The Life of a Pilot’s Wife

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!

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11 Responses to “The Life of a Pilot’s Wife”

  1. Jennie C. Says:

    “I guess it’s like the smell of the glue gun??” LOL

  2. Jill Says:

    Oh, what a cute couple………. so many years ago – so, so many years ago……
    Love the white boots, Elvis. :) Good thing you brought your wife to AZ – she never has to worry about freezing again!

  3. LaVonna Says:

    Okay Linda,

    I am pulling myself from off the ground from laughing so hard when I saw you and Rick with those fashionable boots! Rick’s remind me of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars. And you, well you just look cute no matter what.

    On another note…ya’ll are just the bomb! Look how sweet ya’ll are.

    I hope you kept the mitts. It is not every day you get a handmade gift made from a moose.


  4. rixgal Says:

    LaVonna, I got a moose hide lampshade with tasteful beavers embroidered on it as well. You need to come over some time and see my treasures from the reserve. Did I mention my leg-hold-trap earrings??

  5. LaVonna Says:

    I believe the only claim to fame of any live animals that are in my native treasures are some moccasins my sweet grandma made me when I was a teen. They still fit. I wish Rachel could have had a pair made. The rest is just beautiful native jewelry.

  6. Partner of a Pilot Says:

    That is the funniest blog post I have read in AAAAAGES! I was laughing out loud reding it to my pilot… I can identify with points 1-5! I’m adding you to my blogroll. Thanks for the giggle

  7. April Says:

    Haha, I am so amused by this. It really lifted my spirits. I am in the process of moving in with my pilot and just got out of an argument about chores and him thinking his schedule excuses him from doing them and this really gave me hope. it might not get better but it will be do-able. THanks, I still find myself laughing.

  8. Kathy Says:

    Oh God. They’re all the same. There’s also talk about cars travelling in knots. You commented once on my story, and it looks to me like you’ve landed in “Back of beyond hell hole not even on the map GA job place”!

    Beautiful though. I lived in Alberta once. And to an uninitiated Aussie, that looks like a HELL OF AN AIRSTRIP !!!

  9. rixgal Says:

    Kathy, we are now in Phoenix, Arizona…. just the opposite of Alberta. Both places have their advantages. The international airport here has closed because the tarmac was too hot. Go figure!

  10. Anna Says:

    Thanks, I needed this today. My guy is gone every week but this week was particulary rough. But you suck it up and always smile when they call!!! Looking forward to his return tomorrow. BUt this got me through today!!!!

  11. to be or not to be ( a pilot's wife) Says:

    Hi! I just want to comment on how funny and cute you are! haha.your pilot’s very lucky to have a humorous wife.

    I started looking into pilot’s wife’s blogs yesterday because my long distance boyfriend suddenly told me that he’s decided he wants to come here (I live in Vancouver) leave his practice back home (a struggling but very talented young architect)and be with me and fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot at the same time. This made me so happy you have no idea. Scenes of happy days with him finally with me kept flashing in my head! happiness filled my heart :) .. and then boom it hit me. Doesn’t being a pilot’s wife equal to a lonely always waiting life? :( (waaaaaa nooooooo…) I don’t want to tell him my worries as I dont want to burst his bubble because he seems so happy about the solution he finally found for us to be together without having to give up our chosen careers and because this really has been his dream since he was a kid.So here i am trying to tiptoe into your lives just so i know how icy the water will be/can be. and hopefully be able to see the beauty/ joy in this kind of set up too so i can be as positive as i can about it.

    Thanks for your writing! This one (first one ive read here) didnt sound so bad. I hope I can be as strong and humorous as you are:)

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