Friday, January 19, 2018

lights, busted cars, and vacation

I learned a new aviation term this past weekend: attitude indicator. Otherwise known as the artificial horizon. I guess I knew all along that there was such an instrument on an airplane, but I had no idea it was called the attitude indicator. I find the word 'attitude' interesting...I wonder the origin of that word for that purpose.

My dear, sweet, newest nephew was baptized Saturday evening. After the baptism we joined with family for a nice dinner before we drove the 1 hour 20 minutes back to our house. Steve had a couple beers during dinner, whereas I had coffee, so I drove home. Safety first. While driving, I got on the topic of airplanes.

Steve typically doesn't talk shop with me. A lot of times, when I ask questions he will answer them with simple questions.
Why do you slow down in turbulence? 
Why do you go slow over a speed bump? 

Why do you cut back on the engines when descending? 
Do you have to pedal your bike when you go down a hill?

I have to admit, these simple responses were annoying at first but they really do help me understand otherwise complex concepts.  I don't even know how I got to think about the attitude indicator. After that subject we went to talk about his recent PC. He gave me a run down of everything. I must have zoned out for a bit, because before I knew it we were pulling into the driveway. Perhaps it's a good thing I don't talk shop much with him. Once we got home Steve and I took Niko for a walk. As I was waiting outside while Steve was trying to find his hat, the crisp, clear sky showcased a number of beautiful, bright stars. And then I saw a plane passing...red and green lights.

I know about red and green lights...directional. The same goes for boating. But, during the walk we talked about all the all the other lights: strobe, landing, logo. We talked about when they are on, and off. There's a lot of fucking lights...I had no idea. 

***

Steve's PC was last week. He left on a Wednesday and came home Thursday. I think. The days just run into each other, anymore. While driving into work he accelerated around a slow car on the highway. The car started to shutter, and then a warning light came on. Excessive misfire. When he landed later that day, he called and told me. I then called the shop to schedule an appointment.

For what it's worth, Steve drives a 2010 BMW 535, 6 speed. Because stick-shift is the best way! It's an awesome car. Really it is. It just hit 100,000 miles, and it's rarely in the shop. The oil is synthetic, so it needs an oil change every 15K, which is about once a year with the way we drive it.

Thankfully when he drove the car after he got home from his PC, everything was okay. He drove it straight to the car shop, and we met him there. They looked at the car Friday. Turns out that three coils were busted, as was some boot. Once the car was ready to be picked up, the rain/ice/snow combo was hitting our area, so we elected to leave the car there over the weekend. Why chance anything. This meant I had to drive Steve to the airport Monday morning. 6am show. We left the house at 5:15a. It was super early, but necessary.


Steve had a short 2-day, so we picked him up at the airport Tuesday evening around 8:30p. We got there a bit early, and parked ourselves so that we could see his plane land. He was the third 737 to land within about 5 minutes, so we weren't sure which he was. But, it was still fun for the kids. They even got slushies from Burger King as a treat.
Niko's back there somewhere...his black hair makes him hard to see

Niko's so dang smart...I swear he recognized where we were,
and that Steve was about to walk out of those doors

Steve was delayed a good a couple minutes...something about an icy ramp and the need to unload the cargo bin before putting up the tail stand. Is that what they are called? Once he hustled into the car, we drove right to the car shop.

I've been driving his car to work the last couple mornings, and it runs just like new. Here's to an awesome car, and the hopes that I didn't just jinx it.

***

February 19th. That the first time Steve has to report for work in the month of February.

He got his schedule Thursday morning. I was in the kitchen with the kids, getting breakfast prepared and snacks packed for school. I hear the toilet flush upstairs, and then eventually heard footsteps down the stairs. And then he disappeared. At one point I wondered where he was, but "whatever"...I'm used to mornings without him. He showed up in the kitchen after a couple minutes.

He slapped a white sheet of paper onto the cold stone countertop. His schedule.

I saw a whole lot of VAC VAC VAC VAC
followed by a whole lot of * * * * * * * * * * * *

February, fucking, 19th.

"Who are you sleeping with?" I mumbled, so that the kids couldn't hear. Both of us had stunned grins on our faces.

"What's going on?" the kids asked, while eating their eggs and granola. I showed them the schedule, pointed to the date, and told them that Daddy was going to be home for a good while. And then I told the kids that "we will want Daddy to go back to work by this point." I love when Steve is home, Truly, I do. But, I like my alone time, too. 

Steve says it was his 10th bid group. I say 10 is a pretty good number.

***

Speaking of vacations, in a short while we will be heading on one....and we still don't know where we are going. Here are the things we are considering:
cruise
Sedona
LA/San Diego
all-inclusive
Paris

We are strongly leaning towards an all-inclusive. But where? Jamaica? Punta Cana? Cancun? Aruba?

Across the board, loads look good. So, we are starting to lean towards destinations that have multiple legs to hubs, for the comfort of having a back-up plan.

I think people are a bit shocked when I tell them that we don't have a destination yet. But, I don't mind. We'll figure it out. It's ironic, I have started to see a therapist about my anxiety (which mainly is centered around flying, boats, and health), and it seems that my anxiety stems from control. I was telling my therapist about my control issues on one hand, but yet on the other hand I can be totally "go with the flow" when it comes to travel. Go figure.

***

Random, but I have another super-duper recipe to share: crock pot roast.

- chuck roast
- potatoes (I always like yukon gold)
- carrots
- onions, if you would like. Totally optional
- mushrooms, if you would like. Totally optional.
- lipton onion soup packet
- campbell's golden mushroom soup

Put it all into a crockpot, set on low for 8 hours, give or take. Done. I'm serious, that's it!

Super easy, and super tasty!

***

Have a great weekend. Stay warm. It's cold a heck here...our little get-away can't come soon enough.



Friday, January 12, 2018

Fights

Fights. They are bound to happen with any couple. For the most part, Steve and I don't fight. Truth. We really are pretty even keel, and don't raise our voices. I grew up in a house that was very loud, to put it gently, and I never wanted that for my kids. But, we are human, and sometimes fights happen. As a matter of fact, we just ended one. It started about two weeks ago when I was nagging him about taking a different route while driving to my parents house. Our fight just ended this past weekend.

Keep in mind that he was on a 4-day over the fight. Nothing was reconciled while he was on his trip. This happens. Call it an occupational hazard. I don't mind. Frankly, I like the space his job provides us when we are at one another.

When he got in from his 4-day I asked that he pick Cici up from a birthday party. They didn't get home until late, which meant there wasn't time to talk. Come Saturday morning, Steve wanted to clear the air. I wasn't ready yet. He wanted an apology. I told him the incredibly powerful "fuck you". I wasn't ready. He told me it wasn't good for the kids to see us in an argument. And that is where I differ in thinking...I think it IS good for the kids to see us like this. I think it is important for our kids to know that we can have differences and can hurt one another...but, after time and proper resolve, everything can go back to normal. You fight. You forgive. You make up (which is the best part, right?!). You strengthen as a couple.

Marriage will have differences. But, the important thing is to work through those differences, and to come out better on the other side.

I bring up the fighting thing in my pilot wife blog for a reason. If you have been following my blog for a bit, you know that I talk a lot about the concept of love languages. Since my love language is physical touch, the whole pilot-wife thing can be hard because he isn't physically next to me all the time. Call it an occupational hazard. Or, if he is, he is too busy with this or that to give me the attention that I need. Which was the cause of this last fight. Steve is a good man, a good husband and father. Truly he is. But, sometimes I feel neglected.

Sometimes I feel badly for Steve and how busy he seems. At work he is obviously not doing stuff around the house. And when he is home he has to divide his time and attention to his home/honey-do list, kids, wife, friends, personal time. Add in a busy Christmas/New Year season and you see what I am getting at. With all the running around and the go-go-go, we got so focused on all those things that other things went neglected. Being neglected does not sit well with me. A therapists once said I had "abandonment issues". Perhaps I do. But, I think it boils down to the simple concept of the love tank and my need to have it full.

I put this out here as a reminder for all you couples out there...don't neglect one another. Don't take one another for granted. Know your partner's love language, and make sure their love tank is full. If her love language is gifts, bring her back something great from a trip. If her love language is words of affirmation, tell her how great she is doing with caring for your family and house when you are gone. If his love language is physical touch, welcome him home in a memorable way. I can almost bet that I am not the only pilot household that felt the impact of a busy holiday season.


***

My mom called me Sunday morning. We were pulling into the garage after breakfast out. I could tell in her tone that something was up.

My father immigrated from Poland in the 70's. His entire family is still there. I have a very large family there, as my father is one of seven. Two siblings have already passed. My uncle fell ill, and is in the hospital. The reason for my mom's call was two-fold: to give me the update, and to have Steve start looking for flights for my dad to get over there.

My father goes to Poland twice a year, and he always travels as a non-rev. I always vocalize the fact that he is damn lucky that his daughter married a pilot. I would say he is first class about 90% of the time. Because of my father's travel over the years, he and Steve have gotten into a rhythm of his travel desires. This makes it rather simple for Steve to book his flights. However, with such short notice, Steve had to take a number of new factors into the equation.

After a couple hours, Steve booked his flights. He left on Wednesday, and arrived into Poland on Thursday. This is most definitely a perk about being in the airlines - being able to pick up at a moments notice to tend to a family emergency an ocean away, without having to pay a couple thousand dollars.

I have received positive thoughts on my Facebook page regarding the well-being of my uncle, and I greatly appreciate it all.

***

Every nine months Steve has to take his PC.

Steve just completed his PC just yesterday. Thank goodness. Steve is an overachiever. Because of this he studies and is somewhat distracted the week/days leading up to it.

It's a nice relief when all is over and done with. I have my husband back, fully.

Oh and wouldn't you know it, Steve was recognized from my blog! He was sharing a raft with a fellow pilot, during training, and said pilot kept thinking he knew Steve from somewhere. Then he noticed his lanyard, and the light bulb went off. He introduced himself to Steve by asking if his wife was Joanna. I am real!!  Fun times. And it just goes to show you how freakin' small this world is sometimes.



Friday, January 5, 2018

Expectations

Welcome 2018.

Sorry I have been absent the last couple weeks, both from my blog and even social media. It was nice to take a bit of time off, but I'm glad to be back.

Christmas was nice, although we had to change plans a bit. See more details on that below.

And New Years was lovely. We hosted a small gathering with kiddos, and it was just what the doctor ordered. Good friends, good food and drink, and lots of laughs. And since we hosted at our house, Steve was happy because that is where he constantly wants to be, especially after traveling around for Christmas. The only picture I was able to get my hands on was this:

The owner of the phone from which we took this picture left it with us, by accident, for about 10 minutes. Steve and I took advantage and left some nice memories of us.

During break, Steve had a 4-day, the kiddos stayed at my parents, and I had three lovely nights to myself. On night one I went shopping. On both nights two and three I hosted people at my house, dear friends present and past. On Friday night, as I was waiting for Steve to come home, I drank wine, did my nails, and binged watched Californication. It's my new favorite. If you want to see boobies, of all shapes and sizes, then this is the show for you. But, I like the fact that the main character is a writer. I love writers. I am a writer. And speaking off...

Wanna know what my new years resolution is? FINISH MY BOOK!

I'm right around 74,000 words, and am actually finishing up the story. I know I have a lot of filler that needs added, even a side story about the First Officer, but at least the bulk of the writing is finishing up. My biggest goal is to have my manuscript in hand on my 40th birthday, which is in September.

Just keep writing...


****

The one theme that kept coming up over Christmas break was about expectations.

Raise your hand if all you pilot wives have learned to adjust your expectations because of the occupation of our dear, sweet, wonderful husbands.

I learned my lesson on expectations in high school, my senior year. I went to prom with a friend. He was a super nice guy, and we had a good time. But, I was expecting it to be the best.night.of.my.life. I blew up the expectations of that night so big in my head, that, of course, they weren't meant by the time the evening ended. It was then that I learned that you need to set your expectations, and doing so you won't get disappointed.

One of the best cruises Steve and I went on was one that we booked only 2 weeks in advance. We didn't have time to set expectations, and we had a ton of fun. A runner up to that trip was a quick get-away to Scottsdale, AZ. Again, it was planned with such sort notice that we just went with it...and it was great. Day drunk with pitchers of margaritas, and evening drunk walking back to the hotel while picking lemons off trees.

Probably the best night of my life was New Years Eve, 2000 into 2001 - Budapest, Hungary. I was in Peace Corps at the time, and a group of us PCVs went. We drank champagne straight from the bottle as we wondered the streets, full of happy and awesome people. It was such a fantastic night, and I think it was because we didn't set ourselves up for anything special. As a matter of fact, around 9 o'clock we were all laying on a bed pondering whether or not we should actually go out or not, and still the evening turned out so great.

Those are just a couple obvious examples of how low expectations can make a thing really great.

*

On the Saturday before Christmas Steve picked up a day-trip. He checks open time when a trip pops up, and when he gave me the details of this one I told him he had to take it. I typically don't get involved with him changing his schedule, but I was totally his cheerleader in picking this up. He was to fly a charter of his favorite sports team. We had planned to go to his parent's that day, so the trip meant that we would be delayed in our arrival at his parent's house, but this was such a great opportunity. It was his favorite team for crying out loud!

I had great expectations that he would meet the coach, and meet the players. I'm sure he did, too.

Then, he learned there were two planes going...

Steve flew the staff and family. He never met the coach or players. Doh!

Steve had great expectations that he would be home sooner than was scheduled. I told him not expect anything different...but, he didn't listen to me.

The flight attendants, from both flights, were deadheading back with Steve. At one point they had to wait for one more to get on the plane.  Steve was sending me antsy text messages. Turns out he still blocked in 2 minutes early. He just wanted to be 30 minutes early. Expectations.

I think the fact that I manage my expectations is a good thing when it comes to being a pilot wife. I don't get my hopes up on anything, anymore, when it comes to his work. Say, he is due in for the kids program at church, I'll hope for the best but in the back of my mind I always think he could be delayed. Hell, I even made sure I had a back-up plan for the births of our children. There was no guarantee that he was going to be there. Fortunately, he made it home for Ben's birth, and he was on day 2 of FMLA for Cici.


**

Well, that's about all that I have in me this week. Sorry. Getting back into blogging may take a bit....a routine will help, if I ever get in one again. This week as been crazy getting back to work/school. The kids went back to school on Wednesday but were off on Thursday and Friday due to the cold weather. Nothing like the panic a working mother feels, when her traveling husband is gone, and you have to arrange babysitting, last minute, and grandparents aren't close.

Stay warm, everyone!!



Friday, December 22, 2017

Sleep

Last week Steve had a 2-day. He left Thursday morning.

6am push.

5am show.

Steve typically leaves an hour before his show. And he typically wakes up an hour before he leaves. Well, add in snow, and he gave himself 90 minutes to get to the airport.

Folks, he woke up at 2:30am. Ugh.

I always feel so badly when he has crazy early shows like this, and a 6am push is about as bad as it gets.

Steve is a night owl, so even with these crazy early shows he isn't able to go to bed at 9pm. We were in bed around 10p, which would give him about 4 1/2 hours sleep. As I lay in bed watching tv, Steve shut his eyse and I swear within 2 minutes he started to breath deeply, indicating he was falling asleep.

This man, and I'm sure the same goes for most pilots, can fall asleep in the blink of an eye. In an industry where your circadian rhythm gets fucked over and over, I'm convinced that he has trained himself to sleep on command.

I woke up Thursday morning when Steve kissed me goodbye. Then I rolled over and continued dreaming. Fast forward a couple hours, and I always find it crazy when he has already flown a leg and I'm just getting out of bed.

Steve was supposed to get home Friday night at 22:55. That didn't happen.

He was delayed 3 hours because his inbound was late. Of course he was delayed on his last leg home. That's always the worst.

I woke up around 2am when he was walking up the stairs to come to our bedroom. After a quick and sleepy welcome, followed by delivering the message that one of our smoke detectors is broken, I fell fast asleep. I'm sure he changed, got some food, and perhaps had a glass of wine.

Flying the first flight out on day one, and getting in on the last flight home on day two sure makes for a long-ass trip.

Ours son's basketball game was at 8am Saturday morning. Of course it was! I let Steve sleep as long as possible before I woke him up. Poor guy, but such is the lift of an airline pilot.

***

Thursday I got home from work and took the kids shopping for a Christmas present for Steve. It was successful! We also made a pit stop at Aldi. When we got home, I put away the groceries, Ben heated up some potpies for dinner (clean eating starts in 2018!), and then we started to clean the house. I'm thankful that the kids are of age to help me.

I have written whole blog posts about this before, but I'll say it again. I (almost) always make sure the house is in order and pleasant when Steve gets home. We swept and mopped the floors, cleaned a bathroom, put away clutter, and started a fire.

Steve only had a 2-day this week, but I still make a point to welcome him home to the best house I can manage. I'm human, so I can't do this for every homecoming. But, I know Steve likes this. I know that if I don't do this, he gets pissy. And if he gets pissy, then I get pissy...and then it starts his days off in a pissy way. Who wants that! I know that with a bit of effort, I set a stage that makes him happy. Plus, by this point in the game, I know how to short cut things if I'm running short on time. A big clean can take 1+ hours, but I'm also good at getting the house to look presentable in about 20 minutes. 

A little effort goes a long way...this, I have learned.

***

Saturday night Steve and I attended a neighborhood ugly sweater party. I don't have any pictures, sorry!

We had a great time. Steve looked awesome, and he even sported his Polo Black cologne. Yum.

This isn't pilot wife related, but I seem to be adding non pilot wife stuff with each blog post, so here is mine for this week.

I attend a monthly book club. Actually, I had recently been involved with a second one as well. There are serious book clubs that actually discuss books. And then there are the ones I attend, which is more about wine and food and most of all togetherness with awesome women.

I think Steve and his friends have been jealous of these evenings, so they have started up "The Investors Club" to talk about investments...and shit.

At the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party a couple new people were recruited, including the new neighbor. I think the investors club is up to 11 men now. As word was spreading at the party, and new people were confirming their spot at the Monday "meeting" it made me happy. Life is truly about the connections you make with people. Your friends and family in life are what make it full.

My daughter is 8-years-old. She is a strong girl. Truly. Her legs are solid. Her legs made her the fastest girl in her gym class last year. She is made to be an athlete - she just doesn't know it yet. She has asked me on a number of occasions if she is chubby or fat. She is FUCKING 8-YEARS-OLD! and already notices that she isn't as thin as other girls.

I have high self-esteem. I have for as long as I can remember. In fact, that is one of the qualities that Steve finds most attractive about me. Well sure, there are parts of my body that wish I could change...what person doesn't to some extent. But, those are only internal thoughts. Cici only knows me to share positive things about body image. And I will keep it that way. Having low self-esteem as a woman can be a dangerous thing, and one of my main goals in raising a girl is making sure that she has high self-esteem.

There are images all over that dictate what beauty is. And my 8-year-old daughter has picked up on those images to think that her body doesn't fit into that mold. I reminder her of this all the time...her body is a strong body...her body is a healthy body. But, she doesn't always see that. I hate to think that she already has been told what beauty is and that she doesn't think she has that.

And here's the thing...who gives a shit about not fitting into a mold. Which brings me back to the Investor's Club. These men are all sorts. From tall to short, from thin to thick. Balding or not. Introverts to extroverts. Salaries vary. House sizes vary. And you know what...it doesn't matter. These men are all good men, who are raising good families, who are fun to be around, and who are good people...and this is what matters. Life is about the people you meet and the relationships you build, not the superficial shit that doesn't mean anything in the end. Love people for who they are inside, not what shows on the outside. What do they say about not picking a book by its cover?

***

Merry Christmas everyone! We are traveling a bit this weekend, but we will be home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This was Steve and Ben's wish. Wishing you much peace, love, health, and happiness!!!






Friday, December 15, 2017

so, you wanna be a pilot

The other night I was chatting with a friend while waiting to pick Cici up from dance. I showed her the picture that Steve sent me from his layover. Puerto Vallarta.

As we were chatting, another mom chimed in. Apparently her husband wants to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot. I hate to say, but my advice wasn't all that supportive in having him pursue his dream.

In case you haven't been following my blog for that long, let me give you a breakdown of Steve flight path (ha! see what I did there?!):
- 1993, started college with the intention of becoming a pilot
- 1998, graduation, and continued to work charter and then a corporate gig.
- 1999, enter Joanna.
- 1999 hired by the regionals, with about 1,400 flight hours.
- 2006, hired mainline, with about 7,000 flight hours.

It's 2017, so nearly 25 years after Steve starting flying and he is at a place where he is comfortable with his career. He is where he wants to be. The only thing missing is a pair of reading glasses. A young Steve once said that when he had gray hair and reading glasses then he knew he made it. He's got the gray, just waiting on the glasses. It has taken 25 years for Steve to get here....18 days off this month, lucky to get holidays off, a decent paycheck, mainline flying.

Now, imagine if you start the pursuit of becoming a pilot at age 40.

The road to becoming a pilot is long, and hard. Being a green pilot at a company isn't easy with shit schedules and sitting reserve and low pay...relocating or commuting. All the shit stuff was done before we had kids. We were intentional about that, and once Steve was hired mainline we threw the birth control out the window. As a matter of fact, I told Steve that I was pregnant with our first when he was sitting in his crashpad. Totally romantic and dreamy, right? 

I have only know Steve to be a pilot. The kids have only know their Dad to be a pilot. It is our life. I have accepted it, and the kids have only know this as their reality. I think it would be very hard for a family to readjust their lifestyle so that someone can pursue their dream of becoming a pilot.  The road is long and hard. Did I already say that? And you have to deal with a lot of shit as you make your way up. Wait, I already said that too, didn't I. I think it was worth it for Steve, but I really don't know if it would be worth it to start pursuing your dream when you are in your 30s or 40s.

Has anyone started flying in their 30s or 40s? I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on the long road.


***

Steve's schedule spit out a 2-day trip last week, and a 2-day trip this week.

Steve's set up to receive text messages if a trip pops into open time. Sunday morning, about 10 minutes before leaving for church, he got a text. It was a 4-day. 4 days of flying pays a lot more than 2 days of flying.

Steve didn't jump on it, but rather contemplated the decision while sitting at the kitchen island. He was drinking a glass of grapefruit juice, which was probably in hopes to help with the slight headache he had from a late night of drinking.

He had 5 minutes to make the decision due to a timing issue (something that I don't know the exact details of).

I never give advice on things like this. I always support him. I don't know what it's like to be gone week after week. If he wants to stay home, that's fine. I am adjusted to Steve being gone, so for him to be gone for work 4 days instead of the scheduled 2 doesn't bother me in the least. I also told him that life isn't just about money. I was supporting him in picking up the trip, and in ignoring it.

He didn't pick up that trip. He stuck with his original pairing.

Because of that we had a family dinner three nights this week. I was able to go out with girlfriends without having to worry about a sitter. I was able to run errands without kids in tow. Steve took Ben to get boots. Steve came to the rescue and delivered a couple Christmas gifts for me, since I totally flaked. I took a nap one evening, while Steve cleaned up after dinner and got the kids in bed. Steve took the trash out to the curb. The laundry is caught up, and it wasn't my doing.

All the above isn't typical, which makes me appreciate it all that much more. Life isn't just about money.


***

Steve and Cici are part of a father-daughter group that has meetings once a month. The group also does camping activities throughout the year as well. It's a good time for the girls, and a good time for the dads to get together and drink beer.

Cici had a Christmas gift exchange party scheduled for Thursday night. Steve RSVP "no" since he was working. Steve told this to me on Wednesday. He hadn't told Cici about the party.

This crushed me. It would crush Cici to know that she would miss a party because Steve was working, let alone the party where the Christmas gift exchange was happening.

I told Steve to change the RSVP, and he did. I took her to the party, and a friend brought her home. It's all good...Steve is known as the airline pilot, so people know he's not likely to show. The other dads step in and help out with Cici. It's all good.

It takes a village...

Although, I do have to add that Cici did get upset at the party at one point. She told me that she started to cry because all the other girls had their dad there, except for her. "But, then Sarah's dad left because he had to work too, and that made me feel better." I comforted Cici, and told her that she is growing up to be a very strong girl. I told her that I'm a strong woman because of all that I do because Steve is gone so much. She was following in the same footsteps. I'm not sure if that actually comforted her.

***

I've been meaning to write about this, but just haven't. With Steve being home so much lately, and now that he is on a trip, I'm missing him. Consider his absence my motivation.

I joined some girlfriends for happy hour a couple weeks back. One of the gals is dating, so we started a conversation about who should pay for a date: him, her, or 50/50?

Now, let's go back nearly 19 years to when Steve and I first met. I was in college, and his was first-year pay at a regional. His first year salary was $17k. Yes, that's right....no typo here. (See my first section if you need a specific example of the shit things pilots go through).

Despite Steve's shitty paycheck, he always paid for our dates. Always. I'm not saying that it should be the same for people dating in 2017. I do realize that things change with time and age. But, I'm  sharing my story. And with my story, I have to make the point that Steve went out of his way to make sure he was the one to pay for our dates...while making $17K a year. By the way, I never knew his salary until years after the fact. He told me that he was strategic with the amount of gas he put in his car, so that his budget would allow him to pay for dinner. He would forgo buying body lotion, as the story goes, so that he could pay for a date. The man made a huge effort to court me.

It is now in our marriage that I realize how lucky I am to be loved so much by him. And I want the same for all relationships. Everyone deserves to be loved.

My latest jam is "Better Man" by Leon Bridges

I don't want much
I just wanna be a better man
To my baby
Give me your good luck
I was singing with them Jezebels
Under perfume sheets
Got a golden smile, heart overflow
But got us in love, but it wasn't enough
What can I do? What can I do?
To get back to your heart
I'd swim the Mississippi river
If you would give me another start, girl
All night long I was out
Out till the morning
But baby you're tender
Lust when I'm longing
Baby please, I'm down on my knees begging
I thirst for you girl
Baby I'm running to your well
What can I do? What can I do?
To get back to your heart
I'd swim the Mississippi river
If you would give me another start, girl

"I'd swim the Mississippi river..." I love that. I love how much this man loves his woman. That is what I'm talking about...a love so deep you would do anything for it. Everyone deserves that kind of love.

Again, it's Steve absence that is making me all sappy and shit, so forgive me if you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit. But, it just goes to show you that you can be married to a pilot and have a good thing. His absence strengthens our relationship, despite what certain stereotypes might claim. His absence gives me time to reflect on our marriage, in the quiet of my own head, and focus on all the good.






Friday, December 8, 2017

Cologne

Call me hypersensitive to scents and sounds. I hate the sound of people chewing loudly. I can't stand AM radio. It's Fall, so that means Steve is constantly listening to AM sports talk. This also means that Steve constantly leaves this on in the car. I curse every time I start the car and I hear that background crackle. I hate the smell of dry erase markers. I only wear Secret deodorant because it's the only scent that doesn't get to me. One scent I do like is cologne on a man. Always have.

Due to the unwritten cockpit rule of no cologne, Steve has become conditioned to not wear any. On special occasions, like date night or a dance, he will bust out his Polo Black. But, it's a rare treat.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, we invited friends over for a football game. One of which was Steve's friend. He is actually the inspiration for my book, by the way. His character's name is Jack Landon. At one point I asked Steve to take the trash out, since I was busy preparing food. Steve was happy to help, and so was Jack. Steve went for the trash, and Jack took care of the recycling. As Jack passed me, I picked up his scent. After all, it was tight quarters to squeeze three adults in a rather tight space between the island and side countertop. He smelled good. So good that I nearly nuzzled my nose into his neck. I told him how nice he smelled. Steve, then proceeded to mock me and nuzzle his nose into Jack's neck as well. Jackass. 

And just this last weekend I dropped Cici off at a birthday party. As I greeted the father, a good friend of ours, I noticed his cologne. Of course I did...I notice these things. I strayed from the party for about an hour since I had some errands to run. And during that hour I could smell his cologne on my sweatshirt. It was lovely.

So be it. I guess it just makes Steve's cologne all the more special when he wears it.

****

I take the lead when it comes to the kids.

Christmas gifts? I've been the one buying.
Doctor appointments? I'm the one that makes them. Now, I do try to schedule them on days where Steve can take them.
Playdates? Me.
School things, like after-school activities and projects? Me.
Of course Steve pitches in when he can, but with as much as he is gone I take the lead most of the time. I'm used to doing this by now. It's my role, and I accept it.

But, every now and again, it gets to me. Doing everything all the time just gets to me.

It used to be that Steve would put the kids "down" at night when he was home, but now that they are older the dynamic has changed. They take showers independently, get dressed themselves, and brush their teeth on their own. It's typical that I'm upstairs in my bathroom getting ready for bed at the same time - contacts out, face washed, pjs on. This translate that I'm the one helping out with the kids nearly every night.

As I just stated, I accept my role. But, I have to tell you, there are times when my role just wears on me...and wears on me...and wears on me...and then I break. Like when I feel like I am the only one helping the kids with bedtime, even when Steve is home. Some may call our evenings routine, and they may be. But, sometimes something hits me just right, and I need to break that routine.

I broke this weekend. At one point during bedtime duties, when the kids were screwing around and not doing what they should have been doing, Steve commented something to me about their behavior. I took it as a personal jab, as if he was criticizing my parenting because the kids weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing. I think my response was something like, "well, do something about it!" in an elevated voice.

Steve got up and handled the kids. I stayed on the couch, typing away in my book (I'm almost at 73,000 words!). I didn't even flinch. I simply could not manage another bedtime. I needed Steve to take care of the kids that night. I needed that night off.

Like I said, most days I manage the load I carry just fine. But, sometimes it's just too much and I've had enough. We've all been there. And what's the best advice for the pilot that faces the brunt of our exhaustion? the need for a break? Just step in and let her take a load off for that moment.

****

Cici is in 2nd grade. We are Catholic. That means her 1st Communion is this year - in May to be exact. My boss invited me to go to a work conference in May...the three days before Cici's 1st Communion.

Miami. Nice! My initial reaction was that I surely wanted to go to the conference. A couple days away may be nice.

But, then I started to look at flights. Due to the conference schedule I would need to take a Friday evening flight after 5-6pm. There are two good options on two different airlines. Both nonstop. One gets in around 23:00 and the other is just after midnight.

Cici's 1st Communion is at 10am on Saturday morning. If I don't make that flight Friday night then the next scheduled flight wouldn't get me in until 11am on Saturday....which would make me miss her entire 1st Communion.

In the back of my head I know flights cancel. I know there are delays. I know crews time out, especially when the day is drawing to a close. I know there are cancellations. I know too much, and it gave me anxiety about missing Cici's very special day.

With no good backup option, I decided to pass on the conference. So be it. There is always going to be another year for a work conference. There won't be another 1st Communion.

****

Totally unrelated to being a pilot wife, but I have to share my new jam. Just discovered it yesterday. Love it! Great beat.




Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Holidays-Schmolidaze

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. We had family in town from Wednesday to Sunday. It was busy, but awesome. We also had friends visit for a football game on Saturday, and then for dinner on Sunday. It was a full weekend, but, again, awesome. Steve was home for the entire time, which was so great.

So, here we are in full swing of the holiday season. This is always a super fun time when you are in aviation. I hope you can detect my sarcasm. This year we are fortunate to have Steve home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, it certainly hasn't always been that way. We still think he is going to have to work, will that fear ever stop?, but the scheduling gods have been good to us for the last 2 years.

All I can say to my fellow pilot wives out there during this holiday season...drink a lot. It sucks when your lover isn't home for your neighborhood Christmas party, or for the kids school performance, or for your work Christmas party, or on Christmas morning when your little ones run downstairs with their sleepy but excited eyes, or on those quiet nights when there is a crackle to the fire and the soft glow of the trimmed Christmas tree makes you long for your man who is so far away. It sucks. I have no advice as to how to make it better, well aside from drinking away your sadness, since I don't think there is one. Just grin and bear it, and January will come soon enough. Eventually will come the day where he holds holidays off, and you can finally celebrate as a family...on the actual holiday.

Here is a blog post I did a couple years back about what a pilot really wants for Christmas. Worth the read, if you ask me.

****

Since family was in town all last weekend, that meant we were doing a lot of hosting and entertaining and relaxing. There wasn't much time for laundry. Steve was off this past Monday and Tuesday and did a great job of getting the laundry caught up.

On Tuesday night he gently tells me to, "just do one load a night, and that way it won't get all backed up."

I just glared at him. Does he really know how much is on my plate when he is gone?!

"Just one load..." he repeated.

As if. Sometimes it is all I can do to not break down and cry by 7pm. That is certainly not the night to do "just one load."

After I kept my glare, he got my point.

And frankly, I got his point all along. I, too, would LOVE to be able to do a load a night. In a perfect world it makes perfect sense to do so. But, when you child is screaming and is in a bad mood all night, after your son tripped and fell hard in the driveway...oh, and add on basketball practice and Christmas pageant practice, on top of a hard day at work...you get my point.

For what it is worth, I ended up doing tow loads in his absence this week. 

***

Speaking of hard and exhausting days, where I didn't do any laundry, wanna know what time I crawled into bed on Wednesday night?

Yeah, baby! While the kids were getting ready for bed, so was I. After they got into their beds, I locked up the house and made my way into my warm bed, thanks heated mattress pad. Great gift idea, by the way, for you pilots out there. Steve gave it to me a couple years ago. At first I thought it was a horrible gift idea, and questioned the man I married. Well, maybe not that dramatic. But, I have grown to LOVE this thing. Anyway, so I crawled into my warm bed, and searched Netflix. Because I just finished up Schitt's Creek...which is awesome and you have to watch it...it recommended I watched Bachelorette. Great cast. The movie probably didn't win any awards, but it kept me company for the next hour and a half.

There are days that just kick my ass. And the perfect remedy is an early bedtime in a warm bed with a chick-flick.

*****

Not pilot wife related, but woman related. There is so much in the news about sexual harassment, that I can't help but speak up.

So, Matt Lauer has been fired from the Today Show. Good. I'm glad. I like(d) Matt Lauer. In fact, the Today Show is the morning show that I always turn to, and I still will.

Bottom line, I'm glad that the people who have done wrong are now getting what they deserve.

There is a lot of talk about the women in these stories, and why they haven't come forward earlier. Why now? Why didn't they come forward before? I get pissed at that. Like, really pissed. Here's why I get pissed: have you ever been a victim of sexual assault? rape? molestation? hell, even the victim of a man grazing your ass in the middle of Time Square?
If not, be thankful you haven't been a victim. If not, then try your best to listen first and not judge. Understand how hard it is to come forward. Perhaps these women did come forward before and nothing was done. Or, perhaps these women didn't say anything because they couldn't open their hearts. Perhaps now they are ready to open. The statue of limitations in my state, for example, is 20 years. Think about how long that is. Ask a victim how long they kept their silence? Ask them how it was before they were ready to open up.

I stand by the women who are coming forward. I find these women courageous, and I applaud them.  And I hope that the women who are holding their story close to their heart, are able to be set free. Perhaps we are in the era of the woman...and if we are, I'm very proud to be part of it.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I don't have a blog post this week...sorry!

Steve has been off all week, so that means my nights have been with us and not me writing. And, we hosted Thanksgiving so there was decent prep needed for that.

I hope you'll had a great Thanksgiving....we sure did.

Cici and Steve started the day with a fun run


eat time



Friday, November 17, 2017

Farts are funny

I went to the eye doctor last week. He was actually a plastic. Turns out we have the same undergraduate alma mater. Too bad he graduated three years after me. Baby. I had a sty, or so I thought, for about 4 weeks. The fucker showed up about a week before our cruise. I did the whole hot compress thing, and I thought that would be okay. Well, day 2 of the cruise I ended up going to the medical clinic. $188 later, the MD put me on some antibiotic which helped a bit.
And by day 4 of the cruise I was able to stop wearing my glasses, and started with my contacts. Good thing because I like sunglasses in sunny places. And it means I can people watch without people noticing. 

Anyway, while getting the appointment underway I was chatting things up with the nurse, or tech, or whatever her title was. She was fun. Her husband is a fireman. He works wonky hours, which means there are plenty of nights were she sleeps at home alone. We both live the life of husbands not being at home every night, so we were relating to one another. We were chuckling about the women who "can't sleep when their husbands is gone." Girl, I do that all the time. As a matter of fact, there are nights when I'm glad he isn't home so I can spread out and watch whatever tv I want. I have grown accustomed to needing my alone time during the week.

And then we got all mushy, and started talking about how their absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. We think it's a good thing to miss your husband. After they're gone, you appreciate their presence home. After they're gone, you find spark upon their return.


****

Raise your hand if you hate that damn lotion at Marriott hotels.

Steve crawled into bed on Friday and I was all, "what hotel did you stay at last night?"
"Need you ask?" he responded, knowing exactly where I was going with the question.
"MARRIOTT!"

I hate that lotion. Always have. Always will.


****

If you haven't read Welcome Home Honey do it. It's funny...and will ring true to pilot wives. Basically, it's all about when your pilot gets home from a trip. Sometimes life is good, and sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you want to jump on him the second he walks through the door, and sometimes you find him almost repulsive.

Steve got home from a trip late Friday night. That night was good. I was expecting crabby, since he flew 4 legs that day. He came home to a quiet house with a fire in the fireplace, a warm dinner, and wine. Saturday, however, wasn't so good. As a matter of fact, it sucked.

I need to state one fact, I was moody. Like really moody. That was truly the root of the problem. Stating that, the morning went to shit around 9am when I recalled that I needed to print out something from the internet. This recollection happened about 2 seconds after Steve shut down the internet (he was moving some things around.)

While Steve and I were "discussing" the internet situation with somewhat raised voices...because of course I was blaming him, and of course he was telling me that I should have remembered before he shut things down, and of course I got more pissy because I can't remember everything.all.the.time and heaven help me the one time I forget something...Cici was chanting, "divorce! Divorce!" I was quick to reminder her that just because there is a disagreement, that doesn't mean one goes for divorce.

The day went to shit from there. Anything from realizing that I had forgotten my wallet while in the parking lot at Target, to the epic fit that Cici threw which cause me to yell at her in such an epic way that it actually made her jump. Not proud of that moment. 

I started to mellow out, thankfully, by Saturday night. The kids had a performance for Polish School, so while they were on stage I drowned everything in three bottles of good Polish beer.

The day wore me out so much that I went to bed the instant we got home. Steve, on the other hand, was starting a fire and pouring a glass a wine. We typically hang together in the evenings, and go to bed together. But not that night. I needed my sleep. And by Sunday morning, I was less "tense" (as Steve had called me).

It's never good to start your pilot's time home with a chip on your shoulder. It just makes the house tense. But, sometimes it just happens.


****


While in church on Sunday morning, Steve's dad called. Obviously Steve didn't answer the call, but he did check the voicemail when we were in the car.

90% of the time you call him, it goes to voicemail. 

Steve's dad left that voicemail...unintentionally. After his comment you could hear some sort of rustling around, and then the called ended. You could tell he was annoyed. But, the fact of the matter is that if you are calling a pilot, it's likely you will get his voicemail.

Steve flies, say, 80 hours a month. There is a good chance those hours are during the day, and not red-eyes. It goes without saying that when Steve is in the air, his phone is in airplane mode. In addition, Steve isn't likely to answer his phone when he is preparing for a flight, which is a good 30+ minutes before. And, he isn't one to talk much while in the crew bus or hotel shuttle bus. And then when he gets to the hotel, he is likely to work out. He doesn't take calls when working out.

And then when he is home he may be mowing the grass, or doing a house project. Or perhaps we are having dinner, or he is playing a game with the kids. These are all times when he is likely to not answer a call because he is in the middle of something, or wants to spend time with family.

See how all this time adds up? Call it occupational hazard.


****


Steve's birthday was this past week. He was working, so we celebrated the day before he left. Dinner, then cake. I have to post this series of pictures, because they are too funny. Steve and the kids were posing for a picture, and Cici farted. I hate the fact that I'm married to a man that finds farts funny...and Cici earns it honestly, so I can't blame her for that.

While deplaning, Steve once farted in the cockpit and the fumes were so bad that when the flight attendant came to open the door Steve directed her to keep it closed. I think the story continues with the FO putting on the oxygen mask to save himself.
smile, someone just farted and is laughing about it

the "scent" hits Steve at this exact moment


This is my life...





Friday, November 10, 2017

Exhaustion

Friday morning I was in Cici's room helping her get dressed for school.

Ben comes in, and examines the random stuff on her dresser. He was just killing time, waiting for me to go downstairs to start breakfast. "Why's the shower running?" Ben asked. Totally serious, and very curious. Throw in a bit of worry, too. To him, anyone needing a shower in the house was present in the room.

"Daddy's home," I answered. I wanted to follow-up with, "remember him?"

"Oh!" and then a big smile appeared on his face. He knew Steve was coming home on Thursday night...hell, he had to help me clean up with me proclaiming that "shit needed picked up since Daddy was coming home."

But, that morning he simply forgot about him. Out of sight, out of mind. This is the life of a kid when Daddy is a pilot.


***

Typically on Friday night the kids have Polish School. Ben was invited to a birthday party last Friday, so I let him skip school and go to the party. This meant that Steve, Cici, and I stayed home and chilled...a rare event for a Friday night. Well, we did make a Costco run earlier in the evening. Why the hell can't you leave that place for less than $200?!

After we got home from Costco, Steve went back to working in the basement, which he had been doing all day when the kids were at school. We are starting a basement remodel, and he is taking the lead on it. We are at the stage now of cleaning out all the shit that we have accumulated for the last 19 years of togetherness.

Speaking of basements, and shit in basement, you have to read: Shit Happens. I know all you pilot wives can relate. It's one of the funniest stories...I'm proud of this one. 

Remember folks, when Steve has a task he is full bore until it's complete. He was very focused on sorting through all our shit. I participated a bit and directed him to "keep" or "toss" or "donate."

By 7:30, I no longer wanted to participate. He got pissy at me. I didn't care. I went upstairs and planted my ass on the chair. I turned the tv on, and cracked open a beer. My week was fucking exhausting. Like, so exhausting that I feel asleep on the couch by 9pm, and slept 11 1/2 hours! I never sleep 11 1/2 hours.


After we got back from the cruise Steve was awesome and did all the laundry. "I know how busy you are during the week, so I want to leave you with empty laundry baskets." Super sweet! What a man.

By the end of the week, those baskets were full of clothes, and then some. Throughout the week I did manage to put a load away, and wash and hang another load. But, I had no more energy in me.

Why, you ask? Because I'm a solo parent when he's gone. Some weeks I'm awesome and can carry the world on my shoulders. Other weeks I suck and feel like a failure.

Let's run down the week:
Monday: work. school. getting the house put back together after vacation. getting ready for Halloween.
Tuesday: work. school. Carving pumpkins. Halloween/trick-or-treat. Get together with friends. Cleaning up decorations.

Wednesday: work. school. Ben's basketball. Buy and putting up fall decorations (we are hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I have to have the house looking good)
Thursday: work. school. Ben took the bus home, when he should have stayed for an after school activity...chaos ensued.  Cici had dance. Clean the house since Steve was coming home.

Throw in the fact that work was crazy busy all week. And that my body was still pissed at me for eating as much sodium I did on the cruise. And that I felt like I was always two steps behind the entire week since I felt like I was playing catch-up from being on the cruise. It was just a long week.

Going back to the laundry note above, when Saturday rolled around the laundry baskets were over-flow-eth. Steve made a comment, "why don't you just do a load a day." Ha! As if I have extra time in the day to add laundry to the list. *sigh*

Sometimes I just don't think he realizes how busy I can be. He made the point in earlier in the week about how busy I am and he was so helpful in getting the laundry done before he left, so I want to think he gets it. But when he follows up with the suggestion of doing a load every night, I think how much he doesn't get it.

Typically when he calls in the evening our conversations are rather sparse.
"How's your evening?"
Good.

"How are the kids?"
Fine. 

I don't typically go into a full play-by-play of our night. I could. I could tell him about the fits that Cici is throwing, or the dog poop that I had to clean off of shoes. But, I don't. I spare him all those details, typically. So, I get how our conversations might showcase a calm house. But, I don't want him to ever get worried about us when he is at home. So, I typically give the impression that all is well. And with that, he probably doesn't realize how crazy/busy things can get.

****

Tuesday night the kids and I didn't have anything planned. Thank the good Lord. It's nice to have a night where we just chill and hang. Around 7pm I was cleaning up after dinner, clearing out school papers, and then I started cleaning the floors. Meanwhile Cici needed to practice her spelling words. I asked her to write down the words down first, so she could familiarize herself again with the words, and then I would quiz her. As I was pushing the dry mop around, Cici was yelling at me for not helping her with the words. "Cici, once you practice the words once, then I will help you..."

She didn't like that answer. I then proceeded to explain to her how things are, "when Daddy is gone, it is all me doing the work of two parents. That means I have to do school work and do housework. Give me a freakin' break."

She didn't get it. Nor will she for a long while. Perhaps I make it looks easy, the solo-parent thing. But one day she will realize just how much work it is to raise kids, solo, week in and week out.


****

I met some girlfriends for happy hour on Wednesday. I needed to be home by 5:30 so that I could get Ben off to basketball practice. On my drive home I called Steve to check-in. He was in Cancun. When I told him I was driving home from happy hour, he grew silent.

"Who's with the kids?"

I found his tone hilarious. It was half worry...no, full worry. Tone is everything.

I had a neighbor gal get the kids off the bus and stay with them. It's all good. The kids like her, and it gives me some freedom to be normal when Steve is gone. That's huge for me. And it's something that I am starting to do more. It's important for me to develop my friendships, especially with women who are smart and funny and make me feel so great to be around.

Steve just needs to get accustomed to me doing things like this. He likes that I do things for myself, it's just that it was very much out of my rhythm to go to happy hour in his absence, hence his tone.


****

I need your suggestions. We are planning on going away this winter, but don't know where. We plan on taking the kids. We have about 5 days. We want somewhere warm. Tell me where you would go.

Have a great weekend y'all!



Friday, November 3, 2017

Cruising

Steve and I discovered cruising probably 14 years ago. We both cruised before that first cruise together. But when it came to our first cruise together, that was really when we got bit by the cruise bug. We booked it about 2 weeks before departure. There was little time to set expectations, so we just went...and had a great time. Like, a super, great, awesome, fabulous time. This is now our 10+ cruise (half on Royal Caribbean, and half on Disney). Times sure have changed from then until now. We used to have sex 2+ times a day while on the cruise...now, we sneak gropes under the covers. We would get day drunk, sleep it off, and then wake up sober and ready for round 2 in the evening. Now, we still get boozy with our unlimited drink packages, but naps are a thing of the past.

Seeing how this blog is about being a pilot wife, I’ll swing it back to the theme at hand. I’ve known Steve since 1999...that is nearly 19 years ago. It wasn’t until this trip that I knew why
Steve wanted to become a pilot.


Steve was in elementary school when he flew on his first flight. He took a family trip to Florida. Ever since that flight he knew he wanted to be a pilot. My interpretation of that trip is that he loved flight so much that he just needed it...the pilot blood began to flow through his veins. 

Not so much. 

Steve flies because he likes travel. “Sitting first class, flying to Paris.” My response was that he didn’t need to be a pilot to fly first class to Paris. He agreed. But, being an airline pilot makes it a hell of a lot easier. It’s a good thing he married a woman who likes to travel as well.

We were sitting on our balcony, beer in hand, overlooking ocean blue waters while discussing this.
Steve mentioned that in retirement he will fly some island hopper. He wasn’t serious. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t think he will fly after retirement. He knows a CA that actually built his own plane. And how about those pilots that are total aviation geeks and go to every air show they can. Steve hasn’t been to an airshow in years. If there are pilots that love to fly and can’t get enough of it, Steve isn’t one of them. He made sure to note that he doesn’t regret his line of work, and enjoys it. But, he made it clear that he doesn’t do what he does because he loves flying. It’s more that he likes the adventure of the destination.

Take one of his good friends, as another example, whose first experience on a flight was that everything was sunny above the clouds. (I would love to make this the title of my book, but it’s already taken.) And, it’s true. Above the clouds is the sun. Seems like an obvious statement, but if you really think about it, it can make you smile. Why not choose an occupation where seeing the sun is nearly guaranteed every time you work.


It happened to be raining when we were on the balcony having this discussion. It was a long day of visiting Atlantis in Nassau, so the kids were watching a movie in the cabin.  
the aquariums (if that is what they are called) were spectacular
Of course Steve went on all the water slides
It's always nice to have those talking moments where you learn more about your partner, even after knowing one another for nearly 19 years. When the rain cleared, Steve’s craving for Heineken on draft began to call. We headed up to Sky Bar. Why the hell not?

Steve and I were about ½ way through our first drink when I struck up a conversation with the solo guy next to me. Craig, from Fort Lauderdale. Turns out he wasn’t a guest on the cruise, but rather for work. He was a contractor. He was working on upgrading the internet system on the ship. Imagine a 7-day cruise as “work”. Nice, right?

Wrong...just another day on the job. He works on cruises and yachts. So, he is often traveling and at sea.

You can’t imaging how much Craig and Steve had in common, anything from feeling rushed to mow the grass and pay the bills in the few hours that you are home between trips. To the fact that you come home from a trip and your baby girl is now walking. Or, how about balancing time at home with your wife and your kids and your friends.

And then we got to talking about the women that marry men that are on the road all the time. The three of us all agreed that, well, we are pretty much awesome. We really are. We are supportive, loving, caring, ingenious, resourceful, capable, independent, selfless...the list could go on. These guys can't be on the road as much as they are, all while having a family at home, without a hard-working woman to care for house and family.

On another evening, Steve and I were enjoying some drinks in the Music Hall. It was a nice venue. During the day we would find our way to the pool table. 
At night Steve and I would find our way to the bar on the second floor. The bartenders were attentive and it was a quiet spot to talk. While sitting there, Steve told me how nice it was to be next to me at a bar. At this point in our life, we don't bar hop too much. So, Steve tends to frequent bars more without me than with me. And when he does go to a bar there is a 50/50 chance he is by himself. When he says stuff like that, it makes me sad. Of course, I love that he still digs me and appreciates my company. But, I hate to think of how alone the road can be for him. He is introverted, so I know he craves his alone time. But, it still makes me sad.

That pretty much wraps up my pilot thoughts from the cruise. Now, onto my other thoughts...

I love people watching. Seriously, perhaps one of my favorite things to do. I observe, and if the person/couple/family strike me so, I can create a whole world around them.

The first person that struck me so was an elderly man who was lounging on his pool chair. I was around the "current pool" where the kids were swimming in the warm water that pushed them around in a circle. 
I had a beer in my hand, of course, as I sat on the pool lounger and settled into the moment. The band was playing Bob Marley, and the elderly man across from me started to groove. His eyes were closed, his hands met in front of his chest, almost as if he was praying, and his longer finders were tapping with the rhythm. His head bobbed. He was feeling it. And it was awesome. His white tube socks were super white, so I knew they were new. His life was probably slow now, but it was like that groove transported him back to the day where he was young. If you follow this blog, I've made it known that I love Jamaica, and I love Jamaican people who seems just so happy and kind. And the music is top of my list. The combination of this awesome man and the great music really made a moment for me. Perhaps he will become a character in my book...

Another couple that spoke to me settled in front of us at the pool deck. It was later in the afternoon, so not too many people we there. The kids were in the large hot tub, which they frequented throughout the cruise. She was probably 25, and he was about the same age. No rings, so I got the sense they were a dating couple on vacation. The other sense I got, pretty much right away, was that they weren't in a good place. She seemed to be bossing him around, "go get towels," or "I need a drink." He got the towel and the drink. They seemed tense. And the whole time I kept asking myself why the hell they were tense about anything. I flash forwarded to when they were to have kids, and I saw more of the bossy behavior. Now, perhaps I'm totally wrong in playing out my story. For what it's worth, Steve took note of the couple as well. But, he thought the woman was mad at the guy because he was drunk. I didn't see him drunk, at all. We both saw the tension. 

I think that if you travel well as a couple, you can make it.

If a cruise stresses you out, add kids. Cici was a bear for a handful of hours each day on the cruise. 
Talk about stress. We know she is spirited, strong-willed, and feisty. But having that combination for hours EACH day, stresses a parent. Thankfully, at the end of the fits when the clouds cleared and Cici got back to her loving and sweet self, we are good. Steve and I are never tense with one another when Cici is throwing a fit. We, meaning Ben too, just try to ride out the fit with as little wake as possible. I get that not everyone has children, so not everyone will have the stress of children. But, if you are tense on a cruise, just you and your partner, perhaps the couple thing just isn't going to work out. Meanwhile, there are couples who can't keep their hands off one another. That's what I'm talking about.


So, there you have it...my thoughts about our cruise. Thanks for your patience with my week off. You'll hear from me again next Friday...back to our regularly scheduled program.


I want the filter from the ship's photographer to follow me around everywhere! 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Run Steve, run!

Steve ran 13.1 this past weekend. He finished about 5 minutes slower than his goal, so he was disappointed. But, nonetheless we are very proud of him.

He started running nearly 10 years ago, when his sister suggested he run a marathon. He set his goal, and did it. Steve is very driven. He is completes tasks...so, if his training program tells him he needs to run xx miles on a certain day, he will. He is also introverted, so I'm pretty sure he likes the quiet space in his head when he is on the road.

I had plans to go to Chicago to visit friends this past weekend, but ultimately I decided to stay in town. Logistically it was just the best thing. And, good thing I did...look at the shirt he wore
"I love my awesome wife"
When I first saw the shirt I was quite surprised to see it. To start, Steve isn't one to be all ooey-gooey-lovey-dovey. He doesn't proclaim his love for me on Facebook, for example. Hell, I don't even get a birthday wish on Facebook. So, I was surprised to see this outward display of love. When I question his reasoning for getting the shirt, he responded with, "because you are awesome."

And, damnit, I am! I'll admit it. I am nothing but supportive when it comes to Steve and his training schedules. I know this is something that he has a strong desire to do. Plus, I know that running is good for him. When I lay my head on his chest and I hear his slow heartbeat, I know his body is fit. That makes me happy...health is wealth. And, it is a great example to our kiddos to lead an active lifestyle. I'll be the first to admit that it is hard to support him, sometimes. He is gone every week for work, and then when he IS home, training runs can keep him away from home even more. But, anytime I feeling not so happy about his runs, I make sure reason takes the forefront and I keep positive.

mile 12. Hurting, but almost done.
****

As the main cook in the house, I always love to hear "Mommy, make this recipe again" and "Mommy, this tastes great!" On Monday, after PSR, I whipped up a super easy recipe that I have to share.


Sour Cream Chicken:
1 pound chicken
1 onion
paprika
chicken bouillon
sour cream
flour

I had chicken breast on hand, and I cut them into bite sized (give or take) pieces. I cooked them in a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I added a bit of water to speed along the cooking process. Once the chicken was nearly done, I added sliced onions to the pan. Once the onions were translucent, I added a bit more water and with about a tablespoon of chicken bouillon.

I put about a cup of sour cream in a bowl, and mixed in about 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour. The flour helps the sour cream to not curdle when you add it to something hot. REMEMBER that!!

I then added the sour cream to the pan with the chicken, incorporated it, and then let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Done. And it was really, really good. I served it with potatoes and zucchini. It would be really good with noodles or rice.

It was super easy!


***

That's about all I have in me this week. Sorry. Steve has been home all week, which has been great. But, my evenings have been spent with him, and not writing. Not to mention, we will be on vacation next week, so I have been quite busy getting prepared for that. Because of our travels, I won't be posting a blog next week. I love posting for you guys, but I typically disconnect when I'm away.

Hope you all have a great weekend, and a great next week.

Ciao ciao!