My wife has been telling me that I should write a book about my experiences in Iraq. I am somewhat reluctant as my memory is awful, especially when it comes to chronology. I could probably tell a lot of stories, but putting them in order would be impossible. Also, we didn't see a lot of action over there, so it would mostly be about the other 98% of Army life, namely waiting around for something to happen. The only reason I would be tempted to undertake a project like that would be because there are so many books out there right now written by people who went to war and lost their faith in the government or had their lives ruined or whatever. I think that has a lot to do with the media and publishers controlling what gets put out and what gets the hype, but it would be nice to get some more positive stuff out there, as I think a lot more positive things go on over there that people have no idea about. For example, one day I was in my dad's office (we were based in buildings about two blocks apart for the majority of the deployment) and saw a huge list of projects in progress or completed to build up the infrastructure of the city. Part of my unit's mission was to go out and talk to community leaders and the general population about problems that the engineers (my dad's unit) could work with them on. And I even went on a couple of escort missions to guard the engineers while they worked. That's the sort of thing I tell people about that they've never heard mentioned in the press. But my real purpose here is to share a story.
On one mission we were going through a neighborhood searching houses and gathering information. I was in a three-man team covering one side of the street. We had a Sergeant in charge of our team (Sgt. H), my friend (Spc. B), myself, and an interpreter. We went into one house with Spc. B in front with the interpreter. I went to a room on one side of the hall and Sgt. H went into the other. Spc. B went down the hall, stepped through the doorway, and then came back out a few seconds later. Sgt. H asked what was going on.
Spc. B said, "We're just waiting a couple of seconds. The guy's wife has to finish getting dressed."
Sgt. H asked, "Does she have big boobs?"
Spc. B answered, "Yeah, they're huge," holding his hands way out in front of his chest. "They're like this big."
Sgt. H got all excited and said, "You guys stay here and watch the exit. I'm gonna go check out that room." He went into the back room and a little while later yelled, "You guys suck!" The lady did have huge boobs, but she was about 60 years old, very overweight, and her boobs sagged down to her waist.
When we got back outside Sgt. H was mad, so he sent me around the back to search the apartment that was there. Of course, the lady who answered was one of the most attractive women I saw during my year there. I made sure to tell him all about it when I got back to the street. That just made him more angry, so he wouldn't talk to us for the rest of the day. The Lt. asked us what was wrong with Sgt. H, so we told him the story, and he told everyone else. For the next couple of days the whole platoon kept asking Sgt. H to tell them about the woman with the big boobs. Every time his face would go bright red and he'd yell, "Shut up! Those stupid Specialists tricked me!"
I've been thinking about my upcoming Orcs and Goblins army. There's no way I'll be able to fit everything I want into 2,000 points, so I'm thinking about making it a 3,000-point army instead. It also wouldn't be too difficult to bump my Skaven army up to 3,000 points. To hit 2,250 I'd just put the giant in full-time and add another unit of Slaves. And for 3,000 points I'd add maybe a Gray Seer and a couple more units of regular Clanrats.
I've also been extremely crabby about the holidays, which is not that surprising. I hate the holidays. I don't really know why. In my family we all draw names and exchange presents. I enjoy picking out gifts for other people, but I hate making my list and asking for things. Mostly I think I just feel selfish making a list of things for people to buy me. I know that people need a list because my interests are so narrow that I'm hard to buy for. I think it might make for a better holiday if the focus was more on family and the religious aspect of Christmas than on the commercial side of things. People who know me will laugh because I'm usually the least sociable person at family gatherings, but ideally, we would spend less time and money on presents and more time making memories and doing things together. And on the subject of Christmas, one part of Christmas I can get excited about is a film called The Muppet Christmas Carol. My wife and I watched it this weekend. I think everyone should watch it every year.
I've also been thinking about the things I want to accomplish in the next year. I think I would like to go ahead and finish the 2000-point Skaven army and start on the Orc and Goblin army. Then later on I could add the extra 1000 points to the Skaven. I'd like to finish up my two 750-point Warlord forces. And it would be nice to finish out a few more of my Foundry pirates so I'd have enough for four 4-pirate teams. Along with that, I'd need to build a tavern in a box for the Pirates to brawl in, as well as painting some tavern workers (I think Reaper sells a pack with a barkeeper and a couple of serving wenches), civilians, and maybe some of the Governer's Guardsmen. That's a lot of painting, but if I keep my nose to the grindstone I should be able to do a lot of it. There were several long periods of time this year in which I did no painting at all, so if I am a little more consistent next year I should be able to get a lot done. If, and this is a big if, I get all of that done I'd like to start building a terrain board for my first World War II scenario and gather the forces for it. There are only a few infantry and vehicles needed for each side, and at 6mm scale they won't take long to paint. Those are my current wargaming plans for the next year.
I'd like to gain a few pounds as well. I'm holding fairly steady at a few hairs under 160, and I'd like to put on five or ten pounds by the end of next year. That means eating a lot and hitting the weights. Of course, it's not as simple as that. Our trailer and storage shed are stuffed full of stuff. We want to rearrange things so we can use our back bedroom, so we have to move a couch out of the living room to somewhere else, clear out the shed, clear out the back room, move the weight bench to the shed, move the bed into the back room, move the desks, computers, and hobby stuff to the current bedroom, and find a place for the dogs' kennels. I did the first couple steps to that progression this weekend, but there is plenty of work to be done. We have boxes and boxes of things we haven't used for over a year, so we have plenty to get rid of.
And of course, there's a car (or truck) project to get started on. I think that even if my dad doesn't want to make a deal for the '51 Ford I need to find a car to work on, take apart, and put back together. It's a self-improvement thing. At my workplace and in my National Guard unit there are so many people who "plan on [insert project] someday, but never do anything but go home after work to watch TV and drink. I don't drink or watch much TV, but I spend a lot of time doing nothing. I don't want to hit 30 or 35 and have nothing to show for my life. So I'm laying out projects and activities that I can do now while I've got some time and some expendable income so when I have a few more years on me I can say I built a sweet car and can wargame several rule systems with miniatures that I painted and got all huge and pumped up so people are always mistaking me for Arnold Schwarzenegger. And maybe even if I fall short of those marks, maybe I'll be able to say that I built a car that can usually beat Ford Pintos off the line and I can wargame one rule system adequately with miniatures that are mostly painted and got all pumped up so that people are always mistaking me for Richard Simmons. The sky's the limit.