January 10, 1996
This is an office photo--The Directorate of Intelligence, Targets Shop, otherwise known as DOIT. The guy in the jacket in the very back row is my boss, Michael Geary. He's a looney, and he knows it. When he was in charge, we had an office tradition called 'mandatory fun' where we'd schedule 30 seconds of time, every two weeks or so, and everyone would get together, jump up and down and act silly for 30 seconds. Then we'd get back to work. Sometimes I'd bring a banana for no particular reason. Mike Geary is the only guy I've ever worked with who was more disturbing than I was, and he was my boss. But we had sooooo much fun working together!
The old, short, heavy-set guy in the front row is J.C. Collins, retired Senior Master Sergeant, the subject of one of my poems I wrote in 1998 ("This One's For You").
Once Michael had a framed photo of Senior Master Sergeant Zima on his desk, ready to go into the hallway on our leadership wall. Michael was never fond of SMSgt Zima, a heavy-handed go-getter who seemd more interested in being promoted than being respected. Michael's wife would make him lunch every day, and write a very-sweet note on the napkin, signed "Sweetie" or something like that. So I took Michael's napkin and stuck it on the frame, making it look like a note from SMSgt Zima to Michael. We'd do these kinds of things daily, while working, or just have the most hilarious, off-the-wall conversations. My coworker, Amanda Fox, would often be referred to as "Amanda Hug & Kiss". Michael liked referring to others as 'scum-sucking pigs'. It wasn't offensive, it was just him. Once Michael did a briefing for the commander, and had one slide written in Greek. Why?--I don't know, but when the Commander asked him what it was, he replied,"Sir, I don't know--it's all Greek to me!" People liked Michael's work, and they loved Michael, so he got away with a lot.
Just Doit (with a banana)>>>
Shortly after this picture was taken, I had to go on a day-trip, also known as Temporary Duty (TDY), to Washington, D.C. with Leslie McGinnis(front row) to attend a conference on some of the work we were doing at DOIT. I was Leslie's boss, as well as Tom Councell's(far left, second row). It was natural that Leslie and I, or Tom and I, would travel together. Tom and I had done a number of trips already, and Leslie was with me and Spence (not shown) in early 1996 when we were stranded in Huntsville, Alabama for three days in an ice storm. It was not unusual.
Miimii and I were going through a hard time. She was mean, I was tired, and I was also tired of her being mean, so neither of us was the most romantic spouse in the world. My father was dying--another point of stress. I'd go to work, work my heart out for a boss (actually two) who really liked me, people who liked me and thought I was one of the funniest guys they'd ever known, female co-workers who were pretty, smiled a lot, and also respected and liked me, and come home, proud of the hard work I'd done for my country and family, proud that I'd finally put in the time to not only do my job, but cement solid work relationships, and be met by a napping wife who awoke grouchy, and irritated at my very presence.

Then, on February 16, I received a letter from a long lost friend, KAREN GULLEDGE , whom I once deeply cared for. It was so nice to have a sweet person to talk to and I realized I'd missed Karen over the five years I hadn't heard from her. Miimii and I had grown apart since we'd moved to Virginia. She was working full time and when I went to D.C. with Leslie, I was very excited to get away, and drive a Toyota Camry for the first time. I'd entertained the idea of buying a larger car, and I'd read so much about how smooth the Camry was. But Miimii thought I was excited because I had a thing for Leslie. Leslie, at the time, was very pregnant, I worked with her husband, and I was her boss, so we worked closely, but never, in a million years, had any romance! Leslie had a quick witt and a healthy appreciation for sarcasm, which worked well with my humor. I'd wanted Miimii to get to know some of my co-workers, and Leslie and Miimii seemed like a good fit. Leslie's husband was a comedian too--when I'd ask him about her pregnancy, he'd say he was excited and then, convincincly serious, say,"And if I ever catch the guy who did it..." But Miimii got even worse...always cranky and rude. I couldn't understand how someone could be so jealous and yet, at the same time, so cold and unaffectionate. If you don't want your man to be taken by another woman, you have to make him want to be with you! So when I got to D.C. I called Karen (Miimii knew and encouraged this) and we talked for 3 1/2 hours. Karen said she'd come up to see Miimii and I. It never happened, and Karen and I only exchanged three letters and that phone call.

In the course of my marriage, and in my single life now, I find that I love having a committed lady in my life (I committed Miimii once against her will--but that's not what I mean), but sometimes I just want the company of someone I don't owe anything to. Sometimes I just need to be with a nice lady who listens, knows me, doesn't 'expect' me to say, do, or feel anything. I felt that with Karen, whose friendship was always unconditional, although it wasn't a romantic relationship we had. Romance doesn't always break up a marriage. I was tired of being the appeaser with Miimii--on a few occasions, the conversation would reach a crossroads where I could appease, and I didn't, because I felt I was compromising to cover her inability to control her temper. I pushed her buttons. With the chill running through our relationship, knowing the troubles that had plagued us our entire marriage, although I had no other person in my life to run to, if Miimii had asked for a divorce, I would have gladly said,"Hell yes!"

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January 10, 1996