Thursday, March 16, 2006


17 March 2006

“Erin Go Braugh” and a Happy Saint Paddies Day to all! Saw in the news yesterday that they’ve already dyed the Chicago River green for the occasion…as if it needed any more help. Growing up in a city with such an Irish influence, it was always said that no matter what your background, everyone is Irish on March 17th. But here in Iraq, it’s just another day on the calendar.

I can’t believe that the last two weeks have passed so quickly. Seems like yesterday that we were sitting on the runway in Munich for an hour waiting for runway two to be cleared of snow and open up. We had a great flight back after a great eight days in that fantastic city. If you ever have the opportunity to make it to Munich…better yet, make the opportunity to visit that city. The people, the food, the city, the beer are beyond words. And kudos to the hotel staff at the Kempinski Vierjahrezeiten on Maximillian Strasse. This hotel is the only place to stay in downtown Munich. Some of the clientele are a bit stuffy, but the staff is absolutely down-to-earth.

My seven days at home just flew by. I caught yet another cold while I was at home which was only made tolerable by the fact that I was able to be sick and sleep in my own bed. I didn’t let it stop me from enjoying the stay at home. I had a whole big list of things to do. The best part of the trip home was having the nephew and niece over Friday night with help from my sister Deb who flew in from AZ. Saturday, she took the niece for the Mario Tricoci treatment while the nephew and I did breakfast, IMAX and the mall. Like me, my nephew has a weakness for Borders and Barnes and Noble so we ended up dropping an easy sixty or so there.

Saturday night we all met up with the rest of their clan at the Allstate Arena for the Wolves Hockey game. The number two nephew was playing in a kiddie hockey scrimmage between periods. It was great to see him enjoying himself so much on the ice. He told his parents before hitting the ice that he was going to check this one kid. Sure enough, he checks him and then goes down face first into the ice. What a nut!

We left the kids with their parents and Deb and I made our way back to Sycamore only to find ourselves in the fog. The fog was so thick you could have cut it with a knife and poor Deb was sweating bullets the whole trip home. My biggest worry was that someone would stop in the middle of the street and I wouldn’t see them or that I’d hit a deer, skunk or critter of some sort. But like Dad taught us, slow and steady will get you there in one piece.

Deb headed back to AZ on Sunday and dropped my off at the same time. We were both on United, so that made it easy at the airport. My plane got out to the runway and then we got held up for two hours with a thunderstorm passing through. O’Hare had stopped all flights in and out after we got rolled out for takeoff. Was still able to make the connection to Kuwait but it certainly didn’t allow for much of a cushion in timing.

Not too much has changed at Victory in the couple of weeks I’ve been gone. One thing that has changed and caught our attention is the road passing the Green Beans Coffee Shop is blocked off for construction. For the entire time I’ve been here, this road has been nothing better than the original Oregon Trail. Now they’ve decided to actually scrape it down a foot deep and actually lay rock and pavement. Why the big improvements now? Anyone’s guess.

But just make sure to mind the signs that say “DEAT OR >>>” Not that I’m one to point out the obvious, but I think that Wiley Coyote meant “Detour” when he wrote the sign. And I have yet to see Road Runner buzz past our coffee shop! The comedic value of that sign speaks for itself. I’ll have to get a picture of this sign…once I replace my poor Olympus All-Weather camera which has "bought the farm" (maybe "bit the dust" is a more appropriate metaphor considering the concrete-like dust around here) after two hard years in Iraq.
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