Friday, July 27, 2007

Catch Up

Oh what a week. Every time I think I have a moment to sit down and relax I get pulled away for something else. It's getting rather frustrating. The good news is that I feel better and I'm no longer worrying about where the nearest garbage can is. And for those of you who think I'm pregnant I can assure you I am not. When your husband is taking medication that has potential birth defects listed in the side effects you are extremely careful to avoid any unplanned accidents.

Yesterday was a very exciting day for us. We have officially signed off on the med board paperwork and we are waiting for orders to be cut. Translation: we have less than two weeks to go until we are HOME FOR GOOD!!! There isn't really a whole lot left for us to do but sit and wait. Our paperwork is almost complete and until we have our orders in our hand we cannot go anywhere. It's a nice feeling to know that we are almost out of Walter Reed and back in WI. Even though I'm beyond excited to return home I must admit that I'm also very nervous. It's a little frightening to think that once we are there we are completely on our own. If his arm breaks it's not as easy to get it fixed. We can no longer just walk the two blocks to the hospital and hand it off to Mac for repair. And as much as I would like to think that I give great hand massages, I know that they are nothing compared to Kristi's (J.R.'s OT) and J.R. will surely spend plenty of time whining about that. I know it's going to take time to settle back into a normal life. I just hope we both have the patience for it.

I will say that the week we just had back in WI calmed my nerves about the final return home a bit. It was a very encouraging glimpse of the future. In the beginning of the week, J.R. became aware of what he does and does not own by dumping all of his possessions on the floor. At one point he looked at me and informed me that he "has a lot of stuff." My response was something along the lines of "duh" but with a few added colorful bits of language.

After spending the first part of the week passing time with sorting and cleaning we finally made it to Friday. We were both so excited to see J.R.'s unit come home. We arrived in the cities about an hour before the buses rolled in and right away we ran into Oliver in the parking lot. Oliver was the gunner in J.R.'s vehicle the night he was hit. He suffered shrapnel wounds in his hands and his knees and was sent home as well. However, because he was not as seriously injured they were separated once they were state side. They had not seen each other since Christmas. I can't describe the moment they first saw each other. There just aren't words to explain it. I don't think I can even fully understand what it meant to my husband to see Oliver again. I just know that for both of us it was a relief to see him with all ten fingers and ten toes running around. After a short discussion about what happened the night of December 19, we left to meet up with a few other soldiers. Everybody was excited to see J.R. There were hugs, handshakes, and more hugs. It wasn't long before the buses rolled in and the whole unit was in their final formation. The men convinced J.R. to join them. I was so proud of him as I watched him join his unit. After the guys were released we all sat around talking about the last seven months. What happened in Iraq, what happened in D.C., and how the unit was handling the trauma of their time overseas. We discussed the accident over and over. Fahlin, Oliver, and J.R. all replayed what they remembered. I know there will be many more lengthy discussions in the future about what happened the night of December 19th. For now I'm just glad the men are home and the healing process can truly begin.

Saturday and Sunday we spent in Stillwater, MN for lumberjack days. Seeing the expression on the faces of fellow lumberjacks when they first saw J.R. was hysterical. It took a minute for a lot of them to realize who they were looking at. But the excitement and the smiles that followed were worth a million dollars a piece. We spent both days soaking up the sun and cheering on our friends. J.R. got on a log for the first time on Saturday. I knew once he saw the logs by the water it wouldn't be long before his curiosity would win him over and he would be rolling. He was determined to roll in plain tennis shoes with no spikes. After tying his shoes and wishing him good luck we walked down to the water. He rolled the log into the water, looked it over, and withing seconds was rolling as though he had never missed a day. No one could miss the smile that stretched from ear to ear on his face. Knowing that he could still get on a log and roll without a problem was a huge step in the right direction to getting back his normal life.

Sunday night we drove up to Hayward. Due to severe weather that decided to blow over our apartment, we were forced to stay put until later in the evening. This meant a very late road trip up north. We left our apartment around 9 pm. J.R. snuggled into the passenger seat and immediately closed his eyes. What a surprise. No more than ten minutes into the trip I saw my first deer on the side of the road. I slowed down, the deer stayed put, and I drove happily on my way. Half way there I hit a very unexpected detour. I'm not sure what the creator of the detour was smoking when they laid out the path, but how dare they not share with those of us driving the detour. I'm sure it would have been much more entertaining had they shared. Maybe then I could have seen the humor of the back country roads that are pitch black, hilly, and full of death curves. Not to mention the man eating deer that are lurking by the side of the road just waiting to attack an unsuspecting car. I saw SIX deer on my way. SIX! It's a small miracle we made it to Hayward in one piece with a dent free car. We did finally make it to our final destination. Half an hour later than planned, but still we were there. It didn't take long for me to find a bed and fall asleep.

Monday morning we slept in. Around noon we went into the shop and J.R. pulled out his saw mill. He sawed for the first time since he was injured. He can still do it!! After cutting to logs of pine it was time to keep moving and check on the mini storage unit. Everything was still intact. We then went and met up with some of J.R.'s friends. Overall a good day.

Tuesday was not nearly as exciting. In the midst of packing to return back to D.C. I received a phone call from work. Big changes are taking place in the shoe department of Macy's. I'm frustrated. I worked so hard to keep this job and now everything about it is going to be different. It is completely out of my control and I can't stop the changes that are coming. I can't really openly talk about them yet either. I just know that I have some very big decisions and a lot of options to be looking at right now. And as much as I want to rule out having to look for a different job, I feel it would be in my best interest to at least have an idea of other positions that are currently available.

I believe that pretty much is one short catch up session for everything that has been going on in life. As always there is more going on then I can often keep track of. The rest of my day is going to be spent packing more boxes and making even more trips to the post office. Always enjoyable. At least there is now an end in site for our time in D.C.

*As a side note: I know blogger is refusing to publish my post with the correct spacing and blah blah blah. I'm working on it, but my patience is running thin. So for now... deal with it :)


Anonymous said...

Dear Josie:

Don't worry about the job. After all that you and JR have been through, you'll find something that suits you perfectly. You are both young and strong, and will do well together. If the people at Macy's can't properly evaluate your talent, it's their loss.

Soldiers Angels,NYC

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear that you and JR will soon be home in Wisconsin again. After everything the 2 of you have been through you will do just fine. Friday was an awesome day, I wish I had gotten to talk with you and JR but I know Mike got to say a quick "Hi!" before we all found him to give him hugs. I am so happy JR got to do some logrolling and it went well, that is awesome, maybe we'll see him competeing again soon.
Cindy Rolfs

liberal army wife said...

yay!! he rolled, and sawed, and saw those guys... and you didn't get eaten by those car eating deer!!!! seriously, I'm so happy that things are beginning to fall into place. I was hoping that we would be in the DC area in the near future and could go out for dinner.. but you are going to be back here much earlier than our orders....

I'll keep my fingers crossed for your job prospects, but don't sell yourself short!


Anonymous said...

Good to hear you are feeling better!
Glad to hear you will soon be back in our home state. Stay strong, things will work out for you both. Take care of yourself and prayers for you both.
Cathy B

Tracy said...

I'm so glad that you had a great trip. I was smiling so big reading this post (JR seeing his friends, log rolling, and sawing!) YAY!!

Butterfly Wife said...

Actually, I started crying when I saw that JR was log rolling. That must be such a relief for both of you. To know that with all that you've been through, it will be OK, that life will go on, differently, but also normally. Now I am crying again. Best wishes to you both.

Kat said...


yep, crying here too. :) (hugs)