Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Voices From Abroad

Rob is off on a four-day trip.

I shouldn't whine, because we are coming off a vacation-like six days together, where we didn't fly anywhere, didn't do anything exotic, just spent time together in our home.  It was wonderful!  More on that later.

But, after having him here for six days, I feel like I'm rattling around this empty house, at loose ends.  To make it worse, I have MY days off this week, right in the middle of HIS trip.  So, I'm off, trying to fill my time so I won't miss him too much.  These kinds of days are the worst possible days for him to be flying out of the country.  He doesn't have an international calling plan.  So, when he flies to Canada or Mexico...we are stuck with texting apps like Google Talk or What's App.

Yesterday, I discovered that What's App's latest version has a voice function.  Not a voice-to-text function.  I hate those.  This is like using voice-mail.

Please don't mention Skype or Face-time.  Zoikes!  I've been leery of that technology since The Jetsons!  No, Thanks!  Rob has a pleasant image of me in his memory, and a few decent snapshots on his phone, let's not subject him to the scary, harsh-lighting, bad-angle close-up that Skype delivers.

So, I was thrilled with the voice capability.  It is better than talking on the phone in terms of clarity.  And there's something about knowing your voice is being recorded, that makes you take time with your words.  I was not even horribly chagrined to listen to my own recorded voice playing back to me, a prospect that is usually too awful to entertain.  But, to hear Rob's voice, crisply and clearly telling me that he loved me, wishing me sweet dreams, and saying goodnight, this was pure joy.  We only played around with it for a few minutes.  Though we were both so excited about it, he needed to get to bed.  His alarm was set for 2:30 a.m. for a painfully early show-time.

Tomorrow, he will be home.  I will hear his dear voice in person.  But, yesterday, when he was so far away that we could not even talk on the phone, I was so very grateful to this simple, free phone app, for making it more bearable.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Base Changes: Unsure what the Future Holds

Rob's company is opening several new airline bases.  This is a good thing, I'm sure, but it opens up a great deal of instability in the short term.  The company must staff the new bases, and they don't have a ready source of new hires, so that staff will come from current pilots who are based elsewhere.

We have been lucky so far.  Rob spent a month based in Newark when he started. He immediately put in a trade request and was able to transfer to Chicago.  This makes our lives so much more liveable.  His commute to work is just one 40 minute flight.  I almost don't remember what Newark was like.  But, I am about to find out:  with the new base openings, he got a transfer to Newark.

Starting next month, Rob will have to have a "crash pad".  Sounds fun, right?  Not so much.  For a fair price, he will rent a bed and use of a kitchen essentially. The official crash pads are run like dorms with strict rules and regs regarding visitors, drinking and cleanliness.  It is my hope that he won't be spending any time there at all, but since he is still flying on reserve, chances are good that he will spend some nights there.  Here's the way it will likely work:  he will fly to Newark the night before he has to work, and sleep at the crash pad.  The next morning, hopefully he will have an assignment and will spend the next 4 days flying, on the last of which he will make his way home...if he gets done early enough to make a flight home.  If he doesn't, that means another night in Newark and flying home on his day off.

We are both hopeful that he will have enough seniority to hold a line in Newark very soon.  This may make the cross-country commute more doable.  He will know what he is flying, and when, instead of being on-call for his work days. He will also be able to drop trips that don't work well with his commuting schedule.  If he's a line holder, he may not have to do as much commuting on his days off.  This means more time at home: something commercial airline pilots hold dear.

I found another great blog about life with a pilot. This woman has many more years of experience at this than I do and I'm sure she and her pilot have rolled with lots of major job changes.  Enjoy!

Anyway, I am trying to be optimistic.  We will get through it.