After going down to Antarctica for years I've got things pretty streamlined as far as packing, organizing, and planning for being away months on end. Still, when the departure date arrives, the leaving is never easy. This is what I call the 'transistion time.' It's when I have to move from one mode to another. From one 'real' world to an alternate 'real' world.
People who do contract work like this have different ways of coping with this phase - some take a shuttle to the airport, leaving any tears and awkward good-byes at home. Others bring out the entire family for their send-off. Others have that one, special person that they want to be with until the last possible minute.
This is the second time I've had to leave Jan. No, it doesn't get easier, and I don't want it to. This time, though, we didn't feel so dehydrated. We shared a leisurly morning, put my car in storage, picked-up my bags, and headed to the airport. We were smiling more this time, knowing that we'd see one another again in six, short months, and VERY thankful that we had an extra week together.
I've safely arrived at Ft. Benning, GA. Uneventful flight and shuttle drive. Thank goodness.
I'm at the CRC, which is an acronym within an acronym - CRC is the CONUS Replacement Center. No, they don't replace CONSUS' here. It's more of a personnel replacement staging point for people headed to the Middle East. (Oh, BTW, CONUS is short for Continental United States.)
The CRC is a separate compound within Ft. Benning. It's relatively small, and surrounded by a chain link fence, and barbed wire. It's part Army, part ice, part summer camp, and part prison. Lots of civilians here, mostly men, mostly married.
The next week is full of endless meetings, briefings, orientations, chow, chow, chow, hurry-up-and-waits, and the dreaded 'Death By Powerpoint' next Wednesday.
I'll try to get some pix of the place tomorrow, but believe me, it's pretty bland...