Being in Afghanistan has its challenges and it can be hard sometimes. It is especially difficult being away from our families for such a long time. A nice cold beer at the end of the day would certainly be enjoyable. Of course you have all heard that drinking is not allowed here. This is mandated by General Order One (GO1) which states in addition to no drinking, sex is not allowed either. Of course without drinking the possibilty of sex occurring decreases, or so I've heard.
We all live by GO1 so I was very curious the other day as I was shopping in our little exchange here at Camp Eggers. Right next to the razors, soap and shampoo... there were pregnancy tests. So I asks myself "Self, if there is no sex why do they need pregnancy tests?" Then just further down the aisle, I see condoms. So again I asks myself, "Self, if there is no sex, then why do they sell condoms and if the store sells condoms, why do they need pregnancy tests?"
This will just have to remain another one of life's mystery to me, but given the chance I would like to talk to the guy who orders the stock for the store.
Again while in the store... I really don't spend that much time there, I just happen to be the kind of person who notices things and I suppose you notice things more when you are far from home... I see they are selling vacuum cleaner bags. Not just any vacuum bags, these bags are for the Hoover Wind Tunnel, which I am told is a mighty fine machine. Guess what? They don't sell Hoover Wind Tunnel vacuums. I am sure this was just some oversight by the stock ordering person, but again, I would like to get into that guy's head. I am sure I could learn a lot.
I recall when I first got to Afghanistan, I knew all about GO1 (doesn't that sound much better or at least friendlier than General Order One). I was in the store and noticed they had a cooler of beverages (there I go again noticing things). Much to my surprise they had beer in there. I thought, what is this some cruel trick to get us in trouble? Did they think we would just pick it up only to get caught at the register with contraband and be forced to stand before the General to explain our actions? So while I was thinking about how to get the beer out of the store, I peered through the glass of cooler to notice that it wasn't real beer, it was near beer. The stuff that looks real but has no alcohol. Again, another cruel joke, tempt us and then fool us with fake beer. Well, I was not standing for this and I left in a huff with my two six packs. (Editor's Note: Sadly for Pat, here in San Diego the same keg purchased in December is in the kegerator behind our bar. Matthew, Pat's brother the FedEx pilot, is here on a layover this weekend and we made sure that the Karl Strauss was still good. I think the near beer torture is sufficient payback for the 20 months that I had to drink fake beer during the gestation of our two children.)
On to work. I told you about those GAO (U.S. Government Accountability Office) "we're here to help" auditors. We had a couple meetings with them and a site visit. Overall it went pretty well, they did not dig too deep, although I know they will be back. In addition to the audit preps and meetings, we continue to work on moving all the equipment to the Afghans. We have lots coming in and lots going out, still amazes me how much stuff an Army and a Police Forces needs. The team of people we have here are really great. Even though we work hard we find the time to laugh and joke and enjoy each other's company. You have to keep a sense of humor here.
Back on the homefront. I was able to get a video call in with Rebecca and the kids. Last time I tried, the computer kept freezing up... so it was not much of a conversation. This time I was able to see them but could not hear them. Perhaps a blessing, as I caught them in the mad rush to get ready for school in the morning. First week of school seemed to go alright for the kids. They like their teachers and they actually do like going to school. Rebecca told me about Thomas' STAR testing results. I am really proud of how well he did, he actually got a 600 out of 600 on the math portion; he must get that from his mother.
I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day. We will be working here, after all it is Labor Day and not Vacation Day.
Peace to you all,