Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Joyfully Home

I am happy to report that after breakfast this morning at the nursing home, I hopped on my noble electric scooter and rode it home. After many delays and false starts the surgeons finally under took the open heart surgery they had decided I needed. Quite an adventure!
Once I get settled in I hope to be back in the blog world on a sort of steady basis.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One Mean Man

By way of background info for this tale of character flaw, you need to know that among the indignities I suffered in recent months was the loss of the right "great" toe. While this probably ends any chance I ever had to be a place kicker, it otherwise is a "so what".

I was lying in bed in a hospital watching TV. Into my room ( a single) came a cleaning lady carrying a very long pole with a duster at one end. She proceeded to dust the corner between the wall and the ceiling where spider webs can appear. When she came to the TV she dusted the screen. In the process, the end of the pole hit my foot, startling me. I made some sort of sound and she realized what she had done. Her hands covered her face and in her broken English, she repeated over and over, "I sorry, I sorry." I told her it was all right, that she didn't know what she had really done. I brought my foot out from under the covers. She saw the gap once occupied by a toe as I said,"You knocked off my toe". She shrieked again until she saw me laughing. Finally, she joined me in laughing, but she left the room and I never saw her again. The spiders had free rein from then on.

I know, no need to tell me how mean that was. But It was a good laugh, even if it came with guilt feelings.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Prayers Worked - Thank You All

My gracious, that was a long stretch of hospital beds plus rehab beds. I was in and out of those twice since I last wrote. Got home yesterday, weak as a kitten, but happy to watch today's football on our reasonably large TV as compared to the tiny thing at Rehab. As strength returns I plan to show up here again on a steady basis.

As I told one nurse before coming home - With all the artificial parts, donor parts, contributed blood, and pills and medicines, I just don't feel like myself. But the mechanisms seem to be working better so I guess the substitutes are working and may be an improvement.

Sally was heroic and came to sit with me three times a day, every day. She kept my morale high and I will never be able to express my full appreciation to her. Hers was a tougher time than mine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On your mark... get set... pray

We have a race that has gotten underway here in Sunny Florida. We'll know more about winners on Tuesday. Much as signing up for it is not my idea of fun, it is between me and Hurricane Dean. Dean is scheduled to touch down about then and I am supposed to arrive back at the hospital that morning. The operation on my left leg apparently didn't do what it was supposed. (It was a flop.) . First try will be to attempt a repair. From there on --- We will let the surgeon choose a path. Meanwhile, I don't feel much likewriting a warm story based on nostagia.

I wish you well and plan to be back in a couple of weeks hunting and peeking again.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Even Tiger Woods Could be Beaten, If We Tried This Hard.

I feel like the fellow in the song my father used to sing about when he was feeling frisky. It was something about, “ Of course you can go swimming. Hang your clothes on the hickory tree, but don’t go near the water.” I don’t remember the tune nor the words, but the revised lyrics would have to do with taking a bath without getting wet. There is an old Army term for that maneuver which involves a steel helmet cover.

Anyhoo, my orders are to take a shower --- without getting legs or arms wet. The standard instruction is to encase the exempted extremities within a plastic garbage bag and bind tightly with paper tape and rubber bands. There are some flaws. a) A good definition of slippery is the instability associated with a wet shower floor in contact with a wet plastic bag . b) Strong plastic bags are expensive and rare. The plastic bags, which arrive around the Sunday Paper, fit nicely, but can be almost too rigid for tight wrapping. c) The wounds we are treating stem almost exclusively from poor circulation. Cutting off blood flow to all four extremities seems illogical.

After struggling for months to have a shower and keep the wounds dry, Sally and I worked out a system. We simply don’t try. We figured out that the medical objection to the wounds getting wet is the length of time they sit around with wet and bacteria- laden bandages covering the wounds before they are re-dressed. (Six days a week a nurse comes into the apartment and “does” the wounds and once a week I go upstairs to the doctor’s office to give the doctor a look-see”) Sally stands guard outside the shower and listens for sounds of a rotund body crashing to the shower floor. I have a very satisfactory shampoo and shower. I then let Sally help me out of the shower; tear the, now wet, bandages off. I wave at the “hurts” with a dry, folded up newspaper until they are reasonably dry. With months of experience we can pretty well tell what time to expect the different nurses to show up. We time the shower to minimize the dry-wait . Everyone is happy. It is a win-win situation. FORE!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If It Ain't one Da-- Thing, It is Another

Bah, Humbug! I hope that those few that note that I am having problems posting here will think it is the computer, not me. I have made an effort to fix both possibilities, with equally poor results. The Apple store is about 15 miles away. I have been rejected as well enough to drive that far and Sally has declared herself uninterested in facing down Florida traffic. So here we sit. My self-esteem sinks, while Sally is sympathetic, but continues to insist that transportation is not her thing. We have to get a grandson to get over here, as stat as possible.

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's Not Manly, But What the Heck!

At the Beauty Salon/Barber shop over at the Skilled Nursing Facility they provide manicures. I spent some ridiculous time lately watching perfectly macho guys “getting their nails done”. I must say that I have never had a professional manicure in my whole life. Oh, I think that when I was very young, my mother would occasionally clip my nails. I think her motive was to keep me from chewing my nails. Chewing seemed to do a satisfactory job in my opinion – and hurt less. . In later years after I started carrying a penknife, it did a fine job. It did annoy many of my teachers when I would spend the last half the test time just filing away.

The irony of the situation is that now we are in the post-operative stage of my leg problems, I have been instructed to have a podiatrist subject my feet to a pedicure (without polish). It isn’t too bad, but I may never change my socks in a locker room

Next time I get a haircut, I may sample a manicure. That would be one less thing I haven’t tried yet. At least, I can have the excuse of having it done in a semi-medical environment.

Friday, July 06, 2007


In my stocking last Christmas I received a small hour glass. It is almost six inches tall and if I recall, I have timed it at about five minutes. The passage of the sand is all but invisible. Since I arrived home from the skilled nursing home, I have flipped it over several times and just stared at it as it did its thing. It is quite encouraging when compared to all those hours in the healing process. Progress is hard to recognize if you concentrate, but turn away and then back - progress is appararent even if you can't see it happening. Healing will happen and there is always reason for optomism.

Another measure of the world turning is the fact that while you are confined to bed, physical possesions can easily dissappear. Having had the experience of losing nice pens during past trips to doctorland, I now arrange to take to the hospital one of those super cheap bags of Bics or the like. My accounting shows that of the dozen cheapies I took this trip, I came home with only six.

My roommate was as nice a guy as you could hope to meet - while awake. He insisted on a sleeping pill however. Asleep, he would search out the remote control for his bed and raise himself as high as the bed would go. Darn near to the ceiling! The bed was noisy, so this usually woke me. I pressed the call button for an aide. One would come and see the altitude he was at (with bare naked legs hanging over the side of the bed). She , being afraid he would fall if awakened, would call for reinforcements. I would watch during the whispered crisis and panic sounds until he was back at ground level. I suggested they give him a parachute, but night nurses display little humor.

Home is nice and I am glad to be here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Good God willin'

I am going home this after noon and I am told that there will be parades, fireworks, and barbacues to celebrate the occasion. In fact, there is a forecast for rain that could screw up the whole business. (Which leads to the "and the crik don't rise" part.) This whole adventure and the medications involved puts a lag on my memory. Hence I may have as much trouble switching back to Apple as I did re-taming Windows. Give me a day or so and I'll master it again. Happy Fourth!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Heros are Born

Wednesday noon we had a little excitement (Rest Home Style}. We were peaceably eating lunch in the Main Dining Room. My seat is perhaps closest to the door. Suddenly, there was a loud, explosive-like noise from the kitchen. There are multiple chandeliers throughout the dining room. Each has eight or more mini light bulbs shaped like candle flames. The bulbs all popped like a Chinese fire cracker display with flashes of super bright light. Old folks in wheelchairs like me peddled for the door in a mad panic. What caught my eye were the high school kids that act as waitstaff leading the rush - except for one who stayed calm. She moved to the bank of light switches and turned all of them off. She then went back in to help the residents escape.

She (Tamber is her name) probably did not do the right things from the point of view of her personal safety. There was no time for much thought, but something made Tamber take the selfless path to help others.

A rational review later showed there was never any acute danger, but in those few nano-seconds, Tamber and those few of us that observed her actions knew that she was of the stuff of heroines.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It is an isolated feeling being in a rest home like this.I do know that Lake Tahoe is in bad trouble with a fire and that Paris Hilton got out of the "slammer" today or yesterday. There is only one TV for my roomie and I. Sharing is difficult because he is very deaf and actually dislikes TV. He is a nice guy though, and I don't want to annoy him. He gets tucked in about 7:30 PM so I turn the volume down to the point that I doubt that he can hear and I watch away. Outside of CNN and Fox there is little news on then - and besides, I do enjoy a bunch of the "adventure" series like Law and Order. Between that and the fact that a majority of the staff speaks Spanish makes me feel like I am in a foreign country.

Tomorrow they stuff me into one of those "Non-emergency Ambulances" aad transport me to my surgeon's office. There, the stitches in my tum-tum are scheduled (I don't know if that is spelled correctly but I can't find a dictionary in this library) to be removed and tests run to see if all is working as it should. That should be a pleasant change of pace.

I had a conversation today with a nurse about getting off pain pills that fog me up like a windshield in the early morning. She told me to relax, that they could tell when was the right time to quit. Unbelieving and curious me decided to run an experiment of my own and avoided the pills from 9AM until about 5PM. At that time the routine blood pressure testsing lady came along. My pressure was through the roof and the pain was at high pitch. They gave me BP pills and pain pills and I lay down until dinner was served. I feels fine now, but will leave drug research to the pros in the future.

Monday, June 25, 2007

How Nice To See so Many Comments

Sally has pushed my wheelchair up from my room to the library where this computer is and I was pleased to see so many welcomes. There is a piano concert going on right next door. It is my kind of '40's music (Blue Moon right now) so if my typing sort of jumps, it is just what the music does to me. I am feeling a little devilish right now. I know that liver and onions are not on my diet, but I couldn't resist at lunch - they really know how to cook it!

My roommate by contrast is having a down day. He is eighty nine and suffering a broken leg which he got while trying to make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They have a steel rod in there to prop him up, but real healing hasn't started yet. He is told that healing just takes longer at this age, but he gets discouraged. Old age can suck.

Despite my roaring incision infection, the powers that be decided that I should pursue physical therapy this AM. Seems like I should be mad at someome, but I do really sense that progress is coming along. {Damn, that pianist is GOOD!}

Have I mentioned that that there is a cat named Petunia, that hangs out here in the library? He knows that the doors open to the outside when he get close to the detector. So the whole outdoors is his litter box and he can mootch food from every or any room in the place. He's a fat cutie.

I plan to be back tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hi Folks, I Am Still Clicking

Boy, this spring has been a bad-un. The computer at the "Skilled Nursing Home" is up and working, sort of. So here is a brief update. Since February, I have been in the hospital, at the skilled nursing home, and home again, and then started the cycle over again. I hope that I will be completing this round in a few weeks and can get back to the comforts of home again. A large part of the difficulty I have had in writing about the Last Quarter, has been the considerable amount of pain involved and the subsequent pain killers administered. The latter can fog up the thinking apparatus to a good extent.

There are occasional bright spots. The cardiologists report that my heart survived the biggest operations in good shape after lots of worry about the possible need for more valve work. On a different scale, but a bright spot nonetheless -- one of my favorite foods is smoked salmon. This morning a salmon platter was served up as the breakfast entre' and I was able to con the waitress into serving me two breakfasts.

Well, I hope that is enough to establish that I am still around and of good morale. I shall try to conquer the distance to this computer via wheelchair and the fussiness of the thought process and scribble more in the near future.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


To be put on prescriptions for coumarin, plavix, and other blood thinners and then realize it is time to shave. You carry a razor in the right hand and a new roll of toilet tissue in the left.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Restarting the Brain Cells (?)

After almost three months in hospital and rehab beds, I am going to have a rough time weaning my brain off thoughts of scheduled meds; hospital gowns, transfusions, blood drawing and food that was nothing like home cooking. I do suspect that my sense of humor disappeared in a hazardous waste container. Even though, with one exception, I know I was fortunate to be in excellent facilities and even though I recognize my life and most limbs were saved – I can’t claim any day of it was as joyous as arriving home to family and friends.

Honey, the youngest of our cats, did spoil the mood by being a little too cat-curious the first night home by nipping and tugging at the bandage intended to protect the site of my missing toe. Of course, my YELP and kick sent her (and my startled wife) to the moon.

Obviously, I have not had time to read all my favorite blogs yet, or the e-mail, but I am finding it fun to nudge away at it. More later.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Home again, home again, Jiggitty jog

Just a quick notice that after being in two hospitals and and a rehib - skilled nursing home since the 16th of February, I arrived home this afternoon. I haven't read all the familiar blogs yet by a long shot. That should take several days. Forgive me, but it is too soon for me to want to recount all my adventures. Not very intereesti9ng anyway. Weak as the proverbial kitten now and will pick up tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Second Try

Sorry, the Gods had other ideas and shipped me back the the hospital for more slicing and dicing. S is going to bring my laptop in a day or so and I can try again. Thanks for the respondses to my false starts

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Take Care! There is a rumor about that the some guy named Floridora has found his way to a skilled Nursing Home which has computing capacity and is trying to remember how to get on-line. If he succeeds, Last Quarter could well be on line within a day or so.

Friday, February 16, 2007

There will be a pause while FloriDora recovers from an array of Problems associated with lousy health. Take care of yourselves.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Our Civic Duty

Over on another blog, a sweet Scottish girl was complaining (between expletives) about being asked to serve her civic duty on a jury panel at an inconvenient time. It reminded me of the first time and the manner in which I was first called for jury duty.

Back when I was discharged from the Army in the ‘40s, there was an unemployment program called 52-20. People just out of the service could get twenty dollars a week for 52 weeks if they didn’t have a job. Two friends and I went each week to pick up our checks. One morning there was a fellow in a sheriff uniform with a clipboard beside the window where we got our money. He politely asked us for our name. Then he said, “Mr. So and So, by accepting that check you have certified that you are unemployed, that you are a resident of the county. You are now called for jury duty. There is a bus standing outside the door that will take you to the courthouse.

Off we went to jury duty. It was a one-day panel and only one of us, not me, was chosen to sit on a case. But we all had to wait all day in case a new jury was needed. At the end of the day, the bus drove us back to where our cars were parked and we were released from duty. Fresh from employment (the Army) where waiting for something to happen was part of the job description, jury duty was not so bad. However, we did switch the time we went to pick up our checks to the late afternoon.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Electric Scooters 'r Us

Last week we went to the store and placed an order and Monday my brand new, three-wheeled, shiny, royal blue chariot arrived. It is rated to attain 4 1/2 miles per hour, but I haven’t pushed it to its limit yet so I can’t verify that claim. It has a horn (a sort of shrill peep peep) and a headlight and two taillights for night forays to the 7-11 (also untested). Gas mileage is irrelevant since each night I plug it into the plug on the wall and the next morning it is ready to roll. I’ll admit I feel like a kid that just got his first two-wheeler.

I think most people live the largest part of their lives with that “It can’t happen to me!” thought in the back of their mind. It got me through a war and that only strengthened the baseless confidence. Thus, it may be that what for an ion has been called second childhood, is simply when the feeling “It can’t happen to me!” meets the reality, “Oh, yes it can!” At that point, the natural response to the realization of mortality becomes a decision to “have some fun while possible”.

So look out world!, as soon as they put the lift on the back of our car, I intend (between doctor appointments) to frolic afar!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hats Off to the MPs

A friend from Company A and I were between trains and wandering around Union station in Chicago. We had been on furlough and were headed back to the Army Life. Two military police accosted us and asked our names, ranks, serial numbers, what outfit we were in, etc. I assumed that they were just checking on wandering servicemen to see if they were legitimately in transit. As they left they told us to put our hats on. Weren’t we indoors, we asked? We certainly were under cover – there was a roof up above our heads. They gave us a cold, MP look and moved on. The lesson for the day – never get smart with the Military Police.

We were greeted at our camp in California by a very angry Company commander who was waiting for us. He had fire in his eye. He had received a telegram from some hot-shot MP in Chicago requiring the Captain to “reply by endorsement” as to why we had been in Chicago Union Station with our caps neatly folded over our belts instead of on our heads. As he raved, it gradually became apparent he was really much more angry at the MPs than at us.

That was the kind of leader you would follow anywhere.


It was early. I am nervous about any day that starts that way.

I was getting my orange juice and instant coffee. I got out a cup and a glass. I put the instant coffee "crystals" in the cup. While waiting for the water to heat, I got the orange juice from the refrigerator. I promptly poured the juice into the cup on top of the instant coffee "crystals". It was either drink caffeinated orange juice or pour the whole mess out and start over. I chose the latter.

When your first thought of the day is a stupid thought, you have to be nervious about the rest of the day.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Correspondence

Notes I need to be reminded to write:

• To the weather man reminding him that is to dry season in Florida and it is not proper that it is raining cats and dogs.

• To Medicare asking if they will pay to have racing stripes painted on my electric wheelchair.

• Multiple letters to the editors on the subjects of Bush - Hillary – Gingrich. And a special one concerning Edwards reminding the populace that a president with a Southern drawl has invariably been a flop. (I made this up. My memory fails beyond Carter).

• Explanations for not sending Christmas cards this year and thank you’s for presents received.

• To “morethandonuts” asking that she please stop giving priority to her job and start blogging again. We miss her.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hold That Plane!

This happened long ago, before airports enjoyed the security measures now in place. We had been at a convention at Boca Raton. When it was time to leave, we decided to take the leisurely, scenic route back to Fort Lauderdale Airport via A1A. We completely misjudged the time it would take to get to the airport. About halfway there, we panicked. We returned to the main highway, and sped the rest of the way. We arrived at about the time our plane was supposed to take off. I dropped off my wife with the luggage and hustled off to return our rental car. But the return area was a long way from the airport, so I simply stopped the car in the middle of the airport road and ran for the gate. Passing the Hertz counter, I ducked to the front of the long line, without a word I tossed the keys to the girl behind the counter, and continued running for the plane. My wife was standing in the door of the plane, explaining to the stewardess that her husband would soon be there. We got on the plane. They closed the door and we took off. We never heard from Hertz again and had happy memories of our trip. Just imagine trying that stunt today.

Ps. Of course, our luggage missed the plane, but it did catch the next one.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Strange Travel Adventures

One of my weirdest travel adventures took place in Chicago. A group of us had flown out early in the day for a meeting with a Chicago company. We were met at the airport by representatives of the Chicago company and taken immediately to our hotel right on the airport grounds. Told that our rooms were not ready yet (as expected), we checked in and checked our luggage. Next, we were taken for an exciting ride in their company helicopter around the city of Chicago, zooming in on buildings and waving to people in office windows. Funny, I am afraid (but brave) of airplanes, but love helicopters. After the "attack the Sears Tower" episode, we were flown out of town to company headquarters for our meetings. As night fell we, of course, had to go out to dinner at a fancy Chicago restaurant. (Oh, the travails of company life.) It was11:30PM or later when we returned to the hotel. A bellman met us at the door and took our checks for our luggage. He came back with it piled on a cart and led each of us to our room. He told me that my room had been changed and traded the key I had for a new one. It was a comfortable room and I slept well that night. But the next morning when it came time to check out, the stereotypical gentleman behind the desk downstairs told me that they had no record of my being at the hotel. After much discussion including my suggestion, rejected. he go see that the room had been used, I wrote my name and business address on a slip of paper and left to catch my plane home.

Several days later at work I received a letter from American Express. It’s said that I had a guaranteed reservation at that hotel but had not used it. Therefore, I would be charged one night room rate. I called both American Express and the hotel and we finally decided, “what the heck” just let American Express charge me and let’s not bother to figure out what happened.

This worked for everyone except the company accountants. When I tried to explain it to them, they threw up their hands and said, “Oh for heaven’s sake, just give us a simple, logical lie, and don’t confuse us with the facts.” I did, but I avoided that hotel from then on.

Over decades of corporate existance, among the conclusions I drew were that accountants will take more shortcuts than a flock of geese.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Easy Chair

I went to the dentist yesterday. Going to the dentist is easier these days than the olden days that I remember. I even dropped off to sleep yesterday while I was having my teeth cleaned. In my youth the dentist chair was simply a modified barber chair and slightly less comfortable. In the early 50s we lived next door to a young industrial designer. He worked for a famous industrial designer in New York. One day after a few beer he explained what his group was working on. It was a comfortable, reclining dental chair. That may not seem like a radical concept today. But it was in those days.

I didn't appreciate this genius at the time and only gave him credit for being a pretty good surf fisherman on weekends. Funny how a revolution can stare you in the face and all you see is the light pole it is leaning against.

Need a nap. - go to the dentist.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sgt. Bilko Reporting

In the Philippine Islands, immediately after the surrender of the Japanese, there was a period or a wave of "relief", "let down", "relaxation", or whatever the psychologists might call it. Discipline went AWOL. In the supply room, through the use of night forays to unprotected warehouses, we were able to obtain sheets for every bunk in the company. That was unheard of in the Infantry. We got a walk-in refrigerator and whiskey and gin to fill it. We decorated the interior of the day room, also borrowed, with colored parachute, glass brick, and sheet aluminum. It was a fun time in the Army. A time to frolic.

It was also the time for my first flight in an airplane. Several of us dressed in our finest and drove a jeep to the nearest airport. It was a common thing in that day to hitch rides on airplanes all over the South Pacific. For reasons which I forget, we wanted to go to Guam. But try as we might, we could not find a flight going that direction. In fact, we couldn't find a flight going anywhere exotic. We had to settle for a flight from our airport (Then Nichols Field, now Manila International) to nearby Clark Field ( which I believe is no more).

Seeing the plane that we were going to fly in, one of the fellows volunteered to drive the jeep to Clark Field and meet us there. He was wise. The plane was a very old, war-weary, C-3 ? cargo plane. There were no seats for passengers. We simply sat on the floor back in the cargo area. There was a window through which I could see the wings bend as the pilot gunned the engine on the ground. I lost all confidence then. But later in the air, when they flapped as we went through clouds, I approached a state of near-terror. Our flight lasted perhaps the longest 60 minutes of my life. Our driver picked us up and the defeated world-travelers drove home to our comfy bunks. I wasn't in a hurry to fly again. (But, of course, I did.)

Darning Egg

Does any one darn socks anymore. My grandmother used to have the neatest porcelain egg with a handle that made it easier for her to darn socks. I haven't seen one of those around lately. Now I get a hole in a sock and I just throw the pair in the trash basket. Wastrel!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mulling-Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall

I occasionally mull, and one of the subjects I mull over is the marking of books. When I was very, very young, I was scolded if I scribbled in a book. Later, in school I learned that the 11th Commandment was, “Thou shalt not mark in books”. This had a practical reason, since the books belonged to the school and were given, the next year, to another student who was similarly told not the mark the book. If you broke this commandment, of course, your parents received a bill from the school board. This would lead to harsh repercussions. After leaving high school and getting to college I could see some practical use for marking in books if, in fact, the prof had indicated some particular part of the chapter that he intended to test on. However, there was an economic side to this, since the purchase of books each semester was expensive and was often financed by reselling the previous semester’s books to the bookstore. They would markedly (attempted pun) reduce the price if they found that scribbling, underlining, highlighting*, or other sins had been practiced upon the book. So it’s never been clear to me, I often feel I bought it; I paid for it; it IS my book. Why can’t I mark it? Well on further mulling, it occurs to me that when I finish with a book I’m either going to give away, in which case my markings are no value to the receiver, or I am going to stick it on a book shelf, up on the top shelf, and probably never look at it again. My markings will be for naught. So what am I to believe, should I mark books when the urge strikes me, or should I not?

* Who am I kidding? Highlighters had not been invented when I was in school.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Being Outsmarted

Basic training in the Army in the 1940s was more than just being taught which end of the rifle to point at the enemy. It was, for instance, a crash course in the fine art of cursing, but it also included how to push yourself to new physical and emotional limits. We learned to live on our own without parents to pamper us and how to take criticism without pouting. - and each day had more criticism in it than we had experienced in each year of our former life.

Near the end of our 13 weeks we came to the dreaded "20 mile March with full field" (back pack full of heavy stuff). I was a little taller than the average GI. My normal pace was longer than the average GI. Thus. it took intense concentration on my part to stay in step. This should not have been a problem, because normally on a hike we were allowed to walk at our own pace. But our sergeant was meaner than our corporal, who in turn was a certified sadist.

For the first several miles, the sergeant had us marching in step in tight parade formation. He soon noticed I was skipping a step or two occasionally to get back in step. He called me to his side and ordered me to run to the rear of the formation, past all those companies that weren't required to be marching in step, to the sergeant bringing up the rear and ask him for a cigarette. On this personal errand, I was to carry my rifle high over my head in two hands. On securing the cigarette, I was to return it to my sergeant, still running and still holding rifle over my head. He, of course, then sent me back, following the same procedure, to get a lighter for his cigarette. When I returned with that, he noted that it was not allowed to smoke during the march and told me to return the cigarette to the end of the formation. When that was done, of course, I had to return the lighter. He was having a good time. I was not.

When he was finished with me, he started on a number of other fellows in the company. His reasons were always silly and inappropriate but that didn't seem to bother him.

After 20 miles in the hot Georgia sun we were totally pooped when we staggered back to the company area. Nonetheless, when the word "dismissed" was heard, the entire company raised their rifles over their heads and ran as fast as they could back to the barracks. (Shouting obscenities in defiance of the sergeant all the way).

Several months later, I had an "aha" moment. It struck me, that SOB got exactly what he was after. He turned an unorganized bunch of kids into a tight, proud team of soldiers. We thought our final run trumped him. It was just what he wanted. He outsmarted us.

Monday, January 01, 2007

. The new Blogger

I hope that the management of Google understands that I do not like the changes to Blogger made since Google took over their operations.