We're safely back in the Armpit of New England, but it certainly wasn't without some fireworks at the end. We got word that ADM Donald, the Director of Naval Reactors, might tour Memphis today. As soon as that was known, the drill set scheduled for Monday was replaced with a field day. All right, fair enough. What pushed this to the next level of Godsmack moments* was that about midnight last night, the Plan of the Day was revised; instead of engineering department training this morning, there would be a "deep clean and stow of the engine room." Translation - another field day. With this coming on the heels of the underway we just endured, I was pretty much spent this afternoon, and was looking forward to the early afternoon moor time more than ever.
But NO! There was apparently some dense fog or something that prevented us from transiting in. Then we had to wait for another submarine to conduct its outbound maneuver. These factors combined to prevent us from throwing lines across to the pier until 7 pm; by that time, the odds of a tour by the admiral were effectively nil. Five more hours of my life I'll never reclaim from the boat. I didn't leave work until 8:30, and it wasn't until 9:15 that I unlocked the New Nexus of Hate for the first time in nearly a month. It was a most surreal experience coming into the apartment - in particular, walking into my room and looking at the calendar with only the first day of June marked off.
The Webb GI Bill I wrote about over the weekend has been signed into law by President Bush. Since that post there was another article in Stars and Stripes about exactly what the new benefits are. Upon review of this, one school in particular comes back into the equation - the Stony Brook University. It's a great school for the discipline (engineering) I intend to pursue, and it appears to be a perfect financial setup. The chance to finish my degree with no out-of-pocket tuition costs, plus the ability to return to Long Island without moving back in with my parents? It looks like a great opportunity. I'm going to put some wheels in motion on that front when I'm home next month. I'm also considering substituting in North Carolina State for Michigan on my upcoming roadtrip. A couple of the guys on the boat have said some good things about N. C. State, and it probably simplifies the rental car situation. I haven't really moved on the plans for the trip so much lately - that will get rolling on Thursday afternoon, after I stand duty tomorrow.
I was disappointed by the inability to inaugurate a new custom tonight; that is, to get dinner from Outback Steakhouse upon return from each underway. Why Outback? Because it's right near my apartment complex, and I can safely have a beer with dinner. Speaking of beer, it should go without saying that the Elixir of Joy is being consumed this evening, but I'll still provide the pictorial evidence:
Since it's late, I'm not going to get into the thing I talked about a week and a half ago (the one that struck my "deepest nerve"). I'll save that for the long weekend.
* "Godsmack moment" is a new glossary term. See that file for the definition.