Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rerun #1

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Because I've been woefully remiss in my blogging duties, I've decided to post this old letter from back in February 08 to remind folks of how we ended up in Korea. I'll get back to blogging for real when the dust settles sometime in the next year or two. Until then, enjoy. Disclaimer: I made some small edits to the letter because some editing functions didn't transfer too well when I copied and pasted onto the blog. Until next time - C2

February 2008

Friends and Family,

Raise your tray tables, place your seat backs in the forward position and strap on your seatbelts! It’s time for the Cruz’s totally random time of the year annual letter. I hope you have just as big of a lungbuster of a good time reading it as we’ve had living it out. I have to blame my tardiness with this letter on several factors. One, my month long euphoric stupor over the Dolphins’ lone victory over the Ravens. Two, the Grinch attempting to steal Christmas at the Cruz household. More on that later. And three, reality television. By the way, because of the hiring of Bill Parcells, I’ve recently stepped away from the window ledge of the tenth story of a tall building. Big Tuna and the Dolphins. Mark it down – Championship!

The family is doing well. Although Carol and I don’t consider ourselves obese by any means, we have disgusted ourselves recently to the point that we’re both looking to get back in shape. Because I think I saw Carol rewinding the Tivo to take a second glance at Titan from American Gladiators, I’m doing my best to buff up the bod. You never know when the bride might be looking for an upgrade. CJ has now read more books than I did during my entire time at the Naval War College. He wants to be a writer when he grows up, which is great because of the job security. Writers never go on strike. Jake has taken to saying some of the best bedtime prayers ever. “Dear God. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my home. Thank you for parmesan cheese. Amen.” Parmesan cheese makes everything better.

Carol and I hope your 2007 was as good as ours…wait a minute. No we don’t. Carol had some heart problems, I got passed over for command, Fred needed surgery, USAA dumped our home insurance, I didn’t get picked up for the Permanent Military Professor program and our house was broken into twice. The icing on the cake was the house getting burglarized just days before Christmas and having our presents stolen from under the Christmas tree. My guess is that the folks who did this not only want to go to H-E-double hockey sticks, but they must want to take the express train there.

As bad as the initial shock was over this burglary, the outpouring of generosity and kindness from my shipmates at US Southern Command, CJ’s school and our neighbors was incredibly heartwarming. Carol and I spent the day after the robbery doing some emergency replacement gift shopping. The following day at work, I returned to an unbelievable sight. My desk area was overflowing with gifts for the boys. I know that all of you consider me to be a model of manliness but I was really close to shedding tears right there at work. CJ’s school also did a collection and presented the family with an envelope of money and gift cards - which I immediately took to the track to bet on my favorite horse. Just kidding. I took it to the casino instead. Yes, we did feel uncomfortable with accepting these gifts. We felt the right thing to do was accept some of the gifts and donate the rest. It was a good opportunity for us to show CJ how folks should give back to help others. Although the Grinch - or some of his henchmen anyway - tried to steal Christmas, we refused to let it get us down. Rather than dwell on the negative act of a few bad apples, what my family will always remember is the incredible goodwill displayed by many thoughtful people. What began as an unfortunate event transformed into such a wonderful act of love and a long-lasting Christmas memory.

I don’t want to come across that 2007 was a bad year. On the contrary, 2007 held many memorable events for the Cruz’s. Carol and I finally got baptized! I have no idea why we waited so long. We’ve really enjoyed our church and have been more involved than we’ve ever been in the past. I had the privilege of being the Executive Officer for our Deputy Commander at Southcom. The year I spent working for General Spears was an incredibly rewarding experience. I was also promoted to Commander a year ago. And to finish off the year, we had a heck of a holiday visit from the entire Cruz family. We feasted, laughed, played games, watched movies, went fishing and just really enjoyed each other’s company. In short, 2007 was not too shabby at all.

Two simple words also helped to make 2007 a memorable year - soy milk. Being lactose intolerant, I’m now able to once again partake in one of the great joys of my childhood – scarfing down a big bowl of Golden Grahams cereal. Okay, so the soy milk turns my poop green but that’s a small price to pay. Darn, I told myself I wasn’t going to write about poop again in this year’s annual letter. I’ve failed miserably. Since I’ve already broached the poop topic (WARNING for the faint of heart – please skip to the next paragraph if you are easily skeeved out), Jake has taken to potty training rather well. Carol and I do the goofy parent thing and heap praise on Jake as if he’s just won the Nobel Peace Prize whenever he produces his stinky little shooey in his potty chair. While making one of his very first shooeys, Carol and I were rejoicing with Jake and letting him know what a good job he had done. Trumpets were blaring, birds were chirping and all was right with the world. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this white, furry flash near the potty chair. My heart began to race uncontrollably as I realized the HORROR of what had just transpired. Our dog Fred had just made an afternoon snack out of the shooey! Instantaneously, jubilation turned to extreme disgust. NOOOOO!!! Carol and I did our best to execute our consequence management plan but those efforts would only slightly mitigate the abominable image that was now permanently scarred in our brains. For a split second, the Filipino in me thought of doing diabolical things to the dog, but those thoughts subsided. Plus I wasn’t very hungry.

And now for our big news. We’re going to Korea! I've been selected to be the Commanding Officer of Military Sealift Command, Korea stationed in Busan, Korea. The whole family will be going for this two year tour. I'll probably report to Korea in late May. Carol and the kids will come after the school year is completed. I thought the window for me to become Mr. Big Pants Commanding Officer had closed. I’m glad I was wrong. I officially take over the command on 20 June. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this opportunity to lead. Besides, I’ve never dropped trow in the Far East. The travel opportunities are tremendous - Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, New Zealand, Australia, etc. We can also visit Mom & Dad in the Philippines. We’re excited about our first overseas duty and the big city living we’ll experience in Busan. Korea boasts the number ten economy in the world and Busan’s skyline is one of the top 50 in the world. So you world travelers out there - come on out and visit the Cruzers! We dare you!

The older I get, the more I realize that the plans I try to force upon myself usually get all jacked up. But the plan that God lays out for us – well, it’s awesome. I know that just in the past year, some of you have experienced deaths in the family, had serious medical issues, marital problems, issues with the kids and maybe things not going so great at work. I hope that you handle the challenges that come your way with enthusiasm, energy and an eye on a positive outcome. May you turn potential obstacles into opportunities. Or at least into parmesan cheese. Here’s to a blessed 2008 for you and your family!

All the best,

Chris, Carol, CJ, Jake and Fred

Fred, the white flash
Christmas 2007


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