Friday, March 5, 2010
5 Days to Go
The date is rapidly approaching. I spent the morning upgrading my father's computer, and the afternoon finding the equipment I needed.
The folks at Casual Adventure (http://www.casualadventure.com/) have been incredible. This deployment is very different from any that I have done before, but it is right up their alley. Lightweight, quality gear, and they have the expertise to help you select the right tools for the job.
It was interesting. While I was there, a gentleman was looking for a new pack. He already had a pack purchased from another store, but it was uncomfortable, and didn't seem to fit right. The staff offered to help him set the pack up correctly. He declined, saying that it had been setup before. The staff offered to help him pick out a new pack. He declined, stating that his current pack was cheaper.
The staff was very pleasant and polite, even as he became more and more antagonistic. I was pretty surprised at the lengths that they went to, to try and help this man out. In every case, he preferred his problems over solutions. You aren't going to be able to make everyone happy, all the time.
I really valued their input. The staff there are all big time outdoorsmen (and women!), with a very wide variety of experiences. They're very quick to use each other's expertise to help out their clients. I've been using them for years, but for minor purchases, or critical parts (these folks seem to be able to find anything). This was the first time I needed to be kitted out for something like this. It's incredibly reassuring to know that someone in the shop had been in an environment like Haiti before, and has had experience with all of the equipment I purchased.
As I was leaving, I started checking off my pre-deployment checklist. It ended with my old prayer, "Please god, don't let me screw up." Familiar to all of us. I know I've heard it muttered many times past, either in the ER, outside the door before a warrant service, or before throwing the switch on a multi-thousand dollar custom computer, it's a very familiar mantra.
This is a big leap. I've never deployed solo. It's going to be easier because I'll start in a relatively supported location. However, Port au Prince is going to be tough. I've got a couple of leads for organizations there, but much of the work is going to happen with boots on the ground. These uncertainties are what make me nervous.
On the bright side, it's date night! My girlfriend and I are going to grab a nice dinner, and check out Alice in Wonderland. Then tomorrow we're going to go see the horses before meeting some friends for a 30th birthday. We'll close the weekend by going out to see a bunch of my family. I'm glad this final weekend is going to be filled with everything I want.
On a final note, I'm pleased to hear that my friend's book, They Fought for Each other, is kicking serious ass on the Amazon Top Seller's List. Kelly Kennedy is an incredibly fascinating lady, and I can't wait to get my hands on the book. Unfortunately it's going to have to wait till I get back. No where to stash it in my pack.