Retreats at the Beach

We’ve been to two Strong Bonds marriage retreats in Hilton Head, SC that were sponsored by our brigade. The hotels were nice – can’t beat ocean-front rooms! The classes were good, and we had a lot of free time, which was even better. Still, I felt like we were on vacation and not putting to use what we’d learned.

When we had a weekend off with nice weather, I decided we needed to hit the beach on our own. Off to Jekyll Island we went, and when we got to the state park, we set the rules based on what we learned in our retreats. Then we walked on the beach for a few miles. I think this was probably the most productive, heart-felt talk we’ve had since before we got married. We finished off the day with dinner at a restaurant right on the beach and the food was great.

The retreats are a good thing. Doing it ourselves was even better.Image

The State of the Union

Reintegration training done. Check.

Block leave…what a nightmare! Check!

Back to work for Tony. Check.

Tony has his own car (and that weight off of his shoulders). Check!

Tony had a couple of days off after returning from Iraq and then did about 2 weeks of reintegration training. Half-days, pretty easy stuff, easing back into a routine for work. Then came block leave, and we spent 3 weeks of it dealing with the aftermath of the downstairs apartment fire that affected our apartment. I could write a whole blog post about that alone (and I probably will). Needless to say, we lived in a hotel for 3 weeks; the cats stayed with the Gonyeas the entire time (I’ve not forgotten about vacuuming your rug!). We were miserable…the cats seemed to not mind the new digs, although towards the end, Jeeks was getting pretty feisty and scratching at the closed door quite a bit. We have to unpack everything – it’s like moving in all over again, only with 3 times the amount of boxes. Honestly, one box held just one pair of gloves. REALLY!?!

But I digress….

We did a whole lot of nothing on block leave and that was ok, too. Tony is rolling around post in his 2007 Toyota Camry and I no longer have to wake up at 0445 to get him to work. The traffic to the new Brigade complex is pretty hellacious, but I knew that’d be coming. Only two ways into the complex and about 3,000 soldiers who’ll be working there, although some do live in the complex (the single soldiers barracks).

My whole routine is jacked up. I’ve gone back to nights as of 2 weeks ago. When I’m off, I try to nap and be up most of the day for Tony so he doesn’t feel like the only time he sees his wife is when she’s snoring next to him while he’s watching TV or playing on the xbox. So my sleep schedule is messed up, and my housekeeping routine is non-existent. I can’t stand looking at those boxes, but my head hurts at the thought of unpacking them. A vicious cycle, no doubt.

Either today or tomorrow AM, Tony leaves for Warrior Leadership Course. I know he’ll kick ass in the course even though he’s nervous about it. When he puts his mind to something, he easily beats it, and he’ll put his mind to passing this course. He’s still a bit of a pessimist in that he thinks he won’t do as well as I know he’ll do. I’m gonna spend the next couple of weeks getting back into a routine. Cleaning the house (and unpacking those damned boxes!) on my days off a la the FlyLady way (www.flylady.net for those of you who are curious). I have to figure out how to strip the yellowed wax off of my kitchen floor. The linoleum was fine until the fire…grrrrrrr. I want to reorganize the closets since we have everything we own on hangers thanks to the textile restoration folks (or in ….. wait for it ….. BOXES!). His old uniforms will go in the guest room closet as soon as I fix the broken hanging rod. Gotta love Mighty Puty!

I think we’re stronger as a couple now that he’s home than we were when he was deployed. Considering we were only together for about 6 months before he left for Iraq, feeling stronger together definitely sets my mind at ease. He often said that I’d not “like the man (he’s) become” and I’ve repeatedly told him since he’s been home that he was wrong. He’s much more confident, more decisive, takes things more in stride and less in crisis mode reactions, and leaves “SGT Goodwin” at work. I love having my husband back!!

The state of our union: Stronger than ever! Love you, Goodwin! Now kick ass at WLC! ~blows kisses~

HE’S HOME!

So there we were, out on Cottrell Field….

Brandy and I got there a little after midnight since the 0515 ceremony was moved up to 0110. We met up with our awesome FRG co-leader, Caryn Shay, and we put up our signs. The time dragged like you could not believe. FINALLY, we were told that the buses were about 10 minutes away from post, and we ran out to the median just outside of the field on Gulick Ave. Yes, we waved, screamed, clapped, and took pictures as the buses carrying our soldiers rolled past. Then we ran back to the field, impatient for them to disembark and get into formation.

Time

Moved

So

Slowly!

When the first soldiers stepped onto the field, I burst into tears, alternately laughing and crying. Did I put on makeup? A little, but my mascara wasn’t waterproof. Did I remember tissues? Absolutely not. Did I remember my camera? Hell no. 😦 Was the sight of them coming through those trees one I’ll never forget? You bet your a$$ I’ll never forget it! While I couldn’t find Tony in the formation ’cause it was dark, I still held up my little sign and jumped up and down, cheering as loudly as I could while they marched onto the grass. Thankfully, the welcome home speech was short and they were dismissed. I stayed put, ’cause Tony had told me to not run onto the field or he’d not find me.

Well, he didn’t find me anyway! ~LOL~ He forgot my hair was now blonde, I hadn’t realized how much more weight he’d lost. He walked past me at least twice before I shouted, “Oh my God!! TONY!!! TONY!!!!” and waved my sign. Brandy and Caryn had to yell at him ’cause he couldn’t hear me over the din of the rest of the happy crowd. I know, some of you find that hard to believe, but I think I was too choked up to be my usually loud self. Thanks, ladies, for corralling my husband!

He was ready to go as soon as he found me. We got the obligatory hug pic, but he was chomping at the bit to get his gear and get home. Once he got his bags, we piled into the truck and went home. I think he was asleep before his head hit the pillow and I was still fretting about the floors not being mopped. So much for the welcome home romance! ~LOL~ I knew he’d be tired from the traveling – he hates the flights to and from Iraq.

Now we see if we can work through some of our just-below-the-surface issues from our huge blowout in November, or if we go to counseling.

Still, he’s home, and that’s all that matters to me right now.

The “must-have” welcome home pic!