Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Words with friends

We are friends with a couple in which the husband is also a pilot. After stagnating as an FO for about nine years, his regional airline ceased operations and he was out of a job. Instead of seeking another flying opportunity he took a job on a management track at the local Costco and in about two years was making about the same amount of money while also being home every night. He professes to being happy and out of flying for good yet every time we speak with them, the conversation quickly turns to airline life. I think that after a few years at home now, the wife is starting to get that independent itch and miss him being gone. And she brought up that it's such a waste to have spent so much time and effort on flight training to just walk away altogether. And spend your time inventorying hotdogs. We were asked to come over and discretely talk about other flying jobs, I think in the hope that perhaps he could get back into flying just a bit. We didn't succeed, the topic never really came up, but it made me wonder what A would do ,or WILL do if I believe the company gossip, when his airline folds. And I really would be pissed to have worked so hard to pay off training that he then doesn't use. As it is he still owes a few grand for the ITT tech degree he was using before he left that industry for flight school. Especially when that money could have paid outright for my own higher education. I'm not sure how it would feel to give up the identity of being a pilots wife. Even when A was on leave for two years, we knew he would go back at some point. There is still that pride of him there and admittedly that pride also because people think it's so glamorous, even though we know the truth. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mama's room

In our cozy little house we have three bedrooms- TeenIlla's room, Littlezilla's room, and Mama's room. Not Mom and Dad's room. Just Mama's room. Even though Dad sleeps there too when he's home (and hasn't been banished for snoring). And inside Mama's room is Mama's bathroom and Mama's bed. I'm not sure how this came about other than I usually refer to the room as "my" room and since the boys call me Mama it just evolved from there. And since A is not here all the time, the boys don't hear it referred to as anything else, like "our room". I even catch A referring to it as Mama's room on occasion. Poor A has no corresponding spot of his own, except perhaps for his closet. Wondering if this is a common occurrence or unique to our family.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back to the grind

Tonight I will be alone at home withy boys for the first time in six weeks. I think there is a little bit of both joy and trepidation in there. Thanks to A's early December vacation coupled with a long visit from my parents our holiday season was less stress for me. The benefit of A being stuck as an FO for years on end is that he is senior in base and gets pretty good schedules (although he will still moan about them)- he had the weeks of both Thanksgiving and Christmas off. Plus, all the days he was working, my parents were available to help with shopping, school pick ups, dinner, and once even driving to Savannah (4 hr round trip) in the rain on a Sunday night to pick up A when he couldn't get back to our home airport. I don't think I can tell them enough how much their help means to me. But now they are gone, A goes back to work this afternoon, and school is back in session. Tonight means pick up at two locations, dinner and then off to Boy Scouts for one while I attempt to keep the other one occupied. And somewhere in there chores and laundry. That's what my glamours like is like these days. 

We did have a few notable occasions in December though. A and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary, momentous only to us because it meant we have been married to each other longer than we each were to our previous spouses.  I still remember riding around Folsom, CA in his little Ford Focus ten years ago and the thrill I got the first time he called me his girlfriend. 

I also made it through the day that would have been my due date for one pregnancy and the halfway date of another, both of which ended in miscarriages last year. I was busy with a work assignment that I don't usually have to do so the day flew by, which was nice. We are still hoping to add to our family and hoping,too, that it doesn't take the same three years it took for the last addition. Which we also celebrated turning four just a few days after Christmas. Where does the time go?

Our final celebration was when I finally receivedy licensure from the State. It has been a two year process of supervision and an exam culminating in the state  office not marking off all my paperwork and the six week process of trying to get someone to address it. But it's DONE.

And I read 103 books this year. There were several that stuck with me this year. In fiction, The Light Between Ocean by Stedman made me cry, which is rare. The Good Father by Chamberlain, while fairly easy, stuck with me for its desperate, I messed up and it got way out of hand story with a redeeming ending. A good beach read. My two favorite biographies were Wild by Strayed which madee want to return to my backpacking in the Sierra history and is due out as a movie soon. Second was Jerusalem by Delisle, a graphic novel about his time there that really sheds light on the cultural relations there. Finally, in nonfiction, Did Jesus Exist by Ehrman was a challenge to read (it's very academic) but so interesting in explaining contradictions in the bible.
Here's wishing you few remaining readers a happy and prosperous new year!

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's just a day

It's the time of year again when I start seeing all the poor me, it's so unfair posts about people having to work on Thanksgiving. There are calls to boycott retail establishments and whatnot. Wives complaining about how their loved one has to spend the day shuttling other people. It irks me for several reasons. Not one mention is made about all the other people, outside of retail or aviation, who have to work on Thanksgiving, or any other big holiday. Last year I worked on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. And I lived. So did my kids. Because the place where I choose to work operations 24/7/365. Even during hurricanes. It's a hospital, it CAN'T close. So we all suck it up and work. And so do the police, EMS, gas station attendants (where would be buy our newspapers to get all the Black Friday deals if the gas station was closed?OMG, you mean we would all have to plan ahead to buy gas the night before?), movie theater workers, military, care home workers, stadium workers (for those holiday bowl and NFL games) and hundreds of other people. So over it already. The industry you chose to enter doesn't close for the holidays. Celebrate the sentiment another day and move on. Not to mention the impracticality of getting every pilot to his home destination- who would fly the last planes back to base? And pick them up again?

Which brings me to my next item- what's the big deal about celebrating on another day? Most people don't have a problem with celebrating their birthday with a party on the weekend instead of on the weekday that is the actual day. But we can't change Thanksgiving or Christmas the same way? Thanksgiving is a holiday that was randomly assigned to a day that *might* have been when a celebration was had. And if you've read Lies My Teacher Told Me, and knew the truth about the Pilgrim/Indian interactions you might not want to celebrate the holiday anyway. So turn it into family-appreciation/remembering-what-we-are-thankful-for-day that is not tied to a particular calendar day. Maybe your family will be happy not to have to split between multiple dinners or travel on the biggest travel weekend of the year. Can they not arrange to take a few days off earlier or later instead? If you are not near family, can you not take a few days off and travel there or to where your pilot is overnighting? A's schedules have always had him ending in early afternoon, making it easy for him to spend the evening celebrating.

 I feel the same about Christmas. There is much controversy regarding the commercialization of Christmas as well as the exact date of Christ's birth. If you celebrate the day for the presents and giving, well you can do that on any day- even with children. If you celebrate it for being the birth of the savior, that can be done in any place, not only in your hometown. It's easy to find a church and if you call ahead, they can probably even find someone to transport you from your hotel and back. Jesus will appreciate the effort, not the location.

Maybe I'm just in a grouchy mood since A just left but after years in the industry now and hearing the same complaints over and over I am just over it. And so many people don't realize the inconsistencies in their own beliefs they hold about "special days". Bah Humbug!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The year of questions

One of my favorite quotes, and one that got me through A's cancer treatement, is from Zora Neale Hurston- There are years that ask questions and there are years that answer them. It's actually the first line from one of her books. This has been a year of asking questions. A rough year for us thus far.

It started off in January when I was just DONE with A. He hadn't done anything wrong, it was just like a giant, 6 week long bout of PMS where every little thing about him was wrong and I couldn't stand it anymore. The way he tied his shoes, the way he arranged his day, the color of his hair. It was all simmering inside of me and I was acting like a royal bitch and I wouldn't tell him why. He should have just known. But I did spend hours in my office at work cataloging all of his offenses and writing diatribes to him about it all. And then one day, it was just gone. And now I can't even remember what the fuss was about.

Then, in March, all of three weeks after I stopped using birth control, I found myself pregnant. It was a surprise to us both. Not in that we didn't think it could happen, we knew we weren't preventing, but in that it had taken us THREE years of consistent trying, and four failed rounds of fertility treatments to get Babyzilla. And here, boom, we found ourselves pregnant. Of course we were stressed, thinking about how to afford a new car to fit us all, but we were very excited as well. I bought some maternity clothes on sale, a baby blanket, planned how to tell all my coworkers... And then at our 9 weeks appointment, we discovered that I had miscarried. Two days later I had a D and C because I didn't want to go through a miscarriage at home, alone, with A on a trip. I recovered and went back to work at my job. In perinatal services, where I see babies and pregnant women every day.

The spring brought us more news from A's airline that there would likely be a reduction in fleet and even through he was only around 30 people from upgrading to Captain ( FIN. A. LY), it would likely never happen as they expected to shrink through attrition. It's been seven freaking years already! I know A is bummed with the news and is casting around thinking about what to do. The thought of starting over at another airline doesn't sound appealing but he can't do anything else with his outdated ITT tech drafting degree. So where does that leave us?

We celebrated the 4th of July with a major plumbing mess and several slab leaks in our house. We spent the entire weekend turning the water to our house on and off twice a day at the main valve- an hour in the morning for showers and laundry and an hour at night for dishes and washing up. Our insurance would only pay for a minimum of labor and repair, so we had to take all the money we had been saving to put a new roof on the house (also much needed) to replumb the entire house through the attic. We have some fantastic hot water now and our bills are lower than they have been the entire two years we lived here, but we totally weren't planning on maxing out our cards and spending all our cash on it. Every time it rains I hear a drip in our roof, it's like water torture because I can hear it while I am laying in bed at night. Heaven knows what other damage is being caused.

Somehow, just 3 months after my miscarriage, I got pregnant again. A's first words were "how did this happen?" - in the context of "why was it so difficult before". Sadly, this time I miscarried again, just a few days after we found out. Just in time for A to be at his recurrent training. I told him, because I needed to tell someone, but I felt guilty as hell for doing something to distract him from his task at hand. He passed with flying colors and came home to help me. At least this time was easier because we hadn't had weeks of planning and getting used to the idea already. But two miscarriages in six months has taken its toll.

I still have intermittent bad moods where I want to scream at A's preference to hold the shower door scraper at exactly 35 degrees for maximum scraping effectiveness or his incessant talking about what it will be like when we finally have the money to fix up our house, my dread as we slowly pay off my grad school loans yet feel like we are never getting anywhere with them. I have sorry for me periods where I hate living here where I feel like I have no good female friends. Yet when I think about it, I'm sure there are at least 5 people who could have helped pick up the kids or made us meals if I had needed it. I am blessed to be home with a sick Babyzilla today, yet still being paid because I have accrued enough paid time off to cover it. I can't yet say what the rest of the year will bring us, but I hope it's more answers to questions than questions themselves.