Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What makes a difference?

With the frenzy of back to school, prepping for a new job, getting all those things that need to get done finished before said job begins, and daily life in general, it's been busy around here. A was right when he said that when I am off work I invent projects and make myself busy. His last few times at home have been filled with to do's and didn't get dones. As soon as he leaves, I'm left feeling like -was he really here? I knew that we should be savoring our time together, especially our time during the day when both kids are at their respective schools, but it just seems like there is so much that needs to be done.

This last trip home, I decided to try something- touch. I made a conscious effort to  touch A more frequently. A hand on the knee when we were in the car, holding hands in a store, resting my hand on his shoulder while talking. Each touch was a reminder to me to slow down and appreciate that he was here, HOME, with me, at this moment. It worked- we didn't feel as rushed and I actually remember our time together. We spent more time just being with the boys and we were able to enjoy each other. A simple solution, but an effective one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Because We're The Airline, That's Why

Some days it feels like "The Airline" (in other words, the company that employs A) is a great paternalistic body that ultimately runs our life. Father decided where A flies, when his days off are, when he will get to upgrade, when he is allowed to take his vacation, whether he has to commute the day before or after his trip, and a whole host of other little instances.

Last month A lost a day off due to the hurricane that hit the Northeast. This happened to a great many pilots. So many in fact that the airline decided there was no way they could restore everyone's days off (give them back to be used as extra days off the following month) and instead just gave everyone an extra 10 hours of pay. Boom. Done. No arguing because Father Knows Best. The reality is that 10 hours of pay is probably a better deal for us anyway, but the idea that we didn't get to choose which we wanted- the day off or the extra pay- irritates me.

A has been back at work a full year now. But because he didn't start back until late in the year in 2010, he was only awarded 3 vacation days to use in 2011. THREE days. To cover a whole year. But no arguing with Father on this one either. Ultimately his schedule reflects an entire week off for vacation so we aren't sure what's going on with that. But we aren't bringing it up to Dad.

Sometimes the two way street in this relationship feels like a one way with a dead end. But I guess that's just another facet of living the dream.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Ever since my internship ended six weeks ago, I've just been... waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting on a job, waiting for some ambition to come that will propel me to use my time wisely, waiting to find out what my new place in the world is meant to be. I can't give myself over to homemaking because I know that that is not what my end destination will be. But I go through the motions. I drop off and pick up the kids from school and daycare, I make sure the laundry is done and there is food. I spend time on the internet making plans for all the stuff that I want to buy when we have the money (ie when I'm working again). I try and pick up new skills like brushing up on my medical terminology, knitting and Dutch language skills. I work on all those little nagging to do's around the house and nag A to do the same when he's here. For the first time in nearly 6 years I have nothing to ground myself with- no job and no school. I find myself casting about all day long thinking, planning and scheming all the things I want to try for our family- regular vacations, reprising my interest in Waldorf education, learning more handcrafts, getting to know more mother's of infants, getting Kidzilla into some kind of sport, looking at homes for sale. I feel like I am unable to focus on anything and keep adding new things to my various to do lists without every really accomplishing anything. I guess I just don't deal with uncertainty well. Until I have something concrete lined up and know where I am going in life, this is how it's going to be. Hopefully it won't be for much longer.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thinking about Coworkers

Early morning, when I'm nursing my darling stillwakesupfourtimesanight angel at o'dark thirty, is prime time for my mind to wander and compose blog posts...

This morning I was thinking about pilots and coworkers and how different their relationships are from mine. I've always worked in cubicle towns, the kind where you can prairie-dog your head up and know everyone's business in your area. And you are able to develop relationships with your coworkers whom you see nearly every day. In the mornings you can check in with Melanie about her hot date last night, chat with Mylene about her upcoming wedding, run over to Sandy to get some invaluable parenting advice, complain with Linda about our husband's foibles, or announce to the whole department "OH. MY. GOD. You won't believe what Kidzilla did yesterday." Friendships develop naturally over time and the people you don't mesh with so well, you can somewhat avoid.

A, on the other hand, has no choice about whom he is thrown into a small space with for three or four consecutive days. Could be someone great whom he gets along well with or it could be someone its a trial to work with. Usually it's someone he's never met before. With somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 pilots from his airline alone based where he is, it could be months or ever years before he flies with the same guy twice. Or it could be again on the next trip. But the options to avoid the people you don't like and hang out with the people you do are limited. And when you do climb into the cockpit, its a crash course in relationship building- "we've never met, but we've got 25 hours alone together with nothing to do but yap at each other. Who's going to start?" Occasionally the together time is puctuated by the presence of the flight attendant, but for the most part its just the two of them. And its only if they happen to be in the crew room at the same time that he gets to follow up with someone he flew with previously and ask "hey, how did that thing we talked about work out?"

I'm not sure if I have the personality to put myself in that situation. Usually I'm shy, slow to warm up and private- traits not really conductive to quick relationship building. Luckily A is not- he's outgoing, the life of the party and can talk to anyone about anything. He could give a one hour discourse on flat paint vs eggshell vs gloss when painting a dresser. Or one on obscure pop hits of the 80's. Or evaluate your cell phone plan and recommend a new one. Or anything else that might come up. Sometimes I have to remind him to engage the "see it, think it, say it" filter when I need a bit of peace from his can't-stand-the-silence chatter. But these traits probably work to his favor in the relationship building area and as a pilot in particular. It's nice to think of something that A does that occasionally annoys the the heck out of me can also make his work life easier for him.

Friday, September 2, 2011

All in a days work

Today I spent the day making this

for this guy

who is already 8 months old.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

FIVE years of blogging happiness!

There are years that ask questions and there are years that answer.

Today marks five years of blogging. I am amazed that I have managed to find enough to stay to keep going for this long. I am the girl who cringes at any sort of journaling task in school. I never anticipated it, but this blog has seen me through so many ups and downs- my first post was when A was still instructing at a local flight school. Eventually he got hired (!) by a regional and just when we thought we were settling into life he was diagnosed with cancerr. We made it through treatment and settled into the waiting period. A was contracting back at the flight school and I was trying not to wallow in misery. It was about this time that I wrote some of my most raw and bitter posts. But we made it through. A stood by my side when I announced that I was going to relocate our family to attend graduate school. I started looking into research on pilot wives and wrote my most popular post ever. I approached our Critical Incident Response Program Committee about putting together a resource for wives about their roles in an emergency situation which they were very excited about but eventually dropped the ball on. Things finally turned around for us and after three years of infertility, I finally got pregnant. A was finally able to return to work after two and a half years off. I graduated with a Master's degree. Today, we've settled into the routine of him working again, my managing two children and our life seems pretty stable for now. The initial quote was given to me by another pilot wife friend when I was in a time of need. It's always been a hopeful reminder to me when times are rough and I hope that now we are in a year of answers.

You have to keep going within yourself to find your own truth. If you don't keep discovering new truth, you'll just be rehashing and no one will want to listen to you.

When I first started this blog, I couldn't find any other blogs about being a pilot wife and it was difficult to find a network of friends. Through the past years, I seen some friends come and go as they took up with blogging and eventually found life leading them down other roads and blogging less- Emma, Nicole, FH and Global Gal are a few. I gradually changed my focus from all about aviation to more general things about my life. I guess I came to a point when I finally got out everything I needed to say about the lifestyle that had been bottled up. Joanna has taken up the reigns on that topic. But I still do try to write about things that come up, because they are frequent. And now there are tons of other pilot wife bloggers out there- some I follow and others I just know about. Most of the people who read my blog are people I DON'T know, which is an interesting feeling for me. If I can help one person make it through a rough patch, then it's been worth it.

Just as I didn't know what lay in store for us five years ago, I don't know what might come up in the next five years for us. I hope that the journey is good, with more ups than downs and that I can handle it all gracefully. That's all I can really ask for in life.

Along with some recognition for a job well done- so leave me a congratulations on putting it all out there for the last five years comment and provide me with the inspiration to keep on keeping on.