10 May 2010

Mother's Day: The AAR

In the Army, no activity is complete until an After Action Review (A.A.R.) is conducted. These can be quick huddles, or long-drawn-out de-briefings, but the end result is always supposed to focus on what worked, and what could be done better next time. By capturing those concepts soon after an event, writing them down and filing them away for future reference, the theory is that you'll be more likely to be able to re-create success--and to pass your successful methods along to the next guy or gal.

Mother's Day around the Sherpa household is a bit of an obstacle course, due mostly to the fact that Household-6 has a birthday that falls on or near the same day. Adding to the chaos, I'm not very practiced in shaping the creative energies of a loving 3-, 5-, and 42-year-old into the right mix of fun-yet-functional gifts. Somehow, however, we made it happen. As my Air Force buddies say, "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing."

First, the functional:

Household-6 has been observing that we need new towels, not only for guests, but for ourselves. The kids and I parachuted into the local bath store to explore every colorway and thread count we could find. After leaving no potentially breakable bath-accessory unturned ("Lena, put down that loofah dish!"), we arrived at two towel-color options--"Pebble" and "Ornamental Green"--and purchased whole pallet-fuls of both.

Why so many? Easy: I do not intend to again shop for towels during the remainder of my lifetime.

While in the parking lot, I had to move some Army equipment around in my car (a.k.a. the "rolling footlocker") in order to make room for our haul of poofy, oversized shopping bags. That's when I noticed that my Army-issued Universal Camouflage Patterned (U.C.P.) equipment, including my allegedly manly ballistic vest, all seemed to coordinate very well with "Pebble" and "Ornamental Green."

At that moment, my caveman "towel-hunter and washcloth-gatherer" vibe flew right out the window. I fought the urge to go to the local hunting store to buy MultiCam bedsheets, right then and there.

Next, the fun stuff:

The kids and I had also stormed a toy store ("Lena, put down that toy gun NOW! Rain, put down that Barbie!") to purchase the "classic" version of Milton-Bradley's The Game of Life. Household-6 had been waxing nostalgic about the board game a few weeks ago, which had given us the idea.

You remember this game, don't you? You drive a little plastic car, into which you place little plastic pink and blue people (Marriage! Children!) as the notional years spin by. You buy stock and insurance, and pay taxes and tolls--you know, fun stuff like that.

After it was opened, the entire family played a round of Life. Lena immediately got into what I can only describe as the "show me the money" mode. Rain, for the most part, just wanted to drive the little plastic car back and forth across the Toll Bridge. All in all, it was a lot of fun, even if I did lose the inaugural game by only $1,000.

One thought did occur, however: Someone really needs to update the game to include membership National Guard. In the newer (non-classic?) versions, after all, you can apparently find occupations such as "police officer," "mechanic," "computer designer," and "doctor." What about a "citizen-soldier" track, too? Upon deployment, your little blue or pink person could drive a plastic Humvee for a year, on a completely different board from the rest of the little plastic family.

On second thought, that sounds a little too real.

Spin again.


  1. I like your idea on the logistic of towels...buy a LMTV full and not have to bother with them again....

  2. @ CI-Roller Dude: A buddy of mine borrowed a line from some sit-com, I think, when he mentioned that buying underwear in bulk--enough for 6 months at a time--certainly cuts down on having to laundry.

    Of course, such a buying strategy probably cut down on his social life as well!

  3. Sherpa This is CI Roller Dude:
    Copy that,


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