My New Normal

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began – or more specifically since Friday March 20TH 2020 – I’ve driven a grand total of 367 miles over the past 76 days. That’s an average of less than 5 miles per day. (Generally I average 28 miles per day over the course of a year including road-trips.)

Over the past 76 days I drove 0 miles on 47 of those days. #SaferAtHome

I haven’t driven more than 3 days in a row since March 17TH to 20TH (4 days in a row).

I filled-up with gas on April 27TH – 48 days after the previous time I filled-up. I still have more than a half-tank remaining.

All of this ends later this month when I embark on a 1,600+ mile road-trip. That 1,600+ miles will occur during an 8-day stretch in which I’ll visit longtime friends along the way, and spend quality time with family. #Excited

I finally got a haircut for the first time in over 4 months. Usually I get one after a little more than 2 months. My hair was out-of-control. I was starting to look a lot like disheveled “Younger Me”.

This Friday June 05TH is my birthday, and I’ll be enjoying a nice delicious Lunch inside a popular local restaurant for the first time since March 15TH. I’ll be eating out a lot during this month, as I take advantage of lots of free birthday delights !

It’s Thursday June 04TH 2020, and this blog post goes LIVE at 3 AM EDT (U.S. East Coast time). It’s the start of a fresh new weekend of blogging for me. I’ll be back tomorrow (Friday) to go RETRO – back to a previous birthday from 49 years ago. #1971

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

My Last 2 Years On Active Duty Air Force

National Military Appreciation Month continues on this 3RD Thursday of the month with my own appreciation of my 35-year career with the United States Air Force. It’s no secret that I’m currently in the greatest 13-year era of my career. It started at the end of July of 2007, and it continues to this day. But there’s a runner-up to this great era, and that’s January 1991 to February 1993.

I was sent to war (Operation Desert Shield / Storm) as 1991 began. I didn’t volunteer for it. I’m actually quite antiwar. I was sent as punishment by my supervisors at the time. They didn’t like me, and they made life miserable for me. I threatened to report them for harassment. Before I could take action on that they sent me away to Saudi Arabia.

As it turns out my deployment overseas into the war zone turned out to be the turning point of my career back then. I was scared over there due to an uncertain future, but I also made new friends with fellow airmen from other bases, and I matured quite a bit in “Tent City” in the desert. I flopped at building fuel tanks, but I exceled at building bombs.

When I returned home to Homestead AFB after the war I was immediately sent home to my family near Washington D.C. for up to 30 days of uncharged “rest and recuperation” leave. When I returned to the base I met my brand new supervisor. You see my previous supervisor, and a few others as well – were relieved of their duties and sent away while I was away. I wasn’t informed of the specifics, but the outcome was great. There was even a reorganization of our squadron and flight structure. We even moved to a different building down towards the other end of the airfield. It continued the peak of my career at that time that started at wartime.

And then Hurricane Andrew destroyed the base. I became a “refugee” at Andrews AFB Maryland. I picked that base because it was my hometown base at the time – closest to my family. I really liked my supervisor and coworkers at my new base. They treated me nice. They respected me. I respected them. I informed them quite early on that I would not be reenlisting for a 3RD 4-year term in early-1993, so they had me for about 6 months to do what they wanted with me. They had me teach them everything I knew about the computer system and database that we managed and utilized in my career field at that time. They were so impressed that they had me teach the rest of the base as well. I was essentially a teacher for my 6 months there. They gave me a bunch of awards for my work during my short stay there – the most prominent of which hangs on my wall just above my computer workstation here.

My last duty day was the same day that the World Trade Center in New York City was bombed the first time around (Friday February 26TH 1993). We found out about the bombing via overhead TV sets at Pizza Hut where we had my farewell luncheon. I went on “terminal leave” for a month after that, and at the end of March I was officially out of the Air Force after nearly 8 years, or so I thought …

gray plane inside hangar
Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Sunday Scripture

Boots On Guest Bed

This was my little feline buddy ‘Boots’. I met him in 1994, and we officially became housemates on New Year’s Day 1995. Over the years Boots developed my personality in a cat’s body. He was the smartest cat I’ve ever met. I talked to him, and he understood me, and he responded to me.

Boots’ favorite hobbies included greeting me at the front door all the time, following me everywhere I went, watching my every move, eating with me, sleeping with me, and (for fun) pushing geckos off the back porch screen in order to “save my life”. If Boots saw a gecko climbing on the outside of the screen it would only take him mere seconds to jump up and push that gecko off the screen and tumbling 15 feet to the ground below. Once he did that he’d look back at me for my instant approval (which I always granted).

Boots was with me for 12½ years – the toughest 12½ years of my adult life. Exactly 13 years ago last night on May 16TH 2007 was a horrible night for Boots and I. He was in agonizing pain (due to the effects of various diseases), and he could no longer hide it. He was screaming all night long. He could no longer walk. He lost the ability to purr. I knew that was his last night of life.

The next morning I made the ultimate decision to put him to sleep to end his terminal pain and suffering that he was enduring. I was with him at the very end at the animal hospital, and he meowed at me one last time as if to thank me for loving him for all of those years. His eyes slowly closed after that, and I cried.

His doctor said it was my final good deed for him, and that he probably lived much longer than he should have – due to the love that I provided to him over the years.

Boots On The Couch

Psalm 34-18

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

My First Car

1980 Chevy Citation

My first car was a 1980 Chevy Citation. I bought it used with my own money as a 16½-year-old in early-1984 as a Junior in High School. It was a beige 2-door hatchback. It looked very much like the car that is 2ND from the bottom in the ad above.

I was a “paper boy” back then. Once I bought the car my delivering of the newspapers around my neighborhood early in the morning became so much easier. It got a major upgrade. I went from a 10-speed bicycle that often got flat tires to an actual car !

I also drove my car to school sometimes, but not all the time. I’d get made fun of for my “cheap used car”. I lived in a rich neighborhood at the time, and my high school was one of the top in the nation as far as income of the parents of the students, so naturally the students were rich too. My parents were not rich, so I wasn’t either.

On June 12TH 1985 I shipped-off to Air Force Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas. 2 months later I was at Tech School at Chanute AFB in Rantoul Illinois. Right around Labor Day Weekend my Dad and my little brother drove my car 700 miles from McLean Virginia to Chanute AFB. They essentially delivered my car to me. I showed them the base and the local area, they spent the night at a local hotel, and then they flew back home the next day.

Here’s a photo of that day. My 10-year-old brother took this picture:

Chris Soldier Dad_0002

Unlike high school I suddenly became popular in my dorm when people saw me with car keys and an actual car. Everyone wanted to be friends with me. People wanted to be advised whenever I planned to drive off-base to visit places in Rantoul or Champaign.

In October 1985 I received notification that after I graduate from tech school my first permanent duty station would be – overseas in the United Kingdom. I was enjoying the final month of my car. After graduation I drove my car back home to McLean Virginia, and then about a week later I shipped-off to England. My dad sold my car.

May is National Military Appreciation Month. I’ll present military-themed stories every Thursday this month.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Work At Home; Walk Near Home

I’m nearing the end of Week 5 of working at home (out of my kitchen). The commute from my master bedroom to my “desk” (kitchen table) is right at about 6 seconds.

I actually drove to my actual workplace for the 2ND Monday morning in a row this past Monday, and I spent over 5 hours there trying to work as normal of a traditional work day as possible. I plan to do it again this upcoming Monday !  Maybe in May I’ll expand to Thursdays as well at my actual workplace.

I still don’t miss the traffic between here and there. My workplace is about 5 miles away as the crow flies, but it’s currently a rough and tough 9½ miles away by road (due to road detours). On a really good day it can take 20 minutes to get between home and work. On a bad day – 40 minutes or more.

Meanwhile my walking (for exercise) has intensified recently. Between March 22ND and April 22ND (a full month) I walked on 9 mornings at dawn. My start times were as follows:  0715, 0709, 0707, 0706, 0705, 0701, 0703, 0658, and 0650. (Dawn is starting earlier each morning.) I’ve walked a total of 13.09 miles. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic I had only walked 3 times this season (once in December, January, and February) for a total of 8.50 miles. Those 3 walks were at the walking / jogging track at the (currently closed) city park down the road from my neighborhood.

This is Season 13 of my fitness program (also known as “The Major’s Walk-A-Thon”). It’s my busiest season since Season 10 (2016-2017), and it’s my 5TH-busiest season ever.

I probably have a few more walks to go before this season ends (due to unbearable weather conditions). Here in South Florida we have a 5-month rainy season that runs from the middle of May through the middle of October. We receive over 70% of our annual rainfall during those 5 months. That’s about 4 feet of rain in 5 months. Additionally minimum temperatures at dawn generally hover between 77°F and 83°F with relative humidity at or just below 100%. Did I mention all of the bugs (many of which bite) that love that moisture ?

Yeah Season 13 is nearing its end, but Season 14 shall commence later this year once a new dry season takes hold here in South Florida.

“The Major’s Walk-A-Thon” is dedicated to my dad – William L. Day – who lost the ability to walk on his own in 2006 due to the crippling effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The disease would take his life less than 4 years later. 54 years ago today – April 23RD 1966 – he and my mom got married in the Philippines.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Weekend Kickoff Mini-Thoughts

It’s back for the first time in 5 months – a rapid-fire session of thoughts on my mind right this minute:

  • I miss doing these fun blog posts.
  • This was a fan favorite from the early days of this blog.
  • By “early days” I mean late-2000s.
  • Most of you weren’t tracking with me back then.
  • “Tracking with me” – that’s a favorite phrase among pastors and preachers.
  • This “Sunday Scripture” I’ll look back at my 4-part sermon “Faces & Heels”.
  • It’ll be a nice wrap-up of that 4-Sunday experiment.
  • So I’m nearing the end of Week 4 of my work-at-home experience.
  • It’s an experience – no longer an experiment.
  • The biggest “pro” – not having to deal with traffic.
  • The biggest “con” – working longer (and more erratic) hours at home.
  • I’m working out of my kitchen.
  • I never eat in my kitchen.
  • I always eat in my living room.
  • I’ve driven only 88 miles over the past 28 days.
  • I last filled-up with gas 37 days ago.
  • Last week I walked only 11.63 miles.
  • That was barely over 25,000 steps in 7 days.
  • That was the lowest ever during my 4½-year #Fitbit era.
  • 3 weeks ago was my 3RD-lowest week of the era.
  • Ironically despite little to no exercise – I’m losing weight.
  • I can’t explain that.
  • Maybe I’ll get up and walk at dawn this morning.
  • Lately we’ve been close to 80°F at dawn.
  • This morning we could actually dip into the lower-70s.
  • That’s an incentive to get up and walk around outside.
  • Next week marks 12 years since I quit smoking !
  • I smoked from age 11 to 41.
  • You know I’m doing a lot less laundry since I’ve been working at home.
  • My washer and dryer are using less electric power.
  • My A.C. is using more electric power.
  • It runs at the same temperature day and night now (77°F).
  • Happy 39TH Birthday tomorrow to my sister-in-law Christina !
  • She doesn’t read this blog.
  • Nobody in my family reads this blog.
  • Happy 10TH Birthday this coming Monday to my oldest niece Taylor !
  • I met Taylor for the first time at #DFW when she was 24 days old.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing my family again at the end of June.
  • Well I’m running out of things to write, so let’s end it here.
  • That was abrupt.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

New Look, New Feel

So you’ve noticed that my blog has a new look and a new feel to it. Last weekend I changed the theme (as WordPress calls it), and I customized it to look as close as possible to the previous theme. This is the first time I’ve changed the theme of my blog in about 10 years, so it was time to do so. It’s got a cleaner and crisper look now, and it’ll take a little while to get used to it, but I’ll manage. I may still tweak it a little here and there.

Last week (23-29 March 2020) was my most sedentary week in over 4 years as per my Fitbit. I only walked 12.20 miles, and that actually included a 1.47-mile walk around my neighborhood early last Saturday morning. I walked a 3.01-mile day on that Saturday – the most in over 3 weeks – yet that wasn’t enough to prevent it from being such an inactive week of walking. Now that my professional workplace office is temporarily my kitchen – I don’t have much to walk. I really need to force myself to go outside before I begin each new work day and just walk around for a mile or more.

For those of you tracking with me on “Sunday Scripture” I’m half-done with my WWE-inspired online-only sermon “Faces & Heels”. Part 3 is coming this Sunday. I know that I’ve exceeded my “3-minutes-or-less” reading rule for both Part 1 and Part 2 by about a minute or two apiece, so I’ll make-up for it with this short blog post.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries