Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pilot's and their BBQ!

So just a little background for the non-aviation folks.

USAirways- while I think technically based in PHX used to be based in CLT (Charlotte N.C.), for these purposes this was a CLT crew.

Continental- definitely a Houston based company.

"Centers" this refers to where pilots check in when they are flying across the interstate in the sky. For instance Kansas City Center- controls traffic in and round Kansas and parts of other states, I'm guessing Southern IL and such.....Centers give them directions such as altitudes if they need to change them and whatever else.

So we begin this story by saying that John never even mentioned this to me, it was through his buddy he was flying with that I found out about it. By chance before John left XJT he had an opportunity to fly with a guy he had met a few months early that was really cool. So John and his buddy are flying from Chicago to Memphis for the night where they plan to grab dinner at a BBQ place, since MEM is know for BBQ and all!

John and his buddy (XJT) check in with Kansas City Center (KCC)probably something like: Kansas City Center this is XJT how are you tonight?
KCC: Fine how are you?
XJT: Good, heading down to MEM with my buddy and going to grab some BBQ for dinner.
KCC: That's too bad because your flying over some of the best BBQ in the country right here in Kansas.
Random USAir: They must be going to North Carolina!
Random CAL: No they must be going to Texas!
XJT: Nope heading to Memphis best BBQ in the country!
Random USAir: Make them hold!

So as you can see from the short dialog BBQ is (apparently I never knew) very important to pilots! Which leads to a second point.....ANY food is important to pilots....especially if it's free!

Pilots are notorious for being cheap. John (if available) will eat as much free breakfast at the hotel then take as much with him as possible that won't go bad. The same thing for the Presidents Club (we splurged on a membership since he commutes) he will go in there and scavenge...fruit, cookies, peanuts, carrots...whatever he can find, and I know he isn't the only one to do this!

Since he has been on reserve and in one place almost every night since he started the new job I have been cooking (gasp, horror, and he's not dead yet!) and freezing things for him to take with and last night I can across the BEST recipe I thought I would share and it freezes well!!

Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa

1lb Kielbasa (pork or turkey) cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard *I used honey mustard b/c I didn't have whole grain we thought it was great.
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Large white onion cut into 6 pieces *I didn't use an onion I HATE them
1lb frozen potato and cheddar pierogies (do not thaw) *I used 1/2lb cheese and 1/2lb potato that I got from a Russian food store in DEN and they were awesome!
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley *I used dried stuff it was fine

1) Grill kielbasa on medium heat about 5min each side, set aside and keep warm.
2) Meanwhile toss onion and pierogies with 2tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill covered until they thaw ~about 5 min. Turn pierogies and onion grill for another 8min or so until cooked and onion is tender.
3) while pierogies are grilling whisk mustard and vinegar in a large bowl. Whisk in 2tablespoons of olive oil.
4) Slice kielbasa into pieces and add to bowl with mustard dressing, add pierogies and (chop)onion and add to mustard dressing. Add parsley and toss.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Living the Dream or Somthing Like That.......

So for those of you not familiar with the phrase "Living the Dream" it usually means that the pilot saying it really means......

1) I hate my schedule.
2) I am never home
3) The guy handing me my taco at the airport makes more than me.
4) Any combination of the above, plus whatever is wrong at the time.

Pretty much it means that they are trying to put some kind of positive spin on something that stinks....John will occasionally say "Living the Dream." He will say this perhaps when he's been ground stopped by crappy weather and will miss his connect home. Now occasionally pilots will say this and genuinely mean it, good for them, were not at that point yet.....

But the saying "Living the Dream" got me thinking about my dream, as far as airplanes go. I have to admit I LOVE this airplane, and her name is great too "Hemispher Dancer" how cool!! As you see from the picture it appears that Jimmy Buffet owns the plane (which he does, please don't come after me unless you want to give her to me) but I LOVE this plane, and would happily take her home, if I had millions, and millions of dollars.

Here is a little info about her. What it doesn't say is that she is an amphib (amphibian) as you can see from the next picture where her front landing gear come down. This means she can land on land = hence the wheels. But if you look at her she looks like a boat in the front, because she can land on water too. (And by land in water I don't mean those stupid looking float things, sorry anyone who likes them). Also note the engines are high so when she does land in water they aren't compromised.

If someone would have asked me 6-7 years or so ago (can it really be that long!?) what kind of plane this was my answer would have been "One that flies." Or if I saw her sitting in water perhaps the answer would have been "One that floats." And while I have learned a lot about airplanes being a pilots wife, I truly can't tell an Airbus from a Boeing until I get inside. (I can however tell you the differences in the way they fly). But this bird I LOVE her. I think it is the coolest thing ever to be able to take off from say Orlando, and land in the water at Key West and "taxi" her up to the dock!

She now sits as part of the Margaritaville in Orlando at Universals City Walk. I believe a cracked/broken wing spar? was her demise, apparently it can't be fixed. But the good news is I actually got to see her!! John actually lured me to Oshkosh (big general aviation show) by saying that "The Hemisphere Dancer will be there." He also told me Harrison Ford would be there...apparently he went the year after we did.

This is just a catch all picture of the City Walk at Universal.

So even though she will never fly again, you can always go see her and eat under the wing!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The less than $100 hamburger.

Looking out the window before we take off for our long 7 min flight!

So for those of you not familiar with general aviation the "$100 Hamburger" refers to flying your plane somewhere for lunch/dinner (a meal), because by the time you pay for gas it's a $100 hamburger. So anyways these days that price has gone up just a bit (sarcasm) since gas prices are sooo low.......also sarcasm. These days it gets kind of hard to find a $100 Hamburger much less a $300 Hamburger, but we did! The airport that is 10miles away from here has a CAF chapter there, and every Saturday for lunch they grill hamburgers at the hanger as a fundraiser.

This is the hanger we had lunch at, as you can see they have restored one plane and are working on another!

Here is our plane, not quite my ideal but better than what I'm going to show you. Let me tell you a little about my ideal plane....1) you can stand in it 2)it has a bathroom and 3) it goes faster than you can drive, little known fact I never new before I moved here. Small planes can and frequently do go slower than cars. I am not sure why people fly these planes, if I can beat the plane there with my car, I will choose my car. I know there are people (John included) who love to fly just to fly, but I am not that person!

This is John and his partner whom he co-owns the plane with, dragging it in a circle. This is about 2 seconds before John starts yelling and then the wing of the plane rams me in the stomach, this is what I get for taking pictures no doubt.

These are the people who are crazy, there is no way in HELL I would get in a glider. John contests that the people in the tow plane are generally the ones who suffer a little more when something goes wrong, but I say at least they have an engine!

I truly can't understand why ANYONE would get in one of these they look like flying coffins and there is NO engine. I know there are people who LOVE these and this airport we had lunch at is on one of the busiest glider airports out west but it is certainly not for me!

Back on the ground alive!!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Airplane Pinball; and why pilots really run through airports

So I have been thinking about this quite a bit the last couple times John has commuted, because invariable I end up sitting in front of the computer looking up flights (direct and indirect) to get John home. John has an EVO phone, but for some reason he doesn't use it to it's full potential, ie: looking up his own flights. Take for instance the last time he commuted home, he's in LAS which is huge, wandering from gate to gate to see if he can get on different flights. That's when I came up with the idea that he was like a pinball, wandering from gate to gate, and terminal to terminal bouncing around looking for a way home.

Which leaves me to my second point, when I say wandering sometimes it is wandering, sometimes (not often but does happen) it is flat out running to try and catch a flight. Pretty much the ONLY time you will see a pilot run (I mean flat out dead run) through the airport is to commute. Now most of the time going to work, it's better planned, because they know when they have to be there. On the way home however it becomes a free for all. What? You say the flight got in 20min early? Well if you RUN you can make the next flight home, otherwise you will be stuck sitting in the airport for 3 hours. This is when the running occurs. I don't (personally) know of ANY instances where he was running at work, if they switch planes and he was late coming in, the whole crew will walk. And NO is not to milk the clock by any means, they don't get paid until the cabin door actually shuts, so as a side note anytime you see a pilot he isn't getting paid, they ONLY get paid for the flying part.

You may be thinking all this (frantic running) for 3 hours? Remember that the pilot who is doing the mile sprint through the airport may only be home for 30 hours a week!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ignorance at 35,000 feet

So as I was scrolling through facebook (and also having to work with very stupid people this week which is a different story) I have decided that I hate these people. Some people who are too nice (my husband for one) says "never hate anyone" I however am not that nice, and do hate these people; natural selection should have taken them out years ago!

I think some or most of this ignorance is from people who are too lazy (to read or do ANY research) or simply don't care and want to throw up their thoughts whether they are right or wrong is inconsequential. For instance I have seen people psychotically mad that they missed their flight and are screaming at the gate agent (or anyone they can find) because THEY got to the airport an hour before the flight left. Let me first say I am definitely guilty of this, however, if I miss my flight because my dumbas* couldn't get there in time, it's not the airlines fault, or the gate agents fault. Please don't let me hear you say your going to call your lawyer...really?? Go to the airline's website (any airline!) says be there 2 hours prior. Yes it stinks sitting around but to bad, if you don't like it don't fly...better yet take your "lawyers" car!

Also a little known fact... (not all airlines and not all maintenance) but some, and a lot more than anyone in the aviation industry wants (except the bean counters) maintenance is done in Mexico, El goes on, and scarily on. Here is a chart of the airlines and percentage they outsource, sans Southwest only because the chart is from 2001-2009 and Southwest didn't outsource then (they do now). However, Third World Mechanics Paid $2 per hour is another article (that mentions Southwest) and even more scary I think than the chart!

But what really bugs me is when someone spews ignorant vomit from their mouth....

Idiot: "Those airplanes are old"
Me: Well they are the same age as some of Southwest, USAir, Delta's ect."
Idiot: Those are maintained better"
Me: "Really? They all outsource at least SOME of their maintenance, which doesn't happen at this airline (yet)"
Idiot: "Well they are cleaner"
Me: "For real?! I found yes a chicken wing under a seat on my flight to FL one time!"
It is at this point I start drinking......

Yes, that is a chicken wing under the seat....anyone hungry?

And my personal favorite so far.....I am sitting in a paid for seat on a flight from TPA to DEN. John is in the front and and comes back to say a hi and chat during the flight. The idiot old people (besides just being a pain in my as* and asking a ton of questions and taking enough of the free snacks to feed Ethiopia for a year) ask me as we are about 600 feet off the deck (you can see the ground) "Do you think ATC is asleep?" If I could have at that point grabbed a mini and chugged it I would have!

For one yes, ATC has been in the news in a bad way, and I am in no way saying sleeping on the job is ok; but cut these guys a little slack have you EVER seen what their work schedule is and what they are allowed and not allowed to bring to work and do? For example: no reading of anything book, magazine nothing and this is perfectly fine for 99.9% of the time, but when you are working 9pm-3am in Casper WY what are you going to do? Also a little know fact (yes being sarcastic here) Pilots CAN land the plane with out ATC! Shocking I know!!

Anyways these are just a few tails of ignorance that drive me nuts!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Slow Motion Attack!

This is like watching a slow motion shark attack. I happened to have the camera out (for who knows what reason) when I saw this taking place, I knew it was going to be good when I saw all 3 of them at the water at the same time!

Now if you remember from At the end of every Rainbow is...a Hooker!
Hooker is not the nicest horse in the world, fyi Hooker is the white one. They look so peaceful drinking together, you just know the end is near!

Hokus (spotted one) is like the Zebra in wild. He is the first one that senses danger, smart enough to get his head out while he still has one!

This would be where the jaws music should can see it coming now...Hooker has her head up and suddenly realized Neeko is (gasp, horror!) drinking at the SAME time! Ooohh nnooooo...........

She can't possibly let him get away with this, so she makes him do his bad impersonation of a Lipizzaner while trying to kick the crap out of him!

And all you can see in this picture is a little of Neeko's tail as he runs from the Big Bad Hooker! Victory is hers at last.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The thing I dread as a pilot's least today!

Once you have been married/together with a pilot for a while you start to make your own "list." This is the list of things I don't mind, and things that I despise.

I don't mind the holidays missed, the parties missed, events missed, the list goes on and on of things he misses. You get used to that or I figure you get divorced, since the later hasn't happened I am just used to him missing (basically) everything. The only time this bugs me is when he is supposed to be off but crew scheduling snags him, fortunately this isn't often. I also don't mind doing almost everything by myself. I am more than happy to go to a movie, go to dinner, do whatever by myself. My feeling is "if your not independent as a pilot's wife, you won't be a pilot's wife for long."

I'm sure by now your wondering "whats with the pictures of the horses wandering around the yard?" This, this is the thing I despise......lawn work (this is one of the things I despise) be it mowing, weed whacking, what have you, I HATE it. Possibly because it 's 90+ degrees out, but possibly because I have never liked it. When I was a kid my mom used to (try) to get me to help with weeding the flower beds, I used to pull up flowers on purpose and ask "is that a weed?" so she would let me go inside.

My feelings haven't changed on the subject as I have gotten older, in fact I think I hate it more now, because now I know it NEEDS to be done, I just can't stand it. And to make matters worse John actually likes it, the crazy fool loves hot weather so he will go out about noon and mow the grass or what have you. I was intending to make John do that when he was home last, but we ran out of time. That has left me to my own device's for solving the problem. Horses. Perfect. They will munch down some of the stuff and John can finish when he gets home!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The cleaning fairy comes once a bad it's me!

So this is without a doubt my favorite picture...yes the granola is actually just perched there, wedged between the door and shelf, I didn't even realize it until I took this picture and would hazard a guess that it's been that way for at least 3 days!

Cleaning is my weekly ritual, I also HATE it. John will call to say he's release (from reserve in this case) or that he just landed and is going to run for his commute.

This instills fear in my heart, the fear that I won't have enough time to clean before he gets back. This wasn't *such* a big issue when he was based in ORD, after all once he managed to get a flight it was 2 1/2 hrs to get here. But being based in LAS has been uncomfortable close for my cleaning purposes. Given that a direct flight here is about 1 hr 10min. It takes me about 40min to get to the airport to get do the the cleaning math....

John's flt leaves LAS - time for me to drive to airport + time for me to clean = me frantic

Now for those naysayers who say well just clean the day he's coming home, after all he DOES have a schedule. To that I reply what if they use him on reserve and he can't get back that night? Then I have an extra night to clean; and if I have already cleaned I have an extra night to mess up the house!

This isn't awful just the blanket on the couch falling, the picture frames knocked over, and various papers on the the table that John will hate.

Now I'm not dirty, there are no dirty dishes laying around with gross caked on food, I feed those to the dishwasher. I am just messy, John always marvels when we go to a hotel how I can walk in and mess it up with just a carry on bag! My mother always said she thought she was messy until I moved out, then she realized it was me messing up the place! And if you haven't figured it out by now John is OCD about cleaning!

This is one thing John and I will NEVER agree on....

I see absolutely no purpose in making the bed, after all I'm going to sleep in it again in a relatively short time, so why make it? And when he's gone it becomes a holding area for various things. In this case that is my recipe book and recipe binder as I am in the process of transferring them. It is a fabulous late night project for me when he is gone....Come to think of it that's still on the bed, better fix it!

I call this the mine field of clothes.

I am much better now, before my clothes used to be spread out across the room as if hit by a tornado, now I try to contain them to the bathroom.

As you can see I have a lot of work to do before John gets here, and he's on this way!