Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Job, New People, New Issues

  • Wow, pilots like to talk. The there I was story comes easily and often. The old guard at Carson wasn't like that. They were more been there, done that, don't really want to talk about it kind of guys. These guys at the new company? Wow...they like to talk. So we listen and we nod and we make impressed noises. And I think about the stories I have been told by the stoic men I met at the beginning and manage not to be too smug. At least on the outside.
  • This is not Lithus's new company. It easily could've been. This is what he will be doing come fall, after fire season is over. The riggers have to get to the oil rigs somehow, as do their groceries and their gear. I'm not the least bit worried about Lithus. Fire fighting has a higher "exposure rate", as he would put it. It still makes me sad. It's a wakeup call. They weren't my friends. They could be this time next year. And they were someone's friends.
  • The new company offers employees what's known as crew housing. The pilots, the mechanics, and anyone else involved in the gig stays in housing. A townhouse, a large apartment, a duplex, a trailer, wherever. Everybody gets their own room, with shared public spaces. It's...different. Not uncomfortable, really. But not comfortable, either. Never thought I would miss the flophouse from Medford last summer.
  • Meeting all these new people, even liking all the new people I'm meeting...I miss you, Roarke. I think Lithus does, too.
Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

RIP Saturday mail

Once again, the US postal service is talking about doing away with Saturday mail service. This idea was floated several years ago and the outrage was a little over the top. Now? Not so much. The "man on the street" interviews are basically indifferent. We don't use mail for anything except bills and junk any longer. We can get our coupons online. Our news. Our communication with our friends.

Honestly, I won't miss Saturday mail either, myself. But I do miss mail. Letters. Postcards. Greeting cards. Nemeria and I still write letters. I send about 10 people postcards from just about every stop we make on the road. There are a couple friends who exchange cards with me on a semi-regular basis.

We are a dying breed and I realize this. There used to be a program online called "The Letter Project" but even that has gone away. Personally, I email far more often than I write a letter. Sometimes, I don't even bother with an email but trust this blog to keep people up to date (with apologies to you, dear AppsRus, who falls deeply into this category).

Yet, I do miss mail, even as I don't use it as often as I want to. What about you? If it was still possible to send packages for birthdays and holidays, would you miss mail delivery?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Things

1. The sound of helicopter rotors starting up. I don't even have to be on the flight. I have come to love that sound.

2. Bald eagles. My God, they are amazing.

3. That 10-20 minutes between the time the night shift mechanic leaves and the other day shift pilot gets home. Technically, there's nothing different about that time. We don't do anything that we haven't been doing while the mechanic is here or we won't do once the other pilot gets home. There's just a difference in the quality of the silence.

4. RuPaul's Drag Race. Pure, over the top, draggy, queeny, bitchy fun. The rest of the world can have Survivor and American Idol. I'll take RuPaul any day.

5. Nasal spray. I know ~ it's supposed to be horrible for you. I know ~ it's supposed to be addictive. But it is allowing me to breathe right now and I'll take that.

6. Coffee bags. They are great for allowing me to have coffee on the road. And you know I love me my coffee.

7. My "I've Got Great Hands" and Steel Workers Local 19 t-shirts. The first is from Bil. He gave it to me last time I was with them (The Ugly Times, as it's been dubbed) when I realized I was going to be living with a 13 year old and didn't own appropriate pajamas. When I tried to give it back to him as we left this time, he looked at me and said "Nope, that's yours." Which is a good thing because the thought of giving it back was making me cry. The Grill Master is a part of Steel Workers Local 19. One year for Christmas, he asked what I wanted from him. He didn't believe me when I said I wanted one of his shirts. He offered to get me a new one but I didn't want just any Local 19 t-shirt; I wanted one of his. So I got it. Carrying pictures of everyone I love and miss isn't realistic. Instead, I carry articles of clothing. These are my two favorites.

8. George. George is my leather duffle, named after George Bailey of It's A Wonderful Life. In some ways, he's totally impractical. He's heavy empty, doesn't have wheels, and is only so big. In other ways, he's the most practical piece of luggage I own. Because he's hard leather, I don't have to worry about anything doing it damage. It won't rip; it won't be punctured; the seams won't pull. He is virtually indestructible. Plus, he harkens back to the days of Indiana Jones and adventure travel and everything inherent therein, which doesn't suck.

9. The way Lithus reaches for my hand when we are walking. Every. Single. Time. it makes me feel loved and warm inside.

10. My lopard print coat. These days, most of my feel good, kick ass clothing are in storage. But not my leopard skin coat. My leopard skin coat is on my back. And I feel great wearing it.

Those are happy Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Lithus and I have moved to Alaska. Seriously. It's been a few weeks coming. Remember that post a while ago where I wrote that we were very, very close to (my definition of) stability? Well, we have gotten there. In ... Alaska. This past Sunday, after a very long day of traveling, we arrived in Anchorage. And, wow, that was two days ago. It already feels longer, in a good way. As the Divine M put it "I took three days off from work and my best friend moved to Alaska." Well...yes.

Sunday night, we were met at the hotel with a message for Lithus to call his boss. He called before we had ever made it to the room. "I'll be there within ten minutes to pick you up. We're looking forward to meeting you and your wife." So we made a mad dash up to the room, dropped our bags, tried not to think about the fact that we'd been up since 2:30 a.m. Anchorage time, and raced back downstairs, where Boss Man was already waiting. We went to his house for vodka and chocolate cake. I can live with this kind of a boss. I saw a bald eagle. Not in a zoo. Not in a wildlife show. Just flying around, as if it was a big old (predatory) robin.

We also got the word that we would be leaving the next day for Kenai. Sure enough, the next day, we were on another plane to Kenai. It's a 20 minute flight from Anchorage. No security to go through. No random searches. You just walk up to the counter, give them an i.d. They hand you a ticket and you get on the plane. Me, my leopard print jacket, my high heels, and a dozen oil riggers. It's possible I run the risk of becoming a local character in record time.

Last night, we went to Louie's Steak and Seafood for dinner. The blackened prime rib and the king crab salad are not to be missed, should you ever find yourself in Kenai around dinner time. The animal heads and bodies and furs and pelts are a bit much but if you focus on the food, it's yummy goodness. (Note: Among all these carcasses is a crafted, beautifuly made, yet very human head. It's possible I am the only one in the place that found this...odd.) Anyway, be sure to ask for Lisa as your server.

Today, I am trying desperately to be quiet in spite of my lingering coughing and hacking and snorting and sniffling, as the overnight mechanic is asleep in the next bedroom. Lithus is at work. Assuming the sun that has peeked through the clouds is staying where it is and the snow doesn't start again, he will be flying some today. If the snow starts again, it could be tomorrow. Apparently, so long as we're back in Anchorage by Thursday, late afternoon, it really doesn't matter. After all, all we have to do is show up at the airport with our i.d.'s.

I know I'm not doing any of this justice. For a writer, I am finding myself completely incapable of expressing the surreal nature of it all, the absolute joy of the moment, the uniqueness of everything around me. But trust me ~ it's all of those things and so much more. And maybe, if I can find the words, I'll be able to tell you. Until then, we've gotten some stability back, and that's a good thing. Even if ~ especially if ~ it's a little different than most people's stability.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, April 02, 2010


And sick of being sick.

Lithus has dubbed this year as The Year We Are Ill.

Neither one of us are sickly people. We are sure that we will be healthy for the next ten years because of how sick we've been this fall and winter. I can live with that.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.