Fort Vermilion Air Strip c. 1991
The life of a pilot’s wife seems to invoke visions of grandeur in the minds of those who have never been a pilot’s wife. I’m here today to disprove inaccurate information and lay the truth out for all to witness. First of all, just have a looksie at the harsh weather conditions we were faced with for three years! I’m a California girl and that’s a parka with fox fur trim, moose hide mitts (made by Rick’s grandma, Googum) and Sorels! I’d never tried on boots that came in two parts until we moved to Fort Vermilion, Alberta. Luckily they came in hot pink! I guess that the weather was not due to being a pilot’s wife… it was due to a newbie pilot putting in his ‘time’ in the North before heading to bluer skies in warmer climates.
Just a few glimpses into the strange happenings of a pilot’s family are indeed overdue.
Glimpse #1. We were driving our 1971 Toyota Corona Deluxe late at night when the dash lights cut out. Rick yelled, “The instrument panel is offline!” I yelled back, “Luckily we’re safe on the ground!” Made me wonder if he thought he was flying a plane…. they don’t have to pay quite as close attention when they’re up in the air… hmmmmm.
Glimpse #2. It was the middle of the night and I was stirred from blissful sleep as Rick sat up in bed and yelled, “More left power!” I replied, “Roger that,” and he laid back down having never woken up at all. :o) I wonder what would have happened if I yelled, “Man overboard?”
Glimpse #3. Anytime you call a pilot for an address or a name they always spell it in the phonetic alphabet. Over the years I’ve gotten used to it, but it was a surprise for others when Rick said we lived on Yankee Uniform Charlie Charlie Alpha Street. I’ve still not figured out the numbers… niner, niner… whatever. I just add er to the end of all of them. Oner, Twoer, Threeer. (mockful, I realize.)
Glimpse #4. We needed a new washing machine and were sitting together, husband and wife, reading washer reviews online. I would suggest a model. He would say, “18 cycles! How many did our old washer have?” “12″ “Why do we need 6 more? Our clothes were clean with 12.” I explained that the new and improved cycles were for specific washing cycles that would be useful. He didn’t get it. This went on and on for about an hour. Finally I lovingly explained, “When you buy an airplane, do you want me sitting there saying, ‘Ailerons? How many ailerons did your last plane have? Did you use both of them?’ “ And he let me pick out my washing machine all by myself. You gotta talk to a pilot in pilot smack.
Glimpse #5. I asked Rick to put in a load of laundry. We have a new fangled LG frontloader that lights up like a cockpit when you hit the magic button. I heard the laundry basket hit the floor. The door opened. Loading. Door closed. And then there was silence for about four minutes. He eventually hollered, “I’m not checked out on this machine.” WHAT? There’s only 5 buttons on the washer. How many are in the cockpit? Laundry Flight Training followed.
Glimpse #6. Important Terms to Know: Gas is for cars. Fuel is for planes. We saw a bumper sticker that said, “I love the smell of Jet A early in the morning.” Rick chuckled. I didn’t get it. Jet fuel stinks. My pilot tried to explain that it is such a familiar smell that means good times are coming. I guess it’s like the smell of the glue gun?? The sunscreen??? The movie popcorn????
And no, I don’t get to fly with him in his current job, something to do with insurance. No frequent flyer miles here. No jump seat privileges. It’s a glamorous life, for sure!