Saturday, June 10, 2006

CRC - Day 2 and We're Done

31 May 2006

I was up at 0300 this morning so that I could shower and eat some breakfast before the bus was to pick us up at 0400. I didn’t want to end up passing out if they’re going to draw blood, so I had to have something in my stomach. Too bad the bus driver didn’t show. We stood out there until 0500 and finally called Don to find out where the bus was. He called them and called us back only to say that they thought we were to be picked up at 0530.

SRC went about as planned. We got bussed over to the medical building for initial briefings and such. We got a short and sweet briefing from the Chaplin too. He summed things up that while we’ve been gone, the people back home have been making decisions for themselves and have had to carry on with their lives. Our jumping back into their lives will be a new growing process for all. He also pointed out that the military as well as the contractors deployed overseas have learned to adjust to these deployments and separations, but their families don’t always make the adjustment or change quite as easily was we do.

I will admit, it is an adjustment when you get back. His estimate was that it takes anywhere from six to eight weeks for the “honeymoon” period to wear off and for all parties to start getting back to a new normal routine. For some the process is longer than others, but there are always reactions to the arrival and reintroduction of those coming back home. We’re told to take things slowly and be patient with each other and work on accepting the changes. Change happens and now we have to work with accepting the changes instead of expecting life to be turned back to the way it was before we left.

After the briefing, we were led through the process of filling out the paperwork and going to various stations prior to getting shots, blood drawn, interviews with the shrink people and those kind of things. I honestly am having some questions about whether those who opted out of this part of the process were aware of what they have bypassed. Sorry, but I’m not about to let the Army off the hook if by some remote chance, I’ve been exposed to something. You just never know what may have bitten you or what after-effects may arise at some future date. But, they have made their bed and will have to live with it. The rest of us went through the four hours of BS and by about noon, we had completed the process which had started at 0600. Now it was time to celebrate.

A group of four of us ended up taking a cab back to the hotel since we couldn’t find the bus that was supposed to take us back. Split between four, it wasn’t but about $3.50 a piece with tip. Once back at the hotel, I ended up tagging along with a group of ITTer’s that were heading over to a steak place a few miles away. What started out as a group of three of them ended up a group of six after our stop to pick up another two from the Best Western. With so many of us outprocessing, they ended up splitting us into three hotels.

Nothing like some good cold beer, peanuts (where you can throw the shells on the floor) and some great food. Good thing I only had the 13oz. Ribeye. Between all the appetizers of fried mushrooms and potato skins, I wouldn’t have been able to finish anything bigger. Our waitress was really great too. With El Paso being such a military town, the people here really have welcomed everyone back from Iraq with open hearts and arms. One of the guys in our group had been up to the Tony Lama boot place yesterday and was given a 50% discount with his orders. Now that’s appreciation right there.

With all the jet lag and such, I’m kind of glad that I’m not rushing around to try and find some earlier flight. At least I have tonight to chill out some, go to bed at a decent hour, wake up (hopefully refreshed) and finish packing things up after a quick breakfast. It will be nice to be back home again in my own bed and my own house.

CRC - Day 1

30 May 2006

CRC – Day 1

John and I decided to go over to Red Lobster last night for dinner. We both had Margarita’s on the rocks. I got the top shelf but John just got the original. It was like one was my limit. I’ve become such a light-weight drinker. I guess that’s a good thing. I certainly had a good buzz going on when we left the place.

Got back to the room and had date with Mr. Bubble. I miss taking baths when I’m away from home. With only showers at Victory, it is always a pleasure to be able to take a bath and soak the scum off the body. So between the good buzz I had going from the Margarita and the relaxing hot bath, I had a nice mellow evening.

After such a nice sleep the night before, jetlag danced all over me again last night. I fell asleep at 11, but woke up at about 3:30 and was staring at the ceiling. So I switched on the TV and flipped through channels for 90 minutes before deciding on a shower and breakfast at the IHOP. We were getting picked up today at 0700 to turn in issued gear.

It actually went smoother than I thought it would. They took our stuff back in at building 503A, so it was just a matter of them getting themselves organized after the long holiday weekend and we were all done by lunch time.

Tomorrow morning we have a 0400 rendezvous time for medical. We were given the option to opt-out of the medical end of this if we wanted, but with all the history of Gulf War Syndrome and such, maybe it’s better to let them do the TB test and take the blood for storage. We will also be given the opportunity to receive any shots to bring us current if we want. I will probably go ahead and get he next Hep in the series as long as they have it and I’m already there. Otherwise you have to go down to the county health department at home to get it. We have been told that they will hold the blood taken before we deployed along with this blood for ten years as a precaution.

Out of boredom today, I had to find an internet connection. I remembered that Starbuck’s usually have a “hotspot”, so I gave it a look-see today. Woo-hoo! Signed up on T-Mobile’s Hot Spot and checked my mail and read a few blogs over a good cup of coffee. I have felt so disconnected with the world without my internet access. This gave me the chance to send off some email and let everyone know that I’m still around and doing alright.

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