Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pilot Training, Part Deux

It's incredibly hard to believe that we are halfway done with this journey they call "UPT"...and Chris will officially be flying the T-1 for the rest of pilot training! All Chris' closest buddies in pilot training will also be flying T-1s, which are the training planes for cargo planes.  Chris has been saying for a long time that he thought he may want to fly the C-17...of course, that could change, and if the plans work out for him to be an instructor pilot here at CAFB, it will be quite a while before those decisions have to be made! He really likes the idea of flying cargo planes because you never have to fly always have a copilot and a crew, so things don't get too lonely...and you also have a lot of unique opportunities to see the world, since you drop off and pick up all kinds of cargo from all over the world.  Anyway, as we said...goal #1 is to be a FAIP and if all that works out, he will have 3 more years to decide what he wants to fly next!

The T-1 "Jayhawk"

Track Select, the ceremony where we find out what everyone in the class will be training on for the second part of pilot training, was last Friday.  The wives decided to cook breakfast, and I really think everyone enjoyed it! Thanks to my ridiculous collection of various holiday decorations, we also decorated the buffet with a patriotic theme.

I want to apologize in advance for the poor quality of most of my pictures! I dropped my iPhone while at the beach last week and broke the screen...while I had the screen replaced and it is fine now, my camera lens must have messed up too. I won't be paying to get it fixed...when the iPhone 5 comes out in (hopefully) October, Chris and I plan to switch to Verizon and get new iPhones so hopefully my pictures will be much better then!

In line for breakfast.  This is when I cried "STOP!! Don't eat yet! I have to get a pic...for the blog" haha.

That quiche on the left is one of three made by yours truly ;) I made a chicken taco quiche, a spinach/mushroom/feta quiche, and a broccoli bacon quiche.

The rest of the buffet.

Before moving on to the Track Select ceremony, the class split into the 2 flights (that's what they call them...I'm not sure exactly why they do this, but while in T-6s, the classes get split into "flights", and pretty must stay separate throughout that part of training). Our flight stayed in the room where we had breakfast, and the wives were recognized...and we were given honorary T-6 pilot certificates! Haha I loved it...such a cute keepsake!
Getting recognized (much better pic because Chris took it with his phone!)
With our certificates.

After this, we went to an auditorium where the class sat together and waited for their assignments.  All of the active duty students in Chris' flight were assigned T-1s, except for two guys who will be moving to Ft. Rucker, AL, to train on helicopters.  In the past, there were as many as eight T-38s assigned per class to active duty students, but there were only 4 assigned to Chris' class, and they were all in the other flight.

Basically, they just had a Powerpoint slide on that screen where all the track selections were displayed.  Track Select used to be a really big deal, and it was held at night and there was a lot more build-up...but thanks to budget cuts, it's not that way any more! Bummer!
Chris in mid-salute right after getting T-1s.

After we found out that Chris would be flying T-1s, we went to pick up all his study materials.  I got this picture of his classmate, Clayton, while he was on the way out with his stuff.  You can tell they are going to be busy over this next month of academics!

I wanted to get a picture of us but, again, my phone camera is terrible now! I'm so bummed at how shadowy this turned out.  I guess I will have to dig up my real camera and start using it again!
Last week was a really nice, relaxing week because Chris took leave the entire week so we spent a lot of time at home together.  Since he was done with T-6s and had not been given T-1s yet, he was able to do this.  I have been done with class for two weeks now, so I've been having a lot of free time, too.  Here is a quick recap of what we have been up to the past two weeks:

Took a girls trip to the beach with Hannah, Lauren,  and Sara...had a blast, as always!
While I was at the Orange Beach with the girls, Chris went to Pensacola with Jon and Autumn, Mason and Dubs to visit Scott.  Here are some pictures he took:

Mason makes friends with a crab!

Chris with a soaked Mason

Not even the ocean can stand between Mason and his ball!

Jon, Chris, and Scott...can you tell my hubby has been hitting the gym lately? ;)
After I left Orange Beach, I drove an hour to Pensacola and joined the rest of the group for another day on the beach (Scott is stationed at the Navy base there, even though he is Air Force).  Then we went to this amazing seafood market and bought a bunch of fresh fish to cook that night.  We made a very delicious meal and basically sat around and relaxed the rest of the night.

The seafood market we bought a bunch of goodies from.  We brought home some fresh salmon fillets, shrimp, and scallops. I'm cooking the shrimp tonight! Still trying to decide exactly what I'm going to do with it!

Chris cuddling the shrimp dog after a long day at the beach and an awesome seafood dinner

Scott and I had a little jam fest...until I broke a string off his guitar.  whoops :( Sorry again, Scott!

Monday morning, we had to leave early since I needed to be at the office to meet with some students.  The rest of the week I spent cooking, cleaning, working out, and organizing the next spouse club social.  Sounds like quite the life, doesn't it! I would go crazy if my schedule was always so open, but it's definitely nice to have a break every now and then, and I'm thrilled to take advantage of it! Chris and I went on a couple of long bike rides and are really enjoying our new hobby.  I'm not doing the triathlon this weekend anymore because it is $60 and that was just too much to spend right now on our tight budget.  However, I've gotten some potentially VERY good news about my situation at school this fall, especially as it concerns finances, and I'm supposed to find out if it has all been approved on Friday! So I will keep you all updated with that.

No news on the condo, just still trying to get a loan.  We have had a couple of new leads on banks that might be willing to lend to us for the condo, and hopefully one of them will work out.  If not, we will have to consider whether we would rather look at houses (which are much easier to get loans for than condos).  Will keep you updated on that as well.

Here are a few pictures of some of our culinary creations over the past few weeks.  Right before Track Select, we grilled out and tried some portabello burgers and grilled corn.  We are trying to do vegetarian meals more often because they are cheaper, and, if you have a good recipe, you don't even notice if a meal is missing meat!

Served with caprese and grilled delish!

After dinner, we invited Jon and Autumn over for dessert.

Haha I guess in the picture, these look kind of like ginormous meatballs.  But they are actually 4 chocolate lava cakes covered with a strawberry glaze. 

They brought over the perfect bottle of wine given to them recently by Jon's parents...

It had a T-6 on it! (Or at least what looked like one to us)...and we finished it.  Could you get any more symbolic? :)

Saturday night, we had our across-the-street neighbors over for dinner. They both went to Auburn and are the same couple that let my mom and me randomly tour their house when we drove through CAFB in May 2011 to look around for the first time.  Anyway, since then, Jess got stationed in Florida (she is also in the Air Force) and her husband, Casey, got FAIP'd, so he is here in Columbus for the next few years.  Since she was in Columbus visiting this weekend, it was a good time to have them over and catch up.  Here are some pictures that I took.  Unfortunately I did not get a shot of the incredible ribs or blackberry pie they brought over...or the stuffed tomatoes I made...but trust me, they were delicious!

Loaded baked potato dip...the dip contained sour cream, cheese, green onions, and bacon.

Baked Bean Casserole

Our weekend also consisted of a couple of parties in celebration of track select, and a trip to the Farmers Market where we picked up a bunch of delicious locally grown produce...some okra, which I roasted, eggplants, which I used to make eggplant casserole, green tomatoes, which I fried, and poblano peppers, which Chris grilled and put on some turkey burgers.  We got some other goodies, too, and are still trying to figure out exactly what we will use them for.  We love going to the farmer's market, but rarely can we drag ourselves out of bed at 7am on a Saturday morning!

Hope everyone is doing well.  School starts next week, and I should have plenty of updates on life by then, since I'm still waiting to find out what my class schedule will be! Until then...I will sign off with this cute...sad, but still cute!...picture of Mason.  This is why we hate leaving him in his crate and usually just leave him out in the house now! We came back from Saturday night's track select party to find him like this...

Just sitting there with his paws sticking out of the he is trying to get squeeze out or something...I just don't know about him sometimes!