MONDAY, MAY 24th.
Day 379 (one year, 13 days) of CPT Patti's deployment.
I mentioned before that she had acquired her own phone. She called me briefly on Sunday.
She tells me that the folks in her office have begun a work rotation...and that if she is going to get a day off, Sunday is her day. However, yesterday was the first time she had actually tried to take the day off. (Turns out that while we were talking her boss called her in to work.)
But she did get some time to herself. And what do you think my darling wife did while taking some time off? She painted her toenails!
Now...I don't expect any one of you to be interested in the fact that CPT Patti painted her toenails. But I do find it indicative of something. I've mentioned lately that her spirits were down...this toenail thing tells me she is feeling better. How do I know? Well, the uniform rules on Camp Victory mean that she is wearing DCUs (Desert Cammouflage Uniforms) with boots or the Army PT (Physical Training) uniform with running shoes 100% of the time that she leaves her little room. Unless one were to visit her in that room, one would never see that she has painted her toenails.
So...she did it for herself...in part I am certain as a statement to herself that spending over a year in a war zone doesn't mean she can't feel like a woman from time to time.
You may be aware that the Army also has standards of appearance for women's hair while female soldiers are in uniform. This means that CPT Patti has to pin her hair up every time she leaves her little room. She told me yesterday that she had taken great delight in spending the morning with her hair down in a ponytail.
We also had a chance to talk briefly about her circle of friends. Since she has moved up to the Brigade staff she is surrounded by folks I have never met. She was telling me about the group of Captains from the staff who gravitate to one another in the dining facility or at the end of the workday. This is a nice group of folks she says...and she can't help but tell them so (please see reference above to "The Sweetest Woman..."). And it must have become a bit of a joke because she said "they laugh at me and say, 'yes Patti, we like you too'".
And they have nicknamed here the "Social Epicenter" of the Brigade Staff, as she tends to be the organizer of movie nights, game nights and such.
If it all works out she will call me again this afternoon. And I look forward to that.