Rest In Peace, Laptop

Well, I went a couple weeks again without posting. I’ve received a few messages asking about it, checking on me. Thank you to those that noticed and reached out. I’m doing well for the most part. Much of life is falling into place, or at least I feel good about life lately. It’s been a while since I could say that. It’s all a process, and I’m accepting that it all takes time. I have made progress in some areas and still have a ways to go in other areas. But I’m getting there.

 

I have no excuse for two weeks ago, but the reason I didn’t post last week was because my laptop died. Not just died, but DIED, all caps died. Services to be held at a later date, I’ll keep you posted. I took it to a local computer shop and the look on the guy’s face told me that my laptop had already crossed over to the hard drive in the sky and there was nothing to do to save it. He couldn’t promise that the data could be retrieved and saved, but that he would try. It took a while, but he saved most of my data. Thank you to The Tech Center on Eglin Parkway in Fort Walton Beach, you did a great job.

 

About a dozen pictures from the laptop were not salvageable, but here’s some of what I could have lost. The first five chapters of the book I’m writing. 4,000 or so pictures I took in Afghanistan. My writing, my poetry, everything I’ve ever written for my blog. Years and years worth documents I’ve been collecting from my army reserve career. All my medical stuff I had on the laptop for the VA. The only things completely irreplaceable, were the pictures. I have all the paper documents somewhere. I can rewrite the book, though I think it would be lacking since it was written with such passion when I started. I think I’ll start backing everything up on my next laptop. Currently, I have hijacked my kid’s desktop to get this done.

 

My laptop served me well. It was a gift sent to me while at Fort Hood by my parents after my laptop I had at the time died, very similar to the way the current one went, quietly, in it’s sleep. And where I was, on North Fort Hood in the summer of 2013, I was not able to just go shopping for a new one. For those of you who might have been to North Fort Hood, you know it’s a wasteland of Hell with very little in amenities. And it’s possibly home to the worst chow hall in the army.

 

My laptop was a low-end Toshiba that didn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but was perfect for taking to Afghanistan. It did everything I needed and allowed me to stay in touch with the outside world. Every time I escorted the chaplain on a multi-day mission, I took it with me. I kept a journal of our trips on that laptop. I would log were we went, with whom, what we did, where we ate, how many times we heard the thunderous booms of the incoming enemy rockets. The most booms we heard were at Bagram, but the ones that got closest to us were in Kandahar. I logged every helicopter, plane, and convoy ride. I even noted the one or two times we walked from our base to another.

 

For being a low-end laptop, I would say it held up very well considering it went to war, traveled to and was used in six different countries, was dropped more than once, and exposed to extreme weather conditions. The casing is broken, some of the plastic is cracked. The actual laptop will never be what it once was, but it didn’t lose the important information I had on it. It needed some help from a computer expert, but the data was still retrievable. I have access to it again and can continue with the things I was working on. This ordeal was actually a wake up call for me to get my butt in gear to work more on my book and other writings.

 

In the last couple months, despite some things just not going well, I think I’m doing pretty good, or at least better than I have in a long while. I came to the conclusion recently that I should not be content to be miserable in life. If given the choice between happy or not, choose happy. I choose Happy. I can see a huge difference in my relationship with my children. I can see some improvement in my attitude and reactions while driving. I have become more patient in general with most things. I still have many PTSD issues, but I’m making progress. My sleep doesn’t always go as planned, my dreams are actually getting worse and more vivid. I still have too many days where I am unmotivated and lack energy and don’t do anything. I’m still very hyper vigilant to my surroundings. But overall, I see progress.

 

I think in some ways I’m similar to my laptop. There’s nothing hugely special about me, I’m kind of low-end, but I did the job required of me and then some. I served my purpose, I served my country. I’m broken and falling apart and I will never be what I was before, but I still have most of the information in my head. I can still access so many things I have learned in my life. The data in my brain doesn’t flow like it used to and often times gets out of order. I get confused sometimes and frustrated with how my brain works. But I have my weekly visit to my psychologist at the Vet Center, I have my medications, and I have a friend that keeps me smiling everyday and helped me realize that I do not have to be miserable in life. I’ll be ok, sooner rather than later, I think.  I know.

 

I do plan on going back to posting weekly, every Saturday. But if I miss a week here or there, I’m ok, I promise. As important to me as my writing is, I think I’ve moved past it being a necessity for my own personal therapy. I think I’m working through life’s situations better than when I started writing here again back in February. I’m certainly doing better than I was a couple months ago. I will keep doing what I’m doing, keep moving towards that light at the end of the tunnel, keep hoping for the best and believing it will happen.

 

Thanks for reading. Choose Happy! Good day, God bless.

 

Dave

 

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Write Your Own Story

Almost every day last school year, and so far this one, I have seen the same elderly couple walking when I drop my kids off at their respective schools. They seem to be in their early to mid-70’s, happily taking their morning walk which I imagine is part of a daily routine for them. They start at their apartment and walk about a mile down the road to a convenience store, or perhaps the grocery store I’m not sure, for morning coffee. They always have a coffee cup when I see them on the way back. Sometimes they have a plastic grocery bag on the way back from their trip to whichever place it is that they go. Some days they have an umbrella that woman uses when it rains. The man walks the same, rain or shine. He doesn’t seem to care if he gets wet.

The elderly couple and I wave to each other, sometimes as many as three times each morning as I drive back and forth to my kids’ schools (4 kids, two different schools, at three different times every morning). I have never met the elderly couple, never stopped to exchange pleasantries. We have never actually spoken to each other. I will not likely stop to meet them, I think that would be weird. But I almost feel like I know them as many times as we have acknowledged each other in passing at 20 miles per hour. And since I don’t really know them, I have written their story in my own mind.

I have imagined what their names are, how they met, what they did for a living, how many children they had, grandchildren, places they have been, all kinds of things. Basically, I have made up the whole story of their life without even meeting the elderly couple, as I picture their story. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? It is almost like people watching, but to an extreme I guess. We have all sat at a mall, or airport, or the beach and watched people and imagined what they are like or what kind of life they live without even talking to them. Not just those places, but we also probably come up with a quick story in our minds for the guy on the corner holding a sign about being homeless. Or the jackass with Georgia plates on his car that does not know how to use his blinker. Or the recluse neighbor that never speaks to you.

It might seem silly to take the time to make up all those stories about people we do not know and have never spoken too. I have no idea why we do this. I know I’m not the only one that does this. And if we are completely honest, we make up a person’s back-story even if we do know them. Maybe we don’t know them very well or it’s a person we only see in passing at work or school and do not have the time to get to know them. I am certain people have come up with a story about me the same way I have for the elderly couple. Even some people that do know me have their own version of a story of me and my life and my decisions. But that’s ok. If they don’t know my whole story, they can make one up. I wonder if the elderly couple has a story for me. I wonder what it’s about. I wonder if it is a good story or if it’s more like, “Crap, here comes that guy again that waves at us every day, just wave and smile.”

They don’t know my story and I don’t know theirs. But I am telling mine to whomever wants to know it, right here every week. This marks 30 weeks in a row, after a two year break, that I have made a blog entry telling my story. My story the way I see it. The way I live it. My weekly posts have become my best therapy. Most of my entries has been real life events. A couple of times I posted some fiction that I’ve written. I have put a couple poems out there. But all of it, in some way, shape, or form, is part of my story. Part of my life. I am writing my story. I tried to write the ending once; but apparently my story was not over at the time.

We all have a story. Actually, we all have thousands of stories that make up a greater story. Who knows your story? Your real story? Tell it yourself so not as many people have to make one up for you. Thank you for looking at my story. Thank you for being part of the Story of My Life. Good day, God bless.

Dave

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day in America is a time that we remember the Service Members of our Armed Forces that paid the ultimate price, the ones that gave their lives in service to our nation. Yes, we have a three day holiday weekend, sales at all the stores, and family cook-outs. Most of our holidays are commercialized. And that’s fine, as long as we keep the meaning of why we have the three day weekends, sales, and cook-outs. I just ask that we take a few minutes and reflect as to why this holiday exists. As you enjoy your time off, save money on a big screen TV, and have some great burgers cooked on a grill, remember the ones that never came home from serving our country.

 

Below is a poem I wrote in 2009 while serving in Iraq. It was inspired by a memorial service held on the base I was at. It was in honor of a Soldier that died at a different base, but part of his unit was on the same base I was. I’m guessing each base held a ceremony. I never met the man, though I have personally known a couple Services Members that died in service to our nation. The memorial service in Iraq inspired the following poem.

 

Memorial Day in Iraq

(originally written/published May 2009 by David George)

 

The buildings may have fallen, But our spirits not shaken

They did not die in vain, Innocent lives that were taken.

And willingly we came, as so goes the story

Doing a job that has little glory.

 

Many here now were kids when it started

When the airplanes crashed, And America was smarted.

And when our kids study history and learn about this war,

They can say dad was there, To help settle the score.

 

In the battle for Justice, Some gave their lives

So the rest could live free and not sacrifice.

But I’ll go home, Alive and well

I think of those who didn’t and it hurts like hell.

 

We fight this war, for Freedom’s true cause

And remember the families that suffered a loss.

Just six feet above, are markers that stand,

Over American heroes, who died for their land.

 

Good day, God bless.

Dave

With Force and With Grace

March is Women’s History Month. With that, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote a couple years ago in Afghanistan about women in the military. The military has changed quite a bit over the course it’s existence. One of those changes have been the role of women in the military. When my grandfather enlisted in the 40’s to serve in World War II, women’s roles in the military were largely limited to secretary, nurse, personnel, or some other jobs that might traditionally have been for women. When my dad enlisted in the late 60’s women’s roles had already started to expand. When I enlisted in 1989 women could do most any of the military jobs available, but were not supposed to go into combat, and there were still a number of roles that women couldn’t have. My son enlisted last year. Now, women can go to Ranger School, Combat Engineer School, and do a host of other military jobs that were traditionally left to men.

This poem is for all the women I’ve served with over the years and the ones that paved the way for the ones that serve today. Many women went into the inspiration of this piece. One in particular was Amy, that I served with in Afghanistan. She was on her sixth deployment in her army career. She was always professional, always sharp, knew her stuff, and took care of her Soldiers. Everything a Soldier should be, man or woman. There is a small handful of people that I have served with that I looked and knew I should model myself after, if I were to be a better Soldier. She is one of those.

I hope you enjoy the poem. Feel free to share it with a female Service Member in your life. Good day, and God bless.

Dave

With Force and With Grace

 

Hidden in her eyes are things we cannot see

Stories she won’t tell- not to you or me.

But to her fellow warriors, maybe it is told

Of how she served her country with the brave and the bold.

 

No more pretty dresses, or heels upon her feet

She dons a Soldier’s uniform, makes it nice and neat.

Her hair must now be tucked, underneath her hat

No more shiny earrings, or pretty stuff like that.

 

Been to war her share of times, the battles she did face

Got the job done every time, with Force and with Grace.

Rising up, in the ranks, to where she is today

Did not come without a cost, what price did she pay?

 

A Mother, Wife, Sister, Friend- but some don’t understand

How could she leave those things to fight on foreign land?

Many Titles she must carry, this is all too true

One that matters most in battle: “Soldier”, through and through.

 

She is a Female Warrior, fellow Soldier, and my Friend

Admiration and my loyalty, will likely never end.

Side by side we fought- the Enemy we did engage

As Soldiers, not a gender, putting rounds down range.

 

And she is a Soldier, tough and strong, yes, among the best

In every fight, in every challenge, she has passed the test.

Male or Female, boy or girl- should not be the theme

I have seen her in the battle, and want her on my team.