Saturday, December 12, 2009

Let It Be Known...

...that I passionately love my job. Never mind that every place we landed this week was less than 20 degrees in temperature. And when the windchill was factored in, my teeth started chattering just thinking of the number (forty degrees colder, in case you want to share in the misery with me). Never mind that we got called on Wednesday at 4:15 PM to depart Sky Harbor Airport at 5:00 PM! And fly to the east coast. Even considering all of this, I completely love my job. It felt so great to be in the sky again! I could have easily done without the 55 MPH winds when it was already zero degrees outside (why isn't Florida ever on their map in the winter?). But all things, considered, it was a great week at work.

I was severely reminded why I love living in Phoenix. I hate being cold. I dread it. I pile on layers of clothing and coats to attempt to counteract what I am going to feel outside. I am still unsure how I survived four winters in North Dakota. If I have my way, I will live somewhere warm for the rest of my life! We all know heaven doesn't have snow and is always set to a perfect 77 degrees.

We had Big Boss and four additional passengers on board this week, including one's 9 year-old son. He got ten pounds of jelly beans at our last stop in Chicago. I was hoping he would forget about them and leave them on the airplane, but no such luck. I love the people I work for. Even if they do try to freeze my little brain for six months each year! We even visited two new airports at Fitchburg and Waukegan. It's fun to see new places (from the warm indoors, of course).

Sorry if this seems to be mostly about temperatures. It was definitely a theme at work this week! I am still trying to thaw out, but I think sleeping next to a warm husband helps!

Phoenix, Arizona - Salina, Kansas (for fuel) - Boston (Hanscom Field in Bedford) - Fitchburg, Massachusetts - Baltimore, Maryland - Rochester, New York - Chicago (Waukegan Field) - Garden City, Kansas (for fuel) - Phoenix, Arizona

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Think It's A Girl

Saturday's busy events continued with a wonderful baby shower for my sister-in-law, Megan. This incredible lady married my brother almost three years ago, and they are having baby Mayla in January. We can hardly wait for her to arrive, so attending a party to celebrate Megan's growing belly made the day complete!

After my Girl Scout adventure, I arrived at T'liese's house shortly before noon. We carpooled together to Scottsdale, where she had some goodies to drop off for her old co-workers at Spa Avania where she worked until this past June. The spa is located at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch Resort and is was so fun to see where T'liese spent a few years of her life!

We then drove to the Biltmore in Phoenix to let the festivities begin. In case we got lost, we saw a sign directing us for Megan's Baby Shower. Believe me, every single thing was considered for this party! The decorations were immaculate, located in the Grand Ballroom at one of the most prestigious hotels in the valley. Being so awesome, T'liese and I were the first ones there. It gave us the chance to scope out the steak carving table, the jumbo shrimp cocktail bar, and the made-to-order pasta table where a chef prepared goodness on every plate. Unfortunately, we had to wait almost another hour before all fifty guests had arrived and we were given the approval to start eating. The food was fabulous! And the decorations? My goodness. They went all-out! The centerpiece was a baby basket full of fresh flowers. Even the glassware was tinted pink! The tables were perfectly set for the party to begin! A three-layer cake was on display. Upon arrival, Megan simply glowed! She is going to be such a great mama. Her belly is huge and adorable, though the pictures don't give it justice. It was fun being there to represent Jeff's side of the family.

After lunch, we played some games of dressing up as "babies" and being judged by the crowd on who did the best. Had we known we were playing for $250 gift cards, I am sure we would have put a little more energy into it! We also created nursery rhymes for Megan to sing to Mayla on those upcoming sleepless nights filled with the crying of a newborn baby. We lost that one, too, but I think we had a better idea than everyone else! It didn't help that Megan's dad, Alfredo, was the judge and picked his other daughter, Maddy, as one of the winners! We are good losers, though. The cake probably had something to do with that.

And then the present-opening ceremony began. And went on for three decades. Megan hit the mother lode and got tons of presents. It looks like everyone likes her as much as us! T'liese and I snuck out about 5:30 so she could get to some other engagements. It was a beautiful party to celebrate a beautiful lady and baby on the way. Megan, you are a keeper! Now let's just get that baby here!

Girl Scouts, Minus the Thin Mint Cookies

It was an action-packed weekend from Friday on. I headed to the airport to watch some Hawker Beechcraft mechanics finish a few things left on my airplane from our inspection three months ago. The parts we needed were hard to track down, but they finally arrived. Our right hydraulic switch got replaced and passed leak tests during the engine runs, as I am sure everyone will be relieved to know! And we also (hopefully) got our ice bucket fixed to drain water better. Stagnant water inside lines that don't drain eventually lead to a water overflow inside my airplane, and not a good-smelling one, either! Unfortunately, the Japanese designed the drain hole to be level with the drain tube. We also had an oxygen mask holster broken during our inspection, and the part arrived in time to get it replaced now. It was so convenient to have the mechanics come to me at Swift Aviation instead of having to spend $1,000 to fly it down and back from Williams-Gateway Airport in southeastern Mesa. I like when maintenance items are minor enough they can simply bring a bag of tools and fix it on sight! I tell ya, my sweet-talking skills come in pretty handy when negotiating maintenance issues!

I got the airplane fixed just in time for the real fun to begin...on a chilly Saturday morning. A few months ago, I was put in contact with a Girl Scout troop leader who wanted to show her girls a female corporate pilot's airplane. After much planning and anticipation, eight girls and three troop leaders showed up to hear all about flying and to explore my Beechjet. It was a lot of fun to spend a few hours with them. I always volunteer stuff like this to people so I can try to pay back how great I have it! The whole reason I am a pilot today is because a helicopter landed in the playground at school when I was in the first grade. As the pilot talked to us, I thought to myself, "That's it. I want to be a pilot." Other than a short stint in high school of wanting to be a spy (until I figured out that I could fly and be a spy), I have always known exactly what I wanted to be! I hoped this chance to spend time with the Girl Scouts would have a positive impact on them. However, I think the only lasting impression made on them was that our lavatory is considered a passenger seat!

We lucked out and also got to walk through Swift Aviation's Boeing 737-400. They charter it to transport sports teams such as the Suns, Coyotes, Celtics, Kings, and lots of bigwigs. I guess being a Girl Scout gets you special treatment, since I haven't even seen this before! It just made the day that much better. The girls were well-behaved and asked great questions. Their troop leaders were really neat and fun to have around. No one got sucked into an engine on the ramp. The airport police were only called four times. And who knows? Maybe in ten years, one of them will want to be a pilot because she remembers how cool it was to sit in Steve Nash's seat.

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