Once back in New London, it was time to hit the beer, for the first time in nearly a week. I'd abstained after going WAY too hard last Friday night - and paying dearly for it during the following duty day. Being as it was already 9:30, I had some work to do, and I set about it with dedication. My television was showing the Big East quarterfinal between Syracuse and Connecticut. At eleven, I switched off and commenced my usual late-night run: half an hour of Chelsea Lately, five minutes of The Colbert Report, and then on to The Tonight Show. I stayed there until just before midnight...
...when Twitter drove me back to ESPN. The Orange and Huskies were in a second overtime. The extra frames were the result of an apparent 'Cuse game-winner being waved off at the end of regulation. A few minutes later, two became three. But with two minutes left in the third OT, UConn had staked itself to a six-point lead, and I thought that'd be all she wrote. I went to throw some dishes in the dishwasher. While I was engaged in the very-early-morning housework, Syracuse came all the way back and sent the game into another overtime. By this point, there was no way I was switching off. When Connecticut's last effort at the end of the fifth OT went for naught, I knew it was the right decision - I was watching a game that would be remembered for a long time. And even better, it was the Orange that pulled it out in the sixth extra period, 127-117.
I still had plenty of extra energy after the game ended, so I checked my bank account a few minutes later. I knew I had a paycheck coming, but the news was better than that. The New York tax refund that I thought wouldn't show up until later today was already there. All told, over thirty two hundred new American dollars were present. So I did the only sensible thing - I sent over two grand to the savings. This marks an important milestone; I have accomplished the goal I set for myself over eighteen months ago. With ten grand in the bank and ninety weeks until separation, I resolved to put away three hundred bucks every week. Thus, on the day I separate, I'd be sitting with at least $37,000. As of today, I'm there, and damn proud of myself.
I have made some sacrifices to get here, but nothing too painful. During TAP class, the presenter posed an interesting question: "what are you willing to give up to get what you want?" Last week, I was thinking about that as it relates to saving all this money, and the answer was clear...as Rich Fields* says, a new CAR! On that note, I must again give thanks to my mom for selling me the Blue Trooper. More than anything else, this gives me the freedom to approach the summer of 2009 on my terms. Those terms include not only the Post-Navy Roadtrip, but months of other generalized relaxation, in what I like to call "the Great Decompression."
* The announcer on the Price Is Right.