25 Sep 07
When we last left our hero, he was taking combat showers at work and stamping out disease and pestilence. Now it's time to let loose. But first, we have to get home.
1600 (or 4 pm for you non-military minded) – Grab my laundry bag and head out. Since I workout every day, I keep PT (exercise) clothes at work. The good news is that laundry is free and they do it for you. It's only about 150 yards from the hospital and it's right on my way back to tent city. Of course, I arrive at the facility drenched in sweat. Did I mention it gets hot here?
1630 I finally get back to the tent and take some time to cool off. Thanks to good Army ingenuity, there are bottles of drinking water everywhere and it's quite good. Most of the time it's refrigerated – just not in the tent. That's okay. The tents are air conditioned and even at room temperature, the water always tastes good. Now I usually read a book and, if it's working, I fire up the laptop and surf a little. I even have my MP3 player, although I don't use it often. I'm still not happy with the earpiece situation. Maybe my ear canals are built funny, but I still haven't found a good ear piece. Oh well.
1730 Off to chow. Yet another good meal. Since I began my workout routine, I have almost completely skipped deserts. I'll occasionally have a bag of chips, but no pastries or baked goods. They have a cheesecake and a chocolate layer cake that looks awesome. I've decided to diet Body-for-Life style and only eat desert only one day a week.
1830 Now comes the hard part. How do you fill large blocks of free time? If it's like last night, you go back to the hospital because some young soldier is having pelvic pain and needs an ultrasound. Usually my nights are free. Wednesday and Saturday are poker nights. The other nights are generally spent in the MWR tents (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) watching TV, movies and even playing video games. Some wonderful folks in the states donated hundreds of X-Boxes, Playstations and even a bunch of Wiis so soldiers won't get bored. There are a bunch of people playing chess and dominoes. I've even found a few guitar players! I already have a few soldiers asking me for lessons. I used to give lessons in college, so this should be a nice way to pass the time.
2200 Bed time. Tomorrow it's just wash, rinse and repeat. There are no days off in Iraq. Tuesday is just like Sunday. You mark the passage of time by events. Wednesdays and Sundays are easy because those are poker nights. Some people choose to live holiday to holiday. I've come up with a few other ways to mark the days.
13 more haircuts (I get mine cut every 2 weeks) or
26 more weapon inspections or
51 more poker games or
179 more days or
4322 more hours or
258,385 more minutes
That's about it. It's not a bad life. It would be even better if it weren't for those pesky bad guys.