While we were waiting for the pizza we set up the room for the video call with Susan Adams, Wendy’s mother who was in the Arabian Sea on an aircraft carrier. The video link was tightly controlled. I had gotten to use the Marine version a couple of times when I was in the sand box. In the four years I was there I had a 10 minute and a 15 minute block. The fifteen minute one was when Jake’s wife Crystal was killed in the auto accident. It was five days after the funeral that I found out that she had been killed. If you showed up one minute late you lost your block. The link went black exactly at the time limit no matter what. We used the video camera tied to the laptop instead of the web cam. With the wide angle she would be able to see all of us. We did a test run form one laptop to another to make sure that it would work correctly.
We had six large pizzas delivered and we were all drinking beer. It seems that there is something universal about beer and pizza together. When the pizza ran out we made small talk. Carl reminded us that we still hadn’t taken him up on the tour of the Navel Academy. The conversations soon became about the gym. When Carl found out that my dad was going to be moving equipment from the basement to the gym he volunteered to come help. Of course we accepted the offer. I knew that my dad would appreciate all the help that he could get.
At exactly 6:58 Wendy received the first of the two required e-mails to make the video link possible. I returned the link on my e-mail system with the required code and hoped that it would accept it and not trigger a security flag that would cancel the transmission. At 7 a link was returned. When I click the link there she was in the Navy’s onboard version of MTAC.
Wendy was ecstatic. She and Carl moved to the center of the room. It was a warm family reunion as best as you can do on video. After the initial hello’s Wendy introduced all of us as her best and dearest friends. After the introductions and the pleasantries were through Susan said, “I feel like I have known all of you for ever. Wendy e-mails quite often and keeps me up to date on everything that you do. She is so happy to be part of your family.”
“BJ, I have a special request. The Navy/Marine Corps Christmas Ball at the Academy is coming up in ten days. I was to be home so I go with Carl, but the Navy extended our sea duty. I know you know how important the politics are as you go up in rank. The Christmas Ball is the most important one there is and it is important that Carl is there. But he refuses to go alone.
Wendy told me that she had helped you put away some uniforms that your mother had brought over. She was so proud that you had dress blues she even sent me a picture. What I am asking is would you be Carl’s companion to the ball? Wendy said that I would be safe with you. Whatever does that mean?” she said.
Wendy came to stand beside me and said in a pleading voice, “Please?”
I looked at Jenny she smiled and nodded as if she was giving me permission.
I said, “The uniforms haven’t been out of the cleaner’s bag in over four years. I have lost weight so they will have to be taken in. I know there a few medals that are not on them.”
Carl said, “There is a lady in Stevensville on Romans Road that does all the alterations for the plebes at the academy. I can get your service record to find out which medals are missing. She can do all of it.”
“If you can get the records I can take her the uniform Tuesday afternoon when I get home from work. She can take whatever measurements she needs then.” I replied then added, “Everything should be ready in plenty of time.”
We let Wendy and Carl have the rest of the time allotment in private with Susan. We cleaned up the trash from the pizza. Then we went down to the basement for one last big work out down there. Tomorrow most all the equipment would be moved over to the gym. There would only be one of each of the machines and the mats left.
We had only been working out a few minutes when Wendy and Carl came down. I stopped working out and went to talk to them. I told Wendy to take my place on the machine. I sensed that Carl wanted to talk privately.
He said, “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I didn’t know that Wendy and Susan had been conniving behind our backs.”
“I think it will be fun. It’s been a long time since I was at an official function like that. I hope I remember all the dances that are the norm. Relax, I promise I won’t bite or make any moves on you.” I said.
“Besides they already know you are safe with me.” I said with a laugh to lighten the mood. Then I added, “We will still have a great time.”
Carl left and I went back to the gym to finish my workout. Two hours later we were in the hot tub with either a beer or a wine cooler. It was good to relax. We had one busy day that had been very productive. Hopefully tomorrow would be just as productive. I wondered what the two guys would get done in the additional eight hours tonight. I wondered what kind of sendoff we should give Jeanna with tomorrow being her last full day here until Christmas.
I think we were all tired. A heavy round of hugs and kisses was all the activity that happened that night.
EDIT by Alfmeister