Tuesday, June 20, 2006

April In June

I know she'll get a kick out of this.


I'm at work... AGAIN. I've worked 8 out of the past 10 nights. In the past 2 weeks that's a total of 94.87 hours. It really sucks. REALLY. I'm starting to get restless... we keep getting busy in spurts and I really hate trying to find things to occupy my time. I actually found a website earlier that is nothing but virtual bubble wrap (you know... the kind you put in packages when you're shippin' them). I spend a good 15 minutes destroying virtual bubbles... and being disappointed that there weren't sound effects. It's just not the same. Aside from that I've been trying to move as little as possible. Well, standing is fine but sitting... if the chair has a back, you can forget it. I have carpet burn down my back. It feels like the middle of my back is on fire... even 3 days later. I think the best part is I was so uncomfortable Saturday night (because people kept bumping into the back of my chair and it would just scrub back and forth against that spot) that I called my mom to bring me some stuff to doctor "a scrape". Yeah, she comes to the hospital with a bag of medical goodies, scared that someone is going to think she's trying to run off with hospital property, and joins me in the bathroom when I'm trying to "doctor" the spot. My mom saw where it was and started laughing at me... because she knew how I got it. She then had to chase me around the bathroom with some spray stuff "that might make it sting but would numb it". If you tell me it's going to hurt, I ain't sticking around!!!! The best part to me was her standing there making up excuses of what to tell people. I'm thinking this is a little backwards. Other than that... I've been at work. My work schedule has changed, so now I work Mon, Wed, Fri, and every other Sunday. I get the first Sunday... lucky me! This will be my 3rd in a row. I'm off tomorrow night and I'm really looking forward to it. Melissa and I are planning on doing something after she gets off work. I hope whatever it is that it puts me in a better mood. Anyway, April I miss you and I love you and I'm SOOO glad that you're having a great time over there. (P.S. You are missing my birthday AGAIN!!! 4th one in a row! (: ) <-- ha ha my smiley face has a unibrow! Seriously though, I can't wait to talk to you. Just me trying to figure out how to make an international call should make for a great story!!! BONNE NUIT!!!!!! Bridget

Monday, June 19, 2006

An Up Date on a Down Day

I hope this post finds you all in good spirits. It's 10 pm here and I've just finished dinner after a long day of absolute nonproductivity, but thought that one productive thing I could do would be to say hello to everyone and see how you're all doing. It's been a domestic day for me. I got up late this morning, having absolutely nothing important to do with the exception of calling my secretary to check on something at the office, which was a fruitless venture. Poor girl is probably dreading when I call now. Each and every day I call to see if there is an update on our visas, so we can travel, and each and every day I know full well that she's capable and will call to check on it and that I would hear the moment we find out something. However, caught up in the inescapable urge to do something managerial, I call anyway. Since my managerial and professional responsibilities were null today, I decided to get some minor things done around here. I've made the bed, cleaned the living room, cleaned the kitchen for the tenth time this week (just for the sake of moving around) and generally piddled around the house looking for miniscule tasks to occupy my time. I decided today to purchase a new keyboard for my home computer. The one I have has just had too many hard days. The "e" key was starting to stick and so I began the merry jaunt through traffic to make my santa-in-reverse rounds to all the computer stores. After going to Staples, Radio Shack, and wal-mart, I finally made a decision to get one from Best Buy... some gaming keyboard, as if I actually have more than one computer game anyway. However, it looks nice and glowy on my desk, so I'm happy. (You know, I just learned something. I need a table cloth. It's tiresome typing here on the kitchen table. My tabletop is polished glass and my elbows keep innevocably sliding to the sides and then I have to move and get comfy again so I can type... hmm.. you see what kind of small things occupy my mind as of late? There! I put a towel down to keep them in place. Brilliant idea old boy... should have thought of it earlier. But now, at least I have those little elbow smears that I can polish off... oooh a task! Maybe I'll save that one for tomorrow. I'd hate to have all my fun in one day.) What else have I accomplished that bears being repeated? I had lunch with Tim and Claire today at O'Charley's where she proved that she has truly emasculated him. lol. Poor guy. What's even worse is he knows it. (sigh) Lunch was nice though. They're good friends. Clair is in a huff about her new fish tank, which I have promised to go see sometime this week, so I can at least add that to my list of Honey-Do's. I made dinner tonight from a bag in the freezer; yes I know, another culinary concoction designed to simply amaze your palette and keep you dying for more. (ok.. it was beef and broccoli in a bag.) I did however make the sweet tea from scratch; which isn't cold yet, so I sit here with coffee on my right and sprite on my left whilst banging my days events on the laptop. I miss the gang. Some of you know that we've all been busy lately. Lee is Married. Todd is Married. Tim is completely Emasculated (married). Marisa might as well be married for all we see of her. Marion is married in spirit but it still too short to fit in a dress, so I think that's the holdup there. Bridget.. well.. definitely not married. Marraige aside, it seems that if i want my friends to hang out, even with each other, then I have to go through the event management details and that's just too tiring to maintain for year after year. So, as of late, I have resigned myself to the fact that I'll see some of them now and then in passing, but won't much see them otherwise, pending no one's computer crashes this week. It's a shame. Whatever happened to the days of sitting on the porch and just talking? I used to do that for days on end. In fact, back when the "scoobies" were in full-swing I would have to mak the effort to make them STOP getting together because I couldn't get anything done. Now, it seems i talk to barely-known strangers on yahoo more than I do my RL friends. (That's (R)eal (L)ife for those of you who acronym impaired or suffer from mild to severe hemorrhoidal flare up.. oh wait. that's.. nevermind.) I have to figure out what I'm going to do with the house when I'm gone. I think Marisa is going to watch the cats and take care of the bills while I'm away, but I have to talk to her sometime soon to figure that out for sure. For those of you who don't know, April (my girlfriend) is in Africa for awhile. She's been there since the 12th of June and I'm hoping to get there soon. Apparently things over there are falling apart from the job perspective, but she's enjoying the culture on a personal level, so that's good. I really can't wait to get back over there. With the lack of communication over here, and the huge amount of work available to keep me busy over there, I'm really considerng long term stays while I get the work done. I'm not sure how things will work out with April and her desires to stay in the country for long periods of time, but we'll see how she feels about it later. Being in our mid 20's and being priveleged enough to be in a position of management in an international IT company definitely is something that I never thought in a million years that I would be doing, so I'd prefer to enjoy as much of the dream as possible before I wake up and reality sets in. (pardon me.. restroom break) Why did you need to know that; I'm not sure except so much as it breaks the conversation. You see, that's why I don't write as much as I could. I have to get "motivated" to write, and when I'm there, any break in the continual stream of my thoughts can often take me off to a new task , leaving the words unfinished, or as often as not unwritten at all. I think that's why I like my job, and I think that's why I like my time reading or writing. I have not the talent of words enough to be a published wordsmith, but i have the desire from time to time. The problem with me is, the only way I could possibly write any lengthy narrative at all would be to sit and compose it in one draft. Once I'm in the mood to write something, i has an unlimited amount of fuel for the task, yet if you distract me from it I turn around to find the tank is empty. I'm an eternally full well of energy... that is until I'm abrubptly just... not. And as much as I am a creature of motivation and drive, writing is one thing I can not be "worked up" to. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I have to spend time enough slowing down, both mentally and physically, to adapt myself to the task. With other things I am quite the opposite. Music is my fuel and I can motivate myself for anything if given the time and the right music. I work out to blaring, hard rock lyrics, relax to smooth jazz, and cook to classical. I clean the house to country, prepare for a party with pop, and drive long trips with alternative. I am truly crafted by my senses on a daily basis, which is, I think, why I'm so varied in my interests and my tastes. Work is another matter altogether. Once something is put in front of me, I can't stop until it's finished. That may be 8 hours or 8 months, but the process and the job and the responsibility will plague my free time thoughts until I have to simply complete the task or suffer madness from the frustration. That being said, I think I'm going to compose some emails to the guys at work and take a break. Maybe I'll play a computer game or chat online. Not sure yet. Till next time. PS: If you're a visitor, or a regular, please feel free to take the time to comment. This site used to have almost 20 authors that made frequent updates, but sadly it is reduced to April and myself for the most part. If you wish to be an authoring contributor, rather than just a commenter, please just email me or let me know here. I'll show you how to setup an account if you don't already have one and how to post messages. Till next time. (hummin the tune: "won't you be my neighbor" in my head.. agh.. gasp!)

It's me, I'm alive! LOL

Hello all from Tripoli! I arrived safe and sound, as was mentioned in the previous posts. It's been an adventure, I'm not gonna talk about the issues with work, but I'll talk about the rest of my trip so far. I LOVE IT HERE!! Believe it or not, but I do! The crazy driving (these guys should teach the Nascar drivers a thing or two..) is awesome! I am actually calm during the whole trip, not grabbing the 'Oh Shit' handle or anything..... sometimes I do have to hold on to keep my balance, but never cause I'm scared.... hehe So far the food has been pretty good too, the guys weren't joking when they said there was a lot of pasta, but that's because the ONLY places we've gone to eat have all been Italian!! :P Every day as we ride to and from work I see all kinds of sights that I'd like to check out in depth, but just haven't had the time to do it. ALL of the guys I'm with HATE it, all of it, so I know I won't get the opportunity to sight-see until Tommy gets here. He sees things the way I do, so we'll be going out as much as possible! We've made a few runs to by necessities for the apartment (which I'll talk about later), and have found some really nifty shops.... luckily for us we had our driver with us, so he helped haggle the prices down to a more 'local' cost... not get ripped like we do by ourselves. Most of us are living in an apartment, and Man! I would love to live in an apartment this size back home!! We're on the 5th floor (actually 6th here, they don't count the ground floor as a floor.... don't ask), and have 3 good size bedrooms, 1 3/4 baths (one with tub and shower, the other just shower), kitchen, dining room, living room, and an Arabic sitting room (which we have converted to another bedroom so the guys don't have to share a room). The furniture is ok, it all looks gorgeous, but isn't really comfortable. Evidently we're in a building that is reserved for special guests, long-term visitors to the government or for the embassies, cause it's pretty high class for local standards. To me it's amazing! I love the marble, the doors, the windows, the balconies, I could go on and on! I promise to get some pictures uploaded as soon as I can, but the pictures won't do it the justice it deserves. We are on the coast here, and even though we're not beachfront like the hotel, our front windows overlook the beach and the highway that separates us from it. The water is gorgeous! We drive by the public beach every day, and in the shallow part it looks almost mint green! Even where it's deep it's a deep royal blue. AND SO CALM!! I miss the sounds of the ocean, but I could get lost gazing out onto the water... I really can't wait until Tommy gets here. (I MISS YOU BABY!!) So much will change once he gets here, and then hopefully I'll really get the opportunity to enjoy this country and the culture! Everyone has been great so far, a lot of the people remember Mr. Thomas and have enjoyed meeting his 'wife' ;) LOL If I could learn more of the language, or at least learn to understand the locals better, I could definitely see myself spending a lot of time here. As much as I LOVE the comforts of home, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE traveling and immersing myself in a new culture. Ok, I guess it's time I cut this off, I've wasted enough time at work today (not really, but the bulk of my job was finished today, and now I'm waiting on others so I can finish the rest). Please keep in touch, I'll try and reply to emails, but check back here often for updates. Also keep me up on what's going on there, I don't want to miss out completely on the details of your lives while I'm gone. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you! XOXOXO April Oh, Tommy, give this site info to Mary & Billy, Amber, and anyone else at On Cue that you can think of (be selective though.... you know what kind of stuff is on here, we don't have to let all of them see it. LOL) I love you baby!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Just Saying Hello! (trip update included)

Greetings world. I know I have been less than diligent in my postings lately. Since my return from Africa, there has been a plethora of minor details to cover, a fairly intense menu of major issues to cover, and that all barely leaves time to fix the other uh-oh’s that crop up during the previous two phases. So, in typical fashion, I guess I’ll begin chronologically. WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW What you all didn’t know, and I only found out halfway through my trip to Africa, was that my father was diagnosed with stage 9 prostate cancer. Now, being a man myself, the mere mention of the word “prostate” sends a chill up my spine. No one talks about “prostate” except in the strictest medical sense of the term.. ever.. it NEVER comes up in congenial conversation. Luckily for me, his surgery was scheduled for May 31st and my return trip to the USA was scheduled for May 12th. Once entering the states however, Lee called and asked me to be in his wedding.. not just to attend the wedding, but to be IN the wedding. Primarily, I was honored to be asked. Secondly, I’m the one who set them up together…so I guess of all the weddings I really SHOULD go to, this was the one. So the month of May drew to a close with me spending more and more time stressed out every day. My team is going back to Africa, which I have to prep them for. My client is being hard-headed. I have a wedding in three days to attend, my father is going into surgery, my stepmother wants to go see him but can’t make that long drive, my brother wants to go see him but can’t AFFORD that long drive in his Bigfoot Jr. tonka toy, and my other step-mother (yeah I have two.. I’ll get to that later) wants me to come help finish a project that my father’s business was doing before he had to quit working, due to his surgery. Such as it was, I went to the wedding on June 3rd, which was great. They’re a perfect couple ( I have to say that by law.. it’s a civic violation if I don’t) and then I preceded to fly home (figuratively, not literally), pull a Clark Kent quick change, and then take a 9 hour drive to Georgia to see my father. AT GREEN ACRES I swear this place needs a friggin bonanza sign out front. I pull up in the yard amongst the three super-duty pickup trucks, get greeted in the yard by twenty or so roosters, 15 to 20 hens, 2 pigs, 3 goats, 2 cows, 1 bull, three dogs, 4 doves, and I’m sure I’m still missing some. Then comes the family. Dad’s just had surgery, but it’s too early to tell if things REALLY went great or if he just hasn’t keeled over yet. (I’m happy to say now, that he really was fine, pulled through surgery wonderfully, and now has his test results back stating that he’s completely cancer free!) My girlfriend, April, hasn’t ever met my father, AKA Grizzly Adams, and I’m just waiting to see how all this turns out. So, there we are. My dad, my brother, myself, wife #4, wife #5, and all the kids too. Let me just let that settle in on you for a minute or two. All things done, it was a great weekend. I got to spend some great time with my Dad, which I haven’t done in a long time. April got to meet my folks. And I also got some more time with Janet, my other step-mother (wife #4), which I don’t get that much. I’ll post the pictures later to show you what we did that week. It was quite the trip. NOW WE RETURN HOME: Upon arriving back home, I find out that my Visa still isn’t back from Canada yet, and I’m supposed to LEAD the team to complete this project. Now, I’m one of only three who can’t go... hmmm… now what? Well, as time drew closer, we discovered that the Canadian border patrol/immigration discovered our passports being sent regular mail (who’s BRILLIANT idea was that by the way?) and then sent our passports to Customs, NOT to the consulate where they were bound for originally. This is about the 10th of June at this point. Chris, Brad, and Mike were already over in Africa, and April has to be in the country by the 15th of June or her visa expires. You see, when you get a working visa to a foreign country, even though it’s good for six months, it has to be used the first time to get into the country within 30 days of its issuance date or it’s void. So, after much much worry, I put my girlfriend on a plane for Africa, by herself, hoping to God she got there with minimal hassle. She did. She called me on Tuesday ( I think it was Tuesday) and told me she’d arrived safe and sound. So… now we wait… and wait… and wait. I’ve been waiting for three weeks to hear any news about my passport. Today, finally, my receptionist Bobbie called me to tell me that customs has sent the passports on to the consulate. So, now I’m hoping that I’ll be getting the news that they’ve been stamped by Monday and that maybe I’ll be flying by next Friday. IN OTHER NEWS: (the team) Now, you have to understand something about Africa; NOTHING gets done that’s supposed to get done unless I do it myself.. period. That’s the end of it… there’s no other way to get around it. Unless I have a bad attitude and have my foot shoved up somebody’s toga, nothing gets accomplished over there. So, my team arrives to live in their nice new villa… WHAM.. that idea gets smacked down. Apparently, the crews can’t seem to understand a time line and they haven’t furnished it or whatever, and we have no keys to it. So, at this point in time the crews are stuck in the Bab Al Bahr, which has GOT TO BE the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in ever. The service is horrible. The food is horrible. The English speaking people are non-existent. No internet, and EVERYTHING in this place is expensive. So now, our accommodations are not right, our per-diem has been changed.. which REALLY REALLY REALLY offends me a LOT! I’m not even going there today. I’d get fired if I mentioned what I really thought about that idea. Half way through a project and my overseas pay, and that of my men that I work with, got changed from what its supposed to be…. OOOOOHH I hate that. I find myself getting more angry just sitting here thinking about that! Nothing has offended me that much from a professional standpoint in YEARS, if ever. (AFTER A BRIEF RESPITE) (I took a break to cool off) Well, for those of you who want to know why you can’t reach the team, I had an update from Chris Comeau, via his wife Pat, they some of them have moved into the apartment now. Apparently, Mike, Tyrhon, and April are staying at the apartment and the rest of the team (Chris and Brad) are at the hotel, STILL awaiting the villa to be opened up. Those at the apartment will have, or so I was told, a telephone installed in about a week. (Knowing how things usually go over there, that could be six months!) Ok.. I’m quite obviously bereft of my good mood at this point. I think it better that I just stop while I’m ahead before I start saying things I’ll really regret. (That per-diem issue really raised my ire.) Until next time.. when I’m cheery.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Message From April

Hey all. April asked me to post this on the blog for her. She's in Africa and has a pretty slow connection. So, here's the message I got today when I woke up.
Hey baby!
I'm going to apologize now, but I don't remember what we talked about yesterday on the phone. Please forgive me, but I was so tired I had fallen asleep a little before you had called, so I wasn't completely awake. What all did we talk about? :)
I got here fine, the flights were not too bad. Ok, except for getting seated on the JFK-LHR flight. The air wasn't functioning properly, and I was seated with two guys, one which was Jewish (Yiddish??) and did not observe the same hygiene techniques we do. Luckily the matriarch of the group he was with moved from her seat to assist with a baby in front of us and gave him her seat, cause I think there was an empty one in that row as well. Luckily that made things more comfortable. The other guy was from Finland, but lived and worked in Dallas/Fort Worth area, and was traveling on business. I was able to stretch out into two seats, so at least I was able to get comfortable. I had slept too much in JFK, so I couldn't get to sleep on the plane, but managed to watch two movies inflight and Will and Grace, so it was ok. I dozed a few times, but nothing I could call sleep.
The airports were nice, I managed to get around pretty well, I didn't get lost once! :) There were ok shops in JFK, but WOW, were there shops in LHR!! I felt like I was in a mall! :D I could have really gotten into trouble, but I wanted to make sure I had enough money for the duration, so I'll have to save the shopping for the return trip. I will say however, I would much rather travel with other people, cause you cannot leave your luggage anywhere, and it's hard to save good seats for napping if you have no way of marking it. LOL The food during travel was good, I managed to eat quite a bit at each meal without spending too much. Including eating on the plane, I bought two meals in JFK and one in LHR.
When I arrived in Tripoli, there was no one waiting for me at customs, and they took my passport somewhere to talk to someone for like 15 mins. I didn't see anyone there, so I got really nervous. Luckily everything was fine and I managed to make it to the line of drivers waiting for their specific customers. I was brought straight to Swanni campus and met Nizar, Muhammed ATI (or Mohamed??), and Murad. Muhammed is a cutie, and yes, Marisa would flip out over him!! I can only see her now! LOL!! At the hotel, before we left for dinner, I was able to meet Kojak, and I told him hello for you. He asked how you were doing and how your mouth was.... he seems like a really nice person, but I could see the authority just floating around him. :) We went to the Corinthia and had dinner at the Italian rest., we even ate outside on the deck. It was beautiful, but a little chilly! There was a dark cloud that kinda floated through, and I believe it was attached to the wind and cooler air, but I saw no rain. The sun had even begun to set as we were finishing, and it was a beautiful site! I haven't taken any pictures yet, cause other than the airports they would be simliar pictures to yours, so I figured I'd wait for a while before I take any. We may be going to the fish market to eat tonight, since Dr. Moe expressed wanting to take me there. :) He treated for dinner last night, and it was nice having a chance to sit and chat with him and the guys.
I miss you like crazy, and can't wait until you get here! It's absolutely the most beautiful, yet ugly, clean, yet horribly dirty, amazing city I've ever been to. And the driving, OMG it's AWESOME!!! I rode up front from the airport to Swanni, and rode in the middle row to the hotel. I loved it! They especially told Earnhardt to "treat" me to real driving, I was giggling the whole time!! :D I loved it! I'm at Swanni with the guys today, Dr. Moe is also here with us. Oh, I forgot, Dr. Moe mentioned that the apartment should be ready soon, so maybe we'll be in it next week, or will be in it by the time you get here. I like the hotel, but I don't have a waterfront room, but my corner balcony faces the front parking lot and road. I listened to the sounds for a little while, but got so sleepy I had to close the door. My room was actually cool, they said they have AC, and I noticed it some, but it could have just been because it was so cool outside.
Ok, I really need to cut this off, please forward this to everyone, or even put it on the blog for me if you can! Also, please call my mom and give her my hotel number and room number, and explain to her the best times to call. I love you bunches, miss you like crazy, and can't wait to see you!! Call me tonight when you can, if I can get online from the hotel to let you know I'm there I will try.
Talk to you soon!

Monday, June 12, 2006

It's my turn to leave on a jet plane....

It's 7:30 am Monday morning, and I sit here typing a sort of goodbye letter to everyone I love. It's official, I am picking up the tickets today.......... At 6:45 am tomorrow I'll be on a plane from Raleigh to NYC to begin my journey to Africa! Part of it has hit me, especially the part where I'll be traveling alone... (Tommy's passport has been held up in the Visa application process, so he'll be coming over HOPEFULLY before the end of the week) I've spent the better part of the last couple of days just crying, but not fully knowing why...... Part of it is due to the separation..... we haven't been separated for long since Tommy got home, and he's upset he can't get off the plane with me and start showing me the sites of Tripoli. He's made me promise to not let the boys take me out, cause he wants to be the one that shares what he spent 3 mos. over there doing. Part of it is traveling alone.... everyone knows I'm not a sissy, and have taken more road trips ALONE than not, and I've even flown without adult supervision as a child, but NEVER have I taken a trip as long as this one alone! It's nice to have someone to help you during your layover, when you're running from one end of the airport to another (especially when you've never been there before), or even just to keep you company on the long flights. Luckily I just started a new book, and I'll have another one handy in case I finish the first, and I'll have Tommy's old mp3 player, and I can load it full of music and listen to it when I don't feel like reading. Most of it is leaving my home.... leaving everything that is comfortable to me, my family, my friends, my old jobs, my hangouts, even my gaming friends. I'm embarking on a trip that's like none other, and my life will be changed from this moment forward. I'll be gone for 45 days or so, give or take how fast the project gets completed. That means we have to have someone watch the house, watch the cats, play with the cats, and take care of our day-to-day bills and whatnot that we cannot handle being almost 5,000 miles away! I won't have internet access (especially as fast as mine) ready when I want it, so communicating will be dificult. I love all my friends and family dearly, so not being able to keep in touch with them is hitting me pretty hard. All in all I have a VERY comfortable life here, only now I'm about to walk away from it to travel the world, and see and do things this 26 yr old never imagined having the opportunity to do! I've been on an extreme emotional rollercoaster for the past two days..... one minute I'm ready to jump out of my skin with excitement, the next I'll be crying like a baby, and can't control it. I just really want to tell everyone I love them, y'all know who you are...... to my Blogger friends, Myspace friends, real life friends, Scooby friends, my CoH friends, and to my family: I LOVE YOU AND I'LL MISS YOU! PLEASE, PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH!! You can email me at aep_ecugirl@yahoo.com or gvegasbelle@gmail.com. I'll be checking both accounts as much as possible! MUAH!