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Well, it’s about that time again where I spread my wings and get my snow-bird ass to warmer places, check in on my vacation home and become enlightened on my 4-month sabbatical from daily life.  On the plus side, it will be alcohol and tobacco free; firearms, though, are another issue.

All joking aside, I can’t believe how much the time has flown by between this and my last rotation.  I think having a kid accelerates the time even faster.  It especially sucks leaving Pam once again, but this time it includes leaving behind a newborn.  But hey, it’s what I signed up to do…

There are some good aspects out of this:

  • Financial “help.”  I get tax-free, combat pay and family separation pay while I’m there.  Seeing that Pam and I have gotten used to living on two incomes, and since having Brenden we’ve been on one, that extra money can certainly help out.  Even better, by the time I get back, both our vehicles (that we decided to finance 5 years ago within months of each other) will finally be paid off!  That should definitely help the one-income finances, especially in this economy.
  • Optimum timing with the kid.  It sucks being gone from your kid.  You only have 18 years with them (assuming you don’t get pissed and kick them out of the house prior to that).  I was just starting High School 18 years ago, and parts of it seem like yesterday and parts of it seem like a long time ago.  But in the big picture, 18 years is a flash in the pan.  I want to be around as much as possible for young Brenden.  If there was anytime to be out of his life though, that time is now.  I don’t remember a thing until I was about 3.  I won’t be missing any huge mile-stones (talking, walking, etc).  So, I just hope he’ll recognize the voice and I can get a huge smile out of him upon my return.  (not to mention it will be rewarding to see how much he has changed in the meager 4 months that I’ve been gone).
  • Free time with no distractions.  Yes, I have less time for myself while overseas.  Hell, my typical day is about 14hrs per, with absolutely no days off the entire time I’m there.  Add in 6-8 hours of sleep and you’ll find that free time is extremely limited.  What you quickly realize when you do have free time is that there’s absolutely nothing to do with it.  You quickly get bored.  Therefore, all the normal distractions I have in life (Pam, Brenden, internet, woodworking, football, etc) aren’t there anymore.  I honestly get motivated (dare I even say “look forward to”) working on Grad School as well as hitting the gym and running in my off-time. I’m way behind in Grad School right now, and I could use a little more gym-time as well.  I’ll be using up my free time with both of those easily, with nothing else to distract my attention or motivation.

I really don’t think I need to touch on the hardships, as I think everyone can imagine them or has experienced them at some point.  The good thing is Pam’s taking this opportunity to head home for a few months, as well as possibly visiting my folks.  Not only will that give her some support, but family and friends will get to antagonize our new one (kidding of course) as well…

So expect that my postings will be very few and far between over the next few months, and for Pam to be filling in for me.  Once again, she’s got the keys to the site.  I hope she writes about other random stuff here or there, but I’d be willing to bet that a lot of it will be about Brenden (which I don’t object to, because over there I become a “reader” just like all the rest of you).

If anyone gets the wild hair to send a package my way, Pam’s got my address.  Leave a comment, and Pam can get back to you (via the email you plug in when you leave the comment) with my home-away-from-home address.  Among things that I think are worthwhile:

  • Homemade beef jerky (I hate to be a snob, but I stress homemade)
  • Magazines (Runner’s World, techie/science/astronomy mags, fishing mags, woodworking, or any other hobbies I talk about on this site)
  • Good ground coffee (perhaps not for me, but it’s always a good community morale-booster)
  • Sugar-free chewing gum
  • If you have the space in the box, some nice, soft toilet paper… sandpaper seems to be the standard in my wonderful vacation home
  • Maybe even a good movie DVD (Ma, I’m talking a block-buster here, not the bullshit you and Dad checkout from the library… ha!)

I know, beggars can’t be choosers… and I’m not directing people to send stuff, I’m just trying to nail the question before it’s asked, because that’s probably the #1 question that gets asked as I’m getting kicked out the door.

So I’ll see you all on the other side… and DFM: I’ll still be updating the standings, just don’t expect too much participation in the pool from here on out.

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