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January 1997

1997 came in with a hurl, as my drunk tentmate threw up outside the back door of my tent just after midnight, repeating how much he loved his wife (he brought no photographs). My area was plastered with over 100 pictures of Miimii, but I was wondering if she even wanted me back. Ironic. But the loud, projectile vomiting was good for me, because I was really enjoying this tent-life too much. The sick tentmate reminded me that I didn't like living with three guys. The tent was okay, but the people...why is it I always have to live with people?
When Miimii returned from her Japan visit the flight irritated her asthma and once again she was back in the emergency room on New Years day. Mr. J.C. Collins, Amanda, Michael Geary, Anthony George, Rudy Olague and a few others from my office were invaluable, taking her to the emergency room, sitting with her, buying underwear for her (thanks to Jose)...lots of nice things. I knew she was in good hands and I had some special friends.

I called her from my office in Turkey and the first thing I said was,"So, I heard you had an a-hole attack?" and she started laughing and wheezing so hard she couldn't talk and had to hang up. I was just trying to cheer her up. Maybe I overdid it.

Amanda had gotten divorced, and I, being her supervisor, tried to help her through it with emails, and just being there for her, keeping my personal feelings out of it. It was my job unfortunately, to take care of the people I supervised even if it was personal. It wasn't too hard, knowing that Miimii was waiting for me on my return. I'd hoped she was.

I'd been riding a loaner bicycle, a Huffy Night Stalker. It was a mountain bike,

so to get closer to the reach on my home racing bicycle, I flipped the handlebars backwards to get an extra 3 inches of reach, then made the brake levers horizontal, facing away from me, so that when I wanted to get really low I could hook my thumbs on them, giving me an additional inch of reach. I also found out why my racing bicycle was ten times more expensive than a Huffy. I was constantly blowing tires and breaking things on this machine. Once, when my bicycle was being repaired I borrowed my boss's issued bicycle which was brand new and never ridden. I tried riding three laps of the base in the top gear and by mile 13 I'd torqued the back wheel so badly it was bent sideways. Another one bites the dust!

The little riding I did had dramatically improved my running. I cut my running in half and replaced it with cycling, and after two weeks of riding, I ran a 10K run in 36:56 in a Christmas Eve race (compared to the previous 5K in 18:34) and, once again, placed 2nd. My co-worker won the women's race.

All the walking (up to 26 miles a week) and drinking water had dropped me from my normal winter weight of 165-169 pounds to 147 pounds. I hadn't been that light in nine years.

During my four months in Turkey I was the happiest and most content I'd been in a long time. The people at Langley went out of their way to take care of Miimii, and to tell me they missed me and wanted me back, the people in Turkey liked me, I was doing well at work (I saved the day once by recovering seven months of data which my boss had accidentally dumped), and I felt like a runner for the first time in five years. I'd study for promotion, work out, and go to work during the week and on Sundays I'd read my Bible and do laundry all day. I was also raking in the bucks!

Let us entertain you, and we'll have a real good time, oh yeah, and we'll have a real good time...oh yeah...>>>
These were my people--Americans, British, Turks, French. All really cool. We were the Intelligence Support for the aircraft patroling the Northern No-Fly Zone in Iraq. On January 1, 1997, the French had pulled out from Operation Provide Comfort so we changed our name to Operation Northern Watch. I'm the skinny one in the back corner.