Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Soldier's Life For Me (sorta)

Life on a base (at least this one) is bizarre to me.  In many ways it is business as usual, and in so many small ways it adds up quickly to different.

::  Yes, it is like a small town.  But I have lived in a small town most of my life, and everyone knows me or I know them (at least distantly).  I can name everyone I know on one hand (ok, maybe 2).

::  Trumpets (pre-recorded and on speakers) play at all hours of the day, and everyone else seems to know what they are for except me.  Therefore, if we happen to be out at say 5ish and the trumpets go off, you may or may not see (depending on the song) a whole lot of people turn to some unknown object (I still don't know what they are turning to?  Maybe a direction?) and salute (or stand at attention).  I fumble around with my child as she jabbers away about what she is make believing.  Does she have to be quiet?  Are we supposed to turn too?  I Have No Idea What is Happening!  By the time I make up my mind, the song is over.

::  When F began basic training I was instructed to go get myself an ID card, so off I went to get my card.  I tucked it in my wallet and didn't pull it out until he graduated, when I had to get on the base (but in all reality I could have just used my licence).  I thought the card was pointless until I moved here.  I have to show my ID to breath here.  Apparently, I look like a sketchy individual.  On one trip to the commissary (the grocery) I was carded 3 times.  To Buy Groceries!  I showed them my ID upon entering, a random lady in one of the aisles asked if I belonged there and asked for my ID, and then to check out.  I suppose I do not have the look of someone in the army.

::  Everything in the Army is abbreviated.  Acronyms are just the way it goes, but then they take it one step further and they make those acronyms into words.  For example, Dining Facilities Administration Center, is abbreviated to D.F.A.C., then they don't want to say all those letters so they call it "D-fac".  If you listen to any soldier's conversation it sounds like a foreign language.  What gets me, is that all of these guys (and gals) just use the abbreviated word, and if you ask I would guess quite a few don't know what it actually stands for.

::   The Group of Individuals that plan where new buildings will be and how much parking to account for only allows enough parking for 60% of the occupancy to have parking.  That means in this 1000 room hotel 600 people get parking and 400 don't.  They are trying to force you into commuting, a fine idea until you are one of the 400 at night that is looking for parking.  So, What do you do?  Good question.  You go to the next closest parking that has a sign that reads something similar to 'Staff parking from 0700 to 1800' and you park there.  Then you get up by 0630 and walk back to your vehicle and and drive it to your hotel parking.  What I find most amusing about this is that when I was out at 0630 walking to my car, so were a dozen or so other people.
(This is the very empty parking lot at 0700)--the whole
bottom row is for new guests to park in to unload their car.

::  Every television channel here is geared toward men.  Hunting channel?  Got it.  Every sports channel you could name?  Got it.  USA?  Hey I like some shows on there--oh wait the only thing they have played on that channel since we arrived is NCIS.  Normal morning talk shows, such as Kelly and Michael?  Nope.  Replaced with infomercials for Insanity.  What about Good Morning America?  It is some weird abridged version.
I did not know tv stations did this.  I will count this as a blessing.  I don't want to watch TV, and I don't want O to watch TV, but sometimes the temptation is still there (maybe due to the fact that there are two 32-inch TVs in our small space?).

::  The first week we were here, F had orientation.  One of the higher ups informed the class that there would be random inspections of the rooms.  Even though, I know it is a scare tactic, (what guy with that high of a ranking spends his days checking soldiers' quarters) it totally freaked me out.  Everything is put away immediately.  Dishes are washed immediately after they are used.  Housekeeping does the rest.  So, friends and family who want to visit drop by anytime.  :)

::  Everyone here is exercising.  People walk everywhere (probably because if they drive they won't have parking to return to).  It is refreshing to see.

::  Less than a mile from our room there is a Cross fit area.  It is outdoors which means O can come with me.  We can burn up some of that energy with an obstacle course, and we get some vitamin D.  Win-Win.

::  There is an Awesome trail through a wooded area across the street from my room.  

::  The few people I have met are fast friends (if that makes any sense?).  'Hi, it's nice to meet you.  Do you want to trade numbers?'  Ok, that is probably exaggerated a little.

::  It's a small world.  F is classmates that went to the same college as him (a few years behind), with the same degree.  Weird.

::  We are (almost) completely content living with way less stuff.  It has been almost 3 weeks, and O has the same toys she had when we arrived.  She is totally ok with very few toys as long as I am playing with her.  We are doing just fine with 35 articles of clothing (and no I am not doing laundry all the time.  Once a week for civilian clothes and once a week for military stuff).  

All in all I would say we are learning to adapt quite well. 

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