Archive for the In Harm’s Way Category

Remember This E-Mail is Subject to Review

Posted in In Harm's Way, Notes From The Hill on June 10, 2012 by Author Jennifer Quail

From: Alan Graves, Legislative Assistant to Senator Cannon
To: Elaine Gates

Hi, Elaine,

Just wanted to make sure you got home all right. I was checking out USAJobs and saw a few positions at Dept. of the Navy that might be interesting.

Let me know when you get back.

Alan

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From: Alan Graves
To: Elaine Gates

Did you get my last e-mail? I thought I’d send it from my google account since sometimes the Senate address has trouble. And you’re not on Facebook?

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From: Alan Graves
To: Elaine Gates

Just checking in….

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From: Elaine Gates
To: Alan Graves

Alan,

You sent that first one twelve hours after I left. The train wasn’t even to Chicago yet. I’ve barely been home for five minutes. You’re worse than my mother.

No, I’m not on Facebook. Or YouSpace or MyFace or Twitterbrained or any other “social-networking site.” But I’m home. And no, I wasn’t attacked by anyone or any thing on the way.

Elaine

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From: Alan Graves, Legislative Assistant to Senator Cannon
To: Elaine Gates

I’m glad. I mean I’m glad you weren’t attacked. I haven’t been, either, not that I could be with certain people following me all the time. I don’t SEE Val but I swear I can feel him watching me. Everyone in the office is starting to think I’m paranoid the way I keep looking over my shoulder.

I checked out the jobs site again. If you want I can ask around, too. I don’t know many people who work with engineers. If you want to still be an engineer. You probably qualify for veteran’s education benefits. I could look into that. You could get a doctorate, even. Like I said if you stay with me you don’t have to worry about rent so there’s no real rush to decide or anything.

Alan

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To: Alan Graves
From: Elaine Gates

You’re not paranoid if there actually is a vampire following you.

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From: Alan Graves, Legislative Assistant to Senator Cannon
To: Elaine Gates

If that was supposed to be reassuring, it’s not.

I’m attaching links to a couple of the universities in D.C., and the ones pretty close in Maryland and Virginia. I don’t know what makes a good engineering program, not that you’d have to study engineering. Like I said, you don’t need to worry about rent once you get back, so if you’d rather look at schools than jobs I’d be fine.

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From: Elaine Gates
To: Alan Graves

Would I not have to worry about e-mails every five minutes?

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Out of Options

Posted in In Harm's Way, Private Thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by Author Jennifer Quail

Hey, Dad,

Please don’t show this to Mom. If she asks, you didn’t get an e-mail from me. You know what she’s like and I’ll never hear the end of it.

I appreciate your both wanted me to have a vacation to someplace I’d like and where I could relax, and I am trying, I really am. I’ve visited museums and I saw Arlington Cemetery and tomorrow I’m going to go look at the World War II and Korea memorials and depending on how my leg feels, the Vietnam Wall. I also visited the Navy Yard, and I did make calls to the Academy and the War College in Newport, and I visited both our Senators and our Rep. Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can get in touch with Pete Congreve at Pax River and find out how things stand with the brass there, if there’s someone who’ll listen.

I know what you said. I know what the doctors at Bethesda and in Ann Arbor have all said. I realize that I don’t HAVE to have my commission and active duty status to work for the Navy in some capacity. But if I want to fly, I need them back. If I can’t have them back, I can’t fly, and if I can’t fly, I won’t be in flight test operations. I have thought this through and I am prefectly rational. The entire point of all the operations was so I could live a normal life, wasn’t it? All that therapy and PT and everything is supposed to let me be normal, right? Well, normal is flying. Normal is creating the best planes and the best pilots and going higher and faster and farther. If I can’t do that I’m not normal and they didn’t fix anything. I would understand if they’d cut my leg off (and after how my hip felt walking around Arlington I almost cut it off myself) or if I were in a wheelchair or I’d lost an eye, but they’ll let me drive a car. My anthropometrics are the same. I can still see, hear, think, react but they won’t let me do it in a plane. If I get more no’s I’m ready to ask the Russians or the Chinese if they’re less picky. (I know, I know. Don’t work for Russians or Baba Helena will never speak to me again.)

Don’t tell me I’m supposed to relax. I can’t relax when people tell me to relax.

I suppose I should write to Mom, too. I’ll do it later. There’s a sushi place up the street from the hotel I want to try. Remind me to tell her, though, stay out of my closet. And my dress blues aren’t missing, I have them here.

Love,
Elaine

PS-If you’re only doing tourist things, it’s not odd to see the same person on more than one day in different places, right?

As Far As Vacations Go, I’ve Had Worse

Posted in In Harm's Way, Private Thoughts with tags , , , on July 2, 2010 by Author Jennifer Quail

Hey, Pete,

How are things back at Pax River? Yeah, never thought you’d hear from me again, did you. I’m fine, except for the whole career being over thing. I was thinking about trying to get up to MD and see some of you, but I’m not sure I’m ready to ask for a visitor pass yet. If you’re down towards D.C. this week, maybe we could meet for coffee. You can tell me how many parent-teacher conferences and school plays you missed this year because of work. Seriously, no one at that school will ever believe Maureen’s not a single mother.

I’m doing the tourist thing down here. Visited Arlington today (not picking out my site-you know they don’t let you do that!) Just what you’d expect, crazy around the dead Kennedys but respectful silence everywhere else, and say what you will about those Army guys, the Old Guard make all the rest of us look like slackers. It took me most of the day, walking the way the new joints require. Funny thing was, all through the day I had the oddest feeling someone was following me. Yeah, I know, I wasn’t exactly a likely candidate for stalking even before I did a number on my face. Whenever I looked, there was no one there, but it was that same feeling like when something’s off with a test even when all instruments are nominal, you just know.

I’m sure I was imagining things. Probably residual effects from all the painkillers-no wonder they don’t want me flying any planes. Anyway, don’t mean to worry you.

Just felt like I really ought to tell someone. Have it in writing, so to speak.

If you’re going to be in town in the next couple weeks, drop me a line. We’ll grab a cup and you can tell me everything I’ve missed. Everything I’m still cleared for, anyway.

Elaine

Damn the torpedoes

Posted in In Harm's Way, Private Thoughts with tags , , on June 25, 2010 by Author Jennifer Quail

Hello, all,

No torpedoes, sorry Admiral Farragut.  Full speed is a lot slower than it used to be, too.  Amtrak’s still better than trusting some commercial college kid to fly me, though.  Train was a little late from Lansing to Chic and there’s nothing to do in the station, so I’m on their computer in the first class lounge.  Yes, mother, I’ll try and do something on this vacation besides complain, I know that’s why you suggested it in the first place.  Yes, I will go and see museums besides Air and Space.  Don’t know how much walking I’ll do, the heat is supposed to be pretty bad even for spring and I remember what that’s like.  Humidity and you have to watch for storm fronts.   If I can’t I’ll hit the gym in the hotel and try to remember my PT.

No, Mom, I’m not going to Bethesda, not even for a “quick checkup” and I know you really mean the shrinks.  They don’t need to see me and I don’t need to see them.  I might get up to Annapolis, though.  I haven’t seen  Capt Shepard in a while.  They know I’m out but doubt they saw pictures.  The cane’ll surprise them, wont it?  Never mind my face. 

I’ll have a look around Old Town while I’m there.  Supposed to be lots of antique stores and used books and stuff like that.  Probably mostly tourist crap.  Dad–want me to say hi to anyone at the Supreme Court for you?  LOL. 

They’re calling our train.  I’ll call you when I’m in D.C. 

Love,

Elaine