What Would Joan Do?

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October 30, 2002

Well, I talked to Shane again today and once again hung up the phone feeling awful.  I’m sensing his frustrations getting worse and his depression getting stronger.  He’s almost ready to throw in the towel with Zoe-dog.  She’s driving him crazy, she’s keeping him prisoner and getting the best of him.  She’s bringing him anything but comfort and joy, as I hoped.  He’s desperate to satisfy her and is at the point where he can responsibly do no more.  I think it was perhaps a mistake getting her—but she’s ours now.  The whole scenario is making Shane re-think having children…sounds dramatic but it’s true.  Unless God intervenes, the only way we’ll have a planned child is if I can be home to tend to it.  Although I haven’t fully decided if I want children, this thought still saddens and worries me a bit.  First and foremost, I can’t bare it when Shane is so upset.  I feel physically ill at the thought of him being unhappy.  I’m not sure what to do about it…listen, show him love through calls and letters?  I guess that’s all I can do now.

Time to sleep.  I’ll call him again in the morning.

Good things to reflect on today:

  • I went to the chapel to sign up for the trip to Medjugorie, Croatia.  While I was there, I saw a basket with charms — St. Michael and St. Joan of Arc (my patron saint) so I took one of St. Joan and am now wearing it.  Smile.
  • Received my box of organic food—I can eat cold cereal now, yay!  The crap in the DFAC is all sugar.
  • Got an email from Dana, she’s in Kosovo until 31 Jan and is doing well.

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Cards, Candy and Lotions OH MY!

October 28, 2002

What a great day for me!  I feel so fortunate today because I’ve been blessed with so many gifts.

  1. Received 2 beautiful emails from Shane to start my day.  He told me that our twin, 4 year old Russian neighbors told him that they say a prayer for me every morning, wow.
  2. Received adorable letter from Darian.  She drew a princess and colored her and it said, “To Ms. Kris I love you.  Love Darian”  awwwww
  3. Stephanie told me she got to talk to her boyfriend (Jake) and she told him how much she likes hanging out with me.  (in spite of me)  I told her I felt the same—she’s a sweetie.
  4. Received 3 boxes today!!
    1. My in-laws sent a BIG popcorn tin with cookies and candy.
    2. Mom sent a bag of Halloween candy and cute pumpkin napkins.
    3. Pam G. sent tons of fun dollar store stuff and some yummy Bath and Body Works lotions!  She wrapped everything individually so it was fun opening it all.  Wow.

k

Fast Forward:  In the 6+ months I was in Bosnia, I received more mail and care packages than anyone—ever.  The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming.  One of the best things about deploying is the opportunity to see all of your true friendships shine.  Amazing.  Also, Stephanie and Jake ended up getting married and living happily ever after…

Gag Me With a Spoon

October 20, 2002

Another Sunday night and many, many, many more to got.  It’s been over 3 weeks since I left Alaska and the mindscrew has begun. Typical me—I start over analyzing phone calls and start turning everything into a pity party.  I told him that I didn’t feel like anyone missed me…what I really meant was that I didn’t think “he” missed me.  He’s so self-sufficient that he doesn’t need me and I know he loves me and enjoys my company but he doesn’t get lonely like I do.  Maybe I should re-read his card.

I read the card and feel like an idiot.  “I feel luckier than ever to share my life with such a wonderful wife and more aware than ever of what true friendship means.”

He loves me, despite my stupid mindscrew episodes—how lucky am I?

ks

Fast Forward:  I want to gag and bitch slap my former self.  Gross.

A Tangled Web

October 16, 2002

Weird dreams again last night.  Since I’ve been here I’ve had dreams about trying to chase a man down and shoot him but I kept fumbling around with my magazine and barely got it loaded in time to shoot him.  I finally put the gun to his head and then woke up.  Last night I dreamt that I put my hair in rollers and when it was time to take them out, my hair was burnt to the roller and stuck to them.  I wasn’t upset though—that was the funny part.  I just sat there saying, well, I guess I’ll have short hair now.  Strange.

Well, my predecessor, Michelle, got on the freedom bird and flew out of here today.  She earned it after 6 months.  That will be a cherished moment knowing on my way home to my yummy hubby.

Well, my dad always told me to think before I speak and never let my “mouth overload your butt.”  Good advice—I wish I would have remembered that this week!  I commented twice about how cultish and baby-making the Mormon’s are around and to Stephanie (a girl who is from my Alaska unit deployed here at the same time).  Finally, today, I said, “you’re not Mormon are you?” (please say no, please say no…I thought)…but she responded, “Yes, but not practicing.  My parents are, I just didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”  Well, I was ashamed of myself and deserved to be made uncomfortable.  The only reason the subject ever came up was because she said her mother’s church had sent her 30 copies of the Book of Mormon in Russian.  (We worked with Russians and Steph spoke Russian.) Well, I’m obviously a horrible intel officer not to but those indicators together and immediately deduce that she’s obviously Mormon or at LEAST her mom is!  IDIOT!  But, the lesson I’m learning here is what I should have learned and applied from Tuesday’s reading about slander.  “The tongue, being in a wet place, is apt to slip.”

“Today let only thoughts that bless

Dwell in my heart and mind;

Silence my lips and tongue to all

That wounds or is unkind”

-white

Well, I’ve always admitted that it takes a hard lesson for me to learn so hopefully, this was mine.

k

Fast Forward:  I’ve come to not only accept, embrace and love humanities differences but now I am wiser and teach my daughter kindness and acceptance.  I also teach her that although we don’t look the same, talk the same or pray the same—we are all of the same creator and should all be treated with dignity and respect.  My journey is different from hers but it is mine…and hers is hers.  Love is love is love is love.michellestephme

Michelle, Stephanie, and me playing Charlie’s Angels before Michelle flew away

Coed Naked Peacekeeping

14 October 2002

Monday Night

I’m watching “My Cousin Vinny” — just finished “Ever After.”  I’m slowly turning into a lump.  I need to snap out of this slump—maybe tomorrow.  Way too much alone time.

I’m learning my job—it’s going to be completely up to me to stay busy and be productive because this job doesn’t amount to much.  I’m trusting that God has a plan and has put me here for a reason.  I’ll just go with the flow and make the best of it.

Sipping on a delicious cup of tea, thanks to India (my friend, not the country).  She sent me a big bag of Earl Grey, a jar of vanilla sugar and a single cup filter.  So nice!

Time for sleep.

ks

ps. The thought of the day is: Adding up your blessings will multiply your joy.

My blessings:  My sweet husband, my family, health, kindness of strangers, my puppy, friends, our home, freedom, forgiveness…

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Payday—one down eleven to go!

I sent Shane and orchid today.  I want him to know how much I appreciate everything he’s doing while I’m away.  Getting up every morning with Zoe to walk her, chase her around the love-seat a few times before work, come home every day to make his dinner alone, pay the bills and keep the house up and still find time to miss me and write me—filling me up with so much love I could burst.

Good things that happened to me today:

  1. Brian shared his picture of his 3 daughters with me at lunch today—he’s been here at least 6 months and carries it with him in his ID card holder for a smile.
  2. Gave my first CIB (current intel brief) and was told it was the best they’d seen yet.
  3. Took a ride in a SIMI Susi (??) “Duck” — armored ambulance!  The Danish guys took us for a 30 minute ride around base—awesome.
  4. The clouds went away and NO RAIN!
  5. I got a nice email from mom about her trip to Dolores (got an email from Shane too, swoon)

Funny Saying So Far:

“It’s called grits, Ma’am”

“M.T.W.”  Mugs, Thugs and Wacko’s  (Army term)

HUAH

“Coed Naked Peacekeeping” — I saw this on a big ass Dutch guy’s t-shirt

“It’s called grits, Ma’am”

“M.T.W.”  Mugs, Thugs and Wacko’s  (Army term)

HUAH

“Coed Naked Peacekeeping” — I saw this on a big ass Dutch guy’s t-shirt

“My what a big snizel you have” — the subject line of an email from Bill R.

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Deployment Week 1 – Guns and Booze

The images and voices of the original Star Wars keeping running through my brain, “stay on target, stay on target, stay on target,” says the Rebel pilot as he maneuvers through the topography of the Death Star before he fires that fatal blow to its core…

Drama Queen, maybe, distracted writer, definitely.  My short term goal is to narrate my 6+ months on deployment to Bosnia.  I dutifully kept a journal, this should be easy, but I’m mentally, physically and most of all emotionally distracted by the present.  I also want to write about the current political climate as well as the emotional roller coaster of facing another year-long deployment (the hub is off again).  I want to write about the power of friendships and the need for more gentle words, love and kindness in todays world.  Finally, I want to write about my friendship with my new neighbor who lost his wife to a stroke recently and our long talks and developing friendship.  If only I had a boss and a deadline—that would make it so much easier!  fullsizerender-3

I’ve decided to travel back to Bosnia for today.

12 October 2002

I went to my first “liaison meeting” today.  I quickly learned this was just an excuse to get the nationalities together to drink.  So, we broke the rules and drank.  (We are under “General Order #1” but the other nationalities were not so they stocked the booze and we locked up our guns for these events.)

The room was filled with Dutch, Fins, Danes, Russians, Frenchies, Italians and Americans.  Michelle (the woman I was replacing) and I were the only US Air Force people, and there were 2 US Army girls there too.  This was clearly a social function and it was fun—the wine was good.  I was glad to have Michelle by my side since I was so new.  As the night progressed the Army girls got randy and hung all over the guys—gag.  I have no idea if they were married though it usually doesn’t matter anyway.

Good night.

k

13 October 2002

It’s Sunday night.  Today was the base “Oktoberfest.”  For the first time, the leadership let everyone dress in civilian clothes and drink 2 beers.  The Air Force personnel had to turn in our weapons for the day—apparently the Army can drink with their guns? Yikes.

Everyone seemed to have a good time.  The “tent” was set up with a ton of board games and card games but it was mostly an opportunity to hang out together and talk over a beer (most of us chose wine over the beer because they didn’t measure their pours and, after doing some quick math, we figured out that we got a smidge more alcohol in our SOLO cups this way).  After a couple of hours, I was bored since I didn’t know many people and civilian clothes didn’t seem like a special treat to me yet.

After Oktoberfest, I checked out a couple of movies from our in-house movie rental shop (pretty sweet deal, thanks to awesome people who donate movies for troops), washed my clothes, hit the dining facility (DFac) called Shane and then FINALLY really cleaned my hooch.  This room is now clean.  It was really nasty when I moved—feels better now.

I’m ready to take over the job now.  I don’t think it will be difficult—in fact, I’ll be challenged to keep myself productive.  I really wish I could be in a targeting job working a real mission instead of sitting in a peacekeeping role/unit providing current intel to a sexist, asshole who doesn’t even like intel.

My new boss is Colonel Joe Jackhole (ok, that’s not really his name but it will be throughout this blog).  He’s touchy-feely, sarcastic, cynical, rude, arrogant, and completely unlikeable.  He’s been in the AF for 28 years and is an old EF-111 pilot—that jet has been retired for at least 5 years so I don’t know what he’s getting paid for now.  He is in AETC when he’s not sexually harassing female intel officers in Bosnia.

Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on him anymore tonight…time for bed.

I’m watching Birdcage—it’s a good laugh.

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“Danger UXO Area”signs were all over the base…it was smart to just stay on the path!

Fast Forward:  As I read this, then typed it, then thought about it again…I found it infuriating how some things never change.  Always a sexist wanker in charge somewhere.  Another thought was that I CHOSE Bosnia over the desert, where the crap was about to hit the fan…coulda woulda shoulda.

Deployment Day 1

6-10 Oct 02

From Anchorage to Ramstein

I’m sitting in the cockpit of a C-130 from Georgia.  It’s being flown by a Guard unit called the Savannah Guard Dogs.  Nice guys—they offered to let me sit upfront so took them up on it.  Yay.  Here I sit with my M9 by my side, wearing my gortex jacket, earplugs in and I’m chewing orbit gum—even though I look like a big tree, my teeth look fabulous!

Anyway, there’s a problem with a gauge so we’re waiting for a replacement part.  Apparently, engine 3 keeps reading too high of a temp and they’ve narrowed it down to a gauge, hopefully that’s the fix and we’ll be off soon.  I am ready to get this party started.  Your deployment days do not count until you are in-country.  I enjoyed my short stop in Georgia with my “other parents” (my friend Katie’s folks took good care of me).  When you are in the military you have friends, friends of friends or parents of friends in nearly every state.  On this trip, Katie’s mom (Sandy) was delighted to show me her newly renovated kitchen.  Dad was equally pleased since he knows how happy she was about this long-awaited project.

Our flight to Germany went well.  When we arrived, we were all put up in a billeting space that was used strictly for troops in transit.  I think they did this to keep the cost down since we all shared rooms and there appeared to be very few niceties such as coffee machines and TVs.  No one seemed to mind since we were still in Germany and could drink beer and drink beer.  For my 3 day layover I enjoyed the schnitzel, rumpsteak with garlic butter, bib lettuce (dang the Germans can make a yummy salad), pomme frits and, of course, the weizen bier.  (FYI, our weapons were safely locked up in the armory the entire 3 days.)  In addition to feasting and drinking, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with a friend I had not seen in years–someone I knew in a past life and was excited to see again.  Tracy and I were Airmen together–she was stationed in Northern Germany and I was in Belgium (in the 1880’s my daughter would say).  Now she is married and they have an adorable little girl (Darian) whom I was privileged to meet.  (fast forward–she’s all grown up and ridiculously beautiful & smart like her hot momma.)  We hit it off just fine.

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10 Oct 02 (2100)

From Ramstein to Tuzla—day 1 of 180

Upon arrival to Tuzla Air Base, I was greeted by “Michelle” (the woman who called me her new best friend—I was replacing her), who showed me to my hooch.  Its late, I’m exhausted and I’m going to bed now.  Tucked in my well-worn, twin-sized bed I can say it’s not too bad.  My room is about 20’x20’ and has a TV, VCR, DVD player, a medium size fridge, microwave, little couch, table and chairs, and 4 x large lockers.  Michelle was nice enough to give me her room right next to the bathrooms so I only need to take a couple of steps to the shower/toilet/sinks.  She moved into a temporary room until she leaves next week.

Joan of Arc (my patron saint) is on the TV right now, how poetic.  I’ll watch her until my eyes close, which won’t be much longer.

Good Night.

k

Fast Forward:  I remember feeling comfy in my little nest when I lived in this hooch.  The mission was winding down so everyone had private rooms on the Air Force side of the base.  I would soon see how the Army lived—in tents with a minimum of 8 Soldiers to each tent (didn’t matter if you were an officer or enlisted).  On the flip side, it got lonely in that room too and although I wouldn’t have traded my shitty twin bed for a shittier cot, it was probably comforting to have people around you day and night.  You could get into your head enough on these deployments without the benefit of solitude.

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