Yes, Jason is back, and I could not be happier! His homecoming on Wednesday was not without its dramas, however.
I was up until 1 a.m. the night before, unable to sleep. I baked Jason's favorite care package treat from over the course of this deployment, chocolate chunk blondies from Party Vegan, and then forced myself to get into bed. I awoke at 4 a.m. drenched in sweat. The air conditioning wasn't blowing and it was 80 degrees in the house. It was too hot to go back to sleep, so I turned on my computer and started my work day early. Within an hour, it was clear that the air conditioning was broken, because it wouldn't blow cold air no matter what I did. I put in a maintenance request around 6 a.m. for the air and for a ceiling light fixture that wasn't working, and went back to working in my underwear. Around 11 a.m. a voice piped up over the base-wide loudspeaker that we weren't to drink the tap water until further notice. I found out later that the reason was because it might be contaminated with something that had caused a number of people to mysteriously become sick. At that point I was wondering if I should expect a swarm of locusts next!
When a maintenance man showed up shortly after that, I thought that the worst of my problems was solved. But no, this guy had only been sent out to change my light bulb (which had ended up coming back on by itself hours before). I practically begged him to fix the air conditioning, so he called up his supervisor, who assigned the job to another guy who was working in an adjacent neighborhood. He showed up within an hour or so and got right to work. It turned out that the thermostat was totally dead, so he ripped the whole thing out and installed a new, fancier one with programmable settings and a digital display. He even programmed the thing for me. The job was done by 3 p.m. I thanked him profusely for his help and he thanked me for Jason's service and said it was the least he could do for a returning sailor. His kindness turned my whole day around.
With the air fixed, I decided that I had better go buy some bottled water, since there hadn't been any word about how long the tap water restriction was going to last. I had considered squeezing in a trip to the gym after I got the water, but it is a really good thing that I didn't, because at 4 p.m. Jason texted to say that his military plane might be leaving an hour earlier than scheduled! I immediately got in the shower to wash off the broken AC stench, and by the time I was out, he had texted again to say that they'd definitely be taking off early.
The rest of the day was a complete whirlwind. I did my hair and makeup and got dressed in record time--and as you can see from the picture above, the little sundress that I mentioned before fit like a glove!
With my beautifying done, I rushed over to the air terminal on the other side of base, only to find it deserted. Thank goodness for my friend, who texted to ask where I was, because otherwise I never would have known that the arrival point was over in one of the jet hangars! I made it there with plenty of time to spare, and was able to see Jason's plane pull up. My heart was in my throat as it rolled to a stop in front of us. Doors popped open at the front and the back of the plane, and I frantically looked back and forth in between the two as the sailors streamed out, all looking rather alike in their NWUs. Families rushed past me to get to their sailors. Finally I saw Jason coming out of the back of the plane, scanning the crowd for a familiar face. I trotted toward him as fast as I could without my sandals coming off of my feet, and the most wonderful smile lit up his face when he saw me. I threw myself into his arms, and the first thing I could think of to say was, "You asshole, why didn't you tell me to get you here?"
He forgave me for that.
While we were waiting for the sailors' bags to be unloaded, we were interviewed by a local news station. Jason gave a great sound byte about how happy he was to be home, and then the reporter asked me about the water contamination scare. Rather than using Jason's wonderfully insightful clip, they showed one of me saying "I'm disappointed" and that I was going to pick up some bottled water from a distribution station on the way home. It made zero sense the way it was edited, but at least I looked pretty on TV, I guess. The water ban was lifted the next day.
Since Wednesday, my love and I have been getting reacquainted--he with his PlayStation 3 and I with all of the cute clothes that haven't fit me for several years. I wore the shirt below on our first date almost six years ago!
We've gone out to dinner twice, shopped for shorts that don't fall off of my slimmed-down hips, gone to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Jason bought a new laptop that is apparently the end-all be-all of portable computing. On Monday we're going to pay off both of our cars using the money we saved up during this deployment.
But first, we're going to enjoy some well-deserved Sunday night pizza and beer.