Thursday, December 9, 2010

Soldiers' Christmas/Holiday Care Package Update

I just finished shopping for the soldiers' care packages that I hope will arrive there in time for Christmas. Upon finishing this post, I will be off to the post office to mail out one box. The contents of that one are:

One Package of 80 Baby Wipes

Two boxes of Nutri-Grain bars

One box of gallon sized Zip-Lok plastic bags (they supposedly come in very handy with all the fine dust over there)

One 4 pack of Spam

One bag of Sun Died Fruit

Another package will be sent straight from the online dealer from whom I purchased the items for that package. I want those to be a surprise for the guys and gal in Michael ____'s unit, so I will not say what was in the box until I know it was received or until after Christmas. That package alone went for $176.67. The items themselves cost $155.89 and the shipping was $20.78 (as usual I paid for the shipping myself). We had, as I recall off the top of my head, $140.44 left in the fund from donations. That means I also contributed $15.45 for the items in said package. In addition I paid for all of the items in the other package mentioned above out of my pocket. I am guessing that was about $30 to $35, plus I also will pay for the shipping.

The money from donations has all been used to purchase items for the packages. As of today, all of the packages, for which donation money was used, will have been shipped to Michael ____ , my assigned soldier. I will not have another chance to send any packages that have a chance of arriving before Christmas because I will be away for the next week and a few days starting tomorrow. When I get back, I will commence sending care packages again but am no longer acceptng fonations now that the holiday packages are all sent off.

All the best,
GB

Ballseye's Gun Shots 101 - Going Unarmed...

...is going to be a new experience for me but that is exactly how I will be - more or less - for the next week and a few days. My wife and I are flying down to FL tomorrow to spend a couple of days there before leaving on a cruise on Sunday to return the following Sunday. While I could easily fly armed, I cannot cruise armed - so I will be experiencing something I have not experienced in a long time since I am usually armed everywhere I go. I mean that most literally too when I say I usually am armed whenever I go anywhere. There are few exceptions, such as when I am working out in a gym or go for a swim, but otherwise I almost always carry a sidearm and that includes when going to the local deli, out for a walk with the dogs and even when out doing yard work or in my own home. Am I paranoid? I am sure some people who do not carry might think so but the truth is I am not. I doubt I will have to use a weapon to defend myself or family at any given time but the truth is that all too often there are instances of people being accosted, attacked, assaulted, robbed, beaten, stabbed, shot on the street or at the store or in a parking lot or even in their own home during a violent break-in. So, I would rather seem paranoid to some and because of my preparedness to face the worst and come out the winner than be totally foolish and unprepared by having the belief that I can call 911 and have the cavalry arrive in the nick of time or that my home alarm system will somehow scare off determined bad guys and all will be well or that fate will shine on me and I will never have a run in with nasty bad people who want to harm me. If I only need to defend myself or my family once by use of force with arms then it will have well been worth all the readiness on my part. Since I have already had to defend myself more than once with force, and actually have shot someone in self defense (while I was simply out for a walk), I can say without a doubt that while it may not be likely to happen - shit does happen and you had best be prepared for it if you expect to survive it! The newspapers are full of stories about people who were not prepared and who did not fare well. Granted, being armed is no magic umbrella protecting anyone from harm but I think it goes a long way to skew the odds in your favor should you ever be attacked by someone willing to harm you to get what they want and the chance is always that that it can happens - don't think so then take the time to read this piece.

Now while I cannot be armed, at least in the traditional notion of being armed while on my upcoming cruise, you can bet I will arm myself in some manner with makeshift weapons or at least know the location of the nearest weapons should the shit hit the fan. That is not going to be any great comfort to me should the ship be attacked by pirates (seems to happen frequently nowadays but luckily not where we are traveling) or be taken over by terrorists (terrorist attacks are almost the norm in certain parts of the world) or should someone try to rob us while on a shore excursion (probably the most likely thing where a weapon might be needed for self defense but probably still unlikely). As for the shore excursions, we will be on at least a few of those and one of the countries where we will be ashore has been a hotbed of violence of the most terrible sorts in recent years. I almost cancelled our shore excursion there. After some good amount of thought, we decided since it is an area with no such reported violence we would enjoy the excursion. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to see the sights we will see. I will tell you more about the sights, we will have seen, upon our return.

No gun, no knife, just sort of gives me the heebie-jeebies to think of being that naked. So as they used to say in days of old "Take Courage" (of course, they meant by way of libation). I will be doing plenty of that, that is enjoying the finer liquid spirits they have aboard the ship and may bring some of my own courage in the form of a few bottles of wine. While you are not allowed to bring aboard hard liquor, actually you can bring it aboard but they confiscate it until you disembark so you cannot drink i while aboard the ship, you can bring along as much wine and champagne as your little heart (or would that be 'as your bloated liver') desires and you can drink it as you please. I will be pleased very much to do just that and those empty wine bottle could come in handy if we are boarded by pirates.

All the best,
Glenn B
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