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Brian Metcalf’s Travel Diary

Friday, 18 Apr 2008

Location: USA

MapHello Everybody,

Another eventful and busy week....where to begin? I spent last weekend working on a very important brief that I ended up giving on Monday afternoon. The meeting was between the US Army Corps of Engineers here (GRD) and the MNSTC-I folks from up the street. There were five generals and one admiral in the audience, and enough Captains and Colonels to fill the rest of the room. I got lots of compliments on the brief, and once again that four years of debate training came in handy (thanks, Dad!). The next two days were spent working on a Source Selection Board. We have a project that is supposed to start in May and we were evaluating four different contractors to see who could do the job the best. It can be a time consuming process to read all the paperwork and then review the pricing, and eventually pick one of the companies, but we did it. On Wed, somebody decided that the water in our bathrooms is not medically qualified to be considered "drinkable" - so now there are signs everywhere to talking about what is "potable" and what isn't. Nice of them to figure that out after I've been here for 5 months, but I haven't been drinking the tap water anyway. I woke up on Thursday morning to the worst dust storm ever. It was literally orange outside. And by the afternoon the bad guys had figured out that the helicopters were not flying and that they couldn't be seen, so we had some events all afternoon and evening. I haven't heard that anyone was hurt. Dad said that the news has been talking about car bombs. There have been a few big booms this week, mostly outside of the green zone, from what I can tell. I have not heard about anything at all near where I am.

I got some great mail, thanks to Mama Kittie for another batch of her popular muffins, and to Mama Gracie for the nuts. And Melanie's friend Bonnie sent a great package with goodies and some magazines. Speaking of mail, we have reached the point where I recommend that everyone stop sending stuff. I'm already sending home a few boxes of stuff. I am on track to leave Iraq in four weeks, so the mail might never catch up with me after that.

FOUR WEEKS!!! Sounds good, doesn't it? Even the kids have been memorizing the countdown numbers. I've been emailing my relief, who is now at Fort Jackson in South Carolina going through the training there. He should be here early May, and I should be home by the end of May.

Finally, a special thanks to Melanie who has had to deal with some short phonecalls and a very distracted husband during this past week. She has been very patient with me. Things are much calmer now, and I am starting to think about the summer, spending time with them and a vacation.

Have a great week, and see you all next Friday!!! Love, Brian