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Post Housing at Fort Bliss

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A description of on-post housing at Fort Bliss, including Housing Office orientation, regulations, problems with cockroaches

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My husband was commissioned right after graduating from college – the next day after the commencement ceremony, they had his commissioning ceremony. We moved to Fort Bliss the next day after that, I think it was. We lived for a few months in an off-post apartment. Later on I learned that there are these apartments outside all military bases. After a few months, we moved into a house on post. It was a ranch style house, with 2 bedrooms, a living room/dining room, and a narrow galley style kitchen. It had a washer and a dryer, but I always hung the laundry out on a line in the back yard. The air was so dry in El Paso that by the time I finished hanging a load of laundry, the first pieces would be dry and I could start taking it down.
The rules about living in on-post housing were really strict. Before we moved in, we had to go to an orientation from the Housing Office that lasted at least one whole day, maybe two. What I remember about it is how they told us all kinds of horror stories about people who trashed their quarters. They showed us pictures too. It kind of gave you the impression that there were these horrible, messed-up people in the army. They also had rules about how to keep the yard clear of junk and children’s toys, how often to water the lawn, and all kinds of things. Once we got a ticket from the Provost Marshal because my husband had an old car that leaked oil onto the driveway in the carport.
There were also strict rules about keeping the inside clean. I did my best but even so, the quarters was infested with cockroaches. Once we came home at night, and we saw a few cockroaches running on the outside wall. We got the spray and started spraying, and suddenly thousands of roaches streamed out from the crack between the wall and the driveway. Thousands, scurrying all over the wall. We spent an hour spraying them and wacking them with a broom but I am sure it didn’t do much good.
When we were PCSing to another post, we had to hire a cleaning service to clean the place so that it would pass inspection. The cleaning service did do a thorough job. They took apart the gas stove and soaked everything in lye or some kind of solvent. Still, I think that even if I had never used the stove ever, I still would have had to pay for the cleaners. Everyone always says that it is a racket between the cleaning services and the housing office, where the housing office won’t pass your inspection unless you hire the cleaners.
When we got to our next post and I unpacked my kitchen items, there were dead cockroaches in the bowls and pots and pans.

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