Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wanderlust

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 much...at 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 wore...navy 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

Paris

Switzerland



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

Jamaica 


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.




Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, I thought I would blog about my 2014 in review.  The good, the bad, the fun, the sad....


The sad?  My creative juices are very much not flowing right now..I think my veins are full of fat and sugar from all the not-usual foods in my diet as of late.  Because of this, I got these great thinking questions from here.  



1.  What do you wish you had done more of?


Relaxed.  Not lived by every.exact.minute.

But, as a pilot wife it isn't so easy to do.  When Steve is gone, and I have put the kids to bed, but yet they keep calling for me, I can't ignore them.  I wish I could stay on the couch with my glass of wine, but motherhood calls.

And when Steve is home?  Relaxing still doesn't happen.  When he is home, things are scheduled and things need done.  I am running the kids to a birthday party, or we are doing a family day at the museum.  We have to squeeze a full seven day week until a short three or four days...not too relaxing.


As for living by the minute...what time do I get off work? 3pm.  Exactly.  One minute late, and my drive home is thrown off.  I have to get Cici by 3:30p, leaving her school by 3:40p at the latest, so that I make it home to get Ben off the school bus at 4:15p. If I don't keep things to the minute, then I may not make it home to get Ben off the bus.

Ben has picked up on this "to the minute" behavior.  I need to stop being so exact...I don't want him to be hung up on exactness of minutes in life.


2. What do you wish you had done less of?

Stressed out.  

What do I stress about?  Work - client issues.  Home - when the kids act out.  Steve's 40th Birthday - planning took a lot of time.  Pilot wife - life is hard when you have little ones and your husband isn't always home.


And you know what stressed has done to me?  PVCs and teeth grinding.  My heart does these premature ventricular contractions (PVC) that make my pacer fire prematurely, then my heart stops, and then there is a kick-start beat to get it back into a rhythm.  It feels like a flip-flip in my chest...sometimes it feels like anxiety in my chest...sometimes it feels like my heart has stopped for that second and then I feel that pounding beat.  As for the teeth grinding, I now need a mouth guard.  I am wearing away the enamel on my teeth.  Steve says I grind my teeth in my sleep.  


3. Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life last year?

My children.  They, without a doubt, rule my life right now.  My day-to-day is scheduled around them and their needs.  This will continue until they are more capable of being independent.  

My Father-In-Law is the third person that has had the greatest impact on my life this last year.  He had a near death experience in May.  The MD said that "he was over the edge, and we brought him back."  It was scary and Steve was on a trip when it all went down.  I blogged about it here: First Time for Everything.  Because of the series of events, I have a constant reminder of how important health and wellness is to me and my family.  I have taken strides to make my family well and healthy, like eating the right foods and being active. 


4.  Did anyone close to you have an important milestone birthday?

You bet!  Steve turned 40.  I had been planning his party for a couple years, and I am serious about that.  It was a fantastic night, that went by too quickly.  He sure does age well!  
Steve with his Father and Sister.  See #3...so glad he was able to enjoy the evening with us!

fun night with friends!

with the birthday boy

3 pilots - all met in college -all turned 40 within days of one another



5. What vacations did you take or where did you visit last year?
Disney cruise 




Washington DC


White House selfie




Las Vegas  
Pool side at Caesar's 


Sandbridge, VA





6. What is one miracle you witnessed this year?
The miracle of modern medicine.  See #3. 



7. How did you spend your Sunday evenings this past year?
Glass of wine, in front of the tv watching our favorite shows (usually on Showtime, so Ray Donovan, Shameless, Homeland, ect). Steve used to fly out on Sunday, so to have him home on Sunday evening has been such a wonderful thing.  I don't take this evening for granted, that is for sure, since so many Sunday nights together were missed.


8.  What was your favorite meal?
I actually have two. 

The first thing that came to mind was the grilled octopus that we had at Milos in Vegas.  Outstanding.  I mean, just fantastic. But, that was just one dish in an otherwise overly stuffed evening.


The next thing that came to mind was Christmas Eve.  We are Polish, and Christmas Eve is a really big deal.  My parents hosted and it was the first time in about 5 years that all three sisters, and respective families, came.  5 years!  It was so great to have everyone together.  We had good conversation, good food, and good drink.  Let me just say that I was glad that I wasn't the sister that was hungover the next day.  



9. I am most thankful for...

My husband, my children, and our health.

Steve completes me.  Ok, Jerry McGuire.  But, it is true. My life is complete when he is home.  Our children bring me joy and truly fulfill my life.  Health...I think everyone understands that one.


10. What is the greatest lesson you have learned this year?

Who cares if people don't do things the way you do them.  
This goes to anything from raising children to relationships.  The sooner you realize that people do things differently, and that different is okay!, the better off you will be. 



Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2015!

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Cheating Pilot

When Steve and I started to date, I was a senior in college. I was young, didn't know squat about aviation, and I was falling for a pretty great guy.   He drove a nice car, always paid for dinner, always opened my car door, and treated me like a queen.  In my eyes, this guy was a great catch and I was excited to be in a relationship with him.   

The first wind I ever got of the stereotypical "cheating pilot" thing was while I was at work for my internship. Steve and I had been dating for only a month or so, at this point.  As we were waiting in a conference room for the meeting to start, I was making small talk with a colleague. I mentioned that Steve was a pilot and her response was, "oh you better be careful". Yeah, because you know so much about this man I am dating.  Little did she know that he was flying corporate at the time, with hardly an overnight on his schedule.  His day consisted of flying from point A to B, , waiting at point B for hours on end, and then back to A again.  All with the same Captain.  No flight attendants.  Little interaction with passengers...

And thus started the stereotypical 'pilots are cheaters' ... 


*****
I should add, Steve DID get laid on a trip once. Well, aside from the times where I joined him...

Back in 2010, Steve's pairing took him to Hawaii, and it was the first LAX to Maui flight on the 737.  Because of that, there was a bit of a to-do upon arrival; pictures were taken, and the whole crew got laid.

And you bet that when Steve got home from that trip he was all "I got laid."  Yeah, yeah honey, go on...

*****

Want to know my take on pilots and cheating?  Let me start with one fact.  Of ALL the pilots I know, which at this point in my life is a decent amount, I only know of one that has cheated.  One.  Let me repeat - one.

My point is: in average America, with the average pilot, he is not cheating on his wife.  So there you have it, any girlfriends out there that are worried about entering into a relationship with a pilot. 

The only cheating I know about, on a good handful of occasions I might add, is that pilot wives are the ones to cheat on their pilots.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, it would be quite easy for a pilot wife to cheat on a pilot.  

Take us for example, I know Steve's schedule and when he is due home.  I have multiple websites that track his flights. Hell, I even have ATC websites where I can get an audio confirmation that he is working a flight (if he is the non-flying pilot, of course).  If I call his phone and it goes straight to voicemail, I know he is in the air.  I can track his every move.  I, therefore, could plan carefully for an affair.  Let me add the fact that I have never cheated on Steve, nor do I have any intention to do so.

Have I ever worried about Steve cheating on me?  Never.  

Why don't I worry about him cheating on me?  Good question.

I have said over and over that I believe trust and communication are the two essentials for a successful marriage.  And just this past week I came to the realization that there is another essential when it comes to being married to a pilot. 

When it comes to being married to a pilot, a pilot wife must have high self-esteem. Weren't expecting that, were you?  Took me 11 years of marriage for this to dawn on me...   

I have high self-esteem.  Yes, I think highly of myself.  Now, don't think I am all cocky and high-and-mighty, because I am not. I am actually quite humble.  But, I do know I am good at what I do, and that I very competent.  I have had high self-esteem for as long as I can remember.  I have never struggled with this.  Ok, maybe I didn't think so highly of myself when I gained 60 pounds with each pregnancy and I felt like a cow.  But, that was short lived and passed.  I don't know why I have high self- esteem, but I consider myself fortunate since I know a lot of women struggle with this. Steve also helps with my self-esteem.  I know he loves and and desires me, and that sure does make a girl feel good about herself.

So, when it comes to being married to a pilot, you must have trust, communication, AND self-esteem.  (And here I thought the pilot was the one to have self-esteem. Six Typical Pilot Stereotypes

Trust, self-esteem, and communication are the essentials that give me what I need to know Steve won't cheat on me.  


- I have trust that Steve won't cheat on me.  Steve and I have had mutual trust from our first date, pretty much.  The trust we have in one another has always just come very easily for us.  From the beginning we set the standard and haven't strayed from it.  

- I trust that he will communicate with me if he starts thinking about straying.  I believe that cheating isn't only about sex.  I believe that cheating starts with being unhappy in a relationship.  If Steve is unhappy in our marriage, I trust that he would tell me he is unhappy.  We would fix it before it got to the point of cheating.  (And I am actually speaking from experience here.  There was once a low point in our marriage where I was unhappy and had thoughts of straying.  I didn't stray.  But, I did tell Steve of my thoughts, while he was on the road no less, and we got through it....stronger because of it.)  

- As for the self-esteem part of mix, I don't worry that he wants to get in another gals pants.  I just don't.  I know that if Steve strays then he would be in a world of hurt.  I contribute to this family immensely, and I know he wouldn't risk losing that.  

Lastly, I want to address what happens during cheating...sex.  I think that many couples don't put enough emphasis on the importance of sex and keeping one another satisfied.  Time and time again I hear that couples don't have sex anymore or rarely have sex.  I hate hearing this.  Again, I think it is such an important part of marriage that keeps a marriage happy.  I keep Steve satisfied at home, as he does me.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  As Dr. Laura Schlessinger once wrote (which I blogged about in How to be a Better Pilot Wife), if you serve prime rib at home, he won't go looking for a fast food burger while out.  I think there is a lot of truth in that.  I don't want Steve looking for any fast burgers, so I make a point to serve prime rib at home.  Knowing that Steve is satisfied adds to my assurance that Steve won't cheat on me.    

I don't believe in the whole "pilots are cheaters" stereotype...I never have.  I know too many faithful pilots, wholesome family guys, that override any of the negative talk out there.  I believe people are keeping the stereotype alive because, well, people just like to talk without knowing anything about what they are talking about (like the lady I used to work with...what the hell does she know about pilots, anyway?!).  As a pilot wife, I think it is important to keep the above mentioned essentials alive and kicking, so that we stay happy and successful in our marriage.  And with a happy and successful marriage, I will continue to roll my eyes when people talk about pilots being cheaters.    



Monday, November 3, 2014

It doesn't mean he doesn't love you, it means he is a pilot

Blogging has been a great way to connect with other pilot wives.  One main thing I have come away with, over the years, is the fact that many of our pilots have similar behaviors.  It is great reassurance to hear from others that their pilot acts the same way mine does.  That way, we know it isn't us, but them!  This makes us feel like our crazy is actually normal.

There are so many instances where I have just rolled my eyes at certain behaviors and immediately think that the pilot in him made him do that.


** Take this as an example:
You know he is in the air.  You think of him fondly and you send him a text so that he has it when he turns his phone back on.  The text expresses how deeply in love you are with him.  When you send the text you have butterflies in your stomach, because you love that man so very much. You miss him dearly, and long for his return home.

He never texts back.

Hello? Is this thing on?

Typical.  I know Steve loves me.  But, I also know that Steve doesn't always respond to text messages.  Did he get the text? Probably.




** Or, how about this one:
You haven't spoken to him all day long.  You have been waiting all day to talk to him.  You are husband and wife after all.  You do share this life together.  So, you want to share details of your day.  You know he has a full day so you don't bother with calling him, but rather you eagerly await his call.

It is 8pm, and he finally calls you.  You talk to him for all of 46 seconds.  You could tell immediately that he was exhausted, so you just keep the conversation short and sweet.  I guess you will share the good news...tomorrow.





** Ah, and how about this...
He has been gone a looooong four days.  You have been anticipating his arrival for days now, and plan to take full advantage of the warm body that will shortly be next to you in bed.  If you catch my drift.

He gets into bed.  You finish up in the bathroom. Eagerly, you climb into bed.

He is asleep.

You understand he is tired, so you don't bother waking him up.  You figure you have three more nights to take advantage of his warmth before he leaves for his next trip.



The above scenarios are just a couple snapshots into our life, and I know other pilot wives go through the same.  At first these situations used to bother me, but now I just realize it is all part of this crazy lifestyle.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Under appreciated

Steve had a short 3-day trip last week that ended in a red-eye Thursday morning.

He got in quite early that morning, and was actually out of uniform and in our bed by 7:30am. He is usually just pulling into the driveway around that time after a red-eye.
Steve had just crawled into bed, and Ben was so excited to
show him the new book he was reading about insects

By the time we left at 8:30am, Steve was sawing logs.  I had the thought that he would get some good sleep and the day wouldn't be typical post-red-eye shit.  You know, grumpy, grouchy, cranky...

Boy was I wrong.

4pm: Cici and I got home from school.  Honest to goodness I was just three steps into the mudroom when Steve sternly says "I just have to get this off my chest...the clutter in the mudroom drives me nuts. Please don't let it get this way again."  Or something to that effect.  No kiss.  No "how was your day?" No "it is nice to see you"  Hell, I  didn't even get a "hi"...he went straight to the barking.

BOOM!  I was just three steps into the house, for crying out loud, and he lays into me. This, pilots of the world, is not how you treat your wife after being gone on a trip.  We want to be loved on when you get home, not critiqued about what we haven't done.

I immediately shook off my feelings.  Cici was having a friend come over in a short 30 minutes for a play-date, so I had to get dinner started and make sure the house was presentable.  Lucky for me Steve had cleaned the house.  I prepared dinner, and then Cici's play date showed up.  After a 2 hour play-date Cici's friend left and it was time to address the comment that hurt me so much.

Steve was at a flag football game with Ben so I sent him a text:
Listen...watch your words with me.  I wasn't even 3 steps in the house when you just *had* to get that off your chest.  Guess what...I am busy. I work. I care for the kids. I am planning stuff for tomorrow. I run errands. I go to meetings. I take the kids to activities...I am teaching PSR...all without you.  Steve, I can't do it all. Instead of barking at me...help out because you want to lighten by load. Put yourself in my shoes.

He responded with:
I was getting it off my chest so I wouldn't snap at you...I simply told you and felt better...you could have totally not listened to me and that would have been ok...I just had to say it out loud...I cleaned the house to help, but clutter drives me crazy.

My response:
Imagine how you would feel if I barked at you when you were 3 steps into the house

His response:
I didn't mean for it to be a bark...I just didn't want to keep it welled up inside...if you notice, I was fine after I said it...sometime you just gotta get it off your chest

And my final response was:
You get it off your chest and it crushes me...

His final response:
I didn't mean for it to crush you...I meant to prevent me blowing up at you...I guess that backfired.



So, there you have our text dialogue about the event.  Shortly after our texting Steve and Ben got home, we had dinner, the kids went to bed, and Steve and I finished up preparations for an aviation event on Friday.

The next morning Steve knew I was still upset.  He gave me the candid "don't start off my days off like this."

I responded with the fact that this was his doing, and to not make this my fault.  It was his words that stung me.

Women are not light switches...we can not just simply switch our emotion from upset to hunky-dory in a second.

You want to know why his words hurt me so much?  I feel under appreciated.  And since this one comment rocked me so good, I must have been feeling under appreciated for a long time now.

These last couple weeks have been so incredibly overwhelming for me.  School has started, and the first couple weeks went smoothly.  But, in the last couple weeks all of the after school activities have started, so this is very much a transitional period for us and I am still trying to get settled.  Every day of the week is taken up by activities.  I have had meetings upon meetings in the evenings.  I am even teaching PSR (parish school of religion) at our church.  Not to mention, Steve and I have been planning an aviation alumni event that happened this past Friday.  So, the last two weeks was really full with those plans.

The last thing I was concerned about was the fucking clutter on the counter in the mudroom.  The clothes were cleaned, the house was straightened up as best as I could, there was food in the fridge and pantry, and the kids were clean and happy....I got the basics covered, because that is all I could do with my schedule.

I do not need to be praised for all that I do, and Lord knows I have a lot on my plate when Steve is gone.  But, I need to feel appreciated.  When I get barked at for the counter top clutter, yet no praise, I can't help but feel under appreciated.

*****

Do y'all remember my 35th birthday disaster last year? (Let Him In)  To recap, Steve got me flowers and we went to dinner to celebrate my birthday.  But, that was it.  No gift.  Nothing.  This comes after previous birthday disasters where Steve went away on my birthday for a guys weekend, or when an entire birthday morning passed before Steve said Happy Birthday to me...and that was only after he found me crying in my bathroom because I was the one to remind the kids it was my birthday.  No gift on my 35th was just icing on the cake.

Yep, I spent the night of my last birthday crying my eyes out.

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

***

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

As you can see from his writing, he admits that he doesn't give me the appreciation for all I do.  He doesn't express it to me.  I have said over and over that my love language is physical touch, but I sure do need those words of affirmation as well.

*****

A pilot wife can only take so much of being under appreciated before she cracks.

Pilots...remember this!

I will say it again: pilots, remember this!  We keep the house running well when you are gone...we do the job of a mother and father when you are gone.  It is tough, even though we make it look easy.  It is a large load to carry, even though we do it with a smile week after week.  But, remember behind our ease and our smile is a lot of stress and work.  And the catch? You never see the stress and work because you are gone.  We keep that smile on when you are home to make the house happy for you. But, you have to remember that there is a ton of work and stress behind that smile.

Steve left for a 4-day trip on Monday.  I was still hurting from those stinging words when he left.    Yup, still after 3 days.  This is when the physical distance his job gives us is a good thing.  I need my space from him because I can't look at him without feeling upset.  There was a lot of distraction this past weekend, so at least our weekend was okay.  I hope when he gets home I will be better, but there is no telling.

Usually I like to tell Steve's side of the story in my blog to be fair, but I am having a hard time with this post.  His words really stung me, and I am hurting.  I know pilot wives can relate to me and my experience.  And, I hope that any pilots that read this will now understand how much we do when you are gone, and how much pressure we can be under, and how we need to be shown and told that we are appreciated.

Friday, September 5, 2014

watch your words

We received an invitation to a 40th birthday party a number of weeks ago.  Of course we were going to attend!  I had planned for a babysitter for the evening.  Kids were welcome at the party, but for some reason I had it in my head that I would rather keep the kids at home so that Mom and Dad could enjoy some adult time.

The party was last Saturday.  Let me lay out a bit of a timeline before Saturday:

Thursday - Steve got home from a 4-day trip late in the evening.  He saw the kids for maybe 30 minutes.

Friday - The kids were at school all day. The late afternoon was spent together, until Steve hosted a fantasy football draft party at our house.  Steve and I were downstairs while the kids watched a movie upstairs.

Saturday - I went to the farmers market in the morning while Steve hung with the kids.  Steve watched a football game in the afternoon while the kids and I went to the pool for one last time before it closed for the season.

As we pulled into the driveway after a great afternoon of swimming, Steve had just finished mowing the grass. Since we were soaking up as my sun as possible, I was cutting it close with timing.  As I was getting out of the car I told Steve that I had to jump in the shower and he had to help with the kids...or however the direction went.

His response was something like "do we really have to go? I haven't seen the kids a lot and I want to spend time with them."

Yes, he actually said that to me, and boy did this just set me off.

For the next 45 minutes I was pissed, and I mean pissed.  It wasn't until I finally got myself a beer that I started to calm down.

There are so many aspects about his comment that pissed me off.

#1. God forbid we do something with my friends.  He was all for having his draft party with his friends. He was all about enjoying his beloved college football game Saturday afternoon, while the kids and I went to the pool.  Yet when it comes to something that I want to do, I get pushed to the side.

I have been known to say the following sentence before "it feels like what I want to do gets pushed to the back-burners."  There have been plenty of times where I do what is best for my family, while pushing off my desires and wants off to the side.  That is what a wife and a mother does at times.  I understand that, and do it most times without making a fuss about it.  But, this party had been planned for weeks, and in a split second just one comment was made to me that totally pushed aside a want that I had been planning for weeks.  There is nothing worse than having excitement crushed in a second.

#2. Don't be a slamclicker on me.  When Steve gets a slamclicker CA, I hear about it.  The last one was in Hawaii of all places! In beautiful Hawaii, all the guy wanted to do was stay in his room.  I received numerous texts from Steve about how much it sucked to be in Hawaii with his CA.

When his overnight allows, Steve is all about enjoying the city he is in.  I like that, and I hope that it continues throughout his career.  However, I worry that Steve will turn into a slamclicker at home.  The older he gets, it seems like he wants to go out less and less.

Ok, Ok, I get that he is gone 4 days a week, and when he is home he wants to be home.  I am totally aware of that...really, I am.  I try my best to make sure he is balanced at home.  But, when it comes to a once in a lifetime party, he wanted to stay home?!  This is what scares me...that he will become a homebody.  Don't forget that I want to have a social life too!  Don't forget that when he is home, our house is complete and I want to live our life.  Don't forget that I was home for the last 4-days by myself, so I want to get out.

#3. Don't make me feel guilty for taking you away from the kids.  Because it was my friends that were hosting the party, I instantly felt guilt when Steve said he wanted to spend time with the kids...like it was my fault for taking him away that evening.  Remember people, I don't take criticism well.  Then I got some sense about me and remembered that it was Steve's choice not to go to the pool with us that afternoon, and it was Steve's choice to host a fantasy football draft party the night before...so fuck this guilt stuff.  Steve knew this party was coming, so he should have planned accordingly.

I was sure to express all the above feelings to Steve as I was showering and getting ready.  Steve is a good guy, so I know his intention wasn't to hurt me like he did.  I really have the sense he was just making a casual comment.  He sure tried his best to right the situation, but his words really stung and it was hard to get over that.

Like I mentioned above, I calmed down after a beer and we enjoyed the rest of our evening.  I think Steve will now watch his words when it comes to similar situations.  At least, I hope he watches his words, because I will be sure to lose it if words like that are said again.












Thursday, August 21, 2014

So Fucking Busy

 Did you notice that I haven't blogged since May?

Wanna know why?

...because we have been so fucking busy.

The kids were done with school the first week of June.  The second week of June we went on vacation.  Since then, we have been gone every.single.weekend, except for maybe 2 or 3.  It is now August, school has just started, and the summer has just gone by in a flash.

So, hopefully that means that I will be back to blogging more.

Here are a couple pictures from the summer, just for fun, and to establish that I have not fallen off the face of the earth:



Sandbridge, VA...great place!!








amusement park fun


hiking in caves with cousins


weekends at the boat


sleeping in, on the boat



Birthday Party for Cici!



Studying for his PC


of course, work


Vegas, baby!


More birthday party fun!


decided to road trip it, because nonreving isn't always fun 



Air and Space Museum



White House Selfie


watching planes take off at DCA




learning how to ride a bike





back to school!



Thursday, May 29, 2014

First time for everything

Early Monday morning, Steve leaned over me, being sure to hold his tie down, said goodbye, told me be loved me, and gave me a kiss.

Off for a 3-day.  Typical....or so I thought.

***

8:14am 
My cell phone rings.  It was my Mother-In-Law.  Hmmm  My Father-in-Law had an emergency triple bypass the Wednesday prior, so I was on alert to his well being.


Hello?

Hi.  Where is Stephen?

He is at the airport.  He just left for a 3-day.  Why?  My heart starts to pound HARD in my chest.

Well, Lynn had heart arrhythmia this morning while getting dialysis, and he had to be ventilated. At this point, this is basically all she knew.

The conversation continued on for a couple of minutes.  The question was whether or not to call Steve.  He was heading to the west coast and his push was 8:33am.

Margie, if I call him now, he will walk off that plane.  

What to do? What to do?

If I call him and he walks off that plane, with 15 minutes to push, what implications happen with work?

If he doesn't walk off that plane, he has a good 4 1/2 hours to think and think...and think about his father who is critical in the hospital.

What to do?  What to do?

After talking a bit more, the decision was made that I would not call Steve.  I looked at flight possibilities, and noted that there was a return flight back to our base that left 1 hour after his arrival.  I told my Mother-in-Law that if we need him to come home, we can get him home by 6pm.

I got off the phone with my Mother-in-Law, and instantly called my sister.


8:20am
Did I do the right thing?

After discussing things with my sister, I felt a little more calm about the decision.  The truth was that we didn't know what was happening, aside from the fact that he had arrhythmia and he was intubated.  I did have that sick to my stomach feeling though...should I have listened to my gut?  

Since my phone calls were happening in the morning as the kids and I were getting ready to school, I ran out of time to pack lunch and get Ben on the bus.  So, when Ben's third complaint of the morning saying "my stomach hurts," I made the quick decision that we were taking the day off of school and work.  Again, I had that sick to my stomach feeling, so I really wanted to be on standby in case anything happened.


9:25am
My Mother-in-Law calls me with more information, and here is the short of it:
My Father-in-Law actually coded that morning while getting dialysis.  The first code wasn't as bad as the second.  But the second code was intense.  Paddles, CPR, epinephrine, blood transfusions...the works!  He was now listed as critical in the ICU.

At this point, the nurses suggested that the children come to the hospital.

Ok Margie, let me call the Chief Pilot.  I will get Steve home.  There is a first time for everything.

***
9:29am
Hello, XXX Chief Pilots office, this is Jim. (name has been protected)

Hi Jim.  I am a pilot wife.  Please excuse me if I get a little emotional.  I started to choke up.  Poor Jim, probably the last thing he expected on the other end of a phone was a crying wife.  My husband is on the flight to xxx, and his father is in critical condition in the hospital.  We need to get him home.  

After a couple of minutes after an exchange of details like his employee number and his flight detail, Jim was going to work things out and get Steve home.

9:52a
Jim called me back and gave me the flight information for Steve's return flight.


I told my Mother-in-Law to make me the point on contact to get to Steve.  I was home, so I could track his flight.  Not to mention, a lot can transpire in 4 hours, so I wanted to compose all details into just one message to Steve.  I made a point to text him about 10 minutes before his flight landed with the latest detail:

You are coming home on the xx:xx flight back to XXX.  Flight XXXX.  Your dad had heart arrhythmia while getting dialysis.  They had to intubate him and preform other life saving procedures.  His is in a "serious/critical" state.  I contacted the chief pilots office (talked to Jim) and you have an emergency drop.  Check yourself in at the gate.  Call me.  I love you.

Apparently Steve figured something was going on while in-flight.  Some report printed out, something about his CA going somewhere but he wasn't.  He thought maybe his CA was reassigned...or that he was heading home.

As he walked off the plane, the gate agent met him and gave him the details. Heart arrhythmia...critical condition...

***

That night Steve landed around 7p.  He got home around 8p, and was almost immediately off to the hospital.  He was able to see his Dad around 11pm that night.

As of today, my Father-in-Law is doing okay and with each day is gaining strength.  He is out of the ICU, and is on his way out of the hospital to a rehabilitation center. But, he sure did scare everyone good!

***

As I was talking to Steve, before he headed on the flight back home that day, I told him that I needed to get something off my chest.

Steve, I made the decisions not to call you this morning.  This is weighing heavy on me right now.

The weight I was bearing was heavy...I mean heavy!  I had very bad thoughts in my head that something would happen to my Father-in-Law, and it was my stupid decision not to call Steve.  It would have been my stupid decision that would have caused Steve to not see his Father one last time.

Thank God the day didn't end with my greatest fear.  And to give me comfort, Steve did tell me he turned his phone off 13 minutes before push (funny that he remembered that exact time).  Even if I did call him at 8:20a, he phone would most likely have been off.

This job can sometimes complicate life.  Like, being on a different coast when crisis happens in your family.  Like, being unreachable for x hours at a time. Like, having a pilot wife make a decision about whether or not to call her husband when a parent is in critical condition.  But, with each experience I learn.  And with each new experience, Steve and I discuss how to handle things.  Just when you think you have this pilot lifestyle thing down, you get thrown another first.









Saturday, May 17, 2014

overwhelmed

I started this blog on Tuesday night:

My car got hit while it was parked at a restaurant.
This now means that I have to have it towed and repaired.  My cheap pilot husband didn't add on the car rental insurance (once he gets home we are going to discuss this), so that means we have to finagle around borrowing cars from different people. Know that I am the one doing all the organizing.  And don't be fooled by the dent - it threw off something significant and now the car can't be driven at highway speeds without shaking like mad. Notice the rub on the tire?  That is surely the cause of the shaking.

I have been having PVCs (premature ventricular contracts).  I started noticing these in February, and since the frequency picked up I had to see my MD.  This last appointment I had to take the kids since Steve was working. Nothing like trying to listen to your MD about your heart...your lifeline...while your daughter is talking up a storm and trying to pull your earrings out.  I did try to schedule a sitter during my appointment, but it didn't work out.

My daughter had trauma to her front tooth late Friday night, which made for her tooth being pulled on Monday morning.



















Steve was there for the trauma, so I had support that night.  But, I had to manage the scheduling of the pull...with school and work.

I had to buy gifts for my son's PSR (parish school of religion) teachers. 
I have to buy my Mom her Mother's Day gift. 
I have to go to my chiropractor appointments. 
I had to pull out stuff for donations, since they came to our house this week. 
This is all on top of my normal schedule as a working mother.  I get the kids ready in the morning, drop them off at school, go to work, and pick them up.  And then the rest of the evening is full of cleaning the house, doing gardening here and there, doing laundry...that is just house chores.  As for the kids, I have to cook, clean up, make sure they are prepared for school, bathe them, read books, and put them to bed.

The above was really just a way for me to vent out all that I was feeling.  I was simply feeling incredibly overwhelmed....which doesn't happen all that often.  On Wednesday, Steve was due home at 19:something.  Finally, I would have some help and I would get time to relax and be still for a minute.

I was at the computer checking his flight.  Due in 15 minutes early, awesome!  I just finished up a glass of wine, and was in the middle of taking that all important selfie...

...and then my phone started to ring.

7:15p It was my Mother-in-Law calling from her mobile.

Hello?

Joanna.

Hi.  How are you?


When does Stephen get home? We are in the hospital again....


My Mother-in-Law went into all the details of what was happening.  My Father-In-Law was not feeling well, and they went to the ER.  At the time of our phone conversation, my Father-in-Law was currently getting a heart cath because his EKG was way off from the last time he had one.  We spent about 10 minutes on the phone, and we signed off with me telling her that I would pass all this details along to Steve.

7:30p: Steve landed.  I had texted him a quick note of the situation so he had some idea when he called me.  When he called me I told him that his Father was due to come out of the heart cath at 8p, so we would know more at that time.  Steve was purposeful is not calling his Mom right away as he was driving our neighbor's car, so he was trying to be as mindful as possible with driving a new car.  He figured he would call his Mom once he got home.

7:45p: My Mother-In-Law calls me again.  Open heart surgery.

"They will either do it tonight or tomorrow.  Oh what? (she said, as the nurse came in to interrupt her conversation)...Joanna, they are getting the team ready now.  He is going into surgery now."

7:46p: I called Steve and told him open heart surgery.  Boom.  It was established that Steve would be driving to the hospital to be there for the surgery.

And just like that, my world straightened up really quick.

Immediately I went into helper mode.  Any bad anythings that I had in my mind were erased instantly.  I packed Steve's bag, I arranged the car situation so that I wouldn't be left stranded without a car.  I made a quick meal for Steve.

Steve got home.  He changed his clothes, he hugged on the kids, he ate...and he was off.

My Father-in-Law ended up having a triple bypass.  He is still in ICU as of today.  He is doing okay, and it seems like they are taking their time with things.

It is amazing how, in an instant, your world and attitude can change.  When something of this significance happens, it really puts things in perspective.  Here I thought I was having a bad day...