Monday, August 20, 2007

Be Our Guest!

For those of you that have visited my blog at, you may have noticed something new. Rebecca added a counter that shows the days away and the days until my Christmas break and when I leave country. She also added a guest book where you may all write any pithy comments you would like. So be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test. If you didn't know that is from the Disney movie "Beauty and the Beast".

Speaking of guests, we had a small guest in our office this week. His name is Squeakers and he is a small mouse who has come to visit. I named him that after the mouse on television here who is the OPSEC (Operational Security) mouse. He constantly reminds us to be careful what we write and say as someone is always listening. So he is a constant reminder of OPSEC for our office. I feed him the potato chips that were sent to me in a care package. Naming him was no easy task.

I thought of names like "Algernon" (you know, Flowers for Algernon)

Editor's Note: "Flowers for Algernon" is the classic novel by Daniel Keyes that inspired the Academy Award-winning movie "Charly". The novel was the winner of the 1966 Nebula Award. From the summary on "Charlie Gordon knows he isn't as bright as most people. A gentle young man, he can read and write a little and manages to hold a menial job. A surgical operation on a lab mouse named Algernon leaves it an Einstein of mice--can such an operation raise Charlie's intellect as well? And what are the dangers of such an experiment?" In the end both heroes (Charlie and Algeronon) have to face the cruel realities of life. Charlie watches Algernon’s enhanced intelligence fade rapidly until finally the small mouse dies. Charlie then struggles to find a way to accept his destiny of losing all the new abilities and talents he was bequethed by the experiment. One of the last things he adds in his journal: "Please if you get a chance, put some flowers on Algernon’s grave in the back yard…” hence the book's title.

or that mouse from "The Green Mile" "Mr Jingles"
or perhaps "Mighty Mouse" or an old standby "Mickey Mouse"(why because we love you).

None seemed appropriate to our situation so I settled on Squeakers. It also had a fit to my WD-40 breathren since WD-40 stops squeaks, not that I would use WD-40 on a mouse. Could be another use though. Editor's Note: Pat is referring to the 2,000 listed uses for WD-40 My personal favorite is "Keeps kitty-doo from sticking to electric cat-box rakes."

Some of the people here think I should set mouse traps out and kill him and I know Rebecca would definitely want to get rid of him. Back home when we had mice in the garage, I would set traps and kill the mice leaving the carcass to be discarded. When I was there I would take care of them, as I am gone now, Rebecca pays my son Thomas a dollar to throw them away. Right before I left, Rebecca bought a mouse zapper that does precisely what it says it does.
It zaps the mice with electricity when they enter the machine. Not sure if that is more humane or not.

We also had some other guests this week from the DOD IG. These are the Dept of Defense Inspector Generals, basically government auditors who were here to look over our processes regarding weapons and ammunition. You may have seen the news regarding Iraq and the huge loss of weapons that was reported; you can understand why there is a lot of attention to this topic. I think I like Squeakers better. Actually, they were pretty good guys and we walked them through all our controls we have for weapons and ammunition.

This week I made a couple of trips to storage sites. One trip to an ammunition storage site was quite beautiful. The site is located just outside the city and has several hills within the compound. A group of us drove up to the top of one of those hills and the view was spectacular. There really are some pretty areas of Afghanistan if you can find them. We looked out on several mountain peaks and the valleys were actually green in places. The fact that we were overlooking many ammunition bunkers did not detract from the beauty of the landscape. It was nice to see some scenery that was different than what we normally see. I also went by Camp Phoenix and saw my old stomping ground. Had not changed much.

Back on the homefront, the kids finished vacation bible school this week. Not nearly as much fun as laser tag or magic class was for Thomas. The school year will be starting pretty soon so they all better enjoy themselves while they can.

Remember to think OPSEC, Squeakers would want you to.

Peace to you all,

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