Monday, September 27, 2010

Iraq Homecoming Extravaganza: Papa Del's, and Hours 1-2

Back to My Boys' Homecoming! We had about 36 hours, all told, with my kid and his buddies before we had to hit the road back home, and I have approximately one story per hour.

The plane came in around 8 pm, and we had to wait 2 hours for all of the guys to be processed before they marched in. Since this is the 2nd homecoming, I knew what to expect, and have many similar photos from the first. The countdown screen, for instance, that informs us of our wait.

You wait and wait for that plane to roll in, and then come in for the countdown. I'd write it all, but I've written it before, and since everyone here reads every word I ever wrote since the beginning of time, I don't want to bore you. It was like this.

Except!! This time, while I looked for Brian, I took more photos of other families embracing theirs. In the interim, I could. not. find. my. son. A security guard had earlier indicated to me that there were 2 planes coming in that night, and I began to worry that we had been waiting at the wrong homecoming. I mean, the place had cleared OUT and I still could not find Brian.
While I began to fret, there was a young wife also fretting behind me, when she suddenly began screaming. She was clearly also anxious, and had finally spotted hers, who was standing near me. I turned to find her running across the auditorium, jumping into his arms with her legs wrapped around his waist.

I stopped to take this picture, when Brian tapped my shoulder. "Uh, hi, Mom."

Dang! It totally looked like I was just wandering around NOT looking for him!!! I was so relieved that he was there, and that I hadn't missed his plane, that I didn't even fall apart! Yay! Yay, yay, yay, you're here, there you are, sorry I was busy photographing strangers, yay!

Moving on then, to the story that matches the title of this post.

I racked my brain, before Brian came home, over what I could take to him for a proper Welcome Home. It didn't take long for me to remember that when he was home on leave, he didn't come straight home, but he had us meet him at his favorite pizza place in this berg, Papa Del's. I shall forever remind him that he had to get to Papa Del's before he had to get to his mama. Laugh if you will, but I'll get expensive vodka out of this, people. He WILL make up for it.

Anyway, I DECIDED that there was going to be Papa Del's pizza waiting for that kid the night he got home. (I can't for the life of me find a website for Papa Del's, so here's this).

I just couldn't decide how that was going to happen, for sure. Townies know the logistics. It's a thick, stuffed pizza; if you dine in, expect to order and get comfy, baking time takes 1 hour. Facebook friends encouraged me to call Papa Del's themselves (ingenius). The guy I got on the phone went over all of my options: "Buy cooked, cool, freeze, thaw, and microwave?" I asked him. "It's not going to be as good."

In the end, we picked up a frozen pie on Monday, kept it in a cooler, and on ice, and then....

Shut it, germophobes. The hotel sink made a GREAT freezer.

And I By God packed my toaster oven (there on the left)...

Lo and behold, 1/2 a pizza fit exactly into the pan that comes with it. I had cut it into quarters before I discovered that fact. And for the record, toaster ovens aren't allowed in hotel rooms, but my baby was home, and they'd have to pry mine from my cold dead hands.

And guess what, it turned out GREAT!!! Yayyyy, all of the pizza orchestration was a huge success, and Brian and his got to have his favorite Papa Del's pepperoni pizza upon landing. Woot!!!

Photo totally staged, he'd already eaten 1/2 pizza before
I remembered to get a pic. Someone else ended up eating that piece.

It was midnight by the time this picture was taken, 3 more hours before we were all asleep, and 2 or 3 more posts on those 3 hours. We had 36, before we had to leave, and but for a few sleeping, there's a tale for every one.

The first two hours of my kid's homecoming, in the end, were stupid wonderful, and pulling off the traveling Papa Del's pizza was a huge coup for me. He was ecstatic, his buddies got a taste of the CU pizza he'd been talking about in Iraq, and I got huge brownie points.

If you can't deliver homemade mashed potatoes, Papa Del's is the next best thing.


  1. 1. Accept nothing less than Belvedere.

    2. Do not mention the toaster oven, the electric kettle, or the hand-held blender to the people at the front desk of hotels. What they don't know won't hurt them and if you don't know it isn't allowed, you can't *officially* be breaking the rules. One of the many things I learned living on the road for a year.

    3. WELCOME HOME BRIAN!!!!!!!!!!! Let me know when you get stationed in Alaska. Your mom and I will conspire to feed you homemade mashed potatoes. :)

  2. Just brownie points? Successfully pulling off a cross-country delivery of Papa Del's monster pizza pies to the long deprived... that should get you a Presidential Medal of Freedom!

  3. For someone who could start a successful organization from scratch to collect toys for troops, getting a Papa Del's Pizza across country for her kid is no problemo. So happy for you that he's back!

  4. That is SO cool!! What a great beginning. I can't wait to hear (uhm, read) the rest!

  5. Yay!!!

    I second Glock's nomination...

    This gave me an ear-to-ear grin (and maybe a tear or two...)

  6. SO great, about the pizza! Well, and, you know, the whole homecoming thing. But I love the pizza part.

    Very happy for you, that he's home.

  7. Anonymous11:16 AM

    So happy your baby is home. I cried through the entire post. You're an awesome mom.


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