Life with a pilot is an interesting challenge. Humor keeps my mind on straight, so myself and a few fellow pilot wives have compiled the ABC’s of being a Pilot’s Wife. Corny? Yes. But I also think it gives you a glimpse of what life, in all it's unpredictable funness. (Yes, I made up a word. It's a privilege I have since my masters is in communication. Other then working the deep fryer at McDonalds, it's all I've got.)
A :: Adapatable - a pilot’s wife’s life is never stable. Schedules are given on a monthly basis, furloughs (the fun word for "layoffs) happen and situations/issues/delays are always coming up. You know how annoying a layover or delay is? We don't like them either. A good pilot wife must always be able to adapt to these situations all while exhibiting the utmost grace and style, because her husband is just as annoyed and complaining just makes it worse.
B :: Budget conscious - Along with having many student loans to be back, most pilots aren't home to pay the bills so we have to make sure that everything is paid on time. He lives of on pretzels and peanuts, but somehow find it necessary to splurge on the latest and greatest cellphone.
C :: Calm- Situations arise and plans change at a moment’s notice, which if you know me, is killer. Things happen at home all the time that you have to deal with and make do by yourself. It is important to remain calm, cool and collected (look there’s three C’s!). Don’t freak out over the small stuff.
D :: Devoted - Crazy schedules, terrible pay, long hours, nights alone — only a wife that is truly devoted to her husband could put up with these conditions.
E :: Envy - sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean in Hawaii and weekends to Miami is something ANYONE would be envious of. That is a perk of flying!
F :: Flexible - What? You won’t be home for Christmas? You got JA’d an hour before my surgery? You have to go for a four week training when? Where? Your crew base is moving to WHERE? When are we moving? When are we moving again? Can you call in sick for my due date? What if I am a week overdue? Honey, my water just broke, where are you?
G :: Grateful - Grateful he finally came home and sometimes grateful he is finally leaving again.
H :: Humbled - As incredibly difficult it can be to be a pilots wife, I always remember I have always had a roof over our head, food everyday, and every night we have always had a bed and warm place to sleep at night and my husband is doing the job he loves.
I :: Independent - You mean, I live half of my life alone? I got married but you are gone 50% of the time?!!! Guess I’ll have to entertain myself while you are away.
J :: Jealous - Seeing the country and even the world at times?
K :: Kissable - Always be the one he wants to come home to. The one he can’t wait to kiss when he gets home. Absence makes the heart fonder.
L :: Long Distance - You’re going to be gone how long? Having no idea when you’ll be able to work a rendezvous between your schedules, missing him the whole time.
M :: Money - or the lack of - ladies let’s tell the world the REAL truth - contrary to popular belief, pilots are not “rolling in the dough”.
N :: Numbers - The amount of numbers these guys retain is amazing! From runways, heading and altitudes, to tail number and go times. How about converting temperatures from C to F? Or remembering the seat number of a famous celebrity on their flight. These guys can sure hold their numbers.
O :: Online - Communication is the key word in any relationship, but even more when you are married to a pilot! When he is away communicating with him by email, phone, skype or pigeon - it is a must!
P :: Patience - We need an endless supply to deal with the flight delays/cancellations/schedule problems/vacation issues/etc… Not to mention his “extra-curricular activities” that sometimes take him even further away from family time (like softball, computers, etc)… I know I am constantly praying for more patience…
Q :: Quick - Flight delays, weather delays, it seems like pilots are always hurrying and scurrying. Schedules are so unpredictable, that you may or may not get a sizable amount of time with your man. Only 36 hours till he leaves again? Better get in all the fix-it stuff at home, visit all the extended family, and try to fit in some alone time.
R :: Reserve - Being a new First Officer or even a new Captain, being on reserve or “on call” is totally normal. Getting a line is really something to go out and celebrate!
S :: Strong - enough said right? We deal with a lot of up and downs, happiness and craziness. However, it’s not just about us; it’s also about our husbands. We must be strong for them and make sure they’re aware that we are with them on this wild airplane ride through life. Being there and being strong for each other is a must.
T :: Trust - There is no way a pilot’s wife can survive without trust — seriously, you’d run yourself crazy. The job of a pilot keeps him away from his wife and in questionable situations quite often. However, the best pilot wife must trust her pilot — there is no other choice. Trust him and the vows that you both made to each other - those will hold you together while you are apart. Blows my mind when woman can't trust their husbands and they are home all the time.
U :: Uniform - They do look sexy, don’t they?
V :: Valuable - So many things in this industry are valuable. The limited valuable time spent together as a family. The valuable training. The valuable lessons learned from each mishap.
W :: Worry - All the time! Every time there’s news on tv of a crash, bankruptcy, change in the business, etc. Worrying about whether he’ll make it home on time for something important. Worrying about everything!
X :: Xeric - If you get transferred to PHX?? Hey, don’t judge! You try to find a word that relates and starts with an X . . .
Y :: Yo-yo - Like a yo-yo our pilots are always going out and back from hub to outstation to hub.
Z :: Zulu - As pilot wives we MUST know what this refers to… Sometimes, my husband and I refer to zulu time more than local time. Maybe that’s why pilot watches have so many time settings… at least one of them will be zulu!
Ok, a little long, but thought it was very insightful and had to share!