Monday, May 7, 2012


PilotHusband has a tendency to yammer on and on and on and on and on about his important career as a God of Aviation.  Ladies, I must admit I am guilty of letting my eyes roll into the back of my head and going to my "happy place" (which usually involves thoughts of George Clooney and edible body lotion, but that's an entirely different blog).  Occasionally, I miss some important information, like Contract Negotiations.  This is an important time in the career of a Pilot.  Contract Negotiations determine whether your PilotHusband will be buying a new boat, or if he will be starting a stretching regimen (so he can grab his ankles) and stocking up on lubricant.  It determines whether he will be pleasant or incredibly bitter for the next 3 to 5 years.  So here's what my PilotHusband is doing... check for similar behavior at your house to see if Contract Negotiations are underway at your Husband's Air Line.

PilotHusband has not left the house (or the sofa) except to go to the airport, in months.  Not the grocery store, not the liquor store, not Walmart, and thanks to well-played vehicle swappage on his part, not even the gas station.  So imagine my surprise when PilotHusband actually ventured into town to go to OfficeMax to purchase not one, but two, brand new calculators.  With one within reach at all times, he's ready to perform complex calculations with every new rumor that emerges.  That's right, the man who cannot balance a checkbook can now do complex amortizations factoring in pay rates, retirement benefits, trip values, monthly guarantee, and duty rig.  The man who cannot add fractions can calculate the ratio of lineal foot of boat to percentage of pay rate increase.  After weeks of this, I was about to jokingly ask him, "Is that a calculator in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?" when sadly, I realized it was a calculator in his pocket.

Another anomaly that occurs during Contract Negotiations is the increase in phone calls to the house.  Last week when PilotHusband was on a trip, I returned home to find far more messages than we normally get on the answering machine.  I began to play them.  There was one from Steve at the Mercedes Benz dealership.  Then Bob called from the BMW dealership.  Then some guy named Guilliermo, from the Porsche dealership.  Dave at the ChrisCraft dealership was kind enough to return PilotHusband's call.  Then Terry called from the Wellcraft dealership.  Then Stan called from the Pro Shop at the local Golf course about a set of new clubs.  The last message was from James at Perry's Fine Jewelry.  I got excited for a moment, thinking it was regarding a gift for me since our Anniversary was this week.  But no, James was calling regarding PilotHusband's inquiry into Rolex Submariner watches!  If your PilotHusband is window shopping more than usual, he's probably going through Contract Negotiations.

I was raised to believe it is impolite to ask someone how much they are paid.  But not PilotHusband!  During Contract Negotiations, our living room is full of poster-sized bar graphs and pie charts.  Like a deranged Ross Perot on crack, PilotHusband has a chart of every major carrier's pay scale, monthly guarantee, vacation, and retirement benefits on hand for easy reference.  As if building some Frankenstein monster, PilotHusband wants to take one piece of SWA's contract and another piece from FedEx, and so on, until the perfect contract is created.... then add 32%!

During Contract negotiations, you may notice an unusual pattern in your Husband's responses to simple questions.  I asked PilotHusband if he had run the dishwasher.  His response; "F U. Pay me!".  I asked PilotHusband if he was ready for dinner.  His response; "F U. Pay me!".  I asked PilotHusband if he had anything that needed to go to the Dry Cleaner.  His response; "F U. Pay me!".  I asked PilotHusband if he wanted to fool around.  His response; "F U! Pay me!"  (He still bears the bruise from that one).

In 22 years, PilotHusband has never once planned a vacation.  Even the details of his annual fishing trip to Alaska were left to me.  But suddenly, the coffee table is covered with brochures for cabins on the Kenai River, timeshares in St. Kitts, ski lodges in San Moritz, and a rather large packet regarding the rental of a private island in the Florida Keys.  I've even intercepted three calls from Realtors about beach houses on the Carolina coast.

All kidding aside, these guys deserve a great contract.  They are skilled, highly trained aviators, dedicated to safety and professionalism.  Fellow PilotWives, be patient with them as they go through all of the possible permutations of each new rumor.  Smile in wonderment at their newly found math skills.  Be respectful of their sudden fascination with all things new and shiny.  If it ever becomes too much, just look 'em square in the eye and say "F U. Pay me!".  That, they'll understand.


  1. FUPM is familiar in our house...must be the same company. Unless this is something thrown around with all airlines. How is your pilot's uniform looking? I just blogged about how crappy they are getting since they are waiting on the new ones.

    You are right, they do deserve a good contract. It is sad to hear these pilots talk about low morale and how badly thing could become.

  2. Meanwhile my pilot has been WITHOUT a contract for years and now they have voted to strike. I think I'm the one that gets more fired up about the negotiations than he does...but then again, I'm still "new" and this is the first time I've been around for the negotiations.

  3. Hubby has been waiting for a contract for way to long!! And a good note (for him) he got the Military Channel today!! See you in June!

  4. Local newspaper this morning had an article about new "Fictional" book written by lady airline pilot. The story line is about pilot going crazy due to stress and work conditions-pilot begins crashing planes to topple major airline. Pilot husband has agreed NOT to read the book

  5. Probably a good idea! (NOT reading the book, I mean)

  6. contract negotiation...ugh...I'm not a pilots wife, but an aircraft mechanic's wife...yep...lived through A LOT of contract negotiations! things run much smoother, when they are over!

  7. (Warning, Grammar Nazi!): "Stretching regiment" -> 'stretching regimen'. Although by the time our (9E) BK negotiations are done, it may feel like several battalions *were* involved and there wasn't nearly enough lube...

  8. Thank you, Grammar Nazi. The correction has been made. Please see "The best type-o ever" for further amusement! I feel your pain, Brother. I too hail from a (multiple) BK airline.