Monday, April 30, 2007

Fingers crossed

A has his systems oral exam today. He and his partner have studied and are feeling confident, so hopefully it will be good news for them. They are scheduled for a 5 hour block for the exam, but don't anticipate needing all of it. A always did good in the oral portion of his checkrides, so I think he'll be fine. Resisting the urge to make all kinds of naughty comments involving the words oral and exam...

A had an interesting experience in the FTD a few days ago. He and his partner have been doing really well and have had good reviews. The other duo that they are splitting time with haven't been so lucky. They seem to be struggling a bit. They had a new instructor for this particular evenings FTD session who had mixed up which was the "doing well" duo and which was the "needs more work" duo. A said the guy was a total jerk and rode their ass about every little thing. However he missed about half of what the other guys messed up on. Self fulfilling prophecy in action. They realized during the final brief what had happened. The instructor threatened A and his partner with an ATR (additional training required) and A flat out told the guy "I don't like you". Yes, A has balls of steel.

A is coming home tonight for the first time in 16 days. Ironically, I can already feel a headache coming on... He'll be home monday pm-thursday am, then back to IAH and then back home again sun pm for a few more days. Then off to the full motion sim at Hobby Airport in Houston.
We are looking forward to having him home. M can't wait to do boy things like catch lizards and play video games. And I'm looking forward to some adult pursuits. And also to him getting my a/c fixed in my car. It's supposed to be in the 90's all week here. Can't wait to get to the airport tonight!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New stuff

Oh oh oh! I just added a link to another pilot wife's blog in my blogroll for even more reading (and empathizing) pleasure. Check the blogroll on the sidebar to find the link. I'll add more as I receive requests or find sites. See what interesting things you can find when you have time to poke around a bit?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

One down, two to go

A had and passed his systems written exam on Tuesday. That guy in class that you hate because he always gets good grades yet never cracks a book- that's A. He scored an 89%, 2nd highest in the class. 5 people, including his sim partner, didn't pass. So next on the plate is FTD's for the week, the oral exam on Sunday and then a short trip home for a few days. We had a minor panic when they gave him his May schedule and it showed him going straight from the LOFT training to his IOE, and him being gone from the 9th through the 31st. But we heard that that is most likely going to change.

Looking forward to having him home again for a few days, even if it's days I'll be working.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Keeping the home fires burning

We made it through week 3, so hopefully we have hit the half way point of training. A stayed in Houston this weekend to study. He doesn't do text books very well, he just retains an amazing amount from lectures and hands on stuff. Study sessions have been hard on him and he hasn't attended many. I told him- as long as you know as much as everyone else knows, you'll be fine. And he tells me he does. We'll find out when he has his systems written exam tomorrow.

Maybe it's just me, but I had some higher expectations for what his training would be like. I guess those low fares translate into less money spent on training as well. Tomorrow is his exam. He still has no idea what happens on Wednesday. He has no schedule. Straight to FTD/Sim stuff? A few days off? Where will the sims be- Houston? Memphis? Orlando? He has friends in other classes so he knows what they did/are doing and his class seems to be getting the shaft on all this. They haven't even had a chance to do a walk-around on a real plane. I would have expected that that would be a REQUIRED part of training. Also, they didn't get to practice any evac procedures. Again, woulda thought that would be required. And now we hear that they will be doubling up on IOE's. He'll be riding in the jumpseat for his partners IOE and then they will switch. Hopefully he won't end up getting shorted on that time as well. At least he'll learn from his friend's mistake. They don't use headsets in the sims, so when his friend showed up for his IOE, he realized he didn't know where to plug the headset in.

We've been fine back at home. It was kind of nice to take it slow this weekend instead of frantically trying to fit everything in. A always worked weekends when instructing, so having to occupy ourselves on a weekend is nothing new. M was on the phone to bio-dad last week and said "I need a new daddy now because you are in CA and A is in Q-ston and I don't have one here anymore". So we had to talk about that a little. Seem to be clear on it now though.

We had a rough spot this past week when I got angry at A on the phone and then spun it out of proportion in my head and wouldn't talk to him on the phone for 3 days. One of those things where it starts with some small slight and blows up bigger and bigger the more you think about it- like when "you put pickles on my sandwich when you know I don't like them" becomes "you must not love me because after 2 years you don't know I don't like pickles" when really it was all the Subway guy's fault. But it blew over eventually. A told me he did finally come and look up this blog to see if he could find any clues. Said it made him feel good to read what I've been writing, hooray for validation.

I'm sure a good deal of it was hormonal and blowing off steam about our whole situation. Now that we have emotionally come to terms with it, we are less in shock. Carrying a baby that isn't going to live and waiting every day for the inevitable to occur, hiding pregnancy symptoms from friends and family, and A not being here to help deal with it has taken it's toll. For him it's easier; he's away and doesn't have to deal with it, but also he can't let it interfere with his studies. I'm left trying to hold the pieces together. We've been able to let this pregancy go emotionally, now if I could just let it go physically...

In the end though, the days keep on coming, we make it though one at a time, and the world keeps spinning, just like it should.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Things not to do

Instructors- Posting on a forum about your students weaknesses and asking for help makes you a good instructor. Posting them as comedy, especially on a board where the student also posts, makes you an ass. Think about which type of instructor you want to be.

New hires- Embellishing on your previous experience is not recommended. Someone will know more than you, ask you questions you can't answer and you will eventually be found out. A was telling me stories of experiences that changed from "I used to fly a XXX" to "no, I didn't really fly one" and "I used to fly for XXX" to "Well, I was hired but didn't make it though training". Aviation is a small world and someone, somewhere will remember that you got caught in a lie.

Someday- don't trust A's time tracking skills. A "quick" stop at a restaurant for breakfast before the flight to Houston led to us getting stuck in weather related traffic, which led to him missing his flight back (he was there 30 minutes prior but the flight was weight restricted for weather and they couldn't get him on) and left him sitting at the terminal for nearly 7 hours while flight after flight went out weight restricted and without him. And he was traveling positive space.

This was a tough weekend- midnight arrival on friday night, bickering during errand running all day on saturday, sunday's flight disaster. Plus still coming to terms with last weekends news. But we had some good times too.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Waits and balances

A called last night to tell me that he was going to be able to come home this weekend after all. Said he needed to "get a haircut and pick up a shirt and tie for his checkride". We both know it's really because he misses me and really wants a home cooked meal. And someone to do his laundry. I'll forgive him is inability to vocalize his emotions, he's a man and he's not used to it. If he's flying positive space and on the company tab, I will welcome him home with open arms. Even if it means having to be at the airport at 11:20pm on friday night and back again at 8:30am sunday.

Actually, I was more ambivilent that he was about his coming home for the weekend. I had made lots of plans with friends to keep us occupied for the weekend and him coming home means having to make a choice. Do I keep the plans with them and let him fend for himself, risking that he might not be home again for a few weeks? Or do I cancel and spend time with him, potentially missing out on fun stuff with them? I'm working on coming to a balance with both.

I think (and I can say this b/c he has freely admited that he doesn't even know where my blog is at, let alone how to read it) that he is having a having a harder time with the separation than I am. He was a confirmed bachelor when we met, but has become accustomed to partnered life and being cared for. On the other hand, life hasn't changed so much for me, except that now I have to go back to being the one to kill the half dead lizards that cat brings us. My routine hasn't changed nearly as much in the past few years as his has.

The next big decision to tackle is what base to "request" (as if the airline will actually consider it when they assign him somewhere...) and how we will deal with that. There are pros and cons to each of the possible decisions. If only I had a crystal ball.

Our other situation is progressing as well as can be expected. Now that the initial shock has worn off, we are just waiting for the end of the journey. I suspect that that is part of the reason he is coming home too, to help deal more with the issues at hand. But it's difficult to get a straight answer on the phone about those kinds of things. Hopefully news in the upcoming weeks will be positive and we can move past this. Fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The good and the bad

A's in his second week of training. We made it through week one no problem. I managed things at home just fine, as I knew I would and he managed to score well on his indoc test. Next two weeks are CRM and systems. He came home for a short time this weekend past (11pm friday-2pm sunday), but won't be coming home again until systems is done. Then, another short weekend and back for sim time. I figure if we can get by with him being gone for 1-2 weeks at a time, then going the 4-5 days required when he's flying regularly won't be an issue.

Reintegrating him into our lives was not so difficult, but was reminiscent of summers past when I worked away from home and had limited time back on occasional weekends. He came home from training with a few tasks he wanted/needed to accomplish. But he also wanted to spend time with us. And there was limited time for it to all come together. It can be hard to reconcile all that needs to be done with what is wanted to be done. I learned this the hard way many summers ago and was careful not to push it. Careful planning, scheduling and remembering that he had an agenda of his own and wasn't solely available to pay attention to us for the weekend helped. I think it's a valuable lesson to learn.

We had the most difficult personal crisis of our relationship come up this weekend. I won't go in depth about it here, but it involved making painful, life changing decisions. It is incredibly hard to have to push though this alone, knowing that A wants to be here more than anything, but can't be and also doing my best to keep the goings on a secret from my son. Thank god I have several friends who have stepped up an offered support and compassion. Knowing that makes A feel slightly better as well too, I think. I can only thank my stars that A WAS here this weekend to help me through the first stage. The physical will be resolved in another 3.5 weeks, but the emotional will take longer. It would be easier to handle if he were able to come home again in a few days, once his trip was complete, but that's not the stage we are at yet. And even in this difficult cloud, we were able to see the silver lining.

Monday, April 9, 2007

My husband wears a clip-on tie to work

Every day. This is just about the unsexiest thing I can think of. My fantasy is ruined. Nothing says dork like a clip-on tie. Really, how lazy do you have to be to not want to bother tying a tie every day. Envision a man, in the heat of passion, yanking off his clip-on tie and tossing it across the room. Yep, that just ruins it right there. Not to mention all the sexy things a girl can do with a real tie. A lot less options there with the clip on... On second thought, maybe those suspender things that clip a shirt to the socks to keep it tucked in (military men wear them) are slightly less sexy. But only slightly.

He tried to play it off as a safety issue. As in "A terrorist won't be able to choke me with it if I'm wearing a clip on." So I gave him 1/2 a point for that, but still... How can this be the same man who gets a haircut every two weeks so he doesn't look scruffy?

Found this discussion on a forum site. MMM, nice. Do your wives know how you feel about them? Or are you just showing off how "manly" you are? Is that how you would want someone to speak about your daughter? Gotta love male bravado.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Two really funny threads from, both about what it's like to be married to a pilot and what funny things other people have to say about it.

This one is about how people think piloting is such a glamorous profession that they tend to completely ignore the accompanying partner at events.

This one is about stupid things that people who don't know anything about the industry say.
Looking forward to having my own stories to recount one day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Bringing home the bacon AND frying it up in the pan

It's going to take us a few more days to get there, but we seem to be settling into a routine. M has stopped asking "who's going to be my daddy if A is gone?", I haven't had any meltdowns b/c my man isn't there to take care of me; we are doing fine. I was teary at the airport, but once M and I were outside, I was fine and I have been ever since.

Things I miss:

  • being able to make A get up to let the cat in/out at 4am
  • having someone to carry groceries up the stairs
  • having someone to agree with me when I decide we should go out to dinner
  • someone else being able to read a story, run a bath, pick out clothes when I am too busy
  • having someone to discuss the days events with and bounce ideas offĂ‚ that seem too far fetched to try on anyone else
  • knowing that someone else is responsible for taking care of that- whatever that happens to be at the moment

Things I don't miss:

  • fighting over how high to set the AC
  • someone stealing the covers
  • someone having eaten the snack I was looking forward to having when I got home
  • the seemingly constant fart jokes that my two "boys" make

Things I am looking forward to:

  • when he is home, he is all mine- no worries that he'll have to retrain someone who failed a checkride and infringe on our saturday
  • two incomes and health insurance for all
  • the uniform, hat included

So what's it like to be the one left behind?

Well, yeah, it's kinda lonely. But no more lonely than when I got separated. Actually, it's probably better than that b/c at least I can talk to him and have him tell me what a good person I am and that he misses me instead of hearing the negative. And it's ONLY for 6 weeks. I thank God every day that I'm not a military wife.Yeah, being a single parent is hard, but routine and good planning can alleviate some of that. Instead of boo-hooing that he is gone, I'm excited for him for having this opportunity. And jealous in some respects. Yeah, I'd love to be shacked up in a hotel with nothing to do but study instead of having to be home taking care of all the other crap. But I wouldn't savor having a mystery roommate or wondering how I was going to get dinner that night. And I wouldn't do well with the pressure to pass the tests. Will my tune change around week 5? Probably. But by then I'll be able to look forward to him being home more.

This week's helpful hint- when taking tests, you only have to get an 80% to pass. Anything more is just wasted effort. In flight training, it's all pass or fail, there is no GPA to be proud of. A pass is a pass is a pass. A bad attitude? Maybe. But it's the truth.

Also, I want to say thanks to the people who have posted comments. I LOVE comments. I am a comment whore! I appreciate what everyone has to say- good or bad- and knowing that people are reading my blog, even if they don't agree with what I have to say.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Taking the leap

Took A to the airport last night. Emotions won out over logic and I was teary. Did my best to keep it in check though. Not sure when he'll get to come home again. Could be this weekend, could be three weeks. We are hopeful it will be this weekend so he can attend M's 5th birthday party. Then we'll be looking at about two more weeks until he returns home for the next visit. Curently, I'm feeling very dramatic- coming up with literary poetics like: Standing at the edge of a great precipice (taking the leap of going to the airlines).

M and I went camping with a cousin this weekend for M's birthday. We had a really fun time. We returned home to a bed full of unpacked clothing an hour before we had to leave for the airport. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Glad this man works well under pressure.

His entire class got sent to a different hotel than everyone prior due to some room scheduling conflicts. So A doesn't get to see his friends too much and is staying at a crappy hotel instead of a nicer one. Again, this doesn't inspire confidence in the airline as they failed to notify anyone in the class that they needed to report to a different hotel. They left it up to the overbooked hotel to tell them. Ummm, perhaps they could have sent out an email to the 16 or so pilots coming? Or called them? Just a thought...

I need to get my thoughts together before I can really write about what it feels like to be the one left behind.