Last night I attended a "Spouses Orientation" which was simply an information session about the services and organizations here on post. Since every place is unique, these kind of things are good. If nothing else, I would have been happy to just get the map showing the four jogging paths on post with distances from 2 miles to 7.5 miles.
Most of the information was generic, but I was interested to learn about the tornado warning sirens. We had heard a siren last weekend, and wondered what it was...until we realized it was just the fire department responding to a call. They described the two-minute continuous blast for a tornado and assured us that we would hear it and know what it was.
I also paid close attention to the man who spoke about the prisoners of the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB). Within a very short distance, there are a half dozen prisons: some federal, some state. Mostly maximum security. Those at the USDB are primarily guilty of violent crimes and have minimum sentences of 5 years and a day. There are three different colors of uniforms indicating their level of security. Blue uniforms are for the most trusted inmates who may have jobs on post like cutting hair. Brown uniforms are for those who are not trusted quite as much. They would be accompanied by a guard and would likely be in handcuffs. Orange uniforms are for the ones who need strict monitoring. They would have at least three guards and be in full shackles. There is a possibility that we would see a prisoner at the Health Center, and we were told that we should give the ones in orange a wide berth: "They're shackled for a reason," the man said.
This gives me one more reason to avoid going to the doctor.
There are programs, run mainly through the religious organizations, that allow volunteers to minister to the inmates. He encouraged anyone with those sorts of charitable leanings to contact the chaplains and get involved. But he cautioned us all against developing personal friendships. "It's not good for them, and it's certainly not good for you," he said. "I wouldn't be saying this if it hadn't happened before."
Was it one of the Narnia books where the children were playing in a communal attic system - where the row houses were separate, but the attics were open to each other? My house is a duplex, and there is an exterior basement door that opens to a small area with the water heaters for both sides. Doors in that room lead to each half of the duplex. There is a dead bolt lock on those doors, but no lock on the door to the outside. My boys play with the boys next door, and we both use the basements for playrooms. Every day, multiple times a day, I'll go in the basement to rotate laundry or work on the school room, and I will find the doors to both sides wide open as the boys have been passing between the houses. I reminded Bill that part of our "locking up for the night" procedure has to include checking that door, even if we're too tired to go up and down the stairs again. I'm not worried about the neighbors...it's that exterior door.
Who wants to haul sleeping children down to the basement to seek shelter from a tornado only to find an orange-suited escapee in hiding?
I'm so happy I went to the orientation. Now I know where to focus my worries!