Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Now that I don't have to edit for the terrorists, I can tell you that Will got home on Sunday night.

You've all seen heart warming videos and pictures of homecomings, I'm sure. I've sobbed over seen them many times myself. And a lot of it was heartwarming and wonderful and tear inducing. But let me tell you, it is not all hugs and cheers. Really, by the time we were able to get in our van and drive home, I felt like it would have been better if they had just sent everyone home in cab and forgone the ceremony all together.

The first time he deployed, he was by himself--not deploying with a whole brigade like this time. When he got home, we drove to the airport and picked him up at the curb. I would take that any day over the ordeal Sunday night.

Before I get into all the sordid details of that night, let me give you the heart warming part. (The still shots are stolen from the brigade's Facebook page. Every electronic device I brought was mysteriously sapped of all power and died hours before the plane landed. The video was taken by Ben. My apologies.)

(The things in their hands are yellow roses.)

Now, the parts that sucked.

His flight was scheduled to land at 5:30 PM. We were told we had to be there by 3:30 for various reasons. So, we packed a couple of back packs with dinner and books and crayons and other stuff to keep three kids entertained for a couple of hours and off we went.

We arrived at the hangar and they had the heaters blowing full blast. That would have been great if it hadn't been 70 degrees outside with 90% humidity.

But, Will was coming home! It was totally worth sweating in a crowded room with several hundred other sweaty people for a couple of hours.

Fast forward two long hours. The kids are done. I'm done. Everyone in the whole hangar is done. And sweaty.

But, Will was coming home! It was totally worth being crammed onto uncomfortable bleachers for hours with cranky, tired kids and adults with zero common courtesy and other people's children who needed a roundhouse kick to the head.

And lo! We heard a plane land! We were a bit confused because they were supposed to send us out so we could see it land. But whatever. The plane had landed!

Except it didn't. Someone got on the microphone to tell us it was a different plane. And oh, by the way, the plane we were waiting for was delayed an hour in Indianapolis.

Finally they announced that they could see the plane approaching and we were all sent outside to watch it land and see the soldiers file off. And as we all stood there watching, the skies opened up and drenched us all in a torrential downpour.

We filed back in, wet and cold, but happy that it was all finally over.

The soldiers marched in, a General said a few words, and then they were released to be with their families for a few minutes.

I have no picture or video of this because Ben was in charge of filming. What I have is a five minute video of the floor.

After 15 minutes or so, they sent the soldiers off to turn in weapons and other assorted things and bused the families back to where our cars were and where the soldiers would be sent to pick up their baggage.

We knew it would take some time, but we did not expect it to take an hour and a half. Except that it did.

And after all that waiting, the soldiers finally arrived at the second location, only to discover that more than 100 bags were missing. Including Will's.

So, we waited another 45 minutes for him to fill out the necessary paperwork to get his bags back. Someday. If they ever found them.

Six hours after our arrival, we finally headed home. We were all exhausted. The kids were sent to bed. We went to bed.

And we all had a lovely, peaceful night's rest.

Except we didn't.

We were woken in the middle of the night by tornado sirens. So, the five of us crammed into our tiny half bath to wait out the storm. Will compared it to being in a bunker during rocket attacks.

To quote Ben, "Why are we cursed?"

So there you have it. Our heart warming, exhausting, frustrating, sweaty, tornado filled homecoming tale.

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