Where to Begin?
I wasn't completely cut off from the world, you understand. We get a little TV by satellite as long as we're heading the right direction, but I don't normally watch it. I'm on a couple of news email lists, but I never have time to read them. We were inport twice over the last couple of months, which is less than I'm used to and a bit of a challenge; but we got a couple of newspapers and magazines, whose headlines I may or may not have perused.
So even when the Internets work OK and I have the capablilty of staying in touch with the world, the world is completely different from the one I thought I left (and yet exactly the same). The Democrats took both houses of Congress? Geez, what have you people been doing? But it seems to make little difference (in a month, anyway).
In fact, somehow there are good TV shows on that have managed not to get cancelled. I admit that instead of watching football on Thanksgiving, I watched the Eureka marathon on SciFi. I remember seeing promotions for the show in June before I left for the start of the deployment, but I have no idea how long it's been on. It's a terrific show, it has great characters and a really neat story. I highly recommend it.
I saw the premiere of Heroes before I left for the second half of deployment, but that was it. It is now apparently a big hit, after almost getting cancelled. I have not been able to catch up on that or Lost and now I'm underway again tomorrow, so I'll be renting those if I don't decide to download them somewhere.
Anyway, there have been more important things to do these three days than watch TV. There is a list of things that Jack wasn't doing when I left at the beginning of October that he does now.
- For starters, he sits up by himself, as long as you help him up - like a poseable action figure. He wants to climb everything, but is so far unable to do so (just wait until he can).
- He gets up on his hands and knees all by himself and can't quite crawl, but rocks back and forth for a minute and then throws himself forward on his face. Silly, but it's still mobility. And when he drags himself around on his stomach, he's relatively quick.
- He is enthralled by the cats and will not do anything else but watch them when they are in his field of view.
- He eats baby food.
- He says "Mama". I was positive his first word would be "Kitty".
- He plays with blocks (his favorite thing is dumping them out of the bucket; his least favorite is falling on them after he's scattered them everywhere). I've managed to convince Red that perhaps we should stick to softer toys until he has more control.
I'm sure Red could easily add to this list, but in three short days, I was surprised at how much growing up he's done in eight weeks. Another 12 days away and who knows what he'll accomplish?
So yes, after deploying for five and a half months (with a three-week stop for repairs in homeport), and being inport for five days, we will be getting underway for not more than four different undertakings: ULTRA-S, the inspection (oh, I mean "assessment") more or less formerly known as CART II, if you're familiar with that sort of thing; and a port visit to Philadelphia for the Army/Navy game. What? you only counted two undertakings? Your point?
The Army/Navy game should be cool, and I would like to be more excited about it, but I'm at the point now where I would really rather stop missing my son growing up for a while. I'm already going to miss his first birthday and I've been lucky to get what I've gotten so far. This extra stuff immediately after the deployment blows. Not just for me, but for everybody. I can see it in the sailors and everybody. They're tired. It's been a tough deployment and it been great to be back for Thanksgiving weekend, but it's like none of it mattered.
We don't even get a homecoming, because of a few different reasons and finger-pointing. No laurel hanging from the bullnose, no band, no party on the pier, just aboot in the ass and a "get back to work". It's a shame, really, this crew deserves better.
So I will suck it up, go to Philly, hopefully tailgate and drown my sorrows in many an ice-cold Yuengling and maybe meet up with my buddy Pie from Newport. I'll go hashing, I think, and take leave if there's a gooned-up liberty policy (which you can always expect when a big-deck is the Senior Officer Present Afloat). I may be on TV, my captain very likely will be (he's a former Navy quarterback).
And I've still got a two-month gap to fill in here, but I've got some work to do.