Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yeah, I'd say this fits the bill for amusing... my type of 'amusing', that is. It's not mine obviously, but sent to my email from a friend. HI-larious! Thought the Mommies (and a few of the Daddies) out there would get a kick out of it...

A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we are in the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And you never have to ask him to turn up the volume. It's always fully cranked. There have been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall:

''Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?''

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued: ''Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh...Mommy! I'm trying to see In dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!''

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me. Where is a screaming new born when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, ''Why don't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!''

''No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies...Oh! Mommy!''

He started to gag at this point.

''Uh - oh, Mommy.. I fink I'm gonna frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!''

As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall.. I quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the
subject. I began to reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone.

''Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!''

He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door. ''Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What were you wooking at? Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet?''

More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation.
''Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now, Mommy.'' He started pounding on the door. ''Mommy, don't you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!''

I saw that my wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened the door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies crowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud.

My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, where's the fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my dignity and privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

You must pass this on to all the mothers who have had embarrassing moments with their children. Isn't it great to be a parent!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My Great-Grandmother passed this weekend. At... [counting fingers n' toes]... well over 100 years old and with her slowly deteriorating condition (acute well-over-100-years-old-ia), nobody can really say that it was much of a surprise, and I'm sure her latest doc is relieved that she hasn't outlived him like his several predecessors, but it's still somewhat difficult, most of all for the fact that she lived in south America, leaving visits for those of us here in the States too few and far in between.

If this had been the only loss the (extended) family has undergone recently, it would be easier, but unfortunately that hasn't been the case. Been a rough few months, just part of life...

Add to this some fights with an insurance company (Grrrr), miscellaneous medical bills (save for one rump-rogering exception small but numerous), work (too much), sleep (lack of), and realizing that my pants gathered around my ankles is a good indicator of tax time and, well, postings have been at times somewhat of a struggle. This is just a heads up to those sorta kinda in the know and with those with curiosity how things are plodding along here.

More (hopefully frequent and amusing) soon...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Coming Back Home

Everything is so... damn... green...

I was staring out the window of the bus taking most of my platoon from the base where we landed to Camp Pendleton. I was touched by the reception of the Fire Department's water arch, the volunteers and vets shaking hands and handing out munchies, but my most distinct memory of that ride was the landscape.

It was early Spring, just past the end of Winter, so in reality the area was most likely moving along just as normal, just showing the start of real vegetative growth, but after the sand and rock of Iraq, it was a bit overwhelming. My wide-eye and nose-squishing view of the relative greenyness of real, live, actual grass (and, holy crap, trees!) was interrupted by the flashing red and blue lights of the escort squad cars, leap-frogging the bus convoy to block another intersection.

'Polowsky', in an actually pretty spot-on accent, exclaimed, "Oye, Cortez, la migra, la migra!". 'Cortez' responded with the appropriate (and expected) finger. Both were staring out the window, like myself.

As we approached the base, the buses first crossed the outskirts of the city, where we first started seeing the folks out on their front yards, then in front of their offices, and even a few just walking around. Seemed like a larger number than I would expect were waving and holding 'welcome back' signs. After extended periods of time seeing nothing but the same scruffy Marines, seeing random ladies waving and greeting us was a bit overwhelming, as well.

One of the last speeches that we got before stepping off the bus was from the platoon sergeant. He rose from his seat, called for our attention, and said a few short words. Paraphrasing, he acknowledged that he wasn't going to be too long, because he knew it wouldn't sink in if it was too long.

He told us to enjoy returning home, that we deserved it, for a hard job, done well He told us to remember that just because we were home, well, the job still wasn't completely done, quite yet. He told us to remember that there was quite a few of our Marines that were recuperating, waiting at Camp Pendleton, but still others in hospitals that hadn't recovered enough to greet us.

No reminder was necessary, but he mentioned the 12 Marines that were already home, but that we'd never eventually see or talk to again.

Coming back home was alot like that.

There was almost nearly constant surprise, seeing how much has changed, and realizing that some things had just changed in my perspective. The elation was off the charts, what with guys meeting newborns, reacquainting with wives, taking calls from long-distance family, and beginning the process of unwinding. Every once in a while, though...

From what I understand, a fairly usual homecoming.

Memory snippet above has been rolling around in my head for a bit, but was prompted by an email pointing out a music video by Pat McGee. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Helluva idea.


Dunno if it'll catch on, though...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Well, Looky There!

How about that! I just logged into my gmail to see my li'l blog in the 'top recommendations' panel of my reader-thingy. Thought process follows...

Top Recs? I rule!


Ah, I see... 'Recommendations for new feeds are generated by comparing your interests with the feeds of users similar to you.' Probably means only I saw the false new-found indicator of my future fame and fortune, huh.

I don't rule, after all.

Holy crap! 74 subscribers?

I rule again!

General Order #4 and Spontaneous Hand and Arm Signals

4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant to the guard house than my own.

from the General Orders for Sentries.

The General Orders are something that all learn (and well), in boot camp. The way that this one was explained to me was that, back in the 'Old Corps' (which you might remember is the time period of everything up to one day earlier than you entered), before company squad or personal radios, GPS, satellites, and all that happy trash, Marines had to call out to the sentry on either side of them. Leaving one's post is not always possible, due to little things like rules & regs, sneaky bad guys, and worst of all - cranky NCOs. This would ensure that vital word got passed down, you know, stuff like changes in orders, where the enemy was currently attacking, or what, uh, 'entertainer' the guys were going to go visit that night.

This order was reflected, in a way, throughout my time in the Corps, on the 81mm mortar gun line.

Mortar firing ranges are a bit larger than some others, due to a number of factors. Gun positioning mandated that we were at least 40 meters apart, taking into account the killing range of an 81mm round, terrain, our comm abilities, cover and concealment, etc. We were also usually placed into a more or less 'W' shape, to further spread ourselves out, avoid making an easy target by being on line with each other, and the like.

Kinda got to the point where we had to have good comm to function, at all. 'Good' comm(unications, i.e. radios) was not always easy to be had. Heh, on some occasions we were reduced to screaming the commands to guns farther down on the gun line, noise discipline be damned. At least the sounds of the Platoon Sergeant getting about neck deep in the radioman's ass warmed our hearts, 'cause if he was yelling at him, he wasn't chewing us out... as much... usually.

It kind of evolved into a SOP that if the Platoon Sergeant started sounding off at the top of his lungs, you took for granted that either all radios were down, or that perhaps just one line was out. It was then 'OK' to sound off yourself, at least to pass the word. That first word was to make sure that the radio of the gun in question was actually bad, or the gun team leader had his head outta his ass.

One day we were at the range, just about 20 minutes from going hot, all the guns laid in, just waiting for the word. The call came over the radio, "Gun line, gun line, this is FDC... comm check, roger up when you're good to go, over." Following our own procedures, the gun team leaders got on the radio and transmitted their gun and status. "Gun 1, up", followed by "Gun 2, up", and so on and so forth.

I believe I was the Gun 4 gun team leader, at the time.

The gun line radio transmissions came and went down the line... until it got to the last gun, Gun 8. Gun 8 seemed to be our problem child for a while, not 'cause that's where we stored all our shitbirds, but just that it was their bad luck to always be on the ass-end of pretty much everything - the armory draw, PFC allocation, radio issue, last to get the word, and the like.

The Platoon Sergeant had left the FDC (Fire Direction Control, or the 'brains' of the mortar platoon) to check out his gun teams. He had moved more or less straight ahead to the position that Gun 4 occupied. After ensuring that everything was progressing more or less on schedule, he performed a right flank and proceeded down the gun line to Gun 1. One would assume that after completing his checks of 1st section (Guns 1-4), he would then frolic on over to eyeball 2nd section (Guns 5-8). It was when he was at Gun 1's position when Gun 8 failed to come up on the radio to confirm that everything was good to go.

As the radioman was hustling down to the Gun 8 position, the Platoon Sergeant decided to inquire WTF was the hold up. Rather than hop on a radio to ask Gun7, he bellowed out from faaaar right, 'PULL YOUR HEAD OUTTA YER FUCKIN" ASS, YOU!!!'

Remember what I said about passing of word?

Yeah, well, true to form, the entirety of Gun 2 promptly turned to the Gun 3 crew and unanimously passed the word along, at top volume, prompting them to continue the favor down the gun line.

I think hand and arm signals were initiated somewhere between Gun 3 and Gun 4. Really, there was no reason for silent signals as we were screaming at the top of our lungs, but the fact was that by the time Gun 8 got the word, all of Gun 7's crew was doing the same thing - PULL YOUR HEAD OUT (open hands, on either shoulder, moving up as if pulling one's head out) OF YOUR FUCKIN' (violent standing hip thrusts) ASS (*slap*), YOU (pointing).

The Gun8 response detailing how their radio had 'shit the bed' (was out of action) was passed back down with equal speed and humor. Don't think the hand and arm signals (squat w/grunt and folded hands under the head) were passed along to the Platoon Sergeant, though. Just guessing, on that...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Something To Think About

The Marine Corps SOP class dealing with immediate actions for countering a (close distance) ambush is probably the easiest class to sum up. It is in a word, this;


The Marine Corps is big on teaching immediate action drills. These drills ideally will provide the individual Marine with available actions to be done automatically and almost as a reflex to a likely complicating situation. A good example of this is when your rifle or pistol fails to fire, what do you do? If you're anything like me, taprackbang takes longer to type and say than to actually do.

My personal belief is that keeping in mind IA (immediate actions) to a near ambush is just as important subject to address in civilian life, as well. A near ambush as defined by the Marine Corps was one within 50 meters, a distance that falls right into the danger close zone. In your everyday life and without an issued m16/m4, you definition of danger close might vary. Probably the very last thing an enemy can anticipate happening when opening up with all the element of surprise is, instead of his hapless prey flailing about in a panic begging to be disposed of, is to have some or all of his potential targets immediately turn and charge his position. It is this brief hesitation that will provide you with the brief window to re-assume command of the situation and break it off in his ass. In a worse case scenario, it will at least allow you an opportunity to redeem yourself for finding yourself to be in a position to be ambushed, and provide a better chance of survival for others on your team. Your 'team' might not be fellow Marines, or even a friendly acquaintance, but might be friends and family members...

I can't help but think about and be grateful for at times, when watching the news, that there are those that understand this concept - they will not lay down and die, but will fight. They might have not had endless training sessions or even their own weapons, but they had their minds, bare hands, and a determination to stop the attack.

Semper Fidelis.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Buddy o' mine through work, also a former military guy, calls me up most every day. He's always a bit on the chipper side, and more often than not I'll respond in a growl to his upbeat, "Good morning!" with the ever classic, "What are you, a fuckin' weatherman now?" as an inside joke to our impression of select senior staff NCOs. link

Always good for a chuckle and a few memories...

For further explanation of differences between some of the higher ranks, go hither.