Amanda’s Advice for Brides-To-Be

The season for weddings is almost upon us. I have several friends who have been planning their big days for months now and several more who are recently engaged that are starting the planning process. But while I have all these soon-to-be bride friends, I have several who recently tied the knot as well. One in particular decided to make a list on her Facebook to help all her friends who are taking a trip down the aisle and while I didn’t exactly have the same kind of wedding she did, I found that a lot of what she pointed out could be applied to my situation as well. So with her permission, I bring you…

Amanda’s Advice for Brides-To-Be:
‘ ‘ 1.) There’s no such thing as planning something too soon.
    2.) Have a bridal shower/bridal luncheon/bachelorette party/visit bridal shows. You’re only going to be a bride once, so do everything you can to enjoy it. These may sound like silly traditions, but take it from someone who didn’t get to have them… you’ll regret not doing them. Don’t be afraid to be open with your closest friends and family about this one so they’ll be sure to make time for everything. The only “bride” type thing I got to enjoy was buying my dress. (It was one of the best days ever.)
    3.) Make sure you get pictures at the wedding with the people most important to you. This may mean discussing important pictures with your photographer beforehand, because you’ll be too busy to think of it the day of. I have no picture from my wedding with my mom. Yup. Go me.
    4.) Don’t try to do everything by yourself. If you have friends or family that have time, have them help you! Making decorations, discussing floor plans, looking through pinterest ideas, browsing through photo options, going over lists. Trust me, not only will it help you out, but I would imagine it would be more enjoyable. It’s another way to enjoy being a bride!
    5.) Don’t be afraid to be a bridezilla if needed. If a vendor or worker flat out drops the ball or flakes about anything leading up to your big day and it causes you to doubt their service… TRUST YOUR GUT. They are working for YOU. This is supposed to be YOUR day. So if they’re unprofessional in any way, drop them and move on to someone else. Trust me.
    6.) ENJOY THE RECEPTION. Because I didn’t trust my gut about the douchebag who did my hair and makeup (refer back to advice number 4), we had no time to do pictures before the ceremony. Because of this, we had to spend our time after food, 1st dance, and toasts doing pictures. By the time we finished pictures, almost all of our guests had already left, and our vendors were headed out the door. After months of planning and lots of money spent for this party, we didn’t even get to enjoy it. I wish I could have been able to dance with friends, mingle with family, goof off in the photo booth, and play some cornhole. From what I was told by guests, they had a great time! Just be sure to take the time to enjoy yourself! Have fun with your new husband, family, and friends! It’ll probably be the only time they’re all in one place at one time
.
I know a lot of ladies are getting engaged lately, and I’ve had some asking me questions. So I figure this is a good way to get some advice out to anyone who wants it. Take it or leave it. Good luck on your planning endeavors! ‘ ‘

Like I said, a lot of this didn’t apply to my wedding. First off I think I was engaged for all of a month and a half before we actually took the dive. Second, we “planned” our wedding by saying “This day is the soonest I can get down to North Carolina” and it involved both our parents and his best friend and that was it, so it wasn’t difficult for me to get pictures with everyone I wanted to.

While I didn’t have as much stress as I’m sure Amanda did while she was planning her wedding, there were stressors there. I think that’s how it’s always going to be when you do something like this. You either stress about the fact that you’re getting married or you stress about the little things that make up the process. I stressed over the latter because the actual thought of getting married, while scary at first, didn’t really bother me that much.

But since we didn’t have an actual wedding with all the bells and whistles, it’s our plan to do a vow renewal, likely on our one year anniversary. That will be our party. We just wanted to get the legal stuff out of the way first since, according to the military, you mean nothing until you’re married. Girlfriends come and go fairly easily and while the same can be said about wives now-a-days, there’s a bit more expectation to make things work if you’re legally bound.

I’m glad my friend made this list and, while she intended it for brides-to-be, I’ll definitely be referencing it when it comes time to plan our “party”. Which should be soon if I’m going to adhere to tip number one. What advice do you have for those soon-to-be newlyweds?

6 More Things Your Recruiter Might Not Tell You About MEPS

I’ve officially had my second go at MEPS and this coming Tuesday I’ll be making another trip up there for a psych consult. The doctor that examined me and asked me a few questions was concerned with the two speeding tickets I got in June of last year (“You’re still speeding even after your big accident,” I believe is what she said). So I get to talk to someone about my, apparent, speeding addiction.

Either way, the things I mentioned in my last post about MEPS still ring true. However, as predicted, I have a few other things to add to it, so here goes nothing.

9) Don’t Sweat the ASVAB.
Seriously, it’s not a pass or fail test. You’re not supposed to get every answer correct. This test is to determine your aptitude for certain fields. For the Air Force, your scores are broken down into four different categories that spell out MAGE. They stand for Mechanical, Administrative, Electronics and General. They’re a combination of the ten different categories that the ASVAB is broken up into and they determine what jobs you are and aren’t qualified for. Obviously, if you have a low score in the Mechanical portion of things, you likely won’t get to be a Maintainer (which is pretty much and Air Force mechanic). Either way, stressing over the test is only going to make you do bad on it which is going to lower your scores and either not qualify you for the branch you want or the job you want. So take a deep breath and just chill. Every question on that test you’re taught in high school, so there won’t be any content that you haven’t learned before.

10) Listen and Pay Attention to Direction.
So after I retook my ASVAB and gave my scratch paper to the proctor to destroy, I swear she told me to go back to the Air Force liaisons office. So I did. I knocked on the closed door and was told to sit down and that someone would be with me shortly. Two hours pass and the liaison I checked in with at 0600 that morning walks by, looks at me and goes “What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be at medical”. Well, I get up and go to medical for my physical exam and it turns out that they had been waiting for me to show up for the two hours I was sitting outside the liaisons office. I have to wonder if I would have gotten through everything any faster if I had just gone to medical first and processed with all the other girls, because waiting for that two hours made me process through on my own and so I got through everything in maybe thirty minutes. Suppose I’ll never know.

11) If The Doctor Says It’s So, Don’t Argue.
When the doctor told me she was referring me to a psych consult for my speeding tickets my first reaction was an eye roll and to think “are you f*cking kidding me?” to myself. It’s been almost ten years since my accident and while I’ve been in two other wrecks since then, neither of them were speed related. I think I’ve gotten maybe a total of three speeding tickets (two of them being last year) since that wreck. That means I’ve gotten one speeding ticket in an eight year period. I tried explaining that to her and why I got the two last year (the first one was total bogus because why the hell would the speed limit on the interstate be 55 just because you’re within city limits?), but halfway through explaining that and looking at her “puh-lease” face, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Just let them schedule the damn consult and get it over with. They’re going to make you do it no matter what anyway. This is likely the first of many hoops you’ll be jumping through if you get in anyway, might as well get some practice in.

12) Make Friends and Impart Wisdom.
Even though I didn’t process with a bunch of other girls, I made a friend in my roommate at the hotel. She wasn’t up there to test or for the exam, but she was signing her papers that day. She’s in the National Guard and going in as an MP. Her ship date for basic is in September. I found her on Facebook, added her, wished her luck and said if she was ever in the Fayetteville area and needed a place to stay she was welcome to hit me up. There was also a guy there doing his hearing test again who was signing up for active Air Force. He mentioned that he wanted to do something mechanical so I told him to go for Aircraft Structural Maintenance. Told him I had a buddy stationed in Okinawa with that AFSC who loved it. I didn’t get to stick around and see what job he picked, but I like to think that he considered the option I gave him because of what I told him.

13) Do A Dummy Check Before Everything. Twice.
When I left my house, I went through a mental list of the things I needed. Before I left my room I did the same thing but included the things I needed to do before processing, but I only did each check twice. What happened? Well I forgot my phone charger at home. Luckily my roommates alarm woke me up (I turned my phone off overnight to save some battery because I had to call my job in the morning) and I drove up there so I was able to leave my phone charging in my car while I processed, but if it hadn’t been for that I’d have been screwed. Before I left my room, I made sure I removed my necklace and my earrings but completely forgot about the chainmaille bracelet I’d been wearing for the past year plus, so while I was waiting to check in to take my ASVAB one of the other guys waiting asked me if they’d let me keep it on because I clearly couldn’t take it off. I freaked for half a second because I didn’t have my pliers to pry the rings open, but then realized they were aluminum rings that I could easily bend and remove by myself. Crisis averted. But if he hadn’t said anything I likely would have been reamed a new one.

14) Keep A Good Attitude About Everything.
Even when I found out I had been sitting outside the liaisons office for two hours for no reason (watching She’s The Man with Amanda Bynes in it… horrible, horrible movie…), I kept a good mood about everything and it made the process that much more enjoyable. It’s already a pretty awful experience so there’s no need to make it worse. I was joking with the staff the entire time and I think they really appreciated it as well.

Really, number fourteen ties back into number eight but it’s an important thing to remember, so I’ll put it in here twice. And it really applies to everything in life. If you’re not having fun doing something, what’s the point in doing it? I try to look at the bright side of it all so that I don’t look at it so negatively. Ain’t no body got time for that.

Got Ink?: Tattoos and the Military

Once upon a time, a service member being covered in tattoos wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities. Whether they were a soldier or a sailor, seeing men with ink on their arms, chests, and legs wasn’t uncommon. In fact, an entire style of tattooing became popular thanks in part to the military.

(TL;DR version:
“Norman Keith Collins (January 14, 1911 – June 12, 1973) was a prominent American tattoo artist, famous for his tattooing of sailors; he was also known as “Sailor Jerry”.”
-Wikipedia)

So when the powers that be came down hard on our tattooed service members a while back, it seemed almost like punishment to a lot of them for carrying on a tradition that had started years before they were out of diapers (or even a thought in some cases). For the most part, tattoo policies in the military have been the kind that made you go “well that makes sense”. There was the standard nothing offensive (sorry neo-Nazi’s, but y’all lost so give it up), no gang related ink (so if you have something you best get it removed) and nothing obscene or explicit. The rules for content are the same across all the branches. It’s when you get into location and size where things vary. I’m only familiar with the Army and the Air Force’s policy on tattoos, so those are really the only two branches on which I’m going to speak, but I’ll leave links at the end for the Marines and Navy (pretty sure the Coast Guard follows the same rules as the Navy because, let’s face it, the Coast Guard is the National Guard of the Navy).

Now, the Army policy has changed a few times over the years. Going from no tattoos on the hands or neck, to allowing it, then going back to not allowing it along with removing the ability to have sleeves on the arms and/or legs. If you already had these things prior to the regulations changing, you got to be grandfathered in so you didn’t have to have them removed… however you lost your ability to commission to officer status.

The most recent addendum to the regs stated that any tattoo visible while in a PT uniform must be smaller than the size of your palm and that there can be no more than four visible tattoos on your body. Again, if your ink violated this rule prior to the change, you’re okay but if you want to enlist and you violate this rule… it’s likely not going to happen. Sure, you can apply for a waiver but they issued this change for a reason. They were looking to cut down their numbers after the War in Iraq ended, and this was a sure fire way to slow people coming in as well as force a lot of guys out. Like I said, if you already had ink you weren’t getting kicked out but I know a lot of guys got upset over the rule change and left anyway.

Onto the Air Force. I feel like their policy is slightly more lax than the Army policy, but I don’t really know what percentage of exposed skin the palm of your hand takes up (x4)… so maybe that’s why. See, the Air Force policy is practically identical to the current Army policy except for the rule about how big or how many tattoos you can have on your exposed body while in a PT uniform. Above I linked an Army PT uniform. Now here are the Air Force PT uniforms.

Note: for whatever reason the Air Force doesn’t have just one image of both the short and long PT uniform together so this is the best I could find… and it’s funny so laugh at it. No need to get butthurt.

The Air Force’s rule for ink on exposed skin is that it cannot cover more then 25% of the exposed area. This means that if you have a line of text similar to this, you’re not completely out of the running. That is far less than 25% of his exposed arm but bigger than his palm (which would rule out the Army). The same would obviously apply for tattoos on your legs as well. Now I suppose I should clarify that “exposed skin” doesn’t count hands, neck, head or face. Aside from cosmetic tattoos (eyebrows, lipstick and eyeliner), anything on your hands or above the collar of your tee shirt disqualifies you. This includes your inner lip even though you can’t see it. It is possible to apply for a waiver for anything outside of where it’s supposed to be but actually getting that waiver depends on a lot of things. Pretty much, if you’re thinking of enlisting, talk to a recruiter about any current tattoos (or piercings) because they’re really the only ones who know what will and won’t be approved for certain.

I currently have two tattoos of my own with plans for eight plus more in the future. All of the ones I have plans for fit within the current Air Force Regulations, but if what was released by the Army on April First (it was really shit timing for them to say something then but they swear it was coincidence) is any indication, the tattoo policy across the board should be loosening back up again. I know SEVERAL ink’d soldiers who were ecstatic to hear about the change in policy that’s coming down the line.

“Society is changing its view of tattoos, and we have to change along with that … It makes sense. Soldiers have grown up in an era when tattoos are much more acceptable and we have to change along with that.”
-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno

So pretty much, sleeves are allowed in the Army again, which means my buddy from high school, who had plans to make a career out of the military, can now commission as an office if he wanted to. This is a great thing for the military if you ask me. Odierno is right about society becoming more accepting of tattoos, so it doesn’t make sense to keep to an archaic doctrine where ink = irresponsible. I know several single mothers who have tasteful tattoos and are probably some of the most responsible women I know (Hannah I’m looking at you). While tattoos might have distinguished who the heathens were once upon a time, that’s no longer the case and it’s about time that we stopped treating people as such, especially those who willingly do the job of a soldier or an airman.

edit;; totally forgot the links to the Navy and Marines policies. My bad guys. For good measure, here are the links for the Army and Air Force too. The Army link doesn’t reflect the changes that the SMA talked about in the article above because they’re not in effect yet. But like they said, they expect them to change in the near future.
Navy Tattoo Policy
Army Tattoo Policy
Air Force Tattoo Policy
Marine Corps Tattoo Policy (I couldn’t get the office Marine Corps .PDF link to work so this will have to do for now)
Coast Guard Tattoo Policy (because apparently the Coast Guard policy is different than the Navy policy. All the other branches use a crew neck tee shirt whereas the Coast Guard uses a v-neck… because they’re gay… kidding… kinda… okay totally kidding)

Online Dating: Rules For Survival & How To Make It Work For You

I feel like I’ve hit a low in blogging. My writer’s block is so bad that I can’t think of topics and have instead turned to pinterest for ideas on posts. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does it, but I sorta feel like I shouldn’t have to. Like… if I want to write for a majority of my life, it should come easy right? Or at least easier than it has?

Maybe. Maybe not. I’m sure those who have been blogging for a while will tell me that it’s okay to turn to other people for inspiration. That it’s not uncommon for the creative well to run dry when it comes to post topics. But I can’t help but feel like I’m cheating when I use them. C’est la vie though I suppose.

But while browsing this very extensive list of blog topics, provided by Gigi at kludymom.com I cam across one idea that kinda hits home for me.

578. Online dating. Have you done it? How do you feel about it?

Having been a child when computers and the internet just started taking off, I’ve gotten to experience a myriad of things that today’s generations haven’t (I think MySpace is still around but does anyone seriously use it anymore? And what about PureVolume?). But also having grown up with it, I feel like a few of my social skills were stunted from the newness that was the world wide web. I won’t say I was addicted to it, but it definitely intrigued me more than it probably should have.

Either way, I’ve always felt like the best way for me to initiate contact with someone was through a virtual setting. Maybe it’s the ability to hide behind a screen that I find comforting. Or the ability to just stop talking to them without feeling mega awkward if you don’t gel. Whatever it is, I’ve done my fair share of online dating. PlentyOfFish, OKCupid, EHarmony, Match, VampireFreaks (the gothic version of MySpace), MySpace itself… you name it, I likely made a profile on it.

If used correctly, I feel like online dating can be very successful. The method you use to determine the “correct” way to use it is your own. There isn’t one set way really because everyone is different and everyone is going to want different things from whatever site you choose. But I’ll give you a few tips that I used during my adventures in online dating.

1) Determine What You Want From Your Experience On The Site.
Do you want a steady relationship? Do you want flings? Do you want to find “the one”? These are all things you should determine before you even consider creating a profile. Once you know what you want, be very open about that on your profile. And for God’s sake, don’t say you want one thing when you really want another. Nothing sucks more than meshing with someone only to find out that they really just wanted to sleep with you and not actually be with you.

2) Give Direction For First Interactions & If Whomever Messages First Doesn’t Follow Directions, Don’t Communicate Further.
When I had a profile, I stated very clearly in my “about me” section, that if you only said “hello” or “what’s up”, I wasn’t going to answer you. So if that’s all the person said, I didn’t give them a second thought, no matter what they looked like. Ryan Gosling could have messaged me saying “hey girl” and I still wouldn’t have answered him (though, damn, it would have been hard not to). I also used my “about me” as just that… I told people about me, so it really shouldn’t have been difficult to come up with conversation topics. Likewise, whenever I messaged someone, I tried very hard not to simply say “hey” or “how’s it going”. I’m not that hypocritical.

3) Don’t Get Discouraged.
The male to female ratio on dating sites is poorly balanced. The women far outweigh the men and even those men that are on there aren’t always the best picks. There are a few quality guys out there, but they’re even more out numbered. You may get a thousand messages from guys who just didn’t care to read about you or who cared to read about you but you weren’t initially attracted to, but they’re worth that one message you’ll get from someone who cared to read what you said and who you care to get to know.

4) If You’re Not Attracted To Someone Who Messages You, Tell Them.
I ran into this problem a lot. My only requirement was that you put some thought into your first message to me. It deterred a lot of guys, but a larger number than I thought actually put thought into their first messages. I answered every single one of those guys because they put in effort. However, if I wasn’t attracted to them (physically, emotionally, mentally) in the first few messages I told them straight away that I wasn’t feeling it but would still be friends if they wanted. Some appreciated the honesty. Others quickly started calling me names and told me I was missing out. That certainly didn’t change my opinion of them.

5) Don’t Try To Force A Physical Attraction If There Isn’t One.
This is the most important tip I can give you. Some people will think I’m encouraging being vain, but I can’t tell you how incredibly true it is that if you’re not physically attracted to someone, it’s never going to work out. They can have the greatest personality in the world, but if there isn’t a physical attraction to go with it, it’s not gonna happen. It doesn’t matter how much of an attraction there is, but there has to be something. Otherwise, it can’t grow as you get to know the person. Passing on talking to someone as a potential romantic partner because you don’t find them “cute” or “hot” does not — in any way, shape or form — make you a bad person. It makes you a human being. If anyone tries to tell you differently, they clearly don’t need to be in your life.

6) Be Your True Self.
This should go without saying, but I can’t tell you how many times I had guys present one thing online, only to be something totally different when we finally started hanging out and going on dates. When it comes to me, what you see is what you get. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t portray myself as anything but what I am because I don’t want you to be disappointed that I didn’t meet your expectation later. I like to get the same thing from whoever I talk to, romantically or just friends.

These are the key things that made online dating a successful experience for me. I met my husband on one of those sites. He was one of those messages I answered because he gave his initial one thought and he was one of those guys I thought to myself “you’re kinda cute… let’s see what happens”. We talked on there for a week then met for coffee one afternoon. We sat outside that coffee shop until well after close talking and haven’t stopped since. So if you use it wisely, and stick to yourself, online dating can actually be a pretty good thing.

8 Things Your Recruiter Might Not Tell You About MEPS

It’s official. On the evening of March 29th, I’ll be driving to Raleigh to check into a Hilton hotel for the evening so that I can be up at the ass crack of dawn to head to the Military Entrance Processing Station (better known as MEPS) to begin my minimum of a month long wait for the Surgeon General of the Air Force Reserve’s blessing on my enlistment process. Fingers crossed I get the green light.

But in the face of this exciting event, I’m reminded of my last time at MEPS. Granted, that experience was over two years ago and in a completely different state (my first attempt at enlistment being made in Louisville, Kentucky), but I can only imagine it’ll be a very similar process. The biggest difference, aside from state location, is that the first time I went, it was a two day event. I drove up there one afternoon, took my ASVAB, went back to the hotel, slept, got up at the ass crack of dawn, then went and spent all day at MEPS doing their physical examination.

I don’t know how much, if any, things have changed since then. Looking over the “rules and regulations” paper my recruiter gave me, things are pretty much the same. I’m sure if you’re looking to face your time at MEPS your recruiter has given you the low down of what to expect, but here’s what I can tell you about it. From one recruit to another, these are the things the recruiters may not mention to you.

1) Get real comfortable with your body.
I’m not going to assume I know how confident you are in your naked self, but if you’re not super confident you might want to work on that before you go up. The doctor will examine you completely naked but they (and possibly a chaperon) will be the only one(s) to see you naked. If you’re a female, you’ll be separated from the males who are processing and be asked to strip to your skivvies but you will be with other females. Males, you’ll be with other males. The only person of the opposite gender who could see you in your underwear are official MEPS doctors and technicians but you will always be in the presence of at least one of the same gender as you. They’re job is to make sure that you’re anatomically clear to serve and that’s really all they care about, so there’s no need to feel self concious. As for feeling weird around all the other recruits… well the likelihood of ever seeing a majority of them again is slim to none so don’t feel too bad.

2) Drink lots of water the night before and the morning of the physical.
If you’re a coffee drinker in the mornings, I would consider passing on a cup just this once. Too much caffeine or sugar could mess with your blood sugar and cause you to be disqualified. They also do a urinalysis once you check into the MEPS center, so having to pee is a good thing. WARNING: you will be watched while you “pee in a cup”. Sorry, but someone has to have eyes on you the entire time you do it. This is where being comfortable with your body comes in handy. I’m pretty comfortable with myself, but even having someone watch me go to the bathroom was weird. If you’re having issues doing your business, try closing your eyes and imagining a rushing river or some other flowing body of water. It sounds cliche, but it really does help.

3) Eat the morning of the physical.
Don’t eat a whole lot, and especially avoid anything high in sugar, but you need to eat something. You’re getting up at the ass crack of dawn (I say that a lot) so you might not feel like eating, but trust me you need to. Once you get to the MEPS center, you’re likely going to be standing outside/in the lobby (depending on the temperature outside) for a good chunk of time and you won’t get to eat until lunch (which is at noon). If your recruiter advises you not to eat because he or she doesn’t want you to be over at the weigh in, tell them you’re not ready to go to MEPS. There was a girl in our processing group whose recruiter told her not to eat the morning of so she didn’t weigh over the limit for her height. She passed out four times while standing in line waiting to go upstairs. She was disqualified before she even got started. I get wanting to get the process started as soon as possible, but if there’s a chance you could be over in your weight class, I would hold off on going to MEPS until you know you’re in the green.

4) You’re gonna get cold.
Just accept that now. You’re basically going to be sitting in a doctor’s office for an extended period of time in nothing but your underwear. While they tell you to wear socks there, you will be asked to remove those at some point (though they let us wear them while we were sitting and waiting to keep our feet warm). If you like the cold, more power to you. You likely won’t feel the affects of sitting on a plastic chair practically naked. For the rest of the normal world, you’re gonna get chilly. Sorry.

5) If you have any piercings, take them out before you even leave your house.
Piercings aren’t a disqualification (unless you have stretched ears in which anything too large could prevent you from passing), but it’s a good idea to take them out before you even leave your house to go to the MEPS center. You’re not allowed to wear them into the physical and taking them out before you even go gets rid of the hassle of having to remember to take them out and then trying to find a place to store them. The first time I went, I forgot to take out the small gauges I had in my ears (they were maybe a 16g). They were actually lip studs. But I digress. I got one of them out and into my purse (which I had brought to put my cell phone in because you’re not allowed to have that on you while you’re processing) but I wasn’t able to unscrew the little ball on the other one. The Air Force liaison gave me the weirdest look when I asked if he had access to a pair of needle nose pliers so I could hold the flat back of the earring while I twisted the ball off. Luckily, he found me a pair and I was able to get it out. Otherwise, I’d have been disqualified for that instead of my heart surgery.

6) A disqualification isn’t the complete end of the road.
In my case, I went to MEPS knowing I would be disqualified. Heart surgery in your medical history is an automatic “no”, no matter what. But if you have documents that prove your heart surgery doesn’t hinder your health at all, you can appeal the disqualification and MEPS will send your medical records and their examination of you to the Surgeon General of whatever branch in which you’re trying to enlist for review and he or she will decide from there whether or not you qualify for a waiver. The first time I tried, he decided I didn’t qualify. But he decided this because he was worried about the affects of the heart surgery on my sternum. Only they didn’t crack my sternum open in my surgery (which is the normal procedure). So I’m appealing my initial disqualification this time. Now there are some instances where a disqualification at MEPS is the end of the road. It really just all depends on why you were disqualified. Talking to your recruiter about it afterwards will help you determine if you can try again.

7) You are in no way obligated to enlist if you pass the exam.
Just like a disqualification isn’t the end, a pass isn’t always the beginning. I don’t know how the process goes after you pass the exam (because I was disqualified), but I know some of the girls weren’t 100% sure they wanted to actually enlist. It all depended on what jobs they got offered based on their ASVAB scores from the previous day. But you are in no way obligated to sign that contract just because you passed your physical exam. Hell, you’re not even obligated to sign the contract if they offer you the job you want. You’re not even obligated to sign that day if you’re still not sure. Though, if they have a job you would like to do, I suggest signing anyway. Until you ship to basic and sign your final contract, you can still technically back out. MEPS isn’t the real day you sign your life away as they say.

8) Your time at MEPS is all in what you make it.
When I processed in Louisville, it was like one big party at the hotel. There were at least thirty other recruits there trying for all the different branches. We had an entire conference room to ourselves to play video games, watch movies, play board games, eat snacks and just hang out. Or you could go to your room. You had access to the pool if you wanted to swim, but it was recommended that you didn’t because the recruiters didn’t want you to be too tired the next morning. But your time at the hotel/MEPS could be fun or it could be a real bore. At first, most of the girls in my processing group were a bit nervous but it didn’t take long to break the ice and by the end of it all we were laughing and making jokes. I haven’t seen them since that day, but I still remember all their names, what branches they were going for and where they were from.

I’m sure there are other things I’ve forgotten to mention. After all, I went through the process over three years ago, but this is what I can remember. In my post-MEPS entry I’ll touch on anything I’ve forgotten or needed to add. Or if you can think of something I didn’t touch on, lemme know!

a perfect lie

It’s been ten days since my last entry and that’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve got a pretty gnarly case of writer’s block. Lots has happened since I last wrote, but it’s mostly personal things so I’ve avoided saying anything here. Which I know isn’t a good thing if I want this blogging thing to ever happen.

So while I’m updating the Tumblr, this has been kinda stagnant. Even right now I don’t really have a point to this entry and I’m really just pulling at straws but whatever.

This is where I’m going to shamelessly plug my friend’s band. Before I moved down here, he asked if I would “manage” them like I “managed” his old bands back in high school. See, I’ve known Gordon since high school and he’s stationed at Fort Bragg. He’s actually the reason I came down here last year at all.

Now, when I said I managed his band in high school, that really just means I got them gigs and they didn’t have to do anything but show up and play. Which was mostly true. The gigs I got them were typically with my band but whatever. But I agreed to “manage” his new band.

They’re a punk rock five piece that really just covers songs right now while they get a following and write their own songs. I’ve heard them practice and they’re pretty good if I do say so. And no I’m not just saying that because Gordon is my friend.

So if you like punk rock and live in the Fayetteville area, you should check out one of their shows coming up. They’re working on getting recordings for those of you who don’t live in the area so just keep an ear out.

A Perfect Lie

I made the site but I’m not the happiest with it so I’m working on creating a different one. For now, though, this one will suffice. And I fixed it. Basically moved everything to a different free hosting site so the theme changed. I didn’t like the way Wix didn’t let me pick my web address, but I wasn’t big on any of the themes at Weebly. In the end, I couldn’t take the horrid URL and so I found a theme I sorta liked and went with it.

cooking 101

Since moving to Fort Bragg exactly 17 days ago, I think I’ve cooked more than I ever really have in my life. Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I have cooked more days in a row consecutively than I ever have in my life. And that’s saying something since I’m going on 27 years old (less than a month til my birthday!!).

But my dad’s a chef, so growing up he cooked almost every meal. One would think that because my dad’s a chef, I would be some amazing cook as well. Wrong. He would try to teach me and when I would mess something up he would take over and do it for me, so I stopped trying to learn. But I did pick some things up just from observation and I’m fairly decent at cooking. By no means am I anything like my father, but I don’t think I’d ever get picked for Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” either.

But in cooking for almost 17 days straight (the first night we were here we had dinner with one of Daniel’s friends and another night we did a cook out so I made a dish but didn’t actually cook dinner), I’ve found one dish that is absolutely loved by my husband and just about everyone who ate it (minus his old roommate because that kid doesn’t believe in vegetables).

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

I figured I’d share this recipe with you kids because it’s actually really simple and delicious. Even reheated.

Now, when I do this recipe I buy Black Label bacon from Hormel. Not thick cut or honey cured, though I’m sure it would be just as delicious with the latter. My only reservation with the thick cut is the bacon taking longer to cook than the asparagus. Now if you use the same bacon I do, there are 15 strips per package. Be sure to count the strips so you know how many asparagus you’re cooking. When I make this dish, I use one full package for two people and it’s more than enough. We always have left overs, which is fine because reheating this dish doesn’t make it any less delicious.

You’re going to cut the ends off your asparagus as if you were just going to cook them regular. Run them under warm water to wash them and then lay them on paper towels or a hand towel to dry. Set them to the side and open your package of bacon. At this time you should put your pan on your stove as well, dribbling a little bit (I’d say a tablespoon) of oil (vegetable or canola, doesn’t matter) and turning it on to medium heat. Let that pan heat up as you prep your asparagus.

You’re going to want to carefully pull each piece out of the package, either as you do this next step or before. Cut each strip in half length wise. Basically, you’re taking your 15 (or however many slices are in your package) long strips and making 30 long strips. Now lay your strip of bacon diagonal on your cutting board so that it cuts it like this: | / |

Take your asparagus and lay the end (top or bottom) at one of the corners and roll the asparagus towards the other end of the bacon, making sure to wrap the bacon around the vegetable as you go. Once you reach the end of the bacon, set your asparagus aside and repeat on the next piece.

Now, by the time you get three pieces finished, your pan should be hot enough to place your first three pieces in it. You can check by running the tips of your fingers under water and flicking that water onto the pan. If it sizzles, you’re ready. While those first pieces (however many it is you can fit in your pan) cook, continue wrapping pieces of asparagus. You’re welcome to wrap all the asparagus before you start cooking, but I like to multitask when I cook. Just don’t forget to rotate the asparagus in your pan as you wrap. Once one side of the bacon cooks (it should look like bacon you’d be making for breakfast), rotate the asparagus to cook the other sides.

When they’re finished cooking, place on a plate or serving tray (with paper towel on the plate to catch the grease) to cool. As it cools, the bacon will crisp slightly. Just like with cooking bacon for breakfast, the longer the bacon is in the pan, the crispier the piece is. How crispy you make it is all based on preference, but I’ve found that having it still a bit flexible makes for the best flavor.

Once you’ve finished cooking your bacon wrapped asparagus, let it sit for a few more minutes before serving. Three to five minutes should do you fine.

And voila! There you have it! A dish that will make any bacon lover happy. I hope you find as much success with this dish as I have. Be sure to let me know how it goes for you in the comments and don’t forget to share with friends and family!!