Christmas Miracle Part 2

A lot of people have been waiting for this update. Yes, the soldier is safely home and "things" are going well :).

Some of you know how miraculously fast his homecoming turned out to be. Once it was confirmed that his replacement was en route, he was able to have a flight scheduled from his base in Iraq to the holding tank in Kuwait. I got an email that just said, "The flower has arrived, papa's coming home!" That was code for "Cpt Rose is here, I finally get to leave this h-hole of a desert." In Kuwait, he learned that the freedom flights to the US (redeployment--soldiers going home for good, vs. R&R) had all been canceled due to the holiday. He was booked on a flight leaving on the 28th. Shortly after leaving the travel tent, he heard his name over the loud speaker. They had found a space for him on the next R&R flight out, aka: pack your bags soldier, you have 2 minutes to get through customs and on that plane, or something like that. I got a quick phone call at 11:35am Christmas Eve, "I only have 2 minutes on this calling card, but I'm leaving now! I got on a flight and I'll see you soon. Next time you hear from me, I'll be calling you from my own cell phone." I hung up the phone and held it to my chest to say a quick prayer of thanks and then jumped up and down a couple times. I may or may not have squealed in excitement.

Christmas Day brought mixed emotions. It was so fun to be with my family, but in the back of my mind I was counting the hours. 24 hours from the time I heard from him last came and went. I was sure I would've heard from him by then. 27. 28. 30 hours. Finally my phone rang. I was sitting in the movie theater watching Sherlock Holmes. Since we had gotten there late, I was sitting solo on the end of a row near the top. I ran down the stairs, pressing the green phone key, and whispered "hello?" Oh man, it was so good to hear his voice and know he was on American soil. We talked for a quick minute, he let me go back to my movie and said he'd call later. Merry Christmas!

He spent a couple days in Dallas, then flew to Ft. Hood and should've been there for a few days. When I left Utah on the 28th, I knew I would probably see him, earliest Wednesday, but probably Thurdsay or maybe even Friday.

I had asked the Captain to let me know when he got his flight plans what time he was flying in. Monday night, he forwarded me his itinerary which had him on AA flight 810 from Austin arriving in DC at 4:10pm Tuesday afternoon.

The day he flew in was a little crazy for me. I had all these plans; work out, go to the grocery store etc. I had his car to use, so it made it a lot more convenient. In Utah I had made a welcome home banner on 15 feet of yellow butcher paper. It was so cute! I rolled it up and put it in a poster tube so I could carry it on the plane. On my way to the airport, I realized I had left it at my mom's house. I was so disappointed.

That gave me less than a day to make a new poster, tie yellow ribbons all over the tree in his front yard and decorate the inside of his house will yellow balloons and streamers. I had picked up all these items in Utah when I was home for Christmas. I also wanted to make dinner so we wouldn't have to go out. I figured he'd be tired and jet-lagged.

I had also committed to a friend that I would feed her fish and water her plants this week, so on my way home from running errands, I stopped by her house. You have to have a permit to park on the street around here, and Tim's are currently expired. he's reminded me a couple times to make sure I don't park on the street. This time I figured I'd be fast, run in water her plants and run out. Well, that was the plan until I locked her door knob, closed the door behind me and went to grab my keys to lock her dead bolt and realized I had left my keys, which are attached to my wallet, inside her house. I was freaking out because the Captain's car key was on my key ring as well. I could not leave it parked on the street. I didn't know how I was going to pick him up from the airport. It was just a crazy nightmare (I'm totally having dejavu anxiety as I type this!). Just before I went in her house, Tim had sent me a text saying his flight from Chicago to DC had changed last minute and gave me the new flight number and that he was boarding. With the stress of what I had just done, I didn't have the capacity to calculate his new arrival time.

I thought I had seen a spare car key in Tim's room (he had me go in there a couple times to get some paperwork while he was gone), so I ran over there. Luckily everyone lives pretty close and his house is just a long block from my friend's. I called him a couple times as I ran with no response. Finally he sent me a text and I called him again. Relieved when he answered, I told him what I had done and asked if he had a spare car key anywhere. "Yeah I do..." he told me where it was and I ran back, worried that there would already be a ticket on his windshield. There wasn't. I drove to my house, where the door was unlocked because my landlord has some dudes working on the stairs that have been unfinished for a year. Another stroke of luck! I quickly had to prioritize my time and where I would do what, cause I knew once I left my house, I wouldn't be getting back in until either my roommate came home or I was able to get a the spare key from my friend's downstairs neighbor after he got home from work. I decided to paint the poster at my house and then go decorate Tim's before meeting him at the airport. So many little details of this day that just happened to work out and not work out all at the same time. Including the fact that I had put Tim's spare key to his house back in it's hiding place rather than keep it with me, otherwise it would've been locked in my friend's house too, with all my other keys, and we would've had no way to get him inside his house.

I got 4 pieces of white poster board (that I taped together) and some poster paint at Target. OH, I couldn't find a paint brush anywhere, so I finally got a little Mr. Clean hand brush/dust pan set and cut the bristles off the brush to make it easier to use. It worked, but made for sloppy letters. I ended up getting one of my eye shadow brushes to finish the job and make the lines smooth. I don't think it minded being used for tempera paint. In fact, I think it enjoyed being used for a higher purpose :).

While I was painting, I turned on my computer to check the arrival time of Tim's new flight. Of course it would come in an hour earlier than I was expecting. Before the poster could finish drying, I placed a garbage bag over one side of it and set it carefully in his car, and left the workers doing their thing at my house. I drove the two short blocks to Tim's and attempted to tape the banner to his siding with the winter wind blowing. It wouldn't stick to the dusty, salty surface, and because of the wind, I got red and blue paint on my coat, argh. I'm sure I looked like quite the spectacle.

Finally I gave up, went inside and found a place indoors to hang it up. All along watching the time grow closer and closer to 3pm (ps, the airport website said his flight was scheduled to land at 2:30, but actually would be 3:00). I knew the airport was close, but had no idea how far away short term parking would be from the terminal and how long it would take to walk there. I tied as many yellow bows on the tree as I could, my vision of what I had wanted his house to look like quickly blew away in the fridgid winter wind. Disappointed with my shoddy decorating job, I quickly drove to the airport and through the maze of signs to the parking structure. I walked in a couple circles until I found the signs pointing me to the walkway to the terminals and trotted in that direction. I checked the monitors for his arrival gate and time. It was delayed 5 minutes so I had made it with about 7 minutes to spare.

I knew that he had told his commander and OIC when he was arriving. It wasn't hard to find two women in ACUs (army combat uniforms). I stood near them and eaves dropped for hints of their identity. Finally I just asked them if they were from the dental clinic at Ft. Meyer. I got blank stares and a negative response. Then I asked if they were waiting for Cpt Adams and they said yes. I introduced myself and chatted for an awkward moment while we waited. I had text the Captain to tell me when he landed and we waited while I attempted to catch these ladies up (who ended up being his commander and some random enlisted lab tech, his OIC showed up a little later) on his crazy travel schedule--failing miserably to communicate how miraculous it was that he was here before January. btw, everything is "ma'am" with them. It was funny to hear them talk to each other.

Finally I got a text, "Just got off the plane. Are you here?" I passed the news on and they stretched out a banner that said, "Welcome Home, Dental Warrior" with a picture of a tooth in uniform holding a gun. haha! Then I saw him walking around the corner and down the hall towards us with a big smile on his face. It took a second for it to register in my brain and I quickly turned on my camera to video his long walk until I said, "forget it," dropped my camera and walked out to meet him with a hug. We were right in front of an airport TGI Fridays with "outdoor seating". He couldn't see all the people staring with smiles on their faces, but I could. It was so fun being the soldier's girl friend walking through the airport, but it's even more fun having him around.

Welcome Home, babe!


Auntie Em said...

ooh I got giddy just reading that! I'm so happy for you! I'm glad he's home safe. :) Happy New Year!

Kit said...

Relief and joy.



Annie Jean said...

How fun! I'm so excited for you and this great adventure you are on.

Tiffany said...

It's funny...I have not read anyone else's blog in atleast a month...but whenever I pull up my blog window and notice you've posted I cannot help but read it! That must mean you are extra special to me! I especially love stories like this! I'm so happy for you!