Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Aviation Stew

A random collection of aviation thoughts all piled into one post

I've got a new entry in my quest to document all things aviation in popular culture. I found a little known, never played on the radio song by Brad Paisley called If Love Were A Plane. It's sweet. Although any woman worth her salt knows it's an Ogilvie Home Perm not an Oval V Home Perm.

A is plagued by dreams of flying jets and not having a medical. Either he is flying and then remembers he has no medical or he sneaks on a plane despite having no medical. And recently he had a dream about being in the left seat of an RJ and somehow getting lost, off the taxiway and tooling around- in the jet- in the mall parking lot. He said he was more concerned about the company finding out they lost their takeoff slot, but if they could just get back to the airport no one would know they had ever gotten lost. It was quite funny as he was describing it to me.

A also got a call yesterday from the Base Administrator (ie, base office manager) checking in with him. This is the first we've heard from anyone outside the HR staff who handled the disability claim in nearly seven months. The administrator had in her notes that his tentative return to work date was 12/30 and since she hadn't heard from him, she assumed that he would be out for longer. He filled her in with a new tentative date, June/July 2009, and how things were going.

And finally, to appease the neatnik, precision oriented twin half of his personality (the opposite twin from Mr. Yappy McYappy, can't focus to get a chore done that I usually complain about and the one that serves him so well as a pilot), A bought himself a laser level. Now, not only can we be assured that all pictures will be hung straight and level, he can spend the day marveling at the poor craftsmanship of our current dwelling. And then he can yap about it to me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

He never lets me down

In true Gemini fashion, my husband can yap on and on and on about just about anything.

One sleepless night, I was treated to his impromptu outline of a 30 minute discourse on the paint on the walls. What's that rattle noise the car is making? Why, let him theorize. The difference between sneakers and athletic shoes? He's all over it. The other day I was treated to a 10 minute reminiscence/monologue/dissertation on the use of those old school stick on the windshield compasses.

Sometimes his charms overwhelm me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year End Meme

What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Took fertility drugs, helped A through cancer, applied to graduate school, and lived in a two story home.

Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
You know ... I can't remember if I made any or not. Or what they were if I did.

How will you be spending New Year's Eve?
If we can find a sitter, out on the town. Otherwise, probably in front of the TV with A and a bottle of champagne

Did anyone close to you die?
No, not even any relatives.

What countries did you visit?
San Francisco, in January. It's about as far from "the south" as one can get.

What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Solvency. And to quit have bad news heaped on us.

What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day in March 6, when A had his surgery. Spending that day not knowing what the outcome might be was worse than the actual finding out he had cancer.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Staying calm, keeping our family together, and setting new goals.

What was your biggest failure?
Paying off debt.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just infertility

What was the best thing you bought?
The cushy, made in America king size bed

Where did most of your money go?
Rent, debt, medical bills

What song will always remind you of 2008?
I don't think we had a song this year

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exploring Jacksonville, using flight benefits while we had them

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Working, worrying

What was your favorite TV program?
America's Toughest Jobs

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope. When I say I hate someone, it's usually a passing, 'of the moment' anger thing.

What was the best book you read?
I read a total of 102 books so far in 2008. They all had their merits.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Krishna Das- it's great background music

What was your favorite film of this year?
Hard to say. Expelled and Sex in the City come to mind

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
That was over 11 months ago. I think we just had dinner as a family. I turned 22 (again).

What kept you sane?
Probably knowing that I have to keep it together to keep my family going.

Who did you miss?
A few friends who live in CA.

Who was the best new person you met?
The girlfriend of a pilot friend of A's. We haven't hung out much, but I have high hopes

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Don't give up.

Christmas- photojournal style

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Baking

Kidzilla is wearing a cool retro apron I snagged from my parents- "I've got more time for lovin' since I got my microwave oven".

Monday, December 22, 2008

What happens at my house when I'm not there to supervise

Kidzilla is home with A for the next two weeks. I am working a few days this week and a few next week so today they are home alone. Random things seem to happen when I'm not home, such as:

A decided he couldn't stand the stitches in his face from his mole removal friday so he attempted to take them out himself (itself not an isolated occurance, he also removed Kidzilla's stitches onces). He couldn't get all of them out though, so he's waiting for me to come home and remove the "difficult" ones.

A and Kidzilla were in the car in a parking lot after some last minute shopping. A car honked at A and Kidzilla said to A "it's OK, I flipped them off for you".

A's Christmas gift from my parents came. He didn't realize that it wasn't wrapped and opened the box. Kidzilla took the box and hid it from A so he couldn't have it before the 25th.

I can't imagine what else is going to happen.

A's ultrasound the other day looked good at first glance. We are still waiting for the official review.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another day, another dr visit...

Today A has to go for a thyroid ultrasound to see if there has been any tissue regrowth. Although it's standard procedure and there's nothing that sparked a need for this, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous just the same.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ALPA's got our back... if we fill out all the paperwork

A few months ago, ALPA, the AirLine Pilot's Association (AKA The Union) ran a series of articles in their monthly magazine about pilots who had been helped by ALPA services in disaster relief, accidents and medical issues. The article was titled "ALPA had my back".

A few weeks ago, a check arrived in our mailbox from ALPA for over $150. There was no note in the memo line and no note attached. Just a check. It arrived at 5:05 pm on a Friday afternoon. We had no idea what it was for and of course, it was minutes to late to call and ask (of course if they are like me, their representatives were lined up at the time clock at 4:55 pm and not at their desks anyway...). My immediate through was "oh god, A's been kicked out of the union because of that post I wrote about scholarships". I spent all weekend fretting about it and had A on the phone with them at 9:02am the following Monday. Turns out, despite all of the leave and dropped trip wrangling that was done in Feb/March to get A to his one year anniversary, he was declared by the union to still be an apprentice member. By two weeks. Yep, once he finally goes back, he'll have two more weeks to go until he's a full ALPA member. So the check we got was a refund for dues he's paid this past year. Thanks ALPA for the extra boost to our Christmas budget, but perhaps you could have enclosed a note?

The ALPA LTD (long term disability) insurance kicks in after one year of disability. Sadly, we are approaching that date and expect to be receiving benefits for at least a few months in 2009. I swear, filling out all of the disability paperwork for A is going to give me my own disability- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome! Form after form, one from this doctor, one from that doctor, one from HR, one from us, filled out in quadruplicate with a black pen (only!) with no more than a fine tip. For months I've thought we were done with the paperwork and only had to provide phone call check in's to the disability rep. Until I realized that A had failed to complete the ALPA paperwork and it had to be in by this month. After much yelling on my part and some driving around on A's, we finally got the paperwork in and can look forward to receiving a bit of additional income sometime after February. Thanks ALPA, for having our back. Even though it's taken a year and I've got a callous on my finger from filling out paperwork.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another check mark on the list

After months of avoiding studying and then cramming for the last three days, this weekend I finally took the GRE (graduate school entrance exam). It was hard. Even though I had worked through all of the workbook questions and some sample tests, the math portion still kicked my ass. But darn it, I got through it.

Seriously, it's not as though I use things like quadradic equations or FOIL (First, Outer, Inner, Last!) or have call to find the area of a circle in my daily life. As matter of fact, the only math I ever do is the basic add/subtract/multiply/divide kind, with a little bit of figuring percentages (40% off would make this skirt how much?) and probablility (what are the chances A will notice this charge on the credit card?). Hard things like figuring how much paint I would need to paint a room or how far can I get on $40 gas get pushed off on A; things like that are why I keep a man around.

The bad news is- I didn't score as well as I was hoping. I was about 40 points below where I wanted.

The good news- I still scored a full 80 points higher than the average GRE score for a Social Work candidate.

The even better news- I scored 110 points higher than the average on the verbal portion. In fact, I scored at least 60 points higher on the verbal than the average for ANY field taking the GRE. And that ain't bad!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What being laid off means to a family

It means:

putting off buying that newer car and sinking a couple thousand into keeping the clunkers you have running for a while longer instead.

shopping at consignment and thrift stores instead of chain and consignment stores.

switching back to conventional foods and products in place of the expensive but better for you organic versions.

wearing more sweaters and keeping the heater set at 60 instead of 70.

wondering if you made a mistake moving to the big new place that you love that is also more expensive.

having to make an extra effort to communicate with one another and not trying to hide emotions because keeping a positive attitude sometimes comes off as not caring.

putting your dreams and goals on hold, again.

November goal- accomplished!

One of my November goals was to cut down the amount of junk mail we receive, both in our names and in the names of the previous tenents at our place. So every day, I would send emails to the customer service departments at the companies who had sent me catalogs or flyers the day before requesting to be removed from the mailing list and for them not to share my name. It's been working so far and we getting less mail for sure. I finally hit the motherlode for reducing junk mail-, opting out from the Direct Marketing Association.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Quirks of a Pilot- # 523

When I pick Kidzilla up from afterschool care I sign him out in rounded numbers- 4:35, 3:50. As long as I've picked him up, the exact time doesn't matter. For A on the other time, exact time is always important. I chuckled to myself yesterday to see that last week A had signed Kidzilla out at 3:52 and 4:21 last week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas shopping accomplished

I love me some Christmas. Decorations, presents, food, I love it all. And proudly, today I can announce that I am DONE with the shopping. Yep, everything is bought and hidden away where it should be. I came in mostly on budget. This week is the push to get the cards and gifts that need to be sent out. My only concern is that I had requested that Kidzilla's dad get him this years most requested toy (Lego Agents Mission 6-not 4 or 5, 6!) and I haven't heard back from him about whether he's OK with that. I figured that he'd get hero status for being the provider of that toy. I can already visualize the Christmas meltdown that will ensue if the ONE toy that Kidzilla has asked Santa for doesn't appear. Fingers crossed that he just forgot to reply to me.

A and I are doing alright otherwise. Heads are still spinning about what to do next but we'll get it figured out soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An anniversary note to my husband

Our anniversary was last thursday. We celebrated by going to dinner at the B&B/Restaurant where we got married. And all the staff remembered us.

This anniversary marks:

4 years from the first time we met in person. It was a day full of egging each other on while ice skating, the $100 word challenge (equidistant vs obtuse), and getting to know each other. That first year was full of long distance driving, sharing special places and sharing dreams. It was a year of changes and new experiences for us both.

3 years from the day we got engaged. We relived our first date and you tested my patience by making me wait all day for the big question I knew was coming. You humored my obsession with neat and clean dates and gave me a proposal story I am proud to tell. That next year was full of a cross country move, intense training for you and making due with what we had.

2 years from the day we got married. You humored my aquarian side by agreeing to be married on a Monday, despite the logistical problems that brought on and my insistence on a blue dress. Our wedding exceeded all of my expectations and I will always treasure the memories. These past two years have been full of change of plans, difficult times and decisions and setbacks we never would have dreamed of. But through it all, we've been able to take everything as it came and still survive with love and humor. Everytime I think I've had enough, you come along with fresh sunshine to change my view.

Thank you for the past four years of happiness.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blog, Interrupted

Crud- midway through changing my template I got the call. A got let go from his consulting job with the flight school today. Our income has just been cut nearly in half. Happy Freakin' Holidays!

Leaving the template undone as I go hit the wine and whine instead.