Sunday, January 31, 2010

Introducing Samantha

And here she is Ladies and Gentleman, and the rest of you. My brand new daughter. Samantha Rose was born on 3 Jan 2009, so she is almost 1 month old. It is such a minor milestone, but such a big one too. Her name is a mixture of “Sure that sounds good” and a joke. My wife brought up the name of Samantha and we both thought that sounded good, but we were really stuck for a middle name. My father told us to name her after the richest relative on Maria’s side and that would be her aunt Rose. And well it kind of stuck. I think it is a good name. And I get to tell everyone that we named here after Briar Rose from “Sleeping Beauty”. Yep my Disney geekness won out. I really wanted to find a name that had a Disney connection. I am (in case you did not know) a HUGE Disney freak. But like everything else we will get into that later. The real funny thing is when I was about 20 I read the “Myst Trilogy” and one of the main Characters was named Ti”ana. And ever since I really wanted to have a daughter and name here that. And then as I am about to have a baby girl Disney comes out with a princess of the same name. It must have been the stars lining up. But of course Maria did not like that name so it was out.

So anyway Samantha is doing well for the most part. We are going to have to have her tested for an allergy to dairy. I have had to stay away from milk my entire life, and had to really limit any dairy. My wife loves dairy and it seems to be messing up Sam a little. The Doc told my wife to take in no dairy for a week and see if it helped any and then to start eating dairy and see what happened. So she did not eat any dairy all week and Sam started to get better. Then yesterday she had a quesadilla and some ice cream and the next day Sam started to get sick again. So we might have to keep her off dairy. If that happens then we will have to work hard to get her enough calcium. I have had a lack of calcium my entire life and it has made a negative impact. I have a lot of broken bones.

Sam is already rolling over. Everyone is shocked so I guess it is really early. I doubt she is really doing it on purpose, but she is doing it anyway. Everyone is joking that she will be walking by the time I get home. So I told Maria to tie her to the floor if she looks like she is about to walk. That is just not allowed.

Oh and please note that her name is Sam or Samantha. I will not allow anyone to call her Sammie. I am the only one who gets to call her that until she is 18. I feel sorry for the next person to try to call her that.

So that is my Daughter. She is perfect as far as I can tell. And cute if I do say so myself.

A few technical notes. In case you missed it there are a few things added to the blog. I put in a countdown to the freedom bird and my millage for Running to Disneyland. The freedom bird is the nickname for the plane that takes us home, and we should be on that around the 1st of October. And the running to Disneyland… Well if you don’t understand it you will just have to wait until later.

Back to the sand.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Sand Box

Welcome to Iraq. It has been 5 years since I was here last. Well not here as in this base, but here as in Iraq. It all looks the same. I am on a less built up airfield, but I believe it is a bigger airfield than last time. Last time I was at LSA Anaconda. There they have a theater where they show a few movies daily. A Olympic size swimming pool and a full size track. And what I believe is the biggest and best PX (Post Exchange) in Iraq. The downside of Anaconda was that they get attacked with rockets and mortars a lot. As in a few times a day at least. When I was there, the longest time we went without getting attacked was 17 hours. That sucked!

But that was then and this is now. Here we don’t have a pool. We don’t have a theater. We don’t even have a track to use for timed laps. And the PX here. Gee how can I put it. Ummm… I think I will go with crappy. Sure that is a good word. They really don’t have anything good in it. At least nothing that I use. But they do have pretty girls pink and purple thongs. WTF! There are a few extra local run shops in the PX area. There are a few electronic shops, a tobacco shop, a rug store, and an art store that sells pictures and paintings done by locals. And then of course they have the Barber and women’s hair salon. There is one really big difference from the last time that I was here. We have food choices other than the Chow Halls. There is a Burger King, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. Wow. And you all thought that we were suffering over here. The Taco Bell you can smell from about 2 miles away if you are down wind. I have tried it and it made me very sick. But I think it was more of the fact that it was the first food with grease in it since I left America. But it could have been the food. Most people say that it is very good. It did not taste bad, but you could tell you were not in America. I am going to try Burger King, and Pizza Hut later. I am allowing myself one bad for me meal a week. Next I guess will be Burger King, but not sure.

If you are not into paying for food then there are 3 Chow Halls or DEFACs that we can go to. But I will talk about them later.

And other than all that I have talked about here. Well it is still Iraq. Sand everywhere. Very little green at all. And what plants are green, you can’t really tell because of the large amount of sand and mud that is on everything.

And that ladies and gentleman is Iraq.

Back to the sand

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


“Ladies and Gentleman you might have noticed that we are descending and will soon be on final approach. Please raise and lock your seatbacks and tray tables and thank you for flying with us.”

“Ladies and gentleman this is the captain speaking. I just wanted to say that it has been an honor to be able to fly you into Kuwait and on behalf of the entire flight staff I would like to thank you for your service to our country. Please be safe and we hope to be your freedom bird when your rotation is over. Good Luck.”

And then we were on the ground. The flight took 24 hours 3 min from the time we took off for the first time until we were back on the ground in Kuwait. And in that one day my life had changed forever and would never be the same. Before my daughter was born it was all a game to me. I was reading an article about plane crashes. After knowing I was a father the article made me sick. Before I was just going away for a few months. After I was going off to the worst place in the world and thoughts of not making it back were flooding my mind. As we landed in Kuwait all of a sudden I was not only nervous, but downright scared.
Thankfully for the most part that went away quickly and I very easily put my mind to what was going on around me and what was going to be going on.
After a nice little bus ride we were at the Camp that we would be at for what we thought would be 6 days to 3 weeks. The normal time for a unit incoming is 3 weeks or familiarization, acclimatization and training. But not us. We spent 72 hours at the training camp. We did a few little bits of training, but most of what we were there for we had spent the last month back in the states doing. So we were very quickly back on a bus and heading to Ali Al Salem Airport for the flight into IRAQ.
Once we got to Ali, we were assigned tents for the night and released to relax. And we did, at least as much as we could. We had our last McDonalds and played horseshoes and rested a little. But not much sleep was going to happen. We were all too restless and excited and ready for our trip into Iraq.
Wake up was 0200 and after a briefing and even more waiting we boarded the bus that would take us out to the C-130. We loaded up the plane (the most uncomfortable way to fly) and took off for our short jump into Iraq.
The flight for the most part was uneventful. You are seated very tightly packed in and there is no moving around. As we came in for our combat landing (lots of heavy banks and a great weightless plunge out of the sky) the guy across from me started to turn a nice shade of green. I reached up and grabbed him a vomit bag and prayed that he would not lose it all over me. The tightly packed in comment includes knee to knee. Thankfully we made it on the ground and off the plane without any vomit.
We are off the plane and into the terminal… Welcome to COB Adder, Iraq.

Back To The Sand!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


My bags were packed and ready to go. And away I was going. We had a nice and early 0300 wake up for a 0445 formation. Put the bags on a truck and then just a few minutes to say good bye. I kept thinking why can’t Maria go into labor now so that I can stay home for another month and meet our baby. But that was just not the way it was to happen. But almost. After saying goodbye we sat in the THA (Terminal Holding Area) for about 4 hours and then finally got to board the plane. And then wait again. Another hour sitting on the ground prior to take off.

And then finally… here we goooooooooooo!
The flight to JFK was uneventful. I ended up with a set of seats to myself. We had so many bags that they had to put some on the plane so I was sitting next to a window seat that had a ruck sack on it. Or on the floor in front of the seat that is. It was nice not to have to sit next to anyone for the flight, but part of the ruck frame was sticking me in the leg the whole time. I even ended up with a bruise about the size of a tennis ball due to it.
As soon as we landed in JFK I turned my phone on to give Maria a call and a txt msg pops up from her. “Please don’t be mad…my water broke…sorry.” It was time stamped 55 min after we took off. If we would have been delayed another hour I would have been able to be there for the birth of my first child. Damn what timing she had. I called her and was able to talk to her a little. She was hurting a bit so a conversation was not going to happen. I called my parents and told them it was coming and then we were in the air again. Really if felt like we were on the ground for about 10 min when really we sat there for almost 4 hours. But we never go to get off of the plane. The busses that we going to take us from the terminal never arrived until it was too late.

And off to Germany we go.
That had to be the longest flight in my life. Not being able to be there and not knowing what was going on. We landed in Germany got a bus ride to the airport and I literally knocked 3 people out of my way running to the phone to call Maria. She answered and told me that she was okay and resting. The Doc had her on pain meds but she was doing fine. Her mom was outside taking a breather. “Oh and the baby is trying to nurse.” Wait a tic. We are 2 min into the conversation and you now think to tell me that the baby has been born? Gee that took long enough. So yes, after 15 hours of labor Samantha Rose was born. She was born at 0312 on the 3rd of January. She was 5 pounds 10 oz 19 ¼ inches with lots of dark hair and 3.5 weeks early.
And again we fly on. This time landing in Kuwait. But that will come later.

Back to the sand.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Hi there,
My name is Brian. I like long walks on the beach and girls that… Crap this is the wrong page for that huh.

For any of you that are not one of the many, many, many fans of my podcast. WHY THE HELL NOT? I mean don’t you want to be one of the cool 8 or 9 people who listen to me ramble on about crap? So really for those of you that don’t know me all that well I will start this off a little basic. I am a 30 year old Sergeant in the ARMY. I have been in for 12 years which means that I should have been a Staff Sergeant about 5 or 6 years ago. But I am fat and slow and that means that I am a dirt bag soldier. It has nothing to do with my work ethic or my drive or anything that actually has to do with my job. Just my fat.
I am in for the long haul if they let me stay, but as of right now I will be out at the 15 year mark. And all of my past time will have been wasted. For me to be able to stay in I will have to loose a bunch of weight, better my PT (Physical Training), go to an ARMY school called WLC (Warrior Leader Course), and then go to the E-6 board and get promoted. And that all has to be done by the time that my current contract runs out. And that will be in March of 2012. If I don’t get it all done than I will be homeless, my baby will hate me, and my wife will leave me. Okay so that might not happen, but it I don’t see things being very good if I don’t make the grade so to say and earn the right to re-enlist.

On the non-ARMY side I am married to a very wonderful and beautiful woman named Maria. We knew each other for about 3-4 years before getting married December of 2008. And most recently we (meaning my wife) gave birth to a beautiful little bundle of joy. We named her Samantha Rose and I can’t wait to meet her. But more about that later.

And that is me in a nut shell. (Thinks about “Austin Powers” and giggles)

And now on with the show.

My first few posts will most likely come somewhat fast or at least regular while I catch you up with what has been going on over the past 2 weeks or so. And then after that, Well who the heck knows. I am doing this blog as a replacement to my podcast, that I did not do on a regular basis. And my podcast was done for a few reasons. Things like to keep my friends and family updated about my life, to keep a living journal of sorts, and to share the oh-so interesting story of my life in the ARMY. Again not so much to talk about the ARMY, but more to talk about my life in and around the ARMY. And once again there will be no cool secret squirrel stuff here so if you are Achmed or some other rag-head you can just go somewhere else to find secrets about us. I am sure that so dumb fucking private is tell it all somewhere around here. And when you do find it, please blow his dumb ass off and not mine. I have an extreme need to get back home. Oh and fuck you, you stupid fucking terrorist.
Okay sorry about that. Just had to get it out of my system.