Friday, June 12, 2009

Ikea, Junk Food, and a Flag for TJ

We are in the long haul to the finish line. Most of my Soldiers have been home on Leave and the last of them are coming back soon. Our replacements will leave the US in less than sixty days. In the mean time we still work in the day to day comings and goings of being deployed.

Last week I noticed that there were cups, real, dark blue ceramic cups, in the dining hall. Since I arrived here I have had to drink my coffee out of a Styrofoam cup in the morning, so getting a cup of coffee in a real mug is a great touch of “home”. The cups are located next to the coffee machine and are stacked upside down from the dishwasher. One day I noticed the bottom of the cup read “Ikea” the high end Swedish furniture and house wares store that my wife would drive four hours to go to. Cups from Ikea; bringing a touch of class to the war.

The other day someone brought the contents of their care package to the office. Sitting on the common table where our coffee maker is were assorted lollipops, chocolate, and a tube of Pringles®; sour cream and onion Pringles®. I had two or three because I like them and it had been a while since I had eaten real junk food – the kind with zero nutritional value but one hundred and ten percent taste. The transfat hit my taste buds and I knew in an instant that the tube was a goner. Fat tastes good. I ate at least half – in an hour – before I made one of my Soldiers get rid of them. With all of the food available in the dining hall all of the time it is easy to stop counting calories and enjoy food, glorious food! Since I arrived here in October I have been careful about what I eat allowing myself to let loose only once in a while. The Pringles® reminded me how easy it is to just gorge.

Last weekend was my son’s second birthday. TJ is an energetic boy who loves his trucks and trains. He loved to play cars with me when I was home. He misses me although I am a weird apparition to him showing up for a few weeks at a time or talking through the computer. In fact if you asked him where I was he’d probably point to the computer screen. Trying to find the right toy for him for his birthday was a challenge for me. Lisa and I could agree on a present from both of us, but I wanted to have something for my children that would be a unique present to represent their birthday while I was deployed. Iraqi toys come from China just like they do in the US and souvenirs from Babylon wouldn’t mean that much in years to come. In the end the answer was simple, really. I flew a US flag in our compound in Babil on my son’s birthday. It will be folded, cased, and given to him to have forever.

The days are getting longer and hotter; a sure sign the end of the deployment is coming. I keep posting until I get home.

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