Deployment: Week 1

Before deployment even began, I knew that the absolute worst part would be answering every unknown number on my cell phone. I hate talking on the phone, period. I'm sorry if that makes me a horrible person, but I do. I hate it. And while I love my friends, I pretty much only answer the phone if it's my parents or Zach calling.

However, with Zach being deployed for the rest of the year, I knew that if he got the chance to call me, it wouldn't be from a number I recognized. And I knew that I would be forced to answer every unknown number from now on. I suppose the worst part about him being deployed should be the whole "missing him" thing, but we've done this long distance thing for almost three years now. I don't get to see him that much anyway. And while it's never really something we get "used to," it is something we just accept as part of our life for the time being, so we are used to it, in a way. So far, it's really not much different than me being at school and him being at Camp Lejeune. We don't get to see each other either way.

But at least I know when he's calling me...

Anyway, I had my first unknown number call me this morning. I didn't really think it was Zach, but I knew I had to answer or forever be upset in the event that it was actually him.



It was a guy's voice, but definitely not Zach's.

Um, hey...?

You don't know who this is, do you?

Obviously not. That's one of the most awkward questions to ask somebody, in my opinion. Of course I don't have the slightest clue who is calling me from this random number with an area code that I don't recognize. Sometimes, I try to play it off. But not today.

No, I don't have any idea.

I'll give you a hint.

For the love of all that is good, don't make me play a guessing game. YOU called ME. Don't drag this out any longer than it needs to be. (I told you: I really hate talking on the phone.) Before I even had a chance to protest, the voice continued:

Howard... Jones...


All of a sudden, I didn't mind talking on the phone again :) Hipp is Zach's best friend in the Marine Corps who deployed to Afghanistan two months ago.

(us at Hipp's going away party at Fast Freddy's in Jacksonville-- view more here)

We chatted for a minute and he explained that he had also tried calling Zach, but Zach's cell was turned off.

(That is another story in and of itself. Since Zach left a few days earlier than planned, he wasn't able to temporarily suspend his cell phone account before he deployed. He gave me all of his account info & I went into the Verizon store in Clemmons, where an incredibly rude employee told me that I wasn't authorized to suspend the account, even considering the special circumstances, and needed to get Zach to call them once his plane landed in Afghanistan. Oh, okay. I'll get right on that, sir. He probably doesn't have anything else better to do... it shouldn't be a problem at all. I didn't actually say that. I just walked out of the store, called the customer service number, & suspended the account/payments via two minutes of my time on the phone. Take that, Verizon man.)

Anyway, back to Hipp.

Obviously his phone is turned off, I replied, because he's over there with YOU!

Okay, they're not actually together. And they won't be stationed together during the deployment or anything. But, there's a pretty good chance that Zach may have travelled through (or currently be at) the base where Hipp is stationed. Hipp knew that Zach was coming over soon, but didn't realize that he had already left. He got all of the 1/9 Marines information from me & said that he was going to see if he could track him down :)

And thus, I received my first phone call from Afghanistan. Granted, it wasn't from my boyfriend, but the Marine Corps really is like a huge (incredibly dysfunctional) family, and it's nice to know that his friends consider me one of their own and care about me enough to check in every once in a while. Hipp's not the only one. Baker texted me from Japan today to see how things were going. They're precious.

Speaking of precious, I've had some requests to put up the rest of Zach's deployment book since I posted a sneak peek a few weeks ago. To be honest, I'd actually forgotten about it, but I'd hate to be a tease, so here it is:

Lots and lots of pictures, with a bunch of little notes & Bible verses scattered throughout :) Can I put this in my portfolio for magazine layout design? Because that's seriously what I want to do with my life, and I designed this entire thing from scratch :)