Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Week That Wasn’t

I realize this past week, for most, was one of thankfulness, a time for family and a reason to celebrate.  For me, not so much.

Nothing this week turned out the way I expected, or hoped, it would.  Thanksgiving?  Bah!  Celebration?  Humbug!  I’ve been in a decidedly negative mood most of the last seven days and here’s why…

Something we had hoped very much to happen; which we’d spent a good deal of money trying to make happen; which we had put quite a bit of ourselves into making happen and early signs indicated was indeed going to happen, isn’t happening.  It was a major blow, to say the least, the details of which I will not divulge.    Suffice to say, I was feeling about as low as I could.  The only good thing about feeling that low is there’s no where to go but up, right?

Of course not.  Because I had my recurrent check ride looming over me for work.  Once a year I have to prove that I actually do know how to fly a plane that, let’s face it, pretty much flies itself.  How hard could that be?  I do it all the time right?  What I don’t do is deal with a myriad of emergencies that I’m expected to know how to deal with should they occur.  The problem is that these emergencies rarely ever do occur.  That’s a good thing, but it can make a pilot a bit rusty on the procedures.  Hence, recurrent training.  Add to that the fact the FAA is scrutinizing every airline’s training program since some inexperienced pilot’s crashed into a house last winter and my stress level rises more than it already was. 

So, I studied all day Monday, even as bad things were happening in other aspects of my life.  I had to put that aside.  Enter Howard, my slovenly neighbor.  While his overweight, over-aged, smoker of a wife is as fertile as Michelle Duggar, he kept asking me for favors I was none too happy to do.

“Moira’s having the baby,” he told me over the phone.  “Can you walk the dog?”

Can I walk the dog?  Can Howard walk the dog?  ‘Cause I have to tell you, I’ve known that dog for nearly six years, and I’ve never seen it walked.  So I did what Howard would have done.  I let the dog out  the back door, once again, stepping over a landmine of stuff.  I can’t even describe it better than stuff.  I had to push my way past a mattress and box spring, on their side, blocking the front door.  Dirty laundry lined the floor.  Its the most disgusting place I’ve ever been.  Every day I’m more incensed at the way they live.  I’m way beyond how.  I need to know why they live that way.  They’ve seen my house.  They know clean exists.  Why do they choose to ignore it?  And why are they bringing another helpless child into that environment?  But I was curious.  Howard had borrowed some tools to ready the baby’s room.  Two days earlier.  I wanted to see how much progress he’d made.  He even encouraged me to check it out, so I wasn’t snooping.  Finished?  Please.  But while I was up there I thought I’d check out the hole in the shower through which he’d fallen.  The shower walls were gone.  I mean…well…gone.  Nothing but studs.  No hardware either.  No spigot, or nozzle, or tiles or anything.  But the guy’s apparently been busy elsewhere.  There was a stack of Playboys on his dresser a foot and a half high.

Well, I had my own studying to do.  Not an easy thing to do when the neighbors are stinking up the bliss I should have been having.  With Tuesday came more studying and more requests from Howard.
Wednesday was day one of my two day training.  The first day is designed to get acquainted with the procedures in the simulator.  I was partnered with a boisterous captain from Long Island I’d never met, who felt the need to tell me, and the instructor, how he once came home early from a trip and caught his wife with another man.  It seemed relevant, given that it was more than a decade ago and he’d been married to someone else for the past twelve years.  He just liked to talk.  On the phone.  With me.  He kept calling, thinking he knew what we should study for the actual check ride, the next day.  Then, out of nowhere, he asked me how long I’d been married and how I met my wife and how many brothers and sisters I had and where they all lived.  WTF?!

Thursday morning.  Turkey day for most of you, but I just felt like a turkey.  Oddly calm, I’d slept pretty well, figuring if I didn’t know it yet, there was nothing more I could learn at that point.  I drove to the Airbus Training Center in Miami feeling confident.  Prior to the actual check ride we were given an oral exam.  The instructor, with a reputation as a real hardass, was impressed.  I aced it.  To make things even better, it was a national holiday.  While the feds have been observing a lot of check rides and failing a lot of pilots, they all took the day off.  My pressure was easing. 

And then the power went out.  Check ride canceled.  Postponed actually.  And guess what?  There’s a new curriculum starting December 1.  The warm up I did the day before?  Not gonna matter.  But do you think they’ll give me another one to prepare for the check ride I’m actually going to take?  Not at thousands of dollars an hour in sim time.  The weight that was supposed to be lifted in time for Thanksgiving dinner?  Heavier than ever.  The writing I’d put off during all this drama?  Still on hold.

And then, something good happened.  I went to work.  Assigned an abnormally long layover – two nights in Tampa – Mrs.. Sarcasm drove over to join me.  It was exactly the weekend we needed to recharge, recover and rediscover life.  And guess what else we discovered. 

Stepford.  Okay, Clearwater.  Home to Scientology and its robots followers.  This is a creepy place, where people walk around in quasi-military uniforms.  Surveillance cameras are everywhere and everyone carries a clipboard.  I’m still weirded out, but it was fun and I’m finally home; finally ready to get on with life.  Sure, I still have to take a check ride, but I don’t know when and won’t worry about it until I do.  That, at this point, is the least of my problems.

Well, this is probably the least.  I just found out somebody is having a  book signing at a Barnes and Noble in January.  I know for a fact he was still on a a first draft in August.  No legitimate publisher works that fast.  He’s self-published and full of BS.  Well, he’s always been full of BS, but now he’s going to convince people he’s a bona-fide, successful author.  Don't get me wrong, self-publishing works for some, but I think, as writers, people should be up front about it.  Unfortunately the general public won’t know the difference.  It shouldn’t bother me, but it does.

I should worry more about the fact Snickers is selling a “King Size” candy bar that is actually two candy bars in a King Size wrapper.  That’s the kind of problem I need in my life.  If that becomes my biggest worry, then all is well.


Angela said...

Oi! So sorry you're toting such a heavy load. I know it seems like empty words, but things will get better.

And things could be worse too. You could be the poor infant that calls Howard 'father'.

Now that's shudder-worthy.

jenicini said...

Having that kind of crap testing hanging over you pretty much kicks the "giving" of this week a whole new meaning. Hope it goes well!

Katy said...

I knew it...