Lake McDonald – Glacier Park, Montana
Ever since I left her, she’s been calling me back. I think for a lot of people that leave, she calls. Perhaps not, but I’d like to think that. The she I’m referring to is the state of Montana.
I grew up in Montana. Wasn’t born there, the state of Kansas has that, but I call Montana home. Nearly since the time we left I’ve wanted to move back. Looking back on it the words of “I don’t want to be one of those guys who lives in his hometown his whole life” were kind of silly. Right now I’d give just about anything to live back on Montana…well almost anything.
The problem, in the past, with living in Montana is that you were trading a career for living in Montana. At the time, I wasn’t willing to make that exchange. And I guess to some extent I’m still not ready for this. Odd now that I think a bit about it and how much I’d like to get back. But at this point in time there are areas where that trade off isn’t being made. Technology has started to change that.
While Wyoming is a lot closer to to Montana than Iowa, it’s still a hell of a long ways living on the southern border of the state.
This is a continuation of the story called Oil Field. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here!
“So what’s the meeting about?” I asked when I arrived in the conference room.
“We wanted to talk about the update schedule and why we’ve been missing the schedule,” Jeannie the managing editor said.
“So you don’t really need me. Seems like that’s up to your editors?”
“Mostly but I want to see if you’ll be able to help out,” Jeannie said.
“Okay,” I said and sat down.
Jeannie was notorious for needing a meeting on anything and everything. I wore me thin as I thought they were a waste of company money and in the end nothing was ever done.
I began the meeting with my head down, but quickly picked it up when the voices started to rise. I was actually surprised that it took this long before voices picked up. In the 5 years I’d been at the paper I’d determined after three years that Jeannie thought people worked better when she was a bitch and most people didn’t. The new batch of editors who had been brought in, weren’t putting up with it, which made these meetings interesting.
“Where have you been?” Asked Tina, Ted’s secretary.
“I just got done with another one of Jeannie’s meetings. I said three things the whole time.”
“Oh,” Tina said understanding. “Well Ted wanted me to bring this down to you.”
“What’s this?” I said taking the manila envelope.
“I don’t know. It’s something he put together by himself.”
“Okay. I think I know what it is.”
When Tina had left I opened the envelope to confirm my suspicion. It was the documents that he had shown me this morning. A note was on the front that said: Just in case.
I threw the envelope into my drawer.
This is a continuation of Oil Field. Please start there for a better idea of what’s going on.
Despite the conversation with Ted being over I was still turning it over in my head when I made it back to my office. The note on my keyboard told me that I needed to put that conversation behind me and get my head back to my normal job.
The note was something I had solved ten’s of times before, but the user never seemed to understand what it was I was showing them. They went to the bottom of the pile and I checked on my servers.
It had been an odd turn of events to go from military police officer to systems administrator, but it was one that I enjoyed immensely. It had taken me a good eighteen months after being hired to get the systems into a place where they just ran. There was the occasional hiccup, but those were a rarity. But the conversation with Ted had brought up some good memories and the itch had started.
Thirty minutes later with nothing more than the norm with the servers, I was out of my office to put out fires and to help the paginator of the paper, a little old man who was twenty years past retirement but stayed on.
“Good morning Dale,” I said loudly.
“Good morning to you Jack. This damn computer has done it again.”
“Okay. Let me jump in there and see what I can do.”
In less than thirty seconds I had solved the problem yet again and was on my way.
My next stop was the newsroom, where I had a meeting that I would have rather done without, but it wasn’t one I could get out of.
“I don’t think you’ve got anything here?” I told Ted.
“What do you mean? There’s something here,” He said waving the papers at me. “It’s been in the media for awhile. You’ve seen that movie Gasland right? Takes place in northern Colorado and the can light the water on fire. There’s got to be something here.”
“That might be, but what is in the papers there,” I pointed at them, “it’s just circumstantial. Something thinks there’s a cover up. If you decide to pursue this with the paper, you’ll be starting with nothing.”
Ted sat back down in his high backed executive chair and took a sip on the coffee.
“Can you look into it Jack?” Ted asked.
“Why me? You’ve got a bunch of reporters out there that would love to get their teeth into something like this? I’m just the systems administrator. When something breaks or the shit hits the fan you call me.”
“Jack don’t bullshit me. You worked as a police officer over on the base and from what I’ve been able to determine you did a pretty damn good job.”
“I was a MP for a total of 3 years maybe. And most of the time I was behind a desk like I do here. I had a problem keeping my mouth shut.”
“So you won’t do it?” Ted pleaded.
“You hired me to make sure the paper gets out on a daily basis. Not investigate what might be, or might not be, some cover up by the oil companies and the government.”
“Okay. I can respect that,” Ted said.
This story has been rambling around in my head for quite awhile now. I’m not sure what will come of it because I reach a certain point and I’m not sure where to turn with it. Perhaps sharing it here will change that. Perhaps it won’t.
“Do you mind if I sit you in a booth? It’s all we have available right now,” The waitress said.
“Sure no problem.”
She led me to a booth that could have sat 6 people but I was just me. The way I liked it. More people made me nervous. It came from my years of service.
I knew what I wanted to eat so I didn’t bother with the menu she had placed in front of me and instead I watched people. Despite having been out of service for nearly a decade I still watched people for nervous ticks or something that just didn’t seem right.
“Sir, do you mind if I sit these three here with you since it’s such a big booth?”
I looked up to see the same waitress with three other people with her. Two guys and one girl.
“Sure,” I said without thinking.
One of the guys, dark hair and a business jacket, slid into the booth and the girl slid in next to him.
The other guy pulled a chair from another table and sat at the end of the booth.
“How you doing,” The dark hair guy asked.
“Fine,” I said.
They all had a funny smell to them, maybe alcohol, that raised my blood pressure a bit. Were they also former operatives?
“Can you recommend something,” The gal asked.
She was a dirty blonde. Pretty but not stunning.
“First time here,” I lied.
“You look familiar, do I know you?” The guy at the end of the booth said.
He had an angular face, obviously fit and a 5 o’clock shadow.
“I don’t think so. Have you lived in Davenport that long?” I asked.
“Oh no. We’re just passing through,” He replied.
That made me a bit nervous.
“What brings you here?” I asked.
“We work over on the island,” The dark haired one said.
They were referring to the Rock Island arsenal a military base where weapons were created and tested.
That information made me even more nervous and I began to plan my exit from the booth and out of the restaurant should something go wrong.
“Are you guys ready to order?” The waitress asked.
“Sure,” I said and placed my order.
The other three placed their orders and the waitress left us alone again.
“What do you do?” The girl asked.
Normally this was an easy question for me to answer, but my I was still thinking of how to out of this fire hazard of a sports bar.
“I’m a consultant for a larger company out of the Twin Cities,” I lied once again.
“Oh. How do you like that?” She asked.
“It pays the bills. I see new cities all the time,” I said. “What do you guys do over on the island?”
“Contract stuff. Can’t really say. You know what the island is used for?” The guy at the end of the booth said.
“Well a little bit. It’s military right?”
“Yeah. It’s used for weapons stuff. Development, testing…stuff like that,” Dark hair guy said.
“Oh so you guys do top secret stuff like that TV show Alias?” I joked.
They all got a good laugh out of that.
“Not really, but we can’t talk about it that much,” The gal said.
And then our lunch came and all talk ceased. Each of us ate at our own pace with an occasional peek at the others to see how they were enjoying their food. In all fifteen minutes had passed by the time we were all done, our checks were paid and we all slid out of the booth.
“Thanks for letting us sit with you,” They all told me as they left ahead of me.
“No problem. Was nice having company,” I lied once again.
I’m not sure what number of day it is that I’ve been writing on this blog (missed another day I know!), but as I write or think about writing I think it’s helped me try and define what I want to do next.
As I mentioned in a previous post I’d love to be an author. Would take it in a heart beat if God came down and said “whats your dream job? Bam there you go”. However there are times, about 50/50, that I want to continue in technology. But one of the main reasons I consider staying in technology is because of the instant gratification. I could setup a site in a matter of a few minutes and be publishing that out to the whole world. Now it will take awhile to get an audience, but it’s out there for someone to find. Writing a book? Who the heck knows how long that would take. Months? Years? It’s definitely not minutes or hours. I think part of that gratification with technology is a result of our society, or maybe it’s just me at this stage. But again I go through these phases. I’ve got a ton of ideas for technology stuff to do that I think would be successful in some aspect, but finishing them is the key. At some point I’ve just got to get one or the other done and move forward with it. Look at it as step into what my eventual goal is.
It took us awhile but around the first of the year we finally moved our boy into his toddler bed. We bought one of those cribs that transforms, with a bunch of cuss words from dad and moving some screws around, but we finally did it.
The reason we waited for so long was because we have some friends whose boy won’t go to sleep unless they are sitting/laying there next to him. They told us it usually takes an hour to an hour and a half for him to go to sleep. This flat out scared us. We cherish (covet?) our time after our boy goes to bed. It’s our time to unwind, catch up with each other…just have some adult time! But at a friends house where he sometimes spends time, he’s slept in a normal sized bed and had no issues.
So here we are a few months down the road and we’ve had no problems. Additionally we thought he might crawl out of bed when he wakes up…but he doesn’t. For instance this morning he woke up around 5:30 and just sat there sang for a bit while I showered. I got to thinking how easy it would have been for him to get out of bed and come into the room and wake us up!
I’d say that we are lucky. For those parents looking to make this change in beds, I’m not sure how it will go. I hope it goes as well as it did for us.