Almost from the beginning Bubblehead and I had a long-distance relationship, so I suppose the Navy was a good choice for us. It was tough when we were apart, but we always got through it.
In fact I have a favorite patrol. It was our fourth I believe: The spring of 1996. We had decided to buy our first home, and were purchasing new construction. We picked the floor plan, chose the colors and carpets and cabinets - so much fun! We carefully picked the lot it was to be built on, and when they started construction, we'd go out there in the evenings to watch the progress. We happened to go on the day they had poured the driveway and patio, and were able to carve our initials into the cement. (We have the same initials - how cute is that?)
Bubblehead had a patrol coming up, and would be out to sea for the closing. We had to get a special power of attorney that would allow me to sign all the closing papers for him. We had arranged with some friends of ours to help me move all of our things. I knew this one would be more stressful than any other.
He left for sea and I kicked into independent mode. I went out to the construction site on my own now, taking pictures so he could see what I saw, even though he'd have to wait to get back to see them. I kept a journal for him each patrol, so I could tell him what was going on in my daily life. (On those rare occasions when we got a mail drop, I was able to just photo-copy my journal pages and I'd have an instant letter for him!)
I was also going to school full-time down in Jacksonville Florida, which was an hour drive (one way) - I was there 5 days a week. On top of that, I also worked part-time with foster kids in Fernandina Beach in the evenings and weekends. (No, not too busy, was I?)
Halfway Night came, and the other wives and I had a lovely party in celebration. One of the big events of Halfway Night was the drawing for First Kiss. You buy raffle tickets, and if you win, you get a basket full of goodies (candles, bath stuff, romantic music, Champaign, etc.), but best of all, you get First Kiss when the boat comes in!
Well guess who won First Kiss that night? (I'll give you one guess - go ahead....)
Yep! I won! I was so excited! And really, who deserved it more than me? I was closing on our house the following week, and organizing the move all on my own.
Closing went without a hitch. We had a group of wonderful friends who pulled together to move all our stuff across town into the new house. Once I got into the house, the problems started arising.
Because this was a brand new street, we didn't have phone lines or cable TV out to the house yet. Thank goodness for my cell phone, and a wonderful friend who lent me many a video to fill my silent evenings. The fence they built fell over the first time it rained, so I had to get them back out to re-do it. Lots of little problems: They didn't install a vent for the dryer, so back out to do that. The light switch in the master bedroom closet didn't work - back out once again.
The road to our home wasn't paved yet, and we were told over and over it was going to be done soon. Meanwhile the construction workers apparently throw nails around like confetti, because flat tires were a common thing in our neighborhood. Lovely.
I lived in this nice new home for a month by myself, with sheets on the windows and no television. (Good thing I was so busy with school and work!) On the day the boat was coming in I left home early - pulled out of the driveway onto the dirt road. The gravel popped and crunched under my tires as I drove around to the next block to meet a friend before going down to the base. It was the end of May, and a hot day in Georgia! I had put a lot of thought into what I would wear - a little dress and sunglasses. (I had contemplated combat boots as well, because Bubblehead was into Shirley Manson at the time, but I didn't think I could pull that look off.)
Down to the waterfront I drove, on cloud nine! I had just lived through a tough 90-odd days, and couldn't wait for Bubblehead to see our new home! Not only that, but I was "princess for a day" - I got first kiss!!
to be continued - sorry. I wasn't going to do it to you, but this is getting long.