Archive for December, 2009

Thats been a half-ass slogan of mine for a few years. Started right after I joined the service. I was already under fire for my accent, cowboy hats, boots, chewing tobacco, and quite frankly my social ability was of your typical North Georgia Hick. I got nicknamed Hillbilly pretty quick. There was a guy from South Texas who was called Country so it was taken :)

I had no problem with rucking up when it came time though, and one of my squad mates asked before a deployment why I wasn’t worried. At the time I told him something I read in a Louis L’Amour book, playing macho. “If something happens, I’m going out with my boots on, by gawd.”

I never lived it down and it become my battle cry when we decided to paint the towns on the weekends.

Now-a-days the phrase isn’t quite as serious as that first time. I’m glad to see a recurrence of it, so now I don’t feel as foolish.

That being said.

Tonight is a night when a lot of folks go out with their boots on. Either work boots, dancing boots or dress boots. It’s the last day of 2009, and lets face it a lot of folks are happy to see this one go. I know I’m one.

So while ya’ll are partying it up, and reviling the end of the year, and showing the new one in to the door. Take a moment to toast the guys and gals of our Armed Forces who aren’t seeing another New Year, and who made it possible for us too.

Drive safe, or better yet, don’t drive at all. Take a taxi, get a bus. Call a friend. Hell if your close, call me.

Friends, don’t leave your battle buddies stranded. Better to be annoyed with them calling you at 2 am to ask for a ride than to not have’em at all. Trust me on this.

I’m staying low key, I’m going to my moms place to play games with my kiddo until the wife is off work. Very low key for my usual desire to burn down the barn as it were.

So go out with your boots on tonight everyone, have a great New Year

Just come back wearin’em as well.

Most folks know I travel extensively.

Most folks know it ain’t been a dozen roses and a box of chocolates around my place as of late.

With the New Year, that changes.

I submitted my resignation to my company today. It has nothing to do with them, they have been very good to me.

I liked my job.

Quite frankly I hated to leave my job.

I like my boss, I like my work, I love my towers, and I love the traveling. Telecommunications work gave me, a backwoods kid from North Georgia, a chance to be something he could never be in any other field. An ex-Army Sergeant looking for a new home.

This is the first job, in a extremely long time, that I did not want to leave.

As you can probably imagine, the reaction of my resignation was not a good one.

Does the Hindenburg ring any bells?

But the bottom line is, I have to do something for my family. I have to be a father, and I can not be him from 700 miles away.

I’m looking at a new career path. Something extremely different from my current line of work.  But with that new path comes a new day and a new challenge.

Somewhere deep down I’ll miss my towers, I’ll miss the vista’s, the highway, and the whine of tires on black top to a new city, a new market and a new place.

My office always had the absolute best views.....

My office always had the absolute best views.....

But for me I have a much bigger, and much more meaningful project ahead of me.

The Critter

The Critter

Critter is getting her Christmas wish…her Daddy is staying home.

Holidays never fail.

They make me think of old friends, old loves, and old times.

We’ll never know what might of been, but we’ll always know who we were, where we’re from, and how we got here.

And I guess, even for me someone who has spent most of his life chasing dreams, rainbows and white lines there is something to be said for that.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all

Probably my favorite Christmas song.
I dedicate it to a buddy of mine who is going through what I think I finally fixed for myself.

Christmas makes me melancholy. I remember my grandparents most of all.

But I’m home with my Critter, who already knows that after Christmas Daddy has to return to Tennessee.

Lead. Balloon.

I spent last night with her completely wrapped around my left arm, by hands and legs rendering me completely immobile. I was unauthorized for movement. She made it very clear.

I’ve spent holidays in some unusual places.

I’ve spent five birthdays overseas. One in Bahrain, one in Bermuda, Moscow, Zaire and Bosnia.

I have spent Thanksgiving and a Christmas in Bosnia. A Christmas in Korea and a Thanksgiving in Germany.

I spent a Fourth if July in Canada, and one in Honduras.

In the last few years, holidays at home have become more of a treat to me.

For my few readers from over sea’s, I do not envy you the hardship, and my wishes go out. Have a safe and Happy Holiday. Be careful of the Stuffing they love to serve at the chow hall in the Banz.

For my readers at home, as hard as it may be for some, take the time to be thankful you are at least home. Be thankful for a roof. Be thankful for what family or friends you have.

As for me and the rest of my Family here at the Spite Family Wilderness Retreat to all of my readers, you few under privileged, bored and masochistic few who return here to read what ever I have tossed up mindlessly. You deserve better and I will try to provide it in the coming months.

In the mean time: Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and we’ll see you after Christmas

To royally screw someone over.

My wife a while back signed up for a Dental credit line. It’s basically a small loan for dental work only.

I knew this, as my name was not on it and as we were separated I really did not care.

Things are almost normal at the moment. So last week when they called on Monday and said her payment was sue, I made the payment. It’s what husbands do, right?

Then when they called on Tuesday….I told them I made a payment on Monday. They apologised and left. I checked my bank. The payment had not posted. Must be slow I figured.

Wedensday. Same deal. Inform them I made the payment. Check my account no post. Sure no big deal.

Wash, Rinse and repeat for Thursday.

On Friday, I get mad.

Friday they call telling us how they are going to put us in collections. I request a supervisor. The extremely thick India accents are not helping my temper level.

They tell me that the payment was not processed correctly, and that the payment will not go through. They apologize profusely. They give us a $20 credit towards our balance, process a new payment for $50 (the amount of the original payment I made) and again apologize for the inconvenience.

Grumbling I agree, and hang up at least somewhat happy that they were willing to deal with the problem and try to make us happy as well.

Until today.

When I discover that the original payment, the one that was “improperly processed” and that “would not be processed with this new payment” went through.

Last night.

It’s the week of Christmas. I admit I cut my account very close. But sending me in to the negative was not one of my plans for the Holiday season. I have enough money to recover it, not a issue.

What I am pissed off over here is being charged twice.

After I was specifically told that the payment would not be processed.

It makes me want to call them up and kill a cow over the phone

I have two sites rolling this week.

My crew pulls out on Wedensday.

If I can get both of these sites done between now and then, our work will be minimal until first of the year.

If not I’ll be sending a crew back in to the breach immediately after Christmas.

It sucks, but there it is.

It’s not the first holiday I’ve worked. Probably wont be the last.

For sure this one is the least pleasant given the gravity of the situation

Still the job must be done, and its assigned to me. We’ll see what happens next, aye?

I began blogging about my military career in 1997.

We didn’t call it blogging then. And the website was techography.com. But I wrote anyway.

C.J. Grisham has been writing for 6 years at A Soldiers Perspective. Until his Chain of Command shut him down.

This isn’t about OpSec. This isn’t about a soldier conversing troop movements or activities.

This isn’t about a soldier in-country at all.

This is a state side soldier whose leadership chain failed him because they did not want to deal with the situation.

About giving a series of admittedly illegal orders to control a soldier and limit his freedom of speech, and the freedom of speech of his spouse.

Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day.  All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of their blogs until Friday 18 December.

A Partial List of Participating Blogs:

    Army Master Sgt. C. J. Grisham has always led from the front, from combat that earned him the Bronze Star with V device, to doing right by the men he led. His honesty won him readership and respect, from the White House on down. Yet, when he stood up for his children in school, his command did not stand by him.

    Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to you. Today, many milblogs are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Today, you have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Make your voice heard by writing your congressional representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.

    Donations to Grishams Defense Fund can be sent to the below address

    Grisham Legal Fund
    c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
    220 Wynn Drive
    Huntsville, AL 35893

    Silence is golden.

    Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute. Josh Billings

    In my youth I played basketball.

    Not something you would know from my currently over 200 pound frame.

    It was County Rec, and nothing fancy. We did pretty well. I never played beyond that level, and was never exceptional at it quite frankly, although it was enjoyable just the same.

    Unfortunately I just can not get as fired up about Basketball as I do about football.

    Yes Tennessee is playing Wyoming. Yes Bruce Pearl has created a simply amazing program and is doing superbly.

    For some reason though, I just can not get motivated to watch basketball. Hell I can’t even play a basketball video game.

    Would I be interested in attempting to play? Probably if I did not look like a beer keg on upside down bowling pins. Unfortunately I’m more likely to run over my opponent, fall on them, and break multiple bones of their choosing than I am to steal the ball and reverse it for a lay up.

    Lets face it, 5ft 10 inch Irish beer kegs are not renowned for their basketball prowess.

    In watching a home movie last night it dawned on me just how much weight I have gained. The term double dribble I think was invented with people like  me in mind when the ref saw our Guinness inspired beer gut hanging over our jeans.

    As such, even though I have been working out 3 days a week, even though I have been watching what I eat with much gusto, I have got to get a bicycle or something similar and start getting some miles behind me. And inches.

    Or the next personal foul will be called on my physician when he See’s my tubby kiester.

    One of these days I’m going to find whatever demon or gremlin I pissed off in a past life, and I am going to kick it’s ever lovin, cheap punk ass.

    I have lost everything I ever held dear to me, every time.

    So I made a last ditch try for this one. Hell I’ve called every effort for the last 6 months the last ditch try.

    I’ve done everything I can do to pull her out of whatever it is she has fell in to.

    The only thing I can think of is, she doesn’t want to feel.

    She doesn’t want to be loved.

    She wants to be miserable, I guess.

    And the man who loves her, who she stood beside for the last five years, the one who wants to stand by her for the next 60, is left watching everything he held dear spinning out of control and in to oblivion.

    Anybody want a broken heart? Got one for sale.

    Jen if you read this.

    I still love you.

    But at some point you need to learn to love yourself, as the rest of the world does. As I do.

    I’m going back to Nashville.

    I have a job to do.

    Before I manage to muck that up as well as I have my marriage apparently.

    Happy frickin Holidays.

    I first moved to Georgia in 1984 from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    My father had his duty stationed changed for NAS Oceana to NAS Atlanta. The largest portion of our trials and tribulations with his health were over now and the Navy had saw fit to hold a board for him to be medically retired.

    But that is not what this is about.

    When we first moved to Georgia we had no where to go. My mother and grandmother did not get along. The rift between them grew very wide after my fathers illness.

    My father owned well over 100 acres of property we used for hunting. As a boy I walked the hills and ridges all over that to this day they are memorized and I could find my way even in the dark I am sure.

    Upon it was a single room hunting cabin, that my father had built. The one room held a set of bunk beds, a potbellied wood stove and a table. Obviously not conducive to a four member family.  So He enclosed the porch and created a second room. Each room was about 15 by 15, maybe 15 by 20. The exact measurements are lost to time in my head as i assisted with the building. Every cut was made with a chainsaw as we had no power, nor did we ever have power there as long as the cabin stood.

    The wood stove was relocated to the new room, and a small propane cook stove was installed. The table also moved to the new room.

    The old room was equipped with 3 sets of military bunk beds my father got from the Naval auction area.

    A new porch was built. The only security we had for the front door was a simple hook latch from the inside. If we left we could padlock the door from the outside.

    For almost 2 years we called this place home.

    Our baths we took with hot water we boiled on the wood stove. Our baths were rather public, being done in the floor of the new room, between the wood stove and the table inside of a #2 washtub.

    20 ft ftom the front door a spring came out of the ground. It ran down the slight incline about 70 yards before entering a small creek. Once in desperation for some privacy I jumped in the creek to take my bath. In November. It was a short lived effort in futility to be sure.

    I can say it was the shortest bath I ever took, and the coldest.

    Our bathroom was as big as all outdoors, and for night time we had a plastic bucket with a lit that could be removed we called our “honey pot”. One of my morning chores was to empty it each morning.

    I can not complain. When it rained I slept like a baby as the water hammered out beats on the tin-roof  over my head. In the winter we were quite warm as the wood stove was always running bright providing both light and heat. Coleman lanterns lit the rest of cabin so we could read and play cards. Mornings would be very cold unless, someone stayed awake to mind the stove and keep it hot.

    The summer was the hardest part as there wa no way to move air. But there was no shortage of wilderness to play in. We spent the summers working my grandfathers garden, chipping wood for winter, and doing repairs to the property. Building a split rail fence by hand and assisting my cousin Billy Garland in his chicken houses.

    The second year my father took a car battery and devised a way of powering a radio and a mechanics drop light. Inverters were not yet commonplace and he wired it with an extension cord and alligator clips. We would sit on the porch as the sun went down listening to America’s Top Country Countdown.

    I finished the 3rd and 4th grade in this fashion.

    But what I remember more so is getting up each morning and getting fresh water from our spring that bubbeled forth as mentioned earlier. The softest sweetest water in a tin cup every day.

    In someways I think this changed me. I played by myself more than with others due to this, and even now I would rather sleep in a ice cold remember bundled under warm blankets than turn up the heat. I was always a touch eclectic, I think, in the eyes of my classmates. Perhaps I viewed things a bit differently than they because of this. I truly do not know. But I always held it as a changing point in my life.

    ***

    It’s turning winter now.

    The cabin is long gone.

    My fathers house stands near where it was.

    The spring has been made in to a pond and no more can one dip cups for water as I once did.

    If there is one standard in all my travels I have learned it is that nothing truly last forever, and that nothing stays the same. Not even those places we hold dear to ourselves and deem untouched by human corruption or desire to change. Or those places we see as beautiful, now they exist only in our minds eye, to be seen, thought on and reviewed, but never again touched or seen with eyes.

    The smells of winter coming remind me, however. It does every year.

    Wood burning on a breeze, the chill of air across my toes, warm blankets over my arms.

    I miss reading Robinson Crusoe by the light of the wood stove. I miss braving the cold to get a tin cup of the worlds sweetest water I ever tasted while listening to nature and the world around me.

    Nights where my family was the closest, and the farthest it has ever been. I did not know it then but the bond between my parents was separating then and would eventually break.

    We played cards by the light of the wood stove, board games and took turns reading such books as Swiss Family Robinson. Each of us reading a chapter, in the old way. or playing music. My father playing guitar while my mother sang.

    Today I have satellite TV, laptop computer, central heat and air. I have came a long ways.

    But sometimes, I truly miss that time in my life more than any other. And I know that this truly is a long hard road, but my memories help.

    Way back in my memory there’s a scene that I recall
    Of a little run-down cabin in the woods
    Where my dad never promised that our blue moon would turn gold
    But he laid awake nights wishin’ that it would.

    When the world was on our radio, hard work was on our minds.
    We lived our day-to-day in plain dirt fashion,
    With ol’ overalls and cotton balls all strapped across your back
    Man, it’s hard to make believe there ain’t nothing wrong.

    But momma kept the Bible read and daddy kept our family fed,
    And somewhere in between I must have grown
    Cause someday I was dreamin’ that a song that I was singin’
    Takes me down the road to where I want to go.

    Now I know, it’s a long hard road

    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Sharecroppers Dream

    Anyone know?

    I’m running out of ideas, and even my imagination is growing dim.

    Advice, options, suggestions and criticism welcome at this stage.

    Those who wish to stand by and watch as I fall, crash, and burn to ash in the wreckage however, will be charged admission.

    The men trapped beneath the waves in tombs of steel.

    The blood of the Arizona awash on the Missouri.

    The day the sirens rang and all stood in awe watching skyward and America hung on by the radio in aprehension.

    Today is, after all, Pearl Harbor Day.

    When I saw this online I just could not help but create one of my trademark poorly done Photoshop images.

    A new Advertisement!

    A Hole in one, every time!

    A Hole in one, every time!

    Been hectic lately.

    We have close to 600 Site audits in Tennessee and Kentucky that just kicked off. I have at least 6 new sites that are UMTS expansion that launch this week. One has been delayed by a building permit thanks to Tennessee’s maddening licensing system ( I guess I shouldn’t curse to much. It’s not much different than Missouri). I have two that are supposed to finish today which will probably result in my having to travel to Nashville this week.

    So scrambling for labor has been occupying a large amount of my time. Day starts about 6 am and runs until 21:00 or later dealing with paperwork etc. Last thing I want to do is stare at my computer any longer. So unfortunately this takes a back seat.

    One thing I promised myself is I would not let the new blog run me. When I was at Techo I made it a point to post every 2 days at least. It became a dedicated focus to do so all the time.

    One day I realized that this was supposed to be fun.

    Anyway, work has been all over the place. They want all of these sites complete by the 18th. Thats going to be hard. Very hard. But we have to try.

    I do not like using subcontractors. I have worked for three companies, all of whom are out of business, who relied upon subcontractors. Each time was a madhouse, each  was twice the the amount of stress that it should be, and each time I begged for in house techs.

    All three companies swore they were saving money, and they probably were, on paper. But by the time your done fixing the problems that came up because the subs do not take the time to do the job right, learn the standards, or listen to instruction, you haven’t gained a dime, as my previous employers discovered quickly.

    I won’t say that someone out there doesn’t have a good subcontractor system, I have just never seen it.

    Further the next problem I have with subcontractors is they have a tendency to become competition.  If all my company does is supply the parts, the headaches, and the administrative portion of the job, a smart sub will do everything in their power to cut out the middle man, and go straight to the job for more money.

    Which of course leaves us holding the bag, yet again. If the sub quits because they don’t like that they are being called ont he carpet, same deal. If a sub quits because they don’t like the amount of work, same deal. There are a thousand reasons why subs get their panties in a wad and walk off the job. I’ve had 9 this year, alone.

    Some day’s, when I have a cold adult beverage, and a aspirin, I wonder what in the world possessed me to get in to this line of work in the first place.

    In the days of long confessions, we can not mock a soul
    When there’s too much of nothin’, no one has control.

    Peter Paul & Mary “Too Much of Nothing”

    Saw my In-Laws off. True to the story books, the wind was blowing, and cold. The sky was overcast, and Huck leaned against me and whined as they got in to their car.

    As I saw them in to their vehicle, my Father-In-Law shook my hand, and whispered “I hope we have one more year.”

    I’m not sure if he means their age, of which they are, or of my marriage of which we do not know. He had spoke extensively to me the night before, of fears, and concerns. They have asked me to stand by their daughter, my wife, and I assured them I would.

    But I could not help but wonder, in the back of my mind, if she feels the same, as I wave from the porch and watch them ease down our dirt road.

    I can not help but wonder, if the weather, the sky, and the scene was a fitting to the end of our tale, our movie. We just need a Peter, Paul & Mary song to make it final, a nose wiping, tear jerking finale as the hero drifts off to be forgotten from this world.

    I hope we have another year. I pray for it often. I want them to have another one as well, with us and their grandchildren. So much to live for, so much to lose, and so little time. I understand that clearly. In truth, its that way for us all. We all choose what to do with our time differently.

    For me, as I go back inside where she stands holding Critter, I will keep my promise to a man who gave us much and who is having troubles of his own. I will keep my promise to her mother for as long as I am able or allowed. I will keep my promise to my daughter, and to myself.

    Fool I may be. But better a fool in love, than just a plain fool.