Friday, September 28, 2007

okay, okay... women are right...

getting your hair cut IS complicated!

so. i need a haircut this weekend. a buddy was asking me if i would have time to go shoot this weekend, and i said i didn't know and was listing out the things i need to accomplish. unfortunately it's a halfway long list for a weekend and if i don't get a couple big things done i'll feel like a slacker. which i am. but i'll really feel like one.

one of the items was "get my haircut". he got excited. "ooh, this'll work out. we'll go to my place and then we'll go shooting afterwards" and started laughing way more than he needed to at the idea of getting our hair cut. we've talked about "his place" before and it freaks me out. he goes to a topless barber shop. now, i'm not against oogling breasts. that's not what freaks me out. what freaks me out is the last two times i've gotten my hair cut at MY place, the barbers (both women, but not topless) have gotten splinters from my hair. i had no idea such a thing was possible, and then to have two of them, in a row, have it happen to them is just weird. i asked both of them about it, and they both said it usually happens a couple times a week. and it happened in the same place to both of them. they were reaching over my head with one arm and just brushed their inner arm against my head and *blam* splinter. so. i start thinking about topless females and accidental brush and a splinter in a really inconvenient, sensitive spot and cringe. so that place is out.

and my normal place? i went their two weeks ago in uniform. i'd just gotten done counseling my new soldiers and one of the bullets i cover in the initial counseling is professional appearance. then i caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw that i was looking a little shaggy and couldn't be a hypocrite. so i stopped on the way home to get a haircut so i wouldn't embarrass myself the next day standing in front of them in formation. the female barber who opened up first called my name and i went back, sat in the chair and we started small-talking as she was doing her prep work. turns out we're both part thai and so we just kept talking from there. nice, normal trivial hair-cut chit-chat. obviously she was high-energy and was one of those ones who can't just let you trance-out, but has to keep talking or they get uncomfortable.

anyways, she's just talking and all of a sudden the words "i really want to sleep with an army guy" come out of her mouth. and are followed by lots of other words. which didn't ease my comfort level. especially with tons of people, to include kids around. i mean, it's one thing in the parking lot of a bar at last call, or whispered in your ear... at an appropriate moment. but blurted out, repeatedly by your barber throws you for a loop.

i'm getting shaggy again, so tomorrow's haircut day. we'll see how it goes.

i think this video came out the summer i was 17. back when mtv actually had music. i had such a crush on the girl and thought it was a great song at the time. i could be in the other end of the house and hear this video come on and i'd almost break my neck trying to plant my ass on the couch to watch it. fortunately all the guys i hung out with felt the same way, so if we were all hanging out together everyone shut up at once and we didn't have to beat anyone down.

different times way back when. i watch this now and feel relatively guilty because she looks so young. as i understand it, billy was still recovering from his motorcycle accident and that's why all the shots are of him from the waist up and he's got such a limited role in this video.

too bad his new music sucks so bad.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

i deleted a comment by accident on a post or two back. sorry!

couple things...

okay. first, i've gotta say you guys are absolutely awesome. thanks so much all of you. i really appreciate all the offers of tastykakes and ikea runs and everything else as a response to my earlier post. and i apologize, i didn't mean to sound like i was asking you guys for stuff, no guilt trips, honest. keep reading, i'm not gonna ask for collections for a new ipod (or tissot seastar), i promise.

i'm gonna tell my mom and my dad. and i'll probably tell them before i go. i just don't see the point of telling them now, or several months ago and causing my mom to worry for several months. she can't change anything, but she'll worry anyways. so i'll give her a couple more months of blissful ignorance.

so. funny story. my dad joined the navy way back when. he'd failed out of the seminary, sucked at selling insurance and his brothers had gone through the navy and done well for themselves afterwards. so he thought he'd give it a shot. at the time, if you wanted to the G.I. Bill you had to serve in a combat zone, so he volunteered for service in Vietnam. did he tell his folks? oh hells no. how'd they find out? he broke his glasses. he needed to get a radio patch to the local radio station and have them tap into the local phone system so he could get his mom to get his prescription and send it over. not as happy as they could be. especially when the next time they saw him he had a wife and two kids... short story long, he fell in love with that part of the country and didn't want to come home.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

timing is everything...

a couple years ago i was crosstraining with another unit in denver. they were moving within a building and needed a hand from a commo guy/computer geek. they had a pretty good guy on staff, but it was just alot of work for one guy. i met the kid, he was pretty sharp, we worked well together the first morning. as we were bullshitting while working, we realized we lived in the same apartment complex on the complete other side of town. we were both from iowa, both had the same military specialty and both did the same thing in the civilian world. he's a fair bit younger than me but we've hung out over the years and become pretty good buddies.

i was trying to talk him into going to afghanistan with me, but he wouldn't. he was just coming off of an active duty tour, and was starting a new job and didn't want to screw with it by leaving for a tour. he's working for a government contractor and an opportunity came up for him to go to iraq with them for a helluva lot more money than i'll be making. he's excited about it. he's young, single, and has trained for deployments. he'll really set himself up for success with the company he's working for. just a win-win situation.

a couple weeks ago we were going out to dinner. the girl he was kinda seeing was with us and we were talking about his trip. she's from a very religious, very close-knit family. she's graduated from college, working a very "grown-up", "career" job. making a decent wage for someone so young and living at home with her family, just because they're that close. so she's having ALOT of problems understanding him. he's got no plans to go home first to see his family before going home. hasn't told them that he's going yet. while we were going through some of his stuff, he made a smart assed comment about how he was having a harder time throwing out old combat boots than he did throwing out christmas cards and letters from the family. she was hoping i'd help her gang up on him and get him to talk to his family.

i couldn't do it. not all of my family knows yet. i personally am too weak to deal with lectures from my dad. he's such a hero to me that it tears me up when he tells me what a mistake i'm making. especially since he's a vietnam vet. he's been in similar situations, and knows that they're not always by choice. so i'm just avoiding that all together. one of my biggest fears in that respect is that i won't be able to swallow it, and i'll say things i'll regret. and then something will happen to me over there and that's the last thing he'll remember. hearing the same lecture 3 times in a row doesn't not make it any better.

bigger than that though is my mom. next month will be 2 years now since my sister passed away. she worried so badly last time. if there was anyway to go the whole trip without telling her about it, it'd be just fine by me. or at least make it through the holidays. but unfortunately i don't think that's gonna happen. i'd like to spare her a couple of months of worrying if possible though. not quite sure of the right time to break that one to her though. blah.

Friday, September 14, 2007


so i've been on this waffle cone blizzard kick lately. are they REALLY that good? pretty close. are the dq girls really that cute? not so much, they just make me feel old. so why do i go there so much?
i got a speeding ticket on the motorcycle the other day. over 25 miles over the speed limit. and even though i've gotten one, i can't turn the speed freak off. if i'm having a john wayne day where i'm really feeling good on the bike i just keep twisting and twisting the throttle...
i'm eating out. alot lately. but no subway, pizza hut, taco bell or burger king. lots of junk food and nice restaurants. i'm sitting on the couch watching tons of t.v., drinking more beer than i normally do, cranking the stereo whenever possible... in all of 2007 i've been shooting for fun twice. all in the last week. and i'm going again on sunday.
i'm not running anywhere near as much as i should. bare minimum to pass my p.t. test and be able to beat/keep up with my kids. nothing to improve my times or prepare for my leg of this year's marathon.
you've probably figured out what i'm doing already. because you're smarter than me. someone actually had to point it out to me. i'm stockpiling experiences before i deploy. i suppose if morals didn't get in the way i'd be having one night stands or hiring hookers left and right. all the things that i'm going to miss while i'm overseas i'm catching up on right now. as much as a person can. i've already started to think about who i can tap for tastykakes, ikea pillows and clean bedsheets. i've really been pulling myself away from friends alot lately. been trying to enjoy some solitude before i'm constantly surrounded by people. which i need to be careful about, because i don't want to lose friends, and when i'm over there i'll miss them as much as i'll miss alone time.
anyways. don't call me sunday afternoon. i'll be busy stockpiling naps or shooting. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

i'm okay with going back

Monday, September 10, 2007

the weekend...

the weekend was pretty good. slept late saturday. made plans to go shooting and then got a call from one of the guys in my group. "hey, what're you doing?" "getting ready to go shooting, you?" "i'm down here at the harley shop, why aren't you here?" "uhm. because i don't need a new motorcycle and mine is running fine?" "no jackass, the fund raiser. why aren't you down here?"

military units have what they call an "frg" or "family readiness group". the spouses/families form a support group for one another. in theory a good thing, in practice? usually a disaster that occassionaly gets lucky and does some good. anyways, they run some fundraisers to raise money to have events and to help families in need during deployments. they buy gifts for the kids at Christmas, etc...

each year the big harley shop near me (where i bought my scoot from) has a big event and they let our frg set up a booth and sell t-shirts and snacks. usually it's the biggest money maker of the year. only this year the unit forgot to tell anyone when it was. apparently a couple kids were hanging around on friday so they got snagged to help out. so i threw on my uniform and climbed on the bike and got down there. always fun looking at skanky biker chicks for an hour or two. and the non-skanky ones. seriously though, it's good to get out there and meet people and clear up misconceptions about the military. let them see we're not all a bunch of brain-washed idiots who aren't capable of making informed decisions of our own.

i was still able to get out with my buddy and go shooting. that was a heck of alot of fun. quiet range, we were the only people shooting. the army takes all of the fun out of shooting for qualification purposes. it's fun just to put rounds downrange and get comfortable with the weapons all over again. he's a pretty good shot and taught me a couple cool tricks. i'd like to think i returned the favor.

sunday was just spent doing errands around the house, then screwing around. a friend and his gf came over for burgers and brauts. we went pistol shopping. then fried cd's in an old microwave to watch the spark show.

kinda nice to have a really, really low-key, low-stress weekend for once.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

i'm shot for the rest of the day...

i've eaten too much. today was another cookout day at work.

here's my little grill station where i worked my magic.

and i have NO idea what the goofy look on my face was for here... someone brought in some delicious brownies and some excellent carrot cake. i'm pretty much useless until tomorrow folks!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

don't be a selfish ass...

...for lack of a better title

so. as the new deployment gets closer alot of negativity comes out from people who i'd like to consider as members of my support group. they don't mean it as such. but it's there and it's a pain in the ass to deal with. and it's not just me, we're all going through it. one of my kids is in big trouble because he just stopped showing up for training. his family was guilting him like crazy. saying that his grandmother (who raised him) was on her deathbead and his deployment would push her over the edge, and then preventing him from seeing her. his girlfriend is threatening to break up with him or cheat on him if he leaves because she "loves him so much and doesn't know how to cope without him". when he finally got a chance to see his grandmother in person she was fairly supportive. not happy, but supportive.

with me it's alot of "why do you have to go again?", "so are you surprised that your boss is being an ass to you when you're leaving all the time?", "do you realize that you're shirking responsibilities?", "do you enjoy stressing your mother out this much?", "your civilian job is just as meaningful as your army job" and what tons of others.

i'm a good soldier. someone was trying to make fun of me the other day at training, saying that i'd make a great mom because i worry about all the little details. i considered it a compliment. as an nco, that's my job. i'm supposed to take care of my soldiers, everything from making sure that they're bathing regularly and practicing good personal hygiene to worrying about their technical and tactical abilities. there are some guys who are better at different aspects of soldiering than me, but i'm a pretty damned good total package.

soldiering might just be what i do best. there's probably other things that i'm good at but nothing that i do as well overall. and there isn't much that gives me that kind of feeling of satisfaction. of course with the good comes lots of bad. and the potential for alot more. if something bad happens to one of these young guys that i'm responsible for...

if i had the temperament to be a teacher or the brains and discipline to be a doctor those are careers i'd shoot for. i spent alot of time agonizing over the decision of whether or not to enter the seminary a decade ago. toured several, spent tons of times in retreats praying for guidance. i've done research about careers in law enforcement and even applied to a place or two. but at the end of the day soldiering is my niche. of course, because life is never easy it comes with alot of bureaucracy that i can't handle full time, so i have to do it as a reservist and take a little break from it from time to time, but it's not just a job. it's a lifestyle choice. it's part of me. part of the definition of me. not the entirety, but definately an important piece.

so it irks me that people ask me to deny that. that they don't get that and think it's something to just turn off. maybe i could flip that switch in time of peace, but now? send kids out the door and not be willing to go myself? granted, i'm getting tired. and this trip is going to be my last for awhile, but i'll still be training and poking and prodding... and it really irks me when people try to compare my civilian job to that. my civilian job is all about making sure that people use technology to streamline their processes. thus helping the company to save money. thus making the owner of the company richer. that's it. it's about making money. manufacturing a product that if we didn't make, someone else would. and not even making a helluva lot of money for myself. and everytime i've left before? it's survived without me.

then there's the whole "legal obligation". "why can't you just stop doing that stuff? tell them it's interfering with work?" because i'm legally obligated. sure, i volunteered to be legally obligated, but i'm legally obligated all the same. a piece of paper shows up on my desk ordering me to report for duty means i have to report for duty. if i don't show up action can be taken against me. and were i not legally obligated, i'd still be morally obligated. i took an oath. and i've gotten some good stuff out of the army. and the army had upheld it's end of the bargin. my last bonus which helped me buy my house and get out from under bad debt, training, my college degree, life experiences, great friendships, self-confidence and so much more. my turn to uphold my end.

this video is another of those "sad songs" we were talking about a couple posts ago. i enjoy big and rich, mostly for their more upbeat songs that i like roadtripping to. but this is a great song, and a great video. and it's what it's all about. the guys to your left and your right. the same guys who i just got back from iraq with are turning around and going on this new trip. with a couple additions. that alone is a good enough reason for me. would you let your son or brother or father or spouse go alone if you had an opportunity to go with them? think our relationships are any less strong?

i know all these people mean well. and i appreciate the sentiment. but in reality they're just making it so much harder. and i'm sure i'll have negativity myself about the trip. and i'll vent it. the "deployment" as a whole encompasses a helluva of time, people and experiences. and some of them are going to be bad. and as much as i want to go, there are parts of me that don't. i'm human. which makes me complicated.

Monday, September 03, 2007

it doesn't get much better...

... than a cold beer in a hot shower after a good day's work.