Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Adding to my "to be read" list

Cooper, C.L. and Sloan, S.J. (1985) "The sources of stress on the wives of commercial airline pilots." Aviation, space and environmental medicine. 56, 4. 317-21. (Impact of the pilot's job on his wife).

Somehow, I have to find a way to read this study. Guess I'll be exploring interlibrary loans this weekend.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's my birthday!

Happy Birthday to me

I turned thirty-three

Kidzilla gave me presents

and said I wasn't old for a tree

Birthday wishes always accepted. Bonus points for haiku or iambic pentameter :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

It sometimes pays to be married to a pilot

Everybody is talking about yesterday's aviation action. If you haven't heard about the plane landing in the river, check out the news.

It's kind of fun to have A around the house with all his technical knowledge. I can ask questions like " hmm, do you think it was XYZ that caused the crash?" or "do you think it really went like this?". And aside from then having to endure a lecture about vertical stabilizers, de-icing procedures, the allowable time response for a flight attendant to pick up an emergency call from the cockpit or whatever else A deems necessary background information, I actually get a reasonable answer to my question. Then I can walk around feeling special because I have a better speculation than everybody else about what might have occurred.

We also had fun heckling the CNN news from our couch last night. They kept saying there were 'two crew members and three flight attendants". When did the flight attendants cease to be crew members? I wonder if someone from the flight attendant union gave them a call and set them straight. And then they committed the ultimate no-no (from a professional pilot's point of view) of having someone who is a private pilot commenting about what might have happened during an interview. As if the ability to fly a Cessna around on the weekend in vfr conditions would make someone eligible to comment on the standard operating procedures and emergency procedures for a commercial Airbus full of people.

I'm sure people in other professions have the same issues, right?

The yellow brick road to the air

A's path to returning to the air will go something like this (and beware of the scary furlough monster that could strike at moment)-

1. Sometime in march: take more radioactive iodine (which means isolation from the rest of the family for a day or two) then endure two days of body scans to see if the cancer has returned. If anything shows up, wait three more months and repeat test as it may be a false positive (March is the very earliest we can have this test done, ideally we would wait until June). If test shows up negative (clear), move to step two.

2. Reconnect with the union areomedical group to being process of getting medical certificate reinstated. They will help shepherd us through the process, which may include additional test or doctor reports. We all know how quickly the wheels of government turn. Several months down the road when someone finally gets to the bottom of the pile and stamps "Approved" on the form we move to step three.

3. A is now cleared to fly but will need to undergo complete retraining by his airline. As wonderful as he is, they probably aren't going to want to go to the expense of running a complete "new hire" class just for him, so he will probably have to wait several more weeks until they scrape together a few people who need training as well. The good news is, there probably isn't such a crush for simulator time since no one else is running new hire classes either. After training comes the IOE (initial operating experience) and then the final check off to return to flight. And he can proceed directly to sitting on reserve in Newark.

4. Once he's signed off, he has to finish up two weeks of apprenticeship with the union and then he'll be a real, official airline pilot again.

A brought up the other day that at this point, he's been on leave longer than he was flying. It was one of those moments where I caught a glimpse of how much the situation really bothers him. As much as I complain about him while he's around, I sure will miss him when he's gone again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Being the wife of the cancer guy vs. the wife of the pilot

Being the wife of a airline pilot garners one lots of attention. The minute his occupation is known, people flock to him like kids to the mating animals at the zoo. It's just so fascinating that they just can't tear themselves away. It's like a magnetic force that one can't control. I don't even bother introducing myself anymore; I just introduce him, grab myself a drink and bask in his glory, just like everyone else.

Being the wife of a cancer survivor garners a reaction that is very different. People don't want to flock to him. In fact, I've actually seen people take a physical step back from him when they find out. As if the disease is catching and will jump from him to them. I occasionally wonder if I used to do that too. They ask, out of politeness, if he's okay and then move on. As if being on leave negates that he ever was a pilot. People know us now, but not on the merits they used to.We used to be the cool people every one wanted to hear stories from. Now he's "the guy who had cancer".

The situation seems compounded by the fact that A looks pretty healthy now. The radiation burn is gone, the scar is diminished and his voice is stronger every day. If he had any other occupation, he'd be back at work already. Instead, he just looks like a free-loader, raking in the big (ha!) disability money while doing nothing. The reality is that he desperately wants to go back to work. Although he keeps his own frustrations inside, the occasional comment about "being yanked out of the sky" and the continual internal count of how long it's been since he's flown subtly let it be known.

At least when he was going through treatment people reached out. For the first time ever we ran out of minutes on our (massive) cell phone plan. For a brief time everyone wanted to know the cancer guy. But after the initial diagnosis interest waned. We are still dealing with the repercussions of cancer; very few people think to check in with us now.

Losing one's identity and being forced into a new, not so appealing one- another hidden effect of cancer.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cheap and not cheap

I'm cheap, I'll admit it. I refuse to replace our 12+ year old television until it expires on it's own. I'll make the cars we have work until I can afford to buy the car I want (I don't care how nice and affordable the Ford Focus is A, I'm not getting one!). I will only go to museums on the free days and I haven't taken Kidzilla to Disneyworld yet even though we only live 2 hours away. When submitting my grad school application, I chose to mail in a check for my application fee instead of paying the extra $5 to pay it online. It's now been 4 weeks and they haven't cashed the check yet. I'm wondering if going the cheap route is going to get me this time...

On the not cheap side, the hospital called us and wants their $27,000.00 they say we owe. Apparently the insurance hasn't paid a bill from 3/08 yet. A called and spend 30 minutes talking with the insurance customer service agent to no avail. The claim was held for "more information needed" but no one can tell us what the information that is needed is. They said they would call us back. As you guessed, we won't be holding our breath for that call.

A didn't like the snowman motif on my blog and nagged me into changing it. After an hour searching online, I couldn't find anything I like, so I just went back to basics for now. Know of a site to download cool templates? Leave me the site in the comments.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The devil has come to our house

and it cost us $37 to invite him in.

A bought Kidzilla the long awaited Nintendo DS. With the cobbled together multiple gift cards, the $17 cash that Kidzilla managed to save (he gets paid for chores in nickles and dimes, so that was pretty good) and the rest kicked in from us, he is at home waiting to be discovered.

I hate video games. I hate the high pitched beeping noises. I hate seeing kids tuned out to the world while playing them. I hate seeing parents who use them as babysitters instead of interacting with their kids. I hate the fits brought on when it's time to turn them off.

I swore I was done with game systems in our home. Lord help us for my reneging on that decision.

Baby, you save me

When we first started dating, I remember making a comment to A that he was like a balloon in the clouds and I was the string that kept him tethered to the earth. It was a metaphor for how he is the head-in-the-clouds, big thinker and dreamer and I am the more practical, down to earth, how-to-make-things-happen person. It's still true today as he brainstorms vague grandiose plans and I focus on the actual practicality. It's gotten us into trouble before, causing arguments about being realistic and following through and not taking everything said literally. He throws out random ideas just to say them, whereas I only bring up ideas for things I intend to follow through on (he brainstorms in public and I brainstorm in private and then announce ideas to him).

Hearing the song You Save Me always makes me think of A and how I sometimes feel like I have to save him from himself. Having to ground him in his world of "someday" dreams as well as reminding him that yes, we will get to those dreams eventually. We may be stalled right now, but look how far we have come already. Maybe the saving him feeling is just a way to feed my already large ego (it's a hardship but hey, knowing is half the battle right?).

In any case, lately it's been me who is overwhelmed and needs to be saved from herself. There are so many things that I feel HAVE to be done to keep our family running smoothly and keep everyone working towards their goals and feeling fulfilled. It's easy to get overwhelmed.

So thank you to my husband for attempting to save me. For following through on the myriad of tasks that you feel indifferent about but are important to me. For making me feel less jealous about your being at home while I am stuck in a job I hate. For strong arming me into letting some things go. For believing me when I say that I sleep far away from you because you are an inferno, not because I am mad.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What? Again?

Sadly, it appears our bad luck in continuing into the new year. A woke up on the 2nd with a swollen ankle and unable to walk. He's battled occasional tendonitis for years. We went to the dr. for an anti-inflamatory. It hasn't helped much and new he's being tested for rhumatoid arthritis and gout. Great, just what we needed. At least he isn't going to have to take time off work to heal... That's a bright as this side is going to get. Currently he's getting around using crutches after spending the previous few days on the couch. Seriously? What kind of karma does this guy have?

The other day, Kidzilla was unhappy about something he was not allowed to do. I can't remember what, probably have another piece of candy or wear that same darn tee shirt again. He descended into a screaming fit and was sent to his room to calm down. While in there, we heard this jewel being yelled at us- "you ruined my life". Really? Already? You are only six buster, I've got a lot of life left to ruin yet. I'm just getting started.

It's going to be a long week.