28 February 2008


for the weekend, as it is, again, time for a three-day Army camping trip.

I shall return Sunday evening.

[happy dance]

So I am again, officially, a Stay At Home Dog Mom.

That rocks.

(the pack agrees)

That walk across the parking lot today was mighty nice.

[pauses, surveys messy house]

Now, I suppose since I am currently a housewife, I probably ought to do something about this situation....

26 February 2008

Peaks and Valleys

Things haven't been bad the past few months, but they've been sort of grinding and irritating. Factor in a lack of baseball, early winter sunsets and depressing politics on my TV, and Abby has been quite...blah.

And the online Army safety course the past few days has really been the final burr under the saddle.

But at the same time, behind the scenes, things have been working steadily toward being pretty darn good, and I think we're finally there. I shall enumerate:

1 - I finished the safety course and passed the little test.

2 - The Mildly Unexpected Money that has prompted us to discuss new handgun options will land in the bank on Wednesday. Let's see...if the bank opens at 0900, and the gunshop opens at 1000, I should be at the range by 1130.

3 - I gave notice at my job. Thursday is my last day. I finally got enough sets of Army orders lined up to be able to meet the bills with that money alone. I'll be busy, but when I'm not busy, I'll have time to spend here and time to see some family and friends. That probably won't be the case in several months, so the opportunity to do it now was not to be missed.

I love the Army, but whenever it's on a real roll with making nice things happen, I start to think that there are going to be a lot of nights in the rain and flat Humvee tires to make up for the unexpected good karma.

Thanks are also owed to the Mister, who, when faced with me and a big stack of paperwork, listened to the entire Why Abby Should Quit Her Job presentation and replied, "You should have had a PowerPoint. But if it makes you happy and we won't go bankrupt, get down with your bad self."

It's like...

having my guts ripped out by weasels.

Module One of this godawful online course had 17 pages.
Module Two had 27.
I just opened Module Three, and it has 46.

Fortunately, I can listen to the audio and blog, or play Minesweeper. Coherence may suffer, but I think we're all used to that.

You know, when I first got to Iraq, we had a truly bizarre safety requirement. We had to prepare one of the Army's whiz-bang composite risk management matrices before we rolled out.

There is, of course, a process for this. You first identify hazards. Then you assess the severity of the hazard. Then you identify controls to mitigate the risks, then you re-assess the risk's severity in light of the mitigation. Got it?

The process works alright in garrison.
Example: Vehicles are being driven to the fuel point.
Risk 1 is death of soldiers in vehicles as a result of collisions.
Risk 2 is running over innocent bystanders.
It is, we'll say, a moderate-risk activity (degree of risk is determined by a combination of likelihood and severity of possible damage).
We'll mitigate those risks by making soldiers wear helmets and seatbelts (risk 1) and using groundguides (risk 2)
Now it's a low-risk activity. Voila!

Not so well in a war. The daily discussion went something like this...

The first sergeant and the commander would stand around and look at a blank risk matrix. As the operations NCO, I would stand respectfully behind them.

Sir, Top would say, the risks are death, total loss of a vehicle, major injuries, and major vehicle damage.
The commander would nod and look annoyed, and the first sergeant would continue, peering at the matrix.
That's pretty likely, sir, and even if we say it's only kinda-likely, it's still all real severe.
That's where I'd make my contribution, saying, "but let's mitigate all that by wearing helmets!"
The commander would sigh, and the first sergeant would write slowly in the little blocks, trying to mitigate the risks.
Sir, he'd conclude, always with a properly sorrowful tone, we still have high risk of real bad shit.
I'd usually offer more helpful input. "Does that mean we can skip today's mission and go back to sleep and wait for peace to break out?"
And that was the part where the first sergeant would point out that it was an appropriate time for me to shut the hell up and take the pre-mission paperwork up to the TOC.

Enough story-telling! My course is now explaining Heinrich's Accident Causation Model. I best go pay attention. Maybe the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is next. That would be entertaining. And hard to put on a matrix....

It's not that I'm ignoring y'all

it's that we're coming up on drill weeekend. And, unfortunately, when I tried one last time to access the online safety course that I've been trying to access for the last three months (with zero success), it worked.

Damn it.

Worst part - the course talks. Blah blah blah installation safety officer blah blah risk management blah blah blah.

Oh well - two modules down, seven to go.


UPDATE: Oh Jesus, this course doesn't seem to remember where I left off. This could be a long, dull, depressing evening.

24 February 2008

There are times

when Abby cannot be trusted to do anything.

I went to the range today, right? And, being a good gun owner, I thought I'd give the guns a little cleaning action. So I set up my space, and got a nice cup of coffee, sat down and started in on the 1911.

Those of you who've taken a close look at where we are in the field-strip process can tell where this is going, can't you?

Folks, I shit you not. I have never managed this before, and would not be able to do it again on a bet.

Fortunately, the coffee was not strong enough to instantly dissolve the recoil spring plug, and the plug is not a really nasty part, so there was no need to wash the cup. I did have to dump out almost all the coffee, though.

Sunday Summary

I don't know if it was a wild and crazy weekend for any of you, but it was lazy and mildly productive here, which is nice.

I cleaned a little, then went to the range today. I tried a new place - The Shooters Club. Real small, and not fancy. But highly affordable and about ten or fifteen minutes from the house. The folks behind the counter were friendly - I think I shall make a habit of going there.

Lord knows I need to, because...well, it had obviously been awhile.

In other news, Mom successfully installed an ethernet card and set up her new DSL service. This is quite an achievment, and I am impressed. Also impressive is her report of three phone calls to AT&T Customer Service. Every time she called, it seems they were coherent and helpful. Odd.

I'm off to find the remote since CNN seems to have taken a short break in its godawful election coverage to provide Oscar coverage. Sean Puffy P Diddy Hey Diddle Diddle is talking about his newfound seriousness about acting. Must. Change. Channel.