MOMMA SAID THERE’D BE DAYS…

Have you ever had the absolute worst day of work that makes you want to quit immediately?

On occasion I have those but I try to remember the real worst days I’ve ever had and usually it either makes me laugh or at least realize how ridiculous I am being because… it could be worse.  In no particular order, here are some of my truly worst days in the working world.  I hope they will help you laugh off a bad day as well.

  1. That day in July 2003 I guarded at least 20 Iraqis by myself as they paved a base dining facility (DFAC) parking lot and no one from my unit checked on me so I could use the bathroom, or brought me food or water.  By the end of the day I had a colossal migraine from dehydration, lack of food and the sweet smell of tar that was never going to cool in the over 100 degree heat.
  2. Base cleanup day in Germany when I wasn’t in any kind of trouble but had to clean sidewalk cracks with my bare hands.  I actually had a sergeant major come bring me a spoon in case that was super helpful.  That same day I was told to mow grass (which I have never done) and when someone else broke the lawn mower I was given a pair of scissors to cut the grass with.
  3. When I was a teenager I worked in the children’s section of a department store and I too frequently had to cover a dinner break for someone who worked in lingerie.  I was young and naïve and very unprepared to help a man who came in for a bra fitting and for very real advice on wearing women’s lingerie.
  4. The time I had to continue working in full mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear (you know gas mask, protective uniform over the uniform, plastic boots over the boots and gloves), while sirens blared and I had to pretend to continue working as normal. Have you ever had to jab at a keyboard with a pencil eraser (because the gloves were so bulky) wondering if something awful was going to happen, and wondering when it would be possible to take off the 18 layers of protective gear to cool off to eat and use the bathroom?  At this same time I walked to work over two miles each way through an old minefield (but don’t tell my mom)!
  5. While guarding Iraqis who were police calling (picking up trash on) the base and they kept handing me unexploded rounds as if they couldn’t go off in my hand and as if the military is cutting coupons and recycling.

Maybe some of my crazy days can help cheer us both the next time we aren’t living the dream!

THANKFUL

I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, with a small dose of dread, with lists of cooking times and checklists running around in my head.  I was ready to cook for a house full of family, feeling a little too frazzled to think of the reason behind the big holiday.  A little delay tactic of perusing Facebook changed that in an instant.

I read a posting by a former colleague of mine.  She posted that she was thankful to be alive.  This year she had lost her job, her children (in a custody hearing), had spent a few weeks living in her car and then a few more in a homeless shelter.  Luckily it sounds like she is getting back on her feet with the support of family, friends and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.  It’s easy to distance yourself from the face of the homeless and think it’s impossible that you might know someone personally affected – every homeless person came from a family, with schoolmates, friends, and coworkers.  A million things led to their unfortunate circumstances.

I know it is wrong to feel lucky because of another’s misfortune, however in the moment I wanted to give her a huge hug and say some comforting words, as well as give thanks for all that I have… my family, friends, delicious food on my table and safe home.  There is so much in my life that I am lucky enough to have.  The stress of cooking and hostess-ing was gone in an instant and replaced with a very full heart.

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are (thankfully) over, I hope you will remember the really important things this holiday season.  Today is “Giving Tuesday” a global day to be charitable and to give back.  Please click on the link and read how you might be able to give a little back if you are able.

FIVE FAVORITE THINGS: NOVEMBER

Here’s a list of what I’m enjoying this month…

  1. Hot Yoga: After eight months of yoga and winter coming soon, I’ve begun hot yoga with new arm balances and without dehydration and headaches.  I am loving it!
  2. Volunteering with Honor Flight: Being able to meet World War II veterans dressed in their helmets with bullet holes and white Navy hats and feeling lucky to be able to assist them in celebrating their visit to the war memorials on the Washington Mall. These heroes made my Veteran’s Day incredibly memorable.
  3. Hosting and Cooking: Thanksgiving Day Dinner for most of my family and am thankful for those near and far.
  4. Booked Flights: for my next international adventure.  I love having a trip to plan and look forward to once the weather is warm again!
  5. Seeing A Christmas Carol: at Ford’s Theater in DC with my mom

Let me know what you’re enjoying this month, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

This week’s challenge is a photo of a container.

From “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to “Don’t look at the jug, but at what it contains” (an old Rabbinic saying), we’re constantly taught that the contents of things are more important than the vessels, wrappers, and boxes that hold them in place. This week, let’s give outer shells their due and focus our lenses on things that contain other things. ~ 

containers

This photo was taken on Balad Airbase, Iraq in February 2006 during my second yearlong deployment.  The entire base was flooded from rains.

WHY I’M NOT A FAN OF FIREWORKS

My first conscious experience with celebratory fire was in July 2003 in Baghdad when Iraqis celebrated the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein (Saddam’s two sons).

At the time, I was working the night shift on Camp Victory and was walking back to my sleeping tent (I almost called it home) with two co-workers.  The sky was lit up with celebratory gunfire and in the video only the tracer rounds are visible. All we wanted to do was sleep, and we were used to ignoring the booms, so we walked the half mile together, along the road with no shelter and watched as the rounds flew above us.

Immediately I thought how uneducated and uncultured the Iraqis must be not to realize what goes up must come down and those rounds absolutely would come down somewhere and could/and did injure and kill people.  It seemed like a scary and terrible way to celebrate.

Eleven years later, I realize I had been hearing celebratory fire every fourth of July and now have a legitimate hatred for fireworks and especially for the amateurs who insist on setting their own explosions off.  Stupidity doesn’t discriminate.

I know I’m not the only veteran who hates fireworks and I think it’s sad that the men and women who fought for the country can’t always enjoy the celebrating of the county’s independence.