Life in the East


It feels like I’ve been going nonstop since I moved in October. (Or PCSed, which is the military acronym for Permanent Change of Station). In Juxtaposition, I wrote that my previous Base was like a college campus. Almost everyone was single – even the married people, since that Base didn’t allow dependents, and the normal posting was for 12 months. I only saw kids a few times, though the Library offered a Children’s Program each week, and they were right across the parking lot from my office.

My new Base is more like a small town. Part of that is due to the topography. The old Base was flat and tended to flood every time it rained – like Florida. Here, it’s hilly like Missouri. When I walk to the post office here, I exit the building, walk up steps to the road, walk across the road and then cross a parking lot and go up more steps, where I cross the parking lot to the post office. At the previous Base, I just walked on a flat sidewalk past the Credit Union to pick up my mail.

If I continue my walk from the post office over to the Commissary, I have to go up steps to the road, cross the road, go up more steps, cross a parking lot, then go down steps, and cross the parking lot to enter the Commissary. The PX is up a hill and across another road. All this compartmentalizing of services based upon the topography help make it feel more like a town. Additionally, families are posted here longer than 12 months, so even though people live off Base, I see spouses with kids frequently.


Although I have what is essentially the same job here, I am now in a one-person office instead of the two-person office where I was before. This means I get to do everything myself! The former Field Rep was a guy who had been here several years. I spent the first week cleaning. And evicted the centipede who emerged while I was sweeping behind furniture. I’m pretty sure it didn’t have a family….

Another thing I had to get rid of, I learned, were frogs. It seems that with the former Field Rep leaving, and various people subbing to run the office during the hiring process, nobody took responsibility for disposing of the frogs from Biology 101 at the end of the class last Summer. So, as the new Field Rep, I inherited a plastic bin of dissected frog corpses, which was sitting in an unofficial storage area, that was not climate controlled.

I was told that I needed to contact HazMat. It took awhile to track down the number, but I finally managed to call them a few weeks later, only to be told that they deal with chemicals – not dead dissected frog corpses.

They suggested I contact Medical Waste.


That took another week to track down and get a response. The guy said he’d come over and pick it up. He showed up the next morning wearing work gloves and carrying a small plastic trash bag. I walked him outside to where the frogs were stored. It was obvious the plastic storage bin wouldn’t fit in his little trash bag that was about the size of a grocery bag. He apparently had thought that I just happened to have a frog that had died and didn’t want to touch it.

He said that he couldn’t take the frogs.

He suggested that I call the Trash Company.

He very kindly called me when he got back to his office, and gave me the number.

I called and left a message. I got a call back the next morning and explained the situation. He agreed to come right over.

When he arrived, I took him outside to the frogs and he looked at me and, pointing, asked why I didn’t just throw them in the dumpster across the street. I told him that it’s an Army Base and I’m not supposed to do that. Besides, how would I lift the box up to throw it in the dumpster??

Sighing, he pulled on his work gloves and picked up the box-o-frogs and holding it with extended arms, carried it over to his car.

I thanked him profusely, and reminded him that I had one more item to dispose of: an unused fetal pig.


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