This was outside our "family tradition" restaurant - "The Lobster Shanty". We eat there every single year when we go visit my grandparents in Satellite Beach.
First things first - I heard from Andy already!
I am so appreciative, really truly I am, of this wonderful modern age that we live in. I may have my moments when I wish I could go back and live in a different century, for kinder manners, and gentler language, and respect for some of the smaller things in life. But when my husband, who is on the complete opposite side of the world, is able to call my cell phone, while I am in Florida visiting my grandparents, and tell me that he is safe... suddenly my complaints about the world suddenly seem smaller.
Andy actually called me twice. He called just about the 24 hour mark, which I wasn't really expecting. This is his third time to deploy to the desert, and if my memory serves right from the other two times, if he didn't get a chance to call me from his European layover, I didn't hear from him until day 2 or 3. Since he didn't get to call me from his European layover I wasn't expecting any calls for another day or two. My wonderful Andy worked a miracle though and managed to call me. Of course, it was 3:30 in the morning, his time, when he called me. Perhaps the point that no one else wanted to be awake and using the phone at that time helped him be able to get the chance?! My favorite part of that call was when I asked him where he was, his response was, "somewhere that use to be Soviet". And that was the only answer I got to that question. I don't suppose I need to know...
He called again the next day, and we were in the car. I asked my Mom to roll up the windows, so I could hear him. Unfortunately, Zion had his fingers out the window, and they got shut in the window when she rolled it up. His screaming was not a help in allowing me to hear Andy! Then, in the frantic, "is he okay", "what just happened" craziness, I somehow lost my connection with Andy.
Truly, it is funny when you look back on it. What are the chances, really? But at the moment, I just wanted to cry! Luckily, Andy was able to call back, and even talk to Canaan and Zion for just a couple of seconds. That was a short phone call, but at least we got to have it, and complete it, rather then just have it be cut off.
On a side note, I just want to say that I love my family. They are crazy. But I love them. We were visiting my Dad's side of the family, whom we have never been as emotionally close to, mostly because they just don't "do" emotions. I happened to click a picture this time that caught my grandfather laughing, and as I was looking through the pictures I saw that picture and I realized that I have no memories of him laughing, Ever.
I am sure he has laughed before in my lifetime. But not often enough to have created a memory for me. The picture itself really isn't that great, but it is hugely important to me, because it is proof to me that he can laugh. They love to argue politics, and religion, and have challenged my mind often through the years, and made me cry regularly (since some of them have no desire to have a friendship with my savior and best friend Jesus). But, they are family, and I love them.
My dad's brother and his wife, my parents, me (with some really "big" hair) and my boys
I just loved Zion's face in this picture.
They were so focused on their sandcastle construction.
This is one of the finished projects. My dad got right down in the sand and helped them, and it was so cute!
One last postscript - Andy called again, around 2:30 am this morning. That first response to being awakened from a dead sleep by a ringing phone is always terror, but it only took me about 2 seconds to realize that it was going to be him.
He is finally at the place he is going to stay for the next six months. He says it looks like a tool shed, is made out of plywood, and holds eight guys. His request was for Sharpie's, so he could decorate the walls - he already has permission, and he loves to draw, so I guess I am going on a Sharpie run this afternoon.
I'm not supposed to expect any more calls for a while, since he is there, and safe. Hopefully he will get internet access soon!