Sunday, June 27, 2010

Poolside

Today was a good day. My roommates, SGT G-beer and SFC Monty and I, along with SGT Graywarz, went to Freedom Rest. It is a recreation facility here at VBC. A pool, day rooms, a place to relax and kick back. You can stay the night if you are in pass status. We borrowed CPT Z's Trailblazer and drove over.

We slathered on the SP30 and sat by the pool, watching tattooed Joes play volleyball and grabass. The pool is just across the canal from General Odinaro's chopper pad, and we watched a couple of Blackhawks come in and land, and GEN O and assorted aides get out. He is tall and bald, hook nosed and hawk-eyed; and once you've seen him, you can't mistake him for anyone else.

We sat around and bullshitted for awhile. I swam a little, I read my Kindle and listened to my iPod and just took it easy for an afternoon.

When we were leaving, we saw two third country nationals (TCNs) raking moss out of the lake. The pool is right on the lake. They were doing the same thing when we arrived, dressed in blue coveralls, faces wrapped in scarves, yellow hard hats, balancing in a rickety boat, raking moss in a wet brown pile in the bottom of the boat. I don't know why they are doing this, but you see them all over, in the canals and lakes, raking up seaweed and moss. They were staring at all the soldiers, male and females who were laughing and splashing and playing in the cool blue water of the pool while they toiled away.

"I bet they hate Americans," I said.

"I was just thinking that," Said SFC Monty.

"Nobody put a gun to y'alls heads," I informed them, though they were too far away to hear.

Afterwards, we got something to eat at an Iraqi restaurant. Graywarz wanted to order one chicken dish, but the waiter informed him that this particular dish "was good for Iraqi, not for American." He opted for a different dish.

Later, we sat and talked, drinking tiny glasses of very hot, very sweet tea. We talked about the girls we love and the pros and cons of various dog breeds and I showed them the scar on the back of my left hand from Alex, and we quoted O Brother Where Art Thou and The Big Lebowski, and later we went to the Liberty PX. A good day, a nice low key day. I've got a strip of red skin down my right triceps where I missed it with the sunscreen.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pink Slip

Well, damn. Got called into the Sergeant Major's office this afternoon along with SGT Graywarz and we were both given the boot. Politely, of course. A combination of things: the Boss' full time PSO is here and has been for a couple of months, so they really don't need me. They have a couple of fillers from another unit who can do the driving, and our unit wants us back. We will be leaving Iraq in about six weeks or so, and I guess we are needed back to help with the preparations for pulling out.

Sergeant Major was very nice about it all. We have done a good job, sorry to see us go, thanks for the hard work, all of that.

Still, a bitter pill.

I was so pissed I actually threw my hat on the ground afterwards, which is a somewhat childish thing to do and failed to make me feel better.

So I guess it's back to our little camp, where I will probably be stringing concertina wire and filling sandbags, or some equally vital grunt work such as supervising the loading of conexes, or even worse, riding a desk in the TOC.

I know how lucky I am, believe me. Unlike the rest of my boys, I actually got to do real PSD work for a general officer. I was up and down Irish three and four times a week. I was all over the IZ (aka Green Zone); various and sundry places in the Red Zone; went on helicopter rides, went to cool places, saw cool shit...what I thought was gonna be a ten day gig turned into almost almost four months. So I shouldn't complain.

But still. Damn.

Damn!


Ah well. As my mom would have said, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

I'll try and get some Italy pics up a bit later this week. Happy Monday and Happy First Day of Summer, y'all.



Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Vacay

Yeah, I haven't posted in awhile. Just been busy. We travel with the Boss typically four to six days a week. Every day sort of blends into the day before it, and I just haven't felt like posting the same old stuff, to be honest.

Right now I'm on my mid-tour leave in Italy with my totally amazing girlfriend. She said that sounded sarcastic but I mean it. She is spectacularly amazing. So far we have spent a few wonderful days in Rome and Florence, with side trips to Pisa and Sienna. Tonight we are in the Cinque Terre, a series of tiny old villages built along the western coast of Italy. The whole trip has been amazing so far, apart from some issues with my debit card and my podunk bank which seem to be worked out now.

That's a pic of me and my princess at the Vatican City museum. I'll post some more  pictures later on, if I can be bothered to get back online. Right now I'm gonna spend some more quality time with my significant other. Ciao!

Echo

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