Thursday, February 26, 2009

Still in our holding pattern

Posted one year ago today-

Into a holding pattern

The diagnosis came in today.

A has an agressive thyroid cancer. It will require an complicated surgery to remove and will then be followed up with radiation. From what we were told, he can't return to a part 121 airline until 1 year after completing treatment. And he's 5 weeks from being at the company 1 year, which would afford us some better protection and benefits.

My head is spinning

Friday, February 20, 2009

Little Dirty Secrects

Ms. I-never-watch-tv-because-I- don't-want-to-be-tied-to-it-and-nothing-interests-me has fallen off the wagon. Off a cliff. I've seen every episode of American Idol, Season 8. And I sit with my son and rate the contestants during the show. I guess if I'm going to go down, I might as well make it big.

A has become quite the house-husband. He does all the housecleaning and laundry. And makes Kidzilla lunch and me tea in the morning. And drove me to work yesterday b/c I didn't want to drive in the rain (lingering issues from a near fatal crash in 2001). Don't be jealous b/c he also spends most of the day doing god knows what with little to show for it.

I was always scared to apply to a grad program because I thought I wasn't smart enough. Then I met some people with advanced degrees and realized that it probably wasn't going to be a problem.

Every time I look at my legs I wonder- good lord, when was the last time I shaved these babies? And I can never remember. I think it's because I never have that "he's coming home tomorrow, I'd better get all prettied up" feeling anymore. You know, when it's the last day of the trip and you look around in a panic and think "crap, I've got to get me and this place cleaned up before he gets home". Now it's more like- if it doesn't bother him, it doesn't bother me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

99% is good enough for me

I received an email from Florida State University yesterday that said "your application has been reviewed and recommended for admission for the Fall 2009 Masters program in Social Work". I'm still waiting on official word from the Office of Graduate Admissions but as a co-worker said- I'm like 99% in.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stressors on Pilot Wives- Who's not an expert?

I was very happy to visit my local library to pick up my long awaited copy of “The Sources of Stress on the Wives of Commercial Airline Pilots”, published in Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, April 1985. Because of the age of the study (24 years), I was curious to see if the stressors then were the same as what I perceive as stressors now. Sadly, they are similar.

The study was done by British researchers on wives of members of the British Airline Pilots Association. Sixty percent of the pilots were employed with British Airways and just over half of the pilots were Captains. The purpose of the study was to asses the impact of the pilot’s job on the personal and life satisfaction of his wife.

Then, as now, the number one stressor was “domestic role overload”. No surprise there. Feeling like a one parent family, difficulty involving husband in this he has missed and feeling rejection and upset when husband is tired all made the list. “Fear of Husband’s Job Loss” came in second on the list. “Threats to Marital Relationship”, “Distance from Husband’s Career”, and “Job’s Impact on Social Life” rounded out the 5 major factors. Looking at any pilot wife forum today, these five topics come up repeatedly.

Surprising to me, lack of communication during time away was not mentioned in the survey. I would have expected that in the time before things like cell phones, instant messaging and skype that communication would have been very limited and that would be a stressor for wives as well. With modern communication, it is much easier and cheaper to stay in touch and involved.

Researchers also found that working wives were less vulnerable to the stress and life dissatisfaction than full- time housewives. They hypothesize that pursuing one’s own career achievements is seen as a positive source of personal and life satisfaction that counters some of the negative aspects of being a pilot wife. They also found that wives of pilots who work for smaller airlines experienced more dissatisfaction than those of pilots of larger airlines. This was linked to the work demands and schedules of smaller airlines where were less regular and more changeable and thus more disruptive to family life.

The overall conclusion was “it would appear that the wife of a pilot most at risk of personal and life dissatisfaction is a full-time housewife who feels that her husband’s job places undue strains on her in terms of her domestic role without the compensations of a satisfactory social life. This may be exacerbated by the fact that her husband may be working for a small airline and that the industry may be contracting, placing her husband at risk of job loss.”

If you want to read the article yourself, any librarian should be able to help you special order it based on the citation I gave at the top of the post.

The $90 gas cap

Last week the check engine light went on in my car. I immedietly started to panic that the engine was going to drop out of my car at any moment or something equally horrific. Every time I drove it, I would get anxious. We took it in to our favorite car repair place to have it looked at. By the time they ran the check, got the light turned off and replaced the stripped gas cap- $90 gone.

Like I couldn't have found something better to spend it on.

Friday, February 13, 2009

On a lighter note...

Every Valentines Day, the SFGate website lists the funniest love quotes overheard during the year.

Sad Days

It is every wife's nightmare to wake up and hear news of a plane crash first thing in the morning. First thoughts go to one's own husband. Second thoughts go to every other pilot he's ever flown with, trained with, commuted with or otherwise known. Third thoughts go to the families of the pilots involved. Only then can one exhale that breath they took when they first heard the news.

My thoughts and condolences are with the crew who took that final flight west and their families.

"To fly west, my friend, is a flight we all must take for a final check"
Author Unknown

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hey, how did that turn out?

Inspired by a recent comment, here's how some of the things I've blogged about in the past few months have turned out.

A's thyroid ultrasound- I guess no news is good news. They didn't see anything on the scan and we haven't heard otherwise from the doctor. The big grand-daddy 2 day scan is coming up next month. It will be one year since A flew at the end of this month. Also the arthritis turned out to be gout and after 6 weeks and two rounds of anti-inflamatories it's mostly gone.

My application for graduate school- after sitting on it for a month, FSU finally cashed my application fee check in January. I heard this week that the application is currently with the second reviewer and should be back by the end of the week. I hope to know soon.

The pilot wife research study I found- the inter-library loan office is trying to locate it for me.

Taking away all of Kidzilla's toys- He slowly earned them back. It was a good opportunity for us to see which toys he really valued and which he never wanted to play with. We weeded through and got rid of a lot of the (crap) ones that were not used. He seems to be doing a better job at keeping his room clean. I hate how addicted he is to the DS. He askes if he can play it as soon as we get in the car after school EVERY DAY. But we keep it limited and it's working.

Want to know whatever happened with something else? Leave a comment and I'll try to give an update.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Keeping Friday Night Fun

Newly discovered-

A even has three posts on it

Monday, February 2, 2009

Better Living Through Cliches

I can't even begin to recount all of the "advice" I've received over the past year. People tend to throw out some standard piece of advice in hopes of making us feel better/more enlightened/less ostracized. Admittedly, being told something remotely sympathetic is better than being told nothing. After all, its the thought that counts right? But when you've racked up as many cliches and bits of wisdom as we have, it's hard to know which to follow. Everybody has to throw in their two cents.

Should I let go and let God? After all, he has a plan for me. Maybe I should tell him my plans so that I can have a laugh. Or should I go the other route and be the change I want to see? Don't I control my own destiny? Did I bring this on through the law of attraction? What lesson is God trying to teach people by giving them life threatening illnesses? Because really, I didn't think A or I were really that bad of people; is this the lesson we needed? If everything happens for a reason, what is the reason for this? If good things come to those who wait, how much longer is it going to be? Patience is NOT my best virtue.

The one cliche that has really kept me going is- what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I can't deny that what we've been through has taught me lessons- about being compassionate when you have nothing left to give, on speaking up and asking questions and how topical some friendships really are. This year hasn't killed me- physically, emotionally or spiritually, so it must have made me stronger.

Although A and I attend church, and it's marginally Christian based, we both subscribe to some Hindu beliefs as well. The concept of dharma which includes making the best decision one can at the time, with the information that is available and then running with it. No looking back or second guessing, but believing in oneself and knowing you did the best you could . I also subscribe to the concept of doing the best job one can, no matter what the job- menial or complicated. I try to do the right thing and create Karma, although the whole reincarnation thing is a bit beyond me. Good karma fits in nicely with Christianity's Golden Rule. And what goes around, comes around right? But if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, where does that leave us?

I can't say that I'm perfect by any means. I'll admit to having a black spot on my heart for someone who did something that I had no control over and it continues to haunt my life. The fact that they said they would remove my responsibility for the issue and then have yet, to my knowledge, to follow through on that makes me feel justified. However, pretty is as pretty does- I know I should forgive. But I can't. Does that make my karma that bad? Shouldn't his be worse?

I guess the silver lining in this cloud is that it prompted me to return to school. Something I've always said I wanted to do but didn't have the focus to decide what to return for. I already know that I am strong enough to be a single parent, strong enough to follow through even when things are tough, and strong enough to be the strength for someone else. It's time to continue to live and learn because there is no time like the present.