9:24pm: I was sitting in the family room watching tv. Night had fallen, the kids were asleep, and I was comfortable. Steve was up in the air...somewhere.
The phone rings.
Shit, 9:24. This is late. Who could be calling me?
When the phone rings anytime past 9pm your mind instantly races.
I walk into the kitchen and see Steve's picture on my phone. Shit, he should be up in the air. What is going on? Mechanical delay? Is his plane crashing and he is calling me with his last goodbye? (no joke, that thought really does go through my mind from time to time).
Hello? I ask, almost scared.
"Hi. What's goin' on?" Steve said, as casually as can be.
"Nothing. Shouldn't you be flying right now?" still not totally settled since I could have sworn that he should be in the air.
"The passengers are boarding now. We are out in about 20 minutes" he told me. I was finally settled.
This is not the first time we have had an interaction like this, nor will it be the last. As hard as it may be for an outsider to believe, I don't always know where Steve is. This isn't because I am disengaged. It is more a function of Steve being in multiple cities in one day - multiply that by four days. Add in the fact that I work outside of the home, and have two young children to take care of. Let's not forget that I need to keep house. I have a lot going on, and knowing Steve's exact schedule isn't always top priority.
When Steve gets his monthly schedule, he will look at it once and know it inside and out. It is actually kind of impressive. Within minutes, Steve will know each and every day he is working and has off...like the exact days of the week and dates of the month. He knows exact legs, and overnights. He knows each CA he flies with. He doesn't always get his go times and home times, but that doesn't need to be worried about until the day before the trip anyway.
I, on the other hand, never memorize his schedule. I am usually just concerned about specific dates. So, when he says "my schedule came out" I will ask "will you be off for our trip to the amusement park?" Or "do you have Suzie's wedding off?" Everything else doesn't really matter since "it is what it is" and I will just deal with the trip when it is upon us.
Of course before Steve leaves for a trip we talk about where he is going. He will lay it all out: Houston, Phoenix. Then Houston, Miami. Then Houston, Austin. Then Houston, Denver, Home. Or something like that. Sometimes I will remember the specifics, sometimes I don't. And if I don't always follow his cities, there is no way in hell I am remembering his flight times.
And this is where we run into issues: Steve calls when I think he is in the air...I look at the phone, see his picture, and bad thoughts run through my head. As I demonstrated in our dialogue, I settle down after a couple sentences. However, I must not have be totally settled because I had a nightmare that night.
Wanna hear about my nightmare? I was at the airport. I wasn't around the terminals which is where I would normally be, but rather I was on a field around the runways. A helicopter had just crashed on the runway which caused a large explosion. Right at that moment, Steve's plane was barreling down the runway gaining speed to take off...and it had to go right through the fire! Steve's plane made it through the fire ok, and eventually came to a stop. His plane did catch fire...and then my memory gets fuzzy...The next thing I remember, I was meeting Steve and his CA in some room in the airport. The CA was actually the guy that I met when I joined Steve in Vegas for an overnight. Their uniforms were all tattered, and I had to give them clothes to wear.
And then I woke up.
Maybe I should keep better track of Steve's flights so this doesn't happen again. Or better yet, when Steve calls me between flights and says when he is "out" I should actually listen to the specifics. But, wait...is that Eastern Standard time? or Central time? or Mountain? Wait, what city are you in again? Wait, where are you going again?
Ah, the joys of being a pilot wife.