You see, most of you civilian types don’t know what I’m talking about. My military brat friends are probably laughing their butts off right now. Because they know that the above-pictured party hat will NOT be donned by my children. That’s right, fellow BRATs. I’m throwing my kids a G.I. Party. They don’t know what it is yet either. But you can bet, they won’t be wearing headgear of any kind. (Don’t worry, civilian people. I’ll provide a glossary for all these italicized terms at the end of this post.) But I will. THIS will be my party hat:
Somewhere along the line, I got tired. Perhaps it was the fact that I realized I’ll be 44 this year, AHEM! (29 for the 15th time.) Perhaps it’s just the heat and humidity is getting to me. The fact that we all shower 3 and 4 times a day, thus overfeeding the laundry monster towels and sweaty clothes requiring me to slay it repeatedly on a daily basis, has pushed me to the edge of my usually forced patience brink. But now we’ll add in the constant whining, bickering, insult-throwing, sassing, and fist-fights to the already fully packed list of tattles, complaining, and arguing and you’ve got a one word adjective that describes the situation I am in to a T: Disrespect.
I have noticed that lately I must call out the same name at least 5 times before I hear a half-assed “Ma’am?” in response. I know that if my face was on t.v. they’d hear me loud and clear. (And probably turn the thing off.) When I ask someone to complete his or her dishes so that I can get dinner started, I either wait three or four hours for them to begin, or I get pissed off and ask God for patience while I wash them myself. I get elated that I finally killed the laundry-dragon and burned its nest down and smashed its eggs only to walk into the boys’ room and find its twin sister laying more eggs at the end of my son’s bed in the back corner of the bedroom…..even though I told him THREE TIMES to get all of his dirty clothes into the hamper NOW so that I can complete the laundry.
These are normal issues that happen all the time, I guess. But we’ve also been dealing with an enormously abnormal amount of tattling, whining, teasing, slapping, farting on, fist-fighting and swear words. I am at a loss for words as to how much of it. Maybe not. Words seldom leave me. I guess to be more accurate, I’ll say that I’m too humiliated to admit to the world how bad it’s gotten. It’s enough that my neighbors can hear the noise of bodies crashing against furniture and four letter words flying through the open windows (only because it’s too hot to breathe with the windows closed.) I’m very grateful that most of their insults and swearing are done in English because none of my neighbors speaks English. Although they all probably know the bad words. (Thanks, Hollywood.)
I’ve put them on restriction. I’ve spanked (get over it, those of you who don’t believe in corporal punishment. I’m betting you don’t have 5 kids separated by a year between them each and live in a foreign country and raising them alone. And if you have, oh well. Bygones!) I’ve taken away their meager allowances and computer privileges and television. I’ve encouraged. I’ve rewarded good behavior. I’ve talked with them. I’ve explained. I’ve done everything that everyone under the sun from Dr. Spock to Dr. Laura have suggested. (I still don’t know who Dr. Who is, so haven’t tried him yet.) So now, I’m going back to my own grassroots, sans the “beat the hell out of ’em” policy. I am returning to the Army.
Each GI will be issued a scrub brush. Sassier GIs will be issued a toothbrush. KP duty will entail scrubbing of tiles on the walls and floors. All dishes will be cleaned. Stove top will be scrubbed. Counters will sparkle and all duties will be completed prior to mess at 1800 hrs.
Latrine duty will entail scrubbing of all tiles on the walls and floors, sink, toilet, shower and removal of all clutter, including empty shampoo receptacles that had previously been labeled as saved for refilling with water to fire upon passersby under the balcony. Latrine will sparkle and all duties will be completed prior to mess at 1800 hrs.
Day room police will entail removal of all dust particles from furnishings and appliances. Windows will be cleaned and once floor area is completely mopped, all furnishings will be returned to their appropriate locations. Any non-regulation day room items will be returned to their proper locations or will be removed by drill sergeant during white glove inspection. Day room will be left in a clean, neat and outstanding condition prior to mess at 1800 hrs.
Any underbreath remarks, backtalk, complaints will result in disciplinary PT following mess at 1800 hrs.
*As suggested by my BRAT friends, I will not lie on the couch and eat bonbons throughout the party. But I will definitely be reminiscing and once they fall asleep exhausted tonight, I’m going to email my dad and thank him again for being the hardass that he was. If he hadn’t been, I wouldn’t be nearly as respectful a person as I am today.
Now, I’m going to “get this party started.”
GLOSSARY (for you civilian types)–
G.I. Party – Army term meaning a massive cleaning session, usually carried out by an entire platoon.
Platoon – A subdivision of a company of soldiers, usually forming a tactical unit that is commanded by a lieutenant and divided into several sections; A movie about Vietnam that starred Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen…but that’s not relevant to this blog post.
Headgear – Regulation hat issued by the military as part of the regulation military uniform; to be worn outdoors only
KP duty – Kitchen police; usually involves scrubbing pots, pans, dishes, walls, floors, peeling potatoes and cooking.
Mess at 1800hrs – Mess means meal; Mess hall or chow hall would be a military dining room. 1800 hrs means 6 o’clock in the evening.
Latrine duty – Cleaning of the latrine
Latrine – Bathroom; WC; facilities; toilet
Day Room – The living room/den area where soldiers are allowed to “hang out” in the barracks; usually furnished with couches, chairs, tables, television, sometimes pool table and ping pong table or fussball table and soda machines or snack machines.
Non-Regulation Day Room items – Personal items that do not belong in the Day Room, this includes but is not limited to clothing, shoes, backpacks, scarves, books, pens, rocks picked up along the beach, the charger for your mobile phone that you always claim you cannot find, and toenail clippers.
Outstanding – Overused Army adjective that reflects good quality; antonyms for outstanding would be unsatisfactory, sub-par, and shitty.