For now, here's a little recap of some of the past week's events:
I'm thrilled to say that the Captain did indeed pass his gunnery test, coming out a full 12.5 percent better than he needed to. This is especially significant (and gloat-worthy) because he isn't technically an artilleryman...yet. Currently, in the eyes of the Army, he's a chemical officer. I'll explain more about that somewhat unusual situation in a later post, but essentially, it's kind of like a chemistry major knocking a pretty advanced economics exam out of the park. Kudos, Captain Butters! In recognition of Spike's success, I stationed one of his pink plastic flamingos (there are two) in front of our duplex, along with a hastily-made sign.
"Even though I am an awesome pink flamingo, I will never be as awesome as Spike. How sad for me."Indeed. How sad for that flamingo. Happily, I had already tortured myself for about 9 hours by cooking a delicious-smelling beef stroganoff in the crock pot all day, so we celebrated with a hearty meal and some Menage a Trois wine.
Hail the conquering hero. Don't make him mad, or he will defeat you with firing tables and cunningly calculated charges. That fresh-faced grin is deceptive.Spike had Friday off from class, so he was around all day while I worked. After fixing pancakes for breakfast, hanging a curtain rod for me, and washing his car (seriously--is he a Disney prince come to life?), he set to work baking bread. Orange and banana bread, to be exact. It was a long, oft-messy, but ultimately rewarding process.
At first, the dough was pretty messy, due--we think--to the bananas. My contribution was dumping heaps of flour onto the mixture, which eventually succeeded in making it less gloppy. I'm not sure if "gloppy" is a real word or not, but that accurately describes this dough.
And...success! The bread looked, smelled, and tasted like it was supposed to. I think Spike has gotten himself a permanent baking gig.On Saturday, fortified by some delicious homemade bread, Spike and I ventured south of the (Oklahoma) border and headed to Wichita Falls, Texas. It was only about a 45-minute drive. Turns out, northern Texas looks exactly like southern Oklahoma, and Wichita Falls isn't very different from Lawton. We were hoping that the downtown area would offer some diverting entertainment options. And it did, if you consider being deserted diverting. In the end, our fearless leader took me to a Bed, Bath, & Beyond where he terrified me with threats of buying zebra-print shower curtains, and to a furniture store where most of the couches looked more comfortable than they actually were. Oh well--you can't win 'em all.
We also took a stroll through the Wichita Falls mall, which was slightly better than the one in Lawton. It was crawling with Air Force cadets, because there's an Air Force base nearby. Ever the responsible officer (despite being in a different branch of the military), the Captain pointed out every improperly worn uniform he saw. It was quite an education. I must say, it's strange to think that had I made one decision differently seven years ago, I might now be in charge of some of those sloppily-dressed cadets. (In which case, I like to think, they wouldn't be dressed so sloppily.)
I thought very seriously about attending the Air Force Academy, but ended up falling in love with my eventual alma mater, Wake Forest University, before I could apply. Deciding where to go to college is definitely one of those easy-to-point-to life-changing decisions, and sometimes I do wonder how different my life would have been had I gone down another fork in the road. I wouldn't have met the Captain, for one thing. It's interesting to ponder where (and who) I'd be now if I'd become a cadet in Colorado Springs, or even if I'd gone to Duke, for that matter. I know I made a great decision in attending Wake Forest, though. I like who I am, what I do, and where I'm going. And that, I think, makes me pretty darn lucky.