Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Kindle for All - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 82

 A photo showing a Kindle similar to the ones we received

This morning's formation was at 0830, and for those of us getting Kindles we came in civilian clothes. Since it was raining I waited under cover until the last few minutes, then got in formation with everyone else. Once everyone was in formation the first sergeant said "OK let's move this inside". Why they didn't do that in the first place I'm not sure, just wanted to make sure everyone got wet first before we headed in I guess.

Our first sergeant then went on and on about the required place of duty today for single soldiers and geographical bachelors. I guess there was an event going on, but I wasn't really listening because it didn't pertain to me. The first sergeant then started to go on about required training and then goes on to threaten everyone's upcoming four day weekend. I'm so tired of negative reinforcement, it seems that using the stick instead of the carrot is the only way NCOs know how to manage. I'm just tired of it, I can't wait to get out…have I mentioned that lately?

We are then released and I head to the SFAC along with everyone else that is in civilian clothes. The people bringing the Kindles are running late, so I just have a seat and play around on my iPhone. What did we do to pass the time before smartphones? When they finally do arrive, everyone crowds around them…I just stay seated and wait. Finally they have everyone line up by company and we are handed back the paperwork we filled out yesterday. We find out that Amazon wanted to give away the Kindles specifically to wounded warriors, but that equals a lot of paperwork to make sure and verify the Kindles are going to the right people. I fill out yet another form in addition to yesterdays paperwork and then stand in line for about a half hour until I finally turn in the paperwork and receive the Kindle. I have to say again that it is a very awesome gesture by Amazon!

I head home and do my schoolwork. I get a text a little later saying there is a required formation for a safety brief at 1300. In my head I say "fuck that!", but I calmly reply back saying I'm at home doing schoolwork per my MOU (there is no way I'm going to drive an hour back just to hear a common sense safety brief…I think I'm old enough to know right from wrong). I get a reply back saying "roger". Good…I didn't want to blow a gasket! I stay home and finish my schoolwork, then relax…the four day weekend has started!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bad Head Day - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 81

This morning I headed to formation in summer PTs with the jacket. I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to do PT because my head was hurting pretty bad. My name was called along with several others stating we needed to get with our squad leader to sign some paperwork. After that each of the platoon sergeants were told to take charge of their platoons…our platoon sergeant said "do the right thing", then walked off.

I gathered around one of our squad leaders along with a few others to see what paperwork I had to sign. It starts to rain and the squad leader states "we should go inside to finish this up". One of the typical brainwashed soldiers said "if it ain't raining, we ain't training". I say "let's use some common sense", then turned and walked inside. Give me a break…we're trying to read and sign paperwork using ink, that doesn't work well in the rain. Once inside I get my paperwork and find out it's for a Kindle. Amazon is giving away a large number of Kindles for free to the WTB. Nice to see a local company doing some good, in fact it's pretty awesome of them!

After I finished with the paperwork, I headed to my car to eat breakfast. My head is still killing me! I go to the SFAC to check my army email and print off some resumes for the job fair this afternoon. I then head to my optometry appointment at 1000. I guess there was a doctor who called in sick, so they were a little backed up. Even when I did get in to have my eyes checked, my doctor was taken away about 3 times. I finally got out of there at almost noon. I should be getting my new glasses mailed to me in a couple weeks.

I grabbed a snack from the shoppette and then while getting ready to head to this military only job fair, I get a text stating that 100% attendance is required for a sensing session at 1300 today. I'm pissed off and my head hurts like crazy. In retrospect, it's probably a good thing that I didn't go to the job fair because I was in quite a bit of pain. I was looking forward to chatting with some local employers though.

I head to the sensing session, which should be called "bitch session". A sensing session is where the command (in this case it was the brigade command sergeant major) gathers everyone together so he can get a sense of how everything is going under his command. Various people stood up and bitched and moaned about various things or people. I just waited through it…a little high on Percocet.

After the session I headed home. I was notified by my PEBLO that my paperwork has gone through the PEB and they have sent it off to the VA for ratings. This means the PEB (Physical Evaluation Board) decided that I am indeed not fit to stay in the army. This is a good thing because if for some reason they found me fit for duty, I would have to basically stop this medboard process and go back to work for the regular army…I can't imagine a worse fate at this point!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

False Start - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 80

This morning I headed to the WTB complex and waited for the formation. My mind must have been on auto-pilot because on Tuesdays formation is at the gym. I knew something was wrong when I headed to where we usually form up and nobody was there. I sent my squad leader a text letting him know, then I headed home because the movers were scheduled to pickup all the packing material.

I got home in time to see my wife off to work, then I took a nap. What a waste of a trip this morning! When I got up, I cleaned up a little, then did a little job searching. This is always kind of a hard thing to do because I still don't know exactly when I'll be getting out, so I can't really apply for anything yet. There are a couple of jobs that I'd definitely like to do…but the positions are open now, so I can't really do much about it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

NarSum Sign & Deliver - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 79

This morning I headed to formation in ACUs, I had an appointment at 0730 with my PEBLO. Once formation was over I headed to the car, ate my breakfast, then headed to my appointment. The appointment with my PEBLO was to officially sign the NARSUM (Narrative Summary) and get it sent off. Once everything was signed, she told me the average time to find out my ratings is 4 months. I know I can't hold her to that, but it kind of gives me a timeline to figure out when I'll finally be getting out. Once the ratings come in, then I will have 90 days before I get out.

I then headed to the transition office and signed all the paperwork for an internship. While in the WTB, they really push for you to either attend school or do an internship. Well I'm doing both! I picked an I.T. internship that is with the navy and pretty close to my home. So not only will I be able to get my hands wet again in the I.T. world, I'll make some new contacts, and I'll keep myself busy. If all goes according to plan, I'll start in a couple weeks.

I then headed to my NCM appointment where I put in requests to get my pain medication and muscle relaxers refilled. I then headed to optometry to make an appointment. Normally they will not let normal folks make an appointment in person, but I have to because I'm with the WTB. My wife somehow managed to lose my glasses, plus it's been a year since my last eye appointment…so it's come up on my MedPros as due…perfect timing.

I headed home for the day, did my schoolwork and then did the normal cleaning and organizing.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 77 & 78

Took the family to watch a destruction derby...very loud, but a lot of fun

This weekend was spent hanging out with both sides of the family. The kind of stuff that I really missed while being stationed around the world. My wife headed out Saturday night for a girls night out. We headed to the Kitsap County fair with all the kiddos and watched them have fun on the rides until it was time for the destruction derby. I hadn't been to one in years, I forgot just how loud they are! The d-derby was a lot of fun and the kiddos had a blast.

Friday, August 23, 2013

ACAP Counseling - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 76

This morning I headed to formation in my ACUs, not really because I had an appointment at 0830 or before, but because I felt like it. I told the NCO checking that I had an ACAP appointment…which I did, so it wasn't exactly a lie…it was just at 0900. I then headed to my car and ate breakfast, then took a nap. When I woke up I was had to give the guy in the car next to me a jump before I headed to my appointment.

This ACAP appointment was basically just checking in with my counselor and making sure everything was on track. We scheduled the state and federal resume writing classes, then I took off. I headed home for the day and did my schoolwork. Not a whole lot to write about today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Exterminator - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 75

This morning I texted my squad leader to remind him I would not be at the morning formation, I had the exterminator coming to my house. I'm glad too, because they all had army training that they had to do and I hate that stuff with a passion. While waiting for the exterminator to come, I just did my schoolwork and hung out at the house.

The exterminator came, killed all the bugs around the house and went on his way. I ate lunch, then headed to the naval shipyard not too far from my house in Bremerton. I had to interview for an internship I was interested in. While in the WTB I can do any federal internship instead of just sitting around doing nothing. I chose the naval base because it would turn my usual hour long commute into a ten minute commute for the days I go there.

The interview was pretty easy going. The job is in the I.T. field and the supervisor offered me "the job". So we both just have to get all the required paperwork turned in, then I'll be able to start. This means for the first time in my army career, I'll actually be doing the job I signed up for…I.T. work…ironically it will be for the department of the navy…lol.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Therapeutic Stretching - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 74

A photo I took on Ft. Lewis of Mt. Rainier. 
Always a pretty amazing site on clear days

This morning we formed up for PT in our summer PTs with the jacket. Once accountability was done were were broken up by platoon to do a police call around the WTB complex. Yes…today's PT was picking up other people's trash around the complex. I walked down our platoon's assigned side and back, threw away what little trash I did find, then headed to my car where I ate breakfast and took a short nap while listening to the radio.

I then headed to the SFAC to check my army email. I also brought in my two awards that I have paperwork for so the HR guy could add them to my ERB. Now I show two Army Achievement Medals. I was never in a hurry to get anything put on, because I really didn't care. When I first in-processed the HR guy talked me into getting everything updated. It's just too bad I still have not received my joint award that I was promised when in Korea or my PCS award when I left Germany. I have come to realize that if you don't get the award before you leave, then nobody really cares or follows up with it to make sure it gets done. Oh well.

I then used the SFAC computers to file my damages claim from our household goods move. We had a few glasses that broke, my Bose wireless surround sound speakers, and an external hard drive stopped working. I've never filed a claim before, so I'm not sure how long the process takes or even how much of a pain it is.

I then headed to the gym parking lot to meet up with an NCO from the maintenance side of our ComSec office back in Germany. He asked if I could have his butterfly knife shipped with my household goods. He was afraid to put it in his suitcase and ended up leaving to Ft. Lewis before me. No problem…I gave him his knife and we chatted a bit before he took off. I then headed to the library to do schoolwork until lunch time.

I had lunch in the SFAC and then headed to a Therapeutic Stretching appointment that I was required to attend. There was a group of us and the instructor just went over a bunch of stretches we can do on our own. It was pretty basic stuff and as soon as she was done, I packed up and headed home for the day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

PEBLO and the NARSUM - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 73

This morning we had our PT formation at the gym. Right after the formation, I just headed to my car instead of to the gym. I then took a nap, if the army is going to waste my time with stuff like staff duty…I'll find ways to get it back. I headed to a 0900 appointment with my nurse case manager. I waited in the lobby until 0945. During that time I called her twice, but she never came out. We can get in some major trouble if we miss appointments, but I guess the opposite isn't true. The last message I left let my nurse case manager know that I was leaving for another appointment I had with my PEBLO.

I headed to meet up with my PEBLO. She said my NARSUM (Narrative Summary) has been completed and is ready for me to look over. I can choose to have legal go over it as well, but I have to return in 5 business days in order to sign it. So I take off and look it over in my car. The NARSUM is basically a summary of all my issues with the reports from my visits to the VA doctors as well as a history of all my medications that I've been taking. All my issues are pretty straight forward. My neck has degenerative disk disease, I get frequent headaches, my knee is in constant pain, I've had hearing loss, and I have persistent tinnitus (ringing in my ears).

I head to the SFAC to check my army email. While in there my nurse case manager gives me a call and asks if I can meet with her now. I say sure and head up there since she's located in the same building as the SFAC. We go over how I'm doing…pretty much the same. I ask her to put in a request to refill my muscle relaxers and my intermediate pain medication (tramadol). Once I finished up with her, I headed home for the day and did my schoolwork.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Recovery Day - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 72

Midnight has come and gone and I sit at the staff duty desk as my 40th birthday begins. At 0100 the other runner came down from his room which he headed off to at 2100. Now it's my turn to take a nap, but unfortunately I don't have a room to go to sleep in. I head over to the couch, which I can't say is too comfortable…but much better than the floor or my chair. I go to sleep off and on until about 0530. Our platoon sergeant then came over and said it's time to get up. I then head back to the staff duty desk and stay there until 0800.

I now "have the rest of the day off", but I really don't consider it a day off because I've been at staff duty for 8 hours already…even if part of it was falling in and out of sleep. I head home feeling pretty tired, I had to really focus on driving and not falling asleep during my hour long commute home. Once I did get home, I went to bed until about noon. I should have slept more, but I had a pretty bad headache. I ended up spending the rest of my birthday in some pretty bad pain. I took meds, but they didn't really do much to help. I ended up spending the rest of the day just laying down trying not to move. A birthday to remember...thank you army!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 70 & 71

The Staff Duty desk for the WTB. 
This is where I spent the majority of my time while on shift

My wife and I spent Saturday cleaning and unpacking everything. We have a lot of crap! Sunday we went to a lunch show with my sister and her husband to celebrate my birthday. The place is in Seattle and called Teatro Zinzanni. Luckily we made reservations for the lunch show, thinking we would just hang out in Seattle for the evening afterwards. The show was part comedy and part entertainment…it was a lot of fun! We had a table in the front and both my brother in law and myself ended up being part of the act.

Once we left, we made our way back to the Seattle waterfront, but on the way to the ferry, we ran smack into HempFest. With weed being legal now in Washington, HempFest was probably bigger than ever. The smell of pot was everywhere! We took a detour just to check out the booths and people watch, then proceeded back towards the ferry. I'm afraid if I hung out there too long, I might test positive on the next pee test!!

I headed home and changed into my uniform, then headed into the WTB unit for my staff duty which started at 2000. I took my medication at 2030 and also took a Percocet. I didn't have a headache yet, but I could feel one coming on. The meds I take at night also make me sleepy. If the army is going to force me to do staff duty, they can't stop me from taking my medication. Might as well be feeling good while I have to do this stupid shift.

I did my schoolwork and played around on the internet for a while as I was sitting at the desk. The only real action I had was answering the phone once while the NCO (our platoon sergeant) was on another call. The call was only the hospital staff duty doing a phone check. The platoon sergeant is pretty cool and very laid back. I'm also glad we didn't have to do janitorial duty like I did during staff duty in Germany. The night was pretty boring…but I was feeling good at least…but starting to get really tired.

Friday, August 16, 2013

ACAP All Day Part III - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 69

A photo I took of The monument to the "Steadfast and Loyal Infantryman
of the Famous Fourth" located on Ft. Lewis.

This morning as I was getting ready, I received a text from my squad leader letting me know that formation has been changed to 0800. I texted him back letting him know I wouldn't be there because of ACAP. I was able to take my time getting ready because of this. It was nice because I didn't shave and I just threw on some civilian clothes and then headed in.

At ACAP today we went over the resume some more and then focused on the cover letter and interview. We broke for lunch, which I had in my car while listening to music. When we arrived back to the classroom we had to gather in groups of 4 to 5 people. We then did a mock panel interview session with each other. We had various questions that we could ask, and we just took turns with one person being the interviewee, while everyone else asked a question.

During the class I received a text from my squad leader telling me I have to do staff duty Sunday night to Monday morning. WTF? I texted him back letting him know that I had an appointment Monday morning, but he responded stating there was nobody else and I had to cover the shift. By this time I was pretty pissed off. Mainly because I had plans Sunday night to celebrate my birthday, but now I'll end up turning 40 while at the staff duty desk. Not how I imagined crossing this milestone for sure. I don't know why I found out last second, and I'm sure there was someone else available from our entire company…but not much I can do about it except be pissed off.

I wasn't even able to concentrate for the rest of the ACAP class, all I could think about was how much I hate the army. I really can't wait to go back to a normal life and a normal freakin' job. I drove home angry, which is never a good thing…everyone and everything was pissing me off. I had road rage to the extreme. Normally I'm a pretty calm and collected guy, but getting screwed like this just really rubbed me the wrong way.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

ACAP All Day Part II - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 68

This morning everyone came to formation in ACUs. We stood in formation and waited…and waited…and waited some more. Finally our first sergeant came and we did our accountability. Everyone else would get into trouble for being late to a formation, but when you're the first sergeant those rules don't apply. It also inflates their head and their big egos when everyone has to wait on them.

Everyone was in ACUs because we had to do a PMI (Primary Maintenance Inspection). This inspection consisted only of showing our dog tags (ID Tags) and our ID card. We all headed up to the bravo company headquarters and stood in alphabetical order. Luckily those of us with 0830 appointments and earlier were able to move to the front of the line. I headed to the front and showed both items, was marked off the list and then I left.

I headed to north Ft. Lewis where I parked and ate breakfast in my car. Day 2 of our all day ACAP class had us start checking out some various web sites. We then went over the resume, breaking it down into sections. We went over the header, the objective, and the experience sections. We discussed "Wordsmithing" which is basically tweaking statements and phrases to sound a lot better. We went over action statements, basically in the experience section of a resume, the user should use an action statement instead of just listing their job description. This will leave a better impact on the person reading the resume.

We then had to pair up with others and give a 30 second "commercial" about ourselves. This was basically practicing for the interview process when the hiring manager asks you "tell me a little about yourself". We rotated through about 5 different people doing this process. After that we were dismissed for lunch. I headed to my usual spot…my car and the radio.

When we arrived back from lunch we did a lot more resume talk, going over the education portion and any other miscellaneous items. I had the instructor take a look at my resume and got some valuable feedback. We were dismissed a little after 1630.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

ACAP All Day - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 67

This morning's formation we were all told to wear summer PTs with the jacket and everyone seemed to get the message…except our 1st sergeant. As soon as she came out, she told everyone to remove their jackets. I gotta say this army stuff is getting pretty old. I hate dealing with big egos and no common sense. I just have to remind myself that my time is short…my time is short.

After accountability, we were told that there was 100% weigh in this morning. I then hear a chief warrant officer behind our formation say "I'm not fucking doing that", then he proceeded to walk off. I guess when you're a chief, the rules don't apply. We all headed up to the bravo company offices and luckily those of us with appointments were allowed to go first. I headed up to the front of the line because I'm starting the 3 day mandatory ACAP classes, and they start at 0800. I find out I'm actually 4 pounds overweight, so I have to get taped to measure my body fat percentage. I pass pretty easily. I've always been heavier than I look since high school. I always wanted to be able to dunk the basketball, so I worked out quite a bit on my legs all the time. Muscle mass is quite a bit heavier than fat…although I have been noticing my stomach starting to grow a bit. I think my metabolism is starting to slow down a bit…I may have to slow down on the ice cream consumption.

I headed to the gym and changed into civilian clothes. We are allowed to wear civilian clothes for the ACAP classes, which is nice and a lot more comfortable. I drive over to north Ft. Lewis and then ate breakfast in my car before heading up to the classroom.

Today's focus for the ACAP class was basically emphasizing the use of "military talk" when speaking with employers. Those people transitioning out need to remember how to speak "civilian" both in person and on their resume. This will not be too hard for me, because I was a civilian a lot longer than I was in the military. In fact I never really acclimated to using very much military jargon. I felt that most of the time I was just a civilian in an army uniform. A lot of folks though have had the military as a large part of their professional life and it's going to take time to learn the translation from military language to normal civilian language.

We had an hour break for lunch, I headed to my car and ate while listening to the radio. When we arrived back in class it was a lot of the same talk about civilian language. The latter part of the day involved how to translate your MOS into positive wording for a resume. Instead of saying "I drive tanks", one might say they were in charge of operating a multimillion dollar piece of equipment for example. We were given a few informational websites to check out and then dismissed at about 1630 for the day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Keeler Gym - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 66

A photo I took of Keeler Gym. This is where the WTB does their PT every Tuesday. 
Those that are able usually play basketball, or they setup a "sit volleyball" area. 
There are also the cardio machines which is where I usually head to.

This morning we had formation at Keeler gym. Once again 98% of the people had summer PTs on with the jacket, but when the first sergeant came out everyone had to take off their jackets. Just like yesterday, I just shook my head and stood with everyone else in the cool morning air. All I could think was that I really can't wait to get back to normal life outside the army.

After formation I headed into the gym and rode the stationary bike for a half hour. I did remember my iPhone and headphones, so I was able to listen to music and tune everything else out. If we could do this everyday, I might get back into a workout routine. Unfortunately there is no routine here at the WTB, so I don't even try anymore.

Once PT was over, I headed home and took a nap…in my bed. That is much better than the naps taken in my car…lol. The rest of the day was schoolwork and running some errands for myself. I'm really starting to like spending more time at home now!

Monday, August 12, 2013

SHARP and Go Home - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 65

At morning formation everyone was in summer PTs with the jacket because it was cold out. In typical army use of no common sense, the first sergeant came out and had everyone take off their jackets. Yes, it is August, but in the pacific northwest it can get pretty chilly in the morning. I'm so done with stupid power trips and lack of common sense, I can't wait to get out of the army! So everyone got back in formation shivering a little because of the cold. Each platoon went over names of everyone that is on the list to update their life insurance policy with the army. Unbelievably my name was called…maybe I shouldn't say unbelievably because by now I've come to terms that the army is full of incompetent people. One of the first things you learn is to keep a copy of everything because somehow everything gets lost all the time. I went to my squad leader and reminded him I just updated my life insurance because it was part of the mandatory process when I came into the company not too long ago. He tilted his head and thought about it and said I should be OK then…(now I don't have to schedule an appointment with our HR department today).

By this time I was already away from the folks doing PT. I was pissed off because of all the stupidity, that I decided not to join them and instead just headed to my car. I ate breakfast and waited until the SFAC opened at 0730. Once it opened up, I headed in and used their computers to check my army email, do my self assessment, and also some required SHARP training that I was told needed to be done. As with most required army "check the box" training, I opened it up, hit the next button over and over until it was finished, then emailed my squad leader a certificate of completion.

Once all this was done I took off and headed home where I did my schoolwork and then just relaxed. I love the fact that I don't have to hang out at the base anymore! I will be able to focus my time and energy into transitioning back into normal life…where common sense is a little more common.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekend Wrap-UP - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 63 & 64

Just another photo of the Pacific Northwest
An old co-worker of mine took this on his ferry commute

When I woke up Saturday, my head was still pretty messed up. It wasn't as bad as yesterday, but I still didn't feel like doing much. I hung out with my family for a bit, but that is about all. Sunday I was feeling quite a bit better. I wasn't back to normal yet, but I was able to operate close to normal. In the evening we even took the bike for a ride to my wife's cousin's house. They were having a Chamorro barbecue and I didn't want to miss that! Good food and good people…I can't complain.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Texting in Sick - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 62

This morning I woke up at 0300 with a killer headache engulfing the entire left side of my head. I got up and took a couple aspirin and laid back down in bed. At 0600 I tried to get up and take a shower, but as I was in the shower I felt nauseous and my hands were shaking. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this, but I was in so much pain I really couldn't think too well. I just got out of the shower and laid back down. I knew I would not be able to make the 45 minute drive to Ft. Lewis this morning. I was in way too much pain. I texted my squad leader letting him know and tried to lay still in bed. I'm sure he thinks I was just trying to get out of the change of command ceremony, but there is no way I could drive in this condition…let alone be part of a change of command ceremony.

I took my percocet, which is the strongest stuff I have, and laid back down. I did this again a few hours later as well. I didn't get out of bed until 1500, but I was still feeling a lot of pain. I headed downstairs and hung out on the couch for the rest of the day. I ended up just watching some TV, but that was about it the entire day….it sucked!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Change of Command Practice - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 61

 A photo I found on the internet to show the parade field where 
we had the Change of Command ceremony practice.

I got up this morning and got ready as usual. I headed out to my car, but when I looked at my phone I saw a text from my squad leader stating our morning formation this morning wasn't until 0830. I went back to bed and laid down for a while before getting up once again and heading in. We had to practice for a change of command that is tomorrow and my MOU doesn't get me out of this kind of stuff or any appointments.

In formation everyone that was participating in the change of command was told to move to the back of the formation, then our first sergeant went through and inspected all the remaining folk's profiles to make sure they couldn't participate. She was even checking people that had walkers! Our first sergeant then went through our ranks checking everyone's beret. I got a new unit crest, this means no more unicorns on my uniform…lol. We were then dismissed and told to head to the parade field.

Once on the parade field we went through the practice over and over again. Folks with canes were moved to the back of the formation, I made sure I was somewhere in the middle and unnoticeable. The practice went on and on until a little after noon. It started to get hot and by the end I had a headache in full bloom.

Once we were dismissed, I headed home and did schoolwork. Once finished with the schoolwork, I did more unpacking…we still got a lot to do!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Career Fair - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 60

 Just a cool image I found on the web of McChord Air Force Base

Morning formation was full of all kinds of inconsistencies. Some folks were in ACUs which is normal if you have an appointment, some had summer PTs (shorts and a t-shirt) and some had summer PTs with the jacket. I of course was one of the guys with a jacket, even though it's summertime, there is still a chill in the air at the butt crack of dawn when we form up.

After accountability we all found out that we had to attend SHARP training right after formation…shoot me now. Everyone headed inside to the multipurpose room and went through the usual army "Death by PowerPoint" slideshow. There were supposed to be videos to watch as well, but the NCOs couldn't figure out how to get them to work. This led to the trainer explaining what the video was about and then moving on. We all signed next to our name on the sign-in roster in order to get credit for this mandatory "check the box" training.

I then ate breakfast in my car, went to the VA assistance office and turned in my marriage certificate. I was supposed to give them a copy when I filled out my VA claim form, but it was with my household goods which just now arrived. I headed over to the SFAC and checked my army email. After that I went to the gym and changed into my ACUs before heading to a career fair located on the McChord Air Base portion of Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). At the career fair there were a bunch of vendors both big and small. I stopped by most of their booths to chat and get a feel for what the market is like out there. I currently don't even know when I'm getting out, I just told them all next summer. It all really depends on how fast this MedBoard takes. Even though it may be around a year, I figured the sooner I start the better.

After the career fair, I headed back to the SFAC and had lunch. I then stopped by an office to pick up my "MOU". Now that I have done all the paperwork and prerequisites to attend school I can now take this official "MOU" to my squad leader. It basically states that I am attending school, so I don't have to stick around after first formation anymore. That means no more evening formation for me! It also means right after first formation is finished and I complete PT, I can head home and do my schoolwork in the peace and quite of my own house. No more hearing babies crying, kids screaming and running around, or just trying to find a place to sit in the busy library at Ft. Lewis. After I gave the MOU to my squad leader I promptly left and went home. Today has been a pretty good day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Household Goods - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 59

I had already mentioned to my squad leader that I would not be in today, but I sent him a reminder at 0620 letting him know my household goods were being delivered. I got up shortly after and got ready for the day. I moved all our cars out of the way and straightened up the house. The semi came at 1000 and had a hard time making it's way up our driveway because of the steep incline. They were finally able to get it done and started unloading. My wife stayed home as well and acted like a traffic director. She basically stood inside the doorway and as each load came in, she would tell them where to stick it.

They finished up pretty quickly and my wife and I started the long process of trying to unpack. I made sure our entertainment center and home computer were all setup. My kids have been dying to catch up on some shows and we have had no TV. We decided to only get internet, we'll use our AppleTV and DVD player for all of our entertainment purposes. The AppleTV has Hulu, Netflix, ESPN, HBO and more already available with it. I have an extensive library already of shows and movies available for streaming, so I think we're good to go.

By the end of the day I headed to bed sore and worn out. The house is still full of boxes, but we do have the entertainment system working and the computer is up and running!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Positive Profile - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 58

I headed to morning formation in ACUs because I had a 0830 appointment with my nurse case manager. Once formation was over, I headed to my car and had breakfast, listened to the radio and took a nap. I headed to my appointment and found my nurse case manager was not in. I called her line and found out she is actually on leave. Why she scheduled an appointment for me I have no idea.

I went down to the SFAC and checked my email, then went to the library. As I was surfing around and checking Facebook, I found out that an old co-worker of mine back at the newspaper had just died. It's pretty crazy how fast something like this can sneak up on you. I had just chatted with her on Facebook a week or so ago, she's a young lady who passed before her time. Evidently she had some issues with a gastric bypass surgery that was performed years ago and all of a sudden just died. Life is short, use your time wisely!

I hung out in the library until lunch and did my usual lunch break in the SFAC to use their microwave. Back at the library I did my schoolwork and waited until the end of day formation at 1600. The end of day formation kind of pissed me off. It was hot out and we ended up just standing in formation for about 15 minutes while the command got their crap together…sweat just dripping down my front and back. Finally they did a couple of promotions and the commander made a little speech, then we were all released.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 56 & 57

This weekend we had my wife's extended family come to our house and visit. We still don't have our household goods, so we hung out on our deck and ordered pizza. the purpose was mainly to take some pictures while my wife's family was all in town. We hung out with both our families on Sunday. This is the kind of stuff I really missed while being half way around the world for so long!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Physical Therapy Follow-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 55

This morning we had a battalion formation for PT. They were planning on basketball, sit volleyball, spin class, a run, and a walk. I chose none of the above because I actually had a physical therapy appointment at 0800, so I headed off to my car. I had breakfast in my car and listened to music for a while until it was time to head to my 0800 physical therapy appointment.

At my physical therapy appointment, the therapist just went over the stretching exercises I've been doing. She corrected one of my techniques and also gave me an alternate technique for one of my other stretches. Other than that, they said if I'm still having knee pain in a month to schedule another appointment. I have to continue stretching twice a day until then.

I went to the gym and changed into my ACU and then headed to the library to do schoolwork. I sent my squad leader a message asking if there is an end of day formation today. Sometimes on Fridays we don't have one, so it's worth checking. I got a reply shortly after saying not to worry and I could head home. It's 1045 and I get to start my weekend….woohoo!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Town Hall - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 54

This morning we had our formation at Evergreen Theatre on Ft. Lewis at 0845. We had the monthly town hall meeting that the battalion is required to attend. The town hall event included some awards, upcoming events, the vet center, and habitat for humanity. I sat through it drinking my coffee and waiting patiently. It would be interesting volunteering with the habitat for humanity program, but I wouldn't want to do it as part of the army.

After the town hall, I headed to the SFAC to check my email and found out AKO was down. So I headed to the PX and played some games on my iPhone until it was time to eat. I headed into the PX food court and had a little Chinese food. I then headed to the library where I settled in and did my schoolwork until evening formation.

At our evening formation we were told there was battalion PT tomorrow. There were a number of events that each company would be competing in. After I arrived at my house, I checked my personal email and found out that my household goods will be delivered on Tuesday, that is the earliest available date for delivery. I will keep that day clear on my calendar.