In other...well, news (not good or bad), Clint has been in Africa for about 2 1/2 weeks now. We took him down to Virginia to the Naval Station in Norfolk where he flew from. I am now living with my parents while he is gone. It's been a big help already. My parents are wonderful, and I'm so grateful to have them. I miss Clint a lot already. Cameron misses him too. He asks for Dad all the time. Unfortunately, Ethan won't remember him when he gets back. So his deployment will be about 6 months. While he is over there, even though he is Air Force, he will be doing Army and Navy budget stuff. Here are some pictures before he left.
At Virginia Beach before he left.
Jumping the waves with Cameron.
With the boys at the Air Terminal.
And finally, a picture of our little family. It was hard to let him go. But we know, he'll come back to us soon.
So, if you are interested in a crazy story about Clint leaving, then read on.
The plan was that Clint's plane was to leave for Africa on Tuesday, June 22nd. So we decided to drive down to Virginia on Sunday. Get settled into the hotel on base and have all Monday to spend together, go to the beach, etc.
Problem 1: Clint lost his Permetherine (a bug repellant treatment for his uniforms). He had to have his Lieutenent in Montana overnight some more on Friday so he could treat his uniforms on Saturday, and we could leave on Sunday.
Problem 2: The package didn't come on Saturday. We couldn't leave until Monday late morning. But all is well, it's only a 5-6 hour drive. Still gives us time to go to the beach, right?
Problem 3: We got stuck in a three hour traffic jam. Need I say more? It took us 9 whole hours to get down to Norfolk. At 7:30pm, we finally got settled in to the hotel, a little late for the beach. No biggie, Clint doesn't have to be at the Air Terminal until 7pm. We got some things done on Tuesday morning and then off to the beach we went. And we had a fantastic time, except the part where a wave hit Cameron's head to my cheek bone and gave me a black eye.
Problem 4: Sand! Ahhh! @$#%! We already checked out of the hotel. Not by choice, we had to. It was on base and we didn't have a choice. We had to shower off and get Clint to the Airport clean and dry or he would be rubbed raw by the time he got to Africa. And by the time we got back to Pennsylvania we would be too. Okay, so all beaches have showers to rinse off the sand. Good. They are all broken you say? @$%! Thanks to my rockin awesome husband, we went back to the base and took showers at the gym. The lady at the front desk didn't understand why we weren't going to work out though.
Okay, so we made it to the Air Terminal. Any more problems? You wouldn't think so. Even a four hour delay wasn't all that bad. But could we really leave it at that? Of course not.
Problem 5: While we were waiting for Clint's plane to leave, I decided I was too tired to drive back to PA that night, so I booked a hotel stay online at the Comfort Inn about 20 miles away. I started driving, 20 miles on a freeway at 1am took an hour because of traffic. Traffic at 1am? @$@%! I know I know. Relax right? Well, I got to the hotel at 2am. Planned on getting up at 8am, eating the continental breakfast and then making the trip back to PA. (There are about a million problems in this next part). Well, I got a call at 6am from some weird number. It was Clint. His plane got turned around halfway over the Atlantic Ocean. Some light came on and they had to actually turn around and fix it. He said, come pick me up at the Air Terminal. I get up and get dressed, grab a quick bite to eat for Cameron and myself and head out the door. I get to my car and find glass all over the ground. Someone had broken the back passenger door window. Everything seemed to be going wrong. I was in tears. But, it actually gets a little better. Since I was only going to be in the hotel for about 6 hours (now only 4), I only took the kids and the diaper bag in with me. I left everything else in the car, including my computer, my $500 camera, my suitcase, all our DVD's, etc. EVERYTHING! Stupid, I know. Really stupid. I've learned my lesson. But, nothing was stolen. Not one single thing in the car was touched. NOTHING! What? How is that possible? Well, I had the hotel manager call the police. He came out and filed a police report. He told me, that about 8 other cars had been broken into that night on the same street. Now, I was not in a bad area or at a cheap motel, but all kinds of people are everywhere. I like our car, but it's 13 years old. Probably the oldest car in the parking lot. A good car to break into, probably one without an alarm. WRONG. We had an alarm on our car, and probably what saved all of our stuff. So incredibly blessed!
Problem 6: I know! There are even more problems. But it really does get better. So, if your sick of reading all of the awful stuff, just remember that there is good stuff in there too. The freeways in Virginia are crazy! If you get off an exit, you'd better know the area and how to get back on, because there are no on ramps in the same place. Well, I decided to head back the same way I came from. I wasn't sure what exit I was supposed to take, and I knew how the exits were, so I was pretty worried.
Side note: My mom loves getting lost. I hate it. It gives me so much anxiety, it's really hard to handle. So, I took the exit I thought was right. Just as I was on the exit, Clint called me on someone's phone and told me it was the wrong exit. Ahh! So, I went down the road a little bit and tried to turn around and see if I could get back on the freeway. No such luck. I turned around, but what I found was that I was headed towards a completely different freeway. I had no choice, but to get on the freeway and just choose which direction to go, East or West. I had no idea. I was completely turned around. So, I just picked a direction. Then outloud in my broken window car, I said "Heavenly Father! We've been promised that we won't be given trials that we can't handle. And I am telling you now, I cannot handle this anymore." I'm crazy, it's true. But, I decided to take the very next exit. While I was on the exit, some Navy guy had taken the curve too fast and spun his car around and crashed it. I thought, "Okay, at least I'm better off than that guy." I got off the exit, and I balled, literally. I was on the road right outside of the gate I needed to get on base and go to the air terminal. Now, you can't honestly say Heavenly Father doesn't answer our prayers.
So, I got to the gate, and I was actually shaking and my eyes were red from crying. To get onto this base, you have to have a pass for your car, not just a military ID. I had one from the day before, but it was only good for the day. The base cop said "What's the problem?" "Well, I just need to go pick up my husband from the air terminal and my pass is expired." (Voice quivering) "Why are you so nervous?" (Like I was up to something). I about flipped out. I got myself under control. "I am NOT nervous. I an UPSET, because someone just broke my window and my husband's plane just broke and got turned around." He looked at me like I was crazy. He said. "Okay, calm down. Go ahead." So, I went and picked Clint up, and I actually got to spend an extra day with him. We went out to lunch on the Navy's money, and then went out to a nice dinner. Clint put tarp over my window so I could make it back home. After we dropped Clint off for the second time, I decided I couldn't stay another night in Virginia, and I was going to drive home. But I needed to take a nap first. But where? I didn't even want to drive at all before I slept, I was THAT tired. And for good reason, considering everything that had happened. So I took a nap for about 1 1/2 hours in the parking lot of the Air Terminal. I just laid Ethan and Cameron down with me. When I woke up, I saw policemen towing a car behind me. They do that when you don't have a pass for your vehicle or it's EXPIRED. So I high-tailed it out of there and started driving. Halfway through I was getting really sleepy, so I stopped and bought a five hour energy. When I got home, I just pumped my milk and threw it away. But, I made it safely home, finally!
That, morning I got another call from Clint. He asked me if I was still in Virginia. I said no, and he explained that his plane got turned around again with the same problem. He and everyone else on the plane was pretty upset. That night, they brought in a new plane, and they made it to Africa.
That's it. Congrats if you actually made it to the end. Not sure I would have if I was reading it. So, long story short, we ran in to lots of crazy things on our way, but everything turned out fine. It felt like everything that went wrong had a distinct reason for happening. Everything was backwards, but it was right for the situation we were in. We can definitely see Heavenly Father's hand in our lives.
So, remind me to post about our trip to the beach, the playground, and the Fourth of July so I don't have anymore of this binge posting.