June 20, 2006


Many people who work for the Army in certain aspects -- finance, housing, health clinic come to mind -- hate their jobs because if someone's in their office, he's probably mad. My husband realized this when he started working in Finance: it used to frustrate him that people always came in guns blazing, so he and I have always tried to be extra understanding and extra benefit-of-the-doubt-giving in these offices. But we're slowly learning the lesson of the squeaky wheel.

The first thing my husband did when we got our cell phones was to go in to Inbound Transportation and give them our phone number. They assured us that they would call us when our household goods arrived. It's been two and a half weeks since then, and we've started getting antsy. Eleven days on an air mattress can do that do you. So my husband went by their office today to see what was going on. Our stuff has been here since 6 June, but "they didn't have our phone number." My husband watched someone write it down on a paper in our file on 2 June, but apparently that paper is lost and no one in Transportation seemed to care that much. And it gets worse: they are so busy that they can't deliver our stuff until 5 July. So we'll live in this city for six months, and our stuff will languish in storage for a month of it because they lost our phone number.

And I knew I had a bad feeling about it. Some of our friends got their stuff two weeks ago, and I knew that our stuff couldn't be this far behind. But I didn't want to be the guns-blazing type who goes into Transportation every day and demands her stuff. I figured that I would give them their space since they assured us they'd call. Silly me.

Two years ago my friend's husband didn't get his reenlistment bonus. He politely pointed this out to Finance three times, each time to no avail, and his bonus came a full year late. My husband joked that he hates when soldiers go straight to IG with asinine complaints, but my friend's husband sure would've gotten service faster if he'd headed straight to the top instead of putting faith in the system. If he'd come in guns blazing, someone would've helped him. The squeaky wheel tactic works.

I want to be an understanding and cooperative family, especially if we're staying in this system for another 16 years. But I am already tired of getting screwed over. There are medical appointments if you bark loud enough. Reenlistment bonuses come when you shout. And your household goods get delivered a month earlier if you pester Transportation.

From now on, I guess I'm squeaky.

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June 14, 2006



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June 09, 2006


The first time we moved together, away from our college town and to our first duty station, the first move of many to come, my husband surprised me by bringing along our Tom Petty CD and playing "Time to Move On" as we headed off. We've continued to do this every time we drive to our new post, and every time I cry as we leave the old. That is, every time until now. I honestly can't say that I was sad to leave Germany; the only thing I miss so far is Erin, Kelly, and The Girl, and I've talked to one of them on the phone about every three days anyway! (Also, can I just say how wonderful it feels to have three friends who seem to miss me as much as I miss them?)

It was time to move on, and I'm so glad we did.

I love our new post. I realized that I've never been around basic trainees before. It wasn't so obvious at Knox, and there were none in Germany, but since this post is almost exclusively a training post, I've found it seems everyone is a private. And I love it. I drive around with this stupid grin on my face because I'm constantly passing formation, duffel packing, pugil sticks, bayonet training, and other extremely cute things. I love when a pack of trainees is standing in formation outside the Shopette, all clutching their AAFES bags of goodies. I even love the way the gate guards welcome us to the post every day: "Victory starts here."

But I realized yesterday as I was moving stuff out of our hotel that living off post will be a completely different experience for me. This is the first time I won't constantly be surrounded by Army. I realized I won't wake to the sound of PT, and I will have to make a special effort to drive onto post to ogle at basic trainees. For many wives, moving off post comes as a relief, but it saddens me. I love on post.

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Over the weekend, we caught Markos Zuniga on Tim Russert. Overall I thought he did a good job of presenting his side without making me want to smash the TV, but there was one thing he said that really didn't sit right with me. Russert asked Kos about his military service, and he had this to say (clip here):

I think one of the tragedies of the war right now is that so many people like me, people who came from lower socioeconomic status, from the barrios or the ghettos or the trailer parks or low income areas use the military, which is a very colorblind society, very meritocratic, use the military as a way to build their self esteem, to grow as a human being, and to learn very valuable life skills, and come out of it with money for college. And this is what I did, and it was very effective in helping me get to where I am today. I would not be the person I am today without my military service -- I'm extremely proud of it -- and it just pains me to see how many lower income people now do not view the military as an option because, clearly, join the military, get shipped to Iraq: it's not a very attractive proposition.

Our nation has a military in order to defend the US and fight her wars. That's the whole point of a military. I hate when people act like the military should be a place where they can get free college or some extra cash for one weekend a month and not have to do any of the hard work. The military is not a summer camp where you get to know yourself and then get free college. Kos should've known that back when he joined right before the first Gulf War. The military is serious business, and anyone who joins thinking he can reap all the benefits without any of the risks is a jerk. The US doesn't front millions of dollars so some kid from the barrio can find himself. He has to fight when called to, so if he doesn't want to fight, he needs to find someone else to finance his maturation process. Period. It irks me that Kos acts like the US is oppressing low income kids because they can't have their college and eat it too. If you're not prepared to fight, the military is not for you ever, even in peacetime.

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I've been thinking a lot about Bunker lately. It's been a year since he passed away, and I still miss him very much. I think about him often when something exciting happens in the news, so he was one of my first thoughts yesterday. He would've been so excited about Zarqawi's death. I just wish I had baking utensils or flour and eggs, for I surely would relish a "Suck it, Zarqawi" cake right about now. Maybe I can make a belated one...

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