On July 27th, I got a call asking if I was available to head out for thirty days to the Gulf of Mexico and perform air testing associated with the BP oil spill cleanup effort. I used to do air sampling work full-time, and still work with my old company on occasion doing odd jobs and technical writing work, so it wasn't a matter of qualification that gave me pause. Neither was it the opportunity to see the oil spill first hand. Rather, it was the prospect of packing up and leaving my life as I know it for thirty days to go live on a barge that made the decision very difficult. After consulting with my girlfriend, family, and house mates—and getting plenty of assurance from them all that they could maintain things without me for a month—I decided it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.