warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
Alone, I’m more into doing than relaxing. I used to spend the first day just walking the downtown of a new city. I might spend 8 hours just walking. Then I’d see all the “sights”. I’d only eat in the best, or at least best-known, places (eg either Michelin-rated or Varsity Hotdog). Big on traveling light. Once went to Europe for weeks? months? and only took 1 flight bag that I packed 15 minutes before leaving for the airport. Three sets of underwear and washed them out in the sink at night. Oddly enough, when I was in the military, often had much more stuff. If I deployed, the Army was big on "making sure you have whatever you need, whatever happens. That means, in additon to field gear and body armor, carried both hot and cold weather stuff. I knew at least one doc who was initially deployed to somewhere very hot (Kuwait?); then got sub-deployed for some weeks to somewhere very cold (mountains of Afghanistan?) Bottom line, a rucksack and 4 duffel bags to go anywhere. What was even weirder, was going somewhere on a long weekend with the Reserves. I'd often need: working (field) uniform with boots, dress uniform with dress shoes, civilian clothing with casual shoes, and PT (workout) uniform with sneakers. All this (including the 4 sets of footware) for 3-4 days. I've been been a fashionista (*understatement*), but this masses of clothing luggage gives me some understanding into that life. This from a man who does own 3 pairs of shoes: all black, slip-ons, not quite identical, but close. (Never used to wear slip-on shoes, but since currently live under Asian household rules, much easier than lace-ups.)
With small kids, travel is still not Relaxing (note capital R). Just much slower. Pick up stuff at a local market supermarket to eat in the room (microwavable). Eat off-hours anywhere decent. If manage one tourist sight before kids crash/meltdown, then we’re doing well. Walk a bit, pushing stroller until kids nap. Much chilling in the room, or maybe poolside. Rinsing shirt in sink. Not underwear. Traveling light... except for all the stuff for kids. At some point it has been 1small suitcase for Nom and I, 2 large ones for kids stuff. And that's not even counting the stroller. Airlines love us. (I tend to head straight for the priority check-in. Maybe they don't like it, but will like 2 hyperactive kids running around check-in even less. They can bill me an extra 25-cents.) This last trip, Hedgefund decided that the ideal mix was 1 large suitcase for her, and 1 for everyone else together. Did I mention fashionista? We convinced her otherwise.
warriorsavant: (Wedding/Romance)
We were almost too tired to go away but wanted to break up the period of "kids off from day care" and of winter cold. Also we'd already booked the 5 days away, so off we went. Any doubts about that's being the right decision were erased when we got to our hotel and stood on the outside walkway looking at the ocean (well Gulf of Mexico to be precise). In the warmth. Had sudden urge to change careers to "inspect sunsets through bottom of beer stein while sitting on a beach." Unlikely to actually happen anytime soon, but very strong urge. (On the other hand, summers there are unbearably hot and humid, so beginning to understand snow birds.) Since not actually moving anytime soon, do need to make sure the kids know how to skate and ski and other activities that make one enjoy winter (at least until they go to Med School at UBC (or possibly U Hawaii).

Downside was the long traveling (basically first and last day spent in transit) and that we all came down sick and spent most of the last day sitting around the hotel feeling miserable and puking. Upside was warm and relaxing and beautiful.

Impressions )

Some specifics )

L'envoi. “Goodbye ocean, goodbye palm trees, goodbye warm weather"

Earworm

Dec. 3rd, 2017 07:43 am
warriorsavant: (Default)

Last time we were visiting Nom's bro & family, our nieces asked us if we'd ever heard of this really cool old TV, then sang a bit of the theme music. Friends. A show that has been off the air since before they were born. Was never a big fan. Never really a big TV watcher at all, but used to rarely watch it with GoTV. (Wow, haven't thought about her in quite a while*.) During my first - no, make that second - deployment in 2002-2003 (beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom - an operation named without conscious irony), we were stuck for over a month waiting to rotate home. We'd already turned over operation of the hospital to our replacements, and were just sitting around Camp Doha doing nothing. (Since we'd actually gotten there before almost any other units, we were supposed to be the first going home, but they hadn't worked out how to send units home yet.) There was a small DVD lending library, and after having seen everything I actually liked, I borrowed the entire first season of Friends. Someone seeing me do that comments, "Wow, sir, you're really bored, aren't you." Yeah, that about described it.

Anyhow, since the nieces mentioned it, the darn theme song has been running through my mind. Oh well, all earworms eventually die.

*For the Gentle Readers new-ish to this blog, that was my ex-. There's no residual animosity. We were friends for a while, but have moved on. I don't like to fail at anything, and a break-up is a form of failure, so some tiny part of me will always be sorry about that, but considering how great life turned out for me (married to Nom!), on the balance quite happy.

warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
Was packing, found on a top shelf, and finally (with some pangs) threw it out. It a small vinyl bag (about the size of a men's toiletry case, which it might have started life as, say 8"x4"x2"). Over my time in the Army, I'd used that keep those little items for field use/deployment, that are not on any packing list, but every experienced Soldier knows are useful (not, not chocolate or ladies of the evening). The items changed slightly over the years. Some were super-useful, some never used, but it's a good list to know. Presented (in alphabetical order) for my nostalgia, & your use and edification:
• carabiner clip
• chem light
• duct tape (not a big roll, just a few dozen feet)
• ear plugs
• foot powder
• insect repellent
• knife-fork-spoon (camping type)
• leatherman tool or swiss army knife
• lighter and/or waterproof matches
• marker pen
• mini-fan
• mirror
• padlocks
• parachute cord (thick nylon cord, also called 550 cord)
• plastic bags
• safety pins
• sewing kit
• small flashlight (originally a mini-maglite, later LCD light)
• spare AA batteries
• sunscreen
• tags and twist ties
• toilet paper (little packets)
• water purification tabs
• whistle
• wipes
warriorsavant: (Infantry haircut)
Two things lately made me realize I'd had had enough of the Army. (Important realization when one has been retired, for, oh, 5-6 years.) No, not Hedgefund and Wallstreet, although they would have been enough to keep me from doing anything silly like trying to re-up, or deploy.

The first is talking with someone I knew from the Army. He is a full-time Reservist (called an AGR), I first knew as a Captain when he was my Adjutant (= S1 = Personnel & Admin Officer) when I Commanded a CSH (Combat Support Hospital - like a MASH, but bigger). He's now a Colonel himself, in charge of major training site (I'd trained there more than once). It was not a very happy call, in that I'd heard 3rd hand that he'd recently lost his wife of 32 years (cancer, spread quickly) and was calling to offer my condolences. We chatted for a while, and he was mentioning getting ready for 3 CSHs moving into his training site for their summer training. I was thinking, "yeah, I understand what that involves (huge planning & paperwork for those personnel and logistics) and am so glad I don't have to be doing that anymore.

The second is a book I'm reading, Christie Blatchford's Fifteen Days about her time as a reporter embedded with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan a few years ago. I'm only so-so enjoying it. Basically war stories, I suppose good insight if you've never been there. Again, the feeling of "glad it's not me anymore." Not the getting shot at part (although not a big fan of people trying to kill me), but the moving into, and staying in, some godforsaken, dusty patch of barely habitable real estate and calling it home for the day/week/month. Nope, glad I don't have to be doing that anymore.

I did my time doing those things. Didn't mind them at the time, proud of it, very glad to have done it, but have done enough of it, and getting too long in the tooth to want to do more.
warriorsavant: (Books (Trinity College Library))
In is Canadian Thanksgiving (Monday observance).

I have so much to be thankful for.

- My family. I could not believe I could be this happy, nor love having children so much. I get weepy just thinking about it.
- My family of birth. We don't seem close, but when I look at other families, I realize how good we have it.
- My extended family. They are loving and supportive.
- My job. I love what I do: 90% of the time, I basically like it; 5% of the time, I think they aren't, and couldn't pay me enough to put up with the cruddy parts; but 5% of the time, I can't believe I get to do this cool stuff, and they even pay me.
- I'm healthy. Not perfectly healthy, but way better than the average 60-year old.
- I live in a free and wealthy country. Even at the worst, it's a great place to live, and I have it far from "the worst."
- I was born, and still a citizen of, another great, free, and wealthy country. Ditto the above. (And both of these, despite the idiots we have as leaders.)
- I served in the military for a long time. Deployed 4 times to war zones. It was truly an honour. (And I'm physically unscathed.)
- I have a lovely, comfortable condo in a good part of a great city, and will soon by moving into a lovely, comfortable, large house in another good part of this city.
- I have enough to eat, and can eat with great variety and delicious taste whenever I want.
- I have traveled the world. I'm (mostly) bilingual. Having a second language gives one a second soul.
- I can read, and have books as my companions whenever I want.

I am so lucky.
warriorsavant: (Space-horsehead nebula)
I'm reading Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. COL Hadfield is the Canadian Astronaut who recently commanded the International Space Station. He is a totally impressive person by any count: Colonel in the RCAF, fighter pilot, test pilot, PhD in Engineering, plays the guitar… Actually, from what I've read, most astronauts are like that. They are the best of the best of the best that humanity has to offer. All the military pilots also have advanced science or engineering degrees, all the mission specialists have private pilot licenses, all are excellent in whatever hobbies they have, as well as being in great physical shape. In addition, as COL Hadfield points out, they have to have good personalities/people skills. Gone are the days of The Right Stuff where you could have the gruff, hard-bitten, hard-assed stereotypical fighter pilot. In those days, you went up solo, and stayed up for hours-to-days. Now you have to fit in for months with an international crew.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is his describing an astronaut's life, only a very small percent of which involves space flight, and that only if you're lucky. Basically they train and study non-stop. All sorts of things: orbital mechanics, geography, and mostly what to do when things go wrong. Despite that, he's an optimist. He's spent so much time wargaming "what could kill be next," that he's comfortable handling whatever it is. This is one of the parts of the book I can relate to. I don't claim to be astronaut caliber (although I have a few good points), but certain parts of the book do speak to me.

Part the 1st that speaks to me )
Part the 2nd that speaks to me )
Related point to part the 2nd that speaks to me )
warriorsavant: (Cafe)
I'm boring these days. All I do is babble about the wonders of my kid, rather than stuff about going off to war. Yup, I'm boring, and I love it. Actually, recently found printouts of emails from my deployment to Iraqi Freedom in 2002-3. I'd emailed my brother, who printed them out and snail mailed them to our parents (who didn't use computers), and they eventually gave the hard copies to me. Frankly, much of those are also day-to-day trivia, but wars are 99% boredom (and 1% sheer terror).

Another striking change in my life is that my condo is messier and less "adult" than ever. Doubt that will change in the next decade or two. I always admired classy, classic, adult décor. Most of my life I was too peripatetic to have that. Since setting up this place, I definitely achieved that: nice furniture, objets d'art, and memorabilia of my travels. Now, the more fragile items are put away, and there is baby-stuff everywhere. I do miss having a place that looks urban sophisticated, but enjoy Hedgefund more than I miss the other. I will have that look again some day, plus a child as well.

Speaking of Hedgefund, she’s starting to walk. So far, it's only 2-3 steps at a time. I don’t expect her to do more than that right now; “one does not just simply walk into Mordor.” She is starting slowly and cautiously. I think she is going to be like her old man, a cautious adventurer.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Armored vehicles are great, what with having armor between you and people trying to kill you, but they are top-heavy and prone to rolling over, say from an IED blast. Part of pre-deployment training is how to extract yourself from a rollover. The trainer is a vehicle cabin, mounted on a frame that can spin it. The windows are blacked out, since in a real situation it might be night, or the cabin might be filled with smoke. There are dozens of empty plastic soda bottles to rattle around and disorient you. In a real situation, anything not strapped down would be flung around the cabin: tools, personal weapons, gear, ammo cans - getting smacked in the face with a 50 lbs metal can is not fun. For the training, you strap into the seats, the cabin is rolled over several times, and you have to extract yourself from being sideways or upside down. If upside down, when you unstrap, you end up on your head, crunched between the dahsboard & windsheild, with 80 lbs of battle rattle (gear, weapons, body armor, etc) weighing you down. You have to wiggle yourself around, stand up (you'll now be standing on the inside of the roof), get the doors open, and get out.

Hedgefund has a little car she plays in. Like the rollover trainer, it doesn't have wheels, but there are various switches and buttons she can play with that make noise, sing tunes, etc. Last night she somehow managed to fall into it, ending up upside down under the "dashboard." I was a bit disappointed that she couldn't extract herself and I had to effect a rescue. On the other hand, maybe I'm pushing her too hard. She really likes her camouflage onesie, but perhaps even miniature body armor is too heavy at her age.

l

Apr. 16th, 2014 09:33 pm
warriorsavant: (Rainbow Dash Sniper)
Had a very full and mostly satisfying workday today. Saw lots of patients (some with actual real and potentially fatal disease), kibitzed with Evil Secretary, and tortured taught the Residents. On the other hand, had the usual quota annoying people who needed a smack in the head more than they needed medical care (I believe in the abuse theory of psychotherapy).

Having a kid puts a lot of things into perspective. Oddly enough, so did deploying to a war zone with the Army. From both experiences, one learns great patience, but also even less respect for whiners, drama llamas, and self-righteous people.
warriorsavant: (Default)
One odd thing about not going out of town so much is that food shopping becomes an on-going activity. This is they way it is for most people - you buy food, you prepare it, you eat it, you buy more. There's no beginning, middle, or end; it flows along. On the other hand, when I was away most weekends, plus extended trips several times per year, buying food was a time-phased activity. "Out of milk for my breakfast cereal, but I'm going away for two weeks day after tomorrow, so better plan on having toast for breakfast or eating at a cafe." "Okay, need to go food shopping, but just three days worth." It was almost a game to plan to run down the food stocks synchronized with going out or town. Before a deployment, I'd very carefully check expiration dates. I'd give away or throw out anything that needed refrigeration (since I'd unplug the fridge) and even non-refrigerated foods that might not be viable on my return. It feels weird now to just buy food on an open-ended basis.
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
RCP – Route Clearing Package – a.k.a. mine sweeping.

Picture of RCP )
Hitched a ride on one to the next FOB over. Large armored trucks with all kinds of attached gizmos, sent out to keep the roads clear of mines, IEDs, and sundry other nuisances. I rode in the Buffalo, which is the Cadillac of armored trucks. We were mostly on hardball (i.e. paved roads) and didn't find any, especially didn't find any the hard way.
warriorsavant: (Autumn-upstate NY)


I'm referring to my personal laptop.  Got Harry for my first deployment.  (Oops, make that 2nd deployment – laptops weren't widespread in Desert Shield/Desert Storm era, and we certainly didn't have commercial connectivity in the desert.)  That makes it 9 years old, which in "people years" means it should be getting a letter from the Queen.  We have computers for official use, but for cruising the net, etc, I have my laptop in my hooch, and buy time on a commercial network.  Yes, Afghanistan, a country so poor it barely has dirt, has commercial internet.





Booted it up yesterday and got a pixelated screen.  Rebooted, and got nada.  Unplugged it, took the batteries out, and let it sit overnight, and it booted up this morning.  I think the problem was that rather than turning it off completely, I'd been putting it on standby.  I think it just overheated.  The circuits are old and a bit tired.  (Rather like me, *whimper, whine, pout*)  It just needed to relax and get some TLC.





Of course I'd carefully backed up every file I created or changed since being here.  Well, most of them.  Well, except the last several weeks…  As I said, I have now carefully backed everything up.  This our (Harry's and my) last deployment.  We both have to last just a little while longer.  "Good computer, good computer, that's it, boot up now…"



warriorsavant: (White Lion - Jabulani)

I've been here too long. I feel naked going outside without my side arm.


 

More babbling under the cut. )
warriorsavant: (Default)

 Derm:  I'm not here to do Dermatology, or even really to see patients. I'm here to oversee the medical care in the Brigade, and act as a staff advisor to the Brigade Commander. However, I'm here, and I'm a Dermatologist, so I end up seeing a few Derm patients. That's fine, I like doing that. The great thing about being a Dermatologist is that everyone has skin, everyone has skin problems (or thinks they do), and most doctors don't know much about it. It's rather a niche market. Most doctors know the basics, but there are always the obscure cases. I've had two already since I've been here (plus a few basic problems). Both have seen more than one other doctor without proper diagnosis and treatment. I'm batting 1000. I can honestly say I'm the best Dermatologist anywhere on FOB Lagman, and at least tied for best in Afghanistan. J

 

Exercise and altitude:  Finally hit the treadmill. With all the traveling and field training I've been doing, I haven't done much regular exercise in a couple of months. I'm determined to get back into shape, alternating cardio and strengthening. With the not-having-done-much for a while, it was slow. Add that I am not used to exercising in this heat. Add further that we are at altitude, about 5500 feet, which is high enough to see some loss of cardiovascular performance (not sure how much, probably 4-8%). I want to be able to make my time and distance and heart rate at this altitude. It is good conditioning, and will be great conditioning for when I'm back near sea level.

 

Photos:  Haven't taken many. I took enough the last few times to last me. First time I was snapping shots of everything. ("A tent city! Ooooh!" "A gaggle of armored vehicles! Wow!" "Flying over nowhere!" Aaaaah!") By now, the shiny has worn off. I'll take some, and later will post a photo gallery (might cheat and supplement from my past photos).

 

Chapel:  We are part of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) – the assistance to the Afghans is not a pure US show (something that both the Pro and Anti involvement forces back home don't like to admit). We share the FOB with some of out international partners, and the chapel reflects that. It has a bit of an Eastern Orthodox look – the shape of the crosses and the character of the paintings. US Military chapels tend to be very generic or at most a generic Christian look. This has a definite Eastern Orthodox flavor.

 

Coffee:  I usually consider it one of the essential food groups*. I like my coffee, usually have 2-4 cups/day. Since being here, am only having 1/day, in the morning. There is a Green Beans Coffee  here, but haven't even indulged in that**

 

*The four essential food groups are caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and sex. Well, at least I'm getting small amounts of the first two while I'm here.

** Green Beans is a chain of decent coffee houses only on military bases. It got it's start from a single outlet at Eskan Village in Saudi Arabia, and developed a devoted following who pushed the owner to open more cafes and eventually franchise.


warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)

I'm finally at my destination. Felt long getting here, but considering I'm on the other side of the world, in the middle of nowhere, it really wasn't too bad.

 

Rocket Attack:

Read more... )

 

Nation/capacity building:

Read more... )Read more... )

 

Rollover training:

Read more... )

 

Misc. stuff:

Read more... )

 

The travel itself:

Read more... )

 


warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)

Am in Kuwait. Actually earned my pay today. Someone coming off the flight had a “leg cramp.” Checked them out, and considered that might have a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis = blood clot) and got them transported to the hospital. In theater one day, and have actually seen a patient. Even in an active war zone, most military medicine is still about ordinary problems, not combat trauma.


 

I'm getting ahead of myself. Actually got up yesterday at a decent hour. The Army has the tendency to call formation at oh-dark-thiry, to get you on the buses at noon, for a 6 PM flight. We didn't have formation until 1130h, and had a slow morning to eat, relax, turn in our bedding, draw weapons, etc. The flight was uneventful (besides the above patient). We had a brief refueling stop somewhere in eastern Europe where it was actually cool and drizzling. Couldn't leave the terminal, but at least could stretch our legs, and I had a decent chair massage.


 

Kuwait is hotter than Ft. Benning (105 F = 45 C), but dry, which is much easier to take. Sand everywhere. Even the sky is sand-colored. Even the air tastes of sand. Air is not supposed to crunch in your mouth. I remember this from the last time I was here – it was also July, but I was heading home, and already acclimatised to the heat. (Oops, make that 2 times ago, in 2003. Last time, in 2007, I did come both in and out via Kuwait, but not in July.) Military posts are somehow always sandy or dusty. You could be in the middle of a forest or a jungle or a swamp, they manage to be dusty; it is some military technology older than time itself.


warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)

Body armor. Got it issued, and had class in how to put it on and how to assemble it. The latter especially important as there is a quick release if you have to get out of it quickly. Quick release, but tricky re-assembly.

 

The armor has ceramic inserts called SAPI plates (Small Arms Protective Inserts). I checked, mine were recently inspected. Not sure how they inspect these puppies, but inspected they have been. Hope I don't need to find out the hard way if they work (or more to the point, find out the hard way that they don’t).

 

To fit the armor properly, it laces up the back. Like a corset. So whether your medieval fantasies are being the knight or being the damsel, we have you covered (literally) both ways.

 

IED. You won't spot them, but you can spot indicators that they are there. An indicator can be anything that is out of place. Often, different people will spot different things. They need to talk to each other. This goes against the grain initially – it feels like driving with one of those people who read billboards and names of stores to you, like you can't read and never heard of them. It takes a while to get the instinct to constantly – constantly – be talking back and forth about what you are seeing. Reminds me a bit of dismounted defense training I once had. Again, you have to be constantly talking, but that is passing info up and down a line of troops (eg: "enemy front right" – and each person has to pass that down).

 

Last minute notes. Flying out tomorrow. Went to range and qualified with 9mm pistol today. Not surprised that I qualified, but I think this is the first time I've done it in full body armor with the ceramic plates in the Georgia summer heat and humidity. Did I mention the heat and humidity? Went for a run outdoors last evening. My roommate here, who lives in Virginia, is a big runner, and runs even in the heat of the day here with no ill effect. I went out in the evening. Did I mention the heat and humidity? Did I mention "sucks?" A really poor run, but at least a run. Other than schlepping bags, probably my last formal exercising until I arrive at my FOB in Afghanistan, but plan on serious exercise once there.

 

Pre-deployment jitters are at a reasonable level. I vary between "what did I get myself into?" and "are we there yet?" and "hey, I'm practically home already."


warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)

Light:

* Friends: had a chance to see some friends for farewell dinners and hugs. Family tomorrow in NYC.

* Evil Secretary: ditto. She will keep an eye on things.

* Work-up: have gotten back in the groove, and I usually maintain that while deployed. I've slimmed down a bit, and feel good. Had last workout with Gym Teacher Wednesday – he made sure I was sore enough to remember him by.

* Itsi-Bitsi: Shop near me. Makes cupcakes. Finally tried it today. Really, really good. If I want to keep the good physique, I need to keep away from there.

* Fed pigeons in the park with Cat. Had visions of not being able to deploy b/c pecked to death by pigeons – it would have been a sad end for my career.

 

Heavy:

* I do have a sense of foreboding, more than the usual. A few who know me share it, most say it's folly. It is likely a combination of knowing it’s the last fling,  less coverage available for my office, I'm getting older and wondering why I need this last fling, and I'm just getting older – as are all around me – and feeling my mortality. However, one never knows; after 3 deployments already, I am rather a refugee from the law of averages.

* This is my last fling. Regardless of what happens, I will be getting out of the Army shortly after I come back, and that will be a sad day for me. This is something I've spent most of my life doing, but all things need to draw to an end. It will be time retire, but still sad.


warriorsavant: (Default)

Looks like I'll be leaving this weekend; they finally figured out who/how the trauma training is going to be funded. However, nothing is certain until the orders are in hand and the flight is booked. Actually, nothing is certain until I set foot on ground, but I'll be optimistic for now.

 

There are three parts to preparing: mental, preparing things here to run while I'm away, and getting everything together to bring with me there.

 

Mental never changes. One of my young troops asked me at ECT how I could be so calm – he said he tried prayer, mediation, and everything to get ready to go, and it still was hard to leave. He wanted to know my secret. Answer: there is no secret. It's a bear each and every time. The only "secret" is knowing that you expect to feel bad in the weeks leading up to going away. You expect the emotional roller coaster, so it doesn't bother you – as much. Prior to going away for anything more than a few days, it's always the same. You feel moody. You're sad. You kick yourself for doing this. Much grumbling to self about "why do I do this, I hate this, I'm an idiot, what was I think…" This is normal. Even if you don't like your life as it is (and mine really is pretty good), it is normal to have regrets in the weeks leading up to going. Once there, they stop. Well, die down. More-or-less. "When the war comes, the professional Soldier wishes like heck he were there; when he gets there, he wishes like heck he were somewhere else." In fact, once there, you get into the groove of being there – that becomes your life (except for the part where you start counting days until you can come home). There's still some sense of denial about going, but that is all part of the game.

 

Preparing things here is done. Has been for a while. There are always things you think of at the last minute, but the big stuff is settled. I've arranged who will watch my place, and as best possible who will cover my practice (that is very lean, but both patients and I will survive). Storage for cars has been arranged. Checks are prewritten. I've suspended those insurances that I can suspend (eg: the Army is covering all medical and disability). I've negotiated with the landlord at my office to give me a break on the rent. (In some ways, they are typical landlords to deal with, but they have always shown me extreme courtesy about cutting the rent a bit while I'm deployed.) Evil Secretary will stay on the job (although likely be bored a lot). I can't expect her to take a cut in income just because I'm deployed, and it is she who keeps the place running. Did some food shopping – it is always part of the game to run out of food the morning you leave, but I'd gotten down to just peanut butter and no crackers, so had a buy a few things. I'm going to unplug the 'fridge just before I leave. Will do last laundry and leave some stuff at cleaners for cleaning lady to pick up for me (do not want to come home to a condo full of smelly clothing).

 

Preparing stuff to go is almost done. This is modern life, so I should have email and other computer access. I remember the first time I deployed in 1991, it was a big deal that AT&T set up phone booths so you could access the US. My parents were amazed. In their day even a domestic long distance call was a major event, and international calling was only for the very rich. By my second deployment in 2003, there were phone and internet banks set up. By the third one, it was routine. Spent some time today backing up my computer, and transferring music and file to my iPad and laptop. Should be very easy, but always takes more hours than you'd think. Have finished my on-line pre-mobilization courses (well, most of them). If I don't get them done now, will have to do them at the mob station. I'd prefer to get them done and not chance having to stay longer there – the sooner I leave from there, the sooner I get overseas, and the sooner back again. Did a little packing. Probably could do it all tonight, but I'm procrastinating a bit.


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