Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thoughts From Staff Duty

The army is all about chain of command. We have a lot of chains. Some of them occasionally get cut and than someone steals Kevin's HMMWV and leaves it in a drop zone. But that is an entirely different story. One of the wonderful end results of the need to maintain that chain of command and responsibility is that every now and then some poor sucker (read me) gets stuck on Staff Duty. It pretty much entails sitting at headquarters all night transferring morale calls from downrange and occasionally making trips out to check the physical security at our motor pools. What it also does in this case is give me some time to write for our very neglected blog.

Thoughts Of Home
For the first time since 4 July 1986 I find myself more than about 4 hours of travel from some part of New England. While I truly love it here, there are some random moments when I get really homesick. Jak has the same thing happen, but it never ceases to amaze me what will actually spark thoughts of home. SSG Clement works in my company in the Maintenance section and despite him being a Mainer we share some thoughts of home from time to time. The weather today actually made us both homesick. Not because it was a particularly nice day, in fact it was rather a miserable one. What made us think of home was the rain. It was raining on one side of the motor pool and not the other. New Hampshire, Maine, New England in general, watch out, Germany's weather is just as retarded as yours.

Planet Earth
Jak and I don't have a TV over here. While some would miss it, I challenge anyone to watch a single show on Armed Forces Network and not want to commit violent acts on whoever thinks of their terrible commercials. What we do have is my computer (Jak's died last month, she blames Aaron Burr and she just may be right) with its DVD player. Our DVD collection is extensive and selections abound from such classics as "Beerfest" and "Hot Fuzz" to legitimate movies like "Gladiator" and "24 Solo." We really don't watch any of those, instead on the occasions that we do watch a DVD instead of read, we always watch "Planet Earth." Admittedly, we could save time and money just looking out our window to see some of planet Earth, but the cinematography isnt as good, and My Birds of Paradise is just as annoying. While we love to watch it, the cats love it more. Nothing amuses them more than trying to figure out how to get to the pint sized elephants and whales on the screen. Every day when we at work they pull out the pencils and papers to try to figure out how to break those delicious looking creatures out and snack on them. If the mice are any test of their hunting prowess I fear that the endangered creatures will, if anything be, more safe.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Electoral College Dropouts

Also known as the case of the cats who don't learn too well. I know it is a stretch for the title, but what is blogging without creative puns. Our cats are a source of constant amusement. As in the "hey we figured out how to get to the mouse cage and in our attempts to play with the mice we knocked the cage off and then got scared and neglected to actually try to get the mice and instead the people had to search until they found them behind the bookshelf and under the fridge" sort of amusement. While episodes like that can be frustrating, it is really nice to come home not only to each other but also to the pitter patter of scrambling feet. The cats have grown from their original handful sized selves into their current awkward teenager incarnations. Aaron Burr is still smaller, but has become the HTMIC (Head Trouble Maker In Charge) mainly by virtue of his "I did what wrong?" facial expression and trips into the recycling bin. We tell him that if he keeps playing in the recycling we will just recycle him and get a better cat, but he knows the real deal. Thomas Jefferson is more sedate, after all he still hasnt dueled anyone. He is most definatley a he, after his initial gender confused stage he has emerged as the more responsible big brother of the HTMIC. Tom's biggest asset is the fact that he understands when he is in trouble. If you yell "NO" or as Jak sometimes prefers "NO YOU STUPID F@#(*!N CAT!!" he will immediatley cease and desist. Aaron Burr is slightly more hard headed, or persistant depending on the side of the terrorist/freedom fighter debate you stand on. He greets shouting with the "Who Me? Cute little me?!?" look. Probably his biggest use of this face comes on his forrays onto the kitchen counter or into the empty bath tub (he has only had one trip to the full tub, and that was just funny). Miller has found what may be a solution, as both places have ample water supplies. Instead of bothering with the spray bottle it is more effective, and more fun, to simply lift said cat, yell "NO" and douse his head under the faucet. Being an army cat, he then attempts yet another training jump (read tossed kitty) and . . . well as yet nothing has happened after that, but we have high hopes that he will learn, or at least get his master jumper wings. We love the cats, and they add that spice of adventure that all houses need.