Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Really Exciting and F'ing Scary

Pfc Pepper

It was a LOT of work preparing for Pepper's departure. Cleaning, packing, moving, schleping. Heavy stuff. With all the other things on our plates it came down the the wire as usual.

Drop off was Thursday at 1 am, which means last Wednesday was it. After being released very early for work, Pepper and I had a nice breakfast at Cracker Barrel, met Reel at Walmart, and checked into the hotel. We did the final clearing of the apartment and had an early dinner at Coach's. I asked the guys if we could go bowling since that was really the only thing we could do other than watch a movie and stare at each other and be sad.

We invited a few more friends and headed down to the bowling alley on of all nights, league night. We ditched that place and headed to the bowling alley on post. We played a couple of games and headed back home for final packing.

I was exhausted the entire day and lasting into the wee hours was rough. It was a rushed day but it gave me no time to wallow in sadness.

For the person who is always looking for signs, I got two of them. A silver lining and a rainbow.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

A rainbow!

We didn't know what to expect on the airfield at 1:00 am. The army is very good at being vague if not entirely elusive. We arrived on post at about 12:30 am, and it was kinda like a scene from Field of Dreams. It was black and empty out except a long line of cars.

I dropped Pepper and his bags off at the hangar and was directed to park across the street. Bags were checked in. As we were standing there waiting for something to happen, we both felt really excited. It wasn't a huge number of people as they are sending off people in increments, but there were enough and it was unlike any other experience. We found out we were given an hour to say good-bye, but it was more like telling tales with the boys. They could have tried a little harder by playing some music or giving us some games to play, but I'll take what I can get.

outside the hangar


We said our good-byes, they went into formation, there was a brief speech, and off they went.

But not really. After the crowds left they sat around for 5 hours and then got on a motorcade of buses to Topeka. I got word from Ft. Riley on Friday that my soldier has arrived in Kuwait.

I was so excited, so full of pride and love that I didn't cry. Ok, maybe I leaked a few tears when a little girl was screaming for her father, but I made it back to Junction City in one piece.

It took me a long time to fall asleep, even though it was the longest day and after 3:00 am, and I woke up a few hours later when Reel left. No sleep and no cries made Thursday a shaky day for me. I treated myself to comfort food at Cracker Barrel and then couldn't bear to eat for the rest of the day. Got my nails done. Configured 5 big packages that needed to be shipped back home. Watched Ratatouille on pay-per-view. It was kind of a waste of good pay-per-view since there were so many things available, but it was kinda all I could take at that point. Couldn't talk to anyone on the phone.

It was a weird day but I'm glad I had it so I could get my head back on straight before heading home. I'm also glad I don't have to do that again.

Friday I had a gross breakfast and drove to Manhattan to catch my flight. This airport is so small that you don't even go through security until your plane gets there. The same guy at the ticket counter was the same guy directing the plane, and the same guy doing baggage and the same guy checking us in. Yep, 3 flights a day to Kansas City from Manhattan, and the smallest plane I have ever been on. I think there were 10 of us on the plane with 2 seats left empty. I'm not one for small planes but I'm glad I didn't have to drive to KC.

And now me and Cougar are doing our best to carry on. The week of back to back weddings is virtually upon us.

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