Sunday, March 28, 2010

Letter Two and a $.28 Postcard

I sent Cary a postcard from Mammoth today, and I returned home to a letter in my mailbox from him. This kismet is nice.

(Did you know postcards cost 28 cents now?)

Cary's letter struck some chords again. He does some essential venting and swears he doesn't want me to worry, but it still makes me worry a little bit. A good worry. What would this program be if it didn't wear people down enough to make their loved ones worry? He's being smart about it though, a day at a time, an hour at a time, trying not to think about home too much. It still feels good though to know that home has that power though. That's what will keep bringing him home throughout this adventure our lives are taking.

In his letter, he had just finished Taps and has some time to write. It didn't sound like he received my first letter or care package yet. Bummer. I just know it will lift his spirits the way my parents' care packages did when I was in school overseas, and it wasn't even miserable there. Any taste of home, a picture, a restaurant menu, food, magazines, essentials, perks. It was all so warm and happy, familiar and makes you feel loved.

He says the details of what it's like over there don't really define it--they're only vague examples of what feelings they evoke. Eating procedures, no talking, memorization, physical fatigue, lack of sleep, everybody is sick, no eye contact. The class started out with 99 candidates, 48 in his Foxtrot company. Now they're down to 37. Some failed physical evaluations, three dropped on request (DOR), others were injured. One guy, Becote (an NFO, or a 'Goose' from Top Gun, applicant), said he'd been to both army and air force boot camp when he was younger and it was nothing like this.

I waited for his call today. Really waited. Which was weird because I never pictured myself doing that, thinking about it every chunk of minutes. No more. He'll call when he can. It's been two weeks since his last call. The only real call since he left three weeks ago, and it was only about three minutes long. I did talk to him when he arrived in Rhode Island, but that doesn't really count; yet, I would have sucked the life out of him then if I knew it would be this long, get really good and annoyed at him and the phone before the dry spell. Butters however provided distraction, staring at me the mornings up at Mammoth--get up and take me outside. She only peed in the house once and on the kitchen floor thank God. And all the Lawsons were really understanding. I mean her hair gets everywhere, from my nostrils to my slippers to everyone else's nostrils and slippers. It was just nice to be with family, especially his family since they remind me so much of him and even my family at times.

Cary's Uncle Brett made the usual series of comments that bust me up. He mentioned we need to drain the jacuzzi. "Like 15 people have taken a bath in it. And all that sunscreen. It causes a film, a ring around the entire tub." We all sigh to ourselves and wonder how bad it really is. Do we actually need to be the ones to change the water? Some time passes. We watch When Harry Met Sally, to which Brett preempts the punchlines. When Dane asks Kelli if she's going to get in the jacuzzi, she replies, "Like 15 people have taken a bath in it."

The showers are out of hot water the next morning, so I'm serously considering the jacuzzi. But I wait until I'm home. And it's worth the wait. But the phone rings. I slip out without much grace. It's only Jamie; and I mean 'only' in the nicest way possible. He's wondering how Cary is. You and me both.

I wish I could show Cary our cactus (see those green extensions; they're new!) and Cody' drawings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Letters One + Package = Special Discovery

Just as I sent a letter to Cary, I got one. On naval stationary. Which you might think would be official-feeling but felt more like corresponding with a pen pal obsessed with sailors. But that familiar cramped handwriting wasn't that of my long lost 12-year-old pen pal. It was his and felt as good to see as his voice is to hear.

He had been making journal-like jots in a notebook and so reiterated the highlights. Funny story. Hilarious Foxtrot classmate from San Diego messes up a sprint and Cary has to hold in the laughter for fear of punishment. Sad story. He's rubbing his sore neck on a run and gets yelled at by the DS (drill sergeant). "Why Were You Doing that Lawson?!" / "Because this Candidate is an Idiot, Sir!" (This is what that particular DS likes to call the candidates.) But this response doesn't go over well either and he's threatened with having to write that 1,0000 times. Then it starts getting a little bummed out and lonely and sad and sweet, all at the same time.

So I race to the post office to mail his care package.

And before leaving home, while researching shipping prices and when it would get there, I see on our desktop calendar that early March wasn't the only time he had scheduled for flowers to be delivered to me.

Distance effing makes the heart grow fonder.

Inefficency from the Ground Up?

Covering an event last Sunday for work (aka attending sessions for inspriation and quotes to write a conference wrap-up article for the corporate magazine that actually looks more like a super-sized newspaper that arrives in mailboxes worldwide), I stumbled upon a sad inefficiency.

Sitting outside on a bench with my laptop, a convention center staff member is sweeping the patio that surrounds me. The broom is undersized. For a patio the size of my house, which isn't that much actually now that I think about it, it's far undersized. And the dustpan is one of those extended ones, the lip of it not really even resting on the pavement enough to allow for a smooth scoop-up. This sucks. For her. Scratch, scratch, scratch goes the doll broom. Scratch, scratch, scratch. This sucks.

So do you want to pay your staff for an hour to sweep? (no seriously, it was like this on a long stick)

 Or 10 minutes?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Any guesses on if this was done before or after he left...

The note said to not forget him. Ha, how could I forget the man who makes me take the dog for a walk, spend too much on car repairs, and sit in the jacuzzi in the rain...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Call One

Er two. (If a voicemail counts.) Cary called for three minutes this morning. He said he had five! Darn sergeant or whatever. He's getting by--sounded tired but optimistic. He said the days go slow, but the week went fast. Huh?

The first 90 seconds were us going back and forth with stupid, family business-like questions like...

Cary: Okay, ask me your questions, and I'll ask you mine.
Aly: Where did this bank credit come from?
Cary: I don't know, maybe here.
Aly: What do I do with this invoice?
Cary: That's my dad's. Did my PT license come?
Aly: No, but the check was cashed. Can you get packages? With anything in them?
Cary: Yeah, well not like weapons and stuff.

The last 90 seconds were us going back and forth with frantic trying to be interesting questions like...

Cary: How's Butters?
Aly: Depressed. How are the people?
Cary: Oh, did you hear that? I just got yelled at for not standing up straight. We have to stand perfect all the time.
Aly: Oh sheesh.
Cary: It's okay though. Upp, gotta go. It might be two weeks until I can call again. (Aly: Okay.) Love you.
Aly: Love you too.

I'm working on a care package full of WMDs. And below is a sampling of photos I'm sending. If anyone wants to contribute, drop stuff off at my place this week!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dinner for One

Directed by Joris Beim

Check out this video of a yellow lab who doesn't seem to be phased by eating alone. Warmed the cockles of my heart even though I was in a sour mood. Skip ahead to one minute for the kick in the pants head scratch.

   YouTube - Joris Beim - Dinner for One - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Thanks, Lena!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Voicemail Revolt

Working late like a good little bee and how am I rewarded? I miss a 3,000 mile away phone call from boot camp Cary. Sigh. But can I help it? I have a life! (I was heading to a special showing of An Education at the theater near my work as soon as I had finished.) I was writing and typing and focusing away, and in my black hole of an office in the very center of the second floor of the marketing building, I get zero reception. Maybe negative, since it went straight to voicemail apparently; it didn't even try and ring.

But he got through to his mom thankfully, so I got to hear a few extra tidbits through her.

It was good to hear his voice. Though it was hoarse and he said so. From yelling, sir? And his hair is as short as it can be, fuzz over baldness, I picture. He has two minutes and wrote things down to say. He misses me, loves me. It's hard, but he's doing okay. He found a cool, funny friend ... And then there's some louder background noise, and his voice is pretty quiet, so something was said that I didn't catch. (A funny friend. Good. Comedy is relief in tough situations--in the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell via Patrick Robinson, the unbelievably brave Navy Seal team was also unbelievably witty with comments as sharp as tacks, dripping with sarcasm, and comical to the core, even in the midst of gunfire.) The phone call cut out right after he said the class before him didn't get a phone call for eight weeks. Well, a voicemail three days in ain't bad, but it may be a while now. Sigh.

You'd think I could just listen to my voicemail if I miss him. Nope! The thing deletes in 21 days. Ridonkulous. Revolt.

We did manage to talk the night he arrived in Newport. His airport carpool buddy still needed a room, and Cary offered the the extra twin bed he had available. Another pilot. Cool guy, he said. And everyone at dinner was great. About 30 officer candidates met up for a meal on the eve of what would probably be the toughest training they would endure in their Navy careers. Unless they're going on to be Seals. Hoo-ya.

My friend Tiffany is leaving for Japan soon to meet her husband on deployment for the Navy. This boot camp stint will be worth it if we get to do that one day...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fly Him Away

Last Thursday, family and friends gathered to wish Cary farewell and good luck at boot camp and nab some BBQ and a dip in the jacuzzi. But it ended up just being Cary and I and the barbecue hosts, his Uncle Brett and Brett's girlfriend Lena, soaking away our sadness in bubbles that eventually got too hot--no matter how much you think that won't happen when you get in.

And that's how it feels now, Cary gone, me thinking I'll never get used to it, and I'm already feeling routine seep in. Butters wants to follow me into the bathroom. There's people who want to hang out even though Cary isn't around. There's more space in the medicine cabinet. The gym and cleaning and work and blogging all fill up the space with pleasant distraction.
But of course I'll never be fully used to it. That's just how husbands and wives are in absence, when the heart just grows bigger in anticipation. No matter how much I do my own thing, it'll still feel like a piece is missing without him to share those things with regularly. A little piece. Don't get too big in the head, Care.

On Friday, we spent the day together, enjoying the company, getting the last batch of stuff done. We returned yard equipment he'd borrowed. Butters got dehydrated in the Loma Linda hills again. We staved off food for the sake of errands like oh, filing taxes that took a forest's worth of paperwork. But we put a cherry on top of the day with a big dinner and good company. One pizookie and two crazy waiters later, we were home, busily and silently counting down the hours 'til it was bon voyage.

I didn't want to cry. But it came at the pinnacle of the goodbye, the final hug and kiss, pulled over, bag on the sidewalk, a few glances from passersby. Wearing his favorite jeans and favorite shirt on me, wearing my glasses so I would be even more deterred from crying, it just didn't work to make the morning light and dry.

Driving home, as the stormy weekend forecast rolled in, I wished I would have brought Butters along for someone to chat with on the ride home about the crapiness of the situation. But I wouldn't want any other situation. We could both count on that.

(Cary said this guy's umbrella-ella hit every single pole in the line at the airport.)

I couldn't go back to sleep so I freshened up and worked a bit until my phone buzzed...

Christy saved the day Saturday as I knew she would. A church stint, a couple happy conversations, and Mexican with her and a bud was a great start to the toughest day in the countdown. Then it was off to Temecula for a concert with Jamie (Christy's fiance and Jamie's best friend) and Holly (one of the funniest girls I know, clever and charmingly blunt and always providing a quote or two for me to report back to Cary). The concert was religious rock and in a mall parking garage. Religious and parking garage made me wary, but it was above and beyond a worth it excursion. I think I was with three of the most entertaining people in the IE. And they cared enough to invite me, have me, and cheer me up more than they knew. Then Holly placed a cherry on top of this day with chocolate covered strawberries and a DVD on her parents' beautifully enormous television. Mine is the size of a freezer.

This is the pic he sent me of the U.S.S. Forrestal in Rhode Island.

Brunch with San Diego fam below.