Happy Birthday to me. I'm 30 today.

Ann asked me if I was excited to be turning thirty. I'm not particularly excited, but I don't really mind. The same way that I didn't mind when I turned 29. I'm just adding another 1 to the log. I understand that this is a major milestone for some people but after running with an older crowd for all of my adult life, I'm comfortable with this concept. No stress from me.

That said, now arriving at thirty, things are going very well. I'm making more money than I ever have, and my home life is wonderful. My hip doesn't bother me nearly as much as it once did, still haven't had a cavity, and I'm living largely headache-free. My job is more stressful than it has ever been, but the overtime checks look really pretty in my savings accounts. I've got friends out here now, and that's something that I've been working on for quite a while. All in all, I'd like to think that I'm aging pretty well.

There were major events in the last year. First was the birth of my niece back in December. This has added to a more turbulent extended family situation, but I've found these things tend to resolve themselves without intervention. I'm overdue for a trip back Upstate, but I'm aiming for August for that one. It still feels a little strange to go back there to do baby things and then dash back of to my other life back here. I'm resisting the somewhat irrational urge to go all crazy on them, at least until they're old enough to appreciate the subtle charms of the horse track.

Second was my little tryout for Jeopardy! some of you may have heard about. I think that I did pretty well during the in-person tryout, so I'm cautiously optimistic. At the same time, there were several people there that were trying out for the third or fourth time, so I'm forcing myself to be realistic. It would be nice is all.

Third was Ann's completion of her Master's degree, teaching her first course, and plugging away at her Doctorate. I have the fullest confidence in her ability to nail this doctorate out of the way she can do exactly what she loves every day for the rest of her life. Watching her give a presentation at the MSA conference back in March was an amazing experience, and I came out of it even more impressed with her than I did going in.

So, yeah, 30. Huh. Woo.

I was driving on an entrance ramp to a highway. It was raining heavily and mud was everywhere. Lots of people were getting stuck and others were driving off-road around them, trying to reach the highway.

Suddenly, a flock of police cars showed up and pulled everyone over. We were taken to a warehouse where the police started lecturing us about staying on the road and obeying all traffic regulations. There were lots of motorists milling about, not really paying attention to the lecture and just waiting to get their tickets so they could get on with their lives. I was one of those people.

As I wandered from the warehouse to the parking lot outside, I saw two gang-members (apparently also stopped by the police) enter the warehouse carrying big guns. I quickly left the parking lot and went into the park outside.

There were gang-members in the park too - and they knew I was a witness, but there were also a lot of people cooking BBQ and playing soccer, so I thought I'd be safe there. If they came after me in such a crowd, there would be too many witnesses to deal with.

Soon after, I heard many bursts of machine-gun fire coming from the warehouse. Did they kill just the police? Or did they kill the motorists too, so as not to leave any witnesses? I didn't want to go back and find out.

I wondered how I would get home, since the gang-members still controlled the warehouse and probably the parking lot around it. As I was calling my family, I tried to move to an angle where I could get a look at the parking lot to see if the coast was clear.

I thought maybe I'll take a bus home today and come back for my car tomorrow.

Then I woke up.

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