There's an old Army motto that pretty much sums it up: "It's not a job, it's an adventure." It truly was an honor and a privilege--and often a profound experience--being a part of this organization for so many years.
Although I never officially served in the military, I worked on this military complex for, and side-by-side with, many military officers and enlisted personnel for a couple of decades. I think some of that culture was bound to filter into my books. :)
There were sometimes Black Hawk and Lakota helicopters dusting off from a helipad outside our building. One day I came to work to find an F-16 parked in my parking spot. O.o (It later was moved to a display spot on the grounds.)
I remember one of our former generals cracking the whip on personnel to get a static display of vintage heavy artillery and missile launchers set up ASAP/double-time in front of our building. He came to work the next morning to find every one of those barrels pointed at his office. (hehe)
Over the years, I also saw some tragic and world changing events. Our jets were some of the first in the air after the World Trade Center was hit on 9/11/2001, when they were scrambled to protect the air space over two of our national laboratories.
We supported relief efforts for the major Western US forest fires in 2000 and 2012 that burned hundreds of thousands of acres, as well as had troops deployed to Hurricane Katrina.
During the Gulf War, I saw many of our soldiers and airmen leave for their deployments to the Middle East. We waved farewells and hung US flags from freeway overpasses as their convoys passed beneath, or waved from the parking lot as they made goodbye flyovers.
These experiences will probably stay with me for life.
Other than the high energy of the place and my wonderful co-workers, one of the things I'm really going to miss is my office. I thought I'd give you a quick last look with some photos I took shortly before I packed up and moved out.
This is the "cockpit" that you see as you enter.
Another view. The big white binders are the last nine years' of budgets.
(There are another eleven stored in Tamara's office.)
A view looking out the office door.
This is the SE corner of the office with additional
bookshelves and filing cabinets. (I had already
started to collect moving boxes in the lower left.)
My three RWA Golden Heart Finalist certificates
and my RWA TGN Hall of Gold certificate were
proudly displayed in a place of honor.
(Nicely grouped with the thermostat. LOL)
Looking toward the door, with my art print titled
"Heart and Soul." Yeah, that fit. :)
A close up of my barrel cactus. (Fortunately, the
needles aren't sharp, they're very soft. Good thing,
since it came home with me.)
A bonus! A row of massive skylights let in
lots of natural light. (Cuz...no windows!)
I had a Star Wars themed retirement send off. So. Much. Fun! You can see a few more photos on my FB page, but here's a close-up of my Stormtrooper cake, expertly made by Tamara. Awesome saucin'!
The head itself survived the cake-cutting and is now in my freezer. I'll thaw it out in September to celebrate actually having an August this year! (For the past 20 years, I haven't had a life in August because budget submissions are due September 1.)
They also framed my Star Wars retirement announcement along with all the good wishes and signatures of my peers. This photo is of the Director, Theresa, presenting it to me. This is going to be a treasured keepsake, always. The rectangular picture in one corner is of Yoda saying:
"You must unlearn what you have learned."
Ha, how perfect is that?
I posted a close-up of the announcement on my last blog, if you missed it.
So, yeah. I'm officially retired from my day job. It feels kind of...well, weird. Turning in my keys, my gate access and CAC card on Friday was like...whoa! This is one of those "you can't go back" moments. Very strange feeling.
Some of you might remember the title of this blog title is the same as the final episode of the popular TV series MASH. It was the show when the war was declared over and the personnel who had worked together for so long were heading back home and having a really hard time saying goodbye. Even though they'd shared so much together, they knew it was time to start a new chapter of their lives.
Yup. That's pretty much how I'm feeling, too.
So. Laurie A. Green, full-time author, signing off. :)
Have a great week!