Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The return of the HDQ and Ask Nic

I've gotten some emails from my blogfriends wanting to know how Dan is, how I'm doing, etc. so here is the latest update in my life.

I have Emily's 5th birthday in less than two weeks to plan. SIGH! Time flies as life happens. Who told kids they could grow up so fast? She has 17 kids in her kindergarten class and there are 5 more that we are going to invite. EEEEP! That's a lot of kids in a very small house with a large back yard. Good thing for the backyard since we're going to rent a moonwalk to keep the kiddos occupied. There's no way that 22 kids with parents will fit into this extremely small (1100 sq ft) house. Not even half that will fit into the house. I'm hoping that at best 1/2 that number will show up. It's not only the kids and parents but our/the x's family and our family friends.

I'm a little concerned about Emily. Her daddy is taking her to the doctor today so that she can get her back looked at. She's been doing a lot of headstands on the trampoline lately b/c she can balance her legs on the safety net. A couple of weeks ago she started complaining of a sore back. I thought she could have maybe pulled a muscle or something but it's been going on daily and now it is hurting her when she walks "long" distances but not in her muscles but on her spine. Not around the spine but directly on the boney area. Anyway, she has her appointment this morning at 10:20 and they might have to do x-rays of her back to see if there is a serious problem that happened in the past two weeks. Actually it's more than a little concern that I'm feeling. It worries me and I sit here and think all these things like maybe I should have taken her to the doctor earlier, but then she would only talk about it hurting when she jumped on the trampoline so I didn't think about it too much and told her to stop jumping on the trampoline. I didn't think that it could be anything more than that and it makes me feel like a second-rate mother for wondering if I should have known better.

I chatted with Dan online for a couple of hours Saturday afternoon and also got an email from him Friday, Saturday and earlier Sunday. He's doing really good. The guys are thrilled to have him back and it has been a great morale booster for the unit. Two accidents in as many weeks. 7 soldiers, 6 injuries, 4 serious and out of those serious injuries 2 deaths. That's close to 30% death rate on those two accidents. They had Spc. Germaine Debro's memorial service Friday - he was in Dan's unit and killed by a roadside bomb last weekend. Dan said that it was pretty rough and that he shed some tears over it. He said that he also kind of felt like a celebrity because he got to meet two generals and his general gave him a hug and let him know that he was in her prayers. Dan said the guys gave him lots of hugs. Apparently they weren't expecting him to come back and had packed up all of his stuff to send to him stateside as soon as they knew he was there. He was good naturedly complaining that now he had to unpack everything and try and find everything that he needed.

Dan told me that he had found out that the canal was not 7 feet deep as he first thought but 10 feet deep. He also said he had some more details of the rescue but would save those for a mass email that he would send to everyone later. One of the positives from his accident is that they are now requiring oxygen bottles to be carried in all humvees in case this happens again. That way there (hopefully) won't be anymore drownings due to not being able to hold their breath any longer. He said that the driver is doing better mentally but has removed himself from driving duty for good. He really has the heebees over driving on patrol again. I'm concerned for him because that can carry over into civilian life once he gets back. Hopefully it won't though.

Dan also said that there were two patrols Saturday but he didn't go on any of them but a couple of the guys came in and were complaining about the leadership on the patrols and one of the drivers. He said they were talking about this one driver not having enough experience driving the humvee and that he was driving a little too close to the edge of the canal and it put everyone on edge. Dan thinks that his accident has everyone a little spooked and super vigilant about things like that now. His schedule is still the 12 hour shift, which he doesn't like working - none of the guys like working it and they will be switching weeks working the entry control point one week and patrolling the next week and then back to entry control point, etc.

One of his highlights is that one of the soldiers got a second TV so Dan is "inheriting" his first TV. It's the small things that we take for granted here that mean the most over there. He watches his DVD's on his computer, but they have TV shows over there on military channels, which he can now watch b/c of the TV. Dan said that the bag that was in the humvee at the time of the accident was still wet and that all of his papers got really wet. He said that the mail he was carrying on him (the letters I'd written him) was still wet but that he was trying to dry them out and that his passport was a bit messed up. He was wondering if the Army was going to get him another one but then thought it would take a long time for them to even process it and get it to him if they did so he isn't really pushing for that one.

Of course, the last time I heard from Dan was on Sunday, letting me know that he had an appointment to get his shoulder looked at. It's the shoulder of the arm that they pulled him out of the Humvee with. He's about 230, with 50+ pounds of armor and then ammo on top of that. That's a lot of weight to put on one shoulder. Dead weight at that (no pun intended there). He also had to take a class on the upcoming holiday of Ramadan that was supposed to be a couple of hours. SIGH. The last time I didn't hear from Dan in three days he ended up calling me from the hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. It feels like deja vu this morning.

Anyway. That's what's going on right now in my life, which leads me to the rather normal HDQ for this week (HDQ=Humpy Day Question - being that Wednesday is the hump day of the week).

HDQ:What is the most interesting thing going on in your life right now?

You can leave your answers in the comments.

Next is Ask Nic:

This is the place where you can ask me anything that is on your mind about me, something you have wanted to know or were just curious about in general. You can ask about my experiences in life and love and parenting, my beliefs, etc... Be creative, be fun, be introspective, but please be clean! You can post the questions in the comments section or email me your question directly to asknic@gmail.com.

I will be posting the questions and their responses soon so check back within the next week for them.

I heard from Dan earlier this afternoon. He's doing well. His computer fizzled on him and his roommate helped him get it back up, but they work different shifts so it took a while for them to get it up and running again. He said that due to Ramadan that attacks outside the wire have increased quite a bit, of course that's where he patrols when he's not working Entry Control Point (ECP). They've told the soldiers to be super careful and vigilant during Ramadan b/c they always step up the attacks then.

He got his shoulder checked out and they have him on restrictive duty for the next 30 days. No lifting over 50 pounds, which means that he can still go on missions and work the ECP but not the tower in the ECP, which is his job - to be one of two tower gunners at the tower they assign him to. I think they have 4 towers at each ECP. The climbing of the ladder steps to get into the tower hatch could further damage his shoulder so that's why they nixed tower duty for the next 30 days.

All in all he's in really good spirits and he HATES working the 12 hours shifts. He'd rather go back to the 8 hour - as would everyone else - but they are short people to do all the jobs of security, patrol, convoy escort and ECP so they extended everyone's shift to cover. I miss the 8 hour shift he had b/c we were on the same schedule, so to speak. He would get off of work right after I would put Emily to bed. We'd hop online and chat until at least midnight every single night. It really was a wonderful time to connect and for that I am thankful b/c I think that if we didn't have that time before he came on leave that we probably wouldn't be "dating" b/c of the time factor and the distance factor. That time together allowed me to get to know his heart and it really was the deciding factor in whether or not to pursue this. I had to think "Did I really want to get involved with someone who was half a world away and not going to be back for 8 months?" After getting to "know" him during those two months before he came stateside on leave the only answer I had to give was ABSOLUTELY! He is truly amazing. :) He makes me smile effortlessly and it's been a long, long, looooong dang time since I've had someone be able to make me smile from my heart.

I'm a lucky girl!

On the Emily front: Emily did have to have x-rays on her back. Standing straight the doctor pressed on her spine and it didn't hurt but when he made her bend over and touch her toes and he pressed on her spine it did hurt her. I'm praying that there is nothing seriously wrong with it but we won't find out until tomorrow or Friday. Hopefully it is nothing, just a pulled muscle or something like that.


Uisce said...

What brand of peanut butter do you like best?

cmhl said...

(praying for Emily-- I bet it is just a strain...)

Ask Nic:

What challenges/joys/likes/dislikes do you find when you are getting to know someone (i.e.-- Dan) in an "online" relationship? Do you think this venue really allows you to get to know someone much better and sets a firm foundation for the future?

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I hope Emily has a super birthday party, Nic, and that is is in good health.

I remember you saying you met Dan through EHarmony; why did you choose this one?