29 September 2006

Things my Mom taught me (Part I)

I remember going to Grand Rapids with Mom when I was a kid. We had a few places we'd normally stop, and we always did them in a certain order. At one point or another I learned that a major reason behind this was Mom's Theory of Angst-Free Urban Driving:
Thou Shalt Not Try to Make Left Turns in Heavy Traffic Without the Aid of a Light.
The City of Tampa needs to start a televised PSA campaign with this as the theme. I drive on a major road every day (Dale Mabry Hwy), which, in all too many stretches, lacks a left turn lane. Now, this is a 4-to-6 lane road, so there's really no reason for the lack of a left turn lane, but there it is.

Now, in Florida, U-turns at lights are OK. Really. And they're not hard to execute. I mean, wait for the green, and then turn left. Really sharply. I saw a guy in a Dodge Ram do one today. He was pulling a cemement mixer on a trailer.

But NOOOO...there are people, evil, bad, shithead people, who insist on coming to a DEAD stop in a regular lane of travel, putting on their left blinker, and then waiting. Waiting for the opposite lanes of a major thoroughfare to empty out.

And these are rarely daring motorists. Can they dart through a small-to-medium opening? No - they can not. Turning their minivan requires approximately two miles of open, visible road.

And where are they going? Well, if it's a blond woman in a giant SUV talking on her cellphone, she's going to some trendy little lunchspot. If it's the woman in the minivan or the old person, they're going to the Kute Kountry Kraft Store.


Plan your trip. Drive up Dale Mabry to WalMart. I know - Kute Kountry Krafts is ON THE WAY, but listen - it's on the other side. Do your thing at Wally World. Exit Wallyworld into the southbound lanes with the aid of a light. See, now Kute Kountry Krafts is on your RIGHT. Easy in, easy out, and the woman in the Jeep behind you isn't dreaming about snapping your neck.

Abby's Mom says, "Use lights for left turns."

Abby's Mom is RIGHT.

28 September 2006

On the news...

The crawl tells me there were more car bombs in Baghdad and that things continue to be rough on the Afghan border.

You know, since I've been back, I've felt like I'm on borrowed time. I was lucky and every day here is gravy. It makes wasted days really chafe, but the good things - man, I enjoy them.

God, I hope it's a good day for all the folks "over there." I know it probably won't be, but a gal can dream. Please, guys - be careful. Do the little things right. Make it back to the FOB in one piece.

Meanwhile, I'm going to dream up a reason for a little more top-down cruising in the sun, because I can. And yeah, I'm going to appreciate it.

La clase de espanol es...

CANCELED!!! Yipee!

It's one of those first nice Florida days since I've been back - warm but not HOT, and low(er) humidity. So I walked out of the Class that Did Not Happen, took in the weather, thought, today is too nice to be driving around with the top up.

Ahhh...rolling in the Jeep with the top down, wearing a BRAND NEW HAT (khaki with a tactical company logo, of course), Dropkick Murphys up loud enough to piss off my fellow motorists at the stop lights...life is good.

What an absurd vehicle, but how happy it makes me. :)

26 September 2006

Happiness is

A new squeaker toy! Poor little guy was starting to look like the neighborhood poor kid, sadly gnawing at an old, worn out blue Squeaker Rat with, alas, no working squeaker. So I brought home a new, shiny, Chew Monkey. Hell, I feel like a hero.

Poor Casey is still...(forgive me, I gotta make the pun)...pooped.

Maybe I have a problem...

So, during today's cleaning festival, I realized the gun cabinet had sort of... puked all over the living room. And the entryway. And since we need photos for the insurance rider that covers this weirdo hobby...

It gets worse...

We're not as weird as this looks. I promise.

Good Times

So there we were, standing in the backyard, sipping coffee and having the morning smoke after mopping (four times) and doing dog poo removal.

Mr Abby looked at Casey, who looked bummed.

"Can't be mad at a dog for that," he said. "Poor girl."

"True," I said. "She didn't even try to wake us up. That was as bad as the great Grape Poo of '01."

He agreed, and we dubbed this the Great Pork Juice and Cheddar Cheese Poo of ought-six.

Are our lives exciting or WHAT???


So I made the call last night to put off my Spanish class until tomorrow and get a much-needed sleep-in.

Mr. Abby's alarm went off and he got up at 0630-ish. [smooch] "Have a good day, babe" [Abby rolls over and goes back to sleep.] Mmmm...pillow.

This is the point where Mr. Abby ventured out into the kitchen.



"Your dog shit all over the floor."

After just a second of hoping that if I stayed in bed, he'd let me sleep and deal with it himself, I got up and we had Quality Couple Time cleaning up explosive dog poo from the kitchen.

And I do mean explosive. As in wrap-a-rag-around-your-face-and-dive-in-with-paper-towel-and-bleach explosive.

I didn't take any "before" pics, because that would have been disgusting. But I did take a pic during the "airing out" phase. And Casey is out in the yard with some water. And I'm awake. Grumble....

25 September 2006

Even better than math news...

...is Army news! Or not. I joined the Army on 8 Sept 2003. For three years. Which means I'm done...well, heck, I was done 7 Sept. Now, depending on the 90-days-post-deployment stop-loss counts from, that could have been pushed back as late as maybe 16 Sept. Whatever - the date has passed.

So I got a letter in the mail on Saturday.

In case it's not clear, that's a letter from the US Army command to which I belong, explaining that since I'm not qualified for the position in which my unit currently has me slotted, they've administratively transferred me to some "holding pool" so I can be sent to school and, as the letter cheerfully points out, cleared for deployment.

[insert sound of me pounding my head against the wall]

OK, here we go:
1. I am out of the Army
2. I am a fully qualified Civil Affairs Specialist. I was one of our goddam class honor graduates. Just because I've submitted no fewer than (3) and possibly as many as (5) official "request for award of MOS" forms and the Army has IGNORED them all...well, not my problem. It certainly didn't seem to be a problem when I did the job for a year in IRAQ.

This, of course, required a phone call. I talked to a very nice civilian at Ft. Bragg, who understood and agreed to transfer me back to my most recent unit, with a notice that I need to be processed OUT, not sent to a school I've already completed.

As I pointed out to Mr. Abby, I may very well have enough time to RETIRE by the time I get these people sorted out.

Once a really mediocre student...

I am still NOT cut out for this. I got my first college algebra test back today. Contrary to what I'd thought, I did not get a 15%. I got a 71. Yea, Abby!

Even better - should our final exam score be better than any one of our test scores, the instructor will use that exam score instead of the lowest test score. So, since I feel like I understand this crap better every day, there's still hope for a decent grade.

But I can't quite get to the point where I really feel like this matters very much... Maybe there WAS a reason I was not a stellar high school student.

24 September 2006

Next Topic

OK - We've addressed the name of the blog issue. I have two dogs, and they are Bad. Now let's address me, in a nutshell.

I live in Tampa, Florida, with my husband, who will henceforth be referred to as "Mr. Abby." He's an active duty military guy, which is how we ended up here. My official position on Tampa, FL is - hate this place. No offense to those of you who love it here, but I don't. Yes, I'm sure if you really wanted to, you could find someplace wonderful in Florida. However, we didn't. Save the "Florida is Fabulous" stuff for someone else. As soon as the DoD says we can leave this festival of hurricanes, killer reptiles and child sex offenders, we're outta here with big smiles.

As my subtitles implies, I'm recently returned from the Sandbox. I started my military career right out of high school with a little more than four years in the Marine Corps. I was a combat correspondent, spent two years in Okinawa and a year in 29 Palms, and got out as a sergeant in Spring 2001.

In fall of 2003, I was bored and we were at war, so I joined the Army Reserve for three years. I did an eight-month tour working at Major High Silly Command here in Tampa, then a 14 month mobilization that included 11 months in Iraq. I worked in Civil Affairs. It was a long year in Iraq, but we brought everybody home alive, and I remain very proud of that. I (very recently) finished my Army time as a staff sergeant.

It remains to be seen what will happen when I get bored again, and whether or not this will lead to another "hitch" in another service.

Since my return (in June), I've been rattling around. We've got less than a year left here, so I'm taking some classes at my local community college and conducting a half-ass search for a job that won't demand very much but will pay extremely well.

Let's try this

Hello, any/all. I think I'm going to give this "blogging" thing a try.

The title, in case you haven't noticed, is "Bad Dogs and such." I have two Bad Dogs - a Bad German Shepherd named Casey, and an equally Bad Yorkie named Sparky. Technically, the Yorkie belongs to my husband, but since I'm really not doing much these days beyond school and naps, they're both my problem the vast majority of the time.

You may note that they don't look very "bad" in this pic. Of course not - I drove them halfway across the state of Florida. And they LOVE car rides.