March 22nd Update

7:40 AM

Today was a bummer, but I knew it was coming.  We finally had to say goodbye to Lance for real this time, and now he is off serving our country out of harm's way.  For what he does, there was no logistical need for his command to be on the base in light of what is going on. In order to clear up the runways, as well as to keep our sailors safe, most of them not involved in Operation Tomodachi have been moved elsewhere.

It was pretty sad saying bye to him this time for several reasons.  For one thing, I feel like every time that man leaves the house I tell myself and the kids "its ok, this will be one of the last time daddy has to go away for a loooong time," but it never ends up being true!  In 2009, I was excited that it was Lance's last cruise for this sea tour, but we ended up extending for another year. Which meant a 2010 cruise. All of 2010, I reminded us all "this is daddy's last cruise and detachments… we are almost done!" This year brought unsuspecting detachments and now THIS! Ah well, I have to suck it up and be thankful that we are safe and we are separated for good reasons. (I just noticed how much I've written about being thankful lately! Dang redundancy again!)

Also, it was strange leaving the house with him today, knowing that this was the last time we would be in this home together.  It was a thought that hadn't crossed my mind until we were almost ready to leave, and then it just made me stop in my tracks and it caught me off guard.  Don't get me wrong, I've had a blast here in Japan, but I'm very ready to leave at this point, and yet the thought of us rushing out of here as a segregated family felt unnatural.

More families flew out today, and we are starting to notice a momentum building up with getting people out of Japan.  One plane left Monday, one today, and two are scheduled to leave tomorrow, so thats a step in the right direction.  Perhaps by this weekend the kids and I will get a flight out.

Radiation levels are consistently being tested at bases across Japan, and with continued damage at nuclear plants, radiation still poses a serious potential threat.  The levels in my area were slightly elevated today, but apparently it is no more exposure than one would normally experience in our modern day-to-day life.  Trace amounts are still found in water, and the official announcement is quite vague, stating that "at normal rates of water consumption, this would pose no health risk"… "those concerned about drinking water, bottled water is recommended."  Ambiguous, much?  To recap: kids are still under house arrest, heaters are turned off, and now we will start drinking bottled water exclusively.  I know that the levels tested are said to not pose any threat to health, but if being a little overcautious with my kids can potentially prevent them from developing thyroid cancer down the road, then consider all other successes in my life meaningless compared to this one.

For those who are interested, this site is updated with regional radiation levels.  We are in the Kanagawa prefecture.

My day has consisted of somewhat sorting/organizing the house for our "move" (lol), and researching what the heck I'm going to do once we get stateside.  I'm researching hotel/efficiency/furnished apartment options, and trying to figure out how in the world my Great Dane fits into all of this.  I love him to death, but boy! does my life really revolve around that big boy!

Also, this evening has been particularly active as far as earthquakes and aftershocks go!  I swear my whole night has revolved staring at my own personal Richter Scale, as seen below.  Since I don't have space for a computer desk in this teensy house, I put my computer on the kitchen table when I'm using it, and so my Richter Scale dangles right over my head, reminding me of its purpose and taunting about the quakes.  That stupid thing has been rocking and rolling all night!

Another interesting link I can share with you details earthquakes in Japan, starting right before the March 11th quake.  Watch the screen while it loads, its quite interesting to see the progression of the quakes and the magnitudes.  After the screen loads to the most recent quake, you can then hover over the past information and see a representation of how large it was.  Pretty nifty, if you are into that sort of thing :)

School was back open today, but the kids didn't go because they weren't feeling well.  Alex has been sick for the past 3 days with a fever and a persistent sore throat, but as the day progressed today, she seemed to have been getting significantly better.  Lance… well, he's my hypochondriac/actor (deadly combo for moms), and since he felt a little warmer this morning, I didn't feel like fighting him.  Kids are getting booted out of the house tomorrow no matter what so I can try and be Super Woman and tackle my incredibly neglected to-do list (I hate that I work better under pressure and a deadline - who wants that for themselves?!).

And with that, it is time to retire to bed finally…in my cold bedroom, without my husband's radiating warmth.

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