Whine.  I’m playin’ hurt tonight, friends.  Have you ever noticed a little twinge in your neck in the morning and thought, “Wow, I’ve done something wrong there,” and by nightfall you’re on a heating pad and hating everything and everybody?  Including your precious, precious child who won’t stop playing knick-knack all over your freaking body?  Hate.  And ow.

Anyway.  The show must go on.  Ow.  Hate!  Ibuprofen.

So.  On our second day of Thanksgiving vacation we toured our local Coast Guard station.  In case you weren’t sure, as I wasn’t, the Coast Guard is a branch of our military that intercepts drug trafficking and illegal immigrating on the high seas, provides humanitarian relief and rescues stupid people who decide to take their john boats out in the middle of a hurricane.

This is our very young, very earnest tour guide.  I don’t remember his name, bless his heart, but I do remember he was a lieutenant.  For our purposes we’ll call him Lieutenant Cute as a Button.  Lieutenant CaaB wants to move with his wife, Mrs. CaaB, to Alaska or Hawaii.  Precious.

This is a C-130 airplane.  Evie’s Pop (my dad) used to work on these planes when he was enlisted in the Airforce a long time ago.  Evie was very interested to know this about her Pop.  So funny when kids begin to discover that the world existed before they did.  Also, I might have thrown this little piece of information out a few more times than necessary today.  I just like saying “C-130 airplane” like I know what the hell I’m talking about.

This is a restricted area.  Why, oh why, do you taunt me, restricted area?  Must. Know. What’s. In. There.  Interestingly, and kind of creepily, on board one of the C-130 airplanes (love to say it) Lieutenant CaaB showed us a huge bulky mass of TOP SECRET covered with a heavy tarp thingy.  I took a picture of it to show to you guys.  The picture is gone now.  You decide.

Every time I see one of these, it reminds me of that scene from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Shudder.

Group shot of Lieutenant CaaB with the kids.  It’s gotta be terrifying to have this many four-year-olds at one time visiting a facility that houses many, many expensive and dangerous things.  This Bud’s for you, Lieutenant CaaB.

Highway to the danger zone, baby.  Evie feels the need, the need for speed.  Never leave your wingman!  Hey, Goose, you big stud!  Bogey! Bogey on my tail!  Crashed and burned.  It wasn’t pretty.
(Sorry.  Thought I’d get it out all at once.  I’ve been dying to all day.  I do feel better now, thanks.)

We asked Lieutenant CaaB if he knew what each one these buttons did.  He said he did not.

He said that’s what this manual is for.  “Well, shit,” I thought.  “I could do this, then.”

These hooligans were apprehended in protected waters off the coast of Cuba.  We’ve been looking to bust up their operation for a long time.  Also, their picture is yet another in my growing photojournalism series I like to call “Village of the Damned Smartphone Camera Whose Autoflash Feature Sucks.”

Lordy.  Is it any wonder she gets away with WAY more than she should?

Thumbs up to a fun morning.  Thank you, Lieutenant CaaB, for leading the tour.  And thank you for walking around the tarmac with me to help me find my driver’s license after it fell out of my back pocket.  Don’t worry about those other moms whispering about how I was just trying to get you alone.  That’s just pure jealousy, is that what that is, Lieutenant CaaB.

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