Thursday, November 11, 2010

Private Lives

After my mother realized I was flunking out of college she expressed her disappointment in me. I was all it's not my fault! I can't help it that my house is, like, right next door to the funnest bar ever created on planet earth and they just happen to sell beer for, like, a quarter! What do you want me to do? And she was all, "Well, I guess, if I were you, I'd start by getting a job."

Well, let's be honest. I was 19 years old and an adult - hello! There was no way someone was going to boss me around. Especially some woman who loved me unconditionally, had only my best interest at heart and would lay down her life for me in a heartbeat. I mean, the nerve, right?

So, I showed her: I joined the Army.

It was surprisingly easy to join. Almost too easy. But, whatever. At least I could live my own life, and not have someone breathing down my neck all the time, knowwhatImean? *nudge! nudge!* (You get why I was flunking out of college, right? Not exactly the brightest bulb....)

And so began my military career.

I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that the reason I detest painting by roller is because of the time I spent in the military.

Ok, so we may or may not have been late getting in one night. (Let me tell you, when they say you'll be back by a certain time you'd better be back. They really take that stuff seriously.) Our punishment was to stay on base under orders for an entire weekend. We were ordered to paint a small office.

We pulled all the file cabinets and office furniture out into the hall.

Then we painted the walls.

Then we stood in the hall at attention and waited for the walls to dry.

Then the Sergeant inspected the paint job.

Then we moved all the file cabinets and office furniture back into the office.

And then we did it all over again.

We moved all the furniture out, painted, waited, inspected, put the furniture back.

And then we did it all over again.

And again.

And again.

You can see why I hate paint rollers.

I hate raking leaves, too. That may be because of another time when we may have returned later than we should have, and we were ordered to rake the lawn of the Quartermasters Building during a special 4-day holiday weekend. We raked. Stuffed leaves in bags. Stood at attention while the lawn was being inspected. And then the Sergeant opened the bags and scattered the leaves all over the lawn and told us to rake them up again. As if that wasn't bad enough, he grew weary of emptying the bags himself and made us do it. So we raked up the leaves, scattered the leaves and raked them up again. For four days. On the same stupid lawn.

Some of the soldiers I figuratively killed.

I also have an aversion to falling asleep on tables. See, there's this job you have to do called "Guard Duty." Essentially you and a soldier-partner stand guard (or, in our case, sit at a table) in front of the door to where all our soldier-comrades were sleeping. The idea is to keep watch and make sure no bad guys get you in the middle of the night. And so, Private Josette White and I were ordered to conduct Guard Duty from 3am to 5am, which happens to be a very not-so-enjoyable time to sit at a table staring aimlessly at a door.

Take it from personal experience, Drill Sergeants frown upon falling asleep during Guard Duty. We woke up when the table our heads were resting on was being flung over by the Drill Sergeant. Momentum shoved me to the floor and he did this Hollywood Jedi Knight move where he pressed his finger into my temple and yelled YOU'VE JUST BEEN KILLED, PRIVATE! AND YOU'VE PUT YOUR FELLOW SOLDIERS AT RISK! HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? Well, I was just way too tired to explain how I was probably experiencing drowsiness because I hadn't received all my vital nutrients, because I was pretty sure that stuff in the mess hall was depleted of vitamins and minerals. Plus he was yelling really, really loud right in my ear and to be honest, although my eyes were popped open as wide as they could physically go, I still wasn't fully awake.

We did a lot of push-ups that day. And when I say a lot, I mean thousands.

Because we had figuratively killed everyone our Drill Sergeant thought everyone should get up at 3:47am and have a fun little work out. I thought that if we had figuratively killed everyone we should make it really, really spookily quiet like no one was there anymore and we should all just lay really still in our beds. But we worked out before our regularly scheduled 6:00am work out instead. I remember a lot of women glaring at me....

On our way to eat we'd march for a few minutes, Drill Sergeant would halt everyone, call my accomplice and I out to do some push-ups, then get back into formation. We stopped and started that march a dozen times before we got to the dining hall. (And those women were still glaring.) As an added bit of fun our Drill Sergeant decided to drop us - one on each side of the door, in the Front Leaning Rest Position (which means the position your body is in before you do a push-up). And there we stayed. Just like that. Until every single soldier on base had walked through those doors and enjoyed their breakfast.

"Private! What are you doing on the ground, Private?"

*sigh* "Sir, enjoying the beautiful morning, Sir!"

Me at far right.
Employed to defend YOU. And, yes, they gave us weapons.

One thing the military taught me was the importance of aim and identification. That one without the other was essentially worthless. Let's say you could identify the enemy but you couldn't aim worth a darn. It wouldn't do you any good. Now, let's say you were a great aim (like myself) but had terrible identification skills. You may find yourself launching water balloons out of your 4th floor room with your Private Benjamin coherts and hit square as can be someone really, really important. Like, oh, say, a Captain who happens to have a really big ego and a really small sense of humor. (Note to self: when it appears the red sea is parting for a particular member of the military, it is usually parting for someone way more important than you.) I spent the rest of that 90-degree afternoon standing on the pavement in the exact place I had hit him. With my arms stretched straight out, holding two very colorful water balloons, waiting for the sun to set.

Good times. Good times.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Dotter does not have pink eye. Which is good. Because I don't care what people say, pink eye is gross. You would think pink eye wouldn't be gross because there are lots of pink things that aren't gross at all. Like fluffy cotton candy and a quarter of the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal. By the way, did you know Australians call cotton candy 'fairy floss'? See, makes pink even cuter! But not pink eye. Pink eye is still gross. And I don't mean the pink eye of a rabbit (although I have always been freaked out by those). Anyway, I'm talking about the pink eye crustiness of thousands of kids a year ... with the gunk and the contagiousness and the ickiness and - ugh! I just grossed myself out again.

Anyway. My point is Dotter does not have it. Her eye does happen to be pink. Well, more in line with red, actually, and it does hurt, but that's because she has a bruised eyeball, y'all. The eye doctor seems to think she poked it or hit it or rubbed it really, really hard, but she doesn't remember doing any of that. She just said she woke up that way. Which makes me think maybe she's poking herself in the eye in her sleep. Which made think aha! I've now got my new web video stream! And I'm considering a live feed of her sleeping to offset the cost of the medicinal eye drops she needs to use to reduce the inflammation.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I can't actually wrap my head around this weekend in order to construct one complete and/or coherent sentence, so if it's okay with you, I'm just going to bullet point this post. I'll call it Things I Did This Weekend. Or maybe, Good One, Guys, Now Give Me Normal Back.

Someone other than me who is also considered a grown-up in our house left the garage door open. A skunk got in. Then someone other than me who is also considered a grown-up in our house went into the garage. And surprised the skunk. And the skunk sprayed.

I ate bacon covered dates. Not to be confused with that one time when my date brought over two pounds of bacon. These were the food kind of dates. And since no one actually eats dates but everyone eats anything wrapped in bacon that's how I was able to consume them. And they were good.

I went to a Catholic breakfast. Except I'm not Catholic. And now I never, ever want to be Catholic. Because I thought the flag waving was bad enough, but then the lady next to me leaned over and put her hand on my arm (which is incredibly not okay with me because I have serious personal boundary issues) and I looked into her glaucoma-y right eye, felt uncomfortable and then looked into her clear left eye and actually listened while she asked me, "Do you speak in tongues?" To which I replied, "uh...No." And to which she continued, "because I do. I just started." And then she did. She talked in tongues. I'm not exactly sure what 'tongues' is supposed to sound like, but if it's meant to sound like jibberish then this lady was really, really good. And I was really, really scared. Because this was just one situation I was definitely not prepared for. I thought Catholics were kind of boring. And chanted monotone in Latin. This had a deep south revival with sacrificial chickens kind of feel to it.

We finally moved Cletus the Used to be Fetus out of our room. Because he's one now. And it's just kind of creepy to try to get your groove on and have a head pop up and yell out Hi! It especially is cramping to your style when said 1-year old keeps repeating Hi! four hundred and eighty seven times until you engage him in conversation. And I think that's just bizarre to engage in conversation with someone when you're trying to get your groove on with someone else. But since there's no separate bedroom for Cletus we decided to shove him in the Barbie & Bubble Gum pink room with Dotter. The crib was a tad too big to pass through the doorways so we took the doors off. (Note: real wood is real heavy.) And then the crib was still a tad too big to pass through. So Big V busied himself taking the crib apart and then putting it back together again. And then he told me I'm never allowed to buy anything from IKEA ever again.

The Bean was gone all weekend, living the high life with her friend. She came home to explain to me that our house is an embarrassment and she can't have friends over because it's so disgusting and we have to remodel so her friends feel more comfortable. I asked her if we could please discuss this in the bathroom since we all know how well she keeps that area clean so her friends aren't disgusted.

Then there was this little episode that involved my niece and her manipulative ways which reminded me that, yes, a 10-year old can be described as calculating and dangerous.

To say I couldn't wait for my weekend to be over would be an understatement. I just wonder what this week has in store for me. And if I can survive it.