While symbolically important, the real "celebration" comes tomorrow, and will be noted appropriately here at tfo.
The big story going on right now in my life is the "Great Coolant Caper of 2008." It's not nearly as cool as it sounds, but I still wanted to give it a neat sounding title. After I left Interstate 95 on my way home on Friday morning, I noticed a white gas off to the right of my car. I believed it to be coming from below the road, so I thought nothing of it. So I continued up the hill to the New Nexus of Hate, and I noticed the discharge again as I parked. This thoroughly dispelled any notion that it wasn't coming from my car. My first troubleshooting steps involved checking the oil; it hadn't been changed in a while, and lack of oil irrevocably wrecked the engine of the Battle Van (the predecessor to the Minivan o' War) six years ago. The oil was low, so I walked to the nearby AutoZone and purchased two quarts. I put one in to bring the level back in spec, and took her out for a spin. The indications were unchanged, so I checked the other fluids in the car. When I reached the tank where the coolant is stored, I could not believe what my eyes were seeing, so I brought out my ruler to use as a makeshift dipstick. That was too wide, so I grabbed my tape measure, and its insertion confirmed that the coolant tank was completely empty. By now it had begun to rain, so I didn't walk to AutoZone again. I instead drove to NAPA, a somewhat greater distance. I bought a gallon of pre-diluted coolant, filled the tank, drove home without incident, and thought little else of it.
A few hours later, I wanted to drive to New Haven to hit up IKEA and look at getting their futon. Just to be sure, I checked the coolant level, and it was once again at the bottom. This meant that there'd be no trip to New Haven that night - or at any time this weekend. I threw in some more coolant and went out for dinner, and to purchase a couple more gallons of ethylene glycol solution, which is presently a very important commodity to me. I've been able to keep the engine from steaming any more, using a three-pronged plan: fill the tank before leaving, minimize use of the van, and limit acceleration while driving. The coolant I currently have should be sufficient to get me to Long Island tomorrow; the fact that I'm utilizing the Cross Sound Ferry to halve the driving distance helps immensely in this respect.
FEWL.net alerts me to this great article by a retired Navy CAPT with extensive command experience in Japan. He clearly sets out what most of us in the Seagoing Military Force know first-hand. I share Jim's sentiment - we'd all be better served if the feelings of these high-ranking officers were expressed to Big Navy while they were on active duty.
Like I said at the top, tomorrow is a huge day, for multiple reasons. There will be appropriate bloggings.