My son has fallen in love.
The evidence of his affection clutters my house.
Off in Iraq with his Army comrades for nine months, James has become enamored of http://www.Amazon.com.
Online, he can order the anime films he loves, as well as the Xbox games he plays with his sergeants when they're not all maintaining generators - or whatever it is the Army Signal Corps does at James's remote and sandy outpost.
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Amazon, apparently, is one of the few online outlets that will deliver to an APO (military address).
Preparing to come home this weekend - yay! - James ordered a pile of things sent to the house, not knowing whether they'd arrive in Iraq before he left and could claim them. (His captain jokes that the Army needs a mail site just for James' Amazon acquisitions.)
By last week, teetering piles of cardboard boxes sporting that peculiar Amazon swoosh-slash-"smile" logo littered my dining room table and clogged my two living room credenzas.
Good Lord willing, James is home as you read this, opening boxes.
It certainly looks as if he'll be less bored by the second portion of his deployment than he was with the first. (He did tell me, though, that insurgents livened things up around election time last weekend. I turned to the newspaper for details.)
James and I have exchanged e-mails nearly every day since he was deployed.
Not surprisingly, he often has expressed an aching desire to be with family.
He also has missed the color green, so when I e-mail, I always select a green font.
He warned me of the impending Amazon.com windfall, though in my wildest dreams I did not imagine its scope.
I'm not sure where James will stash all his newly acquired stuff when he returns to his posting. All he has over there is a plywood cubicle in the midst of a very large, open tent. (He says it smells of mildew.)
Right now, the cubicle is chock full of family photos, books - he took the whole Cormac McCarthy oevre - and movies.
I haven't enjoyed having James so far from home, but - through e-mails - I have enjoyed watching him become more fully an adult.
Aside from the pride he feels in serving his country, he now earns his first steady paycheck.
Because of this, he has been able to avert a few small family "crises" - such as sister Hannah's overwhelming desire to come home from school in England by way of Rome, and helping sister Kate with unexpected bills.
I know Hannah appreciated her big brother's assist, but I swear he derived more pleasure from it than she did, even though it depleted his funds.
James also has taken control of his own well-being, pushing himself to stay fit while performing a job that provides little physical challenge and comes with three robust squares on the side.
He says he can't wait to show us his new lean, mean, fighting-machine self.
We're all excited to see him.
And hug him.
The only downside I see is for Amazon.com, which is about to experience an unexplained nosedive in orders to APO Pfc. James Crumbo.