The Pilot Widow's Club

Schedule Management
September 16, 2007 at 1:54 PM
So, I'm trying to figure out how to manage the schedule that is "RESERVE"


Basically, I want to just be able to go on with my life like "normal" except when he's home, it's hard to just want to go out with friends with the kids. Seems like we should be spending time with him. How do you manage that?

Also, I'm finding that when he comes home, all I want to do is dump the kids on him. Of course, he's tired as well. And needs some space. So how do you manage that?


  • PooerGooch
    September 17, 2007 at 9:53 PM

    Reserve is a beast.  Now, I don't know what type of reserve schedule your husband has, but with mine it's either Reserve B, which is a 12 hour call out, ot Reserve A, which is a 2 hour call out.

    Basically.....either 12 hours notice, or 2.

    I liken it to having two lives.  The one you live when he's away and the one you live when he's home.  That's not an easy task.

    What works for me is to do things "I" want to do when he's gone.  Since you have small kids, go ahead and utilize that baby-sitter or Nanny!   There is no shame in that.

    When he comes home after a trip, don't pamper and spoil him too much.  A little here and there is OK, but trust me, they'll start to expect some sort of 'hero's welcome' everytime they come home and that just isn't possible.  Well, I suppose it could be.....for a totally pathetic ass kisser.  HA!

    As for me, my hubby flew out Sat. at Noon and came back last night at 2100.  Left again this afternoon at 1400 and will be back Thursday at 0800.  That gives me a few days.  I can't decide which I want repaint our bedroom/bathroom......or take a chain saw to the 2 trees in our yard that I abso-freaking-lutely HATE!!!!  HA!



  • HyphenMama
    September 20, 2007 at 5:32 PM
    Oh, I HATE reserve, too.  My husband's company does the 2 hour out scenario.  That means we can't even all head to the grocery store together "in case" he gets that call.  Then you sit around all day staring at each other, accomplishing nothing of significance, then realize an entire day was wasted when he doesn't ever get a call.  THEN there is the Hot Reserve, where they have to sit AT the airport all day long.  Boring for him, annoying for me because he's in town but we can't see him.

    And it seems like a huge waste to bring in a sitter so you can get out, but can't leave the kids with him in case he gets called in and you can't get back in time.

    As annoying as it is, I haven't come up with a perfect solution to how to make life productive and continue in a progression forward with husband on high speeds.  We just live that month like he's going to be gone, then if he's home that's a great time for him to accomplish little tasks around the house and get some time with the kids, like walking them to the park while Mommy naps.  You can only do what you can do without too much brain damage.
  • atoddlermom
    September 20, 2007 at 9:33 PM
    Thanks ladies. This is helpful.

    Right now, his base is NYC and we are in ATL. And of course, he gets the early am show times, which means he has to fly out the night before.

    Scheduling has been screwing him over too, but that's what you get as a newbie on reserve we've come to learn.

    I'm definitely trying to do what I want to do (found a sitter and cleaning person) while he is gone. And when he's home, I find we get more stuff done with the unpacking and decorating since he's so invested in helping with that.

    Honestly, I find it way easier to keep with a routine and get stuff done when he's not home. When he's here, it just seems like things pile up more.

    Is that only me?
  • HyphenMama
    September 21, 2007 at 1:38 PM
    No, that isn't only you.  When my husband is gone, I can get twice as many things done as when he's home.  Laundry? Check. Dishes? Check.  Change the bedding? Check.  Read Miss Spider for the 27th time? Check. Check.

    When he's home, I have a hard time doing IT ALL and not being a little ticked off, so I get very little done.  When he's gone, I know all the chores are mine and I do them gladly because I know he's out busting his buns. 

    Oh, yucky, yucky low seniority!!  Yet another reason my husband has stuck it out where he's at. We are FINALLY able to get the schedules he bids, as opposed to the garbage that's left over.  Just another year or so and your life will come together's all about seniority.
  • PooerGooch
    September 21, 2007 at 9:42 PM
    Hot call?  OMG!  That sounds like a nightmare!

    We call airport time 'Airport Appreciation Time', but that is just insane!  Sit in the airport all day.......good Lord.  What airline/company is that?

    Best I can offer for that would be to meet him there for lunch/dinner.  Depending on where you are/airport, it's doable.  Kids/no kids......up to you.

  • PooerGooch
    September 22, 2007 at 4:22 PM
    I've been wrestling around with this for several days and I just can't come up with a way to say it without sounding like I'm a complete cynical bitch.  <sigh>

    That, and our ISP has been sucking wind.

    We're 10 years in with this airline and he still gets nailed with ugly reserve lines. 

    Just this week, he was gone 4 days, home 24 hours, now he's gone again until Tuesday.  The first pairing was Honolulu and this one is Shannon, Ireland.

    Granted, my kids are grown and gone, so I don't have the responsibility of single momming little ones now (although, I have in the past).  But, we own 3 businesses, so that's a handful.  When he's not flying, he's working those.  It's our Plan "B".  It was 4 businesses, but I sold mine in April. 

    For loneliness?  We have 3 dogs.  And a bird.  I'm forever remodeling/redecorating this house in addition to keeping up with the general household maintenance.  My family is 1500 miles away, so I fly back when I can.

    Today, I have a million things I need to get done, but I'm just wiped out.  However, I'll get something done, because I'll kick my own ass if I don't.  LOL!

    My son moved out a couple of months ago and I told him that I wasn't going to be like a Mom in the know the ones.....the kid (now adult) moves back home 10 years later and their bedroom is exactly like they left it.  Bleh.  Not even.

    So, I'm cleaning up that mess and redecorating.  Cleaning, repainting, shampooing the carpet, and I'm installing some cabinets in the closet. 

    Right now, I'm procrastinating.  Can you tell?  HA! 

    Anyway, back to  where I started.  Airlines can be liquid, no matter how many years they've been in business.  seniority, as we all know, is the key, but that can be quickly screwed if there are furloughs/bankruptcy. 

    In 2003, when our airline filed bankruptcy, almost half the pilots were furloughed.   We were 'fortunate' that my husband didn't get furloughed, but we did take a 60% pay cut and he was downgraded from a Captain to a First Officer.   Ouch.

    A lot of the pilots we know have back up plans and work them.  Some are in real estate. Some are computer guys.  Etc. 

    Maybe you're wondering.....or maybe not.  Do I work?  Not anymore....not the job with a paycheck and benefits, anyway.  I do the books for our businesses, so that's a bunch.

    But, as a profession, I'm an R.N.  Or should I say, a completely fried, burnt out R.N.  My area was the operating room.  I was on the open heart team and did trauma surgery.  I loved the adrenaline rush of working at that high speed!

    But once I moved to AZ, the hospital I worked at (hearts only) wiped me out.  I was working 40 hours a week and was on call, some weeks, an additional 50.  Yes.  FIFTY.

    It wasn't uncommon for me to work my full 40 hour week, then work the same amount of hours on a weekend, and still have to go back to work Monday morning. 

    So, I don't work as an R.N. anymore. 

    Good about an endless post!  I'm shutting up now.

  • PooerGooch
    September 22, 2007 at 4:25 PM
    One more thing.

    I need to adjust my screen name.

    I, obviously, was distracted when I entered my information.

    It's not supposed to be 'PooerGooch'....(ew).  It's supposed to be PooterGooch.

    I'm hoping to get that fixed this weekend.
  • HyphenMama
    September 24, 2007 at 5:51 PM
    PooterGooch--What a post!  I was exhausted for you just reading your words.  You must feel exhausted every day-keeping your life moving forward, on your own, just waiting for his next set of days off.   I can't imagine Ireland/Hawaii/International trips for my husband.  I would feel like a single parent.   A million times in the early airline days I asked myself if living a life "waiting for his days off" was really what I signed on for.  We got 2 dogs for company and to make me feel secure being home alone all the time.

    We are in our mid 30's and when he was in college getting his professional pilot degree (I cannot for the life of me remember what that is called), we always assumed the ultimate goal would be Captain of a major airline, flying international flights.  That was back when the young kids looked at the seasoned pilots and said "Wow...they work a few days a month and make 6 figures." That was our pipe dream.  We had no intentions of ever having children. EVER.  We were going to travel the world on his benefits.   And you're exactly right... even those pilots working for big airlines can't feel secure in whether they'll have a job in a year.  We have so many friends who have been furloughed. 

    We grew up and realized that after 9/11 the entire game changed.  We had 2 children.  Now ages 4 and 1.  My husband is working at a minor (I think you asked... Great Lakes Airlines--I'll refrain from using any adjectives to describe that airline).   Our pipe dream is no longer International pilot extraordinaire.  Our dream now is raising our children well.  And for now (he's rumbling about new interviews) raising our children well means I don't work and he works high speeds (nights).  There are fewer hours worked at night, so the paycheck is about 1/2 what a day shift is.   We live extremely frugally.  You speak of a lot of pilots having a "Plan B".  Hmmm, we don't have a backup plan.  I think we need to look at that. 

    I guess this post has no real meaning. I just wanted to tell you that your post was great and it seems like you really need to say those things.
  • atoddlermom
    September 24, 2007 at 11:25 PM
    My husband was military. He's a guardsman now... did I mention we still haven't gotten a training date which means he'll be taking mil-leave from the airline to do that for 5 months...


    It wouldn't be so bad but we picked NY as our domicile... should have picked ATL. And so, like tonight, he got bagged with short call from 3am to 3pm. So he had to leave tonight to go sit up there. Once it changes to ATL (November) he could be sitting here.

  • HyphenMama
    September 27, 2007 at 5:41 PM
    UGH...another month of the commute. Nothing easy about that. Then will he be based in ATL for an extended period?  We've had friends get based in Phoenix one month then get Chicago a few months later.  We always lament that if you don't like to play the airline game...there are a thousand guys out there vying for your job.

    After reading these posts the other day, I sat my DH down and said "Listen, I know you've been talking about interviewing at another airline so you'll make more money, but let me tell you that there is no pressure from my end.  We don't need more money (okay....we DO, but that's beside the point), and if you go to a major it's really gonna mess up my world."  I just might have bought myself another few months!!

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