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Archive for February, 2008

Feb 26 2008

Live Action Pickles

Posted by Mugs @ 6:01 am in Family

My children often find the antics of the Grandma and Grandpa in the comic strip Pickles amusing. Because the kids and I lived with my parents during the year Dale was in Korea and my parents have visited frequently, the kids have noticed a few similarities to what happens in the comics. Last week, Pickles had a whole series of comics based on the Grandpa looking for his glasses, which were on the top of his head. Yesterday, my Dad told the kids the following story… He had been sitting in the bathroom trying to read the Bible, but was having trouble seeing clearly. (My sister insists I put in the explanation of why my Dad was sitting in the bathroom reading the Bible.  My Mom had gone to bed early and my Dad did not want to turn the light on and wake her up.  So, he went into the bathroom to read.)  He thought the reason that he could not see clearly was because of the lighting. After a long while, he finished reading and went to put away the glasses in his case in his shirt pocket. He could not put them away , however, because his case already contained his glasses. It was at this point that he realized he had mistakenly put on my Mom’s glasses and had been trying to read with them.

Feb 25 2008

Qayyara Site Visit

Posted by Dale @ 10:59 pm in Deployment,Outside the Wire

On my three trips outside the wire this week, I visited six different project sites. Before I deployed, I was advised by Woody, a friend from church, to watch out for the construction contractors. Each day brings a new twist. For one road project, the contractor submitted pictures of him beginning construction. The pictures didn’t look quite right. We eventually determined that they were of a different road in an entirely different province of Iraq. We’ve been keeping a close eye on that project since then!

One of the sites I visited this week was the Qayyara drinking water treatment plant. Qayyara is a town south of Mosul on the Tigris River. This project is another one of my problem children. As one of my Iraqi Engineers reported one time, this contractor is only good at “devising the excusing”. I think the contractor on this project is making it up as he goes along. Tiffany, the project engineer, has her work cut out for her. During our visit, some kids came out on the roof of the house next door to watch us.

Qayyara Kids

Feb 24 2008

Combined Operations in Mosul

Posted by Dale @ 8:26 pm in Deployment,Outside the Wire

One of our current projects is overseeing the construction of a cardiac surgery center here in Mosul. The cardiac center is being built as a new wing on an existing hospital. This past Friday, I visited the construction site with Liz, the Area Engineer, and Alda, the Project Engineer, to check the status. Because of the security risks in the area, we took a couple of extra precautions. Curt coordinated for Kiowa support from 4/6 CAV. It was pretty reassuring having those two helicopters flying overhead the whole way there and back.

Kiowas

Another thing we did was to coordinate for additional gun trucks from the 2/2/2 Infantry Battalion of the Iraqi Army. The triple deuce is on an IA FOB on the north end of FOB Diamondback. MAO managed a project to build their compound, so I had previously met the Battalion Commander, LTC Mohammad. He agreed to provide 4 HMMWV gun trucks to clear the route for us and to secure the area while we were in the hospital. In the picture below, you can see one of these gun trucks.

Triple Deuce

On the right hand side of the image, you can see the Mosul Mosque. This mosque was originally planned during Saddam’s reign. We drive by it every now and then. Here’s a closer look at the mosque.

Mosul Mosque

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Feb 23 2008

I Wear the Underwear

Posted by Mugs @ 5:58 am in Family

The toilet training of my 4th child has been extremely slow. I had hoped that since he had taught himself his numbers, letters, and colors, he would teach himself to always use the toilet. Abby was wearing underwear by 2 1/2, but both of Zeke’s brothers didn’t wear underwear until 3 1/2. Well, Zeke’s 3 1/2. I bought underwear with Diego on them several months ago, and told him he could wear them when his pullup was dry for the entire day. Peed in clothes and wet spots on furniture and rugs is just something I do not like to deal with. Finally, on Monday, he went to take his bath, took off his dry pullup, held it over his head, and ran through the house yelling, “I wear the underwear! I wear the underwear! I wear the underwear!” He typed his father the news via email, to which his father replied “I wear the underwear too!” Most likely these are the underwear the kids sent Dale for Christmas. He always threatens to buy the kids socks and underwear on their birthdays and on Christmas. They decided to get him back this year and wrapped up some underwear to replace the ones covered in rust stains from his ill fated wash load. I’m sure it was his favorite gift. One of the difficulties of the change to underwear is that Zeke no longer has a pullup on to help hold up his pants. I need to buy the boy a belt. He walks around looking like a belligerent youth with his pants falling down. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Zeke would announce to all he met, “I wear the underwear! It’s Diego.!” Then, to his siblings mortification, he would periodically show people his underwear. He kept his underwear dry all day Tuesday. He had only one accident on both Wednesday and Thursday. Today…Well today we had three changes of clothes and I think his underwear joy is starting to fade .

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Feb 21 2008

Left Handed Cleaning

Posted by Mugs @ 8:13 am in Family

We are in turn the rugs over mode as my parents are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I started the kids cleaning their rooms over the Presidents Day 3 day weekend. Josiah cleaned his room quickly and efficiently. Abby, who loves a mess, cleaned her room quickly because I allowed her to sleep over at her friends house. Awhile ago, I had helped Abby clean her room and put everything away in its proper sorted order. When we were done I said, “See, doesn’t your room look much better?” To which she replied, “No. It doesn’t feel very homey to me.” Zeke cleaned his room with a little help from Mom. Gabe, well, it’s actually painful for me to watch Gabe clean his room. How Gabe plays and how Gabe cleans has such a randomness to it that it can not be comprehended by his right handed Mother. I have cleaned along beside him and instructed him in how to break down a large task (clean your room) into smaller tasks (put away stuffed animals, put away costumes, put away legos, etc). Instead, Gabe picks up one lego, looks at it for awhile, attaches it to another lego piece, puts it away, picks up one stuffed animal, looks at it awhile, finds a costume dresses it up, and puts it away, picks up one dirty sock, runs to the laundry chute, puts it in. The other possible cleaning method of picking up every piece of dirty laundry, so that you only have to make one trip to the laundry chute completely escapes him. He was not allowed to watch tv, play the computer, ds or wii until his room was cleaned. It took him all 3 days. When he was done, nothing was actually put away neatly in the myriad of assorted bins that I have given him. It was a hodge podge of unique creations piled on his shelves. Part way through this cleaning attempt, I called my left handed friend for a consultation. “Can you perform a single task to completion before starting something else?” “Rarely,” was the answer. She told me that when the deadline arrived, he would be done. On Monday night he was done. All I then needed to do was accept a left handed standard.

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