Back to work

Yesterday morning was our TB test – the plant anyway. They’ll read them on Thursday. After that we didn’t do much – just waited around for a while for information about the rest of the week and that was it. After we were done, I went into town to Michaels to exchange something and get something else. And then back home to get stuff ready for the Post Office, and then I went there. Mailed some things, got a couple of money orders, and picked up my last 2 boxes mailed from Afghanistan – had to sign for them since I insured them. I was home by 12:30 after all that. I spent the afternoon doing some stuff around the house, got supper going in the crockpot (cooked on high), computered some, and crocheted some before I went to get Robbie from daycare. Dinner was good – pork chops with a sauce made from cream of mushroom soup, cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, cream of celery soup, and worstershire sauce. The pork chops were nice and tender after having cooked all afternoon. We had mashed potatoes (fake ones) and corn with it as well. After bedtime for Robbie, I crocheted more.

Today we actually “worked” all morning. After formation, we chopped/scraped/shoveled and otherwise removed the ice from all the sidewalks around the band buildings. I also went to the optometry clinic to get my glasses adjusted and now they don’t hurt my ear and nose. I was let go for lunch about 10:45 and I came home and got a batch of laundry started and Robbie’s clean clothes put away. Had to be back for 1300 formation, and the only thing that happened there was information was put out about the rest of the week. And then we were done. Yay. On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store for milk, cheese, and pepsi, and stopped to pay our water bill for the quarter. When I got home, I did more laundry, vacuumed the house, and balanced my checkbook. It was a productive afternoon. I made tacos for supper and as usual, there weren’t any leftovers. We played for a while and Robbie had a little thing of ice cream for a treat before bed. Then it was crochet time while we watched tv.

Overnight low: -12
Today’s high: 14

Ice and Yuck

So much for the snow we were supposed to get. It sleeted and rained all day and it is a mess out there. We probably have an inch of ICE in our yard. I was off from work today for the MLK holiday and daycare was closed, so Robbie and I stayed home and played. During naptime, I stitched a little bit on my first of hopefully 12 (or more) ornaments for the year. I also did some computer stuff. I also took some pictures of all the ice we got: Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.com Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.com Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.com

Ryan and Robbie had pizza for supper, but I didn’t eat anything. Last night my tummy started hurting and I was up part of the night being sick. My stomach still didn’t feel like food although I may try some dry toast or something in a bit. After supper we had bathtime, and I got a couple of pictures of Robbie playing with his new bath fun toy: Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.com Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.com And I got a VIDEO of him playing, too.

Church!

It sure was nice to go to church as a family again this morning. I enjoyed my chapel services in Afghanistan, but nothing beats being with family. Robbie was very well behaved and even sang some during the hymns and other singing times. Everyone at church was glad to see me back, and Pastor welcomed me back during his announcements. After the service and Robbie’s cookie time (Ryan and I didn’t have any), we stopped at a few places to do some shopping and then went to Wendy’s for lunch. We headed out to Post to the PX for a few more things and then back to Best Buy where we were able to get much cheaper flat screen monitors than what they had at the PX. We got 2 (a 17″ for me and a 19″ for Ryan) for just a tiny bit more than one 17″ would have been at the PX. Of course, they only had TWO models available at the PX, so not much to choose from. Once we got home, we set our new monitors up and boy do I have a lot of room on my desk now! I’ll be able to pay bills, balance the checkbook, write letters, etc. without having to use the about 2 inches of the front of my keyboard drawer that I had been using. Of course, it’s more space to collect clutter as well, but I’ll just have to not let that happen.

After playing for a while, we made pigs in a blanket and mac & cheese (pigs n’ cheese) for dinner. Robbie helps us set the table. After Robbie went to bed, I stitched on a piece and finished it. I’ll have a picture tomorrow – too late and tired tonight.

Back to work

It was back to work for me today, but I still got to sleep in some. I didn’t have formation until 0930. Before I left for work, I got dinner going in the crockpot (a roast with taters and carrots), ate breakfast, checked my e-mail and message boards, and chatted with my Dad for a bit. Work was short. All we did was put our instruments in our lockers, move empty travel cases to the supply building, and straighten up the rehearsal hall. We were done for the day (and weekend) by 1100. After I was done at work, I went to the commissary to buy some meat and veggies, and then it was home for lunch and some computer work. I brought my van in at 3 to the place that fixed the window when it was broken out while I was gone (not broken into – a hose for sandblasting broke and broke out windows on several vehicles traveling in the area they were working. All costs were paid for by that company, and no injuries were sustained by Ryan or Robbie.) – they had some trimwork to do, and they also washed it for me! I stopped and picked Robbie up from daycare on my way home and then we set the table for supper. Ryan got home shortly after we did, and we had a very nice dinner. Ryan was happy to have “real food” again. After Robbie went to bed, I stitched for a while, and now I’m heading to bed as well.

The Homecoming!!! (and days following)

If you haven’t read about my Journey Home yet, scroll down and read that first. . .

Our Welcome Home ceremony was at the gym, and that’s where all the family members got to meet their soldiers. We formed up outside the gym, and I made sure that I would be in the front row. We marched into the gym to the music provided by a reserve band. I saw Ryan & Robbie right away because they were sitting in the front row, and when we stopped marching, I was almost right in front of them. I cried a little when we marched in to the band and everyone cheering. I cried a little more during the playing of the National Anthem. And then I really cried during the SHORT speech and Robbie saw me and started waving. After we sang the Division and Army songs, we were given the command, “Dismissed!” Family members came pouring out of the bleachers and soldiers ran for their loved ones. Robbie got to me really quick and I scooped him up in a big hug. Ryan wasn’t far behind him. After we had hugged and cried for a little while, Ryan and Robbie pointed to the surprise they had for me. Mom and Dad and Rick had driven from Michigan to welcome me home as well!! That sure was a nice surprise. They had sat on the far end of the bleacher so I wouldn’t see them during the ceremony. We hugged and cried some more, and I got interviewed again by some other news channel.

After we left, we went to the band hall to pick up my bags and then we went to the Golden Unicorn for lunch. After we ate, it was time to go home. Everyone had helped decorate the house with yellow ribbons and red, white, & blue balloons. It was really nice, and it was really nice to be home. Mom and Dad and Rick left to go back to their hotel in Watertown for a while and I played with Robbie. I took a nice long hot shower without flipflops on – that sure was a treat! And then we played some more. M & D & R came back about 6:30 for supper and they brought pasties that Mom had made. They were really good. After Robbie went to bed, we had my Christmas and I opened my stocking presents and presents from my family. There were some really nice things, and my big present which was from my whole family was a copy of Finale music notation software!! Thanks so much everyone – I’m going to have a lot of fun with that. Ryan and I also got our anniversary presents.

Yesterday R & R and I slept in and once we got up, we went to the Golden Unicron for breakfast and then to Ryan’s work to get his paycheck and he had been instructed to bring me so everyone could meet me. Then we went and picked up Mom & Dad & Rick from their hotel and we did some shopping – Walmart (new clothes for Robbie & me, yarn for mom), Payless Shoes (new shoes for Robbie), and Big Lots. Then we all came home to the house, and Ryan and Dad started working on the electrical for our garbage disposal and Mom and Rick and I went grocery shopping. My cupboards and ‘fridge are now stocked again. After Robbie woke up from his nap, we went to Applebees for supper (thank you G’ma & G’pa!!!!) and had a nice time other than Robbie getting sick. I think between all the excitement of me being home and his combination of lemonade and milk (sip of my lemonade and then some of his milk – YUCK) got to him. He didn’t eat any of his dinner and eventually we figured out why. He told me “Mommy ow.” And I asked him what hurt and he pointed to his tummy. I said “Your tummy hurts?” and then it all came up. YUCK. The waitress appeared as if by magic with a roll of paper towels and we got everything cleaned up. She brought Robbie some crackers and he wolfed them down and just cuddled with me the rest of the meal.

After we were done eating, we brought M & D & R back to their hotel and we said our goodbyes. Robbie hugged everyone and R & I hugged everyone. Then it was home for bedtime for Robbie and soon afterwards, I was sound asleep too. But I do think I’m pretty much back on Eastern time now.

IT IS GOOD TO BE HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Journey Home

Sunday morning after reporting the weapons accountability for the females, I went back to bed and slept until after 1 p.m. After eating lunch, I stitched for a few hours, ate dinner, and then went and got on the internet for several hours to chat with friends & family and check e-mail and message boards and stuff. Our next formation was at 0300 to bring our duffle bags and rucksacks out to be sniffed by the customs dogs and then loaded in bins to go to the airfield. So we did that, and afterwards I read and talked with others from my unit. Next formation was at 0730 at which time we found out that we were being delayed for 12 hours. Well, that’s nice. We have no sleeping bags, changes or clothes, etc. anymore since our bags had already gone to the airfield. So I curled up on my bed in full uniform and used my black fleece jacket as a blanket and slept until about 3:30 in the afternoon. Once I woke up, I just sat and read. And waited. And waited.

Our next formation was at 1930 and after that we just had a few more hours of waiting, during which time I read some more. The senior leaders in each unit did sensitive items accountability at 2230 and after that, we could only be in the tent or shower area. 2320 was our next formation – WITH OUR BAGS!!! We finally boarded the busses to go to the airfield and got on the plane about 0030. There were only 124 on the flight, and 300 seats on the plane so there was plenty of room for everyone. I had an aisle and a window seat to myself. LOL I slept for a bit of the flight to Turkey, but mostly I crocheted and finished the scarf I was making for Robbie.

We landed in Turkey to refuel and change our crews on the plane. We couldn’t get off since it was a civilian airport and they don’t allow military uniforms OR weapons in there. We weren’t on the ground more than maybe an hour and a half and then we were on our way HOME. It was a long flight – about 11 hours – but not bad. We had good weather the whole way, and since I had 2 seats to myself, I was able to curl up across the seats and sleep for a few hours. I also did search-and-find puzzles and stitched some.

We touched down at Ft. Drum at 0930 Tuesday morning, and boy were there cheers from everyone on the plane! Fifteen minutes later we were going through customs (and a reserve band came and played for us!!!!) and the media. I got interviewed by both the Watertown Times newspaper and one of the TV stations. You can see the news clip here: http://wwnytv.net/72k/full-story.asp?uid=13171&area=home+page We boarded busses and went and turned in our weapons and did inprocessing and signed for keys. We also had some briefings – don’t beat your spouse, don’t drink and drive, don’t go crazy spending money, and other fun stuff like that.

And then it was time to get on the busses for . . . . . . .

Greetings from Manas!!

Yesterday/today has been a LONG day. I stitched most of the day yesterday while waiting around for our 0100 formation. I had just shut my computer down and had decided to go hang out in the rehearsal hall where it was warmer when I got notified that I need to call transportation and get the busses and truck to the band hall ASAP. They wanted us at customs earlier than originally planned. So I called, and they were there in about 1/2 hour since they were out on another mission.

Well, we get to the PAX Terminal (PAX – passenger) and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. Finally about 45 minutes AFTER our original customs time, we got in and were briefed and then assigned 2 bins each (made of plywood, of course. . .). We dumped our bags and the MPs went through everything. Then was the fun task of repacking. Of course, I couldn’t get my helmet in my rucksack the same way it had been in before, so I had a bit of a tough time getting everything to fit, but I managed. Then we brought our duffles and rucks to the staging area and they put them on pallets on go on the plane. After going back to get our carry-ons, we were escorted to the PAX terminal secure area and we were on lock-down. We couldn’t go anywhere. But at least there are bathrooms in that area. I finally got a short nap – maybe 1/2 hour or so. Kind of hard to sleep when the waiting area is packed full. Our flight was scheduled to leave about 0630, and we finally ended up leaving around 8 or so. I don’t even really remember cuz I was pretty tired by that point – been up for over 24 hours by then. Once we got sardined on the plane – a C-17 – I got as comfy as I could and slept. I woke a little when we took off and then slept again the whole 2+ hour flight.

Once at Manas, we were bussed to the Air Base from the airfield and had about 10 minutes of briefings and stuff. We went to lunch – first meal since dinner last night so I was pretty hungry, but I didn’t eat much. I was too tired to be really hungry. After lunch, we got our instructions for the rest of the day and were released to our billets. We’re staying in LARGE tent-like structures. Concrete floors and probably over 100 bunk beds in an open bay format. There aren’t very many females, so we have plenty of room. I got my bed and arranged my bags and just relaxed for a while. I worked on my alumni newsletter for my fraternity and got it done to the point of needing stuff when I get home. There’s not a whole lot going in it this year – not many alumni sent in information, unless there’s some at home waiting for me. Once I was done with that, I laid down on my bed and took about a 2 hour nap.

I felt refreshed when I woke up, despite the lack of sleep I’ve had, and I went to dinner with a couple of guys from the band. After dinner, I went back (about 1/4 mile walk or so) and got my computer and then came back and now I’m sitting at Green Beans using their wireless internet. It’s $2.50 an hour, but it’s not bad, and if you only use part of an hour, they only charge you actual use. I think I’ll get a cup of coffee (probably cafe mocha) in a bit. I’m going to stay up as late as I can this evening so I can start getting back on Eastern time.

Tomorrow will be weapons accountability (I just need to check and make sure all 5 of us females have our weapons and then report to our platoon sergeant) and then I plan on going to the Protestant Chapel service at 1015. I’ll sleep during the day probably, and hopefully stitch some as well.

Just so you know, Manas is 11 hours ahead of Eastern time. Next time I post, I’ll be back home in NY!!!!