I realized something a few days ago. As of today, I have been in the Navy for 8 years. (In reality, the 8 year mark is on the 26th but my commissioning date says 24 May.) Some big things happen at this point in my career: I get a Time In Service raise, I'm starting to be looked at for promotion, AND, the BIG ONE, I'm almost out of my committment and will be eligible for separation. The first two aren't bad and it makes it harder to say "No" to the Navy (I think it was designed like that) but frankly, there's just too much about what would come next in my career that makes saying "No" so much easier and enjoyable.
If I said "yes", I would be able to get a fat bonus from the Navy for staying but I would probably have to go to another unit where I would deploy again, this time on a ship, which would require me to move to a location that I do not want to be. I would also have to go back to my old wing which, unfortunately, has only one location - Oklahoma. Again, not a place I want to live (again). Those 2 things are the deal-breakers. I have no desire to deploy again and I do not want to EVER live in Oklahoma again. Really, it's a simple decision. Saying "No" would give me the freedom to live where I want and pursue a career where I want. Starting a family surely makes this choice the more appealing one.
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Summer is here. Well, not officially, but it sure feels like it. I know what you're saying, "It's hot here too so stop complaining". Yeah... Hot where you are... When you can't drink enough water to cool off, let me know. In the mean time, grab a beer, watch tv, or do whatever it is I will be doing in 40 days.
Today was probably the hottest day I've experienced here in Iraq. It's probably close to 120degrees but it feels like my skin is melting off (it's really sweat). For the last few weeks, our high temp has been a relatively mild 100+ degrees. Not too hot (yes, "not too hot") but still warm (yes, "warm"). Today is different. Today is stay inside unless you absolutely have to go outside and for crying out loud, drink water day. I walked maybe a 1/2 mile to help out someone with a project and I found myself drenched at the end of it. I pounded a liter of water and still found my body could cool down fast enough, even inside where it's air conditioned. I spent the next hour looking for shade to stand in and to find new ways to count to or from 10 into a radio.
The walk back was even more painful. I had a bottle of water with me but I was so full from drinking 2 bottles that I couldn't fit anything more in my stomach. I spent the next 2 hours cooling and drying off. But, enough about that...
With this hot weather comes, well, heat. "Duh..." Yeah, I know, Captain Obvious strikes again... Anyway, where I live has no underground water system. Everything is transported by trucks and pumped into tanks above ground and exposed to the elements including, you guessed it, the sun. What that means is the showers now have 2 knobs, hot (which isn't always labeled correctly) and very hot (the knob previously known as just "hot"). Imagine my surprise when I turned on the original "cold" water to find hot water coming out. I thought they switched knobs.
One of the greatest things to do after a long hot day in the sun is to get in a cool shower. How can we do that if the water doesn't get cool? Once again, this place sucks all the enjoyment out of life. On a brighter side, there's ALWAYS hot water for the showers.
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This weekend, one of the EWOs in the brigade is getting farewelled so I'm up in Baghdad for the event. The day I came in, there was a party at the Australian Pool so I went. Yes, Australian and Yes, Pool - as in SWIMMING pool. I don't have any pictures of it but imagine a pool in an L shape on an island with people nearby... No, that's not what it looked like, try again... That either. YOU'RE NOT EVEN TRYING! Come on, one more time... ok, fine, close enough... It looked something like that. Anyway, there were also Autralians there since they did kind of "own" it.
Great story, right? I know. It took me a long time to edit out all the boring stuff.
Whatever... this is the part everyone wants to see anyway:
34 days until I leave Dragon for last time
36 days until I leave Iraq FOREVER
42 days until I'm home!