Friday, June 29, 2007

Dusting Off the Blog

28 June 2007

I received an email from Cheryl this week questioning whether I was alright. She said it was time to brush the dust off the old blog and make an update! Now how the heck she ever could have known that we have been have all these dust storms covering everything with dust is beyond me. Premonition, maybe.

Sorry for the long break. I’ve been keeping myself busy with work, reading, studying and running. My running and diet are coming along fine…in fact, I’ve dropped an inch and about ten pounds. Must be the heat and sweating! Been reading a whole lot too. Additionally, in the last month, I finally broke out the books and started studying the CCNA books. I’d like to prepare for an October testing, but I have to say that this stuff can be daunting! Like drinking from a fire hose. But if you take one day at a time and concentrate on one chapter at a time, it is do-able. Jack the guy who sits behind me in the one office I work at, reminds me…”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”

I hesitate at times to mention how things are outside our wall of protection here. With all the raids taking place in Baghdad, it seems like the insurgents are like kids who are about to get caught with fireworks…better to use them up than have them taken away! Lots of fire fights and booms at all hours. They make for very rude and noisy neighbors at times.

Since I haven’t been writing too much, I’ve failed to mention that since I’ve been back, I’ve been enjoying coffee about once a week with an old friend from Kalkar. As usual with so many of my old friends, it is like picking up where you left off even after 20 years. Our lives have taken a few unplanned exits along the way, but Ron Southern and I have been catching up. Or maybe I’ve been catching up with him since he has been keeping up with my blog since I started writing it. It’s an odd feeling when you realize that someone knows you better than you know them. Like when he is actually following my train of thought on something we’re discussing and he quotes something back to me from my writing. Gives you that exposed, open and airy feeling the emperor must have felt after realizing that he actually WAS naked!

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news lately, the six time Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Champion might possibly be sidelined from the July 4th contest due to an arthritic jaw! (Okay! Let’s not even go there…even though the possibilities for jokes are endless!) Maybe they could puree his hot dogs and see if he could suck 58-3/4 hot dogs through a straw. Sounds like preparations for the Senior Olympics. I’m gonna leave this whole thing alone since it is only going downhill fast.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Expectations Adjustment

11 June 2007

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been back over a month already. I know too that I should have been writing more. I had promised myself that I’d make postings every two weeks at the minimum. Well, reality and everyday life take over and resolutions and expectations tend to fall to the wayside.

It hasn’t helped any that I ended up catching a summer cold about 12 days ago. This thing just keeps on hanging on! Started out as a sore throat and once the sore throat went away, the congestion started. Just making my excuse as to why I haven’t written anything over the last two weeks. Along with being sick and congested, I stopped running because I was too busy hacking up a lung and running wasn’t going to help that any.

Life is alright lately. Kind of cyclical when I put things into perspective. It took KBR about three weeks to fill in with stone the 2x2x2 deep hole that a mortar left about 125 yards from my trailer in the dirt a week or so before I got back. Usually they are better at covering up the remnants of that kind of stuff. The neighbors three trailers over were out having a smoke the other day and took three bullet rounds into their trailer about a foot above their head. Not all the trailers have the 12 foot barriers around them. Like all the other KBR projects around here, they start something and then lose interest in finishing them.

The past week has been a week in hell trying to sleep during the day. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m on a KBR rant today! KBR in all their wondrous glory, has been working on connecting a generator to Dodge South. They can’t seem to work on the power when the temps are in the 80’s during the night for some reason. Don’t you know that you can only work on power when the temps outside are 110-118 degrees out?

Seems they can’t get it right and had the electric out for 8 hours last Monday, 10 hours last Wednesday, 2 hours Friday, 12 hours Saturday, 2 hours on Sunday and two hours today. It’s all well and good, but for us day sleepers/night workers, it is no fun trying to sleep in a trailer that is heated up to 110 degrees because the boneheads don’t know how electric works. Haven’t heard the loud popping sound yet of them pulling their heads out of their asses, so I’m sure there are more power outages in store.

Add to this the current chow hall situation. No deliveries for the past four days means no fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, yogurt. Thank goodness I can have my milk since it is UHT (ultra high temp treated for long shelf life and doesn’t have to be refrigerated until you want to drink it cold.) We used that stuff in the Antarctic and I used to get the chocolate UHT in Germany for a change of pace every so often. Otherwise, if it ain’t frozen, freeze dried or canned, it ain’t here.

The last time pickin’s were so slim was back in the summer of 2005 when the convoys were being blown up by the insurgents. I have a pic from back then of a trailer with a mortar mark through it on both sides. The mortar went through the trailer completely without hitting the goods inside! Except now the issue isn’t KBR. The only excuse is that the 3rd ID doesn’t know how to operate a chow hall and order proper supplies.

Reading what I’ve just wrote, you’d think that I was in a bad mood. Actually, I’m in a good mood, I just have to readjust my expectations and stop being such a pansy-ass whiner about things. Been through all this before but I got spoiled along the way as life got more comfortable. I guess it could be worse; we could be on water restrictions too!

Although, I’ve been through water restrictions during the austral winter of 1989 when the iceberg did a little dance on the sea-water intake pipe at Palmer Station, Antarctica. One one-minute shower three times a week. South Pole actually has stiffer restrictions on water use allowing one one-minute shower once a week! Fortunately for us at Palmer during the austral summer we had the luxury of extra water from the glacial melt pond. In the austral winter we had to make all of our own water through reverse osmosis and desal. Once the RO was down, we were restricted on water use for a couple of weeks until the divers went down and removed the squashed part of the intake pipe.

Oops, sorry for that little unannounced trip in the way-back machine. We’re back in 2007, so you can release your lap belts, feel free to use electronic devices and adjust your hair at this time. Although that little way-back trip still has a little Level 42 (Something About You) playing in my head, I feel better now. Just needed an attitude adjustment and to put all things into perspective. I’ll stop whining for now!

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