The weekend proved to be quite productive.

As some of you know, Mike works every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a couple of Saturdays a month. Now before you wonder, “Why doesn’t he work full-time?”, let me tell you: he does and then some. These days consist of him arriving at the shop by 7am and usually not returning home until after 9:30pm. Sometimes these days entail plumbing calls nearly halfway across the state to Madison and back and then down to the Illinois border and maybe a quick one up in Sheboygen. For those of you unfamiliar with Wisconsin geography, this means a LOT of driving. Anyway, it’s not so bad: afterall, he’s off on Tuesdays and Thursdays so the dogs aren’t alone so much and last week he did the dishes, ran some errands, and cleaned the bathroom while I was at work. I can handle that! But I confess, I do miss him on those lonely weeknights. Especially Fridays. See, Fridays are a little different because of a crotchety old dispatch woman who has threatened to sue the company if she slips on the ice while walking to her car at midnight. So guess who gets to wait with her every Friday night, just so that she has someone to hold on to while she makes the oh-so-dangerous trek to her car at the end of her shift? Yes, that would be my husband.

Therefore, my Friday night this week consisted of a night with the girls at Buffalo Wild Wings and then what was going to be a quick drink at O’ Sullivan’s, a recently opened Irish Public House not far from Mike and my place. Of course, one drink turned into two and you know how it goes. After trying a Blind Russian for the first time (it’s good!) and almost getting into a fight with the bartender’s son (ask if you want to know the story and maybe I’ll tell in a future post), I headed home a little after midnight, just in time to say hi to my husband before we both fell asleep.

Saturday consisted of a father/son-in-law building project. In the house we’re renting, there is a small cinder-block walled room in the basement. Not very large, maybe good for some storage or a tiny guest bedroom. Since Mike and I both seem to have hobbies which take up quite a bit of table space, we decided that this would be our workshop. Once my dad caught wind of the words “building” and “work benches”, he started diagramming the benches he’d help us make and squirreling away pieces of scrap wood. It kind of warmed the heart seeing the two of them down there, figuring out how to use some of Mike’s new “toys” he had gotten for our wedding and solving the problems of the world. While the boys worked hard, I headed to the grocery store and then vowed NEVER to go again on a Super Bowl weekend. Other than the confused men standing in the middle of what seemed like every aisle, the deli clerk wiping his nose with his gloved hand, and the bagger busting my bag of bird seed, I would say the trip went quite smoothly. And when I returned, the work benches were finished and looked perfect. I am nowvery much looking forward to “setting up shop” with all of my stained-glass supplies!

Then came Sunday. Sunday was Mike’s day to be on-call at work, which usually means he WILL get called in. So Mike and I both sat in church that morning, praying that his pager would not start vibrating and hoping for a quiet day at home. Shortly after the service, the page came in and we rushed home. Mike left and I was disappointed. I spent the day paying bills, doing four loads of laundry, cleaning out the fridge, taking Chetany for a walk, and filing our important paperwork from the past two months. The weather was gorgeous and it felt good to get so many of the projects I had put off done. Mike made it home in time for most of the game and we were finally settled in. Shortly after the Cardinals gave up the game, we set up the DVR for The Office and gave into our fatigue from the day’s work.

At 3:30am, we awoke with a start to the much hated beep of an all-too-familiar pager. Honestly, who wakes up at three in the morning and notices water in their basement? It actually turned out to be a somewhat elderly couple who told Mike that they just couldn’t fall asleep knowing that it was there…gotta feel a little sympathetic, I suppose yet it’s very hard for me to be sympathetic when I’m awakened at 3:30 in the morning. Stumbling to the kitchen, I reached for all of the sandwich fixings I use for Mike’s lunches and proceeded to stumble through the lunch-making process. Chances were, he would be out on this call for the next several hours and then slide right into the regular schedule of the day. And everyone knows: A hungry man is a very unhappy man.

So it is now Monday. And I am tired. But happy. In this struggling economy, both my husband and I have a job. And we now both have work benches. And groceries in the house. And for all of these things, I am very thankful.

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Three Weeks

January 26, 2009

So this weekend I got my husband back.

Shortly before Christmas, Mike and I learned that he would be leaving in early January for a three week EMT course in Millington, Tennessee as part of his Army Reserve training. Having served in Iraq as a Medic with an infantry unit, Mike had received his EMT certification once before, but had since allowed it to expire not knowing he would be signing up for the Reserves one day. (Funny how meeting the person you’re going to marry can change things like that…)

When Mike told me the news, I had a mixture of emotions: On one hand, I was ECSTATIC that the Army had finally pulled his orders together so that he could actually go and get this done. He had been attempting to receive this re-certification for some time now, knowing that having it would allow him to teach and train other Army medics. Yet the other part of me (which I have to admit was the much larger part) was distrubed by the idea of my husband of less than two months leaving me for three weeks. Either way, I knew that how I felt would not change the outcome and that this three weeks apart was just something we would have to endure.

So only two days into the New Year, we said goodbye at 5:30am at the Milwaukee airport and I went home to go back to bed. The next weeks proved to be quite lonely and I didn’t get nearly as much done as I had planned in the absence of my husband. The dogs drove me nuts, wanting to go outside, then back in, then back out…so on and so on. If you have a dog, you can probably relate. Luckily, we only got one big snow while he was gone which allowed me to play “man of the house” with the snowblower.

Overtime, I realized that God had a purpose for us during this time apart…as He always does. Halfway into the first week, I was driving home from work, pouting because I knew there was no one to cook dinner for at home. Then it hit me: spouses of deployed military personnel do this for twelve, sometimes eighteen, months at a time. And not only do they deal with the simple fact that their loved one is not there, they also have the knowledge that he or she may be in great danger while away from home. How do they do it? And maybe my situation wasn’t as bad as I had thought. That’s when I realized that God was trying to teach me something.

So now I have my Mike home and it is wonderful. But God is not done teaching. I am completely and utterly blown away at the amount of love you can have for a person. Before we were married, I would often be told by those older and wiser than me, “Marriage just gets better. You’ll learn more about yourself and the other person everyday.” And let me tell you: they were right. I love Mike more now than the day I married him. I love him more than the day I dropped him off at the airport. I love him more today than I did when I picked him up from the airport. I never really believed that loving someone (who didn’t have four legs and a tail, that is) could come so naturally, so easy. I never believed that a person THIS PERFECT for me existed. I am so glad I was wrong.