So here it is- the final day of A's airline. It's a bit anti-climatic really since the company had their final flight yesterday and A hasn't even flown for them since June. And in a classy move by someone, the scheduled final flight was passed off to another contractor airline so it was a scramble for all the people who wanted to be there to see the final flight. It's sad to see that an airline that was so highly rated for on time service, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction has gone out of business due to the race for the cheapest contractor. But what can one do?
A did make one final trip to Houston last week to wrap up union business and have a final farewell party. He said they all did get a little misty eyed telling stories of their time at the airline. He talked about how wonderful it was that another pilot friend of his (who happened to be at the meeting as well) had started a donation pool for us (this was pre go-fund-me) when he was out with cancer and how much that meant to him still that all those pilots gave to him without even knowing him. His story ended with a great bear hug and some tissue. A had his own moment as he walked through our home airport in his uniform for the last time as he came home. With no current plans to return to scheduled airline flying he won't be wearing the traditional uniform, skipping the general public security line, or even visiting the airport in the near future. I think it would be different if he had another job lined up or even planned to apply, but that not in the outlook that last walk just seemed so FINAL. I don't think either of us had thought about it until the moment it happened.
Our last few weeks have been a scramble to maintain some sense of security and stability. We refinanced the house, set up some specific bank accounts, worked our Dave Ramsey (nearly done with baby step 3 y'all, that's HUGE!), looked into life, health and disability insurances (need some more ASAP work on that), submitted for the last of the reimbursements from A's uniform fund, downloaded as much info as we could from his company websites while they are still available, and today I applied for state assisted health care for the kids. Our current state with neither of us having access to insurance benefits means we really have to be proactive. Soon A will apply for unemployment benefits to help until he can get some regular income going from the start-up charter business he's working at. Right now our month is measured in "how many trips do I need to cover mortgage and grocery money?" and "how many more hours do I need to work to cover that fall clothes shopping trip or trip to the pumpkin patch this month or yet another curly hair product I *need* to try" (seriously, after four kids I finally have the boobs and wavy hair I always dreamed of in college...). It's funny, up until 6 months ago, I worked full time and sometimes extra weekend shifts too. And parented alone when he was gone on trips. But now, I've gotten so used to him being home and coming home earlier in the day and having kid free time to do chores and errands. And the occasional day off together and restaurant breakfast date. And I wonder how I used to do it all for so long. But for October and likely the next few months, I am trying to rack up as many hours as I can to make sure we have enough money to survive. I'll be back to a breakneck pace until I crash, probably at the end of the year. I'm lucky the hours are finally available now because they weren't in the spring.
We have had so many friends reach out to us, which has been really reassuring and it's so nice that they are thinking of us. Outside of the airlines, I don't think we know anyone who lost their job, or is even battling continued hour cutbacks. I still have faith that this new path will work out for us, as hard as the unknown seems right now. Probably because it not working out is not an option. The silver lining in all this is that A has been home so much and has really jumped in and learned what it means to be a home-all-the-time parent. That opportunity itself has already been a blessing for our family.