Wednesday, February 25, 2009

my typical day

We're settled into C'ville (short for Charlottesville). I am getting more time with the girls than I had thought. The girls are adjusting to my schedule. Enya was pretty excited to see my "school" last night.
My typical day:
I wake up around 5am (tomorrow it will be 4am), have PT for an hour, shower, eat and start class around 8am.
We get about an hour and a half for lunch that allows me to come back to the hotel (we are at a Residence Inn) and have lunch with the girls.
Afternoon class is about 2 hours give or take. Homework is pretty light (all 3 days so far!), but there frequently seems to be some admin task that fills part of the rest of the afternoon.
But so far, I have actually spent more time through the day with the girls than I ever have in my day job...of course, I am completely wiped out and all Enya wants to do is have me run around outside with her!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm in Charlottesville

Charlottesville is least what I've seen so far. I got here yesterday afternoon. The accommodations are great. I am staying at the Residence Inn, just a couple hundred yards from the law school. It looks like there are a lot of shops/stores right across the street, so we should be able to get everything/anything we need without difficulty. It should be easy for Karina and the girls to navigate the area.

Since my last update...I survived the gas chamber! The Cadre took it easy on us though. Basically, we donned gas masks and then marched into a little room, ran around in circles and then (in order to leave the room) took our masks off, recited our name, social security number and place of birth...the Chief let me go out as I was halfway through my social...he could have held me the entire time. It mostly just burned around my eyes. I coughed a little bit for a few minutes outside, but otherwise didn't have any other issues (ie. no snot running down my face!). The rest of the week was mostly paperwork processing.

School starts Monday. 0500 PT (5am physical training) and then class at 0800. Got my first set of books yesterday. The law school is beautiful, too. I woke up early this morning (6am) so I decided to get a little running in since we are running 3.5 miles on Monday. After the run, had some coffee and orange juice in the dining area of the Residence....they have a full complimentary breakfast every day so that should be great for the girls.

I'm really enjoying this. Still an alien world for me, but I'm getting used to it. The saluting thing is still going to take some time to get used to. Karina and the girls arrive tomorrow. Can't wait to see them...seems like I've been away for a month.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My first pic

Spent the day in the field, again. Did 2 mile road march with about 35lbs on my back at 7am, then spent the day outside in the cold (high of about 40 today), did 7 hours of field classes (land navigation, first aid, camouflage, etc), ate more MREs, crawled through the dirt while the First Sergeant yelled at us to "Hurry up!" and then 2 miles back. It was cold, really cold. And we stood all day long. So my legs are really sore tonight. Luckily, no blisters for me. But quite a few have them. I'm just sore and tired so I am going to bed after I post this.

This picture is off of my cell phone, so it is not so clear. But that is face paint, not dirt!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Today was our first day in the "field" (aka the great outdoors!). It was pretty cold...I think the high was around 45, but when we first got there (at 7am), it had to have been in the low to mid 30s with a fairly strong wind. So we did a lot of moving around and boot stomping! But the events of the day kept it off our minds. We were at the pistol range. So I got to shoot a 9mm. Was fun. We also had some basic instruction on operating a radio and, of course, while we waited, we marched around the field in formation.

Today was also the first time I've eaten a MRE (Meal Ready to Eat). I had chili with beans. It comes in a place the chili packet into another plastic bag that has a heat packet in it and add water. In about 2 minutes, it is hot and ready to eat. Was actually pretty tasty. The MRE also came with crackers and peanut butter & jelly, corn, a milkshake packet that I didn't have enough time to make and a candy. The whole thing contains around 2000 calories. When in the field you get 3 a day and are expected to eat them...something about the need to take in huge amounts of calories to help with the lack of sleep and all of the activity. I have 2 of them to eat tomorrow...chicken and a cheese/veggie omelet (not so sure about the omelet!).

Tomorrow, we have our first ruck march. Boots, helmets, backpack, the whole thing. Only about 2 miles as we are marching to the field where we will be spending the day. 2 miles shouldn't be too bad since we are already running that far, but it will be different with all of the gear on our backs. It is also supposed to be the coldest day so far, so I'm going to double up on the long johns!

I am really enjoying it. It helps that my classmates are nice. Can't believe that it has only been a week. Seems like a month. Karina tells me that Grace is sick and so is Grandma now (and Karina is feeling it a bit, too). So they are definitely working overtime up there. Will see them a week from today!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday!! well, I still have to work tomorrow...

PT (physical training) at 5am tomorrow morning...which means getting up around 4am. So much for sleeping in on Saturday.

Today we did a lot of drill and ceremony...marching in formation: right face, left face, forward march, etc. Was fun...well it was more fun as we did it better and the First Sergeant was happier. Looks really cool when 100 people are doing it.

There is just so much information to remember. A whole new language. Had a Chaplain visit the class today to discuss his office and role. More leadership training as well....sort of like what you would expect from an "effective" leadership training for a corporation.

So I am doing well. Enjoying it. I miss Karina and the girls terribly though...seems like I've been away forever. Got to talk to Enya a little last night and heard Grace laughing which is the best thing ever...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Soldier First, Lawyer Always"

This is the JAG motto. We are getting a ton of history, values, officer duties, the JAG role of upholding the law and ethics, etc, plus more drill and ceremony (formation, marching, etc). Got my shots yesterday and gas mask today. Gas mask is for next week when we march into a gas chamber filled with tear gas and then have to take our masks off...should be fun!

Days are still long with very early mornings....mostly 4am ish all this week and done around 6pm or so. But I am enjoying it. Classmates are great. Everyone working together....pretty cool to see more than 100 lawyers doing that....very unusual :) .

Drill instructors are really good. Really tough, but smart. The guy who stands next to me in formation was born and raised in West Lafayette, IN. Now works for the State Department in his civilian job and will probably be posted at an Embassy (not in a military capacity) after he finishes his JAG training. He is a reservist as well. I've made some friends as well...we're all in the "older" category (35 and 42), reservists and married w/ kids. So we have some things in common. But even without them, I can join anyone in the class without a problem...and occasionally do when we are all split up. So I have successfully made social contacts!

Time to go. Get to sleep in tomorrow (6am!!) .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

what day is it??

Feels like I've been here a week! Was up at 3:45am this morning. Went to bed at 9:30pm. We had our 1st diagnostic (practice) physical fitness test at 5am.

For my age group:

Pushups need 34..........did 32
Situps: need 38.............did 51
2 mile run: need 18:18 minutes.....did 17:32

So the latest that I've slept since Sunday morning is 4am. We have a group run (in formation) tomorrow at 5am....somewhere around 3.5 miles. Should be fun! They are cramming a ton of information into us...all day long. Some interesting, some not. Class is 112 lawyers. Largest class in the JAG history.

I just need to shower and go to bed (and take some Tylenol!). It is going to be hard to update the blog for this and next week....just not enough time. But I'll update when I can.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm here!

I made it. Very little sleep last flight was at 7am and I got up at 4:30am (I should say 0430 and 0700!). Enya woke up a couple of times so that, combined with a little anxiety, meant that I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. I'm hoping to get a little nap this afternoon since I don't have to report back until 6pm (1800 :) )

I got to the base a little early and have completed the initial in-processing (weigh in, some paperwork). Had a sergeant give me a hard time about not completely filling out one of the numerous forms...sort of funny actually...he found a problem with everyone. And he complimented me on my bright orange running shoes ("you've got some real ugly shoes there, sir"). Welcome to the army!

So I am OK. A little nervous as I am out of my comfort zone...this is a completely different world. Am feeling a lot of guilt about Enya...more than I thought I would. But I made it.