08 September 2007

Happy Holidays!

Hope that you are all well. It has been a whirlwind of a week, but fortunately much of it spent with family. Since I have turned over care of my patients, so my only duties on the base are administrative, it has been a stark illustration of the parts of my job I like and do not like. Guess which part I don’t like!

To tell you what I have been up to this week, I think it is going to sound a bit like a “Dear Diary” entry, but the week has been an extraordinary one in that I’m so focused on preparing for deployment. I suppose the summation would read: attempting to squeeze out as much life as possible without becoming frantic. I think it was on Monday, Labor Day, we celebrated Thanksgiving. The kitchen had just been finished. We finally replaced the contractor grade (meaning, crap) yellowed and cracked countertops with a beautiful Black Canyon Silastone and scrapped the sallow pink pickled imitation wood cabinets with a cherry tone resurfacing. Mmm, it was a delight to see it before leaving, but it did make the time crazy. Since it was just us, we only cooked up a turkey breast, but it turned out to be more than enough for plates and plates of leftovers for turkey and cranberry dressing sandwiches. Our other favorites are cornbread stuffing with apples and raisins, sweet potatoes with caramelized marshmallows and broccoli with Velveeta and Ritz! (Don’t knock it, I’ve eaten about two pounds of it this week and I’m ready for more!) I had no problem enjoying Thanksgiving in September because it is a food based celebration (all the good ones are.) I didn’t do my usual deep fried turkey because the peanut oil is so expensive. Around real Thanksgiving they have it on special, but they were not offering any bargains on two gallons of peanut oil for me. Didn’t matter: M’s apple butter and sage glaze fulfilled its patented guarantee to lock in moisture as well as my mink-oiled desert boots lock in sweat. (Hmmm, sorry.)

Then we celebrated Halloween last night and the boys had friends over for a costume party. Sure, the pirate costume was easy, but what matters is to make an effort and get in the party mood. The boys were happy for an excuse for unanticipated excesses of candy. I wonder what my neighbors think about our jack-o-lantern lights around the doors and glowing skeleton hands along the front walk. As early as we are, they were selling the stuff at Walgreen’s! I think I even saw a pile of Christmas stuff ready to go. Unfortunately, they had only put out the girl’s costumes so far at Target so we had to get creative. The boys weren’t interested in being Barbies or pirate princesses. Our dear friends took the boys for a sleepover so M and I could have an evening watching our favorite movies.

I may seem frantic with this slapdash tour of holidays, but at the base, they were wild like a mound of fire ants that had just been kicked over. You from Texas will understand. I think I had nearly twenty phone calls about my vaccination paperwork this week. The calls went something like this:

“We need you to come in and complete your vaccination paperwork.”
“I dropped that off during the deployment exercise six weeks ago.”
“Was the record sealed?”
“No, they said that if they sealed it before I had my last appointment at Immunization clinic, the base would get a discrepancy.”
“Did you get the appointment?”
“Yes but they didn’t have the oral version of the vaccine I needed.”
“Then we need a letter stating that.”
“I know, I faxed it in to your office yesterday. Do you have it?”
“No, it isn’t here.”
“Okay, I’ll fax it in again.”
“But we don’t have your medical record.”
“You had it when I visited Friday. Where did it go?”
“We sent it back to your doctor. We are not allowed to hold onto it because of HIPPA rules.”
“I don’t have a doctor, what happens if I go to (redacted) without my medical record?”
“The base will get a discrepancy.”
“But, you’ll still let me on the plane?”
“Yes, but the base will get a discrepancy.”

Hmm. That, of course, told me all I needed to know. However I can tell you with pride and happiness that I have a complete and sealed record ready to travel the globe with me. (And even if I didn’t, I have a photocopy of every sheet in the thing: 17 years of dealing with the military has taught me this: never give away your last copy. It will be lost.)

So last minute preparations and festivities continue. We got the dog to swim in the lake with us today! He was paddling in circles and was happy to climb up on my back when he caught up to me. Once safely out of the water, he resisted all calls for a second dive. I’ve picked a pack of movies to bring with me. Please note these are not my (only) favorites!! They are the ones I didn’t think would be missed too much at home and I could afford to leave in the sand without shedding a tear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disowning these guilty pleasures: I’ll admit to watching each at least ten times.

Kill Bill 1 and 2
From Dusk to Dawn
South Park, Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
Family Guy, Freakin Sweet Collection
Fight Club
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Pulp Fiction
Die Hard
Blade Runner
New Jack City
Fifth Element

I challenge you to find a theme!

Warm regards,

For those of you who have asked for my address:
LTC Christopher Coppola, USAF

332 AEW/EMDG APO AE 09315-9997

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