21 January 2008

21 JAN 2007 A reunion with the not so mundane

21 JAN 2007 A reunion with the not so mundane

A friend just told me that it must be nice to be back in the routine of the mundane. He is absolutely right. There is slim chance that I will encounter either a mortar attack or an amputated limb in my daily circles. That in itself is a comfort, beyond the big comfort of being back with my family. I still find myself tracking in a few habits. I keep pulling on my boots whenever I prepare to leave the house. Nothing else seems comfortable. It is really hard to choose clothes, now that I have a choice. A few days ago, M. and I were in the HEB supermarket. (that's "Henry Edward Butt's supermarket" for you Northerners, but they also claim that the acronym stands for "Here Everything's Better. Wow, I'm calling people Northerners.) Anyway, one of the forklifts started backing up, and I swear, the backup alarm sounds just like the incoming mortar/rocket fire klaxxon on the base. Did I blog this already? I can't remember. I almost hit the deck, but when I didn't hear the command post's robot lady voice shouting "Take cover! Take cover! Take cover!" I knew I was okay.

I've forgot to mention two very important reunions. First off is our pooch L. He grew to 50 pounds while I was away, M. said that he had calmed down a lot since I deployed, but that all changed when he saw me. Since I'm the one who chases him around the deck (sometimes in play, other times not!) he immediately started baiting me to get me to take up pursuit. Yesterday the boys and I brought the dog to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day walk in San Antonio (the nation's biggest!) You would have thought that he was the first standard poodle to ever grace San Antonio. He was a hit. People were asking to come up and pet him. I lost count of how many people videoed him on their cell phones. Some people knew what he was, but the usual response was "It looks like a poodle, but it's so big!" I just replied "Thank you." If I knew that he was going to get so much attention, I might have cleaned the food that was hanging off his jowls. Some people remarked that it was surprising to see a man (and my three little men) out walking around with a poodle, because it has some feminine connotations. I pointed out that that connotation may be true, but it was countered by the fact that he was black, which was such a cool color. To this most people would respond by saying "Amen to that!" or cheering.

The boys had fun, even in the rain, or perhaps because of it. People were very friendly and the spirit of brotherhood was clear on the faces of all the people we met. We attended a celebration in a park at the end of the walk. There were educational booths and a program of speeches, poetry, and song. The boys liked the booths with the freebies best. When the Star Spangled Banner was sung, I had tears in my eyes. It was the first time I had heard it since returning to American soil. It was followed by the pledge of allegiance to the flag and the pledge of allegiance to the Texan flag. I met some Veterans for Peace, and I thanked them for speaking up for us. I was happily impressed that all three of my boys had heard about Martin Luther King, Jr. the week before in school.

My other reunion was with my new baby, my 4-door Jeep Wrangler. It was hard being so far from it in Iraq, and watching all those HMMWV's running around the base. M. started it for me once or twice, and let me hear the enfine over the phone once. Just before I got home, she made sure that the insurance was restarted. I brought it in for a recall reprogramming of the brake software. Sitting there in the service waiting room is something that would usually annoy me, but I appreciated the calm and quiet of a return to the mundane. It's been great getting back behind the wheel. However, I still haven't lost my Balad habit of driving over curbs when I want to get somewhere. Bring on summer, I can't wait to get my top off!


membrain said...

Congratulations on being back home.

emergencyem said...

Cute dog!

Mary Ann said...

Chris, Thank-you for continuing to write. Sounds like you had a wonderful day that your sons will permanently remember, the gift of their first outing after you got back. Keep soaking it up. Love, Mary Ann

Bag Blog said...

When I lived in McAllen, TX, people there said that anyone living north of Falfurious was a yankee. Most Texans believe that anyone north of the Red River is a yankee, but now that I live in OK I moved my line further up. The HEB brings back fond memories of South Texas.

Standard poodles are great, but most I have known are quite rowdy. I'm so glad you are home and enjoying your family.

Jen said...

You listened to your JEEP over the phone? What an absolutely guy thing to do :-)

Great dog- I love Standard Poodles! I remember reading years ago (I don't know whether it's true or not), that the Navy Seals used to use them as "their" dogs. I couldn't find a link for that, but I did find out that they were used in WWII at http://www.poodlehistory.org/PoodlesinWWII.HTM,
so poof on anyone who thinks that they're "effeminate".

Glad that you're having a great time at home!

Anonymous said...

My son arrived in Balad just prior to your leaving, so I miss your ER stories (a peak into what was happening where he was), but good for you and your family.

Laurel said...

In the space of just four paragraphs, you have made me alternately chuckle and tear up, but mostly chuckle. I LOVE your subtle sense of humor. It, in itself, makes me howl. : ) Driving over curbs? In town? Yikes! What's a gallon of gas going for down there in SAT these days?

ChefSara said...

Love the pooch! He must still be somewhat of a puppy to have grown that much while you were gone. dogs really are great friends! He obviously remembered you as his play buddy!

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 01/23/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

lainy said...

I'm so glad you are still posting.

Beautiful dog!

We have a CJ 7 Jeep and love to take the top off in the summer and have a blast. So far though we haven't hit any curbs :)

H.E.B. has been around for so long. I use to hear some people call it H.E.B.S. I never understood that. Anyone from TX. knows that store.

So nice to continue to hear from you.

Stay happy!

make mine trauma said...

Routine can be so comforting, Hilarious about the forklift!!

Chris said...

Dear Membrain, Emm, Mary Ann, BagBlog, Jen, Anon, Laurel, Sara, David, Lainy, and MakeMineTrauma,

Good to hear from you! The dog is cute, but he is a wild one. He's grown to about 50lb and I think that's it. I listened to my dog and my Jeep over the phone! Gas is 'bout $2.90/gal, it costs me $4 just to make it to work! Enjoy that CJ! I'm going to have to wait until after my refund, but I want to jack mine up!

Take care,


HollyB said...

Gosh, Chris, I knew you were turning into a Texan. For future reference, anybody living North of that river North of Gainseville is known as a Red River wetback. Anyone living in a Union State during the War of Northern Aggression is a Yankee.
I drove a CJ-7 for 11 years, so I understand that whole Jeep Thang you got going on. But these days I like my topless driving with a bit more comfort. That's why I switched over to a Sebring.
And HEB? I grew up with HEB!
It's great to hear these details of your daily life.