A plan is coming together. Slowly. Like most big plans, the picture gets much more muddled before it ever becomes clear. As many of you know by now, the lady friend is pursuing her education to the fullest, and this time it is likely to take us into the inter mountain west or beyond. It is no secret that I've always wanted to live out west anyway, and to that end I've accepted an offer to resume my old job in a national park whose name causes French people to snicker.
It seems like the best option at this point anyway since I can't seem to get a job around here and, even if I did, I'd just have to leave it when lady friend heads off to school, me in tow, in August, wherever that may be. And besides, my old boss contacted me out of the blue with the job offer. It's nice to be wanted for a change. So I will be donning the funny hat in Wyoming come April, the only question being how to bring lady friend along, which is a housing issue. Park housing is limited and I've been told they no longer offer couples housing. That's a problem.
We had envisioned me leaving in April with her following a month or two later and spending the summer together in one of the most beautiful places in the world. That image, however, did not include a third roommate. There's still a chance that a different job in the same place could open up, and maybe the housing options related to it would be different.
At this point, though, a job's a job, so we're sticking to the plan.
Yesterday I went to the police department and had two sets of fingerprints made and mailed them to the park service along with an incredibly exhausting and frustrating set of forms for a background check that required me to detail every place of residence and employment for the past seven years, with personal references for each. If you know me you are aware that that is no easy task. I have been a nomad.
And if you've ever worked for the federal government, you know that these background investigations feel more like a test to see if you can handle the bureaucratic quagmire your life is about to become. My last season in the park (third in a row, 2006), I still had to do the whole fingerprinting/background thing, except they called me on the phone while I was already on my way out there to tell me that the process was not complete and I would not be able to start for another two weeks or so until I was cleared.
I was on I-70 in Middle-of-Nowhere Missouri at the time.
In my indecision I continued for another two hours until I crossed into Kansas where, sitting in a parking lot chewing on a Grilled Stuffed Burrito, I decided they could go fuck themselves and I got back on the interstate headed back east, toward home. Back in the middle of The Show Me State, I camped for the night and had a message on my phone in the morning telling me they'd come up with a solution to the problem wherein I could start work immediately (as planned) and they could tack my hours onto the previous season. So, goddamnit, I pointed the old Ford west once again, in effect driving the state of Missouri twice in one trip.
Ahh, government work. Hey, at least they're hiring.
(And don't get me wrong. I bitch about the process, but I'm a pig in shit out there. I've already started getting myself in shape for the mountains and have been dreaming of the potential climbing objectives since before I accepted the job. So shed not a tear.)