Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here We Go Again

Greetings to all far and wide. From a guy who is just wide. I get to visit old haunts again in the new year. With the new trip I find myself falling into some habits. One I have starting scanning the area again. I look for cover when I walk down the street. I am wary of slow moving cars, and for god sake do not tailgate me. I have told my daughter that it is just a long business trip. I am pretty sure she knows something is up since I am gathering my gear and prepping some things. I have taken a liking to my angry music again. I have not told her where yet, but will after Christmas. On the good side I was to leave on 6 Jan but that has been pushed due to scheduling conflicts with Uncle Sam. That might change again depending on how bad they want the job done. This next time I will keep my gear at home for a while. So if you want to feel what the troops have to wear and how heavy it is come on by when I get back. For those concerned I will not officially tell the extended family unless directly asked. This trip is different though. I only have to stay as long as it takes me to change out equipment and software at a few sites. That means the faster I can get around the country the faster I get home. Best case I will be 3 weeks in the country. Worst case could be 2 months. I can't say I am thrilled to go back but I know going in that I have an exit plan. In other news we have two new dogs and are down to 14 chickens. We will reconstitute the flock this spring.

Ours not to make reply,
Ours not to reason why,
Ours but to do

Remember life is how you look at it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Shades of grey

Since returning to the daily rigors of work, we have made some changes in the office. The mood is tight, the workers are moody, the management is spotty, and the deadlines tight. I love the sounds of deadlines make as they go whizzing by. I am on a forgotten project on my own with little direction, or care that it can not be done. Within the time frame. My college came to the not so great white north as the official sacrificial lamb for University of Wisconsin this year. I expected a complete blowout, and all I hoped for was a respectable score. At mid point of the game they were tied. We were quite pleased the 400 or so fans in light blue. There were 79500 fans in red. There were two young UW fans seated behind me the daughter and a niece who is at UW as a student. They were rude and made stupid comments throughout the first quarter of the game. I finial turned to them and said, we know we are going to lose, and have a fine tradition of losing so please just shut up. They were better for the rest of the game. We did lose but the fans were pleased with the game play of the boys in blue. Since then they have only dropped one game and hope is starting to bloom for the team. Being a long sufferer of the college most know this will only lead to pain.

Rumors still fly about a return trip to either Iraq or Afghanistan. I think neither will happen. I also might be on the training team to prep for the upcoming release around the Army. I would be happy just to create the training. That will probably not happen either. I will have to get myself together to be a coder for the next year. I am signing up for a class and will start to redo my skills in Nov. Projects at home are in finial stages, one room is redone mostly, electricity has been restored to the out buildings partially, Some decluttering has be undertaken. I designed and built a storage bed for the wife. It needs only some touch up paint. Firewood is in the planning phase, I have plans in my head for the work shop. Lots of small things still need to be done. Attached are a few pictures of the past few months.

Bucky Badger. Daughter wanted to take a picture with him but was afraid he would hit her for wearing the other teams colors

Tied at half time

The Girls surrounded

Pockets of baby blue in a sea of red

Out numbered

Olive the Fashion plate

Remember this while you change for bed

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back in the USA

Sorry to anyone who read this meandering drivel. I got side tracked by so many things that it was hard to get in any frame of mind to post at all. The last few months of my deployment were hard in several ways. From problems with replacements, paperwork hassles, pesky Taliban attacks, training problems, problems with customs, and just a general angry feeling that came over me. I have been home almost 2 months now and adjusting seems to be going well. I have calmed down a bit, and am more stable in my emotions. For a while I felt as if everything was out to get me. The cats even seemed to be hostile, but time has calmed me and the cats.

The Good Idea Fairy touched the higher ups a week after I got home.
I spent a week on vacation, one week at work and then was sent for 2 weeks to train some guys. After the first week there they asked if I would go to Iraq for a few months. Starting 1 July. After some thought and macho chest beating I said no. Not now maybe in a few months after I get back to normal.

I'm just not ready to go back to the Secret Squirrel world just yet. Maybe soon but not now. the toll it took on my daughter and wife is not worth it. I know there are others paying a higher price, and I am not ready to pay it myself. The dear wife says I have done my part. Well, that maybe be true but, I can still do more, we'll see. All for now, I did get some great in my humble opinion shots, I will post those later.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I'm still here

Sorry, I've been rather caught up with events lately. I will get an update as to the happenings of late, but as of now lets just say I miss the USA, and will be on red mud in about 54 days. Then to frozen ground (not by then) in about 60.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm Special

Mama always said I was autistic uh I mean artistic. I am slightly sick and was bored. We are making grand plans now. I think we could still pull off the Europe trip. And get the tax break. Still too early to tell but anyway. Here are some patches I had made. Sometimes an idea will pop into the dark parts of my mind and I have to do it. They are not always winners but sometimes they are good. In my humble opinion. See what you think.

Screen saver on my computer to read by

South Carolina flag on a hat

Big Red the flag of The Citadel on another hat

Just a patch that popped into my head, not as pleased as I thought I would be with it

Patch made for hats for the Inlaws

Patch I had made for my uniform

Monday, December 18, 2006

Week before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through Afghanistan, the bombs were falling, the Taliban were all shaking, quivering in their beds, knowing that death would rain down on their heads. Ma in her burka and me in my crap, I had just settled down to my IED map. When out in the yard there arose such a explosion, I had to ask Ala what the hell it was. The infidels had found me and were out for blood. I had tried and failed to kill them now they had my ass. Merry Christmas

Not a pleasant Christmas poem I know, as we prepare for the festivities of the holiday season, know that others plot the demise of our cultures and lives. There is no living with these people, no peace on earth for those who are not willing to fight for it. Give peace a chance is becoming a chant again. We gave peace a chance and have prayed for it all these years. It has brought us Lebanon, Bosnia, Somalia, Iran, deaths and kidnaps. Yeah peace has worked so well. Peace, to some is our destruction. I will not give these people a chance to destroy all that I love. I will fight, and give what I need to defeat them. I am no longer a soldier, but my family is a family of soldiers. In the last 200 years we have had members in service for most of it. When the call has been made we answer it. We have and will shed blood for our beliefs, right or wrong, only history has the luxury to decide for sure. We have had members of the family in uniform for every war we have had. We have not always fought but we have been there to help. We can trace back to the Revolutionary War on the Southern battle lines as Johnny Reb. We had members in France in WWI and relatives beating back the Blitzkrieg in Europe. My Father was in Uniform for all of the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. Me and my sister served during the Cold War. I was in uniform for Gulf War and trained to fight the Cold War against Russia. I will not pretend that all America has done in our history is righteous and good. America has blood on its hands for so many things, it can be sickening to think about. But, our transgressions are not as onerous as those who came before, or been against us. If as they say this war was over oil then we could have chosen easier, closer targets than these.

This place can get to you after a while, as the unit I’m with prepares to go home all the talk is of what they will do when they get home. Most run along the lines of drunken debauchery, and pornographic dreams, I can’t blame them. As I have those same fantasies and weaknesses. Don't call or visit for a few days after my return. I have the last packages ready to send home. They will be well after CHristmas. I got a box from the lovely wife and daughter Saturday, and another from my sister in-law and mother in-law today. and have serious pangs to be at home in front of hearth and fire, with my loved ones around. I was told today that I will be moving B-Huts soon as they prepare to leave. I will move in with the other civilians to keep us all together. I will miss these guys, you can’t live this long with someone and not have some connection. Although not everyone in this hut talks to each other. Also I found out that my replacement will be here in Mid February, which means I could be home by the first part of March. That’s about 6 weeks before my magic date, so the question is how much is it worth to be home. Right now that is priceless, plus I have two months to get serious about my studies.

Bad picture of gazebo decorated for the season

Snow man and tree decorated by the Martha Steward of Afghanistan

Inside the gazebo

Tree of light in center of gazebo

Santa sent to Avn Bde by school in the states.

Hats I had made for the in-laws, they have a polka band.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'm back

Hello again, I sorry I have not updated in a while. But as you can guess life has been one exciting adventure after another. From my meeting with Osama, and secret missions into the mountains I 've had very little time. Well that’s what I’d like to think anyway. Truth is I have had a sever bout of lack of energy. Or as they say around here my give a damn is broken. Since our last little chat by the glow of your screen, I’ve been to Kabul, Khowst, and middle of no where. We had to bring back the black box from Kabul. We some how bummed a ride to Kabul while having lunch. Some guys were up picking up Suburbans and I talked my way into a ride. Which allowed us a night at ISAF HQ. Better food and two beers. Got to love working with NATO. The British took us to the Air port. From there we tried to fly it back to here. We first had to as the Americans, who said that was the Brit’s job. The Brit’s said they only handled people, ask the German’s. The German’s said all coordination is through the Turk’s, who made us drag the box over to them. They then said okay take it back to the Americans who said good give ti to the Brit’s, who then said ok leave it by the baggage and we’ll take care of it. Got to love working with NATO. So we rolled it back to the terminal and waited. Once on the C130 it was a 15 minute flight back here. Unload go find a truck. While having coffee at the USO before we got the truck Pop Eye showed up in honor of the grand reopening of the restaurant. The trip to Khowst lucked out as a one day trip in at dawn out at sun set. Other that those two trips nothing special. Things will pick up soon and more work I guess. Right now they have hired my replacement and she will be here in January or February. That means I might be home early. No official because they said something about a large amount of overlap. If I can make it to end of March that would be great. Had a scare the other night one of my room mates passed out around midnight, He wanted me to wake him at midnight because he works nights and did not want to mess up his sleep schedule on his day off. Woke him and he wanted to go outside for a smoke. Once outside he said I don’t feel well. Sat down said I feel light headed and did a header into the gravel. I got him up and back to his room, went to get his glasses. Came back he said I’m bleeding, got the flashlight and checked scraps on his face and blood behind his ear. Looked at the ear and he had some how tore the top part of his ear from his head. I could see the cartilage and the skin inside. Took him to the Emergency room, and they stitched him up after lots of tests. At one point he had a bp of 55 / 22. Great, turns out he was dehydrated and had not eaten for 18 hours other than some snacks. They gave him the last two days off. I have to wake him soon. I spent parts of yesterday and today Christmas shopping. It is hard to find 10 Burkas in different colors, plus the fashions of them are hard to keep track of. I found It hard to find the right piece of gravel for the right person. We had a snow storm for 3 days, well a mixture of rain snow and wet snow. Made life that much better here. It has turned cold and that’s fun to. In two or so months we have had a 100 degree swing in temperature.

Well more later.

Click image for larger picture.

The Navy guys just keep getting older.

All the poop sucker trucks have names this one is the Contessa Linda. My SIL will be so proud

Mecca Burger in Kabul

My co worker with an angry cat in Kabul

We loaded the black box on a armored Toyota it flatten out the springs.

Malaria Eddie re-enlisting

Snow on the B Hut

Large snowman between the B-Huts

The Brown mountains are now white.