I still had my plane ticket from my original plans and had a two day window to go. I seized the opportunity and fled. A lot of people did not even know I was going, hell I didn't know I was going!
I contacted my sister and asked if she thought I should surprise my wife and son. She has the same sense of humor I have and she just said "Do it." I called my wife and told her I was going to a "no commo" area. That has happened before so she was not surprised by that. Instead I caught a Black Hawk and then grabbed my British Airways flight and zipped out of the Middle East.
Two days, 9000 miles, three changes of clothes, and 6 hours of sleep later I was at my sister's house while she called my wife. My sister is baby sitting my nephew's little dog. It's a Jack Russell Terrier and they are from the devil like snakes. They are unpredictable and destructive and this one is no different. Cute but just too jumpy and fidgety for me. I am am a full blown Labrador Retriever fan. I digress. More about dogs on a later date.
My wife was informed that the little beast from hell had escaped from Stalag Dog and that her help was needed to capture and repatriate the little beasty. My wife came right over and I stood in my sister's bedroom while my sister directed her there. I stood right inside the doorway.
She opened the door and saw me. I would give a mint to have captured the look on her face at that moment but a camera would have been too intrusive. Her eyes opened as wide as they can and her pupils instantly dilated. Her hands flew to her face and she started screaming,"Oh my God!" She was shaking too. I think she was slightly suffering from psychosomatic shock because she just stood still, not believing it was really me.
I hugged and kissed her and she just shook like a freezing child. Her hands shook most of all. Once the realization set in I got hug and kiss after hug and kiss. She hit my sister on the arm as knew she was in on it from Jump Street.
We decided to surprise my son too so we went to his school. My wife walked up to his classroom door and then called me over. He saw me and yelled,"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" and came running as fast as he could. I got lots of big hugs and we then went home for celebratory beer and pizza. I didn't last long and faded out by 20:00. I slept 11 hours and now I am the only one in the house awake.
I'm here, safe and sound with the ones I love but still feeling guilty because of all the fine people who I left behind. Even momentary escapes leave you feeling that way. I should be ecstatic to be away but I still feel like I should be there even though I was getting pretty close to burn out.
I will enjoy my next couple of weeks and the it is back to Taji to collect my gear before I leave for Kuwait. I may have to retitle this blog. If anyone has any ideas let me know. Since we are the tail of the Army there may be some ideas there.