Saturday, May 15, 2010

He Done Did It

My man walked across the stage today and became an official recipient of a Masters Degree of Science in Information Management. For those who need the clarification, it means he is now even more geeky...and I love him for it!

He has worked so hard at this program since June 1st when it began. 10-week mini-mesters with two classes each. He worked full-time and then attended class two nights a week until 10:00 PM. On the nights he was free from lecture, he was busy reading case studies, writing papers, and working on his Applied Project (his year-long group project that equated to a thesis). I don't even think it has sunk in yet that he never has to go to class again!

John didn't want me to get him anything for graduation, but it was impossible for me to comply. Every time we are in a store, he checks to see if they have a black light flashlight. In case you may be unaware, Arizona has somewhat of a scorpion problem, and it's nice to have a black light to find them instantly. We have even come across a few in our house (I can no longer walk barefoot). Amazon delivered a black light for him to enjoy. We even went scorpion hunting last evening with his Dad and Uncle Bill. We caught over ten scorpions (pictures not're welcome) and ended their miserable lives in a humanely way (part of that statement is true). I never thought I would hate anything more than spiders, but that hatred is insignificant compared to my recently-developed-since-moving-to-Arizona hatred towards scorpions. Now my husband can get rid of them, just like he wants! I also got him the original copy of the miniseries, "V," which he watched as a youngster and loved.

Graduation was early...9:00 AM, with graduates required to show up at 8:00. Since I hadn't seen my man all week, I woke up early to go with him to the Wells Fargo Arena. I love having family sister and brother were able to show up with their hubbies and babies, which I consequently kissed on for most of the commencement. My Dad was also in town for his visit to the States and was able to attend graduation with us. John's parents came down from Snowflake to watch, and his brother was able to make it as well. It got ugly saving nine seats by myself, so I was happy when more people showed up to help! Soon the bagpipes started a processional march and the graduation was underway!

The speeches were good but seemed to last a long time. And the walking of the graduates was even longer! Luckily, we won't have to do this again until one of our own kiddies graduates from high school! We ate lunch with his parents at Souper Salad then went home to do laundry (I was gone all week!) and take a nap. For dinner, we met my family at The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate my Dad being in town from Mexico as well as John's graduation. It was such a delicious dinner! Yes, John ate an entire Grande Burrito and still managed to eat most of the Snickers Cheesecake that we split. What a man! He deserves's been a long year, and I am tickled to have him all to myself again.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Broken Plane Means Broken-Hearted

So there I was. Sitting in Northeast Philadelphia Airport all day, waiting for the call to head to our mysterious next destination. The call comes, the airplane is readied, and Big Boss arrives to fly to our nation's capital. As we are taxiing out for the flight, one of our pre-flight checks makes us stop in our tracks...

My airplane is a flying multiple-system computer. Lots of different computers talk to each other, and many systems are redundant as a backup. Some systems have two identical components but need both operational to be able to take off. We ran into a problem tonight as we were heading to our departure runway that made us limp back to the FBO. It's called an Attitude Heading and Reference System, commonly known as an AHRS. It contains all sorts of computer parts and also contains a sensitive gyro that helps the instruments to know what to display. It is certainly the brains of the airplane for navigation, orientation, and just knowing which way is up! There is an AHRS 1 on the left side of the airplane, and an AHRS 2 on the right side. Even though there are two of them, we need both of them working in order to fly away into the great blue yonder. Wouldn't you know that the AHRS 2 died tonight!

After quickly trouble-shooting and knowing this was bigger than we could fix, we called maintenance all over the city to see if someone was available. Seeing as it was almost 8:00 PM, it was hard to track someone down who could look at my broken baby. Meanwhile, I got Big Boss a rental car and a map of the area so he could drive the ninety miles to get to his desired destination. Did I mention it would only be a 20-minute flight if the airplane was healthy? Luckily, he took the broken-airplane news as well as he could. We will keep him updated tomorrow on our maintenance progress.

Meanwhile, I am at the hotel and sick in bed. Terry is with the mechanic now (at 11:30 PM!). They are going to switch out the AHRS box to the other side to see if it is still broken. If so, GREAT! We can order the part tonight and have it on a 6:30 AM flight out of Wichita tomorrow morning, to arrive to us at KPNE airport around 2:00 PM. The mechanic will put in the new AHRS box and remove the old one, sign some paperwork and give us a sticker for our maintenance logbooks before sending us on our way. If the swapping doesn't work? Bad news. It means it won't be an easy fix since he will need to come back tomorrow morning to take a deeper look at the entire system. And who KNOWS when we will get the airplane fixed if that happens! We will have to find out what's wrong first (please not a short in the system, please not a short in the system) before being able to order parts and have a mechanic tear into the system to fix whatever is wrong.

I have my fingers and toes crossed that it's just the AHRS box. No doubt it will be a very expensive part, but it is an older airplane (fourteen years old this year!), and things do tend to wear out eventually. In a dream world, we will land in DC to pick up Big Boss tomorrow afternoon to take him to his next mystery location. I am a little husband walks across the stage for graduation on Saturday morning. Wouldn't it be fun to be there to watch?! Come on, AHRS 2!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Nor Cal, Here My Ears Come!

Thursday was a great day at "work." I woke up early and found that I had a scratchy throat. I didn't realize how sick I was until a few hours later when I was trying to adjust my ears to the pressure changes inside the airplane. Since I have small Eustachian tubes anyway (that will be a fun Google search for you!), any sort of infection in my head makes it impossible to clear my ears when descending from altitude. It means there is a ton of pressure pushing on my ears from the outside with no way to relieve the pain. It rarely feels good, and it is a wonderful reminder to try to stay healthy! As a side note, I have been in bed since Thursday night when I got home to try to beat this, since we are heading out again tonight.

We visited all sorts of beautiful places that I had never seen before. Chico, California is north of Sacramento by seventy miles and is nestled in a beautiful green valley. We were greeted by Mack the Hangar Dog. I don't like dog hair, but this guy kept sitting on my feet for attention and was simply adorable! I wanted to steal him when we left, but I was too afraid someone would notice. We then went to McClellan Airport on the north side of Sacramento. Again, I had never been here before and enjoyed the stay. We were there long enough to try for Johnny Carino's for lunch. When we saw the traffic (typical California), we decided to stay close to the airport by eating at Golden Corral. Thank goodness we did, because Big Boss came back early to leave for our next destination.

I have a dear friend, Shari (hi Shari!), who lives in Tahoe all summer. Now I know why. Our last stop of the day before heading home was South Lake Tahoe Airport. What a breath-taking sight! I couldn't get enough of the mountains, pine trees, crisp air...I could go on and on! It was simply gorgeous, and it was hard to leave. The guys at Mountain West Aviation were exceedingly polite, and you just don't find that kind of customer service any more. My passengers returned by 6:15 PM, and we were on our way back to Phoenix. Not bad for a day's "work!"

Phoenix - Chico - McClellan - Tahoe - Phoenix

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