Saturday, February 24, 2007

Don't Forget Your Statement When Paying Bills

I have been trying to pay for a bill from Sam's Club since arriving in Iraq and been have difficulty due to me not remembering the statement and not bring the card that was issued to me. I started with what I thought was a simple line of questioning at the Sam's Club website to an email game of tag. I am including it for your viewing pleasure:

From: ssgt
Sent On: 2007-01-24 21:30:04.0
Subject: Contact Sam's Club
Customer First Name : T Customer Last Name : W
Customer Membership# :
Customer Phone # :
Customer Message : I wish to access my account but do not have my card with me and do not remember my login information.
I wish to make payments via the web fore I am deployed.
My address for the deployment is:
BLAH (I took out some stuff for this post.)
I have listed my email address above.
Thank you in this matter.

The reply:

-----Original Message-----
From:[]Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 2:12 AM
To: Ssgt
Subject: <>Contact Sam's Club
To help us provide the best service possible to you, please do not change the subject of, or any replies to, this email.
Dear T,
Thank you for contacting Sam's Club. In order for us to access your online account and look up you login information, we will need a phone number, zip code, or membership number. We apologize for any inconvenience.
For any further questions or concerns please continue to email us or contact us at 888-746-7726.

Sam's Club
Sent On: 2007-01-25 21:41:39.0
Subject: RE: <>Contact Sam's Club
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
I don't remember my membership #, its on the card. My address listed for the account should be BLAH, and the phone listed should be BLAH. If I had the my membership number

I wouldn't be asking in this way.

Al Asad

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 7:16 PM
To: Ssgt
Subject: <>RE: Contact Sam's Club
To help us provide the best service possible to you, please do not change the subject of, or any replies to, this email.
Thank you for contacting Sam's Club,
Your membership number is (some number).
Your user id is your email address.
If you have any further questions don't hesitate to contact us.

From: SSGT
Sent On: 2007-02-07 01:01:40.0
Subject: RE: <>RE: Contact Sam's Club
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
That number does not work on the site as a valid account number. Also,which email address is my login. I have tried all that I remember and none are on file.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 7:46 PM
To: Ssgt
Subject: <>RE: RE: Contact Sam's Club
To help us provide the best service possible to you, please do not change the subject of, or any replies to, this email.
Dear Sam's member,
Thank you for contacting Sam's club.Please contact us at Sam's club customer service at (888)746-7726.
We will be able to get you the login for the online system.
From: SSGT
Sent On: 2007-02-14 11:03:13.0
Subject: RE: <>RE: RE: Contact Sam's Club
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

I am in Iraq. I cannot call you. I need better assistance.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 10:38 PM
To: Ssgt
Subject: <>RE: RE: RE: Contact Sam's Club
To help us provide the best service possible to you, please do not change the subject of, or any replies to, this email.
SSgt ,
Thank you for contacting Sam's Club. I have registered you on the website. Your login is the email address on that you sent this email from. The password is 123456. If you need further assistance please let us know. You can change the password by clicking on Forgot Password. This will email a link to you to reset it. Thank you and have a nice day.

Mary S
From: SSGT
Sent On: 2007-02-24 11:03:13.0
Subject: RE:<>RE: RE: RE: Contact Sam's Club
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
The account is a new one, not the original account in which I need to give you money. Help me, Help you.

As you can see, I have not gotten anywhere. Really. I will keep you all posted. This is one of my highlights in my Microsoft Outlook portion of the day.

I kidding, you know that. Right?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gray Hair

I know why military retirees have gray hair. This place and similar situations cause it.

While performing my job, there is a "crisis" everyday. Everything else must stop, so that we (myself and maintainers) can fix the "problem" and the aircraft can fly for whatever mission that is commencing or about to commence in next few hours.

And to think, I just re-enlisted for another 4 years of this crap. (I think I am just looking at the possibility of ending a military career before I hit 40.)

I also put in for warrant officer again, which would string out my time a few more years and my hair would definitely be gray at the end of it.

The good part is most of it is coming in at the sides just above my ears. I can have that trimmed off when I get my haircut.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Night Crew

I am currently working nights, which in turn would mean I am working a shift similar to one in the States that would be a day shift.

I go to work when it is daylight and I leave work when it is daylight, but during work it is dark outside unless the moon is out.

To me it seems I get less accomplished on night crew, but the stress is lower. Our power goes out regularly, which in turn means not a lot of maintenance gets done in the dark. Unfortunately, the timing is not regular.

I do get to reflect on my day more, but time to stand in line for the phone seems futile since we need power, and the only time I have that is free is when we don't have power.

Gotta love it.

Really the best part of the day for everyone is "mail call." Everyone loves it when they get a letter. Not everyone does, so I share. (Goes back to that "Any Marine" program.)

I have sent out several replies in the last few days, I hope it doesn't take too long.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The WO package, nicotine, & stuff a church group could send.

For the sixth year now, I have put in for warrant officer. The process is pretty much the same year after year, the only real change this year is I am in a combat zone. So my picture was done in the desert MARPAT uniform and not all of my medical precommissioning checklist can be completed here. For the most part the rest is the same, still have a fairly large document of stuff about me in terms that most military people can only read, have an interview with officers that were once enlisted(mostly objective questions), and there is always extra red tape and a few hoops you need to jump through. In a way, it seems the officers try to make the process as hard as possible so you can not be one of them, you know, crossing into the "dark side". I received a good recommendation and today it has been forwarded to "group" where they will endorse it, send it to wing they endorse it and then it arrives at Headquarters Marine Corps. The board convenes in June the results are posted in late July. Yea! I figure the worst thing "they" could do is appoint me.

I stopped taking or you could say I stopped putting the patch on my arm. I have been still taking Zyban, but sleeping hasn't been that great. One the most common side effects is lack of sleep (another is lack in sexual desire). All in all, I think I am doing pretty good with that.

Q-tips, snack food such as breakfast bars, popcorn, beef jerky, magazines, blankets, paper filter masks (paint face masks), just about anything you could think about you might need in a desert that is high use or disposable are items myself and others need or want. The basic stuff like razors and soap, along with anti-bacterial wipes, cleaner, hand soap are used everyday and is needed. If you have ever been to Yuma, Arizona, think about what you needed there and then subtract about 10 degrees for the winter (30-40s) and add about 30 degrees for summer (130-150s) , that may help in figuring out what we need or want. There is no Wal-mart, no Fleet Farm, and no Applebee's. At the base I am am at, there is a Pizza Hut and a Burger King, but I am not eating in a place that has no food inspector and the closest cattle is in India where they are sacred.

I am listed in you can look up by last name, country, or many other unique ways. I am supporting about 20 Marines.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Navy Showers

We are supposed to take "navy showers".

Here's the definition:
Wet body,
Lather body with soap,
Rinse body,
and you're done!

The idea is to have plenty of hot water for everyone and to conserve on water.

Well, the water (for showers and sinks) is "made" and is disinfected water and in turn is not potable.

All I want is five minutes of hot water, I don't think this is too much to ask for. Is it? If you give five minutes, of straight, hot water, then I will take those navy showers my superiors tell us to take.

The typical shower I get at 0400 (morning) is excruciating hot water for one minute, then sub zero cold water for 30 seconds, then warm water for 5 seconds. This cycle will then repeat and the times for each temperature are not the same, it varies.

The rumor is the best time to take a shower is mid-day. When some of the offenders of not taking the five minute showers are taking longer, in theory. But who cares, its day time and it is warm outside. I am not afforded the opportunity to take showers during the day, for I have a job. Hell, I seldom eat lunch, much less, even thinking of taking my clothes off to get clean. I mean really, why would I want to bathe.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Quit Smoking: Day 9

I had duty on Saturday, and that was the true test. 24 plus hours of mostly boredom. I made it through. Yesterday, I pretty much slept all day.

The nicotine patch I am wearing is a 7 mg, and I can't tell the difference. I only have 4 more patches, so day 14 will be the last test per se'.

My boss said if he sees anyone giving me a smoke or if I am smoking, the culprit will owe the division a night out in town.( I don't know if he has noticed but we're in Iraq.)