28. Make your family turn out all the lights and go to bed at 2200, saying, “Now taps, taps! Lights out! Maintain silence throughout the ship!” Then immediately have an 18-wheeler crash into your house (for the benefit of aircraft carrier sailors).

Most living quarters for the enlisted on the carrier were several decks down from the hanger deck, but on the Constellation, on which I did one six-month detachment, they were a lot higher up, they were on the O3 Deck. The O-3 deck is usually just offices and squadron ready rooms as it is one deck below the flight deck, but for some reason there was a small berthing area on this level about midships slightly towards the aft. Because our squadron was not a full time member of the Air Wing and were just assigned to the ship when it came to the Western Pacific we were low men on the totem pole and relegated to having sleep in this compartment.

The metal deck of an aircraft carrier is probably about an inch thick and it formed the ceiling of berthing area. Try to imagine if you will, the sound of a 20 ton jet slamming down on a metal roof about 12″ above your bed. As close as possible civilian simulation would be to take a metal trash can and hold it over your head and shoulders and have a friend hit the outside of it with a baseball bat. But that’s not all, after the initial boom there is the sound of the jets engine at full throttle, followed by the tail hook being dragged behind the plane. In this hook (hopefully) is the 4″ diameter arresting cable bouncing along the deck in sync with loud whir of the powerful engines used to slow the cable and the plane down. Repeat every 2-1/2 minutes 20 to 25 times. And, if they are flying extended night ops, 90 minutes later, right about the time you are in a deep sleep, the cycle happens again.

This made for quite a few restless nights at first, but the human animal is fairly adaptable, so after about a week or two you no longer heard those 18-wheelers crashing into your house.

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 519

Go Phone

We first bought a prepaid cell phone from Tracfone back when Donna’s mom moved in with us in 2000 so she could have a way to get in touch with us when we were away on weekends. We stayed with them for 6 years before their customer service on a non-working phone lost the business for them. We have had an AT&T GoPhone since then. Because we are very infrequent users, the phone never gets turned on until we want to make a call, we go for 25¢ a minute plan where we pay $25 every three months. That is a 100 minutes for 90 days, you would think that would be easy, not for us. The unused minutes roll over, but you have to buy more to keep them. We have now not used the phone so well that we have about $65 in the kitty and another time deadline is fast approaching.

Monday morning we thought we found a good way to “waste” some of those minutes we’ll never use, by texting HAITI to 90999, this will donate $10 to the Red Cross. It was an adventure for me to try and “text” using our little phone, but once I finally got it we were glad to help in a small way. Instantly I received a reply that informed me to text back the word YES to confirm and that it would take 24-48 hours for the money to come out of our account. It has now been 60 hours and our account balance has not gone down one bit. Seemed like a great idea…

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 531

Three Down, Thirty Four To Go

The other day when I broke out Spenser book number one to grab a quote for inclusion in my post on the passing of it’s author, Robert B. Parker, it was intended to be off the bookshelf for only a few minutes. Didn’t work out that way, I ended up reading the thing again. I was between books anyway and I was having a hard time finding things that I enjoyed reading…

It’s been five days now and I’ve finished reading the first 3 books. It is kind of a nostalgic ride, not so much because I have read the books before, some even more than once, but because of the scene setting descriptions of the attire of the characters in the books. The first book was published in 1973 which was the year I graduated high school and I can really picture those outfits, even used to dress sort of like that sometimes.

Parker wrote one Spenser book a year, like clockwork, and I have have the first 35, in a combination of paper back and hard cover, that should keep me busy for a while. At least long enough to let me track down bargains on the last two novels.

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 531