So, it has been 5 weeks since Kyle left for Basic training at Ft Benning, GA. It's been an adjustment for me - living the single life, but, I have adjusted pretty well I think. It was pretty dang hard the first couple of weeks with an empty house, without his presence here, but as the weeks went by, I found myself not dreading to come home to the empty house anymore. It's actually quite nice to come home to a clean house, to a kitchen sink that's not full of dirty dishes, to a stove that's clean, to a house full of testosterone filled teenagers. :)
Of course, I do miss Kyle, very much. But, at some point in our lives, our children have to leave (the nest) and become the young adults which we used to be (I'm almost as old as dirt now). He's is own man now and will have to make his own decisions pertaining to his future. I am confident I raised him well and that he will make sound & wise choices throughout this period and in the future.
I didn't get many letters for the first 4 weeks he was gone. A couple the first week or two letting me know that he'd arrived at Ft Benning safely and some of the stuff that was going on while he was in the 30th AG Reception. He was there from February 2 through Feb 8. Mostly, it was a lot of Hurry Up and Wait while there, a bit boring just doing paper work, getting shots & hair cut. He got to call and talk to me during that time once, basically to let me know he was there and everything was fine.
I heard from him next (letter) a week later on February 16. I would come home from work and go straight to the mailbox. No letter. Next day - check again. No letter. It became very discouraging - I had no idea what was going on down there, why he wasn't writing me. Unbeknown to me, he was selected to serve as a squad leader in his platoon. Being a squad leader just took up a lot of his time, so much so, that he said he had 10-15min in the evenings of personal time....just not enough to sit down and write everyone. Every time someone messed up, he had to do push ups. Now, he's a "nobody" and likes that so much better! :)
He was a pretty good squad leader - of course I knew this because it was the way he was here at home. At the end of each phase (Red, White, Blue) they have to choose another squad leader so that others get the opportunity for leadership. His squad didn't want him to not be their leader because he was very good. Because his squad was ran so well, it earned the squad 20 minute phone calls this past Sunday. :) He spread the 20 minutes around to different family members and a few friends. Now that they have moved on to the White phase, they should be getting more phone time. *crosses fingers*
What all has he done?? He's received his M16 and initially thought it would be great, but once he realized that he had to take it everywhere with him and if left unsecured they are punished. Punished by having to hold it by the front sight and charging handle with just his thumb & forefinger, arms outstretched! I bet it didn't take but once for him to make sure it was always with him & secure! They've rapelled down a 50-60 tower - loads of fun, but painful due to the rope wrapped super tight on his butt & groin.
Gas chamber - in with masks on, take them off, recite last name & last 4 SS, put mask back on, take back off, put helmet on and then outside. Lots of coughing and tons of snot! :D They've done confidence/obsticle courses, land navigation, spent the night outside a couple times. Plenty of time at the range zeroing/sighting their weapons, live fire practice, learning how to clear rooms, how to identify IED's, and combative fighting techniques. With the identification of IED's (claymores), if they failed to find one & let the instructor know (i.e. someone stepped on one) - it went off and that person was covered with a coating of baby powder!
I knew he would be hungry between meals too!! He ate a lot here while at home and now, it's just 3 meals a day. He gets 7 minutes to shovel the food in, but says that he's still hungry. He's missing Bojangle's and candy. Sounds like they're feeding the guys well too. I'm sure if there is something on his tray that he hasn't tried before or didn't really like before, that he will eat it now!!! I think we will be taking him somewhere to eat where he can just pig out! He'll probably be sick afterwards cause he won't be used to eating such a large amount of food, nor will he be used to the spices/seasonings that will come on the food. Oh well, he deserves it!
Wow...there is just so much in these last couple of letters...5 pages (front/back) to me, 3 to his Dad & ex-stepDad....and each one talks about different things! He's done pretty good with the PT stuff, but has to work on the sit ups he says. He was doing them differently here and they are harder in Basic. He works on those every night before going to bed, doing anywhere from 25 to 40 sit ups. He also did well at the 2 mile run - 14:18min and was 20/240 guys!
That's about all - he talks about the weather down there - how one day it can be really nice and the next it just sucks. He's very tired of the cold, having numb hands/fingers & feet. They were out one night and when they went to sleep it was nice, but by 2am, it was cold/pouring rain, 40mph winds and the DSs got everyone up and sent them back to the barracks.
Things Kyle misses right now: Bojangle's Biscuits & Gravy, Fried Chicken & french fries; a medium steak and candy (as far as food). The thing he misses the most is sleeping in on Saturdays. He has to be up at 4:15am every day and then in bed by 9pm. They get 6-9pm as personal time too. This next one is just too damn funny!!!! He misses the WOMEN!!!! He says he really misses looking and checking out all the hot girls! All he has to look at are the lunch ladies and the ocassional DS's wife. He said that he's already looking at women that a year ago he would've never even looked at! OMG...I think it's just so funny to hear my son talking that way. :) "In a couple more weeks, if things don't change, I'm going to be turned on by ugly lunch ladies". LOL.
That's pretty much it for now. Hopefully, I'll get another letter in the mail for me this week. I've been mailing Kyle pretty regularly, at least every other day. He has to do 20 push ups for each piece of mail he gets. I wonder if he has to do extra push ups for the stickers I've been putting on the outside of the envelopes?? :D Oh yea, his birthday is this coming Saturday and I just could not resist getting a musical card for him. Two cards actually. /evil grin/ (don't worry - Kyle has always been the clown & can take it as well as dish it out, so he'll be ok with the cards). He will have to get up in front of the platoon and do the Chicken Dance and sing That Smell (Lynyrd Skynyrd). I'll try to keep this Soldier-In-Training updated as I receive letters. This one is so long because I've received 4 or 5 letters of length the past couple of days....
Now for me....since getting injured in December, the sucky weather in January & February, I have not ridden but 3 or 4 times. Totally have lost all fitness in my legs/butt/lungs for cycling and I'm trying to build it back up slowly. I have a ride coming up April 10 and possibly one April 11 (not sure if I'll attempt both) and both are climbing rides. I have to get my ass in gear & train for not only those, but the main one - Assault on Mt Mitchell. So, while visiting the bf in Greenville, SC this past weekend, I thought I would attempt a 60 mile ride with a climb up/down/up/down Paris Mountain. Boy, was I stupid!
60 miles my ass. That's right...my legs are in no shape for climbing, so I abandoned that idea and instead opted for a plain ole 2hr ride. My butt and legs were so sore afterwards and the following day, it was hard to sit, get up, and even walk! But, I rode on Tuesday for an hour and will hit the trainer shortly tonight. I'm hoping that a week or two of easy riding then start on the intervals towards the last of March. I think I can be ready for AoMM. I sure as hell hope so.
Pretty much it for this post..........:)