Got to read a good article about current life on Joint Base Balad today:
The pics brought me right back. Some things sounded just the same. I'm sure they are still lining up for Mongolian BBQ night at DFAC 1 every THU night. It sounded like the same pirated movies and crappy souvenirs are for sale in the Iraqi Bazaar.
A few things seemed different. The article described a new sewage treatment plant. When I was there, they used to collect all the poopy water in a big pit (near DFAC 1) and then pump it into tanker trucks to be spirited off base to an unknown destination in the night.
I read how the water treatment plants produced 1.9 million gallons of water each day for washing, and bottled 7 million bottles of water a month for consumption. That fast fact reminded me of how I packed at least a liter of water no matter where I went over there. Whether it was in my Camelbak bladder or just a bottle I grabbed on the way out of the DFAC, constant hydration was a way of life.
It's actually taken me a long time to break this habit here at home. I always have a bottle of water in my vehicle when I head out. Whenever we go out as a family, I fill up a one liter bottle of water for each person on the trip as my kids are pulling their shoes on. For longer trips, I fill the Coleman 5 gallon collapsible jug and pack it with the gear.
A month or so ago, we rushed out late and I had forgotten water. I got about 50 feet past the driveway, and it hit me like a shock. I mulled it over for a mile or so as I drove, and I realized that I was obsessing on the fact that we had no water. Now mind you, we were only going five miles, and our destination was a birthday party in a shopping mall. I turned to M. and told her, "Please tell me it would be ridiculous to turn back for water and that I'm crazy to even think about it." She grabbed my hand and gave me one of her smiles that just melts my worries. Since then I've become a lot more relaxed about it.
Of course when we head out, everyone still asks me, "Do have your water?"