Monday, July 29, 2013

Dating pilots

Three articles came across my view in the past week. All in the same day actually.

What every girl should know about dating a pilot
Top six reasons you should date a pilot
Why it is imperative you land a pilot

The last one is probably my favorite. The last two share a remarkable similarity in the first two topics. A wasn't a pilot when we met. I encouraged him to leave his job and become a pilot. And, admittedly, there are plenty of days when I regret it. But now it's all we know. And if I were ever in the position again, I probably would marry a pilot again.

A few days ago we went to the wedding of a pilot friend of A's. The girl seemed nice but I wondered if she really understood what she was getting into. A life of attending family events alone, trying to fit in a call on skype while prepping dinner and running a load of laundry, going to your kid's award ceremonies and orientations alone, wondering if he's going to make it home for the birth of your child or any holiday. Of having to support the family while waiting for the endless upgrade to captain and then on to a major. Of him always being to tired to do any projects around the house when he is home. Having 23 hours at home between four day trips.

But at least he's employed.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The true life of a commuter

A commutes to his east coast base from our east coast home. It's about a 2 hour flight each way. Luckily he can usually commute on his own airline which at least means he has priority for the jumpseat. And it's only a one leg trip. A few years ago, when he was based in Southern CA, it was an all day, two leg (or more) trip. But back then he was new and the mystique of being a pilot had yet to wear off.

We have discussed moving so he didn't have to commute. Or at least moving closer. Neither one of us is interested in moving to his base or even near it. While I can tolerate some snow, and actually used to snow ski regularly, I have no desire to live where there is more than the occasional dusting. I don't DRIVE in snow. I don't even like driving in rain. And what if we move to base and then he gets on with another airline that is NOT based there. Is it worth it to uproot now and possibly again later? Or just suck it up for now? I am open to moving to one of the southern bases but then again, the hassle of selling the house, buying a new one, moving, getting to know a new community and all that comes with it just leads to apathy on my part. And again, what if he moves to a different airline in the future? So for now we stick it out and A loses several days off a month commuting in the night (or sometimes noon, depending on the flight schedules) before and home the morning (or sometimes noon, depending on the flight schedule) after. I admit- sometimes it really sucks to commute.

Here is a rundown of the last four trips that A has had:
Trip one, everything looks good for an early morning commute into work and then a 3 day trip. We go to sleep. Upon waking at 3am, A checks the flights again to discover that his commute flight is now EIGHT hours delayed due to mechanical issues. There is no way he can make it in time for his trip. He ends up calling scheduling, using the commuter clause (the no pay but you don't get busted for not showing up get out of jail card), and two legging it up to base on another airline in hopes that scheduling can build him a trip and he can still get paid. He ends up deadheading to a nearby airport and flying an empty plane back, a three hour trip. Scheduling doesn't have anything else for him so he ends up flying home and arriving around midnight, 20 hours after he woke up. Spends the extra days off at home.

Trip two, A commutes up the night before his trip due to an early show, leaving home about 4pm. He eats at the airport before taking the shuttle to his crashpad to get some rest. He wakes up in the middle of the night with food poisoning and has to call in sick. And suffer through his illness with no food or drinks besides tap water in the crashpad and no way to get any. He flies home on what would be the second day of the trip to a wife who is angry because he JUST missed a trip, didn't get paid, only has about 4 hrs of sick time to cover this trip and we have a barely balanced budget. To appease a wife who professes to be out of sympathy for his "constant illnesses and misfortunes" and who is also "tired of being married to a big talker who never follows through" (oh yeah, I went there...) A spends two full days in the 90+ degree heat weed-eating and mowing our overgrown backyard. And in the end winds up with a muscle strain in his right hand so bad that he can't even close it. Especially around the yoke of an airplane to taxi, take off or land. Which leads to...

Trip three, A extends his sick call since he now can't fly a plane or grip anything. He  ends up driving to South Carolina with me to watch Babyzilla while I am at a three day La Leche League conference. It's difficult for A, since he can't grip Babyzilla's hand or pick him up with his right arm, but he manages and somewhere along the way I forgive A for being so intent on atoning for his previous sin that he physically injured himself. We make it home safely and all is well.

Trip four, everything goes according to plan. A commutes up the day of his trip, flies all his days with a still not right hand and finishes his trip late on the last day. He spends one night in the crashpad and comes home the next day around noon. And commences moaning about how much he dislikes commuting.

We have yet to come to a resolution to our issue. It's not like we stay where we are because we are near family or have lots of friends here. We've only been here 7 years, minus the time in Tallahassee, which is enough to set down some roots but we haven't developed friendships the way we hoped. And our nearest relatives are 6 and 10 hours away. But we LIKE it here. So we continue to suck it up and work with what we've got.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flying safe with baby

A and actually had this discussion about a year ago, but I don't remember ever posting about it. What sparked it was an incident where a family traveling with a lap child had to disembark from the plane because there was not adequate oxygen masks for all the lap children on the flight.  On A's plane they can only accommodate four lap children and they have to be seated in particular seats. Hmmm, who knew? I asked my dad, the former aircraft mechanic, and he agreed. Some planes have an extra oxygen mask at every bank of seats and some do not. I asked on a pilot bulletin board but got any definitive answers on what has them and what doesn't. So always take the time to ask your FA if you are seated appropriately when traveling with a lap child. Even if you are non-revving and the last people on. It's not only a federal regulation and your right, it's also your duty as a parent.
Babyzilla is two and a half now and too big for me to carry very long anymore, but I used to carry him all the time in slings and wraps. Which you are also not allowed to use on a plane. Because that extra layer of fabric holding your baby to you in addition to your arms in the event of a crash is not a FAA approved device. Despite how much sense it makes to add an extra layer of protection to keep the baby with you AND it can free up your arms in the event of a crash and emergency landing. But no mom and pop sling maker is going to tackle the FAA. But they can be used after take off at least.
The best travel tip I got was to take a small blanket and tuck one side under the baby's seat and the other into the front seat pocket to make a little catch basin for dropped toys. It doesn't work well for lap children, but if you've ever had to root around for a dropped toy while you baby is screaming, there's drinks on your tray and the seat in front of you is reclined, you'll thank the heavens for a way to keep that from happening more than once!

Monday, July 15, 2013


counting the sleep I'm losing before the alarm goes off

a heavy toddler
on my chest, latched on in his sleep

I hope that's a cat
licking my knee

I can't remember
my husband is
     in this state
     in this region
     in this country
     getting more sleep than I am