Monday, December 30, 2013

Not Going Anywhere - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 205

This morning I sent my squad leader a text “MOU Today”, then headed off to the naval shipyard in Bremerton. There was only one gate open and traffic was backed up similar to last Friday, so I just turned around and headed back home. I’m not going to wait in traffic for over an hour just to sit in an empty office and surf the web. It would be different if it were a real job, but it definitely isn’t worth it to just surf the web…or do a SkillPort if I was feeling motivated.

When I arrived back at home I made use of my extra time to do my schoolwork for the day. I then hung out with my son for the rest of the day since he stayed back after his sisters left. I took him to the mall where he could spend his cash and gift cards he received from Christmas gifts. On the way there I received a call from my NCM. She said I had an appointment at the pain clinic on the 2nd at 0900. That was a pretty quick turnaround. I’m hoping the pain clinic can come up with anything that will help me deal with the chronic pain I deal with on a daily basis. Anything would be better than what I’m doing now, which is just dealing with it and using my pain medications sparingly.

My son and I came back home, ate lunch, then I educated him all about the Seattle SuperSonics and the dynamic duo of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. There were a number of highlights and even a documentary on YouTube.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 203 & 204

Saturday we had a big Christmas party at our house. We had the kids over and celebrated our Christmas with them as well as my extended family and my wife’s extended family. This is the first large get together we’ve had at our house and it turned out pretty well. Everyone had a blast opening presents and hanging out.

Sunday we headed up to my in-laws house as usual and we watched the Seahawks beat the Rams in the final league game. Winning gave us home field advantage through the playoffs. What an exciting season!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Backup - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 202

This morning I didn’t text anyone because my squad leader and platoon sergeant are still on leave, I don’t have anyone else’s number. I don’t think there is hardly anyone even at formation anyway. I headed into the naval shipyard in Bremerton only to find traffic backed up way into the city. The navy base only has one gate open for the holidays because I guess a lot of people take block leave during this time. The problem is that there is still quite a few people trying to get in and the backup was just crazy. Traffic lights would change, but there would be no movement. I just turned around and went home. I’m not going to wait for hours in this stupid traffic just to go into a building where only a few people are working, then sit at my desk and surf the web for an entire day…no way!

When I got back home I spent the time watching some college basketball and then working on my schoolwork. I figured I’ll be a lot more productive at home than I would have if I chose to work with the navy today.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Back to Ft. Lewis - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 201

At Madigan near the WTB clinic. No description or anything around it, 
but I thought it was pretty cool

This morning our morning formation wasn’t until 0800, but I had an appointment at 0800 with my NCM so I just headed straight to my appointment. The actual appointment went as planned. I answered all the usual questions and nothing is really new. My NCM wanted me to give her a call later on today and let her know how my appointment with my PCM goes. I headed to my car, ate breakfast, and then pulled my blanket up over me and took a long nap.

I made my way up a little early for my PCM appointment. This place is dead today. The parking lot is half empty and there is hardly anyone wandering around the hospital because of the holidays. There was nobody at the WTB clinic, so I was let in early to see my PCM. I asked her about alternative solutions such as massage therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture, because I am really ready to give anything a try. I know massage therapy will help because when my wife massages my tight shoulders and neck, I always feel better. I have constant chronic pain and it’s really keeping me from actually enjoying life. When my head is killing me, I don’t want to do much of anything! My PCM said all of that is done through the pain clinic and she’ll put in another referral for me to see them. I had a referral before, but the pain clinic wanted me to see neurology before I saw them. Now that I’ve finished with neurology, I can now see them. I also had my PCM give me refills for my pain medications. Usually I have a few left by the time I see her, but I’ve been completely out for a couple days now.

I went down to the pharmacy after our appointment and picked up my refills. I then headed home and did schoolwork. Once finished with the schoolwork I just laid down on the couch. I feel like my head and neck are still in a very fragile state, it seems like it doesn’t take much to trigger a lot of pain for me. Laying down on the couch with the heating pad and taking it very easy seems to help somewhat.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Break - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 199 & 200

For Christmas break we got both Christmas Eve & Christmas off, which is awesome! Unfortunately my wife had to work Christmas Eve, so she left early in the morning while I slept in. When I did get up and eat breakfast, I cleaned up the house a bit and then did schoolwork. I love lazy days every now and then. My wife did get off early and we headed to her parents house for a while. We then went to my brother-in-law’s parents house for a Christmas Eve tradition of dinner and opening presents. I’ve missed out on this being away in the army. It got to the point where Christmas was just another day when I was stationed away from home. I couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit at all, I didn’t care for any of it! I’m just super glad to be back home and back to normal. My sister’s in-laws are awesome people and it’s always fun to eat and hang out there.

On Christmas day we headed to my in-law’s and ate breakfast, then opened presents. Later on in the day we headed out to my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas with the extended family. It’s always good to see aunts, uncles, and cousins. We had a big turkey dinner and did all the present opening. It sure is a lot of fun watching all the nieces and nephews opening presents! My kids unfortunately spent Christmas with their mom, because I had them for Thanksgiving. So we collected up their presents and took them back with us. We’ll celebrate Christmas with them this Saturday. Even without the kiddos I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas this year. I’m so glad to be back home!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Home Early - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 198

This morning I headed off to the naval shipyard in Bremerton without sending a text to anyone. My platoon sergeant informed me that he is going on leave. My guess is that there is probably hardly anyone even at the morning formation anyway during the holidays. When I arrived at my office, there was nobody there and hardly anyone in the building at all. I did the usual checking army and navy emails and then surfing the web until 1100. I decided to just go home at 1100, I’m still in quite a bit of pain in my neck, shoulders, and head. This month has actually been a pretty bad month for pain. I can usually just deal with the chronic pain I have, but it seems to have stepped up a bit and I’ve been feeling it.

At home I took my pain meds and laid down on the heating pad for a while. I did get up for a while and worked on my schoolwork for the day. I then took it easy getting back down on the heating pad off and on for the rest of the day.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 196 & 197

This weekend consisted of a lot of last minute Christmas shopping on Saturday. We got pretty much everything done and then wrapped…well I should say that I watched and occasionally helped with a finger here and there while my wife expertly wrapped all the presents. She does an outstanding job!

Sunday we all headed to my in-laws to watch the Seahawks play and unfortunately lose to Arizona. Even with the loss, it’s still a lot of fun hanging out with the in-laws, watching and cheering during the game, and then eating with them.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winter - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 195

This morning I sent a text to my platoon sergeant “FYI: I will be at my MOU with the navy again today”. I don’t usually text him, but I had his number from a previous text and my squad leader is on leave. There is snow on the ground, but I received a text from the navy stating that all the bases are open and operating normally. So I headed off to the naval shipyard in Bremerton. When I arrived, I proceeded with my normal morning ritual and checked both army and navy emails, then surfed the web for a while.

With the snow and the holidays near it seemed like there was almost nobody in the building. I surfed the web until lunchtime, but decided to leave for the day at lunch. I took my lunch home and ate it, did my schoolwork and then took it easy just laying down on the couch with the heating pad under my neck and shoulders. Living with chronic pain really sucks!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

One Bad Step - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 194

Now that I have my platoon sergeant’s number I sent him my morning text “FYI: I will be at my MOU with the navy again today”. I then headed back into the naval shipyard in Bremerton for today’s “work”. I started off as usual checking my army and navy email. My army email usually doesn’t have much, perhaps two or three a week, but I do receive items from the WTB, so I have to make sure there is nothing waiting for me such as my checklist. The army email is checked via a web page using Outlook Web Access. My navy email also doesn’t get a lot, usually a few each day of which most are group emails sent to everyone. As mentioned in an earlier post when I surf the web I always start with a quick check on AKO checking out myMEB/PEB status. I’ll try and post numbers up once a week, or at least once a month so you can see how things progress. Here is my status as of today:

212 days remaining
Start Date: 6/26/2013
Goal Finish Date: 4/17/2014
Estimated Finish Date (No Appeal): 6/30/2014
Estimated Finish Date (W/ Appeal): 7/19/2014

My current step in the process is VA Ratings. My actual time waiting for ratings is 114 days. The army average is 146.80 days. Current days until I reach the army average is 32.80.

Nothing new with those numbers, so I continued to surf the web for a while reading the headlines from around the world and locally. I then found out my legacy system account is now setup and active. I logged into the legacy system at my desk. I was then shown what server to connect the event viewer to and what logs I’ll be looking at. I save the settings so I’ll be able to get back to that easily next time, because they are going to show me what I will need to do at a later date…probably after the holidays.

One of the lady’s in another office brought back all the required paperwork for the machines that we will be getting rid of. This is all the equipment we cleaned out of the SIPR room. The process to get rid of it is called DRMO which stands for Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office. Everything gets shipped off somewhere else, where they decide what to actually do with all the crap. Everyone here just says “dermo” sounding out the acronym when talking about the whole process.

I had lunch at my desk. I have to mention that I am always only one step away from being in a lot of pain for a long period of time. Usually my pain comes and goes, there are certain triggers that can make it worse. Last night I made one misstep where I didn’t see a curb and stepped off of it, which was a slight jarring experience. Before I had any issues back when I was a young lad something like this would never even be cause for a second thought. I knew then that it was going to cause me some serious pain these days though. The funny thing is that the pain just starts to continually build up like a snowball rolling down a mountain. I could feel the muscles in by upper back, shoulders and neck start to tighten up as the night went on. By the end of the night my neck and head were in some serious pain. I took a muscle relaxer to ensure a good night’s sleep, but I was still in quite a bit of pain all day today. I decided to leave at lunch for the day and go home to lay down on my couch with the heating pad on my back and neck after taking some pain medication.

After a while of resting and falling in and out of sleep, I got up and did my schoolwork for the day. I then continued to take it easy laying down and using the heating pad throughout the night. Usually I’m pretty careful about where and how I walk because I’m always only one bad step away from being in a lot of pain for a long time…it sucks!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

More SkillPort - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 193

The wind was blowing so hard today that tree branches actually 
shut down a road on base for a bit

My squad leader is on leave, so I didn’t send a text to anyone this morning. I headed into the naval shipyard in Bremerton and did my usual routine checking my army and navy email, then surfing the web a bit. I then started a SkillPort course. I have my headphones with me, listening to the course instead of just reading everything makes it a little more interesting.

I ate lunch in the office today, then continued working on the SkillPort course until I finished it. I then got a text from my platoon sergeant telling me that I need to complete a required survey. He sent the website and the code to enter. The survey was a combination of multiple choice and then short answers. The survey was mostly about our attitude and what we think about the army in the context of sexual and racial harassment. It took about a half hour to finish, I then sent a text to my platoon sergeant letting him know I had completed it.

I then surfed the web for a while. I found out that I’ll finally be setup with a user account on what they call the “legacy” system here with the navy. I will be taught how to do “server checks” tomorrow…sounds like I may finally be able to do something on a regular basis.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Surfing and Inventory - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 192

This morning I was going to send a text to my squad leader, but he sent me a text last night stating he is now on leave until the 28th. I don’t have any other numbers, so I didn’t text anyone. I headed into the naval shipyard in Bremerton and did my normal routine checking army and navy emails and then surfing the web for a bit. I then started a SkillPort course. I now bring in my headphones so the courses are at least a little more interesting because they read everything to you.

We had a morning meeting that included a video conference with all the other local bases I.T. departments. It was basically our director telling us what the future looks like for the department. Now that congress has finally created a budget and it looks like it will pass, everything looks like it’s back to normal for our department. All planned items are back on track and they plan to replace 7 open positions they have right now.

After the meeting I was able to complete my SkillPort course. I did a little more random web surfing and then had lunch at my desk. I was told that the backup tapes we brought back from the SIPR room cleanup will be destroyed along with the hard drives. So I had to do a simple inventory of the tapes showing how many of each brand we had. I then moved the boxes of tapes along with the hard drive to another office. The guy in this office is the one who will do the final paperwork and ship them all off to the NSA for destruction.

I surfed the web for the rest of the day until 1500 when I left. When I got home I did my schoolwork and then took it easy.

Monday, December 16, 2013

NCM & Pharmacy - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 191

This morning I had to wake up early and head into Ft. Lewis. I put on my ACUs and left at 0445. I don’t mind the actual commute at all, but paying a toll and paying for gas kind of sucks. Mentally I always get a bit depressed anytime I have to head into Ft. Lewis though. I’ve already mentally checked out of the army a long time ago and anytime I have to put on the uniform and head into Ft. Lewis I get a little down. Morning formation went by semi-quickly, those of us in ACUs who had appointments fell out behind the formation and an NCO checked with each one of us asking what our appointment was for. I guess they have to baby sit everyone like that or else nobody would stay for PT. I’m glad they didn’t ask for an appointment sheet though because this appointment isn’t even on the one I have.

After formation I headed back to my car and ate breakfast. At 0800 I had my NCM appointment and we went over all the usual weekly questions. Nothing has changed and I don’t need anything extra. After the appointment I headed to the SFAC to check my army email and pass the time until the pharmacy opened up at 0900. I headed over to the hospital pharmacy and picked up a refill for my muscle relaxers. I use these anytime I have pain before going to sleep. They pretty much knock me out and help me sleep through the night without any interruptions from pain.

My neck has been pretty sore lately, all I want to do most of the time is just lay down on my back and rest it. Right now I don’t want to waste the time here, I just want to get out of here ASAP. I made a quick stop by the commissary and grabbed a few things, then headed home. The only nice thing about going into Ft. Lewis is that I’m usually back home by a decent hour and have the rest of the day to do whatever I want. I did my schoolwork first, then just had a lazy day around the house…watching a college basketball game and then miscellaneous items on TV. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 189 & 190

On Saturday I took the family to see a University of Washington Huskies Men’s basketball game. We headed to Seattle and had a quick snack at a Safeway before the game and then headed to the campus and watched the game. I’ve only been to the stadium once before about 20 years ago. During that visit I came with a friend of mine who was a sports photographer for the local paper. He got a press pass for me and gave me a camera to take pictures on the floor of the court. That was an amazing experience. Today was the first time I’ve sat in the stands. While not as good as actually being on the floor to watch the game, these seats were near half court, but 3/4 of the way to the nose bleed section. Still we all had a great view of the game and everyone had a fun time. I wanted my kids to see the difference between what a junior college basketball game and a division 1 basketball game is like. The Huskies beat Idaho State which was also a plus!

After the game we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory for a special dinner. It was an expensive day, when you do everything times 5 it can get spendy, but I think the experience was worth it.

Sunday was of course watching Seahawks at my in-laws. This is always fun, especially when the Seahawks win…and do a great job while doing it. We beat up on the NY Giants pretty easily. It’s an exciting time to be a Seahawks fan!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Loose Screws! - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 188

The admiral and her dog came to visit along with a 5 piece band to play holiday songs

I received a text from my squad leader last night stating that he’ll be on leave until the 28th. With him on leave I figured I should text someone, but I don’t have anyone else’s number, so I just didn’t text anyone. I headed into the naval shipyard in Bremerton. My morning routine was changed a bit because there is an issue with internet access, or I should say lack of internet access. I could only check my navy email via outlook. With no internet, I can’t check my army email which I do through outlook web access. I also can’t check my MEB status or read the news. Now what do I do? I use my iPhone to pass the time.

After a short period everyone is told to gather in a central portion of the building. The regional commander came to visit us. She’s an admiral and she brought her dog (in uniform) and a five piece naval band. The band played a few Christmas songs and then she went around and shook everyone’s hands while wishing us all a merry Christmas. It was a nice gesture and kind of cool. She then left with her dog and five piece band to visit another building. Later our director came around with a Santa bag full of presents and handed out a small present to each of us. I got a box of candy (chocolate covered nuts…which my son later found and ate them all…lol)

I brought in my own screwdriver to get the cases off a few hard drives that I was unable to yesterday with the tiny screwdriver I was given. I had a lot more success with my bigger screwdriver…mission complete! I then completed my inventory spreadsheet for the hard drives and emailed them off to the lady who is doing all the paperwork for everything to be turned in.

I then checked and the internet was working once again. I was now able to use it to pass the time and surf the web. While checking my army email I found that I had a self assessment due for the WTB. The self assessments have me rate the same questions each time with three options which are variations of no problem, minor problem, big problem. The questions range from my satisfaction with my housing to my medical treatment. Any answer other than the no problem requires an additional statement in the comments section. The only two that I always have to comment on are “are my medications working” and “am I still in pain” both comments are usually the same and usually end up something like “my medications do dull the pain, but do not remove it completely”. I can only wish that there were a magic pill to take away all the pain completely.

I left for the day at lunchtime, I went to have lunch with my wife at home because she only worked half a day as well. We both then made the trip to Sultan and watched my daughter’s basketball game. We brought all the kiddos home with us for the weekend. I’m so happy to be able to see them again on a regular basis, that was the one big thing that really got me down while being away from them during my time in Korea and then Europe.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Moving Day Complete - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 187

A look at all the hard drives I have been working on today

Sent a text to my squad leader this morning “MOU Today”, then head into the sub base outside of Silverdale. I continue with my morning routine of checking my army and navy emails, then surfed the web for a while. At about 0830 or so my co-worker and I headed back to the classified (SIPR) server room along with another co-worker that brought the TMP from Bremerton. We all headed down there and finished cleaning up the rest of the SIPR server room. There was a couple KVM switches still in the racks that we took out along with a bunch of keyboards, mice, and other scraps that we loaded into boxes. We took out a few loads of just trash and cardboard to the dumpsters before filling the TMP once again with the remaining items from the room.

We headed to the naval shipyard in Bremerton and took a lunch break. I headed to my car and ate lunch. We then all unloaded the TMP and proceeded to bring everything into our office. Once the TMP was unloaded I was tasked with removing the cases from all the hard drives. Even though I had done this while in the SIPR server room yesterday, there were a number of hard drives already in our office that needed to be destroyed. So I used a tiny screwdriver that I was given and proceeded to unscrew drive after drive. Once I finished I created a spreadsheet and started the process of logging each drive’s make, model and serial number into the spreadsheet. Hard drives require a little more paperwork before they can be sent off, but just getting rid of all this stuff is a red tape nightmare.

I spent the end of my shift chatting with a co-worker before leaving. I then headed home and did schoolwork.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Moving Day - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 186

A look in our office behind my desk showing most of the computer equipment we moved

This morning I sent my squad leader a text “MOU Today”, then headed to the naval shipyard in Bremerton today. I checked my army and navy email, then logged out pretty quickly. Two co-workers and I took a TMP and headed to the sub base outside of Silverdale. Once there we headed to a building I guess the IT department once occupied with their SIPR (classified network) server room. The server room was similar to the vault we had at our ComSec office in Germany. A large door with a combination lock on it keeps everyone out except authorized personnel. There is another department or contractors that want to make use of the room, but we still had quite a bit of old equipment and other various “stuff” in the room. From what I can tell there were some that held on to the hope that "if we left stuff in there, we could keep a claim on the room"…guess that didn’t work, but now my 2 co-workers and I have to clean it all up.

We first had to remove all the hard drives from the servers, and I removed all the hard drives from their server cases which involved a lot of taking out little screws. We then loaded the servers and a few desktops into the TMP. We ended up filling up the TMP with mostly hardware, but quickly realized we’re going to have to make another trip out here another day. We drove to the security manager’s office at the sub base and had him secure the classified hard drives in his big safe along with a couple spindles of classified CDs. He will destroy the CDs and do whatever needs to be done to destroy the hard drives.

We then drove back to the naval shipyard in Bremerton. Once there we took a break for lunch, then started to unload everything that was left. We brought it all into our office cart by cart. The office is starting to look full again with all this stuff. Now we have to have another person start all the required paperwork that needs to be done in order to get rid of everything. I guess the director has been trying to have this done for a while and nobody has done anything about it for a very long time. I’m glad I could help.

I spent the remaining of the day surfing the web, then left for home to do some schoolwork.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Half Day - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 185

This morning I sent a text to my squad leader “MOU Today”, then headed into the sub base outside of Silverdale. This morning my morning routine seemed a bit like it was in slow motion. I checked my army and navy email as usual, but everything I did seemed to take quite a bit of effort. For some reason I just felt extremely tired, it’s like somebody played a joke on me and switched my caffeinated coffee to decaffeinated! After checking email part of my morning ritual is surfing the web. Before I do any random surfing I always check out my AKO page. On my AKO is a link for My MEB/PEB, this link takes me to a dashboard that shows my current status in the medboard process. I check it daily just to see if anything changes, here is what it has as of today:

212 days remaining
Start Date: 6/26/2013
Goal Finish Date: 4/17/2014
Estimated Finish Date (No Appeal): 6/22/2014
Estimated Finish Date (W/ Appeal): 7/10/2014

My current step in the process is VA Ratings. My actual time waiting for ratings is 105 days. The army average is 148.21 days. Current days until I reach the army average is 43.21.

There is more information, but that is the basics. I usually scan to see if anything has changed yet. My PEBLO told me when I submitted my paperwork that the average she has seen from Ft. Lewis is 4 months. Based on that I should be hearing something by the 20th of this month…10 days from now. I know I can’t hold her to that, but it’s just a date I’ve been looking at in my head for a while now.

I continued to surf the web and reading the daily news, but I’m so tired that I actually start getting more and more comfortable in my chair and before I knew it, I was asleep. I don’t think I was out too long, but as I was asleep in the chair my body jerked and I jumped up out of the chair. Of course my legs were completely under the desk, so when I jumped I hit the desk pretty hard which made a huge boom! I looked around and waited for somebody to say something, but luckily my cubical is situated so nobody can really see me. Nobody said anything, but the rush of adrenaline really woke me up…I was able to surf the web and read the news without falling asleep the rest of the day!

I proceeded to work and complete a SkillPort. When lunchtime came I left for the day. I ate lunch while driving to the ferry. I headed to Sultan to watch my son and then later my daughter play in their basketball games. I’m glad right now that I don’t have a normal job, because with my son in middle school, his games start at 1500. Luckily I can just tell the navy folks I have to leave at lunch and then go watch his games. Next year he’ll be in high school and will have the later games when I hopefully have a normal job. Seeing them both play really made my night…but it was a long night. I hung out with my son and younger daughter taking them out to eat while waiting for my oldest daughter’s game to start. After the game I headed home and didn’t arrive until 2220. Worth every minute though! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Back to Ft. Lewis - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 184

The line at the Starbucks on post can get long at times!

This morning I headed back into Ft. Lewis. I went to the morning formation in ACUs because I was told to see my NCM between 0800 - 1000, and if I have to choose it’s going to be 0800 so I don’t have to do the army PT and then change. The morning formation was extremely cold though and I have no cold weather gear at all. I had to turn in everything I had before I left Germany. Speaking of cold, 4 of us in my platoon had to head up to the company office to do some make up required army cold weather training. Just what I love…some of that great army training! The four of us sat down in the platoon sergeant’s office. One person was at the controls of the computer and brought up the cold weather PowerPoint presentation training. The guy controlling it just blew through all the slides…I’m talking about one page per second. There was barely time to read the headline let alone all the other crap they had on each page. The important thing is now our platoon sergeant can say we’ve been trained and can check that box.

I left and went to my car to have some breakfast. At 0730 when the SFAC opened, I headed in and checked my army email. I then just surfed the web a bit. The SFAC has about 8 computers or so that soldiers can use, I was just staying inside to pass the time and try and stay warm because it’s so freakin’ cold outside.

At 0800 I went back up to B company and saw my NCM. We went through all the usual questions. I let her know that I don’t have any issues except having to drive all the way in here just to see you…lol. I did let her know about a refill I need for my muscle relaxers. She’s gonna have them ready for me so I can pick them up next week when I come in and see her again. She explained that they get audited a lot and they have to see each soldier at least once week, but every once in a while I can do the check in via phone if there is a holiday during the week or something. So it looks like I will not be getting out of making the drive at least once a week for the most part.

I went to the barber and got my head shaved, then went to the commissary to pick up a few things…I gotta take advantage of the times I do make the trip! I then changed into civilian clothes and went to the Starbucks on post to sit for a bit and enjoy a mocha. Since I had to make the trip here I decided to run a few errands as well. The first was a drive to Kent where I dropped off a MacBook that I worked on as a side job. I then made my way to Granite Falls middle school where I surprised my son at his away basketball game. It was pretty cool seeing his face when he saw me. I love taking every opportunity I have and seizing these precious moments in time. I already missed too much while being stationed away. I’m going to make the best of my time now.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 182 & 183

First time I've come across a freshly squeezed OJ vending machine!
(seen while out at the mall Christmas shopping)

This weekend consisted of a lot of Christmas shopping. We did some shopping online, but then headed to the Auburn Super Mall and continued with some traditional shopping. On Sunday we headed to my in-laws house to watch the Seahawks play. It’s always fun watching the game there…even if they did lose to the 49ers today. I just love the fact that I can watch all the local sports that I want now that I’m back home.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Half Day - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 181

Sent my squad leader a text this morning “MOU Today”, then headed into the sub base outside of Silverdale. Once there I started my normal morning routine of checking my army and navy email and then surfing the web a bit. I thought for a minute to start a SkillPort, but I just didn’t have the drive or motivation at all. I just continued to slowly surf the web checking out the news around the world, the US, and locally. I was basically zoning out while surfing the web.

I stopped for a bit and played a few games on my iPhone to switch it up a bit. I really wish that I could be considered basically an employee while I’m here. I’d like a lot more to do, I’d like to learn more, I’d like to actually do something. There are 2 open and unfilled positions in the department, so I’m not sure why I can’t just take over the responsibilities of at least one of them. Instead I just kind of hang out and find ways to pass the time.

At 1000 I did one of the only things that they really have me help out with around here…help physically move things. My co-worker and I took the two computers that we fixed yesterday over to the naval 911 office and hooked them up. Since we already had them completely working before we left, all we had to do was call and have port security reset on the switches and then everything worked perfectly. It’s good to finally get this project completed after all the problems we had with these last two machines.

Once we got back I surfed the web some more, then headed to my car and had lunch. When I came back in my co-worker said “hey it’s Friday, there is nothing to do and nobody else is here…just go ahead and go home”. So I didn’t waste any time and headed out for the day. Once home I settled in and did some schoolwork.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Success! - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 180

This morning I sent my squad leader a text “MOU Today”, then headed into the naval sub base outside of Silverdale. Yes…you guessed it, I started the day with my normal routine of checking my army and navy email. I then surfed the web for a bit. My co-worker wanted my help driving out to the Bremerton Naval Shipyard and picking up some random items. He used to work out there, but they recently moved him permanently to the naval sub base, so he still had some items to move. The I.T. office has people working at both bases, as you can see in my journal I go back and forth quite a bit.

When we arrived back from our trip to Bremerton, my co-worker received a response from the vendor. It turns out something has affected just these two PCs and we need to uninstall C++ and reinstall it. I imaged one of the PCs, then headed to lunch in my car. During my lunch break I get a text from my squad leader telling me that I have to go to Ft. Lewis when I’m not at my MOU. Well duh! That is why I text him each morning stating I’m at my MOU. I reply letting him know that the navy said they can use me as much as I can give them and that I haven’t had any appointments, so I’ve been working with the navy everyday.

When I got back from lunch, I started back on the newly imaged PC. After installing all the updates and preparing all the settings for security purposes, I uninstalled C++ and installed again with our new installer. To both of our surprise the image actually works! I quickly make a new image from this working model and we load this new working image onto the other machine. I prepared both machines to move back to the naval 911 office (computer names and IP Addresses among a few other things). We’re done for the day, we’ll take the working machines over and place them back into service in the naval 911 center tomorrow.

I head home and do schoolwork. While at home I get a message from my squad leader stating that I have to see my NCM on Monday at sometime between 0800 and 1000. My NCM asked me this week when I called and checked in with her if I was planning on coming in and I said no. I guess now I have to come in and physically be there once a week now, even if my NCM is my only appointment. I get mildly upset, but I guess I can’t really complain about the drive because it is only once a week. I was just starting to get a full on beard too…now I’ll have to shave this Sunday!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Trying to Stay Awake - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 179

This morning I sent a text to my squad leader “MOU Today”, then headed into the naval sub base outside of Silverdale again. As usual I started my day off by checking my army and navy emails, then surfing the web a bit. I guess because of the late night yesterday I’m super tired today. As I started a SkillPort I found myself with heavy eyelids slowly closing over and over again as I end up reading the same paragraph over and over. I pushed through the first half of the day, then headed to my car for lunch. It’s getting increasingly cold outside. In my car I listen to the radio and eat my lunch with a blanket over me…but my hands still get pretty cold!

The second half of the day was finishing up my SkillPort course and then surfing the web for a while. I chatted with my co-worker trying to figure out how to resolve the issues we’re having with the last two PCs. We’re still waiting on word from the vendor, they requested more information earlier. We’re hoping they have some idea of why they are not working because we’re fresh out of things to try.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Leaving Early - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 178

I sent my squad leader a text this morning “MOU Today”, then headed into the naval sub base outside of Silverdale. Once there I settled into my usual morning routine (check army and navy email, then surf the web). I then worked on another SkillPort course. At lunchtime I left for the day. I made the 2 hour drive to Sultan and watched both my son and then my daughter play basketball. I had a blast watching them and cheering for them, I know they liked having me there too. I missed out on so much while in the army…now I cherish every moment I have because kids are only young once! It’s worth the drive and not getting home until 2230.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Back to the Grind - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 177

Back to work today, it’s really tough after a nice long break. I got up and texted my squad leader “MOU Today”. I then headed into the naval sub base outside of Silverdale. I could use the bases actual names, and it would be pretty easy to find out, but I just don’t want this journal to end up coming up when people are searching for the particular names of the bases for some other purpose. I just keep a lot of it especially vague when I talk about my work with the navy. This journal is not about the navy, but about my experiences while in the army…so if you were wondering there is the answer.

When I arrived in the office I did my normal routine of checking my army and navy emails, then surfing the web for a while. My co-worker then had an idea to use one of his working computers (his test computer on his desktop) to replace one of the nonworking computers at the naval 911 center. The computer is a slightly different model than all the rest, but it would give them a working computer until we can figure out the problems. We also have another test computer that works out at the shipyard in Bremerton. So the plan now is to replace the two nonworking computers with our test computers for at least the short term.

We carted the test computer over and hooked it up at the naval 911 center and it worked fine. One down and one to go, but we’ll pick up the one in Bremerton soon…just not today. I had lunch in my car and then worked on a SkillPort to finish out the day. I think I may end up doing all the continuing education requirements for my CompTia certifications all while working with the navy.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up (Thanksgiving 4-Day) - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 173 - 176

This Thanksgiving four day weekend was just plain awesome. I had my kids with me for Thanksgiving and we enjoyed the holiday together with my extended family for the first time in years. My family has a tradition of playing bingo after we eat. Everyone brings white elephant prizes to win. It sounds like a funny tradition, but it sure is a lot of fun. Watching people open the presents which usually contain some pretty funny surprises is half the fun. I really enjoyed the time with my family, I tried to soak up every minute of it. For so long it was just a normal event, but missing everything while I was in the army has really made me appreciate how special it is to hang out with family. This was the best Thanksgiving holiday I can remember!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ActiveX Headaches - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 172

Sent my squad leader a text this morning “MOU Today” and then headed into the naval sub base outside of Silverdale. I continued with my normal morning routine of checking both my army and navy emails. I then surfed the web for a while getting caught up on all the world news. I then completed a SkillPort. I’m still working through every Windows 2008 server SkillPort I could find. There are a ton of them going over every portion of the new server OS, so I’ll have plenty to keep me busy for a while. The only problem is trying to space them out enough to where I don’t get burned out doing them.

I went to my car for lunch. It’s getting pretty cold outside, even with my blanket on me in the car I’m still almost freezing. I may have to start eating my lunch inside…it just feels weird eating lunch in the server room and they don’t have a lunch room in our building.

In the afternoon I surfed the web for a while and then helped my co-worker try a few things on the machines we’re still having issues with. We are still having the ActiveX issue on just two machines, it’s very strange because all the others work just fine. We’ve re-imaged them, tried uninstalling various software and reinstalling. We’re still waiting on the help desk request that my co-worker initiated with the company that makes the product. We had zero luck today getting anything to work…it’s frustrating.

So frustrating in fact that my co-worker said we’re leaving early today! We left about an hour early…time to start the (holiday) weekend. Well…after I work on my schoolwork. My kids came over tonight, so we all hung out and watched some shows together.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spiderman Cometh - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 171

This morning I sent my squad leader a text “MOU Today”, then went back to sleep. I slept in until about 0800 and then slowly got up and got ready for the day. I had an appointment for the exterminator this morning, but they could only give me the time frame of between 0900 and 1200. Once I got up I just started doing schoolwork, which is actually one of my MOUs so I wasn’t technically lying to my squad leader.

The exterminator came and did his thing both outside and in the crawl space of the house. We were starting to see a pickup of the number of spiders around and none of the girls in my family care for those too much. So this should get rid of them for a while. I then did a little yard work before relaxing on the couch and watching some college basketball on the “WatchESPN” app on my AppleTV. I have missed watching college basketball pretty much the entire time I’ve been in the army up until now. I’m glad to be back home!

The rest of the day consisted of eating lunch and finishing up my schoolwork for the day.

Monday, November 25, 2013

PCM & Refills - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 170

Yup...that pretty much sums it up (at least army PT anyways)

Headed to the morning formation and boy it’s starting to get cold. Even though I was in full winter PTs, I could still feel the cold air all over. After accountability the first sergeant released us by platoon. Everyone else headed in except for our platoon. For some reason our platoon sergeant wanted to stay out in the cold and do our stretches and exercises. I don’t care too much for when we get released by platoon because I can’t easily sneak off when we are released and just leave.

Once we finished our stretches and easy exercises we were supposed to walk around the WTB complex a few times, but I just headed straight to my car…I was getting pretty cold by this point. A lot of the exercises we did earlier to get the blood pumping were ones that I just can’t do…a lot of us couldn’t do because of the various injuries that brought us here.

I ate breakfast in my car, then went into the SFAC to check my army email. I then used their bathrooms to change into my ACUs. Once changed I hung out for a while in the lobby just to stay warm until my next appointment. I headed to my monthly PCM appointment and we went over how I have been doing. For the most part I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been using the traction device nightly and I have been taking less medication as a result. I still get pain and headaches, but they seem to be less frequent and less severe than before which is a good thing. I had my PCM get me refills of my pain medications, then headed to the pharmacy to pick them up.

After that I hopped in my car and headed home where I finished up the day doing schoolwork.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 168 & 169

This weekend was pretty laid back…my kind of weekend! My wife and I did a little shopping for some white elephant presents, which we give out at Thanksgiving. We went out to eat and also ended up purchasing an entertainment center with an electric fireplace in it. Now I can “start a fire” with a remote control. We needed a little something extra in our entertainment room because it does not receive any of the forced air head like the rest of our house. Next appliance in our entertainment room will be a mini-fridge!

Other than that I helped my father-in-law move a few things into his storage unit, then just took it easy for the rest of the weekend. There were no Seahawks this weekend, so it was all pretty mellow.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Stuck on ActiveX - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 167

First time at any job where I've left the office and found a 
deer just chillin' eating some salad.

This morning I sent my squad leader a text “MOU Today” and then headed to the naval sub base near Silverdale. The I.T. office isn’t really an office. Instead it is a server room that also has some desks in it. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before in all my years of doing I.T. work. Because the “office” is in the server room it’s louder than normal because of all the fans running in the servers and also a little bit colder than normal because the A/C in the room has to keep it cool enough so the servers don’t overheat. As I was walking through the server racks I noticed one lone Mac Mini sitting among these giant HP and Dell rack mounted servers. My co-worker didn’t know what it was there for, now I’m curious.

My co-worker and I headed across the street to the naval regional 911 center once again to try and get the computer working. We tried until lunch time, but gave up and headed back to the office with one of the broken computers. My co-worker has put in a help ticket to the vendor to see if they have any idea why these two lone computers are not working.

I ate my lunch in the office today and then continued working on the broken PC. My co-worker and I have both tested and tried everything we could think of to get the program to run in the browser, but there is something with the ActiveX control that just doesn’t work…and it’s very frustrating. I ended up testing various ideas on it until it was time to leave for the day.

I headed home and did schoolwork and then went to the YMCA for a workout. I’ve been doing cardio, but figured I need to mix it up with a little strength training now as well. I could tell right away that I’m definitely out of shape! I started out using the universal machines that I used while in Germany, but at about 50% less weight to start out with…and I was straining! I gotta get back in shape, but with the holidays coming up I’m sure we won’t have a normal routine for a while.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Free Turkey - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 166

This morning I headed into Ft. Lewis. I received a message earlier in the week from my squad leader telling me that he put me in for a free turkey and that I need to pick it up today. I guess a free turkey is worth a drive to Ft. Lewis. I headed to morning formation, or what I thought would be morning formation, but nobody was there. I never got a text or anything telling me that the formation was somewhere else or cancelled, but it is definitely not at the usual spot so I head back to my car. It's so cold that even with my blanket I can't sleep. I do stay in for a bit and eat my breakfast, but at 0730 when the SFAC opened I headed inside where it's warm.

I checked my army email and then played games on my iPhone to pass the time. After a while I headed to the pharmacy refill area and picked up some prescription refills I had called in last week. I waited in the hospital waiting area for a while, just because it's so cold outside. I played a few games on my iPhone, then proceeded out into the frigid air. I headed back to the WTB and checked in with my nurse case manager. The quick check in is required and is pretty much the same every week (how am I doing, do I feel like hurting myself or others, what is my pain level today, do I need any medications, have I heard from the medboard yet?) Once finished with my NCM check-in, I headed to another building in the WTB and picked up my free turkey. It was a pretty fast and easy process. There was a civilian standing in the multipurpose room next to a table with some frozen turkeys on it. I walked up, he checked off my name, and I picked a turkey and headed to my car.

I then headed home and did some schoolwork. Later on I watched some college basketball. I am actually pretty excited that the WatchESPN app is now on my AppleTV. I now have access to all the ESPN channels and can even choose to watch certain college basketball replays. This is pretty cool!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Image & Secure - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 165

It's never easy to say goodbye, but my old friend "the beard" is gonna 
leave tomorrow...he's not welcome at Ft. Lewis while I'm in uniform.

I got a text from my squad leader this morning (he sends group texts all the time to his squad) that stated "100% weigh in everyone in PTs no ACUs". Screw that…I replied with my usual "MOU Today" and proceeded to get ready to head into the navy. If there is something that I need to head into Ft. Lewis for, I have to know the night before because I need to get up a lot earlier and leave a lot earlier in order to drive all the way there by morning formation.

I headed to the naval sub base outside of Silverdale today. I imaged a machine, then went through the security checks making each change line by line. At one point I had to restart the machine and one of the security check that I fixed was "turning off automatic login". The image I was using was created by my co-worker a while ago and he couldn't remember the password for that image, I had to re-image the machine and start over. I made sure to set the password before I did anything else.

I ate lunch in my car and listened to the radio for a bit. When I went back into the office, I finished up the security on the machine and then put through a system access request for what they call the legacy network. When I get this access I'll be able to do some more work, which I'm hoping will keep me busy. The access request is just a PDF that I had to fill out and email to my supervisor here. It always seemed to take forever in the army, I guess we'll see how long the navy takes.

I headed home and did schoolwork for the rest of the day. I'm really hoping to finish my degree before I get out. I have 3 more classes to take in order to do so. I'm hoping congress will get a budget passed and tuition assistance will be available before I need to sign up for my last two classes. I'm going to sign up for my next class soon and it will actually start before the January 15th deadline that congress made this last time. I'm crossing my fingers!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

911 - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 164

Sent my squad leader the usual text this morning "MOU today". Headed into the naval shipyard in Bremerton and started my morning routine of checking my army and navy emails, then surfing the web for a while. After about an hour I took off with a co-worker to the regional naval 911 center. We had 3 machines on our system that were not working correctly. This is the first time I went in there and the place is pretty secure, I won't go into detail…but for obvious reasons they don't want anyone without the proper authority having access to the area or the operators. Once we got in I saw what looked like a computer nerd's dream. Each user's workstation had at least 7 screens that were like a curved wall in front of them. The machines we are working on are not mission essential, but they are somewhat important and needed to get fixed as soon as possible. We sat down at the first workstation and after just a quick minute we had it up and running properly, it just needed an admin to be logged in, a web extension installed and to be joined to the domain. The other two machines were not the same story. We actually were stuck on the second machine for what would turn out to be pretty much the rest of the day.

While hanging out in the 911 center I got to hear just how crazy it can be on a slow day. The operators seemed to have 3 conversations going at once. They would be talking to each other, take a call, dispatch, and keep all three conversations going at the same time. I couldn't keep everything straight. Luckily they had some donuts in there because we worked right through lunchtime. By the time we left a little after 1400 my co-worker and I both felt pretty much defeated. I'm still learning how this system works and I do know my way around Windows, but I have been primarily a Mac person in the past. I felt pretty much useless the entire time, I just manned the computer and did what my co-worker would have me type or do. Nothing seemed to work, but it seems like such a small problem. The entire program is just opening up a window in an Internet Explorer window, but the darn ActiveX control would just not load no matter what we did.

We headed back to our office and decided to try again later. I quickly ate my lunch…I was starving by this point. By the time I finished, I surfed the web for a bit and then left for the day. I hate days where it feels like you get nothing done, we just spun our wheels all day trying everything we could think of with no results.

I headed home and did schoolwork and then went to the YMCA with my wife…I worked out my frustrations on the elliptical machine.

Monday, November 18, 2013

IT Follow-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 163

In the office lunch area...I'm afraid to even turn on the hot water now!

I sent my squad leader a text this morning "MOU Today". I think I'll be just sending that to him each morning from now on…keeping it short and simple. I headed into the naval shipyard in Bremerton again today. I gotta say once again that I really love not having to make the drive all the way into Ft. Lewis everyday. Not only that, but I get to pretend I'm a civilian all day. I don't shave, I don't have to constantly be on the lookout for officers to salute, I can wear my hat inside, and I can even walk and talk on a phone…or heaven something and walk at the same time. I'm loving it!

I start my morning routine once in the office and check my army and navy emails. I then started working on the newly imaged machine again. I ran all the security updates and updated all the security settings making sure it's compliant once again. I created a new image and started testing the machine. This time the application actually works.

I take my lunch break in the office today. I brought some stuff that needed to be heated up, so I had to use the office microwave. Once I finished up lunch, I surfed the web a bit and then started working on a SkillPort until it was time to leave for the day.

Once home I did school work. When my wife came home we headed to the YMCA. We've been a little spotty lately, we gotta get back in the groove!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 161 & 162

The kiddos were over and we all slept in on Saturday morning. We had our usual big breakfast together (pancakes, bacon and eggs) which everyone loves. It's also nice to have a sit down meal together as a family, it seems like that doesn't happen as much as it should. We all hung out and watched some shows on TV before heading back to the local community college to watch the women's basketball game. I wanted my daughters to see the women play as well so they can have an idea of what it's like to play for a junior college. I'd like my oldest daughter to play basketball locally if possible after she graduates high school.

Sunday we all headed up to my in-laws for lunch and then we all watched the Seahawks play. We always have a lot of fun watching the game together.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Some Real Navy IT - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 160

I sent my squad leader a text this morning reminding him of my MOU today. I then headed into the naval shipyard in Bremerton. Once there I settled into my usual morning routine of checking both my army and navy emails and then surfing the web and reading the news. I try and do anything to keep myself at least somewhat busy.

I then imaged a machine, but more than just image a machine I actually learned quite a bit of new stuff. I've imaged many machines before, but there is a lot more this machine needed once it was imaged. The navy has some strict rules for all the machines that end up on the network. I had to run a scanning utility on the machine that checks for all the vulnerabilities, and then go through step by step fixing each of the vulnerabilities it found. There were a couple I had to leave how they were because of what the machine was going to do, but I did get it up to 98.5% compliant, which is what it needs. I then had to install a few things, run all the security updates, and then do some configuring of settings. I then learned how to "sysprep" the machine so I could make a new image from it.

Once I made the image, I then played around quite a bit with the new machine before heading to lunch in my car. When I got back from lunch we had a department meeting. The director went over everything that is going on and what he expects the future will hold…it doesn't look to optimistic.

I went back to playing around with the new computer and did some testing on it. Unfortunately I could never get the program they use to actually work. My co-worker said to try an older image, so I started the whole process over again. Because I started the whole process over, I didn't finish before I left for the day. The work will be waiting for me when I get back after the weekend. I finally felt like I had a normal day of I.T. work and it felt good for once even if I didn't get a whole lot done, I did learn quite a bit.

The kiddos came over tonight for the weekend and we all went out to eat. After dinner I took everyone to the local community college men's basketball game. I wanted the kiddos to see the difference between high school and a junior college basketball team. It was a lot of fun…even if our team got beat pretty bad.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Navy IT - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 159

I sent a text to my squad leader this morning "MOU Today". I then headed to the naval shipyard in Bremerton. At least at this office, I'm in an office with other people who know me and interact with me. I headed out with a co-worker first thing this morning to the navy base on Indian Island, which is about an hour away. We loaded a recently imaged PC into the TMP and I volunteered to drive.

We actually replaced the PC in the guard shack at the gate. This is the place where one guard checks your ID while the other comes out and stands a couple feet away holding his shotgun with a no nonsense look on his face. Once we explained what we were there for and the guards verified it, we got down to business. The guard with the shotgun said he thought about getting into I.T., but then found out you have to constantly learn because everything is always changing…so he decided to be a gate guard instead…lol.

We replaced the old computer with the new one and tested it before leaving. Once we got back to the office, I went and had lunch in my car. When I came back from lunch my co-worker had me image the computer we brought back with us from the guard shack. The computer is actually from the new batch, but it was having some issues which is why we replaced it. As my co-worker was showing me which image to use he told me to click on a certain spot and then click delete to remove some of the older images. Well he didn't realize that the folder holding the images was highlighted, so when I clicked delete, it deleted all of his images. Just like that…in an instant they were all gone. No warning or trash bin to recover them from because we were booted from the backup CD. Luckily the guy had another drive with some older images, so I used one of those to image the machine. Once imaged I had to activate Windows through the automated phone system Microsoft has. We can't connect it to the network because it's not up to specs yet, so using the automated phone system is the only way we can do it.

By this time it was time to head home. I went home and did schoolwork until my wife came home. We were going to hit the YMCA tonight, but my sister called and asked if we could take my nieces to their swimming lessons…I have to be a good uncle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Navy Frustration - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 158

Sent my squad leader a text this morning reminding him of my MOU as usual. I've decided to just send him the words "MOU Today". Because technically my MOU is both my internship with the navy and my school. So it can kind of go both ways in the future. It's basically just a reminder anyways to let him know I will not be in formation and I am still alive and OK.

I headed to the navy base outside of Silverdale this morning. There are actually 3 different navy bases pretty close by and they are all considered part of the navy region northwest. I have heard I'll probably be working mostly from this one close to Silverdale, which is only about 10 or 15 minutes from my house. I was told to head here this morning, but when I arrived I guess they weren't expecting me. They had me sit on a couch outside of the server room for about an hour. I just sat there messing around on my phone reading the news, checking Facebook, and playing games.

Finally the lead tech came out and had me come in and turned me loose at a workstation. I did the usual and checked both my army and navy emails. I then surfed the web for a bit and finally decided to do a SkillPort. I did get a little frustrated after a while. Nobody even came and talked to me or even acknowledged I was there. The stuff I was doing on the computer I could be sitting at home and doing. I do appreciate not having to make the drive all the way to Ft. Lewis, but this is a little ridiculous. I found out later that the co-worker who was supposed to be working with me had a little miscommunication and went to the wrong navy base. I know sitting around and doing nothing for a job may be some people's dream job, but it's not mine. I'd like to be learning something and accomplishing something!

I took off at lunch and decided not to go back. I just headed home and did schoolwork. I don't even know if they realized that I left…and I don't really care. I guess that was the frustration taking over.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NCM & Dental Cleaning - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 157

We had morning formation today inside the gym because of the rain, finally there seems to be signs of common sense…but I won't get my hopes up too much. Once accountability is done I head to a stationary bike and peddle at a very slow pace…I mean so slow that if I were on a real bike I think an old lady in a walker could have beat me in a race. I've mentioned this before, but I really don't like to work out with my unit in the morning. I usually don't even wash my PT uniform for a long time because I don't wear it very long and I do not sweat in it. I really don't want to get all sweaty and have to take a shower at the gym each morning. I'd rather work out on my own at the YMCA with my wife. I get a better workout and I am a lot more motivated for sure. After about 15 minutes on the bike I then headed out to my car and took off to the WTB parking lot. I then ate breakfast, listened to the radio and then took a nap.

I went to my NCM appointment at 0900. I let her know about the bad weekend full of pain and some bad sleep last night, but other than that everything is pretty much the same. I left there and headed to the SFAC for a few minutes to check my army email. I then had to head to the dental clinic for a cleaning. When I got seated in the chair with my bib and glasses for the cleaning, the dental hygienist asked me how old I was. I responded that I was 40 and she shook her head and said "no way". I kinda laughed and said "yup, but I do feel a lot younger in my head". She said the soldier in her before me was only 30, but looked much older than I do! I guess I'll take that as a compliment.

After the cleaning I headed home and ate lunch, then did schoolwork.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up (Veterans 4-Day) - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 153 - 156

This weekend was awesome…why? Because it's a four day weekend! Friday I slept in a little, then took the car in to get the oil changed. I then did schoolwork and cleaned up the house a bit. I was still in quite a bit of pain from moving all that old equipment on Wednesday…it sucks that when I do something to trigger it, it can last for days!

Saturday I was still in a lot of pain, it was a lazy day for the most part. I took it easy the entire day and my wife and I watched her nephew play in his high school football playoff game. Unfortunately they were destroyed! It was still fun to go and watch. I always love the excitement, the band, the cheerleaders, and the students with all the excitement that goes along with a high school football game.

Sunday I finally was out of major pain. We hung out at my in-laws for most of the day. We watched the Seahawks kill Atlanta…finally a game I don't have to stress out while watching! On Monday I spent most of the day sleeping in, relaxing, and then doing schoolwork. I met my wife for a dinner buffet in the evening. The dinner was free for me and any other active duty soldier or veteran in honor of Veteran's Day. A nice way to end the weekend.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

FirmWare - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 152

In the Navy office...they're obviously aware of the clone wars

Another day working with the navy…I text my squad leader first thing in the morning to let him know I'm alive and will be at my MOU today. I head into the office and do my usual morning army and navy email checks, then surf the web for a while. I then did a SkillPort to pass the time.

I was then asked to download and install some firmware for a test server they have in the office…no problem. After I get the firmware installed I walk down to my car and have some lunch. Once back I configured the RAID on the test server and then installed Windows Server 2008.  By the time I finished all that it was time to take off for the day.

Once home I did schoolwork and then took some pain killers. Moving all the old equipment multiple times yesterday messed me up pretty bad. I was in pain for most of the day and it just kept getting worse as the day went on. The pain killers helped a little, but sometimes it seems when the pain gets to be too high nothing seems to help much.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Manual IT Labor - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 151

Sent my squad leader a text as usual this morning reminding him I'll be at my MOU today. I head into the office at the Bremerton shipyard and spend the morning checking my army & navy emails, then surfing the web to pass the time. I sure do keep up on the news, world events and technology news! Once I got a little tired of surfing the web, I decided to start a SkillPort. The SkillPorts cover technology, take some time to finish which helps pass the time, and I can use them as training that can be added to my CompTia continuing education.

A co-worker and I then loaded the TMP with a crapload of old computers, servers, and monitors. We had the TMP van so full that it actually sunk down a bit in the back and the tires were a little flatter with all the pressure. I drove slowly and carefully up to the other naval base outside of Silverdale. We headed to a warehouse where all the old equipment is turned in. Despite my co-worker gathering up and filling out all the required paperwork and calling in advance to make sure someone would be there, when we arrived we found the entire warehouse empty. We decided to unload all the equipment on the loading dock and then sit and wait, there was no way we were going to leave there without dropping off all the equipment.

About a half hour after we arrived a civilian worker came strolling up, then asked a question "Have you been waiting long?" My co-worker was nice and said "just a little bit". The warehouse civilian then brought out three pallets with a forklift and helped us load everything on the pallets. She drove them back into the warehouse and then had us come back with her. Evidently the massive amounts of paperwork that were done in advance was not quite enough, they needed a piece of paper attached to each device that basically stated the hard drive had been taken out and it's ready to ship. We decided to head back and take our lunch break. My co-worker was going to talk with our supply person and get everything straightened out. The amount of paperwork and processes required just to get rid of old equipment for the government is out of control. It's one of the reasons there was so much stuff just piled up in our office to get rid of, nobody wanted to take the time or effort to get rid of it all.

I headed down to my car and had lunch while listening to the radio for a bit. Once I went back to the office I finished up the SkillPort I was working on earlier. After that I spent the rest of my day there just surfing the web trying to pass the time.

After work, I headed home and started my new class "Business Ethics". It looks like it will turn out to be as exciting as my previous class of "Business Law"…yawn.

By the end of the day I started getting in some serious pain, I think I did a little too much with all the equipment moving today. I took my pain medication, but it didn't seem to help much, but the muscle relaxer never fails to knock me out for the night…so I slept very well.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NCM & The Physical Therapist - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 150

Me posing in my portable traction unit at home...
time to separate the head from the shoulders

Headed to morning formation at the gym. Once accountability was over and we fell out to head into the gym, I just headed to my car instead. I drove to the WTB parking lot, ate my breakfast, then promptly pulled up my blanket and took a nice long nap.

I headed into the WTB bathroom and changed into my ACUs and then headed to my NCM appointment. I had nothing to update and didn't need anything from my NCM, she asked me the usual required questions (do I feel like hurting myself or others?). I did get the dates for the upcoming holidays and added them to my electronic calendar. My NCM keeps asking me if I've heard anything from my MEB, I told her when I check on AKO it says I'll be out on May 25th…she seems to think it will be much earlier than that, I guess we'll see.

I head back to my car and do a little writing on my laptop while listening to the radio. Once I got tired of that, I took another nap…yes it's what I do here at the WTB. When I woke up I headed into the SFAC and ate my lunch. I then went back to my car and drove to the commissary and picked up a few things and then came back to the WTB parking lot. I spend some more quality time in my car listening to the radio passing the time. I finally had my physical therapy follow-up appointment. The therapist asked how everything was going. I let him know things are better and I'm looking forward to using my portable home unit. He said I could use it nightly if I wanted to, it's basically up to me to gauge how I'm feeling and how much to use it.

I headed home and hung out with my wife until it was time to hit the sack…I used my portable traction unit for the first time. It's very easy to use and I'm hopeful that using it nightly will help lower my daily pain. I'm cautiously optimistic!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hard Drives and SkillPort - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 149

I sent a text to my platoon sergeant reminding him that I'll be at my MOU today with the navy. I headed into the shipyard in Bremerton and did my normal morning ritual to start the day, check my army and navy email & surf the web for a while. I continued to surf the web and read the news until lunch time. I had lunch in my car, then headed back up to the office. I park a little ways away down a hill, so I get a little bit of a workout at least when I do have my lunch in the car…well perhaps not quite a workout, but at least I get to stretch my legs.

After lunch I physically removed 10 hard drives from computers that are going to be retired. That was the extent of my actual IT work today. I then added all the Windows 2008 modules to my SkillPort plan and then went through one of the modules. I figured maybe I can learn a thing or two while I'm spending my day here instead of just surfing the web and getting bored.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 147 & 148

The kiddos came over this weekend, we hung out at home Friday night watching TV and just chilling. On Saturday we headed out and had lunch, then went to see the movie "Bad Grandpa" which was pretty funny! Even though it's presented by "Jackass", it's not as vulgar...but still a good flick. After the movie we all headed up to my in-laws for the rosary once again. On Sunday we all headed back to my in-laws to watch the Seahawks.