I’m still not entirely sure what happened.
Yesterday, Mr. Chili called me with an edge of elation in his voice. They were “go” for launch and the balloon was being inflated as we spoke. Years of work was finally going to go off, and my husband was giddy with excitement.
About half an hour later, the phone rang again. I answered it joyfully, eager to hear my beloved’s voice telling me that they were “up, up and away!” Instead, I heard Mr. Chili, flat and dejected, tell me that they’d experienced a “catastrophic failure.”
I’m still not 100% certain that I understand what happened, but it had to do with how the instrument was released (or, more specifically, how it was not released) from the mechanism that held it while it waited for enough lift from the balloon to haul it into the air. The problem wasn’t with the instrument itself (or, more importantly for me, the part that Mr. Chili was responsible for designing), but rather with the crane (and, if I’m interpreting Mr. Chili’s description right, the crane’s operator. I bet it really sucks to be that guy right now).
The “conflicted” in the title comes from the fact that I’m feeling two distinct and contradictory emotions over this news. First, I’m absolutely heartsick that this happened. My husband and his team have worked very hard for years to get this project off the ground (no pun intended, though it is pretty apt, no?). To have come this far only to have the thing fail because the release arm on a crane malfunctioned is just devastating – I could hear it in his voice from thousands of miles away. I am so sorry for Mr. Chili and his team that all this work – and all the travel and the waiting and the time away from home – essentially amounted to nothing at literally the very last minute.
On the other hand, though, this means that there’s no reason for my husband to be in New Mexico anymore. I believe it is true that they’re going to put the toy back on the truck and drive it back to New England. It may be so that my husband is back home by the end of the week. I am practically beside myself over this; while we’ve been managing just fine without him, managing isn’t really how I like to live my life. The girls and I will be much happier – much better – with him home and while I’m sorry that the project went into the crapper, I’m not even a little sorry that it means my husband will soon be back where he belongs.