+Monday, September 26, 2005+
One of our chinooks crashed yesterday. Matt is okay (in the lowest sense of the word). Two of the 5 guys onboard were from our small Nevada Guard unit, so needless to say, our conversation when he called last night was of the most morbid kind. When I got a call last night from our RDC confirming fears that it was our unit, my stomach dropped; I'd been praying all day that the chinook wasn't ours and that I'd be getting that email that says "Everyone in the unit is okay." These are the first (and hopefully) the last casualities from our unit, and the whole situation hit me with the full force of its severity. There's something that shakes your foundation when you realize it is so close to home, something that makes it really horribly real. For a while there I'd kind of let myself forget that Matt was in a war zone; I'd really started to believe that everyone from our unit was going to make it back okay. I can't even begin to imagine how the families who were deeply affected yesterday must be feeling. This "forgotten war" is still taking lives, and my thoughts are prayers are with the wives and children of the men who were killed yesterday. God bless.

wishing matt was here @ 10:11 AM+

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+Thursday, September 22, 2005+
I feel a little bit like I've been neglecting updating with any real updates, mainly because my life has fallen into a routine of monotony. Since school started, everything has been a constant go go go. Every day is exactly like the day before it - Monday is like Tuesday, Tuesday is like Wednesday, and so on and so forth. The only way I differentiate the days is by class and "my" TV shows, and even those feel to me like a means to an end.

I can't get out of bed in the mornings, and I think that this schedule of mine is mostly to blame. Every morning I lay in bed and debate calling in to work. Every. Single. Morning. For like the past month. And it's not because I don't want to go to work or because I didn't get enough sleep, but because the drudgery of another day - another clone of the day before - is just so unappealing to me. I've tried everything - getting more sleep, getting less sleep, getting exactly 8 hours of sleep, waking up to my buzzer alarm, waking up to music, waking up to talk shows, falling asleep to music, falling asleep to TV, falling asleep to silence. It's apparent that my sleep habits are not to blame for my inability to drag my ass out of bed every morning. I wonder if I'm depressed. But I don't FEEL depressed; I just feel......bored. There's nothing to inspire me, nothing to get me excited about kicking off another day. I've taken up some hobbies, I've made new friends, I go out, I'm doing great in school; it's not literally like I'm doing the same exact thing day after day, but most of the time I feel detached. Like I said before, it feels like a means to an end, and "bored" is the perfect word for it. Or perhaps, "indifferent."

Matt's been gone for just about 9 months now with approximately 5 months left to go, and I'm down right sick of this deployment. I'm sick of having to stay busy to force myself to forget how lonely I am. I'm sick of going home to an empty house at the end of the day. I'm sick of waking up without feeling Matt curled up against me. I realize there's little I can do to assuage these feelings, but I've gotten myself into focusing all my energies in Matt coming home - in absolutely everything I do - and I'm not quite sure how I got into this rut, so I'm not quite sure how to get out of it!! I'm not sad. Just tired.

My birthday weekend was a good time (since the damn thing fell on a Monday this year, I decided to claim the whole weekend prior as "mine"). A few of mine and Matt's friends took me out on Friday for a night of gambling and drunken debauchery (gotta love Nevada...trust me, you've never seen gambling at its finest till you've visited Nevada where a bar without video poker is an anomaly and where every single grocery store has slot machines - yes, even Wal-Mart and convenience stores like 7-11). It's possible (and very likely) that I had a little too much to drink, but well, the fact of the matter is I haven't gotten good and plowed for a looong time so perhaps it was overdue, and I hardly ever gamble (it would be a detriment to gamble often and live in Nevada), but I lost $20 to stupid scamming slot machines. When I got home, my cell phone was beeping at me that I'd missed a call. From Matt. ARGH!!! Since he's been in Afghanistan I haven't missed a single call from him - not one. There goes my track record. And the great thing about it is the brat actually laughed about it. Here I am, absolutely devastated that I missed his call 'cause I didn't hear my cell phone ring, and his voice mail says, "hahahaha You finally missed a call from me!" Bless his heart, he called me first thing the next morning because he knew how torn up I'd be over it.

On Saturday, Matt's parents and sister came into town, and my parents and I took them around Tahoe to show them the spots we'd scouted out for the rehearsal dinner and the reception. We officially booked both spots on Monday, and while the reception isn't going to be where we had originally planned on having it, it is in a spot that, in my opinion, is way better. My mom was a little disappointed that I didn't pick her number one spot and had, on more than one occassion on Saturday, to be reminded that this is mine and Matt's wedding, not her's. I'm trying really hard not to morph into the infamous "bridezilla." I know exactly how I want my wedding to be - there's not a single question mark in my mind about how things should be - but at the same time, I'm trying to implement everyone's ideas, some of which are way off base with what I have in mind, and this is proving to be a difficult and strenuous task full of compromises and headaches. I threw out the idea of barbecued food for the rehearsal dinner because I bought a gorgeous red gown for the occassion with something more elegant in mind than a rib cookoff; I felt terrible brushing the idea off with such nonchalance because it was Matt's parents idea and they are the ones paying for the rehearsal dinner. Thankfully Matt's mom has been more than understanding, which I know is a trait that not all girls can be so grateful as to have found in their future mother-in-law. I am letting Matt's sister design my center pieces for me - I have no doubts she'll think up something fantastic - and I feel that's an okay compromise for basically pushing the barbecue idea out the door without a second thought. Involving everyone without sacrificing details of your dream wedding is easier said than done!! Ultimately though, everyone's happiness is more important to me than achieving perfection, and it is just a wedding, which is far less important than the marriage which will follow.

On Monday, my actual birthday, I went to work and school. Good times. I got to talk to Matt about three times (he called at midnight, the first to "officially" wish me a happy birthday). His birthday gift to me - what he sent me in the mail that arrived a few days before my birthday, not the roses pictured - was very simple, but is incomparably the best gift I've ever received. Guys who can give to a girl what Matt gave me on my birthday - from the other side of the world, no less - are truly rare gems. What did he give me? Why, tears of utter and complete joy, of course :) He also had flowers delivered to my office on the day of my birthday. I took a picture of them as they were the most enormous roses I've ever see (to give you an idea of how big they are, my computer monitor which you can vaguely see on the right side of the photo is a 19" monitor. Granted, anything will look bigger when you're closer to it, but those roses were only about a foot and a half in front of the monitor). The blooms were huge - bigger than my fist!

Matt called me on Tuesday night to let me know he's arrived safely at the FOB he'll be spending the next month or so on. He was supposed to go there last Monday (the 12th), but there's the army for ya - hurry up and wait, right? I miss him so much, it's insane. By the time I hang up the phone with him, my palm is sopping wet from gripping the phone so tightly, like he can somehow detect through the phone how tightly I'm holding on to "him." I have a relationship with my phone LOL. His voice comes out of it, I might as well just name it Matt 2!! I can't wait till the day when I can talk to him without a delay, to his face instead of through a phone; when I don't have to sit down and break my wrist writing him a letter and can instead just tell him about my day. It seems so close, and yet so far.....

For the past couple days I've been recalling one of my Matt memories that I'm particularly fond of - begrudgingly waking up one morning, neither of us just dying to go into work, we decided to play hooky and stay home together. We cuddled up in bed all morning, took our dog for a walk in the afternoon, spent the entire day together, separated from the toils of every day life, totally in love and totally oblivious to the existence of anyone other than us. That's what I miss most, the days where we wanted nothing to do with anyone else other than each other. The days we'd let the answering machine pick up the phone, the days we'd be completely enthralled in each other, the days where all that matters is that he loves me and I love him. I can't wait till March. It's not possible that it could get here soon enough.

wishing matt was here @ 1:47 PM+

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+Friday, September 09, 2005+
Sometime I wonder if the habits I've picked up in Matt's absence are worrysome. I talk to myself very regularly - we've even started to have inside jokes together, me and I, but thing about the inside jokes is that they're basically the same as the jokes I share with Matt. In my oneness, I've just found ways to chuckle over them with myself because after all, I am basically just an extension of Matt.

When our dog would whimper and I'd ignore him, Matt would always be the savior, declaring to the mutt that, "Mommy's mean, huh?" When he was staring up at me with his big saccharine puppy dog eyes (the dog, not Matt...LOL) the other day and I caught myself picking up Matt's slack by saying, "I'm such a mean mommy, huh?," the realization had me in stitches. I miss Matt so much and in his absence, I've started to pick up the silly little things I loved about him to compensate for him not being there to do them. Am I going absolutely nuts here?? And the fact that I can laugh so hard over the jokes with myself, well, that's just batty....

My friend H came into town on Wednesday 'cause our friend K (whom we threw a baby shower for back in July) gave birth yesterday to a beautiful baby girl. They want me to go see the baby when I get off work today, and I'm a little nervous about it - I've never been around newborns. Nope. Not once. Yesterday when H was showing me pics, I asked her why they left part of the umbilical cord attached and clamped. Really, I know nothing about birth, and to think, I want to be a mother one day! Needless to say, the thought of being around such a tiny being so new to life is somewhat unnerving, and yet somehow so exciting. She's absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so happy for K - God bless her for being brave enough to raise this baby on her own!

Matt's going to be moving to an FOB temporarily within the next few days, and for a while I was quite uneasy about it; he's been at the same base since he got into Afghanistan and anything out of the "norm" of his day-to-day always gets me into a frenzy, but after talking to him about it last night, I feel a lot better about it. It's not so much being on a different base that concerns me - it's getting there. Granted, his IS a CH-47 helicopter unit, Matt's MOS has little to do with the birds, so he flies very little if at all, and regardless of how upsetting it may seem in my eyes, I'd rather him fly than convoy, and it's not really like I have options. LOL. Sometimes I still like to pretend that I do have control over the situations, that if I worry and complain enough the army will "change its mind."

Nothing much else to post about, though I often wonder why it is that 4-day weeks (after the Labor Day holiday) always seem to move by so much more slowly than full work weeks. Friday is finally here, but why does it seem like it was such a long, laborous process to get here?? Oh! Random acts of kindness: Thursday morning as I was leaving for work, I noticed yard clippings all over my driveway and my first reaction was to curse one of my neighbors for seemingly dumping their mower remnants all over my driveway. Then I looked up and saw that someone had mowed my lawn for me. It was so thoughtful it brought tears to my eyes - all of my neighbors know that Matt is deployed (as does anyone who drives by thanks to my "Proudly Serving America" yard sign), so for someone to do something so nice as to mow my lawn for me fills me with such an indescribable feeling. People DO care, and I wish it hadn't been done anonymously so I could thank the person who was kind enough to do this for me! Thank you, whoever you are! You brought an enormous smile to my day.

wishing matt was here @ 11:49 AM+

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+Sunday, September 04, 2005+
I haven't really felt like posting lately...My first week of school wore me out! Throughout the summer months, I'd forgotten how draining it can be. I took everyone's advice and decided to drop my 3rd class, and wow! Am I glad I did! I got a phone message the other day that they'd "reinstated" my class that they'd cancelled for the semester, but I don't even have the desire to take it. I had about 2 and a half hours worth of homework on Tuesday night and that was just from the first day of school! I haven't a clue how I would've fit that in if I'd taken that Tuesday night class as originally planned...

I was supposed to go visit my friend H this weekend (she lives about 2 hours away), but in light of the gas prices, it just wasn't possible. I make enough money to pay for gas to get to and from work and errands, but it would be frivolous and wasteful to take a "road trip" (no matter how short). I don't think she was very happy that I decided not to come - I don't think I've been out to visit her since the 4th of July; every trip to see each other has been her to me. In some ways I'm glad I wasn't able to make it out there. There's so much I have to get done around the house this weekend, and after an exhausting week, I'm not minding so much being solitary and lazy (I haven't really gotten to the "around the house" chores yet, but I have watched about a billion movies. I even watched Ever After twice 'cause they played it back to back on the Oxygen channel...LOL).

The gas here is averaged around $3.15 per gallon. One of my coworkers came into work Friday morning claiming that we were running out of gas and stations were closing, so I ran out in a rush - my gas light was on - and managed to fill up at $2.99. Not even 2 hours later that station had already increased it's prices to $3.09; anything less than that had lines pouring out into the street, and I know we're probably around the best prices in the country. Hearing that prices had reached nearly $6 per gallon in parts of Georgia is absolutely appalling to me! I vaguely recall hell being raised when gas prices around here reached $1.75ish, and I hate that we've been conditioned to think that's "good." But what're ya gonna do? As long as people need gas, they'll pay for it. I'm reminded almost daily by the morning show I listen to that driving is a privilege, not a right.

In light of the gas crisis, I've started driving with my windows down. I'm an air conditioning junkie and my car is a small chunk of hell without it (it's all black - interior and exterior), but it also guzzles gas when I have it on, so in an attempt to save some gas, I've opted to sacrifice my frigid recirculated air for the sweltering "natural" air. It's at least not so bad this month as it was in July and August - fall is definitely in the air - but it's still hot, and I hate heat. Driving with my windows down has proven to be a little bit of an adventure because I talk to myself in my car. A lot. I have road rage and yell and curse and have more than once claimed "What the hell are you looking at?" at a stop light, only remembering that my windows are down when these people avert their eyes quickly. It's a reminder to me that I really need to reign in my driving attitude LOL. I drive under the false presumption that I'm the best driver in the world, and the only people who find it funny are Matt and my friend H. I think the rest of the people who ride in my car worry about my sanity...

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is absolutely heart wrenching - it seems horrible that I'm here griping about gas prices when some people lost EVERYTHING. I sent in a donation - albeit not as much as I would've liked to have donated if I had been able. If you haven't donated and would like to, this is a link to the Red Cross through Yahoo! You can donate between $25 and $5,000, and I know that there's many, many other sites that have links available to sites you can donate at. One of the families in my FRG just recently moved to Louisiana, so everyone's been pooling together in an effort to send them things they need. Thankfully, they evacuated before the hurricane hit, but obviously they didn't think this would be as disastrous as it has been - they lost everything!! My prayers go out to all the people who were affected by this :-(

Matt is doing well and has gotten the opportunity to call me a few times in the last week. You maybe have noticed the ever shortening countdown in my sidebar - I've been changing it in correspondence to the ever-changing date of Matt's homecoming, which - YES! - has finally started to become a topic of conversation among his commanding officers. It's sounding really good that they won't serve their entire BOG ("Boots on Ground") time, but with all things military, I don't want to get my hopes up. I was excited when Matt told me, but with the army's tendency to say one thing and do another, I'll believe it when I see it. Don't fall in love with the plan, right? The unit that will be relieving Matt's has already been alerted for deployment and will be reporting for their predeployment training VERY shortly.

I've started to get very uneasy as the parliamentary elections get nearer - they fall on the day before my birthday!! I'm not really sure how I should feel about them, and I know (or rather I hope) that Matt will be safe and sound, but it's tough to add any certainty to these statements. The only thing I want for my birthday this year is a phone call from Matt saying that everyone's okay, a news report that the elections went off without a hitch. I feel like everything in the deployment will be okay once these elections are over with. Please keep the Afghans and the troops in Afghanistan in your prayers as well as the victims of Katrina! There's so much unrest in the world, and while I'd like to believe everything will turn out okay, the fact of the matter is it's scary....

wishing matt was here @ 11:36 AM+

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