October 31, 2004

NORMAL AGAIN

What's unusual about this weekend is how normal it's been. Wives say that sometimes their husbands are jumpier or quieter after they come home; Soldiers have to attend briefings about how hard re-integration will be. However, our re-integration has been shockingly boring. After my husband was home for an hour, it felt like he'd never been gone. The last nine months just disappeared. The only real difference is that we keep losing track of time because we're talking too much. Yesterday we tried to watch a movie, but we kept pausing it to talk, first about a scene in the movie, then about relationships, then about the military, and then about the deployment. Many wives say that their husbands don't like to tell stories about what has happened downrange, but once my husband saw that my reaction to a potentially scary story was cheering and praising him, other stories started to follow. We talked candidly about the good and bad things that have happened to him down in Iraq, and it wasn't weird at all. We also talked about whether he wants to stay in the Army longer than his required four years, a topic I wanted to hit on during R&R but didn't think we'd get to on the first day. We had a good talk about the advantages, ended with a "we'll decide next year", and finally turned the movie back on, two hours later.

Everything takes twice as long when you can't stop talking to each other!

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October 29, 2004

FAST

He's in the shower now! He's been here 30 minutes and we can't talk fast enough. For some reason, we are trying to say everything right away. We've already raced through conversations about Parker and Stone, the presidential election, the median Iraqi age, our "new" stove (new since June), and how funny his hands look since they are about ten shades darker than his arms. And he's already had one beer...

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CONNECTIONS

My husband is arriving early now. For some reason, no one could find my phone number to call and let me know, but luckily one of my students was working staff duty. He just called me and said, "Hey Sarah, this is [last name]." I was wondering what in the heck he could want at 0630; I've had students call me with weird questions, but this was wild. The fact is that he was the only person who had my home phone number, so he called to let me know the husband's on the way. What a nice gesture!

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October 28, 2004

GROGGY

I woke up at 0400 and couldn't go back to sleep. I must be excited about something, but I can't figure out what it could be...

P.S. I never thought anything could make me laugh at 0430 like this clip did.

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HALF A DAY AWAY

Right before he left, my husband got his smallpox shot. It was bandaged and still scabby when he deployed. I realized yesterday that he's had a new scar on his shoulder for nine months and I've never even seen it.

Two hundred fifty-eight days ago, I waved goodbye to my husband as his bus passed through the intersection by our house; tomorrow morning I will be waving as his bus pulls into brigade headquarters. I will spend two weeks stuffing him with beer, food, and love. I will sit by his side as we watch Futurama together. I will wait on him hand and foot. And I will kiss the new smallpox scar on his arm.

He'll be home in twelve hours.

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October 26, 2004

NERVOUS

I'm a bundle of nerves these days. My husband might be coming home before the week is over. The Cardinals are sucking. And I'm absolutely freaking out over the presidential election. I realized that my stomach has been a jittery mess all day and I have these strange bumps on my arms and neck. What do hives look like?

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October 22, 2004

R&R

My husband's best friend is on R&R now, so I got to call him in NY and talk for a while yesterday. He's doing really well and is having a wonderful time. He said everyone was really nice in the airports and that he's so happy to be home. He's already seen Team America too! I asked him a lot of questions about how it feels to be away from the responsibility of being PL, if his time feels like it's going fast or slow, and whether he's paying any attention to the news while he's home. I told him about my election fears, and he laughed at me. He's confident as all get-out right now, and he teased me about being so freaked out. I sure do hope he's right.

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WIFE

A girl I know found out three days before our husbands left that she was pregnant. She just gave birth to a little baby boy last week. An entire person has gestated in the time that our Soldiers have been away from home.

My husband has been at war for over nine months.

Last night I watched Courage Under Fire again. I haven't seen it since that day in ROTC, and I was reminded of what drew me to the movie in the first place: it was the day I knew I wanted to be an Army wife. I wanted to take care of a Soldier, through good times and bad, and support him as he served our great country. I wanted to try my best to be a combat multiplier during difficult times and to do my small part to sacrifice for what I believe in. I figured I could do a better job than Denzel's wife in the movie.

Of course, I already had my Soldier picked out.

Truthfully, these nine months have been surprisingly fast and relatively painlessly. There are times that are nervewracking and times that are lonely, but for the most part the deployment has been easier than I expected. Of course, the fact that I support the mission has been a big help: I suppose being a war cheerleader is a good quality when your husband is at war.

There's a nasty rumor going around that my husband is coming home on R&R sometime next week. I won't believe it until I catch a whiff of motor pool and Iraq funk in our home, but I've started getting emotionally ready for his visit. I'm anxious to catch up on the last nine months of his life, for conversations have been few and far between. I'm ready to put my combat multiplier skills back to use in a face-to-face setting.

I hope my husband gives me a good NCOER.

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October 19, 2004

LT A

If you're interested, here's a long article on LT A. (Recap: LT A is our friend who was seriously injured in Mosul in August.)

MORE TO GROK:

I printed out this article at work and mentioned to my co-workers how amazing I thought it was that LT A intends to stay in the Army despite his injuries. They retorted that he must be really brainwashed, that he wasn't "fighting for his country" but for lies, and that someday I would see just how brainwashed people like my husband really are. I had to leave the office, I was so disgusted. I can't believe someone would say that to my face, completely unprovoked. I'm proud of our friend for standing up for what he believes in; if they disagree, they can politely nod and keep their opinions to themselves, like I do all the freaking time here at work. What is wrong with these people?

Sigh. Luckily Scott Ott and Varifrank brought a smile back to my face.

MORE:

Nope, still seething over an hour later. Where's the puppy photo?

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October 18, 2004

DONE

My stats class is officially over. Contrary to internet prediction, I kicked ass.
My test scores: 98, 96, 93, and 96%.
And I still don't have any faith in opinion polling.

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October 11, 2004

FIT

My mother-in-law is right; this doesn't really go anywhere. I figured it doesn't fit sandwiched between two memorials, but since when do our ups and downs every fit nicely? Here's the comment she left:

I was not sure where to insert this but for all of you out there who follow Sarah, October 11 is her birthday. A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hopefully the next one will be with your special someone.

MORE TO GROK:

You know what's a good surprise? When the phone rings and you hear that long delay that only comes from Iraq. Only it's not your husband; it's one of the Soldiers you write letters to, your best friend's husband, calling to wish you a happy birthday. Wonderful surprise.

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October 04, 2004

STRENGTH

A few months ago, a friend of mine was looking at my bookshelf. She commented on The Fountainhead there, saying that it was the worst book she'd ever read. I was puzzled, because I had remembered it being a very good book, but I had read it in high school, so I thought perhaps I would think differently eight years later. I read it again in Italy, and I realized that it was just as good as I had remembered it being.

I love Howard Roark.

I look at him a little differently now than I did in high school, but I love him for all the same reasons. I love him because he's everything I'm not. He's confident and self-assured and he doesn't get driven nuts by people who don't live by his values. I get driven nuts. A lot. But after reading the book again, I think I will be better able to work on letting go of some of those feelings and learning to be more self-assured.

I've always been sort of "evangelical" about my values. I think they're the right ones, and I want other people to think so too. I've never been good at the live-and-let-live when it comes to values, and I spend way too much time worrying about how to present the issues to people who disagree with me so I can "convert" them. I need to give that up, to let go of the idea that I can change people. I need to be more like Oriol, our American in Spain: "I just don't care about the criticism I receive every day, because I know the cause I defend is right." I'm learning from Roark. I'm learning from Oriol. And I recently learned from General Hans Oster.

I was introduced to this brave man when we went to the concentration camp. I'm sure there were more like him, but I had never read a story like General Hans Oster's. As I stood on the site where he was executed, I thought about the bravery it would have taken to stand up against Hitler. I have trouble standing up to negative commenters.

There are people out there whose fortitude constantly amazes me. I can only try to honor them by working every day at being stronger. Since reading The Fountainhead again, I think I'm on the right path, but every day brings a new lesson to test that strength.

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GUESTS

Man, there's a lot of hippies in the Munich airport. I haven't seen that much long hair and scraggly beards since high school.

My mom should be in the air by now. I can't believe five weeks went by so quickly. But we got to see five different countries, so you can't beat that.

Now I have to start getting ready for my next visitor: my husband is coming home for R&R at the end of the month! We're both getting incredibly excited, and the timing couldn't be better with my work schedule. Plus it's fun that he'll be here for both the presidential election and Veterans' Day.

More on that later...

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