A lot of you are asking for progress reports from my son, so here's the latest update.
First of all, I'll back up to Mother's Day, a day in which I knew he'd be able to call, and so I did it: I got excited. I mean, I was "waiting for Santa" excited. I had a cookout that day. It rained for hours, but I had an awning over the grill, and all was right with the world, when the phone rang.
It was Brian, saying, "I only have 3 minutes. Someone from the next platoon snuck out of church, so everyone's grounded for the day." Rats. Fast talking ensued: are you ok, I love you, times up!
It's the first time I felt awful after we got off the phone. He sounded deflated. I'm sure he was frustrated, as were the dozens of other men unable to communicate with mothers, wives, and children that Mother's Day. How'd you like to be the guys that messed that up for everyone?
Well. I did not cry! I bucked up for the cookout. We had a great meal, and were preparing dessert when my doorbell rang. Everyone I know is in my house, so who could that be? I opened the door to find Bri's best friend Chris, holding out a card. "Happy Mother's Day." He stepped in to give me a hug, and I lost it. Wah, wah wahhhhh. Then Marcy cried, and my sister teared up, and I'm pretty sure Chris will never pull a stunt like that again!
Since then, Brian's received passes on the weekend, and we've had nice long talks. Last weekend, he got to call me on Sunday AND Monday, whoo hoo. We had so much time to talk that we ran out of things to talk about, in that "list of things to cover" sense, so we got to sit back and ramble about inconsequential stuff. Here are few highlights:
- There are portraits. He doesn't want to send them because he had a black eye, or a swollen eye, or something. SEND THEM ALREADY!
- Each night they're responsible for standing guard an hour in the hallway. Sleep is like gold there, he says, and he's making a few extra bucks buy taking over other guys' shifts. He's socking it away in savings. How responsible.
- He was #1 in the target shooting exercise, even beating 3 of his drill sargeants. Even though his dad is on the SWAT team, I still can't wrap my mind around "my kid + a gun." He spent more time on a range than I know, I know.
- He threw live hand grenades. Oh, god. I'm hyperventilating. Can we just get back to clothes and food for awhile?
- He barfed up all the candy bars and mountain dew he had on the day he received his first pass. He will, in the future, take it easy on the junkfood and caffeine on pass-days.
- Breakfast is eggs and choice of meat. Eat fast. If you get done early, you can speedwalk back for a yogurt or a bagel.
- Lunch/Dinner is choice of 3 meats. Beef yakisoba was one offering that day. More worldly than I expected.
Water? I ask him? For some reason, I have been worrying about this water issue. It's hot down there, and he's working hard, and I'm here fretting, "I hope they give him enough water!" I don't want his tongue rattling around in his head like a bell-gong.
THAT gave us conversation fodder. Here's more for you, then:
- 1 quart every hour.
- 2 quart canteen in his rucksack, 1 quart on each hip.
- 1 quart upon waking. They're awakened with that "Toe the Line" alert, and have to chug a quart right then, then go out for physical training. They all vomited up their water every morning for the first week or so, that they were there. They don't do that anymore.
- There is a color chart that they have to compare their urine to, to determine their level of hydration. Orange = bad, clear = good. I forgot to ask where that chart is located. In the john? In their locker? In the field?
I summoned all of my artistic skills and made a chart, as I imagine it, just for you. You can print it out if you want. Hell, print several, and post them wherever you pee. Carry one in your wallet.Drink water, folks. It's summertime.