Departing for Denver for Orientation

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October 27th 2008
Published: February 10th 2009
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Well, here I am the morning after. Yesterday I spent the majority of the day cleaning out the apartment and packing things. Time slipped away quickly and - as usual - there was far more to do than appeared. I ended up buying a bunch of 3 mil thick “construction cleanup trash bags” and shoveling stuff out of the cupboards and into the bags. X D Either way, I’m glad I got the larger storage unit, because I didn’t have time to thin out the junk as much as I’d like.

So I kind of had a rough night, not only because I wasn’t getting anywhere very fast, but also because I was going through my happy memories and boxing them up for the unknown.

So anyway, I got up at 05:00 and succeeded in getting my luggage packed up for the pole and everything moved out of the apartment and even some cleaning done about 15 minutes later than scheduled. Which is great, because I usually program in a 30 minute buffer, which means I was 15 minutes ahead of schedule! I even got my cable modem turned in and paid my final bill. ($1.80)

So after that, a friend took possession of my Jeep and my potted plant, and dropped me off at the airport in Cheyenne. About an hour and a half later I was on the ground in Denver, waiting for my shuttle bus. And waiting. And waiting. Indeed - and totally honestly - by the time I finally got going in the shuttle bus, I could have driven from where I had flown FROM to the airport I was at and then back again! 3 hours! X D

I’ll be here in Denver for the next several days working with the software designers on the M&C (Monitor and Control) system for the new SPTR 2 (South Pole TDRS Relay) project I was working on out in Simi Valley. The antenna has since been packed up and should be en route to New Zealand by ship about now. I’ll be attending to the installation down at the Pole this summer, sometime in mid to late November. The system should give us the ability to use a few more of NASA’s TDRS (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite) spacecraft and allow for more internet and data up-time at the pole.

Later in the week I’ll be going through my induction and indoctrin, er… orientation. This includes getting all my travel paperwork, sizing me for the ECW (extreme cold weather) gear and basic emergency training, that sort of thing. I’ll also getting all the red tape cleared up. I’m scheduled to fly out of here on Nov 01.
So anyway, after driving around for another hour, I finally got dropped off at my hotel. Parched from thirst and craving a nice tall glass of lemonade, I stumbled around town here in Littleton, looking for someplace that’d have it. After hitting brick walls at several establishments, I entered what looked on the outside to be your standard American “diner”. Indeed, that was what was written on the outside, in bright neon letters- “diner”. I was greeted by a friendly Asian woman whom I promptly queried: “Do you have lemonade”?
She smiled and said “Yes, we do!” And I further pressed “Is it Minute Maid?”
She thought for a second. “Umm. Yes?”
The look of distaste on her face must have been obvious because she quickly ushered me in and said in broken English “But I make some! I make some fresh lemonade!”

Well, that had me sold. So I sat down at a booth and examined the menu. Slightly more pricey than I’d have liked, and far more Asian than the “diner” motif suggested. I chose a spicy sweet Shrimp and rice dish. It was quite good, though I might have chosen something better as my stomach has been delicate of late, what with the stress of moving and traveling.

So the nice lady kept coming out with this huge pitcher of fresh lemonade, oranges and seeds still floating happily about, and I just kept GULPING down glass after glass, which she diligently refilled! I was happy!

So anyway, when the bill came, I was astounded. She’d charged me $2.00 for the “glass” of lemonade. I KNOW I finished the first pitcher and she’d made another! So anyway, service and kindness don’t go unrewarded with me, and often if I’m really happy with someone’s help I’ll go out of the way to make sure the person’s supervisor knows. Well, in this case, I’m sure she was the owner’s wife, so I tipped generously… I usually do 20 percent, but in this case I just gave her what I had on me - it came out to 39 percent. X D I handed her the money and told her to keep the change. She thanked me, and as I was leaving, she came running out “You give me too much money!” I told her it was because I really appreciated her making that lemonade for me, it was exactly what I needed. She blushed and bowed several times, but accepted.

So anyway, that’s my first day off being homeless and alone, but things are looking up from last night. I’m going to get some to sleep early tonight and maybe watch some episodes of Jericho on Netflix.



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