The extended story of my life so far ...

Written by Bob McCormick on 8/08/2006 11:44:00 PM

Based on an idea borrowed from

(updated 8.2.2006)

2006: Currently happening...
2005: Was drafted as assistant lead planner for Expedition 11 after lead planner determined he could not complete his work. Assisted in developing increment on late notice, and in the process, helped develop the plans for the eventual Shuttle return to flight. In this way, I fulfilled my vision from two years ago - in spite of everything!
2004: Was assigned lead planner for Expedition 9, which initially looked as if the Shuttle would return for but ultimately did not. Expedition became chaotic when we lost a circuit breaker that took down one of our control gyroscopes early in the Increment, leaving us one failed gyroscope away from potentially losing attitude control and/or significant altitude. Spent next two months planning spacewalks (after finding out that US EVA equipment was not usable and borrowing Russian spacesuits to do the task). Crew replaced the circuit breaker and the control gyroscope was put back in use- while still getting a significant percentage of their planned experiments done. Never say die!
2003: Columbia accident. I remember seeing the Columbia launch & thinking it looked fine ... how little I knew. Accident completely revamps how ISS will operate, and completely changes the plans I had led development on for the Expedition 7 crew (which would have launched on the Shuttle following Columbia). I decide to withdraw being that Expedition planning lead, but assist in transitioning the relevant work to the new lead. I decide I'd rather work on the Expedition that brought the Shuttle back to ISS.
2001: Become lead Operations Planner for STS-100/6A. Sometimes, ya just can't find the right way to describe stress ...
1999: Earn certification as a Station front room controller in Mission Control.
1998: Earn certification as a Station flight controller.
1997: Begin to support Shuttle flights as a flight controller (OJT). Earn my MBA. It was time consuming, but worthwhile - it has its own intrinsic value. Now if I can just convert it into actual value ...
1996: Transfer from Assembly Operations Group to Operations Planning Group (similar, but not the same work)
1995: We move to an actual house, although we're renting. Younger son is born. Travel to Moscow to participate in some of the preliminary Russian designs to work on ISS. Cannot believe I'm standing in the middle of Red Square, looking at the Kremlin & Lenin's tomb, and not seeing the familiar red flag with the hammer and sickle over the wall.
1994: Space Station almost gets cancelled, but is reincarnated as International Space Station, with heavy Russian participation. Redesign efforts get chaotic.
1993: Get fed up with some work politics, but take my energy and devote it towards continuing education - this time, not getting intimidated about pursuing a Masters, I qualify and enroll in the MBA program at UH-Clear Lake. Our group gets merged with a larger Space Station Assembly Ops group.
1992: Older son is born. Book manage the next Space Station Assembly document.
1991: Became book manager of a document that described Space Station Assembly through its first 10 flights. Twas a lot of work. Soviet Union collapses.
1990: In November, got transferred to Mission Operations-Space Shuttle/Space Station Assembly Operations Group, but had to delay my transfer for a week on account of having to get married & go on a honeymoon.
1989: Got engaged, & kept working in Mission Operations/Space Station Flight Design. Berlin Wall falls.
1988: Went to a church picnic and started up an egg-tossing event, pairing myself up with a good looking woman. We got so far apart that I really had to heave the egg high in the air to make it to her. To this day, she says I threw it too hard, but she tried to stiff-arm the catch - a big no-no in egg-tossing. Sure enough, she wound up with egg all over her shirt. I decided to make it up to her by taking her out - not as a date, but as an "apology". I've been apologizing to Mrs. McCormick ever since.
1987: Work took a funny political bounce. Company needed staffing in Washington, so I went on temporary duty for 7 consecutive 1-month arrangements, supporting Space Station Systems Engineering and Integration Group. Managed to transfer back down to Houston by November. Meanwhile, Soviet Union launches the MIR space station.
1986: Like the JFK assassination for the Baby Boomers, the Challenger explosion was the significant event for members of my generation. Couldn't get work in Engineering, since the oil patch went bust, but I realized there was plenty of work down at/around NASA. I was working at Foley's and had an afternoon shift, but tried to call a local NASA contractors to see about an opening. Was surprised to hear that "all circuits are busy" from the phone operator. Turned on the radio & put it all together. Watched the endless reports & video replays. I was concerned about my career, but more concerned about the crew and their families - and NASA as a whole. Miraculously was able to find work 3 months later with a local NASA contractor that was working on a newer project - Space Station.
1985: Managed to wear down UH, getting a BS in Mech Engineering at the end of the fall semester. Vegas bookies pay off …
1984: Elect not to go into band again - I've had my 4 years. Decided to get a degree instead. Ironically, UH managed to get to the Cotton Bowl, but got popped by Boston College & Doug Flutie. Final four again, but UH loses to Georgetown in final game.
1983: UH doesn’t qualify for a regular bowl but is invited by Mitsubishi to play SMU in the “Mirage Bowl”. Winds up being a cool 1 week trip out of the country for me, with plenty of bizarro band stuff during the trip. It’s also the peak of the Phi Slamma Jamma basketball years. Ironically/unfortunately, UH loses national championship on a dunk. I still have nightmares about that game …
1982: Managed to get a VAX account so I wouldn't have to submit my computer programs via Hollerith card decks. WOO HOO! Basketball manages to get to Final Four (1st year of a 3 year run) but loses to North Carolina in semis.
1981: President Reagan is sworn in and American hostages are released. College courses are much tougher than I thought they would be. UH goes to Sun Bowl, collapses against Oklahoma.
1980: Oilers knock harder but still can't top Steelers. Iranians take US Embassy hostages. Carter tries rescue that fails - and seals his political career. Second oil crisis and more long gas lines. I score well enough on SATs and High School rank to be unconditionally accepted at UH. Unemployment's bad nationwide, but Houston is the energy capital and is a boomtown, needing more engineers. John Lennon assassinated. I join UH Band & go to the Garden State Bowl in Giants stadium, touring New York in the process. Manage to get to the top of the World Trade Center buildings - never realizing that it would be the only time I would ever make it there.
1979: Oilers "knock on the door" but can't get past Steelers. UH beats Nebraska in a last-minute drive in the Cotton Bowl. Another oil crisis - this time, with odd-even rationing. At my mother's suggestion and my Chemistry teacher's recommendation, I attend a summer engineering seminar for 1 week at the University of Houston.
1978: I get my driver's license and my dad lets me have the old '68 VW Beetle. With no air conditioning. And black interior. In South Texas. On a positive note, I'm able to get AM stations via the one speaker I have in the dashboard. And I can fill up on about $5 - 7. Younger brother is born, and band director confuses his birth with another sax player in the band whose mom had delivered a child the week before. Hilarity ensues.
1977: Star Wars came out in May. Whoa! We're on to something here. Meanwhile, I start High School life as a lowly freshman.
1976: Carter is elected President, and his brother's drinking beer behind him while he accepts congratulations from President Ford.
1975: Dad gets a transfer to Houston, where Mom and Dad have lived ever since. The Oilers stunk, so we weren't too worried about Super Bowls. We move into a small, cramped 2 bedroom apartment on the west side & start to look for a house, which we find in Southwest Houston. I start to play sax again and find myself terribly behind the other players (wonder why?). When we move to our new house, the new band director suggested I play Bari Sax, which I continue throughout High School. I found a new late night show on TV called Saturday Night Live, with Lily Tomlin ... it was a hit. Saigon falls.
1974: Dolphins win another Super Bowl. Nixon resigns presidency - Ford (who was never elected) is sworn in. Dad gets work as an Insurance Adjuster with Crawford & Co., and looks to transfer back to Dallas. I start going to Pines Middle School. I give up on Sax since I would have had to begin all over again FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW.
1973: Unbelievably, Dolphins go undefeated & beat Washington in the Super Bowl. Dad opens the branch, only to be told that ITT was divesting itself of the business & he is let go. He decides to open his own business with janitorial supplies and services. He has one main customer, which decides to become a slow pay. Very not good, because he is undercapitalized AND OPEC decides to shut down oil delivery, delivering the first oil crisis. Dad folds the business & looks for work in Insurance adjusting (he had previous experience). Watergate hearings start on national TV during the summer. We all scrape by. NOT A GOOD YEAR
1972: Staubach becomes Cowboys QB & they win the Super Bowl this time. Life is good. But then we have to move to Miami - Dad will be opening up a branch for a janitorial supplies company in the area (the company is a subsidiary of ITT). No sax playing for me until Sunshine Elementary starts band instruments - I have to pretend that I'm learning to play all over again.
1971: Practically have a nervous breakdown after the Cowboys lose the Super Bowl. St. Monica's offers band classes for kids who want to join. I learn to play the alto sax. My younger sister is born in December (Pearl Harbor Day).
1970: While I managed to fit in at St. Monica's, my sister never did. To make matters worse, she had a congenital heart failure and died in November of that year. NOT A GOOD YEAR.
1969: Armstrong & Aldrin land on the Moon, and we land in Dallas. I go to F.P.Calliet Elementary midway through first grade, and I couldn't understand my teacher because of her Texas accent. (I eventually learn to speak Texan.) I ran slower than any of the other kids & got teased pretty badly (and my older sister got it worse). My sister and I enroll at St. Monica School at the beginning of the next school year, leaving the trauma of F.P. Calliet behind.
1968: Democratic National Convention. I like pulling this factoid out of the air with baby boomers ..."Yeah man, I was there in Chicago in '68" ... makes me sound like a hippie rabble rouser of the time. Of course, it's context dropping ... I was actually living in the 'burbs and was only 6 at the time. I like to see if any of them catch on to that ...
1967 :My first year in school at Lincoln Elementary in Villa Park, IL. I went back there 25 years later & found that it was gone ... replaced with houses. You'd never know a school was there. :*(
1966: My first memories - our family traveled to Battle Creek, MI, and visited the Kellogg's plant. I was completely rattled by the sound of the machines making the cereal - to this day, I can't stand Fruit Loops.
1965: We move from Chicago to Elmhurst, IL (Chicago suburb)
1962: Born - April 13, in Chicago, IL. (Actually, technically in Evanston, IL - the road that the hospital is on is the city limit of Chicago, but is on the non-Chicago side). Same day as Thomas Jefferson's birthday

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  1. 1 comments: Responses to “ The extended story of my life so far ... ”

  2. By pegster on 9:09 PM

    it's like your life flashed before my eyes....and you're not the only one who has nightmares about the phi slama jama days.

    now if the astros could just win enough games to clinch the wild card....