Weigh in, ceremony, rehearsal, & a photo

 I must have been super tired last night.  I was sure I had posted, but I guess not.  So yesterday started with a weigh-in.  I assisted with the body fat taping for the 2 females that needed it.  The female that usually does it (and works in training) has already headed to Iraq as part of the Advanced Party.  Once we were done, it was home to change and eat and then back for formation.  We had a change of command ceremony.  The ceremony itself went really well (other than a member of the color guard falling out), but getting there is a whole different story.  We didn’t have a bus because the bus we had on Friday had gotten turned in.  So a bus was gotten for us and we got on quick and headed to the gym where the ceremony was, got off the bus and inside, tuned, formed up , and started playing pre-music.  Usually we have about 15 minutes of downtime after we arrive.  But at least we made it.  After lunch I had a UMO meeting for flight coordination information.  I still have no information about the band flights, but even if I did, I couldn’t tell you here.  After that was done and I got back to my supply office, I found out that we had been released if there was nothing going on, but to make sure we had our phones on until at least 1700 just in case.  So I got Robbie and we headed home.  I made spaghetti for supper and while I was cooking Ryan and Robbie went outside to play catch and for Robbie to ride his bike in the parking lot.

This morning was the unit Record PT Test.  I was one of the graders.  It’s not really all that hard being a grader – you just need to make sure that the Soldiers are performing their pushups and situps correctly and then count how many they do.  After that was done, we had a longer than usual time for shower/change/eat, so that was nice.  And I was already in my ACUs, so I didn’t even have to change.  Then it was back for a music rehearsal for tomorrow’s ceremony.  After that I took care of an issue with a Soldier and then I got changed into my Class A uniform so I could go get my DA Photo taken.  It is a part of my promotion board packet for being looked at for Sergeant First Class.  I’ll get my first look (the board looks at the photo and the Soldier’s records and evaluation reports) for SFC next January or February so I wanted to make sure I got this done before I deployed.  The whole process took about 20 minutes and then it was back to supply to change back into ACUs and try and look busy for the rest of the afternoon.  Finally about 1530 I got the word that we could leave, so I let my Soldiers know and I headed home, stopping for Robbie on my way.  We played for a while and I got some of my stuff together since I have to bring it all in tomorrow for inspection (to make sure we have everything we’re supposed to).  We went to the Chinese buffet place for dinner.

After Robbie was in bed, I finished up a project I’ve been working on and took a shower.  Then I ripped more CDs into my iTunes and read a few newspapers while we watched TV.

High:  45
Low:  32  
Current:  39 – where did summer go?

Record PT Test

 I had a record PT test this morning.  I’ll be one of the graders for the unit on Wednesday and the graders had their test today.  I did 39 pushups for 92%, 72 situps for 95%, and ran my 2 miles in 18:08 for 84%.  My total score was 271.  My run was 30 seconds faster than my diagnostic at the beginning of the month, but my pushups and situps went down.  I guess that happens when you don’t do any during the month.  But I’m really happy with the improvement on my run.  It’s still not enough to get me my PT patch, but I’m 30 seconds closer than I was!  And I think this is the first time in my career that I did better on my situps than my pushups.

After a trip home to shower/change/eat, I headed back for 0930 formation and then the boring day.  I took care of some errands in the morning and then after lunch I took care of one more thing.  That killed part of the day.  I read part of a book.  I played on the computer.  I had a short meeting with Chief and our acting First Sergeant (1SG has left alread as part of the advance party – ADVON).  Then I had a meeting at 1630 at Battalion.  Well, Chief had a meeting at 1530, and about 1550 he called to let me know that my 1630 meeting had been changed to 1530 and it was the same one he was at.  LOL  So I headed up to Battalion to the meeting – all about the deployment, flights, training at our stop enroute, arrival, etc.  Because of some things that were talked about, Chief decided we needed to have a formation at 1700.  So I sent a text message under the table back to the unit and they started calling everyone to come back in.  The meeting was still going on at 1700, so I went back to the band hall and put out the info for Chief, got responses that were required from various Soldiers, and then headed back to Battalion to give Chief the answers.

I finally headed home about 1740.  Ryan and Robbie made mac & cheese and pigs in a blanket for supper.  That was kind of nice not having to cook, but I had planned on making spaghetti.  I guess I’ll do that tomorrow night – hopefully I’ll be home earlier.  After supper, Robbie had a nice long bath, and then after lots of snuggling I tucked him in and said goodnight.  I didn’t even stitch tonight. I got CD’s burned into my iTunes on my laptop instead.

Now I’m heading to bed.

High:  56 (and rain all day)
Low:  41 (current)


Ryan was actually up before I was this morning.  Once I got up, I got breakfast (cinnamon rolls) in the oven and then went up to get my Class A uniform set up.   Breakfast was good and then we headed to church – me wearing my uniform.  Jeff & Heather were there already and Jeff wore his uniform as well (pre-planned).  I got my trombone put together and then started pacing the hallway.  I was more nervous this morning than usual – don’t know why.  But the service went well and I played after the offering as the Special Music for the morning.  The church has really good acoustics and I enjoyed playing in there.  Everyone enjoyed my playing (I did my Favorite Hymn Medley like I did at home in Michigan) and they even applauded after.  I get a little uncomfortable when they do that, but I survived.  Pastor Tim did a special prayer for Jeff and me for safety on our deployment..  After the service everyone was coming up to us to thank me for playing and to wish me and Jeff well on our deployment.

After we left, J & H and the three of us headed to our respective homes to change and then we all met up at Applebees in Watertown for lunch.  Robbie had to sit between Jeff & Heather of course.  He’s so cute!  We had good food and good conversation and then we headed home when we were done.  I started some laundry and then started getting my stuff together to pack.  I’m at about 60% right now, I think.  I still have to go buy a few more things, so I’ll do that at the PX tomorrow.  I didn’t actually start packing anything – just gathering and putting in the bag it will be packed in.  I finally called it quits and went down and watched the end of the NASCAR race with my guys.  Since lunch had been late, we didn’t eat supper again.  After Robbie was in bed, I called Mom & Dad and stitched and watched some TV.

Off to bed now.  I have my PT test in the morning.

High:  67
Low:  47
Current:  56 and clear

A day at the spa

 Ok, so it was only a morning at the spa, but still!  We got up early this morning so I could be at the Oasis Wellness Spa by 0900.  This is the spa that our chiropractor opened up at her Sackets Harbor location.  Ryan and Robbie dropped me off and they headed to have breakfast at Bob Evans and cruise the mall while I was getting pampered.  I got a facial first and boy was that nice!  Then I had a pedicure and then a manicure.  It took about 3 hours for everything and it was a nice relaxing morning.  My guys got back to pick me up about 15 minutes or so before I was done.  Once I was done, we headed back into Watertown for some shopping.

First stop was Walmart for a few things including towels and washcloths for my deployment.  I got pretty purple ones!  Then it was over to Goodwill to see if they had any car seats (we want to get one for Heather to use if/when she has to pick Robbie up from daycare while I’m gone) – they didn’t.  Our next stop was Michaels for something – can’t say cuz it’s stuff for a surprise.  Then we went to JoAnn’s to see if they had any Bob the Builder fabric so I can make Robbie a replacement pillow for the one he carries around all the time.  They didn’t.  But I did buy poly-fiber stuffing there – after I almost stole it.  I had picked it up first and then carried it around the store for so long I forgot about it.  It was really busy in the store and the checkout counter is away from the door (haven’t figured that out yet. . .) and I walked right out the door with the guys.  I made it about 5 or 6 steps and realized.  So I went back in and paid for it.  The guy behind the counter thanked me for my honesty (yes, I told on myself).

We stopped for a late lunch at McDonald’s on our way home, and then the grocery store to get food shopping out of the way for the week.  Once home we played and I read some newspapers and we played some more.  Since we had had a later lunch, we weren’t really hungry.  Robbie did get hungry so I made him a couple of Eggo waffles for supper.  After he was tucked into bed, I sat down with my stitching and we watched TV.

High:  82
Low:  59 (current and raining)

The colors have been cased

 I ran a quick 2 miles on the treadmill at the gym for PT this morning.  I just wanted to get an idea where I was at since I have a record PT test on Monday.  I ran it in 18:15.  If I can take a minute off by Monday, I should be able to get my PT patch.  Then after breakfast and stuff at home, I headed back for ceremony formation and rehearsal.  We only played through a few pieces and then headed out to the field for our Deployment Ceremony.  Ryan and Robbie came – as did most of the other wives and families.  There was a whole band section in the bleachers and that was nice having all of our families there.  This ceremony was our send-off for our deployment.  They cased the Division and Battalion colors (flags) which signifies the beginning of our transition to Iraq.  The Division Commander’s speech lasted about 3 minutes – too bad they all can’t be like that.  Then the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (a 4-star General) spoke.  And then the governor of the State of New York.  His speech was really good – so many speakers read their speeches and some of them sound like it’s the first time they’ve ever seen it.  Well, our governor is blind, so he actually spoke to us instead of reading to us.  Robbie was really good through the whole ceremony and spent most of it sitting on Jeff’s lap (not enough sousaphones left back here for him to play on it).

After the ceremony, it was lunchtim so I ate and got a little bit of stitching done.  But I was so tired, I decided to take a nap and I slept for about 15 minutes with my head on my desk.  We had another formation after lunch and then the afternoon kind of dragged on.  I had my Soldiers paint more duffel bags (the bottoms get spray painted tan and then stenciled in black with name, last 4 of the SSN, unit, and division) for our new Soldiers in the unit.  Finally it was time for job formation.  We had the monthly retirement ceremony this afternoon.  That ceremony went well also, and once we were done with that, we were done for the day.  I stopped for gas on my way home – Ryan had already picked Robbie up.  I called and ordered pizza and once I got home, we didn’t have to wait long to eat.  We had a picnic on the living room floor again.  Then we played for a while after supper, and after Robbie was in bed, it was stitching and TV time.

High:  75
Low:  42
Current:  65

Cultural Awareness Briefing

There was no PT this morning so Robbie and I got to sleep in some.   Once I was up, I re-ran the washing machine through the rinse cycle – I realized I had forgotten to put the clothes in the dryer before I went to bed last night.  And I got the garbage and recycling out to the curb since Thursday is garbage day.  I ate breakfast (cocoa puffs) and checked my e-mail and message boards.  Then I got Robbie up and ready and we headed out.  I dropped him off at daycare and headed to the Multipurpose Auditorium (MPA) for our full day of briefings.

The morning was spent learning basic Iraqi.  We learned greetings, basic questions, and a few other things.  It was kind of hard to get anything out of it since there were so many people goofing off and being stupid.  But we got books and cd’s as well.  After lunch (which I ate in my van in the parking lot), I had a UMO meeting about our flights that are upcoming.  So I missed a little bit of the afternoon briefing, but not much.  It was about the culture and was really interesting.  There are a lot of similarities between Iraq and Afghanistan so some of it wasn’t anything new.  They are, afterall, both Muslim countries.

Once the briefings were done, it was back to the band hall for a rehearsal for tomorrow’s ceremony.  We had to wait a little while as Chief was at the dry run for the ceremony.  Rehearsal went well and then afterwards I took care of some supply things – issued out the last of the stuff from the week, got a new flip folder for a Soldier, etc.  About 5:25 I left and headed to the chiropractor, where Ryan and Robbie already were.  I got my massage and adjustment and boy did that feel good after 2 weeks without.  Then we went to Arby’s for supper and then home.  I let Robbie pull all my velcro patches off my uniform – he likes taking them off to play, but this time I needed them off to put on a clean uniform for the ceremony tomorrow.  He also had fun emptying my many pockets.  Then it was off to bed for him, and stitching and TV time for me.

And now it’s bedtime for me.

High:  67
Low:  44
Current:  50 and clear

Busy but not

For PT this morning, NJ and I ran intervals on the soccer field.  We sprinted the length and then jogged back, repeat for 2 miles.  After we were done with that, we went about another 1/2 mile on the road as a cool down.  It was a really good workout – I need to do more intervals (like once a week) so I can improve my speed.  After a trip home to change and eat breakfast, it was back for 0930 formation.  We spent the morning cleaning our weapons, but I didn’t get to work on mine much.  I kept having interruptions – incoming work-related phone calls, had to go see First Sergeant, had to go see the Commander,  had to make some phone calls, report back to First Sergeant and the Commander, issue out stuff (continuation from yesterday), etc.  But my weapon was mostly clean anyway, so I wasn’t too worried about it – and it made the morning go by pretty fast.  After lunch we moved some furniture from in the rehearsal hall to the admin building and then I did some stuff on the computer for the rest of the afternoon.

I picked Robbie up from daycare on my way home and then we played when we got here.  Once Ryan got home I got supper going in the oven and then I read some of the newspapers that I’m WAY behind on.  I made a nice dent in the pile, but I’m only reading the comics at this point.  After supper we played some more and then after Robbie went to bed I crocheted and we watched TV.  I finished the project I was working on, but no pictures until A gets it – I’ll be mailing it out this weekend.

High:  70 (and it rained for about 10 minutes – so much for the thunderstorms we were supposed to have)
Low:  60 (current)

Happy Earth Day

 I did pushups and situps at PT this morning.  We’re still doing PT at the gym, but several of us went outside to the grass.  I did 88 pushups, 100 crunches, and 50 regular situps.  I’m going to feel those tomorrow since it’s been a while since I’ve done them.  Then it was home to change and eat – the chow hall I normally go to for breakfast is closed until 1 June.  This was the only ala carte chow hall – the others you pay one price and get whatever.  I don’t want to pay $2 or $3 for a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of milk.  

After our 0930 formation, I went to the supply office and took care of issuing some stuff that had been due to Soldiers and I spent a good part of the morning just playing around online.  After lunch I had to escort a Soldier to trial defense – he was having a meeting with an attorney to discuss his rights for him getting chaptered out (he’s been overweight for pretty much his whole career – WAY overweight – and has been making continuous progress – BACKWARD).  After I had gotten him signed in, I went to my car and read since there wasn’t enough room for all the escorts in the building (they only have times on Tues & Thurs and there were a TON of Soldiers in there for various reasons).  Once he was done there and I had got him back to the band hall, I headed up to clothing sales and alterations so I could get my name resewn on my gortex jacket and I bought a few things as well.  Then it was back to my office where I sat for a little while and finally at 3:30 I told everyone to go home.  I’m the NCOIC, so I made a command decision.

I picked Robbie up from daycare and headed home.  Once home and I had changed into shorts, we went outside.  I brushed Callie on the porch and boy did she enjoy that.  Robbie brushed her some too.  Here’s a pic. . .
  After Ryan got home from work, he came out and he and Robbie played baseball for a while (just catch) and then they took the lights of our tree and the garland off the porch.  So our Christmas decorations are finally down now.  I made tacos for supper, and then after we ate Robbie had a much-needed bath – between playing outside most of the day at daycare and then this afternoon when we got home, he was pretty dirty.  We let him play in the bathtub for a good long time and then he was up to bed.  I took a shower and then settled in with my crocheting.  I’m *almost* done with my project and I should be able to finish it tomorrow.

High:  76
Low:  53
Current:  59 and mostly clear

Back to work

Well, today was back to work.  It was good to be back and the atmosphere was much more relaxed than the weeks leading up to leave.  We started off with PT, and NJ and CK and I went for a 3.8 mile run OUTSIDE!!  Boy was that sure nice.  It was about 55 degrees out this morning – perfect for a little run.  There were a few hills, but not too bad.  I went home after PT to get changed since I hadn’t had time to unpack my PT backpack yet – I had all my running stuff in it from when I was home.  

After 0930 formation, the long day began.  I don’t really have much work to do now.  But I did take the last Soldier to get their gortex jacket and pants issued and I took care of some government credit card issues.  That’s about all I did today other than surf the ‘net and chit chat with everyone at work.  I left about 3:45 and headed home, picking Robbie up on my way.  After I had gotten changed, we all headed to Walmart to get Robbie some new shorts since he’s outgrown all from last year.  And I got him a new pair of shoes as well.  His old ones still fit good, but he needs to have a play pair of shoes and play clothes at daycare for when they go play outside in the sandbox, riding bikes, etc.  So now his new shoes will be his good shoes, and his old ones will stay at daycare.  We bought a few other things as well.  Then we stopped at the Golden Unicorn for supper on our way home.  Ryan had done the grocery shopping in the afternoon (he only had orientation and paperwork at work today, so it was a short day) so we didn’t need to worry about that.

After Robbie was in bed I went through our huge pile of mail from the last 2 weeks, and then I stitched and we watched TV.

High:   78
Low:  52
Current:  65 and clear

Back home to NY

 We got up about 7 this morning and got our few things packed and Ryan got the van loaded.  We said goodbye to Rick and left shortly after 8.  As we were sitting waiting for the train that was blocking the road to start moving, Rick called.  We had left Robbie’s new baseball and glove so we turned around and went back and got it.  We met Rick leaving as he was heading to church.  Got the ball and glove and headed back out and got a text message from Rick telling us a different road to take to bypass the train.  We took said road and saw the engine of the train as we went over the tracks on an overpass – the train was still stopped.  Good grief!  We stopped for gas and I got some Krispy Kreme donuts from the gas station and we were on our way.  We stopped again in Port Huron to top off the gas tank since we can make it all the way through Canada without getting super expensive gas ($1.19 a liter).  We stopped several times through Canada for potty breaks, and a lunch break.  We had beautiful weather for traveling, and other than around Toronto, there wasn’t much traffic.  I got a lot of stitching done while Ryan drove.  As usual, we didn’t have any problems with customs on either side, although the guy we had as we were coming back into the US commented on me not having a passport yet.  Yup – I’m going to get one, but it’s not mandatory yet and I have proper documentation, so I was like whatever.  Ryan was doing the talking anyway since he was driving.  If passports weren’t so darn expensive maybe I would have gotten one already.

After a stop for gas, we made it home just before 5:30.  We got the van unloaded and I already have 2 loads of laundry done – a load of dark clothes and then some summer sheets so we can take the flannels off our bed.  The summer sheets smelled like they’d been stored all winter, so I decided to wash them.  Ryan and I weren’t really hungry, so I just made Robbie a corndog for supper.  The cats were glad to see all of us and Callie has been following me around like a lost puppy dog.  We have windows open since it was warm in here – got up to 81 here today.  After we got Robbie to bed, I called Mom & Dad and stitched some more and we watched some Tivo’d shows from while we were gone.  It sure is good to be home again, and I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.