In the bad old days following the tragic events of 9/11, Alex got called up for Air National Guard active duty at the Oakland Airport.
He had to take leave from his regular job as a software developer, put on his uniform, and grab an M-16.
To say his hours were erratic is an understatement. Alex would report for duty at 4 AM, or 9 PM, or 3 AM, or 11 PM and it changed almost every day. Since his airport deployment began over the Thanksgiving Holiday, a lot of our regular holiday plans were either canceled or dramatically altered.
Alex was still trying to get into his office at his regular job a few times a week so he wouldn't get too far behind there. This was fine, but it left him drastically sleep deprived for the most part.
One night we got into bed at the early hour of 8 PM. He was not due to report for duty until 2 AM and so I assumed he set the alarm for 1AM. I opened one eye and looked at the clock and the time was 2:25 AM. I realized Alex was snoring softly beside me and I shook him awake.
What followed was like a glimpse of "Keystone Cops"! Our fat little cocker spaniel, Mitch, our cat, Smokey, and I were all racing around more or less in circles to help Alex get out the door. Every light in the house was on and Alex was in a cold stone panic. At the time, we had a 60 gallon aquarium and every fish in it was jumping around like they had been electrified.
Alex was cursing, I was cursing, the cat was yowling, the dog was barking all at the same time. Only 5 minutes had elapsed between Alex opening his eyes and him pulling the car out of the drive way on his way to the Oakland Airport.
Fortunately, Alex did not get a court martial for his offense, but in fact, served until June of 2008. He was never again late for a duty call.