We started on trip on Saturday 12 March. I don't know why, but it was the longest trip I've ever had from home to there. It was crazy! We finally made it to the hotel about 2345 on 12 March. We got our rooms, went inside and went to bed. My mother and I went outside the next morning and there was 2" on SNOW on the ground. We left 75-80 degree weather and went to snow! We rushed around getting ready because we slept in late. (We lost two hours due to going from central to eastern time and then from springing forward!) We rushed to get to the apartment to get the keys. After I signed the paperwork and went through the house, we unloaded everything we brought. We (my in-laws, my mom and stepdad, my Tank, and myself) all piled in one car to go pick up the U-Haul to get everything out of storage. We were all starving by this time too, since nobody had a chance to eat breakfast. About halfway to get the U-Haul, I remembered that I didn't get the pass code to get in. (This was a Sunday so nobody would be in the office.) I really beat myself up over that one. Then I started thinking about the key to get into the storage unit. I prayed that it was the one that was on my keychain. I spent the entire drive to the U-Haul place trying to remember that pass code.
We got to the U-Haul place and I went in to get the truck. I walked in the door and the lady working said she didn't have any trucks available. I was so exhausted that I almost started crying. (Not to mention my emotions were through the roof all week!) I explained that I had called last week to reserve a truck. She got my name, went to the computer and said "Oh, good. That truck is the one you reserved!" Big sigh of relief! I did the paper work for that and walked outside. I handed the keys over to the guys and said it was lunch time. Big decision to be made there. We could either have McDonalds, Taco Bell or Subway. We chose Subway. After Subway, we went to the storage place. I decided that I might try and remember the pass code. I tried one number and it wasn't right. I didn't want to try too many for fear it would lock us out and I wouldn't be able to get in at all. So, I left all the keys I had with the guys and the women went back to the apartment. I found the paperwork, walked Tank around while someone was calling one of the guys, and then we headed to Wal-Mart. UGH!!! I dislike Wal-Mart A LOT!
We got to Wal-Mart and the guys were unloaded storage and loading the truck. We spent about two hours in Wal-Mart getting things for the house that M and I needed, plus some groceries to get us through the next few days. We had three grocery carts/buggys/whatever you want to call them! We had so much stuff that we didn't have room for Tank in the car with us. The guys didn't have room for our TV in the U-Haul, so they drove over to where we were and we exchanged a dog for a TV. My Tank was so cute sitting in the middle of the U-Haul, but I didn't get a picture. I'm a little sad about that. The guys left and we unloaded everything into the Jeep. We headed to the house.
Once we got to the house, we got everything unloaded from the Jeep, then unloaded the U-Haul. I hated my name that day because it was said so many times!! LOL We got a lot set up that day, but still had a lot to do. The next few days consisted of Wal-Mart/grocery store runs, going on post to make sure I remembered where everything was, and setting up the house. We got everything finished by Tuesday night except the laundry. My washer and dryer were abused the first few days they were out of the storage unit.
Since we didn't have cable/internet, we did a lot of reading and playing games on the computer. We also played Uno the night before M was due home.
Finally, Thursday rolled around. It was the day. The one I had been dreaming about since M left in March 2010. I checked, double checked, and rechecked the website to make sure that nothing had changed. M sent me a text message when he landed at the Airfield. We ran around like chickens with our heads cut off getting ready, hanging his Welcome Home sign and balloons, taking pictures, and trying not to puke! I wanted to be at the ceremony site when we could, which was at 0930. That didn't happen. Luckily, M sent me a message that said they had a while of briefings or whatever, so I didn't get too worried. We got on post and I went to get the sticker for M's truck. Then we went to the ceremony site. (My stomach is a bundle of nerves just typing it out!) I had the guys walk Tank since I was in a dress. It was nice, but the wind blowing made it a bit chilly. We got Tank back in the truck and walked inside.
Our first objective was finding a bathroom. Since it was at a gym, we went into the locker rooms. As we walked towards the locker rooms, we saw room upon room with Rucks, Assaults and B-Bags. It was insane, but it made it more real!! As I was getting ready to walk into the gym, two soldiers were there. One was handing out flags. One was making sure 'my' soldier was on the list. I feel bad. He had to ask me three times what M's name was. I was beside myself at that point! Once we got inside the gym, we were handed balloons. We found a place to sit. I just knew we were going to be on the opposite end of M when he marched in.
Somebody started speaking into the microphone and said to watch the screen and you can see your loved one getting off the plane this morning. Luckily, they showed it twice. The first time we found M. The second time we snapped a picture. I had butterflies when he showed up on screen. I ♥ him!! Around that time, I got a text message that said they were loading onto the buses. Funny thing about the buses... Normally they are the white buses you always see. Our guys had school buses. I laughed... A LOT! The next time I talked to him, I was in his arms!!!
After showing the deplaning video twice, another voice came on and said that even though they are indoors, they were performing it as an outdoor ceremony so headgear should be worn. I started shoving everything I had in my hands at my mother. Then it happened. The voice said 'Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to our returning troops' or something like that. It went crazy in there. The applause, the whistles, the screams... I had chills the entire time. Of course, the entire time I was also looking for my love. It was a short ceremony. One speech, one prayer, two songs and they were released. The entire time I was trying to find M in "the Sea of Camo." We never saw him because he was on one side of the gym and we were on the other. (I had sent him a text message earlier telling him where we were sitting and what we were wearing! I prepared him to look for us too!) We got down the bleachers and started walking. I was freaking out because I couldn't find him. FINALLY, his mom said there he is. I took off running. I pushed one person, hit a couple of purses, squealed his name (yeah, that's how he knew I was coming, LOL) and launched myself at him. That is one of the top moments in my life. I will never, never forget that feeling. After hugging for a while, I let him hug everyone else. I had to keep touching him while we were walking around talking to others just to make sure he was really there. After he finished talking and I finished meeting, we went to get his stuff. He had three bags. I found one right off and stayed beside it. Once he found the other two bags, he came to where I was. I put on the Assault pack, he put on both of his other bags and we went outside for the final reunion. After he tossed and gently placed the one with the laptop in the back of the truck, he got to see 'his boy.' Of course, Tank was there with us. Tank didn't get it at first, but once he figured out it was dad... He was so excited! M was sad because he couldn't drive his truck! HAHA
Ok... now on to the important parts... THE PICTURES!!! (Thank you if you made it this far into the post and actually read it!)
|Waiting... NOT SO... Patiently|
|Thank God for people like this man and the woman beside him!|
|They are HOME!!!|
|No words to describe this....|
|Yes, I had to keep getting hugs. I missed them so much!!!|
|Doesn't he look so happy?!? LOL|
|Complete happiness... His Dog, His Truck, Home and His Wife... Probably in that order... LOL|