CHBOLC: Day 46 “I can hear you tinkling through my wall!…An Ode to Kennedy Hall”

Since today was exactly like every other these last two weeks…I will give you an idea about my lodging situation here at CHBOLC.

First let me say this by way of a disclaimer: the lodging that I am currently in is by far the nicest Army lodging that I have personally ever stayed in. Still, that does not make it immune from jokes at its own expense.

Before I came to CHBOLC, fellow members of the OK National Guard filled my head with stories about the wonders of Dozier Hall. “It’s like an apartment with nearly a full kitchen!” “The housekeeping staff will give you a massage if you ask nicely!” “There are 50 inch LCD’s in the living room and you get cable with HBO!” “Every morning you get a gourmet breakfast in bed!” “If you leave your clothes on the floor, housekeeping will come and wash them and when you come back at the end of the day they will all be neatly hung in your closet!” Well, I can live with that. I have been living in small apartments or dorm rooms for the last six years.

I arrived at Ft. Jackson dead tired and greatly anticipating getting settled into Dozier and making myself a nice wok of chicken stir fry and having someone do my laundry for me. I went to the welcome center, deliriously gleeful (from sleep deprivation and too much caffeine), and already smelling the stir fry I would soon be cooking.

The nice lady at the front desk checked me in, took my credit card, and handed me a key card and a map with a building circled on it. I glanced at the map smugly because I knew I was headed to Dozier, the Army equivalent of the Ritz. Well, when I took a moment to read the map I noticed that a place called Kennedy was circled.

The first thought that ran through my naive little brain was that maybe Kennedy was better. I mean, who would name a building after a president unless it was the greatest place on post. So, only slightly worried, I made my way across post to Kennedy expecting a room with a 60 inch LCD and an Xbox 360 with a full library of all the latest games.

When I drove up, things began to go down hill. The first bad sign was that the building was not named after a president. The second bad sign was when I walked in the door and it smelled like…well…a very…uh… mature hotel.

I unloaded all my stuff and brought it all up to my room. You can imagine my dismay when I walked in and found the room to be an exact replica of…a motel room! I also found myself frantically searching through the two closets in the room, wondering where is my kitchen, my stove top, my microwave, my fridge, MY LCD TV!? Oh the horror!

That was when I noticed it…an oddly placed sliding door where a wall should have been. I unlocked the door, turned on the light, and nearly fainted in the gloriousness of it all. My kitchen, for the next three months, consisted of a tiny microwave with two settings and hardly large enough for a hot pocket, a mini-fridge, a freezer barely big enough to fit a squirrel, a toaster, and a sink nearly deep enough to swim in (just in case I don’t want to use the tub). My heart sank…TV dinners and microwave burritos for three months. I was going to need to go to Sam’s and buy Tums in bulk.

Six weeks have past. I find myself journeying to Wendy’s and indulging in the dollar menu ever more often. Once you have tried every type of TV dinner in the frozen foods section and realized that Stauffer’s, Hungry Man, Lean Cusine, and Weight Watchers spaghetti and meat sauce all tastes exactly the same, a bowl of chili and a frosty from Wendy’s starts sounding like a little bit of heaven.

One other fun little tid-bit about Kennedy. Due to the thin walls and the locations of the bathrooms in the rooms, when I am sitting here working on my computer, I get the privilege of hearing my neighbor utlize the latrine. Need I say more? I also found out that if a woman in the room below me yells at her husband while on the phone I can hear the conversation through the fan vents in the bathroom.

Did I mention the magic fingers, oft found in seedy hotels that require a quarter to use like it’s some kind of carnival ride? At least at the carnival you can get cotton candy and laugh at the monkeys. Try making cotton candy in 82 year old microwave and see how far you get.

I have survived six weeks in Kennedy. If I stop posting…you will know I did not survive the next six and joined the carnival because carnies eat better. Shoot, when they get hungry they can just go kill an elephant and have elephant ears while I’m stuck making life and death decisions like “burrito or hot pocket…hmm.”

Please note…this post was all in jest…mostly.


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