Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ich bin in Deutschland!

IM Conversation:

"Hiiii!" "Where are you?"
"I'm in Germany!"

ahhhhhh music to my ears :). He left Kuwait yesterday, FINALLY, and made it to Germany this morning! Excluding a mix up with the airport pick up, everything went fine and he got to his room, unpacked a little, and made plans to begin reintegration classes starting tomorrow.

He said that everyone seemed positive and willing to help so that's awesome! Of course, his S-1 in Iraq messed up an important piece of paperwork... apparently they told him he didn't need it and well, he needs it. Go figure. Jerks. *mutters something about karma*

There is an American-German festivle in Graff this weekend so Friday looks like it's up in the air as far as what he will be able to accomplish. I didn't get to talk to him a whole lot today because the internet was messing up... actually almost felt like Iraq, but I know he's there, he's safe, and he's at the next step to make it home!

Just a little while longer.... I've just got to hang in a little while longer. :)

How it all started

Our first date, he took me to a tattoo parlor.


It was right after Christmas break from my sophomore year of college, this soldier walks into my life. Quite unexpectedly but immediately I was intrigued. His family was a member of the church that my childhood best friend's father was a pastor at, in my hometown. It was literally days before I loaded the car back up to head back to Austin and I was not looking to meet anyone. My freshman year of college was tough. I was a small town girl in a very strange and new city and my heart was shredded by my high school sweetheart. To say that the past year was difficult is putting it lightly. However I finally had a talk with myself after the fall semester and decided that it was time to make it work. Whatever I had to do, I was done being unhappy. I had also just finished reading "He's just not that into you" so was on this heightened, woman power, trip.

Sgt. was stationed about an hour and a half from my school at the time, and our original plans to meet up in Austin were ousted by a freak ice storm accompanied by some snow. If it snows in central Texas, things are shut down and water is stock piled, we're not always sure what to do about it. Sgt. was driving back into Austin to pick up his car from the airport after helping a buddy make a drive down and told me he would call me when he got to town, "maybe we could get some coffee", I believe was the sentence. It was the same day the girls were moving back into the dorm and as an advisor I had the priority of greeting people and helping haul clothes up the stairs (my dorm was only three floors, and was built in 1921, it was much quicker and probably safer to use the stairs than it was to use the elevator.) Then the ice storm began. Normally I would've thought "no way is this guy going to call" but to be really honest, I wasn't thinking much about him at all until I got back to my room that afternoon. There was a message on my answering machine. "Hey K.J. this is Sgt. I was just in town and wanted to see if you wanted to go get that coffee but I guess you're busy so hopefully I'll talk to you later on, have a great day!"

"He sounds cute!" states my room mate. "Doesn't he?" I believe was the extent of my reply. He'll call back if he's interested. Later on that evening I was online and he hops on. "I called you, did you get my message?" "yep, I did, sorry I missed ya! Was running all over the place" "oh no problem, so are you available now?" "umm... yeah sure!" I honestly wasn't exactly sure what we would talk about but I let him call none the less. That first night he called, we talked for over four hours. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I think the only reason we got off the phone that night was because he had PT the next morning and said he needed "at least a couple hours" of sleep. That was it. For the next week and a half we talked every chance we got. He would call me on his lunch hour or send me a good morning text before PT and at night, I would forgo the Sex and The City marathon going on with my best friends in my room and I would camp out in the hallway in my disc chair with a blanket and phone in hand. Every night we would talk for hours about anything, about everything, and I was in awe that he could even hold a conversation for that long. Most of the guys I had the pleasure of dating over the last year were usually asking me if I was at the Fiji party last weekend or if I had ever tried a Jagger bomb. Sgt. was asking me about my childhood, asking me about my dreams for my future. We decided to try a second time for our first date. We made plans for him to come down that Friday and have dinner. The idea was that we would pick somewhere that had live music since he had yet to experience that in Austin, however things didn't work out quite like that. He called me as he was leaving post, he got off right during rush hour, and had to fight traffic all the way into Austin. The hour and a half drive was over 2. When he called to let me know he was about to exit, my stomach began to tie into knots. Never mind that the past hour and a half I have been reapplying lip gloss, shaking my leg at my desk and making the short walk to the bathroom down the hall every 15 min. I was nervous. I had butterflies. I had a secret code worked out with my room mate so she could let me know what she thought of him. I wouldn't let him know any of that though.

He finally arrived and when I walked out to meet him a huge smile crossed my face and I hugged him. We went up to my room to get my coat, mostly we went up so my room mate could get a look at him and as we walked out the door she said "I love that jacket hon!" - Sgt. passed the coded test :). We made small talk in the car and tried to find a place to eat. The first place we stopped we went inside, looked at the menu, and decided we weren't in the mood for sandwiches. The second place we stopped was closed. Try for a third. I am out of ideas but off in the distance Sgt. spots a small little sushi joint "What do you think?" "Sure! Why not?" He pulls up to park and as I'm getting ready to open the door Sgt. says "If you wait one second, I'll get that for you" I believe I let out a short and girlish "ok" and he made his way over to be a gentleman.

We ordered sushi and this being only my second time to try it (despite my insistence that I loved sushi when he suggested it) I had no idea what to order, so he took care of that. We sit down and the waitress asked us if either of us would like a fork, "yes, please" "no, she doesn't want one, she can use chop sticks" - ummm, what? I let the man teach me how to use chopsticks and the fact that he was able to saved him a serious talking to about ordering my own silverware. (I am in fact, much better at using them now than he is... hahahaha) The conversation at dinner was great! I coyly smiled and played a little hard to get, we flirted... and then he made me eat fish eggs. I wasn't going to be the girl that wasn't willing to try anything so when he asked I agreed to it, he told me to just put the whole thing in my mouth and when I did, I immediately wanted to spit it back out. UGH.... my gag reflex was in full force and I had to hold a napkin in front of my mouth in order to chew with my mouth open. I did however, eat it and not spit it out in front of him.

As we finished up dinner and walked outside, Sgt. awkwardly reached for my hand. I smiled and for the all of ten steps it took to get to the car, we held hands for the first time :).

After that we weren't sure where to go next, but we didn't want the night to end. As we were driving around I brought up a conversation from earlier in the week about him wanting another tattoo. Like I said earlier, I was from a small town and had never even been INSIDE a tattoo parlor, let alone watch one done... I was curious. He was a little worried. It took me a while to convince him that I wasn't trying to test him by suggesting a ridiculous date event. We finally found one that was open and I proceeded to tell him to make sure he really wanted to do this, after all, tattoos are permanent and I didn't want him doing it to just impress me. He assured me that wasn't the case so for the next couple hours I sat there watching and we talked. Strange I know, but it was and still is the best first date I've ever been on. It wasn't boring, and the company couldn't be beat!

After the tattoo we went back to the car and he started it up. We were waiting for the heater to warm up when he looked at me and said "I really want to kiss you, can I kiss you?" I looked over at him, smiled, he smiled and then I said "nope."

"haha, no"
"but... why?"
"because... you can't ask for a kiss, you just have to take it."

He seemed satisfied with that answer and drove the ten minutes back to the dorm. He insisted on walking me to the door, even though it was freezing outside and my extended offer of him being able to stay in the car. "No, I'm walking you to the door because you deserve at the very least that and any man who doesn't walk you to the door does not deserve a second date... promise me that, ok?" He did walk me to the door and after the awkward key fumbling and seventh "goodnight, I had a great time" he did it. He took his kiss. And I floated back up to my room.

From there it was a movie night, a date night, a pulling the car over because he can't wait another second to kiss me, a few "lets cook dinner together", lots of Starbucks, at least 10 surprise chocolate covered coffee beans just because, one "will you be my date to Cav. Ball", a thousand "you are so beautiful"'s, a few tears, countless smiles and laughs, 3 airplane terminal goodbye's, one baggage claim hello, one surprise hello, 3 flower deliveries, 15 care packages, one "I don't think this will work", a couple "I was an idiot"'s, 1 WLC, 1 Germany, 1 Iraq, 2 FOB's, leave, a thousand pictures and a million "I am so crazy about you"'s - I can't help but dream about how many other numbers and memories we will be adding in the future.

There is no other man in the entire world I would rather be with and the smile that crosses my face, and my heart, when even just his name is mentioned, is a testament to how happy he makes me. Every day with him in my life is like taking a deep breath of fresh air... it replenishes the soul. I can't wait to get him home!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Caught - Party of 1

Ok. Here is the post that highlights the fact that I am a huge oblivious nerd and sometimes don't pay attention to what I'm doing.

This is the story, should Sgt. and I spend the rest of our lives together, that will be told, and retold for laughs and giggles for-ev-er.

It all started a few days ago. Sgt. and I had briefly and occasionally touched on the subject of "engagement" and "marriage" and "forever." *swoon* Then, I had a dream. I had a dream that he and I were with friends and someone said "Well, let me see it!" and I hold up my left hand - we were engaged! So, on messenger the other day I tell him I had a dream about us. He pesters me to go into more detail and I warn him that it might scare him off (I know better than that but still...), he assures me it won't and so I finally spill the beans.

Then the conversation goes a little like this:
Sgt. - "I just find it hard to believe that you don't think I've thought about it"
KJ - "ok, well, I think you've thought about it but I don't know how seriously. There's a difference between 'I want to marry her' and 'She's super, I think I'll stick around'"
Sgt. - "haha one has to happen before the other baby"
KJ - "yes :) but they're different"
Sgt - "well, let me make it VERY clear dear, yes, I have thought about it seriously. I just have to make sure you're not going to turn me down and embarrass me first"
KJ - "ha, I'm not going to turn you down babe - but yes, I might embarrass you. No promises there"
Sgt. "lol well good to know. So what do you think about that, thoughts? Have you thought about your ring?"

From there he asks me some brief questions on preferences and as stated above, size... but that's about it. No serious detail, as the man is already a hopeless romantic, and will surely want to surprise me. I was hesitant to give any direction because 1. I don't want him to feel rushed or obligated or like I'm placing an order 2. I WANT to be surprised!

So, for the next couple days, if I had time, and was bored, I've been browsing rings online. Just something fun to pass the time. Fast forward to last night. (YES, I am still incredibly embarrassed) I'm talking to Sgt. and one of my best friends online at the same time. Sgt. and I are looking at comforter and bedroom sets for his new place and Amy (best friend) and I are discussing our day. Earlier yesterday I found this ring online that I couldn't stop starring at for about 10 minutes. And I kept pulling it up throughout the day to just look at it... it was GORGEOUS. So, I'm telling Amy about it and I tell her I'm going to copy the link for her to see. And then I said "I should look that up on Sgt.'s computer to drop the hint, oh and that one is pretty Ames!" (in reference to one she looked at).

Well. Her messenger messed up so I had to copy and paste what I said, back to her. Fast forward to an hour later. Sgt. and I are looking at comforter sets and I'm trying to copy and paste the link to this page I'm looking at. I SWORE I copied that link... but when I pasted and hit enter, I didn't realize what I was saying was "I said 'I should look that up on Sgt.'s computer to drop the hint' and then I said 'oh and that one is pretty Ames!"

OH. MY. GOD. *Jaw Drop* "honey, PLEASE ignore that."

Does he ignore it? NO.

"?" "What's pretty that you have to drop me a hint about?"
"nothing. Really. It was a silly conversation I was having with Amy. Don't worry about it"
"Plllleeeeeeeaaassseeeee tell me!!"
"Can we PLEASE go back to talking about comforters!!! It was just a mistaken copy and paste that was not meant for you... I'm sorry"
"*he makes a sigh and then an 'I'm not talking' face"
"babe. You know I'm a terrible liar"

"and I don't want to lie to you"
"so don't"
"so PLEASE don't make me say it"
"What, that you were looking at rings?"

CAUGHT - how does he KNOW???

"I just don't want you to think that because I said that to Amy, that it means I don't think you could pick out something wonderful on your own. Because I know you :) and you would"
"Baby, I have spent HOURS doing the same thing! So can I see the link (hint)?"
"no, just don't worry about it"
"Look at this comforter set! It's on sale and it comes with the bed skirt and the shams"
"link?" "C'mon, don't you think IIII want to know if I'm on the right track?"

"I don't want you to think that because I've looked at rings that it means I'm trying to rush you"
"lol it wouldn't matter if you were or not darlin'"
"I'm not"
"ok, LINK?"

So I sent it to him. And he didn't say much other than, it's ok if I look for rings at that website because he wouldn't purchase it from there (something about additional services).

I told Amy about it and she said "good. I was going to e-mail it to him anyway so he was going to get it one way or the other" - Traitor, lol.

Needless to say, I will be paying MUCH more attention to what I am copying and pasting. Luckily the man is understanding and even thinking along the same lines... so he took it well and didn't call me crazy :). That's how I know he loves me ;).

GAH!! I can't believe I did that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'll show you mine...

Sgt. is still in Kuwait. The bonus to that is, with a lot of time on his hands, we get a lot of time to talk on messenger throughout the day. Even if we're not SAYING much... because I am working... he likes just being on at the same time... just doing something together.

The other day we came upon the topic of money. It was sort of those "are you ready to do this?" questions. We had never talked about our fiances in the large, out in the open, this is what I got, way. It wasn't that we tiptoed around the issues, we just... have our own lives right now. However the other night we took another step in our relationship and I am actually THRILLED we did it!

Money is a "thing" with me. A "thing" in the sense that, it's a big deal, I've seen my parents struggle with money management for most of their lives... and they still do to an extent. I never had good money role models and was never taught proper ways to handle it... I just sort of had to learn as I went along. Different things have come and gone, student loans, a credit card I shouldn't have signed up for freshman year, a surgery... etc. That coupled with the small income I receive is enough to make anyone kind of gun shy when talking about it. I think to an extent I was a little worried he'd be grossly disappointed. I am not BAD at managing my money, in fact, this is something we discovered about each other. I'm actually quite good at managing my money on a small scale, month to month, day to day. What I am bad at (and what Sgt. is really GOOD at) is managing my money on a long term scale. We figured out we compliment each other in that department so, score 1 for us.

We started getting into it with the "you don't have to answer if it makes you uncomfortable" statements but in the end we just laid it all out there. E-mailed our budgets to each other in fact and then went over them... how much we make, how much we're in debt, bills, savings, credit scores, etc. And it was.... refreshing! Neither of us is doing unexpectedly well, but neither of us is doing horrendously bad either. We're ok. We set individual goals for where we'd like to be in 6 months, in a year, and also talked about extra income or money that would need to be set aside for the undetermined move date waiting in my future.

Every time I think the man couldn't do another thing to surprise me, he does. It's doing normal things, like talking about our future life together, that reminds me how much I can't wait for when that is; Being honest about where we are in our lives right now, so we can make some space and or adjustments to merge the two in the days, months, and years ahead.

It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I like to move it move it

Someone I love very much is no longer in Iraq!!!!

Have you ever heard much better news than THAT?  Well, maybe you have, but as for me, BEST NEWS EVER!  

At the moment he is Ku-wait-ing (still, I still think it's funny) but at least it's a step in the right direction.  Never mind that his release paper was dated for over a week ago, but the didn't give it to him until the DAY the last military flight left Kuwait... so now he has to wait a few days for the next one *grumbles something about karma under breath* - he's on his way home!  

Our next challenge to concur is Germany.  We're hoping he will be able to process within at the latest a couple weeks... anything longer than that and it might cut too close to school but we're praying and we have faith. I can't wait for the next three weeks to fly!!! 

*happy dance* No more Iraaaqqqqq!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


So, I have this bracelet. It's nothing fancy at all, it's one of those silicone type bracelets. You know, the ones that began after the yellow LiveStrong wrist accessories became such a hit! I picked it up from an Army recruiter actually.... a shameless ploy for free merchandise, but it worked.

It's the grey steely color of the ACU's. On the top side it says "Army Strong" and "GOARMY.COM" - the words are separated by imprinted stars. On the underside it has the number 1-800-USA-ARMY. Like I said, nothing fancy and I'm sure the Army gives them out like tootsie rolls off a float during a county fair parade (that's frequently for all you non fair type folks) but mine, although not fancy, is in fact, special.

I'm not superstitious all the time, but I do silly things like make a wish at 11:11 or say "jinx" or knock on wood. Not because I believe all those things work or have a purpose, I guess it's more out of habit than anything... however, I will admit, I am superstitious about my bracelet.

Haven't taken it off for more than about an hour solid, since I've had it. I got the bracelet cause I like free stuff and figured "why not." But soon after, the bracelet became a lot more than just an Army Girlfriend accessory. I use it to pray. As I began wearing the bracelet, I would look down at it dangling on my wrist and I would say a prayer... sort of used it as a reminder. Once I became more aware of this, I added on more rules. It goes like this. When I look down and it's on the Army Strong side, I pray for Sgt. When I look down and it's on the the GOARMY.COM side, I pray for the men in his platoon and in his troop. Now, it's the only piece of "jewelry" I never take off. I shower with it on, sleep with it on, wear it through work, church, and even in dresses - even when it doesn't really match. I keep it on.

Pretty soon, he'll be home. I won't have to wear the bracelet anymore as a prayer tool in getting him home safely. He will be. I think it'll be hard to part with though. One of my best friends may be going through her own deployment shortly and I'm thinking of passing it on to her. I'm not sure what exactly brought on me blogging about my bracelet, but I was looking down at it and it said "Army Strong" so it made me reminisce...

I talked to Sgt. today and he let me know that good news may be coming my way very shortly :). We have both been stressed and anxious about getting him out of Iraq, getting him on his way home so he can start school on time. We even had the "what if you don't make it back in time" conversation and let me tell you - it was not easy. However, we've done it TOGETHER. Today, I told him "I'm so excited for you honey!!" and he said "I'm excited for US!" Then a little while later I got a very sweet e-mail thanking me for my support through all of this. It's funny because really, I figured he was the one keeping me sane :) I am absolutely CRAZY about this man... I can't WAIT till he gets home!

Here's to bracelets.... and all the other little things.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh what a day.


The STRANGEST things happen while he's gone. Really. And I figured if it happens to me, there's got to be SOME kind of continuity for those of us waiting. With that in mind, I'd love it if you'd leave a comment telling about a strange story or event that happened while your significant other was away. Whether deployed, TDY, stationed else where, what have you. What's the strangest thing? Doesn't even have to be something that happened TO you, it could just be something that happened that you witnessed and thought "man, I wish they were here to see/hear this"

Here's mine and it happened just this morning.

I've mentioned before the fact that I have to carry around a walkie talkie for my job in the summer. At night it sits in its charger, still on, should anyone need me. This morning before my alarm went off, I hear radio chatter. It wakes me up and I listen closer when I hear this:

"Yeah, Hopper is out here in front of our house, there's a lady walking her dogs and I think it kinda freaked her out."

"What??" I think to myself. The person I hear on the radio is my room mate so surely she means OUR house...the one I'm sleeping in right now. So I walk out onto the front porch, underwear and all, because this can not be missed. Yep. They were right. Hopper was out of his cage and going down the back road past camp.

Did I mention Hopper is a Kangaroo in our petting zoo? No? Oh, yeah!!!

And all before 8 in the morning. Hahaha. I continue to listen to radio chatter as they set up a plan to catch him. Apparently the effort has gone on since 6am but Hopper proves to be quite fast and is outrunning our ATV's around camp. He's now figured out a way to get out of camp and head down the road.

"They've got some feed, I think they're trying to lure him in"
"ok, well I'm going to head down there with my dummy rope and see if I can't get him"

Hopper's freedom was well lived, although eventually it ended. They caught him... roped him, I should say, (insert Texas joke here) and returned him to his pin. Succesful :) albeit strange. It's stuff like this that happens that I immediately just want to tell him about, nothing important just something funny that he would get a kick out of.

What's your strange story?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

R&R Memory 2

The alarm went off at 6:00 because the idea was that we would wake up and have time to both get ready, drink some coffee, enjoy the morning - before I had to leave for work (at about 7:50)

The alarm begins to blare and I get up to turn it off. The alarm is strategically placed across the room so that I have to get out of bed to turn it off. I turn around to go back to bed and wake him up and he's just laying there, still asleep, unaffected by the steady annoyance that is my alarm clock. He's laying on his side with his arm still out... the same arm that I just slid from underneath... he doesn't know I'm not there, not yet. His other arm is slid underneath the pillow and the blankets are bundled on his side of the bed... the man is such a blanket hog. :). I smile and enjoy just seeing him home for a moment when he shifts. His arm reaches to pull me closer but there's not a body there anymore and he knows it now. He sweeps his hand across the bed and rolls onto his back and stretches out. "good morning" I say with a sing songy voice. He doesn't say anything... he is still not 'awake.'

I crawl back into bed and snuggle up next to him with my head on his shoulder, pulling and rearranging the covers back to center. He smiles and lets out a long "oooohhhhh" as he's stretching then lets out a long sigh, wraps his arms around me, kisses my forehead and says "good morning." We lay there for a moment and he has the distinct breathing of someone who has fallen back asleep. I laugh and roll over to look at him "are you asleep?" No answer. "babe... babe!" "I'm awake, I'm awake" - uh huh. His eyes are still closed. How he can fall completely asleep in the span of under 5 minutes is beyond me. However, eventually, from just laying there I fall asleep too.

7:15 am. I wake up "oh God, what time is it?!" "hmmm?" I lay back with a thud "honey, we fell asleep" he's stretching again and cuddles back up next to me, I laugh and then say "we have to get up this time" so he holds onto me and then smiles a coy smile and with eyes still closed says, "I think, it's your turn to make coffee" - lol "what?" he smirks and says "it's your turn to make coffee" "I made coffee yesterday" "no, I'm pretty sure I did" - this turns into a playful wrestling which ends with me saying "you know what, I'm gana be the better person, and I'm going to make the coffee...yep, because I'm sooo nice and care about you sooo much, I'm going to make coffee" "oh, nu-uh" more wrestling, now trying to get to the coffee pot first. He wins... he makes coffee and I get in the shower.

I love having him there when I wake up in the morning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In this together.

I'm doing a little better in the "about to flip out and eat large quantities of chocolate" department. He's still there. But he's in a little bit better spirits which I think has helped me also. It's still frustrating and annoying, but what can you do?

I really think that the last month, or last few weeks, whatever time frame you're looking at, the end is the worst. That's been my experience anyway. It's almost like the whole deployment you tell yourself, "I'm going to be strong" "I'm going to make it through this" "Each day is one day closer" and then as their homecoming nears you start to let down the guard. You begin to plan and imagine things with him there. He will start talking about being excited to see you... how he's so impatient and can't wait! It's all a wonderful feeling, you're excited, you're looking forward to it being over. There is of course the anticipation and anxiety too, but homecoming seems to generally be a "feel good" sort of thing. However, once you allow yourself to head down that road, there is no turning back. That's it, you've admitted to yourself now how much you've missed him, how much you hated him being gone. No matter what you try and do, you can't go back to that "sustainment" period. You're eager now... you're impatient... "just get him home!"

The good part about all this is Sgt. is being very vocal about missing me and being so excited to come home. It's wonderful. What girl wouldn't want to hear that? He tells me how much he's looking forward to just doing simple things with me. He emphasizes how much he appreciates me and how often he thinks of me. The man says things like "I am so blessed that you're mine" He is always reminding me he thinks I'm beautiful... I'm a VERY VERY lucky girl. All of that is wonderful and I am so thankful that I have a man who isn't afraid to dote upon me every once in a while... but one of the sweetest things he's ever said came just yesterday.

He's never said this to me before and when I read it (seeing as it was over IM) a huge smile crossed my face and I had to pause for a moment to take it in. I was getting my chance to vent to him "The internet connection sucks babe, every time we talk it just ends abruptly... I just miss you is all..." and he was understanding and listened. He reassured me and then the time to say goodbye drew closer. I can always tell when he's about to have to get off the computer cause he'll just start saying pet names without anything attached. "Darlin'...." "yes?" "it's about that time" "ok" so we're saying our 'goodbye's' and our 'miss you's' and our 'have a great day!'s when he says:

We're in this together, right?

I knew from the start that it was a give and take. That you support each other, and you encourage each other. That you're a team. But he's never said it before. Not that he had to, but just the fact that he wanted me to know... he knew. Wow. My response?

Always honey.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The waiting place

"Headed I fear, towards a most useless place; The Waiting Place. For people, just waiting. Waiting for a train to go, or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes, or a No, or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting." - Oh The Places You'll Go by: Dr. Seuss

I know this place - this waiting place that Dr. Seuss described. His date to leave Iraq keeps getting pushed back and it's frustrating on both ends. I'm trying really hard to stay positive, to be encouraging, but I would be stressed out and frustrated if I was in his position as well. He said it's driving him crazy because he has no control and the people who DO have control aren't doing anything. It's not a priority to them, just another piece of paperwork.

I was telling Sgt. about a dream I had last night. I flew to Iraq to pick him up and when we finally made it back to the airport (after many, a strange event) we didn't have a way to get home. I had only booked a ticket to get to Iraq but forgot to get return flights. So we were just stuck there. I finished up my story and he said "That's exactly how I feel right now"

I don't know what to do for him. I just want to make it better. I can see that he's frustrated and unhappy... he just wants to come home, and I know a lot of troops feel that way, but he's right there - on the verge and they're just brushing him off. The process is just very disheartening for him I think and I hate sitting over here seeing him frustrated and not being able to do anything about it. I feel helpless... and so does he.

I'm so thankful he's getting this opportunity and that he's coming home sooner than later... I don't mean for our frustration to overshadow the gratitude... it's just... let him go! He's not doing anything for you, you're not sending him out anymore, just sign the papers and move on to "more important things." He's still got to process out of Germany and get all this stuff done before school, which starts in a little over a month. For an organization that is so rigid about time frames and "to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, to be late is unforgivable" thought processes... they sure aren't doing the math in regards to this equation.

I sort of expected the "leave" date to change... cause a lot of things in the Army are like that - but now that it's changed twice I've had my fill. More than that I just don't want him to be so stressed out about it all and then get sent out again.

AND - on top of all that suck fest. The internet connection has been horrible lately! So he'll get online and we'll talk for a few min. and then he cuts out and I don't hear from him again... he's not able to sign back on. Sometimes later in the day he can get back on but typically it's the next day. So for the past few days our conversations have been short and ended abruptly. It stinks.

I hate Iraq.

If he gets stuck Ku-wait-ing (I thought it was wonderful Lindsay!) too, I'm going to flip out.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nope, not ever

Missing his IM or his call never gets easier. Never got easier. Even though he's almost on his way out of there... it still sucks. It's this "Nooo! Are you there? Please get back online/call back! WHY can't this be a two way street!? I hope he didn't really need me just then... why didn't I eat lunch (insert other activity) faster?!" and then starring at the screen or phone for a few minutes thinking maybe... just maybe.... you could will him back.

I figured everything couldn't go exactly right the entire time. His paperwork got held up, yet eventually moved to where it was supposed to be. Only problem now is, it doesn't look like a plane is going to be leaving until next week so there is a possibility he may have to roll out again. *sigh* I really hope not. He's only one man! Unfortunately, he doesn't get to bring his whole platoon with him so you'd think they could find some space for him somewhere! I guess they're not in as much of a hurry as I am... Anyone out there know someone who knows someone with a plane? Oh well, if this is the biggest of our worries, I'll take it! Better late than never right? Isn't that what they say?

Please get back online... I miss you :(

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

So close now

I'm terrified that something will happen to him right before he comes home.

There. I said it.

Worrying about him is pretty much a constant state of mind. Anytime any loved one is placed in a dangerous area or dangerous situation, you worry. It's just what people do. However, I have been so anxious lately just waiting to hear he's not in Iraq anymore. All of this is falling right into place... everything has gone well, and I guess I'm just worried the bottom will fall out right before he's supposed to leave.

I trust that God is looking out for him, and that we are incredibly blessed with this opportunity but there is still worry. I know he is anxious as well so it's possible I'm feeding off his vibes and vice versa. I just want to hear he's out of there. Anywhere else. Yesterday & today he was told to start packing and told

While I was typing this blog, the above spot is where I stopped when an IM popped up on my screen from Sgt. I am still in awe of somehow, someway, him being there when I need him... even when he's so far away.

Sgt: So how was your day babe?
me: It's been good! How was yours? How are you??
Sgt: It's been good!
Sgt: Great actually!!!
me: Great? really?!
Sgt: It's not DONE yet... but I was promised papers in my hand by 1900 tomorrow and then the next step is finding a plane to catch a ride on.
Sgt: I don't have to roll out anymore baby
me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
me: No more missions?!?!
Sgt: Shouldn't be :)

Now, I'm not much of a crier, but the waterworks definitely started with that bit of information. Finally when I get up the courage to admit to myself that it was really eating me up inside... this worry, it's not an issue anymore. I don't think I realized how much weight I was carrying over it until he told me that. I put my hands up to my mouth and tears just started coming: relief, happiness.... I let them come. No more rolling out. At least, as far as we're concerned at this point. (Everything I say now as a definite statement should have the added default of "unless of course, something changes, which it likely may, and often does")

This past year has been trying. I think it will take time to come off of the hardening and strength you build up... it certainly takes longer than a day to create, I'd imagine the same can be said for taking it down. It's strange to think that this is all about to be over. I had an "ah ha!" moment the other day and I'm still thinking about it and letting it sink in. That epiphany is this:

He's going to be home.

No more worrying if the bad headline in the news is him. No more slow internet and crackling phone connections. When I forget my phone in the car or in the other room, I don't have to rush back for it in hopes that he was able to finally get through for a call or a text because if I missed it, I can call him back. No more helicopters in the background. He can tell me about his day without using air quotes and vague descriptions. All the worrying if he's ok and not being able to pick up the phone when I need him. All the sensing he's stressed or upset and not being able to do a thing about it. All the waiting and countdowns.... all the missing him and not having him there to hold me or play with or kiss passionately or hug, to enjoy and just be with, to laugh with or make fun of or cook for or share stories with... it's all almost over. I don't have to listen to the AAFES lady on the other end of the phone say "Thank you for serving our great country and letting aafes be apart of your life" "please enter your pin." No more 30 digit phone numbers. No more customs forms... although I'd imagine flat rate boxes are in my future. The sad & uncomfortable look people give you when they ask where your boyfriend is and you say "he's in Iraq"... I don't have to get that look anymore.

IED's, check points, COP's, FOB's, IA, terps, Baghdad, Baquoba, CHU's, tents, MWR's, "wish you were here" - not anymore - not for this girl, not for her man. Thank you for the "vacation" and the cultural experience, the chai was great I'm sure. We won't be needing any souvenirs, an NCO without bullet holes and all his parts will be just fine, thanks.

I will always remember this deployment. Not only for what it did for me, it allowed me to be strong and confident in uncharted territory for myself, it forced me to learn to be positive, learn to REALLY pray, and learn to be gracious, humble, and supportive in a way I have never known; but for what it did for us, and for him. We are a stronger couple because of this. Our faith in each other in unwavering. I think he's gotten some closure for himself that was still needed after his first deployment. He and I both look at life as such a blessing, and such an opportunity. Not only to have it... but to have it with each other. I look at pictures of the man in my mind and I can't help but smile. I am so proud of him and everything he's accomplished. I'm so excited about what the future holds for him, for us. I know he's going to be an amazing officer one day - but for the next four years, the Army is loaning him back to me ;) and that makes me just as excited.

He's still there, and he would be the first to remind you and me, not out of the dark yet. However, I can feel the grip loosen a little bit. When I look up at the stars out here at night I am reminded of how infinite the world is, and how big you can dream. I have no words to describe how thankful and how blessed I am for everything that has happened and not happened over the last year and a half.

Sgt. and I had a talk the other day and I didn't tell him this... but he told me that when he left for this deployment, he was convinced he was going to die. Not because he wanted to, but because I think he was surprised he hadn't during the first one. He and I were at a weird stage in our relationship when he left for Germany and eventually Iraq so "us" wasn't really something that affected his frame of mind much. He told me that over the course of this deployment he's had some angry conversations with God because things didn't go the way he thought they would... but now he's really glad they didn't. (Yeah, duh babe, me too.) He's so thankful and considers himself extremely blessed for all the things he's got going for him... but I think he's still a little surprised. Well, I didn't tell him this.... but I think I know why it wasn't his time. It's because of me. Not because I saved him, but because he saved me. Not because I kept him strong, but because he taught me what being strong was. Not because I love him and need him here (although that's true too) - but because loving him has given me a glimpse into myself and into the life I see and want in my future. My life isn't ready to be over, there are still a lot of things I've got to do, and whether he knows it yet or not, he is my sidekick. I don't want to do it without him. Now, I won't have to :).

We're so close now.... almost there honey.... you're coming home!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

I love the fourth of July because I love all the different ways people celebrate our country. I'm not one of those people who says grilling hot dogs and getting a tan has nothing to do with the fourth... It's OUR country, choose how you want to celebrate it! I'm trying to remain positive today, I miss Sgt. especially on holidays because I know how much fun we would have if we were together. It's hard not to focus on everything he's missing out on, on the things we're sacrificing as a couple, (that MANY couples are sacrificing) today... but in a lot of ways, Sgt. and I are celebrating the fourth of July in the most devoted way we know how. I know that goes for a lot of you out there as well. So thank you!!
Our country has a long tradition of brave people standing up for her and protecting her. The stories are countless and each one a thread of the fabric that is our nation. I am DAMN PROUD to be an American... and even more than that, I am proud of the man I love who wears the uniform of someone called to serve their country. For the fourth I thought I'd post some videos and quotes that encompass a lot of the things I love about our country, about the Fourth, and about our armed forces. Enjoy! Have a WONDERFUL day, and enjoy it with the people you love!
"Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defence and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.” - Andrew Jackson

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. - JFK

What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom "to" and freedom "from." ~Marilyn vos Savant

Happy 4th of July!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Future tense

His coming home is so close I can feel it. It's that same ache I had right before he came home on leave... just knowing he's almost here but not here.

We've been talking a lot lately in the future tense. "When I get home" "when you come up to visit" "In October we'll..." "I can't wait to..." Conversations over the phone or through IM tend to drift to daydreams we're sharing with each other about places we want to see, things we want to do, time we want to spend - all together. Together. After this past year we are resolved to drink up every last opportunity to explore our lives and world with the other by our side. We think up these fun crazy ideas and talk about them, we'll do them one day, but for the moment just having that piece of the future to hold on to, to work towards, is enough. Hell, I'd be happy just to be in the same room with the man again :).

When Sgt. and I first started dating he was not a future talker. A dreamer to his core and goal oriented to be sure, but his frame of time which he allowed himself to plan for was very short. There were no "one day we'll" talks or "I can't wait to spend the rest of my days telling you how much I adore you" whispers. He was pretty convinced that thinking and talking about the future was a waste... the here and now, that's what mattered. While this is still true, living in the moment and being appreciative of exactly where you are and with what you have at any given time are very important to BOTH of us.... I think now he's ok with day dreaming about the future because (and as cocky and pretentious as this may sound...) he knows he has it with someone. He gets to spend it with me. There is a different trust and confidence in our relationship that has grown and matured over time. It's ok to share those hopes with each other because most of those dreams and hopes involves the other person. They're an irreplaceable role to the story.

We are still discussing what the next year will hold for us. While we enjoy talking about days ahead, we are also realistic in the "but we'll have to wait and see if it works out" - things have a tendency to change. As of now we are planning on me heading up there for at least a month in the fall to spend time with him. For me to get acquainted with the city and to job/apartment search. Thankfully I work with people who are more than understanding and supportive... so I don't have to leave my job, my life, just yet. Moving up there to be with him is not really the question anymore. As the time draws nearer, it becomes more and more apparent that being away from him will be very hard, especially when I don't HAVE to be. We're excited to be a "normal" couple for a little bit :). The question now is more of a "when?" I am bursting at the seams with excitement!!! (A little nervous, but aren't we all?) Sgt. is being so supportive and patient through it all and I appreciate him so much for it. Once he gets back here, by August for sure, I will help him move back to his new hometown and help get him settled... actually I will probably help get in the way more than anything but it will be nice to be a nuisance from an arms length away ;). And then we'll set out on our next adventure!

When I sleep, I dream of you, and when I wake, I long to hold you in my arms. If anything, our time apart has only made me more certain that I want to spend my nights by your side, and my days with your heart -Nicholas Sparks