Here We Go Again
Sunday 14 June 2009
I have just returned to the theater from my R&R leave for this tour. I wasn’t going to take a leave at all this time, and save it all for the end. But my youngest daughter had a band concert I wanted to see, there was some important family business to take care of, and frankly I needed a break. So once my medical issues had been taken care of in Germany I went ahead and departed the AOR on Saturday 23 May for two weeks of R&R in Michigan. The travel process was very smooth and I arrived in Michigan via Kuwait and Atlanta on Sunday afternoon 24 May.
Last year on R&R I did everything they tell you not to do – too many planned activities, too many expectations, etc. The result was a disastrous, stressful time. Everybody was unhappy and it left me feeling like I needed a leave to recover from my leave.
This time I did things quite differently. When I got home I took care of the one main item of business right away, and once that was done I just relaxed with no particular plan. Every time my kids asked “Dad, what’s your plan for today?” my answer was “I don’t have a plan – what do you want to do?”. It was great.
I went up to the UP with my Dad, picked up some rifles I wanted (just in case the Democrats follow their worst instincts and let President Obama and AG Eric Holder have their way and ban them), went to the band concert, drove my daughter back and forth to school, saw my mother, played Bananagrams, watched TV, hung out at coffee shops and bookstores, went for walks in the woods, played Frisbee golf and watched a Stanley Cup game with my son, saw/heard him play his guitar (he’s good!), went to the shooting range several times, spent a beautiful summer day canoeing on the Huron River, split some wood, sat outside at a bonfire, sat on the front porch through an awesome thunderstorm, got in a workout with my older daughter at the rec center, helped her do some work on her car, and generally just relaxed and unwound.
I did have a pretty long list of administrative things I needed to do while I was home, but instead of letting that list drive my schedule I just took care of them a little at a time when my kids were busy doing other things. And almost everything ended up getting done just the same.
What a difference it made! With the exception of one incident where I overreacted to something unexpected, it was a very smooth, uneventful, relaxing and regenerative opportunity to reconnect with my family.
The end came all too soon, and I departed from Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Tuesday morning. The trip back was smooth but took a bit longer, both because of the different direction of the time change and also because of a day’s delay at Ali Al Salem in Kuwait. I spent a long hot day in a tent there waiting for a flight to Qatar. I ended up getting on a C130 late Thursday night and arriving back in Qatar early Friday morning.
As I walked around amongst the tents in the hot, dusty billeting area at Ali, a familiar marching cadence ran through my mind:
“Here we go again,
Same old sh*t again,
Marching down the avenue,
four more months and we’ll be through,
I’ll be glad and so will you.”
And that’s pretty much how I felt coming back. The green trees and grass at home were a welcome breath of fresh air. After three years over here, I am heartily sick of the desert.
I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work, but I’m definitely ready for a change of scenery to something more normal. I am working to find my next duty tour someplace besides the CENTCOM AOR. I’m sure that if I stay on active duty I’ll find my way back over here eventually, but for now they can have it. This fall I am leaving!
Mood: Ready for work
Music: Mozart, Flute Concerto in D