A Labrats Journey

This is basically the story of a 27 year old Navy Corpsman as she starts her journey to Iraq, leaving her son and husband 7000 miles away! Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, pictures, comments expressed in no way represent the Views of US Navy, Marines, Department of Defense,or anyone other than myself!(unless otherwise stated) I am not here to offend anyone. If you visit please leave a comment, BUT please respect my job and don't fill up my comments section with nonsense.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Yet Another Day of Preparation

Again today was beautiful here, it is so sunny and dry. The nights are cool and the days are hot. There is just way to many mountains, though (no cell phone works).  I spent the day reviewing the companies medical and personnel records. I am in charge of communications, we got three laptops and I am setting them up. Ironically they think I am a computer geek even thought his blog thing kicked my butt at first :) . Days are long and tiring. I am already losing weight do to the plethora of walking we do. We ran and ran this morning, it sucks but I know it could save me to stay in shape. We get to play with our weapons the next two days and I think get our plates that protect us, they are ceramic and go into our vest. We have no help though, there is not a phone in the office they gave us to use, and the computers are locked and I am working on breaking the lock, they said it would be two to three weeks before they could get a password for them-too long! Its sucks that we are all separated, I wish back in TX the command would have got us together like a going away dinner or something, cause we really don't know each other even if we are coming from TX. Today we went to a Mexican restaurant on the beach with the officers in our group, they are really nice to the enlisted folks, much better than the chief! We had fun and laughed a lot. I am so tired, today I for the first time in my whole military career slept through lunch muster and was UA. I didn't get in trouble thank god! They all just made fun of me, called me the princess! Everything is so classified I wish I could say more, we really don't know when we are leaving, we all kind of sit around and guess. We do know where we are going but I can't tell you so don't ask-thanks. The marines rules are so different than the Navy's rules. When we go to PT or workout the girls have to have there hair up as if we are in uniform, crazy huh! Well hope to email you again soon. This is timed so I have to go! Love you all and thanks everyone for the little emails back-I enjoy them and so do my friends here, we all read my website together, we have no mail at all just this - its great!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

And One Day at Training....

Well this is my first time able to get to a PC with internet connection, ironically it will probably be easier in Iraq to access the web than here. This base is over 200 square miles and CC just sent us to the airport with no ride from there on. It takes 20 to 30 minutes just to get from where we are staying to the gate. Well enough whining, let me tell you about my experience thus far. I am far from GI Jane but just as beat up! We have trained and learned things that I never wanted to know. I know when I am leaving and where I am going but do to security reasons it must remain a secret sorry, you'll just have to keep reading. The seven tons, yes 7 tons trucks not 5 ton trucks, are very difficult to get in and out of when you are 5'4". We are in marine corps regs which includes green everything. We got two expeditions rented that all 39 of us fight over. There is a particular chief that tries to pull rank and keep the vehicle to himself all of the time. Today is Tony's Birthday "Happy Birthday Baby, I love you." My b-day is Thurs.  I live in the barracks (yuk) with a PFC (low rank for those of you who don't know). She is very young minded but nice, and clean. It is very hard here. We all are getting through it however. We were all split up into different companies. Each company will go to a different area in Iraq. Two of us lab techs are together and one of us is separated by himself. I am one of very limited amount of females, so I am trying to fit in as one of the guys. Needless to say I am bruised everywhere and my lip is split open and I don't even know how it happened! The field training was rough-we didn't sleep for about three days straight. Drill after drill. We had three REAL casualties out there. For those of you family and friends in FL stand by surprises may be in the mix for this weekend, just wait and see! I guess my son is giving the babysitters a run for there money, sorry girls, Thank you!  Things I realize that I will need are SOCKS, sunblock, toiletpaper, soap and shampoo- I have already depleted my supply. I want a mouse for my laptop, I am waiting until payday. I took some pictures, hope to show them soon. Well I hope to get back on here and sorry for the brief update, but so much has happened. I went to see IROBOT it was pretty good.  CA weather is beautiful but the base is drab with no car and no where to eat or anything to do.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Not to much time left

Last night was humble shopping. We got a jump drive for pretty cheap, diapers for the road trip, and more underwear and socks. We stayed up late opening new items, labeling, and sorting. The barracks maid should love taking out our three bags of trash today. I am not taking very much, I am weak and cannot carry much. I made three boxes for myself. I am going to want an extremely small folding chair. They have those three legged chairs with no back, they look like stools and fold up really small. Off to do more paperwork and debriefs!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Two More Days...

Well, how does everyone like the new comment set up by Harposcan? I love it. The website will load much faster if the comments are held by another website. It took me a long time to make it work. Lots of frustration, it actually is really easy, but I just have never written HTML/JAVA stuff before. The list is final today at 09:30 to include one more person who didn't know they were going. We got some sunblock, foot powder, lip balm, and bug spray from the pharmacy here for free, so that was nice and should come in handy. A LT that is going to San Antonio today is taking my completed package to the recruiter, awful nice of him huh. Hopefully it makes it there safe and sound. The recruiter is going to go over it with a fine tooth comb and hopefully it is A-OK. The board meets in Sept, however I won't be able to fix anything major with this short time here. The three of us leaving are rushing things that we need to finish. It seems to have humbled us three quite a bit. We are spending as much time as we can with our families. Tony learned how to burn VCD's and he is impressed that it was so easy for him. We ate at Aunt Deeners last night it was great to have everyone together. The truck got an oil change yesterday and a new air filter, the fuel fitler was changed last time. It is ready for the jaunt to Fl. The baby is walking very well. He loves to brush his teeth.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Three more days...

I told you I wasn't counting :) We are finally MOVED out of our house in base housing. Tony and his plumber helper didn't work on Monday, instead they cleaned the house in preparation for the inspection. They passed after a few adjustments. I am kind of proud of him, those inspections for those who have stood them are ruff!! We got word back from BUMED that 14 more people have to go with us. 13 are coming from CA and One from Corpus. I wouldn't want to be those guys finding out today that you are leaving on Saturday!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Four More...

Not that I am counting. Long last weekend of moving. The Navy really let us down with this moving, packing and storage thing. Single parents and those deploying really got the shaft here with moving. We all are fighting over boxes at the hospital! I got lots of help from a neighbor - he was wonderful! He spent all day Saturday packing us and moving us. Then he helped us organize our storage unit. We had no power on Sunday here on the base, so not much packing/cleaning got done. Today Tony is cleaning the house for the final housing inspection. He says he can handle it by himself. I must admit I am a little worried. He has never stood an inspection in his life. We will see if he passes. I hope he does. We are both so very tired and wore out. I haven't got to spend much time with him or the baby these last few days. Thanks to the disorganized of the Navy I get to spend my last few days packing! Sorry just slightly disgruntle! The kitties are in a boarding place until Saturday. No more news on deployment yet...Keeping us in the dark. The stress is really been felt at home. We are tired, sore, and at each others throats so to speak. We are staying the barracks, which is pretty nice and convenient, however we are on the THIRD floor and there is not an elevator!! I am going to make copies of my techno CD's, hopefully they will keep me awake. I am desperate for any techno music anyone has in mp3 format-please!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Last Friday of Freedom

Well the last Friday of freedom has arrived. We moved out all the big stuff yesterday and into storage. We still have some items and our attic stuff left to move. We are staying in the barracks. It's not to shabby. Actually better than base housing :). The flights to Iraq are ranging from the first week in Aug to the second week of Sept. We should know next week who goes when. We had a long night and are very tired, including everyone who helped us. The guys from work were great. It was 95 degrees yesterday and 100% humidity, felt like 110 degrees. Everyone helped though and it worked great. We still have a long weekend ahead of us. On a lighter note, Cody walked about 50 steps in a row yesterday. He took a whole tour of the barracks - walking! He holds his hands in the air when he walks for balance, looks kind of funny :) !!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Moving Day!

Last night was long tiresome evening. I don't think we fell asleep until 2 am. JD came over and they moved a good bit of the larger items down into the living room. Some people from work are coming over this afternoon. We have the truck for four hours for free. We just have to pay miles and gas. It will be a hurried event I am sure. The computer is in the car and Tony got a brief on how to put it together. I hope nick can get him a monitor. Mine is way to big to lug all the way to FL. He claims he can get one easily. He has to have my computer to do the camcorder and make/watch Dacoda's DVD's. This weekend we are going to the Aquarium. I think Tues we are eating at Deener's. We received more word about our trip to CA. We need a lot of paperwork, copy of this copy of that. Check in is on Sunday at o dark early. Monday we go to the gas chamber. Tues, Weds, Thurs, is in the field playing war games. Friday we come back from the field. They are not providing us with meals. In the field we get three MRE's a day! yum! Sunday-Tuesday afternoon we have to find our own food. This angers me. They are supposed to provide us with meals and they aren't. They are supposed to pick us up at the airport and guess what they aren't. We have to grab a cab on our own. We are going to war for this country and no one can move us into storage, no one is giving us the proper gear and no one is going to pick us up at the airport!!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Ten More Days...

Well another day of preparing. I am glad everyone else (family and friends) are preparing, too. It makes me happy to see you all sign on and get familiar with this form of communication. Today we went to PSD and updated my "page 2" the boys officially live in FL now. All paperwork is in order. The baby goes to get an ID card tonight. He is walking quite well. He takes about twelve or more steps and stands and claps at the same time. We are still packing and the my lab shipmates are going to move the big stuff tomorrow into storage. Tony is still having a very hard time with this moving thing. He feels that the Navy should move us and is rebelling hard. I am doing all the packing and he moves things to the truck slowly and effortlessly. He hasn't accepted this whole thing yet. We leave Saturday morning on different flights for security reasons. The boys will leave Saturday morning also. Good job Annie for figuring this out. It is not easy at first - I am learning too! Maybe Annie get teach everyone else not to be anonymous. I am trying to get a better commenting section with Haloscope if that means anything to anyone. But I am having trouble getting it to run. I will keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Eleven more days...

As it gets closer and closer the inevitable is nearing its destination. A sadness has come over the household as we all quietly pack our belongings and decide jointly what stays here in storage and what goes to FL. As I pack my son's stuff, I feel as if I am shortening his "babyhood." Items that have to stay behind like the walker and bouncer/saucer, bumper pads that I sewn myself, and any toys he will shortly grow out of are all going to storage. It saddens me, because if I weren't deploying and there was no war he would have these items for there full use. I caught up the baby book and closed it off since he is one year now. I got a new book from www.militarywives.com . It is titled While My Mommy Was deployed. It has things about Halloween, Christmas, etc. From what he wore to what the weather was like that day. Enclosed are several postcards with a nice paragraph that say: "I don't like us being apart, but I know that you go to stand for what you believe in and to ensure my freedom and safety. When night falls and the stars fill the sky, remember that I am staring at the same stars and therefore we are together. I love you and I am proud of you. I will pray each day that God will keep you and those who serve with you safe, and you will return to me."

Monday, July 05, 2004

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July everyone. Last night we went downtown and watched the parade and fireworks display. We played with our new camcorder and videotaped yesterday. We had some 8mm tapes from our wedding and the baby's first birthday party, we practiced and made them into VCD's- it worked well. Today I am off and Tony is at work, the baby and I are home spending quality time together. When he naps I will pack. Tomorrow I will go get a storage unit, I found a place not too far that is climate controlled and will loan us a truck for free. Tony and I are going to lunch together, probably our last lunch meeting until I get back :(.......

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Got the Camcorder!

We got the camcorder that my grandmother sent me money for (early birthday present to Tony and I). We got a sony handycam. Our goal is to learn it quickly and make some videos before I go, that way the baby can still see me when I am gone. We were busy today looking for a climate controlled storage unit. The humidity is so bad here that everything will mold with climate control. We found one for $158. So now we start packing and getting out of the condemned base housing and into storage and a hotel for one week. Everyone has asked what to send me and everyone wants to "stock up." So here is a list of ideas for grandma, dad, Vera, Tony, step & Tracy, Ms. Debbie and Gary, and any one else who I forgot that asked me. Please if you do send packages make them small and frequent vs. Large and infrequent. Small like a shoebox will get to me much faster than a Large Box. Here are some ideas, but be creative as well: First of all the links on the left, "Military Support Network," please explore those websites. They send packages, books, phone cards, etc. If I get signed up with them, so keep that in mind. Some of them require a small donation, but I hear its worth it! Shampoo- baby shampoo unscented (bugs) Bug stuff (skin so soft with Deet would be great) Soap something unscented like ivory or oil of olay (body wash kind) Razors ( I use the mach 3 for men) Underwear (I am a Size 6) no sexy underwear please we are at war :) Socks (white and brown or green) Batteries (AA, AAA, D) Floppy discs Spices (garlic salt, ketchup/mustard/BBQ/Mayo packs from restaurants, anything that doesn't get refridgerated to make bland food taste better) Nights will get cold so those handwarmers that last 4 hours or so. Protein (tuna,salmon,beef jerkey,nuts) Fruit (dry, applesauce,etc) Remember the box will get hot so nothing that melts. Drink mixes already sweetened (kool-aid, crystal light) Shower to Shower or Powder with cornstarch (keeps sand off you)Newspaper clippings about the world/local news.Magazines, books, CD's(any kind of music-except hard rock and Rap) Pringles,Zip locks (all sizes) And LOTS of Prayer, Please send me Prayer, Hope and Happiness!!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Ombudsman

Well last night we met with the commands ombudsman. They are two wives who dedicate and volunteer time to make all the families of the deployed communicate and pass information. We still don't know if the Navy is going to pack us up and store our goods while I am deployed. I bet they don't- so my last weekend here will be packing and putting our stuff in storage. My husband doesn't want to stay here alone with the baby and I don't blame him. Since we live in base housing we don't want to be responsible for maintaining everything here for 8 months or more if neither of us are here. Besides if I DO get commissioned while I am gone we will move anyways. I guess it is off to packing!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Good News?

Right, your saying what could be good right now, but I do have good news. My "package" was signed by the CO today. For those who don't know I am applying for a commission into the Medical Service Corps as a Medical Technologist. For six months I have been working on this package and it is finally complete. The CO gave his endorsement, signed my conditional release and 1306. That means when the board meets in SEPT 04 everything will be there on time and ready to go, even with me in Iraq. Everyone pray maybe I can come back an officer! (for those who don't know I already have a degree- it is a direct commission)

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