Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A 40th to Remember

So the day started off normal.  Yeah, my birthday, big 4-oh, OK, let's move along.  Thought about going to Starbucks but didn't, arrived at work with the whole family in tow... Ian and K off to their jobs, R and J off to camp, N hanging around, heard lots of Happy Birthday!s, one of our awesome summer hires made brownies, my coCLO took over the tedious briefing we do on Tuesdays, checked email, etc. etc.

Took Rebecca to the dentist for some xrays as she's been having headaches related to jaw pain and it looks like the wisdom teeth might be a problem. Back to the Embassy.  Lunch.  CoCLO went off to the housing tour, another regular Tuesday tedium, again taking it off my plate while I agreed to head to the housing meeting that follows after.

And then about 1:30 p.m. this happened:

No, this was not a drill.  Annie in our office is a First Responder and suited up due to a questionable powder in the Consular Section.  Yeah.  The Consular Section.  Over the next hour I heard many times "Ian isn't in there, he's outside."  People watch out for each other here.  I was stuck in the North Chancery and told not to move, until the DCM came through and asked me to walk with her.  For the remainder of the day I was in the AECSA building worrying about the summer camp kids who'd been pulled from the pool and congregated in the Oasis, and then the folks who were heading to decontamination.

Hours upon hours later, after summer camp kids were corralled and managed and finally sent off home with parents, after more than half of the Consular section was scrubbed down, after Jordanian Civil Defense came in and samples were taken and extra clothes were scrounged and med visits were completed, the All Clear came through. Thank goodness, because anything else would have resulted in practically the entire Embassy getting scrubbed. Annie was exhausted, Beth and I were wiped.  I apologized to Annie for the one time I answered her cell phone and heard the cake shop saying that the ice cream cake was ready.  Oops.  Surprise busted.  It'll have to happen tomorrow. I still need to get a photo of the awesome sign over our door. I have The Best Office.

Honestly, I felt useful this birthday. I was glad to be part of something that mattered. And these two women are pretty cool.  I treated them to Krieks, straight from the co-op fridge.  Yes, I even drank most of mine, even though I "never" drink.   Because it was quite a day. I guess it's time to change that to "hardly ever."

They even got me a gift.  Which I ADORE.  It seems that the people around me almost know me better than I know me.  Which is pretty amazing since I don't share much.  I guess they're more perceptive than I am.  Or maybe I share more than I think.

Heading home, discussion went around - where to go for dinner?  Seriously, it's Ramadan and Ian was worn out and I just wanted a shower and comfy PJs.  Ian ordered in Chinese for the kids and sushi for us which was truly perfect.  Just me and my family, who totally rocked today. I answered questions, sent email and FB updates, gave guidance, got supplies, and offered assistance. Katherine kept her cool and helped the Marines find the stash of SCAPE hoods near my office when she couldn't get to her office or get off compound, and promptly got off compound when she could leave.  Rebecca was up with the summer camp kids and helped keep them in order well past their pick up time. Jonathon and Nicholas stayed out of the way and followed directions.  Ian did what he did best - assess, give guidance, and keep calm. No panicking by anyone.

After sushi I got even more gifts.  How to Train Your Dragon dragons (from the middle kids, these will grace my desk)! A "Hodor" sweatshirt (from Katherine... Hodor Hodor Hodor!) And a new iPhone (since mine doesn't hold a charge for more than a few hours anymore).

It's funny, not in a Ha-Ha funny but in a How About That funny, that just this morning I was continuing my EAC (emergency action committee) FSI training and updating our office phone tree.  I'd been thinking we hadn't had an incident in a couple months, and much like earthquakes around the world, it felt like one was overdue. I'm truly glad the end result was "All Clear."

And I'll never forget when I turned 40.


  1. Happy Birthday and WOW...so glad for you all regarding the all clear as well as having a great team to get through. Sounds like enough to be getting on with on any ole day and with a birthday to boot, I doubt you will ever forget that day, which is good for saying "my memory is as sharp as a tack, when I turned 40 I know exactly what I had for dinner, what I was wearing, where each of my kids were, ....." :)