Saturday, April 5, 2014

Words left unspoken

I went out over the weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday.

The party started at a hotel.  We had a couple of drinks in us when the "entertainment" showed up.   Let me set the record straight...he was nothing spectacular, so please don't think it was anything more than what it really was.  He was high as a kite and nothing much to look at.  Ok, so he worked out and had some muscle, which is good.  But, he was short.  I am 6'1" short man don't really make my head turn...nor do men that are high.  Oh wait, I already mentioned that.  

As he was gathering his tips we headed out to the limo, we couldn't get out of there fast enough, which took us to a bar/club.  I do have to mention, Steve did come up on the limo ride out, as he is the only husband in the group who wears a uniform to work.  All the ladies agreed that Steve should have shown up in his pilot uniform!  Now, that would have been a blast!

While at the club we danced the night away.  We were having a great time.  And in typical Joanna fashion I started talking to a table of four guys.  Their table was by our "camp" so naturally I started to talk to them.  Anyway, turns out the four were lawyers.  Turns out that one became somewhat fond of me...and let it be know that I made it VERY clear that I was happily married and had kids.  Just because I was making conversation doesn't mean I was hitting on them...too bad the one thought otherwise.  After a bit, he most definitely wore out his welcome.  Which lead to my tweet towards the end of the night: At a occupation impresses me more than an airline pilot

The night ended with me drifting off to sleep next to the birthday girl...thankful that I started drinking water when I did...

Sunday was a very slow day for me.  After I had some coffee and showered, I left the hotel and picked up some donuts for the kids.  I walked into the house, and Steve made sure to take care of me...and give me ample rest time.  My body just doesn't handle a night out like that very well.  I wasn't hungover, per say, just off...I just felt off.  My legs hurt. My back hurt.  I haven't danced that much in years.  I was starting to get a cold.  Having said all that, when nighttime fell I was not able to give Steve his proper send off before his next trip.

The reason I share the above details with you is simple: being around what I was around on Saturday, and the attention I got at home on Sunday, made me appreciate what I have all that much more!  And since I wasn't able to get my love tank filled on Sunday night (my love language is physical touch), Steve left for his trip Monday morning and I missed him right away.


Come Tuesday about 9:30 at night, and I looked over to see an empty chair.  Steve usually sits in that chair when he is home and we are relaxing at night.

I missed him.

A lot.

I wished he were home...

At that exact moment, he was in Vegas sleeping for a redeye.  I knew better than to text him.  I thought about putting a message on his facebook, but was afraid to be all ooey-gooey lovey-dovey on his page...he is almost 40-years-old for goodness sake.  Some people would find a lovely message from me to him to be about as classy as the 50-year-old couple sucking face at the club the other night.  For goodness sake, take your girl out for a nice dinner and get a hotel room! 

The next morning when I woke, I still missed him.  I wanted to text him, but I still wasn't able to call him. You see, this time he was sleeping off his redeye.

Words were left unspoken...

Words left unspoken happens a lot.  I will get these thoughts in my head and want to share them with Steve.  Who doesn't want to hear the words "I love you" or "I miss you."  But logistics stop me...of course his sleep comes before a text or phone call.

Words left unspoken...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My name is Joanna, and I am a nervous flier. Did I mention my husband is an airline pilot?

There was a recent CNN article about being a nervous flier and also a tweet from Heather Poole, which has given me inspiration to share my journey of becoming an anxious flier and dealing with it.  And the irony of all this?  I am the wife of an airline pilot! Who, by the way, was sick and tired of dealing with my anxious flying ass.

My first flight was at the age of 15.  I flew to Poland with my grandparents and sister.  The flights were all uneventful, and I was totally fine.  Of course I remember when we first took off, and that incredible pitch.  I also remember the constant hum of the engines while en route.  You know, they never portray that on tv, so I never even thought there would be constant sound.

The second time I flew?  On my third date with Steve.  Pretty fancy, huh?!  He was flying corporate at the time, so after they dropped off their passengers, they had to fly the plane to a hanger about 20 minutes away.  I joined them on that 20 minute flight.  It was very cool, as I was in the jump seat.  Steve, on the other hand, was the flying pilot and was nervous as hell.  You see, he dug me pretty good after our first couple dates, so he really wanted to make a good impression.  And what better way to fuck things up with a gal, then to fuck up a landing!

After that I started to fly more and more.  Trips here and there:
Alaska: including a helicopter ride over glaciers!
Norfolk: my first non-rev experience...where the ticket agent actually laughed at us as we were trying to get onto an oversold 16-seat airplane.  We somehow made it!
Vienna: overseas for Peace Corps.

I clearly recall all those flights being totally fine in terms of anxiety.  I was not scared or nervous on any of those flights.  Every flight was cool and an adventure.

If I had to guess when I started to get anxious, I would guess it happened slowly over time.  Because slowly over time I heard stories from Steve.  His buddy once had an engine fail in flight.  Everything ended up fine, but that was the first time I heard the term fuel contamination.  His buddy once had his stick shaker go off in flight.  Steve, himself, had to call mayday once because they hit a goose that came through the windshield....blood everywhere!

In addition to these stories, I had the added knowledge from asking Steve questions here and there. Although, in hindsight I probably shouldn't have even asked (ignorance is bliss).  With this very limited knowledge, I just became to freak out more and more.  "Did they start that second engine? I don't think I heard them start it!  They should start that engine within 2 minutes (or whatever the time frame is) before we take off...I hope the engine is started." This got me into trouble because I became so overly aware of every single thing...and all the while really not knowing shit about flying.  Again, ignorance is bliss.

But, I have to say that I did have one experience that tipped my anxiety over the edge:
I was en route from SAT, I think it was SAT, to MDW.  I had joined Steve on an overnight. We were in a low point in our marriage, and I thought a little time together would do us good.  So, even though Steve's loads were really tight we made it work the revenue route.  I bought a cheap ticket on another airline.  

Well, on the decent into MDW, something happened...

the blue light was on - sterile - below 10,000 feet. 

I noticed that a man took his young child to the bathroom. How dare you do that!  We are below 10,000 feet! Don't you know anything?!  

As the two of them were walking back to their seat, which happened to be right in front of me, the plane dropped.  

And, I mean DROPPED!  The man grabbed his son, and shuffled back into their seats.  The plane dropped so much that I actually braced myself, as did most everyone else on the plane.  Instantly, the engines started to roar, and we regained the altitude that we just lost, or so it seemed.  

The passengers on the plane turned from rather quiet into quietly chatting about what just happened.  My heart was pumping hard for a good couple minutes after that.  

Once I got home and told Steve was happened, he didn't have an answer for me.  But, I kept asking all his pilot buddies.  One pilot told me it was probably wind sheer...and that makes sense.

Because of that experience, my anxiety went from "did they start both engines?" to the thought of falling out of the sky without notice.  The Buffalo crash was around that time too, which is when I was told that planes really CAN fall out of the sky.  And no, an airplane stall is not like a car engine stalling.   

So, there you have my journey of becoming a nervous flier.  

The turning point in my behavior was when our oldest child was a couple years old.  I would NOT let my anxiety show to my children.  Imagine their confusion when Daddy was at work for days on end flying airplanes, while Mommy was afraid of them.  I would NOT be the cause for my children anxiety towards flying...and perhaps anxiety when Daddy was away at work.  

So, I went to my primary care physician and got drugs.  Ativan to be exact.  I love my little pills.  

Over time I have learned the appropriate "flight cocktail" for me, which is a 1mg pill with one beer.  If I am a bit more anxious than usual, then I just drink an additional beer.  Repeat the beer as many times as necessary.  I have made the mistake of taking more pills, but that leads to memory loss (of a whole night on one occasion where I tagged along with Steve on an overnight) so I regulate with beer. 

To the kids, they possibly see Mommy opening a pill container before a flight, and have a drink before flight and maybe a couple during the flight.  For all they know, I am taking a vitamin and behaving normally.  And that is okay to me...I never mention my anxiety and they don't know.  I will keep it that way!  

I make my anxiety known to whoever wants to listen...because, I have a real problem and I have been able to deal with it!  And any anxious flier out there can too!  My anxiety was taking control, and I was afraid that I would get to the point of not flying anymore...and that is just nuts.  

The more comfortable flights I have, the more comfortable I am, as a whole, with the flying thing.  Before flights I would dread them weeks ahead of time.  Now, I may have a twinge of anxiety here and there, but because I have had uneventful flights, one after another after another, my anxiety has become less.  

As for Steve...he actually likes flying with me again.  I know he used to dread when we were sitting next to one another, as I was always bug-eyed and squeezing his hand and asking him question after question.  Now, I do my thing, get comfortable, and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Disney Fantasy

Leading up to our Disney Cruise last year, I waxed myself at home.  (Pilot wives making things user friendly)

Leading up to the Disney Cruise, which was just a couple of weeks ago, I puked on the eve of our vacation....and Steve was working.

Is this a trend I am starting to see?

Despite Steve's best efforts to trip trade, his last pairing before vacation got him in the eve before we left.  We were planning on leaving on a Friday to get into Florida, and Steve was due home Thursday.  However loads were quite full, so we decided (on Monday, mind you) that we would leave Thursday night, overnight in a connecting hub, and then fly the last leg into Florida on Friday.

So, with this last minute schedule change, yet another vacation was happening where yours truly has to prepare everything in Steve's absence.  Although, I have to say at this point in the game, I have grown to expect this.  What I have not yet had to deal with was me vomiting while I had to prepare the house and ourselves for a 7-day cruise.  Ugh.

On Wednesday evening, I took the kids to Target to pick up the last little things (fun things for the plane, travel wrinkle spray, ect).  I figured, to make things easy, we would just eat dinner at Target.  The breadsticks sure did taste good, but boy did they not sit with me well.  When we got home, my sick feeling was elevating quickly.  The whole time I was feeling like shit, the kids were running around screaming their heads off.  I could barely move my body.  I was screaming at them, yes screaming (proud mom moment), that I was sick and they had to get themselves ready for bed.  Finally, around 7:30p, I was bent over the toilet.

At least that made me feel better.

I texted Steve that I just puked, and his response was something to the effect of "great...this is going to be a *great* vacation."

At this point in the game, I didn't know how sick I really was.  Was this one episode? Was this just the start? I was thinking it was the breadsticks, and praying it was over.  I also said a couple prayers that the kids wouldn't get sick.  Because that would really fuck things up.

The kids finally settled down, and eventually made it to bed.  Ben read Cecilia a book that evening...super cute!  I was feeling okay enough to get the rest of the packing done and the house straighten up enough for the evening.  I figured I would get good sleep, and wrap things up on Thursday.

Thankfully, I just had one episode of getting sick!  On Thursday morning I was still rather weak, so I figured that I would just leave work about 45 minutes early, get back to the house to do my final prep and then we would be off.  And that is how it went...I left work a bit early, got home to make the house look good, then I was off to pick the kids up at school.  Once I got the kids, we drove off to the airport to meet Steve, who finished up his trip about 30 minutes prior to our arrival.

I pulled up to the departures curb to meet Steve.  We unloaded the kids and bags, and Steve drove off to park the car while the kids and I checked in and made our way through security.

Steve met up with us after we waited for him in the terminal for about 5 minutes...and then I could finally start to relax.  I made it.  We made it!


Last year we cruised the Disney Wonder.  This year we cruised on the Disney Fantasy.  The Fantasy is bigger and newer than our last cruise.  Although, I am not saying bigger and newer is better...we actually prefer certain aspects of the Wonder over the Fantasy.  The kids "club" and "lab" were just outstanding on the Fantasy.  The ship was outstanding.  I couldn't recommend the cruise enough!

Here are some pictures of our trip:

Captain Benjamin! 

view from one of the adult bars

formal night

class on paper airline making?
You betcha!

Delta arrival
St. Maarten 

here comes the big one!
St. Maarten

the most perfect picture ever taken
I am awesome.
Although the back story of this picture is hilarious...
perhaps my next blog post.

Pirate night. Argh!

Pirate night. Argh!

Flight simulator game? Of course he had to
give it a whirl.
lounging my the pool with my cocktail in hand
Disney allows you to bring on a bottle, so with a little mixer
the Moms and Dads are happy.

Donald pool

Disney's Private Island, with Minnie

Enjoying the sun

Poor thing had a stomach flu the last night of the cruise
(perhaps I gave it to her?)
thankfully it started to end when we got to the airport.
She napped like this for 2 hours! 

Name that airport.
Ben was "driving" the train.
And I was carrying a barf bag. 

Disney Fantasy 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A little bit of knowledge is a terrible thing

Let me set the scene: I headed downstairs to our building's café to grab a salad for lunch.  We are in a smaller building, and people in the café pretty much all know one another.  The second I walked in, the "mayor" of the cafe, who perches at his seat from 11:30 - 12:30 every single day, jumped right on me.  "JOANNA, what do you think of all the news?!?!?!"

There was recent local news of a big airline dropping a significant number of flights at our airport.  To me and my family this means that if they drop the pilot base, we will most likely be relocating...

Again, this could mean a possible RELOCATION for us...for us and our children.  What if we make the wrong move?  We only want to move once, and the move has to be perfect for us.  This is a critical time for our kids and their enrichment and is our duty to provide the best for them.  I can't fuck this up.  I have a significant amount of weight on my shoulders right now with all these decisions.  

This news is more than just "shit, now I have to connect all the time."  Well boo-fuckin'-hoo.  To us this means a possible RELOCATION where we uproot our family from a house and town we love, with schools that are top ranked.   The news REALLY impacted our house.  The news still stings.  

I told him what I thought, and how it would impact us.

And then the conversation starts getting good...

I can handle the mayor, he is totally fine.  He works by himself in a single office, so his lunch hour is social.  I am social.  We are good.  What I didn't take too well was his table-mate...a man I have never seen before in my life, and a man that I never care to see again.

Last time I checked, it isn't good social grace to insult a person twice within five minutes of meeting them, right?  Yeah...he was *that* kinda guy.

Let me give you a visual of this man.  Older, probably late 50s, early 60s.  Gray hair, bald on top.  Glasses.  He was sitting, so I didn't catch his height.  But, I sure did notice his pot belly under his forest green sweater.

I have no idea what he does for a living, nor do I care.  What I do know is that back in the day he used to date all the XAirlines "stews".  Because that is always great news to broadcast to a total stranger within five minutes of meeting them.  Sir, I am glad you got yourself some good action, back in the day.  This, apparently, gave him some sort of "in" with all the airport news.  And when I say "back in the day" it was probably before I was BORN!  Doubt the man can even get it up these days without the use of that precious little blue pill.  Ok, so you had some relations with a couple gals back in the day...doesn't mean you know squat about the airlines these days.

Oh, and then he made the point that he used to travel "a lot".

I love when people say that.  You know what "a lot" of travel is?  12,000 flight hours at the age of 39.  That is what my husband has, give or take.  When you fly 1-5 legs a day, 4 days a week, since 1999...then let's talk.  Pilot talk hours.  Passengers talk miles.  Miles are a fluffed number.  I like to keep things straight and use hours.  Miles don't impress me.

So, you and your "a lot" of if this would further solidify your expertise in the airline industry.  Like I give a shit if you have X thousands of miles. Ok, so you fly a lot.  Good for you. So, you may know the gates at airports.  And let's get fancy here, perhaps you also know the airport codes, too!  Perhaps you know the monthly articles in the inflight magazine, and the inflight beverage menu.

Good for you...but, don't try to convince me that you somehow have an "in" with the industry because of all the "stews" you banged and all the miles you logged.

Tell me, Mr. Jackass, what is the starting salary of an FO on a regional airline?  When it was my husband, his first year's salary was $17K.  You didn't know that, did you?!  Oh, but you also think that FOs don't really fly the planes, so they shouldn't make more than that, right?  They just do the radios, right?  Yeah...that is how is goes up there.  

You didn't know the difference between a hub and a pilot base.  You didn't know that the 787 is called the Dreamliner.  And if I would have said Triple Seven, I wasn't talking about slots at the casino, although I know that is what you would be thinking.

And then you go and lay out the question "what does he fly, the 737-300?"   I laughed inside.  If you were such an expert this airline, you would have know that they only fly new-gens now.  As if  laying out the 300 means that you actually know something about planes.  Well, sir...the 737-300 was launched the exact year you had your last way with a "stew".  Impressed, I am not.  A little bit of knowledge is a terrible thing.

I left the cafe that day very frustrated.  What a dick of a man.

** I realize this post is very mean.  I am not usually a mean person, but this guy really rubbed me the wrong way, and I had to just release it!  Thanks for listening to my vent, and please don't think that I am an asshole :)

(edited to add)
** A reader pointed something out to me, so I want to add a couple more points to this post.  I understand that passengers, whether they be frequent or not, ultimately provide my husband with a job, and for this I am thankful.  Also, I do not mean to disrespect fliers who actually are "in the know" with aviation.  I understand where you stand. I respect you and enjoy conversations with you.  This post really is directed to the person who thinks they are "in the know" but they really know very little.  As with any industry, including MINE which Mr. Jackass actually insulted to my face, we all find people like this.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Commuting versus relocating

If you and your aviation family have ever had to make the decision of relocating versus commuting, what did you choose and why? 

We have been very lucky thus far, and have never had to move for Steve's job.  However, recent company announcements have put us in a position that I am calling "preparing for the worst, but still hope for the best." We are preparing ourselves for a relocation or commuting, even though we are "safe" where we are right now.  

That is why I am reaching out to all the pilots and pilot wives that read my blog.  If you ever had to make the choice of commuting or relocation, I need your feedback.  Why did you choose one over the other?

Ok, and if you did relocate...what made you choose one hub over the other?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!  


Thursday, January 9, 2014

#pilotwife tweets expanded

I love telling stories, and sometime twitter just doesn't give me enough space to saw all I want to say.  So, this blog post is all of my #pilotwife tweets...expanded!

I have news to share w/ him and he is currently flying. I may or may not be obsessively tracking his flight to see when he lands
** we are taking a Disney Cruise, and we got our room assignment.  We had been checking our reservation daily to get the information, and of course the first time I see the room number Steve was flying.  So, I checked...and checked...and checked his flight until I saw it "landed"  I gave it, oh, about 5 minutes and then I called him right away.

** not related to the tweet above, but a similar story of me obsessively checking Steve's flight is when I was in labor with #1.  You bet I was checking every 2 minutes for that "landed" and I called his ass the second I saw that great word!

See those two blond heads in the foreground...both kids are laying on me. See Daddy over there?

** one word: attachment.  My kids are very much attached to me, and this is understandable.  This picture was taken the day Steve got home from a trip...don't worry, the kids warmed right back up and they were happily sitting in Daddy's lap later that weekend.

He was sleeping and I woke him up. Now I feel like a big ole' asshole
The day after Christmas, the kids and I drove down to my sister's for the long weekend.  A couple days later Steve finished a trip with a red-eye, and figured that he would either drive the 2 hours OR he would catch a commute down, which was due to leave about 2 hours after he got in from his red-eye.  Sure enough he caught the commute...and sure enough my impatient ass called his sleeping ass to "check in."  His first response was "I told you I would call you"  Yeah, I felt like an big ole' ass.  There is nothing worse than interrupting his sleep post red-eye.

sick kiddo. Pilot is working. Super mom goes into action to coordinate my work schedule and a sitter for the kids.
On this day in particular, by the time Steve called me mid-afternoon he had NO idea what was going on.  I had done all the coordinating.  No wonder I have a hard time sometimes switching back to the "two parents" mode, after having to fly solo with kids for 4 days and make all the decisions.

He moved my item last night. I just spent 10 minutes looking for it. He was flying so I couldnt call.
Steve took two of my bags, that I needed for a weekend trip, and put them in the basement.  He didn't tell me where he was putting them, so I spent 10 minutes looking for them.  Of course he was flying during this frustrated time, so I couldn't call him.

I actually get quit pissed about this topic...there are times when he gets on these cleaning rampages and just goes nuts.  Of course he isn't telling me the new places for all these items as he is moving them...and of course when I am looking for said item he is 37k feet in the air.

I want to text him I ♥ and miss him. Is he asleep? Perhaps. I wont text. This is how words get lost for the moment
I often think of Steve when he is gone, and I get warm fuzzies.  When I know he is up and around, I will text him my kind words.  But, if I am not sure what he is up to I will keep the words to myself so that I don't interrupt him.

And if I am feeling really mooshy-gooshy, and not sure of his whereabouts I will put a message on his facebook know something that makes you throw up a little in your mouth.  But, that is the most non-invasive way telling him my feelings so they don't get lost from the moment.

Effective birth control is not having your pilot around when you are ovulating
The body is an amazing thing.  Women are most raring to go when they are ovulating.  Makes sense, as this is the prime time to have makes babies.  Well, when your lover is 3 time zones away, that is pretty effective birth control!

Haven't really heard from him all day and his perfectly planned cockpit call had to be cut short because he had to work.
This happens ALL THE TIME.  I don't hear from him all day.  I don't know why, as the day consisted of sleeping in and breakfast and a workout. No text. Nothing.  But, when I finally do hear from him he is in the cockpit and probably 2 minutes from push.  I know what he is thinking as he is dialing my number "shit...I haven't talked to Joanna all day...better call her now."

My view right now. Wine. Favorite snack. Real Housewives. Messy house. Kids are asleep. Enjoying life
When Steve isn't home, and if my day has been crazy insane, there are times when I plop my ass down on the chair the second after I tuck the kids in for the night.  As I sit there, enjoying my favorite snack, favorite wine, and favorite show, I can't even think about picking up the house.  There is no one to impress, so I just let things be, enjoy the moment, and relax!

I hadn't seen his handsome face in 3 days, and not one minute in the door he scowls "there is a stink in the house"
When Steve is flying the friendly skies for 4 days, I often think of him fondly.  I usually track his final leg, and really anticipate his arrival.  I have all these dreamy thoughts in my head...

...and then I hear the garage door open.  "Daddy's home!"  I see his handsome face in his good lookin' blazer and then I hear "there is a stink in the house!" with a scowl on his face.  No "Hi, Honey" no kiss...nothing but a bad comment about stank in the house.  Really?!

Doing laundry. Hung up his shirt and smelled his cologne. Held his shirt to my nose for a minute. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
This usually happens most when I am really missing him.  And when I really miss him is when I look for anything to connect to him.  It could be his shirt, his pillow, his towel...

He is due home. House: clean and quiet. Fire: blazing. Kids: down. Food: hot. Wine: plenty. He better f**king appreciate it b/c Mama is beat!
In an effort to keep Steve happy, I really try my hardest to have the house clean and settled when he gets home from a trip. But, it isn't always easy work!  Sometimes it is, but other times the house is such a mess that it takes 2+ hours to get it in order.  And this tweet was one of those times where I was GO from the second I got home from work until he came a clean, warm, comfortable house.

I thought he was flying. He called me I answered nervously. Was he crashing and calling 2 say bye? I had looked @ his pairing wrong
I know that flying is safe.  I know that.  I know that Steve is very likely to retire without a life-threatening incident at work. I know that.  But, every now and again I can't help but have morbid thoughts run through my head.  And when his face appears on the incoming call on my cell phone when I *think* he is flying, my heart skips a bit.  This tweet was a simply error on my reading his schedule earlier that day.

Kids r asleep. House is quiet. Wine poured. He is out w/ the guys. As much as I can miss his absence, sometimes I love being alone
When Steve is on a trip there is a void in the house.  There is lonely in the house.  When Steve is home, and is out with the guys, there is no void in the house and I don't feel lonely.  Only a pilot wife understands this difference.  This particular night Steve went out with friends...and I enjoyed my quiet evening in the house, without being lonely.

when my sister looked up "FBO" on The Google she told me it came up as "full body orgasm"
Steve was FBOed twice in November.  I think it was November.  He posted something on facebook about it.  Since many people don't know that FBO means "flown by operations" my sister did her own research on The Google.  She then posted on Steve's facebook post that she came up with "full body orgasm" I mean...come on!  Hilarious!!!!!  As if!

gotta love when u r sharing an intimate moment w/ your husband and his airline's commercial comes on the tv...that damn iconic music
Not making this up!  Steve and I were sharing a 'moment' and his airline's commercial came on tv.  I mean, really?!  When Steve is away from work, he wants to be away!  And when Steve is with me, I would imagine that work is the last thought on his mind.  And then this reminder comes up?  *Nice*

her shoes are lost. he put them away. he is either sleeping or 38K+ feet in the air. child is screaming
Another #Don'tMoveMyShit moment where Steve puts an item somewhere that only he knows...and then is not available when I need to call him to ask where the item is.  I was racing to find her shoes to get out the door for school...Cici was screaming...I was approaching my red zone and about to lose it!  As I stated above...this really pisses me off, something good!

movie for the kids on a school night? Yes...because it helps with my sanity
This is a win-win.  I have had enough with my day, so I popped in a movie for the kids.  The kids have a fun night and think I am "cool" to allow this.  Sometimes us pilot wives do whatever we can to make it through the day.

Trans-con, 3 hour sit, another flight blocked @ 2 hours. Wonder what mood is going to be walking in the door tonight
Steve can come home from the most crappy trip and be an absolute peach.  Steve can come home from a cake trip and be the biggest ass.  I try my hardest to set the mode straight in the house when he is due home, in an effort to keep things as happy as can be.  But I surely do wait to see what walks through the door, and react accordingly. And at this point in the game, I am able to judge in a couple minutes, sometimes even a couple seconds....and at this point in the game I know how to respond so that everyone is happy.

Filling out kid's school paperwork: his work address? Wish I could write in "somewhere in the sky"
Gotta love this one.  I work, and when I fill in my work address, it is easy.  But for Steve? Not so much.  I mean I could fill in the corporate headquarters.  Or, I could fill in his hub.  Or, I could just give a general city...which is what I usually do.  When people see his "employer" as an airline, and his "occupation" as "pilot" I think people get it.

You know you are a when you get to an intersection, look, and then tell your husband "clear right"
I don't know if Steve shared the "clear right" info because he wants my assistance, or if he is just sharing in general.  But either way, I totally do the "clear right" when it calls for it.  And then I pretend that I am his FO on a wide-body about ready to fly off to an exotic location.  Just kidding...

Just now in the car: 
Son: Mommy, when is Daddy going to be home? 
Pilot: I am home now.

All four of us were in the car driving home.  Steve was driving, and I was in the passenger seat.  The car was quiet and Ben then asked "Mommy, when is Daddy going to be home?"  I looked at Steve and he said "Ben, I am home."  Talk about being in such a habit!  Ben is used to Daddy being gone, so perhaps he forgot that Steve was home for that split second.

you know you are away from your too long when you actually do a double take at a a shirtless Justin Beiber picture
This happened at work, and was borderline inappropriate lunchtime I expressed my desire for Steve to be home.  But, really, what gal who is missing her husband wouldn't look at a shirtless muscular guy with those same thoughts.

me: I broke the bike brake, you have to fix it 
him: Why did you touch it? 
 me: because you weren't f**king home!
I broke Ben's bike brake, in an attempt to fix it.  Shit happens.  These are the things that are meant for a Daddy to do, not a Mommy.  At least this Mommy.  And these are the times when a pilot wife may get a little steamed when trying her best, but to only fail.

Tornado warnings. Pilot is gone...of course.
There are plenty of times when I am home alone with kids when situations happen.  We actually once had a tornado touch down about 5 miles from here.  Steve was gone, as the kids and I huddled in the basement.  Shit happens.  Us pilot wives sure do hold down the fort when we need to!

8 text messages, over 3 days, and all with no response. He has gone radio silent on me. Hello? Is this thing on?
Truth.  I actually did the count on this because I wanted to make sure I was correct.  I had reached out to him all this much, all with no response.  Sucks, but I have learned to deal with it, and not think much of it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What a pilot really wants for Christmas

There was an article I recently read about what a pilot wants for Christmas.  After the first couple suggestions, I lost interest...quickly.  The items were electronics or watches or GPS this or that...and all over three figures, and some at four figures.  I know that Steve wouldn't really have any interest in them.  I think he is around aviation and instruments enough, since it obviously comes with his job, that he doesn't take any further interest at home.

Do you want to know what a pilot really wants for Christmas? 

I will tell you...a pilot really wants to be HOME for Christmas!  And you know what every pilot wife wants?  For your husband to be home!

This year, Steve gets to be home!  At the expensive of working every weekend and missing the children's Polish Christmas Pageant, again.  Both he and I are thrilled he will be home. 

You see, our son is six and our daughter is four. 

The magic of Christmas is in full force right now, and as a parent it is amazing to see such wonder and amazement in your children's eyes and minds.  This window of real Christmas magic is so small, that we are thankful that Steve is home to see the magic at its fullest. 

Steve is senior enough that he is starting to get schedules that he is asking for, to a certain degree.  But as for Christmas's of the past, boy have we had some doozies!   

I think the best was last year...the year that I cried at church because I wished so very much that Steve was home.  It was the Christmas where we saw Steve so little that the kids actually napped with Steve, while he slept to prep for an evening flight, just to be close to him.  Yeah, that was the BEST Christmas ever!  (Full blog is here: The Whole Pilot Fatigue Stuff)  Here is an excerpt:

Let's map out Steve schedule over Christmas, which was a 3-day (which ended the morning of the 26th), piggybacked with another 3-day (that began on the evening of the 26th).  Keep in mind that Steve had a red-eye on the 5th and again on the 21st.  So, this month is just chock-full of these lovely fighting-body-clock legs. 
I won't bitch much about Steve's lack of being home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I have said it before, and I will say it again, it is part of the game right now.  We are making the most of it.  Yes, I did cry at mass because I missed Steve.  Yes, I wished that Steve was on our walks around the block to look at Christmas lights - the kids in the garden cart while my parent's German Shepherd "pulled" the "sled" like Rudolph.

Yes, I wish that Steve was around with my Father and Brother-in-law in the basement drinking and talking about the recent axe purchase my Dad snagged at a local flee market.  But, that is not the point of this post... 
Ok, so on the 24th, Steve's "go" time was 7:30a, which meant  his "show" was 6:30a, which meant he left the house at 5:30a, which meant he got up at 4:30a.  Read: really fucking early and thus the start of having an off body clock.  I couldn't even tell you what his trip looked like.  I was with my family for Christmas, so I basically just waited for him to call us since I didn't know when he was a-comin' or a-goin'.  The worst thing I can do is call him when he is sleeping. 
Steve got home the morning of the 26th...and Steve flew out again that night on a 9:15p flight to LAS. Yes, that right.  A short 15 hours since he arrived at his domicile, he was out again.  Sucks, doesn't it.  You betcha'!
Enter how fucked up flight time affects a pilot, which in turn affects his wife and his kids.
Just to note: Steve actually had to wash his uniform at 7am, when he got home on the 26th.  Since he was leaving that night for another 3-day, he actually had to do laundry!  Not to mention, he actually drank a beer at 8am while he was waiting for his shirts to finish up in the wash. Don't worry, he met the 12 hours bottle-to-throttle. He basically said "fuck it, it is the holidays and this is going to be the best I can do today."
On the morning of the 26th, while Steve was drinking a beer and washing clothes and then resting, the kids and I made our way back to our home.  We planned our arrival so that Steve could have plenty of rest in the morning.  We left my parents around 10a, or so, with an ETA of 1p.  We did stop at Taco Bell for lunch, the kids bean burrito meal is actually a pretty decent option for fast food, and a potty break at a rest stop.  Of course with Taco Bell, you know a potty break is to follow.  We made it home around 1:30p, or so.
We got home, pulled into the driveway and made our way into the house.  Daddy greeted us with hugs and kisses and then we saw all of Santa's gifts around the tree.  The kids opened the gifts, and Steve was a part of it.  I am so glad that the kids and Steve were together, but I was quiet pretty much all afternoon.  I was exhausted.  CC was coughing throughout the night for the entirety of our trip, so that meant restless sleeping.  Plus, being away from home is just exhausting.  Not to mention, Steve was leaving in a few short hours for another 3-day.  Steve was laying it on thick with lots and lovin' and hugs and kisses.  As much as I appreciated it, I knew he was leaving again and I was almost numb to it.  Why bother getting attached, when he was leaving so soon?
Around 4:30p Steve went upstairs to take a nap.  Yet another 2 hours taken out of the short 6 hours we saw him that day.  Ben and CC actually followed him upstairs to be with him.  Steve was napping and the kids were watching tv in bed.  It was sweet and pathetic at the time sweet that the kids love their Daddy that much that they wanted to be close to him, and pathetic that the kids were spending so little time with Daddy that they needed to be next to him while he slept
Steve left that night, the evening of the 26th, around 7:15p.  The kids sat on the front step and yelled "BYE DADDY" while blowing kisses.  I did call Steve later and tell him that I was sorry for being short and cold.  He understood. 


This Christmas won't be like last year...thank goodness.  A pilot wife and mother can only handle so many of those in her life.  Christmas is a time to be around the ones your love, especially your lover, not to be apart.  But, it is what it is, and there is no sense in dwelling on the sad.  We are thankful that Steve is flying, because the alternative is most definitely not desirable. 

If your pilot isn't home this Christmas, it may happen next year, so have hope!  The silver lining of his absence at Christmas is that when he IS home, it makes his presence that much more special.  When he is home, you don't take his presence for savor it!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Six Typical Pilot Stereotypes

I feel like pilot stereotypes have been all around me lately, hence the motivation for this post. 

I have been dating my pilot husband since 1999, and married to him since 2003.  By this point in the game, I think I have every right to sound off on what I have been hearing lately.

Let's dig right into the typical stereotypes we all hear...

#1. Pilots have a huge ego
Let me set two things straight:
Ego = self assurance
Egotistical = self centered and self absorbed

Steve has incredible self-assurance and self-esteem.  By definition I suppose that means he has an ego.  I have always thought this, even from day one when we met.  It is one of the things I love most about him.  The man is confident in himself.   He doesn't take shit from anyone and doesn't give a shit what others think of him.  He is who he is, love it or not.  He is that sure of himself and who he is.     

Folks, this IS what you want from your pilot...the man that is flying your ass 37K above the ground.  You want him to be confident in himself and his skills.

Now for the egotistical guy, which, by the way, you can find in any occupation, is an ass who is so full of himself that his head takes up all the space in the room.  His air makes you choke, practically.  Steve doesn't have an ounce of this in him.   

Steve is not self absorbed at all.  He is not narcissistic, nor is he selfish.  I don't believe the man ever has been.  In fact, I have the strong sense that most pilots aren't this way.  I know a fair number of pilots, and most fall along the same lines as Steve.  The guys I know are good guys, family guys, down to earth, and aren't egotistical at all.  Of course, there are exception to this, and those exceptions, I am sure, give the whole bunch a bad rap. 

#2 Pilots are cheaters
For the record, Steve has never cheated on me.  And, I am sure of this. 

For the record, there is only one pilot that I know of, personally, who has had an affair....and, I know a lot of pilots. 

For the record, I actually know of MORE pilot wives that have cheated on their husbands.  A pilot wife knows the coming and goings of our husbands, making it very easy to cheat.  I have said, on numerous occasions, that it would be very easy for me to cheat on Steve.  Not that I ever would...for the record, I have never cheated on Steve.

I have said it many times, cheating can happen no matter what you do for a living. Perhaps the pilot gets pinned to this stereotype because of their constant distance from home and their constant stays in hotel rooms. 

If you are lookin' for some on the side, anyone can fall into this category. 

#3 Pilots have a woman in every city
Well, if this were the case, then my husband must be getting laid a lot.  Good for him.

Now, I am sure this is true in rare occasions, but I am quite positive that the vast majority of pilots do not fall into this stereotype.

If he is flying regional, he is working 5 legs a day and is probably so exhausted at the end of that day that he can't even make a decision about what to eat for dinner, let alone have the energy to put out for a gal. 

And if he is mainline, that means he is older and getting it a couple times a week at home is plenty.  No need to get it even more while on the road.  Plus, with age sex doesn't come as easily as it did when we were younger.  Gone are the days of doin' it a couple times a night, just because you looked at the other person the right way.  Now are the days where the mood has to be *just* right before anything can happen.  Yes, us women are complicated creatures.  That complexity isn't always easy to handle...making it twice as complex for the man with a woman on the road, and one at home.  Who wants that?

#4 Bad dresser
I feel the need to break this down into two sections: dressing on the road & dressing when home.

Is Steve a bad dresser on the road?  Perhaps.  Anytime I have joined Steve on an overnight I was sure to pack an outfit that was acceptable to me, so I haven't seen him on a "true" overnight.  In Steve's case, his roll-aboard is not only filled with layover clothes but also with workout clothes.  So, he will often do double duty with running shoes.  But let me just make the point that those running shoes are Brooks...
working out on the road = stinky shoes!
Thank goodness for bleach!

and those Brooks are a sweet $100 a pair.  Not that money equals style, but I am making the point that he surely would pack casual shoes if he had the room.  Don't forget to add his other running/workout gear like shorts, tops, light jacket, and possibly a water belt if he is training for a marathon.  These items can really add up quickly in a roll-aboard.  Let's not forget about a couple overnight shirts and jeans and an extra uniform....he only has so much space in that bag.

Now, let's talk about the effort it takes to look good in his (new) uniform. Which is how most people see pilots, anyway.  Sure, maybe he wears running shoes and casual tops to go out for dinner and drinks, but he makes the effort to look good while at work.  His trousers are tailored, as well as his a mere $200.  His fitted shirts fit him perfectly.  He is also sporting some new shoes, which are much more dressy than he has worn in the past.  And so that people get the full scope, shoes need to be waterproof so that walk-arounds outside don't soak his socks.  The shoes have to be very comfortable, since pilots do a ton of walking.  Not to mention, pilots use their feet to fly and those rudder pedals sure can beat a shoe up good.  Oh, and don't metal shanks, which make security a bit easier.  Your pickin's get slim when you have to account for all the above.
testing out his new work shoes

He has made the effort, and let me say that he looks quite handsome in his (new) uniform.  Believe me, I have seen my share of pilots that I sure don't want flying my plane...untucked shirt, dingy shirt, pants too long, pants too short, wrinkled shirt, ect.  In my head, an unkempt pilot is a pilot that doesn't have his shit together.  When you see Steve, you want him flying your plane. 

As for dressing at home, believe me I have had to work on him.  At first he was a piece of work.  I totally blame this on the fact that his uniform dictated what he wore, and otherwise he just didn't give it any thought.  Then 'yours truly' entered his life, and made sure he ass looked good.  I used to actually lay out clothes for him (for church or Holiday dinners, ect), but he's got it now.  He knows what looks good, and what looks good on him. 

#5 Cheap
My cheap husband drives a BMW.  Used.  My cheap husband lives in a home that was purchased at $80 sqft.  Foreclosure.  My cheap husband is very hesitant of me quitting my job, even if I go back to graduate school.  I bring in a steady paycheck.  My cheap husband had no hesitation when I told him my chiropractic treatments would cost $330 a month, for the next three months.  Anything to help my pain.  My cheap husband 'adopts a family' for Christmas, and gives Christmas presents to a family in need.  Teaching our children the importance of giving.  My cheap husband tips at least 20% at restaurants. Of course. My cheap husband maxed out his retirement this year.  Sweet.  My cheap husband just dropped $5K for a Disney cruise.  Importance of family togetherness and travel. 

My point in all these examples is that Steve spends his/our money on things that mean the most to him/us.  Could he drop $30 for dinner on an overnight?  Yes, he could, and he has.  But, he chooses not to make a habit of this, so that we can go on Disney cruises.  He is very careful and wise with our money. 

Yeah, I know there are some cheap pilots out there.  But, have a bit of mercy on them.  These guys can be furloughed in the drop of a hat, and then good luck on finding another flying job.  Or how about contract negotiations, and the fear of a strike!  These guys have a fear in the back of their mind that their paycheck could be gone tomorrow.  This, I believe, is a mentality that only people in aviation can understand.  These guys think differently about job security, and that translates into their behavior with money. 

#6 They talk constantly about flying
False!  This couldn't be further from the truth in our house.

Here is a typical conversation about Steve most recent trip...

Me: How was your trip?
Steve: Fine.

Me: How was your Captain?
Steve: Fine.

Me: Was your plane full?
Steve. Yeah.

Me: (thinking to myself) well, I won't be getting much out of him tonight...better stop while I am ahead.

And that is about it.  And I am being 100% accurate in this conversation.  Steve leaves work at work.  When he is home he likes being disconnected from work.  Steve really doesn't like talking shop with me.  I am his haven from work.

Now, there are four ways to get him to shop talk...

** when a very specific situation happens
     For example, my sister was flying into IAD for Thanksgiving and they had 2 go-arounds.  This spurred conversations about wind sheer.  But, when the conversation started he was sure to let out a number of heavy sighs because he knew what he was getting into (teaching me all about wind sheer and warnings).  To his surprise, 3 questions later (and very good ones, I might add) and I got what I needed and the conversation was done. 

** get some booze in him
     Steve will always talk more, both work and non-work topics, the more he drinks.  I have to admit, I really do like our summer nights on our back porch - candles lit, warm breezes, and fun crew/work stories that I haven't heard before. (Catching Up)

** when he is anxious about something
     Like the time we had to drive to his parents hometown when his dad had a stroke.  The drive started at midnight, with a 6 weeks old in the car, and HEAVY fog.  He talked shop the entire 2+ hour drive.

** lastly, get him around some other pilots and the pilot side surely comes out (Pilot Dork). 

And let me make the point, that he will actually avoids talking shop even when the topic nearly smacks him in the face.  I have a couple examples of this in my post Do You Know Who You Are Talking To?  He will even make a point to cover up his uniform to avoid any attention (like the time when he purposefully wore a jacket, zipped all the way to the top, while putting our son on the school bus). 

These are the top six stereotypes I hear time and time again with pilots.  And, Steve doesn't fall into any of these.  Now, isn't that ironic.  I would love to hear any more that are out there...and give my take on them...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our relationship works because he is gone

For as long as I have known Steve he has been a pilot.  For as long as Steve and I have been in a relationship we are apart on a weekly basis.  Most weeks he is gone 3-4 days.  He doesn't "sometimes travel for work" he "is always traveling for work."  Our relationship was built on distance and being part.  It is what both of us know.  It is what both of us signed up for.  Our relationship works because he is gone. I know this is a foreign concept for some couples, but it is the truth when it comes to me and my pilot.  It doesn't mean I love him any less...I am simply sharing our truth.  And, I could very easily argue with anyone that our distance actually makes us love one another more.

Having said all that, let me throw our three words for you: flown by operations (FBO).   Steve has been one lucky motherfucker this month and has not only been FBOed once, but twice!  This happened because Steve was paired with a CA that is a check airman. The trip was taken away from Steve, with pay, so that a new FO could fly with the check airman for training...or IOE (see another damn acronym (Initial Operating Experience))...or... I am not sure the other possibilities.  Once I hear "I am home, with pay" my mind stops retaining any further details. 

...and I am the lucky wife that gets to deal with his ass for those extra 8 days this month. 

I have to admit, our relationship struggles when he is home for extended periods of time like this.  I know Steve would agree to this.  Again, our relationship works because he is gone.  Our relationship has been built on distance.  We know nothing different, and this "being together all the time" thing is throwing us for a loop.

He has been home so much lately that we have been out of sync and our normal rhythm.  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE that he is home....but, there are times that I hate it. 

Let's talk about all the love I have for Steve when he is home like this:
I love that Steve takes the trash out, and brings the trash cans back in. 
I love that he does school drop off duty. 
I love that he locks up the house at night. 
I love that I can sleep next to a warm body (and believe me, there has been a lot of attacks from this 155 pound woman)
I love how he does bedtime duty for the kids. 
I love family dinners. 
I love his presence at school events...yes I am happily married and our son has a very involved father
I love his presence in the house...the house is filled with warmth when he is home (not the void that I have grown to know)
I love watching tv and looking over to see him sitting there. 
I love brushing my teeth at night in sync with him. 
I love that he turns my bed warmer on for me.

Now, let's talk about the things I hate:
I hate the sound of his jaw popping. 
I hate the way he gulps water. 
I hate that I turn into lazy when he is home, and become too reliant on him doing things. 
I hate that he makes a mess and I have to clean it up. 
I hate that I have to share the remote, and instead of watching all my lovely Bravo shows, I have to watch something he would like too. 
I hate that he has been home all day and it seems like all he did was play video games.

Now now, let me get to a point here before you all question why I am married to his man...the love parts are all true.  As for the hate things...I am exaggerating for shock factor.  And here is why...when we have space and distance between us I don't mind his chewing and gulps, I gladly clean up his mess, I love that he can relax and play video games all day long...all because I have missed him and am just glad that he is home.  But, when I get to see his gorgeous face day...after day...after day...I become somewhat disenchanted with his presence and the things I love about him turn into things that annoy me.


The other night at dinner, I was telling my aunt and uncle about how I was working on this blog post.  As the conversation continued, Steve said something that I think can put some perspective on on our relationship and the distance between us.

The conversation was actually about where we plan on moving in retirement...some sunshine/warm state...but, let's not forget about the fact that we have four seasons where we live now and how this is such a great thing!

Summer: hot and humid.  Suntans and boats.

Fall: crisp and cool with the most amazing leaf colors.  The first fire in the fireplace.

Winter: cold and snowy as you could imagine. Snow boots and salt on the roads...yuck!

Spring: warm and bright. Flowers blooming and bright warm sunshine

Now let's compare our weather to Southern California where it is 75 and sunny every single day, as I have been told.  Sounds dreamy, right?  But, if you experience 75 and sunny every single day, it is really that dreamy?  Or does it become the norm to where you don't realize how good you really have it?

When Winter breaks where we live and you get that first warm day where you don't have to wear a coat and the birds are singing again, you take it all in.  When Summer winds down and the leaves turn beautiful colors, you appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature and look forward to the coming Fall with the long nights and warm fires. 

I can liken this to Steve: when Steve is gone for 4-days, I truly appreciate him coming home and being home.  When he is coming home, I daydream about his presence.  When he is home, I take it all in. 

Since we have this variety on a weekly basis, we really are able to appreciate what we have in our relationship.  When he is home I don't take his presence for granted.  When he is home I love on him.  When he is home, the kids love on him.  We work this way.  And you know what...I like this way. 

How does the saying go? You don't know what you have until it is gone?  Well, this pilot wife is reminded of this on a weekly basis.  It is a good reminder for me not to take my marriage for granted, and to appreciate what I have...and this distance we have is why our relationship works the way it does. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How do you prevent aviation lifestyle burnout?

Calling all pilot wives!  I have an interactive post for you all.

This question was asked to me via email, and I wanted to ask all my readers: How do you prevent aviation lifestyle burnout?

** When you are living far from family, work full-time (or whatever your circumstance are), and your husband is gone half your are you manage it all?

** What are the things that make your life run smoothly, more than just getting a baby sitter?

** What are your organization tricks? 

** What is your strategy when your pilot misses important days?

** What are your tricks for the flexibility needed in our lifestyle?

I look forward to reading your responses!

(because this blog is rather basic, simply answer this question by posting a comment)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Let him in

When Steve got his September schedule I knew he would be gone on my birthday.  The big 3-5. No big deal.  Not the first time he has missed a birthday, and it won't be the last.  We would celebrate when he got home.

On my actual birthday Steve sent me flowers from he and the kids. 

I took the kids to dinner since, of course, a Mother should not have to cook on her birthday.  And Steve wished me birthday wishes multiple times throughout the day over the phone.  All-in-all a fine day. 

When he got home the next day, we went to dinner as a family and had birthday cake when we got home.  As the evening started to wind down, I started to think...a birthday gift wasn't coming my way.

When the kids were down for the night, Steve made his way into the family room and sat down.  I looked his way and said "am I correct in that you didn't get me a gift?" I was trying hard as hell to hold in the tears at that point. 

He gave me the most desperate look, and responded with a "no, I didn't."

I immediately went upstairs to our bedroom, shut the door and cried my eyes out.  It was that really ugly cry, too.  Red face...tears everywhere...can't catch your breath...

Steve came up twice trying to talk to me.  I would have none of it.  I basically shut the door in his face and demanded I not speak to him.  I was crushed...just crushed.

I feel asleep at some point, and woke up the next morning with Steve on the far side of our king sized bed.  I got ready for work, walked downstairs and found that Steve has emailed me around 10:30p the night before.  We often communicate via email or text when we are in the middle of something - we find this way really works for us to work things out. 

Here is a part of his email to me:
what I can tell you is that I think after fucking this up again, I might be getting a little clarity on what your birthday means to you ..... I know you ,and I know that you are not a materialistic person, so this is obviously not about a gift per se....but I think what you are looking for is some validation for all that you do.....lets face it, you keep the ship running.....the laundry is done, the house is clean, the kids are happy and I am happy.....but you don't really ever get a big THANK YOU for all that you do to keep the ship together...and for you, one place you expect to be shown the appreciation you deserve is on your birthday.....your are working overtime to make things work, but yet I have not expressed my gratitude to you for this....I have not shown you just how much I appreciate what you do on a daily basis for our family.....for that I am sorry, because you DO deserve to be pampered....and you deserve to be pampered on more days than just your birthday.....lately it's been all take and no give....I am sorry that this has happened.....

I was glad to see the email.  I was glad to see that he may be finally starting to understand this whole birthday thing.  In the past Steve has been known to fuck up my birthday...anything from not even acknowledging it until I actually said something, to being away on a guys it was great to hear that he came to this enlightenment. 

During the next couple days, I was trying my hardest not to be mad. I knew his actions weren't meant to hurt me, so mad wasn't really an emotion in the equation.  But, I was just so crushed that I was down...really down. 

Here is another part of his email to me:
I hate myself for hurting you and letting you down again....really, you make me so very happy and I never express that to you.....I want to make you happy and I want you to feel appreciated.....You are a wonderful wife and an even better mother....the kids and I are so blessed to have you in our give and are so selfless when it comes to always put us before you.....I want to ease your load and make you happy....if you will let me, I would like to start to relieve some of your load.....I can cook dinner when I am home....I can take the kids to Polish class, Gymnastics, etc., I can take CC to school and pick her up, I can give the kids baths and put them down....I can do anything else you want me to .....I just want you to be happy.....

The reason I am bringing this situation up to all my fellow pilot wives and pilot readers, is for three reasons:

#1. Show appreciation to the person that keep the house running when the pilot is away.  Our job is not easy, and it can surely wears on us.  We need to hear and be shown that appreciation and validation for all that we do.  And if you don't, you get one pissed off pilot wife!  Tell her she is awesome.  Show your appreciation for her.  Give her a break every now and again.  I know you pilots may not be the best at expressing what you feel.  I still blame that on the demand to respond to ATC.  But, do it.

#2.  To all the pilots out there - give a little more. 
Before this "birthday thing" Steve would have said to me on the afternoon post-redeye "Joanna, I am just so exhausted, can you get Cici from school?" 

And I would do it...even though I have been doing drop-off and pick-up for daycare for what seems like for the last 6 years of my life.  I knew he was tired so I wanted to make him happy.  And I didn't want to poke the beast that he can be post red-eye.  But now, post "birthday thing"?  Steve will go get Cici without hesitation.  He knows it is his turn, and doesn't add me to the equation.

In the mix of all of our texts and emails, there was one text that stood out:
I just want you to know that the last week you said some pretty hurtful things to me and I have let it slide, but it was hurtful enough that I feel I should say something...I am asking you to STOP telling me that I am interrupting your hurts bad...basically you are telling me that I am in the way and I should butt out of your lives...that I am not needed because I get in the way.
This text message goes deep, in that Steve was gone a lot during the months of late August/early September to care for his Mother. (Duty)  When our schedule got back to our normal, it took a good number of weeks to recover.  Steve and I were at each other...a lot.  To the point where our family was even taking note of it.  One night in particular Steve was putting the kids down, and since it was so late he told the kids he wasn't going to read them a bedtime story.  Cici did not take this well, and cried and cried.  I butted in, told him that it is our routine to read a book, and that of course she was going to cry when her routine was interrupted. 

Bad Joanna, I know.  But, I have made a point to keep the routine of our kids the same with AND without Steve around.  I have done this because I feel it is important for the kids to not feel the affects of Steve absence, and so far it has worked for us.  I feel that when Steve is home he needs to meld into our routine, and that is usually the case.  But, since he was gone for such a long time, I believe he got out of step with our routine. 

 #3.  To all the pilot wives out there - let him in

I realized post "birthday thing" that I needed to let him in.  Let him into your life at home.  Instead of criticizing him for not knowing "our routine" gently guide him to get into the routine...don't demand it and shame him for not knowing it.  Work together.  Be that united front with the kids, not on opposing teams. 

Looking back, I realized how controlling I was over the kids and the house.  Part of it is my personality, and part of it is out of necessity because I have to run things when Steve is away.  But it took this "birthday thing" for me to realize that it may have been a bit too much.  Instead of trying to run every aspect of our lives, I have learned to let him in and let him take care of things. 

After knowing Steve since 1999 / after being married for 10 years / and after 6 years of being parents I/we are still learning and growing.  I do believe that everything happens for a reason.  The "birthday thing" told me to set back and stop trying to control let Steve into our lives.  Hopefully this birthday thing has taught Steve to never fuck up by birthday! And I know that it taught him to show his appreciation to me, and to help out a bit more.