The base here has definitely started to change. There are beginning to be more cars around post. The mood is a little lighter and frenetic. There are “WELCOME HOME TROOPS” banners outside all the stores along the main strip outside the base. U.S. Cavalry, the military gear store right outside the main gate, has a banner giving tribute to the many fallen 101st soldiers during the deployment.

And the main body of soldiers has not even returned yet. The post is going to be flooded. They’re still working on the big PX (a department store offering tax-free for military and families), which is supposedly going to be the biggest in the world. The parking lot is a mess, and with all the new cars that these soldiers who just got home to find their bank accounts full of deployment pay, EVERYTHING will be packed. It’ll be impossible to go out to eat at lunch and lines to get into everything will be a bitch.

Still, it is good that they’re coming home. They’ve been gone a long while. But for my unit, it means a pain in the ass because we operate on a different tempo as them and they’re a little, er, more strict about military shit than we are.

Work is still ultra-busy for me right now. I’ve been working late and keeping my soldiers too late too. I don’t like that but we have to get things done for people who need it.

One of my soldiers I made puke on our morning run today. I had him sprint out the last part of it and he dry-heaved. It was a badge of honor for him and a good sign. He’s going to airborne school soon and I want to make sure he’ll be more than ready for it.

We’ve been doing PT every morning in order to get him ready for airborne and to get them both ready for deployment. It helps me because it motivates me to get in better shape, in accordance with my wish to start running more.

I think grad schools are about to start their 2006 school years. So soon I will be able to start submitting applications. I’m not that nervous about it and am gunning for the best.

My parents and brother seem to be getting addicted to building up their new house. Plus, I guess my dad finagled 40 acres of land to tend to a prairie or something. I don’t know how he does things like that.

Julie just got her fat cat back since her ex wanted to get a dog, so I’m enjoying hearing the stories of their new pets adjusting to new environments.

So as you can tell, I’m having a good time and so are those around me! Which is great!