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Today is the first I've heard from Judy since May 10.  Internet access from her base has been a problem since she's been there.

Every few days I'll send word, not knowing whether that word is reaching her. I try to keep her up on the doings around the house and with the kids.  The boring, mundane stuff you might talk about at the dinner table.

  In my latest post to her I told her we had the swimming pool opened earlier in the week and complained that the guys did a lousy job.  After writing that, I had to laugh at myself.  Here I am whining about a dirty pool filter and a solar cover that wasn't installed to a woman working 16-18 hours a day, seven days a week, with a culture of people for whom every day is a very real struggle just to remain alive.

I envision an Afghani child visiting our home with its refrigerator full of food, fresh, clean bedding, pure water and a waste removal system that keeps us free of human borne diseases with the touch of a finger.  I can only imagine the wonderment he or she might feel and find shame in myself for taking all that we have for granted.

At work the other day I had a customer in the waiting room whose fiancee faces an imminent deployment  almost immediately after their wedding early this summer.  Dave out in the shop has a son who's home on leave after a tour of door kicking duty in Iraq-where he might soon be going back.

Also in the waiting room was another very good and dear customer with no ties to the military and with very outspoken opinions regarding the ongoing conflict.  As I said in an earlier post, I don't have much of a political opinion on this war.  Yet I found myself angry listening to the customer as she voiced her opinions, to which I might add she has every right to hold.

One could sense the tension rising in the room but thankfully we both caught ourselves before it got out of hand.  Finally we finished our business and she left.  The other woman in the waiting room who couldn't help but to hear this exchange expressed the same (unfounded?) resentment as I did.  Later I learned Dave did too.

I realize now it was the same reaction you might have to people who don't have children telling you how to raise yours.  There's a lot more at stake when you have "skin" in the game, a completely different perspective.

-- Phil Basinski



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