Antarctica
Ready, Set...



It had been an interesting summer in the northern hemisphere.

I returned to the Roaring Fork Valley the first of March, spent a few weeks traveling and visiting family. I got a part time job with my former employer (Pitkin County) working part time on some special projects. My debate on what I wanted to do started almost immediately. Getting off the airplane, there was a story in the local paper about the emergency manager for the Sheriff's Office leaving. I had heard that it was going to occur, and thought I might be interested in applying for that job. Then the first day I was back working at the Communications Center the Director announced that he was leaving, and taking a position in California. One of my original plans was to run off to Alaska for at least part of the summer.

When my supervisor from the ice called in May, and offered me a job (with a promotion), I turned him down, not wanting to miss the opportunity in Aspen. I also knew that the year before they had not filled all the ice positions until the first week of August, so I might still have a fall back.

It turned out to be a good summer in the valley. I was only working three days most weeks (but I still can't figure where all that time off went!). The hiring process started to drag out for the Communications Director position, they were still working on re-writing the job description for the emergency manager position. As the beginning of August slid by with nothing starting to happened, I put the 'ice' on the out of luck pile, and figured I'd be in the Roaring Fork Valley for the winter one way or another.

I made arrangements to get back into my condo in October when the renters lease was up, and was looking for other things to do for the winter if the Comm Directors Job didn't happen.

The renters asked to get out early, they had found another place, and that worked out well for me. (I was living in a travel trailer for the past couple months - it was available short term).

The application deadline for the Communications Director Job had been June 26th, and they had still not scheduled any interviews. I started to hear some of the rumors that I wasn't really in the running, and probably wouldn't get an interview. I moved back into my condo that day, still figuring that I'd be in the valley through the winter. Fortunately, I decided to wait on moving most of my furniture back in, so that I could paint.

A week later I traded emails with Bob Zook who had gone back to the ice at the Winter Fly in (WinFly) in late August. He wasn't aware of any openings, but I asked him to keep his ears open.

A few days later (Sept. 10th), he wrote back that I needed to call the manager at the Denver office, someone had bailed out, and they had an opening. The voice mail I ended up with said he was out of town for a week, so I left a message, and sent off an email.

I got a reply to the email that evening, he said they had a couple of openings, and to call on Monday and talk with the department head who would be in the office. I decided against moving my furniture back in that weekend as I'd planned. It became an interesting Monday (13th) with several phone calls to and from the Antarctica and the Denver office, but by the end of the day, I had an offer for a position at McMurdo Station. They really wanted someone for the South Pole, but I wasn't up for that.

Needless to say the next couple of weeks got rather busy! They scheduled me for a deployment date to leave Denver as October 9th (less than a month away). Tuesday, I gave my notice with Pitkin County, Thursday the paperwork for my PQ (Physical Qualification) arrived but the blood kit was missing. I had a denist appointment anyway, and got most the stuff I needed done while I was there. It turned out the mail was taking 4 days from Glenwood Springs to Denver, if it had been a little quicker, I would have set a record for PQing. As it was I tied the record at 14 days from when they mailed out the paperwork, to being PQ'd.

They had a minimum of 2 weeks from the date of the PQ to actual deployment, so they moved my date by almost a week. October 13th I'd arrive in Denver, and leave Denver on the 14th after orientation. (The 14th was day I arrived on ice last year).

It went by quick, all the details to work out, getting my condo rented again, storing what little stuff I had take out of storage. All the other odds and ends. I made a quick trip to Arizona to visit my mother & her husband before I left, and bought my own digital camera while I was there. (Yes - there should be a lot more photos!).


One of my first photos with the new camera - Mom & Bob October 6th, 1999

Of course there always has to be something to make sure this isn't too easy, my laptop computer died the day I was leaving for Mom's. The first sinking feeling was when I called and discovered that the warranty had run out only 5 days before, then they said the replacement board would be 1700 to 2000 dollars (I only paid 1800 for the entire computer new!). Fortunately the supervisor there agreed to cover it under warranty. Even though it ended up as complicated as possible (they had to pick it up at my mom's in Arizona and return it to my brothers in Colorado), It was fixed and in the right place when I got back to my brothers house.

Mom had said it was starting to cool down when I got there, but being in the 90's rather than the 100's still didn't feel very cool to me. Had a great visit and did some sightseeing on the way back to Colorado. (This is the excuse to put my photos up!)


Colorado River below Lee's Ferry
 

Grand Canyon from the North Rim.

The photos will also make good wallpaper for my computer while I'm down on the ice.

I stored my car at a friends (Thanks John Ham!), and he gave me a ride to Glenwood Springs. A quick bus ride to Denver, and Wednesday night I was ready for the return to the Ice. (or was headed that way regardless if I was ready or not!).


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10/17/99

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