Posts filed under ‘The Pilot's Wife’

This Time’s For Real

Danny REAL first day backFirst day back – TAKE TWO! I swear, this is the last time you’ll see a post about Danny returning to work because, this morning, Danny’s plane actually took off with him in the co-pilot seat, making it his OFFICIAL first day back! YAY!

And how appropriate that the first city he should fly to is the one we left to move to Denver for his new job at Frontier Airlines, three years ago – St. Louis, the Gateway City.

Right now, he is meeting our friends for dinner in the Lou, where it is 95º, but feels like 109º with humidity. Being from Arizona, I can attest to the fact that a dry heat is much preferable to a midwest summer. But, I’m sure the heat is of no consequence right now to my patient husband, whose long wait to get back in the saddle has finally arrived. Ride ’em cowboy!

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August 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm 4 comments

The First Day that Wasn’t

Daddy and PrincessDo you ever feel like just when the prize is within reach, someone changes the game? I imagined that’s how my husband felt, though he did his best to hide his disappointment yesterday when what was supposed to be his first day back in the cockpit since February 21st, 2008, didn’t actually happen.

Danny had spent the night before pressing his uniform and packing his bag for a four-day trip that would be his Tour de France ala Lance Armstrong. He sprung out of bed at 7am sharp and by 8am was out the door to the old office, DIA, but not before snapping a pic with our princess for posterity’s sake. By 8:30am he had discovered his flight had been canceled because the Captain he was scheduled to fly with had called in sick.

Only a minor setback, for sure. Danny’s first day will come soon enough and will most likely be next week. But, after all the build-up and anticipation, waiting for this day to arrive for so long, it was a bit deflating.

So in the next week or so, we’ll take another “First Day Back” pic, and laugh about how life just seems to keep playing us a Tango: one step forward, two steps back. Eventually the song ends, and even though you might be right back where you started from, getting there gracefully with your partner is what matters.

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August 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm 1 comment

Hey! Where’d my blog go? And more important matters.

dead houseplantWhile I’m sure no one really noticed, *ahem* it has been over TWO MONTHS since my last post! Ack! Hellooooo… anybody out there? You’ve all gone on to more important things than checking in to see if I’ve come back from the dead, I know. After my first successful year of regular (okay, somewhat regular) posts, I let a few weeks lapse give my perfectionist ego all the justification it needed to apply the “all-or-nothing clause” and wait for my world to stop spinning on its’ axis so I’d have a good hour to devote to a proper post. HA! My poor house plants, which have been brought back from the brink more times than Dick Cheney on a stretcher, were sadly under the same clause. Only, there’s no bringing them back this time.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging over this past year, it’s that you can’t wait to finish the laundry, pay the bills, mop the floors, and have dinner simmering on the stove before you give some love to your blog. Nope. Bloggers are probably some of the worst housekeepers you’ll ever meet, and they’ll be the first to admit it – on their blogs to the whole world. Because it’s all about being genuine, not perfect. And genuine means you may only have 15 minutes to get what’s in your head out on the page; typos and all. I’m still learning to embrace this part of blogging… seizing the moment when inspiration hits. Kind of like a Cialis ad.

There have been many moments of inspiration over these past two months, but since I didn’t seize those moments then, here they are in a nutshell now:

  1. Mile High Mamas at Denver Childrens MuseumReagan and I attended the new bubbles exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Denver with the Mile High Mamas. We had a blast!
  2. Jim Kelly’s Second Annual Crawfish Boil was held. Reagan managed to eat the tops off of 6 cupcakes without me seeing, until I found the evidence all over Jim’s yard.
  3. I was finally making progress on my New Year’s resolution to go back to the gym when a short-term, full-time contract position was plopped in my lap. Given a little lapse in my freelance work, I gladly accepted it and started work the next day.
  4. After 2+ years on disability because of cancer, my husband won his fight to return to the Air Force Reserves! He won’t be able to fly with his C-130 unit at Petersen Air Force Base for another 3 years, but, will be cross-trained into another position. A letter from Senator Mary Landrieu of Danny’s home state of Louisiana was sure to have helped and we are forever grateful.
  5. Danny receives the long-awaited letter from the FAA telling him he can return to work at Frontier! Our livelihood is finally restored!
  6. Danny is studying full-time while I’m working full-time and Reagan is at daycare full-time. *Ugh*
  7. Working full-time, taking care of my family and the house, begins to take it’s toll. I’m bone-tired and the house is slowly sliding into a sinkhole of disorganization. My perfectionist side gives up.
  8. Danny’s first day back at work at Frontier (in training)!
  9. My iMac goes in for repair for the 3rd time in as many years. It has now had more parts replaced than Tara Reid. Or Heidi Montag. Take your pick.
  10. Apple refuses to see it my way and give me a new computer to replace the lemon they gave me after all the trouble I’ve had. *fuming* But, they will fix it.
  11. Reagan gets a new princess sleeping bag and we have the easiest bedtime routine ever every night for the next week!
  12. 4th of July in Steamboat SpringsWe spend a glorious 4th of July weekend in Steamboat Springs with friends!
  13. My contract job is finally up and I’ve decided that two parents working outside the home is definitely not for us.
  14. Reagan’s first sleepover birthday party for her friend, Ana (4) in Winter Park!
  15. City Park Jazz in Denver with our friends, the Kellys!
  16. Packed up Reagan’s baby monitor. Forever. *milestone*
  17. My iMac is ready! (2 weeks later) Now for the miserable task of restoring all my files from back-up. *blech*
  18. Back to the gym and feeling good again!
  19. Another friend turns 4! Good times with the Bickings!
  20. Reagan takes her first swim class!

cockpitAnd last night, Danny passes his check ride and we pop open the champagne to toast to his official return to the friendly skies as soon as next week!

But the biggest news of all… today Danny got the official word from his Oncologist that his most recent PET Scan shows no signs of Lymphoma and that he is AS GOOD AS CURED!!!! Hallelujah!!!

Time to pop open another bottle of champagne!

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July 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm 9 comments

Thankful for New Beginnings

While we give thanks for what we have–family, friends, a roof over our heads and food in our bellies—in our house this year, we’re even more thankful for what we’re about to have. Because of what we’ve been given: a new lease on life. Not once. But twice. And when I say we, I mean Danny. Which through transference, also means me. By marriage. Remember that part of the vows that goes “in sickness and in health?” That part of the lease.

The first lease was taken out just over a year ago when Danny was officially proclaimed in remission from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after six long months of treatment. Recovery from treatment ended less than nine months ago, which is when it genuinely felt real. The survival rates for Lymphoma have doubled over the past 25 years because of the advances in chemotherapy, radiation and stem-cell transplantation which give Danny a great prognosis to be able to declare himself “cured” in five years!

The second lease was taken out exactly one week ago when Danny had a fairly new surgical procedure known as Lumbar Disc Replacement. Not your ordinary back surgery. So new, his surgery was played on a big screen in the surgical center auditorium for visiting doctors around the world to watch and learn from. Danny now has a hunk of titanium where one of his discs used to be. In just five more weeks, he will be completely recovered from surgery and able to do things he hasn’t been able to do since his 20’s when he first injured himself. Almost 20 years he has suffered, often out of commission one week out of every month since we first married eight years ago. He’s promised me that the monthly back spasms starting around the same time we got married have nothing to do with the proverbial “ball and chain,” if that’s what you’re thinking. So there.

As happenstance would have it, Danny turns 40 this Friday. The big 4-0. The convergence of his new lease on life with a possible mid-life crisis might have other wives worried. But, not me. I know what’s most on Danny’s mind is the prospect of being the husband and father he wants to be. He dreams of rolling around on the floor with Reagan, tossing her up in the air, teaching her to snowboard and father-daughter dances. He woos me with the promise of taking on additional responsibilities around the house to give me more of a break. Just the idea of Danny cleaning bathtubs and toilets, hanging shelves and laying tile has me all weak in the knees. He throws around tackling my “500-tasks-long Honey-do list” like it’s an aphrodisiac. Tip for all the men reading this: IT IS.

And finally, in just a few short months Danny should be cleared medically by the FAA to return to flying for Frontier Airlines again. We are thankful that this day is so near after two very difficult years of struggling physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Here’s to a bright and healthy 2010!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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November 26, 2009 at 5:08 am 3 comments

Weathering the Storms for 8 Years Now

Scan10001Eight years ago today, Danny and I said “I do” under a hot desert sun and embarked upon a journey that had already been set off course by the events of 9/11 just two months earlier. Danny was immediately furloughed from his job as a pilot and called to active duty with his Air Force C-130 unit in Colorado Springs. He reported for duty as soon as we returned from our honeymoon in Lake Tahoe. He was to serve six months on base and six months abroad. As newlyweds, knowing we had to be apart for six months was torture, but we didn’t have to be apart the other six. And just like that, we were selling our home in Arizona to set sail for Colorado. The plan was simple: start over.

DSC00394_2By the time Danny’s year of duty was up, he had been called back to his job flying out of St. Louis for a commuter airline. What a relief! However, I was finding it wasn’t so simple to start your career up again in a new place where you knew no one, there was a recession on, and there were 200 applicants for every one job. Maybe we should’ve investigated this a bit more before we jumped ship back in the desert? There was only one thing to do. Move to St. Louis. And start over.

DSC00575Life was finally moving along. Danny no longer had to commute from Denver to St. Louis for work as he had been, and I found a good job in the city. We were ready to settle in and start our family. Apparently, Al-Qaeda was to have a say in this too though, because no sooner than we started skipping down the yellow brick road did Danny get called up again. Six months in Colorado Springs; six months in Qatar. One yearBaby Bird 005 away from me. We made it work. I found a new job as a contractor where I could set my own hours. I flew out to Colorado two weekends a month and just before Danny was to do a 3-month stint flying in and out of war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, we got pregnant. And though he missed my first trimester, and we lived in two different states for the second, he was home for the third and most important part, the birth of our daughter in February 2007. What a great time to… START OVER!

DSC01827Reagan was just six months old when we moved back to Colorado. Danny had achieved his ultimate goal: to fly for Frontier Airlines. It was exactly one month between his hiring and our move, during which time Danny was in training in Denver while I sold the house, packed it and boarded a plane with our newborn. It was the most stressful time I had ever been through and I thought I was near having a nervous breakdown. Now I know that was only God preparing me for what was the real stress to come. On Reagan’s first birthday, Danny was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The reset button had just been pressed again.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that Danny is now cancer-free and waiting to be cleared by the FAA to return to work at Frontier. The Air Force is deciding whether to let him re-train in a new position (read desk job) or declare him medically-retired as the chemotherapy damaged his heart to where he is now considered “undeployable,” and can no longer fly for them. After thinking I had retired from my career in graphic design to be a full-time mom, I was suddenly looking for work again as soon as Danny had recovered from his treatment and could care for Reagan.

IMG_2289While this may not be the life we planned on, we’ve learned to be thankful for our blessings amidst the storms. And, there have been many. The two biggest being the birth of our daughter and of course, Danny conquering cancer. We figure with as much as we’ve weathered together in this first eight years, it should be all smooth sailing from here.

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November 10, 2009 at 2:34 am 14 comments

What’s Next, God?

Life is what happens when
you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. –Proverbs 19:21

Man plans, God laughs. – Yiddish Proverb

We knew that it was too good to be true, but couldn’t help praying for it to happen at the same time. Had Southwest Airlines won the auction for Frontier Airlines this past Thursday, my husband’s professional life as a pilot, and our family’s life as a whole, would’ve been catapulted into an entirely new hemisphere of security and comfort. The very things we all strive for, for the betterment of our family would finally, at long-last, come to fruition. It has been a long and windy road up to this point, and we are now left wondering, what’s next for us, God?

Knowing that negotiations between the two airline’s pilot unions was taking place on Wednesday and that they had a midnight deadline to come to some agreement on pilot seniority list integration, we watched our e-mail, Twitter and message boards for any news of how the talks were progressing. We should have just gone to bed and gotten a good night’s rest, but instead, just before midnight, we checked one last time and saw that the unions had come to an impasse. Our hearts sunk. Even though the auction was still to take place the next day, we knew neither side was going to budge. Republic Airways, the first airline to throw its’ hat in the ring to acquire the bankrupt Frontier, was then selected by default.

Southwest had said repeatedly that they were in this to win it and had it just come down to who had the bigger pocketbook, they would have. But, Southwest also believes “its Culture and relationships with its Employees are too important to compromise.” Just one of the reasons they are such a desirable company to work for. There was also the promise of a five-year “fence” around Denver for all Frontier pilots. This meant that once Danny was able to return to work, he could remain based in Denver and our family wouldn’t have to move. Again. There is now the very real possibility that we will be moving to Republic’s Milwaukee base in the near future. Marking our sixth move in our soon-to-be eight years of marriage. Now, with a little one, we just hope to eventually have a permanent place to settle down and call home. If we move to Milwaukee, it certainly won’t be our last move either.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with what Republic has planned for Frontier, we are very thankful that Danny still has a job, but, Danny and I both agree it would’ve saved us a lot of sleep, head and stomach aches had the carrot of Southwest not been dangled in front of us as it was. It was difficult NOT to envision what life would be like had Southwest won. Most pilots can only dream of working for Southwest, a pretty exclusive club that even includes an astronaut. An astronaut! And, I was of course dreaming of what life would be like when as Danny said, should Southwest win, I would never have to work again. How many mothers wouldn’t want that? It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all the Frontier pilots and it had us in it’s grip. It has taken a few days, but like a first date that doesn’t become a second, we are just starting to get over Southwest and the promise that they held.

We know that God has a plan and we just need to trust in Him. He has brought us through the past year and a half, making sure we have enough to pay the bills and that all our needs are met. It has been nothing short of a miracle. We are prepared to have to go to Plan C should we need to, but will remain hopeful that the new management will continue to grow Frontier and keep them a successful and profitable airline that other pilots will one day dream about working for as much as Danny did Southwest.

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August 16, 2009 at 12:55 am 3 comments

Life is a Roller-Coaster, Enjoy the Ride!

IMG_1921

Yesterday was family picnic day at Elitch Gardens in Denver for Frontier Airline pilots and of course, their families! Courtesy of the Frontier Pilots Association (FAPA). Great food, music, balloon artists and face painting made for a great start to an afternoon that was all about the kid in all of us.

IMG_1934But, first, many of us were curious to hear from the union president about the status of Frontier pilot’s jobs. It was thought that there would be a formal announcement since he had just flown in that morning from talks over the weekend with the Southwest Airlines pilot’s union. It was probably for the best that they decided to keep it just a family picnic rather than a union meeting and refrain from speeches.

As light as the atmosphere was, this didn’t stop the buzz among attendees as the auction of the airline to either Republic Airways or Southwest Airlines draws nearer. Neither did it keep pilots from approaching both of the union reps personally to get the latest. Before heading off to the kiddie coasters, we did the same, with the hopes that knowing what they knew could possibly make the rest of our afternoon just a little bit more carefree. It did. While nothing is in writing yet, we were assured that regardless of who is the highest bidder, all pilot jobs were secure.

IMG_1932From there on out, it was all about Reagan. Actually, when is it ever not all about Reagan? She had the time of her life riding her very first roller-coaster, dancing with “Bob the Builder” and climbing up the five-story treehouse, Hook’s Lagoon at the most fabulous waterpark I’ve ever seen. While hubby napped on a lounge chair in the shade, Reagan and I made a splash on the water slides.

No trip to an amusement park is complete without a ride on the Ferris Wheel and there is where our day ended. Not five minutes after being buckled into her car seat, Reagan slipped quietly into slumberland. She made no complaints when we laid her down to sleep early that night upon returning home, leaving Danny and I to enjoy one extra hour of evening time together. Our reward for a day well spent showing Reagan that while life is a roller-coaster, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride!

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August 7, 2009 at 12:24 am 2 comments

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A half-hatched role-reversal takes flight on a wing and a prayer.

Life is a misadventure mixed with mayhem.

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