What have WE been up to since Caleb got home?
I picked him up at the airport at 5:00 pm and by the time we made it to baggage claim there was only a box left on the luggage carousel – and it wasn’t ours. We filed a report and United let us know that it was on the next plane due to arrive at 7:00 pm along with the other guys that Caleb rode with from Bahrain, but somehow missed their last connecting flight. The airline would have it delivered for free that night…or so we thought.
At 8:00 pm the airline calls asking if someone picked up (stole!) our bags. Why, no. Why would someone do that? To sell all the dirty uniforms inside? Or maybe it’s because they are the chief in charge of these things and they took them back to their office. Caleb will get a text later letting us know we can pick them up on base in the morning. Until then, it’s time for pizza.
The next couple days will be spent in each other’s arms…oh, besides that. We will ride bikes, walk the pier, grocery shop, get the oil changed, play with the dogs, and get some table-saw parts from the neighbor. I will think I’m reintroducing Caleb to San Diego, but he remembers the directions better than I do. We eat bagels, and salad, and noodles…and yes, I’m giving you useless information with no food pictures to show for it.
It’s hard to believe that I made it nine months without my husband, though I know some of the wives can’t wait for their husbands to go back alone, I’m grateful that I actually love mine and want to spend time with him, and talk with him, and well….I would like to thank my Grandma for the invite to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner; my Dad and Sonal for the chance to work a month at Indo-Euro; and my Dad and Caroline for inviting me and my dogs into their home for the next couple months to keep me from getting too lonely.
Being invited out to Phoenix once a month, or more, allowed me to enjoy the drive often, make new friends, learn more about family, cook with my dad, knit with Caroline, go to concerts, eat Ethiopian, and enjoy other new experiences. My dad was gone to Europe for the month of April and I got nothing done, but our trip in May inspired me to take another in June, and July seems like a blur.
Soon it was August and I was counting down the hours until I could pick something to wear and wait at the gate in the terminal. I started to lose sleep, but was able to get a lot of reading done. Of course I was the first of the expecting group waiting at the USO and of course I ran up to Caleb and almost knocked him over as he took me in his arms. I thought I was going to cry and didn’t want that picture on Facebook, but lucky for me, having my husband back with a crowd of smiles and applause was contagious and I grinned from cheek to cheek.
I would also like to thank the people who kept in touch with me during this stressful time whether in person, on the phone, or Facebook. I would like to thank the FRG, MWR and USO (some military abbreviations I don’t know) for supporting Crew Reaper (workers and wives) during this time. I got a message in a bottle from Caleb – a lovely personal poem that I may one day share. They sold shirts and held meetings and parties while Caleb worked most days from 5:00 am – 9:00 pm (or so he tells me).
But I was once in the Navy and that’s how long he had to stay some days, working or not, but that was many pay-grades ago when he had some brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in blue coveralls distracting him – and though we may not work on the same ship together we are still a team and I can distract him at home – or Skype while on deployment. He earned a NAM (something the Captain of the boat said he earned for working so hard to keep two broken boats in semi-working order). I’m very proud to be this sailor’s wife, but as many of you may know – I’m no typical navy wife.
And I can be a slacker while the working man is away. We received the car registration in the mail that was due last month and got the rabies certification that we will need to bring the dogs into Canada – that only took an hour and a half at the vet’s office so they could fax the form across the country – got to love technology though. Had we been waiting on the Pony Express I would’ve had to start last month like I was supposed to, but I was too busy planning a trip for someone who wants to go everywhere.
We finally have it narrowed down and we will be touring the U.S. and Canada by car and foot and with dogs in tow. There will be nights we sleep in the car, eat Ramen noodles, and go a day without a shower so that we are able to spend our savings on gas to travel back-roads together up mountains, across valleys, and into the sunset. We will laugh often and spend about 5.3 days driving. I look forward to this time together with him and with my readers – be it loving family, real friends, internet strangers, or one of the many couchsurfers that I was lucky enough to have chosen me to stay with.
Life’s a road that you can only drive once and I’m glad to be at a juncture in my life where I can do what I love – for my mind: converse, read, write, learn; for my body: hike, bike, cook; and my soul: spend time with Caleb, keep in touch with family, and make new friends. I’m grateful to have a Dad that has so much faith in me and my potential while I spend time walking in the woods with my camera instead of at my desk learning new skills that will afford Caleb and I a trip around the world, but I too have faith in them – and me.