Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Operation Rolling Blackout

The scheme, as I've now come to learn, was called Operation Rolling Blackout.  It's been in the planning stages for months with several key players, across multiple time zones and countries, working together to keep me in the dark.  The mission was simple... Brendon would surprise me and Owen by coming home "early" from his deployment.  I say "early" but really he came home on time --- he just tricked me by saying that he wouldn't be home for another week.

That's where all the deception began. He told me to expect him at 1PM on August 3rd. I've been counting down the days for weeks, posting on Facebook about how Owen was ready for Daddy to come home, and talking to friends about that special day in August.

Looking back---I'd say Brendon and our friends deserve an Oscar for all the exceptional acting they've been doing lately! They commented on and "liked" every countdown post, every status update.  Called to see how excited I was to see B in "2" weeks and even relayed back to Brendon how completely unaware I was of his plan.

Well played, my friends. Well played.

So, how did he do it?  How could he spend all those hours {secretly flying across the world} without me worrying about why I had not heard from him?

For the past 6 months--- Skype, our Time Zones, and Owen's nap time have aligned in such a way that Brendon and I got to talk everyday.  I built my schedule around that Skype call -- I wouldn't miss it.  So, Wednesday, when he told me that his base would be implementing "rolling blackouts" where they would intentionally shutdown power to the dorms and redirect it to another facility, I knew that he wouldn't be able to Skype. That made sense to me - our power company in California used to turn off our power for 2 hours per day during the summer months for the same reason. 

I bought it... hook.line.sinker.  

I spent the entire day Thursday and Friday picturing him sitting in his dark, lonely room, with no power - no air conditioning - no computer and no Skype-time. :O(

Here's what he was really doing...

Boarding the plane for the states.

And sending me a quick email to let me know that he was working late...

And, finally, making it home to Shreveport!

Here's what I was doing...

Counting the days with Owen until Daddy would be home.

Crossing off the days on the calendar and thinking "only one more week left"

I had a lot of time (since we couldn't Skype) so I cleaned the kitchen, took a shower, did my hair and makeup {which even I think was ridiculous because I was going to a pool party that afternoon--- but whatever, I was trying to pass the time}. I played on the computer, checked my email 10 times just to see if B had sent any updates on the power outages and kept thinking "This deployment is almost over--I can do anything for one more week, right. Right?"

Towards the end of nap time I packed up our towels and swimsuits and loaded the car. We were invited over for a little backyard pool party at Brandi's in-law's new house.  They moved into the house earlier this summer and Brandi had mentioned several times that we should get together to swim.  I was so excited when we found a date that worked for everyone's schedules. Plus, the pool party was scheduled around dinner time--which to be honest was loneliest time of day around here.

I woke Owen up from his nap and he wasn't the slightest bit grumpy because we were going to see his best little buddies, Sara Beth and Tristen, and we were going to go swimming! I followed the GPS directions out to the house and as I drove down the driveway I was blown away by how beautiful it was... the house, the property, the flowers in full bloom. I couldn't help but stare.

 Owen and I got out of the car and he rang the doorbell.  Brandi met us at the door and welcomed us in. We said hello to everyone -  The Harts (Adam, Brandi, and SaraBeth + Mr. David and Mrs. Jonell) and The Reneaus (Justin, Diana, and Baby Sawyer... Tristen was asleep upstairs).  Of course, we were the last ones there---because I'm always at least 5 minutes late these days.

As soon as Owen saw the pool he was ready to swim, so we walked outside.
At this point, I was even more in love with the house and couldn't wait to spend the afternoon out there. 

There were two little presents sitting on the table for Owen and SaraBeth.
{Tristen has just come home from a beach vacation and he had special gifts for his friends.}
SaraBeth opened hers quickly and I saw that Tristen had wrapped up shells for his friends.  Owen opened his present, but instead of just shells there was something else...someone very familiar. 


  As in Buzz Lightyear, the little action figure that Brendon had taken with him during his deployment.  You'd think that at this moment, seeing Buzz---knowing that there's probably only one Buzz Lightyear with a drawn on mustache, I would have thought something was going on.

But, I didn't.

Instead, I noticed that everyone had brought their cameras.

I wish I had my camera too, I thought.

Diana reached over to help Owen open his gift and before I could even begin to figure out why Buzz was in the box, I started to feel like everything was moving in circles...except everyone was standing still.

I heard the sound of big heavy shoes clanking down the metal spiral staircase outside.
I wondered, why is Mr. David coming down the stairs so fast? And, is he wearing combat boots?  I'd recognize the sound of those heavy steel toed boots anywhere. I glanced up...yep, those are boots - - -  Tan Boots? Those go with the ABU uniform. Wait a minute. Those are ABU pants. Is Adam's dad wearing ABUs?!?

I looked around and in a flash took attendance.
Everyone, that I knew of, was there and Mr. David was standing to my left {wearing khaki shorts}.

Then, in what now felt like slow motion,
 I looked up to see Brendon hopping down from the last step,
with roses in his hand and the biggest smile on his face.

That's when I turned into a big.crying.puddle-of-tears.

I couldn't breathe.

I couldn't speak.

I just prayed - God, please let him be there when I open my eyes!

I took my hands down from my face AND HE WAS HOME!

 I've never felt so relieved, so complete.

No longer was I thinking in one more week B will be home
 because there he stood with Owen in his arms.

We did it --- The deployment was OVER!

 And then we went swimming!


  1. You got my tears flowing this morning. I'm so blessed to have been part of your big surprise!

  2. what a great day for you and your family! this just makes me so happy! happy for you girl :)

  3. Awwww, now I am crying all over again.

  4. Found your blog through the latest issue of Women's World. I just read this post - This is the best post EVER; the best surprise EVER. I'm in tears! Thanks to your husband for his service! Thanks to you and your son for your service as well!

    1. Thanks, Jen! This was certainly the biggest and most meaningful surprise of my life! A day I'll never forget :)