Rosehill Academy

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Topo Map

Urch,

As you requested, here is a topographical map of the Mississippi land. The contour lines are at 20 foot intervals. I have added a blue line approximating the boundaries.
Click Here to see the map.

Slight Address Change...

Because things can never be right the first time, of course.  It's not really a different address, just put together differently.

SPC Cannon, Devereaux
A Co. 1-509th IN ABN
2 BCT 10th MTN DIV
APO  AE  09303

A Little More Specific

Since my husband was sparse with the details. 

Books: Make sure you send paperbacks.  Most likely he will leave the books in Iraq for the next set of soldiers and he feels less guilty about doing that with paperbacks than hardbacks.  He likes pretty much anything sci-fi related, military history/fiction, authors like Morgan Llywelyn and Harry Turtledove are good as well.

Comfort Items:  Gee, he couldn't be any vaguer there, could he.  Things like CDs (country or classical), magazines, and whatnot.  Once again, keep in mind that these are things that may never make it back.  The desert sand is supposed to be very hard on electrical equipment.  If you feel so inclined, he has a Gameboy Advance there.  No DVD player because he doesn't want to spend $100 on something that might not last a year there.

A few things he didn't mention:
  • Single serving packs of food that he can take on guard with him.  He likes any type of fruit, but not pudding.
  • Hard candy is better than chocolate, which melts in the heat.
  • He likes Little Debbie Star Crunches (which, I know, I said no chocolate...).
  • Toys for the local kids are good for relations.  Not anything fancy; buy a bucket of cheap dinos at the store and seperate it into individual bags so that he can just reach in his pocket and give out a few to each kid.  No toy soldiers or guns or anything like that.  Cheap toy cars maybe?  You get the idea.
Packages take about a month to reach him, so don't send anything that might mold before then.  Check out the Oconus site (http://www.oconus.com/main/carepackages.asp) for more care package ideas.  Though, if anyone sends him "motivational pair of panties" we're likely to have words.  =-)

I can't think of anything else right now.  I'm sure Nora will add to the list when she wakes up and drinks some coffee.

E-mail's slow

So, I'll post a few things here. Stuff to send... Books, no real selection here. Most everythin is comfort items, just don't load me down with things that I'll be annoyed if I can't bring back to the states. Everything else is pretty good here. Glad everyone is havng fun with the geneology stuff and it loks like ya'll are coming across some interesting stuff. TTFN

Monday, July 26, 2004

Typical

It's 9:45. Brian is melting down to a nap. Kate isn't yet up. DC is eating another peach (glad he is toilet trained). The den floor is covered with Mr. Potato Head and K'nex. The pieces aren't entirely interchangeable, but close enough to satisfy Brian. DC has gotten to where he can build almost alone anything he sees in the K'nex book. Mirabile dictu, neither the washing machine nor the diswasher has been run yet.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

See comment on Miss. Land and...

We are getting the family seperation pay on this next check but not the combat pay yet; so, we are resubmitting the paper work although I wasn't expecting it till next month anyway. Bye bye

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Roller Coaster Kid Strikes Again!

Way back before walkers were considered dangerous by the Powers that Be, I had one, like most toddlers of the time.  The house we lived in in New York had a bunch of stairs, and in order to protect my little brainpan, my parents installed a child safety gate at the top of the stairs.  Apparently it didn't take me long to figure out that gate, and in no time I had taken my "perfectly safe" walker down the flight of stairs.  My mother came running, as all good mothers do, only to find me on the landing, laughing my little diapered butt off.  I did this again and again until my walker broke, despite my parents' efforts to protect me.  As a result, when it came time for them to pick out a CB handle for me, my parents dubbed me the Roller Coaster Kid.

Ever since, I've enjoyed coasters, bumpy roads when sitting in the back of the bus, and other things of the same ilk.

Tonight,  I experienced a fraction of what my own mother must have felt when I first launched my walker.  I say only a fraction because I didn't actually witness the second generation of the 'Coaster Kid. 

I was downstairs, making my bed while Nora did dishes and the kids played.  Kate and DC were trapping each other in a blanket and Brian had decided to play with the ride-on toy affectionately known as the Barneymobile.  As I was making the bed, I heard the clatter of the toy going down the stairs, but since I didn't hear any squeals accompanying the noise, I didn't really think anything of it.  A few minutes later Nora came down to tell me that the noise was indeed the Barneymobile going down the stairs...  With Brian riding it the whole way down.  She had gone running at the first clatter and watched in horror as he experienced his first roller coaster.

As you can imagine, we've decided that the Barneymobile will stay downstairs from now on.  Though, if he's anything like me, that won't stop Brian for long.  He was the one who carried the Barneymobile up in the first place, after all.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Clearing Storm Damage

Joleen mentioned Tuesday night's storm and the destruction of Kate's club house.  Here are some pictures of the disaster and the clearing thereof.

The storm toppled a 70 year old maple tree directly onto the ridgepole of Kate's club house. (We know the age of the tree because Saturday, Kate and I had a "homeschooling moment", and counted the growth rings.) Thursday, I borrowed a chain saw from Scott Hall, and Friday I began the process of removing the tree.

Above is a photo of the club house when it was new, three years ago. Below is a photo of it on Friday, after I had cleared away enough limbs to be able to see it. The only thing left standing is Kate's flag pole.

I worked on the clearing all day Friday and Saturday, and for a few hours Sunday afternoon. Here is a photo of the scene of the disaster when I quit on Sunday.

This shows the firewood that I have cut so far.

And these are the salvaged parts of the club house.

Kate believes that I can incorporate a large portion of the parts in to a new, bigger better club house. I am sure that she is correct. We now need to work on the plans. Of course, I still have the large section of oak tree to remove from the corner of the emu pen.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

From a "Non-Listed" Contributor

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Yipee! An Address

Family and friends who are following the Urch's progress against "Dee Bawd Guys" will be as happy as we are to have an APO address:
 
Spc. Devereaux Cannon
2/10th MTN
ATTN:  A Co., 1-509th IN
APO AE 09303 
 
We got the address late enough today that we missed the Post Office Saturday hours, but much merriment went into packing the box any way. You can search for shipping requirements/restrictions by entering the zip code, 09303 here
 
They are at Camp Victory North which is near the Baghdad Airport on what used to be Saddam's hunting preserve.  From what I have read over the last 18 months, it is about as comfortable as Iraq gets.  
 
A word on calling cards (which are an ever popular care package item): get the  international kind.    More care package ideas are here. Sometimes I get inspiration from the items occasionally mentioned on these blogs - and certainly Chief Wiggles's Operation Give is another way to help win the hearts and minds in the Sandbox - it all helps to keep our soldier safe.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Before 8:30 am, We...

Had run the dishwasher twice, the clothes washer four times, finger painted, hosed off, gave the dog a bath, bathed the two boys, and pancakes were on the make.  It was a busy day that only got busier.
 
Brian went down for a nap, and since Kate had a friend easier, it was decided that DC and I would be the best grouping to go to town to get an oven coil and make a Wal-mart run.  Nice, easy trip that would give DC some quiet time and some Mommy time.  A good thing, right?
 
Corlew's was easy, even the parallel parking and crossing the street.  (There's a karate studio right next to it, will have to drop by at some point when they're open and see if it's feasible for DC.)  So, we zipped over to Wal-mart, taking the side street by all the restaurants and clipping a curve, just like I always do.  A nice, easy trip?  Right...
 
Despite the fact that I've run over that curb a hundred times before, in both the Focus and the van, this time something bad happened.  The right rear tire blew.  So, I limped the rest of the way into the parking lot and decided, since I couldn't see a tire and lube place there (and it's been awhile, so I couldn't remember if there was one), I decided to change the tire myself.  So, I got the first nut off the spare and was working on the second when a very helpful gentleman offered his services.  He helped me get the other stubborn bolt off and looked in the back of the van to get the jack.  Me, being helpful, told him to use the jack in the box, since Dev had bought it to replace the jack he discovered he didn't like way back during the Box Incident.  The jack, which it turns out, is not a jack, but a platform to place SUVs on after you jack them up.
 
So, we dug out the old, sucky jack and assembled it...  Sand apparently doesn't mix well with jacks.  It wouldn't budge up or down.  So, I have a blown tire and no jack.  But, like all good Super Wal-marts, that one does have a tire and lube, so I thanked the nice man for his help, tossed the spare in the back, and limped around the back of the store to to service center...
 
To be informed that there were four people in line for tires before me and that it would take 3.5 hours for them to replace my poor tire.  Three and a half hours with DC, in Wal-mart.  AAAHHHH!!!
 
So, we set off to find a phone, which, of course did nothing but eat my money.  So...  We trekked to the other entrance and used the phone there to call Nora and tell her that we had a bit of a snafu.  The best solution we could come up with was for Nora to wait until Brian woke up to toss the two girls and him in the car so that they could rescue DC.  It was a good plan.  I liked that plan.  Brian couldn't sleep that long, right?  This was at about 1 pm.
 
DC and I went and bought some gauze pads and "sticky tape" to make a big bandaid for his poor ankle, which is still suffering from fire ant bites.  After paying for them, I set off to the McDonald's within the store to get some lunch (Diet, what diet?).  DC objected, because we had not yet gotten his promised toy.  Turn around, back to the toys.  He finally settled on a Transformer that was a bit more expensive than I had planned on allowing, but at that point I figured ten extra dollars was nothing compared to keeping the peace.
 
We paid for the Transformer (because Brian could wake up at any time, right?) and settled into Micky D's, where DC had his usual burger and fries.  And managed to dump them spectacularly on the floor.  I hadn't been there even a half hour and by that point I was sure one of us was going to be in tears.  Probably me.
 
Replaced the meal, for free even, and we ate, which wasted about half an hour.  Also bandaged DC's ankle, which made him quite happy.  Next it was get a cart and follow the actual list I had.  We spent the next hour or so wandering Wal-mart, comparing hydraulic jacks and the merits of Geotrax track or roadway as a toy for Brian.  I decided on both, since that was the same amount of money I spent on DC.  Also looked at the digital cameras and talked to one of the photo people about them.  Of course, the one I like is the most expensive they have...  But I was good, even despite the fact that we have $700+ more in Savings than I thought we had (How in the heck did that happen?).   [Addendum: It's a really good thing I didn't.  Just looked at finances again...  Looked at the wrong number when figuring out Savings.  *thumps head on the desk*  I need a nap!]
 
Just about the time that DC started to melt, Nora and the rest of the kids arrived to find the van almost done.  It had only been 2.5 hours, but that's not something I'll complain about.  So, we all walked through the toy section again, and DC scored some kiddie K'nex and Brian a phone.  And actual phone, no less, because it was only $5 and the only toy phone they had was one he already owns.
 
Oh, also got a new bathroom scale since the old one was left in LA, and is pretty much dead.  It says I weigh 170 lbs!  The old scale was telling me 180.  I checked Brian's weight on it, for accuracy, and it was within 2 pounds of the last time he was at the doctor.  So, despite that fact that I have totally fallen off the diet wagon, I have lost weight!  Yay me.
 
As you can probably expect, I'm exhausted. 
 
DC has a plan, he informed me, to make his Aunt Kate feel better about the loss of her playhouse.  Er...  Nora never managed to get that story up, did she?  Tuesday night we had a storm.  A tornado was spotted in Gallatin, and a perfectly healthy oak tree fell down and smashed Kate's playhouse into kindling.  It also possibly squashed her Peace Lily, but we won't know for sure until Papaw cuts up the tree.
 
The problem was, the playhouse was one of her presents for her 5th birthday, as was Percy, who had been missing since Sunday (they found her last night).  So, Kate was, and is, very upset by the loss.  DC's plan is to build her a new playhouse to make her feel better.  I'm not sure if he talked to someone to come up with that idea or not.
 
And now, we are having melt-down en mass and dinner is ready.  So, just another day at Rosehill.


Monday, July 12, 2004

Driving in LA

So, now that I've had time to rest and decompress from the trip, I thought I'd write a little about the 13 hour drive from Ft. Polk to Rosehill. It was actually a rather easy trip. The boys were happy to watch Power Rangers or play with various books while I toodled along at speeds exceeding the speed limit.

Driving in Louisiana is rather boring. The area we go through is mostly farm land, so there's not much to look at besides rows of cotton. There's also the excitement of passing farm equipment... I misjudged the speed of the tractor and the oncoming vehicle, but proved that the new brakes work well.

Highway 85 in LA is absolutely boring. I haven't quite decided whether the Department of Transportation is stupid, they think drivers are stupid, or someone's brother makes the signs. Not only do they have lines on the road to tell you whether or not to pass, but they also have these nice little signs saying "Do Not Pass" and soforth. It makes me laugh.

Add to that the speed limit through the majority of the trip. They set the speed at 45 MPH, with is outrageous considering it's all flat farmland. But, on "dangerous" curves and other warning signs, they warn to slow speed down to 45. Which, by the way, in LA, if you have to turn the steering wheel, it's a dangerous curve. In TN, the same curve would be laughed at.

But, I got to Memphis at about 6:30 or so. Wound up at Lucy but didn't call ahead, so of course the Tickles weren't there. Once that got straightened out, the boys and I spent the night there, and left rather early on Sunday because the boys were up and wanted to go.

I hate driving in Nashville. Especially with the construction on I-65. I tend to stay in the right lane, so I have a nice concrete barrier on the right and 18 wheelers on the left. Even in the van, I feel like I'm going to turn into a pancake. (Think thin thoughts. Think thin thoughts.) Add to the excitement yesterday, it was raining. As in "who ordered the monsoon" raining. So, I had a truck to the left, throwing up water, making it hard to see, combined with the small river of rainwater on the right being thrown up by own wheels hitting the windshield, and gray-out conditions. It was less than fun.

Got to Rosehill at around 11:40. And, of course, the Cannons weren't home, either. But, it was OK because I have a key. They got home to find boys waiting for hugs and kisses, and Kate was thrilled.

The boys are having a blast. There's so much to see and do here. Brian adores the kittens, who are just big enough for him to wrap his hands around their ribs (though I do feel sorry for the one who was carried around by one little handful of tummy skin). He has been a bit clingy, but that will ease off once he figures out that we'll stay here for awhile. As it is, , he hardly lets me out of his sight.

Anyway, that's all for today. I hope everyone out there is doing well.

Unit Photo at Camp Udairi

Here is a photo of A Company 1/509 Airborne, at Camp Udairi, Kuwait.
Urch, you are in there somewhere. Which one are you?

This is a 1/4 scale version of the photo. The full scale version can be seen here.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Our Mississippi Land.



OK, Urch, here is some information on our land in Mississippi.

The map, below, give you some perspective on the general location.

Our land is location just below the word "Marina" in Eastport Marina on the map.

To see a good arial photo of the land (with boundary lines drawn on it) go to this link. I believe that photo was made about 1996. The total land area is about 115 acres.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Rosehill or Bust

I'm off to Rosehill tomorrow. The plan is to leave at around 10 am, drive until maybe 5 or so, depending on how I feel and how the kids are doing, before stopping at a motel. That should place me a couple of hours on this side of Memphis. We'll finish the drive on Sunday, to get there in the afternoon or evening. Just a nice, easy trip.

Of course, now it's 4:40 am and I can't sleep. My mind is whirling around with thoughts on what I still need to do. I've mentally packed the van about five times now, and I'm not particularly happy about it. But, what can you do? It was either get up or wake Brian with my tossing and turning. So, I'm up.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Just for fun ...

More fireworks.

Economic history.

Catholic Military site.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Flagship unit makes first deployment in 40 years



509th Soldiers Training to Fight for Freedom
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, stand in the desert of Kuwait as they prepare for a day of training. The unit is attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. 1/509th Soldiers will train with 2nd BCT before moving into Iraq. A and B Companies deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in June. Geronimo Soldiers have, since 1993, served as the Joint Readiness Training Center’s opposing force for rotations. Although the unit’s primary mission has been training the remainder of the force, leaders say Soldiers have always been combat ready.


By Pfc. BRIAN SCHROEDER
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Published 2 July 2004 in The Guardian, Fort Polk, Louisiana

Members of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, were not recognizable Soldiers. Their mission was to grow long hair and beards to disguise themselves as the opposing force at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. But like every Soldier, that mission can change at the drop of a hat.

After receiving the call to fight the war on terrorism, they were spun round the barber’s chair and transformed from combat trainers to training themselves for combat in Iraq.

The 1/509th is attached to the 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team to combat the Global War on Terrorism. Capt. Jerord Wilson, A Company commander, said this is the first deployment the 509th has seen since World War II.

“We do a different type of training than what conventional forces do,” Wilson said. “Even though we train units to go into combat, we also train and are always mission ready.”

While at Fort Polk, Soldiers from the 509th participate in each of the approximate two week rotations at the JRTC as the opposition force for rotational training units.

“The 1st of the 509th represents the enemy force a unit is going to face when they go into a combat theater,” Wilson said. “When a unit comes into JRTC, they ask for certain training perimeters or objectives they would like to meet. Based on those training objectives we present them with an enemy.”

Wilson said some of the training the 509th receives is learning from the mistakes made by units they are opposing during JRTC rotations.

“We get to see lots of units during the rotations we have each year,” Wilson said. “During the rotations there is constant teaching, coaching and mentoring that is given by the observer-controllers to the units that are training as well as the opposition force to make sure units learn as they go.”

Part of the training the 509th participates in is located at the military operations in urban terrain site at Fort Polk. The MOUT site is a replicated village for Soldiers to train and familiarize themselves in combat environments in an urban environment.

“The MOUT site is like going into the jungle,” Wilson said. “You don’t know where the enemy is. He could be around any corner and you have to prepare for it. We live and breathe in the urban sprawl and are well trained in that environment.”

The 509th also offers something other conventional units are unable to offer –– airborne capabilities, Wilson said.

“Ninety-five percent of the unit is airborne trained,” Wilson said. “The 509th was the first airborne unit. Many Soldiers don’t know that the airborne patch was designed by Lt. Gen. William Yarborough, an original member of the 1st of the 509th.”
The infantry airborne regiment brandishing the 509th Geronimo patch on their left breast pocket has always been ready for the call to deploy, said Wilson.

“We have seen the transition of what happened after 9-11 and expected that sooner or later we would be called on,” Wilson said. “We have always been prepared for this day. We have come a long way in a short period of time in preparing ourselves for this fight.”

We Just Got an E-mail!

... and it's from CSM Richard Beal!

He proves himself to be a very perceptive guy in this part:

I know your son well. He's a good soldier and I am happy to have him in my unit. A very personable fellow; seems to get along with most of the boys very well. I've always been able to count on SPC Cannon to do what is right. He has a good platoon and a good platoon sergeant as well - SFC Rasberry will take good care of him. The commander and first sergeant, CPT Wilson and 1SG Haga are top-notch leaders who have only the best interest of the soldiers in mind. CPT Wilson is a meticulous planner - always an eye for extreme details and 1SG Haga is a soldier's- a soldier who takes care of his boys. All in all, your son is in good hands.

Thank you again, not only for your concern and trust in our unit, but for raising a son the quality of Devereaux. God bless America.


I had to clean up formatting a bit in moving the CSM's e-mail to the blog, but don't think I added any typo's, LOL. Thank you CSM Beal. You made a mom's day!

We Just Got a Letter!

...wonder who it's from?

Post cards arrived. Kate was thrilled. DC, Brian, and Jo have some here for when they arrive!

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Happy 4th of July

Got a call from Dev this morning. He's doing well. Tired of "wasting time" in Kuwait. He wants to get into Iraq and get it over with. Apparently, everyone has said that the 509th has been either the best or next to at going through each of the ranges. Today they did a range where they had to jump out of the back of a Bradley and shoot. They had never did it before, and got it right on the first try. They were supposed to do the range yesterday, but the other platoons there kept messing up and having to redo it.

He got a special dinner for the 4th. Bar-b-qued ribs, corn on the cobb, and "near beer." Which, according to him is non-alcoholic Milwalkee's Best. He said it wasn't too bad, and he got an icecream cone, so everything worked out.

Apparently one of the platoon wives visited this Rosehill Academy while searching for info on Camp Udairi and the 509th. Which we both thought was kinda cool.

Brian has decided he doesn't want to see 2, despite the fact that his birthday is tomorrow. In the last two weeks, he's broken eggs on the couch and floor, poured syrup on the couch, and today he poured about half a gallon of milk on the floor. This doesn't include the normal spills of ketchup, water, and anything else he can get his hands on. Seriously, the Little Green steamer has saved his hide. Especially with the eggs.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I Love Photoshop...

Command Post Photoshop Contest

I probably shouldn't find the one from Mr. X as funny as I do, since I'm a conservative and all. But that's just funny!