The Call That Launched a Thousand Tears

So, I called my husband the other day.

“Hi Hon, so what’s up?” I asked.

Now, before I go any further with this story, I need to set the scene:

My husband, bless his heart, has been at Naval Station Mayport on the sunny Atlantic shores of northFlorida, for almost three months. He went ahead of the rest of our family to start his new job there, and to live in the oceanfront base hotel, with daily maid service.

I, on the other hand, stayed in our stairwell apartment on Patch Barracks in chilly Germany with the kids so they could finish school. Our seemingly fool-proof plan included me arranging and managing our household goods move, the shipment of our dog “Dinghy,” meaningful travel with the kids at spring break, inspection and shipment of our minivan, checking out of military quarters, arranging hotel and airport shuttle, and other tasks associated with moving a family across the world.

As a military spouse, I am used to handling things while my husband is away, so I thought this little three-month separation would not be much different from the rest.

I was wrong.

When I made that fateful phone call to my husband, I had endured a grueling week of shocking school progress reports, driving around base for two hours in search of my teenage son who had failed to turn in his final Biology project, a malfunctioning oven and resulting visit from the grumpy German Fire Department, a broken dryer and resulting shameless display of underclothes hanging on radiators and windowsills, and lots and lots of overwhelming move details. I was out of patience, energy and dignity.

“Well, I rented a movie last night,” my husband responded, “it was no good, but I got another great pizza from Sal’s.”

“Oh, that sounds nice,” I offered weakly, wondering if the kids would be OK eating cereal again for dinner.

“Today, Dinghy and I needed a little change of scenery from our daily beach walks,” he continued, “so we hopped in the car and went to the Riverwalk area for a nice long run and lunch at an outdoor café.”

I had fallen silent, but my husband didn’t notice.

“The folks at the café were so nice and gave Dinghy three bowls of water to drink since it has been so hot and sunny here.”

I stared out my window at the dark clouds that hadn’t lifted in days.

“And after that we headed back here to the homestead for a quick swim and to watch some boob tube. . . .So what’s been going on there?”

I began, slowly at first, to relate the details of my agonizingly stressful week. My rant picked up speed, leading to some crucial information about our move I needed to go over with him.

“Ooo, hey Hon, can I call you back in like five minutes?” he said.

“Uh, sure,” I agreed, believing the delay to be due to some minor urgent matter relating to our dog. Our 110 pound labradoodle was prone to gulping water and then spontaneously vomiting it all back up on a whim. I wondered if that was the problem.

Five minutes later, I answered on the first ring.

“Hey, so what happened? Is Dinghy OK?” I asked.

“Oh, heck yea, he’s fine. I just had to run down to the beach real quick. Right before you called I had come up from the beach to grab another beer. I left my beach chair and book down near the water, and wanted to go grab it before the tide started coming in.”

That was all it took. The floodgates opened and a veritable tsunami sprang from my tear ducts. Within 10 seconds, I was a wailing, blubbering, snotty mess.

Stunned, my husband had nothing much to say, offering only, “Hang in there, Hon, you’re doing a great job.”

My husband and I learned a dual lesson that day. I learned that long-term military separations are so much easier for the spouse to handle when the service person is somewhere icky like on an aircraft carrier floating out in the Pacific, or living in a tent in some God-forsaken dusty hot climate, or at least behind a big metal desk working day and night to support the family.

My husband learned that, next time his wife asks him, “What’s up?” he should definitely respond, “Oh, not much, what’s up with you?”

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9 thoughts on “The Call That Launched a Thousand Tears

  1. Anonymous July 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm Reply

    I can totally relate ! Thanks for the laugh.

    Like this

  2. My Traveling Troop June 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm Reply

    When you finally get to Mayport, give the kids to your hubby, grab yourself a beer and head to the beach! You deserve it! -Kristina

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    • Lisa Smith Molinari June 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm Reply

      My next blog will be about our plane ride here on Luftansa, but suffice it to say, several beers were consumed once we were on the ground in Florida!

      Like this

  3. Shannon Holdenried June 25, 2011 at 12:23 am Reply

    Hi – we maybe on our way back to Germany, I found your blog by accident (fate) today, thanks for the smile.

    Like this

    • Lisa Smith Molinari June 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm Reply

      Have “viel Spass” in Deutchland if you go! Our European adventure is over for now, but it seems life is always an adventure for us, so Florida should be just as fun.

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  4. Sharon June 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm Reply

    Lisa,
    You can take comfort that hubby didn’t see your red eyes and dripping nose. What a mess for you! But, you’ll soon be in Mayport and enjoying the beach until school starts

    Like this

  5. joworsham June 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm Reply

    Ok, this is for you. Mosquitoes are B I G in Florida. Sitting on the beach for extended periods can and hopefully will result in sunburn. Pizza can give you heart burn…for days. Nobody has ever asked Bill Gates if he turned in his final biology project. Besides, isn’t the base fenced? Gray clouds and cold weather make hot chocolate taste better and will be missed in the never changing warm climate of Florida. HOPEFULLY IF HUBBY IS READING THIS flowers, a baby sitter, and a champagne supper will be awaiting your arrival.
    If Hubby is reading this and the aforementioned does not happen, he needs to give you his uniform…cause I want you on our side when it comes to combat!!!!

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  6. Grace C. June 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm Reply

    Francis need a big old dope slap to the back of the head….hahahaha! Can’t wait to see you guys.

    Like this

  7. Patrice June 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm Reply

    Hang in there, Lisa! Just think what it would be like if you were the one in Florida waiting for Francis to bring your kids and life 1/2 a world away….it is so MUCH better with you in charge! Can’t wait for you to be stateside!

    Like this

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