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Despite plans to leave five days ago, I’m still here at Stan’s Blanket. All my locations get codenames, not because I’m Special OPS, but because every little piece of information can be made into a total picture. One day I’m complaining about missing a flight on a certain base and next thing you know, ISIS al Killyabad has the nuclear launch codes. It’s a slippery slope.

So, I’m going on day six of this three-hour tour and Gilligan can’t give me a clear answer on the timeframe for the next flight out. I have strategically packed my bags so that I only need to open two of them to live in these transient barracks. Picture a Costco. Now fill it with bunk beds. Add fifty strangers with the sleeping habits of a newborn and public curtesy of a toddler. That is the transient barracks. Also, the females are always on the 2nd floor so be glad your bags are not at all heavy! The only bonus this place has going is that the bathrooms and showers are located inside the building. No, indoor plumbing with living areas is not a common thing over here.


Today I wore the last clean t-shirt in my travel bags. I can’t remember the exact location of the other shirts and I’m not willing to unpack everything. Therefore, the only choice is shower laundry. I was forced to resort to shower laundry once before on this Army holly-jolly-holiday when I got stuck in Ahab for several days. “It’s only a day trip,” they said. “We’ll be back tonight,” they said. They were wrong!

Shower laundry starts by deciding what items are most needed and quickest to dry. The undergarments you wear to the shower are always a good choice. I like to choose a shower with a showerhead dysfunction of some kind because it is less likely to be used by anyone else. I’m weird about showers, but that’s a whole other topic.

Start by placing the items to be washed in the shower. Unpack your shower caddy and hang towels on the hooks. For the love of sweet baby Jesus, don’t drop anything on the floor. It also helps to have shower shoes with thick soles to elevate you away from the lava-bacterial-fungus that probably lives on the floor of communal showers. Adjust the broken showerhead that slowly points at the wall every 15 seconds. Choose a fragrant soap or shampoo for washing since it may help if you suck at hand washing. I wash everything inside out with a solid shampoo bar from LUSH. Start scrubbing bra and panties. Consider the necessity of bras and panties. Picture extreme chafing. Adjust showerhead. Thoroughly rinse bra and panties. Wring out and hang on the curtain rod. For the love of sweet endangered pandas, don’t drop them on the floor. Wash the T-shirt, focusing on the armpits and collar. Rinse and wring out the cotton. Wonder where your quick-dry T-shirts all went. Adjust showerhead. Stop and wash your hair because you’ve just been doing naked laundry until now and that’s weird. Wash the socks, focusing on the toes. Contemplate the necessity of socks. Picture giant blisters. Rinse out socks taking note that they now look two sizes larger. Contemplate the people outside judging you for taking such a long shower until they realize you’re using the one with the broken head. Finish your shower and wring out each item again without removing it from the shower rod. Try to avoid the cold water that inevitably runs right down your arm. Dry yourself and get dressed like a drunken flamingo because you can’t touch the floor. Emerge victorious with your clean clothes to hang on your bunk and weapon. That’s right, the magazine well of an M4 is a great place to hang panties. Here is my shout-out to Knixwear for making excellent quick-dry undergarments.


Oh cruel irony, Gilligan just called to say our next attempt to leave this island will be a midnight tonight. Sweet victory has turned to damp-clothes-packing defeat! Fingers crossed that the sixth time is a charm.

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