J's review of the year…

K and I were up talking much too late last night. We realized a lot of important stuff has happened this year. And, here are the highlights.

Of course, I retired from active duty in the Air Force effective July 1st. I was actually relieved of duty on March 12th owing to plenty of leave saved up that I could take as terminal leave. That, plus other time off allowances got me off of work for the Air Force nearly a third of the year. I didn’t find retiring from the job I’d done my adult life (until then, anyway) that big of a transition. But, I had a very, very good replacement job in hand…

On April 1st, I started working as a NATO International Civilian as the SHAPE Local Area Network (LAN) Engineer in the grade of A2. It is much like a civil service post in the US, except I work for NATO, not the US government. Also, I get paid in Euro. Which is very good, considering what the exchange rate to the dollar is doing, not to mention we live on the local economy. The health insurance we get is superior, I get thirty days leave (workdays, not calendar days as the military does it) a year, plus the numerous SHAPE holidays. Every two years, NATO will pay for all of us to travel to my hometown for home leave. That’s just a quick summary of the benefits. The job itself is very interesting as well. My duties are clearly defined, and it is a very satisfying job. I signed my contract renewal in November, so I am sure where I’ll be working at least for the next three years. I suppose it’s possible my position could be made redundant when everyone stops using desktop computers and the network to do their jobs (fat chance).

Of course, our second son Harry was born on August 31st. He continues to do very well and is growing fine. Karena keeps his details on the blog better than I will be able to do here.

Since we’re going to be living here for quite some time, we decided to buy a house instead of renting. I really like the house we’re renting, but there are obvious advantages to buying. We found a nice place in Ghlin, though a bit smaller than what we’re living in now. We got a 15 year mortgage, so by the time we may actually leave here, we’ll probably own the place outright. We still have to thin out our belongings so we don’t overcrowd the new house. All is approved, and we are simply waiting the administrative time for the paper pushers to do their work and the current resident to move out before we can take possession of the house. Also, we had to give our landlord three months notice that we’re moving. So, it looks like March 2nd, we’ll get the new house and move in sometime in early March. Also good for us, the Air Force owes me one last move after retirement. So, I don’t have to pay for the local move from one house to the other.

That was the big events for the year for us. Good news all, and we have nothing to complain about. We’re happy.

I’m hard at work on the blog, as you can see. Currently having a problem with pictures and text ligning up the way I want. We’ll have a couple different blog themes displayed within the next week — let me know which you prefer.

–Mom, your package arrived and everything was a big hit. Photos from that, and Christmas Day, coming soon!

Blogging can be a pain in the arse, sometimes. Like now, for instance. We’ve been having problems trying to upload pictures to the blog, and in trying to fix that created an even bigger problem that took Jesse many hours to correct. If you were up bright and early, you may have seen these three pictures during the one hour the entry was actually up. If not, here you go.

A nice smile from Harry, despite the fact that you can only see half his face.

Yes, his forehead is all scratched up and his cheeks are irritated from all the drool, but he’s a charmer nonetheless.

Liam decided he was cold one afternoon and put on Jesse’s sweater — then ran around the house calling out, “I’m Daddy! I’m Daddy!” He, too, is quite a charmer.

When he’s not trying us to the very limits of our patience, that is. And despite the cuteness evidenced in the above picture, he’s been a very trying boy the last few days. Christmas pictures coming as soon as I get the time to post them.

Let me know if there are any problems seeing the pictures in this post, as we are still working out our issues.