Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the Move

I got a call at 7:30 this morning. It sounded like there was an ice cream truck in my hallway. Groggy and still dreaming, I stumbled into the living room to answer a Tango call from Neal. Tango is our answer to Skype. Skype is a great invention, but it is well used and sometimes for us that means dropped calls, bad reception, and lots of feedback. When Skype is experiencing heavy traffic, we usually can't hold a call for more than 10 or 15 seconds. But Neal found Tango in the Droid app store and it is clear. Crystal. And when you turn the video camera on, the incoming video is almost real-time. We've never had such luck with Skype. But when a Tango call rings through, it sounds like a carnival is parked in the kitchen. That distinctive ringtone is probably the only reason I was able to pull myself out of REM sleep to answer the phone.

"Hey! Are you awake?" asked Neal.

The correct answer would be "oh yes. I've been up for hours, just waiting on your call!" But the yawns and inability to make my nouns and verbs match gave me away.

"Mmm-now. How was...flight?"

"Long," he answered. He had been on a plane for most of a day and had been waiting on a plane + on a plane for over a day. And he didn't even have Australia or Hawaii to make it all worth it. "But we're in Ireland now. Just here for a little while, but I found a hot spot and wanted to call."

I was unable to express my happiness. Through the morning haze and pre-coffee lips it came out sounding like, "Oh yeaahhh...dat's goood." But I was thrilled that he had managed a phone call. The trip across the Atlantic always makes me anxious and with the plane they were on ("They have ashtrays in the armrests" was one of his first statements when they stopped at Ft. Hood to pick up another unit), I was relieved to hear his voice.

Everyone had scattered to grab a bite or a decent cup of coffee (in Ireland? Good luck. You're better off with the tea. It's part of Britain, y'know...home of the instant coffee) or try to place a call home.

The conversation was short. There is always something else that he must hurry up and get to, just to wait for an hour or two. But we've come to accept and even expect that. I call it the Army's Patience Program.

So, the 352 should be landing soon in Kuwait, where they will train just a little longer before flying into Iraq. That means limited Internet access, long days, and sleeping in open bay tents (with all of the music playing, alarms going off at all hours, conversations conducted at outside voice levels that comes with living in a 70-person tent). And I am assembling Neal's first care package...complete with Fiber One bars (going to war is no reason to not stay regular), calling cards (if AT&T really wanted to support the military, they would waive all fees for calls made from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. I hope the CEO sleeps soundly while he's snuggled under that blanket of freedom that our troops are providing), and his birthday gifts (TOMORROW is Neal's birthday! Please stop back over to send him a birthday greeting in the comments section!).

He did text me a few photos from their last hours at McGregor and their layover at Ft. Hood. I am posting the picture of them loading the plane, although every time I look at it, I have to choke back the tears. Leaving on a jet plane...don't know when you'll be back again...*sigh*

Bags lined up for inspection.
These dogs can sniff out drugs, bombs, and bad attitudes. So leave it all at home!

Neal has my niece, Flat Repunzerella, with him so I'm sure more pictures will follow. Thank you for all of your kind words, thoughts, and of course prayers on the blog, Facebook, and email. I finally feel like we are on a countdown. 356 wake-ups to go! 

I would also like to extend an extra-spectactular HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my girl and fellow beading goddess, Salt @ Salt Says! She crafted this bodacious UK headband for me to wear during March Madness and I'm just certain it's going to carry my boys all the way to the final game! C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats!! 

Thanks, girl and Happy, Happy Birthday!!


  1. Aw, that's a cute headband! You are BOTH beading goddesses!!
    Also, this makes my stomach hurt. I don't know how you do those deployments.

  2. I'm so glad he made it safely over the ocean, but I'm with Mimi I don't know how you do it. Love is a funny thing I guess :)

    Love your headband!

  3. You are such a good wife considering your husband's long distance poops the way you do. You're so darn cute, by the way!

    Pretty cool how they line up the bags for inspection like that,and even cooler that you guys found Tango. Thank goodness for today's technology. Can you imagine having gone through this way back when you heard nothing from them until they showed up back home? You've got it pretty good in that regard. :)

    Counting down...

  4. Happy early Birthday to Neal!

  5. Happy Birthday Neal! Praying the next 352 days goes by very quickly and that you come home safely :)

  6. Marital duties (and doodies) don't stop just because you are half a world apart. Good on you.
    And remember that you have all of us aching and worrying right along with you. Our collective positive thoughts should bring Neal home safely, and keep you sane for the next 356 wake ups.
    Oh, and HAPPY (early) BIRTHDAY NEAL!! *me waving like an idiot*

  7. I swear, it seems like all the flights I take I'm stuck on a plane with ashtrays on the armrests. Should that worry me??

    Happy Birthday to Neal!!!! :)

  8. Oh, Ally, so glad he's safe so far. Happy birthday to Neal and Salt. You're already more than 10% of the way thru this blog . xoxo

  9. That headband is adorable!

    I'm so glad you guys got a quick talk before he headed out of Irerland! Only 356 to go, you can do this and we'll be with you every step of the way! BE SAFE NEAL WE'RE ALL THINKING OF YOU AND ALLY! ox

  10. You look adorable.


    You are right on about that AT&T CEO in his snuggly little bed.

    Neal is the hero--THANK GOD we have him and the other soldiers, I get all teary just typing that.

    that is all


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