Woke up at the normal 7:30. Weather was terrible...low clouds and mist. 1000 feet overcast. I went back to bed...not even on purpose...it just happened. Woke up at 8:30. Had a voice-mail waiting for me...from the boss.
I called back, though I already knew what it was about. Today was going to be a living nightmare.
Matt has his airplane in Cleburne, TX.
Matt has his luggage in Gainesville, TX.
Matt leaves for vacation from DFW at 7:30 tonight.
The vacation pilot flies in to Dallas Love at 8:30 tonight.
Andy has a car.
Yup, that's the situation. I listened to the request, then did what I had to do. Oh, the boss also called back right after I hung up to tell me that we had a new project. In Palm Beach, Florida! Whoa! That's a trip! Before I left Gainesville, I e-mailed Dad to tell him to fly down and go on a 1100-mile trip with me.
Around 10:00, I pointed the car towards Cleburne. It was a pretty uneventful trip for the most part...although I was impressed with the size of the Texas Motor Speedway. Simply crazy. And I also had a blast racing a hot chick. I was 16 miles from Cleburne when this Audi pulls along side me...she's a gorgeous (insert the word hot) female, and she looks over and does the flirty smile. Oh stink! Well, after a few unintentional passes and being passed on the road, it was on. On one pass, I looked over at her and pretty much laughed. She would have none of this. For about five miles, we went back and forth...she would follow my lead...I would squeeze into a small opening, she would take another lane. It was pretty stinkin' fun, I'm not goin' to lie. Very movie-esque. Well, I she went left, I went right around a semi, and I ended up in a turn lane. Agh!!! I actually rode the shoulder for awhile trying to get ahead of several cars, but there were no spaces. I had to whip it into a parking lot as she sped off. I was so mad!!!
I should have known it was going to be a long day if I was excited about that!
On the way down, though, I talked to Mom. Dad had since declined my offer (said it was too spontaneous for his job), but Mom was feeling kind of crazy. She jumped off the deep end, grabbing a ticket to Dallas Love at 8:30 this very night! Woo hoo!
Arrived in Cleburne, said hi to old friends, and watched an ambulance (the one that passed me on the way in out on the highway) deliver a patient to a Life Support helicopter. What a fun job. Unique. Exciting! The clouds were way low (around 500 feet?), so the helicopter had to do an approach in...and get cleared to take off out...I was yelling at it to go, go, go! But it sat there, waiting for a clearance as a King Air left before it. Grr! It was an old lady who I heard was in a car wreck. Crazy how fast life changes.
I drove Matt and Brandon up towards DFW (I learned that the mechanic was flying back to Daytona Beach today, too, as the other airplanes from Dallas Love couldn't make it in to Cleburne because of the crazy low clouds...what a mess), but we first stopped for lunch at the Stockyards in Fort Worth. Real good BBQ. And another cute Texas chick. Not mall hot. Farm gorgeous. I love it.
Drove over to DFW from there and dropped Brandon and Matt off at 4:15. From there I drove to Dallas Love Field, where I had a few hours to wait. I made myself at home at Business Jet Center. While there, I tried finding places to stay tomorrow night in Palm Beach.
Mom let me know her flight had been delayed 50 minutes. Crap.
An hour later, she let me know it was delayed again...another hour. She was now to depart at 8:20, 10 minutes before she was to arrive several hundred miles later. Crap. And I was soooooo tired. I still had a ton of driving left to do that night, so I tried to catch some sleep. I curled up in the back seat of the Kia Rio and laid my head on my dirty clothes bag. I had brought them to do while in Cleburne, thinking I was going to have some free time to kill today. Boy, was I wrong. I put my beanie hat over my eyes and tried to sleep. I set my alarm for 8:30...almost an hour and a half away. I never did manage to fall asleep. I wasn't very happy about that.
Kenton was on time with his flight, arriving at 8:30. I picked him up, then took him out to eat. We had another hour before Mom rolled in.
She came in around 9:40, and then we were off. BACK to Cleburne where Kenton was going to pick up Matt's airplane. That was about an hour drive, and we got there at 11:00. I showed Kenton how to get into the hangars, the FBO, and then Mom and I were off. For another almost two-hour drive. Not good.
I was dying. My eyes were burning on the drive back. I strongly considered stopping for coffee. But I didn't want to be awake back at the hotel. I would be flying 10 hours tomorrow, and I wanted to get a solid night's sleep. I didn't want anything fake in my blood keeping me awake. But I was struggling. It was beyond difficult. Mom was quickly tailing off to...she was pretty quiet. I needed to stay awake. But I was honestly having a hard time. I would blink and blink and blink and blink. But my eyes were as dry as could be.
The loooooong trip finally ended. The hotel was one of the most beautiful sights ever seen. We rolled in at 1:00...I had just put in a full 15-hour day. All to help out the company. I wasn't too thrilled about it, to be honest...it was kind of frustrating, actually. I'm glad I was able to "save the day," but c'mon, this was a bit over the top. It didn't help that the clouds all lifted at 3:00, too. Matt could've flown to Dallas Love where Kenton could've picked up the airplane...the other two pilots from Love could've flown to Cleburne where the mechanic could do the 100-hours. And I could have delivered Matt's gear to him at DFW...then drove straight back. <sigh> But it didn't turn out that way.
Mom asked why I did this. I told her a quote that I sometimes have to live by, even though I don't necessarily like it. It's true in life, but especially in aviation...
"The toes that you stumble over today are very likely attached to the *butt* that you will be kissing tomorrow."
Frankly, I didn't want to stumble over any toes today.
Went to bed at 1:15. Alarm is set for 7:30. Crap.