Friday, December 28, 2007

Strange Days

I was in Wal-Mart with my wife and sister. I walked up to look at cell phones and a young woman started chatting me up. It was obvious she was flirting but she finally said she was the T-Mobile rep and wanted to know if I was interested in a cell phone. I had forgotten how women will use their sexuality for sales and was actually taken aback by this.
I told her that I did not want to sign any contracts as I am not sure how long I will be here. She pried and I told her I had just come back from the sand box. I live close to Fort Hood so that is not an uncommon thing around here. She asked me if it was strange to be back. I gazed around the electronics department looking at all the fat people so self absorbed in consumerism and told her that yes; it was strange. I wound up getting a disposable phone and a $25.00 refill card. That is what I had in Iraq so that at least is not strange.
We needed another vehicle as I sold my Explorer a couple of years ago. My wife hates it when I car shop because my step father was general manager of a Volvo dealership and I learned from him how to grind them down. I did not want to go through that exercise but knew I had to. I just wanted to make it as painless as possible so I got my own financing before we went.
I found a Red Tag Tahoe for a good price and we went to the Chevy dealer. We looked at this one Tahoe, test drove it and then I bought it for the Red Tag price. It was as easy as that. No grind, no pain, no muss, no fuss. I bought it from Hewett Chevrolet in Georgetown, Texas and they were as pleasant as can be. My wife can't believe that I did not walk out twice and then go shop another dealer to attempt to play them against each other but I just did not have the energy or desire to do so.
We now have a new Tahoe in the front drive and she will be driving the wheels off of it this week to show it to all her buddies. That's OK. She has put up with a a lot while I have been gone and I want her and the T-Man to have the very best of life.
I hear them stirring about so I am cutting this short. I don't write when they are awake so Adios for now.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Wow. A one way ticket was placed in my hand and I had reasonable or good flight experiences the entire way. No hassles, no long lines, no delays, no running in airports, no surly customs officials, just a long trip....home. It is Christmas and Eid at the same time but the airports were efficient and everything went on time.

Baghdad to Dubai I got an exit row seat with extra leg room. I had 8 hours in Dubai and I spent that drinking a 6 pack and eating some really tasty Arabic food followed by sleep. I was put into a room with a guy from the Green Zone who was going on R&R. He left to go party and I crashed. He literally stumbled in about 03:00 and could not turn on the lights. I had to get up and do it for him. He passed out and I could not get him to roll out of bed on time. We were on the same 08:00 flight from Dubai. That means get up at 04:00 and catch the last shuttle at 05:00. I tried, I really did, but he is an adult and made his own choices. He missed the shuttle and the flight but I hope he made it home OK.

Dubai to Amsterdam was a full KLM flight but I had an aisle seat and a video on demand system to watch movies. I chose Stardust and then Superbad. Stardust was as good as the reviews said it was. Superbad is so damn funny that I caught myself laughing out loud a lot. The food was actually very tasty and the booze is free. The flight attendant spilled some orange juice on my arm and just could not do enough for me after that.

I then had a brief lay over in Amsterdam and the NWA flight was 1/3 empty. I had an aisle seat and an empty seat next to me so I had plenty of room to spread out and sleep. I watched an independent British movie called "Death at a Funeral" and it too was really funny. Not everyone gets British humor but I do and I really liked the flick. This time I took a Valium and slept hard for about 4 hours. Minneapolis must have gotten rid of all the surly customs people I ran into the last time I was there because this time they were polite and fast. It gave me plenty of time to go to Chili's and have a beer and a big'ol juicy burger. Best damn freedom meal I have had in years.

Minneapolis to Austin on NWA was almost full but I sat next to an older woman who spotted my three day bag with name tag and she started asking me all sorts of loaded questions. It was obvious she did not like Bush or his policies. I finally just told her that I really did not care what she thought nor does the Army so she will just have to live with it. I also told her to quit reading the NY Times and talk to a soldier of she wants the truth. There was an empty seat behind me and the woman in it asked her to move and sit with her for "More room". I winked at her and mouthed "Thank You". She mouthed back, "You're welcome".

I got to the airport and no one was there to pick me up. This is the first time that has ever happened. I started wondering what was going on and wondered if my wife got my emails, was there traffic, if the car rental counter was open, etc. She finally showed up and hugged me a kissed me while she was crying. She has not done that for a long time. She kept telling me over and over, "You're home. You don't have to go back." I turned and saw a young soldier in his ACUs watching. He was with his parents and it was obvious he had just finished AIT or boot. he had no unit patches, a fresh uniform and that single lonely little Private chevron that says to the world "FNG!". I looked at him and said, "Every soldier should get this sort of welcome home." He smiled and his mom said, "Not from his mother though." We all laughed at that. he hustled off to get his ruck and I spoke with his folks for a minute. I told them he would get great training, have the very best equipment available and have good leadership. I told his mom that he would be OK as most of them are. His dad is a vet and he said. It is his turn for us all. I know exactly what he meant.

I now have this strange feeling. I am up early and my wife and son still sleep as do the dogs. Their lives have just changed as has mine. I now have to tread the line of re-integrating myself into their day to day lives without upsetting their rhythm. The counselors tell you all of this when you get ready to come back but I don't think anyone is really prepared for it. This will be my challenge over the next few weeks. I will become a regular American.

I was hit with all sorts of last minutes offers and compromises to entice me to stay but I said to all,"Too late. It's time to go." I have only been back a day and a half and I already wonder how long I will be off. I had two verbal messages waiting for me, three emails, and a letter. Sorry guys, I just need some rest right now.

I'll write more later. I have to because for me it is therapy. I just wish I could have been more open before but the Internet watch dogs cover every posting. I want to tell the story from my perspective. I will but right now I need some coffee.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

4 years, 2 months, 2 days, 21 hours

That is how long I have been in this theater. I have lots of memories. Good, bad, indifferent, terrifying, and joyous. It is time to go. I have to turn in this computer in 10 minutes. As many have said, "AMF YO-YO!"

Adios Mother Fuckers, You're On Your Own!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Now that I have dropped paper and talked it out for my demob and Aloha bird out of here they want to try and talk me into staying. No, nada, nyet. I promised the little guy that I would be home for Christmas. That in itself is kind of strange though. Knowing I will be home before Christmas and beyond is some times a little frightening. I am so used to running full speed 12+ hours a day 7 days a week that I worry I will have trouble adjusting. Time will tell.

Right now time is dragging. I find myself just trying to wrap up loose ends. The new CO keeps adding taskers to me and I keep telling him I won't be here. I guess that I have been a fixture so long that they just don't fathom that I really will be leaving a vacuum that they have not filled yet.

I am divesting myself of all the creature comforts I colected over here. I have a wonderful automatic Braun coffee maker with a stainless steel carafe and a timer but it is 220v. So are my iron, hair dryer, etc. All that stays behind as does my cell phone because I discovered it has a 220v charger only. Can't even charge it at home.

What has been endearing is that I have had many personnel who have worked for me come up to me and press slips of paper into my hands with email addresses, phone numbers, etc with their contact info. They all tell me they will follow me to the pits of hell. That makes me sad as hell and I can't help but feel guilty but I have to live some life with my son and wife for a change.

Hell can wait a while!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ferengi Rules of Aqusition

There are 285 rules but I don't have them all. If anyone has any which are missing or even has a good one to add, feel free to do so. My favorite is # 211

1. Once you have their money, you never give it back.
2. The best deal is the one that brings the most profit
3. Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.
4. A woman wearing clothes is like a man in the kitchen.
6. Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity, or Never allow family to stand in the way of profit.
7. Keep your ears open.
8. Small print leads to large risk.
9. Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.
10. Greed is eternal.
11. Even if it's free, you can always buy it cheaper.
12. Anything worth selling is worth selling twice.
13. Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
16. A deal is a deal.
17. A contract is a contract is a contract. But only between Ferengi.
18. A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
19. Satisfaction is not guaranteed.
21. Never place friendship above profit.
22. A wise man can hear profit in the wind.
23. Nothing is more important than your health. Except for your money.
27. There is nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman.
31. Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother...Insult something he cares about instead.
33. It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
34. War is good for business.
35. Peace is good for business.
40. She can touch your lobes, but never your latinum.
41. Profit is its own reward.
44. Never confuse wisdom with luck.
45. Expand or die.
47. Never trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.
48. The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
52. Never ask when you can take.
57. Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them.
58. There is no substitute for success.
59. Free advice is seldom cheap.
60. Keep your lies consistent.
62. The riskier the road, the greater the profit.
65. Win or lose, there's always Hupyrian beetle snuff.
74. Knowledge equals profit.
75. Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum.
76. Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies!
79. Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge.
82. The flimsier the product, the higher the price.
85. Never let the competition know what you're thinking.
89. Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits.
94. Females and finances don't mix.
95. Expand or die.
97. Enough... is never enough.
98. Every man has his price.
99. Trust is the biggest liability of all.
100-101. MISSING
102. Nature decays, but latinum is forever.
103. Sleep can interfere with...
104. Faith moves mountains... of inventory.
106. There is no honor in poverty.
107-108. MISSING
109. Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.
110. Keep 10% of every transaction for yourself...just don't let your boss know about it
111. Treat people in your debt like family. Exploit them.
112. Never have sex with the boss's sister.
113. Always have sex with the boss.
114-120 MISSING
121. Everything is for sale, even friendship.
123. Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum.
125. You can't make a deal if you're dead.
126-138. MISSING
139. Wives serve, brothers inherit.
140. Lawyers should be killed.
141. Only fools pay retail.
142-143. MISSING
144. There's nothing wrong with charity... as long as it winds up in your pocket.
145-161. MISSING
162. Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit.
163-167. MISSING
168. Whisper your way to success.
169-176. MISSING
177. Know your enemies... but do business with them always.
178-180. MISSING
181. Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit.
182-188. MISSING
189. Let others keep their reputation. You keep their money.
190. Hear all; trust nothing.
191. The most dangerous man is one who has no greed.
192. Never cheat a Klingon... unless you're sure you can get away with it.
193. You mother should be you best customer.
194. It's always good business to know about your customers before they walk in your door.
195. Fear will drive up profits..unless you are the one who is scared.
196. The government is the worst customer of all...avoid doing business with them unless they make you.
197-202 MISSING
202. The justification of profit is profit.
203. New customers are like razor-toothed Greeworms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back.
204-207. MISSING
208. Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than the question is an answer.
207-210. MISSING
211. Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them.
212-213. MISSING
214. Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach.
215-216 MISSING
217. You can't free a fish from water.
218. Always know what you're buying.
219-222. MISSING
223. Beware the man who doesn't make time for oo-mox.
224-228. MISSING
229. Latinum lasts longer than lust.
230-235. MISSING
236. You can't buy fate.
237-238. MISSING
239. Never be afraid to mislabel a product.
238-241. MISSING
242. More is good... all is better.
243-254. MISSING
255. A wife is a luxury... a smart accountant, a necessity.
256-260. MISSING
261. A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience.262. MISSING
263. Never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for latinum.
264-265. MISSING
266. When in doubt, lie.
267-283. MISSING
284. Deep down, everyone is a Ferengi.
285. No good deed ever goes unpunished.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

They don't believe me!

"No, you are kidding. You don't really want to go." "You are just trying to get a raise." "You can't leave us now!" "You put this together! How can you leave now?" "I heard a rumor that you are leaving, that can't be true." "This project will crater if you leave."
Really folks. It is none of the above. The war effort will get along fine without me. I really am leaving. I really mean it. I had Household 6 tell the Little Guy that the Big Guy will be home for Christmas.
Dave from Daves-Not-Here leaves tomorrow. I wish I was with him but it looks to be about 1 week before I actually get out.
This will be the longest week of my life.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I go

Time to go. I drop paper tomorrow. Maybe I will get out with Dave from Daves-Not-Here. He DDs the 13th. I'm not sad. I am actually relieved. Time to get some down time and hang out with Household 6, the Little Guy, and the dogs. Time to get to know my family again and have a beer when I want it.
Once i get CONUS and out from under GO#1 I will really let loose with what I can. I will tell it like it is without fear of reprisal or big brother kicking my butt. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Should I stay or should I go?"

The seminal band of the late 70s was The Clash. Some of you may remember them from "Rockin the Casbah" but my favorite Clash song was "Should I stay or should I go?" That song has just been drilling through my head the past two days.
I'm getting close to my original departure date and I'm getting itchy. Things are not the way they should be here but they never are anyway so it is status quo really. My reality is not that of anyone in the land of the big PX so they don't know or care about all the phrases we bandy around like "Mission Essential", "Tertiary Effects", "OpOrd", or even "Hooah". I want to go so bad but these phrases always equate into the one factor I cannot shake. If it is not me it will be some one else.
I'm awfully damn good at what I do. I know my job and role and come in second to none but the grind, politics, difficulties and Iraq in general have just got me to a point where I don't have any reaction to bad news other than this: I am already in Iraq so they can't threaten me with that. The worst thing they can do to me now is put me on a plane and send me to America. You know what? That ain't bad at all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Alive and Well

I have been given yet another "temporary" mission and have just been swamped. This one was jacked up and I have been putting in 14-15 hours a day to try and get things going correctly. I have a Battalion sized unit that I am in charge of scattered over 23 locations in Iraq. It make command and control very difficult. There is nothing about this challenge that can't be overcome but it is a critical part of the overall mission and I have obligated myself for at least another 3 months.
I was prepared to go home. I am still looking at my target date with longing. I sent all my stuff home and have no winter gear here and it is getting colder. At least I am with good folks, some of who have also been here since 03. Oh well, war does funny things and has a way of driving you rather than you driving it.
Household 6 (Mrs MiG) just closed on a new house for us so she is tickled pink and my not being home yet has been padded by that. I guess that takes the edge off. I don't have any firm fixed date right now. The new CO coming is a friend and he and I have been deployed together before. he just finished a long stint in Djibouti but we kept in touch the entire time.
I'll write more later, I am bone tired and it is late. I did buy a "Christmas in Baghdad 2007" coffee mug though. that is the extent of my Christmas decorations. Bah Humbug.
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