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.

We’re Here…

So we’re back in Iraq. Missing home…everyday. Wouldn’t it be nice if vacations never ended!

We are adjusting to life over here again. We’ve been back a week and Curtis seems to have adjusted fairly well. Except I still have trouble getting him up in the morning. No more sleeping in…..vacation is over!

I’ve spent the week preparing for Afghanistan. I leave in just a couple of days for a three month tour over there. Curtis will stay here. Upon completion of the three months I will come back and work here in Iraq again. I’m excited and nervous.

I’ve heard rumor that Afghanistan is full of beautiful mountains. But I’ve also heard through the media mongers that the country has seen a severe up-swing in violence. Not looking forward to that part. But as I’m still young and restless/adventurous and full of patriotic spit and vinegar I must go where I feel my country needs me most. So I’m off!

Been a While…

Sorry family and friends that it has been so long since Curtis and I have written. We both seem to get so caught up in what we’re doing that it becomes hard to find the time for anything else. Not for lack of thinking about the people we love the most though! We’re sorry and are going to ensure that we don’t fall off the radar again.

Things have changed a bit in the last month and a half. While Curtis is diving more and more into his job, I have been moved to a new position. Contracts change, and positions change. I now fly all over Iraq doing computer installations and troubleshooting. And I love it! – Curtis is not to happy, but he says its ok as long as I don’t take any unnecessary risks. And I don’t.

I travel to these remote sites for about a week at a time. I get to ride a helicopter and meet loads of new people. I will try to take pictures as I got out to the sites and post them on the blog when I get back. I don’t usually have internet connection at the sites but I do come back to home base and spent time with Curtis and my computer.

Miss everybody so much and love all!

touching my life

The one thing I absolutely love about being here now and last year is all the fascinating people you meet that touch your life. Tonight after work a small group of us sat around discussing some of our dreams and aspirations in life. One of mine, that I kind of threw out half jokingly, was to write a book. Specially, a science fiction or fantasy novel. Well, the group took me very seriously and started interrogating me – as friends sometimes do.  “What would it be about? Why haven’t you started yet? Are you scared?” Etc.

Last year I met people who changed my life, for the better I like to think. People who taught me the importance of an education, how to deal with stress, working long days, and not giving into that desire to give up – when I really wanted too.

Now here I sit again, with people whom a month ago were relative strangers, but now hold serious swaying power over my opinions and at times decisions. Taking me seriously and attempting to convince me to take that first step and write my story.

Its truly amazing how you meet people in your life that touch you in some way or another. It could be that one guy, that said something to you 10 yrs ago, and it held such significance for you that you will never forget it.

Day 18 of 365

In writing the title I feel like I’m writing my own prison sentence. I imagine that actual prison time would drag by, while this is flying by. Last year when I was here I felt as if every moment dragged by. No matter how busy I was, I felt like each day, each month and finally the year would never end and I would be stuck here in Iraq forever.

So why the change. What has changed my mindset so completely that I no longer notice the passing of time. I barely notice as the days flow in and out. Is it Curtis being here? Is it me being a civilian? Is it this sense of feeling less obligated to my country for some reason, even if I still work hard?

When I was here as a soldier last year I took so much pride in serving my country. I wore the uniform and served with all my heart and soul. But now it’s different. I’m not here in uniform. While mine and Curtis’s job are important (more his than mine), its somehow different. Last year I would have laid down my life in an instant, but I no longer feel that way.

I’m sure as I spend the next 347 days grappling with these thoughts and feelings I will eventually come to some kind of conclusion. Until then I remain as ever, confused and learning.

V-Day and Hot Toppings

Today is V-Day. Not only is it V-Day, but its also my co-workers B-day. So in celebration of these two occasions, we all cram into an SUV and jaunt over to the next base and eat chow at a bigger and better DFAC (Dinning Facility). And we eat alot. We eat all kinds of things that we can’t get at our chow hall. Like toppings on our Ice Cream. Not only do they have nuts and snickers bits, but they also have melted caramel and chocolate and maraschino cherries.

Life can be stressful, so its things like hot toppings on our ice cream every once in a while, that can make it all worth it. I hope your V-Day was filled with such things as moments like hot toppings.

Do the dew

Curtis has an addiction. It comes in a green can. Yes, it is Mountain Dew. He averages (so he says) 4 to 8 cans a day. But I swear it seems like we’ve purchased a case every other day. Which would equal to about 12 cans a day. And he wonders why hes constantly pinging off the walls!