Friday, January 30, 2009
Grumbling, shifting nosies come from beneath the sheet. Ben wakes up in stages.
Ten minutes later I go back in his room. "Come on, Ben. Time to get up."
He shifts around and manages to unpin himself from between the dogs and lies there blinking owlishly at the light.
Ten more minutes later I go back in again. "All right Ben, it's time to get up."
"I am up."
"No. You are awake. You are not up. There's a difference."
"Well, I'm not comfortable, so that should count."
Wow! This is one amazing hotel! I think this is my favorite hotel in the world now, and I didn't even make it inside to see what the rooms are like! I'm thinking that when Kerry comes home, we may make this our "second honeymoon" location!
The pool is not like any rectangular, ordinary pool you've ever been in. The entire thing looks like a lagoon with separate pools connected by waterfalls, tunnels and slides, all formed to look like natural rock outcroppings.
This is one of three hot tubs in the area we were in. The waterfall splashing into it made it seem like we were on a tropical island somewhere.......oh wait. We are.
This is the slide that the kids enjoyed going through.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Imagine then, my surprise when my neighbor told me that the Ace of Cakes crew is here right now, on this base, two blocks from my house, making a cake for their show! She asked me if I wanted to go.
Uh.............Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!!
The Ace of Cakes crew came to Hawaii to film two shows. They made a cake for the cast and crew of the television show "Lost" which is filmed here. And they made a cake to honor the soldiers here.
Duff and Mary Alice were particularly nice to Katie. She told them that her Daddy was in Afghanistan and they both stopped what they were doing and talked to her as if she were someone really special.
I told them that my husband had just sent me a text message and that he said to tell them they were awesome and he loves their show. Mary Alice said, "Tell him HE'S awesome and we love him too!"
Geoff, who is the funniest person on the show, was very nice but quiet.
I don't know if I could be that nice to a bunch of strangers if I had to sit there signing my name over and over and over for hours. It was such a wonderful feeling to have these people, who are so well known and well liked, showing their support for our soldiers.
Of course, now Ben had to have a new pair of tennis shoes. He certainly isn't going to wear these again!
The furniture will come
Bet your bottom dollar
I'll have a chair!
Just thinkin' about
I'll have all my stuff
It won't be so bare!
When I think of my house
With my bed
and my sofa
I just shake my broom
At the empty room
And I saaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy
My coffee pot will come
My TV and towels arrive
Didn't have to wait 'til May!
My household goods
They're only a day away!!!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Bangor, Maine was really neat. We arrived at around midnight and I was surprised by the reception. There were about 30 people lined up to meet us once we entered the airport. This group was made up of retires, spouses of active duty military, and normal citizens of the area. They had set up a reception area with free food and drinks and free cell phone use for service members. It was really nice and refreshing. I spoke to an older gentleman named Gaynor who has been doing this since 2005. He informed me that over 800,000 service members heading to or returning from both Iraq and Afghanistan have cycled through that airport since 2003, and his group has been there from the beginning to thank them and make them feel welcome. It was a unique and reciprocal experience. These people, a cross section of our country, were there to thank us for our sacrifices and service. We in turn were reminded vividly of who we are defending and why we do what we do. I talked to Gaynor for almost an hour and we discussed the wildlife and beauty of Maine (he had spent his entire life except for three years in that area), as well as life in general. The conversation did not dwell on politics or ideologies, and was just a friendly and genuine conversation of two strangers brought together by a deployment. I hope to see him in a few months when I return for mid-tour and then upon my re-deployment.
Oops...I just got the warning that my time is expiring. I love you and will talk to you soon. You are my Goddess! Tell the kids I love them and will talk to all of you soon.
The group he mentions is at http://mainetroopgreeters.com/Site/Home-1.html. They greet all soldiers who are passing through. This is a wonderful group of volunteers! It is awesome that people will spend their time doing something like this. It means so much to those of us who have soldiers stopping there!
Then amazingly, I got a second email! (Actually I got this one first and the Maine one second, although the Maine one was sent hours before the Germany one. All hail the inner workings of the Internet!)
I am in Germany and the local time is 1445 (0245) in the afternoon. Of course, it is 0345 in the morning for you. I am trying to navigate this German keyboard, but it is different. The Y is in the lower left hand corner and nothing is marked. The alt key is also different.
The flight has gone well so far. We arrived in Maine and stayed there for two hours (it was a nine hour flight) and then flew here to Germany (six hours). We have a two hour lay over and then a 6 hour flight to one of the "stans" near Afghanistan. I am not sure which country. We then will have another small layover and a 3 hour flight into Afghanistan. My bottom is sore from sitting so long, and we have hours to go. It was 5 degrees below zero in Maine and it is 30 degrees here in Germany.
I do not know how the internet or phone situation will be for the next two or three days. I miss all of you already. How are the kids? I hope the Teddy Bears (and Koala) helped. I Love all of you. I will talk to you soon. Please hug the kids for me and pet the dogs.
I hope you are doing OK. I know we have done this before...but it does not make it any easier. You are my soul mate and I hate being separated from you. Just remember I am thinking about all of you. I love you and cherish you. I will talk to you soon.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
He had to report in at midnight. We told everyone to take a nap so that they wouldn't be as tired and grouchy since we would be out way past our bedtime.
Emily, who can usually nap every day, was only able to sleep an hour. I tried to nap, but was too keyed up to sleep. Ben flatly refused to try (and yes, he was the grouchiest of us all at 2:00 this morning). This was really a job that I pawned off on him because I was busy,
As I said, he had to report for formation at midnight. Being the "Type A" personality that he is, we arrived 45 minutes early. No one else was there.
He said, "I was sure other people would be here already."
So, we sat in the car and waited for midnight to roll around. It was raining buckets, so we couldn't get out and walk around.
Midnight finally arrived and he left to go find out what the plan was. The plan turned out to be that they weren't supposed to be there until 1:00 AM.
We went to the shopette and got snacks and then sat in the car some more.
At 1:00, Kerry had to go to formation and then draw weapons. We sat in the car and waited until around 2:00 AM until he got done. Ben and Emily fell asleep, but Katie, being nap-fortified, read a book.
We took a lot of last photos while we waited.
Finally, we just had to leave.
When we got to the house, we found our Build-A-Bear animals on our beds. Kerry had hidden them after we made them so we hadn't seen them in a while. He had recorded two voice messages for each bear and had them put inside their paws. When we squeeze their paws we hear Kerry talking to us.
I expected the messages to be sweet, but he outdid himself. He did one sweet message and one funny message for each of us. It was wonderful because we had been crying and there we were all standing in the hallway listening to each others bears and laughing. We really needed that.
The girl's funny messages are the things he won't be able to tell them to do this year, "Hey you! Eat your broccoli! Do your homework! Stop growing!"
My funny message says, "Put some socks on Woman! Your feet are like ice cubes!"
It's almost like having him here........*sigh*
Monday, January 26, 2009
I tried to explain. "Well, it's a guy singing that his girlfriend left him."
"Why did she leave him?" Katie wanted to know.
"The song doesn't say."
"Maybe it says something at the beginning of the song about why she left him," Katie offered.
"No, honey. I've heard that song lots of times, and it never says why she left. But he must have done something wrong for her to leave him that way."
Katie mulled this over a bit and then decided, "I think at the beginning of that song they should have a girl's voice saying, 'You....have....failed.'"
"Your Emily is stuck in a tree and can't get down," The Other Emily told him.
"I'm at Lowe's. I can't do anything to help," he told her.
"We don't know your new home phone number yet so we couldn't call our moms."
So I'm at home and I get a call from Kerry telling me Emily is stuck in a tree one block over from the house and I need to go help her.
Of course I grabbed the camera.
She had gotten a boost from The Other Emily to get up into the tree in the first place and then discovered she was a little too high to just jump down. There were no branches to step on, they had all been cut off by our friendly neighborhood gardeners who hate all things that are green and grow.
It took a little maneuvering, but we finally got her down.
Unfortunately, she had already used one "get out of blogging free" pass earlier in the day so she would have had to cough up money to keep me from posting on this one!
The streets were really, really crowded. There were many vendors selling food and souvenirs, but we couldn't get to them without fear of losing each other in the crush. We just glanced at everything as we went by. I want to go back down there on a normal day when it isn't so crowded and check out the stores and markets.
We found a spot to watch the parade and it happened to be right in front of a produce market. The prices were excellent, I just wasn't in a produce purchasing mood. I can't usually watch a parade while hanging on to my carrots and green onions. The food they were selling smelled heavenly, so we broke down and bought some grilled corn on the cob and egg rolls.
The parade got started with with firecrackers and confetti showers and one obnoxious teen girl near us who felt the need to scream shrilly every so often.
There were also dancing dragons on poles carried by ten or so men. They did very intricate moves - jumping over the center of the dragon like a jump rope and nearly tying him in knots. Very entertaining to watch!
Most of the parade consisted of people in matching tee shirts who just walked along and waved. Not terribly entertaining for a parade. This group in yellow was made up of senior citizens who stopped and did stretching exercises.
We liked the ones who used weapons in their demonstrations the best.
Quite enough excitement for one day!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
I must protest! The shed looks fantastic (if I may say so myself) and the flooring is expertly built and solid. I actually used both a power drill and a power saw during the construction of this shed and the flooring. No small children or pets were injured and the pieces fit together nicely. The neighbors all flocked around and stared in awe as I wielded the power tools with panache and grace. They actually wanted me to come build stuff for them, but alas, I have to take a long trip on Monday and will be unavailable for a while. I asked them to e-mail me their requests and I would carefully consider which ones to complete upon my return.
The much maligned but manly, power tools trained husband
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The shed we bought came in four very large boxes which we (meaning Kerry) had to pick up and bring home in four separate trips since our little Honda couldn't hold more than one at a time.
It looked like it would be really easy to put together. Sort of like giant Legos.
First, a base had to be built. Now I'm the first to admit - Kerry is an amazing husband, remarkable father, and incredible soldier. I could sing his praises all day long in all these areas.
But handy with a hammer? Not so much.
We have a standing joke that every bookshelf in our house has at least one shelf on it upside down. And it's not just a joke, it's really true. Somehow when Kerry assembles furniture a piece always goes on backwards.
When we lived in Alaska, he once helped a neighbor assemble a new grill. After a while, he came over to get a hacksaw because "one of the pieces was too long" and they were just going to saw it off to the right length. I broke out into a sweat at the thought of us having to buy the neighbor a new grill, ran over to read the instructions, and figured out where two pieces had been switched. We got it assembled with no sawing needed.
Another time he went to help the same neighbor with a project at their house. A little later the neighbor's wife came back with Kerry's drill and said, "Take this! And don't ever let him come over with it again!"
Kerry with power tools is a scary Kerry.
I once asked him why he has such an impressive array of tools when he so rarely has the ability to use them.
He replied, "Other men will see that I have these tools and they will then assume that I know how to use them, and I win points for being cool and manly."
So it is with great relief and pride that I report that our shed was completed in one day (with the help of a cool, manly friend who also knows how to read instructions).
And if we have both windows on one side of the shed instead of one window on each side, who am I to complain? It's part of our standard operating procedure around here.