Yesterday was one of those surreal days that makes me wonder about being in good with a higher power. I must admit that after 25 years I still have a twinge of "impostor syndrome" where you feel like you're sometimes not qualified to be doing the job that you do. I frequently have feelings of "they're paying me to do this?!?" because it all seems so easy. It's only when you really think about how much knowledge you DO have on the subject that you feel more comfortable that you ARE getting paid for being a storehouse of knowledge. Case in point, there was a meeting yesterday about how we can help the ecosystem of one of our main tributaries where we control the flow. I am famous among the group because I had pulled a Homer Simpson back in 2009 which did more ecological good on the system than had been done in the previous 20-30 years. If you have forgotten, pulling a Homer Simpson means having something good happen just by shear chance usually as a result of some stupidity. In the subsequent years I have come up with several plans which have helped the health of the river. Yesterday I came up with another plan that I put together in a matter of seconds. The meeting stopped and everyone looked at me with a "that's brilliant!" look. OK. Score one for me. Then things got weird. There was a person in the room from our regional office. She was there to be a fly on the wall and learn about various river systems in the region. She had mentioned that her main job was working on the restoration of habitat in the Grand Canyon. I know this has been an ongoing project of my agency for decades. While talking with her I had mentioned that I had dreamed of getting on one of the research teams that float down the river and study the ecosystem. Shen whipped out her cell phone and sent an email to the team leader. In a few minutes I got a reply saying that I could join their team for next month's trip. BWAH?!? So if all goes to plan I will be joining a scientific team on a river trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This is definitely a bucket list item for me. I have been dreaming about such an excursion for at least 20 years. I had even planned on buying a trip from a commercial outfit after I retired even though they can easily cost $2-3K a person. So I will be keeping my claws crossed that all goes according to plan. I should have no problem getting permission from my supervisor since she herself made the trip last year.
EDIT: Well...the slot I was supposed to fill next month has already been filled. There is a shot for September, but I'm on the "waiting list." The good news is that I am now on the list of possible scientists for future missions, so if not this year...then next.