Tag Archives: life and times

Placeholder Vet

Veteran’s Day was Saturday and there was the usual acknowledgement in Church  Sunday morning. I didn’t stand this year. I’ve made myself stand for the last few years, but not Sunday. I was glad to see several more women standing and I suppose out of solidarity I should have stood. I’m always conflicted about my service. It’s my own weird sort of Stolen Valor Syndrome.

The military services became all volunteer in 1973. With the draft eliminated, the military was less free to turn away candidates. I think the real thought was that if we didn’t maintain a huge standing Army, there would be less need for one. Too bad evil doesn’t think like that. Anyway, Viet Nam was winding down and the country was weary so the military wound down as well. I went to basic training in January of 1977. One day after Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president.

I spent nine weeks in Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base outside of San Antonia, Texas. Then went, by school bus, to Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas. Yes, I managed to hit all the garden spots of Texas in winter. My first experience with Class 100 tornadoes was at Sheppard. I hate tornadoes.  After a bout of German Measles that put me in the hospital and put me back five days in my training, I went to Mountain Home AFB, in Idaho. There I schlepped tools and training records for the rest of my “tour.” I left the service the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in.

There were no hot spots, emergencies, insurgencies, no “cies” at all during my four-year tour of duty. We practiced in what was called “mobility training.” We all had to have our bags ready to go if all hell broke loose somewhere outside the U. S. I did have dog tags to identify my body if the worst happened.  But, all I really did was maintain a place for the next person to come along and serve. And, ideally, that’s what you want. Just keep the lights on and wheels greased, just in case.

People did die in covert military actions during my four years but not  in in “battle.” Overtly, things were quiet. We know there are covert activities because there are always covert operations being planned, executed and mopped up, no matter how peaceful it may look on the news.

This is my struggle. Saying I was in the Air Force, served one four-year TOD, and that I worked in Wing Training is disappointing for the hearer. Wing Training doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as Forward Operating Forces, or munitions. And, it’s not.

“So, you pushed paper.” Yup, that’s what I did. I helped to keep the clattery operation clattering along by scheduling people in fire suppression, small arms, and various duty-specific classes. I stood guard over freedom by  entering it all key-by-key in a pre-internet computer system that ran on punch cards, daisy wheel printers, and miles of continuous-feed computer paper. I kept the bureaucracy humming along to keep you safe.  All the offers of, “Thank you for your service,” are rather sad. They read like compliments to someone at the DMV for not making a hash of your license renewal. So, I sat this year.

Oh, and if you read last week’s screed on Amazon taking it’s sweet time getting me my paint sprayer, it finally came LAST NIGHT. Fat lot of good it did my at midnight. Bill tinkered with it and even read the owner’s manual. I think they walked it over after my complaint. Amazon, Google, Face Book, and Twitter. GAFT the Overlord has a nice ring to it.

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It’s a Brave New Amazonian World

No, we’re not doing this kind of painting, but isn’t this neat? And odd. (Gizmondo.com.au)

So, Tuesday I ordered a simple, hand-held paint sprayer. Nothing fancy or elegant, but serviceable and in keeping with our station in life. I, of course, ordered it from Amazon because … you know. Anyway, it was supposed to be delivered to an Amazon Locker yesterday. My husband would pick it up on the way home from work in the wee hours of the morning so we could begin the mistification of paint early this morning.

Not happening. If you haven’t heard, Amazon has decided to start it’s own, in-house delivery system. For nearly two decades UPS has been bringing my Amazon stuff and I was happy. There was that one Big Bang Theory DVD that got crushed in the teeth of a conveyor belt and UPS sent it along anyway, but I called Amazon, they sent a new one, relationship reestablished. Nary a hitch since.

I love a mystery so I have been clicking and checking all the info on my order. Here’s what I know: if you’re part of the brave new Amazonian experiment, you will see the code, AMZL US in the tracking code for your order. From all the reviews I’ve read, particularly on Reddit, beware.

All this is annoying because there is a gargantuan Amazon warehouse within spitting distance of the locker. (Disclaimer: Put down the hand sanitizer for there is no actual spitting involved.This is not a measurement recognized by the U. S. Weights and Measures types, but a dated expression that means close by.)

I’m betting if some enterprising troop were to fire up a delivery drone, the engine wouldn’t even get warmed up whizzing it over to said locker.

Photo of the new Amazon delivery fleet courtesy of WIKI COMMONS

So, I wait. If this is the direction that Amazon is going with customer service, I’m rethinking my dependence on them. Meanwhile, if you see this guy out and about, send him my way. Please.

Not so bad after all

 

We were watching Storage Wars the other day. Lots of odd topics come up in the course of a show like that.

MOM: You just know that one smells to high heaven.

ME: Yeah, it was the last load and everything got chucked in in a hurry. And then mice got into everything.

You  know that smell, the scent of human sadness.

♠♣♥♦

There was supposed to be a graphic of a storage unit spilling out its pitiable contents and the last line was supposed to be the pithy end of this post.

The VAST majority of photos available are either rusted scrape metal and outdoor junk, or tidy units that don’t serve my purpose at all. *sigh* Maybe the human race isn’t as sad as I thought!

Here’s nice summer pic instead:

Have a good one, people!

We’ve had the wildest winter I can remember. In Portland, Oregon, the winters are usually drippy and overcast. However, this year’s winter has been cold and snowy. It has produced some great photographs.

crows-1

This is a photograph of crows sitting in snowy trees in downtown Portland, Oregon. The photograph was taken by C.S.I. Walker Berg of the Portland Oregon Police Bureau. This was his view from the Justice Center’s 12th floor.  Portland has enough of a crow problem that they have begun to employ falconers to move block-by-block, hunting the black birds.

It looks like the crows are settled in for the night, though and any hawks will just have to wait for morning.

The police department shared the image dubbed “Crows on Snow” on Facebook and Twitter where it quickly went viral.

My first thought was “Wow,” and then I thought:

dragonfruit

From the sublime to the ridiculous in one easy jump.

The Exact Science of Life

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There were problems with everything swimming at the Rio Olympics. Swimmers aside, after a week of green water, spokesman Mario Andrada said: “We have learnt that chemistry is not an exact science.”

Now that’s funny.

Apparently, telling the truth is a bit mercurial as well.

Blame_it_on_rio

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I guess this is now a full-fledged life choice.

What Happens When Two Bad Habits Collide

Courtesy Avenue G, Flickrr, Creative Commons

Courtesy Avenue G, Flickr, Creative Commons

I am sitting around waiting for a new debit card. By the title of this post, you might think I had a great calamity befall me. Nah, nothing that exciting. Come to think, my problem came about not by way of two bad habits. I think it was more What Happens When a Character Flaw and a Bad Memory Join Forces. That doesn’t trip off the tongue so I went in another direction.

Here’s what happened: in May, I ordered a mattress cover. A puffy mattress cover that would change my life according to the host of the HSN show. It was on sale for a good price, but since I am loathe to spend more than ten dollars at a time, I ordered it using their free Flex Pay option.  I could have paid the full price but the full cost gave me the willies. I got the cover immediately, put it on the bed and forgot about the arrangement.

Until last Wednesday. I saw the charge for $20 and just KNEW i hadn’t ordered anything from HSN recently. I called my credit union. The customer service agent looked through my account and found ANOTHER charge from HSN in July. Quelle suprise! Our conclusion was that my account had been  COMPROMISED. (Yes, I felt unclean.) The CU decided to issue me a new card.

I went to HSN and found that Wednesdays’ payment, I had paid off my mattress cover and was encouraged to buy more stuff.

In my defense, starting in June, I coordinated the move of my mother from North Idaho, and have been getting used to another adult in the house. My ability to keep track of even the most mundane chores and obligations has been compromised.

No, I didn’t call the credit union and fess up. I am waiting for the new card and dreading trying to remember a new PIN while forgetting the old one–the one I’ve had for nearly six years.

Resolved: No Flex Pays. From now on, I will be writing down everything.

Thanks for listening. Now I’m off to change Mom’s auto-pay accounts for Direct TV and Verizon. Those people play rough and will do more than make me learn a new PIN.

LIfe Imitates Tech

im-a-good-puppy_o_1168916This morning I got on Facebook and read a post about cats and a Roomba. How someone piled their car into a ditch on a dark country road last night. Impairment has not been ruled out. There was a lot about the Democratic Convention I skimmed over. And I enjoyed several memes people put up cataloging their astonishment at making it through another Monday without committing a felony. The usual.

Then a post came up about a priest being beheaded in France. I didn’t click the link. The next post was an ad for Amazon’s Deal of the Day. I didn’t click that link either. I figured nothing Amazon cut the price on could match loss of life.

Cats, car wrecks, conventions, death, deals.

This is our life on tech.