Monday, August 31, 2009

Starting To Like Mondays

"Only three weeks until graduation. Love, Lee"
Although...if we want to be technical, it's 3 weeks and 6 days. I'm technical:)

"This Too Shall Pass"

This weekend... Friday was date night with friends. I went to Taylor and Jacob's and watched a movie. Nick and Kristie came over too. It felt good to get back into our movie night routine. It was so cozy being curled up on their couch that if the movie hadn't been so intense, I might have fallen asleep! Saturday, I had an appt in Edmond at the dealer to get our oil changed and the tires checked since I was getting the caution symbol on my dashboard for my tires. Turns out, I had a nail in the wall of my tire. I had to buy a new tire but fortunately our vehicle is still under warranty making the oil change free. I raced home to prepare for Sheena's baby shower that I hosted that afternoon. The shower was a lot of fun. A few of the girls stayed after to help clean. We ended up sitting around and talking with Sheena for hours. It was well after dark when they left. It was nice to fill my home with laughter and good conversation. When they left, I got busy setting my table, etc. I jumped probably 10ft in the air when I heard the doorbell ring. As I walked to the door, I saw the door handle rattle like someone was trying to get inside. Luckily, it was locked. I nervously said, "Who is it?" I then heard, "It's Taylor." haha I opened the door and they told me my phone wasn't working. Apparently, Lee had been trying to call me since 6pm and they had come over to make sure I was OK. (Thank you God for blessing us with great friends.) Something was wrong with my SIM card and I wasn't getting any service. I had no idea because I hadn't needed my phone while had a company that evening. Jacob fixed my phone while I used his to talk to Lee. His DS had told them that if anyone could eat a pkg of MRE crackers in 2 minutes then they could have phone privileges. Lee got innovative and started gathering crackers and gave them to DS to organize the event. One guy was able to do it. That same guy that was able to complete the task, his wife delivered a baby that day! He told Lee that he would've loved to be there for the birth of his baby girl but he knows he's doing the best thing for his family where he's at now. I got to talk to Lee for a bit before we reluctantly decided he should try to get some sleep. Sunday morning I woke up to pay bills. Our mortgage is withdrawn today and I needed to mail Lee's insurance check to his "civilian" job so we can keep his benefits. Before paying the rest of our bills, I checked his MyPay account. MyPay is the military link to view your soldier's pay stub, get tax info, etc. When his information uploaded I was horrified to see his deposit on the 1st was for $14.43. I looked, stared and was in shock. It was listed as Other Credit but there wasn't anything displaying and deductions, his salary...nothing. I immediately called the number I had for assistance and of course the office was closed for the weekend. I called his company commander's desk and asked for advice. I was advised to wait until Monday morning, call Lee's recruiter and go from there?!?!?! (Gee...thanks for the help.) In my head I was wishing I had known this all last night when I got to speak to Lee. I cannot describe the loneliness I felt when I hung up the phone with the DS working the command office that day. I was counting on Lee's check to pay the utility bills so I could buy my airfare for his graduation with my check on Friday. I cried cats and dogs. I felt like such a failure. What if they didn't get it fixed by the 15th when his next check was deposited? Many uneasy thoughts were going through my head. All day I was sick over the thought of him not getting paid accordingly for all the hard training he's doing and the sacrifices we have made to be together. I didn't get out of my pajamas all day. Finally, I posted a thread on the Army Wives Forum that I'm a member of and asked advice on what I should do. I gave a detailed description of what I was seeing on Lee's stub. Bittersweetly, many responded that they have seen the same thing. I was told where to click/view to see if there was an additional pay stub. AND THERE WAS! He's getting his normal pay check and the additional credit is where he was shortchanged in a previous check. What a relief. Due to my ignorance, I wasted the day being a vegetable on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I don't share this story for pity but for you to relish in our accomplishments. Jan often reminds me that, "This too shall pass."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Snail Mail

Big bummer man. I was really hoping to get a letter today. Lee said he would write me Sunday night before lights out which would mean it would've gone out Monday morning. I was HOPING it would've come in the mail today. I race home to check my mailbox everyday. Living on the edge, I know right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Little Late

I got a letter yesterday that he shipped last Monday; 08/17/09. It was a little late. He sent it on a frustrating day. He also included all the details that would've been great assistance when I was navigating around base. Luckily, I managed. I managed well. I sit and stare at him in the pictures I took over the weekend all the time! He's so dreamy in his uniform. I miss him so much. Not a whole lot to say right now other than that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

After the Big Weekend

"Can't wait to see you again. Four weeks of training until graduation. Love, Lee."

Seeing Lee this past weekend was incredible. Really. I was extrememley nervous, excited, anxious, sleep deprived...Friday, I left work a bit early to make my flight to Atlanta but my flight was delayed. I finally got to Atlanta and discovered a vm from Lee. They were given their cellphones to use until lights out. By the time I was able to call him, I had less than 10 minutes to talk to him before lights out. It was really neat to hear his voice and anticipate the next day's events with him. I was finally able to board my flight to Columbus, GA and landed around 10:30 p.m. I was worried I was going to get lost maneuvering around town with my rental car but it was extremeley easy. (Thanks to Lee for getting me a GPS before he left.) I found my room and got settled in fast. I tried to get some sleep but who needs sleep, right?!?! Saturday morning I woke up super early. I wanted to leave my hotel early in case I had trouble getting on base, etc. Nope. That was easy too. I sat through a boring Family Briefing. I say boring because I couldn't hear anything. Between crying babies and catty moms that know it all to well to listen...then finally, DS told us which door we would exit to see the men in formation and where they would be in 20 minutes. One guy opened the door and I found my way to that side of the room and exited fast. I remember overhearing the family behind me saying that it kinda sucked that they had to wait another 20 minutes. While they sat there dwelling on the next 20 minutes I was already finding my way around the buidling to see my soldier. I've got to tell you, I had this overwhelming feeling as I was walking down the hill and turning the corner. Suddenly, I saw all of them in formation. I uncautiously covered my mouth in awe and choked up big time. There they were. Clean cut, straight as a whistle and standing in formation. I knew Lee is in the 3rd Platoon and to count down from the left to find his platoon. I also knew where he would be standing from the drawing of his formation he had sent me. Front and center since he's the Platoon Guide! It was neat to fit an image with all the letters I had studied, read and reread. When they concluded the Soldiers Creed, they were released to their barracks to get their personal items and then could meet up with their families. I stood there watching, staring and waiting for him and there he was. I stood there frozen and almost in shock that he was walking towards me. Then he grabbed me and we clung to each other forever. He grabbed my hand tight. I could feel how sweaty he was in his Class A's but I didn't care. I lead him to our car for the weeknd while he held onto me the whole way. It was everything I had imagined and more. He wanted a cheeseburger so we stopped by Burger King. He ordered an Angry Whopper and large fry. We then stopped by a conveienvt store and he got 2 large Gaterades and 2 Monster energy drinks. We then had to stop by Taco Bell. He got a chicken quesadilla, soft taco and a large Pepsi fountain drink. He ate it all...Few hours later he wanted to order a pizza...and we did. Jan had brought the peach pie he had requested Nana make for him. He ate more than 1/2 of it over the weekend. We just gave the whole thing to him and told him to dig into it. We drove around his base and he pointed out where he had been and what he had accomplished during his training. It was crazy to see the rope that he had fallen ~15ft. We also saw where his Airborne Training will be held. Again, it was great to see things with my eyes instead resorting to the visual I had made up in my head based off a letter. He looks so good. He's talk, dark and handsome. I took some pictures and I will post some soon. It was really hard saying goodbye...again. The dinky airport in Columbus only had 1 flight going out yesterday and it was mine! They didn't even have security open yet because the commuter plane wasn't back from Atlanta. Lee watched me check my bag and sat with me by security for awhile. We eventually felt like he should go so he could be sure to make it back to base in time. He was pissed off beacuse the gates weren't open yet. He didn't want me to have to watch him walk away again. He got up, we hugged and he was gone. I saw him go out the the glass doors and disappear around the corner. I sat there crying and fidgeting with my wedding ring. Hoping; wishing he were still with me. The weekend went by too fast. Like an answered prayer, I looked up to see Lee. He came back. There he was sitting by me. Like when I first saw him Saturday morning, he grabbed my hand tight. It was perfect. He said he wasn't leaving me like this and that he just couldn't. I called him when I landed in Atlanta and got to talk to him one last time before he had to turn his phone off to lock it up again. I'm hoping he gets his phone more as graduation gets closer. I'm so excited for him and I'm so excited for us. To see what all we have accomplished together and the bond we share is amazing. We talked about how when he signed up; we both signed up. He sheds sweat and cry tears. Together we're making it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

This is the Week

"This is the week! I'll see you soon! Love, Lee"

ALL DAY PHONE CALL

Lee called me at 7am yesterday morning! I got to talk to him all day and it was A-mazing! He sent me this picture from another guy's phone to my email. We talked about my trip to Italy and how much he wished he had been able to be there and share in the fun with everyone. I told him how much fun it was and how much I had missed him not being there. It's the little things that made me miss him more. When you see something for the first time or experience something extraordinary; you want to steal a glance at your special someone or give them a nudge to make sure they saw it too. We talked about how dehydrated he has been and the insane muscle cramps he has been having. His legs were cramping so bad that he couldn't bend them and had to scoot his way around the floor to get to his plate of food. His plate of food was placed on the porch by the door for him since he can't have food in the barracks and he couldn't walk to Chow. Crazy. He didn't want an IV because he would've had to go to the hospital. He was really excited about being chosen to shoot the AT4 (Shoulder-Fired Rocket System). Only a few guys are chosen to shoot them since each rocket cost ~$10K. He said it was awesome. He didn't hit anything with it but someone said he probably killed a million ants. He said he spent our tax-payers money in a little under 1 second. He shot at a tank ~300m away with a rocket traveling at 290 m/s. He's also really excited and I am so proud of him because he shaved 1:21 off his 2 mile run for his PT test. He can now do a 2 mile run in 12:20. He's so cute and sweet and sexy and smart and funny...awe I can't wait to see him this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(The white circle is where his last name reads, for obvious reasons I have blocked it.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm Back

Back from Italy and we all had so much fun! The wedding was absolutely perfect. Taylor's attention to detail made the day surreal. I'm a bit tired but my head is spinning. One week from today I will be in Lee's arms for Family Day at Ft. Benning. I couldn't be more excited. I have so much to blog as I received 4 letters from Lee while I was gone. I will update you all soon but first there is LAUNDRY!
. Couple of us girls on the Spanish Steps in Rome...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Italy Bound

A couple of our very best friends are getting married in Italy, August 13, 2009. I leave tonight to join them in the celebration! I feel so blessed to be a part of their romantic garden wedding. The pictures look dreamy. I imagine actually being there will be surreal... I know Lee wants to be there with us and especially to stand up for Jacob. I'm sure I'll be thinking about him the whole time so perhaps he'll be there in our hearts.

This is where the wedding will be held! Unbelievably perfect, I know.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blue Phase

Lee letters always encourage me and leave me smiling. He quotes, "It's those left standing in the end that are the best!" We're barely beginning Blue Phase but at lease we're beginning. Poor guy. He's so hungry. He went to OSUT weighing in ~195lbs. He had been weight training and running a lot. He now weighs 177lbs. After he puts on his "battle rattle" he weighs 285lbs. Dang! That's a lot of extra weight to carry around all day. His "battle rattle" includes his body armor, helmet, load-bearing vest, camel-back with water, 2 full canteens, weapon, ACU's (camo), boots, and packed assault pack. He's says it's cool for the first 5 minutes and then your back goes, then your shoulders, legs then feet. He saying his sweat smells like ammonia. He's hearing that he's burning muscle now. Great. I researched the sweaty smell and sent him some information about it. He has to wear his Class A's for Family Day. I'm excited to see him in uniform. He said I'm going to laugh at how high he has to wear his pants. The Army likes to wear their pants high? Whatever. Lee says it's cool to run in the rain. Not cool to eat in it. He's tired too. Apparently, the DS found wrinkles in the blankets of Lee's platoon. For a week they have to take apart the bunks and store them and the mattresses in the showers and reassemble them at night. This cuts into their sleep time. I sprayed my last letter with a perfume that Lee loves of mine. He said he smelt it right away and it smells so good. Especially compared to farts and sweat...(I'll take that as a compliment.) Lee thinks farting in formation is a tortuous act that everyone enjoys doing. He says it's horrible because you cannot move! They eat a lot of MREs in the field. He always anticipates what he is going to get. Chicken, vegetarian, enchilada...you never know what you're going to get. You have to eat what you're given. Recently, he got really excited because they got to eat breakfast in the DFAC instead of having a MRE in the field. He has to eat his meal last since he's PG. By the time it was his turn, they were out of milk and he had to wait for a refill. He got his milk, sat down, finished his eggs, biscuits/gravy, and french toast. (shoving this all in his mouth, of course)The DS came in the DFAC and made everyone get up and leave. Lee said normally he would be bummed but he's used to it now. He was looking forward to finishing a big meal full of protein and calories. He had to throw away his Frosted Flakes (his fav cereal), nutri-grain bar, orange and grapes. He's been tested a lot recently. He had a written test, another first-aid test, a test on fixing a malfunctioned weapon, and weapon assembly/reassembly. He also had to walk the DS through a needle-chest decompression. (It's used to relieve pressure from within the chest cavity and allow a collapsed lung to re-inflate.) He also had to take a M4 apart in 1 min 30 sec and he did it in ~30 sec. After all that he got what he had been waiting for for a looong time. A meatloaf MRE!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lights Camera Action!

Jan and I went to Best Buy today and bought a video camera! We can now record ALL of Lee's MANY upcoming graduations!