It’s been quite a while since last visited. We only have about 8 months left in Ankara, then it’s home for about 6 weeks. Afterwards, we head off to our next Post, Sao Paulo, Brazil. I am thinking it will be our best post so far; and since it will be the last post before I hit retirement age, it may be our last.  In three years, we will look and see if we want to continue if possible.

I was thinking about that, and I feel like I’ve worked pretty hard all my life. Worked in extreme cold, -12 in Moscow, and extreme heat, 130+ in the sunlight in Afghanistan. I have dug my share of ditches and got very dirty. Almost passed out once while working on top of a furnace. Got to the bottom of the ladder just as everything faded away. Luckily there was dirt there. Once fell off an overhead crane while feeding cable. In a heartbeat, the cable shifted and swept my feet from under me. Luckily I had a safety belt on and ended up swinging over a guy who was busy eating lunch. “Hey fella, do you mind going out there and tell those guys to stop?” It took him a few seconds to digest what had happened.

Once I was under a house swinging a 12-pound sledge hammer into the concrete foundation. I was working on my side and stopped and rolled over on my back to rest. A moment later, a little gray mouse walked across my chest and then off on its merry little way. Caused me to chuckle a bit, then I continued banging away.

One time, my boss sent me under a house for something. I crawled a few feet in, and came face to snout with a cat that had seen better days. Holding the light on its face it froze as did I. From outside my boss yelled, “see anything yet?” I said, Yeah! Then I grabbed the cat by the head and slung it out the crawl hole. It squalled and clawed as it ran away, while my boss started yelling things I will not print here.

I worked as a Maytag repairman. I had a good-natured black man working with me. Jerry Johnson. One time we delivered a washing machine to a house over on Lea Street. They said the garage door would be opened. Sure enough, we backed up and installed it. As we started to leave, the little guy in the back of my mind said, Are you sure you are on the right street? I said sure, I’ll show you. Went out and looked at the street sign, and realized to my horror we were on Lynn Street. I remember Jerry said some very bad words, but we changed out the washing machine in record breaking time and headed to Lea street.

While working as a roustabout in the gas fields, I had to work with a couple of hippies whose minds were blown. One was Bobby Potter. They lived together and every morning I had to pick them up. At least half the time I had to get out of the truck and bang on the door to get them up. Every time they seemed to have different girls with them. Most were not very attractive. That is enough to make you not want to use drugs.

In my job, I actually have the title of Diplomat in most countries. Others, I am considered in the Maintenance Corps (CM). Before I had to be a diplomat, I learned the skills to be one by working for a couple of crazy ranchers that had more money than common sense. It was a Father/Son duo. They argued about some of the silliest things and each one would try to drag me into it. I had to cautiously avoid taking sides, as most of the time, I felt both were wrong. But I kept it to myself.

All my years of manual labor, I suffered mild back pain. It wasn’t until I was in Afghanistan and got a desk job, did the pain go away. I didn’t realize it, but I was overworking my back. Since then, I acquired a few hernias because although I knew how to protect my back, never thought about protecting my innards. Now I know. I let the younger people do the heavy work. I learned to watch and tell them what to do. Only problem is, they don’t want to do that type of work, because it’s not like playing video games.

Sao Paulo will be good. It is a post where I am the only one in the shop, so basically I am my own boss. It will be warm and humid and I feel very good about that, and across the street is the British Pub. So, my last job may be my most comfortable. I hate the idea of retiring, because I will sit around and eat, drink and smoke. So, I will get fat and die within a year. Not really what I want to do.

We will miss Turkey. Some of the finest people are there. Their sense of humor is rich, and they truly want you to be happy. Job-wise it is very busy. The location really warrants two STS’s (what I am), yet there is a shortage of us. And something that I didn’t realize until I sat and thought about the way I feel, I will miss working at a location that is thick in the middle of World affairs. I actually like working in critical threat locations, whereas the dangerous part of Brazil is the crime. Carry no credit cards and only a little cash. But we will make the best of everything like we always do.

I have several books that I need to complete the hated book reports on, so they will be quick with short summaries. Maybe get that in a few days.

Until I return, keep kicking butt. D.