Diary of a Day

Filed under: — lana @ 3:25 pm

What a marvelous and fantastic day.

If by marvelous and fantastic I mean over 15 hours on base, three hurried meals, several half-interrupted tasks, and a mild dose of panic as garnish.

Wake up around 5 as usual, since I haven’t slept later in about two or three years. I can go back to sleep usually on weekends, but long since learned that is a bad idea during the week. At the gym by 6. Find my Soldiers, make them stop complaning about whatever it is this week that hurts and then go help another NCO get his Soldiers set for a bike physical training test, which he has never conducted but I have, to my dismay, taken a few times and never intend to again. Congress may be on the fence about waterboarding being torture; they really need to look at the bike physical training test in the Army first.

But as usual, I digress. The gym today was muscular strength, so I get my Soldiers doing what they are supposed to and then watch to make sure they aren’t trying to find ways around it. After the gym, at work by 0730 to finish whatever reports I did not get to finish the day before. Usually several. Chat with my local national, who has a habit of talking excessively about random topics, get the Soldiers in, find a project to occupy their time and keep them away from me so I can get something accomplished. Take one over to housing because they need to move her from her barracks room before she is sharing a bathroom with a male senior enlisted or something. Housing, as usual, takes an hour and a half to complete a ten minute task. I feel any semblance of life and soul wither awayeach time I acknowledge the time wasted every time I am sucker enough to step foot in the general vicinity.

But I digress again. Skip lunch, because housing prevented me from getting reports finished. Write those, remember I promised my husband I would go see about buying him a gas-guzzling and horribly large pickup truck for his eventual return from points east and sandy. Go see the car sales person and build the truck. On the way there my First Sergeant calls. He asks me how flexible I am. I point out that our Equal Opportunity representative might have issues with him asking that, particularly since he prefaced it with the comment that he had just talked to the battalion commander, which makes me more nervous about anything they might ever discuss. He ignores my distress, says I can call her later, and informs me that the warrant officer, whom I had been expecting late this week, was instead about to be en route to my location so I should really call about finding him somewhere to stay. I call my Soldiers and give them instructions, try to at least get the truck saved in the system so I don’t have to start over. I can’t finish, as I have to go to an appointment to talk to someone about an inane task that normal people would have solved with a phone call. Head over there, wait around half an hour, get told that person is busy because other people were late for other appointments with her that day, come back in an hour. Head back to the office. Finish plans for the warrant officer.

Breathe. Get halfway through that and process two more reports. Grab my Soldiers and my local national, who luckily surfaced around this time as sometimes I forget where he is, have them give me presentations I asked them to prepare for the warrant officer about what they do. Give them changes, realize I am about to be late for my rescheduled appointment. Go to the appointment. Come back.

Breathe. Nope, no time for that, call my husband to double check the truck and send me some papers while finalizing two reports. Get a call from my First Sergeant asking that I please keep the cork on my crazy for a few days until the warrant at least gets over his jet lag. Agree to at least make an effort. Print everything off and realize I have to go meet the warrant officer. Dump half of my exceedingly messy desk into my safe and the other half into my car in a haphazard attempt to exude some professionalism and a semi-clean desk and drive over to the other base where Army Lodging has set up shop. Meet the warrant. Get him into his room, offer to take him to find food and pray he will decline as I still have things to do. He does. I could hug him, but that would be weird. I leave him to run over and grab some fast food, which I hardly ever eat, so I can head back to base to finish the truck piece while my food gets nice and cold in the car. Eat it on the way home as I realize I have been running around for 15 hours and for every thing I scratched off my to do list, I had added three more. With the early arrival of my warrant officer, I now effectively doubled the list because everything I was going to do to prepare for him I had planned to do tomorrow. Tomorrow, of course, just became yesterday…

Vacation comes in a week and a half when I leave for the States for a ten week course, given as a gift by my First Sergeant who, despite knowing those silly animals up at our training shop, is still surprised when things happen such as my class last March getting denied because the correct paperwork didn’t make it to the correct place in even remotely close to the correct time.

But my reenlistment paperwork is en route.

And my MRI is Friday to check and make sure I still have a brain at all, or if it hasn’t run off somewhere to escape this madness. I do wish it would leave a note as to where it might have gone, as I might like to join it when I have a moment to breathe.


Lost: Marbles, 1 Set

Filed under: — lana @ 2:16 pm

The husband is gone after his brief sojourn in Germanistan, and thus the craziness can once again commence.

Somewhere amid cursing people under my breath, calling my first sergeant to curse people out loud, doing jobs that should have been done by other people months ago, getting yelled at for not doing jobs that I should be doing but have no time to complete, being given the run around when I actually try to do my job, and adding three things on my to-do list for every one I scratch off, I contacted my first sergeant and told him I would reenlist.

If someone finds a set of marbles rolling about on their own and unclaimed, please let me know. They might well be mine.

The deal, really isn’t all that bad, particularly when you are as crazy as I am finding myself to be. 17,000 dollars (before taxes, so in reality about 25 bucks and a pat on the back), a class I was going to attend anyway, three years in the general vicinity of Germany which I really don’t like all that much, and the promise of a deployment for real this time. The class will get me a secondary job skill that I have wanted for the past five years or so, the deployment I have wanted for some time and will give me needed experience in the new job, and really I will not be in Germany that much over the course of the three years with schools and the deployment, so I found it was possible to justify the whole deal to myself and to my poor, unsuspecting husband and sometime next week will once again raise my right hand and smack myself on the back of the head. Anyone else who wants to do the same, just watch the left side, please, as it is already damaged. Beatings on the right, however, are welcome and apparently needed. Don’t worry about knocking marbles loose, as it appears they are long since lost anyway.

I suppose it is a bit of a relief to have finally made a decision about what I am going to do, which is a tiny piece of stress off of my shoulders and probably good for my overall slowly failing mental health. Now all I have to do is start the clock, tidy up the various messes which seem to have been left on timers in various places around the country so they detonate periodically and I again introduce my frontal lobe with full force to a desktop somewhere, pack my things, and start my wanderings.

Perhaps along the way I will be able to find an extra set of marbles somewhere.



Filed under: — lana @ 12:18 pm

I just received an email from General Casey, Secretery Geren, et al. The contents were to thank the Soldiers and their families for their continued service and to state that combat tours will reduce to a somewhat normal 12 months starting 1 August 2008. It also casually comments that those already there will continue to serve their scheduled tours, namely 15 months.

I have a husband who is about to get leave after more than 10 months, a time when on a normal tour you would be gearing up to leave the dusty sandpit you have learned to call home. By the time he gets here we will be just about two weeks shy of a year since his last visit to me out in the cold, dark reaches of Germanistan. I get six whole days with him this time around, leave having been screwed up because I, as usual, am not where I am supposed to be because of an undereducated chimpanzee that nevertheless outranks me wreaking havok in battalion offices halfway across the country.

The letter, a feel-good and I’m sure heartfelt by the secretary - whom I can assure was not The Honorable Pete Geren - who wrote it composition, called up pleasant images in the back of my mind of punching people in the mouth. I am sure that this is either a result of the brain damage for which I still have not obtained an MRI or because I regularly work more than 12 hours a day. Surely not because it remains a punch in the face for all those currently waiting out sandstorms and telling small Iraqi children that when they get a job they can buy a watch and therefore do not need to incessantly ask for mine.

My favorite part of the letter was the part about dwell time, the time a Soldier has between deployments. It said that the tour length reduction would not affect the dwell time policy. This tickled me a bit, as I distinctly recall getting off of a plane from Afghanistan to a welcome brief informing us that we could well leave again in three months or so. Turned out to be four and a half or so. So this “dwell time” policy has always been a little sketchy with me, though admittedly these days I appear to be the sole person who cannot get to the sand no matter what efforts are made.

I thank the Generals and Secretaries and Politicos for their thanks and their emails. Nothing says love and snuggles like a mass email to the entire military population. Really, the gesture of the notification was appreciated because there are a few in the military, such as a Soldier or two of mine who think Chavez is from Russia but know that J Lo may have just secretly married some rapper, who may not have gotten the message. It is nice to know that if I go back it won’t be for the length of time it would take for me to get another graduate certificate in something or another. But for now, while I thank you Gentlemen for your kind words, I have a house to clean for my annual allotted six days of getting to pretend I am married.



Filed under: — lana @ 2:25 pm

I am starting to believe that my First Sergeant is out to get me.

This might be because he occasionally tells me that he is, in fact, out to get me.

He informed me today that really he could care less what anyone else gets out of it, he just wants a picture of me reenlisting to frame and hang on his wall. He said this after offering me the class I want, a few thousand bucks after taxes, and a deployment if I reenlist for three years. I pointed out that wouldn’t that still screw over those that were expecting me to go out there and be a platoon sergeant in the summer, and he responded that he really didn’t care. I noted that he plans to retire in the next year, so really he actually doesn’t care what the unit gets out of whatever it is he can convince me to do, but he apparently really wants that picture. And he is out to get me. He just mentions that periodically offhand, however, so I choose to ignore it most of the time.

Yesterday, on a somewhat unrelated note, it snowed all day. It melted by midday today, but the point was I kept looking out onto my balcony yesterday and stifling the desire to walk out there and shake my fist at the sky, mostly because I knew it would be quite cold. Instead I donned flipflops and kept my robe on all day and resolved not to go out until it got warmer. I did have to get up at an abomination of an hour this morning and get a uniform on to take two Soldiers to Warrior Leader Course, where I ended up standing around in the cold with several other extremely cranky noncommissioned officers for several hours wondering why it is we do what we do at all. Then I wandered over to my company just to say hello and my First Sergeant comes up with his latest brilliant plan to get his photograph.

I should have stuck with my plan. At least then my First Sergeant would have tried to convince me of all of this while I was wearing flipflops, pajamas, and a robe.

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