So, here we are again, over a year since my last post. I know, right? Well, a LOT has changed since then, with the first good news being that I’m writing again! So, here’s a quick catch-up:
After leaving the agency I’d served for almost 30 years in mid-2021, I wound up working at Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls. So that made five moves betweeen 2016 to 2021: two in Florida, then to Maryland, Hawaii, Texas (where my job was a hell-hole), and Idaho.
While I enjoyed my time at INL, my wife and I decided when I became eligible for my Federal annuity in July this year, it was time to try and escape the 9-5 hamster wheel. While my annuity is hardly a river of gold, her business has been growing steadily. And things being what they are these days, we decided that it was time to do and see as much as we could of the things we’ve dreamed and talked about while we can.
And so, just after my birthday in July, I resigned from INL, we sold our house in Idaho Falls, put all our stuff into storage, and have started full-timing in our Subaru Ascent (Kanga) and Aliner Expedition trailer (Roo), which you can see in the pic at the top of this post.
Then we set out for the Pacific Northwest to visit our two adult boys and take a quick gander at the area, as my wife had never been to the area aside from visiting our younger boy in Portland last December and our elder son in Seattle the previous December. I’d spent some time at Ft. Lewis years ago, but that hardly counts (although I can still clearly remember the glory of Mt. Rainier, clearly visible from the base).
On the way, a funny thing happened: I think with the release of chronic tension from work, my muse decided to hop into the car somewhere along the way up here. I’ve written more in the last week than I have in the last three or four years. And the key difference over the start/stop attempts is that on any given day, I’m looking forward to writing. That was a critical element that’s been missing for a long, long time. I WANT to write again.
Now, to be perfectly transparent, what I’m working on right now isn’t Red Legion: it’s a romance story that’ll either be a short or a novella. But that’s what my muse wanted to write, and who am I to argue at this point?
But once that’s published, Red Legion is up next (oh, wait: there’s another short that I’ve already written that’ll go up next – sorry, lol!). Then we’ll see where we go from there.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that I’ve been and remain a very active COVID-safe advocate. I’ll be happy to entertain honest questions, etc., but I’m not going to argue with anyone over it. Despite what you’ve been told, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has *not* ended and people are still getting sick, getting long COVID, and dying. My wife and I were finally infected – in a hotel room from lingering aerosols, most likely from the previous occupant – in March this year after we made the mistake of not setting up and running our HEPAs in the room before we unmasked (we were tired and in a rush – lesson learned) and it was a full month before we were finally able to shake the acute phase of the illness. While she seems to have escaped any long-term consequences other than making the cough she already had from some medications a bit worse, I wound up with tinnitus and had a couple of short-term memory loss events, one of which was pretty terrifying. It’s not a cold, it’s not the flu, and I sure as heck don’t want it again.
So, be aware that I will be speaking out about it periodically, and at least some of the pics I post here or on Twitter will show me masking, using our far-UVC devices, etc. If you don’t want to hear or see it, you don’t have to. But that advocacy has helped a number of others avoid infections or find resources they need, and that’s very important to me.
In the meantime, we’ll be making a run today from Hoodsport, WA – which is an AMAZING place! – down to Portland to check in with our younger son. Then we’ll be heading south into the Tatooine desert wastelands of Phoenix to hang out with my dad. And I’ll be getting at least some writing in every day!