Saturday, December 30, 2006

Winters Family Gathering

Nathan’s parents planned a Winters’ gathering for us. We got to see everyone in one location. It was nice since being home for such a short period it is a little harder to travel around and see everyone. The chocolate fountain we received at Christmas, from my sister and her beau, was a big hit. We recommend everyone try chocolate covered pineapple :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

5 Years Since Last Home For X-Mas

AHH Christmas Day; we opened presents at my parents’ house in the morning. We got dressed and then headed to the Winters’ for X-Mas lunch and presents. We headed back to my parents in time for dinner/dessert and an evening of board games. WOW did we get a lot of presents! It was nice to spend time with family. We hadn’t been back home for Christmas since before we were married.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Made It To VT

We were on the road relatively early. We made it through VA, MD, DE and NJ rather quickly. New York was horrible during evening rush hour. Connecticut and Massachusetts also weren’t too bad. It was freezing rain in VT so that made for a slower driver on the highway. I don’t think I miss VT night driving especially on the highway; there are no highway lights. Driving in freezing rain with lack of light was not fun. Around midnight we made it to my parents’ house. Everyone was up waiting for us.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Luggage Delay

We nearly miss our last 30 minute flight. When our flight from San Fran to Washington-Dulles landed we needed to walk to the end of the Concourse, wait for a shuttle to take us across the runway to another Concourse. We had missed our call. The plane actually was waiting for us.

We landed in Norfolk and of course one of our 4 checked pieces of baggage actually made it with us. We filled out a loss baggage form with Delta. We knew that it was because of the quick change in that last flight. The next flight from Washington-Dulles to Norfolk was supposed to land at 1:30pm. Nearly 3 hours after our flight. So we decided to stay in Norfolk till the evening or at least until 1:30pm for a status report as to whether or not our luggage made it.

We let Angel out of her kennel to go to the bathroom in the grass area across from the baggage claim. Oh by the way it is against FAA regulations to let your pet out of the kennel at anytime, until you make it to your destination. We took a taxi from Norfolk to Portsmouth to go get the car. It took us about an hour to get that and then fill up the car with gas. We headed for lunch at a local Subway. Thank goodness for the GPS. While eating lunch we also jumped on a wireless network and made reservations at a hotel in Virginia Beach for the night. At this point we weren’t sure what was going on with the luggage and we didn’t want to get on the road without it. We received a phone call from the airport and our luggage was on the 1:30pm flight. They were going to deliver it to us at our hotel. We weren’t given a time for delivery but we were given the phone number of the company that was going to be delivering our luggage.

At around 1:30pm we get a call from the delivering company and they will be at the hotel between 3 and 9pm. Needless to say our luggage didn’t arrive in our hotel until 1am. I wish I could have found that lost luggage receipt when we got to Norfolk because I would have filed a claim asking for reimbursement. We weren’t planning on staying in Norfolk that night. The plan was to hit the road that evening for VT.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Goodbye HI

Our trip starts back to the east coast. Good-bye Hawaii and Hello mainland. We check in with Delta and find that Angel is on our flights however as Cargo and not as carry-on. I called two weeks before we left to make sure that she was okay as carry-on and I was told she was. Apparently when we checked in we found that she was not registered as carry-on. It was explained to us that there is a difference in the codes that are used for live animals as cargo and live animals as carry-on. It was about a 20 minute wait to check and make sure that there was room for her on our flights. A standard rule (for Delta anyway) when flying is 3 pets as carry-on per flight. A little bit of a scare there. But it all worked out okay. We did have to pay the $85 fee.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Move #7!

Once again I had to take the server down to do yet another move. This one was my own fault, but since our house was being demolished in January we would have had to move regardless. We are moving back to the states from Hawaii so this will be another long one. Household goods delivery date is Feb 8th! hopefully they will arrive before then. The car arrived in Norfolk today, we shipped the truck this morning, and we will be flying out tomorrow (with the dog as carry-on).

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Honolulu Marathon

The plan was to train during deployment and come back to run the Honolulu Marathon in under 4 hours. Of course nothing ever goes as planned for me. I did start off well 4 months ago in the desert. I was running with our flight doc who was going to make this his first marathon. I did well for the first 2 months and even handled several long runs of 12 miles (at night of course, it is almost impossible to run during the day. I tried on one cool day and I had to drink a 20 oz bottle of water about every 15 minutes. It almost made me sick taking in that much water and it still wasn't enough to keep me hydrated). I went through a pair of Nike Pegasus shoes in less than a month. The soles fell apart and I had to buy some new ones by the time I got home. I went all out and bought a pair of Asics Kayano plus some cushion inserts. Within a month of heavy running those too were pulling apart at the soles. I took them back and got a replacement 3 weeks before the marathon and tried to break them in too quickly. My back started hurting and a joint in my foot was aching, so I cut back on my training. The last 2 weeks before the marathon I hardly ran at all. When I did it was usually pretty short and I would stop because of the pain. I probably shouldn't have run the marathon but I'm too stubborn to give up.
Race day I was up at 3 am and dragged the wife out of bed to bring me downtown. We were actually able to drive within a few blocks of the start line. I've never seen that many people outside of a stadium before. 28000 runners packed into downtown honolulu. The majority of the runners were asian and they actually made all the announcements in at least 3 different languages. It was cool but humid with only a scattering of clouds. I worked my way into the first few thousand of runners by the start line and the race commenced with an impressive fireworks show. The pace was slow due to the number of people filling the six lanes of traffic. And unlike every other race I've been in the crowded runners didn't thin down. Actually even all the way to the finish I considered it crowded. The route of course was beautiful, through dowtown and waikiki with all christmas decorations then up around diamond head to watch the sunrise. I was also impressed by all the spectators. Ala Moana was lined and I don't think there was a 100 foot stretch without someone cheering the runners on.
By mile 7 I already knew my feet were in trouble. My shoes were not fully broken in and my feet were not tough enough to take the beating. But, I continued. I knew before I started that I may not finish this race so I actually carried my cell phone with me to call for Rikki to come pick me up (plus we only had the truck since the car is enroute to VA). The aid stations had the usual water, sponges, vaseline, and a sports drink called "amino acid." It wasn't too bad. I also carried 2 gels, though I lost one. I would stop and walk at each water station and drink 2-3 cups to make sure I was hydrated. I was starving after an hour and was going to eat one of my gels when I realized I lost one. So I ran on an empty stomach to the halfway point and then used my one gel. I kept below my desired 10 minute per mile pace until mile 20. I finally walked for a bit to give my feet a break. But I knew the pain would just get worse with time so the sooner I finished the better. I kept running at a much slower pace and still took a break to walk once in a while. The last mile was lined with people so I ran all of it. Finishing with in 4 hours and 47 minutes. 40 minutes slower than my last marathon, but still under 5 which is good enough for me.
The finish line and crowd were both impressive. They gave me a shell Lei, finishers shirt and medal. I would have liked to check out all the events going on but I was in too much pain to bother. I called Rikki and she managed to get somewhat close to the finish line so I only had to walk about anothe mile. As I said after my last marathon, I don't think I'll do another one.... we'll see if my toenails fall off again :-p

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

It was just the two of us for thanksgiving and since I was home I offered to cook the turkey. I wanted leftovers so we got a 10 pounder and I followed Alton Brown's unconventional recipe. Alton Brown is either a genius or he has an army of researchers that spend weeks researching for his show Good Eats. The recipe included brining, fill the cavity with a sliced apple, onion, spices, and a cinnamon stick. 30 minutes at 500 then cover breast with aluminum foil (dark meat needs more cooking than white meat) then 325 till done and yes we bought a digital thermometer. We found out our oven cooks very unevenly, but besides that the turkey turned out great. Instead of gravy we made a cranberry dipping sauce (another Good Eats recipe) that was good though too much orange peel made it a little too sweet. Rikki did all the fixings and dessert. I think it was our best and easiest thanksgiving so far. We'll see what Rikki has to say.

Thanksgiving 2006

Nathan cooked the turkey this year. No, I didn’t nag him to do it, he volunteered or offered to cook it. I told Nathan that if he wanted to do it that it would be fine with me. So yesterday he got the brine ready for the turkey. He followed an Alton Brown recipe that we both thought would be good. All that needed to be done to the turkey today was to stuff it and cook it. Yes we cooked a 12 lb bird this year.
It took about 3 hours for the turkey to cook. In the mean time I made stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce (not from the jar), rolls and a vanilla pudding pie (no apple this year).
The turkey was awesome and it was one of our better Thanksgiving feasts. Thank you handsome for cooking the turkey.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

CT Scan Results

An appointment with the doctor for 8am. She was ready for me when she walked into the room. She had the test results for the CT scan and for the bloodwork. There is nothing wrong. The CT scan shows no abnormalities and the bloodwork looks great. Better test results compared to two years ago. The doctor says that I am a perfectly healthy 27 year old. She believes that it is just anxiety from the last 5 to 6 months. So I am told to eat more fiber and to drink plenty of fluids. This will help clean out the body. If I am still having problems and the pain becomes severe then I am to go back in and a colonoscopy will be ordered. So right now I am to just take it easy, put more fiber in my diet and drink more fluids. I am feeling better every day.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Pomelo Incident

As we've mentioned before we have had almost weekly power or brown outs for the past 2 years. We are now the only ones living on our loop and with the houses to be demolished in january repairs take time and are done reluctantly. Until the Pomelo Incident. Across the street we have a Pomelo fruit tree that bears something akin to grapefruits. They are supposed to be sweeter but the ones we have tried were not very good. But that doesn't stop the daily traffic of locals stopping by to attemp to pick the fruit. A few of the smarter ones bring their own fruit polls to grab the fruit. Others try to get more creative and that is what caused the incident. The fruits are heavy, at least a pound or two and the stems are thick so you really need a pole cutter and a ladder. People have tried using newspapers, water bottles, garden hoses (with sprinkler still attached), rakes, baseball bats... We have really seen it all. Until someone decided to drive their truck up over the curb onto the lawn and climb on the roof to reach the disgusting fruit. The problem was these Pomelo Bandits must have gotten excited about their new tactic and as they were about to flee the scene they backed their new and oversized truck back over the curb across the road and into the huge green 150000 volt transformer on the opposite lawn. The loud bang brought the wife out running assuming they ran into one of our vehicles. The idiots saw that they had dented the transformer pretty bad and moved the 2 ton transformer about 1 foot off its cement base. So what else would they do besides try to push it back into place! They were attempting to do this when they saw Rikki coming over and instead they decided to flee. They jumped in the truck and were off. We were of course left without power. After a few phone calls they came out and looked at the transformer, it was making a loud buzzing sound and leaking some fluid so they cut-off all power and ordered a new one. Luckily it was installed that night so we were only half a day without power and we haven't had a power or brown out since!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

CT Scan

The CT scan is today. I called Radiology yesterday to ask some extra questions after doing some significant research online. If you show up to a CT scan without wearing any metal you don’t have to put on a hospital gown. Ladies this means those under wire bras and antiperspirant. Don’t worry about climbing into bed with your significant other in the evening. The amount of radiation that you are exposed to is very small.
There will be anywhere between 80 and 90 pictures or slices taken of your abdomen.
You will be asked to pick up a prep kit before the CT scan. You will be given one of two types of solution to drink about 5 to 6 hours before your CT scan. I was unlucky and had to make and drink a solution of Hypaque. This is the most disgusting stuff ever. You take 5 grams of this solution and mix it with 45ml of a clear, non-carbonated liquid. You shake this for 3 minutes. Now let me tell you how horrible this stuff is. It took a clear liquid and made it turn brown. HUH?!! I am thinking that this is not healthy stuff to be drinking. You take the 45 ml and pour it into the container they give you. Add more clear, non-carbonated liquid until you get 22 fluid ounces.
I mixed this drink 5 minutes before I was to start to drink it. I put the container that I needed to make 22 fluid ounces with in the refrig the night before. I also put my bottle of Propel water and 6 fluid ounces of plain water in the refrig. It helps to drink this stuff while it is cold. This drink almost tastes like battery acid. It is really horrible. It should take you an hour to drink this stuff. I took 2 hours. If I could chug it without throwing up I would have but if you throw this stuff up you have to drink 2 of this 22 fluid ounce drinks when you arrive the hour before your CT. I don’t recommend that.
The hour before the exam you are given another 22 fluid ounces to drink. This time they mix it with Tang and sugar. You will be asked when your schedule your CT whether or not you have diabetes. This stuff is sugary. I am a major chocoholic and I thought this stuff was bad. Since it was sweeter than the water and didn’t taste as bad I was able to drink the 22 fluid ounces in 20 minutes. WOOHOO! 5 minutes after I finished they took me in. The CT tech mixed some more tang with a very fizzy solution. This stuff tastes bad but you only have to drink a mouth full. This is to coat the stomach lining.
I ask the CT tech a couple of questions before and after the scan. He was really good. The CT scanner was awesome. You can’t be an engineer and have things like this done. You ask more technical questions than other people ask. The scanner was automatic. The CT tech just pressed one button and the scanner did everything else; from pulling you in and out of the CT scanner to telling you when to breath and when not to breath. It was really cool. A total of 3 minutes and then you were done.
The reason for drinking the solution is to help “pronounce” per say your internal organs. It helps make them more visible for the doctor and radiologist to see. The second drink is to help do the same.
I will admit that I was extremely nervous about this test. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep the drink down and I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to drink it all. Be aware that you will be peeing your brains out after you drink the first mix and then again after you drink the second mix.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Homecoming

I finally made it back early after missing my flights and spending a night at BWI. My military flight out of the desert was 4 hours late so I missed my commercial United flight. It would have been a total of 6 legs and 2 days of flying. It was great to be back home with the family though I think the wife has turned our dog into a wimp. I took her on a short run and she ended up dragging behind, need to get her back in shape. The house was in surprisingly good shape, Rikki did a very good job of taking care of everything. Trying to get back into the swing of things now. It sure is nice to be able to use the bathroom at night without getting dressed and walking outside.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Doctors Appointment - CT Scan

I have a doctors appointment today. I called two weeks ago to make this appointment to see the doctor. I think I reinjured a muscle in my abdomen or may even have a hernia. I was very uncomfortable in mid-September and it hasn’t gotten any better. I finally cave in and decide to call because it is still uncomfortable. So this morning I head in. I talk to the doctor and she wants to do bloodwork and she wants me to go in for a CT scan. That works for me.
I get home and call about scheduling the CT scan. I can’t get in to Tripler Hospital for another three weeks. OMG, hopefully there isn’t anything seriously wrong with me but the good thing is that we don’t have to pay for the CT scan.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hawaii Earthquake

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake. What?! I get up at 7:00am to the bed shaking a little. I thought okay just another big truck driving by on the highway that is literally our back yard. The shaking slows a bit so that must have been it. Wait my bed is moving across the floor, the walls are shaking, the venetian blinds are shaking. I wake Nathan. I swear that man can sleep through anything. It took him a minute to realize something was up.
The shaking stops. We turn on the TV and we jump on the computers. Was that an earthquake? Did we just experience our first earthquake?
Five minutes later we loose cable. One minute later we loose power. Okay it was obviously something major but what. The NOAA weather radio isn’t going off. We take a shower and try to figure out what is going on. Two hours later still no electricity.
OMG right now I am just so greatful that Nathan is home. I would have flipped out at this point and just sat down in the middle of the floor and cried my eyes out. Does this ever stop?
Around noon we head out for a walk. The AC unit moved about a foot off the cement foundation. None of the neighbors have power. The car ports don’t have power. We still don’t know what happened. We jump in the truck and there is one radio station up and running. They are saying that there is no tsunami generated but that there is some damage from the earthquake. OMG! It was an earthquake. But it takes us 5 hours to get this info. Why didn’t the county sirens go off? Our NOAA weather radio must be broken.
21.5 hours later we finally have power back on and the AC is running, WOOHOO. Now why the hell did it take so long? Why did we have power for the 5 minutes after the earthquake but then loose it? Why didn’t the big island loose power at all when that is where the earthquake was centered? Hawaii claims that they are ready to warn communities about disasters and be able to evacuate those in low lying areas as needed but I think that this earthquake proved that Hawaii is not ready for any kind of natural disaster. A 6.6 magnitude earthquake is categorized as “strong.” There was only one radio station up and functioning so how do we know that the county sirens had power?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Sunday the 8th Angel and I start cleaning and made lists of things that we want to make sure are done before Nathan gets home. I am so excited at this point. Nathan is supposed to get in late on Tuesday night.
Monday the 9th Angel helps me get our major cleaning done. We cleaned all morning. There are still plenty of things to get done on my list for tomorrow but it shouldn’t be too bad. Most of it is to run and pick up groceries and what not. I am getting nervous now too.
Tuesday the 10th we are getting ready for Nathan’s arrival. We got the last of our things done but while I was out shopping today Nathan calls. Of course he didn’t make it in time to switch over and catch his commercial flight from his mac flight. The mac flights were late. Nathan will be spending the night at a hotel and will be here tomorrow afternoon. Oh crap! What else is new? I guess I should have known it was an omen when the lights went out at the commissary just a second before Nathan called me. Nathan did get back to me with his flights for tomorrow. He will be home around 3pm. I hope that he can get some sleep. He said he was tired and he sounded tired and frustrated. Another 24 hours is nothing compared to the last 4.5 months of hell.
Wednesday the 11th Nathan is delayed in Denver three hours. Nathan will not be home at 3pm he is now not coming home till 5:30pm.
Finally, Eureka, WOOHOO. Welcome Home! Seeing Nathan was a miracle. I didn’t jump up and down and act like a fool, which is what I really felt like doing. I saw him before he recognized me. OMG, it was so good to see him. I gave him a hug and his lei. I helped him with his bags to the car. We get home and I work on supper. Nathan spends the rest of the night relaxing, playing with Angel, unpacking and chatting with me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Coming Home ??

Wednesday the 4th there is still no news. At the moment the detailer from the IP Community is “sitting” on orders. We weren’t told why except that there were a lot of applicants. Okay so we wait some more. At this point this is nothing new. One hour later Nathan has news. HUH?! Nathan received what I am calling a half verbal/half written assessment. It looks like orders for Norfolk, VA. OMG I am totally ecstatic at this point. Now we can start looking for a house, to buy, in VA.
The rest of the day was spent looking and searching for a home. Nathan applied for a VA loan through USAA right after he sent the application I get a call from USAA.
Thursday the 5th I take the truck in for an oil change. What should have been a two hour appointment takes all morning. The requested tire rotation spots a nail in the tire rim. The tire needs to be replaced and because the tire is being replaced an alignment needed to be done. I was pretty sick today with an upset stomach. Not fun when you are waiting for a vehicle.
I get to talk to Nathan for the first time in weeks. We have been chatting on IM for a little while now so the phone calls stopped; which was fine. But it was nice to hear from him especially since I was sick and was going to be stuck at Firestone all morning.
Friday the 6th I am back at Firestone with the car. Oh please I don’t want to get sick and please don’t let something be wrong with the car! I don’t want to sit at Firestone all morning again. I get there and Nathan calls just as I am dropping the car off. He wants to know how things are going. I told him okay. He asks if I am okay because I sounded stuffy. Yeah the allergy cold is back. He then tells me that the Skipper stopped off to see him today and stated that he wants to send Nathan home on the 9th. LOL! I didn’t express any excitement. I said oh really. Nathan then says yeah. He says what you don’t believe it? I said honestly no, when you have tickets let me know. The car was ready at 9:10am however it too needs work. Two of the tires need to be replaced because the tread is low, a spark plug needs to be replaced, the transmission needs to be flushed and an alignment is needed. Oh god I can’t do all of this today. So I let them replace the tires and put on the stickers for the safety inspection. I was there until 10:10. No too bad but I am really not happy. I make an appointment for the following week for the other things. I just can’t do that today. I stop off at the post office and send the vacuum sealer back to CA. I had to stop at the Honolulu International Post Office to drop off a FedEx package that the post office on Hickam couldn’t take. I got home at 11am and just about croaked.
Saturday the 7th Nathan sends me his flight itinerary. He is really coming home. I can’t believe it. He will be in Honolulu on Tuesday at 11pm. I didn’t think flights were coming in that late. My poor husband has 6 legs in order to get home. Half of it on military flights the other half through United. I cried today for a good 15 minutes. I can’t believe that he is coming home. I am so thrilled and yet I am so nervous.
More time spent searching and looking at homes again. ERA contacted me today about our wants and needs. I couldn’t believe it.
The bottles were brought to recycling today; $6. Not too bad.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

60% Through

WOOHOO over the hump. Things are still as crazy as they can possibly be. I honestly have to say that I am glad that I am not working right now. I wouldn’t have time to fit in all this crazy stuff if I were still working. Let me see if I can recall everything that has happened in the last month.
I am scrap booking like crazy which has been very educational. If you honestly think that after school you still don’t learn about other countries and their history or just learn anything outside US history then you are crazy. Nathan’s military history has brought me to some great places without leaving my couch.
A letter received from housing about a mandatory meeting to sign a new lease for the home. We officially switch over to PPV (Public/Private Ventures) effective October 1st. Let me note that I get this letter in the mail 24 hours before the mandatory meeting. I also found out at the meeting that for some odd reason my letter was different from everyone else’s.
I spend 6 hours at this lease signing event having to take a class, fill out a rental application, sign the lease, sign a pet addendum and about 4 other addendums varying from lead paint to mold and mildew for this house. I also end up making a trip back to the house because I needed information that I don’t have with me every day; vehicle tags, a picture of Angel and stupid me should have known better to bring an LES (Leave and Earning Statement). I was glad that I had no problems with the POA (Power of Attorney).
One of the weeks in September we were without power when I got up. This happened three days in a row.
I receive a letter in the mail stating that we are scheduled to move in mid October to a brand new home a couple of blocks over. Wonderful, now PPV finally listens to me when I tell them what is going on with Nathan and our unknown situation at the moment.
Nathan receives word that he is accepted into the IP (Information Professional) community. WOOT WOOT finally some news. Congrats hubby!
Nathan receives word that orders will be cut ASAP since we are in a complicated situation with having to move out because the house will be demolished January 1 of 2007. Nathan is told that he would hear from the IP detailer the following week and that we were looking at a move to either Norfolk or DC. Okay some more news but of course I can’t jump up and down until I see the orders because with the military nothing is set until you have orders and even then I have heard that orders can change at last minute.
Nathan was supposed to hear from the IP detailer the week of the 25th but no news, no surprise at this point. So we wait some more.
Monday the 25th wake up to no power in the morning again.
The 27th I head to the PPV housing office for another meeting. I wait 45 minutes and spend the next 15 minutes explaining our situation. I am told we can stay in the house and don’t have to move since we are due for orders by November (this is my goal at this point). We aren’t even assigned a new home anyway; we were Red Listed on our community housing list. They haven’t decided where they want to put the JOs (Junior Officer). If we don’t have orders and don’t know anything new come November I will have to move.
The power surges in the house are ridiculous. I have had to replace 4 bulbs this month and the replacements happen in the same two ceiling fixtures.
The lawn mower air filter was purchased and replaced. Thank you Reid! He even left me with the receipt so I know what type of air filter to buy and what the part number is 
The kitchen “junk drawer,” as we call it, broke. The track is fine but the cheap plastic roller on the back of the drawer itself cracked and split. I can’t find a replacement and should call housing to fix it but since they are just tearing this home down I don’t think they are going to care.
Angel is definitely spoiled. She has made me laugh with her crazy hyper active attitude. She has scared me a couple of times with her middle of the night barking sitting up on the bed. We play with bad kitties and play when I need to take a break from scrap booking. She gets treats not just from mom but from mom for dad too.
Oh did I mention that we are over the hump? WOOT WOOT! The sad part is I haven’t treated myself yet. I wanted to get out shopping but ended up busy with the housing stuff or at home not wanting to go out because my allergies are horrible.
The in-laws sent me a great mid way through celebration package; chocolate, soaps and lotions and a book. I finished the book last night.
I did get out one morning to the Ward Center to head to Borders to buy some books. I had gift certificates for Borders. I will get out to the mall eventually. I have a gift certificate for one mall.
Next week I have appointments for the car and truck. The truck needs an oil change and the car needs the annual safety inspection and oil change.
Well I think that is it for right now. Again thank you to all of those that keep checking in on me and to all those that are being so supportive. To my husband thank you for all the cards that bring me to tears and for dealing with my constant complaining. I love you always.
I hope that all is going well for all of you out there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nearly Half Way

Okay since I last posted things were pretty bad. I wasn’t doing well at all. The middle of August I called and started seeing a counselor. I finally said I need help. The big sign for help was when Nathan called and I had a really hard time from holding back the tears and wanting to throw a fit on the phone for 15 minutes. That is all that we have with where he is located right now; two 15 minute phone calls. Wonderful!
Some of the other wonderful things that have happened since I last complained:
My last paycheck from the security firm was wrong. I wasn’t paid for all those tests that I did when mom was here in July. That was an honest mistake. Then I sat down and wrote all the things that I thought that I deserved as a loyal employee of the company. I sent an e-mail to HR and said I would like the check cut as soon as possible and sent to me. LOL, of course I am not getting any of it. I didn’t even get paid for the three days of vacation I took when my mom was here. I only got paid for two. You ask why and I was told because I didn’t accrue them. Thanks company! The company had me down as starting as a full time employee in April and I was full time in March. But I was too upset to argue with them so whatever. I asked for them to send me the check for the shopping ASAP and hung up the phone. I mentioned before no severance pay either.
I called to get Nathan’s truck in due to recall on parts. It took me the morning on the phone to get this taken care of. However it only took 45 minutes with an appointment to get the parts replaced. I wasn’t even charged for the mechanics time. WOOHOO!! Finally some good customer service.
The AC died on me after we had three power failures in a week. I thought that it died because of the power failures. The AC clogged with allergens. Thank goodness maintenance could come out the next morning and take care of it because I was off to the airport to pick up family later that afternoon.
The lawn mower had a cranky moment. I learned about spark plugs and I found out that our lawn mower has an air filter. The lawn mower stopped. Reid checked the spark plug for me after we checked the fluids. We cleaned it off and then put in back in. There was nothing wrong with it. When playing or looking at some of the other parts I noticed an air filter. Like I said I didn’t even know the lawn mower had one. No wonder why the lawn mower stopped working. I wouldn’t want to work either if I had something that nasty on me. Reid whacked all the dirt out of it and then put it back on and BAM the lawn mower worked. Reid finished the lawn for me and then took the air filter back off. He was going to try to find a replacement for me.
Nathan received word that he probably won’t be sent IA but that he will be redesignated. Not really what we wanted but honestly better than this P3 pilot stuff. It just isn’t right to live you day, without knowing at the end of the day, what your schedule will be for tomorrow. That just isn’t even civil. Nathan put in his requests for which communities he would like to be assigned to.
We received word that Nathan may be sent to Information Professional.
Okay outside from all of that my Aunt and cousin were here for 10 days. We did some shopping, went to shows, ate out and walked around. It went pretty well. I drove down to Waikiki a lot but it was good for me to get out. I am glad that they had fun.
I had a party here for all the shoppers. Things went well. We hung out and talked. It was just for the afternoon but we had lupper (lunch/supper), gave out awards and gave out party favors per say. We took some pictures too. It was just a bummer that only half of us could get together 
I am scrap booking, crocheting, reading and spending time watching HBO and DVDs. I haven’t gotten too much into a routine since I have had family in and a party to plan.
We are now just about at half way. I am hoping that the second half of deployment will be easier and quieter than the first half.
Thank you to all of those that have been supportive, especially when I needed to go to counseling. Thank you to my wonderful husband for all those wonderful cards and for dealing with me through this. Thank you to all those that continue to check on me on a regular basis and help me find something to laugh about. I hope that all of you are doing well.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Switch to Dvorak

I have been standing a 12 hour watch 6 days a week for the past month (I am supposed to have one day off a week). While it is generally busy I have been on the night shift so there is some free time. Since I sit in front of a computer all night I decided to teach myself a new keyboard format. Everyone knows the QWERTY format “asdfjkl;” but few people know the more efficient Dvorak layout “aoeuhtns.” It alternates vowels on the left with common letters on the right. Letters are arranged by how often they are used and are placed to use alternate hands every letter to increase speed. This website explains most of the benefits. I really did it to prevent Carpal Tunnel and Arthritis. I spend a lot of time on the computer and the QWERTY layout was designed without ergonomics in mind and to be slow and inefficient to prevent typewriter keys from striking each other.

I could type over 100 wpm on the QWERTY keyboard (90 wpm minus errors) and I must say it was extremely aggravating starting over. To go from that to 10 wpm is painful and retraining your muscle memory isn’t easy. It takes a lot of concentration and repetition.

I tried the switch cold turkey and couldn’t do it. So I began practicing Dvorak using the Stamina Typing Tutor (which is a great program). August 1 while using QWERTY when I was doing any serious typing. I practiced 15-60 minutes a day and by week two I was up to 20 wpm. I began using it more at work and by week 3 I was at 30 wpm. At that point I stopped using qwerty completely. Now on week 4 I am barely at 40 wpm and starting to level off, I expect to plateau for a bit and not break 100 wpm for a very long time. I have almost completely forgotten the qwerty layout.

Is it worth it? Like many other things you can’t prove a negative. I don’t know if I ever would have had problems from typing too much on qwerty. I did notice my hands would become tired and cramp if I did too much typing, I haven’t noticed it since switching to Dvorak (but I haven’t been typing as much either). I am hoping it will be worth it in the long run, but I would not have done this if I hadn’t been deployed with free time on my hands (get it?).

I also found an online typing test that was useful.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bird Dog

I am very proud of my dog back home. Rikki witnessed her killer instincts while getting the mail. In the past I have found two dead birds in the yard and assumed Angel got them but I wasn’t sure. She is a natural bird dog (Jack Russell’s were bred for this actually) and she will point whenever she is indoors and sees a bird outside. She knows the words: birdie, squirrel, and duck (when we lived in Jax). Rikki was pretty upset about it, even more so when Angel proudly took her prize back to her. At least we know if she ever gets lost she could probably survive on her own. We also have a mongoose that is living under a junction box that Angel likes to chase. This could be a problem if it ever turns on Angel and fights back. Those things are unbelievably fast, you can search on the Internet for video on how those things kill poisonous snakes.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Laser Hair Removal

I have had razor bumps since I started shaving thanks to my curly hair. I despise shaving every morning and I am starting to wonder if I should look into laser treatment. The military is offering the treatment though I’m afraid the case of pseudofollicultis Barbae (PFB) must be pretty severe and only a few hospitals have the lasers. If the Navy won’t do it I might pay for it myself. It isn’t that expensive: http://www.michaellawmd.com/laser.html and far cheaper than shaving materials for a lifetime.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Redesignation

Here are my top 3 choices, I am expecting to be stuck with Surface Warfare though.

Information Professional -1600
Information Warfare -1610
Intelligence -1630

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sketchy Media and Porkbusters

Here is a good article on what is wrong with the media today. Bloggers are slowly setting them straight. Another important idea from the blogosphere is government budget transparency. Who could have imagined that the blogging public would be policing the media and government. This is a wonderful thing. A senator took the torch and is trying to pass a bill that would require all budgets be available to the public online.

A few days ago I took a civilian contractor who was doing geophysical mapping for Afghanistan to the airport. They use a P-3 to do various mappings (ground density, gravity, magnetic, etc.) in this case it was mostly to look for oil, paid for by the Afghan government. She told me about the other projects she had done in the arctic and Gulf of Mexico. I asked her why they did the gulf of Mexico since it has little strategic value (for gravity and magnetic mapping) and she said because of Trent Lott. Turns out the company was from Mississippi and he funneled tons of money into the project. These pork bills that get added into budgets need to stop and this bill to list all spending online for the public to see is a great start. Mr. Lott emphasized this with this quote “I’ll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina.” How horrible to be held accountable for spending the publics money.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Nuclear War Survival Skills

This book was originally written for the cold war and many would dismiss its value today. But as I have posted before about http://www.lastbestchance.org/ a nuclear attack will happen and the death toll after the initial blast and radiation fallout will depend on how well prepared people are. Unfortunately our government is not doing their job preparing the public so we will have to do it ourselves. This is still the best resource out there and I highly recommend making the at home Geiger counter to make sure you don’t have any stray radioactive material around the house (seriously kids have been known to collect shiny radioactive rocks).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ridiculous Passwords

Here is the latest in overkill from the Navy. “Passwords MUST contain 9-15 characters AND at least two lower case letters, two uppercase letters, two numbers, and two special characters.”

Monday, August 07, 2006

Diego Garcia

We had an overnighter on this small little island. It was extremely nice and used to be our main det site in the past (I wish we were still there). Rooms were plain but the exchange was ridiculously cheap. I bought a liter of water for 60 cents. The O’club was very nice, even had a live band on a Thursday. I played some pool for the 2nd time this deployment and did well for a change. Rudy of course wanted to bet, he stopped betting after losing twice. Up early for the flight I ate at the galley. I tried Aloe Vera yogurt for the first time and yes it had actual chunks of aloe vera in it. It tasted just as I expected, disgusting. After that back on the C-40 (Boeing 747) for the 2nd leg to our main det site.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kadena

Japan was a comfortable det site. The rooms were excellent with a full kitchen and high speed Internet. The only downside was a roommate though I was able to keep a single for some of the time. The humidity was horrible, a lot warmer than I expected too. Okinawa is much further south than I expected. I can tell the difference between mainland Japanese and Okinawans now. The locals here are far more tanned (think Mr. Miyagi) than the typical pale mainland Japanese complexion.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

30% Down

Another month down. I thought that things were supposed to get easier as the time went by. This is turning out to be absolutely horrible. None of this is fair.
Nathan and I sat down and talked one night. We are ready to leave the military. Nathan finally put in his papers to try to leave the military. For those of you who don’t know the Navy is trying to downsize. Anyway the Navy is offering a VSP program and this is what Nathan is trying to apply for. However with our luck and how things have been going and after having certain conversations it is possible that Nathan may be sent IA for a year. I am trying to be hopeful that we can just separate.
The last 3 weeks have been very interesting:
The house that we currently live in is going to be demolished and I am going to have to set up and move myself into a newer home. The government is contracting out the building of newer homes for military families.
My grandmother was admitted to the hospital via ambulance because she had a dizzy spell, blacked out and fell. In the process of falling she broke her arm. She has a disease called Vertigo, which is what caused her to get dizzy and fall. It is similar to motion sickness only it causes people to black out and fall. She was in the hospital for 3 days and then sent to a nursing home for over a week to get physical therapy and figure out how to fix or deal with the Vertigo.
I receive word in confidence that I am going to be laid off. Can you believe that nonsense? I bust my butt for a year for a company making crap pay and trying to make a difference in the division that I worked in by bringing it into a more recent technology age. When I find this out it is 6 days before my birthday and official word as to why I am being laid off comes out the day after my birthday. To this day none of the people who made the decision to sell the division that I worked in have confronted me. I am also not going to be able to collect unemployment nor am I going to be receiving any type of severance pay.
My mom came out for a week visit. Thank goodness for her visit. She was able to help me celebrate my birthday and was here for me on my last day of work. She was super helpful. We even spent a day cooking meals so that I wouldn’t have to cook meals in the evening.
Tuesday night after work I picked up mom at the airport. We talked a little. I didn’t want to keep her up too long because of her long flight and change in the time zones.
The day of my birthday I completed one of my three part time jobs. I don’t know if I ever told you what I did. I was hired by a small, private, security firm to be an Administrative Assistant for a certain division of the company. I am sure your ladies have heard of mystery shopping. You are hired by a company and you either shop or eat out at places and rate the customer service. As an Administrative Assistant I am responsible for making sure that tests were completed and logged in. I even made it easier for our shoppers. They used to hand write all the reports and have to drive to the office to submit them. I came up with a word form template for the shoppers to fill in only the sections where information is required and then they submitted the reports via e-mail. Definitely easier and more efficient. The next step eventually was to get everything web based. The submitting of the reports from the shoppers to us, we edit and then the clients retrieve them via the web. Anyway before we could get to that point the CEO and VP of the company decided to sell our division. Now as the Administrative Assistant for the division I needed to have training and become a mystery shopper myself. I completed training and was officially a shopper in February. So mom and I spent the entire morning walking and doing tests in Waikiki. We had a great time. That evening we performed a restaurant evaluation. So supper on the company  Thank you hubby for a wonderful birthday card, I love you very much!
Thursday is the day that we spent cooking. We were supposed to get hit with the remains of a tropical depression but we didn’t even get a sprinkle. We went out in the morning to the exchange and did some grocery shopping.
Friday we went shopping back to the Navy exchange and commissary. It was nice. Then I spent the rest of the morning cleaning and trying to take care of things that I have been putting off. Mom and I spent the evening talking. I told her about everything that was going on with Nathan and she got me caught up on all the stuff that is happening at home. We ordered pizza for supper.
Saturday was spent running errands. Mom went with me to the bottle redemption; $12 in cans and bottles. Not too bad if you ask me. After that we drove up to the other side of the island. I needed to stop off at Navy Federal to deposit all the coins I wrapped before mom got here; over $100 in coins. We waited in line for 45 minutes. Mom was even getting impatient and she spent many a years as a bank teller. Next was a stop for my brothers and sisters. They wanted something from U Down. Something about the owners possibly going to jail for defacing street signs. I am not sure about it all. I just know parking was horrible and it took us some time to find the stores. They are located on the second level of an older building. In the evening we headed down to Aloha Tower.
Sunday I worked an 8 hour day and didn’t make it home in time to go do anything. Mom had supper waiting for me.
Monday my last day as an Administrative Assistant was a 9 hour day.
Tuesday we went for a walk and watched the planes take off. The rest of the day we just relaxed and helped mom get ready for her flight back home. So sad to see her go and talk about going through all that separation anxiety again.
I hope that gets everyone caught up. It hasn’t been fun by any means.
Thank you to all those who are still checking up on me. Thank you to everyone who sent special birthday gifts this year (Sue and Jerry). Thank you mom for coming out and brightening up this deployment and my birthday. Thank you Nathan for helping me cope with all of this. I love you very much! Hope all is going well with everyone.

Friday, July 28, 2006

NMCI banned isntapundit.com so I'm trying to figure out why.
Access to the page:

http://instapundit.com

... has been denied for the following reason:

Banned phrase found.

You are seeing this error because what you attempted to access appears to contain, or is labeled as containing, material that has been deemed inappropriate.
Powered by DansGuardian
"PR EMAIL OF THE DAY: A link to the Dollywood Mystery Mine Rollercoaster website. "It's like being swallowed by the jaws of a beast.""

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The First Open Source Animated Movie

"Elephants Dream is the world’s first open movie, made entirely with open source graphics software such as Blender, and with all production files freely available to use however you please, under a Creative Commons license."

If only my laptop could handle video editing. I attempted some with Adobe Premiere and my new digital camcorder, it took hours.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Amazon.com Sells Groceries!

The whole online grocery thing hasn't seen any profit yet but if anyone can do it Amazon can. This may actually be a really good deal for those of us stuck out in the middle of the pacific and missing a few staples from back home. Tack on free shipping and many hard to find specialty items and I can't see how you could go wrong.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

No Phishing

I was suckered into one of these websites once. Fortunately I realized it immediately and changed my login/password on the real website. If anyone hasn't heard phishing (ph for password harvesting) is usually done via email sending a link to a fake website mimicking a legit website. Like paypal, ebay, or a financial institution. One sure way to see if you are at a phishing website is to enter an incorrect password, since it is trying to steal your password anything you enter will be accepted. Things are not so bad to require this all the time, but if you are not sure it might be worth the extra few seconds to get an incorrect password error and then re-enter it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

50 in 50 in 50

This is an amazing endurance challenge: 50 in 50 in 50. Running 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. When I first heard this a few weeks ago I didn’t think it was humanly possible. Looks like I was wrong, he is almost halfway done.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Voluntary Separation

The Navy’s continued downsizing now includes officers through a new voluntary separation program. I could actually qualify according to the navadmin. 300 this year, 800 in 2007. All officers, enlisted are being dowsized by about 12,000.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A realistic alternative to gas guzzlers

Hybrids are starting to pick up steam. But, none of them are even close to being as cost effecient as your average vehicle. Finally someone is taking steps in what I believe is the most practical solution. The electric car has been overlooked while other technologies hit the media. Fuel Cell, Hydrogen, and Ethanol are all very expensive and will require a massive investment in infrastructure. The obvious drawbacks of electric vehicles are the batteries. They are becoming more feasible with new technologies and the first serious electric car company Tesla looks very promising. I won't be buying a non-gasoline vehicle anytime soon, I'd guess at least 20 years, unless there are some major leaps in technological breakthroughs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Navy Millionaire

I ran into this guy in Guam.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Webcam Upgrade

Back in.... college I bought a set of logitech quickcam express webcams for one of my summer deployments so we could keep in touch. I think the logitech quickcam was one of the first commercial webcams sold. We finally broke down and upgraded yesterday. The video quality is no longer pixelated and while still a little choppy (30 frames per second) it is at least 10X better than our old webcams. Even I was impressed. We ended up both buying the Logitech Communicate STX and are very pleased with them. A little more expensive than I expected but well worth it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

5 Weeks Down

It has been 5 weeks and I am just now feeling up to post. I haven’t really felt comfortable enough to talk. Deployment is definitely not easy and I needed time to go through my own thing.

Everyone wants to know how things are going and they are going. I am keeping myself busy as much as possible working three part time jobs. I work on the weekends every other weekend. The weekends I have been home have been spent either out in the yard or running errands.

Two weekends ago I spent 6 hours out in the yard. Today I spent 2 hours out in the yard. Yard work takes time. It makes it harder when you can’t do it on a weekly basis. I cheated a little too. Two weeks into deployment I asked a colleague and friend to mow my lawn. He comes by every two weeks or so to help me.

Deployment makes you realize not only how much you miss each other but how much you come to rely on your spouse. Deployment made me also realize that Nathan and I have assumed certain responsibilities. Yard work Nathan does. It has definitely made me see how hard it is and next time when I would like something done, I won’t be a nag about it, I will do it.

There were a couple of crises already. Two days after Nathan left the hot tub died. Of course I needed to reset it. It took me two weeks to get to it. The poor thing and poor me  The Food Saver that we bought before Nathan left for deployment didn’t work. I wanted to exchange it at the Navy Exchange, since that is where we purchased it, however with no receipt that wasn’t possible. I called the company since we registered it with them. They sent a replacement  I just need to send back the dead one.

I mailed Nathan a letter about 2.5 weeks into deployment. He got it in 10 tens. I was impressed. I wasn’t expecting him to get that for a couple of weeks. I also sent out a package to him on July 3rd. He got it on our Anniversary; three business days. I was completely shocked. I filled up a flat rate box, insured it and sent it without any home made goodies at 7:30am before work. Now that I have a new Food Saver I am going to attempt to make some goodies tomorrow.

I put my notice in for work. I told them November 30th. I am just not happy with my jobs. That and it will give me enough time to get caught up on household stuff before Nathan gets home and my parents head out for a visit. I am not going to get into it all because it would be too long.

Our anniversary was depressing. Spending the day alone without really being able to celebrate is some what depressing. My idea of celebrating was ordering pizza, having a soda and plopping my butt on the couch. Nathan and I did get to video conference which was nice. It helped make a lonely day not seem so lonely.

Mom comes out in 2.5 weeks to help me celebrate my birthday. I am thinking that it really won’t be celebrating but more like a chance for me to have a pity party. I am honestly looking forward to that.

I went out today after yard work and a shower to go shopping. I stopped off at the Exchange and bought a new web cam; the Logitech QuikCam Communicate STX. Definitely better than the Logitech QuikCam Express. It even can be positioned on top of the laptop.

Nathan pulled a little trick on me before he left. He wrote a couple of cards and placed them in secret spots. He e-mails or sends me some clues when we video conference as to where to find a card. I have also found two cards when cleaning. I told him that is pretty sad that I am finding them now because he placed them before he left for deployment. I am not sure how far in advance he placed them but it made me feel like I don’t clean this house well enough  Anyway, the cards are very romantic and very helpful. Yes they have made me cry. I have a very thoughtful husband.

My grandparents sent me a nice treat. They bought and had sent to me Whoopie Pies from the Northeast. I eat one every weekend. It is how I have spoiled myself on the weekends. There are a dozen of them so enough to get through 12 weeks of deployment.

I think that is about it. I hope that all is going well with all the other spouses that are going through deployment. I hope that all is going well with friends and family everywhere. A very quick thank you to all those that check up on me and to all those that offer a lending ear. Thank You!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Hurricane By Another Name

My first typhoon: Ewiniar. It looks pretty weak and keeps moving to the West. Of course the forecasters keep pushing back the landfall date. Rikki and I have been through so many hurricanes and tropical storms now that they aren't very scary. Besides, there isn't a safer place to be. I'm on the 2nd floor of a cinderblock building, fridge is stocked, and no one can handle natural disasters as well as the military.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

North Korean Nonsense

Everyone has heard by now about the long range ballistic missile test that failed. It was supposedly aimed towards Hawaii, though it does not have the range to reach it. Followed by 6 short range missiles to make sure the World noticed. The ploy seems to be the typical saber rattling to force the US to conduct 1 on 1 talks to give North Korea concessions. Luckily we haven't fallen for it yet. I don't understand why people think appeasement is a viable form of diplomacy. The more we give the more they will ask for. You don't even have to have kids to understand that.

The real clincher for me is how North Korea has treated China. One of their only allies who provide them with aid. China recently stopped all shipments of aid to North Korea.... Because North Korea stole their trains. They sent the Chinese crews back over the border but kept the trains that were transporting the aid. They say the trains were part of the aid program... How can you negotiate with that?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Valiant Shield

The exercise has ended, successfully I hope. Some good pictures and related information. Pretty amazing to amass such a large force and even open it up for the Chinese to observe.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Emergency Email Network by Area

Rikki sent me some interesting links and a good idea: The Emergency Email & Wireless Network. This is really an idea the government should have picked up instead of a company, but a company can probably do it better and for less money.

There also was a few surprising reports: The report says only 10 states have emergency plans that are fully acceptable - Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont. Way to go Vermont.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Still alive

I went through a little bit of Internet withdrawal for a while there. Hard to believe such a nice hotel doesn't have Internet. Luckily I was able to find an unsecured wireless network to hop on. I gave up a bit of sleep just to check email. Things are hectic and we are covering for other people so we have only had 1 day off so far. Hopefully we can catch a break soon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Countdown

Not like it is only day 2 of deployment or anything but the donut of misery has been posted. The webcam works great. Rikki and I are using MSN to video conference. We've spent a few hours on it already. The voice quality is better than our only phone call. The video is.... cheap webcam video from the webcams I bought us back in 2001. The quality is far better than our last attempts a few years back.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Departure

After several changes in dates and locations I'm finally forward deployed! I had a really weird premonition when we loaded up the car to go to the airport. A Praying Mantis was sitting on my truck watching Rikki and I. It was perfectly still except its odd-shaped head pivoting as it followed us. It was just past midnight, humid, and unusually dark and quiet. Kind of creepy, but all my flights went fine. I'm now settling in at the BOQ with high-speed Internet so I will be able to keep in touch with everyone.... until the next move.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The M Prize

This latest technology prize has not been brought into the publics eye yet but could easily be the most important research of our lives. The M prize is being awarded for significant advances in curing the World's deadliest (and most overlooked) disease: aging. The prize has quickly exceeded 3 million dollars and portions have already been awarded to a few scientists. One winner was able to increase the lifespan of mice to what would be 130+ years in a human. Hopefully the media will pickup on this soon so the publicity can give this research the boost it deserves. We saw what people did or invested to make a spaceship. Imagine what people will do or invest to live longer. Is anything more valuable than time?

Mprize.org

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Where has all the good news gone?

Of all the places to hear about the benefits of good news I find it in an Aleve ad!

"A recent survey conducted for Aleve found that not only do Americans want more Good News, but hearing these stories can have a positive impact on their daily life.

Dr. David Bersoff, a known authority on the attitudes, value and behaviors of American consumers says, "When people hear good news, they feel better and feel good about the future. Americans not only crave a better balance in news with more positive, uplifting stories, but they need it. Reading and hearing about good news has a positive influence on human behavior, reinforcing the need for us all to pay attention and to share good news with others."

According to the survey:

94% say they want to hear more good news.
77% say the media do not give good news enough coverage."

Where is the good news in the media?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No Parking

Just in back of our house is the back entrance to the Pearl Harbor Golf Course. Since they have been going under heavy construction lately we get a good amount of traffic from construction vehicles and workers. We've had a few park on our back lawn so we put up a no parking sign. Even with that they would still park on our lawn but they would move when we asked them to or left them a note, until yesterday.

About a month ago this beat up Red Isuzu pickup parked on our lawn. The little truck is in horrible shape with peeling paint and a front windshield that looks like someone punched it twice leaving two impact sites and numerous cracks. Definitely not something that is legal to drive. This was the second time he parked on our lawn so I left him a note in his wiper asking him politely not to. I came home for lunch and found the note on the ground, so I put it back under his wiper. That night when I came home the truck was gone and the note was on the ground again.

Yesterday the same red truck parked directly infront of our no parking sign. I was fed up but needed to go into work early so I did nothing. Rikki called the base police and gave a description of the man and the vehicle and asked it to be ticketed or towed. I came home for lunch and found the truck was still there with no ticket. It didn't surprise me, I doubted the base police would do anything. And, I think the jerk parking on our lawn knew that too. So I had to get creative.

I grabbed the scissors out of the kitchen and all the post-it notes I could find. I then spelled out NO PARKING in the driver side window (facing the road) with cut up post-its and then put the remaining (a few hundred post-its) on his hood, fender, and down the drivers side of the truck before I ran out. I figured that would make him think twice about parking here (if he has a sense of humor) and be a good example for all the other employees driving by.

I was hoping to catch him when he went to lunch but he never showed and I had to go back to work. I came home that afternoon after yet another cancelled flight and heard a few people talking out back. The culprit and a friend were removing all the post-its. I walked out to talk to the guy. He was a local and had a shaved head, sunglasses, and a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth. I bet his other vehicle is a Harley. They became really quiet when I walked out there and the guy gave me a nasty look, he didn't have a very good sense of humor. I started to help pulling off all the post-its and asked him if he would "please stop parking on my lawn." He replied "are you going to stop putting shit on truck" I said "sure, if you stop parking on my lawn." He grumbled something about damaging his paint job and I better not do it again. I collected the post-its from him and his friend and they drove off.

This morning he parked on the neighbors lawn.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My First Camcorder

I have never bothered looking at Camcorders. They have always been too large and too inconvenient with their discs and tapes (who uses tapes anymore?). Until I heard about the new JVC hard drive camcorder. Finally someone figured it out, too bad Apple wasn't smart enough to expand their business towards this area, I bet they could have made it even smaller. I am a bit leery about being one of the first to buy the product, I'm sure it will have some bugs. But, the ability to play and edit directly from the camcorder is well worth the risk. So far it has worked flawlessly. I will probably need a new desktop to handle the video editing.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The 2005 Navy in Review

A good slideshow, without any P-3's though.

Unrelated info on selling more P-3's to foreigners "Lockheed Martin announced in November 2005 that it would reopen the P-3 production line at its facility in Marietta, GA, to build new Orion outer wings as part of a service life extension program for its international customers and potentially the U.S. Navy."

"Potentially," isn't that reassuring.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

P-3 Ditch

*******************************************************************************
[The below article is for historical reference - NOT a current event]

"They Said It Would Never Happen:
A P-3C Ditches with Four Engines Out, All Survive!"
25 March 1995

While going through the P3 FRS, newly winged aviators have always asked the question: "Has a P-3 ever lost all four engines at the same time." The answer was always: "No, it will never happen." Well as Murphy's Law applies, it can - and we did.

While on deployment and after performing an anti-submarine warfare mission with the USS Constellation (CV-64) battle group, which was located 200 miles east of Oman, VP-47 combat aircrew nine was returning to Masirah, Oman.

The flight station crew was composed of LCDR Mark Radice, a lieutenant commander and a former P-3 FRS instructor who had just checked into the squadron

19 days earlier for his second tour; AE 1 Richard White, the flight engineer; and me, a senior lieutenant in the squadron with about 273 aircraft commander hours.

Little did we know that we were about to experience the beginning of what would eventually be one of the worst P-3 mishaps ever. We had just restarted the number one engine, which was loitered on station to conserve fuel, and climbed up to an altitude of 16,000 feet for our transit home. At about

130 miles east of the island of Masirah, Oman, the flight engineer noticed that the number one prop pump warning light on the number four engine was illuminated. I directed the flight engineer to increase the number four power lever, which was the first step of our emergency procedure, and it also ensured that we have a good blade angle.



We then pulled out our NATOPS flight manual commonly referred to as the "Big Blue Sleeping Pill," and read through the remaining steps of our procedure. Having a prop pump light in itself was not a big worry, but it could eventually lead to bigger problems. Approaching 80 miles east of Masirah, the situation worsened. The second prop pump light on the number four engine illuminated and the prop began to overspeed. The crew went through the overspeed procedures, and we determined that the prop was pitch locked.

This malfunction does not occur on a regular basis in the P-3 Orion, so needless to say, the flight crew's concern and heart rate increased as to what would happen to the prop when we fuel chopped the engine during our descent to land. We flew back to the airfield at 16,000 feet and executed a slow, spiraling descent to maintain our number four engines rpm at 100 percent. Not knowing what would happen when we fuel chopped the number four engine, the flight station went through the descent, approach and three engine landing considerations checklists.

Approaching 6,000 feet and nearing the engine's limit power setting, we decided to circle the field one last time, extend out for a good downwind leg and fuel chop the engine in anticipation for our landing. Unfortunately, we would not get to land at the airfield.

Passing 5,600 feet, we heard and felt a tremendous explosion. My co-pilot, who was in the right seat, looked out and saw a huge cloud of black smoke. To his utter dismay, when the smoke cleared, he saw the number four prop missing and the reduction gear box on fire.

LCDR Radice called out to shut down the number four engine and discharge the fire extinguisher.
I was in the left seat, so I was unable to see what was going on.

Trusting his judgment, I concurred with the decision to shut the engine down. The flight engineer shut down the engine and discharged the fire extinguisher. LCDR Radice looked out at the engine and the fire was still raging. AE1

White then discharged the second fire bottle. Unfortunately, the fire kept burning. AE 1 White then called out that the number three engine's rpm was winding down. LCDR Radice looked out at the number three prop and called out that the prop looked bad.



It made sense that during the explosion, the number four engine probably took out the number three engine. We then called out to shut down the number three engine. While the flight engineer was pulling the number three emergency shutdown handle, I simultaneously advanced the number one and number two engine power levers.

Expecting to hear or feel a pitch change in the prop and not getting one, you can imagine my reaction when I looked out and saw both props barely rotating.



Upon seeing this, I looked back inside the flight station to let the rest of the crew in on the secret, but AE1 White beat me to it and called flameout on number one and two engines.

All of the sudden the flight station went dark due to a total electrical power loss. Shaking my head with dismay, "saying you've got to be kidding me," we directed AEI White to pull the hydraulic boost handles and start the auxiliary power unit in order to get electrical power back. At this time we were gust locked, which is the same as when your car's steering column locks up and you can't move it. To say the least, it was not a good feeling.

After the boost handles were pulled, the flight engineer made several attempts to start the APU, but it kept flaming out. At this point things were really looking bad for VP-47's crew. When the boost handles were pulled, the aircraft should have switched from a hydraulic to a mechanical advantage. For some reason, this didn't occur and we were unable to control the aircraft. The aircraft rolled right into a 45-50 degree angle of bank and our airspeed bled off from 260 to 210 knots.

On the flight station we thought that the aircraft was going to stall and roll inverted. What a horrible gut wrenching feeling it was to think that this was going to be the end for everyone. I was their aircraft commander and I as responsible for their well-being. I could not get control of the aircraft and we did not have time to put on our parachutes to bailout.

Even if we would have had time to don our parachutes, the main cabin door was facing the sky, which made bailing out impossible.



Up to this point, the entire evolution from engine explosion had taken about 45 seconds. With my heart pounding from being afraid and wanting to save the rest of the crew, I said a quick prayer. My prayers were answered. The control column went boost out and unlocked. Finally at about 2,500 feet, we were able to control the aircraft. We leveled the wings, then continued in a left hand turn to acquire the airfield.

When I saw the airfield 90 degrees off of our left wing, we were at 2,000 feet and 6-7 miles away from land. A harsh reality set in -- we were going to have to ditch the aircraft.

Having never heard of or seen NATOPS procedures for a no engine, no-flap, boost-out ditch, the we had to use gut instinct. We knew that if we flew too fast, it would be hard to pull the nose up upon water entry. If we flew to slow, the aircraft would stall soon after leveling off above the water.

We maintained our airspeed between 175-180 knots, which gave us a 1,000 fpm rate of descent. At this time, as with all life threatening situations, each crew 7 member's adrenaline system kicked in to its maximum. Fortunately, I had a great set of parents and a high school football coach who was a former Oakland Raider all-pro football player who taught me to never quit and find ways to win.

At about 1,200 feet, we told the rest of the crew to prepare for immediate ditching. At 200 feet approaching water entry, both LCDR Radice and I started pulling back on the yoke. The nose came up nicely.

The two biggest items necessary to perform a successful ditch is to maintain wings level and have a shallow rate of descent. At first, we were able to keep our wings level and get our rate of descent to about 300 feet per minute. At 80 feet, the right wing started rolling as we slowed down.

LCDR Radice recognized the problem, called for left full yoke and the right wing came back up. Upon water entry, we were wings level, had a 200 feet per minute rate of descent and were right at 135 knots. After several skips across the water and fighting to keep the nose of the aircraft up, the plane finally came to rest.

A P-3 ditch can best be described as being similar to a log ride at an amusement park, but with more of a kick in the pants.

The amazement of still being alive with the Orion still afloat caught me off guard, but there was little time for celebration. The water traversed through the tube of the aircraft and shot into the flight station like someone pointing a fire hose at us. My co-pilot and flight engineer evacuated the aircraft through the overhead escape hatch. I evacuated the aircraft through the side escape hatch located immediately behind the pilot seat on the left side.

After jumping into the water, I soon realized that the plane was still drifting like a boat does without power.

To my chagrin, the number two prop was coming right for me and was going to plow right over me. All that 1 could do was to paddle backwards as fast as I could to avoid the prop, putting my hands on the prop to push me out of its way. Fortunately, the aircraft came to a stop and I was able to swim to the leading edge of the wing between the number one and number two engines.

I called out to LCDR Radice to see if the whole crew made it out of the aircraft. I was covered from head to toe with aircraft fuel and my eyes were on fire. My flight gloves were slippery from the fuel and this made it difficult to climb on top of the wing. After three tries, I was finally able to climb on top of the wing and reach the my TACCO and in-flight technician.

The rest of the crew evacuated out the starboard side escape hatch and entered their life rafts. My in-flight technician was pulling the ring to inflate the life raft, but the blasted thing would not inflate.

A pilot friend of mine and his crew were waiting to take off to pick up an admiral in Bahrain when we hit the water. Shortly after we got into the life rafts, my buddy flew over and the crew let out a big yell. Once things finally settled down, the crew looked each other over and checked for injuries.

To my surprise, not a single crew member was injured. The only person with a problem was me.

Up to this point I had controlled my temper quite well, but this was too much. After a few choice words directed to the life raft, the only option left was to inflate our life vests and swim around to the other side.

Realizing our predicament, the crew in the other life rafts began to paddle around the rear of the aircraft in order to meet us. The three of us joined the other crew members and climbed into the rafts.

I had fuel in my eyes and they were burning like crazy. My sensor one operator carried a little water bottle in his life vest. He pulled out the water bottle and began to pour it in my eyes to flush out the fuel.

While he was taking care of me, my TACCO and second pilot were trying to contact the other P-3 crew on our PRC-90 radios to let them know of our status.

This day was true to form, because my TACCO went through three radios before he found one that worked. On the fourth radio, he was finally able to talk to the other crew to let them know that we were fine.

We were in the rafts for only 10 minutes before the SAR helicopter arrived. The rescue was uneventful. The helicopter took seven crew members on the first trip and four crew members on the second trip.

A month later, a barge and crane raised the aircraft and we discovered that the number four prop had thrown a blade. The imbalance of only three blades caused the engine to explode. The prop blade was thrown from right to left and cut through the body of the aircraft, severing 35 of 44 engine and flight control cables. Four of the cables cut went to the four engines.

The cutting action caused a pulling action which shut down all four engines simultaneously. The hydraulic boost handle cables were cut and the APU fuel line was cut. The nine intact cables were two aileron cables, two elevator cables, two elevator trim tab cables and two rudder trim tab cables.

The co-pilot's main flight control cable was cut. VP-47's crew nine flew under a lucky cloud that day.

For so many things to go wrong and everything to work out perfectly was a total surprise to me. I have never questioned the reason we were spared, but I am glad that we were.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Relay For Life

My mother setup a webpage this year for my great Aunt Marie Pallas who died in february from lung cancer. Give if you can.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Deal on Omaha Steaks

Omaha steaks is running a deal with Amazon.com for some cheap steaks and burgers for anyone that has never tried them. Rikki's parents bought us a sampler pack from Omaha Steaks for christmas which was the best steak and burgers I've ever had. Unfortunately shipping to Hawaii is 30$, triple what it is to the continental US. They are good, but not that good.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

No sandcastles for me

As most of the World already knows a 42 inch sewage pipe in Waikiki broke forcing the city to dump all of Waikiki's sewage (14 million gallons a day) into the Ala Wai Canal. The total reported spill was 48 million gallons of sewage. It took 4 days for the city to close the beaches. One man has died from a flesh eating virus after falling into the Al Wai harbor and several have become sick. The city is still shirking the blame saying these cases may not be from the spilled sewage. This pipe was installed in 1964 and marked as in critical condition in 2004. Most of Oahu's sewage systems are old and falling apart. Beaches close regularly after heavy rains on the windward side due to sewage overflows. Ironically I replied to a letter from a local representative a few weeks ago that wanted to know what Oahu should do with its 600 million dollar surplus this year. I replied invest in city infrastructure, drainage, sewage, and give some tax breaks for a ferry system between the islands.

This leads to my major gripe with Hawaii. For tourists Hawaii's laid back attitude is great for a vaction. For those living here this laziness and lack of competition (start up costs and competitions with the locals here is deadly for businesses) results in poor service and products throughout the island. Most city governments could easily thrive on the amount of money being funnelled into this bloated military and tourist economy. It makes me wonder where the money is going.

The beaches are open again, though I hope not too many people are going in. One fact that gets very little attention is that they only test the water, not the sand. Bacteria counts in sand can be up to 17 times higher than that in the water. Check out the link for the full study.

Rikki and I evaluated a restaurant yesterday in Waikiki on Kuhio one block from the Ala Wai. The smell of sewage was still strong.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Whale Watching

We finally got around to using the Star of Honolulu afternoon cruise we won with the officer spouses club auction last year. It was going to expire in a few days. It turns out this is the same cruise Chris & Sarah went on with Sue & Jerry in february. Unfortunately it is near the end of the season so we only saw 2 whales. A few humps and two tails. The ship wasn't very crowded since it was a thursday and we weren't impressed with its condition. Parts of it smelled moldy and while clean the ship is starting to show its age and constant use. I would have been very disappointed if we had paid the full price.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Server Down Time

My Linksys wireless router died on me, I bought the thing when broadband wireless first came out 2.5 years ago. I gave linksys support a call in case I missed something really simple. I spent the next 30 minutes talking to a fellow from India with a decent grasp of English who went through all the basics. He kept asking what version I had. He finally figured out it was version 1. He tried very hard and I managed not to laugh when he said to me after holding: "Thank you for hold, I admire your patience" As I expected the router was dead, so he transferred me to the warranty department. I was very surprised to find out Linksys has a 3 year warranty on their products. But, I needed the receipt... who keeps receipts for that long? we do actually, we keep good records for our renters insurance. They shipped me a new one (version 5 now with much better encryption) 2nd day air. I am very impressed with Linksys.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another Power Outage

Once again we lost 1/3rd of the power into the house. A different third from the last time about 6 months ago. We called it in and received a call back that they showed no failures in our area so they would not be coming out! But, the housing lady was helpful and sent out an electrician. He arrived in about an hour, I showed him the same things as before and 1 of 3 lines was reading 98 volts, so we were really getting a brownout that would turn into blackout if the demand was too high. He opened up the big junction box for the all the houses infront of the neighbors and there was smoke pouring out of it. Once again I'm guessing the wet weather caused it. He wrote it up and said he would call it in. Our hopes were not very high, but surprisingly PWC was out in the rain an hour later. From 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. they worked in the rain and lightning, digging out underneath the junction box. We were impressed. At 4 a.m. they rang the doorbell to tell us we were restored. Much better than the 2 days it took last time.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

More Funny Stuff

Three guys and a woman are stuck in an elevator. While they are stuck, they strike up a conversation.

The first guy says.......... "I'm a Y.U.P.P.I.E, you know..... Young, Urban, Professional, Peaceful, Intelligent, Ecologist."

The second guy says.......... "I'm a D.I.N.K.Y., you know..... Double Income, No Kids, Yet."

The third guy says.......... "I'm a R.U.B, you know..... Rich, Urban, Biker."

They turn to the woman and ask her... "What are you?" She replies... "I'm a WIFE, you know..... Wash, Iron,
Fuck, Etc."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mystery Shopping

One of the perks of Rikki's job (now full time, well 2 part time jobs) is that we get paid to critique restaurants and stores. We've done 3 restaurants so far. Along with numerous ABC Stores in Waikiki. Rikki was offered to do an alternative lifestyle bar, but she turned it down. Rikki does all the hard work writing up the reports. I just help her gather all the information to critique the stores on everything from cleanliness to how friendly the workers are. Gotta love the free meals, but there is alot of work reading and remembering the instructions beforehand on what to check and then actually doing it without looking too obvious. Once I do 30 of these we will be eligible for trips to the other Islands to do some mystery shopping there. Too bad it will take me another year or two to get 30 done.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Iraq on brink of Civil War! Again

How many times can Iraq be on the brink of civil war? A google search results in 401,000 matches since the war started.... Too bad people believe what the media reports, 80% believed it in a CNN poll. I guess if people say it often enough it must be true. People need to stop relying on the major media outlets for news. There are far more reliable sources out there, and it will continue to get better. Even CentCom is podcasting.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Great Aloha Run Results

I finished 1391 out of 22330. I doubt I will ever run with that many people again.

Place Name Last Name City St Time Pace
===== ========= =========== =============== == ======= =====
1391 Nathan Winters Honolulu HI 1:11:48 8:49

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Great Aloha Run

Chris and Sarah motivated me to sign up for the Aloha Run while they were here. I am pretty out of shape and only ran a couple times to prepare for this. I was up at 4 a.m. to park at the Aloha Stadium and be bused to downtown. The run is from the Aloha Tower to the Aloha Stadium, 8.2 miles. The turnout was amazing, over 20,000 people. 5,000 runners were military running in formation. They were given a 20 minute head start. The rest of us started at sunrise and I began strong with the first 3 miles under 8 minutes each. Luckily it had rained the night before so it wasn't too humid. The sun never really came out from behind the clouds but there was no wind so I was a bit overheated the whole run. I did surprisingly well and kept a sub 9 minute mile the whole race (including 3 water breaks and waiting in line at a portapotty). I finished in 1 hour 10 minutes. I sprinted the last bit to pull ahead of the lead military formation with their colorguard. Even with the 10 minute headstart I outran all the military formations (which isn't saying much, they go pretty slow). Now I'm wondering if I will be able to walk tomorrow. Legs are pretty sore, though no injuries.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Updated Webpage

I finally took the time to update the webpage software and pictures. Plenty of new links to the right. Hopefully this version of movabletype will be less buggy. Comments are enabled once again, though they require approval so spammers and overzealous coworkers don't waste my server space.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Day at the Sandbar

We took Chris, Sarah, Sue & Jerry out to the sandbar today. I rented the 10 man pontoon boat and a 2 person kayak. Jerry brought the grill and we finished up the Omaha Steaks Rikki's parents got us for Christmas. Those were very good: Steak, steak burgers, and smoked salmon. We also tried the local pacific prime dealers who are a cheaper version of Omaha steaks, not as good but still better than what you can get anywhere else. We spent 4 hours on the sandbar, the water wasn't bad until we swam out to do some snorkeling on the reef, it felt like about a 10 degree drop off the sandbar. Chris and Sarah will be heading home tomorrow. We will definitely do that again, what a great time. Pics posted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Corpus Christi Training Planes Update

Here is a link with some more information.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Corpus Christi Training Planes

Getting up this morning to watch the news; We hear a student trainee and an instructor pilot are killed in a T-34C crash. Right now there is no known cause for the accident. However after reading this article and remembering when a T-34C Nathan was flying came down with no landing gear, brings back a flood of unhappy memories. Our thoughts will be with those families who lost a loved one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

POV Survey

Back in August I wrote a letter in regards to shipment of Personally Owned Vehicles to Outside the Continental US duty stations. I sent that letter to 5 different senators. I never received word as to whether or not those senators received those letters, so I just kind of forgot about it. Today hubby received a POV survey. The survey asked the same questions that I brought up in my letter. I feel so important and special now :)