My husband likes to surf. And he likes to fish. He loves to go on road trips. He would love to take a road trip on a Harley some day. He likes to explore new destinations. He is not one to sit in a hotel room and pass the day watching reruns on cable tv.

He surfs during his layovers, a deserving perk after 9 long hours in the cockpit. He rarely fishes because he is always working around the house. He dreams of a Harley, but college tuition and fixing a 70’s ranch style home has been the priority so far. He does explore new destinations, but those are generally work destinations. My husband works. A lot.

For our entire marriage, he has either worked and gone to school, put in extra time racking up flight hours in the Air Force, or worked more than one job at a time. He made a living during college working as a process server. Long days and nights serving summons and subpoenas all over Southern California. He continued to serve papers during vacations in Los Angeles while in the Air Force and as a flight engineer for American Airlines based in LA. At one point he simultaneously worked as an airline pilot, an Air Force Reserve pilot and as a writer and consultant for Air, Inc.

He did all of that so that I could stay home and raise our children.

He pinches pennies while on layovers. While other pilots go out for expensive dinners, Rob finds local dives with good, cheap food. He often brown bags it. He tweaks his monthly schedule to get the maximum number of flight hours possible. After experiencing pay cuts at AA, the most lucrative flying his seniority would allow him to hold was out of JFK flying to Europe. That tacked extra days onto his trips, so he had fewer days off. It also meant staying overnight in NYC several times a month. Rather than dilute his earnings by paying for hotel rooms or crash pads, he camped out in the pilot operations offices. Literally. He had an inflatable mattress, pillows and blankets stored at his “home away from home.” He did that for three long years before he was able to return to DFW.

Most pilots would be too proud to live like that. Those pilots are now committing suicide (really) because they can’t live on the reduced pay/retirement that is part and parcel of life at a bankrupt carrier.

He has often had to work on Sundays. He doesn’t like to. And if he can, he will avoid it. When he can’t, he limits his activities while on his layover. (No surfing!) He will find a local ward and attend sacrament meeting if he can. He does what is possible to keep the Sabbath in his heart.

Half of his flights are all-nighters. It has permanently affected his sleeping patterns. It has aged him.

After 9/11 we had to make adjustments to our budget. The loss of income was pretty dramatic. But despite that, I was able to continue home schooling our children. They continued to take choir and piano lessons and we could spend summers at the beach in California every year. When it was time for college, we paid what we could. We were blessed. In the midst of a severe economic downturn, we have eliminated our debts and provided for our family’s needs. We have been blessed because I have a husband who works hard and does WHATEVER is necessary to make ends meet.

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated–And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

~D & C 130: 20-21

He has NEVER complained.

He deserves that Harley.

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