Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Deliver Me

Of course, I post about wanting to move down South, and I see this:

Red State Living

Remind me to post pictures of my backyard:
riding mower that hasn't run for three years (he says he's gonna fix it)
crappy patio furniture (he says it just needs paint)
trees growing out of the garage foundation (honest, he'll dig them out...some day)
and until recently, the broke down Grand Am that sat in the garage for over three years while my Exploder sat in the driveway, in the snow.

We are SO going to fit in.

h/t to Coach TC at Sondra K

Could it be?

I left a comment over at Tammi's that kind of got me thinking.

Is it possible that Contagion and I are identical twins, separated at birth, by age and gender?

Scary thought, isn't it?

Monday, January 30, 2006


Been thinking an awful lot lately about moving. Not just me, Old Sarge seems to have been bitten by the same bug.
Having been born and raised here in Northern Illinois, I couldn't wait to get the hell away from here. Then after spending 18 years in the Southwest, I decided it was too damn hot and moved back. There was really more to it than that, alot of it to do with family, but since then, I've never seriously considered moving. Our parents are getting older, all of my siblings are here and then, the granddaughter, boy, I don't know if I could really leave.
Funny how when I finally get to a point in life where slowing down and settling in is perfectly acceptable, and expected, the urge comes around to pick up and start over again in a new place we haven't been to before. Down South, of all places!

Would you? So many people it would be hard to leave, yet I want to go before I no longer can.

I'd kind of hesitated writing much about my current trek through the courts system; most of it is depressing beyond words. At the risk of sounding like a terrible snob, the entire process is geared towards the lowest common denominator.

But, damn kids, if I have to spend all this money on substance abuse, we're going to get a little blog fodder out of it!

I had my first class on Saturday. It was nothing at all like I envisioned, and I'm glad I took the time to check into several providers before picking this one. The session started by watching a movie from the History Channel about illicit drugs, mainly pot. So much of it was excerpted from movies like Reefer Madness and the like, it was hysterical. Women with their perfectly coiffed wavy hair and pearls from the mid-20th century (think June Cleaver) with maniacal smiles and uncontrolled giggling! It was just...(ellipse borrowed from Eric - apparently he has the copyright) surreal. Then we took an opinion worksheet about DUI laws. There is one young man in this group that I think may have abused many substances, repeatedly, for years. Either that, or he thought taking a radical PC view would earn him brownie points. He thought the minimum punishment for a first time DUI should be mandatory jail time, 3 yr. revocation of license, etc. I looked over at him and said, "Whaddaya, stoopid?" I think I almost made him cry. I'd probably better watch my mouth before I end up with anger management counseling. Honestly, other than be a total pain in the ass, this whole part of the ordeal won't be bad. They insist on humor in the discussions, and honesty. And Good Lord, I don't have it nearly as bad as some of the guys. They'll be doing this for a long time.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Swamp Chronicles

Every bar seems to have at least one "liquid therapist" that makes drinking in their establishment a real hoot. The Swamp, aka Karla's Pub, has Ruthie, a pixy of a woman with a heart of gold. She takes so much BS and dishes it back twice as fast.

Old Sarge: Ruthie, you cut your hair!
Brother: She's still a blond though. Hey Ruthie, you a natural blonde? Carpet match the drapes?
Ruthie: Who says there's carpet?

God, I love that woman.

Bou and Ktreva both had this quiz, so I couldn't resist.

I hate you so bad
you are the "I hate you so bad" happy
bunny. You hate everyone and eveything and
your not ashamed of it.

which happy bunny are you?

Oh honestly! I don't hate everything and everbody! Um, not at the moment! Anyone who reads my blog knows it's all happiness and light in the Splatter Zone!

Friday Random Ramblings

This morning my thoughts are swirling in the great cosmic toilet of my mind; nothing sticks to the sides of the bowl.
A really good writer might have made a reference to the elusive lights of fireflies. Eh.

I have to bring back a driver on Monday that I absolutely can't stand. He is the biggest slacker, never has a good word to say, doesn't do the job nearly as well as the other two. His reward for totaling his semi last fall? Because of seniority, he just knocked the other, better drivers out of a job since I'm down to one functioning truck. Crap. If anyone would like to get in on the pool, for how long it is until he either has the truck torn up or is out with a bad back AGAIN, let me know.

Heard on the radio yesterday, folks calling in on things kids say. My personal favorite?
"Mom, why do farts smell so bad in the shower?"
A close second might be from our loader operator's son, who has suddenly sprouted pubic hair and wanted to show his grandma.

I try not to include sweets in my daily food intake. It's kind of like convincing myself that I hate to shop, i.e. I really don't have the money. So it is with chocolate- I don't like it because I'm fat. But some sadistic asshole is making me crazy with my Wrinkle Defense in one hand and Clearasil in the other by bringing this obscenely wonderful concoction:

Image hosting by Photobucket

Oh dear Lord. To die for.

We'll be butchering hogs this weekend. My freezers are so full of beef, moose and venison right now I have no idea where I'm going to put all this. But we haven't had homemade sausage in over a year, and I can't say no. I get such a warm fuzzy when the pantry and the freezers are well-stocked, especially since it's food we've "harvested", one way or another. That, and at least a twelve-pack of bathroom paper. I think my siblings and I were all psychologically scarred by the constant lack of ass-wipe that is inherent in really large families, because everyone of us seems to have a year's supply on hand.

Well. Coffee. Now. Have a great morning.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Image hosting by Photobucket

The nice thing about being old and cranky- you don't feel NEAR as bad telling people to GFY as you used to.

Rant Alert

Between the recent uproar over the Joel Stein piece, and an interview of Cindy Sheehan that I read over at Four Right Wing Wackos, (disclaimer: this Raging Mom is NOT the mother of Raging Dave, but I would gladly claim him) I have had an internal rant going on that has just about reached the boiling point.

Regarding Joel Stein. There are way too many people put there, that understand nothing about the military, spouting bilous bullshit. If you don't know anything about your subject matter, it might be a good idea to either study up on it or keep your damn mouth shut. Saying that young men and women were misled by enlisting after 9/11 is complete crap. THREE of my sons enlisted after that, and I can assure everyone, we knew and they knew the odds of them ending up in Afghanistan or Iraq were very high. They did it anyway.

St. Sheehan of the Perpetually Bleeding Liberal Heart. Dear Lord, I wish I could feel some pity for this woman. Where to start...
I have been to many memorials since 2003. The first one was for Brandon Rowe. During his service, there was a huge screen behind his coffin running a slide show of him as a child and young man. Then, the slide show stopped, and the family played a video of Brandon a few days before he deployed. He's telling his family that if anything happens to him, to remember that this is a cause he believes in.
The family of Scott Tyrrell had arranged for a benefit for him, which I was honored to help with. Unfortunately, Scott died, and it became a memorial. I can still see his mom's face when she was presented with a Gold Star banner, the fixed smile, the tears, the utter look of grief behind it all, trying to keep her composure. Susan has said the what the Army did for Scott was wonderful, and that she has no anger. Her son Joe enlisted shortly after Scott's death. Susan is proud of them both.
When my best friend's stepsister came back, we went to their Homecoming. I noticed that all the soldiers there had on black bracelets, much like my POW bracelet. They wore them for Jessica Housby. When my son Joe came back with a similar bracelet, I didn't even have to ask, I knew it was for Adam Harting.

What gripes my ass the most is that people like Joel Stein will never, by choice, know the measure of these soldiers. And I don't believe Cindy Sheehan really ever knew her son. It's too easy to marginalize the military as poor, uneducated, having no better options, no moral compass. If you have no idea what you're talking about. The real truth is- they are funny, smart, smart-assed, serious, poor, middle-class, uneducated, college educated...hey! Sounds like they're just like the rest of us!

With one big exception. They are doing the job that we either can't, or won't. And I'm not talking about scrubbing toilets.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Me too

Well, everyone else has, so I figured I would:

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Raging Mom!

  1. Worldwide, Raging Mom is the most important natural enemy of night-flying insects!
  2. In the Great Seal of the United States the eagle grasps 13 arrows and Raging Mom.
  3. The eye of an ostrich is bigger than Raging Mom.
  4. Reindeer like to eat Raging Mom.
  5. The average duration of sexual intercourse for Raging Mom is two minutes.
  6. If you lace Raging Mom from the inside to the outside, the fit will be snugger around your big toe!
  7. A thimbleful of Raging Mom would weigh over 100 million tons.
  8. The pharoahs of ancient Egypt wore garments made with thin threads of beaten Raging Mom.
  9. The water in oceans is four times less salty than the water in Raging Mom!
  10. Raging Mom cannot burp - there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in her stomach.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Damn!! That number 5 HURT!!

Gun Envy

My brother and I never made it across the bridge after work last night- the call of The Swamp was too powerful even for big guy like him. I called Old Sarge to come over, and we sat for while just talking. I mentioned that Winchester was going out of business, something neither of my gun fanatic men had heard, and told my husband I thought it would be a good idea for him to pick up a rifle, at the very least for investment purposes, but mostly for the legend and the legacy.

Do you understand what I said? I gave him carte blanch to buy a gun!!! Wouldn't you think that would elevate me to Ultimate Best Wife Status? Feh!! All he did was snort out his beer(alcohol abuse!)when my brother was kind enough to tell him how much he'd sell one of his Winchester's for.

Contagion has a post up about his new acquisition, and it's a beauty. I'm thinking, for his own good you understand, that Old Sarge is getting a Winchester for his birthday.

Happy Birthday Princess!

Twenty-three years ago today, I was standing in my kitchen in Mesa, AZ talking to my mom, making her crazy because I wouldn't go to the hospital yet. Having some pretty damn impressive contractions too, but I was holding out until I couldn't stand it anymore. Mom had just driven from Illinois the day before to help with the boys, who were three and one at the time, and definitely a handful. So far, the hose on the washer had broken, flooding the dining room and kitchen, just in time for the boys to come in covered in sand from their sandbox, and slide all over the floor. I'm sure Mom was close to forbiding me to ever reproduce again.

But a few hours later, she was looking at the most perfect little girl any of us had ever seen, her first granddaughter.

Fast forward, and this little girl has the looks and height of a Valkyrie, is finishing up her student teaching and will be graduating from Northern Arizona University in May. My God, where has the time gone?

Happy birthday, honey! And thank you for all the joy and happiness you've brought to us.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kindred Soul

Stopped by The Reality Ranch to see what St. Ktreva (hey, being married to
Contagion has GOT to qualify you for sainthood!) has been up to. Seems the
Home Improvement Bug has bitten her too. Oh, how I wish a little wallpaper and light fixtures would fix the train wreck that I call my home.

I have an obscene amount of paneling in the house. I know 30 years ago, this was an inexpensive and easy way for my aunt to cover the many sins of lathe and plaster, but Good Lord! I have paneling in the living room, kitchen, bathroom- it's everywhere!! My husband did dry wall the pantry, but left all the trim work for a later date. That was four years ago and I'm still waiting.

My questions are:
Is replacing my walls something I can do on my own?
And since I do have that awful shit underneath the paneling, would the correct way to deal with it be to tear it out completely before drywalling?

I fear I will go mad if this paneling doesn't go away. And don't tell me a sledge hammer and offending walls won't go a long way to helping my anger management.

Go Meet Eugene

SGT Hook is a daily read for me. He's got me completely addicted to Jackie O'Shea at the moment. Through his site, I've also been following the story of Eugene, the WWII Marine veteran, as told by
Shayna. She has a new installment up today, go check her out.

Monday, January 23, 2006

In The Deep End

This post may convince you that my mind has gone on permanent vacation. Sometimes I think that too. But I swear, this story is true, at least in my mind I can't find another explanation for it. Let me give you a little background.
For starters, T1G and I had this ghost story thing going on last fall before Halloween, back when I was still posting on
Live Journal. In fact, we met in an old abandoned cemetery. Things macabre fascinate me, and I have no problem with the idea of ghosts among us.

Just not necessarily in my house.

Another thing is, someone who used to live in my house was
murdered. Not in the house, mind you, but this is where she called home. I knew this when we bought the house; hell, I even sleep in her bedroom in case she ever came calling. In four years, I've never even caught a hint of her. But for the last few months, SOMETHING is different. I don't think it's her, but I'm wondering if with all my graveyard exploration, I haven't picked up a visitor.

Still with me? Called for the straight jacket yet?

See, and you ladies might know what I'm talking about, NOTHING in my house moves unless I move it. Doors closed, lights off, empty pop cans picked up- it's all me. My husband has many good qualities, but being neat or picking stuff up is not in his repertoire. So if something is different, like a door constantly closing in a part of the house Old Sarge never goes to, or shadows where none should be, you notice stuff like that. Write it off to living in an old house. But a few things happened this weekend that defy explanation.

On Saturday, I was home alone while Old Sarge was out on a water main break. I'd been up putzing around the house as much as I could stand and decided it was time to get off my feet. I laid down on the couch, and as I was stretching out, knocked my crutches on the floor. Well, shit, no big deal, I wasn't going anywhere for awhile, so I just left them and kind of dozed listening to R. Lee on Mail Call. I got up about thirty minutes later and my crutches are standing back up at the end of the couch. I KNOW I knocked them over, I saw them. I call Old Sarge, my son, my mom, anyone who might have stopped by even though I would have heard the door. No one was here. I looked outside and the only footprints in the snow were the ones my husband left to go to work.

Then on Sunday, I was laying on the couch again, reading a book. All of a sudden my cast starts vibrating, and I sat up thinking Sarge is fucking with me, but he's over in the front room putting wood on the fire. Weird, just weird!!! My cast may be partly plastic, but there's no place for batteries, people.

Any thoughts on this? I've never hallucinated on ibuprofen before, so I don't know what to think.

These Colors Won't (let me) Run

Oh the blues, the purples, the deep fuscia! Nope, not the sunrise. These are the colors of the alien growth inhabiting my right ankle. Very decorative, they are. I didn't break it, but at my age torn ligaments can be just as bad. Ah well, at least the cast is removeable, and Old Sarge really didn't need his bedroom slippers. Now all I need is MSHA telling me I need to be wearing steel toed slippers.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I just wanted to clarify that I was NOT indulging in Big Beers last night. Diet Coke for me.

How Humiliating!

This day does not bode well. My brother picked me up this morning; he has a Big Truck. It requires the full use of running boards and the side strap for me to get in it. I managed to get myself in, only to drop my purse on the ground. When I stepped back out to get it, I missed the curb, went sideways on my ankle and fell. My brother had to get out and help me up. How fucking embarrassing! Now I'm missing most of the skin on my knee and have apparently had a softball implanted on my ankle. I'm too embarrassed to even have it seen about.

My brother's take on it didn't help- "Christ, I would have expected this out of you last night, not this morning!"

No more Thirsty Thursdays at Carla's!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


And I think I'm going out of my head
Yes I think I'm going out of my head
Over yooouuu....

Oops, where was I? Oh yeah- found myself blessed (insert dripping sarcasm)with a meme this morning from my favorite imbiber. What I have done to offend The Almighty I have no idea. But anyway, here goes:

Four jobs I've had in my life:

Baker- yes, I have made the donuts!
Batchman- and I've made concrete. Thankfully, you can tell the difference between the product of job #1 and job #2.
Horse Stall Cleaner- my very first job for my Grandpa
Liquid Therapist- probably my favorite; serve drinks and solve the world's problems

Four movies I could watch over and over, and have:

The Wizard of Oz
Band of Brothers

Four places I have lived:

Cave Creek, Arizona
Silverton, Colorado
Oregon, Illinois
Phoenix, Arizona

Four TV shows I love to watch:

CSI- any of them
Extreme Makeover Home Edition
American Chopper

Four places I have been on vacation:

Ft. Benning
Ft. Leonard Wood
MCRD San Diego
Luke Air Force Base

I know, I need to get a life!

Four websites I visit daily:

Ace of Spades,
His Imperial Majesty

Four favorite foods:

Espinaca Con Quesa from El Encanto
Philly steak from Uncle Sam's
and my new favorite, courtesy of my sons, 9-11 wings from Hooters

Four places I would rather be right now:

Kelley's Pub on Coronado Island
any place my kids are
at my Grandma's house in 1963

I'm supposed to tag four people with this meme, but STOP THE INSANITY NOW!!

Now where was I?

I feel no shame,
I'm proud of where I came from,
I was born and raised in the boondocks...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What a Bunch of Shit!!!

It CAN'T be good to have my blood pressure this high this early, but I am SO fucking pissed off right now I can't see straight.
See, you always know where I stand. I've been supporting our troops for a very long time- my commitment goes way beyond putting a yellow ribbon on my car. However, I DO have ribbons on my cars- POW/MIA, Unmet Needs, Half My Heart Is In Iraq and such. What I no longer have on my car is my yellow ribbon. Somebody saw fit to remove it yesterday. Here's what really sucks about this. If it was a Support Our Troops ribbon, I could just replace it and put the whole thing down to ass-hattedness. But it isn't. Mine said Keep My Soldier Safe. You can't go into your local convenience store and get one of those. It says that I have someone very special serving in the Army. Several someones, to be precise.

What kind of person would read that and think it was a good idea to steal it???

Monday, January 16, 2006

I found this both at Bou's and
Tammi's and thought, hmm, five measley questions and we can judge my temperment??

You Have a Choleric Temperament

You are a person of great enthusiasm - easily excited by many things.
Unsatisfied by the ordinary, you are reaching for an epic, extraordinary life.
You want the best. The best life. The best love. The best reputation.

You posses a sharp and keen intellect. Your mind is your primary weapon.
Strong willed, nothing can keep you down. Your energy can break down any wall.
You're an instantly passionate person - and this passion gives you an intoxicating power over others.

At your worst, you are a narcissist. Full of yourself and even proud of your faults.
Stubborn and opinionated, you know what you think is right. End of discussion.
A bit of a misanthrope, you often see others as weak, ignorant, and inferior.

Well, yeah, actually.

UPDATE: Oh dear God, I just peeked over at
Contagion's and he scored the same.

Ah Memories!

Being chauffeured as I am lately, I've had some really good conversations when I normally would be riding alone. One such occurred last week while bumming a ride with my favorite driver at work, reminiscing on some of the bizarre crap that goes on in Bedrock.

Some years ago, there was a driver from another trucking company that was in here almost daily. He was a huge man, well over 6' and at least 350 lbs. His "handle" was Breeder; not sure how that came about, but I have my guesses. At any rate, Breeder loved to talk raunchy on the CB. The more...vivid the detail, the more he would expound upon on it. I don't think there's one person in CB range that didn't know he and his wife had a trapeze in their bedroom (alledgedly) because he was afraid his weight would crush her.
So, one day someone left a bag on my desk as a joke. Said bag contained a pretty impressive replication of male genitalia- all of it- Willie and the twins. No one ever fessed up, or left me any clue why they thought I needed this, But I thought it was pretty funny. So funny in fact, that the joke just couldn't stop there.
At this point, Breeder was geting ready to retire soon. Favorite Driver and I came up with a plan to send him off in style. He knew where Breeder parked his truck at night, so he took my toys with him, plus a roll of duct tape, and taped that thing to the grill of Breeder's truck. A Peterbilt, no less.
The next morning, Breeder comes rolling off the scale, oblivious to his new grill ornament. We're waiting in the scale house, just hootin' and hollerin', camera in hand. I walked outside to get a picture for posterity, and people, I've never come so close to pissing myself in public. Even at an idle, big diesel motors cause quite a vibration, and there, proudly on that grill, was our present to Breeder waving happily to all of us. He'd driven around all morning not realizing the greeting he was giving to passing motorists. It must have been a good fifteen minutes before we all composed ourselves enough to get back to business. I even got a picture of Breeder's truck enlarged and framed- he said his wife loved it and had hung it on the wall.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Night Meanderings

Ever wake up more tired than when you went to bed because your mind is just not shutting down along with your body? I had one of those times last night, where the dreams are so vivid you wake up with your heart pounding and are afraid to go back to sleep. In the first dream, I murdered someone and went to great lengths to cover it up, only to have it all unravel. Just before I got caught, the ghost of the person I murdered (my Girl Scout troop leader!!) told me to wake up before things got out of hand.
Then I got caught up in some Lord of the Rings story; running around hither and nigh with Gandalf until we finally came to Rivendell, which looked suspiciously like a Motel 6. As we approached a sliding glass door, a demon cat that had been lurking by it let out a loud screech and the alarm went off.

I don't really recommend having pizza for dinner and falling asleep to CSI.

I seem to have a wide variety of places I visit when I sleep, places my sunconscious seems to be at home with. There's the "Double House", a huge, sprawling one story home that mirrors itself- walk through the doors in the middle, and the entire house plan reverses itself. There's the beach house with its festering swimming pool out back. I'm always trying to clean the pool, but everytime I go back there, it's green and murky. My favorite is the "Old Lady's House", a huge three story wreck on an overgrown lot. In the center of the house is a sweeping spiral staircase. The bottom two floors are gorgeous, very Victorian, but I'm not allowed on the third floor. The "old lady" has hidden all her valuables up there, and it's unsafe.
All these places I have dreamt about repeatedly, but none really resemble anyplace I've actually been to. I have a feeling if I ever had to "go talk to someone", they'd have a field day with me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Georgia Update

I'm pleased to report that our young SGT and his bride have made it safely to Ft. Benning and are happily house-hunting. It seems that the Engineer unit that was supposed to be put together there has gone by the wayside, so he arrived with no job. Various positions being offered were hospital admin clerk (insert sounds of violent wretching), gym liason ("And I ain't passing out no fucking basketballs") and finally, some kind of assistant to MG Wajd...Wa..Wojowhatshisnameski. Something with computers that was explained to me twice and I still don't get it. Sounds delightful, though. And he got the job, so it's all good. Even if he did drop an ass bomb leaving the CSM's office. That's my boy!

I found the good General's picture at Benning's website. Dear LORD, he looks like the Army version of R. Lee Ermey on crack!! Scary looking!

Me and My Big Mouth

Seems like work troubles abound in the blogosphere lately. Guess I'm in good company.
I've not only had to do my capital expenditures, begging for equipment I think we desperately need and know damn well I'm not going to get, we had to have a State of the Non-Union (i.e., management) meeting. Probably thinking we all got a big pat on the back and huge bonus check for our recording breaking year, right? Mmmmmmm-hmm.
At any rate, we were encouraged to find new ways to save/make money and being the company kinda gal I am, the emails were a-firing away yesterday. I felt pretty safe doing this- since I am the only one in operations that doesn't have a penis, no one listens to me anyway. (I am NOT, however, the only one who doesn't have any balls)
Lo and behold, I am now tasked with spread sheet after spread sheet projecting everything I just suggested into what it will mean in dollars. Eh.
At least someone liked my ideas.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I'm Shameless

Old Sarge is turning 50 in two months, and I've been thinking about a surprize birthday party for him. However, I haven't figured out how to do that without inviting his family.

I know, I'm going to Hell.

Let me explain just a little. I love his mom dearly, can handle being around her. That said, all his father ever wants to do is argue politics. Now, since I am 1) not Irish, 2) am such a conservative Republican I could make Barry Goldwater blush, well, except for the being dead part, and 3) am a convert, not a cradle Catholic, I have alot of strikes against me already, and there is NO common ground here for political discussion. Sarge's older brother, 1SGT, and I get along well, his younger brothers, including his identical twin, eh, okay. But his sisters are...harpies. That's the word. I have never seen such a bunch of bossy, bitchy, know-it-all, judgemental- okay, stop myself. Suffice it to say, I don't enjoy their company.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I spent the morning working on my Capital Expenditures for the coming year, something I had managed to ignore until it HAD to be turned in today. I'm not very good at crunching numbers, but I sent a proof to the one owner I feel comfortable enough to talk to, and he thought I'd made my case pretty well. We'll see. Meeting tonight.
I got to spend alot of time with my mom yesterday, which was pretty cool. We tracked down my husband reading water meters. He asked if we were going to my sister's to gamble, which of course the thought never crossed our minds. He warned us that her sewer was backing up in the far part of the garage. Being the good sister I am, I called her at work to let her know. So Mom and I proceed to whack away at the gambling machines, and Mom decides to go inside for a Nature Call. She isn't inside a minute when she comes running back out with a broom in her hand yelling something about a squirrel in the dining room.
Now at one time, this house was very nice. It still is inside, but the outside has really gone to hell. It desperately needs a new roof, fascia and sofette, the wood is completely rotten, plus has a multitude of broken windows, screens, etc. Not mention trash and beer cans all over. Now, I'm at the bottom of the heap as far as income compared to my siblings, but even Poverty Flats looks better than this. May be a little less spent on race cars and more on home maintenance would be in order. But I digress...
So Mom's jumping up and down because the squirrel brush up on her leg trying to get around her, plus she REALLY has to pee. Thankfully the husband was still in the area, so he came over and banished the varmint to its rightful place outdoors. I did the only thing I could think of, and that was to call my sister again and let her know she has critters roaming the homestead.

I wonder if she ever came home last night?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Almost Forgot!

This isn't very timely, but last week we celebrated the first anniversary of The Heiress' birth.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Please don't take exception with me posting so many pictures of her. It's not like it's cat-blogging, for pete's sake!

Thank you, little girl, for bringing so much joy into our lives.

Making an Ass of Myself, Probably

This is a post about mining. I'm not going to go on here about how badly I feel for those families who lost men in the recent Sago Mine incident- I would hope that goes without saying. But I would like to give you a little different perspective that you will not find in the MSM.
After reading this Washington Compost article, you would think Sago Mine was a hot bed for negligent safety practices. The article cites 273 safety violations in the past two years, 46 of them recent, with 18 of them "significant and substantial". Sounds pretty awful, doesn't it?
MSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, is the mining industry's OSHA. MSHA is a huge pain in the ass, and I mean that it in a complimentary way. Several times a year, MSHA inspectors will converge on our little slice of Bedrock here for regular safety inspections. It is rare beyond belief that ANY mine will go through an inspection and not receive any citations for bad safety practices. It may be something as seemingly trivial as a cracked flourescent light cover, but I promise you, it will be something. These inspectors are for the most part trying to make what is inherently a very dangerous operation as safe as possible.
I checked on MSHA's data retrieval page to see what the average number of citations is for both open pit and underground limestone mines in Illinois. Four or five per regular safety inspection seems to be the norm. I also checked the Sago Mine's records, which was correct with 46 citations for their last inspections, and then checked several underground coal mines in Illinois. The numbers, per inspection, were almost identical.
Now here is where that big 273 violations number is misleading. That figure covers a two year period. So say, for example, that cummulative figure includes 45 violations from 2004. Once a company is issued a citation, it has X amount of time to fix the problem, because there WILL be a follow up visit. The company has the option to appeal the citation and any subsequent fine, but there is NO negotiation whatsoever on fixing the specific problem. You fix it, or you're shut down, simple as that. And because mining is a progressive process, fixing a problem in one area will not preclude from happening again in another area as new ledges are developed.
I don't want to sound like I'm giving anyone a pass here on responsibilty for the incident. The mine was recently sold to International Coal Group, and I'm not familiar with their safety record. They may have inherited a slew of problems. What I question is the implication that any company would willfully and knowingly endanger employees that are already working in hazardous conditions.
Mining is a dangerous business. Taking the earth, digging into it, blasting it apart, tunneling through it- there is no way this is ever going to be a safe or accident-free environment. It is not a matter of IF there's going to be an accident, but WHEN. All the caution on the world cannot prevent it from happening when you are making the earth do things is does not want to naturally.
If I sound like a corporate shill, I'm sorry- nothing could be farther from the truth. But I'm willing to wait before I pass judgement and let the facts sort themselves out, and in the meantime, pray for those who lost loved ones.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Discount my ass

This really isn't anything new, but it gripes my ass just the same. The object of my pissification is the so-called "military discount". I've been trying to help my daughter-in-law find someplace decent to stay near Ft. Benning until they make more permanent housing arrangements. Now granted, my experience with temporary lodging is pretty limited. I've been lucky with Air Force bases- at Luke, I've gotten Visiting Officers Quarters and a studio apartment. Both were pretty great. But I've also been to Benning, and the temporary lodging there just plain sucks. Olson Hall is a nightmare, there's no way you could put up there for any length of time. The rooms are the size of a broom closet. Benning's such a busy base, you know there's got to be alternatives. So we've been looking for some extended stay places. The one I called sounded pretty promising, right up until we started talking rates.
Their weekly rate for basically a suite/studio was $398 a WEEK. Pretty stiff for an E5's pay, so I asked what their military discount would be. And this is when I got pissed. $398 comes to $42.70 a night, not bad for a motel rate, but if you're talking for a month's time, that's one hell of alot of money. But with the military discount, the rate goes to $68 a night. That's right, the rate is actually higher if you're in the Army.
This isn't the first time by any means I've run into this, but it pisses me off to no end that you can end up paying more by being military than not. People see government money and play to the lowest common denominator. I wish 1)folks would realize just exactly where that money comes from when they're so willingly ripping off the military and 2)who in their right mind thinks it's okay to rip off G.I. Joe or Jane in this way? Not like they've got it to spare!!!

Bedtime Stories

A guy I work with gave me a huge, I'm talking 55 gal. bag, full of Disney books that his son had gotten too old for. I brought them home for The Heiress, and last night after dinner we began what I hope will become a habit- reading a book. I'm starting her out on Bambi.

I'm just thankful that Oldest Son and Old Sarge were snoozing in their chairs when we got to the part where Bambi and his mother first go into the meadow with the other deer, only to be shot by Uncle Rob up in his tree stand.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


This has been on my mind for awhile, but was really hammered home with the kids' visits. When are we "mature"?
I'm going to be 48 this year, and Dear Old Sarge will be 50 soon. I honestly don't feel that old, and I'm VERY sure I don't act it. But how exactly does someone that age act? Does being mature include a preoccupation with money and possessions? I notice that people with more money and toys than I have seem to be concerned with keeping and having more money or toys. It must involve alot of responsibilty and worry to do that all the time. I just don't have the mental wiring needed to be that focused on material things.
Sometimes I don't know if I'm fun for my age, or ridiculous.
Case in point- we still have farting contests. I laugh until I almost wet myself.
Is that just a nice, warm family activity or the sign of someone who can't grow up?

I'm not sure where I'm trying to go with this- just looking at where I'm at and wondering if it's where I should be.

In CASE anyone (ahem) is reading...

and is wondering what they want to do after they get out of the Army, Jack has some great advice.

My Shameful Secret

I know my posting has been atrocious lately, to say the least. What with the holidays and everything, I didn't have the time nor desire to write or read anyone else's blog. Color me selfish.

Son Daniel did his very best to give all of us either what we wanted or what he thought he needed. Some received gifts that I can't even mention, because I'm REAL sure you're not supposed to...well, never mind. You know the President is so busy spying on us all that I don't dare mention contraband goods. Yes, that was satire.

But he really hit me low. I did confide ONE little desire I have, and Dan not only fulfills it, but supplies me with it in spades. Those of us with known addictions KNOW we shouldn't even get started with things like these, but I threw caution to the wind and indulged. Mightily. Before I knew it, my "supply" was depleted, so I had to procure my own. And then another. And now there is no more to be had.

So the reason I haven't been posting? Damn Harry Potter!!!!