Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trade Off, Revisited

A few weeks after my parents visited, my Mom sent me a link to my cousin's family blog after he had written about the trade offs between work and family.  He talks about chasing the almighty dollar early in his career and the sacrifices his wife made while he worked long hours and traveled often.  He has since realized that time with his family and enjoying the special times that you can never get back are what is truly important.  I was not entirely sure what the intended message was from my Mom given my current profession, but it led to a lot of thought on my part.  It is no secret that a lot people don't love my current situation because of the time away from my family and the environment in Afghanistan.  I understand the concern and realize that most people don't really understand what I do or see the benefits of the schedule.  Sometimes Ashley and I have to remind ourselves, we revisit them each time I'm home.  At some point, the benefits won't outweigh the time away.  But for now, they do and we like it.  It works for us.  And that's what matters.

Before accepting the job with FlightWorks, Ashley and I were both working full time, her on days and me on nights.  Riley was still an infant, making our opposite schedules that much more difficult to manage.  To be perfectly honest, my schedule at Target was killing me.  I was averaging less than three hours of sleep during the week and flipping my schedule back to days on weekends.  It just wasn't healthy and although I was home every day, I was not getting any true quality time with the family.  With FlightWorks, I am gone for large of chucks of time but when I'm home, I have nothing interfering with the time I get to spend with Ashley and Riley. We literally get 60 days at a time where neither Ash nor I have to get up to go to work.  In addition, my 6 month a year job also let's Ashley be a stay at home Mom. She loves it and I love knowing that she loves it.  It's pretty special and rare that any kid gets to spend that much time with both parents.  The time away is tough but with technology today, it is bearable - so much so that we think it is worth the trade off - for now.

I also love what I do at FlightWorks.  The level of job satisfaction is second to none. The following is one of the many reasons why I can make that statement.

While I was home, Ashley and I heard that one of my classmates, Seth Nieman, was injured by an IED in Afghanistan and was at Walter Reed recovering.  When I returned to Afghanistan, the guys I work with showed me the following note:

As you already know from visiting TSGT Matthews, XXXX took a pretty significant IED attack several days ago.  The Detachment Commander, CPT Seth Nieman, was severely injured during the incident and had to be medically evacuated to Germany and ultimately Walter Reed Medical facility back in the States.  I spent many hours over the 30+ hr period while he was here at BAF talking with him and catching up. Although he was heavily sedated he just couldn't stop saying how impressed he was with the flight crew that was delivering them supplies.  He stated that the few times we had military birds conduct the drops they were way off the mark.

They knew that HESCOing in the DZ it would make it more challenging but had to do it for force pro reasons.  They fully understand that sometimes a bundle or two might go outside the HESCO.  He wanted me to let you all know that the support you all are providing is much appreciated and keeping the team in the fight.

Thanks again for all your outstanding support.

Service Detachment Commander

Doesn't get much better than that.  Get well soon, Seth.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

We miss you already!

Well, it's that time again. Riley and I took Kevin to the airport this afternoon so he could begin his trek to Afghanistan. I stress about him flying, so the next 24-36ish hours won't be all that much fun. It must sound strange that I breathe a sigh of relief once he has his feet on solid Afghanistan. But, he is at Bagram -- anyone familiar with Afghanistan knows that it's a pretty darn decent place to be as far as Afghanistan goes.

Tomorrow, Riley and I will get back into the routine that I stick to (or risk losing my mind) while Kevin is gone. We will get up before the sun and have our breakfast. As soon as the sun comes up enough for me to see the barn without a flashlight, we'll head outside to tend to the horses and chickens. On our way back in, we will feed the dogs breakfast. Then it's back inside to play, read books, MAYBE nap. Of course, we will have lunch, dinner, and perhaps run some errands or go on a field trip (not necessarily in that order). Then it's back outside (this time, I have to use a flashlight) to tend to all the animals again before we head up for a bath and bedtime. The next day, we will get up and do it all again. Pretty exciting, huh? Trust me, it doesn't get old or mundane...Riley would NEVER allow that to happen.

For now, we are counting the minutes until we can get our hands on Kevin again. We love you! And we miss you already!