Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hill Air Force Base: My Own Twilight Zone

Military bases and men and women in uniform have always been intimidating to me. Mostly due to the fact that I was raised by a cop and taught that rules are to be followed. Always! I have always followed the law to a tee literally scared to death of getting in trouble. One of the reasons I always got good grades and never got busted by cops as a teenager.

I am still that way.

I freak out when I get pulled over. Never for speeding, but little things like a burnt out tail light, or last spring someone pealed our registration sticker off our license plate. Ben always laughs and says it isn't a big deal... but it is to me.

So military... yeah, a little scary to me. Ben still laughs at me for this, especially now that he is part of it and so am I. But I was really scared when I found out I had to get my military ID to get signed up with insurance... and the closest military base that does it is Hill Air Force Base -- an hour and a half drive away. Not to mention it is so huge it has 3 freeway exits! Three!

When I called to get directions they told me to report to Building 108 with such and such papers that my husband should have signed and sent to me, which luckily he did. So when I got there I was armed with all my papers, a million forms of ID, including my marriage license and my kids birth certs. I wasn't taking any chances!

I almost stopped breathing when I saw 3 cops and uniformed soliders standing at the gate as cars were pulling in and flashing IDs. I panicked for a second realizing I didn't have one! What if I had to have one to get one!!! Oh, no! What if they are really rude about it and I actually get in trouble for trying to get on base! Ahhhh!!!

"How can I help you, Ma'am?" asked one of the cops.
"I need to get my military ID..." I said flashing a nervous smile. My hands were sweating badly.
"Can I see your papers?"
"Papers? What papers do you want to see?" I pulled out my 3 inch binder. "I have them all!" His eyes were wide in disbelief.
"You sure do!" He laughed. HE LAUGHED! Here I was having a heart attack and he was laughing at me.
"I wanted to be prepared," I said in my defense. I started handing him papers until I got to the ones Ben sent me.
"That's what I want to see," he said.
"Well, you should have asked for those in the first place..." I said jokingly, but really meaning it.
"Well, it looks like you are all set. Do you know where you are going?"
"Ummm... yeah, building 108," I told him.
"What? I just called yesterday and that is what they told me!"
"They moved it to building 340."
"Oh, great! How do I get there?" I knew I was doomed the minute the words came out of my mouth.
"Okay, you are going to go straight up this hill until to get to the second light, turn right. Then at the next light turn right. Drive past the BX and turn left at the commisary, drive until you see the BK and it's the building to the left."

Yeah, I got lost.

Wouldn't you?

AND they don't use the initials on the buildings either! What the heck is the BX? Turns out it's the Base Exchange, called PX (Post Exchange in the Army). And BK? You'll never guess this one! Burger King. Why didn't he just call it Burger King? I think he was giving me a hard time on purpose.

At least I found the building... eventually.

Did I mention I had to bring the kids? Yeah, the people in the waiting room wanted to string me up and deploy my kids by the time it was our turn. The boys wouldn't sit in there seats, had me chasing them around and into "off limit" areas. Getting me in trouble... I HATE getting in trouble!! And the military women there, didn't like me. They were so rude! The male soldiers were nice... some a little too nice... maybe that's why the females weren't too happy. Anyway, it was a female who helped me get my ID. As soon as we stepped into her cubical, Sam ran up to her and yelled, "I POOPED!!" She didn't find this funny in the least bit, and glared at me as I was trying to appologize and not laugh.

I pulled out my papers for her, and the boys started crawling under her desk, which made her even dislike us more. I tried to crack a few jokes, but she wasn't falling for it. Oh, well.

FINALLY we got out. I rushed the kids over to BK to change their diapers... they both had poopies by that time. Lucky me.

I have never seen a Burger King busier in my whole life!! It was amazing! Ben told me later, that soldiers LOVE fast food. Figures...

I was relieved to make it back into the car in one piece.

Aside from everything, I really did enjoy my time on base. My favorite part? I LOVED the fact that everyone was religiously going the speed limit! For someone like me who is an anal rule keeper, I was in traffic heaven.

When we got off base, I sighed in relief. Won't be having to do that in a LONG time... what the!!?? I looked at the exparation date on my military card, March 2010. What!? No! I have to come back and do this all again in March! Life sucks sometimes.
At least the drive was beautiful!

PS- We stopped at the museum on the way home. BIG hit with the boys. The two top pictures were taken there.


DaveandRuth said...

Do you know why you have to go back in March? That seems so odd. I am not surprised that the woman was not nice to you. My mom was in the Army during the vietnam war and says that woman acting like that is par for the course, because they feel like they have to prove something ALL the time.

Jill said...

Sounds like such an adventure. I wouldn't be happy about going back in March either. Glad you made it there and back safe.

Jared and Vanessa said...

I had to laugh all the way through this, and say WELCOME TO THE MILITARY MOM WAY OF LIFE!!! It seems like all the female clergical workers are rude because they don't have to have good customer service. They get paid no matter what. Glad you got your ID car though, you can do alot with that. That soon of an expiration is normal too. It's kind of a temporary one until Ben graduates from AIT, and he gets his "for sure" rank, then you will get a new one that will last a lot longer. You're a trooper though, hang in there!!!

Lydia said...

Im glad you got your ID. Just wait until you get a real crash course in acronyms. I still have to ask my hubby every now and then what one means.

Clare said...

What a palava! I am happy that it all worked out.

Tobi said...

That is so weird that your ID card expires that soon. Mine wasn't like that at all. How odd. Usually they expire when your husbands contract with the Army is up. I'm sorry you have to go back in March.

Single Mama NYC said...

My father was a cop too! He just retired this year. Wow, look at that, yet another thing we have in common!

Love the pics of the boys - they look so teeny in front of those airplanes!

Our Family said...

I loved this post, Cat! You nailed the description of the base. I remember being terrified of the M.P.s (military police) when I was little. I was with a young friend when we lived on base and she shouted naughtily at the M.P.'s "You mashed potatoes!" I just knew we were doomed to death or worse, and we both took off running. The M.P.s used to seem so terrifying, but next time you go on, see if you can tell how old they are. I think they're usually only 18. :o)

I can't imagine having to wait for an I.D. with two young children with me. It's funny because I just went with my brother on base to renew his I.D. yesterday. He set up the appt. last week and ended up still having to wait 30 minutes. Apparently on the walk-in days when you don't need an appt., the average wait time is 3 and a half hours! The receptionist was also cranky and rude. Like Vanessa said, it seems like none of them know what customer service is.

Congratulations on making it through the day, and your boys are so cute in the photos!