Friday, November 9, 2018

Recovery

October was a stressful month, but we made it through. It was rough with A being gone for 12 days straight and we definitely decided that while we are fine with the airline type schedule, a cargo type  schedule with a week plus gone then multiple weeks home is not for us.  A also came home from his meeting with many new t shirts (all union made) and glasses from the “Delta Pub”.  Overall it was a great experience for him. That was promptly followed by recurrent training a few days later. Luckily, A is not the one who feels the need to study up prior to a recurrent event. He’s never needed peace and quiet or to hang a poster and practice flows. And really, shouldn’t you be doing it correctly all along? Shouldn’t you already be confident in your knowledge and skills? So off he went to breeze through recurrent barely breaking a sweat. Since then, it’s been routine trips and minimal Fay’s off. We have a nice break off coming up. This week has been especially tough with A being gone and all three kids sick. I was off Monday after rocking a Cub Scout camping trip partially solo with three kids. Seriously. I put up a tent, in the rain, in near dark, by myself, and didn’t even lose a kid. I am Mam, hear me roar! Thanks to a cancelled flight, A wasn’t able to get to us unti early afternoon the next day. But we did fine thanks to the giving heats and helping hands of our scout family. We all came home tired and covered in bug bites. All the kids promptly got sick and I had to leave work early on both Wednesday and Thursday to get them from school. A doctor visit later and we had steroids and advice on humidifiers and benedryl dosage for all. We then had to return to the doctor Friday morning for a previously scheduled well-baby visit which got me into work 2.5 hours late.  And then fielded a request to come home early again, which I had to decline. These are the days that are the hardest. I have no tribe to help and I simply can’t leave early again, especially having come in late. I know A feels like shit too, not being able to help. This is the first time I really remember being stuck like this. A nice long weekend for the kids should help. Dad’s on duty Monday as it’s not a holiday for me ( yeah hospital life!). We are looking forward to time off for the Thanksgiving holiday and an actually family vacation in December. In which I will be dazzled by the fancy hotel while A is nonplussed because he stays in fancy hotels all the time. All in all, here’s to a restful weekend and a quiet, noneventful, upcoming week.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bros before...?

While we do live in Northern Florida, we were not in a hurricane effected area. We anticipated getting a few outer bands of weather, but other than a single 10 minute burst of rain, felt no effects. We were lucky in that respect but it was tense I. Our household the few days before. A left on Tuesday for a 10 day stretch of meetings in Washington DC. At first I thought we would be fine without him but then I waviered (after he mentioned how frequently our power goes out in storms) and decieded he should at least make sure our smaller generator and some power cords were accessible. When I asked him to ensure they were useable he came back with “but you said you would be fine”. Cue Herricane Someday. Here I came dropping F bombs left and right, finger pointing, and all kinds venom spewing! He wasn’t even going to be here and couldn’t even summon up enough to care for his wife and children while they were gone? How hard was it to get four little item out? Why was he spending so much time planning for this pilot related conference instead of taking care of us- obviously he cared more about his pilot bros than us... Finally he agreed to get the equipment out. I asked him the next day, before he left, what point he was trying to prove by arguing with me instead of just agreeing, but he didn’t seem to have one.

Back to the conference for a bit as it really has been dominating our lives for the past few weeks and had been the source of a fair amount of other arguments as well. This meeting happens every other year and then every other conference they also elect a new union president. This year is an election year, naturally. So I get to hear about how they are going to be sweet talked, can’t go anywhere alone,  how all the airlines have hospitality suites to visit, how their airline has theme nights in their suite, how he needs a red velvet jacket because his base always represents... on and on and on. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and reminded him that while he was off at this meeting- having to worry only about himself, having his meals provided, sleeping undisturbed- I would be at home. Taking care of the kids, arranging schedules, planning and making dinners, getting woken up by someone at least twice per night, and having to manage everything by myself, while I continued to work full time. While he worried only about himself. His response that the all day meetings might be ‘boring’ didn’t fly with me. So we had many discussions about who has to manage what and when I would get a vacation as well. I told him I would be happy to stay at a local hotel alone and go to work for the week following his conference just so he could see what it was like for me. You can imagine how well that went over! He did cut down on talking about the conference at least. But it still irritates. And now I’m dealing with everything, with a cold.

We have had some victories lately as well- one is daytime potty trained and one will walk any day. The new pilot contract passed and will give us a bit more breathing room in our very tight budget. And we are still alive to see another day!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Landing at home

A had to make a sick call and it’s landed him home for a stretch of 16 days. That’s even longer than the block of time he gets off for his scheduled vacation at the end of September! He’s had time to work through his gout flare up, get it under control and start some new meds, and get some specialist appointments scheduled. It’s also allowed him to be home for school and daycare pick up and stop off, grocery shopping, and three rounds of sick kids. First Baby Girl was sick with a fever. She came home early from day care twice, stayed home altogether once and had a doctor visit. We no sooner got her well than youngest threw up at school and needed to come home. We get him well and then older boy is up in the middle of the night throwing up. And through it all he’s been able to deal with it all while I go to work as usual. It’s quite liberating to have a stay at home parent. We are all well now and plan to enjoy the long weekend at the Zoo and beach.

A’s airline is in the midst of contract negotiations. It’s intetesting to be on this side of it this time. As a union rep he’s party to hours of conference calls ( literally 5+ hours one day) and the back and forth of negotiations on top of the random pilots calling him trying to get insider information or make their personal contract desires known. Some evenings it seems like we barely see him without his earpiece on to listen in quietly. The absurdity of what some crews do on the job never fails to astound me, as does his ability to represent them to management with a straight face.

A is still torn about online college to finish his BS degree. He wants it but the financial stress and the time stress seems so much. I can’t handle eating a degree on his behalf. But completing it would make such a difference in his ability to move airlines. Even though there is rumor of his airline being acquired by a motor a year later no further details have come out. And I say that confidently because he would be one of the first to know. I keep hoping an obvious, easy answer will present itself but it hasn’t yet. I’ll keep hoping though.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Perceptions

I posted this recently on a Facebook group-
“I’m so irritated at people, including my mother, who can’t see past the glamorous job of regional pilot that my husband does to the very important, much more rewarding and interesting job that I do! More often than not I am greeted with “ Hi! Where’s A today?” Probably he’s in Des Moines, Debuque, or some other mispronounced midwestern dream town on a 60 minute turn or a 10 hour layover at the local La Quinta. I am a social worker at a children’s hospital. I help people. I make a difference in their lives. They remember me years later. Today I held the hand of a mom of a baby while our staff tried to save her baby girl and held the mom in my arms when we couldn’t. Then I helped find a way to pay for the burial costs. Then I pushed an emergency transfer through an insurance plan so a child could be flown to another hospital for a transplant. Then I coordinated the home equipment for another special needs child to go home. Every day I do these things and more. Want a funny story the starts with “ what had happened was...” or ends with “who does that?”- I have a hundred. But outside of the hospital, I’m nothing but a pilot’s wife. I just wish people could see beyond the aura of glamour I must radiate just being associated with him to the much more interesting facets of my life!”
There was lots of commiseration from other wives who felt the same way, that our lives and jobs are judged as so boring by comparison that they aren’t even worth remembering or asking about. Even our pastor at church does this to me. No one rembers my job but everyone knows his. A tried not to talk about his job and even tells people that my job is much more interesting, but still. It’s hard not to be snarky in the situation, but I need a good comeback so people will recognize how devaluing it is to me to ignore my own accomplishments.
I admit that I did recently, nearly fall victim to my own assumptions recently. But luckily I didn’t stick my foot in my mouth. I see many, many posts about wives saying they just can’t work because of their husband’s schedule. I’ve made it work AND we have three kids. So when we went to spend the recent holiday with another pilot family I had never met, I assumed  that the wife probably didn’t work since they had several children and lived in a suburb a fair bit away from the the major area. Turns out they had three kids and she had a fairly demanding job in HR just down the street from where I work. I was so glad to kind a kindred spirit! Although I can’t imagine how I will continue to keep up what feels like a frantic pace to my life, it’s what works for us for now.
I was also re entry told by someone that I could seem very intimidating because I seemed to have my life so well managed and together and other people did not. I was blown away because I don’t always (more like rarely) feel like I have it so together and I certainly don’t judge anyone else for not having found there groove. I try to help by sharing what works for me, but I guess it doesn’t come off well sometimes. I promise I’m not an intimidating gal in real life, just busy trying to keep my head above water and lonely for friends who get it. I read a thought posted on Facebook that had been copied and pasted many times over was this- A different version of you exists in the minds of everyone who knows you. It seems so simple, but yet mind blowing at the same time.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Upgrade complete

We made it through upgrade training. I always knew that A had the skills, but I admit there were times I didn't think we were going to make it. The stress of upgrade threw him into a major gout flare up and when he set off for the first two weeks of class and sims, he could barely use one of his arms. But he persevered and made it through. And then he would come home and try to one up me on the stress levels (as if, I work full time, have three kids at home, and manage our home, our health, our extracurricular activities while he went to class 9-5 and slept alone in a hotel room...). His first trip out ended with a dropped trip and left him with only 13.5 hrs of CA time, so he had to do a second trip to finally get signed off. And this second trip made up for everything the first trip didn't have- 4 and 5 leg days, cancellations, delays, the works. But it's done! So much for prime vacations and schedules, we are back at the bottom of the list. A has three weeks of vacation to take this year, but it's all during the fall, when the kids are in school and the weather is hot and humid here and cold in the rest of the US. This upgrade is huge to us though because we have been struggling along financially having two kids in daycare and another in extended day at school. It's still worth it for me to work (After 7 years, A finally brings home more than I do again!) but I'll tell you, it's been a struggle. Especially with 2 12 week maternity leaves in three years. A could have gone to upgrade class sooner, like 6 months ago. I don't know why he didn't, but it's moot now. At least we will have some breathing room now, although there are no dream vacations in our near future. I know for a while I will see him even less, as he spends 5 days away on reserve at base. Hopefully he can learn to work the system and get himself home more. But with the way people are leaving, either to the majors or lateral moves, he should move up in seniority smoothly. We're outsourcing lawn care and housekeeping so we can have time to just be when he is home, instead of frantically trying to cram chores in. I guess this means we've made it.