Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 review

Mary and I started 2010 on our vacation. She planned a surprise vacation for us and didn't tell me anything about it! It was a ton of fun. We stayed in a bed and breakfast where we had our own cottage, it was really nice! We went to a couple of vineyards, a local brewery, and the Lurray Caverns. It was nice to relax and not have any responsibilities for a few days.

The first week of January I tested for SSgt (I found out in FEB that I made it). The second week I was on Temporary Duty (TDY) in Vegas (rough life). I almost got sent to The Pentagon half way through the week to brief a few Generals, but my LT went instead. Towards the end of January on a Saturday, I got a call from the Major that I was deployed with (he was a Captain during our deployment and got promoted after we got back). He said, "Hey Mac, would your wife leave you if I sent you to Afghanistan?" Well if that isn't a loaded question I don't know what is... I asked him when we would be leaving and how long we would be gone. He informed me that we would be leaving in 5-10 days and would be gone for 30-90 days. I waited for Mary to wake up from her nap to ask her. She said that she would be fine with it as long as I was gone more than 30 days (to get the family separation pay) and as long as I was back before the 4-month mark. I relayed the info to my Major and we started preparing to leave within the week. By the time Wednesday rolled around I was told I wasn't deploying. No big deal, that meant more time with my family, or so I thought.

A few days later I was sent TDY to DC for a few days. The day after I got back I found out that I was being sent TDY for 45 days to Mississippi and that I had orders to Korea! I was being sent on the TDY to train people to deploy. This excited me because it meant more responsibility and I got to teach!

The TDY was fun for the most part. I didn't really have a boss and kind of got to make my own hours. Towards the end of the TDY (maybe around day 30 or so) a LtCol came into my office area and asked what he had to do to keep me for another month. I said, "I don't know Sir, Im just a lowly Senior Airman. I assume that you need to contact my command at Langley and ask them. But you are the LtCol..." It ended up that I couldn't stay any longer than I was supposed to because I had to get back to Langley to attend Airman Leadership School (ALS) before I went to Korea. This is the course that has to be taken before you can officially become a SSgt. So I went back to Langley and got to see my family again.

A few highlights from that trip were Mason and Jennie came down to see me, I made friends with the guys at the Mexican Restaurant (which got me lots of free beer and tequila), I got an awesome Waffle House coffee mug, and I may have met Andy Griffith's brother.

I got back to Langley and more or less went right to work. Before I started ALS, a good friend of mine, Chris, committed suicide. That was probably one of the worst things of 2010 for me. I had to work for Chris that night and then the next day find a replacement for him, then the day after that I started ALS. ALS wasn't too difficult, but I was coping with the suicide most of the class.

As soon as I graduated ALS, I was officially a SSgt! It took me just over 4-years to make it. After ALS it was time to out process so that I could head to Korea.

We moved out of our house the last week of July and moved into the base hotel. We had a decent 2-bedroom 1-bath place. In the evenings when I got off of work I would take Maddox down to the playground behind the hotel. She would play out there and burn off energy then we would go upstairs for dinner. I started taking leave a few days at a time in anticipation of Mav's birth. This allowed Mary to relax and not worry about taking care of Maddox. We spent lots of time walking around the mall and Target. On the night of August 18th we went to Chipotle for dinner. Afterwards we walked to Target to walk around some more. As we walked from one to the other Mary had to stop walking a few times due to contractions. We went back to the hotel and called our friend Jamie (she was going to take Maddox so that I could stay at the hospital with Mary). I grabbed Maddox and all of her stuff for a few days then dropped her off. When I got back to the hotel Mary was double checking to make sure that we had everything, but was having to stop for contractions every so often. I started checking the tunnel traffic (the hotel was down in the Norfolk area and we were staying in the Hampton area and the two are separated by a bridge tunnel). The traffic was pretty bad! We got through without too much stopping. i dropped Mary off at the front door and went to go park the car. As I was grabbing the bag out of the back of the car Mary yelled "Its locked", but I heard "It broke". I thought that her water broke (because she was standing in a puddle). So I grabbed a towel out of the car and came running. It turns out that the hospital locks that door at night. Luckily a hospital worker was coming in through that door and was nice enough to let us in. We got to the room and less than 3 hours later Maverick Garrett was born! He was born just after midnight early on a Thursday morning two weeks before I had to go to Korea (just like Maddox).

Jamie offered to bring Maddox down to see Maverick, but we thought it would be best if she met him at a place that she knew. Since we didn't have a home at the time, the hotel would be the place.

We had already decided that Mary and the kids would come out to Korea as soon as she got a passport for Mav. So I went to Korea alone at first.

I was put up in a crappy dorm room on base and told that I wouldn't be able to move off base. I found an apartment for us to live in as soon as Mary and the kids got to Korea.

My Grandpa had quadruple bypass surgery in October. He ended up never fully recovering from the surgery. He passed away the weekend before Thanksgiving. I woke up the Monday before Thanksgiving (around 4 or 5 in the morning) and had a voicemail on Skype. It was Dad telling me that Grandpa passed. I woke up Mary to tell her what happened and then went to call Dad back. I talked to him for a few minutes but he had to pass me off to Mom. It was rough hearing my Dad like that. I asked Mom when she wanted me to come home. She said that I didn't have to do it because of the money that it would cost. I told her that I could get a flight really cheap. I went to work to figure everything out. I was able to fly home last minute to be with my parents, my brothers, my sister-in-law, my grandmother and my aunt, uncle, and cousin. the reason for us to all be together was sad but it was still good to see everyone. I brought a few bottles of soju with me to introduce my brothers to the mythical drink. They both liked it but Mason's stomach didn't!

My Grandpa, Marshall Graham McIntyre, is who I am named after. He grew up on a farm in Illinois, and enlisted in the Air Force. He got out of the military as a SSgt. He was stationed in South Korea for a short time at the same base that Im currently stationed. Grandpa Mac will forever be missed. That was the other low point of 2010. However, Grandpa isn't sick anymore!

Mary explained what happened to Grandpa Mac while I was at work. A few months prior Mary had to explain death because Mary's parent's dog (Tipsy) died and that is where she and the kids were living at the time. When Mary explained that Grandpa Mac was sick and that he died and went to Heaven, Maddox danced around and said, "Woo Hoo Grandpa Mac can be friends with Tipsy." She was happy that they will be together in Heaven!

I got back to Korea to my beautiful family and immediately went back to work. Work has been kind of crazy and busy.

December came around and I was assigned my first subordinate. This was exciting and scary all at the same time. So far it has been good!

In 2010 I took 6 college courses. I finally reached 'Junior' status in school! It only took me seven years... I might be able to finish my degree in 2011, but it is going to depend on how tough the 300- and 400-level courses are!

2011 is already showing a lot for us! In January I will be moved to a new office and I will be given new responsibilities. My mom is coming to visit in March, also March 21st will be my 5-year anniversary in the military. Cinco de Mayo will be our 5th wedding anniversary! Maddox will turn 4 and Maverick will turn 1 in August. September we will leave Korea. Finally we will get to Germany in October!

Wish us luck!!