As you all know, the U.S. continues to drawdown in Afghanistan. That’s the reason I’m here! My unit exists to send all the Marine Corps equipment, which has accumulated for more than a decade, back to the U.S.
By the end of 2014, it will all have left. The camps that have grown up in recent years will also disappear. And progress has already begun. This week we moved living areas. The buildings and rooms, which had been ours, will be taken down in October and November, so we needed to consolidate into other living areas on the camp.
Separated from my Marines now, I am living in close proximity to the other officers and senior enlisted in the unit. The rooms are smaller, and not quite as nice. They are also much noisier at night – not ideal for an early bird such as myself. As I write this, I am being kept awake at 10 PM (gasp!) by strange noises emanating from both sides of my room. Sigh. Waking up early to workout is going to be challenging.
But this is Afghanistan! I’m living in a room, with a bed, and air conditioning, and electricity – and Internet. I can still Skype with my friends and heat water in the morning for my Starbucks Via coffee (thank you, Colloquium!). I also still have my own room (knock on wood). Who am I to complain??
Moving day presented me with a nice change from the normal routine, and a bit of a challenge. The actual move only took about an hour. I even followed my Marines’ advice and left mid-afternoon to go move myself. It required two truckloads to get all of my things, minus the desk and bookshelf that I had “acquired”.
The major dilemma facing me was the fact that I had two sets of bunk beds in the room. At some point, some very intelligent person had determined that four individuals could/should live in these rooms. Now, I realize this is the Marine Corps and all, but these rooms are not made for four people.
Only being one person, and desiring more room in my slightly smaller space, I decided that I would disassemble the extraneous bunk bed. Fortunately, no tools were required. No screws or nails held the bed together. The pieces nested nicely into each other and could be pulled apart. However, the racks are metal (and a bit heavy). I got myself into a bit of a predicament with the top part of the bed getting slightly mangled with the bottom part. Unable to hold the entire top portion of the bed up all by myself, one end slipped and got stuck.
As I stood surveying the situation (fairly sweaty and tired at this point), I pondered my options. I could continue trying to disentangle the pieces of the bunk bed, risking damage to the frame (and what costs I would incur, I don’t know). I could return to the lot, and let my Marines know that I required some assistance. But this would reveal my inadequacies to my Marines. I wasn’t prepared to let them in on my secret. I must appear invincible, after all. And not being able to take apart a simple bunk bed would certainly damage my invincible image.
I persevered, and soon was rewarded! The bed was completely apart, with only two scrapes on the floor as proof of my travails. Panting, I stacked all the pieces against the wall (should I need them for some future room mate). This provided ample space for my desk (the most important thing in the room) and my bookshelf. Neatly organized, I am all settled into my new accommodations.
We will be moving workspaces in the coming weeks. This endeavor will take more time, planning and effort. I am looking forward to the logistical challenge, though it will be tiring.