Thursday, June 09, 2005

What's up my Homey?

I know I haven't posted lately but it's been busy. Not the non stop busy that makes you pull your hair out, but just little spurts of busy throughout the day. Before I know it it's the middle of the night and I need to go to sleep. It's a good tempo though, it's making the days fly by. I don't really have anything important to say, I don't even have any witty garbage to fill a page. So I figure I'll just give you a few little tid bits of what I've been up to.

The weather is getting hotter. It's been about 108-109 with peaks around 112. I know it's going to get even hotter though. The summer where I live in the states gets into the low hundreds in the summer, but I expect 120-130 here when it really kicks in. The bugs are unbelievable. I counted the bites on my arms just now so I could give you a count. Right arm 27 left arm somewhere around 42. The left arm is harder to tell because there is this one little concentrated area on my elbow that I think a tiny bug landed on while I was sleeping last night and just went to town. The space is maybe two inches by two inches and there's around 20 bites just in that area. They're small and itchy and hard to count one from the next. Good news is that, unbeknownst to me, the Army has exterminators. In fact it was one of the guys I got recalled with and went through the initial training. He was spraying the common areas and I talked him into feeling sorry for a fellow IRR soldier and he sprayed our room today. Hopefully that helps. Between the bugs and the heat I haven't been sleeping very much, maybe 2-3 hours a night. I think that will change though. I cleaned the filter in the AC and we shut it off for a few hours today. Once I took the filter out we noticed that most of the inside of the unit was iced over. We let it thaw out and now it's really kicking some cold air. My hope is that the combination of spray and AC will chase the bugs away. These bugs aren't like American bugs. They know when you're swatting them away and when you're actually trying to kill them. The flys will let you touch them if they think you aren't trying to kill them. If they're on the table at dinner or something like that you can actually push them out of the way, but if you swing at them they'll fly away for a second. They're not shy like American flys. American fly are puny compared to these. I actually saw a fly give me the wing the other day.

I've been hitting the gym again too. I had started when I first got to Liberty but quickly faded out when I got my guitar. My energy level is a lot higher now that I'm working out again. We try to get into the gym 5 days in a row and then rest one to two days depending on what's going on. We've been playing a lot of basketball too. The people that know me know that I'm terrible at basketball, but it's different here. We play with the Iraqis who only know how to play soccer, and the goal is only eight and a half feet tall. It's really a cardio workout coupled with a few shots and a lot of laughs. It gets really intense though. It's fun.

I started e-mailing my company back in the States to give them a heads up that I should be back towards the end of the year. I also needed some information from them to plan my return. It's not going as smoothly as I had hoped but I know the whole shootin match is in God's hands and it'll all work out how it's supposed to.

Speaking of God, there's a Chapel here but no Chaplin. There's supposed to be a Chaplin here on Tuesdays from Liberty, but he's never made it here so far. He does come on different days sometimes but you don't know about it until he's here and ready for the service. So far I've only caught him once, and I was the only one in there. That particular time it was a Chaplin from a very formal background so instead of being like a one on one service he still conducted it very formally. It was a little odd, but a time to worship anyway. My wife and I are reading the same book of the Bible. It was her idea and we only started it this past week. I wish we would have thought of it sooner, not the reading part but the reading together part. I have been reading my Bible. Anyway, I really miss my home Church.

This deployment has really been just about as good as I could have hoped. Even still it's really wearing on me. I'm ready to be done with it. You know how in your job you can at least go home from it at the end of the day and get a little time from it. You can't in war. There really is no time that your not protecting yourself and your friends, or looking for the best spot to take cover if you're attacked, or looking at everyone around you and wondering if they're going to try to kill you, or wondering if that pothole is really just a pothole or if there's a bomb in it. It's not the actual fighting that wears you down, it's the anticipation of being killed while you're not fighting. At least in a fight you have a general idea who to shoot, or in what direction to shoot. It's the everyday wondering if a mortar is going to come over the wall, or a rocket. Now that we're in a FOB that we share with the Iraqi Army there's a lot of people walking around not in American uniforms. The problem is that they don't always wear the Iraqi uniform either. So now you have the added stress of trying to trust these guys, trying to get them to trust you, and here's this guy in civilian clothes with a vest on and you don't know if he's friendly or a suicide bomber. Those are the things that wear on me the most. In addition to this at the end of the day you don't clock out and go home to the Family. You do more of the same. You wonder what the explosions outside are, are they close enough I need to worry? Was that outgoing artillery or incoming? It's always there and you can never get away from it. A few more months and it'll all be over. In all actuality after a while you sort of ignore the explosions and the stuff that's not happening right around you. There's nothing you can do about it anyway. Keep focused on your job and trust that the guys around you are doing the same thing and it should be alright.

Well, that's about all I've got to say. I didn't really even plan on saying that much but it just sort of came out.

Thanks for all the e-mails and letters and packages. I can't tell you how much of a morale boost that stuff is. A letter or an e-mail or a package from home can turn even the worst day around.

Now that I've depressed you all you should go outside and take a deep breath of fresh air, or drink the non diseased water, or get a cookie out of the cupboard or use your running water and electricity, or make fun of George Bush or do any of these things just because your free and you can, and know that America is the best freaking place to live in the whole world bar none.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just took your advice. I got up from the desk I sit at for hours at a time doing work that I'm pretty sure is somehow important to someone. I went outside and just walked around our building. The weather is beautiful today, the sky is blue, and I met up with our resident Road Runner who lives somewhere near the office. He's accustomed to us human types that leave bits of food out for him, so he didn't pay much attention to me. There's a tree nearby that rustled a little when the breeze caught the leaves. Amazingly, I even took notice of that.

You reminded me that today, and everyday, it's good to just count your blessings. We do have such a good life in this country, and there are so many things we should be grateful for. Thank you for reminding us.

I feel I am even more blessed than most. Like you, I have a mate that I have always had a special connection to. We have a wonderful son who has been kind enough provided us with a great little daughter-in-law and a precious little grandson. They are very generous about sharing the little guy with us, too!

I have a job I love working with people I respect. And the list goes on. How could I possibly want or need more?

Well, call me one of those that's just never satisfied. I want you home safe with your family and the friends that miss you so much. I want you back in your church where you can resume your leadership role and share your spiritual inspiration with the kids that respect and admire you for who you are. I want you to be here for the next birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

I want a lot, but I think it's reasonable - but, then again, ask anyone who knows me, that's not unusual. :-) We think about you a lot. . . . Neeny

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know that God has His hand over you. Protection is first in my prayers for you. Second is emotional and spiritual strength. Then comes provision.

Know that you have others here at home that can relate to war. You have two ol' Pa's that have faced Saddam. One was in Vietnam and can relate to the always pressing concerns you face now. I'm sure there are those with the church that can relate. Support will be here when you re-enter the civi life.

I'm am so glad we are hitting the home stretch. Summer and then . . . home. I can't help but get excited. I know time has this funny way of slowing down and speeding by all at the same moment. My prayer is that you will find rest in your busy day so that time will go quickly but you will not be weary.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you lifted me up, not bring me down. Thanks!!

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just think of how unimportant the usual stressful things here at home will be when the time arrives for you to start the usual routine. Everything will be relevant and you will smile and be able to say,"That doesn't amount to a hill of beans" as your grandfather used to say. We pray for your safety and discernment to tell the good guys from the bad and that you can do that immediately! Know that you are loved and appreciated. A young FBI agent was killed from your home town as he was drilling a rescue from terrorist on the wing of a plane. His sacrifice will not be forgotten, and neither will yours. You will be rewarded by a higher power than the Army for your tribulation. ZM

2:56 PM  

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