Thursday, June 26, 2008

Letters Home

There is an organization within the Army called the Family Readiness Group. Everyone calls it the F.R.G. because in the Army, everything must have an acronym. Must.

Anyway, its purpose is to provide support for and information to the families of service-members. Our company creates a newsletter once every month or two with pictures, stories, etc. and posts it on a F.R.G. website. One of the features of this newsletter is a section called- Letters Home. Someone here writes a letter to their spouse/family and it printed for everyone to read and go- awww. I think it's gay and hoped I would never have to do it. But.

I got asked it write one up last week and have it done by the end of the day. After politely declining the opportunity, I was ordered to write one. The next day I was even sternly reminded to write one. This is the problem I have with it. I dont care about the F.R.G. organization. I never read the newsletter and neither does my wife. I don't even know where to find it. So the whole thing is a sham. I dont know any of the people who are actually going to read it and I didn't feel like I had anything to say to them. My company had cancelled every flight I have had scheduled for the last 36 days. I only need one before I can start pulling flight duty. I have been stagnant for months, and it's been pissing me off. On top of not flying or working, I can't start college classes or get promoted until I am signed off.

After contemplating my situation for a few hours, I tried one last time to get out of the assignment. I tried to justify myself sighting some of the reasons listed above, but it was pointless. I was still stuck with it, and I only had a couple hours left to finish it.

So my initial letter was something like rant that became a very sarcastic verbal assault on the Army, Afghanistan, deployment, my flight company, and several individuals therin- followed by a slew of language that was quite beneath me. I felt much better afterwards and managed to barf up a decent letter after deleting attempt number one. Once I got that frustration out it was actually pretty easy. It is at least half bullcrap but it was positive and supportive and hopefully one of the poor pining saps who reads it will get some warm fuzzies, put down the twinkies, leave the sofa, and go to something productive.

And to anyone who thinks I'm appraoching this from a very shallow and uncaring direction- you're absolutely right. I never felt qualified to do it to begin with, remember?

And then.
Something really good happened the next day- my commander and my flight instructor got together and had a talk. After deciding it was totally pointless to try to get a training flight approved- ever, ever, ever- they fudged the paperwork and gave me the thumbs up to start pulling missions. After languishing here for a full 6 months, and 4 days before leaving the country for another month, I finally flew my first mission! And then another, and another, and another, and another. It's been so nice to actually be working and doing what I came here to do. It's been almost a year since I reenlisted to come to a medivac unit- and finally I am doing it!

I'll talk more about that stuff later. Today is my last day flying missions, tomorrow I am packing, and sunday I am leaving!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Fathers Day Special

Happy Fathers Day!

Fathers are so important. So influencial. So essential.
Mine is great. The best I could ever ask for. I've been thinking about some of the moments from my life that my dad has really come through for me, or taught me a valuable lesson, that I am really thankful for.

Like the time when I was 8 and he picked me up from the police station after I ran away in the middle of the night and started a fire in the woods while he and my mom were on a date. We had a good talk about choices and responsibility. The thing that stuck with me the most from that talk was that he didn't kill me- as I felt I deserved- And I knew that he really loved me.

When I was 11 he helped me get a paper route for the Daily Republic to teach me the value of work, self-reliance, and the feeling of accomplishment from recieving my very own paycheck. I was a terrible paperboy and he frequently had to help me do the route, or go over it to fix my mistakes. Putting the papers on the porch was just too boring after a while.

He was always involved in the Boy Scout program when I was, and taught me how to do manly things like camp, fish, make fires (big mistake), fix flat tires, first aid, how to build and fix stuff, and he set an example of service and preparedness and all those other scouty qualities.

He went with me my first time in court. I swore that I didn't know anything about that forest fire I started. I had to do it with my hand on the Holy Bible in front of a judge. I was only 10 and I knew if I told the truth that me and my whole family would go to jail. So I lied, the fire started itself. And prayed that God wouldnt just smite me straight to hell, and promised Him I'd never do it again. It was the most scared I have ever been, and Dad was there to support me.

My Dad carried me to emergency room when I tripped on some stairs and busted a hole through my lip. And again when I busted my head open on the elementry school rope that we weren't ever supposed to swing on. And patched me up over and over when I would come home mangled because I did something stupid.

My dad was the tallest, smartest, toughest, funniest, coolest person alive. He was Indiana Jones. He was He-man. He was a force for good.

He consoled me after I lost my first school fight.

He helped me do all my science projects and taught me how to do impossible things, like add fractions and spin a quarter with one hand.

He was my first home teaching companion and taught me the meaning of duty and magnifying your calling.

He taught me how to deal with dissappointment, how to stick things out, and how to keep my sense of humor. He taught me respect for women. He introduced me to spicy food, rock and roll, grilling, and martial arts movies- some of the greatest pleasures in life.

And that's not the half of it. The list goes on and on and on.

So thanks Dad, and thanks to all good dads and father figures everywhere. I love you. I appreciate you. I want to be like you. Happy Fathers Day!

And now, a quick vid for all you patient and supportive dads out there.

Friday, June 13, 2008

the Army Giveth, and the Army Taketh Away

I spent the last two days moving all my crap up and down stairs and from one end of the hanger to the other. Two days ago our company found out that 30 people from another unit were going to move in with us for the rest of the deployment, and we had two days to make room for them. This hanger had about 60 rooms made of hastily contructed plywood dividers when we got here. Since there were only 30 of us, most of us recently knocked down walls to expand our dwellings. We had it really good for about a month. Now the honeymoon is over. We have to relocate and downsize. All the crap I have accumulated over the last 6 months had to be drug off somewhere else. I still have it really good by most standards. But definatley not as good. I still have all my posh stuff like a little fridge and lots of decent furniture. I got a window now, too! And if I stand in the middle of my room, I can literally touch every single possession without having to move my feet. I'll never lose anything again! It's all crammed into a closet-sized box and the walls are so thin I can actually hear my neighbors breathing. No lie. Oh well. It's a deployment.

Just look at the difference.

Before, but with most everything moved out already.

After. Cozy.
That's my bookshelf and trash can in the window sill. I had to get creative with the limited space.

So I decided to make a list of a few of the really nice things the Army has given me this deployment, and a few of the crappiest things. I'll try for ten of each.

Really nice things. In no peticular order.

1. New Free Aid Bag ($400 retail, rediculous!)
2. One year Tax Free Income plus extra pay for family sepertion, hazerdous duty pay, flight pay, and combat zone pay. woohoo!
3. A super cool free switchblade
4. A laptop to use while I'm here
5. On site gym equipment
6. A crapload of free caribeeners
7. My own room- Thank you Uncle Sam, Thank you!
8. $100 in green socks
9. An 18 day paid vacation to Alaska- in 14 days!
10. All the free food I can eat.

That's a whole lot of great stuff. And its not even all of it! I didn't even put the bi-monthly barbeques or the hot showers. But let us move on.

Some crappy things the Army did.

1. Kicked me out of the Taj Maharrell
2. Is actually charging me leave days for my R and R. Stupid commies!
3. Zero weekends, holidays, half-days, breaks, birthdays, aniversaries off. It's all day everyday baby
4. Stupid 12-hour gym-towel detail every Saturday for 3 months. Thank heaven those days are over
5. Made me buy my own drug and airway bags ($ alot)
6. Pay me less than half what they pay civilian contractees for the same job- except they work less, do less, sleep more, drive air conditioned king cab F-350's, don't get shot at, and have twice the vacation time. You two-faced cheating harlot.
7. Gave me two random urine drug tests within the last 5 days
8. Cancelled every effective training flight I had scheduled for the last 22 days. (about 15 flights) So I am still in progression
9. Revoked the right of free speech, and a few others, but I'm not allowed to talk about them.
10. The food generally sucks.

The nice things generally make up for the lame things. It depends in the day. Another perspective could be- the crappy things make the nice things seem like weak attempts at trying to buy our loyalty so the man can distract us while they're injecting AIDS into our chicken nuggets. Even so, we have had it far better than any previous generation ever did. And I appreciate those men and womens sacrifices.

Wow. I got a little worked up by that. Anyway- Any other opinions? What do my readers (both of them) like/dislike about work? Does anyone who reads my rants have any deployment pearls to add? Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves.

p.s. spellcheck isnt working today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This is how crazy starts.

I've been trying to go to sleep for the past two hours and it just isn't working. It's because I took a nap at 6 in the evening because I was dead tired and felt sick to my stomach. Crap.

Anyway, I've been tossing and turning for hours and I keep thinking about pizza. I was watching a show with some friends this afternoon, and one of the characters was eating pizza. Before we were laughing and joking but when the pizza appeared- silence. And sadness mixed with lust. Is there a word for that? So I decided I would have pizza for dinner. On the line at the chow hall there are always these little 4 inch mini pizza things. I got one and ate one bite. Then I just looked at it for a few minutes and thought about how I am coming home in 17 days and will eat pizza every single day. Then I took a second bite from the opposite side. I guess I was hoping that side would actually taste like something close to pizza instead of cardboard. But it didn't.

There is actually a pizza-hut here thats operated by AAFES. It's better than the crap in the chow hall but it's way overpriced, it's half the size of the american kind, and the cheese has this weird fish taste/smell that lingers in your mouth for several house afterwards. I can eat 3 small slices if I'm hungry, but I feel sick after that.

So, this is where I'm at. Here is a list of things I would literally do for a real pizza right now.

1. Run 50 miles.

2. Drink urine.

3. Pay up to 100 dollars.

4. Rip out a fingernail -they grow back.

5. Stab a small defenseless furry animal to death- excluding puppies.

6. Watch Stepmom. Twice!

7. Let the other medics practice using the defibrillator on me. Once.

8. Give up showers for a month.

9. Stomp on a nail barefoot

10. Vote for Hillary. If it got me a pizza- I'd do it. Sorry, Earth.

sigh. Back to work on that sleep thing.

By the way. Somebodys start leaving comments!

pretty please.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wants to be a Daddy

Watching things like this make me want to have kids so badly! I am missing out on so many wonderful and tender experiences. I have heard many women blame those kinds of feelings on their ovaries. I don't have ovaries. And mentioning testicles in a blog in offensive, so I'm not going to mention them. Them meaning testicles.

If you already have all the kids you want, maybe you shouldn't watch. Precious moments like this remind me of the gaping hole in my life that can only be filled with a bunch of little Dave-Valli replicas.

If I dont get kids soon I'll have to steal me some.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Deep Thoughts

I saw this on one of our mechanics toolbox and had to take a picture of it. I don't think I have ever read anything like it before, and I don't really know what to make of it. But I thought it was an interesting statement and decided to share it.

I think it might be about tolerance. Maybe it's someones way of holding a mirror up to society and saying, Look at you- you're stupid! Or maybe it's a statement about the GOP. I can detect some irony in those words- but I could be imagining it. Or maybe Justin really hates gay communist baby seals.

Who knows.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fun with Free-Time

It's ironic that I never watch television at home, but find so much time for it here- where I dont have a tv either. This week I watched an entire season of 30 Rock. We have a shared server with lots of tv shows saved on to to watch at our leisure. The first episode is my favorite- specifically when Liz and Tracy are talking about White Dudes.

Tracy- Affirmative action was designed to keep us minorities and women in competition while White Dudes come in from behind and inject AIDS in our chicken nuggets. Its a metaphor!

Also, did you know that when your Blogger Dashboard is accessed from another country, like Afghanistan, everything is written in Italian? Its way cool. Especially when you try to do a spell-check and it lights up every single word. Except for the the Italian word, of course. Like- a. I'm pretty sure that leisure and specifically are spelled wrong. They usually are. Oh well.