My US Navy Story

Originally, I was going to pass on writing about this.  Due to it making me extremely upset and disappointed.  A few people suggested that someone else may have a similar situation, so here goes my personal military story.

My brother joined the Marine Corps when he was 18, and I was a 20 year old getting ready to start my junior year of college.  I really had no idea what I wanted to do in life at that time, some may say that I still don’t.  He and I talked about me enlisting, and I decided that it was something that was always in the back of my mind.  The military has always been a big part of my family life.  I went to the Navy recruiter’s office in my hometown, and was told to finish college and come back with my degree.  That is what I did, except a lot of time and a bunch of other life things happened before I made it back.

Now to somewhat present day.

I looked up the maximum age for the Navy and realized that I was almost there!  I am only in the age bracket to join the Reserves now.  Disappointing, but I will take it.  I knew I wanted to be a corpsman, and I could do that in the Reserves.  I called my local recruiter and made an appointment to get the paperwork started.

I don’t think my recruiters really took me seriously until after they had me take a practice ASVAB test and they saw my scores.  They were shocked that my score was higher than the 18 year old’s who just finished high school.  I guess they thought you just lose intelligence with age?  I don’t know.  I do know that if my score wasn’t one of the highest, I would have been disappointed in myself.  I expect the best from myself in everything.  It can be a fault at times.

I get my MEPS date, and head to have my physical done and take the real ASVAB test.  The military puts you up in a hotel, and wake you up at 4:15 am to take you to MEPS.  My roommate was a 17 year old girl, who asked me to wake her up because she wasn’t sure if she would be able to wake up on her own.  They give you wake up calls in your room, and you know how loud hotel phones ring!  Regardless, I had to wake this child up so she could join the military.  She also lost her enlistment packet and ID.  I have no idea how she did this, because those are two things that we had to have with us at all times.

Once we got to MEPS, I realized that I am the oldest who is enlisting.  I forgot to mention that I am too old to go straight into Officer Candidate School, and have to go enlisted first.  Then I could go to OCS.  It didn’t make sense to me, but ok.    Even though I was the oldest, I was not the worst physically.  There were people that looked as if they never worked out in their life.

I included running to my workouts to prepare for the running in recruit training.  I even took an adult intermediate swimming class to prepare for the swim test.  I knew how to swim already, but I wanted to be a stronger and more confident swimmer.  My ASVAB score was great, I was physically fit, and just under the age requirement.  So what happened?

My blood pressure was too high at MEPS and I was sent home.  I was nervous, anxious, and excited at the same time that morning.  I don’t remember what it ended up being, but I was devastated.  I was given a form for my primary care doctor to fill out, stating my blood pressure reading once an hour for three hours.  I had the form completed that week.

Sent up to MEPS again, and sent home again because I was supposed to get three days worth of reading, not one.  This was not conveyed to me nor my recruiter prior to that morning.  I went home, and had three days of readings taken..once an hour for three hours.  All of my reading were around 120/80, which is normal.

Gave my papers to my recruiter to send to MEPS.  They responded by now requesting an EKG.  What??

I asked my recruiter if this was about my age, and not really the first blood pressure reading at MEPS.  He said that it sounds like it is more about my age.  I guess MEPS thinks that I will have a heart attack while doing the exercises that I already do on a daily basis.

I took a bit to think it over.  This was something that I really wanted to do in my life, and I don’t want to give up.  I went to my doctor for the EKG, which he thought was a ridiculous request.

An EKG is an Electrocardiogram.  It is a recording of electrical activity of your heart, using electrodes.  I will admit that it was cool to see my own readings.

No surprise to anyone, it was normal.

My recruiter sent in the paperwork showing my completely normal EKG.  MEPS responded back with a request for me to have a ECG done.  An ultrasound of my heart.

Where is the line?  What is enough to show that I am just as healthy, if not more so, than the others?  I took five days off work, paid out-of-pocket for five doctor visits, and showed normal for everything they have requested.  I realize that I questioned where MEP’s line was located, but I see that I should ask myself that same question.

How many hoops am I willing to leap through to convince MEPS I am perfectly capable to perform the duties of a US Navy Sailor?

I haven’t decided that answer just yet.  This is something I have really wanted to do, and I am not sure if I am ready to throw in the towel.  I asked my family and friends who are veterans (and a few active Navy) what they thought of my situation.  They all said that it sound about par for the course for MEPS.  MEPS tries to keep you out of the military, and your recruiter tries to get you to get in.  Would a different recruiter make a difference in my case?

I haven’t had the ECG done, but I still have time before I age out of this opportunity.  When that comes back normal, I wonder what else they could possibly request.

People in their 30’s aren’t old.  I am in better shape now than I was in my early 20’s, and I was in shape then too.

 

Palm tree love…and snow

The 12 degree weather coming into work at 6:00 am is pretty brutal.  It is so early in the morning that I don’t even bother with trying to fix my makeup.  My co-workers get the pleasure of my naked face, and my hair in my usual pseudo-bun.

One good thing about getting older, is that I don’t feel I need to impress anyone with how I look (still looking presentable though).  Why didn’t I understand this in my 20’s?

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Another thing that I would like to mention is that my mom crocheted my scarf in the photo above- where I am half asleep.  Crocheted scarfs are the warmest scarfs I have found.  I definitely recommend learning how to make one, or convince your mom to make one (like I did!).

Thursday started off to be a crap day from the beginning.  My “female only” bathroom in my office trailer had been hooked up, and the boss came running in asking to use it.  I said ok, because I understand bathroom emergencies.  Never again.

He clogged the toilet, and the water came up and wouldn’t stop!  The trailer flooded, and since the trailer wasn’t put up exactly level, water flowed throughout the trailer.  It took three guys to clean and fix the mess.  Neither of the guys in the picture below are the culprit, I just took a picture of the aftermath.  After that, the day was pretty much over.

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Since the day was pretty shot from the flooding bathroom incident, I started my beach scene on my whiteboard in the office.  I googled how to draw a palm tree and followed the instructions.  I don’t think it turned out too bad.

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We were in the middle of this snow storm, and we got about 3 feet of snow.  The drifts are higher, of course.  All of this snow has me planning my next fieldtrip.  I looked up several places, and so far they are all closed for the season.  Guess I will just have to travel south again on my days off, or when I can get out of the driveway due to snow.

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The picture above is just because I thought the sky was pretty.  The picture below was driving into work yesterday.

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My Newest Adventure

Per my usual journey through life, I have completely taken the unexpected and “Are you crazy?” path.

First, I feel that a little background information is required.  For several years, I have been offered a job with a company doing field work on their job sites that are building natural gas compressor stations.  I have continuously declined the offer, until now.

I accepted the job only because it will help tremendously with reaching a few of my financial goals within the next year.  So here I am, outside of Washington, DC, working on a compressor station as the only female.  The job is for one year, and I am really hoping I can make it the entire year.  It is 11 days on, and three days off.

I have been here since the first of the year, and I can say that I haven’t seen my neighborhood in the daylight yet.  Dark when I leave for work, and dark when I get back.  I know how my Dad felt all those years.  I am exhausted by 7:00 pm and trying to stay awake just to eat dinner.  My life will be drastically different for the next year, and I hope all of this will be worth it long term.  I took this picture leaving work one night.

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My friends keep texting and messaging me to check and see if I am doing ok.  It is pretty funny!  I guess they are worried about my mental state for even being here!  I am not a boots type of person, and my new required steel-toed boots aren’t as bad as I thought they would be.

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I also have my own hardhat.  My friends have been asking for a picture with me in all my hi-vis safety gear.  Since I am the only female, I have to have my own bathroom per labor laws (I think labor laws).  So I use the main bathroom on site.  Which from the looks of it, hasn’t ever had a female in it.  I thought I would take a picture in the dirty mirror of my hardhat, and this is how short I am compared to the mirror…It really made me laugh.  If I got closer to the sink,you could only see the very top of my hat.

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I would really like a palm tree to put in the corner of my office.  I am having to settle for my Carolina Coast calendar.

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Tomorrow is my first day off, and I am going to head down south for the weekend just to reset my patience.  Working with all men…let me just say, I feel like I am in the middle of a 13 year old boys locker room.  I keep telling myself that this adventure will put me exactly where I want to end up and it is only for a year.  Even my alarm clock reminds me when it goes off in the morning.

I want to join the DC swing community while I am here, but I am not sure I have the energy yet.  I am not used to getting up at 5:10 am just yet.  Hopefully, my body will adjust soon so I can have some sort of life outside of work.  I also have a list of places in the area that I want to visit for field trips once I have days off.

 

 

 

Winter Holiday at the Beach

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Spending my winter break in SC was a great idea.  I finally felt that I could relax and be myself.  Which sounds odd, because I should be able to be myself always.  Maybe I mean that I was able to unwind and became less frustrated with life, carefree.  The picture above is the north side of Pawleys Island, SC, and the picture below is Murrells Inlet, SC.  I had to pull my shorts out of the summer clothes drawer while I was there!

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The week away was a truly beautiful time.  My mom and aunt came to help me cook our family holiday treats.  I am not a sweets person, but I really enjoy baking and making candy.  I think it is kindof like how I like to clean; they both relax me.

Mom, Aunt Thelma, and I set shop up in my kitchen.  We ended up making my grandmother’s applesauce pies, my aunt’s pecan pies, Aunt Meta’s candy, haystacks, peanut butter cups, and peanut butter coconut balls.  My aunt is teaching me how to make my grandmother’s (their mom’s) applesauce pies.  Of course, they laughed when I showed the pie crusts I got for them.  Apparently, I should have gotten the frozen ones, not the graham cracker ones.

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Applesauce pies are delicious.  You can see them in the oven cooking, and my haystacks took up all the counter space.  I tend to unintentionally make the haystacks bigger as I go along.

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My aunt’s pecan pies cooking away.  Her secret ingredient is white vinegar, which takes some of the sweetness away.

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My Aunt Meta’s candy is pictured above on the right side of the plate.  This was my favorite candy growing up.  It is chocolate covered white fluff with pecans in it.  Fluff being sugar, butter, eagle brand milk, vanilla, more sugar, and something else (probably more sugar).  I guess Aunt Meta is technically my great aunt since she was married to my grandfather’s brother.

For Christmas Eve dinner, I took my Mom to a restaurant at the Inlet for the sunset view.  This was the view from our table.

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My friend’s son loves the Incredible Hulk, so I found him the cutest Hulk bow tie and Hulk shirt on Etsy.

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Here is is showing me how the Hulk gets mad.  Love the action shot!

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Mom hates having her picture taken, and asked why I have to take one every time she opens a gift.  I try to get her gifts that I know she will never buy for herself, as well as practical stuff.  She is opening a gift that is her father’s signature (his last name) made into a gold charm for her charm bracelet.  He died when she was in college, and she misses him the same now as when she was a young girl.  One year I ordered his Marine Corps records and put them in a book for her.  I took his signature from one of the documents for the charm.  I ended up ordering myself one in silver.

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Christmas day was spent with my aunt and part of her crew.  Her daughter lives in Hawaii, so she wasn’t there.  Mom spent the entire time with the youngest in the family, which wasn’t surprising.  My aunt’s son was in town, so I was able to see him and his wife.  They just moved to my hometown for his work, and I am not sure how much she enjoys it yet.  I asked how she liked it, and her comment was how diverse it was in relation to her her hometown.  Yes, we have a bit of everything there!

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After spending so much time with the family, I needed some time away.  Love them, but in small doses.  My retreat ended up being a walk on Pawleys Island, and spending time with my friends.  The holiday break was the best in quite a while.

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