Out here, I find myself operating like a single purpose machine. Like the machine that imprints "Louisville Slugger" on the side of baseball bats. I eat, sleep, and breath in order to do my job and to do it well. I find myself dreaming about work and it doesn't upset me. I am working 16-19 hour days and I get back to my tent feeling good about the day. A huge change when compared to the typical workday back home. The daily routine out here is unwavering. I typically wake up at the same time everyday, walk to the same shower tent, stand in the same spot when I brush my teeth. It goes on all day. I eat lunch and dinner with the same people at the same time at the same table while drinking the same drinks (Snapple Iced Tea and a water). This routine is a blessing and a curse. It's great because the days just blend together. Everyone I've met out here comments on how the days seem to crawl but the weeks fly by. The flip side, I find myself having tunnel vision.
I have received a BUNCH of care packages from a BUNCH of my incredible friends and family. Seeing your name on a box during mail-call is such a great feeling. It is a blessing on so many levels. You get the feeling like it's a christmas present that you (secretly) expected but were still unsure of it coming to fruition. I ask for breakfast snacks and I get Honey Buns. Are you kidding me?! I LOVE HONEY BUNS! I ask for microwavable food items and my mom sends me bowls of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs. I don't know if any of you know, but I grew up (and out) on those. My mom always said, "Mike, you're not fat. You're husky." Now THATS a good mom. By the way, thank you, Chef Boyardee, for the hundreds of pounds of Spaghetti and Meatballs that I've consumed in my life. I'm not even close to done.
My wonderful mother-in-law sent me a hand written card on an embossed personalized stationary. It was just a "I like to write instead of type sometimes...I love you and miss you." I don't know that I've ever missed my Mamma-Case so much. I know that the box she sent had awesome snacks and such, but that little letter is what I walked around and showed everybody. Just knowing that she sat down at the counter in the kitchen (taking author's liberties here) and wrote down some words because you missed me, that takes me away from this place.
Scott and Lisa. First and foremost, I tacked the pack of "Justin Bieber FAN-atic" trading cards up on the wall in our breakroom. Well played friends, well played. As for the immaculately packaged brownies, aligned 10 across and 10 down, each individually wrapped in cellophane then placed in a ziplok bag, and laid across the top of a box with care and precision, I had two major observations. The first, Lisa was responsible. I love you, Scott, but that was your wife's work. Second, I had the nagging thought that maybe I should test these before handing them out to everyone because it sure did look a lot like (what I imagine) "special brownies" are packaged like. I didn't test them and once I saw someone eating one while slouched in their chair with only their eyes above the desk, I immediately hid them. Don't worry though, we all sit like that. You know, like we all end up sitting at our work desk.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis. The nerf guns have gotten completely out of control. My in-laws sent me ones that shot 6 nerf-bullets. I was impressed. You somehow managed to find toys that shot something to the effect of 12 nerf-bullets. Then, you sent me two of each. Lets picture this. I, of course, am using the 2 new 12-shooters. David has the itsy-bitsy little pocket nerf gun you sent because he's a "itsy-bitsy pocket nerf gun kind of guy." (Kidding, David!) Jimmy has 2 of the 6 shooters, Kelly has the other 2. For those keeping track, thats 49 individual nerf-bullets in the air or impacting faces at any given time. Needless to say, nerf guns have now been banned in the office. Which presents me with a different problem, now I have 7 nerf guns just sitting in my room. "Willpower is the ability to resist temptation until you can be sure no-ones looking." That means I shoot myself often.
Leah and Clint, I just don't know what to say. I really don't. Cake-loaf? Brownie-Cake? All I know, is that the concrete block sized chocolate treat (there were 2) has been submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest "whatever it's called" in history. People in my office literally dropped to the floor in disbelief. Of course I don't mean literally, but yes, literally. I and everyone in my office are extremely greatful for you guys managing to create such a goliath treat.
I titled this blog "Priorities?" because, I appreciate all of you more than I can express. The packages you send take me home. I picture being at home stacking semi-illegal-looking brownies into the box. I picture myself in the toy section at the store finding the biggest, baddest nerf guns on the market. I picture standing with my wife in the kitchen while she bakes monster brownie/cake/loaf....things. Seriously, what is that thing called? I picture being with my mothers, both of whom I've never missed or loved more than I do right now. I'm sorry that I haven't thanked you all sooner, but work has to be high on my priority list too. I promise that I will do a better job of letting you all know how much I appreciate you.
PS. Chef Boyardee in a microwavable bowl and Honey Buns...This "husky" guy is having good dreams tonight!