Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chris' Check Ride & Warren's Birthday

Greetings, everyone! Last time I posted, we were coming off of a very stressful week.  Well...we are quickly realizing that stress like that is going to take over MANY of our weeks over the next year.  Chris has been doing so well in his training and been getting "E"'s (for Excellent) on so many categories of his evaluation, that it's easy to sit back and think..."ohhhh we have this in the bag!" Well the Air Force already taught us a little lesson on not taking things for granted during the "air sickness" debacle, but I guess that wasn't enough, because the lessons continued last week.

The students complete four "check rides" during their pilot training.  Think of a check ride like a mid-term...they are very important and are your chance to show how much you have learned and whether you are up to the point where you are supposed to be.

Personally, I have a problem with the subjectivity of the check rides but life isn't fair and the Air Force never asked me.  I doubt the Air Force will ever ask me what I think, which is unfortunate, because I actually have a lot of opinions that I would like to share.  One of them is that there has to be a more fair and consistent way of grading the student pilots than having a different evaluator for every student who has his (or her) own opinions on what constitutes failing a student vs. just downgrading them (taking off points).  I'm an accountant, so I very much prefer a system that leaves as little gray area as possible and has definite "do's" and "do not's". I ESPECIALLY have a problem with this check ride system because I'm not sure if all instructors take into consideration the fact that failing a student for a ride could potentially affect their career and their life and it should not be taken lightly...they should REALLY consider their reasoning when doing this.  But again, no one asked me...

Anyway...long story short...Chris "hooked" (i.e., failed) his check ride last week.  You can imagine what an unhappy mood this put us both in.  He felt like this was a little unjustified based on the reasoning given for his hooking.  He actually had a good bit less than the average downgrades and there were others who passed with more downgrades than him.  Again with the subjectivity.  Chris went to a higher power, his commander, who admitted that he shouldn't have been hooked, but there's really nothing anybody could do about it. Anyway...what we can't argue about is that his flight wasn't perfect.  The instructor actually said he had a really good flight except for this one thing.  But he is the one with the authority and he decided this was a big enough problem. 

It is actually not very uncommon to hook the first check ride...of all the four check rides, the most students hook the first one, and Chris was not, by any means, alone in his class for hooking it. It still felt like a big setback.

Anyway...enough with the whining.  That's life, right? I know everyone has felt like they have been treated unfairly, but I guess you just have to pick up the pieces and move on!

SO we move on to the "88 ride"...the 88 ride is your second chance at a check ride.  You only get one in pilot training, then you move on to the "89 ride" where an actual commander flies with you and grades you...he has the final say whether you have the aptitude to remain in training.  You can have an 89 ride for all the four check rides if you hook all four, but that is your last chance before being removed from training. 

Chris had his 88 ride yesterday and did really well...Chris hardly had any downgrades and the instructor had some very complimentary things to say about him.  He said that Chris must have had some bad luck during his check ride.  Oh well, we are glad to be past this and glad that he isn't going on to the 89 ride.  However, if Chris hooks any more check rides, he will have to go straight to the 89 ride so let's hope that he doesn't have any more "bad luck"!

Today Chris flew again, and again he got a great evaluation and some encouragment from his instructor.

This weekend was pretty special because we went to Auburn for Warren's 21st Birthday.  Friday night I got to spend some time with Lauren and Hannah, who I don't get to see as often.  Saturday morning we woke up to Mason, ENTIRELY COVERED in fleas!! Don't ask us how he got them, we have no idea.  We treat him for fleas every month, but his next treatment was due this past Monday, so his prior treatment had probably worn off.  Anyway, he kept waking me up because he was shaking off and pacing around the room.  So I checked him, and he was covered.  Chris and I woke up about 6:30 am (on a Saturday! arg!) and picked about 50 fleas off him.  We realized we weren't getting anywhere, so we wound up going to the vet and getting him some treatment.  My parents had to flea bomb my room at their house but the problem seems to be fixed now...he is flea free.

My newest hobby is probably going to be estate sales.  My mom and I went to one Saturday morning and I picked up a gorgeous and very good quality rug for $15! We put it in our bedroom and it actually looks great. AND I bought 2 sets of Lenox Christmas napkin holders that I don't think have ever been out of the box for $2...the price tag was still on the back and said $29.00 a SET!

Saturday we got to have lunch with Chris, Sr., Warren and his girlfriend,  Liz, Aunt Bette, and a special treat, Chris' grandparents, Nana and Matt, who live in CoCoa Beach, Florida.  We had dinner with Tammy, Greg, Warren and Liz, and another treat, Chris' other set of grandparents from Georgia, Granny and GrandBob.  It was so nice to get to spend some time with the grandparents we don't see as much as we wish we did.  We wish we could have spent more time, but as usual, we were stretched very thin on our two-day trip so we tried our best to enjoy the time we had and look forward to the next time we can all get together!

Saturday night, we did a little bit of celebrating to ring in Warren's 21st birthday, which officially started at midnight.  A couple of weeks ago I was in Auburn celebrating my sister's 21st.  I think it will probably be a while before I celebrate any more 21st birthdays, but they have been fun! Here is the ONLY picture I took this weekend...bad, Amanda! I have got to be more on top of things!

Us with Warren and his girlfriend, Liz.  It was pouring rain at Skybar so we all got soaked!

Sunday morning I had a BLAST at the Clothes Rack helping my two engaged besties, Hannah and Lauren Emily, try on wedding gowns for their upcoming 2013 weddings! I am so excited for both of them and only wish their weddings were sooner! I am a bridesmaid in both weddings (and they were both bridesmaids in mine)...Hannah's is June 2013 in Auburn, and Lauren Emily's is November 2013 in Tampa.  It meant a lot to get to help two of my best friends pick out their gowns in the store that I worked in for 6 1/2 years and was such a big part of my life.  Gayle (the owner and my old boss) let me open the store just for them Sunday morning...Lauren Emily bought a dress and I think Hannah has found her dress as well, but will need to order it.  I have some pics, but sorry...I obviously can't post them! Don't want to spoil the surprise!! :)

We had lunch Sunday at my parent's house with my mom, dad, and grandmother, and although we meant to leave very soon after lunch, we were so exhausted that we couldn't bring ourselves to get off the couch and pack until about 2 o' clock.  We went by Chris' dad's one more time on the way out of town and finally made it home JUST in time for the Desperate Housewives series finale.  I am so depressed that this show is ending that I really can't talk about it without getting emotional!  Haha.  I'm actually not that crazy, BUT I will say that I am really going to miss this awesome show and I can't think of a more appropriate ending to the series than what happened in the finale!

This week has been a pretty good one...Chris passing his 88 ride with a good evaluation definitely helped.  I am a little bummed out that I will be working in Birmingham Friday and all next week with a trip to Auburn in between, but then I will be going to Gulf Shores with Chris and my parents for Memorial Day weekend, so I have that to look forward to.  It is so unnerving to find out you will be gone for 11 straight days with about 3 days notice, though.  I am trying my best to leave the house clean for Chris, but at the same time I feel like it is a mess from me trying to pack everything.  Y'all know I'm not a light packer. Thank goodness Chris is not one of those guys who whines about me having to be gone for work...he understands that working is important to me, and thankfully is not so dependant that he can't function on his own! I'm sure his meals aren't as elaborate when I'm gone, but he gets by and still looks nourished whenever I return so I trust he is making it okay!

Tuesday night was the base-wide spouse social (we have two spouse groups...the base-wide "Columbus Spouse Club" and then the "Student Spouse Club")...and I'm proud to announce that the newest social chair for the Columbus Spouse Club is yours truly! I am really looking forward to this! I get to plan some fantastic socials...using someone Else's budget! ;) How fun is that going to be?

Last night, for the first time in it seems like forever...I cooked a somewhat-elaborate meal, we had a bottle of wine, lit some candles, and had a nice, relaxed (not rushed) meal together.  We realized how much we took this for granted back when Chris was on casual status (before he began training).  Back then, every night was just us hanging out...just the epitome of the dream newlywed life!  Now, he has to study and go to bed early...which I totally support and understand.  But since he passed his 88 ride yesterday, we decided to celebrate a little and just relax together.  I am so looking forward to spending the weekend away for Memorial Day weekend.  Hopefully we will get some of the much needed "us" time that has been so difficult to squeeze in lately.

Before I wrap it up, in honor of Mother's Day, I want to give a quick shout-out to moms! Esspecially our moms! Chris and I are both lucky to have moms who have supported us and encouraged us since the day we were born.  Certainly we would not be who we are without our special moms.  It is easy for me to see how Tammy made Chris into the husband that I adore, who loves to take care of me, support my goals, and always respects me.  Tammy always encouraged Chris to be the best he could be, and was there for him from the time that he played just about every sport growing up, til he decided to join the Air Force...which I know had to be a very difficult thing to stand behind as a mom.   I know that Chris sees a lot of my mom in me, and loves that I enjoy entertaining, making friends, and that I am a strong woman who can speak my mind.  My mom constantly bends over backwards to help us out whenever she sees that we have a need.  She is so creative and is always teaching me something new.  We both love our mothers and our mothers-in-law and are incredibly lucky to have these two amazing women in our lives!

Well, there's the update on our week! I know some of the small details about our day-to-day activities are boring to some, but I also know there are some of you who are interested and I'm so happy we can keep you updated this way! This weekend Tammy is being kind enough to throw me a Rodan + Fields launch party at her house, and then Meredith and I are having a joint launch in the Creekside Clubhouse from 6-8 pm...we will have some wine and hor 'duerves, and it will be a great time, so if you are in Auburn please come out and support us!

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