Here We Go Again!

Well Hello Everybody!!

I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. I know that I did! I got to go home and spend a little under a month with my family and friends. It was a very special time that went way too fast, but I am very grateful for it. I miss everybody very much which also causes me to realize how blessed I am to have such great support. I love you all.

It has been a while since I last wrote. I got extremely busy the last few weeks of school because of studying and then the last thing I wanted to do while I was home was write about the desert (shocking, right?) so I will do a short recap of the last few weeks of the semester and a prediction of things to come!

I officially got my Instrument Rating on December 13th! For those of you who have not had to undergo the terrible, awful, no good last stages of getting any type of aviation license or rating, let me paint you a verbal picture.

FIRST, you spend all semester going over questions for a written test. The overwhelming majority of the information required to know is extremely outdated and not important to current flight. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is notorious for trying to confuse you on the test as well (because 1000+ questions aren’t easy enough to memorize anyway) and have many trick questions. It is a 60 question test and you must get a 70% on or above to pass. Not only is each test $100+, but you need to pass it in order to continue on to the other tests, and I did not have time to fail anything or I would not have gotten my Rating the first semester. And then…

There is an Oral Exam that lasts anywhere from 2-4 hours, on average, where an official examiner traps you in a room and asks you questions, about anything and everything Instrument related (weather, charts, airplane systems, approaches.. everything), straight through for hours and hours. AND THEN. If you pass that, and still are conscious and relatively sane, you go flying for about two hours. In that flight, there are numerous maneuvers and approaches that you must fly almost to perfection. If you are a little bit too high (past the standards), you fail. If you are a little bit too low, or don’t correctly correct for wind etc, you fail. It is an awful thing.

But if you manage to scrape your way through these 3 parts and come out ahead, you are a Instrument Rated pilot. And that I am 🙂

I have some rather concerning news to report, however. Synthia the Spider, from my previous blogs, is missing! In fact, not only is she missing, her big, intricate, terrifying web is completely gone! There is a saying that goes something along the lines of “the only thing worse than seeing a spider, is seeing it.. and then NOT seeing it!” Touche, touche.

As for an update on Lockpaw the mouse.. I have not seen him since before break either! The last sighting was one night as I was walking up the stairs, (same stairs Synthia used to monopolize and Lockpaw and I first met) I was not paying much attention, silly me, and I spotted a blur shooting out behind the trashcan. This time instead of turning around, the little guy continued to gain momentum and I’ll be darned if he didn’t fling himself off of the balcony. I shrieked! Not in terror or disgust, but because my little friend had launched himself to his death. Or so I thought. I frantically started to search for him, perhaps to bury him, I cannot be sure what I was thinking as the fact that I was actively looking for a mouse carcass is a bit unnerving upon reflection anyway. But I could not find him! I literally looked EVERYWHERE. He disappeared! Into thin air. Literally, honestly, straight up, could. not. find. him. So either I was losing my mind, or I saw Santa Mouse right before he teleported to the North Pole! (So either way, I was insane.)

There was also a squirrel in my room. A real, live, squirrely squirrel in my room. I accidentally left my door open a crack as I was going to get a vacuum to take care of the comforter-leaks-equal-three-inches-deep-of-feathers-in-my-room situation, and when I came back, I felt something was not quite right in my room. I look around, and there the little guy is. Staring at me, intertwined with my Lasso. How on this green (brown) earth do you get a squirrel out of your room?! They are incredibly fast and the verb “squirrely” is incredibly aptly named! They fit anywhere and can go through anything. I called my mom, “MOM! There is a squirrel in my room!” After laughing for an amount of time that I thought was a bit too long, she gave me the sage advice to sit outside of my room and leave a trail of nuts to the door. So, not having nuts, I ripped up a cashew protein bar and left a trail Hansel and Gretel would be proud of. After waiting about 15 minutes and seeing no action, I decided to call my Grandpa. He had the idea to get something, like a net, to scoop it out. Which was a great idea, but I had no net. He then suggested poking and corralling it out of my room, which is what I tried next. I untwisted a wire hanger and fashioned it into a loop in case he (I named him Bobby) would run through it. (Just go ahead and call me Maggie Macgyver) So by this time, Bobby was in the far back corner of my room. I almost didn’t see him, because, I kid you not, he found my little group of stuffed animals and was hiding with them! For the next fifteen minutes (Unfortunately for my dear mother, she got to witness all of this via speakerphone. She was quite supportive and motivating, however) I alternated between cooing, because he was so cute, and screaming, because he was coming after me. “Aww Mom he is so cu… AHHHHHHHHHH HE IS RUNNING… ohh look at his cute little face I just want to pick him up and WAHHHHH HE IS GOING TO EAT ME HELP ME I’M GOING TO DIE … bu wook at his widdle paws they are so cuutee…” And so on. and on. Eventually, somebody heard me and came in and chased him for awhile and got him out after jumping on him with a towel! Bobby was quite the little acrobat though, jumping off walls and doing flips and stuff. When he was no longer in my room, I missed him deeply. I felt like we had a bond. My mom said I should keep him as a friend, and I partially wish I would have. But if you truly love something, you’ll let it go. Bye Bobby. (Yes, I know I get too damn attached to the wildlife here.) BOOOHHOOOO 😦

On Monday, AJ and I were trying to go to American Sniper in Sierra Vista (a bigger town about an hour away from Douglas with a more culturally diverse population), a movie that is supposed to be really good, and I have been wanting to see for a long time. We get there, though, and it was completely sold out. Bummed and mildly depressed, I start to turn around, tears already starting to pour out of my eyes (not really), when AJ says, “Hey, why don’t we go to Selma?” And I dejectedly agreed. But what followed was an incredible experience that doesn’t happen to very many people very often. As many of you know, (I did not know, dummy me) that Selma is about Martin Luther King and his march(s) from Selma to Montgomery. What an incredible movie. Go see it. But here is what happened. I went to a movie about Martin Luther King, with an African American friend, in a full theater that was probably 90% African American.. On Martin Luther King Day!!! How amazing is that? There were a lot of older people in the theater who had clearly been subject to the atrocities of racism and all it involved. What an incredible experience to be surrounded by people who have overcome so much on the day that commemorates the man who made it possible. It honestly made me a little bit ashamed to be white, but mostly it made me rethink and recheck my life and make sure I do not treat anyone with discrimination. We are all people, with hopes and dreams and families. It was just a very memorable experience.

On a completely different topic, I am now working on my Commercial License (so I will be able to get paid to fly) and soon my Multi Engine Rating (so I can fly planes with more than one engine). I am flying in Piper Warrior which is a low wing plane and less powerful that the one I flew last semester, but also less expensive! I still have the same great instructor and am looking forward to another adventure filled semester!

I would love to hear from you, thank you for everything 🙂