Since it's been awhile since I last wrote, I'll just go over a few of the going-ons so far this month. It's not that I've been busy, just distracted. These past few weeks alone have been packed full of happenings. Allergies were unforgiving, then started a sinus infection, then medications galore, followed by a stomach bug. I'm hoping I got all my illnesses at once so I don't have to worry about another sick day for the rest of the year.
Five Guys Burgers opened here in town. That may not be big news to some people, but this is a small town with a poor choice of dinning options. We found out about them planning to go in at the new "shopping center" by Target, but there is alway a rumor about what might be coming to that area. It was official several weeks ago, on a visit to Subway, we saw the sign (literally). The opening date wasn't posted, but we were just happy to know we had a closer location than Harker Heights. Last week, on another trip to Subway, the OPEN sign was on in the Five Guys window. Needless to say, we ate there instead. Total opposite of Subway, but still quite satisfying.
Work has been so-so. The schedule has been a roller coaster lately. We'll be hopping for a day, then the next will be slow. I've been told that is happening in most of the offices around town, hope it picks back up soon.
Finally got to take the Wrangler out. It has been some time since I've had it in four wheel drive for more than a few minutes. Dillon, Justin, and I went out to the Sherricks' on the 31st of October. It was fun. Justin parked his Jeep when we got out there. He has just put a new transmission in his Wrangler and didn't want to stress it too much at that time. So it was Dillon's Jeep and Juug on the trails. Mostly Dillon. The stock tank was actually holding water this time, but the walls were slimy clay, so I stayed out. Dillon goofed off in it for a short time, but we then quickly moved on. No one brought any loppers or chainsaws, so we had to manage with what the trails had to offer. It had rained so much since I was last out there. The down hill trails had washed out, exposing stumps and rocks that made maneuvering a chore. The plastic windows on my Wrangler accrued several more scratches and scuffs from the over grown side brush and trees. This is why Dillon did more trails than I. He was without doors (of course), and ready for action. It was fun to watch. His Jeep is so built up and capable, it became a game of finding something he couldn't do. The wet clay kept him busy, but he made his way through each coarse he challenged. We kept teasing Justin, trying to get him to bring his Wrangler out, but he never gave in. He decided the only way his would come out would be if Dillon was to get stuck, then my Jeep would have to get stuck while attempting to free the Cherokee, only then Justin would join in. Dillon never got stuck, so the train wasn't activated. We eventually made our way to the lower field. The grass was tall, nearly reaching the hood of Juug. This was fun for Jeep Tag. The overgrowth hid all the ruts and dips in the field, so proceed with caution. The river was up, by quite a bit. We would usually climb the rope down the bank wall by 7+ feet to reach the rock bed below, but the river was up to top of the wall. The water was moving quickly, huge difference from the usual scene. Because of the overfilled river, the bank along the field was being undermined. The bluffs at the far end of the field were questionable, and the tall grass made it hard to tell where the edge was, or would change to. I got a little caught up roaming around in the field and missed a marker. I unknowingly tested the eroded bluffs. They held, but I got out of there as soon as I realized where I was. There was no longer a fence or flag, only a sad little tree to warn of the new edge. After making my way back to solid ground, Justin and I laughed at our stupid luck, then rejoined Dillon on the other end of the field. We played around until we were all sneezing too much to enjoy ourselves anymore and headed back to the house. We chatted with the Sherricks, then went our separate ways.
That night, we all decided on Wing Stop. So after freshening up, we met up for a quick snack. The ride home was dumb crazy. It was Halloween and the neighborhood we live in was jam packed with trick-or-treaters. No one was on the sidewalks, filling the streets with dark cloaked children and their non-supervising parents. It was a nightmare in the making. Too many people walking in the poorly light streets. Just as soon as I missed a group of kids, another would pop out from no where. Dillon had fun with it. His Jeep is so loud, most of the pedestrians got out of his way, and I'm sure the size of his rig helped as well. At one point, some shadowy person yelled at him to slow down, he just yelled back, "Get out of the road!" He was actually going slow, that thing in low gear sounds like it's racing. We eventually make it home without taking out any hoodlums.
Jeep night was supposed to be last week, but it was rescheduled because of the incident on Fort Hood. Some of our friends were already on their way to Killeen from Austin, so we went anyway. Colt was working late (since the hospital was on lock down still) so I went on my own, Dillon and Jered went in Dillon's Jeep. The drive there was odd. I followed a small brigade that was from Houston, along with the typical news crew. It was eerie to see. The highway was not as busy as it normally would be, but there was still considerable traffic. Nolanville is where I noticed the biggest difference. On any other day, I wouldn't dream of exceeding 60mph (the town thrives on speeding tickets). On this evening, it was strange. I noticed a police car coming up from behind, so I checked my speed. I was doing 75. I started to back off the throttle, and the officer passed me like I was standing still. The rest of the drive was the same. I kept up with traffic, going between 67 and 72, and several State Troopers and police cars flew by us all. By the time I got to Pluckers, there was very little traffic, Killeen was strangely quiet. I met up with our friends, they all had the same stories about traffic and such sightings. We had dinner outside and watched the helicopters in the sky and the news coverage of the neighboring base. By the time we were done eating, Fort Hood had reopened. Pluckers started to get busy, but it was still quiet. We all left, heading home in different directions. I took the highway back home, still light traffic.
Colt came home later, the hospital was still locked down, but changed shifts. Colt said the day was crazy. The rest of us heard about the shootings after 2:45, but apparently the hospital's security showed the effects around 1:30, just before the first victims came in. I had noticed there were several Care-Flights hovering some time around 2, but I didn't hear the news until just before 3. It was weird to turn on the news and see familiar streets lined with police cars, fire trucks, and SWAT vehicles. My co-worker and I watched for a little while, but decided we'd rather stay busy at work than watch the news. We all know too many people from the area.
Jeep night has been rescheduled to this Thursday, so we'll give it another try. The weather is supposed to be nice, so Juug may get to go topless. I haven't washed it since our playday at the Sherricks', so it has a nice Jeepish paint job (mud). I'll wash it this weekend, tired of it leaving chunks everywhere I go. The place I park at work has been marked with mud patties, and my driveway looks like it was once gravel.
Oh, and another note: I hope Colt never again brings home the "on-call' pager from work. He had it this past weekend. It was obnoxious. That miserable thing, for what ever reason, always ended up by me when it went off. Colt was called in early Saturday morning and didn't get out of there until after 3 in the afternoon. It went off several times after he got home, but it ended up being false alarms. 9:30pm, it sounds again, but no one answered when he called in, so he didn't report. It was around 4am Sunday morning when I heard it yet again. Poor guy dragged himself in after a long night of Halo with Brett! He said he was done after 5am, but was called back for another job. He came home after 7:30am and slept into the afternoon. I didn't try to wake him. He took the pager back Monday, with a note from me to whoever is in charge of the horrid little device. I know he has to take his turn with it again, just not looking forward to it. He is scheduled to have it during Thanksgiving break, so guess who gets to stay in town!