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A Puckerbrush Adjustment

Maybe it is the curmudgeon in me but I enjoy the solitude of working a gate by myself –  even a 24/7 gate.  Most every thing I know has got a downside and the “24” part of 24/7 is just that.   The bedroom of the NO Princess Palace is off limits when I am on a gate solo.  I have enough problems caching a catnap when the gate alarm is mere inches from my bad ears.  If I removed myself to the bedroom,  a fleet of Kenworths with no mufflers could roar by full throttle and I wouldn’t even turn over. You could put a trailer of frac pumps right in front of the Palace and set those big Cats to growling and I doubt my eyelids would flutter.  Yeah, it is that bad.

No froo-froo interior decorating in my world.

No froo-froo interior decorating in my world.

So I do what worked before;  fold the couch out and nap in the living room for the duration.  From reading some other blogs, some folks nap in a recliner when presented with the same same predicament.  I don’t have that option in The Palace.  You only got so much space in an RV starting out and my designated, factory defined location for twin recliners is now re-purposed.   The Danby Chest Freezer, 2 Rubbermaid ActionPacker Storage Boxes, wire mesh storage and a full size fridge live there now and we ain’t going back.

When I first migrated to the sleeping couch last year after Little Blondie fled South,  I tried a quilt and a couple of pillows. Didn’t work out as my good quilt suffered the gritty environment.  Next up was a light duty sleeping bag and it damn near killed me.  I would jump up in the wee hours when the driveway  dinger went off and get all tanglefooted in that bag and near kill myself.  Somewhere during that time frame I ran across the Genuine US Military Poncho Liner aka ‘woobie‘.  WTH are you saying, right?  Well, read up.

 

U.S. Army Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment and Afghan National Army Soldiers perform various duties during an Air Insertion into Shele Kalay, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 16 Jan., 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kristina Truluck, 55th Signal Company (COMCAM)

U.S. Army Soldier from 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment rests with his woobie during an Air Insertion into Shele Kalay, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 16 Jan., 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kristina Truluck, 55th Signal Company (COMCAM)

The “liner, wet weather, poncho” as it’s officially called, consists of two layers of nylon surrounding a polyester filling, sewn up along the sides and crosswise to ensure a very tough and durable piece of equipment. Army logistics manuals fail to say what magic spells are cast over poncho liners when they are made to make them so efficient at trapping heat in and keeping the cold out. They were originally produced in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, when U.S. soldiers and Marines were engaged in jungle fighting. The troops needed a lightweight poncho to keep them relatively dry in the wet jungles and rice paddies, but also something to keep them warm during the cool nights. Thus the poncho and poncho liner were born. While the poncho liner was almost an afterthought to the poncho, it was the liner that would steal troops’ hearts.

And this in case you are wondering what a silly name woobie is……..

So why is it called a woobie? What kind of silly name is that for a piece of high-speed, military-grade equipment? The origins of the term are lost in the mists of time, but many theories abound. One theory goes that it comes from the phrase, “Because you would be cold without it,” where “would be,” evolved into woobie. A similar version has it called a “willbie,” because, “It will be what keeps you from freezing.” Another theory comes from a bit of pop culture, where the term came from the 1983 Michael Keaton movie, “Mr. Mom,” in which the child calls his security blanket his woobie. Is this a case of the military mimicking pop culture or vice versa? Perhaps we will never know. Judging from the internet comments from veterans of the 1970s and 1980s, the term did not come into being until the 1990s, after the movie came out. Regardless, veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq have given the term credence, which is impressive, considering how silly it is.

It was quotes off the interweb like this that steered me on to it in earnest:

I sat down with my wife right after we got married and explained to her to NEVER do anything to my woobie. She knows better.

In this Oct. 9, 2010 photo, a U.S. Army soldier Jason Mcmillan, from Ventura, California, from Scout Platoon 2nd Battalion, 502 Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, rests after waking up at an outpost in Zhari district, Kandahar province. The Scouts' mission was to support roadside bomb clearance efforts in the militant stronghold, the latest days-long phase of Operation Dragon Strike. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

In this Oct. 9, 2010 photo, a U.S. Army soldier rests wrapped in his woobie after waking up at an outpost in Zhari district, Kandahar province. . (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

The Poncho Liner is as close to perfection as the gods permit man to come. No jacket can wrap you from head to toe in comfort in all but the most extreme conditions like a woobie can. It can be tied between one’s track and a tree and give life preserving shade. A true man can give his old woobie to his old dog to comfort him in his last days. Spread upon the ground it keeps the leaves and sand out of one’s mate’s nether bits whilst shagging in the wild. The woobie is not the perfect solution to a specific problem. It is the ultimate do damn near anything anywhere anywhen good enough solution to most every problem.

Faggoty sounding name…but then again I got my 1st one in 1978.

Makes the snuggie look like a bitch blanket.

I was going to Denmark. I got the word that Danish soldiers would give you the shirt off their back for one. I scrounged around and got 3 to take with me. You would be trying to trade something for a Danish beret or whatever and they drove a damn hard bargain. Break out a poncho liner and they were just like kids at Toys R Us.

I was in the 101st from 2000-2003, we always called it a woobie. We even referred to being wrapped up in a woobie as being ‘woobed up’

I could tell you people the truth about the woobie liner, but you people aren’t ready for the truth.

Almost woobed up

Almost woobed up

So the virtues can be extolled thusly:

1. Lightweight – for stuffing (and I do mean stuff) into the tightest packs and lightweight for comfort
2. Soft and smooth against skin (even smoother than silk)
3. Reflects body heat to keep warm
4. Yet great for warm weather; top layer fabric is smooth and both warms and cools, doesn’t smother
5. Effective at increasing warmth with other layers
6. Strings allow it to be tied to anchor points
7. Great picnic or outside blanket that doesn’t attract and hide bugs – even tiny bugs can’t penetrate shell
8. Dries quickly in rugged camping situations; breathes well

Obviously, I had to get a woobie and test it out.  Normal routine here at The Palace is the couch is left folded out during the day and covered with a throw.  Tuco the Dog hangs out on it and likes to lay her head on those little square pillows and dog sleep.  In the evening,  the woobie and the bed pillows come out as the woobie has proved to be the perfect solution to my bedclothes dilemma. I don’t understand how all this works but the woobie is Goldilocks perfect.  It is never too hot nor too cold regardless of the room temperature.  Bonus for being able to stuff it into a tiny, tiny crevice beside the couch when not in use to keep most of the caliche dust off of it. About the time I break out the woobie and the pillows,  Tuco the Dog makes her presence known as well.   She will come and stand patiently by the couch and then,well;  stuff happens, OK!?

Tuco the Dog sleepin' in

Tuco the Dog sleepin’ in

I have never allowed a dog on the bed; not even an obviously superior animal like Tuco the Dog.   Beds are for peoples.  Always have been and always will be.   Dogs sleep on a rug on the floor or a chair when nobody is looking.  Sometimes early on and after it was just me and Tuco the Dog in residence at The Palace,  I collapsed on the couch at the other gate after a particularly arduous shift of frac sand trucks lined up out of sight coming in the gate.  Maybe it was August, maybe it was December,  I ain’t remembering clear.  Wasn’t 5 minutes after going unconscious, if that, when a cold dog nose pressed against my arm and I opened my eyes.  Tuco the Dog was maybe 1″ from my face staring at me with all the intensity a silly dog can muster.  I sleep on my side and the sleeping couch is not 6′ long so I sleep with my legs crooked up to fit.  In a weak,  crazy-insane,  exhausted moment I said  “Well, get on up here.  Come on!”  and the rest, as they say, is history.  She settled into the crook of my legs on that teeny couch and it has been so ever since.   At the Secret Hideout, in the real bed,   I covered the quilt with the woobie and she would sleep at the foot of the bed on top of the woobie.  Besides, it floated her boat I could tell.  Dogs don’t ask for much you know.   Many times, her head would rest on my feet all night long. She doesn’t fidget or bite fleas or dog fart (much) so I just learned to accept it.  I will confess I reach down and give her a pat along with throwing out a “You are a good dog”  most nights before I go lights out.

During the course of events, she has developed a sense of ownership RE: the woobie to the point I may have to buy a second one just for A Dog.   The newest twist started when we moved to the Porch House Gate.  Tuco the Dog has always been a late sleeper.  When I get up at 4 or 5am to start my gate guard thing,  you won’t be seeing her off the couch until well after daylight.  Since we have been back on the tit of mucho free for the taking electricity, I run the temps down to the low 60’s at night just because I can.  After the heat ordeal at The Secret Hideout,  I crave the refrigerated air.  So, the other morning,  I popped up close on to  zero dark thirty to answer the gate and the minute I stepped out onto the Porch, my glasses fogged up.  I looked at the windows of The NO Princess Palace and they were all fogged up as well.  I checked the truck in and went back inside and yeah, it was damn chilly.  I felt sorry for A Dog and pulled the woobie up around her.  Umm, silly man!  SILLY!  Now, when I clamor out of the bed each morning I have to cover her up with the woobie which is inexorably falling under her sole control.  Covered up to her neck, swaddled, edges tucked under.  If I don’t I get a reproachful look.  Dogs can be reproachful??  Damn straight!  Same look I get if I eat all the bacon and don’t share.  That dog guilt trip gets me every time.   I am such a puss!

End Note: One of Us by Joan Osborne from the  20th Century Masters cd.

Tired of Joan Osborne yet?  Not me.  Be tolerant of my foibles.

Rock on Wayne.

 

 

 

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7 comments to A Puckerbrush Adjustment

  • Nancy

    Like they say, you can tell a lot about a man in how he treats his dog. 🙂

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  • Joel

    My lovely and talented wife (and your high school classmate) just returned from a cross-country field trip delivering our daughter from Bennington VT to her next gig in Tucson. They spent the night in Amarillo, and my wife reports very high and persistent winds. I guess the locals have noticed this, since she also reports seeing lots of wind farms in the area. Good to see renewables gaining a foothold in TX!

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    • Andy

      Hey Joel

      The wind farms down around Abilene and Odessa dwarf the Panhandle. One of the installations in West Texas covers 100k acres and Texas has 6 of the 10 largest installations in the country.

      Bff Cait spent over 3 years in Tucson stationed at Davis Monthan. She loved the area.

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      • Joel

        Good to hear. I was there to give a talk at the University a few years ago. Arizona reminds me of Middle Earth.

        Rebecca is there because her partner is doing a veterinary residency. Rebecca is interested in immigration law, and with her fluency in Spanish, I hope she can find a job there.

        Ah, to be young again!

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        • Andy

          Cait has a highly placed friend at ICE should she be so inclined. Email me if you want that info

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          • Joel

            Thanks. email sent.

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