Friday, October 13, 2017

Word of the week: hotel

I'm not saying that I'm the most patient person in the world. I certainly lose my shit from time to time. I like to think, for the most part, that the kids see me as a patient mother.

The kids and I got home from Polish class last Friday around 9:30. My in-laws were visiting, and Daddy was home from his trip, so when we walked through the mudroom the kids got a new burst of energy. They got hyped-up pretty good, and stayed that way for 10+ minutes.

Bare in mind that Steve got home for a 4-day. I like a break when he gets home. It has been me and the kids for the last 4 straight days...I wanted to come in, put my bag down, and let Daddy take over.

Ah, but Daddy was cranky. He had two legs that day, his pairing was full of early mornings, and by Friday night he was tired. When it was time to get the kids calmed down and get upstairs to get ready for bed I wanted to be hands-off. Mama wanted a break. But, Daddy wasn't being the most patient and his voice/demeanor was elevated. You haven't been with the kids for 4 days? How can your patience be thin already? I guess I wasn't going to get a break that night after all...

And this is where it's tough to balance things as a pilot wife. Steve was obviously tired, and since he wasn't home for the last 4 days he was out of our game. The combination could have gone down-hill fast, so I stepped in since I recognized how it could've gone. Perhaps this exact situation is why I have formed into a controlling person.


***

I talked about Steve growing out his mustache, right? Well, it was all for our annual Halloween party which we hosted this past weekend. This year's theme was "favorite sitcom character." Steve went as Lt. Dangle, from Reno 911. I went as Peg Bundy.


Steve was fucking hilarious. He was totally playing the part, and it was awesome. 

The reason I bring all this up in my pilot wife blog is because I dig his aviators, yet he never wears them. He only got them for the costume. 

Unlike some other pilots, Steve doesn't wear his job on his sleeve. He isn't quick to tell people that he is a pilot. In fact, when people ask what he does for a living his typical response is "I work for xxx airlines." And then the person may or may not respond with, "are you a pilot?" That's typically how his discloses his occupation.

He believes there is no need to wear aviators, well, because he is one.

Too bad, because I think he looks hot in them. The aviators, that is...not the mustache. Glad that thing is gone now!


*** 

Steve had a long overnight in a town about 1 1/2 hours away, which is where his side of the family is, give or take. When we saw his schedule for October, with this long overnight, we thought it would be a nice opportunity to meet a new member of the family and celebrate a birthday. And so, after work on Wednesday the kids and I loaded into the car, and trucked down the highway to meet family for dinner. 

During dinner, as the waitress was right behind us, I asked Steve "so, what hotel are you staying in." It occurred to me, immediately after I said it, how bizarre that question must have been for the waitress to overhear. I mean, we are both wearing wedding bands, kids present, extended family present. Typically, families would come for dinner, and then drive back to their respective homes. But, I was saying that Steve was going back to a hotel. I wonder what she thought.




***

Not pilot wife related, but a fun fact for the week: redheads produce their own vitamin D. Something about a gene mutation, or would it be adaptation, stemming from people who lived very far north...where there isn't much sunlight. And, right, vitamin D comes from sunlight. It's amazing how the human body can adapt.  

I mentioned before that I'm having this weird head-spacey thing going on. Second doctor in my books...next onto a cardiologist. My blood work came back normal, aside from the fact that I'm low in Vitamin D. My DO told me the Vitamin D fact...I found that very interesting. And now all you know, too. 

Actually, let's twist this a bit into a pilot wife thing...try scheduling a freakin' MD appointment when you are a working mother whose is married to a travelling man. I had to reschedule a dentist appointment this week...they can't see me until January 30th. I had to find that exact sweet-stop-time when I know I won't piss off my work, and I won't have to find help to watch the kids. Just part of the gig.

***

Think of Steve is weekend. He is running 13.1, which he has been training for all summer. He is super skinny now, which is typical when he trains...if he kept on this track he would weigh less than me! He has been running 7:something splits on some runs, so I think he really wants to PR. I'm sure I'll update via instagram/twitter.

Steve's first marathon. Thank the good Lord he doesn't run full marathons anymore...
that training is just brutal, for the pilot wife, that is.
Of course I have blogged about this topic before: The Marathon Running Pilot 


***

I can't help but comment on this whole Harvey Weinstein thing. Now, this is super far away from the pilot wife stuff, I feel like I need to write about this for a number of reasons. I have been the recipient of inappropriate behavior from a man, to put it mildly. I have a close friend that was raped. This is not okay. Period. The events, which may form into a faded memory for men, can play over-and-over again in the mind of the victims.

Steve was in new hiring training when I asked him to my homecoming dance my senior year in college. This was basically when we started dating (again), and we haven't stopped since. His entire class worked through lunch, so that Steve would catch the flight back home to be my date. I picked him up at the airport around 7pm, on a cool October Friday night. Me, in my red Ann Taylor silk sheath dress. Him, in a navy blue pinstripe suit. This was before 9-11, and I greeted him at the gate.

We danced the night away, and in the process I got drunk as a skunk. Like, super-duper drunk. And Steve, the responsible man he is, drove us home that night, totally sober. He wrestled my 15-year-old 1985 Chevy Celebrity station wagon, with it's busted choke, like a champ. Of course, because if he can freakin' fly an airplane, he can figure out a Chevy.

And you know what happened that night, sexually? NOTHING. I was drunk. He knew better than to take advantage of me. This, folks, is a good man. This, folks, is the man I married. This, folks, is what I/we are raising our son to be. This, folks, this what I/we are raising our daughter to recognize as necessity. And you know what? This isn't hard. It all falls under respect. Have fucking respect for people. Period. And if you have demons in your head that you want to blame any inappropriate actions on, fuck that. Deal with the demons yourself - you don't need to bring others down with you.

I praise all the women who are coming forward. It takes courage.

That's all I'll say about that...

***

Have good weekends, y'all!


Friday, October 6, 2017

Words of the Week: run for it

It's 9:23pm, here on a Wednesday night, and this is the first that I have written in this week's blog. I'm sitting in my bed, with Real Housewives of NJ in the background. I figured if I busted out my chromebook, then I would at least start writing. Sort of like when you don't want to workout, start by putting on your workout clothes. If you are dressed the part, there is a strong chance you will continue and get that workout in.

The real reason that I haven't written much this week is because it's been a shitty week: the tragedy in Las Vegas, my back (degenerated disc) has been flared up, I'm also having some weird head-spacey stuff going on, Steve and I are at odds with one another, I've got some personal drama going on (which is very rare for me...and drama is exhausting), and my love tank is low. Oh, and work has been nuts. I've just not been in the mood to write. Aside from all that I just wrote, it appears I have my shit together. The kids are great, and our evenings aren't racing around but rather slow and easy. It's nice when I don't feel overwhelmed. We are hosting a party this weekend, so the calm nights have allowed me to prepare for that.

Another reason I haven't written much is because there isn't much pilot wife stuff going on this week. Well, I guess the low love tank is pilot wife related. What happens when your period is followed by a daddy/son camp out, which is then followed by a 4-day trip? You guessed it...little physical touch and not much filling of the love tank. There are times, here and there, where our routines are mixed up and this is the prime time for love tanks to go dry. It sucks. But, when he is gone as much as he is, it's inevitable. At least I recognize a low tank, and am comfortable with vocalizing it. And thankfully Steve knows how to respond.

***

Steve overnighted in Seattle on Thursday. He called me while he was waiting for his dinner. He rarely does this. Sometimes I'll talk to him while he is walking to a restaurant, or walking home from one, but rarely while he is waiting for food. It's interesting how these guys form habits, and how us pilot wives are very aware of these habits...and very aware when these habits change. I'm not getting at anything, so don't let your mind go there. I'm sure that Steve was just checking on me due to my shitty week. Or, maybe the internet wasn't entertaining him enough. But, it's funny how I noticed this small change in behavior.

***

As I was editing this post on Thursday evening, the kids were in the shower and getting themselves ready for bed. All the sudden, the smoke alarms start to go off. To note, we have about eight in our house and they all "talk" to one another. If one goes off, then they all do, and it gets loud.

They were chiming for not more than 3 seconds and Ben bolted out the front door. I witnessed the whole thing from our office, which is off the foyer. He was out the front door, and he was coming from upstairs!, in the same time it took for me to barely get out of my chair. Perhaps I should start calling him "Flash."

Cici was quick to follow. She was actually in a shower when the alarms started, and was able to make it downstairs just seconds after Ben. She stalled in the foyer recognizing it was inappropriate to go outside naked. I ran upstairs and got her a towel. By the time I gave Cici a towel the alarms stopped.

The kids wanted to stand on the front sidewalk while I investigated the house and the cause of the alarms. Enter pilot-wife, the keeper of the house when the pilot is gone. Mama's gotta figure shit out. I walked around the house, including the basement, and didn't see any signs of smoke or fire. I, then, reset the alarms. Done.

I praised the kids for their quick response. And I mean quick! Ben was freaked out, and needed a couple hugs to calm him. I also gave him, and Cici, a dose of my anti-anxiety essential oils. That helped, even if it was a placebo effect.

And what does a good mom do when her kids are anxious...take a picture! Poor kiddos. Nothing like getting your adrenaline going before bed.


Wishing you all a good weekend. Our Halloween party is this weekend, so look for some pictures. Steve is going to be fucking hilarious...mustache (eww!) and all.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Word of the Week: Birthday

This past weekend was hot, like 90 degrees hot. Normally it is in the 60-70s around this time of the year, so we made sure to take advantage of the weather. We headed up to the lake, of course. My in-laws have a boat that we us. We invited friends to come up, and by 4:00 we were out on the water. After a stop to fuel up, we headed out onto the lake. Destination: the boaters beach where we anchor out, swim to shore, and spend time enjoying the sand and drinks.

As typical, after about 5 minutes on the lake Steve started to slow up. This is my sign to head to the front of the boat, pull out about 20 feet of anchor line, and get set for Steve to yell to put the anchor in. But, I didn't hear him say that. Rather, he said "the engine just cut out on me." Fan-fucking-tastic.

To note, it was the starboard engine that quit. The port engine was still doing fine. Thank the good Lord for two engines.

Had it just been the four of us, we would have gone back to the dock. But, since we had friends up we kept to our plans. Steve did a bit of troubleshooting, but with no good outcome. He positioned himself, skillfully with just one engine, and we set the anchor. We stayed at the beach for about 2 hours, just chatting and drinking, while the kids played.

I add the drinking part because that keeps me cool. For the record, Steve wasn't drinking. He doesn't when he is driving the boat...safety first. I am not so cool under pressure. Steve is. I can also get anxious about things, and an engine out is something that can certainly raise my anxiety level. This, folks, is where it is nice to be married to a pilot - he's cool under pressure.

The port engine went out last summer (impeller), and Steve kept his cool then, too.


As the sun started to set we decided to head back to the marina. We loaded back into the boat, the port engine started (yeah!) and the starboard engine still did not. Steve got us back into the channel, slowly but steady. She was working hard to get through the water, and I was certain to throw up a couple prayers. We have been stuck out on the lake before (on my Father-in-Law's old boat, which just had one engine...again, the impeller), and I cared not to be stuck out on the lake again.

As we were approaching the marina, our guest asked to help out. He hasn't assisted with docking a boat before, so not only did I have to get detail about docking in general, but I had to add to the situation. Steve is skilled at driving the boat, but he was crippled.

If interested, the reason the boat was crippled, even with one engine, is due to steering. When you are going a decent speed, you can use the steering wheel (is that even what it's called) to steer. But, when you are going slow speeds, you have to use the engines to steer. Since there are two engines on the boat, Steve will work both engines together to get the desired direction. When one engine is out...well, think about paddling a row boat with only one oar.

We were about 3 docks away, coming in slow and steady. No winds. No dock partner. All good. A fellow marina friend yells out "coming in VFR?" Steve responses with the fact that we were down an engine. Marina friend starts walking quickly to the dock, ready to help out.

Steve slowly turned towards the dock. No winds - good. We threw out some lines, and before long we were all tied up. When Cici got off the boat, she yelled out "land, sweet land" and kissed the ground. It wasn't that dramatic, but it was nice to be back at the dock. I share the story because Steve did a great job, and I'm certain it is because of his conditioning for his job. He said his blood pressure wasn't even raised during the whole situation. This made me happy - I like that he is able to keep incredibly cool and calm and in control. What to know what else made me happy? The multiple beers I was drinking to keep my ass calm.

Here we are coming back in. You can see, by lack of water movement on the side,
just how slowly we were going.
***

I turned 39 this week.

Steve was home for my birthday this year. It's always nice when he's home for birthdays. The day had to be typical: work/school, after school activities, and PSR. We then all met at a new BBQ joint for dinner. The evening ended with a proper sweet treat.


There are two things I really don't like about this pilot wife gig: taking the trash out, and locking up the house at night. In my head these are traditional male roles in a house. But, I'm the one stuck doing it when Steve is gone.

Knowing the above, Steve gifted me google home. Now, at night all I have to do is "hey google, turn off the lights." And she listens. Off go the lights. Steve put real thought into this gift, and that makes me happy.

I have to share a google home moment...the kids were getting ready for bed and I made my way downstairs into the kitchen (where she lives) to clean up. I said "hey google, it's my birthday, play me some music."

And wouldn't you know it, Here Comes the Sun, by The Beatles, starts to play. I instantly start to tear up.

You see, this song plays a very important part in my book. There is a death in my book, and this song is what one person plays to another from beyond the grave. As I was trying to maintain my composure, which wasn't very pretty, Steve looked at me curiously.  "This is the song that Victoria plays for Dean all the time." He heard what I said, but he didn't get why I was emotional. You see, these characters are a part of me. I've created them. Their pain is my pain. Their joy is my joy. And that song was a sign...a sign to keep writing.

And that motivation was on the perfect day. It is my goal to have my book finished, including editing, by my 40th birthday. One year - tick tock. Just keep writing...



****

This week was also the week of MD appointments. I was in search of a new PCP, and I think I found her. She is actually the mother of a good friend, but beyond that I really clicked with her. I met her the other afternoon, and she is awesome! As we were getting to know one another she asked how long I have been married. She responded very favorably when I told her 14 years.

I joked that since Steve is an airline pilot it's really like we've only been married for 7 years. She related that to a woman she knows whose husband is a truck driver. The woman presented her marriage to be perfect.
- they enjoy their time together when he is home...check.
- they have a good love life...check
- and when they start to get sick of one another, he is off again...check
- and when he is gone, she gets to do whatever she wants...check
- and just when they start to miss one another, he is back home for the cycle to start again...check

This cycle really can keep things fresh and fun. Generally speaking, you really do miss your husband when he is gone, and you really do enjoy when he is home. Sounds like a great marriage when you lay it out like that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Alone

When I am working on a blog post I constantly have an internal dialogue about the post. I will write in my head while I'm driving, or in the shower, or while taking the dog for a walk. The dialogue will include the blog title, sentences to add, topics to add, ect.

While working on this blog post I had a couple titles swimming around. They included:
Asshole
3-day from hell
I suck at this parenting thing
Alone

I stuck with the Alone title, since I think it really does encompass this past 3-day from hell. I've been doing this mom thing for 10 years now. I've been doing my pilot for 19 years. You would think that I would finally have this gig down. Nope. Not yet.

Let the story begin...

My weeks are routine. Keeping with this routine keeps me sane. Admittedly, there are times when our routine gets tweaked, and sometimes I don't respond well to it. Take Wednesday of this week...it is a busy day at work for me. I post a lot of money, and it takes 3-4 hours to get it all done. That morning my head is down and focused. I'm close to exhausted when I am all said and done. Ah, but the story is just beginning...

If you recall (No Distractions) Cici has been having retinal, or ocular, migraines. She has seen a neurologist, an eye specialist, has had a CT scan, and on Wednesday we were back to the neurologist for a follow-up. Everything is coming out normal, for which we are thankful. Next step is an echo-cardiogram to see if there is any clotting issues...

Anyhoo, so after getting a shit-ton done at work, I had to leave about 30 minutes early to get Cici picked up from school. Then we drove about 40 minutes to the MD. Oh, I should clarify that Steve was working. For future reference, when it comes to stories like this just assume that Steve is gone and it is me doing the solo-parent thing...

The appointment went well, and we were there for only 20 minutes. When we got into the car after the appointment I called Steve to share details. No answer. I figured he was working-out. 

Because of the MD appointment and my desire to not pull Ben out of school early and drag him along, I arranged for him to go home with a friend after school. After the appointment, and a quick stop at White House Black Market (since Ben and his friend were having a good time and wanted to play longer), we picked Ben up.

On the way home, Ben mentioned that he was trading a classmate a classmate 35 tootsie-pops for 200 pokeman cards. So, on the way home we made a detour to the grocery store. We also picked up dinner: sushi for me and Cici, and a baked potato for Ben. Steve called back while I was wrist deep in sushi containers, and while Ben was asking about how many bags of tootsie-pops he should get. Cici was probably whining about something or another. I simply couldn't take his call at that exact moment. But, I called him back on the way home. No answer.

We finally got home around 6:15p. I was tired. I was hungry. I was overstimulate.  I wanted to crawl under a blanket with my sushi and tune out the whole world. But, mom-duty calls. Within 10 minutes we were about to sit down for dinner. I needed a minute to sit down and breathe....

...and then Steve called.

I, reluctantly, picked up the call.

"Hi."
"Hey, what's going on."
"Just about to sit down to dinner."
"Ok, but real quick can you tell me how the appointment went?"
"I called you twice. Why didn't you answer?"
"The first time I was talking to John about the boat. The second time I was eating dinner."
"Then, let me eat dinner. And I will call you back when I am done."

And that was that. Typically I don't get all bitchy at Steve. Typically when he calls I stop what I am doing and take his call. I don't track his schedule, typically. So, when he calls I don't know if he has only 2 minutes to talk or if he is in for the day. But, that night I simply didn't have it in me to talk to him. Hangry totally took over, and because he called the exact second I was walking to the dinner table, and because he admitted that he didn't take my call because he was eating dinner himself (probably with his CA, so I respect that), I owed it to myself to take time for myself.

And that's just the start of the awesome night...

After dinner, I called Steve back. We talked for about 5 minutes or so.

And then Cici had to finish up her homework. She had 4 pages of math work. She completed 2 pages while in the car, but told me she wanted to wait to do the other 2 pages "later." Later had arrived (it's probably 6:45p at this time), and she had to do it.

As she was sitting at the computer, her girlfriend came to the door. She invited Cici to go to the park. "Sorry, but she had to get her homework done."

This made Cici cry for the next 15 minutes. She was upset that she couldn't go, obviously. I had to listen to her crying for 15 minutes. Most of the time it was probably a fake cry - she is into that lately. Cici was also struggling with a math question, and I was doing my best to help her, but she simply wasn't hearing it. She was tapped out, mentally, and the only place we were headed was frustration-town.

It was right around this time when I sent texts to Steve to blow off some steam. I was tired. I was at my threshold of the fake crying. The kids still don't understand that I can't listen to both of them when they are talking at the EXACT SAME TIME! The kitchen was a mess. The dog needed walked. And, it was 1/2 hour away from showers. We were running out of time.

It was one of those nights as a pilot wife where you feel like a failure. It was only day 1 of a fucking 3-day, and I was sucking already.

So, I took to twitter:

Steve responded to my text with "have a beer." And that was all I heard from him. More support would have been nice. A text or call later in the night to check up on me would have been nice. But, I got nothing. This, folks, is what it can be like to be married to a pilot. He's an awesome guy - a great husband and father - but, sometimes you are just so alone when it comes to parenting the kids.

Ben is my balance. As the night progressed he knew he needed to help me out, instead of adding fuel to the fire. He helped me clean up and even helping Cici with her homework. We ended up walking Niko around 7:30. The kids got showers and watched a show as normal and were in bed at their normal time. We all woke up Thursday morning renewed. It was a new day, and I was in a good mood to start the day.

As I was taking a shower, I hear a noise. I peaked out to find that Niko had puked on the rug in front of Steve's sink. Thankfully Niko cleaned it up himself, so I was able to postpone the rug washing until I got home from work.

Despite the puking, I was having a good day. All was well. But, the evening went to shit around 6 when it was time for me to move the rugs from the washer to the dryer. You see, there were towels still in the dryer. And, there were clean clothes bundled into the laundry basket on top of the dryer. So, when I needed to do my work I was held up by the fact that Steve left me more work to do. He is awesome and helps with the laundry, and typically he completes the entire cycle of laundry. But this time around he did not.

I was actually talking to Steve as I was discovering this mess. We are managing the sale of his father's boat, and Steve was talking to me about an offer that was very suspicious. He, obviously, wanted to talk things out, and he certainly was. But, in my head he was repeating himself. Make a decision...continue talking to the guy, or stop talking. No need to talk through different strategies. I am quick to make decisions. Ain't no one got time to hem and haw over things. 

I simply didn't have time to talk about the boat. I was hot - because 87 degrees on September 21st is totally normal - and I was pissed that I had to finish up Steve mess that he left me.

I bit back hard. "Steve, do what you want. Talk to him or not. I don't care. I don't have time for this. I have to go..."

It wasn't my best moment. I was an asshole to the kids on Wednesday, and I was an asshole to Steve on Thursday.

Ah, but the story continues...

I finally cooled off. Literally. I got my ass in the shower around 9, and washed off all the humidity. I poured myself a vodka cocktail and settled into the family room. And then I started texting Steve. Long story short, he was pissed that I bit his head off. I was pissed that I felt alone. I was having a rough couple nights, and I barely heard from him.

Pilots, here me out, sometimes the beautiful woman you have tending to your home and children needs to hear a couple things from you. Tell her she works hard. Tell her she is doing a good job. Ask her how her day was, and if she's having a bad day follow-up with her and ask her how she is doing. Don't take her for granted. Just like you can have a shitty trip, so can we. When that happens, support us. Encourage us. Don't go radio silent. Don't think that we don't need you.

Steve told me he was "giving me space" by not communicating with me. Him not communicating with me made me feel alone.

There is a physical loneliness that comes with being married to a pilot. That's easy for anyone to understand...your man isn't right next to you.

Then you have emotional loneliness, like those times when he leaves for a trip and it seems like the soul is sucked out of the house. Or the time you cry at Christmas mass because holidays are for family, which includes your husband. I have blogged about this before. 

And then there is the loneliness that comes with being a solo-parent. Like, the times where you feel so overwhelmed with your daily tasks that you find a quiet corner in the house and let tears fall down your face. Or the times when you feel like you are failing as a parent, and all you need is a little support and encouragement from the father of your children, but you don't get it. Thankfully it is rare that I have that feeling. But, when you feel it it really rocks you. You do enough things alone when you are married to a pilot...raising his kids alone is the last thing you want to add the list.

I was thankful when the 3-day from hell ended. Some trips are just shitty upon shitty. They happen, we survive, and we then continue to march on through this whack-a-do lifestyle.



Friday, September 22, 2017

Word of the Week: Mustache

"Friday Thoughts" isn't working for me anymore...too boring. I'm going to try a new thing: Word of the Week.

This week's Word of the Week is: Mustache


***

The kids started Polish School last Friday. Typically on Friday nights Steve and I will drop the kids off at school, and head out for dinner. Last Friday Steve had to work, so I dropped the kids off at school, stayed for a bit of the parent meeting, and then headed out to shop.

There is a store down the way that has bargains...again, you know me and good bargains. I got Ben and Cici, both, 2-3 books. And I got Steve a belt. Steve's current belt is all tattered around the holes. He hasn't complained about it, but I certainly noticed it.

I have been on the hunt for a black belt with a gold buckle for some time now. Do you know how hard it is to find a freakin' black belt with a gold buckle!? Not easy...unless you are shopping at a bargain store. I was pleased to find exactly what I was looking for...100% genuine leather...all for the bargain price of $5.99.

I'm awesome.

And Steve doesn't look like a slob.

***

Steve got his schedule on Sunday. On Monday, I texted him and asked him to email me his schedule. He told me he would.

2 hours later I texted him the request again.

You see...I have shit to plan. I have a new book club invite that I have to plan for. I also have a business trip I have to plan for. There is a lot of pending activities that I have on my calendar. I need to change my current RSVP of "I want to come, but I have to wait on Steve's schedule" to a "yes" or "no."

Mama needs said schedule to get my life in order.

Steve finally emailed me his schedule on Tuesday, but only after I had to ask him again.

***

We are hosting our second annual Halloween Party. Steve has always loved Halloween and getting into costume and character. Last year our theme was "Political". I was Melania Trump. Steve went as Putin. This year's theme is Favorite Sitcom. I won't give away Steve's costume just yet, but I can say that the character has a mustache. Steve is now growing out a mustache.

Let me get one thing clear. I hate mustaches.

A post shared by Joanna (@comebackdaddy) on



I didn't always have such a strong opinion on facial hair...until I started to date a pilot. And then I got married to a pilot. This means I have been with a clean-shaven man for 19 years. I have been conditioned to a clean shave. For those that don't know, Steve can't wear facial hair unless it's a mustache to the corner of his mouth - it's an oxygen mask thing.

Steve will grow out his facial hair when not working. I don't mind the stubble over the weekend. I don't even mind the stubble over a week+ vacation. In fact, I sort of like the rugged look. But, I hate it when it gets growing out for over 2 weeks. That's when he is constantly feeling his facial hair...gliding his hand down his cheeks...over and over. Try kissing a man with a 'stache, or oral sex...have you ever rubbed sand paper over your lady bits? Not pleasant.

So, think of me over the next couple weeks as I deal with Steve growing out a 'stache. I asked him to just wear a fake one, but he won't have any part in that. My co-worker thinks a mustache is totally part of the pilot gig. I, on the other hand, totally disagree.



***

Coming soon, a blog post about my 3-day from hell. Sometimes I rock at this pilot wife thing. Most times I do okay. And other times I suck at it, which is what these past 3 days has been.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Thoughts

I am a bargain hunter. I totally get off on a good deal. The best deal to date is the awesome peacock rug in our dining room. It retailed for about $1,000, and I got it for $189 at the Frontgate outlet store. I still, obviously, talk about how awesome that deal was.

Well, this weekend I scored a near awesome deal. My Mom was in town to watch the kiddos while Steve and I had an event. On Saturday, after our event was over, she and I went shopping. My nephew needed new shoes, which took us to Bass. As typical, I always look to add things to Steve wardrobe...if the deal is good enough.

I found a pair of shoes marked at $49.99. The store was closing, so there was an additional 20% off the shoes. Steve hadn't told me he needed new shoes for his uniform, but if the deal is good enough I will buy anything. The shoes were originally $130, and I figured $39.99 was a good price for leather work shoes. When I made my way up to the cashier, they rang up at $24.99...with an additional 20% off. My jaw actually dropped when I was told the final price. I walked out of there paying about $22 for Steve's new shoes.

I'm awesome.


****


This has nothing to do with being a pilot wife, but rather a woman who is always looking for nutritious recipes for my family.  On Saturday morning, while Steve and I were gone, my Mom treated the kids to breakfast out. While in town, they stopped at the farmers market. She bought me two beautiful heads of cauliflower. I prepared one head on Sunday night for dinner.

It was the easiest of recipes, and my kiddos actually ate their entire dinner...without complaints!! I mean, it is rare to try a recipe for the first time without some comment from the kiddos about how "it looks gross" or "I'm not eating that."

I sauteed the chopped cauliflower in olive oil, salt, pepper, and an all-purpose seasoning that I got at a local shop. I added cooked organic pasta, and a good portion of Parmesan cheese. Done. That simple, and really good. It's totally going in my recipe rotation.




****

As parents we are exposed to smells that could kill a small animal. When the kiddos are babies you have to deal with blow out diapers...gagging while cleaning up the mess. Oh, and of course there is the vomit that sprays into your hair...that's a fun one. 

Well, on Monday night I discovered a new smell that ranks right up there with the best - or would it be worst? Smooched banana in a school lunch bag that had been "baking" for hours on end. Yeah, nasty! I packed Cici a banana for an after school snack, which was to be eaten before her soccer practice. Apparently the thing exploded after lunchtime, and then it sat in her lunch bag until we got home from dinner around 7:30p.

As I was cleaning the lunch bag I was thinking to myself that I didn't think a banana could get so nasty. And then my mind wondered to the other foods exploding story from our household - and bare with me because it actually does link back to the whole pilot thing.

About 2 years ago Ben got off the school bus with a large black plastic garage bag. Well, that's peculiar. As he approached me in the driveway, the smell started to hit me. Here's how to story goes: Ben had a carton of milk that he left in his backpack for weeks. Yes, weeks! He forgot about it. That morning on the way to school, he sat in his seat with his backpack on his back. The pressure of him against the back of the seat, combined with the right pressure of rotting milk inside the carton, caused the milk to explode. Rancid milk went everywhere. Ben claims a kid puked from the smell, but that story has not been confirmed.

It was horrible. The worst smell I think I every smelled in my life. And, the smell was over everything! Yuck. I ended up washing the backpack twice, and the smell remained. My last effort was to wash the backpack with bleach, and that did the trick. All was well by the end of the day.

Fast forward about six months to our annual winter Disney cruise. We made our way down to Florida with no problem. But, on the way back Ben was tagged in TSA. They pulled him aside, and I was sure to follow, Mama Bear style. His backpack was the item that was being tagged, so they investigated it. They started by removing the contents: stuffed animal, blanket, coloring book, book, a game of Spot It. Then they started swabbing the bag. There was obviously something going on, so much so that a supervisor was called over.

They identified Steve as the father, and asked him to come over. To note, Steve was dressed in regular clothing, and his badge was under his shirt. There was no way to tell that he was an airline employee, let alone a pilot. At one point my mom, who was traveling with us, was like, "why don't you tell them Steve is a pilot." We didn't go there...they have procedure to follow, and obviously there was nothing we were hiding. We were just as confused as the next person as to why Ben's bag was being tagged. 

They patted Steve down, being Ben's father, and even ran their hand around Steve's waistline. The irony in the situation was incredible...an airline pilot being patted down because his son's bag is showing some chemical in the swab test.  Again with nothing to hid, we checked out okay and they sent us on our way. The whole thing took about 10 minutes. 

As we were discussing the event on the way to our gate, we kept asking ourselves what could have triggered the positive reading. We went over this, and that. And then it dawned on me...the bleach from the exploding milk carton!

Mystery solved.

Needless to say, Ben doesn't travel with that backpack anymore.


****

I woke up Wednesday morning, after a nightmare that I was about to take a flight without my Avitan, feeling like a million bucks. Ben joined me and Niko for our morning walk, and as the morning progressed I could tell it was going to be a good day. I had a lot of wind in my sails, and knew I would accomplish a lot throughout the day.

Wanna know why I felt so good? Sleep!

Steve flew out Tuesday afternoon, with his new shoes on I might add. I was surprised he was wearing them so soon - he doesn't get excited about things like I do.
A post shared by Joanna (@comebackdaddy) on


The kids and I had a busy Tuesday evening, but thankfully they were in bed around the normal time of 8:30-8:45p, And guess who crawled into bed around that same time. You guessed right. I played around on social media a bit, then started up my latest find on Netflix, Atypical. Before I knew it, I woke up in some wee-hour of the morning with the tv still on. Netflix probably played through the entire series while I was soundly sleeping. I must had fallen asleep around 9:45p.

I didn't go to bed Monday night until past midnight, if not even closer to 1am. This happens often when Steve is home...I don't go to bed when I should. Perhaps we are watching some show - we are into Ray Donovan now (he is totally my dream guy right now) and Ozark (Jason Bateman isn't too bad to look at either). Or, perhaps we are doing "other things" that may keep a couple up late...and ladies you know how that goes...you both are all finished up and your partner falls fast asleep and you stay wide awake, which was the case Monday night, me clicking through the tv channels...

When Steve is gone, it is actually a chance for me to catch up on sleep. I crawl into bed around 9, watch whatever fits the bill that evening, or sometimes I write, and then it's lights out at a decent time.


I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Thoughts

Ben eats an egg burrito every morning for breakfast. 2 scrambled eggs and a schmear of cream cheese on a warmed flour tortilla. Last Friday morning I placed a pan on the stove, lit the gas and turned it to low. I heard Ben screaming upstairs. Like one of those "drop everything you are doing and go...now!" screams. Did the dog hurt him? Did he hurt himself? I ran upstairs. I saw him on the floor in front of his fish tank. "Ben, what's wrong?"

"John died!" he screamed out, tears pouring down his face.
"Are you sure?" We had a false alarm before.
"Yes, I touched him, and he's dead," he screamed.

I ran downstairs to turn off the stove, and ran back upstairs to comfort Ben. Poor kiddo. It was such a tough morning. Ben cried all throughout breakfast. I made sure he took a hankie and wipes for his glasses to school. I figured tears were bound to come at some point. I also sent a note in to his teacher, since he was sure to be out of sorts.

Steve was on the west coast when all this went down. But, I knew he was going to be awake. His "go" was crazy early. I texted him and despite my phone showing it delivered, Steve never responded. He told me he didn't get the text until after his first leg. I had to manage our 10-year-old in crisis alone...such is the life of a pilot wife.

We buried John once we got home from school and work. We shared memories. We said a prayers. We cried. Well, Cici didn't cry. At the end of our little service, Ben muttered through his tears, "may John rest in peace."




**

Steve was home throughout all of Labor Day weekend. It was awesome. The weekend was perfect. We had enough activities to keep us busy, but still with enough down time to be relaxing.

Friday night the kids has Polish dancing practice. Saturday we attended a party for friends...he just finished his rounds of chemo for colon cancer. It was a party to celebrate him, and we had a very nice time. Sunday the kids danced at a local Octoberfest. It was a really nice time.

The night ended around a campfire with good friends.

Monday morning was a bit rough, and Steve, the kids, and I brainstormed plans for the day. The airshow was going on. That was on the kids and my list...you see, we haven't gone in years...because we only go with Steve and he is typically working. Steve, on the other hand, wanted to go to our town's local festival....which is something the kids and I do every Labor Day weekend since it is something easy to do when Steve isn't home.

Steve ultimately won the argument of no air show because he is around planes all the time, and the last thing he wants to do on a day off is spend more time around more planes. So, we just went to the pool. We had a nice lunch, drank some cold beers, talked with some great people, and said goodbye to summer.

**

Steve was home this entire week. Every once in a blue moon this will happen, and this week came at a great time. I was able to attend a meeting on Tuesday evening without worry of the kids. In addition, Steve took Ben to his annual eye MD appointment. This was the best since I didn't have to take off work.

We had dinner as a family of four every night. We took evening walks as a family. I slept next to a warm body every night this week. The laundry is all caught up.

In addition to all the awesomeness that comes with Steve being home, it can also stink not to have my typical Joanna time. I have been going to bed late, and I hate crawling out of our warm bed in the morning when Steve is sleeping peacefully. I hate that he plays music from the phone in his pocket when putting away laundry (this gets me as much as listening to an AM radio station...I have a thing about certain sounds). And the kicker was the fact that he picked Cici up late from dance class on night. He thought she was to be picked up at 6:30, so he was sitting next door drinking a beer, passing time. Cici called me and asked "where's Daddy?" I don't see red often, but I certainly did around this situation.

**
Wednesday night Steve and Ben finished a Wright Bros model airplane



I didn't know that they flew the plane backwards. Well, backwards from what I think of. I see prop planes pull, where their plane pushed. Obviously, their design was intentional, but I just always misinterpreted what I saw. You learn something new every day...
**

What did I say about getting any and every shirt that has a nod to aviation?


Happy Friday y'all. Cheers to the freakin' weekend.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Thoughts

Steve got home last Friday night from a 2-day. I told y'all that I was going to serve beef strogonoff. Nope. I didn't have time for that. We had a birthday party that ran too long. So, thank heavens for our awesome grocery store that has awesome prepared foods. They certainly came to the rescue, and Steve had a good meal to come home to. I think it's the Polish in me that makes me like this. 


**


I'm a Golden Girls fan. I mean, I love them. I may even have an 8x10 photograph of the ladies stored away. I know every episode. I know nearly all the best lines. The show reminds me of my grandmother. I would watch the show on the console tv that was in her upstairs bedroom. I believe Sex in the City was the next generation of Golden Girls. And I'm convinced that Frankie and Grace is the Golden Girls of this generation. I love all these shows.

Anytime Sex in the City is on, I watch. E! is currently airing the second Sex in the City movie. In the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning I was watching the movie, while Steve was sleeping soundly next to me. At one point during the movie Carrie goes to her old apartment to write. She has an article due in a couple days and she needed to write without distraction. At the end of day 2, Big picks her up and they head out to dinner. But not before they kiss passionately in the car upon greeting one another. That night was so great that Big proposes that they give one another that 2-day break every week so that they can have that great feeling of reconnection every week. I feel asleep at some point, so I don't know (and don't remember from previous viewings) if they actually do keep with a 2-day break every week.

While these scene and discussions were playing out, I kept thinking to myself that I live this life every week. Steve and I do have a break from one another every week. This is the life of a pilot wife. And I do understand how absence makes the heart grow fonder. I understand how reuniting can be fiery. And I do understand how it is nice to have my time to do my things. Funny how some of Carrie's friends looked down upon the proposal. "I want to sleep every night next to my husband." Yeah, not happening when married to a pilot.


**
Cici and I went shopping on Sunday. Why is it that I get Steve any and every t-shirt that has some nod to aviation?


**
Steve is home this Labor Day weekend. I joke, but given the industry stereotypes I probably need to stop, that he is sleeping with someone in crew scheduling. Every once in a while he gets a schedule that is totally dreamy...totally 'pinch me this is too good to be true.' He must have an inside connection to get a schedule so good. He is off the entire weekend! This makes me happy. We can act like a normal family this long weekend.


**
The hurricane in Houston is just so devastating. Steve and I gave thought of moving a couple years ago, and Houston was on our radar. I can't help but think that perhaps we would have been needing to cope with the destruction.

Despite all the bad, it is important to look at the good. So many people helping their fellow neighbor - this is what human nature is....to help one another.

This Bored Panda photo display is remarkable. As I looked at all the photos and videos this past week, I kept tearing up. The awesome display of helping thy neighbor was/is in full force, and it is something amazing to watch.

FWIW, Steve's pairing didn't chang this week, but on nearly every leg he has had a new captain. And my new friend, Ben's school bus driver, asks me everyday about how operations in Houston are going. I'm happy to talk shop with him, as much as I can.

**

On Monday, after school, we went to the pool. No one was there, and it was awesome. I wrote in my book (65K words!!) while Steve was playing catch with the kids. I appreciate the times we can spend as a normal family. It's true! When I don't have Steve around all that much, it makes me appreciate the time he is home that much more. For some fun, I took some slow motion videos of Steve and the kids. For your viewing pleasure...
Funny jumps off the side of the pool. 
Sometimes I am surprised that Steve's 42-year-old ass can still bend like that.


**

If you follow my blog you know that I love the 5 Love Languages. As it turns out, Gary Chapman, the author of the books, is speaking at my Aunt's church. She told me about this months ago, and I was all about it. "Yes, let's go together."

As it turns out, it isn't just some 2 hour seminar, as I thought. It is more a six hour retreat of sorts...to be attended by both you and your spouse. I have to chuckle to myself about the whole thing...here I was wanting to go to a marriage seminar without my husband. Call it being conditioned. Since I am without him more than half the week, I am used to doing things on my own. Such is the life of a pilot wife.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Thoughts

I'm going to try something new. There are so many thoughts that always swim through my head throughout the week, but none of the thoughts are full enough, if you will, for an actual blog post. So, in an effort to get these thoughts out, engage readers, and keep my blog more active I want to publish a weekly blog post called "Friday Thoughts." It's gonna be short and sweet, but I hope you all like it. It will keep with the pilot wife theme, to stay consistent. And it really will show everyone how this isn't just a job, but actually a lifestyle.

Here goes...

Back to school. The kids were back three days last week and a full week this week. Structure is good. I have a sense that this year will be a great year. Steve was home Monday - Wednesday which was very nice to help with the transition to this full week.

Speaking of Steve being home, I got some shit done this week because of this. I got my hair done (without having to take the kids). And my stylist used a new product on my hair...love it!! It is MoroccanOil Beach Wave Mousse. I have long and thick and wavy hair, and it's all sort of awesome.  After my hair appointment, I  went out to a long overdue dinner with friends that I don't see nearly enough. I had another dinner planned with another friend on Wednesday, but we had to cancel. A friend at work commented about I looked cute that day. "Thanks, I'm meeting a friend for dinner." She then remarked on how social I was being this week, and my response was "because I have a husband to take care of the kids this week." Truth. When he's home like this, mama's gonna play!

Steve left for a trip Thursday morning. It's just a 2-day. I got mad at him Wednesday night. Not a fight necessarily, just me being displeased about something. Yes, there are some things that I can keep private so I'm not going to go into full detail. Space is good, but at the same time it always sucks to be displeased when he is on the road. Your mind wonders into that space of "what if he has an incident? The first question will be "are you fighting with your spouse?"" It sucks to be upset with your pilot when he is on the road.

We are thinking about getting a boat. This boat will be nice and spacious and not cheap. We would spend any free time up at the lake. I worry that Steve will grow tired of always being gone in the summer. Say he works Monday - Thursday. Then we are at the lake Friday - Sunday. Will he hate it? Will this expensive purchase go unused?

My co-worker is taking his family out to dinner tonight. I actually had to stop and think about the last time we went out to dinner as a family. It happened to be about 2 weeks ago, while up at the lake. I hadn't done my typical food prep stuff, so come Sunday afternoon we were hungry. We ended up at a sweet little spot, with a great outdoor patio, that was dog friendly so that Niko could join us.
having a water loving dog is the best!
Yes, he can swim, but just like our kiddos, he, too, wears a life preserver
The conversation with my co-worker continued about the fact that I have to balance  eating out when Steve is home with cooking at home. The last thing Steve wants is to eat out at yet another restaurant. He wants to be home. He wants me to cook. Sometimes it sucks, especially if I want to take a load off, but that is where take-out comes in handy. For the record, Steve will be coming home to beef stroganoff tonight, which is one of my best recipes. 

I was called for Jury Duty this week. Our county is awesome, and very efficient with time. Instead of actually going to the courthouse every day, I have to call in the day before to see if my colored paper and number need to report at the courthouse. The beginning of the week would have worked out just fine if I had to report, because Steve was home. But, on Thursday and Friday he was gone. Thankfully, I didn't have to report at all this week, but I certainly had my plan B and plan C and plan D swimming around in my head in the event that I was called in...and then if I actually had to sit on a jury. This is just one of the joys of being a pilot wife - always trying to figure plans out for you and the kids without being able to rely on your husband. For what it is worth, I once sat jury duty. Civil case. Car accident. It lasted 2 days. I loved it. Like, totally loved the entire experience. It was very interesting and eye opening. So, I actually have a very favorable thought about jury duty.

Lastly, Ben got picked up this morning on the school bus. As typical, I wave a "thank you" to the bus driver as Ben gets on. Ben had the same driver last year. Well, this morning I did my typical wave, and the driver called in to the bus. Uh oh! Ben is a good kid, so I figured it wasn't about something he did, because Ben would have been the one to tell me first (he is like that.) "Is your husband a pilot?" he asked. "He is...." And then we got to talking. Turns out he was an '85 hire for the same company. CA out of our base for about 5 years. He was forced to retire at 60. His wife was a FA for 51 years. At least now I know what theme to stick to for his Christmas present.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Egotistical, my ass

Did you all read Fucking Flowers? If not, go read it. It is a really good story about our recent wedding anniversary. Long story short, Steve ordered flowers to be delivered to my office. I left 15 minutes before they came. I was sad and felt lonely. That night, Steve had a neighbor drop a bouquet of flowers off in our kitchen while the kids and I were running errands. I cried over the phone, thanking Steve for being so awesome.

I got a lot of comments on the post, and all but 2 were nice. I didn't see Daniel's negative comment until just last weekend. Here it is, in case you missed it:

Hello, I am sorry but I find you egoistical. What did you get your husband on that day? Only drama! It's your anniversary for both of you not just you. If you really miss him well I think the fact that he called you that day (while you were ignoring his calls) was enough to reassure you that he was thinking of you. I want to reassure people that your story is not the life of healthy and stable married couples when one of them happens to be an airline pilot. I have no doubt your husband loves you to put up with your character. You are the wife of what looks to be a mainline guy, life should be good now so instead of complaining because me me me didn't get the flowers, share with us the exciting life experiences you have traveling and how their dad spends days away from home in order to provide the best he can for his family! As much as I understand that your blog is a way for you to vent, remember that pilots talk in the cockpit as well and (with all due respect) you may not want to be "that pilot wife".

Let's just say that his comment didn't sit well with me. I have received negative comments before, and usually they roll off my back. I'm actually really good at things rolling off my back. Everyone has an opinion. I welcome conversations, the good, the bad, and the challenging. But, this comment was different. So much so that I am writing a blog post about it. There are times where I simply have to write out the voices in my head, and this is certainly time for that.

Here are the main points from his comment that rang the loudest to me:
*egotistical
*me me me
*not the life of healthy and stable married couple
*put up with my character
*life should be good now
*spend days away from home
*"that pilot wife"

After I read through his comment, my immediate thought is that he must be going through something with a woman who he finds to be selfish. I say this because of a retreat I was on about a year ago. It was for all the PSR teachers at my church. At one point we were listening to a reading, and then in small groups we were to discuss what we "heard." It was amazing how one person heard something totally different from another. The women who was very tired heard "rest, my child, rest." Where I didn't really hear that at all. See my point? We take what we want based on how it impacts you in your life at that moment. Therefore, I think Daniel is dealing with some selfish behaviors in his life. I did respond to Daniel and wished him well. And I do. But, I think he "heard" me totally wrong. And because of that, I need to set the record straight about the tone of his comment...

Frankly, I don't give a shit if Daniel actually reads my comment. But, I want to speak up as a pilot wife who is raising a family. This gig is hard....like, really hard, and I need to voice my side of things. As evident from the above comment, people may have the wrong impression about what it is like to be married to a pilot. Sure Steve's job comes with a lot of advantages. And yes, we do take advantage of those perks. But, it also stinks. I blog about all sides of this lifestyle. The Fucking Flowers post was about another missed anniversary. That stinks. It wasn't our first missed, and it certainly won't be our last. And it's okay that I was sad. Being sad, in this situation, is a good thing...it shows how much I still dig my husband. And I know that by sharing my story people can relate, and relating to one another in this wack-a-do lifestyle is necessary to stay sane and not feel so alone.

But first, I want to address his very sexist remark about how since Steve is mainline "life should be good." I am one of many pilot wives that work. I am one of many pilot wives, who is also raising a family, that work. I contribute substantially to our household income, thank you very much. I have always worked, thank you very much. I am incredibly insulted to think that my work and the sacrifices I make to be a working mother goes totally overlooked all because of Steve being a mainline pilot. Yes, life is good for us. But, it isn't due to Steve's job alone. Yet another example of a man overlooking a woman's work.

My job provides Steve comfort, as a matter of fact. Steve is constantly thinking about losing his job. Take, for example, the fact that we are shopping for a boat. With recent news out of North Korea he is afraid something may happen and he will lose his job. Perhaps we will delay buying a boat for a couple more months. I'm sure a Director of Marketing or an Accountant doesn't have the constant internal dialogue about losing his job.  Pilots think this way. And, again, my job provides Steve comfort that if something does happen we would be able to live off my salary. Just putting that point out there because my job provides more than just money in our pockets, thank you very much.

To roll off that point, let's continue to talk about my work and my perceived selfishness. I've been the one to give up on my career progression when we made the decision to have kids. I've been the one to yield to Steve "climbing the ladder" while I take care of things back home. Does that confirm that I'm egotistical? Not in my book. Not progressing my career is the furthest thing from a "me me me" mentality.

When Steve went mainline, his paycheck took a 57% cut.  He also went through weeks and weeks of training. And then he sat reserve in a different state. When he got back to our home base he had shitty schedules for years and years. All the while I was juggling newborn babies and work and being a solo-parent. I supported Steve that entire time. It was hard as fuck, but we got through it. Does all that support make me self-centered?

I can argue that there isn't one pilot wife out there, that is raising a family, that is self-centered. In order to be a pilot wife who is raising a family, you have to put your family's needs first. And the result is that you often put yourself last. It is hard work to be married to a pilot, and even harder work when you have kids with a pilot. The majority of my time and attention goes towards my children. To have that hard work and sacrifice go unrecognized is insulting....again, which is why Daniel's comment hit me so hard.

Let's talk about sacrifice. Based on Daniel's comment,  it seems that Steve is the only one to be impacted by being on the road. Yes, pilots make sacrifices to be a pilot, but so do us pilot wives. But, I think the general public ever thinks about us pilot wives. Do you want to know how often I hear, "but, he is gone all the time, think about how he feels." Ok, the flip side of that is me being a solo-parent for 4 days a week. Do you want to talk about sacrifices I have made because the father of my children is a pilot?

Guess who's social life isn't robust, because getting babysitters can get expensive? Me me me.
Guess who doesn't play volleyball anymore, because it is too hard to manage calendars with Steve's work schedule, the kids extra-curricular schedules, and sitters? Me me me.
Guess who hasn't advanced my career, because of my desire to be there for the kids as much as possible to offset Steve absence? Me me me.

Let's talk about some more of the other un-selfish things I do because I'm married to a man that is gone all the time, just to name a few:
- I've once had to clean up my Father-in-Law's vomit which sprayed all over our powder room
- I've had to go weeks upon weeks of seeing my husband for only 3-5 waking hours a week because he was visiting his mother in the hospital when she was having chemo treatment
- I've had to go to weddings without my husband
-I've attended numerous events, anything from Christmas parties with kids to company Holiday parties, stag
- I've had to be mentally and physically prepared to give birth without my husband present. Thankfully he was home for both births. 

The list could go on. I'm not giving the above examples as bitching or venting or complaining. Rather, I am sharing the above as a way to establish all that I DO give - all that I HAVE sacrificed - all the ways that having a traveling husband impacts me.

It is obvious to say that an airline pilot is going to spend days away from his family. But, what isn't obvious is the fact that when Steve is gone, it is ME, selfish me, that is holding down the home fort. It is me that is taking care of the children and the house, so that Steve has ease knowing that he can be away from home earning a living all the while things back home are good. He trusts me and my abilities to do a good job with the kids. He doesn't think about any troubles at home. He knows I got things covered. This gives him comfort.

For the record, holding down the fort is hard. As a matter of fact, I'm in the midst of getting the kids all set up for back to school. Yes, Steve was the one to take the kids to Target to get backpacks and scissors. But, I'm the one managing their forms, their schedules, their fees, their extra-curricular activities. And when it comes to their first day back at school, Daddy won't be there. I'm the one that is going to have to make sure the kids aren't bothered by this. I'm the one that tries my best at never making the kids think that Daddy being gone stinks. I'm the one teaching them that absence makes the heart grow fonder. And sometimes that isn't easy to do, especially when you find yourself crying on the steps because you feel so incredibly overwhelmed with this lifestyle.


To switch gears to some of the other comments Daniel made, it's too bad that he thinks we don't have a stable and healthy marriage. He should read Divorce, and maybe he can get a better sense of our marriage and how we are actually doing pretty okay. And shame on anyone who makes a broad marriage comment after reading just one blog post. And at that, I don't even think he read the whole post. The post showcases what a healthy and stable marriage is. I was down. Steve went out of his way to make me happy. This, in fact, showcases what a healthy and stable marriage is.

For what it is worth, Steve and I had a great anniversary this year. As established we didn't share the actual day together, but we made the most of it on other days. Not only will this flowers story be forever remembered in a very sweet way, we gave each other some really great gifts. I gifted him a trip to a shooting range, where he shot off nearly 500 rounds. And he gifted me tickets to a U2 concert.

As far as being "that pilot wife" I wish Daniel would have elaborated on what he means by that. Am I "that pilot wife" that usually has a clean house for Steve to come home to? Am I "that pilot wife" that keeps a happy home? Am I "that pilot wife" that feeds our family nutritious meals? Am I "that pilot wife" that makes Steve happy? Am I "that pilot wife" that keeps my man sexually satisfied? Am I "that pilot wife" that doesn't nag my husband? Am I "that pilot wife" that keeps his children happy and well? Am I "that pilot wife" that works her ass off? You betcha I'm that pilot wife.

Writing this out certainly makes me feel better. For all I know Daniel is some troll who has nothing to do better with his time than to make harsh comments on blogs. But, at least this was a way for me to put some things out there that many people have not thought about before. Plus, his comment was good blog material, and I'm always looking for inspiration for blog posts.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Re-entry

A while ago, I posted Divorce. I had been working on that post for a month+. To me, the topic was easy to write, but I was very careful in my delivery. Being careful with delivery can take work. I talked a lot about the post with friends, wanting feedback and validation on my draft.

While drafting, one of the best conversations was with a neighborhood friend at our monthly book club evening. She has been married far longer than me, and the perspective was awesome. Not only did she give me validation to my then draft, she also gave me a new term to use in this whole pilot wife thing: re-entry.

Her husband traveled every week: left on Tuesday and came home Thursday or Friday. He wasn't a pilot, but he was gone every week. Many things she was sharing with me resonated, especially the term re-entry. During our conversation I kept thinking "this is totally my next blog topic."

Re-entry: the adjustment a pilot (or any traveling husband) has into the home after a trip. Additionally, the adjustment a pilot wife has when your pilot comes home.

Sometimes re-entry is awesome. Seamless. Perfect. No problem. Super. Validates exactly why you married the handsome stud you did.

And then there are times when re-entry stinks. It's awful. It makes you want your pilot to go back where he came from. It makes you question why you married the man you did.

I think there are three things that contribute to a tough re-entry:
- control
- attitude
- going from solo to couple


Control:
I have said this over and over again: I am the captain of our ship when Steve is gone. Period. I control everything. I have to. Let me lay out a couple recent happenings in our home when Steve was gone. Our dog found a low bird's nest in our front garden. Niko didn't eat any birds, thank the good Lord because that would have been horrible to deal with, but we had to watch the nest for about a week to make sure Niko wouldn't get to the nearly mature birds.

The night Niko discovered the nest, Steve called to check in for the day. I gave him the run down on the found nest. "Put chicken wire around it, that will keep Niko away," Steve suggested. The problem was the birds were too big, and that suggestion wasn't totally right. I just reassured Steve that we had things under control. I took care of the situation. I had to.

Ben's glasses broke the other day. We went to get a replacement pair ordered, and the awesome optician simply pulled off the sample frames from the wall, popped in Ben's lenses, and we walked out with new frames. Awesome! When Steve called in and checked in that night, he offered some a suggestion. My response? "Ben already has the new frames." He offered great advice, but I already took care of the situation. I had to.

My point from above is that I manage everything when Steve is gone. I got this. Most times I think I got this pretty good. I control everything. I am conditioned to be the one in charge. I am the one who makes the decisions. It's all me....

...and then Steve gets home.

... and I have to give up some of that control.

... and I'm not always so good at it.

...and Steve may not be so happy that I can't give up that control.

... and I may not be happy because I have been conditioned to be in control for the last 3 or 4 days.

This back and forth of control isn't always so easy. Re-entry.

What is the best way to make re-entry easier when it comes to control? Give a little - on both sides. For you: make a point to give up the control a little. Let your pilot pack the kids lunches, even though he may not spread the peanut butter on the bread exactly the same way you do. Let him help with the laundry, even if that mean he washes a silk blouse of yours. Thankfully, the blouse came out unharmed. 

For the pilot, give her a minute to let you in. Don't just jump in and try to do everything your way. You don't have sex without foreplay, right? Same goes here...ease into it. Remember that your beautiful wife has been running the ship for the last number of days. Ease into it. Steve is great at asking "what can I do to help?" or "what else can I do?"...this means he knows I like to do things my way, but is wanting to pitch in and help. Long ago I gave up the thought that "he should know what I need help with" because, simply put, he is gone too much. He doesn't know all the in's and out's of our life, so he needs reminders.

Attitude:
Let me set three scenes in our home. All of which are true scenarios when Steve got home from recent trips. All three are very different.

Scene 1: Steve left on Tuesday morning and got home late on Thursday. There was an embedded red-eye in his pairing. On Wednesday night into Thursday morning Steve flew into ORD from the west coast. He had a day over in ORD, and flew one last leg home Thursday evening, which got him home-home (meaning in our garage) around 11pm.

Steve has been doing his current gig for nearly 11 years now, so red-eyes are very manageable at this point. He knows what to do to make everything work with his body clock. But, as a pilot wife I realize that as great as he managed a red-eye there is a strong chance that a non-typical mood for Steve will walk through our door at the end of the day.

Around 10ish, the kids went to their rooms for the night, and I took a shower. I was settled in the family room watching Masters of None, when Steve got home around 11ish. I don't even recall if we greeting one another with a kiss. We probably did. As typical, he immediately went upstairs with his bags, changed, most likely unpacked his roll-aboard, and checked on the kids. Cici was still awake, reading. Ben was sleeping. I heated up his plate of food.

Steve came downstairs, got his food, and then come into the family room to watch the show with me. I know better, by now, than to jump on him the moment he gets home. I have to get a sense of his mood, and play off that accordingly.

"How was your flight?"

"Fine."

Ok. He's tired, I thought.

We continued to watch tv.
He continued to eat. I think he also poured himself a beer at some point.
We continued to watch tv, and finally went upstairs after the episode was over. I would imagine this was sometime around midnight.

We got ready for bed, quietly brushing out teeth next to one another.
We climbed into bed.

The actions I wrote above seems rather mechanical. And it doesn't seem like much interaction, right? At least that is my intention. The reason for this is because Steve and I weren't talking much. He was quiet.

His attitude was almost non-existent, it was like he only had enough brain energy to eat and drink. Gotta love those red-eyes. He was exhausted. I let him be. I didn't push. I chose to not get an attitude about him being all quiet. That would have gotten me nowhere. I know Steve. I knew he simply needed to just chill. Ironically, that night we had good sex...you know that kind where you can sense that you really missed one another and are glad to be back together....that kind of almost makes it a perk of being a pilot wife. It just goes to show you that even though words aren't always spoken by your pilot, it may not mean anything other than mental drain. By choosing to keep a good attitude, despite his quietness, we were able to set a great tone for his set of days off.


Scene 2: So, if the above scene showcased Steve being very quiet and not very interactive when he got home, this scene is totally opposite.

I don't recall the exact details of the trip, but I don't think it fucked with him too much. It was a short 3-day trip. When he got home that Thursday evening, he did his usual routine of going upstairs, putting his bags away, and getting out of his uniform. After checking in on the sleeping kids, he can downstairs. I warmed a plate of food for him. He ate, sitting at the end of the island. I drank some peppermint tea, sitting on the side of the island. After he finished eating we stayed at the island and talked. And talked, and talked and talked. We must have talked for an hour in the dim light of the kitchen.

A lot of stuff happened that week, from Cici's eye appointment for her ocular migraines, to intense news regarding a friend, to an anxiety attack I had while having dinner with a friend.

Both our attitudes that evening were great. We were both happy, and our behaviors reflected that. We were simply enjoying one another's company. Re-entry was easy this time around.


Scene 3:
 To show a totally different attitude, this is the scene where you are just nipping at one another. Talk about a tough re-entry.

Steve got home from a 3-day trip last Friday. He got into the airport around 1 in the afternoon, which put him home around 2-something. The nanny took the kids ice skating and they got home around 3:30 or so. I ran some errands after work, and then we all had to run to the cell phone store. We finally settled in for the evening around 6pm, just in time to make dinner. We were having burgers, corn, watermelon, and salad.

Steve always gives Niko a voice. And it's funny. The kids will ask "hey Niko, what's 4+4?" And Steve will respond as Niko, in this dopey voice,"6." 


"Hey Niko, do you want to go on a walk?"
"Yes, yes! I would love a walk?" 

"Hey Niko, did you have fun at the boarding place?"
"yes, yes I did! I made lots of friends."

You get the picture. It's something Steve does and it's cute.

Well, as we were sitting around the table eating dinner, Cici tried to do the "Niko voice." I knew she was trying to do it. But, Steve thought it was her doing her baby voice, which is this thing she is into now that we are trying to correct.

"Cici, stop with the baby voice!" Steve directed.

I glared at him across the table. "She was doing her Niko voice," I said in a low tone.

And he immediately apologized, "oh, sweetheart I'm so sorry..."

He was probably tired. He was short-fused, obviously. And that all came across in his behavior. Even Cici felt stung by his direction.

This scene, obviously, is the hardest when it comes to re-entry. Most times when Steve comes home he is good. He is conditioned to this job. But, every once in awhile, he isn't in a good mood, and it shows. The best thing the kids and I do when it comes to this scene is to just let things slide, and realize tomorrow is a new day.


Going from solo to couple:
At night when the kids go to bed, I will sometimes hang in our family room...just me, the dog, and real housewives of whatever county. Just me...and the sleeping dog...in the quiet family room.

Then Steve will be home the next night, and I can't watch my housewives. And he is sitting next to me eating almonds. And that "crunch, crunch, crunch" is so deafening that I have to actually close my ear which is closest to him. Re-entry.

When Steve is gone for work and I leave the house in the morning, I come home to the same mess in the kitchen sink, which typically isn't much. When Steve is home and I leave the house in the morning, I can come home from work to my mess in the sink, plus his mess. His egg pan from breakfast, along with his coffee cup. His dirty bowl from the soup he ate at lunch. And let's throw in his water glass as well. Re-entry.

How do I manage going from solo to couple? Honestly, I bit my tongue a lot. I remember that Steve lives here too, so sometimes I just have to let things be. Now, don't get me wrong there are certainly times where I have to voice myself, like the dishes, because I simply can't take it. But most times I like to think I let things slide. I try to not get upset about annoyances, but rather let the moment pass.


If you live this life, you get it. Re-entry can be HARD. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it depends on my mood. Sometimes it depends on Steve's mood. Sometimes the wind blows out of the east, and that throws everything off. I'm kidding here, just making the point that sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why re-entry can be hard when it was perfect the trip before. And take comfort in the fact that all travelling households deal with these exact same situations.