23. September 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I haven’t done one of these irreverent blogs in a while. This is an accumulation of about 6 months of frustration with automatic flushing toilets when I’m in uniform.

So here is the new Air Force “Airman Battle Uniform”. We call them “ABUs” for short.

In fact, let’s get up close and personal with that new fabric.

I’ve a lot of concerns about this new uniform…from not being able to wear Army support combat patches (well, any unit patches for that matter), to the heavy weight of the fabric that made it quite uncomfortable in the Middle East contingency zones. Many of those issues are being addressed, but one of the ones that isn’t is a pretty fundamental issue.

The Near IR capability of these uniforms cause problems with automatic-flushing toilets.

Defined by Propper, Inc., the official ABU manufacturer: “Near Infrared (NIR) Signature Management Technology is used by the U.S. Department of Defense to prevent detection by NIR Image Converters. These photocathode devices do not detect temperatures, but rather infrared radiation variances. NIR-compliant uniforms use a special fabric that allows soldiers to appear at the same radiation level as the surrounding terrain, thus making them more difficult to detect. NIR technology also make uniforms less visible in low-light environments by reducing the reflection of light.”

I won’t argue with the value of this feature, especially at night when enemy forces might be trying to look for Airmen and the protection that NIR capability might be life-saving. I understand that.

I don’t have to wear my uniform often, but when I was in Florida for some training last December, the classroom building I was in was outfitted with the automatic flushers. So every time I had to use the ladies’ room, in the middle of going, the toilet was flushing. I was annoyed, but it wasn’t a hideous mess (I’ll get to that later) so I just tolerated it for a bit. I tried to sit extra still, but that wasn’t the issue. I guess over time the fabric would fade the heat difference of my sitting in front of the sensor.

The solution? Take off my ABU blouse before using the facilities there.

This didn’t come up again for a while — no automatic flushing toilets in the combat zone. Then I started this new job here at Offutt. The bathrooms in that building also have the IR detector so it happened again last week while I was in uniform. Again, I know now to remove my blouse and again, it wasn’t a messy experience when the flush happened — just loud and water-wasting.

But YESTERDAY. I went over to the Offutt BX after running some work-related errands in uniform and it happened again. Sorry, I don’t usually take the time to check, “Hey, is this an IR automatic toilet flusher?” before using it. Like most Americans, I’m not concentrating that much on the actions required to go to the restroom. But this time — it was a very, um, spirited flush in the middle of doing my business. I got SOAKED…and it was doubtful that was totally clean water that sprayed up all over my backside and the back of my shirt. I was so incredibly grossed out, I cut short the rest of my time at the BX (I had planned to browse for some kids clothes) and came straight home.

I have to admit, for me, having to use the restroom, whether public or private, is usually as second-nature to me as breathing. As more restrooms are equipped with the automatic flushers, and as I’m reporting to work in a new location on a new base, I guess I have to take a moment to check for the flushers.

10. September 2009 · Comments Off on An Article About the Shaw Reserve Unit I Just Left… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

This was just released through USAF Public Affairs channels. Enjoy!

True team effort behind squadron’s success

Shared via AddThis

03. September 2009 · Comments Off on Worm Update · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Well, it’s been 10 days and this has been very fascinating! This is a great project for kids, my boys are getting a kick out of it.

I’ve been checking up on the worms every day or so, most days just opening the lid to make sure I don’t have any more mass evacuation attempts. But every 3 days or so I would toss in a few food scraps. After tossing in some “sweets” on day 3, things seem much improved. There are usually worms crawling up the sides, but now no more than 4-5 at a time.

Those food scraps did the trick last Thursday. The worms took a couple days, but eventually all migrated towards the banana peels and tomato slices and in 48 hours, had been pretty cleared out. So on Saturday I added about 1/2 lb. of kitchen scraps: apple cores, banana peels, old lettuce and cabbage. And a couple eggs worth of shells, crumbled. I need some more guidance on how often and what techniques to use for feeding, but I’ll get a system together soon enough.

Happy Worms! Enjoy some pictures from this afternoon:

From 2009 09 03 WormBin_Vermicomposting

This is the worm bin after 10 days. It’s simply COVERED in worm castings now…despite adding food daily, there is no odor.

From 2009 09 03 WormBin_Vermicomposting

A closeup of the worm poop trails. Lovely, huh? This is pure compost, as good as it gets for your garden.

From 2009 09 03 WormBin_Vermicomposting

If you find some REALLY rotten food, you can find a HUGE tangle of worms. This grouping was tangled around a banana peel.

From 2009 09 03 WormBin_Vermicomposting

The top peel was added last night, the middle peel is about 3 days old, the bottom peel was from Friday.

01. September 2009 · Comments Off on Being Sick Sucks… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I’m just wrapping up a pretty nasty cold, upper respiratory infection, whatever you call it.

Whatever it’s called, it sucks.

I don’t get sick often. I last got quite sick the last week of February 2008. Yes, you read right: 2008. It was a horrible case of the flu, actually. Once I came home from the desert I felt like a time bomb, I figured if you go too long without getting sick, it’s bound to happen at any time.

And for me it was two Saturdays ago, the family had eaten dinner at Upstream Brewery and then took the kids to the Heartland of America Park in downtown Omaha to run around. My throat was getting that telltale soreness that heralds a cold.

Oh crap.

I was right — Dave let me sleep till 9am on Sunday and I didn’t want to move when it was time to get up for church. In fact, I ended up not going at all…

On Sunday and Monday I was in pretty bad shape. Dave took most of Monday off so he could help with Timmy, and he took me to the urgent care clinic so we could rule out strep or H1N1 (a.k.a. swine) flu. It was none of that.

Tuesday was the beginning of improvement, but as is typical with my kinds of colds, I end up with a lingering post-nasal drip that results in a lot of coughing at night. Since I turned 30, I’ve had a hard time shaking such a cough without a follow up trip to the doctor for some sort of antibiotic.

This one seems better — instead of the lingering cough, I have this river of snot — I think I’ve plowed through 3 boxes of tissues over the past 10 days. My nose is a nightmare…

I need to get better about the blog posts, folks — really. I used to be so on top of things, until Facebook and that friggin’ Bejeweled Blitz that sucks up so much of my time…

I’m getting busier, though — I’m now involved in my local AMS chapter, PTA and Dave’s unit’s spouse’s group. Jacob’s signed up for Cub Scouts and starts piano lessons this week. Timmy and Jacob both start soccer in a couple weeks, too. It’s going to be nuts!