Jason's BLOG pages



Jason Grose's BLOG

July 1997




What's a blog, you ask? It stands for "weblog" and it's basically an online journal of daily thought. We'll see how long I can keep this up (as though I don't have enough to do!)

If you must have a title, I'll go with: The daily thoughts/rants of a Marine Officer, father, scholar, husband, marathon runner, Flash cartoonist, computer nerd.

Thursday, July 31, 1997

Quote of the Day:
A wounded Marine in France, during World War I, was asked by a French nurse if he was an American. "No ma'am," he replied, "I'm a Marine. 
- Unknown

Today I awoke after sleeping on Rob’s couch. Rob had gone to work and I got up to run. I ran around the housing complex for a half hour and had a good run. I got lost but found my way back.

I weighed myself on Rob’s scale and was happy to see that I was down to 180. I thought the scale might have been off but Rob and Kate assured me it was accurate and I was happy about that.

The truck tailpipe fell off 150 miles out of OKC but other than a rather loud ride the rest of the trip, there was no harm in it. Today, I called Midas and set up an appointment. Kate took me there and we went to a mall while they checked it out. I took about an hour and then it was going to take another hour for them to do the work. Kate brought me home and then left. I started talking to the neighbor Rob and he agreed to take me. He took me to get it and we came home.

Rob, the neighbor, is a funny guy and seems OK. He did not know me from Adam yet offered to drive me to Midas. His fiancee is filthy rich and they do not have to worry about money. He is an interesting character.

When we got back, $167 later, Rob was here and we all went to CompUSA so Rob could buy some RAM. When we got back, we all went out to play pool and drink. The pool was $7.00 per hour and the service was shitty. We left and went to a cheaper place where we proceeded to get crazy drunk. We talked and played pool until we were all thoroughly drunk. We were about to go out again but Rob had to go so me and the other Rob made a few visits to local bars but all was dead.

Rob wanted to stop by Whitecastle and I got sick in the drive thru, throwing up out of the open passenger door. It was not pretty. He got me home and I collapsed on the couch, fully dressed with even my shoes on.

Free Advice for Today:
“Commit yourself to quality.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Quote of the Day:
The Continental ship Providence, now lying at Boston, is bound on a short cruise, immediately; a few good men are wanted to make up her complement. 
- Marine Captain William Jones, Providence Gazette, 20 March 1779

Today, I awoke early, like I always do when I drink. I was tired but wanted to get up and get on the road. Sleeping alone in a queen size bed was wonderful. I made a mess of the covers.

Yesterday, I traveled from Oklahoma, through Missouri and into Illinois. Today, I went from Illinois, through Indiana, and finally, through Ohio to Columbus.

I got up, showered, and got the truck packed. I then gassed up and had breakfast at Denny’s. The waitress was a talk-a-holic with the other guy and the counter. I left no tip.

Today was a day of travel and traveled for 6 1/2 hours until I got to Rob’s. Yesterday, I had traveled 8 hours before searching St. Louis for a night spot. I never did and ended up passing it to find a HoJo.

When I got to Rob’s, we talked for awhile, with me doing most of the talking, and then we went out for dinner. We went to a Mexican restaurant and had a good time. It is always a good time when I can spend it with Rob. I met some of his friends in his complex and we ended up staying up until 0200 talking. I enjoyed being with Rob and I was happy to have the long ride over, at least to this point.

Free Advice for Today:
“Never underestimate the power of words to heal and reconcile relationships.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Tuesday, July 29, 1997

Quote of the Day:
To our Marines fell the most difficult and dangerous portion of the defense by reason of our proximity to the great city wall and the main city gate...The Marines acquitted themselves nobly. 
- Mr. Edwin N. Conger, U.S. Minister, in commending the Marines for the
defense of the legations at Peking, China, in 1900

Tired. Drunk. Today was a day of travel. But I still managed to run the run. I started by saying that I was running just to say that I ran. But as I started, I decided to do the whole thing and I ran to the end of the bridge. I did not have my watch on so I have no idea just how fast I ran but that is not important. The important thing is that I ran the entire run.

After I got back, I showered and then packed the truck for the trip. Delbert tried to help but it was pretty much a one man job. I had said goodbye to mother but it was not very emotional. I think it was time for me to leave.

I washed the hood, packed the truck and set off after getting gas and pumping up the tires. Not much happened all day; just a day of travel. I got to St. Louis and was surprised to see the Arch. I had forgotten that was the major landmark but I drove around to find a motel. I was very tired but after driving around for awhile, I decided to get back on the highway and find a hotel further down. I settled on a HoJo for about $37 but, like always, I felt bad about spending any money. I set out to drown the day in beer.

I showered and changed into clean clothes and reported to the bar. Nothing was there but trash and I ordered a pitcher of beer and some quarters for the pool table. The waitress seemed surprised that I only asked for one glass and she asked me later if I was waiting for friends. I said no but I wanted to say I had no friends here. In fact, no one in the world even knows that I am here.

I played a couple of real sad games of pool while I finished the pitcher. I was proud that I could finish the entire pitcher and the waitress said not even she could finish a whole pitcher. I finished feeling sorry for myself and could not figure out why I was so depressed, celebrated my 10 year anniversary of being a Marine.

I tried to go to the Mexican restaurant which shut off their light just as I arrived. After driving around for awhile, I realized that there was nothing here and went back to the bar by the HoJo.

I met an older woman and we had a brief conversation about her being a grandmother. She left after one beer and I stayed for awhile and finished my beer before going back to the room and turning in. I had not eaten anything but beer but my reflection in the mirror told me that a change in diet is surely in place.

It is weird to be alone and I am still getting used to it but I am sure that I will be more comfortable with it as time goes by. I have to get thinner and smarter. Alcohol, I am not worried about but I know that strength and discipline will overcome. Tomorrow is another day of travel and I will see Rob. Tomorrow will be a good day.

Free Advice for Today:
“Keep several irons in the fire.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Monday, July 28, 1997

Quote of the Day:
Retreat Hell! We've just got here! 
- Attributed to several World War I Marine Corps officers, Belleau Wood, June 1918

Today is truly a red-letter day. It marks the ten-year anniversary of my enlistment in the Marine Corps. It is also a day that I had to say goodbye to Carrie and the kids for six months. My emotions today have been, needless to say, gloomy.

I awoke and we made final preparations to leave. It was difficult to be comfortable around each other, knowing that we would soon be separated. It did not make it any easier that we had not been getting along the last couple of days but I tried to spend some time with the kids.

We ate at Sonic and it was not very much fun trying to keep the kids from messing up the truck. But considering the circumstances, I did not push the issue. After eating, we arrived at the airport at noon and Carrie’s flight did not leave until 1330. We spent the time trying to make small talk and answering Alex’s questions.

After saying goodbye, I felt the familiar tug at my throat as I had to say goodbye. It was almost anticlimactic because we knew about it for so long but as I hugged Carrie, I could sense her emotion. As we parted, her eyes were watered. As for myself, I small sniffle escaped as I watched them leave. I was sad but, in a way, thankful that life was getting out of the holding pattern. We could finally get on with what we all had to do.

After leaving the airport, I went to downtown to see the bomb site. I found my way and it was errie. They had opened the road where the truck was parked to foot traffic and the site was no more than a grass rectangle with a fence around it. The sentiments on the fence moved me to tears. I realized that it was the worst time to visit the site because of the emotion involved with saying goodbye to my family at the airport. But it was good to let my emotions vent.

I spent about an hour and a half in the scorching heat, reading all of the things posted on the fence. I shed a few tears which intermingled with my sweat and let the emotion of the area sweep me away.

After leaving, I came to Mother’s house and for the first time since OCS, I was on my own. It was both thrilling and scary. I felt self-sufficient for the first time in a long time. I did some laundry and organized some of my stuff while trying not to think of Carrie and the kids.

I finished the tapes and spent time putting away my possessions. I went for a run, deciding that I needed to be more disciplined. The vacation is over for me and now it is me and the mirror. That is both good and bad. I love my family but some journeys must be done alone and this is one of them.

The run hurt. I ran it just over 30 minutes but it hurt oh so bad. It was close to my limit, at least for this day. After I ran, I showered and took pride that I could push myself so hard. We had sub sandwiches for dinner and I did not gorge myself. I called Rob and told him I was taking two days for the trip.

After dinner, I washed the truck and then went to the drugstore to get some vitamins and beer. Shortly after I got home, Mom and Delbert went to bed and I stayed up to watch TV and celebrate my ten year anniversary just as it all started: alone.

Free Advice for Today:
“Don't be called out on strikes. Go down swinging.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Sunday, July 27, 1997

Quote of the Day:
Come on, you sons of bitches - do you want to live forever? 
- Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Daly, USMC, Belleau Wood, June 1918

Today, I awoke early, at 0800, and was wide awake. I got up to discover that Alex and Liz were already up and watching TV. Shortly thereafter, everyone except Carrie and Steph got up. After I finally got Steph up, I let Carrie sleep in until 1030. She needed the rest.

I had a talk with the girls and I promised to take them to the mall. They were all excited about it so after getting ready, we all went except Mom and Delbert.

The mall did not open until noon so we went to Mazzio’s pizza for lunch at 1100. We had a good time and then went to the mall were the girls and kids had a blast looking through all of the stores. I had fun spending time with all of them. Carrie and I still acting cold toward each other but I think it is the normal pre-deployment coldness settling on the both of us.

After we got back, we bummed around and my mood soured. I recorded some tapes and then started getting ready for an evening we had planned together. I was thoroughly in a bad mood by the time that we left.

We went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and had a mediocre meal. I had a beer to lighten my mood and it did its job. Carrie and I were at least talking by the end of the meal.

We went to see the movie Air Force One with Harrison Ford. It was one of the very best movies that I ever saw. I look forward to seeing it again.

When we got home, everyone else was gone and we kept ourselves busy getting ready for Carrie’s departure tomorrow. We stayed up and talked with Mom after we put everyone to bed.

All and all, it was a good day but it was sad to say goodbye to Heather and Liz. I’ll remember them for a long time to come.

Free Advice for Today:
“Be wary of people who tell you how honest they are.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Saturday, July 26, 1997

Quote of the Day:
They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines. 
- Lieutenant General Thomas Holcomb, USMC, 1943

Today we went to Stroud, Oklahoma. We left the house in the morning and it took an hour to get out there. The kids were not too fun to be cooped up with.

Delbert’s ex-wife’s mother lives there and lives in a small retirement community. Her house was a small, one bedroom apartment with an ancient TV. She had a chicken dinner ready for us and it was about the only highlight of the day. After we ate, I fell asleep through sheer fullness and boredom.

Later, we went to an outside mall that was very hot and mostly had clothes. I found a book store but it had hardly any books in it. The rest of the time was waiting for Carrie and Mom while they shopped. Mom bought me two shirts and a pair of running shoes which counted as birthday and Christmas presents.

When we got back, we had the girls come over and they spent the night. We swam, played baseball and watched 101 Dalmatians. At least I got to see the girls again.

I decided to split the trip to Ohio into a two-day affair. Rob would be going to school during the day so there was no reason to rush there and then be left alone for the entire day.

Free Advice for Today:
“Every so often, push your luck.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Friday, July 25, 1997

Quote of the Day:
The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years. 
- James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 February 1945

Today we slept until 0900 and I was very tired. My ankle hurt and I was in no mood to go running. After loafing around the house during the morning watching VH1, we all got ready and went to lunch at a restaurant over by where we used to live. I had a real good club sandwich and we all had a good time. We were going to go see the bomb site but figured we did not have enough time and we rescheduled it for another day.

After we ate, we went to the Penn Square Mall. I was still feeling a bit under the weather but had a good time looking around. It was even hotter than yesterday and together with the way I was feeling, I just wanted to get home.

We picked up the girls from their daycamp in Yukon, the home of Garth Brooks. It was good to see them and I realized that I had been looking forward to seeing them all day. When we got home, they went into the pool and I realized that I needed a nap. I slept for an hour and when I got up, dinner was ready. After we ate, I met Delbert’s sons and their families. We had a good time talking and they were real nice people. After dinner, I played baseball with the kids again until the girls had to leave. I then suggested that we go to Braums to get some ice cream.

Carrie bought a banana split which I could not help but gobble down. Oh well. Afterwards we came home and had a relaxing evening talking. Again, it was a good day.

Free Advice for Today:
“Refrain from envy. It's the source of much unhappiness.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Thursday, July 24, 1997

Quote of the Day:
Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue. 
- Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, 16 March 1945

Today we went to the zoo. We had a good time and I got to meet two new people. Delbert’s granddaughter, Heather, and her cousin, Elizabeth. Both were about ten years old and I was very impressed and charmed by them both.

Heather is a living doll. She has the most incredible blue eyes that I have ever seen. She is truly mesmerizing with a personality to match. As the day wore on, we seemed to connect and she was following me around the zoo as we talked. I expressed how impressed I was with her to Delbert and it is not hard to see why she is the apple of his eye. She is someone special and he knows it.

Liz was also a joy to be around. She is from Sacramento and is being raised by her grandparents who, as I hear, do not do much with her. So it is a treat for her to come spend some time with Heather during the summer. She, too, was fun to spend the day with.

We started the day by going to breakfast. I was hungry and ate, probably too much. Liz ordered french toast and got an adult-sized portion.

The zoo was fun but very, very hot. It was about 100 degrees and we were all thankful that mother brought some washcloths to get wet and wear around our necks. The lion overlook and the aquatic parts were the highlights. When we got home, the kids played in the pool and the adults recovered. I played baseball with the kids and then went for a run later that was extremely difficult. But I am getting faster. It was a good day.

Free Advice for Today:
“When there's no time for a full work-out, do push-ups.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Wednesday, July 23, 1997

Quote of the Day:
Retreat Hell! We're just attacking in another direction. 
- Attributed to Major General Oliver P. Smith, USMC, Korea, December 1950

Today marks the day that I officially keep a journal of my life as a Marine Corps officer. It is 26 days until the start of TBS and I am in Oklahoma, visiting mother and Delbert at their new house.

Today was kind of depressing. We got ahold of the real estate agent and he informed us that he had got a bid for our condo for $74,500. This is five thousand less than we wanted and we have to get a loan to get out of the condo. He faxed us the offer at Mom’s work (Hertz) and we went down to get it. I was in a sour mood but signed it away.

It was unfair to Carrie but I blamed her for the price. After the agent lowered the price, it sold right away. We took the agent’s advice and lowered it by five thousand. Because it sold right away and for that price, that told me that it was too low and that we should have lowered it by a less amount so we could haggle for price. This would have saved us in the long run. Carrie claims that she did not know better and since I was having her handle it with no input from me, she did the best she could. I guess she is right but it burns me to lose so much.

Today I also figured out how much more I am being paid as an officer. It is a 73% raise from my enlisted pay. But with the loan, the first year’s difference will be absorbed.

I ran twice today, around Lake Overholser. It was rough but by hydrating, I was able to get some good runs in. I am constantly worried about my weight. I wanted to be at 175 by now but am hovering at 185. What I am really worried about is my body fat percentage. The weight I can work on but the initial physical has got me worried. I am trying to watch my intake of food and limit my servings.

Currently, I am finishing up the Marine Corps Officers’ Guide and am reading the Almanac. I hope to finish the Guide before TBS.

Free Advice for Today:
“Don't allow your children or grandchildren to call you by your first name.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Email -- jason@grose.us
Web -- http://www.grose.us/