Saturday, April 21, 2007

Off to Japan

On the road again

I am traveling to Camp Zama in Japan today to attend a fiscal law course. United States Army Japan (USARJ) is stationed at Camp Zama, 25 miles southwest of Tokyo. It is supposed to be a beautiful area - I am really looking forward to it.

Of course, the downside is I have to leave Mary alone with the kids during a particularly brutal week for her. She is scheduled to work 6 12-hour shifts over the next seven days. In other words, I couldn't have picked a worse time to travel. I would have turned down the course if I didn't need it for my professional development.

I really have to hand it to Mary. She bears the brunt of my travel. It wouldn't be so difficult for her if her job wasn't so demanding. She has to be at work at 7:00 am normally, but must be there even earlier when she stands a 12-hour shift. This makes it impossible to drop off the kids at school, since they can't arrive any earlier than 7:00 am. She has to rely on friends and babysitters to help her make everything work. Making matters worse, when she stands a 12-hour shift, she doesn't usually get home before 7:30 pm, but the kids have to be picked up from school before 5:30 pm. Again, she couldn't do it without the help of others. All this becomes a management nightmare, but she weathers it pretty well.

The fiscal law course at Camp Zama should be a real help. As I'm sure you can imagine, fiscal law and policies are a huge concern within the DoD. There are literally volumes of rules and regulations governing who can spend how much on what, and when. Many people devote their entire career to trying to master the subject. For me, I just keep those folks' phone numbers and email addresses handy.

I plan to do some video-taping and photography while in Japan. One of my life-long best friends, Mark Arquette, has a son Preston who really wants to visit Japan some day. I promised him some photos and video quite some time ago, but managed to lose everything I had in an unexpected hard drive failure. Ugh. Six months of pictures lost. Anyway, I should be able to get some good stuff on this trip that I can forward to Preston.