Friday, August 04, 2006

Somewhere in Missouri

Given the long silence, I guess I should probably start with a quick update about the past month. After my cadets graduated, all of the cadre except for the 2LTs returned to their homes and families. They couldn't send all of the LTs to our next training station because there is not enough extra housing to accommodate more than one hundred LTs with no actual training for any kind of work. As a result, we had to stay around in Ft. Lewis and Warrior Forge where many of us became part of the 2LT sustainment training - basically, a nice long title meaning nothing. Based on their BOLC II (basic officer leadership course - basic infantry tactics) date, some people are going to be sticking around much longer with no jobs. Luckily I was able to leave after only a week and a half of having a non-job. We were in the office from 9-5 (finally, normal hours), and in the beginning when there were only three of us in the office, there was also unlimited internet access (even though my job didn't entail much of anything, I still felt guilty about blogging at "work" so therefore no updates).

Since the Army believes in giving its soldier's insane amounts of travel time (6 days to get from Seattle to Lawton), I decided to take a day of leave, which gave me time to drive to Champaign on my way to Oklahoma. I drove almost a thousand miles on Sunday (Missoula, MT to Mitchell, SD - home of the corn palace - still didn't see the palace though). I stopped in Chicago Monday night, visited a friend, and was in Champaign from Tuesday evening until lunch time on Friday. My mom called me a brat when she saw me since my dad and I had both wanted it to be a surprise that I was coming.

Right now I am about 20 miles east of Springfield, Missouri, and tomorrow I'll report into Sill. It was great seeing my family and friends again but I am thinking it might have been better if I'd gone straight from Lewis to Sill, if only because I was in the proper military mindset at the time while now I got to be a civilian again for a few days, and had to leave home for the Army yet again. Of course this way maybe I had the necessary break to make me less cynical about everything when I get to BOLC.

Today was a very bad driving day. I was getting annoyed at the road construction in South Dakota but here in Missouri there was a lot of construction right outside of St. Louis. I spent about two hours in St. Louis traffic thanks to both the construction and rush hour. And that wasn't even the worst of my driving experiences today. That would probably have to be when I spun across the interstate onto the access way next to the interstate. I'm okay, and the car's basically okay but here's what happened:

I was doublechecking something on the map so I'd know where to switch interstates once I hit St. Louis. When I looked back up, I wasn't quite on the road anymore so I tried to get back on the road, but started going way too far to the right and beginning to spin. At that point, I jerked the steering wheel back to the left, and then the car started spinning in that direction. Since everything I was doing seemed to be making it worse, and I was just spinning in circles, I decided the best thing to do would be to just let the car spin until it ran out of momentum. I went from the west bound lanes across the grassy area in between (fortunately, it was a small ditch or dip filled with grass rather than a wall), across the east bound lanes, through the hole in the fence between the interstate and the access way and ended up stopped halfway on the access road and in someone's front yard. Once again, I got lucky since I came through where the fence was already damaged. I lost a hubcap, my car appears to be growing grass in some areas, and my passenger side airbags went off but other than that there doesn't appear to be any real damage to the car - or me. Turns out the closest dealership to Lawton is in Oklahoma City so it's going to be fun trying to get my car checked but other than that, I got off pretty easy. Hopefully the dealership doesn't discover more damages, because I don't want the bill to be too high. Of course, I also put a large amount of money into my IRA this week so it was naturally the perfect time for this to happen.

I was checking at the Ft. Sill BOLC II website - am I the only one confused by this statement:
"You should report no later than 24 hours prior to the reporting date listed on your orders. Early reporting is authorized, but highly discouraged." So in other words, come early but don't come early. Right.

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