Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chris Finishes T-6s!

I know I have been so terrible lately with the blog! And email.  And texts.  And phone calls.  And email.  I'm sorry everyone.  I know everyone has probably been very angry with me! Maybe you can at least be happy when you think about WHY I have been so bad.

I am no longer sitting in front of a computer screen 9 hours a day, with my cell phone sitting on the desk in front of me.  Most of you probably know I've never been technology's biggest fan anyway. I just don't tend to stay on the computer much if I don't have to.  Lately, I've been out and about a lot.  I leave Columbus most days for work around 8 or 9am.  I go to my office and prepare for class...I'm in front of my computer there, but I'm busy busy busy! I always get to the office just in time to have the perfect amount of time I need to get ready for class that day.  Sometimes I need 3 hours, sometimes I just need one.  I leave my phone in my purse and normally don't even look at it until I leave campus.  I get back most afternoons between 2:30 and 3:30.  I go work out, cook dinner, do errands, clean the house, play with Mason...whatever needs to get done.  Rarely do I look at a computer screen after I leave the office.  I love it so much and I'm such a happy girl! But I know this is no excuse for being hard to keep in touch with, so I'm going to try harder!

ANYWAY, as you can tell, I am loving my new job! It's hard to believe that I'm actually finishing this short mini-mester tomorrow.  It will be nice that I am getting paid next week, too.  Unfortunately, this could be the last substantial paycheck I get for a while.  I found out yesterday that I will only be teaching one class this fall.  Since I get paid per class this year (next year, I will start getting a salary/stipend), this is not a good thing for our finances.  We are trying to see places where we can cut back.  Unfortunately, with football season coming up and many of our tickets already purchased, this may not be easy.  My PhD advisor is trying to make sure I get 3 classes in the Spring, so hopefully this fall will be the only time we are really strapped for cash.  I am going to try to get a part time job on campus, so hopefully that will help, too.  However, I do believe it's true what they say, "money can't buy happiness".  Even though I may not be making very much, I do enjoy teaching and I can't wait to start taking classes this fall.  I know Chris is probably enjoying home-cooked meals every night, in a clean kitchen, by a wife who has been working out about 2 hours a day! Haha.  Maybe he enjoyed my old paycheck a bit more, but he is, of course, being very supportive and he's happy that I'm happy.

We had some more bummer news yesterday.  Our loan applications to USAA and Navy Federal for the condo were both turned down, due to the property that the condo is in being 51% investor owned.  Unfortunately, it seems that banks don't want to lend to people who want to buy properties like this.  We are very upset.  Our real estate agent says that he has another couple who is facing this problem, and has been checking at the local banks to see if anyone will do a loan for it.  Unfortunately, he hasn't had any luck yet...and even if he does, we doubt the terms will be what we were hoping for. It's time to make the decision of where we will go from here.  I know we don't want to "throw away" any more money than we currently do on renting every month.  At the same time, my commute costs several hundred dollars a month, and the drive really isn't a very good one.  I ran over something the other day and lost all the air in my tire on the way home.  I have never seen any accidents on the commute, so that's a good thing, but neither Chris nor I want me driving 2.5 hours a day for the next 5 years. Hopefully we will come up with an affordable solution soon.

Chris and I have both been very busy the past few weeks.  Three weekends ago, 3 of my best girlfriends (Hannah, Lauren, and Lauren Emily) came to Columbus for a "girls weekend".  Sara wasn't able to come because she had to work.  We thought Chris would be gone to his cross-country flight that weekend, but it wound up getting pushed back a weekend.  The girls had already made plans, so he had the honor of spending girls weekend with us! Haha.  He mostly stayed at Jon and Autumn's house, which was perfect, because Autumn was gone to a wedding that weekend.  That way, he got lots of guy time, while I got my girl time.  It was kind of funny, almost like Chris was my "boyfriend", I would cook lunch for the girls, call him to see if he wanted to come over and eat, and he and Jon would come eat, then go back to Jon's to watch soccer or something.  Later, we would go to the pool, I would call Chris to see if he wanted to come, and he and Jon and Ralph would come to the pool with us, but we would be chatting in our girls group, and they would be chatting in their guys group.  It was a good weekend for both of us, and it always makes me feel good when people are willing to come to Columbus, Mississippi (which, let's face it, isn't the most exciting OR convenient place) just to see us.  It was the perfect weekend for visitors, because there was an assignment night that Friday night.  The girls and went to the assignment and watched our next door neighbor's class get assigned their planes and next bases.  Then, later on, we went to the newly assigned class's celebration party.  Unfortunately, we didn't take many pictures! But here is one of us at the party.

Two weekends ago, Chris went on his cross-country flight.  There were several pilots and instructor pilots who went together in a "caravan"-type thing.  He had SUCH a blast!  Friday, they flew to Texarkana, where they refueled and ate some dinner, then flew to Little Rock for the night.  Chris had a really good time in Little Rock, where they went out together as a group and did a little mild partying.  He said he thinks Little Rock would actually be a pretty fun place to be based.  There is an Air Force base there that people call "The Rock", and I have heard that it is a fun one to be at.  The next day, they flew to St. Louis, where they got to go to a baseball game, eat a good meal and go out again as a group.  He flew home on Sunday. Sadly, he only took one picture...but here it is! It is the St. Louis Cardinals stadium.

I went to Atlanta over the weekend to visit my friend, Lauren Emily (who had just come to Columbus the week before!).  The plan was originally for Chris and me to both go, but since his cross country trip got moved, he was unable to join us.  Sara came to Atlanta for the weekend too, so I wound up getting a second girls weekend in a row! For those of you who don't know, I just love Atlanta and would love to move there once our time in the Air Force is done.  There is so much to do there, and such a great culture.  My only complaint is that it's not close enough to the ocean...but I guess it will be a while before we have to make any decisions about where we want to live "permanently", so maybe Atlanta will have an ocean by then! Haha. Anyway.  Such a great weekend shopping, eating out, going out, and going to Sweetwater...all the things you are supposed to do when in Atlanta! Fortunately, Lauren Emily and Sara took the reigns on picture taking, so we actually got some cute ones.   I got to spend some great quality time with Tori, one of my best friend who was also my roommate and bridesmaid, as well.  Tori lives in Atlanta, and I have been to visit her before, too...a few months ago when Chris was in Colorado.  I miss her like crazy so it was awesome to see her! We also had lunch at a great tapas place on the way out of Atlanta, and Rachel was able to stop by.  Rachel was also one of my bridesmaids, and I hadn't seen her in almost a year, so it was great to catch up! I lived with both Tori and Rachel in Atlanta while we were interning...we had such a good time, and even though they both live in Atlanta full-time now, while I live in Columbus, I just feel lucky that I live close enough to visit!

Lauren Emily and her fiance, Matt, me, Sara, and Tori at Sweetwater

Lauren Emily, Sara, me, Tori, and Rachel after Sunday lunch

Last weekend, I got even MORE girl-time, but, this time, Chris got in on the fun, too.  His friend/college roommate/groomsman, Scott, came to visit him (us), and Sara --my friend/college roommate/bridesmaid came to visit me (us).  Sara missed the girls weekend two weeks beforehand.  She's a nurse and has a crazy schedule...but she was able to make it up for a weekend, and it just so happened that Scott was coming up that same weekend.  We had such a good time squeezing into the house was like the party never ended! Ha.  Here are some pictures.

We spent some time out at the pool on Saturday.

Saturday evening, we decided to grill out instead of going out to eat.  We ate this delicious meal!

Fresh baked bread from our bread machine with an olive oil dip, caprese...

grilled asparagus, twice baked and mashed cauliflower...

And of course, delicious steak...seasoned and grilled to perfection by Lt. Chris Beck! haha
Just a picture of a group outing to local dive, the Marina, Saturday night...That's Scott, on the right, and Chris' buddy, Ralph, on the left.  Of course those two sweaty, but still glamourous (haha) girls in the middle are Sara and me.

So I know you may be thinking that I am looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with my husband...and I am! BUT...first I have one more girls weekend! I know, I know! I guess as long as 90% of my friends are all teachers, the summers will always be busy! I'm so excited because, when we all got out of college, we decided to make a real effort to always get together for an annual beach trip.  We have officially, as hard as it was to coordinate all of our schedules, planned the second annual beach trip.  Last year, we did it right after graduation at Martin's condo in Panama City.  This year, we are doing it at Lauren's family's condo....on the last possible weekend before school starts back for everyone.  And now that I'm basically a schedule fits right in! Lucky for me, school doesn't start back as early in college! After I give my final exam tomorrow, I'm headed straight down to Orange Beach for 5 days of laying like a vegetable in the sun (with my sunscreen on, of course).'s back to Columbus where I hope to spend the next few weekends relaxing with Chris, preparing for school to start...and getting ready for FOOTBALL! Woo! We are looking forward to continue experimenting in the kitchen...and on the grill.  Here are some pictures of some of our latest culinary projects...

Ralph gave us some fish filets that his friend caught in the gulf.  Chris found a recipe for it in his new favorite read, Men's Health magazine.  We chopped up some vegetables like red peppers and tomatoes as well as some lemon and parsley, and took pretty much everything out of our spice cabinet...along with some olive oil, jalapenos, you get the idea.  We put the filets in tin foil with the vegetables, lemon, and olive oil and each chose our own spices and additional toppings...then wrapped up everything in the tin foil, and Chris grilled it for a little while.  All the moisture was held in the tin foil.  These turned out DELICIOUS! Yay for Chris! Rarely does he chose a recipe to try, but he did really well on this one.  Both of our fish filets turned out totally different, but they were both delicious. We will be trying this again. Hopefully, while I am at the beach this weekend, I can pick up some fresh fish while I'm there.

A couple of nights ago, we tried grilling some ribs, which were on sale at the commissary.  Chris prepared the dry rub, marinated, and grilled the ribs while I took care of the sides.  They were really delicious! Next time, we are going to marinate them all day and then cook them slowly over a few hours. 

As for Chris, he will probably do a lot of relaxing this weekend since he, as of today, is officially DONE with T-6s! Yesterday marked his fourth and final check ride in the T-6.  He passed with flying colors, with a grade of 4E...the "E" standing for "Excellent", and the "4" standing for just 4 downgrades! Believe me, you can have LOTS more than that. This check ride was to grade him on his use of instruments. Obviously, there are times when a pilot cannot rely on his view to when it's night time, or the weather is bad.  So they use their instruments.  Instruments are pretty complicated and require lots of studying and practice to get the hang of.  Naturally, I'm very proud of Chris for doing so well on his check ride!

Today, as kind of his "capstone" in T-6s, Chris did what's called an "out-and-back"...he flew (with his instructor) down to Gulfport, where they grabbed some lunch, and then flew back.  So now he's officially done! He has to turn in his preference for T-38s or T-1s by Friday...he is still deciding which he will put first.  Then, next Friday (August 10) is Track Select.  We will find out if he will be taking the T-38 "track" or the T-1 one.  If he chooses T-1s, it is basically a given that he will be on the T-1 track.  If he chooses T-38s, it could go either way, and will largely have to do with his class rank, how many people in his class want to fly T-38s, and how many T-38s that Uncle Sam decides to "drop" that week. Hopes and prayers that Chris makes the best choice for us, whatever that is....and that Uncle Sam does, too!

That is just about all I have to share at this point. Except for one thing...I want to solicit more votes for Mason in his calendar contest with the Lee County Humane Society! The website is and Mason is #48.  The voting does go on for a while, until September, in fact.  The votes are $1 each, and they, of course, go to a wonderful cause and are tax deductible! So keep your receipt! Mason appreciates your support...and so do we!!

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