going Nucking Futs!

So, remember last week when I said I was learning to deal better with all the work stress? Yeah, that was a big ol' lie. This week has been even worse. I've even had to stay late a couple times, which I hate more than anything. The added bonus of organising today's promotion ceremony and preparing for an upcoming unit compliance inspection hasn't helped. I feel like I'm juggling way too many things, and I have about a billion sticky notes all over my desk to help me remember everything. I think my biggest pet peeve right now is when I'm trying to run paperwork around the head shed, and someone stops me and asks about some crappy little job. Don't you see I have a million things going on right now, and that the chances of me remembering your request by the time I get back to my desk are slim to none?
On top of all this, I lost my phone yesterday. I have the boss phone (which the government pays for) as long as I need it, so I'm not totally without communication. But still, all my numbers were stored on my phone, and the whole situation is just a big bother.
There are two silver linings, though. The first is that the promotion ceremony went off without a hitch. I even got compliments from several people on how smooth everything went. The other is that the boss will finally be back tomorrow. This will take so much pressure off me, and I'll once again be able to enjoy work a little. It's just in time, too, because I have trips planned for the next two weekends, and I'd much rather enjoy myself than constantly be pre-occupied with thoughts of which work orders have been done.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

On The Trail

Last night, I went to my second hash. I took Dominic with me, who'd hashed before, but it was back in North Carolina. It was a much bigger turn-out this time, and it made it even more fun. Plus, my friends Mark and Chrystal were there. And including everyone I met at the first hash, it made it much easier to socialise. The beer didn't hurt, either.

Just Chrystal
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
After the actual hash, there was a beer circle with songs and traditions. The plunger is full of beer, and Chrystal had to drink it. I'd like to go into all the rituals, but it's really something you have to experience first-hand. Plus, there are so many, I don't think I could recap all of them.

Flip Cup
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
The night went on with talking, laughter, and drinking games. I'm going to miss the next hash, but I already can't wait until I can do it again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One of the few sports you can play while drinking.

Dan & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Last night, my friend Dominic came up from Vicenza. He and I met Dan and Nate for dinner, then went bowling. I've been bowling a lot lately, mostly because Dan and Nate enjoy it so much, and they always invite me to come along. But for some reason, I'm not really getting much better.

Pat & Austin
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Also at the bowling alley were some guys from my squadron. It's always cool to see people from work outside of work. They were having a great time, and we all tossed back a couple beers together. Good times, indeed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Worth Every Penny. (Or maybe not.)

I led a project this morning to dig up a broken fire hydrant. It had been leaking for a while, and the ground was saturated, leaving everything we dug out in a big, sloppy pile of mud.
Steven and Bill came out to see how things were going. On a whim, I said to Steven, "I'll give you all the money in my wallet if you do a big belly flop in the mud."

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Without even thinking about it, he took off his shirt and jumped in the deepest, sloppiest part. None of us could believe it.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Steven took it like a champ, including all the scat jokes that inevitably followed. It took him the whole lunch hour to clean up and change uniforms, but he didn't complain at all.
I'm not even gonna tell you how much was in my wallet because I'd hate for everyone's heads to simultaneously explode. But I wasn't gonna pussy out, either. Let's just say he's is gonna have a great time at Oktoberfest next weekend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

With an Iron Fist!

I'm running the shop this week. I've been in charge before, but it was vastly different in Utah than it is here. In Utah, I basically just had to keep track of everyone and make sure nobody was missing appointments; but here, I'm overseeing work orders, recurring work programs, performance reports, awards packages, digs, training, security management, backflow, hydrants, plus keeping up with everyone.
Yesterday was total chaos. I had the Major and our superintendent breathing down my back. I was about to lose it.
But today was much better. I'm learning to delegate, and I'm getting better at answering questions the right way. (Ambiguously, like a politician.)
MSgt Hammes will be back Monday, so I only have to endure this week, which is probably just long enough for me to get the hang of it. Luckily, I have plenty of wine in my house to help me deal with it all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Capping Off the Weekend

Since we stayed out so late Friday night, last night was more mellow. Dan, Nate, and Ed came over and we played cards, but I was in bed by 11.
This morning, I woke up early, showered, and started to head to Church. Unfortunately, as I tried to leave my driveway, there were so many cars parked along my street, I couldn't go anywhere. The reason? Budoia's 42nd Annual Festa dei Funghi (Mushroom Festival).
I decided to walk downtown and check it out. It was similar to last year, except it was bigger and there were tons more people.
I walked around once this morning, and then went back this evening to watch the bands. They were playing classic American rock songs, which was kinda funny with the Italian accents ("Wahld theeng! Yoo make-a mah haht seeng!"). I didn't buy any mushrooms this time, but found a great bottle of Refosco. I also managed to strike up conversations with a few locals, who seemed to appreciate the fact I made an effort to indulge in the local culture.
But now, I need sleep. There are fresh sheets on my bed; the dishes are done; my laundry basket is empty; and my house is clean. I like being able to start the work week with a clean slate, with as little to worry about as possible. I know this week is going to be rough, and the last thing I need is a messy house. So, yeah, now for some shut-eye.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Getting Our Groove On

Chey & Dan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Last night, Cheyenne, Dan, Nate, Mark, and I were feeling the urge to go dancing, so we made the trek to Odissea's. We've come to the conclusion that all clubs around here play the good, recognisable songs earlier in the evening, and then devolve into playing the thumpy, Euro-house stuff after about 1 AM. Luckily, we got there early enough to hear our favourites (including the LaLa Song - totally our summer jam). Getting in isn't cheap, and neither are the drinks, but sometimes it's worth it to just go and cut loose for a bit.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Long and Laborious

Working nights has been every bit as boring as I thought it would be; and the transition of my sleep schedule has been surprisingly easy. The exercise is supposed to end tonight, so hopefully, I'll go in for two or three hours and then be off until Monday morning.
In other work-related news, after much begging and harassing, I finally made it on the deployment list. It's a six-month deployment to Qatar that leaves in December. Qatar is almost a non-deployment. It's a huge base with restaurants, a pool, a coffee shop, and a nicer gym than we have here in Aviano. So, it's kinda like getting paid a lot of money to go to a resort for six months. I'm going with great crew including Rick and Stan, so even though this will be my second-longest deployment, it should go pretty quick. The only real bummer is that I'll miss snowboarding season, but there's always next year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Night Owl

There's an exercise going on this week, and somehow, I got picked to run our unit control centre. Not only that, but I'm also working the night shift, 7 PM to 7 AM. To prepare, I stayed up until 4 AM this morning, and managed to sleep until 10. I'm hoping I can make it all night tonight.
I'm not sure what will go on, but usually, not much happens at night. Best case scenario is that I sit around for 12 hours watching movies and surfing the internet, with a minimum of phone calls from the head shed. I just hope we don't have to put on our chem gear or run around outside in the rain.
I doubt I'll get hungry, but I packed a few snacks anyway. I hope there's coffee.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Plenty of Puddles

After two weeks of the most amazing weather imaginable, a storm blew through yesterday evening. And today has been cold, rainy, and dreary. Rick and I were driving around at work, but all we really wanted to do was go home, lay on the couch, and watch movies. It's crazy how fast the weather can change, and even crazier how much of an effect it has on one's mood.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Right Round, Like a Record, Baby

Yesterday afternoon, I did something I'm not proud of. That's right: I went to a spinning class. (I promise, I don't have a vagina.) I'd heard from several people that it's pretty fun. My friend Mark is all about it, and he's been asking me to go. So I finally caved, and you know what? It was pretty fun. The instructor was a little, ahem, colourful, but he mixed things up and made it fun. The class lasted an hour, and 20 minutes in, I was already covered in sweat.
I'll probably go again, but it's not something I'll attend on a regular basis. Most likely just when the mood strikes, or when Mark asks me to go with him. And only when I'm feeling really secure in my masculinity.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Off He Goes

Me & Keena
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
This morning, Ryan left for Air Force Basic Training. I've only known him for a little over a year, but I don't know many people as fun-loving and ready to take advantage of the opportunities life offers.
He's going to work in airborne communications, a challenging field; and he'll be older than most of his fellow trainees, but I think he'll be a great future leader in the Air Force.
Best of luck, Keena. I'm sure I'll see you around again soon.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Something In The Air

The weather this weekend has been absolutely gorgeous. Sunny, with just a few white puffs high in the sky; low humidy; cool breeze. We couldn't have asked for better weather over a long weekend.
Unfortunately, I've been a little ill all weekend. It started as a sore throat and a cough, and by the time I got into bed Saturday night, I was a little feverish. I tried to enjoy my weekend and stay somewhat active, but I was just moving a little slow. I still managed to work on my yard for a few hours today.
But probably the best part was yesterday when I sat on my balcony all morning, reading, with a cup of coffee. It was the most relaxed I've been in a long time, and it was wonderful.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Almost like the Mario Brothers, but not Italian

Since my friend Rick moved here in May, he and I have pretty much been inseparable at work. We have the same work ethic, which means we're productive, but we're not freaking out or staying late or anything. We stay on the task at hand, but we're not above stopping for a cappuccino on the way to the job site.
Last month, Rick had to pull a contracting detail for two weeks, meaning I had to fend for myself at work. His first day back was Wednesday, which made us both happy. We're back to working together, and getting things done.
We got word last week of some potential taskings for deployments in December. As soon we heard, nearly everyone in the shop volunteered. As of now, Rick is on the list to go, but I'm not. We've been scheming and planning and trying to find a way to get me on the list, but it hasn't happened yet. It's not the greatest location in the world, but it's been a long time since I've deployed, and I'm itching to go. As soon as I find out any information, I'll be sure to post it. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Actively Relaxed

It's another long weekend, thankfully. The original plan was to go to Rome with Johnny and Jenni, but they decided to back out. I was kinda relieved because after last weekend, I kinda need this weekend to relax and study. Plus, I haven't been feeling well for the past couple of days, so I'm hoping a few good nights of solid sleep will do me well.
However, it won't be a totally uneventful weekend. I have a shindig tonight, a get-together tomorrow, and a soiree on Sunday. Lots of baking to do and lots of people to see. It's gonna be fun.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rockin' Republic -or- "The night is yet."

Dan & His Mai Tai
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Friday morning, Dan, Keena, and I boarded a train bound for Rimini. We got into town in the early afternoon and headed straight for our hostel. It was about 200 metres from the beach, and we were thrilled. Nate had to work that morning so he was taking a later train down. The rest of us decided to hit up the beach and do a little bar hopping.

Me, Dan, & Keena
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Rimini is a beach resort town on the Adriatic Riviera, and the Italians all take vacation in August; but since this was the last weekend of August, things were starting to wind down. It worked out well because there were still plenty of people around, and our hostel wasn't as expensive as if we'd come a couple weeks earlier. There are tons of bars side-by-side, so while waiting for Nate, we tried to see as much of the town as possible.

We had asked Cheyenne to join us, but since she'd be the only girl, we didn't think she'd come. So we were surprised and delighted when she showed up with Nate. After getting them settled into the hostel, we continued our self-guided pub crawl.

Me & Keena
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
We were anxiously awaiting midnight because Saturday was Keena's birthday. He just got back from the States last week, and besides his birthday, our other reason to party down is that he'll be leaving for Air Force basic training next week.

Keena & Cheyenne
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
After helping Keena ring in his birthday, Nate decided he'd had too much to drink, so he and Dan headed back to the hostel. The rest of us were just getting started, though. We wandered into a club called "Life!" just as they were starting a foam party. I'd never been to one before, and it was about crazy. The whole dance floor filled up with bubbles all the way up to my chest. They were playing great music, and we danced until we could barely stand.

Keena, Nate, & Cheyenne
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Saturday morning, Dan wasn't feeling too well, and opted to crash out on the beach for the day. The rest of us took the hour-long bus ride up to San Marino.

San Marino
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Founded in 301 AD and reportedly the world's oldest republic, San Marino is its own country, completely surrounded by Italy, and lies on top of a mountain overlooking Rimini and the Adriatic. It has a rich history, steeped in medieval traditions. It's small enough so we could walk around the border, visiting each of the towers, and seeing for miles in all directions.

Cheyenne & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
It was fun walking around, learning about the culture (which isn't too different from Italian culture), and taking lots of fun pictures. We all got our passports stamped and picked up some souvenirs.

We got back to Rimini in the mid-afternoon, and had some time to relax on the beach with Dan.

Cheyenne & Dan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
After dinner, we headed back to the main drag for more bar hopping. It was almost a repeat of the night before, but this time, all of us went dancing.

Nate & Dan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
We all woke up surprisingly refreshed Sunday morning. We were hoping to get to spend a little more time on the beach before catching an afternoon train, but the weather wasn't cooperative, so we decided to just head back home. Despite some train delays and flying french fries, we made it home by early evening, tired, but ready to face the week.

This trip really couldn't have come at a better time. All of us were ready for a break, and it did us good to get our minds off problems and pressures back home. We have another long weekend coming up, and despite the temptation to plan another impromptu trip, I think we'll probably just be staying home to relax.
By the way, if you'd like to see the full photostream, check this out. Enjoy!