Last night I experienced my first LAN (local area network) party. I hosted it as part of a fundraiser for a trip on the Tole Mour we are taking in November with our students. This was the wildest thing I have ever seen - not in terms of "crazy" but just strange and unique. At about 2:30 in the morning (it was from 7p-7a) all the lights were off in the building and all you could see as you walked around was this blue glow coming from all the computers. I didn't actually participate in any games, but watched a few...the graphics on these games are so much better than Super Mario Brothers, which is pretty much the last video game I played. Actually, there was a period in graduate school where I got hooked on the game Silent Hill, mostly because it was scarier than any movie I had seen in a long time (and I LOVE scary movies!) and because it was fun to try and solve the puzzle of the game.
Anyway, the party went off without too much of any trouble and though I tried to get a little sleep, I didn't really succeed in doing so. I was basically a zombie much of the night and morning. I did drink several Mountain Dews, the only thing that would keep me awake as I don't drink coffee or those crazy energy drinks like Bawls.
What helped perk me up is that I got to talk to Mike this morning, which just made my day! He said he's been keeping busy and not much else by way of excitement has happened, so no worries there! I am sure that the early part of our conversation was hilarious to him because I was so out of it. I came around after awhile and started making more sense, so we ended up having an awesome conversation. Each time we talk I still get just a little sad because I just wish so much that we could be having our conversations sitting next to each other on the couch, but I am also so grateful for every phone call that it usually helps get over that sadness. Actually, today I was reading the message board on the BTB website (linked off to the side and here) and one post helped - once again - put this experience in perspective for me. This one woman was writing to her husband about how excited they were to see him...evidently he's taking his leave soon and will be home with his family for 15 days. She told him that their one daughter has her 2 bottom teeth now, that she will be turning 8 months old (Happy birthday little Brooke!) and that she looks more like her daddy every day. She also said that he'll be amazed when he sees their two-year-old daughter who is like "2 going on 20" - an image I think we can all picture in our minds! I don't know these people, but I feel a connection to them: this deployment. However, I am reminded when I read things like this, or hear about other families like them, that there are people making sacrifices that are likely much more difficult than ours. I am not saying that I do not feel Mike's absence every day or that I do not miss him more than ever. I do. I think about him and his safety and how excited I am for him to come home each and every day. But, knowing that there are fathers out there who have missed so much of their kids' lives puts things in perspective for me and helps me get through every "rough spot" that I have. I know how difficult this has been for me and I can only imagine how tough it would be on families with children. A thank you is not truly enough repayment for their sacrifices, but I want to thank them all the same!
After my conversation with Mike, and these ensuing thoughts that I've just let you all in on, I walked up to the post office to mail my weekly letter. The reason I didn't post it on Friday, as usual, was because of that LAN party. I went in to school around 6 a.m. on Friday morning and didn't get a chance to return home prior to the LAN starting...so the letter had to wait. As I was walking home, the marine layer burned off, just in time for the Notre Dame game. And here's my idea of the ideal SoCal day: I rolled the television as near my back porch as I could, set up my chair in the sun and sat outside most of the afternoon watching ND beat Penn State, 41-17. It wasn't entirely a bad game, despite that score. I was, however, hoping for a closer and more exciting game - or even second half. Regardless, it was a great afternoon! Of course, it would have been a perfect afternoon if Mike had been here watching with me. But, I cheered enough for the both of us!!
Well everyone, that's about all I have for now. I hope that everyone is having a great weekend.
I love you Mike!