Friday, January 29, 2010

If You Don't Like Airplanes, Then Shame On You

Have I mentioned that I like airplanes? This week at work included lots of them, and I was in hog-heaven. We left Monday with Big Boss and five passengers for a long trip across the country to Bedford near Boston, Massachusetts. We stopped in St. Louis for fuel and couldn't get out of there quickly enough...why is the Midwest always so cold?! Boston was beautiful for the few days we spent there, and we got to try out a new hotel thanks to it being super cheap! The Aloft was amazing. See that shower? I could live in there. And I tried to steal that blue rocking chair, but they stopped me at the door. "Excuse me, ma'am?" It's harder than I thought to carry a large sitting device while sprinting across the hotel lobby. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, we flew to an airport I had never visited before...Dulles International near Washington DC. And we arrived early enough to do something I have always wanted to do but have never had the chance: see some history! We got to visit the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Memorials were gorgeous and really made me reflect on how great this country is. I could spend weeks in this city and still not have enough time to visit everything! As you can see from the pictures, I am wearing my light jacket thanks to forgetting my winter coat on the airplane. After over two hours outside in the twenty-seven degree weather, I was happy to get back in the car and save the rest for another day! I could even see the Capital Building and the White House from a distance. No one was home, since the State of the Union address was being given. It was too cold to get close enough to knock, so we headed back to the hotel near Dulles.

Speaking of Dulles, did I mention it is home to one of the most renowned aviation museums in the world? And that this museum is stuffed with incredible airplanes that have made history for over one-hundred years? Did I also mention that I got to visit this museum for a few hours and drool in awe over hundreds of shiny, historical, and HUGE players in aviation history? That's right. I got to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. You can imagine my excitement. Who would have thought I liked airplanes so much? I have waited twenty years to see all of this! And, believe me, I could tell you stories about every single picture I took. I will spare you...for now. Let's just say I had a lovely time seeing airplanes for two hours. The Enola Gay was there, and I got to stand beneath its nose and imagine what its mission was and what was carried in its cargo bay so long ago. An SR-71 was there, which can fly from the west coast to the east coast in just over an hour. Show-offs. The original Boeing 707 was there...the very airplane that test pilot Tex Johnson did a barrel roll in front of crowds of prospective customers to show them what the airplane could do. The Space Shuttle Enterprise was there, and I am still shocked at the size of this monstrosity. I guess I had no idea how big it was! This particular shuttle was used for landing practice by the astronauts as they attached and then released it in flight from a Boeing 747. It's always fun to see how well you can fly a brick! Did I say I wasn't going to tell stories about each picture? Well, I lied.

I just feel so blessed about all the wonderful things I got to see and do this week at work. I don't even mind getting home at 3:00 AM when it completes such a fun time at work! Now, if it would just warm up for those Midwest fuel stops, I wouldn't have a single thing to complain about!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ramblings of a Happy Pilot

It's been so nice this past week to not have the stress of studying and an upcoming check ride hanging out on my shoulder like a little monkey. I feel like I have done a lot and absolutely nothing this past week...and loved every second. I was even able to stay in pajamas for most of the day on Friday. What a treat! The week seemed so busy, but it was all an enjoyable busy. Being the worker bee that I am, I start to organize projects in my head in case I don't get that ever-possible call to go to work.

I am going to work tomorrow. East Coast, here I come! I am excited about it and always love to be in the air. We are flying Big Boss this week, plus five passengers! It will be a full load in the cabin, but that can count as a workout by lifting bags from the hard-to-access baggage compartment on my airplane. I do it all...throw bags, buy jet fuel, schedule hotels, beg for rental cars, and occasionally hail a taxi for these people. And I really do love every minute of it. While at my brother's house this past week (visiting that cute niece...what, you didn't really think I could make an entire post without mentioning her, did you?), Megan brought out a fun book describing the personality attributes of people based on their date of birth. Me, as a Leo born August 9th, was described as a person who thrives on appreciation and attention dished out by others. The consequential self-contemplation was kind of creepy as Jeff continued to read. The passage described me so well! Interaction and emotional attachment is everything to me. I would do anything for anyone I loved, at the expense of losing myself in the process. I am fiercely loyal and devoted, though somewhat idealistic in my views of romance and love. Me, me, also me. Soooo, having a job where I get to serve people, and carry their heavy bags to the ends of the earth, and make sure their favorite coffee creamer is on board before takeoff....I live for that kind of stuff. I guess I have always known it about myself, but it's always nice to hear! I'm a pleaser.

I love my job for so many reasons. I love the aspect of traveling. During Big Boss weeks, we never know where we are headed next or when. It always keeps me on my toes, which in so many ways I struggle with because I am such a planner. On the other hand, it's fun to have hotels and cars arranged in Miami at 10:30 PM at night, and have him change his mind as he walks to the airplane. "No, let's go to Nashville instead." I feel like it's a blessed challenge...and I have to think of the best way to deal with the change in the most seamless manner possible. They have no idea what their two pilots do to make their lives on the road so wonderful! Sometimes, they mention how nice it is and even (gasp!) say thank you. I know they are pleased with what I am doing for them, and I know I do my job well. I would hear about it if I wasn't doing something right! But I always sit in that seat at 37,000 feet and gaze out the window smiling. Can I really be doing this for a living? My dream? I can't believe they call this work!

I love my "job."
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