Thursday, May 24, 2007

Now I know why they call it "Hell Paso"

What a fun day. It's hard for more wrong to get squeezed into one day. I've been battling acid reflux for a few years now, a fairly bad case at that. Every so often I loose the ability to swallow, conveniently enough AFTER taking a bite of food. Today was one of those days. Like the times before I wait to see if it works itself out and then goto the bathroom to take care of it myself (I'll spare the messy details). I've been on Zantac (minimal results) and something called Acifex that they wanted me to take an hour before eating. Being in the Army though, I never know when my next meal is going to be, I just know there will be 3 in a day. So now they've got me on Prilosec OTC and Maalox but they want to do some sort of test to see if there is a virus living in my stomach acid causing this perpetual acid reflux (a.k.a. GERD). They couldn't do the test at the ER, I have to schedule it with my regular care provider, too bad no one in my unit seems to know who that is. Lucky me.

After the hospital I went to Autozone to pickup the parts I ordered yesterday, they had called to say they were in. When I got there it turns out they ordered some of the parts wrong and can't get the right ones until Friday. I told them to just refund the price of the wrong parts, no point in ordering the right ones at this point, I won't have my car on Friday anyway. It seems that both the Audi and the VW are destined to spend the weekend locked in the motor pool. So lets see if I've got this right, they are doing checks to make sure that I won't get into an accident with the vehicles I'm registered to drive yet they made the 1700 mile trip here almost without incident. How do they plan on my family getting out this weekend should there be a problem with one of the kids? I hope my NCO and Squad Leaders have 3 child seats in their vehicles because if we get stuck here and can't get out because one car doesn't have a working emergency brake and brights and the other needs an emergency brake, windshield, and reverse lights I'm going to be very difficult to deal with. Whatever happens come Tuesday I'm going to be plenty grumpy. Did I mention my acid reflux is stress triggered? Imagine how I feel right now. Sometimes I love the Army, others....

For now I'm going to end this rant. I'll post more later when my head clears a bit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

4 day weekends -- a blessing or a curse

So the Army gives 4 day weekends for all federal holidays. Seems nice right? Turns out in order to enjoy your four day weekend all POV's (Personally Owned Vehicles) have to be inspected for saftey. All vehicles that the service member is registered to drive have to have lights, emergency brake, spare tire, license, registration, etc. checked to make sure we aren't going to get ourselves in trouble over the long weekend. For us, this includes both my car and my wife's Audi. Now, if a vehicle fails, my CO (commanding officer) will lock the vehicle in the motorpool and take the keys away until after the weekend. The fun began right away today, see Michigan doesn't really check ANYTHING on a car. All you have to do is show ownership to register it. Too easy. In the Army life is not so easy. My VW Scirocco got checked first. On the list of things I have to have fixed by THURSDAY!!! are a cracked windshield, a burnt out front turn signal, an inoperable emergency brake, and a reverse light sending unit that doesn't work anymore. Let's just pause right there to clarify the gravity of those repairs. Parts for 1984 VW Scirocco's don't just grow on trees. Back home, no problem, I had half a dozen people I could call and get what I needed. Here in El Paso, not so much. The cables and the switch for the reverse lights have to be ordered. Autozone tells me they can have them for me tomorrow around 2ish. Let's hope they come through. The worst part is the windshield. The prices down here are nice but they need 2 weeks just to get the glass in stock. So, I'm hoping that if I just get a work order for the glass they'll forgive the glass.

On to the Audi. 2 seemingly little problems here, the emergency brake handle won't lift and the brights don't work. This time Autozone can't even order the cables, gotta make some more calls. Turns out 1993 was a split model year for the 100s. Diana is making the calls for me and I have the car. Now a day is waisted, won't get the cables until sometime Thursday, this one is going to be close. I decide to tackle the brights after work, it should be simple. The fuses aren't blown and a quick check of one of the lights finds a burnt out fillament. To Autozone!!! $38 later I install a pair of Silvania's SilverStar headlights. I've used these before and the light they put out is stunning. Unfortunately this is NOT the problem. The low beams do look fantastic but nothing from the brights. Now I'll have to dig deeping into the electronics of a car I know nothing about. Doing so this past weekend nearly deadlined the vehicle, I pulled the wrong fuse and limited the car to just 2nd gear when Drive was selected. Not fun, situation corrected, nevertheless I'm leering of poking about where I don't belong. Anyone out there awesome with Audi's and just happens to be in the El Paso area (why oh why would you be here) I'd love the help. I'll get it if I'm supposed to, I just like to be more sure of what I'm doing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 21, 2007 -- A history lesson

Hello friends and family, welcome to my blog. For those who do not know me well yet, this post is intended to give a little history about me and my family.

I am 27 now, as of May 17th, and the father of three and sole provider for our household. Due to a crashing economy and no real marketable skills, I joined the Army in search of reliable income. Now don't get it twisted, it's not like John Kerry would have you think, "those who are smart goto college, the rest join the Army." The Army has something called the ASVAB, I can't remember what that stands for right now but it's a set of apptitute tests. The english and technical section gets a score of its own known as the GT score. The top score is a 135 or 140, I scored a 130. Overall on the ASVAB I scored a 90 out of 100, so no, I didn't join because I wasn't smart enough to do anything else, it's that there wasn't anything else.

I signed up 01 Nov, 2006 and since then I've finished 9 weeks of basic training at lovely Ft. Sill, OK (scarcasm doesn't type well so to clarify, if I never have to go back to Oklahoma it'll be too soon). From there I was sent to Ft. Bliss, TX located adjunct to El Paso in the area where Texas, New Mexico and Mexico all come together. Ft. Bliss is where I did my AIT or, Advanced Individual Training for 88M10, Motor Transport Operator. Lucky me, my first duty station also turned out to be Ft. Bliss, TX. After a month with my first unit, the 377th Transportation Company, I was given time to get my family down here to on post housing. It was a 4 day trip involving 2 cars, 2 adults, 3 kids, a cat and a partridge in a pear tree. We made it without any casualties. Even my 1984 Volkswagen Scirocco survived against all odds. We are almost finished settling in, our household goods showed up just last week, hopefully when I figure out how we'll get some sort of live web cam setup so all you can peek in and see how we are doing.

Until the next update, and there will be plenty, take care all, and God Bless.

PV2, Pahman, Jesse C.
Ft. Bliss, TX