The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


September 24, 2007

Name: Adrian B.
Posting date: 9/24/07
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog url: thesatiristatwar

A lot's happened since the last time I took a couple minutes out of my day to write. Notable highlights were me getting my CIB*, a steady worsening in the me-interpreter relations, the death of my grandfather, and a steady escalation in the activities of our "friends across the border," the Taliban. People may be wondering why I don't write more about such things, or imagine that I'm not writing dashing stories of travail and adventure because I haven't experienced them. The fact is, writing about certain things makes me think about those things, and the things that you might be most interested in are things I'd rather forget. It's already hard enough not to think about it without my favorite elixir (which is to say "hootch" or "booze"). So, no dramatic epics of wartime heroism, etc. -- just more of the same inconsequential stories.

The most recent episodes here on the FOB have revolved around the introduction of animals into our habitat. Certain types (especially younger, high-school and college-aged individuals -- people that don't know any better, in other words) always make such a big fuss about us encroaching on nature, and pushing all the cute animals out of their natural habitat. What these people fail to take into consideration is how irritating it is when an animal -- and more specifically, vermin -- makes its way into your home.

As winter's started its relentless advance, here in the mountains, every field mouse, spider, centipede, and bottle fly within a 500m radius has made living in the command hallway their number one priority. The field mice have staked out the wooden walls that separate our community, whereas the spiders and centipedes contend for homes in our shoes, boots, and sleeping bags. Flies seem content to limit themselves to the hallways.

Everyone has their ideas on what constitutes the best system for keeping vermin out of one's room. My favored technique is to keep my room as cold as possible, in hopes that the vermin will prefer my neighbors' rooms to my own, a defense that has met with excellent success, though not without incurring a significant amount of animosity from my colleagues; also, I am currently writing with gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants on, all of which I will have to switch out with more appropriate attire before venturing into the 85-degree mid-day heat.

Our 1SG has taken to cleaning his room obsessively since discovering an eight-inch, poisonous centipede near his shoes; he seems to feel that keeping his room pristine will deny the vermin access to the food and shelter they seek. The Fire Support Officer and our Commander have taken a more aggressive approach to the problem, emplacing numerous sticky tent traps around their rooms, and have to date enjoyed the best success, capturing, and quickly putting to the torch, three mice.

The commander was lucky enough to catch a fourth mouse with his boot the other day, bringing the total number of mice killed to four. Using poison is not a viable option with the mice, because they'd just crawl into a corner, die, then bring pestilence to our abodes with their rapidly-decomposing bodies.

*Combat Infantryman Badge


One word: cats.

I want to tell you that this is of great consequence to me, Adrian. It lets me know you're alive, maintaining and there is hope. That's a very important thing.

And maybe the mice, flies, bugs, etc are good things cuz they give you a focus outside the other 'stuff'?

Congrats on your CIB, condolences on the loss of your Grandfather and God Bless, Adrian.

Yeah, cats. Or whatever the locals use. Might be the baddest scorp' or 'ped around, you know, the alpha-whatever of the local food chain.

Watch the self-meds, though. Hooch is nobodys real friend.

Ad, Sorry about grandpa and do keep these up as it makes my day to see your wit intact amidst all. Love.

So sorry to hear about your grandfather.

Just thought I'd let you know that I don't need to read a story of wartime heroism to think of you as a hero, and as someone I admire and look up to. :-) Best wishes to you and good luck keeping the bugs out!!

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