I should probably start by explaining the title… At the CG Academy, at least way back in ancient days when I was there, a fourth class cadet (freshman) was assigned the task of being the “Clock Orderly.” The job of the Clock Orderly was to count down the minutes until a formation, so that all the upper class knew when they had to actually rush out and didn’t have to show up early. The Clock Orderly would stand under one of the clocks in the passageway (hallway for you non-nautical types) and start his or her schpiel with the words “5 minutes to go, sir!” (or “ma’am” if the Company Commander happened to be a woman). In the interim space between 5 minutes and 4 (and then 3 and 2), the Orderly would then spew all kinds of random information, called indoc, to keep people up to speed on things like the menu for the next three meals, what movies were playing at the local theater, the opponent for the football game that weekend, and finally, the days to go until major events like vacations, or federal holidays when cadets would get some time off.
All that said, this is my version of the Clock Orderly days to go count, as I near the end (at least temporarily) of my Coast Guard career. Back in September, it seemed so far away when I wrote my resignation letter and submitted it, which, at the time, seemed like the strangest thing I’d done to date in my Coast Guard career. Then Christmas rolled around, and I got my orders approving my temporary separation on Christmas Eve. THAT then took the place as the strangest thing to happen yet in my career. That was topped yet again the other day when I received the draft of my DD-214 (discharge certificate) for review. So far, that wins.
My departure doesn’t happen tomorrow, though. I still have a few more milestones to get through. So here we go!
Five minutes to go, sir!
There are five minutes to go until this afternoon’s lunch formation. Lunch formation will be held at (well, it’s nice in Kodiak today…) FAIR weather parade! Uniform for lunch formation is ODU without parka.
Sir, there are 2 days to go until our pre-moveout yard sale!
There are 11 days to go until the movers show up at the house! (What!?! Who authorized that? I’m not ready for them yet!!)
There are 13 days to go until we move out of the house. The first house we ever purchased. A house I love. The house I’m proud to call my home and have welcomed so many friends into during our time in Kodiak when the only thing to do was to hang out in the house because the weather was so bad. The house I brought my baby home to. The house I hated to see in the middle of the night as I tried desperately to calm that baby when she was crying like nothing could ever make her stop. The house that I’m reminded every day is not child-proofed as my now-11 month old manages to find yet another thing she’s not supposed to be getting into. The house that has been home when “home” is 5000 miles away all the way on the other side of the country and then some. The house I hope the new owners will love as much as we have.
There are 22 days to go until my Change of Command. I’ll finish my dream CG job – the one thing I’ve wanted to do since I was a junior at the Academy. I’ll never have a job as good again, in the CG or out.
There are 23 days to go until we board the ferry, bound for the mainland and a 19-day cross-country adventure with 2 parents who haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in almost a year, a 90-lb lab, and an almost one-year old who’s never been in a car for longer than 4 hours at a time – and that was only once.
There are 42 days to go until we arrive at our shiny, sparkly, brand-new, never-been-lived in house in Mobile, Alabama, where we’re likely to melt in the heat and hole ourselves up in the air conditioned comfort until sometime in January.
There are 59 days to go until my last day in the Coast Guard. I will officially become a civilian on 16Aug, after serving for 15 years, 1 month and 6 days (or 11 years, 2 months and 28 days if you don’t count my Academy time). The option will be open for me to return to the Coast Guard within two years, but I don’t know if that’s something the future holds for me. Juggling two active duty careers with a child (and maybe more one day) in the mix just seems a little more than we want to try to handle. We’ve done our time being separated by orders and it was hard enough on just the two of us, let alone bringing a child into that mix. So, although I may work again, I have my doubts that it will be as an active duty member of the Coast Guard. Instead, I’ll wake up on 16Aug, knowing that my only “paycheck” will be the time I get to spend with my daughter, the time I’ve missed by being at work this past year, and I think I’ll be more than happy to collect my pay.
As I type this, the reality of everything is washing over me. I have some major transitions on the horizon! Some exciting – like leaving Kodiak! – and some slightly terrifying – like being a stay at home mom! – but all of them just a few more steps in this adventure of Coast Guard life.
And I think we’re down to about 30 seconds to go until that formation. Seems my thoughts got away from me a little! I hope I don’t get in trouble for rambling and forgetting to tell people what’s for lunch!!