Thursday, June 19, 2008

In the Navy . . .

Twenty-four years ago today was my first full day in the Navy. I think. June 18th seems burned in my memory in an ominous sort of way. Yesterday I flew out of Portland with several other confused young men, to arrive in Chicago. This morning I was awoken early to another world. A world with short hair and lots of waiting in line.

You know what “Navy” stands for, right? Never Again Volunteer Yourself! In an alternate universe, I went on a mission for the church instead, and then onto college. I still ended up in Corvallis with a loving wife and four beautiful daughters. I’m working in another division at HP, writing software for the newest printer, and wondering what it would be like to work down in the chem lab instead.

In yet another universe, I signed on for a third tour and was assigned to an older 688 sub running out of New London. I made Chief, earned another shore tour, and am ready to retire. I’m still divorced, lonely, and bitter. Alternate universes can cut both ways.

In this universe, I awoke next to my wife. The sun was shinning. My daughter made me a sandwich and packed my lunch (she volunteers, but is paid). She stands in the windows and waves as I drive off to work. I think I’m happy, right here in the universe I’m in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Night at the Library

I think this was our fith year at the annual library sleep over. The librarians know us by name: “Here are the Olsens!” We had put a great deal of thought into where we wanted to set up camp. We’ve been in different areas every year. Last year we got kind of trapped in a corner, having to step over sleeping bags and zig-zaging through a maze to get in and out. Even though we arrived fifteen minutes early (per plan), we were not first in line and ended up in our second pick, near the CDs, close to the bathrooms, and pretty much by ourselves.

This year they had a crafts followed by a magician. Then they showed “Waterhorse” with a digital projector. I think they should have shown “A Night in the Museum” again. It really fit the occasion. Ann Marie and I went to bed after the movie, about 12:30. Rachel and Robin apparently made it til about 2 AM before running out of gas. Last year I think Rachel stayed up most of the night.

The lights came on at a very miliary 0600. They had some muffins and orange juice for us, and we were out the door before 7AM when the cleaning crew arrived.

Now, where are we going to sleep next year?