Sunday, November 25, 2007

I was /am / are a simple man

Don't know how much longer I'll be around. I don't have an agenda or timeline, but I do have that itchy feeling. It's just a matter of time now.

It's a bunch of little things. But they begin to add up. Like body blows to a fighter. No single blow is all that hard to absorb, but over time they sap you. I am a believer that life should be user friendly. A view that I am afraid is not shared by those around me. However, I am not one to "make do". If I can't make my round life fit into a square hole, I suppose I'll have to find a different hole. Don't let your mind wander into vulgarity over my analogy.

John Warner passed a law that takes effect Jan 1. It makes my medical insurance supplement illegal. Or rather, it makes my employer's contribution to it illegal. I served 26 years, in part to get 2* things: A retirement check every month until I die and access to medical insurance for life. And, apparently, they are happy to provide the insrance. They just loathe that I choose to use it.
I'll explain. See, I work. And medical insurance is made available to me through the company. But it costs a lot more than my Tricare. So the government thinks that it would be better (for them) if I were to take that, instead of the cheaper and more comprehensive Tricare. But, as they say on the playgound, "you can't make me!" Now, my company also provides a Tricare supplement that takes care of co-pays and all that, making my health care 100% covered. That supplement costs me $12 per month.

John Warner, another of them troop-supporting good old boys in the GOP, sponsored legislation saying that those supplements make using Tricare too tempting, and outlawed employer contributions. Oh, I can still keep the supplement, I just have to pay $119 per month out of my pocket, rather than $144 per year. It pisses me off to be given a benefit only under the stipulation that I don't really use it. I didn't sign up, raise my right hand, and collect my paycheck and then mention after the fact that, "Oh by the way, those 14+ years at sea....I don't plan to actually DO them."

So I stoppedat the Arco station in Sacramento on the way to return my rental car. Gas was $3.39, which gave me pause, even though it was company money. What happened next was, to me, surreal. First off, the Robo-pump would only take MasterCard or Visa. That is unusual. But when I swiped my MasterCard Debit card to pay for the gas, a window popped up informing me that there was a 45 cent surcharge and inquiring if I would like to continue. So, if I have this right, I need to pay you 45 cents for the priveledge of buying overpriced gas??? You know that is a trend that will only continue unless we take up torches and pitchforks, and attack it like the Frakenstien idea that it is.

The thought crossed my mind that I might should move to southern Sudan. I mean I am, after all, a southern boy. But them crazy dudes are people after my own heart. I guess oil is making them all a lot of money. And the neuvo rich in southern Sudan are kicking it like rednecks with money. I quote the local paper when I say: "Much of the newfound wealth inJuba, caital of South Sudan, goes to beer and motorcycles." What's not to love about the place?

F*** Me Pumps

You Know I'm No Good

Reelin' in the years, out
Ramblin' Ed
*OK, the other part of my decision to stay 26 years involved soft girls and hard liquor. I told you I was a simple man.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

pithy, unhelpful, and generally unrelated

I just made my rounds of the blogs, posting my pithy, unhelpful, and generally unrelated comments. In my defense, I have very little to say on the subject of bear hunting, though one ran across US 17 in South East North Carolina (SENCland, as the Wilmington paper used to call it) in front of my car once. At first it looked like a big dog with osteoperosis.

Anyway, as I laid out all the comments and stories I would always think, I should put this on my blog, instead of their comments. Mostly bcause this is a pretty fair tale, and when I sit down to my blog in a few minutes, well, I GOT NUTHIN'. Oh well. It is what it is. And you're still with me, so that's encouraging.

You can't tell it , but I took about 10 minutes out for Pepe, my bizarro cat. He is more dog, really, than cat. But he can, and will, climb on window screens. Dogs can't do that. They can knock 'em out, but not climb 'em. Either way though, screen damage pisses me off. But I digress.

So Pepe (AKA The Pepster, Boy Cat, and Stop That Right Now, Dammit!) saunters across the desk. He is purring, and Pepe purring sounds like a Big Catipillar Dozer. Rrrrrr Hhh Rrrrrr Hhhh Rrrrr.... he gets up next to me, bends his neck around like he's auditioning for a part in Feline Exorcist, and bites me in my armpit. I know it's coming, he does it all the time. After gnawing my pit a minute, he emerges and starts licking my tattoo. The tongue kinda hurts, and I don't know if he's attracted to the colors or the fact that it is a peacock. Either way, it feels like he's removing it.

Rrrrrr Hhh Rrrrrr Hhhh Rrrrr.... he bops his head into my nose. I know the routine. Pepe is demanding my attention. Newspapers and laptops bring that out in him. Like I said, he's mostly dog, so I can play rough. I grabbed him up under the neck and tail using the crook of my elbows, a most undignified looking grab. I yanked him up, leaned far back in my chair, and wore him like a cat vest. A warm, loud, massively shedding cat vest. I used the palms of both hands to play his exposed side like bongos, thumpa thumpa (Rrrrrr...) thumpa. I spun in my chair like a tilt-a whirl, bouncing him and thumping him simutaneously. Rrrrrr Hhh Rrrrrr Hhhh Rrrrr.... and then WHAM! He leapt off my chest, leaving little red skid marks in his wake.

The abrupt exit made perfect sense. My wife just emerged from sleeping. And she ALWAYS has treats for cats. So, see ya, Ed, but I gotta go.

The skid marks? No problem. I understand. When you gotta get to the Pit'r Pat Ocean Explosion treats fast, well, it necessitates using the claws for traction. I walk around looking like I came in third in a fight all the time. Scarred up.

Well, there you go. That was not exactly something but not really nothing. Just like a blog should be.

Roasted & Salted, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"You're a what?"

My Leiutenant friend, the one still active, has temporarily moved into my house. It's the Air Force's fault. In just 4 little words, they pretty much threw a monkey wrench into things. The words? "We don't do that."

He reported for duty in Tampa, leaving his wife behind in their big, expensive home in Jacksonville. He should have bought a nice RV, then his family could travel to see him, since the navy has made it purt near impossible for him to ever see them. But he didn't. Once he bought his house and moved back from Japan they immediately stationed him for 2 years on a ship that was always gone. He talked his way off of sea duty and they sent his ass to Qatar for a year. Unaccompanied. They gave him leave twice during the year, once for morale reasons and once for his mom's funeral, and he saw his family then.

Well, he did his time in Qatar and came home to shore duty. At least that's what it was, as far as the navy is concerned. Tampa is not, however, home and it is not just a couple of miles away. It is 4 hours away at 70 mph. But hey, it's MacDill AFB . . .FL, and FL means Florida and you live in Florida, so close enough. As far as we're concerned, we stationed you at home. (These are the same yahoos that made me fly into and out of Ft. Lauderdale on my morale leave from overseas because, and I quote, "I wasn't sure if Tampa had an airport." Huh!? That didn't help my morale.)

So anyway, The Ottoball comes down, sets up in my guest bedroom for a week (his wife made the trip down with him) and on Monday, goes to work and reports in. Part of the check-in process takes him through the housing office where they offer to help him find a rental property. "No need", he tells them, "I'm a goegraphical bachelor." "A what?" "A geo bachelor. I'll just get a barracks room." "Why?" "Because I'm a geo bachelor. All I get is a barracks room." "Oh, no sir. You'll get extra money on your check to pay for a rental. It's an allowance." "Yes, I know what that is. I get it already, so you can't give it to me again, no matter how sincere you are about it. I use it to pay for my house in Jax. But I am stationed here now, making me a geo bachelor, and making me deserving of nothing more than a room in the barracks." "But you have to get a rental, we can't give you a barracks room." "Why not?" "Well sir, this whole geographical bachelor thing.... umm, we don't do that. I've never even heard of it before." So there you go - (1) We (2) don't (3) do (4) that.

I have desert cammies and boots hanging in my guest room, and will for the forseeable future. I told him to live here for free until he can figger out the cheapest way to do things. At least I can offer the room, which keeps him from having to decide "right now" between the lesser of two evils. I at least afford him the breathing room to learn the area, and learn the new base, and especially to learn the AF way of doing things. Then he can decide what to do. Until then, I explained that same rules apply here as apply on the ship, and we all know there is really only the one rule.... the one UNBREAKABLE rule: If you drink the last of the coffee, make some more.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The moral of this story is: Ask me if I miss that crap!

One last thing. I found, and downloaded 2 TV show first episodes yesterday. If you want to see just how much TV comedy, and what constitutes acceptable broadcast standards, has changed, you couldn't find a better side by side comparison than these two. The first show was ALF first episode and the second show was Family Guy first episode. Show of hands, who remembers ALF?

Hanging around like a bad chest cold, out
Ramblin' Ed