ALWAYS AWAKE. — Things have been bat shit guano crazy around here. Or as commoners would say, “Cray Cray”. I did an “Iron Swap” to Guam at the beginning of the month. This means you take a good jet from home station, Minot Air Force Base, and drive it over to Guam. You stay in Guam a day, then fly a jet that needs to come back home back to Minot. The way out was about sixteen hours, the way back, with a nice tailwind was about thirteen. When I plan cross-world missions, I always try to catch the jet stream. This bucket o’ bolts B-52 can go 600nm per hour with a hefty (110kt) tail wind. The fastest I’ve ever seen her go is 610nm per hour. Zoom! Anyway, nothing like a 32-hour day to get you revvin’!
READ THIS. — On aforementioned Iron Swap, I read a wonderful book, The Glass House by Jeannette Walls. Last year I read her second book, about ranching at the turn-of-the-century, Half-Broke Horses. This one was about her own childhood, and packs both unbelievably humorous and incredibly sad stories. I highly recommend it; it’s a short read.
MASS EFFECT COSPLAY. — In other news, my Mass Effect 3 M-8 Assault Rifle replica arrived! I am doing a Mass Effect 3 armor build for next year’s San Diego Comic Con; in fact, I’m building two armor sets. One for me, Commander Shepard, and one for Larry, Kaidan Alenko. His will be Kaidan’s traditional blue armor, and I will do a bastardized version of my favorite N7/random armor parts. I’m also going to make it look beat up and shot to hell. It seems most people forget Shepard is a Space Marine. She is also a Commander. So, pin up that hair, ladies. Alliance military would never allow loosey-goosey hair in your face. And plus, who wants hair in your eyes when you’re looking through a rifle scope? A husk could grab it! Military realism, please. I am a total hair nazi at work, too, by the way.
The first rifle arrived broken, in pieces. I have heard that the distributor, Project Triforce, has had problems with breakage because of the hollow body of the replica. It’d weigh far too much to be practical if it was solid (it already weighs 20 lbs). So, I sent it back and got a new one. The old one was #54/500. The new one is #179/500, or something. Bummer. Anyway, I think it’s a fabulous piece, but wish the butt wasn’t so long, or was adjustable. It’s not practical for aiming (looking through the scope). Larry is grumpy about that, and it’s “too front heavy to be an effective weapon.” I told him to quit whining and go buy the Predator replica for himself… and me.
GO GO GO.
— At work I am pretty much being a superwoman. We are getting a new squadron commander, and as his executive assistant, I’ve taken the job on to plan the Change of Command ceremony for this Monday morning. Until yesterday, it didn’t have an actual venue because we are having it in a “currently being used” maintenance hangar. So, I called every day inquiring until they caved. We can’t get in there to set up until Saturday morning, so.. there goes Saturday morning. Additionally, Saturday evening is the commander’s farewell dinner. I’ve also taken that on, as well. It’s Hawaiian themed and I even brought coconuts back from Guam to decorate each table. I also am arranging the going away gifts and the incoming commander’s schedule. Funny thing about the military, you can’t just say “I’ll do it later,” or “If I have time.” It’s doing it right then and there and following up and expecting twenty people to follow up on you. I’ve said it before — in Office Space
, he laments about having multiple bosses. Well… about that… Also, a personality flaw of mine insists that I take on projects without outside help – because I figure it’ll be more time consuming to check up on people than to just do it myself. I don’t have to worry if it’ll get done. So wish me luck with all this shit that is going on… in addition to flying and keeping a tidy home with dinners on the table. Which leads me to my next thought…
CAN WE ‘HAVE IT ALL’? — I give mad props to ladies who are military to military and have children. I honestly don’t see how one could possibly do it and keep it all together. With Larry’s decision to try for a command position (60-70 hours a week), my career in the operational (flying) side is already about 50-60 hours a week as a First Lieutenant or Captain (w00t, promotion in a few weeks!). When you make Major, it’s about 60 hours a week. That’s 12-14 hours of child care for children per day. I propose this: you must have 110% job satisfaction to hold a career to just pay for child care. And even then, is it really fair to the child? And what about deployments when Mom & Dad are both in Afghanistan?
My commander did reference some lady aviators that have done all right with having a family and a career. In fact, I find it ironic – a few weeks ago, a memo came down from Command for female volunteers for an Air Force commercial. The big push was for women to say they could balance a career and spend time with their family. I was super excited to recruit my fellow lady bombardiers and electronic warfare officers from the B-52 community to start our hostile takeover of said commercial, but the fine print said that they had already cast a female major… a fighter pilot. Female fighter pilots. How predictable. How about cutting to a B-52 dropping serious bombs, with ladies talking on the radio to Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs – the Army guys right in the action on the ground that call in air strikes), then have us turn around showing that we can destroy pretty much anything… about 30x better than a fighter jet can.
Anyway, I guess life is about figuring things out for yourself. I know it’ll be so difficult for me to eventually make the transition out of the flying/bomber community. It’s such a high tempo job, always go go go. I feel guilty (and always have) if I am sitting at home doing nothing. Even in college, taking 15 credit hours per semester, I worked two jobs and commuted. I also held myself to a high standard of learning new things, playing music and creating art in addition to everything else. I am a little concerned about a transition into civilian life in a few years, when everything will become quiet and stop. I don’t want to be irrelevant, from personally handling weapons to personally baking cakes all day. I’m a little scared of my claim to fame being an officer’s spouse. I don’t want to fit that mold. Maybe I can travel and do humanitarian work – something that still matters. Hey, Santa Angelina made it work for her!
HOME MATTERS. — I am eating steel cut oatmeal with muesli right now. I also added some North American berry jelly and cinnamon. Tonight’s a night flight, so a chicken with rice is in the crock pot. I bought a couple chickens from a local farm and am excited to try this guy out! Meanwhile, Larry whiles away Saturdays by shooting squirrel pests with his air rifle. From the Marine Corps to the back porch…