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.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR DEPLOYMENT |

January 09, 2009

HOW TO PREPARE FOR DEPLOYMENT
Name: Zachary Scott-Singley
Posting date: 1/9/09
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog: A Soldier's Thoughts

Here's something a friend sent me:

HOW TO PREPARE FOR DEPLOYMENT TO IRAQ / AFGHANISTAN

1. Sleep on a cot in the garage.

2. Replace the garage door with a curtain.

3. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your wife or girlfriend whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, "Sorry, wrong cot."

4. Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold water on the floor. Stop cleaning the toilet and pee everywhere but in the toilet itself. Leave two to three sheets of toilet paper. Or for best effect, remove it altogether. For a more realistic deployed bathroom experience, stop using your bathroom and use a neighbor's. Choose a neighbor who lives at least a quarter mile away.

5. When you take showers, wear flip-flops and keep the lights off.

6. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and dump dirt on your head.

7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it on "HIGH" for that tactical generator smell.

8. Don't watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch and then show a different one.

9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.

10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.

11. Once a week, blow compressed air up through your chimney making sure the wind carries the soot across and on to your neighbor's house. Laugh at him when he curses you.

12. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.

13. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a saltine cracker.

14. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator. Then serve some kind of meat in an unidentifiable sauce poured over noodles. Do this for every meal.

15. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get to the shower as fast as you can. Simulate the lack of hot water by running out into your yard and breaking out the garden hose.

16. Once a month, take every major appliance completely apart and put it back together again.

17. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for five or six hours before drinking.

18. Invite at least 185 people you don't really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Exchange clothes with them.

19. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.

20. Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.

21. Keep a roll of toilet paper on your night stand and bring it to the bathroom with you. And bring your gun and a flashlight.

22. Go to the bathroom when you just have to pass gas, "just in case." Every time.

23. Announce to your family that they have mail, have them report to you as you stand outside your open garage door after supper and then say, "Sorry, it's for the other Smith."

24. Wash only 15 items of laundry per week. Roll up the semi-wet clean clothes in a ball. Place them in a cloth sack in the corner of the garage where the cat pees. After a week, unroll them and without ironing or removing the mildew, proudly wear them to professional meetings and family gatherings. Pretend you don't know what you look or smell like. Enthusiastically repeat the process for another week.

25. Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a vacant lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them.

26. Eat a single M&M every Sunday and convince yourself it's for Malaria.

27. Demand each family member be limited to 10 minutes per week for a morale phone call. Enforce this with your teenage daughter.

28. Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for proper ambiance.

29. Sandbag the floor of your car to protect from mine blasts and fragmentation.

30. While traveling down roads in your car, stop at each overpass and culvert and inspect them for remotely detonated explosives before proceeding.

31. Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 a.m. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are just registering mortars. Tell them plastic will make an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows.

32. Drink your milk and sodas warm.

33. Spread gravel throughout your house and yard.

34. Make your children clear their Super Soakers in a clearing barrel you placed outside the front door before they come in.

35. Make your family dig a survivability position with overhead cover in the backyard. Complain that the 4x4s are not 8 inches on center and make them rebuild it.

36. Continuously ask your spouse to allow you to go buy an M-Gator.

37. When your 5-year-old asks for a stick of gum, have him find the exact stick and flavor he wants on the Internet and print out the web page. Type up a Form 9 and staple the web page to the back. Submit the paperwork to your spouse for processing. After two weeks, give your son the gum.

38. Announce to your family that the dog is a vector for disease and shoot it. Throw the dog in a burn pit you dug in your neighbor's back yard.

39. Wait for the coldest/ hottest day of the year and announce to your family that there will be no heat / air conditioning that day so you can perform much needed maintenance on the heater / air conditioner. Tell them you are doing this so they won't get cold / hot.

40. Just when you think you're ready to resume a normal life, order yourself to repeat this process for another six months to simulate the next deployment you've been ordered to support.

Comments

Brilliant! I love it.

Loved it, laughed my ass off!

Ha, #25 says it all. Thank you for getting me to laugh--nervously, mind you, but a lot.

Has this been sent to the new(?) leadership in Washington, DC? Should be required reading....

About 30 of these items sound like the "Assisted Living" place where I live in the U.S.

That is funny and has the ring of truth to it!

Too true! Maybe you should add to #4 - to get the true experience, you also need to invite five random Nepalese dudes to stand around while you shower for the authentic KBR experience.

WOW - That all sounds like it TOTALLY SUCKS. Explain to me why ANYONE would sign up for the military?

This faintly reminds me of a thing I saw years ago which told you to train for parenting in the following way:
1. Buy a live octopus.
2. Stuff it into a mesh or string bag.
3. Take it out.
4. Put it in again.
5. Repeat until you pass out from exhaustion.

This turned out not to be nearly as wearing as actual parenthood, of course. Welcome back home!

This post gives me a better picture of what our men and women overseas are forced to endure for the sake of those back home. This description of what the soldier’s life is like while deployed makes me respect their sacrifice all the more. This small taste of the military lifestyle puts any minor inconveniences I experience here at home in harsh perspective. Although mere words aren’t sufficient enough a response for such agony endured for patriotism’s sake, I gratefully say, “Thank you.”

HAHAHAHA thank you so much for this! My husband is 9 months into a 15 month tour and this sounds just like some of the things he's complained about. :) It provided for much needed mid-deployment comic relief.

While the list certainly makes me laugh at some of the illogical (people in charge being illogical? Nooo... never...) stuff that goes on, it makes me sad to hear of all the nonsense that our soldiers have to endure. As always, Thank You isn't enough.

Where can I order a full yard of ale made of plastic? It must hold 2.5
UK pints, be 3 UK feet in length and in the traditional style. It must
also be shipped to me in the UK within 8 weeks.

Great news! In regards to the difficulties, I haven't believed about them additional.thank you particularly a whole lot best sharing i'm coming everday.

Thanks for sharing this great submit, i truly adore your weblog, but i have some problem i dont know whether it is my side issue or on your site? some words of the post on your weblog have charactor encoding issue, yes i use auto detecting, can u pls appear into this issue a bit?

Thanks for sharing this great submit, i truly adore your weblog, but i have some problem i dont know whether it is my side issue or on your site? some words of the post on your weblog have charactor encoding issue, yes i use auto detecting, can u pls appear into this issue a bit?

Holy Holy, I laughed so hard, I cried, good one!!!!

If you’ve ever enjoyed watching a time-lapse video of something being built then you will understand what I mean when I say that taking pictures of your small bathroom remodelling project in their development can be great fun.

This turned out not to be nearly as wearing as actual parenthood, of course. Welcome back home!

Informative post I like it. I like your way represent the all post with point to point and step by step. It's save time. I hope you never stop! Thanks for sharing this one.

Flip flop showers with the lights off? I don't get it...

Very informative although it`s quiet long! I can imagine how hard it is to live in countries like Iraq. So hard.
I also like the way you present the steps. It has sense of humor.
Nice one!

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