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Archive for September, 2008

Sep 30 2008

Organizational Seminar

Posted by Mugs @ 10:43 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

This past weekend, I attended a Women’s Retreat with the ladies from my church.  I enjoyed the fellowship, games, worship, and prayer.  It was a blessing to eat meals that I didn’t have to cook and to sleep in a bed whose sheets I didn’t have to wash.  These are the things in life that make me happy.  In the middle of the retreat, we all attended an organizational seminar.  The speaker had it all together and attempted to convince me that I needed to have it all together.  I, of course, immediately thought of my office with its stacks of papers that have not been filed for a year.  When I returned home on Saturday night, I was amazed to discover all the laundry washed , dried, folded and put away.  Dale had also hung up, in the downstairs bathroom, the mirror that had been sitting in the garage for a year.  I was joyous.  I was as happy as if I won the lottery.  I have inherited my love of clean laundry from my Mother.  However, there are some things I wish I had not inherited from my Mother and I am occassionally shocked when I discover that I have done something exactly like my Mother would have.  I did one of these “My Mother would have done this” actions the night of the retreat.  We arrived at the home where we were to stay and I Immediatley changed into my pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers.  I made an assumption that everyone would change into comfortable clothing to sit around, play games and chat.  That assumption was incorrect.  So, there I sat in my bathrobe with everyone else dressed normally mortified as I thought, “My Mother would have done this.”  Anyway, when the retreat was over, I declared that on Monday I would get myself organized.  I can’t get organized on Sunday with Sunday School, Church, AWANAS, Youth Group, and Football.  Getting organized is certainly not more important than football.  On Monday, I dropped the kids at school and drove to the grocery store.  In pursuit of organization, I brought a stack of coupon inserts from the newspaper that I had been saving for a month.  I sat in the van and clipped out the coupons and organized them.  My time inside the store took twice as long as I tried to figure out how many and what size of item I needed to buy for each coupon.  By the time I got home, I only had time to put away the cold items in the refrigerator.  The rest of the grocery bags covered the kitchen floor.  I took Blaze out to play and than had to leave to pick up Zeke from preschool.  When we returned home, I made lunch and did some chores.  I then picked up the rest of the kids.  When I returned home, I got lost in the void for an hour.  I then drove Abby to flute lessons and back.  During the flute lessons, Dale returned home to a kitchen that you couldn’t walk through because the bags of groceries still covered the floor.  He kicked his way past.  After flute lessons, I proceeded to put away the groceries.  I then started dinner by slowly cutting up a canteloupe, painstakingly making guacomole, and cooking quesadillas.  Dinner is always late, but this was ridiculous.  By the time I started cooking the meat for tacos, it was 7:30pm and Dale was sitting at the table with his head in his hands.  He then declared, “I am never letting you attend an organizational seminar again.”

Sep 22 2008

Worship Team

Posted by Mugs @ 10:01 pm in Family Print This Post Print This Post

Josiah and Abby both auditioned for the middle school worship team.  The worship team leads worship at chapel.  Josiah auditioned on the piano.  He played a Gigue by Bach.  When he finished, the music teacher asked if he knew his chords.  Josiah replied, “Not Really.”  So, she proceeded to name off chords and Josiah proceeded to play them.  She then told him “next time someone asks if you know chords, say yes.”  When I relayed this story to our piano teacher, he gave Josiah and Abby a course on chords.  He explained it as he does in sophomore level music theory.  They now understand major, minor, diminished, and augmented chords.  Abby auditioned for flute and voice.  She played “Shout to the North” and sang Lord, Reign in Me.  They both made the worship team and the music teacher divided the kids into two groups: Alpha and Omega.  Abby is on Alpha and Josiah is on Omega.  Alpha was scheduled to lead worship for chapel last week.  Abby had to arrive 30 minutes early to set up and have a final run through.  When we arrived, I recommended to Josiah that he should probably go in too.  He declined on the basis of being Omega and sat in the car reading the comics.  After awhile, he and Gabe went in to the school.  I dropped Zeke off at his preschool class and walked over for the chapel.  Josiah walked by me in the gym and declared in a none too happy voice, “She’s making me sing!”  Apparently, the boy lead singer for Alpha did not make it in time and Josiah was now the sub.  Josiah had joined Worship team to play the piano and was shocked to discover that he was required to sing too.  He is not a kid who wants to stand in front holding a microphone.  He can barely stand to walk up front to recieve an award.  I told him, “If you have to do it, make the best of it.”  He led the boys on Prince of Peace  which has the “I Will Follow…I Will Follow” parts.  He did well, but was much relieved when it was done.  I then stayed for Elementary Chapel.  The music teacher and the Principal sang the parts.  The music teacher told the elementary boys to sing with her.  Once the song started, loud and clear across the gym I hear “I WILL FOLLOW…I WILL LISTEN…”  Gabe, with the third grade boys as back up was leading the charge.  I watched Gabe’s 3rd grade teacher smile and his second grade teacher smile too.  I just laughed.  That boy doesn’t need to be up front or on a microphone to lead worship.  He can do it from the back of the gym.

Sep 20 2008

Pentagon Meetings

Posted by Dale @ 6:51 pm in Pentagon Print This Post Print This Post

On Thursday, I attended the quarterly Army Geospatial Governance Board (GGB) meeting. The GGB is co-chaired by the Army Chief of Intelligence (G2) and the Army Chief of Engineers. Both of these guys are 3-star Generals. The G2 is one of my numerous bosses. My immediate supervisor is a Colonel-level civilian; his boss is a Colonel; her boss is a Colonel; and his boss is the G2. So when I say I work for the 3-star General, I really mean I work for Civilian #1 who works for Colonel #1 who works for Colonel #2 who works for the general (G2). COL #1 has been in G2 about a month longer than I have. The first day I met her, she commented that she was surprised with the number of meetings that everyone had to attend. I have found this to be very true. I guess I was spoiled for the year I was in Iraq since I eliminated all meetings that I had control over!

For every meeting, there’s a prep meeting. For every briefing, there’s a pre-briefing. It looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time giving pre-briefings in prep meetings so that when it’s time for the real meeting nobody is surprised by what is in my real briefing. I’ll have help from Jim, Pat and Tony, the other members of the Geospatial Team. The prep meeting for the GGB is a Council of Colonels. So for the GGB, we pre-briefed our boss (Civilian #1), then with Civilian #1, we pre-briefed COL #1. The Geospatial Team, Civilian #1 and COL #1 attended the Council of Colonels. After that, Jim, Civilian #1 and I pre-briefed the G2 on what happened in the Council of Colonels and what to expect in the GGB. We didn’t think COL #2 was going to be involved in the GGB, so we didn’t pre-brief him before we pre-briefed the G2. That was a mistake. He wasn’t happy about it and let us know. So we pre-briefed him two hours before the GGB was scheduled to start. The final tally was 4 pre-briefings and 1 prep meeting, all for a single 2-hour meeting.

For the GGB, I was the designated note-taker. My counterpart in the Chief of Engineers office, LTC Jeff Martin, was the designated slide flipper. Immediately after the GGB ended, I compared notes with Pat and Jeff. Originally, I had captured 4 taskers. After comparing notes, the list grew to 7 taskers. I put the taskers into a document and emailed it out to a few folks for review. After this review, the task list grew to 9. The next morning, Friday, I reworked the task list and ended up with 11 tasks. Task #11 was “Create a Task Tracker”. As I was adding Task #11 to the list, I felt like I was stuck in a Dilbert cartoon, and I was Wally. As soon as I sent it out, Jeff called and said we needed to add one more task which was “Schedule the next GGB”. So the final tally was 12 tasks.

I have meetings to prepare for meetings, briefings to prepare for briefings, and even tasks to prepare for tasks. I don’t know how it could possibly get any better.

Sep 13 2008

Third Grade Testing

Posted by Mugs @ 8:38 pm in Family Print This Post Print This Post

Last Thursday was back to school night, a night for parents to tour the classrooms and experience part of their child’s school day.  Prior to departing the house, I told Dale I would attend Gabe’s 3rd grade class and he could attend the middle school classes.  On the first day of school, we had done the opposite.  After committing to that schedule, Gabe informed me that I would be tested in 3rd grade.  Abby then informed Dale that her teacher was baking cookies for the parents.  Dale, of course, then refused to let me swap.  Once I was in the class, I had to take a math speed test.  It was 100 problems of addition facts that I had to complete in 30 seconds.  I finished 27, not even 1 per second.  After my unsuccessful math test, I received something much worse…a handwriting sheet.  I had to fill out an entire practice sheet with the letter f in cursive.  Handwriting is not exactly my strong point.  In fact, other than my sister Marie, all Meloch siblings have horrible handwriting.  My handwriting problems go back to second grade and my mean teacher Mrs. Walters.  I hold the pencil wrong and she would periodically come by and smack my hand with a ruler to get me to correct it.  I held it correctly until she turned her back and then out of spite switched back to the incorrect way.  I was proud of my stubborn defiance.  Of course, my stubborn defiance resulted in a life of horrible handwriting.  So, maybe my pride was misplaced.  As I carefully wrote and erased and rewrote the letter f in cursive, I thought only of the lecture I had given Gabe hours earlier about taking more time and care on his handwriting pages.  He corrected mine and found 61 errors.  I told him he was being a bit tough on me, but he showed me no sympathy.  He’s learned from the best.

Meanwhile, Dale was enjoying his cookies.  His middle school visit was not without controversy, however.  He sat in on a special math briefing from the principal.  As school approached, I had heard grumbling from other parents concerning the math curriculum.  Two parents had pulled their children out of the school because of the math curriculum.  In Josiah’s class, it was because the school didn’t offer Algebra in 8th grade.  Therefore, the students would not be able to take AP Calculus in twelth grade.  This is apparently a big deal.  I was not very concerned about this fact, because I had gotten accepted into university with Higher Math being my hardest class.  Higher Math was below the level of Precalculus.  It was the most difficult math class offered at my high school.  If you didn’t take higher math, you took business math where you were taught how to balance a checkbook and make change.  I get calls on the phone offering Josiah SAT study courses and brainiac event attendance.  I inform them that he is in 8th grade and tell them to call back when he is in high school and those things matter.  However, Dale came home from the meeting with a flow chart of math classes.  He and Josiah began to seriously discuss which track Josiah should be on.  The next day, the principal called to inform me that the school would now offer Algebra and Josiah could take it if he wanted.  Now that both Dale and a flow chart are involved, I apparently need to get out of the way.  No one wants math advice from someone who gets a 27 on a 3rd grade math test.

Sep 11 2008

Pentagon Memorial

Posted by Mugs @ 1:24 pm in Family,Pentagon Print This Post Print This Post

Dale is home today because of the dedication of the Pentagon Memorial created to honor the victims of 9-11.  There are so many people attending the dedication that they told those who work at the Pentagon to stay home today.  Every September 11th, I feel a great sadness for all those who lost someone they love and I pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort them.  I think the government has renamed 9-1l: Patriot Day.  The kids are supposed to wear red, white, and blue to school.  I understand that view, but for me, 9-11 will always be a day of remembrance and mourning.