+Sunday, April 17, 2005+
I've been meaning to update for a few days now, but every time I sat down at my computer, I just couldn't find the motivation to write. I think it could very possible be spring fever - why should I be inside blogging on my computer when it's freaking gorgeous outside?!? It'll undoubtedly snow again in May as it always does, but I've been taking the opportunity to get outside and enjoy this perfect 70 degree weather before that happens (and before June and July when it gets into the high 90s low 100s and it gets too hot to "enjoy" anything).

I took off work on Tuesday and Wednesday because I was feeling a little under the weather and spent the days watching movies and burning home videos of Matt onto DVDs for quick reference. Sometimes I need videos of Matt like it's an emergency. The best I can do when I'm nearly suffocating from the pain of missing him so much is pop in a video of him being his usual goofy self and fall in love with him all over again.

It was cold and blustery on Wednesday (wait, didn't I just say it was gorgeous outside? Well, it did snow a little on Wednesday, and that's a typical Reno spring for ya), so when Matt called me Wednesday morning at the time I'd normally be waking up if I were going to work, the wind proved to be a great hinderance to my cell phone signal. Our 30 second conversation consisted of "baby, this is terrible! You're so staticy" and me telling him to call back on the house phone before we were cut off. When he didn't call back, I. Panicked. It took me nearly 3 hours to talk myself into a million reasons why he didn't call right back, and when I'd thoroughly convinced myself that he'd most certainly call back on Thursday, I finally stopped thinking the world was coming to a crashing end. (I can be really melodramatic sometimes. REALLY melodramatic.)

Matt didn't call back on Thursday. In fact, Thursday afternoon Cingular's network "went out," whatever that's supposed to mean. For approximately 3 hours, every Cingular customer in Reno was without service. If I tried to call out, my phone beeped angrily at me with the words "call failed." If I tried to call my cell phone from a ground line, a recorded operator informed me that the number I had dialed did not exist ("What do you MEAN it doesn't exist? It's my freaking number. OF COURSE it exists!!"). It was from about 3:30 to 6:30 in the afternoon that this happened, making it about 3 to 6 in the morning in Afghanistan - times that Matt has only called me during once when he first got into Afghanistan and was still adjusting to the time change - but nonetheless, I figured as luck would have it, this would be the only other time he'd ever call me at those times, and he'd get some message saying my number didn't exist.

He didn't call when my cell phone was out though. And he didn't call all day Friday either. By this time, I was a wreck. I was able to waive off emotional disaster on Wednesday by telling myself he'd call back on Thursday, and I pushed it aside on Thursday by convincing myself he'd call back on Friday. When he didn't call back on Friday, I didn't know what to tell myself anymore. All I'd been doing since Wednesday was waiting for him to call back and the result was a lot of restless nights and waking up in cold sweats at odd hours. Oh sure, this isn't the first time my cell phone's dropped one of his calls (it's happened many times, actually. I get an awful signal at the house. Cingular's "all over" network my ass), but it was the first time he didn't call right back, and that, in my mind, was cause for concern. His first night in Ft. Sill when he called to tell me that he'd gotten there okay, my cell phone dropped the call. Being my first night without him, I was absolutely devastated, but Matt got back in line and waited for another hour and a half just to call me back so I wouldn't be sad.

After tormenting myself with "what if"s for 3 days, wondering if he'd misheard something I said as something awful and had decided never to call me ever again, trying to convince myself that he would call amidst everything inside me that was asking, "what if he doesn't?," it just seemed so strange that he wouldn't call me right back like he always has. I finally heard from him Saturday around 4:30 in the morning and because of my freakish overreaction in the past few days, it was the most satisfying conversation we've had in a while. As it turns out, he did try to call me right back, but he couldn't get connected and sat on hold waiting for an operator for a long time before he gave up. He'd also planned on calling me on Friday, but opted out due to long lines. Well, I lost my cool and acted like an idiot, but live and learn, right?

After talking each other's ears off about how things are (it had been over a week since we'd actually been able to have a good long conversation), Matt informed me that his 20 minutes were just about up. Already?? It's amazing how fast a 20 minute phone call can fly by when you've been waiting all week for it. As if on cue, a sound resembling an air horn (and sparing no volume) went off right in my ear. I didn't know they had actual alarms telling you to get off the phone. I always thought the 20 minute limit was just a courtesy thing, and now they're blowing horns in my ear. After hearing that, I thought they were just going to disconnect the call, but thank God they didn't. They at least gave us enough time to exchange our "I love you"s and "I miss you"s. It took me a while to fall back asleep after that - the whole room seemed to be lit up with the glow I was emitting. I love this man, and I can't wait till he's back and I don't have to share him with the army any longer, but for now, all I can do is sit tight and be patient and treasure the communication we have.

Saturday I went up to Tahoe to discuss mine and Matt's PMI test results with my priest (Pre-Marital Inventory test...it's something you're required to do before you get married if you wish to get married in the Catholic church), and was pleased to find we scored 100% on pretty much everything. After a quick run through of the few things Matt and I answered differently on, I headed to my parent's house and my mom and I proceeded to go scout out reception sites. I'm absolutely in love with one of the places we looked at - all things considered, the price is quite reasonable, but unfortunately, the parking is awful, which means if we did choose this as a reception site, we'd more than likely have to tote guests around in shuttles which makes the price not-so-reasonable. Nonetheless, the center is right on the northshore of Lake Tahoe - guests could walk down to the beach if they wanted to, take off their cramped dress shoes and wade their feet in the freezing cold, crystalline water (if you've never been to Lake Tahoe, I highly recommend you add it to your list of places to visit before you die. I take it for granted a lot since I grew up there, but there's no denying its utter beauty. Pictures don't do it justice).

My second choice is part of the campus of Sierra Nevada College. While it's not my first choice simply because it's not right on the lake like the conference center is, it's still surrounded by the tall magnificent pine trees the Sierras are known for, and it's still a gorgeous setting (not to mention the parking is MUCH better and it's a good deal closer to the church). We gave the date to both places to tentatively "hold" them (though we can't actually have them until we put down a deposit, this ensures that they'll call and inform us if anyone comes in looking to rent out the facilities for the same date). I'd be absolutely thrilled with either place as a site for my reception - both are half indoor half outdoor, both are surrounded by beautiful Tahoe scenery, and both are around the same price range.

Planning our wedding makes me so happy regardless that it's still well over a year away. It reminds me that even though this year is rough on both of us, we have the rest of our lives together to look forward to. In the scheme of things, a year really isn't that long - wives from wars past had to endure much longer deployments with much less forms of communication. If they could do it then without the luxury of weekly phone calls and email, I can do it now. And ultimately, I remind myself that he misses me too, but he still goes through every day doing what he has to do. I still cry a lot and it still hurts a lot, but time goes by much faster if I don't focus so much on that which makes me sad. Being sad and feeling awful won't make the year go by any faster - it'll just make it harder to get through.

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
-Carlos Castaneda

wishing matt was here @ 11:33 AM+

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *