Mary and the kids are in Minnesota for Carter's birthday party right now. I wished I could have been there but the Mission Readiness Exercise (MRX) that we've been putting together kicks off this week and it's always busiest right before the beginning. In fact, at this point in most exercises or deployments, everyone just wants to get started and stop overthinking everything. We're training almost 1,000 soldiers over the next couple of weeks! Fortunately, things are finally starting to come together, which is better than we thought about two weeks ago. Also, we're getting a lot of the OC/T (Observer Controller/Trainers) in. These people have a lot of experience and it's really helping with the final stages of preparation. Last night we issued the Operations Orders (OPORD) to the units going through the exercise. It was pretty bloodless, which is a huge change from 3/2 SBCT or 3d ACR, where these sort of things can become quite bloody. The exercise begins in just three days and then things will finally start moving to a steady flow.
Since, I haven't written for a month (and I'm still trying to get Mary to write another submission) here's a couple of big events that have happened in the last 30 days:
1) Attack of the Bees!
Marina was cutting the front yard and drove over an underground yellowjacket hive. She kept driving and was out of the area before the wasps got out of the hive to attack, but Anna was not! They swarmed over her and Mary had to run and grab her, getting stung several times in the process. Between the two of them they had almost twenty stings! Mary had three stings in one earlobe, which made her look like a lopsided mexican version of Dumbo. Both are finally getting better and to quote a co-worker, "Anna has the start of a great phobia."
2) Mary Gets All Four Wisdom Teeth Sawed Out!
Last week the team at Gunderson-Lutheran removed Mary's four impacted wisdom teeth. Ouch!!!!!
3) Mary Meets Her First 10% Weight Loss Goal!
Wow! Congratulations Mary! I'm so proud of you. The Weight Watchers Program has been working great for her, mainly because of the support groups. When she gets to her weight loss goal I promised I would buy her a new wardrobe. I think I'll be happy and sad that day.
4)I Got an iPod!
One of the guys at work sold me his 60GB G4 Photo iPod for $150. I love it and have been playing with it and all the podcasts for the last four weeks.
I also bought a FM Transmitter for it that allows me to use it with any radio.
5) MAJOR Mike
Looks like the Army has finally got desperate enough to promote me. Actually it was really wonderful because both sides of the family were there. The last time that my parents were at an Army ceremony was when I was first commissioned. Here are a couple of pics.
6) Attack of the BATS!
Bats number three and four were in the house last week. Number three was dead laying in Marina's room. We think the ceiling fan killed it. Marina found it when she was laying on the floor and Phillip saw it right next to her head.
We first met number four while watching a movie and it flew through the living room. We couldn't find it that night so the kids all slept in our room. The next night while Mary and I were going to the bathroom at 2AM it flew by me and I chased after it and killed it with my Daisy-Wilson combination bat extermination weapon. It's actually my tennis racket and BB gun.
Well, gotta run and get ready for church.