Here’s the thing. I’m a writer. Ipso Facto, I have boatloads of imagination and creativity. Sure, I use obscure Latin phrases inappropriately to sound smarter than I really am, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have boatloads of imagination. It certainly comes in handy when I’m writing
heavily exaggerated to the point of absolute falsehood in order for it to be funny stories.
But it doesn’t come in handy when I’m home alone waiting by the phone, or computer, or toilet, to hear from My Captain when he is deployed on a rescue mission. My Captain is the Rescue Manager for Maryland Task Force One’s deployment to New York and New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy…aka Frankenstorm. I haven’t seen him for a week.
This is nothing to military wives, I realize. But guess what I ain’t, and never signed up for?
That’s right. Being a military wife.
I just don’t have the patience or fortitude to live life constantly waiting. I hate waiting. I’m the one who stands in front of the microwave, yelling at her instant oatmeal, “HURRY!” I sure as hell could never be a military wife.
So when My Captain gets deployed for Urban Search and Rescue…whether it be a collapse rescue as when he served at the Oklahoma City Bombing, or at the Pentagon, or in Mississippi during Katrina…I squirm. I cringe. I whine.
He left on Saturday for work at the firehouse at 5:30 am. He worked a full shift, and the next day, his rescue team got activated ahead of the storm.
Then came Frankenstorm, unleashing all its Hell and Fury. We had purchased a generator ahead of time because we always, ALWAYS lose power during big storms.
Guess what I never lost?
That’s right, power. Why? Because we bought the generator.
So listen, he’s gone from last Saturday on, right? The storm comes. I’m feverishly bailing out parts of the basement that are leaking. I’m mitigating the flow of water around the mud pit. I’m filling water bottles and putting candles everywhere in case I need them. I’m eating everything in the fridge.
Not because I had to, more because it was, well, there.
My munchkins were at their Dad’s house, because it’s made of brick, not straw like mine. (I obviously was never read The Three Little Pigs as a child. )
And that is when it kicked in.
My Awe Inspiring (to me, anyways) Imagination.
In all its glory.
I began imagining My Captain in all kinds of debacles. I began to see him drowning in some flash flood in the middle of Long Island, calling my name ever so romantically before he went under for the last time. I began to picture him being mauled by a pack of angry, starving looters in Queens. And with his dying breath, he whispered, “Just tell her I loved her.” I saw him getting run over and trampled to death by his own men and women as they raced to the mess tent for their ration of hot Spam.
Really, I can’t be left alone for long periods of time. It’s just not healthy for me, frankly.
Last night….Thursday!….I finally had a chance to talk to him in detail of where they were and how they were.
Turns out they are ok. Tired. Fairly battle-weary. Frustrated. But essentially, Ok.
He told me bits and pieces of his last few days, and I listened. I heard of the mess and the challenge ahead of those states as they rebuild. I heard of the strength and perseverance of the people there and the team that went with him. I heard the fatigue in his voice.
And then he asked me how my week had been.
“I think some acorns dented my car!” Was all I could come up with. My life is, as ever, incredibly mundane. If it were not for my verging-on-diagnosable-in-the-field-of-psychology imagination, I’m not sure I’d survive it.
Turns out he needed a little mundanity. A little something to ground him. Something to reset his compass.
Oh don’t worry, I didn’t inundate him. I didn’t tell him about the cat puke I stepped in this afternoon, or the way I stapled one of the fourth grade bulletin boards in my son’s classroom so perfectly, or the infinitely interesting details of my shopping trip for Varmint’s friend, Alexis’, birthday gift.
I’m saving those little nuggets for when he comes home.
Mundane is EXACTLY what they need. I remember when they went to Oklahoma City. Want to know WHY that is is crystal clear in my memory? My maid of honor and two other members of my wedding party where sent there. That was in April….my wedding was May 13.
They would call and I would not ask a WORD about what was going on there. I would fill them in on the sillyness of what had been going on at work back at home and how the last minute details for the wedding were going.
Later on they all told me how much they appreciated the “talk about anything except OK”.
The only talk about the mission was it was creeping closer and closer to my wedding day, told them I was going to have to call the fire chief and demand that my wedding party be sent home!