Sunday, June 23
The Jack Johnson was setting the mood yesterday from Pandora, as I slipped the pasta, sausage, and cauliflower bake into the oven. One bag of shredded mozzarella was dumped on top. I was excited for it to start gurgling. In the oven it went as I waited for my guests to arrive after they barely arrive into the state 24 hours earlier.
"Hey, can you recommend a hotel in the area?"
The Navy Lodge was booked solid for Friday, and while I was about to offer up my guest room to complete strangers, I was able to rattle off the hotels in a "non-stabbing" area to welcome the newest check-in and his girlfriend into the squadron. So for Friday they did as recommended: Have the local pizza place bring by pizza and a 6-pack of beer. :)
I know what it's like to come into a new city, exhausted after being stuck in LA traffic (Friday nights are bad), and you want to do is lay down and not move. Pile on top of that, zero social circle makes for a not-fun first time in California. I plan on making their welcome far better than mine. He's had notice that as soon as you're in California, you check in, and you leave. She's had welcome email after email from me, since I know far too strong what it's like to not be considered a part of the welcome wagon. Even though she'll be heading back to live with her parents during the remainder of deployment, she knows she can count on me for anything. So while my welcome was lackluster, I've change the way the "Knives" group works - we welcome everyone. Who says the respect should be different between a girlfriend of 4 years and someone who shotgun married for the healthcare?
So just before 7pm, the doorbell rang. I was excited. I was excited for me. And I was excited for them. They're getting everything I wanted. They're getting a warm welcome to both service member and girlfriend. They're getting a home-cooked meal (something they wanted!). And they're getting the guide to the area on where are safe parts and where most others live. And like great guests, they brought beer. :)
I opened the door and I loved what I saw. I saw us in them. Two spry, young check-ins ready for an amazing time in California full of camaraderie and antics, full of travel, and full of excitement in a sea-going squadron. I say this like we've passed our prime in life. And in some circumstances, we have. The "JO tour" (aka the Junior Officer timeframe of O-2 (Lt. Junior Grade) and O-3 (Lt.) respectfully) is regarded in the same esteem for Officers as the college years to the civilian years. You make absolutely great friends. You experience things that most people don't get to (the bonding between the Junior Officers, their attaches, and the military separations that make for sleepovers, potlucks, and the occasion tears). If I could do the entire 2.75 years all over again (despite we're not leaving for awhile), I would do it again in a heartbeat. I've had an absolute blast here.
And this is all I can wish on our newest friends. We popped the beer, I gave a tour of our home, and showed off the back yard (hello, golf course!). We chatted, ate dinner, enjoy a 2nd round of beer, and talked about how life is in California. We talked homecoming (where as the newest of guys, he will unfortunately take the "new guy role" and be the last person off the boat for the squadron) and then how life will return to normal for everyone. And after they left, I sent an email to Mr. Wookie on the boat with my findings - he'll fit in just fine and she's awesome.
So while we'll only overlap a handful of months from when the boat returns and when we're due to transition (which is still TBD; Mr. Wookie is the next to "pop" on orders), I'm excited to leave a lasting mark on the community. And that's not counting my giant stack of wine corks that have established themselves since shove-off or ability to sneak mini vodka bottles into any beverage.
Saturday, June 22
I know, I know...you're thinking a multitude of things...
Mrs. Wookie, why do you keep ninja-smoking it? (aka disappearing)
Mrs. Wookie, where's his 'stache??
Mrs. Wookie, what the heck is this videoconference crap??
Someone doesn't like it when his picture is taken
I don't know how...minus I was told it was something to do with Hawaii and a videofeed with the boat, but the families of our squadron were invited to enjoy 10 minutes of 'face time' with their better halves. In the week leading up the event, I was sure we weren't going to just because we're kinda different than your average Navy couple (I didn't visit San Diego when the boat pulled in for 18 hours because we thought it was a GIANT waste of money, time, and energy). So when the texting/emailing occurred that morning that I needed to be on base (groan) to see his smiling, non-'stached, face I was...well...irritated.
Ummm, hello. This email about a video feed has been on the radar for weeks. Then with an hour left until I need to be on base of all places, I'm supposed to drop everything to spend 10 minutes talking to you via a 4-second delayed video feed?? You couldn't have told me you wanted to do this..you know...not the day-of??
See....like I said, we're not your average Navy couple. We're not enthralled in Navy swag, shopping solely at the Commissary, I don't wear the "wings" necklaces that so many spouses/girlfriends wear (I haven't earned any wings, so why would I wear them?), and we don't advertise his occupation.
But I went because I didn't want to seem like a bitch. :)
Yes, he's deployed. Yes, he sees the same faces every day without the relaxation of a 5 o'clock that's on land where your awesome Mrs. Wookie pours you a Bourbon and asks about your day (despite her day being equally awesome at her job). So yes, I went to give him a little 'pep in his step' since our gChat in Thailand sucked because that country's idea of "good wifi" is 1992 dial-up.
So there I sat for 11 minutes actually. We exchanged our most recent days' events (his sorties, my sales). He asked how the Sheriff was (since it was Father's Day) and that he needed to email his dad also. We also talked home life, responsibilities, post-deployment traveling plans, that move that keeps being pushed further away, and how I'll be expecting post cards from Thailand. :) (Yes!)
And why is the 'stache gone?? Sweat + 'stache apparently isn't appealing. Shucks.