Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canada is the Summer

I love Canada. We typically visit it every six weeks, just to make sure it is still there. Beautiful country. Cold, but beautiful. My favorite trips to Canada are when I don't have to wear five layers of clothing to feel warm enough to avoid frostbite. Mid-July, you say? Perfect!

We started the week early Monday morning. For a 5:00 AM departure, I had to be up and at 'em at 3:00 AM. I don't mind getting up early and rather enjoy it, but this was a little too early! We flew to Springfield, Missouri for our fuel stop before continuing on to Hamilton, Ontario just south of Toronto. During each visit to Canada, we always spend at least one day in Hamilton. It is a cute "town" of 350,000 people. The best thing? They still sell my favorite candy in the world, Reeses Bites. I always keep my fingers crossed as I walk into Wal-Mart. "Please don't be gone, please don't be gone." They stopped making them in the States years ago, and I am dreading the day the Hershey vaults will finally run dry of Reeses Bites. I check for an expiration date but can never find one. As if I would let that stop me from eating them! For now, they continue to sell them in Canada, and I continue to buy a few bags every time I am there. Bliss in an orange bag? These things are insane. I ate them before I could take a picture. If you have tried them, I am sure you understand where I am coming from!

Tuesday was my trip to Canada's Wonderful (see post below). Wednesday meant a very early morning to have wheels-up by 7:00 AM Eastern time. Unfortunately, Halifax was fogged in and we couldn't get in until that evening. We decided to go to Montreal instead. A very French city, but I enjoy my short visits there. The people who work at Starlink Aviation are very good to us, and we can use the crew car to grab a bite to eat. I also tried to nap in the snooze room, but I don't think I was very successful. At about 5:30 PM, Ron and the rest of the gang showed up for our flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Such a gorgeous city! I love visiting Halifax, as long as the temperatures read in the positive!

Halifax is on Atlantic time (Phoenix time plus four hours), but I luckily got to sleep until 5:00 AM my time. We rode in the company suburban to Subway (Ron's favorite....we eat there at least once a day on the road when we are with him), then to the airport half an hour away. We flew over two hours to our next stop in St. John's, Newfoundland. Check a is almost in Europe! It also has its own time zone, called Newfoundland Time, which is Atlantic plus thirty minutes! It's Canada...and they can do whatever the stink they want with their time zones. After we dropped the passengers off at the U-Haul site, we got to take the van for an hour of sight-seeing and picture-taking. Except for Ron, none of the passengers had been to Canada before. So I took it upon myself to take pictures for them as a memento. And I will always use any excuse to take more pictures! We rushed back to the U-Haul to pick them up, then flew to Quebec City in Quebec. Also very French. Considering how most of this town's economy relies on tourism, you would think they would be more friendly to tourists. In most of the restaurants, I have to point to pictures on the menu so they understand what I want. And sometimes when the food shows up, I am still surprised! And they aren't nice about it!

Friday afternoon we left Quebec for home. Because of all the passengers, we had to stop twice on the way home (an airplane can only carry so much weight...either fuel or passengers, but not lots of both). Our first stop was in Peoria, Illinois so we could clear Customs. After a mad dash to Subway for lunch (you thought I was kidding!), we continued to Garden City, Kansas for fuel. They only had one guy working, so I fueled the wings while he fueled the fuselage tank. Anything to help me get home more quickly to my sweetie! We landed in Phoenix at 5:30 PM after a long, fun, not-cold week. It really is a beautiful country!

Phoenix - Springfield - Hamilton - Montreal - Halifax - St. John's - Quebec - Peoria - Garden City - Phoenix

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My New Best Friend

Apparently, I am having quite a difficult time getting used to Boy Cooties. I thought I had enough boyfriends in elementary school (even had three at one time in third grade!), to get accustomed to boy germs and all their fun. But, I tell ya...I have been sick more since I got married than the last ten years combined! I remember back in the good ol' days when I would get sick about every year and a half. After a few bad days, I would be feeling better than ever and able to return to normal life! I gave up counting months ago, but I know I have been sick much more than that since marrying John. He says he is immune to my ever-present Girl Cooties because he lived in Hungary for two years. I guess if you can live in Hungary for that long and not die of some terrible European disease, you can spend the rest of your life in happy, sick-free bliss! I jokingly asked him,(in my deep, manly voice thanks to a killer sore throat), when he is going to take me to Europe so I can also become immune from disease. I am sure two weeks of vacation in Europe would make me a much stronger person, able to fight off any sick bugs that come crawling my way!

He expertly dodged that question and tucked me in like a burrito.

I'm supposed to be watching my airplane while it is in maintenance at the Hawker Beechcraft Service Center, which just opened down at the Williams-Gateway Airport in Mesa. In the past, we had to take our airplane to San Antonio for work to be done by factory personnel. Though I will miss those trips to Texas, it sure was nice to leave the maintenance hangar yesterday and drive home to crawl into my OWN bed. I've been spending a lot of quality time in bed to try to let this pass over.

It donned on me Monday afternoon why I was so sick...last week on the road was killer. The latest I got to sleep in all week was 6:00 AM Pacific time, and usually I was up around 1:45 AM to 3:00 AM to fly the boss around. Combine that with my inability to take naps and having a brain that can't shut down at 7:00 PM at night, and I guess it is safe to say I didn't sleep much at all last week. Thus my immune system was vulnerable to attack. It didn't take long to settle in, either, since my throat started tickling when I woke up on Saturday morning after getting home from work the night before.

Being sick is no fun, and I am starting to worry that John thinks I'm just a big baby. Luckily, he never shows that if it is how he feels. He just cuddles up with me and tickles my arm like my Mommy used to do when we sat in church. He's a good man. I still like him, even if he makes me sick.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Being A Corporate Pilot Is Tough...

Sometimes my job includes doing terrible things like spending a day at Canada's Wonderland, a roller coaster-filled theme park just outside of Toronto. Shucks. It is a sacrifice, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do as a corporate pilot. You have to take the bad with the good.

The "bad" in this case included several roller coasters, all of which I tried eagerly. I love controlled risk. I love the thrill of sitting in the back of a roller coaster and knowing the front of the train is already over the gigantic drop. And that I am certainly about to die. What a rush! I have to sit in the back so nothing behind is slowing me down! Sometimes the forward view is full of people's hands, but I love not being dragged by carts behind me. Who has time for that?! Not me. Not when I am slaving away as a corporate pilot spending a day at Canada's Wonderland.

I admit this isn't my first time here. Two summers ago, I spent the day here with Terry. Thanks to an empty stomach and going backwards on a ride (I know it's embarrassing to admit, but it is the space ship-looking ride that goes in circles and upside down that did it to me), I got pretty wheezy for a few minutes and had to sit a ride out. I remembered that experience fondly during this visit and avoided that terrible machine! I hit all the big coasters and enjoyed every single one of them. When I started to feel hungry, I made sure to suffer through a teriyaki rice bowl before attempting the next ride in order to prevent being sick. Just part of the job of being a corporate pilot. And who would have thought a rice bowl at an amusement park would be so good?

Highlight of the day: their new ride, Behemoth. It's as ridiculous as the name implies, and I thought I was going to die an agonizing death for sure. The first incline just kept going, and twenty minutes later I reached the top. By this time, I was so high that I knew I should have decided against this ride. But then I started going down...and down...and down a little more! And I couldn't breathe! And I felt no gravity for at least fourteen hours (but I wasn't keeping track). And then it took me up another huge hill and repeated the terror again! And then it had the audacity to do it yet again! It was amazing. Too bad the line was so long, or I would have thought about risking life and limb...again. Sometimes, as a corporate pilot, you have to rough it like that.

Someone else accidentally bought an ice cream cookie sandwich and gave it to me (some of this statement is false). I couldn't let it go to waste and actually enjoyed myself, despite the two ingredients being ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. After choking the sandwich down, I realized how quickly the day was disappearing. A light sprinkling of rain commenced as I people-watched Canadians for a few minutes (never disappointing). Then I successfully found the borrowed U-Haul minivan in the sea-of-minivans parking lot and drove the hour back to Hamilton.

I tell ya, being a corporate pilot is rough. I guess I will continue to hunker down and continue to bare it.

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