Matt called this morning while I was at work and we talked for a time. It was good to hear his voice and to know that he is safe. He has been a welder on a couple of missions and enjoys the change. He has been responsible for the FRESH (Forward Repair System) since before he left for war. The FRESH unit costs $270,000.00. It is a locker of tools that they use to repair the vehicles. As of the end of the month, that responsibility will be passed on to someone else taking a weight from Matt's shoulders and allowing to get his jobs done without interruption. The bad on that is that he will be going on more missions with the WRECKER - the Mobile Repair Unit. The motor sargent is a man that Matt respects greatly and who works longer hours. The motor pool has not had a day off since Christmas.
He was able to change a transmission all by himself in 2 days and felt really good about that accomplishment.
He likes the work that he is doing and glad to be serving. He reports that the poverty is great in Iraq and even something as small as a pen is a treat for the children there.
It is hard to get to a computer and he is trying to get the internet installed in his room. We hope that happens soon. Also getting to the post office with no days off is impossible so we continue to wait for the pictures that he has ready to send.
The big news is that he was able to get a few new pairs of coverall's, which is better that the one pair that he had. The military gives him $55 a month for clothes and so he has a good supply of socks, tee shirts and such.
He is honing his skills in chess and checkers which is plays with buddies close to him. He as gained alittle weight (YEAH) and is trying to eat healthy and with more variety. Although he still loves SUGAR.
He said that they had a "Black Out" the other day and couldn't call. When I asked what that was and if it happened often, he explained that it happens frequently and is where all communication to the outside world is turned off. It happens when a soldier dies and for the reason of keeping it quiet until the family has been notified by the military and not CNN.
We all know that Matt is far away but your family wishes you the best birthday, full of love and joy in knowing that Matt is serving our country and that he loves you!!
Kayci talks to Matt frequently. I hear from him every couple of weeks. Kayci and I IM frequently and she shares with me how he is doing. Over the last month, Matt has moved to a new room with only one room mate. He works long hours during the day trying to keep ahead of all the vehicles that need repairs. He does PT - physical training in the evenings. He says that there is so much work to do that he has not had a day off since Christmas. I was trying to understand the living conditions and got a good laugh from him. He is in a room that is about 12X10. There is a cold shower down the hall, the hot shower is a walk from where he is. The "bathroom", really known as the "porta potty" is behind his living quarters. He works in a place that is across from his room - like being across the cul-de-sac. The dining room is further away. He doesn't take the time to eat all the time since he is so busy. He says he is tired all the time and so busy that thinking of home is not a big problem for him. Although, I am sure he has his moments of home sickness.
Getting to a compter is really hard for him because of the lines and time. So he has not gotten emails or seen the blog. He did say that he has pictures to send but has had a hard time getting to the post office to mail them. When he does, I will post pictures.
We are proud of you Matt and pray for your safety. Mom and Dad