I was walking out the door this morning when I got a 999 phone call. "Hmph!" I thought, "tele-sales on my cel phone?" I picked up. "Hello?"
Yes, it was Brian, and we had time to talk. It's the first I've talked to him since his training in Iraq, and I was ready with my questions: What are you doing?
He's working in a town about 30 miles from his base. (I can't remember exactly the name, but will fill you in when I verify it). The soldiers are well-received and he's making friends. They bought mattresses, in town, for their cots today.
He appreciates the wet wipes; dirt and dust are part of life there. The dust, he says, is the consistency of powdered sugar. It's silky, and it's sometimes 6 inches deep where he's walking, producing clouds of it with every step.
It's hot. 117 degrees in his tent some nights, but they finally got an air conditioner. When the temperature drops to 95, the men all bask in the "cool air," saying "ahhhh, this is great."
We discussed items to send, the list is much the same: AA batteries, wet wipes, and powdered drinks. They give their powdered drinks to the kids, which reminds him:
Can we send soccer balls? The children, though they can't speak English, are miming that they want soccer balls, by holding out an imaginary ball, and then pretending to kick it.
Looks like the next care package is going to be full of toys.
As soon as I got off the phone, I called Jeff, his father, as per our agreement. We network about what we spoke about, each wanting to hear what the other heard; we manage to glean bits of unknown information off of each other. He didn't get the soccer ball information, and I did not get that Brian put in for leave in July.
Funny, at 8:00 a.m., we're mindlessly going about our days, and by 8:30, we are crazed to acquire soccer balls, and discussing flattening them, and sending hand pumps and needles to fill them up. We are on a mission; I can hardly wait for my workday to end.
Beanie Babies are hot-ticket items also, so I'm sending a shout-out to all of you readers:
If any of you have a box of Beanie Babies lying around, outgrown, that you're just going to throw in a garage sale one of these days, there are guaranteed good homes for them on the other side of the world. I'd love to take them off of your hands, or give you a mailing address.
I'll otherwise be watching garage sales and auctions for them, and throwing them in my care packages from here on out.
That's all that Brian requested today, except for one more thing: "Print out your blogs and send them to me." Awwwwwwwwwwwww, sniff. That one really did floor me; I sent a few of the more amusing ones to him when he was in bootcamp, and he didn't say much; I figured he was rolling his eyes, and telling his buddies, "my Mom is nuts." It's probably the case, and now he'll have a printout to prove it.
Peace Out, everyone, and love from me and my kid.
P.S. He's getting care packages from people we do not know. He's trying to find time to write you back, if you've come there from here. And he thanks you profusely. As do I.
Note: I did not know this before Brian left, but mailing packages to any soldier is simple and inexpensive. The post-office has "Flat Rate" boxes, they are free to you. You can shove as much stuff as possible in that box, and ship it for the price of $8.10. You have to use a customs form, which is also easy to fill out: your address, your soldier's address, and a list of the contents of the box. It's that easy; no weighing or excessive expenses. The only restriction is that you cannot send pork products: No Slim-Jims, or bacon bits, please. :-)