Friday, July 22, 2005

Freedom Rest Day Four

It's actually been 10 days since freedom rest day four but it's been a busy ten days. The last day of Freedom Rest was like all the other days, relaxing and enjoyable. The night finished off with one of the funniest things I've seen since being here. They had a Karoke machine set up in the movie theatre and you could pick a song and do it. I didn't participate but got on the computer to chat with my wife instead. I was on a computer close to the door and as a result I could see what was going on in the hallway out of the corner of my eye. I thought I saw Michael Jackson walk by. You remember the white shirt, black arm bands and black hat era of Michael Jackson? That's when one of the guys said if you want to see the funniest thing you've ever seen you need to come to the theatre right now. Sure enough, one of the Iraqi guys that works at the Freedom Rest place was dressed like Michael Jackson, curly wig and all. As he started his way down the aisle the lights dimmed and a spotlight came on. Michael Jackson's Billy Jean started pumping through the speakers and the Iraqi MJ stepped on stage with all the grace and commanding personality of a seasoned performer. At first everyone was sort of quiet not really knowing what to expect.....Until he started dancing. This guy could really move. He started to dance and then threw his hat off stage just like MJ would do. This guy had choreographed the whole dance section from the Billy Jean music video. At this point everyone was on their feet cheering, and then he started singing. It was more or less on pitch but still had an Arabic accent to it. I got only one picture and it didn't turn out to well because it was dark, but they were taking a video of it. Earlier in the week they had told us that they took on average 500 pictures per cycle and at the end they gave everyone a CD with all the pictures on it. So I figured the Michael Jackson pictures and video would probably be on there too. After all the excitement I went to bed around 11:00 and got up for breakfast the next day and the dreaded return to my uniform and weapon. After breakfast and signing out of our rooms we had a little brief we had to go to to get the instructions for getting out of there. That's when they told us they had a problem with the pictures and couldn't make the disk. Oh well, I'll always remember Freedom rest and Iraqi Michael Jackson.

A convoy from our unit came and picked us up to take us back to Liberty. Once there I was supposed to catch a ride back to FOB Justice. I had a small layover there so I stopped by my company to see if there was anything I needed to take care of while I was there. As it turned out it was a good visit. The timeline for our departure from Iraq had been published that day. I can't really give any details but let's just say I have less than two months left in the country. After that it's only supposed to take a little over a week to get to the states and be completely out processed and back at home. All said and done my 18 month activation will only last a little less than 14 months. A long time still but not as long as it could have been. Once that timeline came out everything sort of hit the fan. Now we have to plan the turnover to the next unit and plan all the logistics involved in getting a Brigade from one side of the world to the other. The time is flying by because we're so busy and I don't really foresee it slowing down until the plane lifts off the runway and we wave goodbye to Iraq. I know it's really close because we're starting to turn in some of our gear and I already mailed a footlocker of personal stuff home. In case you wonder it costs 45 dollars to ship a footlocker from Baghdad to the west coast of the United States and it should take about a month to get there. In my haste to pack the box I accidentally put my Sim Chip for my cell phone in with the rest of the stuff. We don't have outgoing mail here so when they showed up unannounced for one afternoon everyone rushed to mail boxes and packages home. Not a terribly big deal but I won't be able to use my cell phone when I get to the states. One of the pictures I've had in my head is calling my wife from the plane as we taxi to the gate in the States and saying I'm home. I'll have to get a calling card or maybe have my wife overnight it once I get back to the States. I'm really starting to get excited. You have to disconnect yourself from your life back home just to be able to get through being here. Sort of an emotional buffer so you don't miss them so much. But now that the end is in sight I'm letting that down and I almost can't contain my excitement. It's like a little kid thinking about Christmas. You just play the different scenarios over and over in your head and almost can't contain yourself because of the excitement exploding from deep inside. I find myself just sort of giggling every now and then just to let a little excitement out so I don't explode. Sort of like an excitement steam valve. Once the pressure reaches a certain point it just opens for a second and everything's fine. Well, I'll keep you posted on any further developments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are so excited about your great news!!The Lord has been faithful in answering all our prayers and even the one about your getting to come home early. Family life can resume and it will be exciting to see what the Lord has in store for all of you. You won't believe how much your kids have sprouted the last few months!!I am so happy for all of us. zm

6:23 AM  
Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

That is so good to hear. Maybe my son will be as lucky. I am praying for just that miracle. That he gets to come home sooner rather than later. He has 10 1/2 months left in Iraq, unless he gets lucky too. Please God!
You just gave me hope.
Stay safe until that wonderful day that you set foot on US soil again....God Bless our Troops.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's awesome you get to come home earlier than expected. I had a dream the other night that you surprised your wife and arrived at your home without her even knowing you were back in the States. It was a great dream, but I know reality, when you do come home, will be much greater! I'm excited you'll get to see the next children's musical, we were all just talking about that the other day and you will be home in time. God is so Good! I hope time continues to fly by for you these last couple of months. You are missed by many, we can't wait to have you back at church, playing the drums and singing special songs for us, maybe even something you wrote while you were away. Praying for your safety always, SCM

1:59 PM  
Blogger ~K said...

I am happy for you. Going home early is a blessing. I didn't know exactly how Soldiers felt but reading you say....You have to disconnect yourself from your life back home just to be able to get through being here.... It is exactly what I expected. Stay safe hope your remaining time goes fast.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Kim Ponders said...

I hope the time goes by fast. I checked out your blog for the first time today. I wish I had seen it earlier. Thanks for you posts. They are much better than the political rants. Really enjoyable!

Take care,

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're so excited for you and your family. I'm sure your wife can hardly contain herself as well. The good thing is that time will fly between now and then. You'll be busy with all of your stuff and she'll be busy getting ready for school to start (you know how quickly everything happens in the fall). And all of a sudden you will all be together again! We'll pray for a smooth transition. M. Pads Coach

11:20 AM  
Blogger Chevy Rose said...

I just found your site the other day and have added it to my list of daily reads.
And hopefully the time will pass quickly. Keep your head down and press on.
God bless you and all our military.

8:50 AM  

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