The past year actually went by fairly quickly—but the last three days have passed soooooooooooooooo slowly it was driving me insane. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, kept jumping from the computer to the TV to laundry to playing with the dog, lather, rinse, repeat.
The word was that they would be arriving at 3:30pm—but Tom had called earlier and said that he was guessing more 2:30ish. So I figured they would be running late (it IS the military after all) but I’d rather sit there and twiddle my thumbs than drive myself even nuttier at home. So I decided to leave at 2.
And the timing actually could NOT have been better.
I had barely passed through the front gate when my phone rang—an unfamiliar local number. I answered it, and it was Tom (who must have been using someone’s cell phone) and he asked me where I was. I said I just got on base. He said THEY just got on base as well! Turns out they were LITERALLY about a minute behind me, and by the time I stopped at a light, I could see the buses on the road behind me. I almost lost it at that point but managed not to cry.
I pulled into the parking lot, and by the time I parked and got out of the car, the first bus was pulling in right behind me and then four more passed by me. I tried to see if I could see Tom through the windows but I couldn’t. However, I did see one of our neighbors, so I guessed he was on that same bus, but by the time they all pulled to a stop, I had forgotten which bus it was.
Of course there was a HUGE crowd of people just swarming all over—people with signs and banners, wearing personalized t-shirts, balloons, and anything else you can think of to draw attention to themselves. (I took a few pics and will post later if they turned out.) And although I was in a hurry to find Tom, I pretty much just had to stand there and wait and scan the crowds. With a row of five buses (about 100 yards long) I figured I might be there awhile—but as luck would have it, he came out of the bus right in front of me! So I only waited maybe two minutes!
The worst part of the whole thing was finding his bags. They had arrived on separate transport before him, and everything was just sitting on the lawn in huge piles, so everyone was searching for their bags at the same time, in the middle of people milling about. Very disorganized and irritating for people who just wanted to get the hell out of there. (How much time/energy would it take to at least put one color-coded tag on each bag so at least you could narrow your search down to one pile? It’s not like these guys have different color luggage—everything is green!)
We finally gathered all his bags and were off! He changed in the car and we stopped and had Thai for lunch, then he wanted a Blizzard for dessert so it was off to DQ! Then we needed a few food things, so we went to Sam’s Club (something we love doing anyway) and then home, where Tom had fun running around the yard with Maggie!
It’s sooooo great having him home.