Thursday, April 06, 2006

D-Day, April 6, 2006

Well, after studying countless notecards and reciting the NCO Creed 2 million times, I went to the E-5 promotion board and got recommended for promtion.

Thank God that's over! I have had a head-ache for the last three days waiting for this board. It was me and an E-5 who were attending the board. I went first. I was in there for about 45 minutes. Throughout the board, the president of the board kept interviening the other board members to give small lectures to me. Finally, right before I was dismissed, I was asked to ride a chair like a horse and sing a song about why I wanted to be a cowboy on the mounted color guard. (The color guard needs more recruits to tryout) Oh and by the way, the NCO Creed I engrained into my head forever ... didn't have to say. The president said he knew I would know it and wanted to see what kind of character and sense of humor I had, hince the chair thing. All-in-all, I got recommended and I'm happy.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Empty plate ... no, not quite

Get over it's been a while since my last post. So, I was supposed to go to the E-5 promotion board in March. But, the list that that tells you whose sitting on the board and the different topics they'll ask came out pretty much the day before the board was scheduled. To say the least, I was not prepared. I guess it's my own fault because I should've been studying during the month prior, but you really don't start studying hard until about a week or two out. Oh, and during that time I was writing an eight page research paper about five different government agencies, their role in the hospitality industry and why the government feels they should be involved. And taking a final for the same course (Hospitality Law). Well, I finished the course recently, made an A+ and have registered for two more courses. My new promotion board date is April 6. The day after my board, the only other two Soldiers working in my section are moving to Germany. So, guess who is becoming the new editor of the Mountaineer the day after the board? Let me add for you how many people will be on the staff then, Three. Two of the people already have a section of their own, so they really don't count as staff writiers. So, it's just me as editor and writer. So, for anyone who might have read the paper before, don't be surprised if it's a little "different" in the near future. I may have a full plate with an evergrowing 56 page paper.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hospital sleep sucks

Well, on Thursday evening I took my two-year-old son Ethan to the ER because his breathing was labored. After two chest X-rays, one IV, several vials of blood and oxygen tubes up the nose, he became a resident in the Family Care Ward due to RSV.

The first night was hell. He couldn't sleep and I couldn't sleep. A vinyl pull-out chair for a bed is not quite the same as ... well, a bed. I've had better nights sleep in a leaking tent in the rain.

Katy spent the second night with him and then I spent the last night with him again. My second time around wasn't as bad. I think I got about 4-5 hours that night. Ethan, he slept the whole time. The next morning he was ready to go and so was I. Unfortunately, the DR. on call was busy in the ER and didn't get up to release us until about 3 that afternoon. Ethan is home now but still needs O2 at night. He will see the DR. later this week to make sure he can come off it. Did you know if the O2 level in your blood drops to 80 whatever it starts to cause brain damage. If it drops to 70 you can go into coma. Normal is mid 90's. Ethans was in the low to mid 80's that first night. But, he's fine now and Katy and I have got a hospitalized child under our parenting belts now. After times like this is when I'm very thankful for the Army and that FREE medical care. But, again, joining the Army while the kids were young had great baring on why I joined. We knew they would need medical care more in their young lives than any other time (hopefully). By the way, does anyone know of a good paying company with decent medical coverage?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Happy Valentine's to ME!

Just so everyone knows, (especially my wife ... SHHH) I have the greatest wife ever. I have been watching the Ronco infamercials about these fabulous knives for quite some time. One morning my wife suggested I just get them. But, I'm not one to spend money on something I already have. Our knives worked just fine, they cut things. While OOing and Ahhing over Ron's knives, my wife was on the computer ordering me the set with the block. I love her.

Then to make my week even better, she called a man about some saws he had listed in the newspaper I write for. Now, I look through the classifieds every time the paper comes out. I have even called several times about things, all tools, but they are always sold before I call. So I thought the same about these, but when she called he still had them. He wanted $120 for both, but after some negotiation, I got him down to $100. Man what a deal. $120 would have been a deal. They are both bran new, only used just a few times. Man I love her.

But, I think she knows what she is doing. I'm the cook in the family and the carpenter. If I have the right tools for the job, the job is usually a meal or a project for her. I love her.

Monday, February 06, 2006

My parents at Garden of the Gods during a visit this Jan.

One of the photos I took last summer at the zoo.

My youngest cowboy, Ethan.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I'm getting closer ...

As all three of you may or may not know, I have been taking online college courses for almost a year now. This is one of the greatest benefits the Army provides. The medical care and the opportunity to get a free college education, which is exactly what I'm doing, is fantastic. There is no way I would have been able to work full time and afford to take courses and support my family if not for the Army. I was in a catch-22 situation. I couldn't find a job that payed enough because I didn't have a degree and I couldn't get a degree because I couldn't pay for tuition. I'm sure I could have done it, because people do, but this way made it a easier and free.

I take courses from Columbia Southern University in Alabama. I love how they have their courses set up. It is so easy to navigate their site and if I had to pay tuition, it is really affordable compared to most online programs. I'm only taking one course right now because I'm also getting prepared to go to the E-5 board in March. I didn't want to over extend myself by taking two courses and studying for the board at the same time. Two courses is the max you can take at a time from CSU because the courses are only 10-weeks long. But trust me, when you get into senior level courses, you only want to take two. I've done pretty well so far with my grades, but I could have done better, you can always do better, right. I've made a few A's and more B's, but my lowest is a B. I was upset with my last two courses because I made an 89 in one of them. I think I would have rather had an 80 instead of being so close to an A and not getting it. Oh, and for those that are under the misconception that grades don't matter as long as you get that degree ... wrong. I was searching jobs the other day and one of the qualifications specifies a degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Can you say pressure. I'm in the 3 point something and intend to stay there, but now there is pressure. Just passing some of these courses was pressure enough for me, now I have to make a B or better, shit!
Well, I also intend to get my MBA from this school, too. I'm going to use my GI Bill (another great military benefit) when I get out. Not only will the GI Bill pay for me to get the MBA, but it will also refund me the difference of the cost. The school set it up for military vets using the GI Bill to get maximum refunds.
Maybe there are some service members who read this little pathetic blog, and if so, maybe this post will at least make them think about working toward that college degree. Every college credit counts when it's free. Tuition at CSU is $175 per credit ($525 a course) and this is really low compared to others. Now, just taking five courses a year for four years saves you $2,625 a year and in four years you have an associates degree. A total of $10,500, something you may not want to pay for if it's coming out of your own pocket. A bachelors cost at least twice that much. And this is an inexpensive school folks. And by-the-way, a person with a bachelors degree makes over a million dollars more than a person with a high school diploma over their life time. Basically, all I'm saying is service members need to take advantage of the benefits while they can when they can.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A good experience

I have another bragging story from this past weekend. Since I'm a journalist in the Army and a sports fan, I was chosen to cover a mass re-enlistment at the divisional playoff game between the Broncos and Patriots. The photo was requested for the Army Web site for a feature photo. And since I was the only military journalist there, I also took photos of the coin toss because the commander of NORTHCOM was the special guest. Being on the sidelines and the field with 75,000 people in the stadium was pretty cool. To be so close to the players that I could have reached out and touched them while they were conducting the coin toss was an awesome experience.

The other cool part about that night was that my ticket for the game said I was in section 7CC row 1 seat 7. When I learned that section 7CC was the Champions Club (Budweiser suite) I knew working on a weekend would be worth it. There was a free buffet all game long and an open bar. I met several ex-players for the Broncos and had a great time. I stayed in the suite for about 90% of the game eating mixed nuts and drinking Bud from the tap. I would step out to the balcony every now and then just to get a grasp of the stadium atmosphere, but mainly I watched the game from the comfort of a bar stool with the restroom about 15 feet away. I had about three plates of food and enough beer to make my bus ride back to Fort Carson quite comfortable. It was a night I won't soon forget. I felt like a high roller for a night ... it was quite a change. I have determined I definitely need to be wealthy now, because the nose-bleed seats aren't going to do it for me anymore.