The answer: 11. I'm aware that my Marine Corps Girlfriend of the Year status is rapidly declining.
It was almost too funny to be upsetting---the ONE time I put my phone on silent simply because I didn't want to disturb the other seven girls that I share a room with just so happens to be the first time Zach gets to call me on deployment. Eh, at least I got four voicemails out of the deal---one of which excitedly said, "I finally got to read your blog again!"
Needless to say, I didn't get to talk to him on Tuesday night, but he was able to call back on Wednesday afternoon (after waiting in line for 2+ hours) and we got to talk for about an hour :)
(the last "half a heart" pix message Zach sent me before he deployed---I think he actually just wanted to show off the scar he got from a knife wound while training out in California last month...)
We talked briefly again on Saturday morning, after he finally arrived where he'll be stationed for the rest of the year. All things considered, I think boyfriend's got it made. I mean, yeah, it did get up to 130 degrees there one day this week, but he has AC in his tent/house and claims that he actually gets cold at night. Let's be honest---that's more than I can say about my life in Whippoorwill. And after spending two summers at camp, he claims that the mattress he's sleeping on over there is better than what I'll be sleeping on all summer. His work day is from 8AM-10PM, while mine is 7:30AM-11PM. Also, he's already experienced some sandstorms, and they've got nothing on our freak thunderstorms during Home-in-the-Woods. Psh. We go all out hardcore at Camp Bethel.
[Note: I'm being sarcastic. I do not think my life at Camp Bethel is tougher than the Marine Corps in any way, shape, or form. Obviously. Well, maybe a little. But I wouldn't want to trade...]
He sounds great---just like the Zacharie I fell in love with :) All he really asked for was any kind of water-flavoring packets, since that's all he gets to drink. I bought a tub of lemon-lime Gatorade powder that weighs more than a small child, and I also got these:
I'm not sure if they're any good. But the designer in me makes 95% of purchasing decisions based off of packaging design, and these things were cute. He'll know that when he opens the package---"she bought these because she thought they looked cute." What can I say; it's kind of my job :)
Speaking of cute, he asked me if I was still wearing my half of the Mizpah necklace. Um, of course!
He said good, because he was too :)
While I was out shopping for Gatorade powder & all other kinds of first package goodies, I picked up a little roll of yellow ribbon.
"Around her hair she wore a yellow ribbon.
She wore it in the spring time, in the merry month of May.
And if you asked her why she wore that ribbon,
She wore it for her young Marine so far, far away."
- a military song turned cadence from the early 1900s
I don't even pretend to tolerate the miserably-whiny "half of my heart is in Afghanistan" car magnets, but I figured I could go for a little yellow ribbon on my antenna :) Because I am proud of him, you know. He works so hard and I am so grateful for his sacrifice.
And this weekend, I am especially grateful for the countless individuals who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom.
"I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did." --- Benjamin Harrison
Happy Memorial Day!