Iraqi Dump Trucks!!!

I am so glad I spent many years driving some rather old fire engines.

Today I spent my day driving an Iraqi dump truck. It was a 1982 Mercedes Benz thing that 4th gear didn't work in. It had the most fantastic fringe hanging from inside the windshield. Would have rather not had to go outside the wire to pick it up, but oh well.

You should have seen the looks on the faces of the fellows who's trucks we were driving! What is this woman doing wanting to drive my truck? Poor guy!

It was GREAT! GREAT! I had so much fun!! Today was a kick in the pants!!

Wow! What a strange trip!

Well, even though it seems like "ground hog's day" here every day, things are not static!!! Just as I was working along in the scrap metal heap with the very cool Navy guys Theo and Nick and MSG world was rocked. I was informed (not asked) that I was headed to Speicher. So gather your shit and get on the next blackhawk out.

I left a lot of great friends, WO1 Curtis and his friends, SSG Briley (I really enjoyed playing driver for him on my days off), my new friends at the base college.

Saying good bye to my good friends was so difficult. I was suprised how hard it was to tell my Iraqi friends adios. They kind of grow on you after a while, great group of guys. If you're ever in Baghdad and need a bodyguard, Atheer is your man. Need the next Sanatra (abit accent) for a dinner party, call Ammar (excellent translater too). They are all men of good heart and honor.

Well...Speicher (in Tikrit) is fine. The URS crew here is outstanding, they are all about the work and doing the job the right way. Although it's a bit like being in a firehouse 24/7 (all but 1 are ex-firefighters). You know the kind of humor, sometimes slightly off base, but great, I've missed that commraderie.

My new digs sort of suck, (had to cover it with our version of a salvage cover cause it leaked like a sive my very first night!) but oh well. The Iraqi guys that work for us are not sure what to make of me (the whole western woman thing) but it is going well so far.

The thunder and lightening storms are GREAT!!! Last night we had one right over head and it lasted over 45 minutes with constant action, no lulls longer than 30 seconds.

The pile from hell

I have been away. I am working on a Scrap Metal Pile with the Navy. We are searching this huge pile for military equipment. We would rather the Iraqi bad guys don't have this stuff. Then we sell the ok stuff to them and they haul it off in dump trucks that are as old as the dawn of time. It is an incredibly dirty job. But I am working with very nice folks and we make the day go by having fun. I never realized how heavy windows are that come out of Humvee trucks and MRAPs. Takes two of us to move them!!!I hope Halloween was fun for everyone, many costume partys here. I went to the Mudhouse and played horseshoes for a few hours. Hey, I only hit one person (yes, I was aiming for the peg, I know how I am supposed to play the game, it just didn't work out that way!!)

I survived!

Wow! I never thought that I could work outside in 123* and still be alive to talk about it! That was the temperature most of two weeks ago! The trick is that the humidity is only about 9*. We also stay in the airconditioning as much as possible. We have busy with building inspections and remediations. Sunday is my day off so I watch movies, call home and clean my chu.

My Arabic is quite horrible but I am starting to recognize words and intentions of conversations. My teacher, Ammar, is very patient about my inability to make the required sounds to create words correctly. He just laughs.

I look forward to my visit home. I will make as many stops as I can, time willing. I do plan to stop at school, I hope to catch our new 7th graders in Mrs. Krause's class.

Hope you all had a good summer.


You can see for miles and miles....

Isn't that part of a song? Yep!

When the air is clear you can see for miles. (when it's not you can't see 10 feet) The photo is with me standing on top of one of the buildings on the base. They have a covered area for parties and BBQ up there. Pretty nice! Well, you can imagine the view from the third floor with no obstructions... Life here is as good as it can be. The food is good and I am not the one cooking! We had a company BBQ last night and actually had steak! Fantastic!

I am learning Arabic from our Chemist/Interpreter. He is actually learning more english than me Arabic, but I'm trying. I have learned that it uses more gutteral sounds than I thought existed. The most important saying "so and so is always late!".

I will be home for R&R in September and ready to set down to a beer with friends. Also plan to ride in Ricky Quinn's clinic at Raining L Ranch during my visit. The 2 weeks will fly by I'm afraid.

be safe, Tess

Monday July 27

Wow, the scorpions are really scarey looking! The dust is everywhere, I wish I could take a siesta in the afternoon when it is about 117. So I just live for the air conditioning. I have taken a photo of Chemical Ali's house here at Taji. It sure doesn't look like much but our LNs tell us he had an indoor pool and intertained many important people. Well take care, stay cool.

It's sandy!

I was warned! Yes, it is hot and sandy (actually dusty). The work is good, the people are great, the food is fine (hey, I'm not cooking!). My room is called a "chew" it is part of a "pod". We have a dog at the office, his name is Whiskey and he looks like a yellow border collie. Our equipment is sh*&^, it's all old and falling apart and mostly doesn't work. We don't have any spill supplies except 2 backhoes and lots of dirt.

I missed the movement of my engine, 233, out to the station. Drag! I know the crew is glad to see her and are probably breaking records for our station making calls with her. Maybe a conflagration with her this year too? Wouldn't that be fantastic!