It was one of our best conversations ever. J. only calls when he’s got a shift babysitting the radio (the guys have to man the radio 24/7); this particular day the Team went out on a pretty serious mission to try to hunt down insurgents in a village known to be housing them. By total luck of the draw J. happened to already be scheduled with "radio duty." So our time was peppered with bits of chatter from the mission. It was fascinating and a bit of a reality check for me as to how much work their day-to-day entails.
Anyway, this time I set up my webcam and J. got to see me (in all my frumpy glory) while we chatted. We also got to play checkers online and for a minute I actually felt guilty that we had this kind of time together (as if J. working seven days a week didn’t entitle him to a silly break for half an hour to play checkers with his wife). Its hard to explain how much this phone call and relaxed game of online checkers did for me; it was like any other weekend with my husband and for just one hour in all these months, life actually felt a little normal.
On an unrelated but interesting note, J. said that he picked up an interesting book in the airport on the way back to Iraq and highly recommended it: The Underground Economist by Tim Harford. Much better than Freakonomics, according to reviewers.