Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Singing Toilets and Theme Park Brawls

Tonight we went to bed at our allotted time- 10pm. Its a new standard in the Crist house. No late movies, popcorn or "Call of Duty" after 10pm unless the weekend is in sight-Friday night and onward. Lou's schedule of getting up at 5am to start the day isn't much of a change from IBOLC, but the cadre are emphasizing physical readiness above all else.....brawn over brains, in this case. Its doing a lot for Lou, not that he was a Santa shoe-in by any means prior to the Army, but now he has "muscle definition". Definitely. He shows me the quad muscles as they stand out "Arnoldesquely" from his leg when he flexes. Really cool, but tiring work keeping them thar' fellows looking good. So, the soldiers have been running a lot and a lot. Yesterday it was 5 miles, then today another 3. In between which they do "PT" on their own. Lou is really tired. He's handling all that exercise well, but it makes him even hungrier and more determined to get to bed early. I'm a firm believer in sleep. But, in this house sometimes its a little difficult to come by.
There are so many deterrents to sleep in Georgia.....
#1 These buggers.
They crawl around trying to find sneaky ways into your home. Once they do, they hide where you least suspect them and then POP out at you, daring you to remain calm. Interesting trivia: did you know a cockroach can live for 7 days without a head? Yep, they only die from lack of food, not because they need brains. But, even brainless cockroaches can be pests. Like when you're in the bathroom and you look out at the master bedroom ceiling and query,"Is that a roach on the ceiling?" dun dun dun.....scary music. YES! You answered correctly! Now to balance on the bed and attempt to smash it without it:
a. flying from the popcorn finish into your hair in a brazen escape attempt
b. scattering roach guts over the freshly laundered sheets
 #2 Duplex insulation issues.
People on the "other side" never have an identical schedule.....why doesn't the Army take this into consideration when it assigns housing? "Sir, your wife works 12 hour shifts-you can't live beside couple A, they only work 8 hour days. The timing is all wrong." OK, a bit unrealistic but it would be funny to see the scrambling going on in the Housing Office if this were added to the mix. Our neighbors are probably really nice people, but they don't go to bed until 30 minutes after we do, and then they have lengthy loud conversations until midnight-ish. Probably interesting stuff, but the walls are insulated just enough to give it all the Charlie Brown teacher "waa, waa waa wahh" affect. If I was a designer- I would make it my personal mission to keep duplex master bedrooms from being one wall apart.
#3 Bombing raids......ok, now I am joking. :)
#4 40 year old sink faucets.
Did you know that our sink faucet can be found in "Hodges Guide to Antique and Collectible Hardware Fixtures-Vol 7." ? Really, its almost priceless. Unfortunately, with all that age comes responsibility. A responsibility to the tenants of 619 Perkins to turn off. An allen wrench is the only tool that comes to mind. The faucet continues to drip maddeningly as you strain. I don't want to tighten it too much, after all, the only time I struggled with a faucet I managed to rip the handle off when I finally got it turned on, leading to a recreation of Katrina era flooding on the med room floor.
#5 And finally, a talking toilet!
I'm sure that not everyone's masterbath has so much melodic talent, but ours does! Literally, the plumbing sings-it hums, gurgles and burbles it way through the night. Nothing has been shown to quiet its soul, but revving it up is simple, turn on the washer and dishwasher at the same time. I've never heard anything like it. You can shut the door, turn on the central air (WHOOSH WHOOSH) and the concrete flooring still carries the noise for miles. I bet our neighbors can hear it and they probably lie awake wishing IT WOULD STOP TOO!
So- all this nonsense to explain why its past 10pm and I'm still wide awake and writing.
Hey, I know it sounds like a lot of complaining------but that's because it is. I'll get over it. And get some sleep. At least the mortars aren't going off at night. Yesterday they BOOMED from noon til five. They actually shook the house each time one went off, and after an hour or so the excitement wore off.

PS-I did ride the roller coasters, 2 of them. No, I did not get sick. I thought I was going to die after the first one though. But, the 2nd one calmed my fears, I actually started enjoying it. 3 loop-de-loops are enough to keep my adrenaline pumping for the next 24 hours. This is the Ninja-showing above the "town buildings".
Can't believe I managed to get on that and make it thru. But, what can I say? I have pride, and watching all the ten year olds calmly climbing off at the finish made me a teeny bit determined to not chicken out on Lou.
Did I mention the BRAWL? Yes, the most exciting thing there, barring roller coasters. We were standing in a (soon to be 1 hour wait) line at the Scorcher when a commotion started on the boardwalk ten feet away. Unfortunately, because of the boardlike railing none of the hundreds of teenagers waiting in line were able to actually see what happened, but we all heard the whooping and hollering. A rather corpulent guy in his 30s was trading insults and wallops with an equally large black woman. At one point she rushed him and knocked him down, cutting his forehead in the process, but the noise continued and he continued his fight, apparently at one point hitting her, which did not sit well with her friends, who were hanging out to watch the show. At that point the boardwalk thundered under the righteous wrath of 5 very large black women who descended on him and beat the daylights out of him as well as his shirt off his all ended with security guards showing up en mass and escorting them away. The waiting line of several hundred kids became a cheering squad in the meantime, as the fight progressed they hollered for their perceived righteous side to "kill em". Very uplifting and all. I asked Lou if that was a normal amusement park occurrence and he said,"No, just when you visit them." 
We finished out a terrific day with $22 worth of articles of consumption (thought you'd appreciate that one, Betsy) No hotdog wrapped in pretzel dough ever tasted better! (see picture below for details-all this for a mere $22! :))

Friday, April 16, 2010

Its Not Over....Until ITS Over. In This Case, the IT is Ranger School

Graduation: Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course. 
Lou graduated last Thursday. It happened to be the one rainy day in a week of sunshine. Rainy is a funny word. It conveys none of the hassle and perturbed expressions on the faces of women dream up the perfect clothing/hairstyle for the occasion, only to have it tossed to the wind, literally! Rainy to me brings up images of being a kid, sneaking outside during schooltime to splash in a puddle with my brother, only to be caught by my sister. There she was, looking out the window. We were in for it. This rain on graduation blew sideways. It soaked us all, ending right before graduation began. Oh well. There are some benefits to never having your hair done. You appear the same both prior and after a storm. Same reaction with minimal makeup-ing. (maybe it WILL be a word someday) No one ever comes up and says,"Wow, I didn't even recognize you without your makeup." Thanks, now I feel all better. BTW, did I mention that when its damp or humid here, the air smells of rotting vegetation? Like 4 week old spinach in your vegetable keeper? Though I do not profess to be an expert in 4 week old spinach, my friends tell me.....

Graduation, minus the rain was good though. We listened to a speech given by a colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He was clear, concise, and even better, when he mislaid one of his speech  pages, he simply ended it early. Some folks would have tried to fill in that missing page with overused platitudes. Not him. I like it when soldiers speak. Its not their forte, but they usually know that. So, they shoot it out in small machine bursts of connected phrases and end with "Hooah".
Ranger Physical Test was Wednesday. The guys were briefed in the weeks prior-Make it through! It you don't, YOU'RE BEING SENT TO YOUR UNIT IMMEDIATELY, THAT DAY,PERHAPS HOURS LATER- AS A FAILURE IN LIFE. So, with these encouraging words in mind, they all trained and did an excellent job on Wednesday. I think there were 5 failures out of a group of over 100 guys. PT test consisted of running 5 miles in under 40 minutes, pushups, situps, and pullups. I can't remember the exact numbers for the 3 latter, but Lou managed to get somewhere around 70, 85, and 10 respectively. Plus, he made the 5 miler in 35 minutes. He's doing a great job with it. They were on the field around 5am- that time alone would have made my physical endurance ~0~. Prior to the test, Lou spent the week telling me,"Be sure and be packed, ready to head to Knox". Thanks! :) He slept like a baby the night before, while I lay awake worrying. What is it with women and worry? 
Next on the list is Ranger school, starting May 17th. 62 days without seeing or talking to him. There is a brief "vacation" of 8 hours that the guys get during the course. They come home, crash into coma stage, we wash piles of dirty laundry, and then they're back to the field again.
Sounds like fun? I am mentally filling my 62 days with projects and plans for visiting (leeching onto) old friends and family, day trips with new friends, and late nights and mornings. We'll see how it all comes out. I've been told to serve Lou "none of that healthy low fat nonsense food" (by a retired colonel, no less) in order to pack him full of "pre-Ranger fat" for the course. So, this is what I'll be serving him breakfast/lunch/dinner for the next month.
In the meantime, we've had a terrific weeklong vacation, here on post. We're not allowed to take vacation time to the Bahamas, or Greece, or even Paradise (Jersey), but Lou's schedule is relaxed. 
He goes in mornings for PT from 0530-0730 and then reports again at 1300. They have minimal assignments and send him home usually by 3. Its a lovely schedule. Won't last, but when do vacations ever? So, in honor of this he's taking me to Six Flags, Atlanta tomorrow. Can't wait!!! We tried to get tickets to a Shakespeare Tavern  (Old English style pub) in Atlanta for The Taming of the Shrew. Lou and Shakespeare? I know it sounds a little unorthodox, but he is a man of "culture", as he likes to tell me. Besides, anything for love. Sadly, the show was sold out for the weekend. So, we're doing the amusement park circuit instead. What do these have in common? Yeah, that's what the ladies at Benning Thrift asked me yesterday when I volunteered. Nothing really, except that they're all things I enjoy doing! So, FIRST amusement park EVER! And I'm doing it before I turn 30! That's even more noteworthy, in my book. :) I'll let you know if my motion sickness takes over on the first roller-coaster.