The Holidays

23 Nov - 25 Dec 1995

Thu 23 Nov

Thanksgiving. Dinner with the family, Shawn's friend Barbara McMeekin and Chris's girl friend Mollie.

On this day of reflection, here's what's happened since September:

Sun 26 Nov

Come in to office briefly, find out that MacMurray has finished editing my diary to fit the Web. Cut it to about 43% of original size.

Wed 29 Nov

Read edited version of my diary and OK it, apart from a few minor corrections. CAPE review of Engineering.

Provost and I meet the class where the confrontation took place. The students are very angry; rumors are that nothing will happen to the instigator. Not so - he's being cited for disorderly conduct. He informs me that he will be looking for another position.

Thu 30 Nov

Admin Drill-very short for not good reasons. Messages coming down and changing rapidly. CPT Comfort and SSG Jakubenas have gone to Illinois to draw cold-weather gear. Volunteers for prep at center being sought. Rumors are that we will get an order to go 11 Dec and leave next day for Bragg, then 10-14 days later for Bosnia. We got a slew of Serbo-Croat language survival kits from DLI. Time to start drafting letters.

Fri 1 Dec

Get CAPE interview and writeups done. Spend rest of day on next year's scheduling sheets. Start reading up on Serbo-Croatian; it's very similar to Russian, but more regular.

Sat 2 Dec

Start of a long weekend. MAJ Jaworski, the other Russian speaker in the unit, has also been studying Serbo-Croation and says "this is gonna be a piece of cake"; I concur as far as getting the language is concerned. Commander briefs us that we will probably get the call 11 Dec and leave Bragg 7-10 days later. Spend rest of the day on POM work and driver training, also Class A photos. Kilgariff does not let people out until everything is done, so we did not get out until 1730. Took Shawn and Barbara to see Goldeneye. Call SPC Hurst's family - she's in Czech Republic - update them on what's happening. I have a continual nagging feeling that plans are going to change.

CPT Hermsen is back wearing a frame that keeps her head immobilized. All glad to see her. I nicknamed her Robo-Captain; she got a kick out of that.

Sun 3 Dec

Find out Sgt Raker and SSG Renner are in Maine at a Serbo-Croat school - the hard way - the duty NCO calls Raker's home. Have to call back and apologize for the miscommunication. Day spent on POM, driver training and a USACAPOC-mandated 100 per cent inventory. We get to take our TA-50 home to pack. Commander briefs us at 1400- the peace accord is due to be signed on 14 December and he thinks we have a 50-50 chance of being home for Christmas. (I knew something was going to change! I can see us not going at all.) Some valued people will not go for personal or medical reasons: SSG Don Hanson, SSG Bill Sieja and CPT Mike Wojta. One NCO is also non-deployable because of a drug screen; he may make his 20 years, but barely. SPC Antonella Nelson is up in the air about her status; she can't get a security clearance because her U.S. citizenship isn't final, although she can get an interim clearance (she is an Italian citizen). She also has a permanent profile for a hip problem. On the other hand, she's fluent in German, Italian and French. Gave makeup PT test to a troop who failed the run again (been there, done that myself). About 1500 SPC Hurst comes in; she was called and told to return early. This is twice today I found out a major news item about a team member the hard way; Heard It Through The Grapevine is a great rock song but a lousy way to conduct military business. I will definitely talk to the responsible party. Finish with Legal Brief and get out late again at 1700.

SSG Jim Smith joined a few months ago. He's ex-SF, works as a paremedic in civilian life. Seems a great troop, and with his SF background, same as the Cdr and CSM, he's definitely on the fast track. He's sharp and knowledgeable without being arrogant; if he works out as well as he seems to promise he will be a great asset to us. He's fluent in Arabic and Farsi.

At morning formation Bob Haglund got his official promotion to MSG; at evening formation Sandy Zimmerman, Elizabeth Brink, Dan Rogne and SGT McNutt got AAM's for the CLRP or our August FTX.

Dec. 4-10

Drop in to center Mon & Tue to help but not much happening. Work on language stuff. Shawn tells me Chris's car has brake trouble; check it out - metal on metal, disks deeply scored. Cold all week; try Tues about 10 PM to fix brakes but too cold and late. Next day he's free is Sun. Try then. Below zero, about -40 wind chill. Can't do-needs an Allen wrench in an odd size. Tell Chris he's looking at a total brake job in the shop. He's not happy. A lesson on regular maintenance.

Chapter reviews from my textbook come back. We're close to production, but this is not a good time to get them. Press Gazette runs an article on the 432d on Dec. 5, quote most of our AT workers.

Fri. Dec. 8

Find out from Dean we will not get the chemistry position we requested, but will probably get one-year lecturer. More headaches.

Mon. Dec. 11

Have put my language word list on spreadsheet; makes it easy to sort and find blanks. Goes much faster. The head secretary at work, stressed out over the weekend and will be out all week. No fair. If anyone is entitled to a breakdown, it's me. Have plans on how to cover my classes, set up search and screen committee to find my successor. Letter from Jerry Westby with consolidated reviews. We are oh so close to publishing. I will leave Joe and Stew to make whatever changes need to be done on my stuff (major mistake!). Shawn checks out insurance matters.

Call from Brendan at 4- He and Shawn were shopping; he was sent to start car, locked self out. I left, telling secretaries "situation normal, another emergency". Got there, Shawn had extra key, went home; Brendan waited at store to inform me.

Tue. Dec. 12

Talked to secretary; what pushed her over the edge was not getting a position upgrade she hoped for. Named Search and Screen Committee to find my replacement: Moran, Wenger, Schwartz. Meet Thursday at 12:30

Wed. Dec. 13

Drive with Shawn to Milwaukee to check out UWM bookstore. Their language collection is pitiful and course books were unavailable because they were stocking for spring. Checked out several other bookstores on Oakland Ave. Harry Schwartz had a nice foreign language collection but not much Serbo-Croat. Managed to get a few items in S-C and other Eastern European languages, just in case. Weather was threatening all day; winter storm watch. Snow near Green Bay changing to rain in Milwaukee; on way back ice on I-43. Very treacherous, often doing 35 or driving half on shoulder. Green Bay got about 3" by the time we got back. Shawn really enjoyed trip.

Dec. 14 Thu

For several weeks I have had a sensitive tooth and puffy gum. Went to dentist to check it out, lest it flare up in Bosnia. Root canal. What a perfect way to end the Semester From Hell. Actually not too bad, certainly not as bad as the horror stories I've heard. Got in late to first meeting of Search and Screen Committee; they drew up a list of 9 nominees but I am sure Bud Harris will get it.

Took Chris in at 7 to drop off his car. $261, of which he paid $200. I hope a good lesson in timely maintenance.

Talk to MAJ Frost. We are likely to be here at Christmas, report Jan 2 or 3, leave for Bragg on Jan 6, exactly our Desert Storm time line. We will move January drill to December 30-31, be issued lots of cold-weather gear. We have an e-mail address. I'm to call my troops.

Fri. Dec. 15

Sleep in for a change. I have a thesis defense at 2. Order Serbian dictionaries and an Albanian reference from the bookstore. Meeting and thesis go smoothly.

Sat. Dec. 16

Work at home, go to campus to run off Xmas letter, see students leaving in cap and gown. I totally forgot commencement! I feel bad but refuse to get too upset - what are they going to do to me - kick me out as chair and send me to Bosnia? On a scale of one to the rest of this diary, this is a blip. In evening repair light in upstairs bathroom. Chris calls; battery dead; have to go jump start.

Wed. Dec. 20

Check with unit. Our status is still on alert. No mob order yet.

Have completed German, Russian and Italian basic vocab lists. Serbian 2/3 done, waiting on dictionaries.

Call from publisher. Wants me to go over astronomy chapters for new review. Inform him of Bosnia situation; will try to do so before I leave, probably after Christmas.

Thu. Dec. 21

At 1430 finish root canal. Warned that tooth might break but should not constitute an emergency.

Joe Moran informs me that Bud Harris is willing to take over as chair. Joe, like most people, is under the misapprehension that my UWGB salary continues while in service. Actually, only for 30 days.

Fri. Dec. 22

Meet with Engineering group for first time, then group who will take over my course Scientific Applications of Computing. Send off Professional Geologist Registration and a reimbursement insurance claim. Have been doing a bit here and there to clean out the office.

Mon. Dec. 25

Chris calls at 8 AM; had gone over to Mollie's and locked self out of car. Her dad had a bunch of old keys, one fit. Unusual way to begin Christmas.

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Last update 23 Apr 1997