With any luck, good fortune and a bit of a sideways slip I might be most of the way handing in everything needed for a European out.
It is not just the form that needs to be filled out: endorsed by a certain level of command. There was a letter to the official German authorities (downtown Heidelberg, not the local office in Rohrbach) which had to be stamped off. Copies of family passports, an ORB, all sorts of orders, a police check. Then there is the need for my passport (right, forgot that the first time). A rental agreement – don’t have one of those since we don’t rent. Proof that I have some kind of income (indigent are not welcome here).
(note – trips to Rohrbach, Heidelberg, PHV, the shopping Center and Nachrichten Kaserne in order to scavenger the signatures).
And what else? Sure as I hit the road on my way to making copies of copies so that I maintain some idea of what is in my medical records) there will be another requirement.
Oh, well – none of this is as exciting as hitting George’s hot button hard enough that he took the time to write me an essay on the German power grid. Still leaves me with two thoughts –
1) it still takes almost 110 minutes to travel the 110 Km between Heidelberg and Landstuhl and
2) Germans are still in love with their cars and the ability to go fast on the autobahn…..
The end result of my ruminations how to keep myself busy for some of these next five weeks till I am officially retired is that I have volunteered to work for 30th MEDBDE for the next couple of weeks. There isn’t a problem with me heading out for appointments when I have them. Just imagine – me in ClinOps on an exercise at Thompkins Barracks. It makes me feel like nothing has changed in the world of exercise plans in 14 years.
This is going to be so much fun! (No, not running things; I will play senior statesperson – guide, mentor and maybe even knit. After all, I have less than 40 days remaining in uniform. I should worry about what other’s think?)
Of course, I was all cheerful when I went out the door this morning. “the road construction is all finished” I was told. Don’t have to drive through the back neighborhoods of Schwetzigen to get there. In a hurry on Friday – I hadn’t paid attention.
This was not a little road construction – this was a complete rebuild of B535. The corner where I expected to turn was gone. All I could see was this endless stretch of road in front of me. GPS doesn’t help – the fun people have taken the military Kasernes off the map. So, if you know where they are you can identify them by the blank spots. If you have grid coordinates – you can also do fine. Failing that – a Street address would work, but who every pays attention to the streets along the way (rather than the destination.
First it is 0800, then 0830 and I am still driving around lost. Finally giving up, I head back to the house just about screaming. Of course, there is no map book in the car…. Google fails me. Yahoo fails me. Finally, on one of the Stadtplan sites I find both the new road system and a note for the Kaserne. Heading back out the door, I managed to get there and have a productive morning and afternoon.
Doing Constraints, Assumptions, and other portions of the MDMP (Military Decision Making Process) are fun, especially since I am playing because I want to, rather than must.
Now I just have to track down manning/capability of a UK Field Hospital.
Yes, the title is deliberate. In Europe, which obviously extends to here in Afghanistan, the Superbowl (Professional American Football Championship Game) happens on Monday. Time Zones, my friends, time zones.
The European based military tradition is that Monday morning till noon is time off so that people can recover from being up most of the night watching the game.
In Afghanistan, the game doesn’t even come on till 0300 in the morning and you have to belive that there are a minimal number of screens devoted to ongoing operations and a maximum number devoted to watching the game.
The feed here comes from Armed Forces TV Network, Europe complete with infomercials replacing all those fun, high priced TV commercials that that cost millions; are made just for this particular occasion.
A long time ago, when George and I lived in St Paul and the Eldest was just a baby, we would host a Superbowl Party. The game was secondary to getting together with friends, eating spaghetti with garlic bread and salad, drinking a few beers and generally kicking back. Still – a good time was had by all. Moving to Europe in 1981 sort of put the kibosh on hosting a party, since middle of the night is not really my thing.
Now, wandering in early on Monday means that I can drink my morning coffee while concluding that there is nothing wrong with the Upper Midwest. If I can’t cheer for the Vikings – might as well enjoy the Packers.
When I see the word barriers – it can mean many things from obstacles in the way of accomplishing tasks to laws preventing equitable access to just plain large and heavy physical objects blocking ones path.
What I noticed today when walking toward work is that expansion of the airfield is putting up more barriers. Literally, there are Alaska Barriers going up along several of the back paths which I walk. In terms of protecting the BHuts, it makes sense to have protection between the flight line and extremely flammable living space. There are sandbags being placed in other areas which don’t affect line of sight or increase ugliness quite as much.
The end result is that my hiking paths are disrupted. Some of the other barriers – time, people and places I have decided to view as challenges. That way, I am free to figure out a way around and not be stopped by a few things that both on the surface and underneath are obviously totally and completely stupid.
As several people reminded me yesterday, I am expecting a lot when I demand logic and sense out of the military. It is not set up for my convenience but rather to manage the most with a consistent set of rules and regulations. And yes, I can turn in gear in Kuwait; the question is whether I can get permission to save the government money by not making the trip to the states and back. For that, I need my retirement orders. 85 days and counting. It would be really nice…..
In the middle of the night I had what just might have been a brilliant thought. Why do I need to back to Ft Benning on my way to Europe? We have others who are skipping that small detour.
I asked this morning. Guess what? It is all dependant on whether or not I can get a CIF in Germany to accept all my deployment gear. It actually decreases the cost to the army (mil flight to Germany vs mil flight to the US followed by commercial flight back). It would make me happy. It would cut down my return time.
So, right now I will just think about counting down my remaining time with the worst case numbers (here to Kuwait to Ft Benning to UK to home) which means 56 days at the outside. Let us call it 60 for round numbers.
In 60 days, I could be sitting in my living room with my feet up, sipping a nice cup of tea and contemplating the rest of my life since we all know that there is life after retirement.
OTOH – we all know the Army is going to make my return as difficult as possible. Stay tuned for updates!
yes, it is for real that we are headed out again. I started the year with 60 days on the books. I earn 30 a year. Since I can not take leave after 1 Oct due to being in Afghanistan, I decided to vacation this year. So far I have managed to use almost 30 days and am working on the second 30.
(Did I mention that I have the Greek Isles and Australia to go?)
I will be down to around 30 days when I head downrange.
(dropped off the laptop case and chose a sock instead. Need something that was a bit more portable and besides, there was a new Cookie A sock pattern available for free…)
There are a lot of things that I can accomplish on a USAREUR library computer: email on most accounts, paying bills, doing searchs. But what I can’t do is a bit longer and includes uploading pictures or getting a regular post page (WordPress) to open on the screen.
So I will just tell you that I finished the back on the Hanne Falkenberg Pyramid between the bus ride to Garmisch and a quiet evening of audio book listening and cast on for the front.
382 is really a lot of stitches, even on a 3.00mm needle.
Otherwise I am attending lectures and wondering why I was insane enough to agree to be here.