Getting Short

I asked Russ during our last visit to think about a few things he wanted to do once he got out. Here’s the list he came up with: 

1. I need to see my son, visit with my father, and somehow thank the friends who’ve stood by me throughout this whole ordeal. I don’t know about the mechanics of these things, but I’m aching to do them … I’ll have to figure out HOW as soon as I get my feet under me and get a feel for what this new chapter is going to be like.

2. I want to wake up on day one of freedom and go for a 5 to 10 mile run – maybe get lost. I want to just go out in whatever direction the wind takes me and get lost in the sunlight, the breeze and do something I love.

3. Also on day one, I want to eat my favorite restaurant, the Cheesecake Factory. I’m going to eat a basket of their rye bread with butter, drink a gallon of their passion fruit iced tea, and order more food than I will be able to finish, including cheese cake, of course.

4. Speaking of food, I also want to go to a mall and sit in the food court. I’ll gorge myself on some decadent fast food … Chick-Fil-A, maybe? But really I want to just watch the people go by.

5. While I’m still focused on food: I want to go to a huge grocery store and fill up a cart. I can only imagine the random assortment of food I’ll walk out with. I want to stock up on all the things I’ve gone without over the past three years: fresh fruits, dark chocolate, juicy steak … and a whole bunch of other stuff that I won’t know until I see it.

6. Since it’ll be August when I get out, I want to find a nice outdoor pool and dive in. I want to swim!

7. I really need to check my email. Somewhere among the hundreds of thousands of emails I’ve missed, there are probably messages from good people I’ve lost touch with.

8. There are practical things that are also on my list: buy a car, turn my cell phone back on (hopefully), and get started at my new job. I’m excited for these things because they mean I’ll be transitioning back to normalcy.

9. I also need to make up for some lost cultural experiences. I want to bar-b-q with friends, download all sorts of new music to my iPod, and reactivate my Netflix account.

10. If I can pry myself away from Netflix, I’d also like to buy a guitar. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in here, it’s that you’ve always gotta be bettering yourself in some way – teaching yourself something. You’ve gotta make a habit out of finding new hobbies. I think because life is so busy people forget how important it is to find new hobbies and get passionate about them for a while.

11. Along that vein, I’ve been thinking about ways I can volunteer. I’ve spent my whole life (minus the past three years) in a service-oriented profession. I think it’ll make my transition from the military and from prison a lot easier if I can create some continuity with my previous life by volunteering at Habitat for Humanity or something similar.

12. I’ve also been thinking I’d like to set a reachable goal for myself – who knows if I’ll be good at this new job I’ve got, if I’ll have a good relationship with my parole officer, if I’ll be able to manage this transition well. But I WILL be able to summit Pike’s Peak. I think I’ll need that sense of accomplishment  – so that’s definitely on my list.

13. Speaking of which, I’ll need to convince my parole officer that I’m not a dirtbag – that I won’t be a problem for him over the next few years.

And so many other things. So so so many other things. But that’s all for now.

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5 thoughts on “Getting Short

  1. I think you are going to be shocked by the price of groceries when you go shopping. Probably double the price of what you are accustomed to.

    Also think of this as a verrryy long deployment with all that entails. Missed movies, cultural events, stars deaths, people moved etc etc etc.

    Good luck with the next chapter in your life!! You seem to have a good attitude about the whole thing.

  2. What is the status of your appeal? If you were to be granted 1 or 2 years relief in you appeal would you still take parole? Or, complete your time in the USDB and get a straight release with no parole?

    • brad,
      Thanks for the question. Russ can’t respond without significant delay, so I’ll answer this as best I can. His appeals process is ongoing. It reached the first level of the military appellate court hierarchy and he received a year off his sentence. His appeal is now on its way to the next level of appellate court. He’d already been granted parole when he received word about his first-level appeal, so it means that he’ll be on parole for less time. That some of his sentence was commuted was a big victory. He was, of course, hoping for more. But once the system has convicted someone, the hurdle of getting the conviction overturned is far higher than the hurdle of not being convicted in the first place.

  3. I fell behind reading your blog but am happy to learn that you have a detailed plan/list of things that you want to do when you are released. Not only that, but they are really great things to do! I am happy that your appeal is going well (relatively) so far and pray it continues on that path. I’m sorry that you were wrongly convicted and that it has taken so long for you to get your parole granted. You’ve been in my prayers since I first discovered this blog site almost two years ago. God bless and keep you in your future. Though your road has been difficult (an understatement for sure) I pray that you are able to find some sort of meaning in it (at least that is what I try to do though my negative experiences pale in comparison to yours). And this is why I haven’t written before, considering the hell that you’ve lived in for years, what can any of us on the outside say (write) that doesn’t sound foolish or meaningless? Maybe just leave it at a prayer that God will bless you and that you will find happiness after you leave there.

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