Less than 80 hours has passed since I last saw my husband. Right now it feels like a really long duty day, a day where he was called in early to fix something and even after spending the night with little to no sleep is forced to keep his eyes peeled and in control of the guys until long after others have gone home.
I have plenty to keep me busy – blog, bookshelf, loom, knitting needles, dogs, cleaning, eating, sleeping, exercise, internet, friends, and family. But these are usual things. I’m used to lounging (attempting to blog) around until Caleb gets home. Then I make sure he is taken care of – fed, washed, relaxed, and educated of what I learned that day. It has been four years since he has been on a deployment and I forget the routine that comes with it – meaning I can go to a museum during the week because I don’t have to hope that he gets off work early or wait until the weekend.
I cherish our time together and this new routine will be odd and difficult to get used to, but it gives me more to write and talk about than my usual bore of, “The dogs made noise, made messes, got fed, made more messes,” or “I sat and stared at my computer, then I ate, then I stared some more which made me hungry again.” They do say that pets will become more like their owners. Perhaps while he is away I can teach the dogs sign language and the art of silence while teaching myself something equally impressive.
I email him as often as I can think of something more to say than, “I love you!” This also depends on how often he is able to call which just so happened today. I was startled when the phone rang and somewhat bothered by the private number message showing up on the caller ID, but I am one to give every caller a fair chance. I picked it up hoping to be part of some greater phone prank that was going to be posted on YouTube later. I thought of nothing cool to say and with nothing on the other end I hung up.
I went back to what I was doing, but instinctively brought the phone with me. Having to go to another room in the house can be tiring on some level I’m sure. A minute or two later it rang again – same number. I picked it up, put it on speaker phone and waited. There was a slight delay, but on the other end was clearly the voice that makes me happiest in the world. My husband was calling me from over 8,000 miles away and 11 hours ahead. It would have only been ten hours, but daylight savings time changed that.
He had read my emails and knew all about my weekend. This allowed me to listen to how his weekend went. The phone only cut out twice and then hung up. He was able to call me back. We talked for at least 30 minutes. The trip was long and loud. Customs was nothing like Caleb was expecting in Kuwait. He wanted his passport stamped and they didn’t want to bother with looking at it. His last plane touched ground at midnight or perhaps that’s when the van dropped them off, but he wouldn’t find sleep for another hour or two before waking up at 6:00 am.
His weekend seems that it could (almost) not be more stressful. He spent the first day doing turnover (the last crew tells him what works and what doesn’t) to find out that everything needs fixing. He couldn’t understand why the last crew tried to lie about some of it or hide it because either way they get to go home. Caleb gets to try to fix everything on this ship before inspection. Perhaps that would be enough, but I guess he is the “Clean-Up” crew. After they are done putting this ship back together they get transferred to another to do the same thing.
Part of me wishes he could let the boat rust and rot to the bottom of the ocean, but that’s not kind on taxes or the environment. Most of me wants him to be able to fix it in record time and make Chief, but I know the repairs aren’t in his range to fix alone. He will have to rely on help from others, not just in changing oil or twisting screws, but in ordering parts promptly and correctly. He will have to fix them on someone else’s schedule with whatever sleep and food they allow. I was surprised when he told me that he does get a one day weekend – a perk only appreciated if not on board with three section duty and underways.
He is hoping the barracks are in better shape so that he can move in sooner and have Skype available. As excited as I was to hear his voice I also know that he needs his sleep. He wished me a goodnight too, even though on this side of the planet the sun was still up, it will not be forgotten when I lay my head on his pillow tonight. I wonder if he will notice that his pillowcase went unwashed for the duration of his absence. He also left me with some man-smelling body wash, shave cream, and t-shirts but told me not to imitate his hair length – jaw bone length is short enough.
He also left me with some tuna and tea. The tuna I don’t eat for being vegetarian and the tea lowers my iron levels which stay a healthy 12 g/dl or higher when measuring my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels through a skin prick. I know this through donating blood and my levels have to be 12.5 or higher. That’s why I bring Caleb when I can because he can always donate. The tea and tuna will be found another stomach to please. As for me, I will continue …to let my mind wander through the expanse of its existence.