Tuesday, May 27, 2008
We Have Photos
I'm still organizing them on Flickr, and I haven't had a chance to label anything yet, but as time passes I'll catch up.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I Come From A Land Down Under....
Prior to the climb the three of us had lunch at a cool little mom and pop restaurant located just under the bridge in the Rocks district. The Rocks is the location of Sydney's oldest pubs, hotels, and is the site of the first European settlement on the continent, so it holds a lot of history. It also sits under the bridge and right next to the opera house, so location is choice if you're looking to relax and enjoy the city.
I promise to have lots of photos soon. I'm currently a slave to the Holiday Inn Darling Harbour internet scheme, which limits what I can do. Instead, when I get to the next hotel I will have better access to load up the photos.
I'm receiving emails on my blackberry from the firstname.lastname@example.org account if anyone has any questions or specific requests for photos.
It's now 0620 in the morning on Sunday and I'm off to jog around the Opera House and watch the sun rise from the Pacific and over the the Harbour. Using a new camera this time around, so hopefully the photos will turn out nice.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I'm Your Capitan, It's Time To Fly.....
About to close the doors on this 747-400 from San Fran to Sydney. Never had trouble on this flight beforeN but we were told the inbound leg had a lot of turbulance and a few got sick.
Damn, there go my free drinks. I was looking forward to enjoying a few tasty beverages.
Wish us luck. I just hope my kids don't get sick. I tend to be the target when chunks are blown.
If all goes well, we'll have dinner after take off, snooze, wake up for breakfast, then land around 8am in Sydney. 1s hrs of relaxation. (Or 14 hrs of chunks)
Time to go.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Words of advice....
Never, ever pack concentrated laundry soap in a bag with your clothes when traveling.
It just doesn't come out of the suitcase once the bottle breaks open, and my clothes now reak of concentrated April freshness even after being washed twice in the five-dollar per load Holiday Inn Express washing machine.
'So Dude, why do you smell so bad? Did your car crash into a "Summer's Eve" feminine hygene factory?'
'No, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Epress.'
I hope the airline loses this bag over the Pacific.
On the road again....
I'm laying on a hotel floor just outside if San Francisco International Airport waiting to go back to the USO lounge once they boot us out of here. We have a 22 hour layover, and we arrived here at 12am this morning.
Headed to Sydney tonight to start our trek. Hopefully it all goes well. We spent the last 7 days getting our house up on the market for my upcoming PCS. Had no time to pack like we usually do, so we threw stuff in the suitcases and ran to the airport. In the process I had a bottle of liquid detergent break open in my bag, so I'm now doing laundry instead of exploring San Fran.
This trip has nowhere to go but up.
As promised, I will be posting photos throughout the trip. Also, I'm using my crackberry along the way so I can check our house on the market as well as write while traveling. This is my first post using my handheld, and I'm hoping it works.
I'm taking requests for photos if anyone wants to see anything specific in Australia. Just leave a comment and I'll see what I can photograph.
Until then, wish me luck braving the untamed wild and unfriendly San Fran. It has been at least 10 yrs since I was last here and and it was rough then.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The First Step
We've been scrambling for one week to prepare for the move to Nebraska. Held the first of many yard sales last week and did well, and I'm nearly finished offloading my project at work to someone else so I can focus more energy on selling our house and getting everyone ready for the move.
I read two books over the weekend on how to sell your own home, so I guess I'm now as qualified as a realtor. At least I'd like to think that. We want to sell on our own to avoid the 6% fee any realtor will charge us. Who would ever voluntarily hand over 6% of the equity in their house to someone? I will fight it for as long as I can, and maybe I can sell the house in the process. If not, we'll end up going with a realtor, but not by choice.
Nervous? Hell yes. Confident? Yes.
Last night I was going through some photos of my deployment I took right before I came back home and I noticed something different. I've lost about 15+ pounds since coming home from a combination of running, eating less, and stress. More because of the working out and portion control, but those were things that were difficult to do while deployed. They feed you too well overseas, and I never could get myself to jog around the Green Zone, so it's easy to fall into the trap. Most of us just lifted weights and drank the protein shake/weight gain 3000 powder.
Talk about setting yourself up for disaster.
Sitting in middle of the ballroom of Believer's Palace, which sat on top of Saddam's infamous bunker. Damn that excellent DFAC food! Damn you all to hell with your good food, excellent ice cream bar (staffed by a cool guy named Mohammad), and late night buffets!
Some chick I met last weekend (My wife Tonya) and I on Saturday headed to a Rascal Flatt's concert. What a difference 15 pounds makes. I'm going to keep up the routine and see how much more I can lose over the next month or so.
And yes, we've had time for a little fun in between the chaos of moving. Rascal Flatt's closed their national tour here in town. Two of the guys are from Columbus, so their families and friends filled the floor of the arena. Fun concert. These guys really know how to have fun and make the cost of the tickets worth it.
So what's on tap for this week? Renting a storage unit today, and hopefully filling it with stuff we need to get out of the house to make it sell better. We're having another garage sell/cook out this weekend with our neighbors. In between today and Saturday I need to list the house, something I've never done before but it needs to be done now. I just keep reminding myself of the 6% commission I'm avoiding.
On a side note, Craigslist works. If you ever need to sell something, try Graigslist.com first. We had hits within hours on some items and they sold that day. My neighbor also does very well using it.
Found out I'll be working for STRATCOM out at Offut. Not sure what I'll be doing, but that's where I'm headed. I still suspect it's an office weenie job (slave/gopher/exec), but there's nothing I can do to stop that now. My lesson was learned over the last few months. Shut up and color.
Still going through these bunker photos. I'll have to post them all soon. Very cool way to spend your last day in Baghdad.Need a hole in a door, just call the Army. They're good at breaking things fast.
While touring Saddam's bunker, one must partake in the tradition of posing on his private crapper.
Or posing in his private jacuzzi/players room up in the palace.
My Dad, an old crusty US Marine, always had a picture of himself from Vietnam sitting against some sand bags with a weapon, showing the peace sign. I thought it appropriate to do one of my own.
Time to take on the day and get this house sold.
Have a good one.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Yes, I'm Back in Black
They say a deployment changes your perspective on life, love, and everything else in between. Whoever 'they' are, they're right. Over the last three months I've done everything imaginable to focus on my family, my daughters, my life, and everything else in between. At the same time I've been dealing with one of the most difficult situations the Air Force can put you in. On top of all of that, knowing the friends I left behind in Baghdad have had hell raining down on them over the last few months makes your daily existence even harder because deep down inside you want to be there with them, working along side of them to keep the mission moving forward (and to flip every Mahdi Army A-Hole off from a roof top every time they launched a barrage of crap at you).
Yet I'm not over there, I'm here now, and I've had to focus on the battle here at home.
There's a lot to talk about, and I can't wait to sit down and put it all down here on the blog. I started this up in 2004 to talk about life, the Air Force, and everything on my mind, and I have no reason to let up.
So, my apologies for the pause. I'm done regrouping, re-arming, and I'm back in the fight. And thank you to those of you who have kept in touch (and smacked me upside the head every now and then for not staying in contact).
The next two months will be crazy, and I plan to take you all along for the ride. The Air Force Personnel Center tucked me away into a worthless hole over the last 3 months while they figured out what to do with me. I just received word last night that I will be moving to Omaha Nebraska, doing God knows what. After struggling with the assignment center for over a year, this is either a blessing or it will be the ruin of me. Either way it's going to be interesting.
Between now and then I'll be moving my Step-Son Matt to Australia. He decided to spend a year in Australia on a work/holiday visa, so we fly him out at the end of this month. I promise to actually post photos along the way this time. That place is too beautiful not to share it with everyone.
At the same time we'll be dealing with everything else we deal with out here.
As they say in Sarkozy Land, 'Se La Vi'.
It all starts today when I walk into my bosses office and let them know I'm done working on the crap projects they've been spoon-feeding me. I'm done spinning around in this worthless holding pattern. It's time to get down from the dusty shelf the Air Force hid me away on when I came back to the U.S. (Thanks Cad!)
As I said, lots to write about. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I plan on doing. After all, it doesn't matter how crappy the ride may be, it's your ride, so you better make the most of it.
And for all of my friends still out there working the Iraqi Air Force helicopter programs, out there training the newest Iraqi pilots, or busy flying around Iraq at rooftop level with the most bad ass US Army helicopter pilots....
Here's to you!