Our guys have been back from Iraq since last fall. Everyone I have talked to since then are dealing with what I see as normal post-deployment issues; i.e., sleeplessness, irritability, and the ever popular “creative” driving techniques. I will never forget the time I went to pick Tanker up during their demob process (they were sent home during the Hurricane Rita evacuation) and we got caught up in all the traffic caused by the folks heading north. Fortunately I was driving. We were in bumper to bumper traffic and I needed to get into the right lane to make an exit. To my right was a pickup whose driver was not very interested in being kind that day. Tanker’s response was “Just push him into the bridge!” He was just livid with this idiot in a pickup truck and I saw a look in his eyes that I never had seen before. This should have been my first indication that we might be headed for an interesting adjustment period.
Since their return, Tanker has stayed Active Duty and is stationed far enough away that we see each other a couple of times a month. It really isn’t any different than our life before he deployed. His civilian job (long haul trucker) required that he was home every other weekend and we had been doing this for about 3 years.
Over the past few months, I have occasionally wondered how things will be when this phase of our life is over and he is home full time but I can’t say that I have been too worried…until tonight.
During our conversation this evening, I was updating him on some of the guys in his unit and how they were doing. Some are having trouble adjusting to work, school, and/or living situations. I then mentioned one guy in particular whose wife had called and was concerned with some anger issues he was having.
Tanker then says…”I can understand that completely. I really had to check myself last weekend when you were so insistent about the Phelmer thing.” We had been discussing a change in ownership of a local auto repair shop and he had half of the facts right and I was just trying to explain the piece of information that he was missing. No big deal. Or so I thought.
This is the guy that is normally so easy going. We have always been proud of the fact that we really don’t argue. We both have been married before and really knew what we didn’t want when we married…and big blow up fights just weren’t part of what we wanted for us.
Fortunately, his next comment was that he thought he might go back to see the counselor that he saw a few times when he got back. And maybe I need to talk with the Family Life counselors they have available for us around here.
It’s been 9 months since he has been back in the states. He probably won’t be home for good until November. Maybe then we can really begin our “demob” process.