MY NERVOUS BREAKDOWN AT IKEA

For years, I’ve loved shopping at IKEA. Like many others on a tight budget, I have learned to spruce up my home on the cheap by using some of their ideas in their creative displays. The other day, I went there just to look around. Not that I needed anything. God knows that I can’t even fit a paper clip in any of the rooms in my house. But I thought that looking around wouldn’t hurt, plus I’d get some much-need exercise, even with my bad knees, just walking around their sprawling two-story modern warehouse.

Truthfully, I thought that I might see a cute, space-saving container or cool-looking wicker basket to store extra stuff in and neaten up my spare room, which has started to look like I’m planning to hold my own private indoor garage sale. Just looking around to get ideas to rearrange what I already have.
One of the things I like about IKEA is how they set up their displays. Everything is so darn neat and color coordinated to entice customers into thinking, “Hey, my rooms can look like that!” Yea, I say to you: keep dreaming! But I think once the IKEA stylists plant a decorating idea in your head, you can’t shake the urge to buy something before you reach the checkout counter. IKEA is adept at suckering customers in that way.

Mentally, I oohed and ahhed as I got to each display and scanned it while I drooled at the mouth. I marveled at the ingenious methods of making a room look chic, airy and livable, not ‘lived in’ like a cold, cramped, over-decorated cave of mismatched, outdated stuff which passes as furniture these days. Lingering at each spot, I went through several instances of heated discussions with inner myself who keeps me sane when I tend to binge shop:

ME: “Hey, I can use that in my bedroom to …!”
INNER SELF: “No, you can’t fit anything else in there.”
ME: “But if I move the…”
INNER SELF: “Stop it.”
ME: “That’s a cute table centerpiece.”
INNER SELF: “Yeah, it is cute. Keep moving!”

And so as I continued this back-and-forth discussion with my INNER SELF, I arrived at a display with clothing racks. Now, I’ve got two sturdy black metal clothing racks. I’ve got a blue zippered clothing rack with an inside shelf at the top. And I even have a hanging clothes rack with slots for shoes or folded sweaters. So, I went at it again with my INNER SELF.

ME: “I could always use another clothing rack.”
INNER SELF: “Where would you put it? On the patio?”
ME: “Shut up.”

Out of all the clothing racks, one boldly spoke to me:

CLOTHING RACK: “Hey! Pick me! Pick me!”
ME: “Why should I pick you?”
CLOTHING RACK: “I’m easy to assemble. You’ll be done in no time. Plus, I have wheels! Wheeels!”
ME: “Sounds good.” And the price was right, too. Cheap!
INNER SELF: “Listen, stupid. You really don’t have room for this thing. Cheap or not. Plus there’s one major thing that you’re not considering.”
ME: “What’s that?”
INNER SELF: “It’s white, so you know you’re gonna have trouble with it.”
ME: “That’s racist! Naw, I can manage.”
INNER SELF:”All I have to say is that I have two words for you: donald trump. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

So I looked at the tag on the rack and jotted down the number and aisle for its location in the warehouse pick-up area near the cash registers. After I found the box, I took it off the shelf, and surprisingly, it wasn’t heavy at all. I carried it to the checkout counter, paid for it and headed to my car. After I got home, I took the box up to the second-floor landing. After opening the cardboard box, I emptied the contents on the floor near the steps. Out tumbled several long, white metal poles in different sizes, a plastic bag full of metal bolts and screws and two elbow-shaped thingies to screw in and tighten the bolts into the slots in the poles. You might ask, “Why stop on the second-floor landing”? Well, except for the patio or balcony, it’s one of the few areas in my house where I had room to set this thing up.

And then I faced the moment of truth: reading the instructions. Though they were in German, there were pictures which were explicit enough that even a republican ape could put this thing together. But I especially HATE reading instructions. AARRGGHH!!! I had a hard enough time in the Army, mainly because I hated to read those damn overly inflated, wordy manuals, regulations, guidelines, and SOPs, apparently written by left-brained idiots. I’m a right-brained person. A rare, creative genius, mind you. I don’t have time to read tedious instructions telling me to go from step A to step D. In the Army, I usually skipped several steps in that equation and would come up with the same results and much quicker! I’ve always been a ‘hands-on’ person. Don’t make me read shit or tell me how to do shit. Just show me how to do shit and let me maneuver through the minefields on my own. Sorry, I digress, but anyway, I picked up the instructions and the pictures looked simple enough. The explicit drawings pointed to which screw should go into which slot and which pole would fit into which hole. I did a quick scan of each page. Reluctantly, I briefly looked at the instructions again and shook my head before quickly tossing them aside.

ME: “I can do this.”
INNER SELF: “We’ll see, moron.”
ME: “Shut up.”

For safe measure, I counted all the contents to make sure I had all the screws, pegs, and other assembly pieces. Thank God the end pieces had the wheels already attached. After accounting for six long threaded screws, six short fat threaded thingies, two smaller threaded thingies, two plastic doohickies and two elbow-shaped thingies to tighten the screw thingies, I quickly scan the instructions one more time and once again, I tossed them aside.
ME: “I can do this.”
INNER SELF: “We’ll see, moron.”
ME: “Shut up.”
For safe measure, I counted all the contents to make sure I had all the screws, pegs, and other assembly pieces. Thank God the end pieces had the wheels already attached. After accounting for six long threaded screws, six short fat threaded thingies, two smaller threaded thingies, two plastic doohickies and two elbow-shaped thingies to tighten the screw thingies, I quickly scan the instructions one more time and once again, I tossed them aside.
ME: “I got this shit.”
INNER SELF: “No, you don’t.”
ME: “Shut up!”
Clumsily, I tore open the plastic bag, which caused all the metal screws and washers to fall out on the floor. Most of them scattered around my feet, but a few tried to escape and headed down the stairs. DAMMIT! With my bad knees screaming in pain and cursing me out, I hobbled the steps to retrieve the runaways scattered on a few steps below. I scooped them all up, brought them back upstairs and put them in a place where they couldn’t escape again. Then, I set the two slotted end poles into the two end pieces with the wheels. That done, I inserted two skinny poles into the holes of the two end pieces and tightened the screws into the thingies using the elbow thingies. Then I looked at the partly finished product, which looked like what was left of a car involved in a bad accident. I looked at the instructions again and noticed that the bottom of the rack should consist of four poles, not two. So I had to unscrew one of the end pieces, remove it, insert the two skinny poles into their respective slots, then reattach the end piece.

That done, it was time to attach the top piece. I looked at the remaining bolts and screws and noticed that I had inserted two bolts into the wrong slot on the bottom. Trying to use a shortcut (thanks to my right-brained self), I partially unscrewed one of the bolts leaving just enough room to switch the bolts for the screws. Lo and behold, one of the screws thought it would torment me and slide down into a hole in one of the poles. DAMMIT! As I moved the pole in a see-saw-like manner, I could hear that fucking screw noisily rolling around in the pole, but I couldn’t get it out because a hard plastic plug sealed each end of the pole. SHIT! I stepped away for a few minutes to have a cold beer…then another. Sufficiently buzzed, I went back to tackle that sucker again.

ME: “For something that looked so simple to set up, this is taking up way too much of my damn time.”
INNER SELF: “Told ya!”
ME: “Shut up!”

Finally, I got the damn screw out of the pole, but I had to pop off the hard plastic end piece with a couple of blows from my hammer to pop the end piece from the pole. Little did I know that I could have saved myself some agony. I could have just unscrewed the hard plastic end plug from the end of the pole. Sigh! Tackling the rack again, I managed to get the right bolts and screws and poles where they should be. That done, I looked at the finished product. Yes, it finally looked like the drawing in the instruction booklet, and the wheels made it easy to maneuver.

ME: “See, I told you I could do this.”
INNER SELF: “But where ya gonna put it, you idiot?”
ME: Sigh! Time for a few more cold beers.

CELL PHONE SAFETY

I went on some errands today and thankfully remembered to take my cell phone with me. After numerous verbal counseling from friends who couldn’t get in contact with me when I’ve been on the road, I made it a point to keep it with me at all times.

I have a leather case for my cell phone but trying to find that case in my purse when my cell phone goes off was like trying to find a credit card at the city dump, but my purse doesn’t stink like one.

The brilliant old playful soul that I am, I decided to stick my cell phone in my bra for easy access and safekeeping. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to keep me on my toes for calls from my friends at any time. For safe measure, I put my phone on vibrate and when it vibrated in my bra, it would ensure that I wouldn’t miss any incoming calls from my friends. Additionally, I had set my phone to a pleasant melodic alarm which would go off at 0700 every morning for times when I need to get up early. Unfortunately, I forgot about this setting.

As a routine, I take a hot bubble bath almost every night, but I skipped it last night because I was too tired to make the preparations. So I hopped into bed, snuggled underneath my comforter and went to sleep.

A faint melodic sound from my cell phone awakened me early this morning. Irritated but slightly awake, I listened more closely and noticed that the sound was coming from underneath my covers. I threw back my comforter and discovered that the sound was actually coming from my chest, from inside my bra! I slapped my face with both hands to chastise myself. Then I reached into my bra and grabbed my phone, which was unusually warm, and turned off the alarm. DUH!

I had to laugh at myself, but I’m glad that I paid attention to my friends’ advice to always keep my phone on me, in spite of the alarm waking me up too damn early in the morning. So you see, this is what happens when I don’t take my nightly bubble bath.  To be safe, I’d better stick to my routine! It’s much safer!

MYSTERY OF THE REFRIGERATOR LIGHT

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Recently, I drove to Ramstein one weekend (again). Seems like I just can’t stay away from that beautiful area for very long. Plus it is so close to France, only 30 minutes from the border! Normally, when I drive there, I’ll take a trip to either Forbach (30 minutes away) or to Metz (an hour away) to do a little shopping. But this time, I opted to stay on base and just chill.

As is normal (or more abnormal considering my past unpredictable situations) whenever I travel, I always experience a wild, wacky episode or two. Always.

I can attest firsthand that God has a sense of humor. It seems as though He guides me onto paths that hold adventures, which provide me with the subjects of my stories. I consider my love of writing both a gift and curse.  A gift in that I can easily capture situations others might miss or ignore.  A curse in that I won’t rest until after I browbeat my trusted friends into reading my drafts before publishing.  For good measure, I warn them that I expect feedback or else they’ll have hell to pay. They always come through for me, so they’ve never had to pay any hell! My friends: I gotta love ‘em. So, bear with me on this one, because although it’s a true story, it’s still so stupid.

I checked into the Kaiserslautern Military Community Command’s new hotel on Ramstein Air Base. The KMCC, as it’s called, is a relatively new 10-story hotel near the base exchange mall, which also houses familiar stateside store chains and fast food joints.  All very convenient.

The rooms at the KMCC rival any four-star hotel.  I had booked one on the seventh floor with unobstructed  views of the flight line and the rolling hills of the countryside surrounding the air base. 

And I just loved the queen-sized bed, fresh linen, and fluffy pillows, all of which prove to be the perfect sleeping pill after a hot shower.  I remained pleased with the little thoughtful amenities which others might ignore: the shower, shampoo, soap, and toothpaste samples grouped together on the shiny gray marble counter in the bathroom.  And I can’t forget the roomy closet, which has two floor-to-ceiling sliding mirrored doors.

But back to the real point of this story:  the closet. 

Whenever I entered the room, I could turn on the light by the door by using the switch on the wall.  But I would have to go to the bathroom and use the switch on the wall in the bathroom to turn on that light, and I would have to go to the lamp on the nightstand next to my bed to turn that light on. 

Yet to save time and electricity, as the front desk people suggested, I should put my room card with the electronic chip in the slot next to the light switch by the door so that I could turn on all the lights in the entire room at the same time.  Not sure why they have this set up like this, but it’s the Air Force. They’ve always been the ‘different‘ military branch. 

So after using my room card to unlock my door, I dutifully put my card in the slot next to the switch on the wall and voila! I was able to turn on all the lights in my room at one time, including the bathroom. Will wonders never cease?

After unpacking, I took a shower (no chance of an overflowing bathtub this time which is another story).  I put on my jammies, turned off the lights and jumped into the bed to read by the light from the lamp on the nightstand.  All snuggled and comfy, I became distracted and rather annoyed when something drew my attention away from the gossip mags:  a glow from a light coming from the hallway.   

Irritated, I got up and saw that the door to the closet was ajar and that the light in the closet was still on.  I looked for a switch on the wall outside of the closet to turn off the closet’s light but didn’t see a switch.  I opened the sliding door wider and peeped inside the closet for a switch and found none.  Puzzled, I began to wonder what the hell I needed to do to turn that damn light off! 

Again, I looked inside the closet, but I still could not find any light switch.  Scratching my head, I thought to myself how the hell did this light get turned on in the first place?!  Then it dawned on me when a light bulb came on in my head.  This epiphany took me back to my childhood days.  It was a revelation bigger than the ego of the most narcissistic idiot on this planet.  It was the mystery of the refrigerator light!

Like me, no doubt you did this same thing when you were a kid. Initially, I couldn’t figure out if the light inside the refrigerator stayed on or not when I closed the refrigerator door.  Like me, you probably stood in front of the fridge repeatedly opening and closing that refrigerator door until your little brain discovered that when you shut the damn door, it pushed a button inside the refrigerator that turned the refrigerator light off!  I was blown away!

So remembering how excited I was back then when I solved the refrigerator light mystery, I simply closed the closet door and BAM!  The light went off! Just like that! I was tickled that the refrigerator door light technique had survived over the years and had figured into the construction of these lovely closets in this modern, military hotel. 

Also as a youngster, I was proud to have figured out the mystery of the refrigerator light all by myself. I kept quiet about my Ah-Ha moment, though, and never discussed my discovery with anyone else in my family.  I think if I had mentioned this to any adult in my family, especially to my two older brothers, I would have never heard the end of it.  Knowing those two knuckleheads, they would have suggested to my parents that they plant my little ass in front of a child psychologist for weekly sessions and treatment for my rampant curiosity, which never killed this cat! 

So now, as a full-grown, somewhat mature adult, I felt really stupid not knowing that the light in the closet would go off once I closed the damn doors!  Just like the refrigerator light did when I was a kid.  Seems like the simple stuff never gets old.

A SNOWY LESSON IN FUTILITY

IT WAS FRIDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2017

When I left the Post Exchange (PX) this evening, I saw that snow had blankedt the entire area outside. I didn't know that much snow had fallen while I was shopping. Anyway, I dusted off my car, took a few pictures to send to friends in warmer places, and headed home...slowly. Normally it takes me about 15 minutes to get home from the PX. That evening, it took me almost an hour and a half!
It was a beautiful drive that night of stop-and-go movement, but oh so slow! Too slow for my lead foot! During a few stops in the stau (traffic jam), I even took time to play a few games of Solitaire on my iPhone before the 'turtles' ahead of me started to move again.
After I got to my town and headed up the street to my turn off, I noticed that a big city bus was blocking my turn. Apparently, the driver tried to make a left turn to go up the hill, but the bus had other plans because it slid over to the sidewalk on the right side of the road! Well...I slowly drove around the bus on the opposite side of the road, looking at the helpless-looking driver as I passed his bus. He had a forlorn look on his face as if he was crying out for help. But I couldn't do anything for him except to pass his bus, which was blocking one side of the street. Thankfully, when I turned, no cars were coming on the opposite side of the road.

Then, I got to the street where I had to turn off onto the cul-de-sac where I live. When I got to my cul-de-sac and tried to go up the hill to my house, my car couldn't make it even halfway up even though it has snow tires! I tried backing up and trying to drive back up again five or six times, but my car kept slipping and sliding like a pig on ice skates. I became frustrated because my home was ever so close. Only a few hundred yards away.
Suddenly, I saw the lights of a car coming behind me. There was enough room on my left side so that the car could pass me and go up the cul-de-sac. I noticed that the car was actually a jeep, which belonged to one of my neighbors who lived on the corner at the entrance to the cul-de-sac. He parked his jeep and got out to come over to see if he could help me. I tried one more useless time to get up the hill but the snow wasn't having it. This was a snowy lesson learned in futility for me. As my neighbor approached my car, I rolled down my window. He told me that it would be better to park my car down on the street and walk up to my house.
SAVED BY SOMEONE WITH COMMON SENSE! LOL
So I backed up my car and parked on the corner at the entrance to the cul-de-sac. I sat for a minute. I had so much stuff from shopping to carry up the hill to my house that I was trying to decide what I needed. I got out the car and thought I'd carry whatever I could without slipping and injuring myself any further. My neighbor stood by and came over to me to ask me if he could help me bring some things to my house. "Yes, thank you." I beamed. I gave him one bag and he said, "I can carry something else if you'd like." I forgot that this strapping young man was much younger and stronger than I was. I remembered that he and his wife are hunters and have two beautiful hunting dogs. No doubt they're both in great shape. So I gave him my six pack of mineral water, took out one of my canes, and locked my car before we headed up the snowy street to my house. We chatted along the way. He shared with me that one of his dogs was pregnant and would deliver her pups soon. I was glad for him. The short walk up to my house didn't get me winded at all, which was pleasantly surprising considering that I had to walk with a cane.
I told my young neighbor that he was an angel for being in the right place at the right time. He just laughed and said he didn't have any wings. So, this has been my experience so many times. God prepares me for situations before I even get where I'm supposed to go! One thing I know for sure: God sends me angels when I need them and they're right on time!

IT WAS HALLOWEEN…

The horizon glowed as the slowing-setting sun created vivid mixtures of carrot orange and banana yellow, fitting colors to welcome the approaching night of witches and goblins and ghosts.

I drove to base to use the ATM to buy some more candy for the little trick or treat gremlins I expected that evening.  After parking and approaching the ATM, I noticed a fresh-faced young man of about 20 standing at the machine frantically punching buttons as if he were typing a letter for a newspaper deadline.  By his hair cut, I knew he was a soldier. 

The nervous shifting of his weight from one leg to the other revealed his agitation with the ATM’s inability to operate faster.  As the machine hummed to calculate his entry, he looked back at me and offered, “So how’s your Halloween been so far?” My first inclination was to look around and behind me to see who he was talking to, but I realized that I was the only one in line.  Amused, I smiled and politely returned his greeting with, “Oh, quiet, so far.” He smiled too, then turned around to continue his increasing frustrating fight with the machine. I grew tickled watching him while he punched more buttons and hovered like a vulture over the ATM as it spat out a receipt from the tiny slot. He grabbed his receipt, quickly scanned it and whooped, “Yesss, I got paid!”

After tapping more buttons, he turned around again towards me, “I got this train to catch in about twenty minutes.” Pointing towards the parking lot, he revealed, “My taxi’s waiting for me over there. Gotta get to my girl’s place so that we can go party.”I grinned and nodded, pleasantly baffled at his uninhibited comfort to share his plight with me. Pointing to his waist, he playfully chastised himself, “And look at this, no belt! I left it back at the barracks. I don’t usually dress like this, but I was in such a hurry. Don’t think I’ll have time to go back to get it, though.” I smiled at him again, at a loss for what else to do.

He turned his attention back to the ATM as it hummed to count his money out and prepared to release it through the slot. Once his cash appeared, he snatched it away as if the gray steel box would take it back. After counting his money, he stuffed it in his wallet, which he hastily jammed in his back pocket. Pausing to look at me before leaving, he said, “I just got back from Iraq and everything here is so haywire.

As he left, I shook my head and wondered to myself, “How was that possible?” But thank God he made it back alive.

As he left, he beamed, “Have a nice night, ma’am.” 

“You too, young man, you too.”

THE NEIGHBORHOOD CAT

 

An unwelcomed visitor…

When I moved into my home in this beautiful, quaint little town, I thought I had actually moved into heaven.  My house stood at the end of a cul-de-sac, which was inviting, very clean, and very quiet.  Vewy, vewy quiet and I liked that one aspect of living here.  No barking dogs; no whining babies; no kids at play screaming in the street; no drive-by shootings; and no cats that I could see.  Mind you, I am not a cat person.  Never have been. Never will be. I don’t hate cats. I just don’t like them. They flaunt too much attitude to exist in my environment.  I love dogs. Always have and always will.

My new nest suited me just fine.  I felt more relaxed and contented as I slowly settled in.  One day, I went out to my front porch and stood there, just marveling at the awesome scenery as lush green fir trees covered the mountains in the distance.  I took in deep breaths of fresh, rejuvenating alpine air.  At that very moment, all was right with the world with me, that is until the melodic Sound of Music lullaby playing in my head came to a screeching halt…EEERRRRRTT!!!   What caused this, you ask?  I spotted a lifelong nemesis of mine:  a cat.  A fat furry cat.  Mouth agape, I  froze in disbelief.  He spotted me eyeing him from across the street as I stood on my porch. I waited and watched him, wishing that it would go away.  But my repulsive vibe didn’t seem to ruffle this feline’s fur one bit.

We stared at each other for a challenging minute like two rival gunslingers getting ready to shoot it out at the OK Corral.  But for some reason, he got cold paws about his next move. He turned around and disappeared into some shrubbery next to a house across the street.  Wimp!  Naively, I thought the short standoff with this feline foe would be the end of my experience with it.  I dismissed ever having another encounter with it, even thinking that maybe it belonged to someone in the neighborhood who would hopefully keep it locked up for the entire time I would be living here.

A few days later, the bold cat popped in on my street again, wisely remaining at a safe distance from me. Since I saw no collar with ID tags or around its neck, I pegged it as a stray, which is even worse.  To me, that meant that it probably has had no shots, has no permanent home, and that it was free to roam the neighborhood at will to squat when and where ever it wanted to. A squatter cat! HA!  Mentally, I quickly made note of some plans for my strategy to keep it away from me and my area. Let me reiterate that I don’t hate cats, I just don’t like ’em no matter how cute and cuddly they may look.  This one was fat and looked healthy, so some bleeding heart residents must have fed it very well.

A few weeks later, the creepy cat appeared in my neighborhood again.  I saw it as it poked its head out from behind a parked car across the street to take a peek at me.  Seemingly sizing me up before it moved, it crept stealthily to my side of the street like a jungle predator stalking its prey.  Moving toward my driveway, it had nerve enough to scamper up my steps as if it lived here or I had invited it to approach me.  No chance of that happening! I stood still as it reached my porch. It stopped a foot away from me to stare at me for a split second, probably sniffing out what kind of vibe radiated from my death stare. Then it moved closer towards me,  gently brushed up against my legs and roamed around my feet. I glared at it, producing a ‘get the hell away from me’ expression, but it showed absolutely no fear at my contorted face.  I stood still as it continued its dance between my legs and around my feet. WTF?  I didn’t say anything to shoo it away.  I just watched it to see how much braver it would dare to be and what else was on its fucking furry agenda. Grimacing and clenching my fists, I screamed silently to the heavens, “NOOOOoooo,” rolling my eyes as I did so.  But I remained standing still as it made its way around my legs again.

Without being heartless, I would have given it a snack or something, but I don’t stock any cat food in my house.  I had some Chicklets in my pocket, but I didn’t think that the cat would appreciate the refreshing taste of peppermint gum.  Besides, I didn’t want to encourage it to come back for any future free meals from me.  I sensed that it felt that much about me.  In spite of my obvious disdain of felines, for some reason, this cat seemed purrfectly comfortable around me.  I waited until it finished its assessment of me and watched as it finally released itself from my legs and scampered down my steps and disappeared off into the neighborhood.  I yelled, “STAY AWAY FROM ME, YOU BRAZEN LITTLE FUR BALL.”  It didn’t even look back.

ARMY 101: Get off the grass!

When I first came into the Army, one of the stupidest rules that really bothered the shit outta me was that troops couldn’t walk on any patch of grass anywhere on post. If any part of our boot even touched any piece of grass, some uptight, eagle-eyed, high-ranking sergeant or officer would always spot us. It never failed.  These outdoor military watchdogs would call us out and order us to assume the front lean-and-rest position to knock out push-ups until they got tired. Getting caught was very humiliating and intimidating!  Luckily, I never got caught.

Granted, I quickly adapted to the rigors of military indoctrination and training, and I vowed to avoid being embarrassed and punished for walking on some damn piece of grass. So when I retired after 22 years of service, the very first thing I wanted to do was to thumb my nose at that insane military rule under which I lived and served for so many years.

Once I got my retirement papers, I couldn’t wait to trample on grass anywhere, anytime on any post.  Often even going a bit out of my way, I deliberately found the first patch of grass I saw, and I walked on it over and over and over again like a crazy person.  I guess the people whom I noticed looking at me must have thought I had lost my mind, but I didn’t care. At times, I was so close to just laying down on the grass and rolling around on it as a playful puppy would do. But I thought that frolicking on the grass would draw too much negative attention to my strange, rebellious action.

One day, I was at Ramstein Air Base with the intention of visiting the post exchange.  After parking my car, I first noticed the fancy brick pathway that leads shoppers from the parking lot to the post exchange entrance door. Did I use it?  Oh, HELL NO!  On my very own “special mission” like a muthafucking ex-noncommissioned officer, I felt bold enough to break that old Army rule deliberately. I headed over to the area of neatly trimmed grass next to the brick pathway and took in a deep breath before I defiled it.  I felt audacious as I trampled across that grassy area to get to the front door of the post exchange. As an Army Retiree, I remember being a straight-laced, by the book noncommissioned officer, but defiance now runs amok within me.

Yes, it has been years since I retired, but when the opportunity arises, I still feel the need to challenge authority about this one stupid rule in a weird, wicked way.  Fortunately, there are no idiots around to yell at me to get my ass off some patch of grass! Yeah, the Army had conditioned me long enough!  Not sure if I will ever get this ‘grass turf thing’ out of my system. Over time, I have thought that I might need some therapy for this because there is no medication for stupidity. Maybe I might just need to book a session with Dr. Phil.