I have been off work now for two weeks. I had these grand plans of coming back early and working this Friday and Saturday nights, but I decided I just wanted to take some more time off. So our routine has been a bit disrupted now that both of us are up during the day (I didn't switch to nights as I had planned -- every time I planned to stay the night awake and sleep in the morning, I would drop from exhaustion by midnight and sleep until 9am).
I've been running around doing errands during the day. I've been back to the gym on a more regular basis, with a renewed devotion thanks to a week of daily working out with my sister Vina and bro-in-law Adam. So I'm back in the glamorous and modern club filled with this year's batch of New Year Resolutionists. It's made the club a lot more crowded.
I've been using flickr.com's printing service. It's a bit more pricey than other internet photo printing services I have used. For 20 cents per 4x6, I can go to the Target down the road and pick them up in an hour. I ordered 11 pics, and with the first 10 free, I only had to pay 20 cents, and the prints look great. The prices really do need to come down though. Snapfish.com has a deal at 15cents per 4x6, and my mom and sisters have been ordering through WalMart, and are also able to pick up their prints in an hour at the WalMart right up the street.
Well I'm back to work Sunday night. It's about 430AM and I'm trying to stay up until 7 or 8 before sleeping during the day. It's been hard switching back to nights because I have been wanting to run around during the day for errands and such. But I think I'm ready to fall back into my usual routine. The other night shift charge nurse has taken a week off for the Chinese New Year (she's... duh... Chinese) and so I'll be working another run of days.
I'm watching the news about this being the 20 year anniversary of the Challenger disaster. That year, I was completing my last year at William and Mary, preparing to be a high school teacher (Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics). I had the day off from student teaching, and was living in a one bedroom apartment in Williamsburg, Virginia. My television was an old black and white. I was driving an 8-cylinder Malibou Classic. I don't think I owned a stereo system.
It was almost lunchtime when Challenger exploded. I was particularly excited with the prospect of a teacher going into space. As I watched the shuttle and two rocket boosters reaching the sky, I saw the explosion and smoke... the way the suddently unrestrained rocket boosters veered off in random directions. It was weird how there really wasn't any screaming or shouting... It took several minutes for everyone to slowly realize what had happened. I didn't think the shuttle exploded because of that NASA announcer guy that kept announcing the rising elevation as though nothing had happened.
The news anchors were stunned also. I remember hearing the sound of their microphones shutting on and off, as they muted them undoubtedly to receive updates.
One of them said something like, "well... obviously... something has gone terribly wrong."
There was a crowd of bystanders at the bleachers set up to watch the shuttles lift off. Cameras constantly played over the faces of husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, children. Everyone looked up at the sky, then they would look at the NASA staff, trying to figure out the news they dreaded to figure out. Then, they were all gathered onto buses away from the observation area.
Hours later, President Regan came on and addressed the nation about the tragedy:
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
There are people on this earth who do indeed bravely fly themselves into the future, and yes, Mr. President, we will indeed follow them there.