Thursday, December 02, 2004

Wastin’ Away Again in “Mortar-itaville”

Wastin’ Away Again in “Mortar-itaville”

02 December 2004

Wastin' away again in Mortar-itaville,
Searchin for my lost shaker of saltpeter...

Hahaha, isn't porta-pottie graffiti hysterical? Couldn't help it, but had to use this little quip from the porta-potties as today's title! Don't know if we can give credit to the infamous Dietrich, but ya gotta admit that it's pretty special. Don't know how amusing Jimmy Buffet would find it, but tell him he will have to pay a visit here to Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq to personally kick my butt if he doesn't like it! But I tend to think he would see it as a compliment that there are "Parrotheads" all over the world.

Meanwhile, back in Mortar-itaville. Aside from a rocket that landed near the haji-stand over by Lost Lake on Monday morning, things have been relatively quiet. I had just dropped off to sleep on Monday morning at about 0930 when the rocket landed. It's kind of funny how quickly you can snap to it even when sleeping and incoming mortars and rockets rock you awake. It's an automatic reaction to drop to the floor, put on the helmet and vest and stay put for a few until you feel like there aren't anymore incoming.

Peeking out the door I saw a plume of smoke on the other side of the fence up by Dodge North about 1/3 mile away. I hear some soldiers were wounded, but no other details other than that.

Growing up and seeing mortar or rocket attacks on TV, like in the old war movies or on MASH, you think, "man, if I was in that situation, I would be under cover and would make sure not to get hit." But the reality of it is that you continue your everyday activities and probably 98% of the time, you have no indication of anything inbound till it's in your lap.

But you can't really live in a shell the whole time here. And even if you could, what are the odds that you will be hit? Besides, if you are that paranoid, you don't stay. As I have indicated before, you probably stand a better chance of being hit by a taxi in downtown Chicago than by being hit or wounded by a mortar or rocket over here. It is just that we perceive the noise from the mortars and rockets as more theatening than the sound of a taxi revving its engine just before it runs you down on Wacker and Monroe in Chicago.

The weather has gotten considerably cooler over the last couple of weeks. This cooler weather has also brought with it the blessing of killing off many of the mosquitoes and flies. Not that the mosquitoes have been bothering me with the garlic tablets that I've been taking religiously (originally to supposedly help my blood pressure), but the flies are impossible. You can shoo them away and they circle around you and land on your lips and eyelids and in your ears. It's pretty disgusting! :p I just have nightmares of the movie "The Fly".

Although it has gotten down into the 30's, it isn't too bad since the air conditioners on the trailers all have heater settings on them. Still can't leave the heat on when we're sleeping though. Even on the lowest setting, you will cook in your trailer if you fall asleep with the heat on. So Scott and I turn the heat off just before we go to bed and it cools off nicely for sleeping.

Getting boxes ready to send home. I've packed up a bunch of already viewed movies to send to the neice and nephews. Hopefully, it will arrive before Christmas vacation so they have something to do while at home. I'm down to about six weeks left here in paradise.

Today I officially started the job search. I sent a resume off to a company and had to answer some questions on their app sheet, online.

"Why are you looking for a job?" "I'm a contractor at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq and will be completing my contract at the end of January 2005."

"Would you consider an international position?" To which I replied, "Yes, as long as it was temporary, wouldn't require me to relocate and didn't have too many mortars and rockets going off."

I don't think I'm asking that much, do you? Actually, if this experience hasn't taught me anything, it has been not to take myself too seriously. After how many rockets and mortars and the aftermath of those said mortar and rocket attacks; if you can keep your composure when everyone else around you has lost theirs, you can make it through about anything...except for maybe "Bloodbath McGrath." I think the calmest I've ever seen Lt. McGrath is when Hector walked in on her in the bathroom in Building 7 on her first day here! But, that's a precious tale for another blog or better yet, once I'm back home enjoying a few good Pale Ales at Rock Bottom in Warrenville.
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