8.30.2004

Hook-A-Thon

Hook-A-Thon is a website is dedicated to supporting the men and women of Bravo Company, 214th Aviation Regiment - also known as the Hillclimbers - and their families. The regiment is currently depolyed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Hook-a-Thon hopes to raise funds for the regiment’s Family Readiness Group (FRG) through auctions of donated materials, sales of patriotic and military-themed magnets sold by the FRG, and donations. The first project they hope to help sponsor will be the regiment’s reunion party which will hopefully take place in spring, 2005. Here are a few words about that event from the regiment’s well-known 1st Sgt, Sgt. Hook :


"The [FRG] has reserved an MWR [Morale, Welfare, and Recreation] spot at Bellows Air Base on the windward side of Oahu where they have cabins and campsites for rent, large pavillions for BBQ and beer, volleyball, playground for the kids, stage for a band, rental beach equip (boogie boards, boats, etc.). Their idea was instead of a formal military ball which is the typical way we celebrate return from battle, to have a two day beach bash where folks can stay the night and enjoy the entire family. Gonna cost some money. It won’t be easy for some folks to reintegrate into their marriages and roles as parents after a year over here, this is certainly a good way to help these reunions to be positive ones."

Currently they have an auction up for a hand-painted "In God We Trust" sign. I know it would look nice in my living room and would match my Americana theme nicely but if anyone wants to outbid me, go right ahead. This seems like a wonderful cause and I'm all for supporting it.

The Hook-A-Thon website can be found here. Check back often and help them out!

8.29.2004

Capitalist or Socialist? You decide.

We are having a debate about nationalized health care on the military spouse website I frequent. The majority of the people on the site are of the conservative/Republican bent. But there are a few who lean left. S is one of them. She is a firm believer in all sorts of social programs, especially nationalized health care. She is also a firm believer in welfare, food stamps, etc. She believes that, because "everyone desires health care" it should be the right of the people to have health care. She also believes that the security of this nation should come second to social policy issues. Her rationale is that a secure border doesn't do her any good if she is living on the streets.

MY arguement is that access to health care isn't going to matter one damn bit if nutjobs actually succeed in destroying this nation. I would MUCH rather pay out of pocket to have my appendix removed and do so in a safe and secure country than have the government pay for my appendectomy while New York is a wasteland because some nutcase detonated a dirty bomb in the heart of Central Park and killed off 3 million people. I highly doubt that government health care will cover radiation exposure as part of their benefits package.

Aside from the national security vs. social programs debate, my other fundamental issue with anything government run is that our government can't run ITSELF properly, let alone something as huge as national health care. Hell, the DoD can't run Tricare properly! What makes ANYONE think that the government will do a better job with something of a LARGER scale?? Want to see what nationalized medicine is REALLY like? Drive north until you cross the Canadian border. Then get sick. See where that takes you. It's not pretty.

My friend pointed out to me the other day, as we discussed this topic, that we live in a capitalistic society. In such a society, there will always be the "haves" and the "have nots". There is no way around a bell curve. To rely on government (as opposed to people) to take care of the "have nots" is doing them a disservice. Government is a big, cumbersome, impersonal entity that has no business CARING for people. People should be caring for people. Let the care of the "have nots" fall to people - religious organizations, charities, etc. Stop "forcing" me to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves (via taxes which are used for poorly run social programs) and let ME decide how and where to place my money so that I can be sure the people who truly need help receive it. They sure as heck aren't getting it now.

I'm off my soapbox and off to bed. 'night!

8.27.2004

Fifty Things

Got this from http://www.greatgooglymoogly.blogspot.com/ who got it from http://www.antisocial-bitch.com/ who got it from...well, you get the picture...


1. Your name spelled backwards: Xis Tnorfemoh

2. Where were your parents born? Ohio and Tennessee

3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? ?? can't remember...

4. What's your favorite restaurant? Flagstaff House in Boulder, CO

5. Last time you swam in a pool? a few weeks ago but the idiots here on post couldn't find anyone else besides high school students to be lifeguards so they shut the pools on post down 2 weeks early. I was planning on taking Princess Trouble swimming this weekend.

6. Have you ever been in a school play? yep - Christmas pageants and such. I remember Mrs. Dakan making us sing our "s" like "th" so we "didn't sound like a room full of snakes". "Itth beginning to look a lot like Chrithmuth..." Whatever.

7. How many kids do you want? depends on the kids...

8. Type of music you dislike most? anything that is loud enough for me to hear in my bedroom (with the doors and windows SHUT and the a/c ON) at 5am as these idiots drive to PT with their stereos booming.

9. Are you registered to vote? hell yes.

10. Do you have cable? basic cable and cable internet

11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? no, amazingly enough. But I have ridden on a motorcycle.

12. Ever prank call anybody? ashamedly...yes.

13. Ever get a parking ticket? yes - ask my mother about the one I got for parking in the handicap spot at high school so I wouldn't be late to Mr. Hermans' AP Government class. She refuse to write a check for it (I would have given her the cash) and instead I had to fork out an additional $3 for a flipping money order.

14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? maybe.

15. Farthest place you ever traveled? Does living in Alaska for 3 years count? Or how about the 6,000 mile drive we made from Alaska to Fort Rucker, Alabama? That was pretty damn far...

16. Do you have a garden? not yet but next summer we will!

17. What's your favorite comic strip? Get Fuzzy

18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? absolutely!

19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Shower in the AM, bath at night (yeah, right...like I have time for a bath...I wish!)

20. Best movie you?ve seen in the past month? I have a 3 year old and a 6 month old. I do GO to movies. And my brain is such mush right now that I cannot honestly remember the last movie we rented. OH WAIT! I went to a movie when I visited W in Atlanta - we saw "The Bourne Supremacy".

21. Favorite pizza topping? CHEESE and CHEESE. Oh, and then top that with CHEESE.

22. Chips or popcorn? CHEETOS!

23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Burt's Bees "Watermelon" lip gloss.

24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? I must have missed this fad in high school...

25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Um, no.

26. Orange Juice or apple? Are we adding vodka? If not, apple.

27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Just got back from dinner with The Husband and the kiddos at a local pizza house/brewery.

28. Favorite type chocolate bar? Whatever is in my hand at the time. Really, I'm not picky.

29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? At the polls? When we were living in Alaska as that is where I am registered to vote so 2002. But I have submitted absentee ballots since we left.

30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? I have no idea.

31. Have you ever won a trophy? yes - a small one but yes.

32. Are you a good cook? Ask The Husband. I'm assuming I'm decent because he hasn't divorced me or asked to hire a cook.

33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? and change a tire, and change my oil...my mother didn't raise a fool.

34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? not that I recall

35. Sprite or 7-up? Coke - these days, I have to have the caffiene

36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? yes - as a lifeguard. Red swim suit. One of my favorite jobs in life!

37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Sudafed - I picked up the kids' cold.

38. Ever throw up in public? Does the driveway of my friend S's house count???

39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? Having already found true love and being NOWHERE near a millionaire, can I try the millioniaire thing on for size?

40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Not really. I believe that you can be attracted to someone right off the bat but true love takes time to develop.

41. Ever call a 1-900 number? Yep - I didn't know they CHARGED for them and boy did I get GROUNDED when my folks got the phone bill. I was just screwing around.

42. Can ex's be friends? I don't think so.

43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? Friends of ours who just had a baby :)

44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? Nope - bald, bald, bald as a ping pong ball (as my friend Dave would say) until I was 2 (or 3...can't remember).

45. What message is on your answering machine? "Hi. You've reached XXX-XXXX. We can't take your call right now but if you leave a message we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!"

46. What's your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? ???

47. What was the name of your first pet? GD the cat. GD stood for God $@&%*^ because he used to crawl up my mom's leg with his claws and she would holler that at him as she chucked him across the room!

48. What is in your purse? ID, insurance cards, zoo membership cards, a JC Penney gift card, pictures, lip gloss, pen, scraps of paper and notes, business cards, Power of Attorney, ATM card, Sam's club card.

49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? read

50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? that my family is happy and healthy (relatively speaking) and that I am blessed with wonderful friends.

8.25.2004

No rest for the weary

I must have ticked the sleep gods off because sleep just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me. Both kids are sick - nothing major...just colds (thank goodness Princess Trouble didn't come down with a massive chest infection like she usually does...the hospital on post couldn't get her in until NEXT week for an acute visit...great). But Little Man is NOT sleeping well - not that he ever does but now it's made worse by the fact that he can't breathe. Of course, the ONE night that The Husband gets up with him, the little stinker sleeps from midnight to 6am. On the nights when it is MY turn, he's up and down every other hour (and his big sister wakes up on the hours that he does not).

I tried to take a nap today - really, I did. Got both kids down for naps at the same time and crawled into bed. Little Man woke up 30 minutes after that - right as I had just drifted off. The Husband is now sick with the kids' cold (and you all know how it is when the man is sick...) so he was home from work, napping on the couch. Once he woke up (must be NICE to nap in the middle of the afternoon whenever one wants to) I handed Little Man off and tried, once again, to rack up some Z's. Nope. Grama decides to call and The Husband thought it was worth waking me up to talk to her. I give up! THIS is why I don't take naps during the day. Not only does it take me 30 minutes to fall asleep, it usually doesn't work and I just get frustrated. I'm better off sucking down a Coke, gutting it out for the rest of the day, and getting some things accomplished while the kids sleep.

Once again, it is my night to get up with the kids so I am anticipating little sleep yet again. This is why I now keep the fridge stocked with Coke. I'm not a coffee drinker so Coke it is.

In other news, Little Man has figured out how to pull himself up. Still doesn't have the crawling thing down 100% (it's more like the "worm" from the '80s) but he can now pull himself up to a standing position. God help us! He pulled himself up on big sister's step stool, crawled up on to it, and then promptly crawled OFF of it and landed on his head. And screamed. He does a LOT of that. Talked to a friend today on the phone and Little Man pretty much screamed through the entire conversation. Thankfully, she too has a little one and can relate. He's not in pain, he's not hungry, he's not uncomfortable. He is just VOCAL. And LOUD.

I called the hospital to get him a 6 month well-baby checkup. All of a sudden they are backed up beyond belief. When I took him in for his 4 month visit, there was no problem - got him an appointment that week. Now the lady tells me it will be September 15 before they can get me in. He'll be 7 months old by then. I LOVE managed care. Those of you who think that Hitlary's plan of Universal Health Care is a good idea...come experience Tricare for a while. If the government can't run military health care properly, what makes you think they will be able to run nationwide health care any better??? Tricare is what a friend of mine would call a "Charlie Foxtrot"...

That's all the news that is fit to print. Oh wait...I do have to report that the cutest thing I think I have EVER seen is a bunch of 3 to 5 year olds in tights and tutus. Princess Trouble has started her ballet/tumbling classes and it's absolutely ADORABLE! She's having a great time though and I love to see her thrive.

Ok - I'm off to scavenge a few minutes of sleep before the fun begins. Sleep is overrated...really...

8.22.2004

Road Trip!!!

Sorry I haven't been around lately - I got a wild hair up my butt and decided to road trip with the kiddos (sans husband) back down to Rucker to visit some friends. I learned a few things along the way...

1.) Travelling at night, though hard on me, was easier on the kids. They slept the entire way down (for the most part) and almost the entire way back up. A lot easier than trying to keep a 3 year old (well, she'll be 3 in less than a month) and a 6 month old entertained while trying to dodge tractor trailer rigs and slow-moving vehicles in the fast lane.

2.) Coke is the nectar of the gods. Aside from its diuretic properties (which made for an emergency pit stop somewhere along the way between Montgomery and Troy), caffiene is one of the most useful discoveries known to man. Had it not been for Coke, we would have wound up sleeping at a rest stop somewhere along the way.

3.) It IS possible to make a 6 hour trip in six hours WITH 2 small children (the key being point #1) and leaving 2 hours early isn't necessary. In fact, leaving 2 hours early means that you pull into Enterprise at 6am and not 9 like you had planned. Oops. So we spent a few hours wandering around Wal-Mart...

4.) It is my lot in life to have at least one of my children (if not both) get sick while on a trip. I should just chuck the Children's Motrin, Tylenol, Sudafed, and any other medicine they have ever been prescribed in their lives into the bag when packing. We wound up coming home a day early because both kids picked up a cold and Princess Trouble has a nasty tendency to turn colds into bronchiolitis and I just didn't feel like arguing with Tricare over an ER visit out of our Area of Service.

5.) Road trips NEVER go as smoothly as I think they will. All told, I believe I racked up a total of maybe 18 hours of sleep over the course of 4 days...not great.

6.) You can never go "home" again. It was wonderful to see my friends again but even though I have only been gone a few months, life has gone on and things are different. Not so much with my civilian friends but more so with the military friends that I have. I didn't recognize many people at the kids' playgroup as I had hoped to (actually, I only recognized 1 other person) and the Spouses' luncheon that I went to wasn't as welcoming as I had hoped it would be either. But I understand - especially in the military (and even more so at Rucker since it is a training post and people move in and out at an even faster pace than other installations), life has to go on. This actually makes being gone easier to handle. Although I miss my church family like crazy, this visit made the homesickness ease up a bit.

It's good to be home. I missed The Husband like crazy as did the kids. And now we head back to our normal routine.

Also - a side note. A few weeks back I posted about a friend of mine whose husband was in Iraq and might possibly be coming home soon (possibly ahead of the rest of his unit). Well, he's back!!! He made it out of that hell-hole and back into the waiting and loving arms of his family last week. Thank God. I am trilled beyond words for my friend - this has been a rough year for her and her babies and now they (hopefully) get to look forward to a "normal" life again. Now we just need to pray that his retirement paperwork goes through without a hitch!

Talk to you all later...

8.16.2004

Happy anniversary to me!

Seven years. The man is a SAINT. You have NO idea what it takes to put up with me - for 7 minutes, let alone 7 years. It's hard to believe that seven years ago I was putting on my sister-in-law's beautiful white wedding dress and my veil (that I made myself) and slipping into my pretty white shoes with the pink and red roses hot-glue-gunned to them and heading off to the church to get married. What a truly wonderful start to a truly wonderful (well, mostly) seven years.

Looking back, I can't believe it has already been seven years but they say time flies when you are having fun and I sure have been having fun (well, mostly). I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be married to your best friend.

I love you honey - happy anniversary!!!


moo.

8.11.2004

FCC wants to dig deeper into soldiers' pockets

The following text is from the current issue of the Army Times. Seems the FCC wants to jack up charges on prepaid calling cards. Read the story and if you wish to voice your opinion regarding this move by the FCC, the number to the White House comment line is :

1.800.696.6322


On a personal note, we do not have long distance on our land line. Heck, I didn't even WANT a land line to begin with but we decided the cost wasn't that bad and The Husband felt better having one. But no long distance. I have yet to find a company that can beat the rates we get on these calling cards - 3.5 cents per minute. I give them to my Grandmother, my Godmother, my parents, my BILs, and anyone else who might have a need for one. They make wonderful little gifts and people seem to appreciate receiving them. I know several people who consider them lifesavers while they were over in the Litter Box. To bump rates up by 20% for us, stateside, wouldn't be a HUGE deal but for those overseas (Korea would be another place I've sent cards) it will make a big dent in a budget.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, call the White House comment line and let them know what you think. Thanks.



FROM THE ARMY TIMES :

"Defense officials, lawmakers, the USO and others have asked the Federal Communications Commission to consider the effect on service members’ wallets before ruling on an issue that could raise the costs for AT&T prepaid phone cards by as much as 20 percent.

The USO, which provides free prepaid calling cards to service members, said FCC-imposed charges would undermine its Operation Phone Home program.

“It would directly interfere with the ability of military men and women to phone home from far away, because as costs rise to providers, they will quickly be passed along to consumers — including men and women in uniform,” wrote Edward Powell, president and chief executive officer of USO, in a July 16 letter to the FCC.

FCC spokeswoman Diane Griffin said a decision has not been made on a petition by AT&T seeking formal exemption from the fees, and added she could not discuss pending decisions. AT&T spokeswoman Claudia Jones said the cost of prepaid phone cards could increase by as much as 20 percent if the FCC rebuffs the petition.

Prepaid phone cards provide a lifeline to home for tens of thousands of troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world. Service members make more than 1 billion minutes of long-distance calls each year on AT&T prepaid cards sold on military bases, company officials said.

“We asked the FCC to rule that enhanced prepaid cards be considered an information service,” said Jones, because retailers have the ability to place ads on the cards or arrange for callers to hear informational messages when they use the cards. As such, she said, the cards should be subject to interstate charges that apply to communications lines used between states, rather than the more costly intrastate charges assessed by local phone providers for local communications lines within a state.

Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, weighed in with a letter July 23 to the FCC, noting that Congress last year passed a law allowing the Defense Department to provide prepaid calling cards or other telecommunications support of up to $40 a month to troops deployed in combat zones.

“Should AT&T raise their prices for prepaid calling cards, this benefit would be eroded,” Abell wrote. “We request that the impact on military personnel be considered in the commission’s proceedings.”

“This action is particularly unconscionable during a time of war,” wrote Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., in July 16 letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. “We simply cannot permit rate hikes exceeding 20 percent that take money out of soldiers’ pockets while they defend our country.”

Sources said the FCC has temporarily backed away from ruling on the issue in order to further research the potential impact.

These “enhanced” prepaid cards, as AT&T calls them, also are sold through major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Those companies launched a campaign in mid-July to alert their customers about the possible cost increase. When customers used their cards to make a call, they received an informational message with a toll-free AT&T number to call, which was forwarded to the White House. Within a week, White House officials had received 800,000 calls, Jones said.

Members of the United States Telecom Association, made up primarily of local phone companies, have drawn battle lines over the issue, saying AT&T should not be exempt from the charges that other prepaid card providers pay.

“Local phone companies are proud to support our troops — in fact, many have donated thousands of phone cards to them,” said USTA spokeswoman Allison Remsen. “Unfortunately, this is another example of AT&T trying to game the system and dodge its responsibility to help maintain this country’s phone lines. Using the troops in Iraq to help perpetrate this charade is truly an all-time low.”

Prepaid calls consist of two separate “calls” — one from the card holder to a “service platform,” then a “call” from the platform to the person the caller is trying to reach. Each call is usually is routed across state lines.

In its petition, AT&T contends the local-access charges in question should be added only if the caller or third party happens to be in the same state as the service platform that links the two.

But the USTA contends other prepaid card providers have been paying these access charges.

The fees help support the Universal Services Fund, which subsidizes the costs of telecommunications in rural and isolated areas, and also are used to pay local phone companies for the use of their lines."

8.09.2004

Gripe and moan

Do you ever get the feeling that you're drowning? Lately somedays I feel like I just can't keep my head above water. Some days are better than others but lately, the bad ones have been ganging up on me. I'm SO tired. I feel like I've been treading water for weeks. I'm sure a serious lack of sleep makes it worse. I'll get the occasional 8 hour night where I can rack up 8 hours (not continuous but cummulative) of sleep but the occasional night doesn't do me much good. I'm not sure, at this point, that even a week would suffice.

When Princess Trouble was a baby, it didn't matter if she took a nap at noon, 2, or 4. Now that there are 2 of them, the fact that Little Man rarely sleeps when his big sister sleeps is a serious problem. I have NO time to do much of anything other than care for them and hit the real basics of care for myself. I have to squeeze in time for household chores - laundry, tidying up, cleaning, meals, errands, etc. I do them when Little Man is safely entertained on the floor in the living room under the VERY watchful eye of Princess Trouble (aka Princess Tattletale) or safely contained in his "bouncy bounce" (aka the Exersaucer - one of man's greatest inventions) which means 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. You'd be amazed at how quickly I can mop a sticky floor! But all of this not only leaves me exhausted, it leaves me ZERO time for myself. And I have come to the realization that I am not one of those people who can do without time for myself. I have friends (whom I admire immensely) who have gone YEARS without taking time for themselves aside from basic hygiene. Not me. Not my style. I have too shallow of a patience pool to be able to do that. I need (and this truly is a need vs. a want) time to myself. And getting away to run errands (i.e. commissary, PX, Target, Lowe's/Home Depot, storage, etc.) doesn't cut it.

The husband tries to help. He really does. But either I'm not communicating what I need or he's not picking up on it all the time because it never seems to be enough. I don't want to complain. I know he's tired when he comes home and his patience wears thin like mine does when the almost-three-year-old is whining because she's hungry/tired/bored/etc. and the baby is screaming because that is what he DOES. But that doesn't help me.

I get so tired sometimes. Especially on days that follow lousy nights (I know, there's a shocker...). On days like today (last night was another up and down every other hour night and a short one at that), I feel like I have 2 elephants - one sitting on my shoulders and one sitting on my chest. Getting out of bed was a Herculean effort. And silly me was ambitious today and took both kids to the commissary as well as to the Thrift Store (got a GREAT deal on an almost new Crock Pot - $15 and it has a TIMER!!!) and then to the Claims Office to file the claim for all of the damage that the movers did to our stuff. Let me tell you, I'm wiped out. I don't know that I have ever been THIS tired. I didn't feel this tired after giving BIRTH - either time.

I'm not looking for solutions. I'm not looking for suggestions. The doctor that I saw gave me Ambien (the sleeping pill). I laughed. Hard. First off, it's not that I CAN"T sleep, it's that I don't have time. Secondly, in order to TAKE Ambien, you have to be in a position to get 8 hours of sleep (preferably continuous). Um, that's not going to happen. Not anytime soon. I don't understand docs sometimes. I don't even know what I NEED (other than a week in Tahiti by myself although I'd really like to take my husband along and actually have a conversation with him that didn't involve the kids). I basically just wanted to gripe and moan. I'm good at it.

8.06.2004

Ramble, ramble, ramble...

I admit - I'm hooked. This blogging thing is pretty cool. It's allowing me to do 2 things together that I've wanted to do - create a webpage and dabble in code at the same time. I love being able to "kill 2 birds with 1 stone". I'm hoping to tweak a new skin for my blog (how's THAT for new lexicon??) and get that up soon. I am waiting on the skin code to be e-mailed to me. So the look will be different but the blog itself will remain the same.

This has been an exhausting week. Nothing in particular - I just don't have the energy reserves that I used to have. By the end of the week, it feels like I am rucking an elephant. Ugh.

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis had a bit about a post on someone else's blog : Cold Fury . Scroll down to the entry titled "Someday, some way" and take a gander. It left me so blown away that I was literally speechless for seconds. And those of you who know me know how impossible that actually is. I would give parts of my anatomy to actually bear witness to the following exchange :

"Press: “Mr. Ridge, how do you respond to charges that this security alert is really a scare tactic being used for political purposes by the Bush administration?”

Ridge: “Christ almighty, what is it with you people?..."

And the exchange goes on. In a perfect world...

The Swift Boat Veterans story seems to have kicked up a notch. One of the gentlemen in the organization (and in the picture in the ads) is the father of a good friend of mine. Makes it a little more personal. Not to mention, it adds to my belief that John sKerry has no business running for school board member, let alone President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. I cannot tell you how terrifying the thought of THAT man leading the Army that MY husband is in. Just the thought makes me wonder how easy it is to get OUT of the military in the middle of one's committment.

Speaking of The Husband...the kiddos and I were on our way back from getting pictures taken and having lunch at Burger King when we saw 2 Chinooks fly overhead. They seemed to be landing nearby so we drove off in search of them. Princess Trouble LOVES Chinooks and will tell you that she, too, is going to be a Chinook pilot. We found where they had gone and pulled over to the side of the road to watch them. They were practicing slingload maneuvers with a school that is taking place and I must say they are awesome to watch.

I have my own opinions of the Chinook - my first impression was that it was, perhaps, the UGLIEST aircraft I had ever seen. The Husband will tell you all of the metaphors (I think they are metaphors...good grief, hopefully my high school English teachers won't be reading this blog!) for the Chinook : it looks like 2 palm trees having their way with a dumpster, flying school bus, the thing is so ugly that the ground repels it, it flies only because it beats the air into submission, etc. They are not the most attractive pieces of machinery in the world. But man, are they AWESOME! Just watching them slingload big boxes, you can't help but literally be overpowered by their sheer strength. They are amazing.

And the thought of MY husband actually flying one just gives me goosebumps. I have yet to see him fly one. In flight school, there was "Family Day" during Primary phase and I was able to see him fly the trainer helo - it's a Bell Jet Ranger (206? heck, I don't know...looks like a news chopper) but I have never seen him fly a Chinook. Can't wait though. I'm so darned proud of him. This has been his dream for longer than I have known him. Actually getting TO flight school took him 5 years. Getting through it was another accomplishment - it's not as easy as you would think. And now, he's done it. Of course, he's not flying yet. In his unit there are new Warrant Officers in double digits and only 3 Instructor Pilots to put everyone through "progression" (on the job training...picking up where flight school left off) so it will be a while until he flies. But man, oh man, the idea of him being in the pilot's seat just makes me smile :)

I think that is enough rambling for today. Hopefully one day soon, there will be a new look to entertain you. Until then, take care!

8.05.2004

Leashes

The Husband and I took Princess Trouble and Little Man to a community carnival/Family Night Out this past week. It was sponsored by the company that oversees the on-post housing here and included free food (the best kind - not only did I not have to cook, the food was FREE!!!), fun stuff for the kiddos (bouncy chamber, face painting, balloon animals made by a REAL clown, etc.), static displays of military vehicles (there was SUPPOSED to be a helicopter too but those lazy Warrant Officers didn't make it), and a live exhibition of the Military Police working dogs.

While I wanted in line for Princess Trouble's balloon animal, The Husband took the kiddos to watch the dog exhibition. About half way through the performance, as the German Shepherd is trying to take down the "criminal", a little boy about one and a half heads out on to the field. It took a moment for the MPs to see him but when they did one tackled the dog (who was also on a long leash) and one tried to tackle the boy. Obviously, the boy, Zachary...his name was taped on the back of his shirt...was used to this type of behaviour from adults because he tried to elude the MP. It took the poor MP about 30 seconds to catch this kid - he obviously didn't have kids of his own or else he would have just snatched Little Zachary up by his hair and called it a day. Instead, he was trying to be gentle. Once the MP finally grabbed hold of Little Zachary, he waited patiently for Little Zachary's parents to come frantically running up to claim him.

They didn't.

He announced over his megaphone that he had Little Zachary - who was doing everything in his power to escape yet again - in his possession and still, no parents.

Finally, Little Zachary was taken to the announcer's podium and a louder announcement was made for his parents. FINALLY, someone claimed Little Zachary. In the meantime, the MPs had to collect themselves - this had really startled them. I don't blame them. Not that I don't trust German Shepherds but those dogs were doing their job at that moment and who is to say that Little Zachary would not have been taken down like the "criminal" that the dog was originally pursuing? How awful would THAT have been??

There is a point to my story but first I have to add another story.

Yesterday on the military spouse website I frequent, a friend of mine posted a question asking if she would be considered a bad mommy if she were to use a child leash on her rather willful 3 year old. I came in to the discussion late and by the time I did, there were several comments supporting her decision. But there was one that dissented. Now, I'm all for opinions. But this opinion came from someone who does not have children and has never been in a position such as this. For some reason this, combined with what I witnessed at the community carnival and some of the things I have witnessed at the commissary/Wal-Mart/Target/etc. just set me off. It doesn't take much these days.

First off, as a parent, my job is to ensure the safety of my children at all times. The incident with my friend that prompted the idea of a leash involved her child getting away from her in a store, getting through the automatic doors before she could grab him, and him RUNNING out toward the parking lot. Obviously, not safe. If putting a leash on a child is the way to keep them safe, DO IT. Sometimes strollers are not feasible. Carrying a 30+ pound child for more than a few minutes is tiring for my studly husband, let alone for me. And sometimes, it is not feasible to wait to be able to leave the children home in order to run errands. So leash them.

I am sure that there are those of you who are aghast at the idea of putting a leash on a child. You're thinking, "They aren't dogs. If you can't control them, don't have them." First, pick your jaws up off the keyboard and close your mouths. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But I don't want to hear it. If I feel that leashing my child is what will keep them safe, then I will do it and opinions be damned. You know what they say about opinions anyway.

In MY opinion (which, on this site anyway, is the only one that counts), letting your child run amok in a public place is more abhorrent than putting some kind of restraint upon them. Letting a child put themselves in danger is more deplorable than taking steps to make sure they are safe.

We live is a dangerous world. When I was a kid, I remember throwing a bit of a tantrum in a store because I didn't get what I wanted. I remember my mom picking me up, swatting me on the rear, plopping me back down on the floor, and WALKING AWAY. I could NOT imagine doing that in this day and age. Most everyone reading this is old enough to remember Adam Walsh. It only takes a split second for someone to snatch a child. It only takes a split second for a child to run through automatic doors and out into a busy parking lot. It only takes a second. As much as I would love some alone time these days, that is not how I want to get there. It would KILL me if anything were to happen to either of my children.

So, will I leash them? Hell yes. I'll duct tape them to the ceiling if it keeps them safe (by the way, "one hundred mile per hour"tape works better than duct tape for those of you who care...). In fact, when we PCS'd from Alaska to Alabama and took the ferry from Alaska to Bellingham, Washington I bought a leash for Princess Trouble. She was a year old at the time and walking all over the place. The LAST thing I wanted to do was to have to dive into the frigid northern Pacific Ocean to fish her out because she had toddled off the edge. I didn't need it and it is still in its original packaging in the closet. I would have offered it to my friend but I suspect I might need it for Little Man when the time comes.

I wish more people were like my friend. I wish more people kept a closer eye on their kids. I wish, I wish, I wish...