Thursday night was wonderful! David Andrew made it home safely and I still get chills when I think back to the ceremony.
Since then, we've spent a lot of time together. We enjoyed a very late dinner at Applebees Thursday night, where several staff members stopped by our table to thank David. One of the waitresses, Michela, said her husband returns on Wednesday night. We're praying for a safe and uneventful return so they can enjoy the same wonderful homecoming we did!
Yesterday we grabbed some breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then did some shopping. David's lost weight and much of his clothes don't fit anymore.
He hasn't worn civilian clothes since Feb 17th, 2008 (when he was in the states for my grandmothers funeral). Each day in Iraq, he wore his uniform. He also was required to wear his vest and helmet and carry his gun. In fact, in order to get into DFAC (the dining facility), the soldiers are required to show their weapon, a magazine of ammo, and their ID.
At the PX (the shop on base here in Georgia), we picked up some shirts and sweaters for him, but he still needs pants that fit. He's tall (6'2") and now he's very skinny (30" waist) so finding pants that fit him well has been a challenge.
While at the PX, I picked up a new Vera Bradley Weekender travel bag. It's bigger than a purse, but smaller than a suitcase. Things are less expensive on base because they sell items for less than suggested retail and there's no tax. I love my new bag.
Last night, after a failed attempt at a Pizza Hut dinner (as we were being seated, the waitress informed us the wait for dinner was running about an hour and 20 mins...to which we immediately responded, "peace out!") we then started on our merry way to a local German restaurant. Prior to DA deploying last October, Jennie, mom and I came down here to visit him and we ate at this restaurant. Turns out the gal that owns the restaurant, her husband is in David's platoon. We had a really good time talking with her and the food was fantastic. So, after the failed Pizza Hut attempt, we headed towards the German place.
Unfortunately, due to the Hinesville Christmas Parade, many of the streets were blocked off and we physically couldn't get to the restaurant. Who in the heck has a Parade in the dark? Seriously! You couldn't see the people on the floats!
We pulled over and Chelsey came out of her car over to us and we decided to try the Japanese Steak house in town.
FANTASTIC idea! We had a ball! The Japanese chef was awesome. He must have been a comedian in another life because he had us rolling (my mom nearly fell out of her chair when, while packing the rice prior to serving, he was slapping the rice pack with the spatula and yelling, "oh Jessica! Oh, Jessica!"). He and Shennie enjoyed sparing back and forth all night (Sher was wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt). It was a really good time.
After dinner, we went out to the rental car (Cadillac CTS) and I turned the key and as the car started, the windshield wipers came on and the washer fluid cleaned the windshield. I thought, "OK, maybe I accidentally pushed the button." I started adjusting the mirrors, turned on the seat warmer, and the wipers started up again, as did the washer fluid. I'm thinking, "What the heck? I KNOW i didn't push anything."
OK- this windshield wiping routine continued for the next 10 minutes! I'm driving down the street and the wipers turned on randomly! It was hysterical! Finally, it stopped and we figured that b/c it was so cold outside, the caddy must have some programming that sends heated lighter fluid to the windshield to help defrost it.
The rest of the drive home was uneventful, except for the CONTINUED Christmas Parade! It was just wrapping up as we finished dinner and headed back to the hotel.
We called it a night about 9:30pm. DA is still adjusting to the time change and the 5 day trip from Kalsu to Georgia.
Today, Shennie left to head back to Massachusetts. Later, we're heading up to Savannah to get some pantelones for the Soldier.
We're so thankful he's home and we're enjoying every minute together!