Sunday, September 30, 2007

He made it!!!!!

Yeah! Jorge is recovering! He's awake, breathing on his own and wants to get out of here!!!! His mother and I went in together after he'd started communicating. He looked at her and said "Hi Ma!" What a sweet moment.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Quick Note

Jorge is still in ICU. His breathing is better. The doctor told Stef yesterday to not get her hopes up because it is still 50/50. I don't understand this since they've taken the nitric away, backed off the oxygen, the paralytic and sedation drugs and he is showing small signs of waking. We were so excited Wednesday that all of this was done and then to hear that on Thursday was extremely disappointing.

Austin's knee is no better (darn). He should find out tomorrow if he is going to have surgery soon or move with his Platoon to a different FOB. Reports from the Platoons who have already moved are NOT good regarding conditions --- bed bugs, no hot water, etc. I think a call to the White House might be in order!!!

Kris is now able to IM every day so we are having our first "conversations" in over a year (other than his R&R break and a phone call on Mother's Day). I'm learning things I never knew before --- IMing must be more comfortable for him to share information (not OPSEC stuff). Kris AND Katie have signed on for 20 years! For anyone who ever asked me if they were "lifers", the answer is YES.

Kylee is in Kansas visiting Katie and Kayli. It's homecoming weekend at Kayli's college so they should have a fun time. None of us had met Kayli. Now she'll be an official member of the "FAM".

So, we wait . . .

Monday, September 24, 2007

Update on Jorge

Jorge remains in critical condition in the ICU. His kidneys failed over the weekend so he was put on dialysis. Stef (and I) set up a site for him. This is a wonderful (free) service for keeping in contact with family and friends while your loved one goes through an extended illness or prolonged recovery. Take a look and if you know of anyone in a similar situation, tell them about this.

Austin has re-injured his knee and is out of the fighting for at least a month and probably longer. I've never been so excited and relieved to hear that one of my children had an injury. He's just hanging around at the FOB giving his leg time to heal. I want to tell him to jump up and down on that leg, but I probably shouldn't!

Stef still has my laptop so I'm sneaking this in at work. I'm "Jonesing" for a computer!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

No Posts for a While

Jorge is not doing well at all. Stef has my laptop so she can work from the hospital.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Check this out!

It's the Welcome Home T-Shirt design for Kris' battalion!!!!! If there's a t-shirt design then they must be coming home soon!

In the photo below Kris (left) is handling the re-enlistment of one of his former soldiers. (I am definitely NOT old enough to be this MAN's mother!) Kris has moved on to Battalion Staff for the remainder of his deployment; I'm not sure what that means other than he is no longer the CO of the 111th Sapper Company.

The photo is from the 1st Engineers' August newsletter.

I came across August edition of The Desert Raider, the newsletter of the 4/2 combat team. Though there was no mention or photo of Austin, my familiarity with the list of the Fallen confirmed I was reading about his activities as part of the brigade.

Oddly enough, there were TWO articles about deployed siblings; two brothers and a brother and a sister. I found this little tidbit in one of the articles.

So it has now been confirmed that I am NOT the only stressed out Mom of two deployed soldiers.

Actually, I am less stressed now than I have been in years. With all of the deployments and pending deployments, my heart has been on a roller coaster ride since 9/11. Now we're heading for the finish line and I'm excited!

[Jorge is still the same. The doctors backed off the respirator a little to see if he could do some breathing on his own; he can. Yeah!]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Harm at Home

Stef's boyfriend Jorge is in intensive care in a Tampa hospital. He was injured in a motorcycle accident a week ago -- battered, bruised, a broken hand and pelvis -- but no life threatening injuries.

All that changed yesterday when during surgery to repair his pelvis, blood clots from the injury traveled to his lungs which put him in pulmonary arrest. Fortunately he was on a respirator for the surgery or he may not have survived.

He is still on the respirator and under heavy sedation until his heart rate returns to normal and he can breath on his own. When we left the hospital tonight he had a fever but otherwise looked calm and comfortable.

Stef doesn't like this photo because she looks like she has two chins --- but she was leaning back being silly right when I took it. But it's such a cute photo of Jorge being affectionate.

I've always thought Jorge looks like The Rock -- he can do the eyebrow thing too.

Jorge enlisted in the Army last year at the age of 32. After a few weeks of basic training he realized that military life was not for him and was able to return home. He tried though; he really did. Otherwise there would be four stars on my Blue Star Banner and that would just be too much.

This is going to be a long road to recovery for Stef and Jorge. They've been together for two years and there is no doubt how much they love each other. Keep them in your thoughts over the next week or so as Jorge recovers.

Friday, September 14, 2007

One Year Ago !!!

Next Friday Kris will have been in Iraq for ONE YEAR! A whole year! Three hundred and sixty-five days! Fifty-two weeks! Twelve months! And I'm still sane (well, sort of -- I don't poo my pants or anything like that). I should wait until next Friday to write about this, but I'm so excited that I can't wait. Today I have been almost giddy with the anticipation of that HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF that I will feel in three months (and one week)!

Of course, tempering that is Austin's tour in Iraq lasting nine more months. BUT, having "made it" to one year when this time last year I didn't think I could "make it" a week, I know I can hold on for nine more months. What's nine months when I've already "tackled" an entire year. (I know it's 3/4 of a year but let's not think that way!). AND, if the maximum time when either Kris or Austin (or both) would be in Iraq is 22 months, I'm more than 1/2 way home! (BTW, my math might be messed up, but Austin is due back early July 2008).

And it's FRIDAY! This time last week I was having a blissful time in Vermont. At this EXACT time I was taking a nap at the B&B in a bed close to a window with a refreshing breeze blowing in along with the sounds of the wind in the trees. I keep thinking -- wouldn't it be really neat if we could sort of stay awake while we take lovely afternoon naps? Sort of twilight sleep so we can experience all that lazy time of day offers and still get some yummy rest.

Now for your Friday viewing pleasure: on your left, MEN will see a sunset on the beach. WOMEN, however, will see my soon-to-be son-in-law (on the beach at sunset). Is he HOT or what --- I mean it is ALWAYS hot on the beach, so I'm only assuming that he was HOT the day this photo was taken. Right? Wouldn't you assume that too? His name is Cal (Callen) --- how COOL is that? He is as sweet as he is hunky (did I say that?). This photo reminds me of a six pack. I mean a six pack of beer! Perv! I was thinking of buying him a six pack of beer. Yes, that's what I was thinking.

Ok, that's enough silliness. You'd think it was Friday night of a rough week and I'd already started sipping delicately on some fine wine. Well, you are wrong! It is Friday night of a rough week but I'm actually chugging on some mediocre wine! After the first glass, does it really matter?

Actually, I'm just mellow and that's a good thing.Since hubby won't be home for a couple of hours I think I'll take another blissful nap --- hey, where's the breeze and the sound effects?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Last night I wrote in my journal: "Tomorrow is 9/11. Six years ago my daughter called me crying and asked 'does this mean Kris will have to go to war?' Now the war has both of her brothers and most of my soul." I'll leave it at that.

Vermont and back

The Vermont trip was lovely -- I wanted to stay for a week but settled for most of three days. It was HOT Friday and Saturday but cooled off with rain on Sunday. There were tiny areas where the leaves had either started to turn or those trees just had orange leaves. In two weeks the mountains will be beautiful -- but I won't get to see them.

We left on 6 a.m. flights and the six of us were in our rental car in Vermont at 11 a.m. That still amazes me; how we can travel so fast. Our first stop was the Von Trapp Family Lodge where we had lunch outside overlooking the mountains, then literally frolicked in the meadow while singing "the hills are alive. . ." It was corny but fun. I have video of us dancing and singing on my phone (I forgot my camera) but I don't know how to get it to my computer. Everyone else took lots of photos and I'll share them once they are uploaded.

Norwich has an almost fairytale campus. It is so neat and tidy, old and sturdy. It seems the ideal setting for enjoying life and getting an education. Of course, I've never been in Vermont in the winter -- it has to be brutal.

The military aspect of the college was great for me to see. It definitely reminded me of a small, more casual West Point. We watched the freshmen in their first parade and they looked mighty fine. At the football game all the freshman had to stand in the end zone and do push ups when the team scored. Unfortunately the team didn't score much and lost their Homecoming game 20-13. Our favorite quarterback was disappointed but kept a good attitude.

We stayed at a really great B&B. We had three bedrooms on the third floor (former attic) and since we kept the adjoining doors open it felt like a big suite. I could have enjoyed just staying there relaxing and reading. The flowers in Vermont are incredible and this B&B had an abundance of hydrangas, ferns, sunflowers, hostas, petunias. If we tried to maintain those kinds of plants and flowers in that quantity in Florida we'd need a 2nd mortgage to pay for the water.

Austin called at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday but by the time I woke up and realized my phone was ringing I missed him. He tried to get on Yahoo IM today and I felt so bad for him because each time he'd get signed on he would get knocked off within a few seconds. He managed to write that he'd waited for two hours to use the computer, only had 30 minutes and couldn't talk to anyone. I felt myself trying to "feel his pain" so the yoga breathing kicked in and I was able to avoid falling apart. But I wanted to help him so badly and I couldn't do anything.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Diet of Double Deployment

( I love this photo so I'm posting it again.)

My nightly glass (or two) of Chardonnay is sending me to twinkle land early this evening. It could be the lack of food. I've lost over 20 lbs. since my boys went in the Sandbox to play. Not that it is bad thing because I needed to lose 20 lbs. But sometimes real food like meat, veggies, sauces, just are inedible to me so it's nothing or a bowl of cereal for dinner. I do love multi-grain Tostidos or is it Doritos. Whatever it is, we're OUT. That's my after work, after yoga, after whatever snack and sometimes my dinner. Multi-grain tortilla chips and Chardonnay. The diet of double deployment.

I had a HORRIBLE dream about Austin last night. He had, of course, been killed and I could not accept that knowledge and looked all over the world for him. It was an awful feeling, even after I woke up and realized it was just a dream; a nightmare if there ever was one.

Then at work today around 10 a.m. I see "Austin is now online." WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! I was so excited to KNOW that he was OK. We only had about 15 minutes. He said the computers "there" are on timers. He was also IM'ing w/ Kayli and Kylee. He must be one fast typer.

We actually 'talked' about real war/political issues today. We are both convinced that basic human nature is to blame. Just think about it --- if there were no "bad guys" there would be no war. But what constitutes a "bad guy"? Someone who disagrees with US (no pun intended). We both agree that taking out Saddam was necessary; however, trying to civilize an uncivilized population who think they are going to be rewarded for dying in the act of killing other people? (Cue "Mission Impossible" theme.)

So, what's it all about? Greed, power, subjagation of women. Greed certainly on the part of the US contractors who were supposed to provide services to the US and Iraqi militaries. Power certainly on the part of ANYONE given it. Subjagation of women --- is that their biggest fear? That their women will unveil themselves and demand that they be treated like human beings?

Tonight at yoga when we were finishing up and winding down, my mind kept wandering to BAD places. No matter how hard I tried to focus on my "breath," I had horrible imaginings in my head. I tried to shake them off but back I'd go. It's as though a moment still is a moment of terror. Now even when I sleep.

Ten+ more months to go. At 22 months (15+15 w/ a 9 month overlap) to go I could not imagine living with this feeling of dread and doom for even a few weeks. It's been almost a year now and I'm still alive. Still have a husband, a job, a house, two dogs, three cats, one truck, one suv, a few friends, my health is questionable, but appears OK. My face has probably aged more in the past 11 months (since Kris left) than in the last 11 years. A friend at work and I have made a pact to get mini-facelifts in early 2008. We shook on it -- so I've got to do it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Tea Time

A few weekends ago we went to Coral Springs to surprise our friend Ann for her birthday. This was her first birthday since her husband died in February (see post "My Friend Kenny) so we wanted it to be full of friends and fun.

We had dinner Friday night at DJ's on the Beach, then Saturday we ladies had "Tea" followed by some pampering at a spa.

It was fun to put on these old hats, gloves and bobbles. I might have this hat on backwards. We had so much fun pretending to be fancy smancy.
We had a very relaxing time with our friends "down south".

This weekend we ladies are going to Vermont for Homecoming at Norwich University where Ann's oldest son is the quarterback of the football team.

Kris has moved to his final post before redeploying back home. That was a real relief to hear. This post is apparently very large and away from the "action."
Austin was able to IM several times last week. Kylee is going out to Kansas to visit Kris' wife Katie and then to visit Austin's girlfriend Kayli at college for their homecoming weekend. Hopefully sometime soon the rest of us will get to meet Kayli. She's such a sweet girl.
There'll be no Army "business" for me this week (hopefully) and I'm looking forward to a break from it all.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

14 Hours of Wonderful Sleep!

A glass of wine and goodnight was my Friday night! Ok, AND one xanax.

Hey --- it's September! I get to mark another month off the deployment calendar!!!! Just FOUR left for one and ELEVEN for the other!