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WARNING..this post contains lots of references to Poo. Those with weak stomach may just want to skip it.

Well, I am finally home after my 3 month deployment to the Middle East.
The food was terrible. My mother says the reporters were impressed with the MRE's and even gained weight. It's easy to be impressed when you don't have to eat them at every meal. I didn't think they were so bad at first either, but after about 6 weeks, I would gag just smelling the heaters. The reason the reporters gained weight is because they probably didn't poo for a few weeks. MRE's are colon glue. Dehydrated, compressed, preserved meat and a cheese spread that wouldn't. Oh, you'd try to spread it, but it would simply roll itself up into a big, shiny, orange ball of caulk, and then later, bind your colon.
The toilets were nothing like the classy American port-o-potties you are used to. There was no blue chemical water, just pure poo stew. They would become full to the point where you couldn't sit down! They had a vent pipe that ran from the tank to the top of the john, and it produced some very startling breezes. At my first location, the port-o-johns were steel sheds, and you just can't imagine the Turkish bath like feel, but I digress (probably too late for some of you). During the worst sandstorm (right after the war started) a Marine was using a john at around 3:00 AM. The john blew over, door down and there he was, laying in the sewage until about 6:00 AM, when someone woke up and walked close enough to hear him screaming over the wind. I hope he got a medal.
No showers at first, then a week or so later, gang showers, no privacy. Someone kept poo-ing in the men's shower tent. I got a tonail fungus (I think).
12 women to a tent, Mice (really cute mice though) and spiders were also in the tents. We had a colony of big, carpenter ant sized ants move under out tent and they would crawl on us in our sleep. I'd feel crawlies on me, wake up, bolt upright, and of course, the ants would fall INTO my sleeping bag and there would be a scramble to get out and find them with my flash light before they could touch me again. I lay awake many nights for fear that one would crawl up my nose while I slept. They laughed at my mosquito net and managed to get in every night.
Sandstorms that plumb blew two entire tents away. You'd have sand plastered to your scalp, in your ears, nose, eyes…and no showers yet. Ear cleaning was painful. We'd all look like Umpa-Lumpa's by days end with our orange stained faces and white eye area from the goggles. Everything was dirty, everything was gritty. When I got to my final departure base, (which was a country club in comparison, with only 4 women per room and indoor plumbing) it took 8 hand washings to get the water to run clear. I washed a jacket in the sink to wear home and the water was chocolate milk colored for 7 washings. It took 12 washings to get clear water. Dirty, dirty, dirty.
People who just impressed the hell out of me and never complained about the conditions. Boys, who still had their baby fat on their faces going off to fight and many not returning. We had so many memorial services. There was an Army ranger who wasn't even old enough to drink yet. He's come by work and talk to me about his mom and her restless leg syndrome and how he worried, and he sorta liked chick movies, and his girlfriend wanted to get married and he wasn't so sure, and his dog that was staying with a friend and he hoped his friend wasn't giving the dog too much beer, and just a sweet kid who never came back from a mission. I wish I'd known his name, but I never asked. It didn't seem important at the time.
My Homecoming was great, although I flew for 21 combined hours and was afraid the plane would crash and I'd die before I could ever see my husband again. But, there he was, bouquet of roses in hand and there I was crying like a big baby. My cats were a bit leery of me at first, but that only lasted maybe 5 minutes, then they were begging for belly rubs and chin scratches. Hubby keeps wanting to go out to eat, but my appetite hasn't really returned yet and I can't eat much at a sitting. The fridge is empty except for a bottle of Italian dressing and some eggs that I think I bought before I left. Today is grocery shopping, unpacking, clothes washing and magazine reading day.
It's nice to be back and thanks for all the good thoughts.
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