Thursday, December 15, 2005

Round of Virgin Mimosa's For Everyone!!!

...or Non-alcoholic beer, whichever is your drink of choice. Whoo-hoo! ITT's won the contract, again. Okay, Okay, break it up, break it up, nothing to see here, folks. Now that we're over *THAT* excitement we can carry on with life around here. We're such company people, aren't we? Please excuse my indifference, but it's hard to get excited about something like this when we personally aren't gaining anything from the contract award.

It's kinda like your pimp (or Madame) getting a new Caddi. You're happy for him (or her), but you've still got your job to do to support that next new car. I've said it before; contract people are viewed by the corporate gods as nothing more than prostitutes. We are hired to do our job, bring in the bucks for "The Man" (or "The Madam") and when they are done with us (at the end of our contracts) we're tossed to the curb. And if you're profitable enough for "The Man," you get another contract offer to remain onboard. No big permanent job in the States, no retirement, no trickle-down bennies, no 401K.

I've been back almost two weeks now and am about settled back in. Already back into the Coffee Shop thing too. In fact, I force myself to get up on my nights off to go to the Coffee Shop for some socializing. Before I left, I'd been getting to know some of the Italian soldiers here, a couple Aussies and a couple of the interpreters too. Two of them live in Chicago on the north side, so that is kind of nice. When I came back from this last leave, I also made sure to bring back a couple of English/Italian dictionaries to assist in our conversations. I learned back during my travels in Chile that a pocket dictionary can get you a long way in trying to get your point across when you don't speak the language.

I really look forward to my Coffee Shop nights. Since we don't have bars and liquor here, the caffeine buzz is about the next best thing. A few double espresso's, the mixture of cultures and languages along with good conversation and laughter (which can get out of hand at times!) make for a good time a couple of days a week.

The weather has been somewhat flakey here. Some days the temps have run up to 80 and the nights get down in the 40's. Tonight, we have a warm south wind blowing in with gusts probably around 25-30 mph. At first I thought the sky was cloudy, but it is just all the dust blowing around. Hopefully, there won't be a dust storm coming in.

Just got an email from my friend Cheryl. She is asking me to describe how we get ready and celebrate Christmas here. It is by no means as commercial as back home. One of the buildings in the Mayor's cell put up their lights around the 30 foot palm tree like last year. The former tenants of the Mayor's Cell building had the fence around the lawn in lights and had a sleigh and reindeer lit up too. This year since Scrooge and Marley's moved in, the lawn remains dark. Other than that, I don't recall having seen any other lights around. The chow halls have put up their decorations and will have their big Holiday thing on the 25th. The PX will put up their faux tree to accomodate donations from the civilians and soldiers for charity along with assorted wrapped empty boxes to bring a festive appearance to the store.

Otherwise, Christmas is somewhat of a non-event here.
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