Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Phone Call from Brian

I was walking out the door this morning when I got a 999 phone call. "Hmph!" I thought, "tele-sales on my cel phone?" I picked up. "Hello?"

"Hi, Mom."

Me, then:


Yes, it was Brian, and we had time to talk. It's the first I've talked to him since his training in Iraq, and I was ready with my questions: What are you doing?

He's working in a town about 30 miles from his base. (I can't remember exactly the name, but will fill you in when I verify it). The soldiers are well-received and he's making friends. They bought mattresses, in town, for their cots today.

He appreciates the wet wipes; dirt and dust are part of life there. The dust, he says, is the consistency of powdered sugar. It's silky, and it's sometimes 6 inches deep where he's walking, producing clouds of it with every step.

It's hot. 117 degrees in his tent some nights, but they finally got an air conditioner. When the temperature drops to 95, the men all bask in the "cool air," saying "ahhhh, this is great."

We discussed items to send, the list is much the same: AA batteries, wet wipes, and powdered drinks. They give their powdered drinks to the kids, which reminds him:

Can we send soccer balls? The children, though they can't speak English, are miming that they want soccer balls, by holding out an imaginary ball, and then pretending to kick it.

Looks like the next care package is going to be full of toys.

As soon as I got off the phone, I called Jeff, his father, as per our agreement. We network about what we spoke about, each wanting to hear what the other heard; we manage to glean bits of unknown information off of each other. He didn't get the soccer ball information, and I did not get that Brian put in for leave in July.

Funny, at 8:00 a.m., we're mindlessly going about our days, and by 8:30, we are crazed to acquire soccer balls, and discussing flattening them, and sending hand pumps and needles to fill them up. We are on a mission; I can hardly wait for my workday to end.

Beanie Babies are hot-ticket items also, so I'm sending a shout-out to all of you readers:

If any of you have a box of Beanie Babies lying around, outgrown, that you're just going to throw in a garage sale one of these days, there are guaranteed good homes for them on the other side of the world. I'd love to take them off of your hands, or give you a mailing address.

Got Beanie Babies?

I'll otherwise be watching garage sales and auctions for them, and throwing them in my care packages from here on out.

That's all that Brian requested today, except for one more thing: "Print out your blogs and send them to me." Awwwwwwwwwwwww, sniff. That one really did floor me; I sent a few of the more amusing ones to him when he was in bootcamp, and he didn't say much; I figured he was rolling his eyes, and telling his buddies, "my Mom is nuts." It's probably the case, and now he'll have a printout to prove it.

Peace Out, everyone, and love from me and my kid.

P.S. He's getting care packages from people we do not know. He's trying to find time to write you back, if you've come there from here. And he thanks you profusely. As do I.

Note: I did not know this before Brian left, but mailing packages to any soldier is simple and inexpensive. The post-office has "Flat Rate" boxes, they are free to you. You can shove as much stuff as possible in that box, and ship it for the price of $8.10. You have to use a customs form, which is also easy to fill out: your address, your soldier's address, and a list of the contents of the box. It's that easy; no weighing or excessive expenses. The only restriction is that you cannot send pork products: No Slim-Jims, or bacon bits, please. :-)

20 comments:

  1. Awwwww...your blogs? That one got me too!

    Glad you heard from him - how exciting!

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  2. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Hiya
    I can help you with the toy thing. I will try to get some together tonight. I work day and night till Saturday though. I hope to make it to the drive in for Spidey3. Wanna go?
    Zia

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  3. Yay, glad you heard from Brian. :)

    I may have a couple of Beanie Babies in a garage sale box somewhere. I'll take a look for you, when I'm less crippled. I would highly suggest garage sales--there are millions of those things floating around out there. People seriously thought they were going to be worth enough to pay off their mortgages. (I used to work at a Hallmark store and at JBJs; I know far too much about this.) Now you can hardly unload one for $1 at a garage sale.

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  4. This blog got to me too (ok, all the Brian ones make me cry). I'm going to try to talk to my coworkers and see if we can make a LA based box(es) and send it to him.

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  5. I have had no time to read anything. But I popped here for a sec and saw this! Yay, yay, yay! I'll work on beanie babies - we're having a big charity yard sale. I'm so glad you got to talk to him. Yay, yay, yay!

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  6. Only bloggers can really appreciate what a big deal it is that our children read our blogs. That's just wonderful.

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  7. Yaaaa! A phone call can do wonder for your spirits.

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  8. So thrilled for you.

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  9. Aww..isn't he a sweetheart...glad to know he's doing good!!!

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  10. Anonymous10:24 AM

    I have tons of beanie babies. How would I get them to you?

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  11. Momo: Very exciting!

    Zia: Thanks for the help. Weekend's booked though :-(

    SDF: I'll be hitting those sales for sure!

    Blondie: thanks, doll.

    Wendy: yay yay yayyyy

    Amishlaw: It sure does. Looks like they'll be more frequent now, too.

    Spice: thanks!

    Mary: thanks you too!

    anon: Email me at ljstewart@gmail.com; we'll work something out! thank you!

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  12. lbotp3:10 PM

    Good news. I will go look for those beanie babies now ...

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  13. There is someone currently looking to donate a bunch of beanie babies on the Chambana LiveJournal, you might want to check it out: http://community.livejournal.com/chambana/

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  14. If you get overwhelmed by beanie babies (and it sounds like you might) I would be happy to donate a few bucks towards covering the shipping costs.

    -C.

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  15. HEY GG!!

    I never forget a promise, even if it takes awhile.

    The "sound of ocean waves" has been posted for you at my place.

    Luv ya.

    Wil

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  16. Whoo-Hoo!!!!!!!!!!! Does it get better than that?

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  17. GG- I have tons of Beanies.... I would love to put a care package together for Brian... Can you email me the address? I also wanted to thank you for being at my grandma's funeral with my family.. You are a very special friend for all of us.... Love ya, Shelly sbroeker2000@yahoo.com

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  18. Felt very happy reading about the call. I am so happy for you.

    "and telling his buddies, "my Mom is nuts.""
    He may have asked for the blog printouts to prove his point, you know :P

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  19. So glad you got the call! As I said before, we've sent soccer balls and pumps and needles (very important) to Iraq a couple of times. Very important to flatten them. You just put a needle into them, and keep pressing till you get most of the air out. Also, a friend at work who served in Iraq for 18 months told us to sign the balls, just write anything you want on them. He said that was an excellent idea.

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  20. Visiting from Lauries and must check with the Embassy here in Sweden to see if I can forward them to the USAf for a reduced rate. There are so many, It would literally cost me a small fortune to get them to you.

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