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.

Brizzi here! No e-mail contact for you on here, so this will have to do. Life is New York is going pretty well. I may not be here much longer though... Drop me an e-mail.
ya know, I never thought of it before but...were you involved with a certain sketchy publication on your side of Baghdad?
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