iraqistan

3/18/2005

Money Matters

Filed under: — lana @ 3:31 am

Today is one of my “I love the Army” days. I really have those a lot, as I am sure it is obvious. Today is something of a day off for me, though I still have work to do prior to my eventual location change that has been in the government rumor mill for a few weeks now. Luckily, it is a government rumor mill, so it is a lot of hot air and very little production.

I decided this morning that I am going to finally start my book. T’will be a satire, I believe, as my life has turned into something of a horrendous comedy at this point, mostly at the hands of the Armed Forces. Entertaining for all involved except for myself, no doubt. With any luck I can retire at age 28 on the royalties and not have to worry about future government service, enjoying the fruits of capitalism having left the communist regime that is the Army.

Today I thought I might access my accounts that I hold with the Army for retirement funds. I thought, in my child-like innocence, that it would be nice to dream of how life will be when I am out of Iraq and out of the military. And so I found the correct website for the fund that I set up in Basic Training and attempted to access my information.

But lo, weary travelers! There was password protection, of course! Never fear, as I entered personal information I hope even my mother doesn’t know, and on to the PIN. Here, tragically, I was thwarted, as it has been several years since I thought about even looking at the accounts. And so I tried. Again. and Again. And after attempt three was locked out for an hour. So I said, “No worries, I will contact them.” Again, with the wide-eyed, naive wonder similar to that of my cats when they watch snow fall or a bug on the floor or their food bowl being filled, I clicked on the tab that would provide me with someone to give me my PIN.

As it turns out, they seem to guard this particular information much like the Top Secret vaults in the bowels of the Pentagon, quite unlike soldiers’ social security numbers which they use for every identification purpose conceivable in the greater military organizations. But in order to access PIN information, I first have to contact them. I cannot, it seems, do this via e-mail. I must call or write or fax them. From Iraq. Somehow. Score: Evil Government Agency: 1. Me: 0. Then, I must wait ten days or so for them to get a new PIN in the mail. Score: EGA: 2. Me: Still 0. Note that I have no idea what address they have on file, probably one while I was in training, so first that must be fixed prior to me even requesting the PIN. EGA: 17. Me: -6. And the games only continue.

You would think that they, being an agency that works primarily with people working overseas in various capacities, that they would streamline the process a touch. You would think. I would be very careful about thinking: it will only bring negative attention around here…

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