Operation: GTFO (Day 120)

Gender Woes

Really, this is could go either way.

Really, this is could go either way.

I normally do not call people out by name but this time I think the situation warrants it.  I have to put the Camp Arifjan USO on blast for what I felt was some kind of discrimination.  I absolutely hate going that route because I feel like the word is thrown around far too much these days, and it has lost significant value.  When you say discrimination, other people roll their eyes and automatically dismiss you as a complainer.  Just hear me out.

How can you keep quiet after this?

How can you keep quiet after this?

I’ve been in to football since my college days.  Don’t expect me to walk around quoting stats, or anything but I have love for the game.  I’ve only missed one Super Bowl since 1997, and that was in 2012 when I was too lazy to get up at 330AM for kickoff, while deployed.  Last week, 47 and I decided that we should go out to watch the games because we really can’t enjoy them here in the PCB.  Because of quiet hours, we can’t have the TVs up on full blast, and neither can we start screaming when our fantasy football quarterback throws a pick.  We tried the Zone 1 Community Center first, but they were having Oktoberfest.  As a last resort, we headed to the Zone 6 USO.

Personally, I don’t enjoy going to the USO in a deployment area.  The USOs at airports are great, but when you’re downrange the place is usually full of young male Soldiers.  It smells like cigarettes (even though you’re not allowed to smoke indoors) and there are dip cans everywhere.  The USO really is a place for everyone, but every time I go to the one on Buehring or Arifjan, I feel like I’m in a locker room with popcorn.

There's no way anybody voted for this.

There’s no way anybody voted for this.

It’s really hard to enjoy football while you’re deployed.  AFN can’t play every game.  They have this voting system on Facebook.  Whichever game with the most votes get airtime.  You kind of have to cross your fingers and pray that your team will get airtime.  Then you want your team to have the early game.  If you want to watch the game live, be prepared to get up at 3AM for kickoff.  If you love the game, well, this is what you have to do.  We lucked out because both our teams had an early game, and both our teams won the vote and got AFN airtime.  However, when we got to the USO we discovered that some parts were males only.  No, seriously, you read this correct.  There was a sign up outside one of the rooms that declared it to be a “broasis,” a place where the fellas can hang out without women.  Excuse me, isn’t that the vast majority of the Army?  The room was all set up with football stuff and I was like, “Oooh, awesome place to watch the game,” but since we are not male, well, I guess we can go watch the game out there with the rest of the unwashed masses.

This female football fan can stay, but the rest of you have to leave.

This female football fan can stay, but the rest of you have to leave.

We were very rudely informed that the room was for males only and we were asked to leave.  I really was offended.  I did find another spot to watch the game, but the whole time I was thinking about this “broasis.”  I thought to myself, well, what if I just set up a Vag Cave and declared it off-limits to all males.  Isn’t that exclusionary?  I feel like I should have Black Power night.  No white people can come.  I dislike any event that excludes any group of people based on factors they cannot change.

It bothered me so much that after the game was over I went to talk to one of the USO volunteers.  I do not know why I even bothered.  It was like talking to a stone wall.  His response was, “Well, we have ladies night.”  That is not a justification.  It is an excuse.  One wrong does not correct another wrong.   The USO does indeed sponsor a ladies night once a month.  I’ve never been but I saw the pictures on Facebook.  Ladies night was a group of women sitting around making soap.  If you would like to make soap, that is awesome.  I don’t want to make soap.  I want to watch football.  Who decided that soap-making is for women and football is for men?  Apparently, the USO volunteer.  He said, “Well, this was for the guys because football is mainly for men.”

Football is mainly for men.  I guess millions of female football fans did not get the memo.

The Army since forever.

The Army since forever.

When someone comes at you with such an irrational argument, it is better to walk away.  Knowing that I could persuade him, I chose to end the conversation.  He asked me not to leave but I could not stay there any longer.  He just did not understand how offensive the whole thing is.  Ladies night, broasis, all that stuff.  There is a huge problem in the military that is based on gender.  We should not have events that exacerbates that problem.  While the USO is not a military organization, it does support Service Members.  We belong to an organization that has historically excluded females.  The military’s answer to that problem was to include females, but only in certain capacities, as if we are somehow incapable of doing anything a man can.

Excuse me while I change in to my pink tutu.  I also have a tiara I'll be wearing with my ACU.

Excuse me while I change into my pink tutu. I also have a tiara I’ll be wearing with my ACU.  It matches with my glittery Hello Kitty M16.

Camp Arifjan USO basically perpetuated stereotypes that women are only interested in domestic activities and beauty tips.  Football is mainly for men, and manicures are mainly for women.  If you escalate that further, that is the same line of thought that states women cannot be combat arms or do any type of work outside of nursing or human resources.  You might feel like I’m over-exaggerating, but really, let’s look at the numbers.  Camp Arifjan USO, in case you did not know, women make up a mere 13.6 per cent of the active Army.  The military is an environment that has been dominated by men.  Until recently, women were excluded from certain positions based solely on gender.  Although the military has made great strides to be inclusive, there are still some positions not available to women.  Women could not permanently enlist in the Army until 1948.  As of January 2013, of 976 generals and admirals only 69 are female and none of them are in charge of anything combat-related.

It's White Male Night, and it's not discrimination because we're just celebrating who we are.

It’s White Male Night, and it’s not discrimination because we’re just celebrating who we are.

Some days it is an uphill battle being a female in the military.  Camp Arifjan USO is having a Princess Party for the next ladies’ night.  A princess party.  If I ever had to lead troops into battle, or get a male to follow my orders I first have to erase the perception that I am a delicate flower.  If I get hurt or I can’t do the job same as a man, it’s okay, I’m a princess.  I don’t want to be a princess.  I’m not a princess.  I’m a Soldier.  And it works both ways.  All stereotypes are damaging.  If a male wanted to make soap or get a manicure, then he is denigrated as gay, or somehow less than a man–when really, he’s just interested in those things.  If he doesn’t like football or sports, something is wrong with him.  I wish Camp Arifjan USO would move away from these stereotypes.  I doubt they will end Ladies’ Night or Guys’ Night, but maybe they might have events that are gender neutral, or sponsor activities that are more appropriate for this location and our occupation.  This month’s Guys’ Night is a Scavenger Hunt, which really sounds awesome.  Unfortunately, the ladies are having a Princess Party, which sounds like something a six year old would be interested in.  (I have since learned that the USO did indeed have a scavenger hunt for ladies’ night.  No word on a Princess Party for men, though.) I don’t speak for all women.  There are some ladies who feel like they are princesses.  What I’m asking is that we shake things up a bit.  Let me know when there is a ladies only cornhole tournament (actually, I suck at cornhole).  It would be awesome if Ladies’ Night was game night, and I can sit in a Vag Cave and drink [near] beer.  Oh, but I guess, since football is mainly for men, that might never ever happen.

I don’t want you to be confused.  I’m not a hairy-legged, bra-burnin’, women’s libber.  I just want to watch football.

Sources:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/women-in-the-military-statistics/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/24/us/military-women-glance/

Operation: GTFO (Day 119)

Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate

You bring me cold coffee again, I will bury you.

You bring me cold coffee again, I will bury you.

Once again I find myself to be a disliked member of a unit.  The last time I found myself in this position, it was completely understandable.  This time, well, I really don’t give a damn because the source of dislike is actually really quite stupid.

This unit is slightly different than previous units I’ve been in.  It’s not a company or battalion—it’s a group, which is like a battalion, but not.  I’m not going to try to get into how it all works out.  All you need to know is that there are S-shops, so there’s a staff, and then there’s the company.  For the longest time, this meant absolutely nothing to me.  I felt like we were all a part of the same organization.  Now we’re two months into this, I see now why there is a distinction because they have made the distinction.

The staff is naturally made up of officers, but officers need support.  Who does that?  NCOs, of course.  So all the NCOs that work for the staff are also considered “the staff.”  This has led to the Staff vs. Company, or the haves and have-nots.  Officers have a tendency to do whatever they want.  They don’t really follow any rules, and I’m not mad at them.  If you are a battle-weary field grade officer, I feel like you’ve earned the right to do whatever the fuck you want.  If you are lucky enough to work for such an individual, well, then you get an opportunity to enjoy the ups and downs.

For me, it has truly been a roller coaster.  The disadvantages of my position is that I’m forced to work long hours, I am subject to menial tasks that are beneath my intelligence, and I find myself pulled in two different directions by people who don’t really give a fuck about me.  They say they do, but I know what’s up.  This ain’t my first rodeo.

Yeah, I'm gonna need you to work till midnight.

Yeah, I’m gonna need you to work till midnight.

Really, I want to be here, and I knew what I was getting into when I signed up.  I’m smart enough to put up with the bullshit.  Not everyone can handle working for the staff.  There has already been one NCO fired from his staff position because he was incapable of following the most basic of orders.  And you can’t be sensitive either.  These officers say whatever they want.  They do whatever they want.  They don’t really give a shit about you because they are looking for their next piece of brass and they will run over anyone that gets in their way.  I am witnessing this with my own eyes, listening to the things they have to say about one another.  It’s a dirty game, and sometimes it can be amusing to watch.  Other times, it’s scary because eventually everyone has to take a turn.

While the company level NCOs are complaining that I appear to be in a cake job, let me count the ways on how it’s not.  The company has set working hours of 0800 to 1600.  They get off every day at 1559.  Where am I at 1600?  Still in the office, tap dancing on hot rocks, while balancing ginsu knives and hemophiliac babies, to please these people that I work for.  On Saturday, the company works 0800 to 1200.  Where am I?  I’m waiting for these people to get back from their country club lunch.  My co-worker has wasted away to nothing, starved to death because no one thought she was important enough to eat lunch.

Pictured:  47 waiting for our boss to remember that she too has to eat lunch.

Pictured: 47 waiting for our boss to remember that she too has to eat lunch.

Whenever Higher decides he doesn’t want to go to a meeting, guess who gets to go?  I do.  Then I get to feel stupid when GEN COL MAJ looks at me like an insect because I can’t answer his high-level questions.  That’s cool, fuck off, GEN COL MAJ.  That’s my answer to your question.  Oh, Higher wants to get promoted?  Let’s take on 15 new tasks to impress GEN COL MAJ.  Who gets to work those tasks?  Here you go, NCO.  I need you to get on these hot tasks right away.  I need my OER to look good.  Oh, did something get fucked up?  Higher was supposed to send those emails.  Whose fault is it?  My fault.  I’m sorry I did not strap you down to your computer and drag your hands all over the keyboard so you could respond to GEN COL MAJ.  That’s cool if you tell him that I hacked into your computer and deleted all of your emails.  Everything is my fault.

Am I still at work after dark?  Did I come back to work after dinner?  Did I just stay up all night waiting for Big Boss?  Did I still come to work the next day on time?  Go to training and go to work and go to all these meetings and write all your emails?  That’s cool.  I’ll dance that dance.  One night I left my bed and drove two hours down the street to pick up some people.  I sat in a parking lot for three hours, then drove two hours back to base.  We returned to the base at 4AM, and we still had to come to work and work all day long.  What response did we get for doing this?  “You didn’t help with their bags.”

Please shred these papers, one by one, in alphabetical and chronological order.  Also, color code them.

Please shred these papers, one by one, in alphabetical and chronological order. Also, color code them.

Anybody that really knows me knows that I don’t do anything for free.  There is a reason I’m here busting my ass, and it ain’t so I can drive around off-post in a brand new Escalade.  These dumbass mother truckers feel like we get special treatment because we work over here.  No, we’re just not idiots.  That’s all.  If you weren’t dumb as a hat box, this might have been you.  The complaint is that they feel like we’re always the ones who get to “do everything,” and by everything, they mean going off post and participating in activities with the staff.

Let’s examine this and really break down why this is an idiotic complaint.  First, any Soldier can get off post now they’ve lifted all the restrictions.  When we first arrived, all Soldiers did the mandatory paperwork and training necessary to be able to go off post.  There were no exceptions.  All Soldiers were required to get their in-country license.  It took a while to get this done, but now mostly everyone has a license.  If you don’t have a license you can get in a vehicle with someone who does.  Company policy requires two or more Soldiers to travel.  So basically, PFC Doucheface can ask for a vehicle and take his happy little ass to the mall.

Apparently, because we do not go around inviting everyone, we’re assholes.  I don’t want to hang around with everyone.  My days of going to the mall in a horde ended when I was 17.  My days of wasting money in chain restaurants are over.  I do not hang out with people who complain about the cost of a cup of coffee.  I don’t hang out with loud-talking, rude, uncultured idiots.  If you don’t know what fork to use, I don’t have time for you.

If I wouldn’t sit down to dinner with you in the United States, what makes you think I’m prepared to sit down with you in a foreign country where people already look at us like we’re barbarians?  It’s really that simple.

If the Staff invites me to dine with them, it’s probably because they might see me on their level.  I am not going to speak for them, but since I don’t make an ass of myself that might be why I’m seen as fit company.  If you’re not invited, you might want to take a look at yourself and who you’re trying to hang with.  Maybe you’re just not a good fit, socially.

Bitch, can you even read!?!

Bitch, can you even read!?!

I don’t see the Staff as my friends.  Because of rank, they’re not my peers.  I’m just someone who works in their office.  I put up with all their idiosyncrasies.  I hold their hands.  I baby-sit when required.  I do whatever is necessary to get through the day in this office.  I’ve been able to go home “on time” maybe two or three times since being here.  If the tradeoff is being invited out to dinner, then yeah sure, I guess I’ll take that because I’m not going to get anything else.  I might get a half-assed “good job,” followed by a “but really you need to….” I take whatever I can get.  If that means one random weekend I get free reign to do whatever the fuck I want, well, that’s just how it is.

I just hate the “it’s not fair” argument.  Lots of shit ain’t fair.  I don’t feel like it’s fair that I have to attend NCODP and then come to work and make up all the time I missed at training.  I don’t feel like it’s fair that I have to sit in the office while Higher is swimming.  I don’t feel like it’s fair that I get shit on because of stuff outside of my control.  Seriously, no fucks are given for any of these people.  I am not shedding a single tear these people have taken a set against us.  I didn’t want to hang out with you in the first place.  I’m just glad we’ve finally got this cleared up.

It’s never been a secret that I’m ambitious.  I do what I need to do to get ahead in life.  Believe me, there are far more disadvantages than there are advantages.  If you’re a hater, well, keep on hate, hate, hatin’.  I’m sorry you picked an MOS that requires you to kick rocks.

Operation: GTFO (Day 118)

The Mystery of the Bathroom Smell

bad-smell-ad1At long last I’ve solved the mystery of the bathroom smell.  Every time we come back from being away for a long period of time, we would smell this smell.

47 was the first to notice.  “How come it smells like a bathroom in here?”

The temporary bathrooms have this curious smell, and I notice that if you spend any amount of time in there, you return with that odor clinging to you.  It is most aggravating to smell like a urinal cake.  All the bathrooms have toilets and urinals, but they are designated male or female.  I guess it was just cheaper to get the his-and-hers toilet set.

My only explanation for the bathroom smell was that someone had been hanging out in the toilets and they came back to the barracks with that smell on them.  But sometimes it would linger, and it’s really all you could smell.  One time it gave me a headache.  I have a very sensitive nose.  I can smell everything.  Even when the smell is good, if it hangs about too long or is too powerful, it drives me nuts.

A lot of us have resorted to burning candles, warming wax tarts or just spraying the place down with an entire bottle of Febreeze.  You’re not supposed to burn candles or warm wax tarts, but really, I can’t sit in there for any period of time with that smell, like a sun-ripened urinal cake.

We share a barracks with the Chemical Girls (that’s what I call them).  They were already living there when we moved in.  It depends on who you ask if we get along.  They seem to be heavy on the lesbian side.  I don’t say that to be offensive; I say it because there are some strong indicators.  One of them came right out and said she was a lesbian, and there are at least two others that have the look.

KTHXBYE

KTHXBYE

Yeah, yeah, go away with your EO.  I’m not gay-bashing, because I could really give two shits if they’re gay or not.  There is one chick that looks so much like a man that if I happen to get up in the middle of the night and I see her, I’m like, “Why is that guy in here?”  She is the one that drags her feet.  One night I screamed, “Pick up your feet!!!” because I really cannot stand the sound of slippers dragging across the floor.

As further evidence to their alleged lesbianism, one of them frequently asks the confessed lesbian to cuddle.  Or rather she shouts across the barracks, “Hey, you want to cuddle?”  Sometimes I hear them talking about massaging each other, but this really isn’t about the lesbianism.  They could have a gay orgy for all I care, just as long as there is no smell.

There is a very weird one, Mewling Myrtle.  She is the one that was blasting the Jesus music the second day we moved in.  I call her Mewling Myrtle because whenever she listens to music she doesn’t exactly sing along, she mewls, like a dying cat.  It is very low, like you almost can’t hear it, and it’s always off key, but it’s this weird moaning.  One night I thought she was crying.  Another time I thought she was chanting.  It’s just strange.

Well, Mewling Myrtle is the reason why the barracks smell like a toilet.  Two nights ago, I’m lying in bed when I hear the sound of water being splashed about.  Not like a cup of water, mind you, but more like when you overturn a bucket of water.  I kept hearing this over and over, and after a few minutes that smell showed up again.

Why does it smell like that?

Perfectly safe for washing.

Perfectly safe for washing.

I got out of my bed and peeked out of my cubby.  Mewling Myrtle is on her hands and knees scrubbing at the floor.  I don’t even know why she is doing this.  First, the floor is made of concrete.  What are you scrubbing?  Secondly, you don’t need that much water because it is impossible to keep out the dust.  I sweep my corner every single day.  There is always dust.  I do use a Swiffer wet thingy but really, it doesn’t do anything but make the floor smell like bleach for 10 minutes.

So at least I figured out where the water sound was coming from.  She had a bucket and she was dumping water on the floor, scrubbing for a little bit, dumping more water on the floor and scrubbing some more.  I also realized that’s where the smell came from, but I could not figure out why.

So, like I said, I use a Swiffer to mop my corner.  It has a little bottle of bleach juice.  It doesn’t use water.  I don’t think anybody else in the barracks actually mops the floor, but there are a few that use a Swiffer.  Imagine my surprise when 20 minutes later I get up to go to the bathroom and I find Mewling Myrtle in the bathroom, with her bucket, filling it up with water from the urinal.

Water from the urinal.

Now everyone has the ebola.  Thanks, bitch.

Now everyone has the ebola. Thanks, bitch.

The water used in these temporary bathrooms is non-potable.  There are signs that say do not use it to drink.  Do not use it to brush your teeth.  The sign doesn’t say so, but I wouldn’t use it to wash with.  Non potable water is very tricky because it depends on what has been done to the water.  Was it sewage water first?   How many microbes are in the water?  I mean, it’s good for flushing the toilet, which is probably why they don’t want you drinking it or brushing your teeth.  Should you be slathering it all over the floor of your living quarters?

 

Yum!

Yum!

Okay, maybe I’m hyperventilating but the water has a smell to it.  It stanks like a dirty toilet.  I don’t have any proof, but I wonder if the water in the temporary bathrooms is just recycled over and over again, from the toilets back into the toilets.  I mean, I just found it to be bizarre.  Imagine back home in your house and someone in your household is using toilet water to wash dishes.  Who does that?  As 47 asks, “What kind of life did a person have growing up that you thought that was okay?”  It has never crossed my mind that water from a toilet would be acceptable, even in the US where the water for flushing is required to pass EPA standards for drinking.

But these chicks are leaving this weekend.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to solve the mystery of the Barracks Shitter before they depart.

Operation: GTFO (Day 100)

And It Won’t Be Long…

Sadly, I'm not here yet.

Sadly, I’m not here yet.

Today marks the 100th day we’ve been on Title X orders.  I’m pretty sure I’m off by a few days or more, but I don’t think it really matters.  It’s not like this is official record-keeping.  Technically, there could be 300 more days of this.

In a lot of ways, this deployment is vastly easier than my last deployment; but, in other ways, this is so much worse.  I just remarked to 47 that I think I would redo the last deployment before I would redo this one.  The level of drama is very high, so as to be crushing on one’s soul.  On the first deployment, everyone hated me.  It was lonely, but in retrospect, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  No one wanted to talk to me, and I was not required to speak to anyone else.  I went to work every day, and brought my ass back to that tent and sat in my little cubby, minding my own fucking business.

Would that I could do that here!

I'm having unit T-shirts made.

I’m having unit T-shirts made.

I am beset on all sides by meetings, huddles, and NCO calls.  As a staff NCO, I’m right in the middle.  All the junior enlisted want to complain to me like I have the power to fix something, and all the senior enlisted want to complain like I have the power to fix something.  And then this bullshit about company versus staff.  I didn’t even realize that was a thing.  I thought it was, “Hey, you, do this,” and I do it.  Now, it’s like I have to have permission to do work, to do what I consider being a good NCO.  If you ask me to do a job, no matter how shitty that job is, I should do it, and it doesn’t matter who asked me.  I am smart enough, old enough, and experienced enough to know how to manage my time, so when I am tasked, tasked, and tasked some more I know how to juggle my priorities to get all the work done so no one complains I dropped the ball.  I also know how to say, “I have too much on my plate, I need help.”  I know these are difficult behaviours for some people and maybe that is why there is so much oversight, but enough is enough.

A few of my co-workers.

A few of my co-workers.

I feel like I work in a daycare and circus combined.  Some days I feel like a nanny, having to hold everyone’s hand so they don’t shit on themselves.  Other days I feel like I have to perform.  I feel like a circus act, working for peanuts.  I never feel appreciated, but that is the nature of this beast.  I didn’t come here to get an attaboy, but don’t act like we’re not working hard.  I am not overworked.  I do not have to work 12 hour shifts.  I don’t have shit details.  But I am working hard.  It’s just very frustrating.

And the whining.  Yes, I’m whining on my blog, that’s cuz, it’s a blog.  If you’re reading my bitch-fest, it’s because you want to read it.  You don’t have to, but the level of crybabies complaining about every fucking thing is enough to make me kill myself.  You would think it’s some bitch-ass privates, but seriously, we only have two privates.  They have their fair share of issues, but the serious whining is coming from Higher.  I thought as you go up in rank the more power you have to get things done, to rectify things.  I am learning that is not the case.  The higher in rank you go, the more stymied you are.  If you do not have the balls to make a breakthrough, then you’re just a figurehead—or a punching bag, whichever.

Pictured:  Higher's NCOER.

Pictured: Higher’s NCOER.

The workforce seems to be made up of crybabies, Sad Sallies, bi-polar, menstrual cycle ass bitches who need their hand held to cross the fucking street.  There are all kinds of wild accusations of racism, favouritism, fraternization, etc.  Someone said, “IG,” and I just know it’s not going to work out well for us.  Thankfully, none of these accusations are directed at me.  I definitely feel some kind of heat though, but it’s different than the last time.  I think these bitches hate me, but for different reasons.  Last time I insulted everyone, this time, I’m just doing my job and doing it well.  People will always hate you for your successes and they will try their hardest to pounce on you the minute you slip up.

Introducing the new EPS System.

Introducing the new EPS System.

I trust these people less than I trust the last set of people I deployed with.  At least with them, I knew they couldn’t stand me.  They pretty much said it to my face.  With these people, it’s hard to tell.  Everyone smiles at you while they hold the whip hand behind their back.  I took it as no great surprise that my boss told me that I need to protect my own career.  I will take that advice to heart.  You do not know people until you know people.

Operation: GTFO (Day 99)

Fraud, Waste and Abuse

Have you ever met someone with entirely too much time on their hands?  They appear to be overly stressed out about the tiniest things that do not matter.  Instead of taking the time to apply a little common sense, they hone in on some obscure rule that never made sense in the first place, and then try to enforce it to the fullest extent.

Because there was nothing else to do that day.

Because there was nothing else to do that day.

Yesterday’s shit storm began when several higher ranking members of my unit went to the chow hall for lunch.  They drove their assigned non-tactical vehicle, and when they came out of the chow hall they saw their vehicles had been booted.  Yes, I mean booted, like when you park in a handicap space, or you have too many outstanding tickets.

Higher was in the parking lot along with the MPs, booting vehicles for violating several Army regulations, including AR 58-1, AR 215-1, Army Directive 2007-01 and some other shit I’ve never actually read.  According to these regulations, you are not permitted to drive your military vehicle to a chow hall because it is not official business.  You are also not permitted to drive your military vehicle to your home of residence, either.  When I say military vehicle, I don’t mean a 5-ton or some shit.  I mean, like, a GSA van or some other normal car that is assigned to the government.  Apparently, there is some rule called duty to domicile, and when you drive to the chow hall, you’re just wrong.  According to an email sent ALCON, it’s “fraud, waste and abuse.”

Going to McDonald's.  Anybody want anything?

Going to McDonald’s. Anybody want anything?

So, you know, maybe if I was back home in the States and I was driving my government vehicle up to New York to see my parents, or I’m using a government credit card to buy fuel for my privately owned vehicle while I gallivant across the United States.  That’s definitely some fraud, waste and abuse; but here, on deployment?  Yeah, please get out of my face with that shit.

 

The higher-ranking individuals from my unit questioned Higher and his crew of MPs.  They asked how they were supposed to get to chow.  Higher said, “Take the bus.”

What if the bus is full?

Well, wait till the next one.

What about that one?

There will be another one.

It’s a little bit idiotic because the buses are always full.  One day last week all of the buses were cancelled.  Someone made an announcement over the Big Voice that the buses would be delayed until further notice.  The announcement started around 8 in the morning and went until the afternoon.  So, I guess I’ll tell my boss I can’t come to work because there’s no bus.

I wonder why they assigned so many vehicles out in the first place, if they did not want anybody actually driving them.  I won’t say how many Soldiers are in my unit, and I won’t say how many vehicles we have but we have enough to ensure our Soldiers can get to work and to chow, which to me, is official business.  I’m not driving them to McDonald’s and shit.  We take them to the chow hall at a set time every day and we bring their asses back to work.  Generally, we’re not making PX runs or cruising around this godforsaken base.  Contrary to popular belief, we do have work to do.  If they didn’t want us driving the vehicles, why’d they give them to us?  It would have made more sense that only one or two vehicles were assigned to each unit, and everyone would have to share those vehicles to conduct official business only.

Take the bus?  Bitch, please!  Ain't nobody got time for that.

Take the bus? Bitch, please! Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I fail to understand these people actually want my colonel to get on a bus to get his lunch every day.  You end up wasting a lot of time fucking around with these buses.  My unit is larger than the capacity of a bus so we’d be out there all day waiting on a fucking bus to get to chow.

If we weren’t supposed to drive these to our “residences,” then why does Higher have an assigned parking space in front of the officer living quarters?  Why are the MPs driving to chow?  That’s not official business.  There are assigned MP spaces in front of the chow hall.  Why isn’t there a sign that says, No NTV parking in front of the chow hall?  Why is there a parking lot at the PX, if you don’t want anyone to park there?  You could say Soldiers were going to finance since they are co-located but you wouldn’t need a Wal-Mart sized parking lot for that.  Why is there parking at any of the living areas?

WHY IS THERE PARKING AT THE CHOW HALL?

According to this policy it applies to contractors, civilians and military personnel.

Higher must be bored.  He did not have anything else to do that day but stand out in the parking lot in 110 degree heat looking for vehicles that shouldn’t be parked at the chow hall.  Better still, the MPs didn’t have shit else to do today.  SHARP incidents are down 100%.  Suicide is down to zero.  There hasn’t been any assault, robberies or terrorist attempts on this base at all.  ISIS is dead.  World peace has been solved.

Pictured:  fraud, waste AND abuse.

Pictured: fraud, waste AND abuse.

There was an email that stated the MPs would be staged at both DFACs and the PX to make sure that no one was violating the rules.  I already wrote about the MPs on this base.  It seems their focus is speeding and parking violations, and not really on protection and safety.  I want to get my hands on a police blotter to see what type of criminal activity is going on.  Apparently, this is pure Pleasantville if the MPs don’t have shit else to do.

It’s really quite laughable they would talk about fraud, waste and abuse when the MPs here are sitting on Chargers and Mustangs.  Seriously, this base is a few miles wide and a few miles long.  The max speed anywhere on post is 40KPH.  If no one is supposed to be driving anywhere why are there so many cops in high-octane vehicles?  What high speed chases will they be conducting?

I told you about parking at the DFAC.  You're going to jail, buddy.

I told you about parking at the DFAC. You’re going to jail, buddy.

I love how the government is two-faced in these things.  On one hand, government spending is out of control and we need to rein it in.  On the other hand, we need all this super-high tech bullshit for no reason, so let’s drop some bills.  If I had been in charge of the contract, the MP fleet would be sturdy SUVs that can off-road, since most of the roads are dirt.  The MPs don’t have any jurisdiction outside the post so there’s no need to have sporty vehicles that are designed for performance.  The MPs would also do a lot more patrolling and a lot less staging at DFACs looking for vehicles illegally parked.  That would be the least of my concerns.

Apparently, it’s okay to drive to the MWR for Poker Night because it’s an installation sponsored MWR event, but you can’t take Soldiers to get lunch real quick so they can bring their asses back to work.  Now I know why the Active Duty guys take two hours for lunch every day.  It takes that long to get anywhere on the bus, because they’re sitting out waiting on a bus that isn’t full or delayed.  If I drive to chow I can be back at my desk in 20 minutes.  I go and get a to-go plate and return to my desk because there is work to do.  Occasionally, we sit in, but that’s more of a luxury.  If I had to walk to the chow hall, I’d be gone for at least an hour because I wouldn’t take out.

Here's my exception to policy, bitches.

Here’s my exception to policy, bitches.

This was a situation that seemed difficult to fight.  It’s hard to argue against sheer stupidity.  Every logical argument you could present would be rebuffed with the utmost foolishness.  Senior leadership did try to come up with an exception to policy but the regulation is written in such a fashion as not to be undone.  Higher stated that all cars booted would remain so for a minimum of seven days.  Also, the violators would have to go before the Chief of Staff and explain away their actions.  Once again, these people at the highest echelons have nothing else to do with their time but listen to parking violations.  That is something you assign to some petty judge somewhere in some lesser known circuit court.  If I were a general, I would laugh if my staff came to me with such nonsense.  Then I’d fire them all.  My senior leadership showed amazing aplomb and they tried to deal with the situation as best they could but there’s no winning against stupid.

With the crosswalk rules here on AJ, you could be here all day.

With the crosswalk rules here on AJ, you could be here all day.

I suggest we adhere to this policy to its fullest capacity.  No one drive anywhere.  All Soldiers walk or wait for the bus.  Spend hours sitting at the bus stop waiting for a bus.  Walk three miles from one end of post to the other.  Really, three miles isn’t that far.  It should take you about 45 minutes if you’re walking at a normal pace.  So, waste 45 minutes walking to chow.  Sit down and have a good chow.  Then take 45 minutes to walk back from chow.  If you need to run an errand, ask your boss for permission then walk there.  Take as much time as you need to walk there.  If you are Zone 1, walk to the Zone 6 PX.  If you work in Zone 6, walk to the Zone 2 chow hall.

This way, vehicles on the road are official business only.  When you see a vehicle, immediately jump into the crosswalk and walk as slowly as possible as you can across the street.  Problem solved.

Operation: GTFO (Day 98)

Some say a bird in the house is a sign of bad luck

Some say a bird in the house is a sign of bad luck

Mousecapades

I knew today was going to be an interesting day.  I received an omen.  As soon as I opened the door a bird flew out of the office.  I guess it had been trapped in there all night long.  Poor thing.  You know birds can symbolize so many things, like death……..

We’ve been here approximately six weeks, and in that time we’ve discovered rodents in our office space.  There had been indicators, such as poop on our S3’s desk and bits of chewed up shit all over the place.  Out here in the desert, there’s no way of knowing what kind of rodents were up against.  It could be cute little field mice, or something more sinister like the Rat King.  (If you want to be grossed out, Google Image rat king.)

This was us, pretty much.

This was us, pretty much.

I decided we had to take drastic action after $60 worth of coffee was destroyed by the little bastards.  We came in to work one day to find they had eaten through two boxes of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.  We were left in a state of despair during the Great Coffee Drought of 2014.  It takes about a week for Amazon to deliver, and although the PX sells Keurig machines, it doesn’t actually sell K-cups (because that makes a lot of sense).  While we were in here suffering caffeine withdrawal, Mickey and Friends were eating their way through pistachios, oatmeal squares and expensive, organic, fair trade breakfast bars.

We thought about buying traps but no one ever did because we were like, “What if we do catch a mouse?  Who’s going to take care of it?”  Our boss flat out refused.  47 and I looked at each other and basically said, “Yeah, no.”  So that idea was a bust.  At dinner the other night S6 told us a story about how his daughter used glue traps to catch a mouse because she thought it was more humane.  He went into graphic detail about how she had to rip the mouse off the glue and its legs came off.

Yeah, no.

All of this is propped up on some cardboard boxes and a bag of Doritos.

All of this is propped up on some cardboard boxes and a bag of Doritos.

There’s a pest control on post, but no one made contact with those people to see how they could help us.  Mickey felt like it was a free for all because almost every day something was eaten up.  We resorted to stacking snack boxes on top of the cubicle walls, but then I wondered if they were in the ceiling or something.

I guess not, because we found Mickey this morning.

We’ve been pretty diligent about taking the trash out, but every now and again we get a little lazy or maybe there’s only one or two things in the can.  This morning 47 is putting trash bags in the cans and she’s like, “Were these coffee creamers always in the trash like this?”  On Saturday, I did throw away from coffee creamer containers, but I had put them in the bag in the trash can.  The trash bag was all fucked up and the coffee creamers had holes in them.  Before I could really answer, 47 saw something dark inside the trash can.  She reached in and then dropped the can and started screaming, “It’s in the trash can!  It’s in the trash can!”  So when someone else starts screaming, I’m gonna start screaming.  We both were screaming, trying to run out the door.  Our S3, who has made it clear that he doesn’t like mice, was on the phone.

This was my boss, except without the dress.

This was my boss, except without the dress.

He said, “Hey, let me call you back.  We have a mouse in the house.”  Then he proceeds to grab a broom and hold it like it’s a 12-gauge shot gun.  Be advised this is a man who has put more than a few bullets down range.  He’s been on multiple real deployments.  He’s probably even kicked in a few doors.  Basically, he’s not some pansy ass soft cake, but apparently, the thought of a mouse crawling around in the office skeeves him out.  He has said on more than one occasion that he doesn’t do rodents.  He also told us a story about how a mouse got into his uniform while he was wearing it and it bit him up.  He might have PTSD from that.

47 ran out of the office to find someone who had previously said he would get rid of the mouse for us, if we ever caught it.  I was so grossed out that I had to go outside.  It was the sight of that gross little body bouncing around in the trash can when 47 dropped it.  Ugh.  I’m going to have nightmares.  I’ve been so freaked out by this whole situation that the other night while I was cleaning up my cubby, my own hair wrap scared the shit out of me.  I was sweeping and the end of my wrap flew over my shoulder.  All I saw was something dark and I thought it was a rat tail.

I'll be back, bitches.

I’ll be back, bitches.

Our S1 came and he thought the whole situation was hysterical.  He reached into the trash can and pulled the nasty little thing out with his bare hands.  I don’t know if it was dead or what because I ran around the corner.  Our CSM was like, “What the fuck is going on?”  She was trying to ask me a legitimate question about a mission she’s going on and I’m screaming like a maniac across the airfield.

I have no idea what happened to Mickey.  S1 asked us if we wanted to just get rid of it, or did we want to kill it.  It could be dead, for all I know.  Or, it could be out there, waiting….

Operation: GTFO (Day 73)

Crossfit: Get Some…Maybe

crossfit scientologyI let 47 talk me into joining crossfit. I know some guys from home who do Crossfit and they’ve sworn what an awesome work out it is. I believe it because both of them are completely ripped. One was always in decent shape, and the other one pretty much transformed before my eyes. Last deployment a bunch of guys got into Crossfit and they all came back sexy (as in body, but not face—nothing can be done for the face. Sorry.)

So, full disclosure: I am a pudgy, lazy somebody who really ought to get back into shape. I say that because you always have to consider the source when you take in somebody’s opinion.

Pros:

  • Although I hate organized PT, I like Crossfit because there are set times with set instructors and set exercises. You know exactly what you’ll be doing that day. You don’t show up and everyone’s like, “Hmm, what should we do today?” It’s not as dumb as organized PT because you don’t have to stand at attention or any stupid shit like that.

    It's really not as easy as it looks.

    It’s really not as easy as it looks.

  • There are a lot of body weight exercises. I prefer workouts that I can do anywhere. I hate having to buy special equipment, or having to go to some place special just to workout. I think I’m the one person I know that works out while on vacation because I tend to stick to exercises that can be done anywhere. As much as burpees suck, I really do like the exercise. I even prefer the way it’s done in Crossfit. The Crossfit pushups are better as well. I’ll be doing those from now on. And the Crossfit sit-ups. Be warned, they’re all painful but they work more muscles and it’s harder to cheat at the exercises. It’s like you have to do it right. Even when you’re at the end of your strength, you’re still getting something out of the movements. AND I AM DETERMINED TO GET STRONG ENOUGH TO DO PULL-UPS.
  • Exercises for time can be done like cardio workouts. Let’s face it: I’m a Cardio Queen (when I’m in shape, that is). If you have to do pull-ups in a certain amount of time, that’s cardio. If you are running back and forth trying to complete exercises, that’s pretty much cardio. I like cardio. I like running, but running every day isn’t good for you and sometimes it can get boring.

Cons:

  • Seriously, guy, put some more weight on that, you pussy.

    Seriously, guy, put some more weight on that, you pansy.

    I hate the weightlifting. I have never liked weightlifting. Every time I start weightlifting I remember how much I hate it then I quit. Is it good for the body? Yes, it really is. Women tend to avoid it because they think they’re going to end up like Arnold, circa 1983. I know that’s not true. I hate weightlifting because I just do. Just like people hate running. I don’t mind working with dumbbells but I hate barbell workouts. Crossfit doesn’t have dumbbells, at least, not as far as I’ve seen.

    Those aren't Crossfit pushups, so just give up.

    Those aren’t Crossfit pushups, so just give up.

  • I hate the sales pitch. If people are interested, they’re going to show up. Some people need an introduction to the product, but every time someone talks about Crossfit they talk about how much better it is than any other workout anybody has ever done. Ever. I don’t know that I agree with that. Crossfit works for a lot of people. Traditional weightlifting works for a lot of people. Cardio works for a lot of people. Being a lazy fat ass works for a lot of people. I think it depends on what a person is looking for, what they are willing to do and what they’re interested in.  Don’t forget that Crossfit is first and foremost a business.  It’s a registered trademark and all the jazz that comes with it.  We’re lucky we’re on a military base with a military manager because otherwise somebody would have to pay to use the term “Crossfit.”  If we were back home, we’d be forking out upwards of $100 or more to belong to a Crossfit gym.  In theory, the workouts can’t really be done everywhere else.  Yes, you can take away bits and pieces of the workout but I don’t know a lot of people who have gym rings set up in their living rooms, or that ab thing or a rower.  Basically, when you go to the workouts they’re going to sell it hard and tell you it’s better than anything you’ve ever done in your whole life because there is no way else to get you to pay $100 a month to look like some of these guys.  Same way with all these fad diets and buzz words like organic and all-natural.  Marketers package this shit like there’s no other way to lose weight or get in shape but whatever they’re selling.
  • I told my kids, Crossfit or prostitution.  It's really about choices.

    I told my kids, Crossfit or prostitution. It’s really about choices.

    The meathead personality abounds at Crossfit.  I’m not sure it really means anything if you don’t like Crossfit, or if you prefer to do a different type of workout.  Some of these guys clearly think you’re inferior if you’re a “gym rat.”  I think this goes into the whole sales pitch thing.  They’re trying to sell why Crossfit is way better than traditional lifting.  Instead of being cool and laid-back about an awesome workout, there’s a lot of arrogance.  The instructors said they experience a surge of new people right after an orientation class, then it tapers off.  One instructor said it’s because some of them probably didn’t have the tenacity to stick with it.  Way to be judgmental.  Maybe they found it boring.  Maybe they felt it didn’t suit their needs.  Maybe they came because they were curious about Crossfit and just wanted to try it out before making an opinion about it.  Maybe they were turned off by your smug attitude.  Maybe they discovered that none of the class times worked for their schedule.  Could be a lot of things.  Some people who want to lose weight and get in shape are intimidated when they go to a gym and find out everyone is already cut.  Someone wrote on the Crossfit page about the “silly Zumba people.” I don’t think it was an instructor who wrote the comment but to each their own, you know.  At least the Zumba people are up and moving, not laying on their fat ass (like me, for example).  Everything is not for everybody.

  • I often feel like I’m forced to lift or do more than I’m actually capable of. I’m not talking about pushing a person to do more, as in, “Come on, you got one more.” That’s motivational. Sometimes you really do have one more in you, but you’re being lazy and you need someone to pump you up. That’s awesome. What isn’t awesome is that it’s my first week and I need to stack 1000 (exaggeration) pounds on everything. Did I not mention that I’m sad and fat and out of shape? Can I actually work on proper form so I don’t injure myself before I start trying to lift the gym? Ooops, I mean, the box. When we went to do the back squats the girl looked at us like we were crazy because we only had 10 pounds on the bar.

    WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE!?!

    I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!

  • Although I mentioned there were a lot of body weight exercises, there are also a lot of exercises that require special equipment. I don’t consider a pull-up bar special equipment but gymnastics rings, barbells and other shit I have to buy or go someplace to do it. I do better with workouts that don’t require anything. Right now, though, I pretty much suck at everything.
  • As with anything that is athletic and muscle-bound, the amount of testosterone in the building is ridiculous. In the first week, the guy was like, “You guys ready to work out?” Some people were like, “Yeah, sure.” Apparently that wasn’t enough for him. He needed everybody to SCREAM their motivation. Men are very predictable when it comes to stuff like this. You’re not motivated unless you’re screaming like a maniac. Look, I showed up. I’m doing the workouts. I stayed for the entire workout. I also did every single exercise to the best of my ability. I don’t think I need to scream anything, but thanks. When I was in basic training, we had to scream “Hooah” as we ran into the DFAC. If we weren’t motivated enough we had to go to the end of the line and do it again. One time I refused to yell “Hooah.” The drill sergeant asked me why I wasn’t motivated. First, who is motivated to eat slops, and second, is screaming the only way to show you’re motivated? So when it was my turn again, I screamed, “Hooah,” and then I yelled, “I’M ONLY SCREAMING BECAUSE I’M HUNGRY AND WANT TO EAT. YELLING IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF ANYTHING EXCEPT PERCEIVED MASCULINITY.”
Yeah, we Paleo.  Totally.

Yeah, we Paleo. Totally.

Needless to say I had to do push-ups while everyone else was eating. That is how I feel about screaming while working out. It doesn’t actually mean anything.

I guess, for now, I’m going to keep going to Crossfit, maybe once or twice. I’m not pressed and I’m certainly not subscribing to the lemming-like mentality.  I cannot be enthused about anything that is ultra-restrictive and judgmental.  That’s what church is for.

Actually, what I think I will do is pay attention to the WOD and only go on days when it’s body weight-centric, and then I’ll just run the other days. I think I’m going to get my lazy ass to spinning class too. That shit starts at 0500. That’s rough, but I like spinning. I’m already more motivated to get up at 0430 to go spinning then I am to lift another barbell on my neck at Crossfit.  In fact, I’m so excited about it that I might just start screaming.