+Friday, February 24, 2006+
Nothing new. Still waiting. Dates still dancing around like unattainable goals.

I hate to say it because it'll sound the way I don't mean it to, but I'm really not excited. I don't mean I'm not thrilled that Matt's coming home - because I am - but as I'm sure those of you who've been through a homecoming and those who're close know (and as those of you just starting a deployment will know in a few months time), it's really draining to get amped up over what-ifs and ever-changing dates. I hate the word "tentative."

When we were about 2 months out from reunion, I was unstoppable - I cleaned every nook and cranny, I alphabetized our DVDs, I reorganized our linen closet; I even pulled out our washing machine and dryer and scrubbed the floor underneath and behind them. I felt rushed, like I didn't have enough time to get the house in tip top condition for Matt's return. Now that there's not a trace of grime on the grout between the tiles nor a speck of dust to be found on any surface in the house, I feel as though I have too much time.

I've started to push my physical limits in my daily workouts so that I can burn the excess energy that continues to follow me around in the absence of things to clean and inundation of time to kill. It's perhaps quite masochistic, but I find that I love waking up with sore muscles in the morning. I feel invigorated (hurts so good), and it masks the emotional pain of waiting. Not to mention I feel healthier than I have in a long time, but that's just a bonus.

When I'm not overly exerting myself, I'm hanging out on the other end of the spectrum as a TV zombie. On any given night after a stimulating work out, I can be found sprawled on a couch, drooling mindlessly on a couch pillow, and utterly absorbed in the fictional and nonfictional lives of others. I consider it a blessing that American Idol is on three nights for the next few weeks, and since the cancellation of of my favorite show Reunion I've recently become enthralled with House. I bought the first season on DVD to "catch up" on everything I've missed, and sadly, you now know my plans for the entire weekend. I'm a Fox junkie.

My days have started to merge into each other - each one is exactly like the one before it. For the past year, I've forced myself to maintain normalcy. I've fought the urge to never leave my house and never answer the phone for anyone other than Matt, and I'm glad of it, too, because, well, a watched pot never boils, but with the end taunting me from a not-too-distant position, I've completely and willingly succumbed to waiting. I leave the house for work, groceries, and a select few VIPs, though I much prefer it if they come to visit me rather than vice versa, but other than that, I implement our immense DVD collection for my entertainment and thoroughly enjoy being "pathetic." I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I'm not being antisocial, I'm being solitary, and I am a person who enjoys her solitude, so in reality, I can't think of a better way to "hang in there" for these last few weeks.

I have, however, ceased to care about the day I'm waiting for. I know it'll be in March, and I've accepted that's all I will know for the time being. When push comes to shove, we've been apart for nearly 415 days now, so whether we're waiting 10 more days or 25, it's really not going to make much of a difference. In a lot of ways it seems silly to me how much I've been fussing over 20 days after all we've been through. I've come to terms with my feelings of perplexity through superfluous workouts and allowing myself to wait.

wishing matt was here @ 2:22 PM+

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+Tuesday, February 14, 2006+
Happy Valentine's Day, darlings! :) My second without Matt, but undoubtedly far better than last year's - this Valentine's I'm ending a deployment instead of beginning one. For the sake of nostalgia, I went back into my archives and read my angst-ridden post from last Valentine's Day and couldn't help but chuckle: Who was I angry at? The world? Of course, in defense of my anger, I had been prepared to spend Valentine's day in Ft. Sill with Matt only to come home to a message on my answering machine that that wasn't going to happen. Ahh, the army and I have sure had a tumultuous relationship.

For the holiday, I got a dozen tulips and perfume delivered to me from Matt (included "literature" tells me The tulip is the flower of perfect love, the symbol of lovers' eternal fidelity...In the Far East, dropping a red tulip at a woman's feet was the sign of a solemn love promise...), and in his personal card he writes about how much better this Valentine's day seems than last (yes it does!) and I'll see you in a few weeks. A few weeks!! Not a a year, not a few months, a few weeks! I wonder how I'll hold up when it's a few days (though I also wonder if that will ever happen...more on that in a bit).

Yesterday after work my best friend called me up and told me to come get my [very] late Christmas gift (or depending how you look at it, it could be an early Valentine's gift). It was meant for Christmas but took so long because she got Matt involved and they had to send something back and forth between them; this, of course, peaked my curiosity, and I've been pestering both her and Matt since I first heard about it to give me even just a clue as to what it was. Neither of them cracked - they both know all to well that if anyone can destroy a surprise, it's me.

So after an egregious build up of intrigue, yesterday I finally got to pick it up and discover what it was. It is easily one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received, and not in a million years what I would've guessed it was. It was a stuffed horse from one of those Build-a-Bear workshops, wearing desert camo and the most adorable little desert combat boots that are a dead-on image of the real things right down to the laces (click on image for a larger view). The best part? When you squeeze his left hoof, Matt's voice says, "I love you and miss you baby, and I'll see you soon!" All the collaboration and plotting between the two of them was a voice chip in the hoof of my cute soldier horse (whom I've named Matt, Jr). Since I got it yesterday, I've been obsessively pressing the voice button, I played it over and over for Matt when he called me last night (he was laughing so hard at me when we hung up, but God, it was great to hear him laugh!); I wonder how long the batteries will last...

When I talked to Matt last night (all the while cracking him up with my incessant pressing of the button on the horse), he gave me some bad - though I must admit not all that surprising - news. They're homecoming date has been pushed back again. Just when I thought we were in the clear with 4 weeks left - BAM! - the army shoves us right back into our 5-weeks-left limbo. It's looking now like the deployment will be closer to 15 months than 14, and I've officially given up on changing my countdown because I honestly think it's just jinxing it on some level. Once again, the end of the deployment assumes its mirage status, and I'm left wondering if it isn't. Will the countdown ever drop below 30 days??

wishing matt was here @ 11:21 AM+

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+Wednesday, February 08, 2006+
This is getting arduous. I'm only partially successfully trying to maintain my patience through this last month, but good God, it's severe. I knew the end would be bad, but I don't think anything could've prepared me for this. The end of the deployment has become, for me, a mirage - every time we get closer to it, a reflection on the ground, a trick of the eyes, it disappears; it moves farther away. I'm beginning to doubt we'll ever reach the point where there will be just 4 weeks left, then 3, 2, 1...we seem to be stuck in limbo in week 5.

It's really difficult to concentrate on anything. I'm sure someone outside the "know" of my situation would think I was suffering from an acute case of ADD. That, or they might think I was on drugs. I can't sit still. I don't care about work or anything else for that matter. Me, the self-proclaimed perfectionist, who makes mistakes on only the rarest of occasions (and not without good excuse) have been finding errors in my work left and right lately with no explanation other than a prolonged visit to la-la land. I live my days from one phone call from Matt to the next (much like I did in the very beginning, but this time not just to hear his voice, but to have the relief of making plans for the next month, to be reminded that his homecoming isn't merely a far-fetched dream anymore).

The first group of guys in Matt's unit have been moved from their barracks into transient tents to wait for their flight out of there. Matt's group won't be far behind - at this point it sounds like it could be a week or two till he's leaving the country (but I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being 3 weeks). I don't even really know what to do with myself anymore because nothing makes time move as fast as I'd like it to - I want to wake up tomorrow and realize it was all just a dream, that Matt is laying next to me, and everything is in order. I want to think I'll rest easy once he's back on U.S. soil, but the truth of the matter is, I'll probably be all the more apprehensive knowing he's so close. It seems exorbitantly unfair that after 400 days we still have 35 (give or take) to go.

Ah, well, I suppose after 3 paragraphs of bitching, an uplifting story is called for, and this made me particularly giddy Monday morning. While it may not be the most gripping happenstance, it amuses me to find God's sense of humor in coincidences such as this one, and as odd as it may seem, happy accidents like this strengthen my belief that Matt is my soul mate - that one person really is made for another (the story didn't get much of a reaction from my test audience - the girlfriends I told it to - so don't be expected a story of a miracle or anything, but I firmly believe it's the little things in life that count).

When Matt first got into Afghanistan, I sent him a lot of mix CDs and if he requested a song that he didn't know the name of, I'd figure it out and burn it for him. I loved being able to find for him songs that he'd particularly liked, and I loved that he "tested" my ability to find them. I used to work at a radio station and considered myself the utmost expert on Name that Tune or Find that Song.

About a year ago (a little less - it was probably about last March), Matt asked me to find a "chariot song" for him. The only "chariot song" that came to mind was "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," but that was not the song he was thinking of - this one was new, rockish, and contained the word "chariot." I asked him to sing me a few lines, but he wouldn't (like any guy wants to break into song in the middle of an MWR phone room), so with nothing more than "a chariot song" as my description, I set out on finding it. Lyrics search engines and Napster returned me with nothing but "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," I'd never heard any song like it, and no matter what I tried, I continually came up empty handed. Finally I gave up, but Matt continued to ask for it - it became a regular thing for him to ask, "Chariot song?" especially when he was asking me to take care of things for him, and eventually morphed into somewhat of an inside joke. After continuous questioning of the "chariot song," I snapped and told him if he couldn't give me any more than "chariot song," I couldn't find it for him. I felt defeated that my talent for finding songs from little more than a few words in the lyrics had failed me. I told Matt that maybe he was imagining things, that maybe there was no such song.

Still, he continued to ask, "Chariot song?" whenever I talked to him - in fact, it's difficult for me to remember a phone conversation in which he didn't ask about the song. I think that's probably about the time it became a joke - when we both gave up on the possibility of finding the song (and I had secretly given up on the existence of such a song).

Monday morning when my alarm went off, I hit snooze. I was cuddled up with Ashes and not quite ready to begin my morning regime, not to mention recently I had started setting my alarm for 5:30 instead of 6:30 to give me more time to get ready - I'm still adjusting to waking up an hour earlier (I bet you can see where this story is going, huh?). When my snooze alarm went off, a song I had never heard before was playing, but the alarm had clicked on the moment the song went into chorus, and it took not even a milisecond for the importance of the song to register. Oh Chariot your golden waves are walking down upon this face... I grabbed up the notepad I keep next to my bed (to write down book requests for Matt when he calls at the wee hours of the morning with them) and started frantically jotting down the lyrics which would make it TONS easier to find the song. No sooner had the song ended than I had it downloaded on my computer (God bless technology).

I was so excited to tell Matt that I had found his song, I couldn't stop grinning all day, and when he called me early Tuesday morning, I told him the story and played the song for him. While I realize it's possible and likely that it's nothing more than just a coincidence, I can't help but think that somehow Fate had a hand in it. It seems too incidental that a song Matt has been bugging me about for 11 months, that I had never heard (or heard of) and could not find, that has become such a regular topic of our conversations that it had become an inside joke between us, just happened to be going into its chorus the moment my alarm went off - and so close to the end of the deployment, which I'm sure has some significance, but I can't quite put my finger on what it might be.

So maybe I've put way too much thought into this - maybe it is just a happy accident - but coincidence or fate, it's little things like this that amuse me and get me through the day. Oh chariot I'm singing out loud to guide me. Give me your strength.

wishing matt was here @ 11:03 AM+

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+Wednesday, February 01, 2006+
Guess what?! MATT WILL BE HOME NEXT MONTH! Yes! Finally I can say it! LOL.

Anyhoo, I have been tagged by Ryan and Christy, and the opportunity to kill some time is always an appealing one...

4 Jobs You Have Had in Your Life
1. Ski instructor for snot-nosed little kids
2. Horseback trail guide
3. Weekend "on-air personality" (aka radio DJ)
4. Accounting clerk

4 Movies You Would Watch Over and Over
1. Mean Girls
2. Office Space
3. Sliding Doors
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's

4 Places You Have Lived
1. Cocoa Beach, Florida
2. Incline Village, Nevada
3. Reno, Nevada
4. ...that's it...I've only lived in 3 places, but in 2 years I moved to 8 different places within Reno, so that's gotta count for something, right?

4 TV Shows You Love to Watch
1. America's Next Top Model
2. Syndicated re-runs of Friends
3. American Idol
4. The Simpsons

4 Places You Have Been on Vacation
1. Los Angeles, California
2. Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
3. Wautoma, Wisconsin
4. Girdwood, Alaska

4 Web- sites You Visit Daily
1. IntellectualConservative.com
2. A variety of different blogs
3. Yahoo! news
4. toothpaste for dinner

4 Favorite Foods
1. Sushi...mmmmmm
2. Bean & cheese burrito (w/rice)
3. Cereal (namely Vanilla Yogurt Burst Cheerios)
4. Any kind of pasta

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
1. Anywhere as long as it was with Matt
2. In bed, sleeping.
3. Lounging on a beach.
4. Disneyland!!

4 People I Tag:
Hmmmm....let's see.....Brittany, Jennifer, Karen, and Courtney.

wishing matt was here @ 10:53 AM+

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