Well today I told my mother I would go help her out by cleaning off the moss on her roof... if you didn't know her roof is huge! And well living in washington is all good it does happen to rain on occasion.... and that doesn't help with the moss problem. I got home last night and was talking to my roommate Aaron about it, he said I should get a harness and rope and stuff so I don't fall off and kill myself. The proud man in me said Pshhh, like I would fall. I have the reflexes of a cat. Well after thinking it over and remembering that the last time I was up there I fell off I decided to get a harness. Becuase I fell off last time I was 17 and nimble, still in the bouncy stage.... I am 30 now and I don't quite bounce as well even though I am rounder. Anyways I got down there around noon, was a little hungry so I had some cold fried chicken and home-made potatoe salad. After lunch I ventured up on the roof and set in the harness, alot easier than I thought it would be. Although the shingles were a little rotten on the top so I had to set in the anchor in a horizontal fashion. I had told my mom that she needed to get a hard bristled brush to get the moss off easier. Well she did and she got the super go go gadget brush handle. This thing was super long and impossible to work with. So we break out the pressure washer, well it was too strong and was chewing through the shingles. Well then we take off the pressure washer and put on the Nozzle, and that was too soft, so goldilocks tried the third bed and it was just right... oh wait wrong story. So I got down and went into the hardware store looking for new brushes... went to the wrong side first and was very distracted by the wrist rockets.... I almost bought one, but I thought about it and kinda realized I would never have a place to use it so I used what little will power I had and continued my search for the perfect brush.... I ended up doing a lap around the store. If I had just turned right upon going into the store I would have found them no problem... and my mom had acutally told me that, just goes to show I still don't listen to her. I found the brushes, and after looking through them all I have found the perfect brush! It swivels and turns in all different directions, and it has short strong bristles! How can it possibly be wrong? I am pretty sure I heard angles singing when I picked it up too. So I grabbed that brush and just in case I broke out the hose again I wanted a better nozzle. In my travles around the vast hardware store I remembered seeing a hose section so I trecked back to the green rubber wonderland. I found a twofer nozzle set, one was the kind with like a bagillion settings and the other was a trigger type adjustable nozzle, once again the angelic voices on high sang out as I picked up the item. Well I walked toward the counter and strangly made a sharp right hand turn just before the cash register and before I knew it I was staring face to face with the sling shots again. I once again had to tell myself it was a silly purchase and to just keep walking. I finally made it back to the check out. I paid for my items and had to explain to the nice ladies at the check out that my phone was not some strange space age object but a telephone. I get back to the house unwrapped my suprises, kinda sad that the sling shot wasn't a part of it. I then got up on the roof and began to scrape off the moss with the sweet new angelic brush..... after about five or so nice strong pushes with said broom the handle popped off and crushed my hopes and dreams. I put it back on and after about 5 or some more pushes it did it again....now its starting to make me mad. Well my mom was already planning on going and getting a new one becuase she didn't like this one either. So she left and I continued sweep for a few minutes and the brush head popped easier and easier enough to the pint that I just threw it off the roof in hopes of a small explosion or something. Well I had to wait for my mom to get back which took some time. When she finally did I got back up on the roof with the new brush which worked quite well... only by this time I was pretty tired and worn out from the sun. I got about a quarter of the way through and had to stop. I am going to go back in a couple days to finish the job. Well I got quite a sunburn today and I am sure I will be sore tomorrow.
Monday, July 26, 2010
One fantastic weekend down in the record books. I cannot thank the Conners enough for their support and love regardless of if they knew they were giving it or not. I am not going to lie, the first night I was there I was doubting that I should be there. I wasn't sure if I was ready for it, but as the weekend progressed the fear and sadness I had turned into amazement and love. This is such a strong family, so resiliant and so caring of others. I had such a good time getting to know them all and finally putting pieces of the puzzle together. Pieces I didn't realize I was even missing. Cyndi asked me today while she was driving me back to the airport why it was that I came out... was I reporting back to anyone when I got back to tell them how they were doing? Did I feel like I had to come out? Was it an obligation I had? And while I didn't have an answer the answer was no. I felt no obligation to come out, I have never felt like I had to, and I certainly don't need to report to anyone how they are doing. I did some thinking on the flight home and really all I know is that almost immidiately after I was blown up and seeing Brad dead the first thing I thought of was his wife and kids. I didn't know them at all. I had met Cyndi briefly once at work and had seen the kids, I don't think I ever talked to them. But my heart was broken for them, I couldnt' make sense of it all. Here I am no wife no kids, yes I have a family, mom dad and sister whom I love very much but why did he have to die? Which to say this out loud is strange.... why am I arguing that i am still alive? What is it that I haven't done in my life yet? These are questions I have had for myself among others over the past 3 years. But back to the story, I was hurt yes, but this family had lost their husband and father. I never really knew Brad on a personal level, but he treated me like a person not like alot of other Seargent Majors who are more worried about the fickle things... He was different. He led from the front, cared about his troops, and would try to help anyone and everyone. So by me getting to know his family over these 3 years has given me some insight as to the whole person not just my boss. He was a man that was compasionate about life and helping others. He loved his family above all, and they adored him in return. I could see that this past weekend how much he meant to them all. I can not even begin to imagine the pain, suffering and self torment that all of them have gone through. Its no where near what I have felt, and yet there is just something that drives me to them. I had to go there, I had to meet them, to know them... scared or not I was determined to do it. And I did, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made in a while. So to answer the question, I think that if I were in the same situation.... as in I was killed, I would really hope that someone would take the time one of my friends or fellow soldiers to make the trip to get to know my family, to help them as much as they help that person. Its the little things that mean so much, the fact that these 3 kids have never met me in person and I have only briefly spoken to them on the internet a couple times, and for them to just accept me in to the family and act like themselves. To want me to be a part of their daily routine was so heartfelt I hardly have words for it. Rachel the youngest asked when i was leaving.... I told her and she said " aw... that stinks, you have only just been here 2 full days and you are awesome, I don't want you to go yet." And while I don't have a lot in common with a 15 year old girl Katie was able to talk to me about stuff and I let her talk. Aaron was the only one who had a couple questions about Brad, but I was more than happy to give him the answers to the best of my knowledge. And Cyndi and I were able to just talk, and unwind. I had a great time hanging out with her, she has done such a good job raising the kids. I am so glad that this weekend happened and I can't wait till it happens again.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
So here I am in Mobile Alabama... I have spent a pretty much full day with the family and have had a great time. I woke up this morning and ran PT with the oldest son (Aaron). He is the, I believe Brigade Commander of the greater mobile area fro JROTC. Which is a pretty big deal, he is huge! Tall skinny and a spitting image of his father. I had a great time doing the PT with him. I was sweating pretty badly becuase of the humidity, but it was totally worth it. He and I went to breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and just had some good talk time. It was nice to be able to just talk to him, let him ask any questions he may have had about his father and to just let him talk. It really meant alot to me that he was able to do that and I know his father is very proud of him and everything he has become. Then we got back showered and ended up all of us going to a movie. It was pretty funny though slightly inapropriate for the youngest daughter (Rachel) but funny none the less. After dinner we got back to the house some slept, nappy time, which is great by the way. And the oldest daughter (Katie) and Aaron got ready for a friends party. Myself, Cyndi (widow) and Rachel all went out to a mexican food place for dinner. It was good, we just had a good time. Had a nice frozen margherita and some echiladas. Then we drove over to the grandparents house (Cyndi's parents) and had dessert. Some really good carrot cake and some chocolate chip cookies. We had some good conversation and eventually took off to go home. We were back here and Rachel went and was playing in her room, Cyndi and I had a glass or two of wine and just talked. She showed me some pictures of her and the SGM when they were first married and around the time they first met. So young and so in love, and the amazing similarities of Brad and his son around the same age are scary... I was pretty close to tears seeing that, and Cyndi was as well becuase I don't know that she realized till I said something just how similar they were. I am so glad I came here. All the nervousness and scared feelings are gone, I am full of happiness and appreciation for all the things they have and all the things they have been willing to share with me and to explore. I only hope that they can feel my appreciation and that they know no matter what I am going to do my best to help make their coping with the loss of their loved one easier.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Ok. So normally I wouldn't write about dreams that I have. But this one was just to real not to. As you may or may not know I was in Iraq in 07, and was hit with a roadside bomb. Of the 4 of us in the truck 3 of us survived. We lost a very good man that day and strong leader, I have had dreams about that day before and I know no matter what I will not forget that day. The dream I had last night was probably due to the fact that I am going to see his widow and 3 kids today. I have not actually met the kids aside from passing before he was killed. I am nervous, excited, and sad all at the same time. I have been in contact with his immediate family eversince I returned home from Iraq. And I cannot thank them enough for all the support they have given me over the past few years. It is an amazing family, very strong, great values and an ability to maintain such a positive outlook on life that it is amazing. The dream I had was basically as follows. I some how woke up and was apparently back in time, before we deployed to iraq. But somehow I already knew this and so I knew what was going to happen. We were at work at Ft. lewis it was evening and I wanted to tell the Sergeant Major about what was going to happen. I wanted to tell him not to go in the convoy that day. Knowing if he wasn't there that I would have more than likely been killed in his place. His sacrifice basically saved my life. I tried to warn him and he got upset at me for talking about his family like I knew them. Being that he was the sergeant major and I was a lower enlisted guy. Plus he never really mixed work and personal life stuff together. He walked away and I woke up.... but it was so real and so vivid that I don't know what it meant. I wish I knew.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
So the travelling wonder is back to home base. After a couple days of smelling horrible, sleeping on occasion, and eating pre packaged meals I am back home.... Ok it wasn't all bad. But it definatly started out rough. I was supposed to leave my camp early morning on the 29th which would have given me almost a full day in Bagram to mess around and get ready for my flight out. Well I woke up at like 4 in the morning to one of the more torential downpours I have heard since being in afghanistan. Which is bad for me becuase the runway is rock and dirt... big planes don't like to land on that. Well I called the terminal to find out when I would be able to get out. they said the flight line was closed till 9. I called at 9, closed till 11, called at 11 closed till 1500..... I call then they say the next confirmed flight is at 0130 the morning of the 30th. So I get to the terminal at 0130 and turn in my papers for the manifest. They say i am on the plane, super.... Well about 20 min before the plane is schedualed to arrive they come out and say it has been cancelled, but not to worry becuase the next on will be able to accomodate us. So I wait, and wait, the guy comes back out... planes been delayed an hour, hour or so later, still delayed. Finally it lands at 7 am... well it has to off load the cargo it has on it and has to configure the plane in order to hold all the people wanting to get out. Finally get on the plane about a quarter to 8. And we sit there.... finally take off and land in Bagram at 0840. I now have 20 min to go check in for my next leg to dubai. Get to that terminal and they wiegh my bags and I am 21kg over wieght, which means I am going to have to pay 210 dollars, but the lady at the desk said not to worry about it, but then I find out that I need to get off the plane in Kandahar. Apparently the flight was over booked so i wasn't able to do a straight shot. So we get on a bus and head out to the tarmac.... and wait.....seems to be a theme going on here. Finally get off the bus on the plane and take off. When we land in Kandahar, I get off and follow the guy into the new terminal. Well I again had to have my bags weighed. They told me the same thing, but this time they asked if I had paid in Bagram... to which I replied very sure of myself, yes I have.... 210 dollars. The lady then asked me for a reciet, and I played the dumb guy and said that I had forgotten to get it from her. She bought it, score one for me. Well then I had to scan my bags through an Xray, they pulled a knife out of my pocket and said it was illegal becuase it was spring loaded. Like a switchblade, only its not a switchblade. So needless to say after arguing with the guy and not getting anywhere they took my knife. I was not happy at all about that. Then I got to.... you guessed it... wait, in what was very reminiscant of a prison yard. Really high brick walls small crappy windows and no color to speak of. I finally get on the plane and get to Dubai at 8 pm. So a solid 19 hours so far have been spent travelling... I smell awful, and look like hell. I go to the hotel and get to the front desk. The company that flew me out supposedly was also the ones who were going to reserve my room.... epic fail. No room under super badass.... so I had them check Brendan Hay.... still no joy. So I had to get a room which actually worked out better I think it was cheaper. Got in the room and took a super long hot shower.... it was fantastic. Went to the bar and had a beer and a small pizza.... the pizza was not horrible but it wasn't good either. But the beer hit the spot. I went to sleep got up and went to the airport after breakfast and coffee. Flew from Dubai to Heathrow and then on to Seattle. Well i landed around 4 pm today and my bags will land sometime tomorrow night. Oh well. I am home and tired so I am going to sleep now.