Eat, Pray, ACFT?

Today, I got home at about 1400 because it snowed. On Sunday, it's supposed to jump up to 70 degrees.

I guess I've experienced Colorado!

Since I've last posted, a lot has happened. My smallpox vaccine site has healed! This means, if you want to go swimming while it's snowing, you can invite me without it being a bioterrorism incident. I often think about the PV2 that got vaccinated next to me and received the brief with me. I wonder if his experience here is the same as mine: staff duty shifts, no swimming, and night TOC shift work (working 1600 - 0200)…

Since I've been working nights, it has been hard to get into a workout groove. Most of that is over, though, so I will be able to get back on track to becoming my best self but also on passing and exceeding the ACFT.

The good news is that they have made a lot of changes to it. One of those being making it job-specific for passing standards. Right now, my understanding is that I am actually at the lowest level. LTs in artillery are still expected to pass the hardest measure, but the second you become a captain, down to moderate! Of course, I don't want to scrape by, but it's a huge difference in mindset when you're lifting to stay employed versus lifting to better yourself.

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I am a bit out of shape though because Matt and I signed up for a 10k ruck march ‘for fun’ and tbh, it killed me. I used to pride myself on being a pretty good ruck marcher, especially for my size but this ruck, not only did I do it a bit slowly (16 min mile pace), I got a massive blood blister. This is a wake-up call.

It hasn't been bad, though, overall.

There's always something to do. On one of our weekends, we went to the Garden of the Gods. I had been there for about a year or so beforehand. That was when I visited Matt while stationed at Fort Polk. That time, my nose bled, and when I spoke, I would get out of breath due to Altitude Sickness.

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This time around, we were at the Garden of the Gods for a FOLK ART FESTIVAL.

I feel like you know you're not a tourist somewhere when you can do the side attractions without feeling like it's taking away from the main event.

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While there, I bought a tremendous handmade witch broom from Frog Hollow Brooms. The lady selling them kept trying to tell me how handy they were for cleaning as if I wasn't going to use it to pretend like I'm from Little Witch Academia.

We also got to try a lot of food trucks, which, for some reason, is a big thing in Colorado Springs. About three minutes from my house, they even have a weekly food truck round-up from me.

Some of the noteworthy vendors were Camp Coffee Co and Pastamore By Donna

One of the food trucks we tried had Kahlua pork soooo… I've found my groove here.

I'm also a massive foodie in general, and besides food trucks, we had a chance to eat out at other places. The two standout places, though, are Fat Sully's and Cogstone Brewing.

Pizza from Cogstone Brewing. Don’t mind the chili flakes… that’s my weird touch. Pictured is the Pumpkin Ale.

Pizza from Cogstone Brewing. Don’t mind the chili flakes… that’s my weird touch. Pictured is the Pumpkin Ale.

Now that I live in a cold climate, I've decided to become Autumn Incarnate and make up for all the autumns I've missed throughout my life in Arizona and Fort Polk. At Cogstone Brewing, not only do they have pizza, they have a Pumpkin beer that I kid you not, tastes just like a PSL.

This pizza is from Fat Sully’s. Again, ignore the chili flakes. This place literally everything was great. I think they serve the best chicken wings I’ve ever had?

This pizza is from Fat Sully’s. Again, ignore the chili flakes. This place literally everything was great. I think they serve the best chicken wings I’ve ever had?

It was heaven.

It didn't taste weird either, like how sometimes chocolate stouts kind of miss the mark because it feels too much like chocolate, where you get grossed out. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

I also have gotten the chance to hang out with some friends that are stationed here that I met in FA CCC. It's been great having what is essentially a premade safety net where I can still have someone to talk to and someone I can text when I am having a bad day or have a funny meme to share. At Polk, I went with only two others who were sent to Geronimo and continuously out in the field. I hung out with one at a fair and tagged them in a post, and within 20 seconds, his wife called him to yell at him. It was pretty lonely when I first started at Polk. I never spoke to him again, and he's getting out of the Army. At Carson, I feel the complete opposite. I feel like I do have work friends right now. Hopefully, I can bridge the gap with a few to make some lifelong friendships. Time will tell.

Overall, I still have a lot more exploring to do in Colorado and the surrounding areas. Hopefully, some friends from other places come and visit me so I can continue looking at things through tourist's eyes.

Moving on from Ft. Sill

I’ve officially made it to Fort Carson! I’m sitting in a real house with a couch and bed instead of an apartment with neither of those.

It’s been a good time since the last time I posted: I went to Austin, TX (because who knows when I’ll be in Texas next); I did some last-minute adventures around FT Sill; I graduated FA CCC; I drove ten hours with my cat.

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In Austin, Matt and I celebrated the fourth of July weekend by watching fireworks from the rooftop of the library. It sounds lame, but it had unrestricted views of the show, BBQ, and alcohol soooo what could be bad? We ended up kayaking a bit and even checked out the Museum of the Weird which had a man who could conduct electricity through his body. I don’t know how to say it more exciting than factual because it was wild. I believe it was real. If you touched a light-bulb to him, it lit up! When touching him, it felt like brushing up against a light electric fence.

Arguably weirder though was the Yeti Cooler Flagship Store. We noticed a lot of crowds and wondered how all these people could be spending the 300 dollars to own a little cooler. It’s then we realized that half of the store was a bar and after getting a drink, you could sit on the various coolers around the store and enjoy it.

It was so…. Upper-middle-class millennial culture in one spot. It’s hard to explain, but Matt and I were truly blown away by how absurd it all was.

I guess that’s Austin for you?

The Tuesday following Austin, I had my final exam in FA CCC.

My section in FA CCC

My section in FA CCC

It was a four-hour essay based test. We got to use open notes and open publications though so I just had to write fast to get the information on paper but finding and knowing the material wasn’t hard. I guess that’s one thing that’s funny about the Army - you can figure out 98 percent of your job if you can find the right publication, so I guess it was a good test in that sense. Overall, I am not sure how vital CCC was for my development. I do think I needed something since I needed to learn the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP and for non-Army people, it’s this step action drill you use at BN and above to figure out how you want to do an operation). I do feel like it could’ve been condensed or taught online, but I am happy I got to meet so many new people and see my peers. When you’re at a unit, there aren’t many people of your same rank. To be with 14 in my squad alone and then 51 in the class, that was a good time! Also, getting to meet so many many people was a great chance to network and learn a bit of stuff that happened outside of Polk.

I am super excited to start working at a unit again. Right now, the rumor is that I will be going to a SBCT here at Carson. For artillery, I’ll be working with the same piece I worked on as an XO at Polk, the M777. The people I’m supporting won’t be light infantry though; it’ll be the heavy world.

I’m glad I can get the other side of the Army spectrum.

On the domestic front, I’m happy to be living with Matt again and to have a real house. It’s fun to own a home and to have a yard! I didn’t realize I was such a yard person until I got one. I like to sit on my patio and dig holes and plant things if I want without worrying about lease agreements and other people. One con that we have already run into is WALLPAPER. Usually, on shows like TLC where people buy houses, I judge people who say they don’t like a home because of the wall color. Surely you could fix it later! I scream at the TV. Well, after removing a room of wallpaper and having two more rooms left to remove, I completely understand.

Also, I will never buy wallpaper in my life, no matter how cute, and easy Anthropologie makes it look.