Sunday - January 27, 2002

     Beth is back!!  She is home in Bremerton, WA.  The USS Carl Vinson docked Wednesday afternoon in cold wet weather but it was the most beautiful day for anyone waiting on the pier or here in Iowa.  Our sailor has come home to a Hero's Welcome.  The Vinson has a very impressive record so far in Operation Enduring Freedom.  We are so very proud of our daughter, Beth, the sailor.  She called as often as she could while the ship was in the Arabian Ocean launching "birds" to make bombing runs on Afghanistan.  I couldn't write about what they were doing and where she was doing it--but now I can.  But almost everyone knew where the Vinson was since the news media made it there thing to tell the whole world just exactly where all our ships were located.  Anyway, after the USS Stennis relieved the Vinson they started home.  She called and told me they were on their way home.  Oh my, that was the best day I had since 9-11.  She called from Singapore where they spent Christmas Day.  Then she called me when they were close to Hawaii and then after the docked.  She (and friends) were on a bus going some where to eat.  That day was even so much better then the Singapore call.  She was on U. S. soil!!  She was almost home.  She called when they got to San Diego and I was doing cartwheels--well, trying to.  That was homecoming number 2 for the ship but the big one was still to come.  Bremerton, WA was getting ready to welcome home the Vinson in grand style.  No one on the ship could tell you when they were coming in but we all knew!  So Wednesday I was a nervous wreck waiting for her to call.  I figured she would call after they docked and she was able to get off the ship.  But she called 3 hours before they reached the dock and she sounded so good.  We talked just a little and she told me she would call me back later.  About the time they were to dock in Bremerton she called again and when I answered the phone she said, "Mom I am home!  And I am COLD."  We talked for just a couple minutes and she said she would call later that evening so she could talk to her Dad.  After I hung up I cried like a baby and said a prayer of Thanks to God for bringing her home safe to us.  I wished that I could put my arms around her and give her a hug and never let go but I can't do that but soon.  She got her transfer she applied for so when her transfer date comes then I will hug her.  Chris is going out in February for a couple days to see his sister and tour the ship and see just what she does.  She decided she would give the trip to Chris for his birthday and Christmas present from her.  He is really going to enjoy this trip as he has never been out of Iowa or on an airplane before.  I wished I could fit in his carry-on!  :O)
     Beth has called a bunch since homecoming day.  She has had several daughter-Dad talks as she calls them.  :O)  She got after her Dad for not doing what the doctor had told him.  I can't remember if I told you in my last entry that Norm flunked his treadmill test on the 28th of last month.  Well, Monday we found out "the rest of the story."  Norm's cardiologist appointment was Monday and he was told that it appears that he has 1 or maybe 2 arteries with some blockage.  So Tuesday morning he goes into the Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines to have a Cardiac Catheterization.  If they find just 1 or 2 arteries are affected then they will do the balloon (to flatten the plaque against the walls) and then insert stint(s).  If they find out the 3 or more arteries are affected then he will have to go back in a couple days to have by-pass surgery.  I think you know what we are praying for.  The doctor said he is pretty sure it is only going to be one affected artery--I hope he is right.  We should be on the way home Tuesday evening if not before if all goes right.  Now get this--Iowa has been snow free since winter started except for a couple days.  But right now Iowa is this winter green color.  Anyway, guess what is coming in--storm--starting with rain tomorrow (Monday) and is to turn to snow on Tuesday and snow through Wednesday.  The last report I heard was we can expect anything from 1 to 6 inches of snow!!  This is one of those times that I hope northern Iowa gets all of it.  I don't want to have to stay in Des Moines because of snow.  I won't take any chances with Norm on blood thinner.
     I will try and get another entry up after we get home so you know how things went but I won't promise which part of the week I will get it done in.  :O)  Keep Norm in your prayers, please.  If there are any misspelled words or something that doesn't make since--I apologize.
     I love you, Mom.  And Beth--I will talk to you Wednesday after they are done with your Dad and I have news.  Tootles!