Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Am I that bad?

I am not one to dress up often I can certainly understand the affect. I have never, in my life had what you might call a "fashion sense". I have never in my life felt comfortable dressing up. From a very young age, doing that "Cotillion" thing, I realized that I'd Never feel comfortable in what my parents referred to as "decent" clothes. To me, I have never seen any reason to place look over function. I have never even wanted to buy into the various fads that struck my hometown.

Jessi had said at some point that she wished that I'd dress up a little more. I didn't think too much of it at the time. On Saturday she asked if we should go ring shopping so I took her to the little street outside of the mall. There were at least three jewelers there and I stopped outside each one and asked if she wanted to go in, but she seemed scared so, no pressure and we went to the mall proper. So it was with great reluctance that I allowed Jessi to talk me into getting clothes. Lets just say that aside from not finding anything in my size, and since my knee was really starting to hurt, we got something to eat then left and went back to the hotel room.

I didn't think too much of it until this morning when I got back from PT she was still getting ready for work. She confided in me that the reason she didn't want to go in is because I looked like "I was going to buy a ring from Wal-mart". That she was worried I wouldn't be taken seriously.
I know that looks are more important to women, and I understand that I'll never get it. But the fact that my girlfriend would over look the fact that I'm willing to make a great commitment to her, and see only a guy dressed a little like a bum, well that raises serous questions in my mind, and I'm not sure what to do about it. Its been a long time since I've really felt anything, and when I started feeling again, and realized just how much felt for her, this (admitidly on her part) shallow moment raises all manner of hurt, almost disproportionate to the actual offense.

Will I ever understand women? It feels like every step I take froward with Jessi is accompanied with (at least) a half step back. Even though I'm sure about her (more so than I've ever been, even with Lisa) and yet this morning the fact that I was likened to a bum, hurt far more than I thought possible, bringing up distant (and unpleasant) memories of childhood, where I was ostracized for being different. That feeling that I'm always an outsider no matter how hard I try to fit in. For a long time I tried to get into all the fads, and styles and after a long time I just quit trying. I was left alone. And I've felt alone since grade school.

So is Fashion so important that you must push someone away, even though they're willing to go to almost extreme lengths for you? Does how a couple looks together determine whether or not they should actually be together or not. Are we as a people truly
that shallow? More often than not the questions these incidents raise leave me wondering if i really want the answers, or if, like most people, I wouldn't like what I find.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Great times.

I don't know what it is about Jessi that makes everything click. So lets just start off with the little surprise, first off the room at the Courtyard Marriot, was really REALLY good. Next, I went to the Wal-mart just down the street. I was looking everywhere for a green M&M stuffed . . . something er-other. No luck. But good news, I did see a Mustang hoodie, and also some really good chocolates. Also some Pumpkin spice candles.

I called her to see where she was and she was in Manhattan, so I freaked out and told her to slow down. She was immediately suspicious, but complied. So first step *after checking in* was to prep the room. When the gal at the front desk saw all I was taking up to the room she did that ohhh that women always do for "cute" stuff. I quickly gave her a shhh sign, because i didn't want her to make a scene, and ruin the surprise. So three of the rosebuds and crushed the buds and laid a trail to the bed. I had the hoodie "clutching" the remaining roses, I lit the candles and rushed back down stairs to greet her.

Needless to say she liked it all. The room was top notch and so was the treatment. I can't tell you exactly what ll happened (after all there are some things i don't want to share) but let's say it was a very good night. After that we went to dinner at Famous Pete's then we called it a night, and sleeping next to her was a hell of a thing. it felt good and all that. Well i gotta run. More to report later.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

anticipation is a killer

Jessi is headed down. I gotta say the 14 hour (+/-) drive was totally worth it, when I went up there. Now *amazingly* she is returning the favor. She's driving to see me down here in JC/Manhattan/Ft Riley (or what ever other area we happen to be in). Now I'm just waiting on her. I'm starting to understand her frustration with my poor navigation skills. In my particular case I got the directions before hand, and *sadly* Map Quest didn't help, and often confused the hell out of me.

Now, Jessi just so happens to have this wonderful device called a GPS unit. So even though there are some points that are probably a *little* confusing, chances are that she won't get lost, and lets face it, coming to Ft. Riley is so much easier. You pretty much stay on 70, and get off at the appointed time. Marshfeild, not so much, lots of back roads.

I have a little surprise planned, but I'm going to wait till she gets to Topeka before I actually get it set up. I hope she likes it. I'm not going to mention it here, cuz I'm trying not to jinx it, but I'm pretty sure mom dragging me to all those crappy chick flicks will actually come in handy (God help me). Well I'm defiantly pacing right now. I'm not sure what to think about it. Alright I'm going to stop driving myself nuts and head out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flashing lights not my friend.

Look I'm not crazy. More often then I want to count I've been confronted with a Pop culture icon of a soldier returning from a war zone and "freaking out". Holding hostages, beating their wives, driving like maniacs, and God alone knows what else. Other times you "see" them just collapsing into a crying blubbering mess. either way there is a public perception that soldiers will act like one of those two when returning from a war zone.

That being the case, (for the most part) I am "normal". I don't freak out often. Even when the Paladins (155MM Self Propelled Arty) are at the range, I don't scream or cry or anything of that nature. I do often jump a little, and on occasion I'll *start to* crouch. But I don't dive for cover. All things considered since I came back, I've been doing a lot better.

However tonight when I was coming home from watching a movie, I was doing 78 MPH in the 65MPH zone between Manhattan, and Ogden. I knew i was in trouble when i saw him turn, and when the lights went on, well that's when the trouble really started.

somehow this:
will make me do this:

The cop was a nice enough fellow. Pointed out my infraction. I quickly asked him, more like begged him to turn off his lights. At this point my hand is shaking and I'm on the verge of crying. He points out that he's seen that a lot and he'll let me off with a warning, but he can't turn off his lights just yet because of safety concerns. I didn't care what he gave me so long as the lights went off.

Well he let me go, but i made the same mistake. I started speeding on post in an effort to get the hell in my room. to make matters worse, a passing MP flashed his lights as a warning, just before I got to the WTB barracks, and parking lot. even after I was parked, I was sitting there, Death Grip on the steering wheel, taking those deep, half breaths, and feeling for all the world that I was going to die. In short i was having a panic attack.

I'm pretty sure its the first I've had in a LONG time. But the fact that I had it at all, does not bode well. Was it the flashing lights or the getting caught that did me in? I don't know, but the whole incident has me more than a little unnerved.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cheifs Vs Cardnals. . . aw who the hell cares ITS FOOTBALL

I miss football. Good ol AMERICAN football. If you like Soccer, fine. If you like basketball fine. But for me there is no sport that enthralls me more than football. It is the one thing that gets me going. Talk ill about my team(s) and I'll give you an earfull. Most of the rest of the time I really don't shit talk but when it comes to football, I will till the end of the earth.

Lets face it, we've built up a culture in the past 50 some odd years. Baseball and Football are so "American" that for the most part Europe has tried to ignore these sports (that's saying something). From singing at the seventh inning stretch, to having the entire stadium scream out "1st DOWN!!!" people will have spirited conversations all about players and teams, and for a moment, just a moment they feel that they are ridding on the backs of giants.

The impacts can be felt, the teams are full of titans, and only the weak get injured. You'd almost think that this were some pantheon of Greek heroes battling it out to the death in the amphitheater. There is no blood but there might as well be. After it is over the fans are vindicated for their passions. The personal rituals that somehow in some way appease the Gods that dwell over sports, to allow them some small victory.

Thankfully we don't kill the losing team (as the Aztecs did with the game that *eventually* became basketball). and after its over everyone is still alive, although battered. the fans go home either exulted by the win or crushed by defeat. and all through it the roars and cheers keep it going. the excessive, insane salaries that most people can only gawk at. and talking in reasonable tones as they say a player asking for $54M is completely reasonable. Forgetting the fact that in 5 years that player will earn than a couple of them working together will in a few lifetimes.

as for the game itself, well amazingly the cardinals won. It wasn't even close. much to the cagrin of the Cheifs fans. I personally didn't care. these weren't the Chargers. Nor the Patriots. And as much as I like to see the Stealers and the Raiders ground to dust, i really can't care in the least if the Chiefs or the Cardinals win. I went to see FOOTBALL. I can't wait till the season begins. I want to watch some good football.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

No S**t Sherlock

Ok so this morning I was eating in the DFAC, trying not to pay too much attention to CNN (they some times piss me right the hell off) and they had this "shocking" report about soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan turning to Alcohol or other substances to cope with events. Why the AMA (American Medical Association) took this long to figure that one out is beyond me. I mean seriously they're just now putting out a study that people have pretty much known since the Civil War.

Amazingly soldiers in "high risk" situations, the ones that go out on patrol more and of course the weekend warriors are *amazingly* more at risk. Honest there are things that Doctors do that simply amaze me. God knows just how much they spent on a study that is pretty much common sense. Next they're going to tell you that repeat deployments will *eventually* lead to domestic violence, and the like.

Lets face it, Our society such as it is, is not prepared to deal with soldier returning from war. In fact it is almost designed to turn a blind eye to the nastier side of life. We spend so many years teaching our kids to focus their aggression in such a way that everyone is alright in the end and we hop them up on crappy happy endings, not preparing them for the possibility of bitter realities. When faced with wholesale chaos, people are unable to comprehend. They are unable to cope.

Truth is War is ugly. The most bitter hateful thing that man has ever mastered. People talk of glory, and all that goes with it, people that have never been nor understand. They will slap a soldier on the back and say "good job son" and just as quickly forget them and move on with their life. In the end it is the fighting man that will tell you the truth, and if you listen you will take away a profound lesson. We all bleed red. No matter who we pray to, we all came into this world the same way, and we are all going out of it the same way.

I think the next shocking report CNN will do, might be something along the lines of "eating McDonalds makes you fat" or "depression hits losers the most". Never one to call journalism a noble profession, I do, still demand that they attempt to show *some* common sense. Instead of just doing a bit piece with Sanjay Gupta, they should have asked soldiers we would have told you they knew this from the beginning. Hell every vet in Vietnam knew it. So why is it such a shock?

I suppose talking about it is a double edged sword. Audie Murphy, the highest decorated soldier of WWII struggled for a long time with PTSD. In the end he locked himself in a motel room Trainspotting style to kick an addiction to prescription sleep meds. After that he came out and talked publicly about PTSD, even before it was really recognized. That took courage. Now in Iraq people are re-discovering all the common knowledge that wasn't talked about in Vietnam. In a sense the Army learned its lessons, but the American public hasn't.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whatta weekend!!!

I honestly don't know where to begin. Talking about this weekend there's a lot to be said. I went to see Jessi. Now for those that are not in the know, Jessi is my Girlfriend, who happens to live in Wisconsin. Just think about this for a second. She lives almost in the exact center of Wisconsin, and I'm on the slightly on the north eastern side of Kansas. In order to get to her I had to travel through four states (not including Kansas), including three I'd never actually been to before (Iowa, Minnesota and of course Wisconsin).

About 700 miles give or take. I figured I had a 4 day weekend, which started off Thursday (much to my surprise) and so I figured Why not. Well I left late Thursday night around 2200, and let me tell you it was a LONG drive. The sun started to rise right about the time I was just short of the Minnesota border, still in Iowa. The day was beautiful. The fog clung to the wheat and grass in certain places making it seem like there was almost a lake.

Long story short I was just about to Marshfield when wouldn't ya know it my battery dies. Well this is about as shitty as it gets because I'm just a little bit lost. Mapquest wasn't entirely clear. Come to find out I actually took the long way around. But once I finally got there she was waiting. As soon as I got out of my car, and hugged her it was PERFECT. The first part of the day was me passing out for a bit until she bugged me a lot and kind of *forced* me to get up. Of course she had to make me eat cheese. Sorry folks I like cheese but not that much.

We went to the WI Vet memorial, had frozen custard, and generally a good time. She showed me around the camp sights she used to go to, and aside from the bugs which were out for blood, it was pretty cool. Unfortunately Friday night was a pretty quiet one, I kinda crashed hard. Saturday was even better. She showed me the place where she learned to ski (I'd call it one long bunny run, but then I'm spoiled. Mammoth this ain't). Then we sat on the tub hill just talking and eventually i started pointing out cloud shapes. Well I saw them, but i guess she didn't. Its all good.

Anywho that night, was the obligatory "meet the friends". She had to take pictures. Those "cute" pictures. Personally Cute is scary. Somehow a dog that looks like it had it's face melted off and looks miserable at being forced to wear prissy clothes, is somehow "cute". And anytime a woman starts talking about "Cute" it means some guy somewhere is going to have to suffer some sort of minor indignity. see for yourself:

Of course there is the "pose or I'll hit you"

the ever Popular "Stop trying to hide from the camera"

and finally the picture that'll no doubt be on Myspace and is already on Facebook.

I'll admit that I did enjoy (perhaps too much) some alcohol. I enjoyed some good food, and thankfully there weren't any ass making of self moments. I don't think so anyway. But folks were defiantly popping eye balls at my choice of alcohol (4 shots of jack obligatory for the 4 soldiers I lost) one Irish Car Bomb and a buttery nipple (thanks for introducing me to that Katie). I don't think I'm an alcoholic, but in a place that apparently doesn't do anything but drink and eat cheese this was a lot.

Well after that we rented a movie and went back to her place where we talked for a long time, and eventually we both settled on the futon, I actually stayed up to watch the movie (Bucket List) and i went to sleep in the wee hours (not exactly smart). I was tough to get up, but Jessi ever the smart one found a way (waking a guy up with a kiss with nothing but a towel on is sure a way to make a guy sit up and take notice)

I had a Sunday morning breakfast with her mom and we seemed to get along fine, after which Jessi went to church and I headed home. well started to. I got some bad directions and ended up REALLY lost on the back roads trying to get to I-90 I ended up on I-94 which took me more than 100 miles north of where I should have been, adding at least an hour and a half maybe more to my journey. I finally got back at 2300, but it was a close thing. Road hypnosis, a type of fatigue that strikes people on long road trips had started to set in and I was hurting. I know the last 20 miles i was speeding (well i was speeding the whole way, but I was really going then) I just pulled in to the parking lot, went to my room and crashed like the Hindenburg. All in all Hell of a weekend