My, how time flies when you're, ahem, having fun. Makes me think of a framed piece of craftwork that my friend Suz sent me when I was in...Bosnia? Kosovo? I don't remember. It's a drawing of a frog sitting on a lilypad with one of those grins on it's face. Around the top are the words "Time's Fun When You're Having Flies". The frame is green. And I think there are other flies around the frog.
I forget exactly what the thing looks like. Why? Because this week is my 1-year anniversary. If I'm going to spend my time in Baghdad marking off time, I'm starting a year ago. I started this overseas deployment odyssey this time last year. I had mentally started preparing myself for this as early as December 2007, when I looked around at my Christmas tree and other decorations and told myself that I wouldn't see them again until December...2010? Although I spent a better part of March and April planning things, it was the end of May that really set things off. On the 19th of May the nice guys with the moving company came to my house and packed up all my household goods. For a night I was surrounded by dozens of cardboard boxes, which I remember made my house smell like...cardboard boxes. The next day even nicer people came and loaded up my entire life, save what would fit into my car, and took it away.
I cried when the moving van pulled up because I knew it would be at least 2 years before I would see my stuff again. I had been sitting in my big red chair all morning, quietly contemplating what was happening in my life. When the knock on the door came I finally gave in to the tears. It took a minute and a yell of "I'm coming" before I greeted Those Who Would Take My Stuff Away. It was hard. All afternoon I watched another box of my clothes, shoes, china, DVDs, knick-knacks, go out the door and onto the truck.
When the truck finally pulled away at about 2 in the afternoon I saw on my front porch and watched it until I could no longer see it. My 4-poster bed was in that truck. So were the three ceramic animals (elephant, caterpillar, lamb) that I made when I was only 5 years old. Everything I owned, except for a few items, was gone.
That was a year ago. A year ago last Tuesday. Wow, time flies when you're having fun.
It was a year ago today that I finished cleaning up my townhouse, turned off the heat (I was in Minnesota, after all), laid my house/mailbox keys on the kitchen counter, got into my car, and drove away.
I drove all the way to Chicago (only 6 hours...short day) to visit some friends who lived there. I left the next morning and drove to Anniston, Alabama and spent the night in a Hampton Inn. (Strange the things we remember, huh?) Arrived the next day in Elba, Alabama and spent the next several days with my sister and mom and assorted friends. Then I drove to New Orleans (stopping once to replace my burnt-out headlight) and spent the night there, enjoying ice cold beer and some kick-ass jazz and blues.
On 1 June, 2008 I arrived in Bryan, Texas.
From there it's been an odyssey of training, meetings, planning, traveling, packing, unpacking, until I am now here, in my office, at my 1-year anniversary of leaving Minneapolis.
Time flies when you're having fun. :)
I do know what's in store for me once I leave Baghdad. I will be at Ft. Lee, Virginia, from May through August of next year, attending my next Officer Education Class. That is also an anniversary...I went to Ft. Lee in 1993-94 for my Officer's Basic Course. Seriously, now I know for sure that time really does fly when you're having fun.
But it also means that I probably won't see my treasured possessions until I finish the course and move onto my next assignment. September? October? I only hope that I can be somewhere in time to put up and decorate my Christmas tree. It will, after all, be December, 2010.