Friday, January 30, 2004

West and Wewaxation

West and Wewaxation
Friday, January 30, 2004
7:55:00 PM CST

Off day today. Woke up at 0430 on my own and went right back to sleep with no regrets of wasting the day. Woke up again at 0730 and kind of layed there until 0800. Got up and started playing on aol again. I think what I'll do is leave my blog as is and if I'm going to put up pictures, I can link the homepage site to that particular blog for that day. More than one way to skin a cat.

Damned smallpox shot is still itching like hell! It is exactly textbook perfect. Day 3, raised, red around the edges and filled with wonderful pus. Kind of looks like a big mosquito bite or zit ready to pop! The itching comes and goes, but when you start to feel it, you wonder how people who have had smallpox all over their bodies managed not to commit suicide! I can't imagine the pain of a whole-body infection. I am keeping it covered as instructed. Another two weeks and it will be healed. My right arm is finally not hurting any more from all the other shots.

The four of us staying at the Bliss Inn made a trip for lunch out to a sushi place. Great sushi. I was afraid my last sushi lunch was last week at Yamado on Ogden so imagine my pleasure to find some like-minded people to enjoy sushi with!

Also made a trip over to Circuit City to look at DVD's. Bought Fargo and Band of Brothers. Was looking for the group of Audry Hepburn films with Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany's as well as the Bogart group with Casablanca, Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and a couple of others. Can't help it, but I love the oldies. My very favorites are actually His Girl Friday, Blithe Spirit and Bringing Up Baby. There is also a great old movie with W. C. Fields and Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy about the circus called You Can't Cheat an Honest Man. The ping pong game scene is classic!

The Morning After Certification

The Morning After Certification
Friday, January 30, 2004
9:19:00 AM CST

A great time was had by all last night. We had our first alcohol in about a week after confirmation of certification. Basically, today is a down-day for catching up on things. We are in a holding pattern until we're told the plane is arranged and we fly. We ate and drank over at the German Grillstube and it was pretty good. It was mostly full of us Americans, but the beer and the mood were relaxing. It is a weight off of our shoulders after the last week of being poked, prodded, bussed around post.

Here's a good one for you. One of my group members, Lee is from Culpepper and used to work at Swift. When I heard that he lived in Culpepper, I told him that an old Air Force buddy of mine lives in Jeffersonton. He said, "Oh, yeah, what's his name, I may know him." I said Dale Thomas. His jaw hit the floor. He said he worked with Dale for the past 6 years at Swift. Dale and I go back to Tech School at Biloxi. He and I arranged to share a barracks room when we got to our first station out of Keesler at Peterson Field/Cheyenne Mountain. What a small world we live in! I've attached his picture from our gathering last night.

Now I've got to figure out how to get the pictures on this stupid AOL Log so that you all can see them. I've loaded them up and can find them when I look at "You've Got Pictures," but I need to find out how to make them appear with the blog. So if any of you know, send me an email or put up a remark so others can view it and find out. When I first started this blog, when I attached a picture, it appeared with the entry. Now that my blog is longer, the pictures seemed to have disappeared.

Not too much exciting happening yet, but I'll keep you posted when I know more.

Cheers

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Certification

Certification
Thursday, January 29, 2004
6:40:00 PM CST

29 January 2004

Whoo-hoo! Certification! Today got to sleep in and didn't have formation until 0630. Got to sleep in until 0500. Too bad I just stayed up later reading Harry Potter book 2. After formation, went to the chow hall for breakfast. The electric had just went out before we got there, so some got eggs or sh*t on shingle. Couldn't see my hand in front of my face, so I went over and got a yogurt and had a sweet roll with a big glass of milk. Something to hold me over til lunch. Come to find out that a squirrel had chewed through the electric feed.

Over to the base theater for final briefings. Legal, cultural etc. Got out early enough that we went to the Post Exchange food court for lunch. Back to the theater after lunch for final briefings from commander. Received our confirmation of certification that we're ready. We can now drink tonight. We have been restricted since arrival from any alcohol until certification. Just waiting on a manifest and a plane and we will be outta here.

So tonight for dinner, we're going over to the German Club for good beer and real food. The German's have quite a contingent here. They also have a corner of this base for training. So, all of us ITTers are going to get together for a little celebrating. I'll take some pictures and post them tomorrow as long as I get the chance. Still waiting on the camera USB cable to arrive. I screwed up and lost it at home before I left last week, so Deb went over to Best Buy and got me one. Should be here today or tomorrow.

Did get over to GI Supply last night, but all the desert boots they had were all beat to hell and back. The sand and heat really take a toll on the heals and rubber. Owen is out on terminal leave from the Army, so he said he still knows people there and he can probably get us some if we want to buy them once we get over to Kuwait or Iraq. We'll see. From what I hear and see, they look really comfortable.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Gas Mask Training and Checks

Gas Mask Training and Checks
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
4:43:00 PM CST

Wednesday January 28th. Formation at 0545. Got to sleep in an extra 15 minutes...whoo-hoo! Lately, sleep is quite a commodity. Boarded the busses to go to chow, and we were in class by 0730. Put together our gas masks and then they needed to be tested for a good seal. If you're clustraphobic, I can imagine you might have trouble wearing one of these. You feel like you've been sealed up in a mayonaise jar. Done by 1000.

Went over to the PX (Post Exchange) for some last minute items to take with. The time is growing shorter to departure. Knowing what I know now, I am certainly less hesitant about this journey and job. Still don't have much in terms of a job description, but this type of contract job tends to be that way. You just have to be flexible. Was kind of the same way when I went to Palmer Station, Antarctica.

Had our last formation of the day at 1300 and we were released. So I finally have had the chance to catch up on my homepage log. We're going over to the surplus store before dinner to try and find some desert boots. Supply doesn't give them to civilians and clothing sales doesn't carry them. The ITT Liason had mentioned that the surplus has them and most of them have at least another year or two of wear left on them. So, that will be tonights adventure.

CIF, Dentac, CRC Cards

CIF, Dentac, CRC Cards
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
4:34:00 PM CST

Tuesday, Jan 27th. Began the morning at 0530 formation and then over to breakfast in the chow hall. The dental facility was right across from the chow hall, so we beat feet over there at 0635 to beat the crowds. Thanks to Dr Fleming for his well written and complete letter. He mentioned that I had an exam and cleaning, but most importantly, that I required no dental work at this time. The bitewings were included, but I did have to have a circular xray with all of my teeth for identification. I was outta there by 0900! So were a couple of my coworkers, so we headed back to Bldg 503 and worked on getting our id cards (CAC Cards.)

Got them by 1300, but then found out we couldn't do lunch because there was a formation at 1330. That got pushed back, so we rushed over to the PX food court for a quick lunch and were back in time for the 1430 formation. This took us to CIF for clothing issue. We are provided some basic clothing items, but for the most part, we will work in civies. Got the gas mask and will have training with that tomorrow. Haven't used one of those since I was in Germany.

Back by 1730 for final formation then we were dismissed. Went to the Chinese place in the Bliss Inn for dinner. Not great, but a good change of pace.

Non-Unit Related Personnel (NRP) Welcome

Non-Unit Related Personnel (NRP) Welcome
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
4:26:00 PM CST
Non-Unit Related Personnel (NRP) Welcome


Sunday January 25th, 2004. Started our in-processing today. We had a formation in the morning and then started the inprocessing paperwork and waiting. Good thing I brought the Harry Potter series with me to read. At this rate, I'll be through the series before we depart on Friday! Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait!

Dinner was at the chow hall at 1700 and then we boarded busses for an NRP In-Brief, Safety Orientation Meeting with a film on driving military vehicles in Baghdad and then a Base Intro from 1830 until about 2130.

Monday January 26th. The morning began with our formation at 0530 (that's ohh dark thirty to the unitiated). Breakfast at the chow hall and then we boarded busses for the First Aid Review, UXO (unexploded ordinances) film and briefing. The later half of the morning we went over to the SRP (Soldier Readiness Processing) Center for medical review and shots.

Our medical records were reviewed to determine that we had what was needed and also to determine what shots were needed. Since all of my shots were over 10 years old, I ended up with all nine. Anthrax, smallpox, MMR, you-name-it-I-got-it! Prior to the shots, blood is drawn for DNA typing and for the HIV test. You can't get smallpox if you're HIV pos. You ain't going to Iraq either if you're HIV pos.

My arms are still a bit sore, but the good news is that my smallpox scab is finally starting! Whoo-hoo!

The Lost Entry - Preparation to Leave

The Lost Entry - Preparation to Leave
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
3:42:00 PM CST
The Lost Entry - Preparation to Leave


The week prior to departure was crazy. I spent most of my time getting files moved from my desktop to the new laptop, getting files ready to send to Deb in AZ. She is going to maintain my financal sanity while in Iraq. Also had to make a shopping list of things needed for the trip. Copied about 50 cd's over to the laptop so that I wouldn't have to carry all those disks with me.

Monday night I spent at a bon voyage party with my old school friends from the MBA program at Rock Bottom. We spent the time drinking wine and beer and ordering everything on the Appetizer list. This is usually a once-a-month thing. Thanks guys. Laura, you and I will have lunch when I get back!

Cayenne went to the vet on Thursday to have her second knee operation. Her first knee operation was in Nov of 2002. Now she had torn her second ACL. The vet advised me that there is a new process if I wanted that would also allow them to repair the problem that had contributed to her injury. Her leg bones come together at a 35 degree angle causing extra stress on the tendons and ligaments. They ended up shaving the bones down so that her bones now meet at a 10 degree or so angle. Although it was more expensive surgery, she walked out on her own from the vet on Friday morning. In 2002, she didn't put any pressure on that leg for about three days.

Friday, Razor went into the vet for surgery to remove an agressive tumor on his right leg. So, we had two dogs down with surgery and stitches. He ended up with an 8 inch cut for a tumor that looked like it was only the size of a quarter. Biopsy was supposed to be in this week today.

Welcome to El Paso and Fort Bliss

Welcome to El Paso and Fort Bliss
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
3:33:00 PM CST
Welcome to El Paso and Fort Bliss


Saturday January 24th. Would have been Mom's 61st. Happy Birthday Mom.

Flew out to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. There is a group of 18 of us from ITT and we spent our first night in a hotel. Sunday we were moved on to base quarters. It was like a Basic Training Nightmare relived. An open bay in a building built in 1932 with bunks and matresses as old with one bathroom to three bays of guys and three shower heads!

Three of my compatriots were on the phone with the Ft Bliss Inn getting rooms and I kindly asked them to count me in. I may have to be in an open-bay environment/tent once I get to Iraq, but I may as well enjoy my last bit of privacy while I can.

Monday, January 19, 2004

t minus 5...

t minus 5...
Monday, January 19, 2004
9:25:00 AM CST
t minus 5...

Confirmation requested from office in Doha, Qatar for flight to El Paso on January 24th. Depart O'Hare at 11:16 a.m. on American Airlines.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

t minus 6, and counting

t minus 6, and counting
Sunday, January 18, 2004
8:48:00 PM CST
t minus 6, and counting


18 Jan 2004

Getting ready and still trying to complete my errands prior to departure on the 24th. Took care of the dentist on Saturday, put up the towel bars in the newly painted bathrooms and cleaned the basement up. Learning how to operate and use my new digital camera and the new laptop. Still moving files over to the laptop to get the desktop ready to send to Deb in AZ.

Razor goes to the vet tomorrow for shots and then both he and Cayenne can get their city tags for 2004. EMBA group meeting at Rock Bottom tomorrow night for my sendoff. Thursday is my physical. And I still have files to collect together and send off to Deb. Haven't heard anything recently from ITT in Doha or Co Springs, but should see the tickets by Wednesday.

More info when I hear more.

Dave

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