So I have been training a lot and I haven’t really said much on here what for, well in 7 days time I will be running a 10k (and what could be my last if Heidi gets her way). I will be running the “Beat the Blerch” race. What is this you say? Well it is a Running Series put on by the guy who writes the Oatmeal comic. But you really need to understand what it is first before you go any further. So first off read this:

Ok… back yet? Good. Now you understand what the “Blerch” is. So why would I try and “Beat the Blerch” Well because the races sound like lots of fun, they include all of the following:

Every participant gets a “I Beat The Blerch in 2015” tech shirt and medal.
There will be large quantities of cupcakes at every aid station, in addition to Nutella and magical grape beverages.
Race photos are FREE.
Ridiculously awesome goodie bag stuffed with Blerch surprises.
A portion of the proceeds go to charity.

But best of all is this last little bit:
There will be actual Blerchs in fat-suits chasing you throughout the race.

So some guy is going to chase me for 10K trying to catch me…. SOLD! Actually getting the free stuff and the cake sold me. So I am looking forward to a little bit of fun next weekend, being able to run around and enjoy myself shall be good. The training has gone well, a few of the runs were tough, but the 9k I did on Friday morning (since I had a late shift) worked well, I was on/under pace and that is good. My body was fighting a little so hopefully I can keep that in check this week.

Here is to at least one more 10k in my life!

So I have been slack lately it seems. Not updating the site in sooooooooooo long. But to be honest, it is hard sometimes with work taking up so much of my time. Since I have been working night shift 4 days out of 5 for the last few weeks my patterns are well out of wack. It isn’t an excuse, but it does the point.

Life has been otherwise ok, the birthday celebrations went well and included a sugar rush that turned into a sugar hangover (and boy was that not a fun come down!) and now it is back to work and back to training as well. I know I meant to write a post about what I am training for (And I promise i will this time) but that isn’t today’s post. Today’s post is about a weird dream I had last night and what it means?

This morning I had to be up at 530am and low and behold I wake up after a bad dream around 5:15am… Joy. Not being able to get a solid sleep after waking up from a bad dream is a crappy thing and makes you feel all the more awful. But what was it that had me waking up like that? How about being strafed by a plane? Yeah that sounds like watching something I would enjoy, except this was extremely vivid, and I seemed to be the target.

I am not sure why it happened, but in the dream I was watching as a Bearcat (like the one that is flown at HFF) came barreling towards the house at low level. Now this wasn’t the apartment I currently live in but the house I grew up in, in Australia. As the plane came in at low level, I hit the deck as it was so low I figured it might hit the top of the house, but instead it started firing its cannons at me. O Dear! Bullets hit the top of the house and I survived the first pass. Moments later a second plane came around on a similar set up. This time it was a P-51 Mustang and it too began strafing the house and as bullets were clanging around the house, I woke up.

It was one of the weirdest dreams I have had in a while (and I have had some doozies in the past, especially when I am on Cold and Flu Drugs). Anyone have any idea what it could mean?

Today is my final day of being 33 years old. This year has gone by so fast, that I can’t believe I am here already. Things have been amazing the last 12 months and a lot has happened, stuff I never thought would. But it has not been an easy year either.

This time last year I was just in a relationship with Heidi, working in a job that didn’t really make me all that happy. Fast forward 12 months, I have a wife, I am working a job that really makes me happy and living a life that is not only challenging, but also fulfilling.

Last year on my birthday I had a fantastic day being spoiled rotten by Heidi. She bought me donuts and lunch at my work in Bellevue, and I came home to dinner and a cake made especially for me (Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting…. it was DELICIOUS!). This year will be different, I’ll be heading to work (since Wednesdays are night shift for me) and I won’t really get to see Heidi at all. But it won’t matter too much. I will get to spend the whole weekend with her and my friends, so that will help.

My next 12 months are going to be a big new adventure for me. Heidi and I have a lot of plans, I would love to be able to head to Australia sometime in the next 12 months so Heidi can meet my family. I also want to try and work on my fear of boats (more on that to come). I should also get the big day with the immigration department to get things organised and that will be a big important day for both of us. I also want to keep working at my current job, helping to make things better and better every day, making that job more fun for everyone.

As I make another rotation around the sun, I want to give a shout out to everyone who wishes me happy birthday, thank you all for your wishes. Now if you can somehow make those wishes turn into birthday gifts, that would be so much better? What… don’t judge me. I like presents!

Yesterday was a rough day for what should have been a really simple task. For the last 2 years I have been using a technique called “manufactured spending” to pay my rent. Since the rent is the only thing I can’t really use a credit card for (and trust me, all of my bills go to my credit card), I had to find a way to do it. Along came the American Express Bluebird. A prepaid Amex that offered the ability to write checks. Perfect! All I had to do was buy some Gift cards from a grocery store (triggering Double points on Grocery!), set up the pin on the card, go into walmart and load the bluebird from the Gift Card. Up until recently this has never been a problem (and only once did I ever have any kind of issue buying $1000 worth of gift cards).

When Heidi and I moved in together we kept it up, when we had to pay rent, she would just give me a gift card and I would load it up and pay the rent. Simple as! When I went through the job transitions earlier in the year, I moved away from it for a little while as the fees to play this game (about $5 per GC) just wasn’t justifiable. So now that things are back to normal and rent is due. Back to it right? One of my cards had a short term bonus on Grocery spend (score!) so I figured I would do some spend on that card to max out that bonus. I also have some minimum spends to do at the moment so figured a short term return to it would be good. Things were not to be!

I had my gift cards ready to go, and headed off to Walmart in Renton, pretty much the place I have used many many times. When I got there, as usual no sign of the Walmart ATM since they removed it because it was constantly broken. So I lined up at the money center (thankfully not much of a wait, I think the longest I have stood in line there is over 45 mins). When it was my turn, I asked to load my bluebird and then they told me not from Gift Cards. Asking when that changed, they said “o its always been that way” (it hasn’t). They just flat out refused, so it was off to the next Walmart. I texted a friend to see if he had heard any problems, nothing on the radar. Next Walmart they refuse to do it as well, citing stupid reasons (which was code for, I am sorry, I am to busy to load your Card that can only be loaded at Walmart). 2 Down, off to number 3. I get to the third Walmart and when I asked to load my bluebird the guy started spouting reasons to not do it. “You can’t load at the register” “Yes you can, I have done it here before” (truth) “Well, I can’t do it, this register can’t do it” “Ok, because all Walmart registers can load” (again truth) “O, well I don’t know how, go see the manager at the Money Center” “There is no one at the money center” “well I am not loading it”. 3 stores down, 2 lazy associates, 1 where they don’t know what they are talking about.

So in the end I head south to two more Walmart’s down near Heidi’s parents place (we decided to go over there for dinner and board games). I get to the first one and finally get someone who will willingly load money to my Bluebird. I get them to load just one of my cards and they start to go back and forth with a supervisor saying stuff I can’t hear. He takes my gift card and walks off where I can’t see him, comes back and says “this wont work, it doesn’t have a PIN”. I reply and tell him it does and he says “well, give it a try but it won’t work”. We process it. Successfully loading it onto my card, I walk out and thank them to have a nice day (kinda sarcastically). I now have 1 card down, 2 to go! I try the last Walmart for the day, one referred to as the “sketchy walmart”. I hit pay dirt at this place. I managed to find a new employee, a couple of weeks into the job who was friendly and actually wanted to help me. Although she did try to load the wrong amount (it caused her to lock up her register) she let me load in all the cash I needed to, was happy to do it and without any hassles at all. I was super Happy!

All of this makes me wonder if it is even worth doing this anymore? Heidi gave me an earbashing over it, and after all the frustration of so many different Walmart visits, I am wondering if it is worth it myself. I don’t know how to feel about it all to be honest. I do it to not waste points, but maybe it is time to give up on that part. Soon enough we will have a mortgage and points and travel will probably be the last of my worries. Trying to make sure we have the right credit etc is what we will need to focus on. My credit score is good, I have no problem at all. Maybe it is just this area and MS. I see reports of people having no problems in other parts of the country, but up here in the PNW they just don’t like it. Is the age of MS over? For me, it probably is.

So I know I haven’t been talking on here much as of late, but I figured that I would at least fill you in. I have been working a lot as of late, and with a whole week of night shifts last week, I spend most of my time either at work or catching up on sleep. On Sunday Heidi and I decided to take a day out of our schedules and head out to Lake Chelan for the day. I had not been up there, and Heidi used to go out there every year for camping, so it was time to at least do it even for a day.

We decided to use up our last of the current stash of free days and grab a car from National again. I picked the car up after work late on Saturday night giving us a solid day on Sunday to be able to get out and back without rushing (and in fact we didn’t rush much at all). I was hoping to grab a new 2015 Mustang as I had seen them out and about all the time and they do look good (better than the previous years) but sadly it seems National at Seattle does not get them, and they mainly get Chevy Camaros, which is what we got. This decision would come back to haunt me later.

We hit up Leavenworth for breakfast (since we left home before 6am) on Sunday and it wasn’t bad. We just picked the first place that said it was open on yelp. Sunday morning before 8am in Leavenworth is pretty quiet, with no one out on the streets at all. We rolled out of town after filling up and hit the road out to Chelan. We stopped by the town of Chelan for a quick walk and a break before heading out to the State Park and some time by the lake itself.

Heidi wanted me to get in the water really badly and after I sat around reading for a while, and a walk throughout the park, I gave in. I gave into her demands and pushes and got in the water. The water was freezing cold but it was ok after a while. The whole area was rocks though and not sand, so it was nothing like some of the freshwater lakes I am used to back home (Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island for instance).

We left Chelan and started the long drive home taking time to stop at roadside fruit stands and just generally going slowly. At one point Heidi started her usual road song of “Apple Maggot Quarantine Area” trying at times to get me to join in. I wouldn’t and then she decided that she won’t stop until I did join in. Well, this was going to be a game of who gives in first, and Heidi was determined to not stop singing, and she didn’t for 35 miles. For 35 miles she kept on going. I did not give in, even throughout yelling and crying 😛

We finished off our day with dinner at Snoqualmie Casino for some Dim Sum and Snow Crab, something a little different. The food was good and the crab was plentiful. The dessert selection was amazing and I was in heaven with to much to choose from. I had pie and ice cream and shortcake and cookies and more! It was fantastic!

We dropped the car back late at night after a fun filled day out and about in the PNW. The weather was good (albeit super hot out at Chelan) and I can’t wait to enjoy more. We have decided to head out to Spokane for a weekend in September and putting together a possible trip out to Nebraska/Iowa. I have a trip to LAX planned for September too, so with all of that I am excited!.

The question I am sure you are all asking is where have I been. I know I never wrote about Vegas, nor have I been updating regularly. I have been busy working all this week. I am pretty sure I have said before I am back working at the airport so each day is a new experience.

Training is well and truly over and it is all live now. Everything was scary, I can’t tell you how nervous I was, but I am sure so were a lot of other people.  It was still a good week. It is definitely a job I want to stick with, a job I am surprised to be enjoying & feel like I should have tried this a while ago.

I really don’t know what the future is going to hold with this line of work. Could I stay in this position forever? Dunno? But I guess I need to start looking at where i want to go with this? It’s time to start laying out a plan for the future. I need to sit down with my boss and work things out and also with Heidi, because what I decide affects her too.

Life is back to the M-F grind. Working to earn $$$ is always a good thing.

Well consider this your Monday morning Avgeek hit to get you on your way to work. Here are some pictures from the Final flight of the EA-6B Prowler as it left Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. First up some of the static displays of aircraft based at NASWI.

From Seattle Spotting 2015

P-3C Orion

From Seattle Spotting 2015

C-40A Clipper

From Seattle Spotting 2015

EP-3 Orion

From Seattle Spotting 2015

EA-18G Growler

And now some of the flying display.

From Seattle Spotting 2015
From Seattle Spotting 2015

MH-60S Seahawk SAR Demo

From Seattle Spotting 2015
From Seattle Spotting 2015
From Seattle Spotting 2015
From Seattle Spotting 2015

EA-6B Prowler & EA-18G Growler Fly Past

From Seattle Spotting 2015
From Seattle Spotting 2015
From Seattle Spotting 2015
From Seattle Spotting 2015

The Prowler came back to refuel and then went on its way, never to return.

Well my training for my new job is almost complete and I must say it has been challenging. I have had to learn a whole new GDS and system to go with it and that is always a challenge. Having to translate one system to the other in my head on the fly is rough, but I am getting the hang of it. It helps that they have a great tool that does a lot of the complicated command work for you, but you still need to understand things on the base level.

But working from home is now over, and I start going back and forth to work now every day. On a good and bad side there is no longer any more bus rides (apart from a car park shuttle) but that means that I won’t be reading as much. On the good side, I now don’t have to stand around waiting for buses (again apart from the car park shuttle) and that means I can get places easier, although I now have to contend with traffic.

All in all life is good right now, I am hoping to make it to vegas tonight (we are flying Stand By) and have a great weekend away with my wife as she deserves a break right now. She just found out last night she passed her Certification Exams (after spending weeks hiding in the closet trying to work and having semi frequent breakdowns, even though I told her it would be fine) and she deserves a good bit of relaxation by the pool in vegas.

Time to get back in the air again right?

Today is Friday the 12th of June, 2015. As I head off to work and deal with stuff all day, Heidi will be sleeping in and getting ready for a big day. Today is the day that Heidi graduates from SPU with a Masters in Arts (Teaching) degree. She has worked tirelessly over the last 2 years to finish this. Heidi and I have been together almost 18 months now so I have known her through almost her entire time at SPU doing her masters.

This is a special day for her and I am sad that I will miss it. She will get to wear her cap and gown and soak in the love that will be thrown her way. I really wish I could be there but i can’t :( However my thoughts and love will be with her as she walks across that stage to receive her masters, something she has worked hard to achieve. The last 4 or 5 months have been especially hard for both of us. I have been through major changes in my life on the work side, and Heidi has been by my side the whole way. However Heidi has had it rough herself. For a little while she was the only bread winner in the family and she was also doing her Masters and doing her Student teaching, All at the same time. Working essentially three jobs all back to back has taken its toll on her. She has been a real trooper doing it all and I have done everything I can to make her life easier. But the day is all about her!

Heidi, as you walk across that stage today, I want you to think about just how proud everyone is of you, how much we all love and support you and most of all. Feel proud of what YOU have done. You have done all the hard work, you deserve that praise, that love, that admiration.

I <3 you and you need to know you are the smartest person in our family 😀