Being Home

Curtis and I flew home to Wisconsin for Christmas and spent some time in the house. It was great. We were only home for a few days, but we crammed alot in. Saw the whole family. Spent time with Mom, Dad, and Uncle Billy. Played with a shy puppy. Discovered Curtis has an affinity for puppies and wants to get one. I’d like to take that slow though…having our litte Missy is enough for now!

Tracked a deer with the dad, uncle, and grandpa, through some very cold and snow covered woods. I forgot what true bone deep cold felt like and what it was like to be deep in the woods. Outside and surrounded by nothing but woods and wildlife. Felt amazing! I love my job, but d*mn I miss our beautiful world.

We haven’t had time since we’ve purchased the house and property to explore the land, so dad brought over the snowmobiles and we got to cruise across it. Thats the house and shop in the background. I did not realize just how big 80 acres really is.

With the recession and everything as it is, it was decided that Christmas was mostly about family and food (lots of it!), so everyone drew a name and had to get a present for their respective name. It turned out great! Everyone loved their gifts and of course the nephews – being the only little people present – were spoiled rotten. Curtis and I got Colin a two foot toy dragon.

Missy even got a gift. Leave it to my Sister to get my dog an annoying winter sweater that says “Diva Dog”. Really!?!

The only thing missing was our Great-Grandma Karol.

Megalopolis white out

The East Coast was attacked by a major now storm this weekend. The snow fell for what felt like two days. I sat inside for most of this, staring aimlessly out the window. Missy (our little angel chihuahua) did not like the look of things to come.

When I woke on Sunday morning the ground was covered in beautiful white crystals. We immediately ran outside to unearth the car. The plows were starting to take care of the roads, but we had to shovel our car out ourselves. Shoveling the car out included making snow angels, throwing snowballs, and falling once or twice. But it was soo worth it. Neither Curtis nor I have seen this much snow since our respective childhoods.

The First Wisconsin Snow of 2009

Yesterday was the first snow. A light dusting I will admit, but incredibly exciting nonetheless. I can’t wait to see more!

So Curtis and I are in Wisconsin, back from Iraq. I’ve been back for a while now. My great-grandmother passed away earlier this year. Sad time for the fam. Curtis got back about a month ago and we’ve been spending as much time together as we can. Trying to start a normal..slower life together. The deployments were long, but done now!

I know its been a super long time since I posted, so plan to change that!

Love everyone.

Merry Christmas!

Today was like any other day. Went to work at 6 this morning, and prepared to work the day, but then realized that working was the last thing I wanted to do! So I relaxed a little. Flipped the TV at work to the military networks movie channel and watched some Christmas movies. lol. Don’t tell my boss!

I missed family all day long. But the movies and comradery in my office helped with the pain. We joked, we laughed, we grilled and we told stories about being home and what our respective families do during the holidays.

It temporarily lightened the heavy feeling of sadness that had settled on all of us. The recent days had been leading up to this day, like a death march. I thought once it reached this day it would be the hardest, but its turned out quite the opposite. Its ended up a cheery day spent with good friends and good tales. While it doesn’t compare to the joys of home, it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Helpdesk Extradoniar

Since I’ve been back from Afghanistan my boss has decided to give me a short reprieve from flying around the country and has put me on the help desk for a couple months. I know everybody is probably wondering what I do on the helpdesk. Well, believe it or not, I help people! Really. I answer phone calls, troubleshoot over the phone. Generally try to cheer people up and try (very hard at times) to maintain a positive attitude, laced with patience.

People aren’t exactly genial on the phone, but I realize that inside they’re probably bursting with happiness to have to call for support and spend an indeterminate amount of time on the phone. Okay, all sarcasm aside, I have found that I do enjoy the customer service portion of it. My mom has always said that somewhere inside of me (way down deep) there is a nice person who truly wants to help people. I didn’t think I’d ever find that person, but lately, I think I’ve seen a few glimpses.

As I hear the frustration building in my callers voices, I try to imagine my own experiences with customer support. I’ve wanted to strangle them at times. People can be so rude, when all you want is your stuff to work properly, as it should.

So I’m fairly enjoying it, and its really interesting seeing a different side of the coin. I’m no longer the person calling demanding help, now I provide it.

Tragic News

While we were in AF, Kenny and I became very close friends with a gentlemen named Jeff. He was from the south so him and Kenny instantly hit it off. He shared our tiny office with us – making us coffee every morning – and we’d frequently play poker with him. Him and Kenny would always give me a hard time about everything.

I guess you could say he was Kenny and I’s Afghanistan Dad. He had recently become engaged to his high-school sweetheart from 20 yrs ago and was planing a huge vacation for his and her entire family upon his return. He was scheduled to return to the states two days from now. His year was almost up.

I came into work this morning, checked my email, and received an email telling me that Jeff had died last night from a heart attack. It took me a few moments to register what was real. Did he really die? How could that happen? How is that fair? He was early 40′s. I saw him less then a week ago and he was fine. More then fine, ecstatic to be so close to the end of his tour.

Kenny and I went to the Chapel here on base and prayed. I suddenly felt like a little kid during all this, who didn’t know what to do. I kept wishing my Great-Grandmother was here to help me pray. When I lived with her, we prayed every night and it felt right. Its another dose of reality, that I didn’t want to face.

Settling In

We’re all starting to feel some amount of normalcy returning to our lifes. KFB comes in early, calls his family, works, and when hes not working he sits in the office looking at pictures of his wife and son.  Hes only got about 40 days left, so hes been estatically happy.

Curtis and I are just enjoying being together everyday. Being able to watch movies, eat lunch, play games, bullsh*t. I’m loving having warm showers and not having a guard outside my shower trailer (like in AF). But, on the downside, the walking! Its killing me. On this base we walk almost a mile to work. I used to enjoy the walk and the fresh morning air, but I’ve grown lazy in AF and am no longer used to it.

Back in Baghdad

We’ve arrived. Thank goodness! It feels so good to be back. Its humid, damp, not exactly cold. Actually pretty warm compared to Afghanistan.

The flights were long and I couldn’t sleep. Probably because of some amount of exictment over getting back to Curtis. Also, might be due to the fact that we were jammed into the back of the airplane like sardines, with all our gear (body armor, helmets, bags, etc.) strapped to us.

Pictured is us in the back of a C-130 preparing for flight. We didn’t have our helmets on…shame on us! We’re rebels…um, not really, about as rebel as I get is jay walking. We were just chilling inside the plane for quite a while. Apparently, the pilot wanted to pass out candy. Nice timing I wanted to comment.

Negative ghost rider…

We’re still in Afghanistan. We check-in with the terminal every morning at 0600 and every night at 1100 to see if we’re on a flight, but we continue to get NO as the answer. So we’ve been unpacking our stuff from the car and repacking it. We have to have our stuff ready for both of those check-in times, just in case they have room for us on the flight. All we can do is try everyday and hope to get out. I’m pretty surprised its taking us this long to get out. Popular time of year for the soldiers to take R&R, I suppose. It just sucks, because I’m ready to see Curtis now!

Hello Kuwait? Maybe.

Less then 24hrs and we’ll be on the bird heading for Kuwait. Hopefully, I should say, as flights frequently get reallocated for other missions or canceled. But we do have reservations so with a little luck maybe will get out of here. Packing has been a nightmare. We’ve had mission work to finish up and at the same time get all of our sh*t packed. But we’re almost done and ready to rock. Actually, correction, KFB has been ready for days now. I, might have, um, procrastinated a little (but only a little). Who enjoys packing anyway!

All in all, Afghanistan has definitely been worth it. But there is no doubt that there are certain things that I won’t miss. I won’t miss cold showers or the lack of sleep. I won’t miss driving 5 mph everywhere I go, or being unable to workout. But I will miss seeing the mountains everyday when I wake up. The people that I work with are great. And seeing all the foreign military support here has been very motivating.

So hopefully within the next day I will be arriving in Kuwait. And then a few days later, into Baghdad!