Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Holidays

...and here we are, again, with the holidays around the corner. This is always SUCH a fun time of year for pilots and their families.

Steve has been an airline pilot since 1999.  Steve has been with his current company since 2006.  Yet, it isn't a guarantee that he will be off for Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Years.

In October Steve was preparing his bid for his November schedule.  Typically Steve flies out on Monday or Tuesday, and his home by Wednesday or Thursday.  In a typical month bidding works in Steve's favor.  But, when you have to bid in a holiday month that just complicates things.  Ah, and this year we have a new twist on Thanksgiving...we are traveling with my extended family to a vacation rental in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  The property is being rented from Wednesday to Sunday.  Sounds like a dreamy Thanksgiving with a nice long weekend to follow...unless your pilot is working on Thanksgiving.

On the day his November schedule came out, which was mid October, Steve kept checking online....over and over.  Until finally it came up...Steve got his schedule for November!

...and he gets in on Thanksgiving 16:00 something.


And there, despite Steve's best efforts, our plans needed to change from what we hoped for, which was driving to the property on Wednesday like every one else.

This is the real life of an airline one month at a time, hoping for the best and getting what you bet would happen.

This is what I hoped for our Thanksgiving: the kids would get home from school on Wednesday, and we would set out on the 4 hours drive to the vacation house.   We would arrive rather late that evening, but that is okay because the evening will be filled with food, booze, and togetherness.

On Thanksgiving morning Steve and I would wake up to the wonderful smell of coffee (my Mother, Sister, and Brother-in-Law are typically the first to rise) and we would come down to hot coffee, and beautiful scenery.

We would start preparations for our Thanksgiving Day feast, perhaps while still dressed in our pjs, and over the next hours we would all have our hand in the kitchen doing our assignments.

Around 1p, dinner would be served.  The rest of the day, after clean up, would be lots of resting, talking, and chilling. Perhaps we would include a nice walk/hike to help digest.  Fresh mountain air is always such a nice thing after a large meal.

But guess what, the above scenario isn't going to happen.  Instead, Wednesday afternoon the kids will come off the bus and we will have a somewhat typical evening.  We will have dinner, perhaps take out, and then I will let the kids watch a movie.

Thanksgiving morning will be lazy.  Perhaps we will watch the parade and more movies.  The kids and I have been invited to our neighbors, who are so gracious, for some afternoon appetizers.  Somewhere in the day I will make sure the car is totally packed so that when Steve gets home around 17:00 something, we will hit the road and head out to the vacation home.  Then our Thanksgiving weekend can begin...about 24 hours after we had hoped...missing Thanksgiving dinner.

We gave thought to me taking the kids down on Wednesday evening, and having Steve drive separately after he got in.  I have come to realize this thought is only in the heads of people who have a pilot in the family.  It isn't "normal" that a family travel separately for a holiday...only "normal" for a pilot family.  But, I am deciding against driving separately.  No need to put extra mileage on the cars.  Not to mention, there isn't really a way to celebrate a holiday when your spouse isn't there.

When you husband isn't there on a holiday, there is a void in your heart.  You can be in a room full of people...even family...yet, you can still feel so alone.  You can feel so isolated.  No one understands this feeling unless you spend a holiday without your spouse.

I have felt this loneliness many, many times over the years, and I don't think it will ever get easier.  There are two times I miss Steve the most: on Sunday (these are family days, not work days) and holidays.  I can handle Steve missing our anniversary or a birthday...I have grown accustomed to his absence over the years. But, it really just stinks when your husband isn't there for a holiday...plain and simple.

Do you know that I have actually cried at Christmas mass before?  It was because Steve wasn't with us. Yes, not having your husband with you on a holiday really can get to you.  You think certain aspects of this pilot wife thing can get easier, but not when it comes to missing holidays.


Steve's December schedule came out, and he is off Christmas Day.  He actually gets in on Christmas Eve around 19:00 something.  Typically Polish people, as I am, will celebrate Christmas Eve with a very nice meal.  I am not sure how we will handle this next month, but I am glad Steve will get in at a decent time, and that we will be at our house Christmas morning.

As stated, I am Polish.  My Father is an immigrant, as is my Mother.  Growing up I knew Christmas Eve as the special event, not Christmas morning.  We would eat a dinner of beet borscht soup with mushroom pierogies, followed by fish and other delicious foods.  After dinner we would open our presents.  Santa Claus wasn't really in the picture.  Waking up Christmas morning and running downstairs to see what was under the tree never happened with us.  I didn't have that as a kid, but Steve did and loved at how magical it was for him.  He very much wants to have one year where the kids run downstairs to see what Santa left them under the tree.  Believe it or not, the last Christmas morning we had at our house was 5 years ago when the kids were still toddlers and don't have any memory of the event.

Our oldest child is 8-years-old...this may very well be his last year of truly believing in the magic of Christmas.  Steve very much wanted to be home and he worked his magic and was able to get Christmas Day off.

He surely had to work at his bid to get the day off...he really strategized his bids.  At one point he was asking me if it was okay if he worked all weekends in December, just to have Christmas Day off.  In these instances I always answer with "whatever you want to do."  Isn't it something that a father would sacrifice all weekends off, just for that magical morning.  While other people may take for granted a standard work day/week, families with alternative work schedules really have a lot to consider with their schedules and how it impacts the family.

We are going to wake up Christmas morning at our house, and for that I am very thankful.  Steve also has all weekends off in December, so that means he will be enjoying Christmas parties and pageants. all of which he has missed before.  I am beyond thankful for his presence this December.

New Years?  I haven't even gotten that far in life yet...

Despite the melancholy mood of this blog post, I am very thankful for Steve's job, even though we have to deal with what we deal with. I also realize that I am very fortunate to actually see my pilot on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, as I know many fellow pilot wives won't see their beloved on these holidays.

I want to wish you a very very Happy Thanksgiving.  Wishing you happy times of togetherness with your family and friends.


In case you missed them, here are some past blog posts about holidays: (gosh these really are all very melancholy posts!)
What a Pilot Really Wants for Christmas
A Pilot Wife Kind of Lonely

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I often do laundry at night.  Well, I will start a load throughout the day, but come 10p and I have the "oh shit, I need to take the load out of the washer" moment.

So, there I was one night about 10p in our laundry room.  Our laundry/mudroom is right off our garage.  Before I started the chore of hanging up the laundry, I peeked into the garage so that I could make sure the garage door was down.  You know, because I didn't want any boogie-monster to come and attack me.

As I looked into the garage, yup garage door shut, I made the mental note that I really like my new car.

I turned off the light, closed the door, and then started on the laundry.  As I was hanging the clothes I couldn't help but think about how thankful I was to have a new car.  And it wasn't thankfulness due to getting rid of my always-in-the-shop Buick.  Rather, I was thankful that we were able to afford what I wanted.  I was thankful that money didn't dictate our decision to get rid of my old car after owning it for only 2 years.  I was thankful that my husband wanted me to be happy, and that our jobs afford us to be happy.  My old car really caused stress for me, so to break free from it was really good.  I hate stress. I hate drama.  I like my life easy and simple.  This new car was a symbol of no stress and no drama.

When I do laundry late at night like this, I often have these deep thoughts.  The house is quiet.  Steve is gone and the kids are asleep.  It is dark outside. I am growing tired from the day.  All of this creates the perfect equation for these thoughts.

My thoughts pressed on to how happy I am with life...with my life...with our life.  It has taken a lot for Steve to get where he is today.  He worked hard at it. He deserves to be where he is today.  Luck has surely helped along the way, because success sometimes happens when luck is thrown into the mix...being at the right place at the right time...knowing the right people.  Being where he is today has really benefited our family.  Our family life is full.  We don't really worry about money, and not having that stress is such a wonderful thing.

My thoughts continued to my role in the mix.  Even though I am not the breadwinner, I still contribute significantly to our finances, all the while being able to be a Mom first and foremost.  Being a mother is my #1 priority right now.  I am very grateful to be in the work situation where I am now, with working reduced hours in a day.  These reduced days means that I get the kids on the bus in the morning, and get the kids off the bus in the afternoon. When our oldest started K, I had it set in my head that I would be home in the mornings and afternoons for the kids.  With Steve being gone every week, I felt the pull to be home for the kids, since I am their constant.  Not to mention, daycare had been part of our lives for the last eight years, so I am happy to see that phase of our life over.

When the basic foundations are set right in your life, as they are with us, I really can sense this gratitude I have for my life.  Now don't think my gratitude comes only from jobs and money, because that certainly isn't the case.  I am grateful for so much in my life, ranging from the love I have for my husband and children, to the health of my husband and children.  The list goes on and on,  The topic of my blog posts are usually inspired from an event, and the event that inspired this blog just happened to be gratitude towards my new car, hence my talk about jobs and money.

I think having this gratitude is so important in life, since it makes you appreciate what you do have.  And, in a pilot wife's case, gratitude can also help you through a hard time, like your husband having to work a holiday.  Yes, Steve has to work Thanksgiving this year and it sucks (I don't think him working a holiday will ever be easy) but I am thankful that he has a job and is working.

Sometimes it isn't always easy to find gratitude, but it is important to realize the good you have in your life.  And when you do realize the good you have in your life, you will be happy and set with the right attitude to tackle anything that comes your way and enjoy your life to the fullest!

** as a total side, I can't believe it has been 2 months since my last blog post!  I have about 2 posts in the editing stages, and I seem to never find the time to finish and post my blogs.  Not to mention, the transition from the summer to school is always hard on me and that stole time away from blogging.  I hope it isn't another 2 months before I post again, and it really shouldn't be.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Can't turn it OFF

Last weekend, Steve went on a guys lake weekend.  As I explained in this blog post, I was trying my hardest not to be sour about it.  We are now a couple days past the lake weekend, and I am still quite sour.

I know Steve deserve these weekends.  It is tradition.  How dare I get in the way of this great weekend of his.  I keep telling myself these thoughts, but it isn't helping.

Monday afternoon I was talking with a co-worker about it, and we started on a train of thought.  Sunday, when the kids and I got home from our weekend at an amusement park, Steve was sleeping on the couch. Surprise, surprise.  He woke up as we entered the house, and rose up pretty quickly to welcome us.

All you pilot wives know how cranky the pilot can be when he is sleep deprived, so you can totally sense the mood I was encountered by.  He was doing his best, but I would tell his mood was off.  I hated that his weekend wasn't one of those "what happens in X stays in X."  Because he sure brought X home with him.

Like a good pilot wife, I bit my lip.  Steve played with the kids, and I headed out to the screened porch to enjoy a couple drinks.

The world was good for a brief moment.  I thought that the worst was behind us, and I could move on.

I was wrong.

I forget the exact chain of events, but at one point the kids and I went outside to outside.  The kids were getting their helmets on, and, as typical for Cici, she started throwing a fit.

Steve lost it on her.

I lost it on Steve.

How dare he be away from the kids for two nights, and come home and scold her for throwing a fit, all within an hour of being together again.  Shouldn't he be recharged after this weekend? Shouldn't he be a better father and spouse after being recharged?

The previous day, I was the one that battled 90 degree heat, and heavy crowds, at an amusement park.

What was Steve doing on Saturday afternoon, after fixing the A/C on the boat?  Pool bar.  I was the one dealing with Cici and her sassy attitude for two days straight, in hot temperature to boot, yet once he had the first taste of her fit he loses it.

And here is the train of thought my co-worker and I was talking about...when Steve comes in and out of our lives so much, I expect him to step into our line and our life.  This doesn't always happen.  And when it doesn't happen, it sucks.  When he interrupts our schedule, this is where I think "go back where you came from."  Sometimes life is easier when it is just the three of us.  The kids and I are in our groove.  We get each other.  We know each other.  It is us 100% of the time.  Most times he steps into our groove...our line, our life.  But, sometimes he doesn't.  When he doesn't step in our groove, and actually agitates it, that is when it sucks the most.

After talking it out with my co-worker, I thought maybe that would help.  Maybe the fact that Steve didn't step into our line is why I was still sour.  Nope. Talking it out didn't help.  Still sour.

Monday evening was full.  I got home late from a busy day of work, and was able to unwind a bit.  I did some yoga while the kids watched something on Netflix.  Then we went to the bank, then the store to get a necklace for me, and then to the grocery store.  Only to come home quickly and change before Cici's last soccer practice/game of the season.  Once we got home, it was about 8p.  It was a quick shower for the kids, and I made a mish-mosh dinner for the kids.  Mish-mosh is basically a bunch of random quick things.  Tonight they had baguette with hummus, cucumbers, and cantaloupe.  As I was preparing Cici's second helping of baguette with hummus, I had another thought about why I am still sour.

Perhaps I am still sour because there is no OFF button for a mother, more so a pilot wife.

I am always ON.  I am ON both when Steve is gone and home.  When he is gone, I have to be ON.  When he is home, I think that I am just so conditioned to being ON that I can't flip a switch.

As a matter of fact, Sunday night after the kids settled into their pajamas and started watching a movie, I headed into the kitchen.  Steve grabbed me, gave me a hug, and asked me if I was going to be able to unwind "because I had been wound up all evening."

Yeah, I was fucking wound up.  I got home from a busy weekend, to relax for a second, and then it was ON the rest of the evening.  We went on a walk.  I drank salty water from our broken water softener, which then prompted a trip to Target to buy six gallons of water.  Then it was home to make dinner for the kids. Even though Steve said the we would go out before he left for the weekend, as a way to make Sunday easier for me.  Then it was a load of laundry. Then it was pajamas. Then it was cleaning up. Then I asked Steve to put the kids down.  I think that is when I finally "unwound."

So, maybe that is why I am still sour...because Steve CAN unwind. Because he has the ability to turn it all OFF.  I can't do that.

Steve was texting me Friday night and Saturday morning and was actually responding to all the pictures I was sending him.  Then, his responses stopped.  He was obviously involved in something else.  I used to be bothered when Steve would be unresponsive to my texts when he was on the road, but then a wise pilot told me that I shouldn't expect responses.  Just send them, and know he loves them, and not expect a response. I have grown to be okay with Steve being unresponsive on the road.  But, I wanted a fucking response this time around, and I wasn't getting them.  This adding fuel to my already sour fire.  This just goes to show you that he is able to turn it all OFF when he is away.

The last time I went out for the night was to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday.  Her husband put together a great night including hotel, limo, and dancing.  It was a great night.  I had a great time.  But, as the room was spinning at the club, all I could think of was "you better stop have X, Y, and Z to do tomorrow,"  I am sure X,Y, and Z included things like laundry shopping for household stuff, cooking, ect.  Sure enough, I was home by 9:30a the next morning.  I just can't turn OFF.  I just can't.  Maybe it is the mother in me...maybe it is the pilot wife in me.

Perhaps the timing of it all created the perfect storm, as I currently feel like I fucking do everything all the fucking time.  I know you pilot wives can relate...where it feels like it is all you...all the time.  And all you want is a fucking break.  But, you don't get one.  You never get one.  You just have to suck it up, go forth and be the pilot wife you know - doer of all...all the fucking time.


The reality of our life is that "this, too, shall pass."  As the days pass, the less sour I get.  The more distance I have from the weekend the better.  The fact that Steve was away a couple days for work has been a good thing.  I needed the distance.  Pilot wife perk, perhaps?  Quite soon, our world will be back to normal.

The reason I have been so blunt and so thorough regarding this guys lake week is to just put it all on the table.  Time and time again I get people telling me how great it is that I am so real on my blog.  That is one of the best compliments.  I make a point to be real...I make a point to be real because I know that I am not the only one going through this.  To relate to someone else helps validate your feelings.  And in this crazy-ass aviation lifestyle shit, we need all the support we can get.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My tongue is gonna be sore after biting it all weekend

Steve's Father has a boat, which he keeps on a large lake.  As long as I have know Steve, his Father has had a boat.  He started out with a Sea Ray, and now has a Marinette.  Boating is something that I have come into, and something that I have really grown to love.

As long as I have known Steve, I have known about this guys weekend at the boat.  Steve, his Father, and his buddies, get together annually for a weekend on the boat to talk, drink, and catch up since everyone lives in different cities and states.

When Ben was just a couple of weeks old, Steve enjoyed his lake weekend.
When Cici was just a couple of weeks old, Steve enjoyed his lake weekend.

Just sayin'

In the past I have been very accommodating to this lake weekend, Steve asks for one weekend a year to go away, and I have to respect that. Right? Right.

A couple years ago I blogged about a certain lake weekend, that happened to fall over my 32nd birthday: 
When Steve planned this year's lake weekend, I was made aware of the weekend after the plans were already in motion.  There was no going back once I caught wind of the details.  When I first learned of the date of the lake weekend, despite it falling over my birthday. it didn't sting so badly because we had so much going on with moving.  My mind was occupied with other things.  As the date approached, my side of the family decided to have a weekend at an indoor waterpark. We would have fun, too!
On Friday afternoon, Ben, Cici and I loaded into the car, picked up my Aunt and headed down to my sister's house.  On Saturday we headed to the water park, and had a fabulous time.  It really was great!  Ben was not afraid of anything, and just had a wonderful time.  We got home, ate take out, and had some delicious birthday cake - complete with 32 candles.  Overall, it was a great way to spend my birthday.
At one point at the water park, my Sister, Nephew, Ben and I were sitting in the hot tub to warm up.  I looked over at my Sister and said "you know, I was getting over this whole lake weekend thing, but now I am upset again.  We are having a great time and Steve is missing it. This is just one more thing that Steve is missing from our lives." 
So, here is the conundrum: Steve is already gone a lot with work, so how is he able to leave us again, willingly, for his fun.  However, this is one weekend a year he always does, so I have to give him that.  Right?
How do I handle this?  How do I get over Steve being gone again, when this one weekend a year is all he asks?  How do I tell Ben that Daddy is gone again because he is at the lake for fun?  When Ben says "I want to go to the lake, too" how do I answer that?  How can I balance this? 
I am asking all the questions because I really don't know.  I really don't know how to handle this.  I am upset about this weekend, but I don't really want to be.
I know some people are probably thrilled when their spouse is away.  You can watch whatever tv you want, you have an entire bed to yourself, you can eat cereal for dinner if you want.  But, things are different when you are married to a pilot.  Having your pilot home is cherished time, mostly. Having your pilot away from home is dreaded, mostly.  It isn't fair that Steve goes away again, and leaves me home with the kids again. Is it?
Oh, the life of a pilot's wife!

Since I posted that blog post, I read a book that gave me good perspective on this.  The full post about the book is here: How To Be A Better Pilot Wife.  The part of the blog post that pertains to this post is here:
Now, as for the extra time away from home, this I still struggle with a bit.  With Steve being gone 4-days a week I have the hardest time accepting him being gone even more time away...especially if it is for something that is extracurricular.   
However, after reading Dr. Laura's book I know understand why Steve needs time away, and I am working on really making myself ok with his extracurricular time away.  He needs the extracurricular time away just like you need that quiet trip to Target with your coffee in hand.  He needs it like you need your girls nights out.  What you expect FROM him, you should also GIVE to him. 

Each and every time you have alone time, it is bettering you as a person...which in turn will better your relationship.  Pre-Dr. Laura's book, I hated that Steve was headed up to the lake for his "guys weekend".  I hated that he was going to be gone...again...and that I was going to have to be solo with the kids...again.  I didn't put up a stink up-front, because I knew Steve deserved it.  But, it still sucked and I know Steve knew, deep down, I wasn't totally pleased.  Well, after Dr. Laura's book, I am actually encouraging Steve to do these things.  As a matter of fact, he will shortly be making a trip to Florida to visit his soul brother (I swear these two were split from the same egg or something).

He is a college friend that is his best friend.  I have blogged about him before in Pilot Dork.  Well anyway, Steve will be joining his buddy and I am encouraging him.  I know they are going to get into shenanigans and act like they are 21 again...and that is good!  Steve will come back hopefully not too hungover refreshed and happy.
Perhaps I need to read the book again, as I am struggling with this lake weekend thing this summer.  It is happening this weekend.  This time around, Steve was planning the date for this weekend as I was planning the annual amusement park trip with my side of the family.  Occupational hazard of not communicating every day.  By the time Steve and I exchanged calendar events, we noticed the overlap.

On Friday, after Steve drives the boat out to the islands, he will be sipping, lounging, and having fun.  What will I be doing Friday?  I have to work my normal hours, which will be extra busy since it is the last day of the month.  When I get home from work, I will need to leave right away.  I will load the kids and our crap into the car, and set off on our four hour drive.  We will get to the amusement park around 8p, that is if we don't make any stops, and we will stay until the fireworks around 10p.  The next day will be filled with sun, rides, heat, pop and funnel cakes.  If you are a parent you know how taxing a park can be, and it will be all me managing the kids.  I am a pilot wife, I am used to this by now.  Yes, my family will be there, which is great, but having family help isn't the same as having your husband there.

By the time we come home on Sunday, I am sure I will be super exhausted.  Long, hot days will have gotten the better of me.  I am sure Steve will be exhausted too, from the late nights and beverage consumption. Typically, he will get home from the lake weekend, plop on the bed or in a chair, and nap for a while.  I am going to be the one needing a nap this time around.

Yeah, maybe I need to read that book again to remind me to be gracious about this lake weekend because I am really struggling with it.  I think only a pilot wife can understand these feelings.  Was Dr. Laura a pilot wife?  She couldn't have been.

Yeah yeah, I know that when Steve is gone, he is working.  I am thankful for his work, because his occupation affords us a nice life.  I know that Steve would rather be home than working.  I know that being on the road isn't all fun and games.  But, I still can't help be salty about this upcoming weekend.

The man is out of our lives so much already, that adding even just a couple extra days a year really is hard to deal with.  He misses so much of our lives already. and to miss yet another thing is a hard pill to swallow.  Maybe I don't mind these lake weekends so much when the kids and I have no plans.  When our days our ordinary it isn't like he is missing all that much.  When he misses these moments, that is when it stings.

At this point, all I can say is that he better come home on Sunday with the biggest fucking bouquet of flowers.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I can't get enough of you

Poor Steve...he married a woman whose love language is physical touch.

If you haven't read about the Five Love Languages, you need to read it now.  In short there are five love languages: physical touch, acts of kindness, words of affirmation, gifts, and quality time.  One, or a combination of a couple, is the love language that speaks to you.  For me, being touched by Steve is how I feel his love for me.  When he touches me, he fills my love tank.  When my love tank is full, I am happy.  

Steve's love language is acts of kindness.  When I do kind things for him, I fill his love tank.  When his love tank is full, he is happy.

This is precisely why I try my hardest to make a point to have a clean house and a good meal when he gets home.  I know that makes him happy.

If you want to read about an empty love tank, and Steve drilling into his finger, check out this previous post:

Let's all remember something here - Steve is gone anywhere from 3 to 4 days a week, flying the friendly skies.  With this absence, one could easily understand how hard it is for me to get my love tank filled.

But, I have learned through the years how to work through a love tank that is starting to drain...I basically can't stop touching him when he gets home.

Perhaps some guys would like the constant touch from a woman, but keep in mind that Steve's love language is NOT physical touch.  He just wants my shoes to be put away at the end of the day...that is good enough for his love tank.  He knows what I need, so he is very accommodating.

But, picture this, the poor guy just spent 3-4 days pretty much alone. And yet the second he walks into the door I can be all over him.  I always greet Steve when he gets home.  Sometimes I sort of wave from afar as he enters the house.  While other times, I basically jump on him the second he steps into the house.  I can be very grabby and probably quite suffocating.  Greetings like this usually lead to an evening where I sleep on top of him.  I guess our positioning is more cuddling, where I am laying my head on that sweet spot on his chest. But, my legs are all over his.  The poor guy just slept the last number of nights alone in a bed, and here I am trying to get my love tank filled by trying to make every inch of my body touch every inch of his body.  The poor guy...I am about 6 feet tall and weigh about 160 pounds.  That is a lot of weight to be on top of you when trying to sleep.

The catalyst for this blog post was the other morning when I was leaving for work. He just got in the night before.  As I was leaving for work I gave him a big hug, probably grabbed his ass, and said "I can't get enough of you."  And that was the truth of it, I just needed more of him.

Now, perhaps that is a physical touch/love thank thing, or perhaps it is a pilot wife thing.  Having moments where you can't get enough of your man when he is home may definitely be a pilot wife thing...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Stress of a pilot wife


Stress is just horrible for your body.  I know that.  I read books that make this point, and it actually scares me.  I try to keep stress out of my life.  I eat well.  I practice yoga. I get massages, although those usually happen when stress settles into an exact point on my back.  I get regular chiropractic care. I get my girl time. I get my me time. My husband satisfies me, if you know what I mean.  Blogging even helps relieve some stress, when necessary.  I have thought about getting into meditation lately.  However, I think stress may always follow a pilot wife.  Nature of the beast, I suppose.  

Despite my best efforts, I am still stressed.  Today was a perfect example of the stress I feel as a pilot wife.  As is typical for a Wednesday, Steve was on a trip and I was working my usual hours.  What wasn't typical for my typical day was double my work.  I won't go into details about my job, but just know I had about double my work...that needed to be done in my short 5 1/2 hour work day.  I was so focused today with my tasks, that my knees actually hurt by the end of the day. Meaning, I barely got up from my desk.

It was about 2pm, and I knew I had at least an hour+ of work left.  Problem is that I leave at 3p.  STRESS!  I have to be home in time to get Ben off the bus. 

I leave every day from work at 3pm.  I pick Cici up from daycare at 3:30p, so that we are home by 3:55p.  I am crazy punctual, so I make sure I get home at this time because Ben gets off the bus anywhere from 4:15-4:25.

All the while I am working, I am thinking to myself that I wasn't going to finish my work by 3pm.  I needed to alter our routine this afternoon. I was working fast so that I could keep our routine...humans are creatures of habit, after all.  But, every 10 minutes I would look up from my task, notice I still had x pages of work to go through, and then realize keeping our routine probably wasn't going to happen.

Steve called me at 2:56p, hmm...he didn't sleep that much after his red-eye, and I picked up the phone basically saying "hey I am crazy busy.  I will call you back in a bit."

I finished up my work, which took another 30 minutes.  I left work 30 minutes late.  I went directly home, got Ben off the bus, and then he and I went to pick Cici up from school.  Cici is very much "go with the flow" so she wasn't bothered at the least with this change in routine.

The stress I was feeling was because it was ME that needed to be home for Ben.  I can't call Steve and say "honey, I am running late. Can you be home for the kids?"  Nope...all me.  When I have my work obligations that extend past my work day, I get stressed.  The above is a perfect example of stress for the working pilot wife.

Oh, while we are talking about Cici and school, let me talk about another stress point in my life lately.  My car.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that I have been chirping lately about my displeasure with my car.  The car is a 2010. It has about 78K miles on it.  It is in the shop too much.  And a repair isn't just one visit, but three visits.  So, it is like triple the service appointments.

Buick service records for the last two years (on left)
BMW service records for the last two years (on right)

The latest issue happened last week.  Instead of leaving work at 3p, I left at 3:15p. I have learned this is the exact latest time I can leave work, and still get home in time for Ben to get off the bus.  I knew I had to be quick, quick, quick, in order to get home in time for Ben.  I picked up Cici from school, and when we got into the car I went to start the car...problems. It wouldn't start.

Instant STRESS!

I immediately called my neighbor, and as we were arranging for her to get Ben off the bus, the car started.  Thank the good Lord!

On our ride home, I called Steve.  I don't recall where he was, but he was in for the day.  I told him what issue I had.  I told him that our car shopping needed to go from the back burner to the front burner,  I had been test driving cars for the last two months, or so.  He didn't say a word.

I know he knew what needed to be done, but the "cheap pilot" in him was fighting it a bit.  This is when I just stay quiet and let his mind think.  There are a lot of hours to think up in a cockpit, and knowing that I have a car that has grown unreliable would be very much on his mind.

Fast forward a couple days when he was home.  I was preparing Ben's typical egg burrito for breakfast as Steve was trying to talk car with me.  Really? I am getting the kids off to school and you want to talk cars? I forget the exact details, but I was actually getting upset.  I was about to cry over the eggs.  I told him I needed to stop the conversation because I wasn't about to get upset over a fucking car.

There are real problems in life.  We just put our beloved dog down.

My boss was affected by a tragic event at his son's school. Lives were taken too early.  A dear co-worker lost her pregnancy at 12 week. These are real problems...these are the things to cry over.  I was not going to get upset over a car. A fucking car.

Steve thought about things.  I thought about things.  We talked.  We ultimately decided on a Toyota.  Steve drives a BMW.  It is his third.  Mark my words, he will always drive a BMW because he just loves the brand that much.  I did test drive the X5, but it was just too small for me.  I am 6'1. Steve is 6'1.  My 7 year old son is already 54" tall.  We are tall people, and I need a car that will accommodate our tall asses.  So, I went with the two brands that you rarely hear complaints about, Honda and Toyota.  We drove the Odyssey and Pilot, which were both great.  We drove the Highlander and the Sienna, which were both great.  But, the Highlander actually got me excited.  So, we went with that.

I am thankful that Steve was willing to put aside any "cheap pilot" stereotype and make me stress free.  It is quite possible that he had a bit of stress from the car, traveling husband wants to get the call from his wife that her car won't start.

You know, there are days where, at the end of the day, I am all "I totally have this pilot wife thing down.  I am superstar.  I am doing great.  The house is perfect, the kids are happy, and my pilot is coming home to a hot meal.

And then there are days where I am drowning, where laundry is piled up and Steve comes home to me saying "are you hungry? I can make you a sandwich."  Moments later I will pass out on the couch from the sheer exhaustion of being a single parent for the previous three days.  These are the days where life just get too busy, and it takes a lot of effort to deal.  These are the stressful days.

I wear a night guard when I sleep.

Sexy, I know.  I wear it because I grind my teeth at night, which is wearing away my enamel.  Why do I grind? Stress.

 I have PVCs (premature ventricular contractions).  My heart will prematurely fire, stop to reset itself, and then send out a hard kickstart beat to get the rhythm set right.  Why do I think I have them? Stress.  

I have physical effects from the stress in my life.  One of the "perks" of being married to a pilot, I suppose.

Steve and I celebrate our wedding anniversary this month (12 years).  I have been a mother for nearly eight years.  You would think that I would have this pilot wife/mother thing down by now.  Nope.  Still working on it.  I am pretty good at it, if I may say so.  But, there are moments where it gets the better of me.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Men think in series. Women think in parallel.

Do you have the gift cards?

Of course, I answered.

I had the Cheesecake Factory gift card, along with the Cold Stone Creamery gift card.

Steve, however, was referring to the $150 in Disney gift cards.  He didn't specify Disney when he asked me about the "gift cards" before we left home for vacation.

When this error in communication was discovered in the hotel, five minutes before we left for the Magic Kingdom, Steve and I sure did exchange a number of heated words.

Your Mom was the one to gift us the Disney cards, so you were in charge of those! I repeated.

What do you think I meant by gift cards...when we were going to...Disney?!

As if I didn't have any other things to handle before we left?! 

And this is where the pilot wife stuff enters...

Steve and I now recall this morning argument with grins on our faces.  As a matter of fact, we recalled this argument the other night with friends.  I have blogged about this guy before (Pilot Dork)...he is totally Steve's soul brother from another mother. He is an aerospace engineer.  He is also a pilot, although I am not sure how current he is.

So, as we were replaying this argument to Mr. Aerospace Engineer, he chimed in with his thoughts...which is totally the motivation for this post.

Mr. AE states that men think in series and woman think in parallel.

When Mr. AE travels for work, he makes sure to bring his cell phone, his credit card, and his boarding pass.  Anything that may have been left behind, contact solution for example, can be bought.

Whereas women think of everything: cell phone, credit card, boarding pass, nail clippers, hair mousse, razors, rain ponchos, swim shoes, sun screen, hair ties, brushes, ect.

And my response to this was "um, yeah we have to think of everything!"

Of course this is a mother thing, but I think this is even more fitting because I am a pilot wife.

Why is it more fitting for the pilot wife? Because we have to fucking think of everything, all.the.fucking.time...and, most of the time without our spouses involvement.

Let's face facts, generally speaking Steve is gone anywhere from 42% to 57% of the week. This leaves me a lot of time as being a single mother.  It is all me when he is gone, and because of this I have to think of everything.

Let me share another story with you, folks.  A couple of years ago Steve took part in a wonderful tribute dedicated to the person who started the flight program at his University.  A number of University planes did formation flying over a reception that was taking place for the man.  Steve was flying in the formation, so I thought it would be neat for the kids to see it.  I loaded the kids in the car, and off we went to select a great viewing spot.

Great viewing spot was found.  We got out of the car, place blankets on the ground, and our potty training son started to have some GI distress.  Ok.  Loaded back into the car, drove to the nearest toilet, only to discover that said distress had passed.

Ok.  Back in the car. Back to great viewing spot.  GI distress starts up again, but this time it was fast.  Our son made quite the mess, a couple of times.  I blew through the spare pants, and the spare diaper I had for him.  He ended up wrapped in a blanket by the time everything was said and done.

Fortunately, amidst all this commotion we were still able to see the formation, which was very cool.  But, because of all this I now carry a little potty when we go places where I know a toilet won't be near.  I never want to be in a situation again like I was.  Steve thinks I am nuts since the kids are well past potty training age, and scoffs every time I load the potty in the car.  I simply want to be prepared.

Because pilot wives are conditioned to being a single mother a lot, we make sure we are prepared by thinking of everything.  And with that comes a pilot who is conditioned to a wife that does everything...everything accept bringing the damn Disney gift cards.

**said gift cards have since been book our next Disney cruise.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Superpower

Do you want to know what my super power is?

Well, maybe it isn't a super power, but it is something that I do that I think is pretty cool.  Some may say weird.  There are certain people that I come across in a regular day where, in my mind, I instantly form their entire life.  All within a couple seconds I think of: where they live, what their family dynamic is, what their job is, what social circle they are in, ect.  

I don't work my super power on everyone, just the people that strike me so.  I would say this happens maybe once a month, or so.  The latest was just this evening, as we were driving home after Cici's dance class.

Let me set the picture a bit before I go into my super power experience from tonight.  Steve left for a trip yesterday, and I miss him like crazy.  There are a couple factors that play into that.  He was off for 17 days straight at the beginning of the month.  He really knows how to bid, and with vacation this month he was able to maximize his schedule.  During that 17 days we had a great vacation, and you know how hard it is to have your man leave after a high.

In addition to his 17 days off, he only had two days off between his last 4-day and this one.  To the non-aviation people reading this post and think "well, I am only off for two days, Saturday and Sunday...that should be plenty of time": you can kiss my ass.  And Steve's ass, and all the other aviation people that side with me.  Two days are just not enough time to reconnect with your pilot, nor him reconnect with his family.  

To boot, Steve left for this trip on a Sunday.  Him working on Sunday is always the hardest day of the week for him to be gone.  Sunday is a family day, not a day to spend apart from your partner.  And to top this all off, we had really good sex the night before he left for this last trip.  Talk about leaving after a high, which makes it all the harder to say goodbye. 

So as I established, I was missing Steve like crazy.  There has been a constant chatter in my head, over the last couple days, about how I missed Steve and couldn't wait until he got home.  When a pilot wife has that chatter in her head, she carries a melancholy mood to her. She may play certain songs. Mine being Van Morrison, Sweet Thing, at the moment.  Maybe she will send more texts than usual to her man.

Or, maybe she will see something and work her super power...

After Cici's dance class, the kids and I piled into the car and set off for home.  I made the comment, as we were leaving the parking lot, that it was still light out.  What a wonderful sign that Spring is right around the corner, despite the -5F temperatures.  I took a right out of the parking lot, onto the main road.

We passed the pizza place where we ordered from Friday night.  Steve was home Friday, and due to the cancellation of Polish School for the kids, we had friends over.  The kids played while the adults talked and drank beer.  It was a really nice evening.  

As I made a point of the pizza place, I noticed a man walking to his car holding a pizza box.  This is where my super power kicked in.  In a matter of seconds, this man's life played out in my mind.

It was 6:23p.  He was driving a late model Jeep Grand Cherokee.  He was wearing a long wool dress coat, black.  If he wasn't wearing a suit underneath, he was at least wearing a tie.  His hair was dark, and conservatively styled.  The town we live in is full of middle/upper management types, and I immediately pinned him as just that.  His wife stays at home.  She called him at 4p, totally freaking out.  She was having a really bad day with the kids, and just needed to talk it out.  His remedy to the situation? "Honey, I will stop on my way home and get a pizza for dinner.  That way you won't have worry about fixing dinner. I will be home by 6:30."

This made me miss Steve that much more.

I want to be able to call Steve and have him come to the rescue, and know it will only be a matter of hours, until I see him again.  

This made me wish I had a husband home every night.

This made me sad that my husband isn't home every night.

Us pilot wives think this...more often than one may think.

When I was a little girl I never thought that I wanted to be married to the man of my dreams...who happened to be gone four days a week.  I always thought that I would be married to a man that worked 9-5, just like my Father worked.  I thought my life would be just like the dynamic that I grew up with.

Steve and I have been married for almost 13 years now.

Quite often, I used to wish that my husband was home every night.  Now, I think about it from time to time, mostly when I miss him.  I am sure that through the years, this questioning will be even more infrequent.

I think it is all a matter of adjustment...adjustment from what I thought married life was going to be like, to what married life actually is when married to an airline pilot.

The adjustments started shortly after I met Steve.

When Steve and I started dating, it was all fun and exciting, which was enough to overshadow any issues about dating a pilot.  The adjustments were little at first, like missing a date night because he was delayed 3 hours.  Over the next couple of months and years, as our relationship grew, adjustments were made to what I thought were normal relationship dynamics.

Can't make it to my sorority dance? Ok. 

You won't be around for Friday night date night? Sucks.  How about Monday night?

Wait, you are going to miss Christmas? Crap.

You better work your bidding magic to get our wedding off! 

I'm ovulating. and you aren't around. Trying will have to wait until next month. 

Honey, I am having contractions.  You better call your chief pilot and get home!

You are going to miss his first birthday. 

Little by little I grew to really grasp Steve presence, and lack thereof, in my life.  Over time, you learn to adjust to being with a pilot.   Little by little you manage the life that is in front of you. You learn how to cope.  Little by little, your reality unfolds. Little by little, you grow to accept this as your life.

Even though I accept this as my life, I still question it...especially on a night where you have a picture perfect example of a family where the husband is home every night staring you in the face, and all you want is to have your husband home.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Disney Wonder 2015

We recently got back from a wonderful trip.  We went to Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and then a 5-day Disney cruise on the Disney Wonder, out of Port Miami.

All in all, it was a great trip.  The fact that we went to the Magic Kingdom for a day added stress on my shoulders, because there was just that much more planning involved.  But, it was worth it.  

Here is a brief outline of our trip:

Day 1: flew into MCO. 

Rented a car from Sixt. Overall, everything was great with this company.  We ultimately picked this company because they had a drop off location in downtown Miami.  And a $12 taxi fare later, we were right at the Disney terminal.  That couldn't have worked out better.

The one thing, however, is the car (Honda Accord) was beat up a bit.  I actually took pictures of the dings so that I could prove, if need be, that they were there before we drove the car.

That night we stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Lake Buena Vista.  I used points for the hotel, so we were looking for a good value.  This place had free parking, and a nice hot breakfast in the morning.  The drive to the park was about 15-20 minutes, but that was okay.  That night we ate dinner at Mexican joint that was right next to the hotel.  It was nice to be able to walk to a restaurant, so both Steve and I could enjoy a cocktail or two.

Day 2: Magic Kingdom.  Got to the park around 9am, and stayed until the fireworks at 8p.  We got back to the hotel around 9p.  Stayed again at Fairfield Inn & Suites. 

It's a Small favorite! 

Jungle Cruise selfie

After a long day, back on the Monorail, back to the parking lot.  

Day 3: We drove to Miami, and stayed at Courtyard Miami Lakes.  We thought about doing an airboat tour on the Everglades, but the weather was a bit spotty.  Instead, we just swam at the pool.  We had a great first floor room that had a slider out into the pool area.  Really nice and convenient. 

That evening we drove about 15 minutes to a nice outdoor shopping area.  Steve needed water shoes, and they had a DSW.  Also, we had a Cheesecake Factory gift card to use, and they had one there. It all worked out great.

Day 4: The Cruise!  I discovered I broke my favorite sunglasses, so we had to make a detour to Marshall's so that I could get a new pair.  Have you ever driven in MIA?  Holy shit, the highways are confusing.  It was cool, however, to drive on the highway right next to the airport! 

We finally got onto the ship around 1p, and headed right up to eat, drink, and swim!  Well, the kids swam while Steve and I drank beer.

What was your favorite thing about the cruise, Ben?
The ice cream!

Setting sail selfie

Day 5: Day at Sea, and Pirate Night

Morning snuggles

movie poolside
Ready for the pool

pirate night
Nice photo bomb, Steve!

seemingly thrilled about pirate night

Day 6: Grand Cayman

This is a tender port, and thankfully the seas were fine and we were able to get there.

We did the Dolphin Adventure excursion.  Highly recommend it!  It started with a tour of a green sea turtle farm.  I love turtles, so it was just so neat for me!

We then went across the street to where we got in the water with the dolphins.  Since the kids are so young, and aren't strong swimmers yet, we went with the low key excursion.  We all got to touch the dolphin, Esmeralda, and do some tricks with her.  Being so close to such a beautiful creature was really amazing.  We also got these great pictures, at a bargain price of $35 each.

After we got back to the ship, the kids got some pool time.

And that evening, Ben tried escargot!

Day 7: another day at sea. The kids had some time at the lab and club, while Steve and I had some time at the adult area of the ship.

The evening concluded with the formal night.  Well, I say formal night...Steve counted, and at dinner there were only three males wearing jackets, and Steve and Ben were two of the three.  I really don't understand why people don't get dressed up anymore.

Cici was too busy dancing to get into the picture

Day 8: Castaway Cay
But, due to the 37 knot winds they were not able to dock the ship.  After four attempts, they decided to abort.  So, another day at sea.

After the Captain made the announcement, I immediately thought of Renewed Pilot's Blog post about the exact same subject: Do You Believe Me?

I spent the day in shorts and a fleece, so the weather really wasn't ideal for swimming.  We watched a movie, took a fat nap, and just enjoyed the last day on the ship.

Day 9: Travel day back home.  Flew out of FLL.  And lucky us got our seat assignments when we checked out bags!  I mean, how freakin' awesome!  I think there were 88 open seats that flight.  That never happens, and made for a very relaxing trip home.  So relaxing, as a matter of fact, that Steve was dozing even before we took off.  I don't even think the cabin door was shut yet when I took this picture:

Steve did wake up when we were taking off. I love these picture of can see the awe and magic in her face as we were speeding down the runway and then lifting off into the friendly skies:

Another great trip on the Disney Wonder.  As a matter of fact, we have already booked our next cruise!  We are doing 7-nights on the Disney Fantasy next winter.  We have turned into the biggest Disney Cruise fans!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I was 15-years-old when I first stepped foot onto an airplane.

The second time? My second date with Steve, when I was 20.

Our children's first time on a plane? I think they were both around a year old.

guess that air train

first class? um, sure! 

savvy traveler

actually studying the instruction card - their first international leg

Our children are lucky as hell that Daddy is an airline pilot.  In their young lives (ages five and seven), they already have quite a number of stamps in their passports already.

The kids have been on: two cruises (about to be three)

Canada, Poland, and Slovakia.

In addition to the travel just mentioned, we have made multiple trips to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean, and one trip to DC.  These kids know travel.  They know the difference between a city, a state, a country, and a continent.  They know different languages are spoken in different countries.  For this, I am proud.  This surely is one of the perks of being married to an airline pilot.  Wanderlust...what a great thing!!!  This is something that has come to me, and I hope the same for our children!  Travel is one of the greatest gifts.  

In preparation for our upcoming trip, I was making arrangements with our neighbors to watch our dogs.  We got into a conversation about travel and kids, which is the spark for this blog post.  

When I was a little kid we didn't travel all.

My Father immigrated from Poland in the 70's. My oldest sister was born quickly. and then my older sister was born quickly.  And then, yours truly came along so fast that my Mother didn't announce her pregnancy to family for a good while.  My parents had a lot on their plate in those first number of years, and not a lot of money.  Travel wasn't really on their radar.  I am being honest-to-goodness serious when I say that I can count our family trips on one hand.

When I was in grade school we loaded up the family station wagon and headed out to Maryland and DC.  That was the first time I heard the roar of the ocean.  The only other lasting memory of that trip was the extreme, and I mean extreme, sunburn we all got.  The sun blisters above my Father's lip was the reason he grew out the mustache he still wears to this day.

I went to Walt Disney World when I was in the 8th grade.  We drove.  I am from small town USA, and I remember getting into the eight-lane highways in Atlanta and thinking this was the most confusing thing I have ever seen. 

Before my junior year in high school, my Sister and I joined my maternal Grandparents on a six-week trip to Poland.  As I stated above, this was the first time I rode on an airplane.  My Grandmother got me so excited about the flight..."there is a point over the Atlantic where outside one side of the plane is dark, and the other side is still light." ... "and after we land, everyone applauds the pilots."  I don't recall those things as much as I recall the constant hum of the engines, and the feeling that the plane was pitched up the entire flight.  I prayed Hail Marys at take off, and proceeded with the prayer for the next 10 minutes or so.  I still pray before every flight. 

My junior year in college, is when Steve and I met.  For our second date, Steve took me on a flight and then out to dinner.  I was actually in the freakin' jump seat!  Kinda cool, although I was freaked out a bit.  He was flying a Saab turbo prop at the time, and after they dropped off the passengers at a small airport, Steve and his CA had to fly the plane about 30 miles to the even smaller airport to get to the hangar.  Steve was the flying pilot, and was nervous as hell.  He is a very competent pilot, but I sure did shake his nerves.  I doubt he would admit this, he isn't one to be all lovey-dovey eww-e-goo-e, but I do believe it was love at first sight for him.  So, on that second date he was really smitten with me...and he really didn't want to fuck up the landing.  I still remember what he chinos and a plaid short sleeved button down.  

2 weeks after I graduated University, I took to the friendly skies again, and this time it was for Peace Corps.  I served in Europe, and I traveled extensively in Slovakia.  I traveled into Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic a bit.  I think Peace Corps was really the thing that fueled my wanderlust...being with a pilot only helped.

Once I got home from Peace Corps, Steve was working at a regional carrier.  We settled down and eventually got married.  Over the years we have traveled a lot.  We have done anything from cruises to Poland to Paris to Switzerland to the Caribbean.  Sometimes with the kids, sometimes without them.

Alaskan cruise, circa 2006

Ben - Spis Castle, Slovakia

Train travel - a must in Europe

What is Krakow without a visit with the pigeons! 

St. John - heaven on earth



Rick's Cafe, Jamaica
Yes, that is Steve jumping.


As I mentioned, we are about to leave on another cruise.  We will be sailing the Disney Wonder again.  You can read about our first trip here: Pilot Wives Making Things User Friendly.  I hope this post inspires you to get out and travel!  And if you have travel privileges...use them!  This really is one of the best perks about being with the airlines...and makes this whole aviation lifestyle worth it.