We're down to the wire now, and the last few things I've neglected getting ready for deployment need to be done NOW or they will not get done at all.
Among these is something that is not technically necessary, but gives me great peace of mind -
The re-blessing of the Joan of Arc medallion Air Force Guy has worn each deployment. In this particular instance, I also need to replace the chain (lost) and have a new o-ring soldered on FIRMLY. He nearly lost the medallion on the last go 'round because I cut corners and had him use a connector that looks like a keychain for jewelry.
So, today I walked into a local jewelry store right outside the mall to find the right chain (thick, but not bling-y, strong but still able to be worn comfortably under his clothing and gear) and explained the dilemma to a very helpful sales woman who helped me search the inventory and then took the medallion and the selected chain back to the glass enclosed service area.
Where the technician proceeded to begin the cleaning process.
I was very nearly arrested today at the jewelry store...
As soon as I saw the cleaning supplies come out and the tarnish cloth start rubbing I dashed across the store waving my arms and screeching "STOP!" like a mad woman. The other customers and the two other store employees watched me, mouths agape, as I reached the window and started tapping on the glass.
"Don't clean that! Please don't clean that! Stop cleaning that! I WANT THAT TO STAY DIRTY!"
Luckily the hubbub had captured the attention of the technician who had no idea what to make of the situation. The store manager came out (I'm sure very quickly, but this situation seemed to take forever while it was happening) and spoke to me in the voice of someone who had pepper spray and probably a taser at the ready for dealing with those who lost their mind in the diamond section.
"Ma'am, what seems to be the issue here?"
"He's cleaning my husband's medallion. I'm sorry. I should have said something. I don't want the medallion cleaned, I should have said that. I'm so sorry. I'm really sorry. Please, can I just have the medallion back?"
"Of course, Ma'am, just a moment."
The manager brought me the medallion and I quickly left (supremely humiliated, but also quite relieved) apologizing constantly. I didn't want to explain it there after the ruckus I'd caused, although I'm sure after that I owe the store manager and the employees an explanation and I'll probably go back later and give them one when no one else is present. Although, in retrospect, he might not be happy to again see that crazy lady who kicked up a fuss over a cheap-o tarnished piece of silver.
That medallion hasn't been cleaned since it was brought home on September 13, 2001. It's been to Iraq, it's been to Afghanistan, and it's been to a few other places and trainings that aren't particularly safe. It is very tarnished, but who am I to say that whatever it is in that medallion that has kept my husband safe so far won't rub off with the tarnish?
It's silly, I know. Utterly ridiculous and completely silly. There is such a thing as entirely too superstitious, and I think this probably qualifies for the Crazy Award of the Month at the very least. But that medallion is headed out again and I'm not about to jinx its mojo by doing something so unnecessary as cleaning it.
Or letting someone else clean it.
Even if I end up getting tased for that.
I read a lot of stories about service-members in war zones and the routines and traditions they develop to keep their luck up. I don't read much about those of us at home and the dance we do with superstitions and routines. We do it, though, don't we? It doesn't usually involve near arrests at mall jewelry stores, either.
If I don't eat our favorite pizza while he's gone, he'll come home safe for us to enjoy it his first night back.
If I work on my fitness and reach certain milestones, he'll come home safe.
If I write at least a short note every night and mail it to him in the morning on my way to work, he'll stay safe.
And I truly believe that that all the luck and lessons of the last eight years are somehow embedded in that medallion.
I consider myself a fairly well grounded person, but the medallion is one place where I will not try to logically put aside my superstitions and "hinky feelings." There's just too much at stake, and it's the only control I have - real or merely imagined.