Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dad 230

Zach was in my thoughts a lot today. He told us in the next several days he will be going out on a convoy with “all greens”. Greens meaning those who had not gone outside the wire or in short have never left the safety of the Forward Operating Base. My wife has written about this so I won’t elaborate but very few soldiers, marines and airmen actually go “outside the wire”. Most probably 85% serve their duty from inside the heavily protected FOB’s and only about 10% - 15% actually go out on patrols and missions outside the wire. So when Zach said he was going out with a bunch of green troops, I could feel his apprehension even though it was only by instant messaging that we were talking. Zach is comfortable with his normal team and they spend a majority of their time “outside the wire”. But he said they are now “experienced” but not so with this group of greens and he wanted them to get some additional training before they go out and some attitudes were getting in the way. He indicated that some of the newbies were a bit cocky and not realizing the gravity of what they were going to do where life and death walk a fine line. I told part of that might be a reaction to fear! He indicated how the First Sergeant had told him that since he was the "experience" in the group they will lean on him to get them all through it and bring them back. I thought about this Zach, who two years ago was starting his senior year of High School Lacrosse, a game he hopes to play in college and he was looking at tuxedos for the prom, now he is the "experienced one" taking a group of young troopers outside then wire in Afghanistan and into the wild – the dangerous wild. Zach was promoted in early March on the first day he was eligible so they see some leadership potential, it is amazing little Zachman, always undersized but full of spunk oh how far you have come. There is no doubt in my mind that he will do well, he has a knack for that! He will succeed because he is a superman! Just keep your eyes open your senses in tune and say your prayers! I am just ready for him to be home and go to college and start the next phase of his life! I love you Zach, I am so proud of you and I miss you every day!

Day 230

Mom – Day 230

At Day 182.5 Zach will be at the half way mark. That is still a long time from now. I am already tired and I still have 230 more days. I honestly don’t know how our military people do it – day in and day out - . I also don’t know how they put up with all of the red tape and B.S in general. I don’t want Zach in Afghanistan but if he is going to be there I wish he were with his team. I will feel better when he is back with his team. Zach speaks highly of his team; I know they are his other family.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 231

Mom – Day 231

Zach will be heading out soon – I don’t really want to talk about it because I am too worried. Let’s put it this way, I didn’t put on my waterproof mascara and that was a mistake.

Zach please be extra vigilant. I will be praying extra hard. I hope this is a short one.

I love you Zach
Love your Mama

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dad 232

Just a note to say I talked via skype with Zach for a couple of minutes. He is getting back in to the swing of things. Wrote a letter to Sen Collins, and Rep Michaud, concerning the non charged R&R! Typical Army BS but it is not fair and I am sick of the not fair types who have nothing whine about and yet soldiers in the field get rolled over I will not accept it! You are superman I love you bud!

Day 232

Mom – Day 232

It is getting late and I am still working so I decided to quit for a bit and write my blog. So President Obama went to Afghanistan yesterday. I was very happy to hear that because honestly, I thought he forgot about the men and women of our military serving out there. I know that realistically he cannot go out and about where the military personnel are engaged but I wish he would have others that do go out there, really speak to our military people that go outside of the wire and ask what their needs are. There always seems to be a show for them – skip the show and get down to business.

I hope one day Zach will want to take his kids to Afghanistan and show them how beautiful it is and how rich their culture is. I hope that one-day in my lifetime that I will want to go there to enjoy the great things it has to offer.

I love you Zach

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 233

Mom – Day 233

For the first time since Zach has been in Afghanistan was I ever able to Skype with him. There is something about Skype that is so fulfilling. I can’t hug and kiss him but I can see him and see his expressions. It really is wonderful. I was thinking how this will really help me to be able to see him every now and then (and it won’t cost me a fortune). Well, that didn’t last long. First, I asked Zach if the Army is charging him to use the Internet? Yes, he said, he signed up for the slower connection. So what is he being charged – try $25 a week for the slow connection. The monthly rate is $75 - $125 a month depending on the speed you want. I thought Zach’s last Internet bill from Germany (last bill plus they charge you for all these additional things) of 290 Euros was bad but I guess even in Afghanistan they get you. Now, I do believe he could still go and use the military’s computer and Internet for free but remember how little access Zach had to this. Anyway, all of this will be a mute point soon because he will be off soon with nothing. I will be back to praying that I could have the opportunity to call him – at the Afghani call rate. I know we are lucky to even be able to communicate with him but the fact is at this time in history, it is possible. I feel like our military is taking advantage of our soldiers. I know Zach has been out there in the fight doing his job, why can’t the bureaucracy of the military do their job!

I love you Zach

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 234

Mom – Day 234

Yesterday was blog number 100 for this year. At the moment I am speaking to Zach – limited because it is on Facebook chat. He sounds so homesick. I worry about this because he needs to be very focused in what he does. Zach did say that the Internet is more available now☺

I love you Zach

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 235

Mom – Day 235

So Galen heard from Zach. He is back in Afghanistan where he has to be focused when he goes outside the wire. He has to worry about people shooting at him, trying to blow him up, getting sexually hit on by the Afghanis or Jordanians, going without meals, having to purchase a lot of his equipment essential for the job, and now to add to the list – trying to get his leave corrected. Not only has he been fighting for leave time that needs to be credited to him, he now has to fight for his “R n R” time when he came home this month. Initially Zach was supposed to come home in August but it was changed to March. He was suppose to be given 2 weeks outside of Afghanistan for some R n R (this is not suppose to be leave time) but now they are telling him that that time will be taken from his leave time. They are now telling him that only R n R after March 21st will not be taken from a soldier’s leave. Well Zach came home March 6th and left March 22nd. You would think that the Army would want their soldiers to concentrate on their job instead of having them worry about fighting for their benefits. Galen is going to write to our senators, let’s see what they have to say. And Shame on the Army for letting our soldiers waste their time worrying about their benefits and what is due to them.

I love you Zach

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 236

Mom – Day 236

I know that I won’t hear anything for a while so I am back to where I was a month ago. The difference is I am more worried about Zach and our soldiers over there then I was before. There are still so many Taliban members; it is still such a hostile environment. I will continue to research this area of the world to help me understand everything (not that I will come close to understanding but….)

I love you Zach

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 237

Mom – Day 237

I know that this is another entry but I needed to tell Mary that I am so so sorry that you had to go through what you did. Thank God Robert is okay – this makes it the third IED that has hit home for the boys at FOB Shank. I am like you Mary, so scared every day. The tears are coming down my face – again, I am so sorry

Your friend through circumstance

Day 237

Mom – Day 237

My head is throbbing, tomorrow I will see my doctor and she always seems to work miracles on me. She tells me over and over that I need to find ways to relieve my stress. Isn’t it funny that something you can’t see can be so powerful? The power of the mind can affect our whole body. I do believe in prayers and spirits because I believe it creates an energy that can affect things. I believe my mother is watching over Zach along with the rest of the family. My mother really believed in spirits and right now that is very comforting to me. If I can’t watch over Zach, then at least my mother is.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 238

Mom – Day 238

So Zach is now in Kuwait, waiting for a flight to Afghanistan. I thought it would take him a good week to get back into country but I was wrong. How do I feel – yesterday I couldn’t write because my heart felt like it was torn to pieces. My feelings were exacerbated because I also didn’t feel good (some flu like thing). After dropping Zach off yesterday I couldn’t drive home, I felt so horrible. As if God plans everything, I called my friend Rachel to take me in yesterday. She couldn’t cure me but she nursed me. ---- I just finished saying “I love you” to Zach on Facebook chat. I didn’t want to let him go. How do I feel - I feel like I can’t breath, like a have a brick that is sitting on my chest, my hands are shaking and exhausted – just to move.

Keeping busy is what I know – and NO Dal, this doesn’t mean at home. I have so much work to do that I am not sure if I worked 18 hour days for the next 2 weeks I could keep up with everything I put on my “to do” list. I will try and work more because that will make my days go by. The sad thing is that I am not “smelling the roses”.

Okay, I know that I need to focus because there are many things to be grateful for. I know that there are people, close to me that have suffered more than I can imagine. I am grateful that I had 2 fantastic weeks with Zach and with a lot of the family. I know that he is strong, confident, and smart and is very capable of doing his job. I think that he is good at his job. I have many things to be grateful for. I am also grateful for my sister who is always sending boxes and helping me out and to my brother Jacob who always calls me and listens to me and offers support …. The list goes on.

Please remember our soldiers, don’t let them be a side story in the newspaper until they come home. Please pray for them.

I love you Zach

238 Dad

Zach is in Kuwait working his way back to Afghanistan. He said he ran into a bunch of soldiers boarding a plane bound for Bangor Maine they had finished their tour. They were so happy unlike the somber soldiers heading back to the war zone! He ordered more equipment that he should have but can't get I am sick of it and am going to contact Susan Collins office! Enough is enough, if they want these kids there they better damn well worry about taking care of them. I am pissed that he is buying all this equipment he needs and can't get! We are talking a thousand dollars and more of equipment! We can grease every palm in Washington and on wall street and give money to every piss hole country in the world but can't supply our troops! Unacceptable!!!!! I am so proud of my son he is superman and I love you Zach!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dad Day 239

A tough day in the Dalrymple household today! After a wonderful stay filled with activity, food, laughter and most importantly love Zach is now headed back to Afghanistan. In a text message from him he said the mood of those who he has met in Atlanta is much different than when they arrived from overseas two weeks ago. Land of the free – what a fortunate country we have been to have young men and women willing to protect freedom. I am concerned about the availability equipment and that at times the soldiers go without eating. This is unacceptable to me actually pisses me off. These are our children who are striving to protect us and the freedom of others and if we can’t look out for them then what in the hell are we doing there in the first place. I am going to work through Susan Collins office to get this squared away! My heart is heavy and I am just looking forward to Christmas when Zach will be home again. Actually I am looking forward to him being home and in college.... You are superman, I love you Zach.

Day 242*, 241*, 240*, 239

Mom – Day 242*, 241*, 240*, 239

We decided to take Zach to Quebec this past weekend so we can all spend some time together. I forgot how far North Quebec is so I didn’t prepare well for the cold. Other then me being sick, we had a great time. We happen to be there for the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship. It was amazing and it felt great to be there with Zach experiencing this. The sad thing was that it was on the weekend of my daughter’s birthday and I wish she were with us. During one of our outings in Old Quebec, while we were eating our crepes, we met Ray Bourque. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind taking a picture with my son who was here for some R&R from Afghanistan and Mr. Bourque told me that he should be asking my son for his picture. Not only did he take a picture with Zach but also he asked Zach questions and spent some time talking to us. What a treat for Zach. Shortly after we got home from our weekend excursion did we find out that Zach is heading back.

I love you Zach – take care

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 243

Mom – Day 243

I am starting to feel that I won’t be able to keep Zach with me long enough. I need to keep focus and just enjoy all my time with Zach. I wish my daughter were still here in Maine so that we could all be together.

Zach is enjoying himself. He went with his Godfather and his Father to camp. They went snowmobiling, ice fishing and hanging out. I am so happy that they can have that time together. Yesterday he went skiing with my sister and her kids and then in the evening he went out with his friends – and to say goodbye.

Before I head to bed I want to thank Beth for being my rock at work and always making me feel that I matter – maybe one day I can be that rock for you, for Carol who is always helping me out at my job, and Barbara who is always there for anything. Zach is the one at war and I am the one that needs all this support. I wish I had Zach’s courage.

I love you Zach

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 244

Mom – Day 244

I think I gained 1000 lbs because I am trying to squeeze everything into this short time. My sister and her kids are heading back to Dallas tomorrow and then I think I will try and do something with Zach. I want to spend some time with him (not to share him). I think Zach is also tired because he too is trying to squeeze everything into a small amount of time. Today he is out with his friends and he said he feels funny. He will probably have to say good-bye to many of his friends. All of these good-byes are hard for him. It will be a long time before he will be home again to see everyone.

I wish I didn’t have to work now with Zach being here. I am not enjoying it at the moment. My disappointment (not my actual job, which I do enjoy – I am speaking about the environment) is making me reflect on my own actions. I wonder if I too am in my own world and I don’t pay attention to my colleagues. I can’t change other people but I can change myself. I don’t want to be one of those colleagues that I am disappointed with – I need to be more in tuned with the people I work with. I get it when Zach is amazed when he hears about people complain about stupid little things when he has to worry about survival. Or when people complain about food when there are many times he goes without food and on and on. I sometimes don’t want to hear about so and so’s problems when I feel like I am dealing with a boulder on my chest. Okay – I am rambling again but I get so frustrated sometimes and hurt. – on the flip side there have been some people that have been super supportive or there are colleagues that have shown me a side that I didn’t know.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 245

Mom – Day 245

I had to work today so I didn’t get to spend much time with Zach. Zach did stop by my work and delivered beautiful yellow flowers. He included a lovely card for me. What a nice feeling☺ In the evening we had to indulge in Maine’s dish – lobstah. We got Zach a 4+ pound lobster. I am trying to fit everything in – an impossible task but I will try.

I know that Zach’s team is out on a mission and he is a bit worried about that. I pray everything will be ok.

I love you Zach

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 246

Mom – Day 246

I was sad to see my daughter leave but I know I will see her in a few months. It is still nice to have Zach home. Today I did make him write out a list of things he needs and wants to get done before he leaves. The list is long but it may be doable. I still have to work and I have some obligations for my job in the evenings and I am not sure what to do about it. I am spending time worrying about work stuff instead of enjoying my time with Zach. I am upset with myself but I did try to minimize my workload during his visit. At the end of the day I know my time with Zach will mean more to me but …..

Today Zach took my sister’s kids bowling. I love to see him relaxed and enjoying his time. I want him to feel home and I want him to have fun, be a kid again!

I love you Zach

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 247

Mom – Day 247

Another great day! Today we celebrated Victoria’s birthday with a tamale feast. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Zach because he drove his dear friend Shane to Boston (Shane came to visit Zach this weekend – he is stationed at Ft. Bragg). Tomorrow my daughter and brother will be flying back to school/home. Time has gone by so fast, this is when I wish I could I could press slow motion. My kids are now 20 and 22 (Victoria’s birthday is next Sunday) but they are still kids. Even Zach still has that kid in him – I hope that he will always have that.

I love you Zach

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 248

Mom – Day 250*, 249*, 248*

Wow, I can’t believe that two days passed and I didn’t write in the blog. I am surrounded by my family and I am enjoying every moment. Everyday, several times a day I grab Zach and give him a big hug, kiss him, and tell him that I love him.

Yesterday was Zach’s 20th birthday and he went with my sister and her kids and my brother up to the mountain, Sugarloaf, and went skiing. He had a wonderful day skiing and then he went home to a household of people to celebrate him. He wanted Mexican food so we had tostadas, enchiladas and then cheesecakes, and all sorts of goodies. There was so much to eat and people everywhere. Towards the end of the evening, Zach set up a slide show on our TV. He showed us pictures of Afghanistan. What a beautiful country! The war is the ugly piece. The pictures were nice to see because we finally had the chance to see the images we had in our heads of what we thought about Afghanistan. It was nice to get a glimps of Zach’s life.

I know that I need to start writing down stories but I need to get back to my family.

I love you Zach.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 251

Mom – Day 251*

What a wonderful day. Zach and his sister spent some time together. Our dear friends from Maryland came today and we all had a great time.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 252

Mom – Day 252*

The star after the date shows that Zach is home☺ Another day and I am sad that I don’t spend more time with him. I still have to work and see my doctor, etc. I feel like canceling everything to spend extra time with him. I see him and he looks so good and I don’t want him to go back. I am afraid to cry because I need Zach to be okay when he goes back, he cannot be worrying about me.

Right now I am waiting for my brother to come in from out West (Az). He is coming to see a bit of Zach. I am thinking about having a get together Friday, Zach’s 20th birthday. My sister is coming Thursday from Texas so I know she can help me cook all of our Mexican favorites. Today we were all in the kitchen heating up tortillas, eating cheese and barbacoa and chile Cheetohs. It was so nice to have everyone around me eating our comfort foods and laughing and picking on each other. I love having my family with me. I am so lucky to have such a great family and I am selfish because I want them near me. Looking back, I realize how dumb I have been – all those times in my life that I have taken so many things for granted, especially my family.

I love you Zach

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 253

Mom – Day 253*

I picked up my daughter today who flew in from Dallas – most people don’t come to Maine during our mud season. I have both of my children now☺

I love you Zach

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 254

Mom – Day 254*

Another Afghan free day ☺ Today Zach went skiing today. For dinner we had ribs and potato salad. --- Normal

I love you Zach

Saturday, March 6, 2010

255 Dad

Zach is home. Not sure how to feel but today I know he is home! I may sleep tonight!

Day 255

Mom – Day 255

We picked up Zachary today. It is so nice to hug him. I feel almost normal but I know Zach is not sure how he is suppose to feel or what he is suppose to do. After his shower he was putting his boots back on, we had to remind him that he doesn’t have to do that.

I hope we get a chance to hear more of his stories and to see some pictures. There are all of these little stories that I find interesting – maybe I will write about some of these stories later☺

I love you Zach

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 256

Mom – Day 256

I almost forgot to write on the blog today. I almost forgot because - Zach is in the States. He is not home yet but I hope to see him tomorrow.

I love you Zach

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 257

Mom – Day 257

I guess Zach is still in route according to his note, “Ended the Stan with a boom literally and now in beautiful warm 75 degree Kuwait outta of the dammed Afghanistan waiting to head home for some RR!!”

I am excited to see you Zach, I love you

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 258

Mom – Day 258

I believe that Zach is on his way home☺

So the Taliban needs a new #2 man after the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan. A possible candidate is Abdul Qayyum, the guy that is overlooking the fight in Marjah (of course from Pakistan). Why do I mention him, because approximately two years ago he was released from Guantanamo! I don’t know what the answer is but it seems like a waste of resources to deal with a criminal twice. Remember that the resources here include our men and women that are fighting to …. do what when they are captured?????

I love you Zach

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 259

Mom – Day 259

Today I finished up washing Zach’s blankets and picking up his room. I washed his sheets and all of his dirty laundry that I found roaming around his room. I even have his phone turned on so I can get a text or call when he arrives in the states. I am hoping to see him soon but I am kind of afraid to get too excited. I really don’t know when I will see him but I think it will be sometime the end of this weekend.

I just found out a friend of mine just passed away. Life is so precious and we really shouldn’t take it for granted.

Zach I love you

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 260

Mom – Day 260

Another day goes by and I am just waiting to hear something from Zach but I am anticipating that I will not for a bit. I did find myself reading the news on the net. Like always, there is so much news (I watch as many sound bits as possible).

I didn’t sleep well yesterday so I will try and get to bed earlier tonight. As I am getting ready for bed I feel lucky that there are so many people praying for Zach and our military.

I love you Zach
Love your Mama xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo