Folks, I hereby declare that pilot wives do all the programming behind the scenes so that everything our pilots experience is user friendly. These thoughts kept playing through my mind during our last vacation - 5 magical nights on the the Disney Wonder.
Like most pilot families do, I am assuming, most vacations are planned pretty much right before the actual trip takes place. Last October, Steve bid for a week in February for vacation. We figured we would wait until his February schedule came out and either book a Disney Cruise or a few days at the Disney Park. Low and behold, in late January we booked a 5 night cruise on the Disney Wonder. Gotta love the "kids sail free" promotion they run.
For reference sake, the 3 days leading up to our vacation Steve was on a trip. He flew out Tuesday morning, and come home at 9:30p on Thursday night. We were taking a 6am flight Friday morning. What did this leave me? Lots of shit to do. I had to do all the difficult programming behind the scenes so that the vacation was as user friendly as possible. This is now the second time a 3 or 4-day as butt up to a vacation...and it sucks! It makes things much more difficult for me. But, it is what it is, and I deal.
Let's start with this difficult programming task: waxing. Now, I know men read this blog but don't be embarrassed about what is to come. It takes a lot for a woman to be all fabulous like she is, and it start with a bikini wax. And for any woman that is reading this and has never gotten one...make an appointment now. They are that wonderful!
On a quick tangent: when Steve flew with his regional airline, their one FA would pal around the pilots the entire trip. As opposed to now, when Steve barely knows the names of his FAs since each leg brings on a new set. One day he was chatting things up with the FA and apparently she used to be an esthetician. She was quick to say "oh, but I am sure you don't know what that is" and Steve response was "oh, I know...bikini waxes." I wonder what her impression of me was?
I had a wax scheduled Monday night. Steve was home, so he would be able to watch the kids. Great! I had all this planned out, because that is what us pilot wives have to do when we have little ones....plan everything out.
About 12:30 that Monday afternoon I got a call. The esthetician got in a car accident, she was ok, and my appointment that evening was cancelled. Well fuck! They tried to get me in the next day, but the kids had gymnastics and since Steve had left for a trip it was all me. There were no openings on Wednesday or Thursday that worked for me, and there as no way in hell I was going to bring the kids into that room while I lay on a table as a woman rips strip after strip. Mommy, what are they doing to you?
Believe me, I exhausted all options (on the cruise? a spa near our hotel?) before I made the decision of...at home waxing.
I have been getting waxed for 10+ years, so I am familiar with the process and figured I would give it a try. Sigh. As I lay on the bathroom floor, working my magic as best as I could, I kept thinking "if only Steve were home, I wouldn't have to do this myself!" I had succumbed to laying on the fucking bathroom floor, at least on a nice memory foam mat, ripping and ripping.
That is the life of a pilot wife for you: you have the kids to watch and you have to do it all yourself. Yes, we can roll with the punches, but sometimes we are scheduled to the second that when something falls out of line it just fucks everything up.
Not only did I have to wax myself, I also had to do all the shopping for the trip with the kids. That might not sound too bad to some, but when you are with the kids 24-7 day after day, it just wears on you and all you want is that 1 hour of quiet time at Target. In additional to normal last-minute must need for vacation items, I was on the hunt for a swimsuit. After a couple bad online orders, I was crossing my fingers that I would be able to get one at Target.
As we entered Target I put the kids in the cart, grabbed a number of suits and headed into the family fitting rooms. After a couple comments like "ew, I see your underwear" from my peanut gallery, I finally settled on one. Thankfully, because I really didn't have a plan B for that situation. I then loaded up the cart with all things fun and essential for vacation. Sunscreen? Check! Steve's hair product? Check! Fun things to keep the kids engaged on the plane? Check! Flip flops? Check!
The shopping trip was well over an hour. If I were solo, it would have taken 1/2 hour. Get why I like shopping by myself? The kids were running up and down the aisles, wanting this or that. It was exhausting. Again...I was doing all the programming, so that things would be user friendly for the trip.
I made sure to keep way on top of the laundry, because rushing around doing that last minute is just the pits. I also had to pack the kids, myself, and Steve. Remember, he was arriving after 9p from a 3-day, and we were up at 2:45a the next morning for that 6am flight, so I was trying to keep things user friendly for him. I tried, and mostly succeeded, on getting the house and us prepared as much as possible so that when Steve got in he would have little to do.
He got in, ate dinner, drank a beer, went upstairs to review the clothes I pulled out for him, vetoed a couple items, and then we started to wrap things up. We finally laid our heads down around midnight. I was exhausted. Up again in less than 3 hours...
We awoke to a rather decent snow storm that morning. Our normal 35 minute drive to the airport turned into a 70 minute drive. This meant that Steve would drop me and the kids off at the terminal to check our bags, while he went to the crew lot to park the car.
There I was, at the curb with 2 young children and 3 bags to check. Oh, and the kids had their backpacks and I had my carry-on. I can handle this. We waited our turn in line and then it was time to check our bags. The kids behaved very well. I am rockstar mom. We went through security, and the kids did great! I am rockstar mom. As we were getting our jackets back on, Steve flashed his badge, got through security, and met us on the other side. The kids were still doing great!
Fast forward past a breakfast of muffins and coffee for a bargain price of $22, we finally boarded the plane. Steve was up front somewhere, and I was in a row with the kiddos. They were being just great. As a matter of fact, the lady in front of me later compliments me on the kids and their good behavior. I am rockstar mom. There is no question that the kids and I have figured out our "groove" with one another. I am with them each and every single day. I know them well, and they know me well. I often refer to the three of us as a "trio." And I think that since it was pretty much me and the kids checking in, going through security, and seating together, it worked. We were our trio...our normal threesome...and it works.
And, there is no question that I do most of the programming when it comes to the parenting. I am the one that reads parenting books and researches things. I am the one to raise them day in and day out. I am their constant. And because of this I know them best. I am not complaining. I am not trying to belittle Steve (because he really is a wonderful Dad, and is a very hands on Dad when he is home). I am just pointing out the reality of our household. I am the one to do all the back-work and consistent work, so that the kids behave the way I expect. Steve follows suit. It works.
By the time we finally connected into Miami, and settled into our hotel, we were exhausted. We finished up the day with some hot tub time, some happy hour time, some movie time, and some ZZZZ. When Steve was ready to crawl into bed with me, he, apparently, did a body slam onto our bed, as I was in la-la land, and I didn't even stir. I was tired. I was tired from all the preparation, which was about a week long, and all the travel...and our vacation hadn't even began yet! At least things would be user friendly from that point on...
couple shots from the trip:
|embarking on the ship, and already moody and tired|
|in Cozumel - the underwater explorer...awesome!|
|Castaway Cay - awesome!|
|Be sure to always have your camera, since you never know who you will meet|
|pre-dinner drinks and snacks|
|Pirate Night...and Ben sported his real eye patch!|
|and my favorite shot from the cruise! Blurry, but boy does it capture a moment...totally warms my heart!|