Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shaving Profile? - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 145

This morning as most mornings that I head to Ft. Lewis, I woke up in a haze (my alarm goes off at 0420). I made my way around my house like a zombie getting ready for the day and then took off for the commute to Ft. Lewis. I chose to make the sacrifice of living an hour away from Ft. Lewis because I'm now back in my hometown and we have both our families within a five minute drive. I don't mind the drive, but sometimes like today I realize I don't really function well when I get up so early in the morning. When I arrived at Ft. Lewis I realized that I didn't shave this morning. Oh Crap! That was all I could think…the commissary and PX don't open until 0900 and our morning formation is at 0630.

I just headed to formation and thankfully it was still dark enough that nobody said anything or even cared that I had a face full of stubble. I couldn't slip away after morning formation as I usually try because we were released to our platoon sergeants. For some reason everyone and their mom had an appointment today and our platoon only had 4 people left. We all had to go inside and do some warmup and stretching. It's not bad, but I just didn't want to be there…and we were inside where the lighting was much better. Luckily nobody said anything, so when we released the platoon sergeant said we could go ride a stationary bike or go for a walk to get some cardio in. I got my cardio in by walking to my car. I have my breakfast in my car as usual and then have to head to a physical therapy appointment. I stay in my PT uniform along with my stubble and head to the appointment. The folks in there (even though some are army) just assumed I had a shaving profile. I had my traction done at physical therapy, now my neck feels nice and stretched.

I head to the SFAC and check my army email. I then print out my LES so I can take it to Verizon. In order to get a military discount they need a printed LES, for some reason a military ID isn't enough. No problems, I got it and took off. Once home I change and then head off to my wife's office for a side job. She works in the marketing department and their two computers in there are Macintosh computers. The company IT department doesn't know what to do with them. They also have a MacBook Pro, which was giving them some problems. So now when the marketing department needs any work they contract me to fix them since I have my Apple certifications along with several years of IT work and Apple experience. It's nice to actually do a little IT work and get paid for it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fort Casey - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 144

The Fire Control Stations at Fort Casey

Sent a text this morning to my squad leader "MOU: Navy and their seamen", just to remind him that I will not be in today. I headed to the shipyard in Bremerton and checked my army and navy emails. I surfed the web for a little bit while waiting for a co-worker to arrive. Once he came in we loaded up a new PC in the TMP and took off to the naval air base on Whidbey Island. We drove up and caught the ferry, this is the first time I've been on this particular ferry run. The ferry boat was pretty small compared to the bigger Bremerton - Seattle boats. They even had jigsaw puzzles left on some of the tables for people to do to pass the time during the crossing.

We arrived at the base and replaced an aging computer, the guys in this particular office have a great view. There are huge windows looking over the air field with the jets parked, taking off and landing. We then had lunch at the McDonald's on post, which was within walking distance. I really wanted to take some pictures while we were there. Jets were taking off with the control tower in view, but I was afraid of breaking any rules and didn't want to chance it. I'm not sure what the rules are in regards to picture taking, especially of the control tower and jets.

We headed back home, but had about an hour wait at the ferry dock. I took the opportunity to check out Fort Casey, which is a short hike from the ferry dock. This fort was built around the 1890's and contained huge cannons that could be adjusted up to fire and then hide behind huge fortifications. The fort was built in conjunction with two others in the area which created a triangle of death protecting the Puget Sound waterway. It was pretty cool checking out this old fort with the control towers and fortifications, an easy way to pass the time waiting for the ferry…in fact I think it would be worth a trip to the island just to check it out. I would have loved to spend more time there.

We ended up getting back to Bremerton about 1500, which was the time I take off and leave for the day. All in all not a bad day at work today. Not only did we actually accomplish something, I got to check out some history that I didn't even know existed before.

These 10 inch guns were able to pop up and fire, then "disappear" behind the wall.

Looking out at The Puget Sound from inside a battery control station 

Looking down on Battery Worth

One of the 10 inch guns on a disappearing carriage
Smaller guns that are part of Battery John Trevor

Another photo from behind Battery Worth
One of Battery Worth's control stations

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NCM & Therapy - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 143

A close up of the TV in the Bravo Company waiting room

Morning formation was at the gym as usual for a Tuesday. I had plans to just head to my car once accountability was taken. Usually appointments head to the back to get checked and everyone else is told to fall out and head to the gym in one big crowd which is easy to slide out of and make the break for my car. This morning we had a change of plans…we had a new NCO in charge of the formation and he wanted everyone to march into the gym. This actually turned out to be pretty funny. I am in first platoon and in the third squad, which is the last row in the formation. This morning I ended up to be second in line right next to a guy who has to use a walker. While in formation he usually just turns it around and sits in it. Well the NCO had all the other platoons fall into one mass formation behind 1st platoon. He then called out the command "file from the right, column right…march". That was my column…the sergeant in the walker started to move and I just stayed in step behind him. The line was marching about a quarter of a mile per hour or slower. The new NCO came around to see what was taking so long and then told me to go around him…all I could do was laugh…it was pretty funny. It also left me no chance to disappear from the crowd and make my escape.

We headed into the gym and formed up once again. Now the new NCO went to the front and started the standard army warm up exercises and stretches. It was painfully slow as he explained after each exercise that we shouldn't break profile and just do what we can. He also went through various alternate exercises and stretches we can do for each exercise. It was painfully slow and very redundant, everyone here knows what they can and can't do. All it did for me was piss me off…I really hate any and all formations at this point.

Once we were finished we were told to either exercise on equipment, play wheelchair basketball, or sit volleyball. I chose the stationary bicycle and basically just sat there listening to music on my iPhone. I think after a half hour I had totaled a total of 11 calories burned. I got up and left.

I drove to the WTB parking lot where I proceeded to remain in my car and eat breakfast, listen to music, then break out my blanket and take a long nap…my usual morning routine. Before my NCM appointment, I headed into the WTB bathroom and changed into my ACUs. I then headed up to see my NCM. The appointment was pretty much the same as every other week. I let her know I'm doing fine…basically going through the routine of similar questions asked and me answering, completing the required weekly check in with her.

I head back to my car and proceed to grab my blanket and sleep for 2 hours. My life in WTB at Ft Lewis consists mostly of me sleeping in my car. I then went to my WTB physical therapy appointment…hydro massage. I never mind this appointment, I got the half hour massage with the warm water jets up and down my back, while I listened to music from my iPhone…just relaxing.

After the appointment, I went back to my car and relaxed while listening to the radio until my physical therapy appointment at the hospital. I went to that appointment and had traction done on my neck. The traction only lasts for about 12 minutes or so. I then headed home for the day finally and did schoolwork. Once my wife came home we headed to the YMCA and I had a pretty good cardio workout. Later on that night we headed to my in-law's house for a rosary. While I'm not catholic, I just went to show my support.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nuthin' With The Navy - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 142

I texted my squad leader first thing to remind him I'll be at my MOU…interning with the navy today. Not a whole lot to report for today, all I did was surf the web the entire day. The first hour or so is entertaining with the latest news stories and such, but after that it can get a little boring. I really can't wait until I get out of the army and get a normal job once again. I want to work and actually do something every day!

After work I headed to the Verizon store and made the switch from AT&T. It happened a little by mistake, I headed to the mall on my way to the AT&T store looking to upgrade our old iPhone 4 to the new 5s. The problem was that I really had to go pee! The bathrooms were closed by the AT&T store, so I made my way through the mall to the next set of bathrooms. On the way out I stopped at the Verizon kiosk and inquired about their plans…turns out we should be saving about $50 a month now that we made the switch. I used to have Verizon before the iPhone came out, but made the switch to AT&T when they were the exclusive carrier. I think I will be glad to be back with Verizon.

No working out tonight…we headed to my in-laws to watch the Seahawks play a very pitiful game against the Rams…it hurt to watch!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 140 & 141

Really I don't have a whole lot to tell about this weekend. I didn't have the kiddos, so my wife and I just laid back and relaxed. We watched TV shows and movies and hung out with my wife's parents for a bit. Nothing exciting…except much needed relaxation!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Physical Therapy - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day139

I got a text last night stating that the morning formation was at 0830 and in ACUs. I had to reply back letting him know I would be missing it because of an appointment. So I got to sleep in a little and get ready for the day at my house. It's always nice being able to take a shower in the morning and eat breakfast at my house before heading out. I usually shower the night before then get up and leave while in zombie mode.

At 0845 I had a physical therapy appointment for traction. It was the same as usual, lay down on a bed and have a machine gently pull my head away from my body relieving the pressure that builds up within the disks in my neck. I haven't noticed anything right after the appointment, but I have noticed that overall I've been feeling better because of them.

I head to my car and take a nap…well I was trying to, just as I was just about to fall asleep I get a text from my squad leader telling me that he needs to see me. This pisses me off just a little, because I was just about to enter dreamland and all of a sudden I'm jerked out of it. I head up to see him and find out that there is a new policy. Everyone will receive 2 copies of their appointments each Friday. One is to keep and the other needs to be signed and dated acknowledging that we received it. This is pretty stupid. I'm sure it all came about because someone missed an appointment and said they didn't know about it. Now everyone has to go through this process once a week…and I was almost asleep!

Speaking of sleep, I headed back to my car and promptly fell asleep. When I woke up, it was lunchtime. I grab my lunch and head to the SFAC. When I arrive I see they are having some sort of Mexican food party. I get asked why I'm eating my own lunch and not all the Mexican food…I say I didn't even hear about it. I love Mexican food, but in reality I probably would have avoided it anyway…I don't really want to spend any time with army people unless I have to now. I wait a while then take my turn to use the microwave and heat up my leftovers, then eat in the SFAC.

I head to the WTB physical therapy office for a hydro massage appointment. On my way there I see Bravo company getting in formation, I just shake my head and continue on. Hydro massage is awesome as usual, a half hour of nice warm jets up and down my back while listening to music on my iPhone…bliss!

After that I headed home and did schoolwork.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Navy Time - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day138

I headed to the navy once again. This was a strange week for working with the navy because today is the only day I'll be here. It's hard to get into the flow of things with weeks like this. Needless to say I didn't do much the entire day. I did the usual and checked my army and navy emails, then I just surfed the web and read the news until lunch time. Even though I'm not really doing anything, it's still better than making the commute to Ft. Lewis and having to deal with army crap. I just wish I could actually be doing more while I'm working with the navy. I'm hoping when my appointment schedule clears up a bit, that I'll be able to actually get some real work done here.

Lunch was in my car while listening to the radio. I decided not to even go back to the office. The only other guy in the office today said he had an appointment in the afternoon and wouldn't be there…so there is really no reason for me to be there either.

After lunch I headed to the commissary and picked up a few things before heading home and doing schoolwork.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Focus Transition Review - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day137

This morning we had our formation and were released to our platoon leaders. There really wasn't a chance for me to just walk away since a platoon is a much smaller group of people than an entire company. Our platoon sergeant told everyone to do laps around the WTB complex…he didn't say how many though. I walked around once and then headed straight to my car. Once in my car I did my usual morning ritual of eating breakfast while listening to the radio and then taking a nap.

When I headed to the WTB bathroom to change into my ACUs, I realized that I did not pack my undershirt, boxers, or my green socks. Normally I do this all the night before, but for some reason I totally forgot and just threw in my ACU top and bottoms (I'm pretty much a zombie in the mornings practically sleep walking). Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal, but I have something called an FTR (Focus Transition Review) that I have to attend at 0900. I put on my ACU top without an undershirt, but make sure it's zipped up as far as it goes so it's hard to tell if I have an undershirt on or not. This FTR meeting that I have is in the company conference room and involves pretty much everyone it seems…my social worker, my NCM, the company commander, the battalion commander, the NCM commander and my squad leader. The meeting happens every 90 days and they go over my progress and the goals I set at my initial CTP meeting. Everything went pretty smoothly, I have my act together, I haven't missed any appointments, I am going to school, and I am doing an internship. The meeting lasted about 40 minutes, which is pretty fast from the sound of it I guess. I was a little nervous, not because of the material covered, but because I didn't have an undershirt on…luckily nobody noticed.

I then headed to physical therapy and had traction done on my neck. This lasts for about 15 minutes or so and I just relax with the head on my upper shoulders and the machine pulling my head away from my neck. Once finished I headed off to the Tacoma Mall Apple store and picked up an iPod for my son. He did a great job saving up the money for it. He had to have the red color, which can only be found at the Apple store or online. If it were any other color, I could have purchased it at the Exchange and saved because there is no tax.

Once home I ate lunch and then did schoolwork. When my wife came home we headed off to the YMCA and had another great cardio workout.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Headache Class - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day136

Pretty much me on a daily basis!

This morning we had our PT formation at the gym. Our first sergeant went into a big speech about formations, especially the evening formations. I guess a lot of people haven't been showing up. Now she says she's going to start checking and if we're not at the evening formations we better have an MOU or an appointment. Luckily I have an MOU (my internship and my school), so I will never go to another evening formation. She then started going on and on about adding more formations throughout the day because of this. I'm just so thankful I only have to deal with this crap once in the morning on the days that I have to come in because of appointments. She then started to go on and on about soldiers that have early appointments. She's going to require everyone that has a morning appointment to carry their appointment slips with them so she can check them and verify the appointment.

I was going to head to my car after everyone broke from formation and headed to the gym, but after this morning's big speech I decided that may not be such a good idea. I headed into the gym and hopped on a stationary bike. I plugged in my headphones and basically used the time to listen to music while peddling every once in a while. I have no desire to get a workout in during morning PT anymore. I don't want to get sweaty and have to take a shower…I'd rather just change in the bathroom.

After PT I went to my car and drove it to the WTB parking lot. I then ate my breakfast, listened to the radio and then took a nap. I got a call later on from the hydro massage guy, he wanted to see if he could fit me in today. We decided on 1145, this is a nice surprise! I hung out in my car until my new appointment at 1145 and proceeded to get the hydro massage done. It was nice and relaxing, just laying there listening to my music. I can adjust the settings of the hydro massage settings and I had it concentrate just on my upper shoulders and neck.

I headed back to my car and hung out for a while longer until lunch time. I ate lunch in my car and continued just chilling in my car. It seems I live in my car lately (as I've mentioned before). At 1300 I had to attend a headache class given by the neurology clinic. The class was pretty long (3 hours), but it was full of some great information. To be honest I wasn't expecting too much from the class, but they had a lot of good ideas and info...and it helped me understand my headaches and my situation. I get a lot of tension headaches for the most part, but these tension headaches can trigger migraine headaches as well. There are quite a number of things that can trigger headaches and I have a better understanding now of all things headache related.

I headed home after the class and did my normal schoolwork. When my wife came home we went to the YMCA and I got a great cardio workout done. I've always liked working out in the evening or at least the afternoon, and I really prefer doing my workouts away from the army.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Social Worker - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day135

Morning formation was in winter PTs finally…yes you heard that right, now that the weather has been getting cold they finally used some common sense and have everyone in full winter PTs. The winter PT uniform is basically the summer PT uniform (shorts and t-shirt), but with the pants, jacket, hat, and gloves added to it. After the formation was over, I headed into the building, continued to walk through the building and out the other side. I then headed to my car to hang out. It's a little easier to get away with just leaving the formation if I head into the building first, then I'm not seen just walking toward the parking lot towards my car. I really didn't feel like doing the army PT this morning. Their PT is pretty much worthless and it is pretty cold as well.

While hanging out in my car, I ate my breakfast and listened to the radio. I had a 0830 appointment with the bravo company social worker, but on my way there I swung by my NCM and picked up my appointment slip. The appointment with the social worker is a required appointment for everyone in the WTB every 90 days. The social worker wants to make sure the soldier is still in a good state of mind. I told her the only thing that stresses me out is when I have to drive to Ft. Lewis and deal with army folks. The social worker wanted a little more details and I just let her know that basically the longer I'm away, the more "civilianized" I'm becoming. I hate the formations and everything that just doesn't make sense. She asks if I will miss anything about the army when I get out…I let her know that there is absolutely nothing I'll be missing! I really can't wait to get out!!

I then went back to my car and left to go home. When I arrived at the house I took the opportunity to do a lot of schoolwork. When my wife came home, she was too tired to go and workout at the YMCA tonight…so we just hung out together for the night taking it easy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 133 & 134

A picture I took of Seattle's Pike Place Market while waiting in line for the show

This weekend the kiddos came over and on Saturday we even had two of my nieces over. We volunteered to take them to their soccer games for my sister. Once those were over with, we all headed to Seattle. We took the kiddos and were joined by one of my wife's friend and her son to see a band called Boyce Avenue. I came across them because I am a big fan of cover songs. I like when an artist takes a popular song, remakes it, and adds their own style to it. Boyce Avenue does most of their remakes in an acoustic setting. I liked them and I figured the kiddos would like them too because they would know some of the songs they heard.

We stopped by a pizza joint first which turned out to be a great idea…everyone was starving. After being served a giant sized New York style pizza (complete with our waiter's east coast accent) we scarfed it all up and headed on to the show. One of the nice things about living in Bremerton, we can take a ferry that drops us off right in downtown Seattle. Dinner and the concert venue were both within walking distance. Everyone enjoyed the show, but we had to leave before it ended unfortunately. One of the drawbacks of taking the ferry is that you're stuck with their schedule, and at night we had the choice of catching the 10:30 PM ferry or waiting until 12:50 AM for the next one. One right in the middle would have been perfect…but such is life.

Sunday was spent sleeping and and then just hanging out…not a whole lot to report.

Our view of Boyce Avenue during the show

Friday, October 18, 2013

Getting Out of Training - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 132

I headed to the morning formation in ACUs because I had an appointment at 0800. During the formation we were all told to head into a training room for some mandatory suicide prevention training. When we all get in there we find out that the movie we have to watch is going to last over 2 hours. Since I will have to leave before it ends, my squad leader says I can just leave now before they get started. Unfortunately they are waiting until the end of the training to pass around the sign in sheet, so I know they are going to want me to watch this suicide movie at some point in the future. For now I'm going to leave and hope they forget.

I head to my car and eat my breakfast, then just hang out and listen to the radio until it's time for my appointment. My appointment was an MOU follow up. The MOU is my school and the internship I'm doing with the navy. Most people do either one or the other, but I'm doing both! The appointment went pretty fast, the lady I had to see just wanted to make sure everything was going well and if I had any questions or concerns.

I headed back to my car and relaxed for a while until my 0930 appointment with my PCM (Primary Care Manager). We go over how I've been doing. No real changes, but I do make sure to get a couple new prescriptions of the medications I'm running low on. Once finished, I head to the pharmacy and pick up the meds. The pharmacy is as crazy as ever…luckily I'm in uniform, so I get a special ticket. Even with the special ticket, it still takes a while, I can't imagine being a retiree or dependent trying to get something at this pharmacy…they must wait half the day there.

Back in my car I do some schoolwork, listen to music, and eat my lunch. In the afternoon I have another hydro-massage appointment, which is pretty awesome. I would love to have one of those things in my house! I could get used to one of those every day for sure! After that I headed home, then picked up my kids from their grandparents. We all headed out to my hometown and watched my high school football team play my wife's high school. It was cold, but a lot of fun. It turned out to be my high school's homecoming game which added a little more entertainment to the mix. My high school also beat my wife's…so I was able to give her a hard time.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In The Navy - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 131

This morning I am working for the navy again. I started off the day where I left off yesterday. After some trial and error I was able to figure out some changes in the bios, then the images worked. I imaged both machines and installed the third party drivers and software, then returned them to the guy who brought them back for us. It feels good actually doing some IT work and figuring out some problems.

I then returned to my usual surfing of the net and checking my army and navy emails. One of my co-workers is an army veteran, so we did quite a bit of chatting about our times in both Korea and Germany. I headed to lunch in my car, then went back to the office. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, chatting with co-workers and surfing the web. I'm hoping once I get a more stable and consistent schedule, that I'll be able to do some more IT work while I'm here.

After work I headed home and did schoolwork. We then headed to my in-laws to watch Thursday night football because the Seahawks are playing. Good game…fun times.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Football Appointment - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 130

My son sacking the quarterback :)

This morning I sent my squad leader a text reminding him that I'll be a navy intern today. I headed into my office with the navy and did the usual morning routine which consists of checking both my navy and army emails, then surfing the web. They brought in two laptops that needed to be imaged and gave me a DVD with the image and another with some drivers and software that will need to be installed after imaged for a third party device. I gave it a few efforts, but the way they told me to image the laptops did not work. One of my co-workers tried a few things without any luck. I then started doing a little research. I think I found the resolution, but did not have time to complete it before lunch.

When I left for lunch I let my co-workers know that I had to leave for the rest of the day. I let them assume that I had an army appointment, but what I actually had was something far more important. I ate my lunch in my car and drove to the ferry terminal. I had to catch a ferry and then drive to King's high school. My son is playing his last football game vs. King's and I didn't want to miss it. I haven't had the chance to see any of his games yet, so I wasn't going to let anything get in my way for this one. These are the types of things that you can never go back and redo. The game was great, my son got three sacks on their quarterback and also received a touchdown pass. I couldn't ask for anything more. I had a blast watching him and I could tell that he really enjoyed that I was able to make it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

HydroMassage - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 129

I guess I won't be taking that elevator down!

I headed to morning formation, but when I arrived there was nobody there. It was then I realized that it was Tuesday (not Monday because of the long weekend) and on Tuesdays we form up at the gym. Not much I can do now, I headed back to my car and ate my breakfast and listened to music. I'm guessing my squad leader probably thought I was at my internship with the navy…who am I to let him think otherwise?

I headed to the SFAC to check my army email and then to my NCM appointment which was at 0800. Everything's going the same, no changes, so the appointment went by pretty quick. I then went back to my car, covered up with my blanket, and then took a very long nap from about a little before 0900 to a little after 1100. I ate lunch in my car and listened to music for a while. I'm starting to feel as if I live in my car, I spend quite a bit of time in there. I listen to the radio or my iPhone. I have a lot of music on my iPhone as well as Pandora, the iTunes radio, and podcasts…and I make use of all of them to mix it up a bit.

I headed back to the WTB physical therapy office and then had a hydro massage once again for a half hour. I guess I'll get 6 of these total as part of my therapy…and I have no complaints. I mentioned before that it's a pretty awesome experience! The hydro massage lasts for a half hour, then I put my boots and coat back on and head back out to my car. I head home and do schoolwork. When my wife gets home we head off to the YMCA and I get another good cardio session in.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up (Columbus Day 4-Day) - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 125 - 128

This weekend was a 4 day weekend and was pretty laid back the entire time. I suppose I could have gone in and done my internship with the navy on Friday, but since it was a four day for the soldiers at Ft. Lewis I figured I would just take it easy and take Friday off as well. So Friday I just slept in, did schoolwork, ran some errands, and cleaned up the house. We ended up seeing a high school football game in the evening. My wife's nephew was playing for a local school and it was their homecoming game. It turned out to be a lot of fun, the game, the band, the cheerleaders, and the students brought back a lot of memories from when I was in high school…fun times.

Saturday we ended up just bumming around the entire day. I did do some schoolwork, but that was pretty much the only thing I was able to get accomplished for the day. One of my wife's friends came over and we had some wine and visited with each other all night.

Sunday we headed up to my in-laws house to watch the Seahawks play which is always a fun time. We then headed off to a barbecue at my wife's cousin's house. My wife's grandpa had been visiting from Guam and was now going to head back home. One thing the island folks from Guam know how to do is barbecue and party! Lots of food, singing, and photos before we all said goodbye to grandpa, then we headed home.

Monday was another very laid back day. I slept in, then did schoolwork. Once I finished my schoolwork, I cleaned up a little around the house and then just vegetated in front of the TV until my wife got home. We then headed off to the YMCA where I had a good cardio workout. The long weekend was great…I was able to just relax and recharge.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Busy Day - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 124

This morning I headed to formation in ACUs as has been my way lately. I planned on going to the dentist, I didn't actually have an appointment, but they allow walk-ins from 0700-0800 for WTB folks. Once formation was over, I headed to my car and picked up my dental records that I brought with me from Germany. I also had to bring a copy of my orders. Why I need a copy of my orders I'm not too sure. I guess they want to verify that I am indeed assigned to the WTB.

I arrived at the dentist and stood in a short line for a bit. Once at the desk I handed over all my paperwork and they told me to have a seat. At least they had a TV in the waiting room, I ended up hanging out in there for about 15 minutes. A lady came out and brought me back to get X-Rays, then sent me back to the waiting room. After another 10 minutes or so, I was called back to see the actual dentist. No cavities! I just have to schedule a cleaning appointment now. I did that on my way out and then headed to my car.

Once in my car, I ate my breakfast and listened to music for a while. At 0845 I had a follow-up appointment with my physical therapist. I let him know that I think the traction has been helping. I usually feel pretty good after the traction, and I haven't been taking as much pain medication as before. I'm not out of total pain for sure, but I am feeling better.

I then went immediately to another traction appointment, then headed to the pharmacy to pickup a refill for a medication that I called in. After that headed to an area next to the pharmacy where they are giving out flu shots. I fill out all the required paperwork and then wait a few minutes. They give me an actual shot in the arm and then give me some verification paperwork. Everyone is required to get the flu shot, so I take the paperwork to my squad leader to file and mark that I've had my shot. In the normal world I don't think I would get the flu shot, I will just rely on my good ol' immune system to fight off anything that comes my way. I don't see how filling us with a bunch of crap that will protect us against old flu viruses is going to help with new ones that are coming out…but I don't get that choice. (Don't take this as a stance against normal vaccinations, I do think those are necessary)

I check my army email at the SFAC and then grab a sandwich to eat at the shopette. I almost forgot that I have an ACAP appointment later on this afternoon. I drive over to North Ft. Lewis and arrive at an ancient building that is now serving as their ACAP office. The class is on social networking and LinkedIn. The class was actually interesting and a bit longer than I thought it was going to be. It started at 1300 and ended a little before 1500. The teacher had us all do a Google search for our names and see what comes up. This is something potential employers can and will do. We also went over the privacy settings in Facebook and then dove into LinkedIn. I had a LinkedIn account, but wasn't an active user of the site. After the class I will be updating mine and connecting with a lot more people. LinkedIn has a lot to offer the professional who is looking for employment.

I started to head home and received a text requiring 100% participation for a battalion formation. It's going to be the 4-day weekend safety brief. I don't need to hear any of that crap. I have my school as an excuse to not attend evening formation, so I just keep driving home and ignore it. Just another reason I can't wait to get back into the civilian workforce…I don't need a safety briefing every weekend as a grown man.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Back to the Navy - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 123

This morning I headed off to my navy internship. Even though I'm not getting a lot out of this internship yet, it's saving me a lot of time and money. My morning commute is only about 10 minutes and I have no tolls to pay. I started the day checking both my navy and army email accounts. After that I spent the morning just reading news on the internet. Not a lot to do yet.

I headed to my car for the quick lunch. A half hour just isn't enough time to get out of the office, relax and enjoy a lunch. When I got back to the office, I unpacked a new server. I setup and configured the server, then installed a couple virtual machines. This is stuff I've read about, but I've never done on a Windows server. I was happy to get the chance to play around with it, but for some reason the image they gave me for a workstation never worked on the virtual machine. Maybe I'll get that figured out next time I come in.

I headed home once the day was over and did a little schoolwork. Once my wife came home we headed off to the YMCA for a good workout.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Just Wasting Time - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 122

A photo I took in front of Madigan hospital of Mt. Rainier.

This morning we had formation at 0715 in ACUs. When I received this text from my squad leader last night I knew something was up, but just didn't know exactly what. I did enjoy the little bit of extra sleep, but I went in already grumpy wondering what we were going to do.

We formed up and stood there for a while…it's cold and I'm grumpy. Finally they give the command to open ranks. This has each row (or squad) move apart from each other so an NCO can come through and do an inspection of each individual. Today they were checking for our IDs, our ID tags (dog tags), and our profile. These are things we are always supposed to have on us at all times. I have all of mine, my ID is in my wallet and my tags and profile are always kept in a pocket in my ACUs. I hold them out and wait for the NCO to come through and check me off. I would say about half the people don't have one or more of the items. It doesn't really matter to me, I don't give a crap. I just stand there pissed off wondering why the hell we have to stupid crap like this. I'm here to get through the medboard and get out of the army. The longer it takes, it seems the more I hate pretty much everything about the army. The platoon sergeant finally gets through and has everyone marked down on a sheet of paper, I'm not sure what the consequences are going to be for those that don't have all the inspectable items on them…I don't really care. We get to hear the first sergeant yell at everyone, telling us we're still soldiers even though we're here at the WTB. She goes on for a while, I just tune her out and wait.

We finally get released and I head to my car. I eat breakfast and listen to music for a while. The WTB has a lot of different events and stuff that go on, but I don't want to have anything to do with the unit. I don't want to run into the first sergeant or any of the NCOs if I don't have to. I head to the SFAC and check my army email. I also print off a signed CIF form. This form shows everything that the army has issued me, mine is totally blank because I turned in everything back in Germany. I take the form up to my squad leader because he said he needed it. I guess it's just to make sure none of the soldiers have any outstanding items they need to turn in. I then have to sign another form he has stating that I have all the other items that the army has issued, that we actually keep. This is stuff like underwear, socks, and uniforms. Why we have to sign this I'm not sure...but we do. Even my squad leader said it's kind of stupid, but they have to do it. I sign it, shake my head, then leave.

I have a physical therapy appointment that I go to and have traction done. I lay there relaxing while a machine tries to pull my head off for about 12 minutes or so. When I do get up, my head does feel better. I think this whole process has actually helped quite a bit! I head home and do schoolwork.

Monday, October 7, 2013

NCM…that is all - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 121

Headed to morning formation in ACUs as I have been lately. All of us with appointments in the morning actually fell out to the rear and our first sergeant came through and asked each of us what our appointment is and what time we had it. I let her know my appointment is with my NCM and it's at 0830…I didn't even have to give a white lie this time! This is just one of those things that kind of bug me the longer I'm in.

I head to my car and eat my breakfast and listen to music for a while. After a bit, I headed into the SFAC and checked my army email. I headed up to my NCM appointment and we went over everything. Nothing new to tell her, so I head out and go home. Once home I did my schoolwork and then waited for my wife to get home so we could go to the YMCA and workout.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Days 119 & 120

This weekend my kiddos came over. It was awesome to see them all again. We hung out and watched movies and TV shows. We went shopping for basketball shoes and on Sunday watched the Seahawks play at my in-laws. The only thing that would have made the weekend better would have been if the Seahawks actually won.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Battalion PT - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 118

I received a few texts last night stating that battalion PT is at the pool this morning. We are supposed to bring shorts and either play water polo or do some sort of water aerobics. I ignored them, I don't feel like doing that crap. When I woke up I promptly texted my squad leader letting him know I'll be an intern with the navy today, I then go back to sleep.

With the government shutdown there is actually nobody in the navy N6 office. I'm actually just waiting (on-call) just in case they decide to have people come in. I take the opportunity to do schoolwork and that was about it for the day. Despite the fact that I didn't do anything today, I do hope the government ends the shutdown sooner rather than later. I think I'll be voting for anyone that is not a republican or democrat during the next elections. If I have to choose I will vote out anyone that's currently in office. They are not accomplishing anything right now and really pissing me and everyone off. There are a lot of families really being affected by this shutdown, not to mention the slowdowns it's causing everyone on post. The civilians in the hospital are working for IOUs. You can't pay your bills with an IOU! It's also going to probably cause my paperwork for the medboard process to be delayed. I am currently waiting on the VA for my disability ratings, but I'm sure none of that is being done now. The backlog will just keep growing and growing during this shutdown. Not that I wanted to work for the federal government after I get out of the army, but this shutdown really makes me want to stay far away from any kind of government work.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lack of Communication - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 117

I arrived for morning formation and as usual I headed inside the building where we form up in front of. As I was sitting down passing the time dinking around on my iPhone I notice my squad leader is at the staff duty desk. He sees me and says "Oh, I meant to tell you last night when I called you that formation this morning is at 0830". That sucks…I could have slept in quite a bit this morning. I head back out to my car, eat breakfast, then pull out my blanket and take a nap. A little before 0830 I head back to where the formation should be and don't see anyone there. I think my squad leader also forgot to tell me that the formation is at the theatre today for a town hall meeting. I don't really care, I have an appointment anyway. I head back to my car and listen to the radio for a while.

I head to physical therapy and get traction done again on my neck. This time they up the strength to 16 pounds. It's not too much and I lay there for the 12 minutes or so relaxing while the contraption pulls on my head stretching it away from my body. It may sound like a medieval torture instrument, but it actually seems to be helping my pain! Once therapy was complete, I made my way home and did schoolwork. With the government shutdown and no budget being passed, I'm now starting to worry about both my paycheck and tuition assistance for future classes. I've been told that military will be getting paid on time, but I would like to see the check deposited in my account before I rest easy. As far as tuition assistance goes, there is no telling whether it will be part of this next year's budget or not. I'm so close to getting my degree, I sure hope it at least gets partially funded.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mac Doctor - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 116

I sent a text to my squad leader this morning letting him know I'll be an intern for the navy today. Well, I would be an intern for the navy if the government wasn't shut down. The N6 shop where I work with the navy said they will call us or send a message as soon as they hear something about us coming in. To me that means I'll just be on call waiting to hear from them…ready to come in at a moments notice, but most importantly I will not be playing army man and making the drive to Ft. Lewis today.

I actually do have some work to do. I'm a certified Macintosh Technician and my wife's work actually needed me to come in and take a look at a couple of their machines. I headed in with my laptop and my tool bag, it was nice to hang out with my wife for a bit this morning. I worked on the computer that was down and had it up and running fairly quickly. I would have only charged them the friends and family rate, but my wife and her boss said to make sure I charged the full "consultant" rate. So I actually made some pretty good money today doing what I actually like to do…work on computers. Something the army has really dropped the ball on.

I made my way back home and did schoolwork. My squad leader called me later on asking what I had going on tomorrow. I let him know I had an appointment at 0900, he says "OK" and hangs up. I think I may have just lucked out because I think he was looking for someone to do something.

When my wife came home, we headed to the YMCA and had a good workout. I've been focusing on cardio for the most part. I guess when I turned 40, my metabolism decided to slow way down. I don't think I can just eat whatever I want these days. I need to burn off some calories and the quickest way to do it is probably some cardio. Later on I'll probably start getting some strength training in, but for now I'll be sticking to the elliptical machine. It doesn't give me the impact and hurt my neck that running does and it seems to be the best for my knee as well.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Surprise Appointment - (MedBoard: Joint Base Lewis-McChord) Day 115

A random photo I found on the web showing the hydrotherapy bed
pretty much the same as I used 

This morning's formation was at the gym as is every Tuesday. We had accountability, then everyone was told to go into the gym. I was in ACUs and hung out with everyone else in ACUs that had appointments. We waited and waited, then we all just took off because it didn't seem like any NCO was going to come over and say anything. I think we all had better things to do with our time than just stand there and look stupid.

I eat breakfast in my car and then take a nap. It's been getting colder lately, so I've started to leave a blanket in my car to use for the long naps I spend in my car. I don't want to leave it running with the heat and just waste gas, so the blanket is going to work out great.

I headed to my 0945 physical therapy appointment and had traction done again on my neck. The process was good, they applied heat to my back and stretched my neck and it all felt great. I headed back to my car afterward and listened to music for a while. For some reason an extra mystery WTB physical therapy appointments showed up on my schedule and the first one is today at 1330. Nobody I asked seemed to know what they are for, so I am getting a little pissed. I wasn't even sure where to go exactly and I'm a little surprised they just showed up without anyone even calling and talking to me about them.

I go to the SFAC and eat my lunch, then check my army email. I then headed over to the main WTB therapy center and checked in at their desk, which happened to be the right place to go. I then find out this is probably the best surprise appointment ever! The therapist takes me back to a room for something they call "hydrotherapy". I lay down in what looks like the bottom of a tanning bed, but instead of light tubes, it is filled with a small water bed. I take off my boots and my ACU top, then lay down in the bed. To my surprise it's nice and warm…very relaxing. The therapist explains a little about it, gives me some big noise canceling headphones which I plug into my iPhone and start listening to music. Jets start shooting water inside the bed slowly up and down my back and it feels pretty darn good. The surprise therapy lasted a half hour and it was pretty awesome. I was able to totally relax and just let the warm water massage me.

I then headed home and did schoolwork. When my wife came home we headed off to the YMCA for a good workout.