Friday, February 12, 2010

A Moment's Notice--February 10, 2010


Woke up at 8:50.  Grabbed some breakfast.

Snow was obviously still on the ground.

I worked on my taxes some more this morning.  I called a tax professional that I know, and he said he would do my taxes for $150.  That would be sweet.  The only problem is that he wants ALL of my information already figured out before I send it to him...I want a tax guy that will do the figuring for me!  This per diem stuff is nuts!  If I do the figuring, I might as well insert the numbers into the blanks...that's the easy part!!!  Buuuuuuuuut, in case of an audit, I just want a guy on my side who knows what he is doing.  It was not encouraging to hear, "Well, I'm just punching in the information you tell me to."  Maybe I won't be using this guy after all!  ha!  Anyway, with my figuring, I should get back around $10,000.  Of course, $8,000 of that is the tax credit, but it counts!  I think I have roughly $6800 in taxable income after the deductions.  RIDICULOUS.

I moved forward with the house purchase, though.  Well, sort of.  The bank faxed me some paperwork today, and I faxed it right back...with my signature!  I also received more paperwork for the house in the mail today...I have to get those signed somehow by a notary.  It really stinks not having a car!  I tried to get a ride to the bank, the the shuttle wasn't running when I asked (later in the afternoon).  I HATE being dependent on someone else.

We did the usual routine again today, though...a slow morning...then out to lunch (this time at the airport...they gave us the conference room where we had a LIVELY discussion about racism)...then flew.  I did a simple trip in the pattern...logging a whopping 0.4 hours.  I looked at the Hobbs meter right before I turned off the engine, and it was pegged at 0.3.  What a quick flight today.  It rolled over right as I was shutting down.  Yup, snow still on the ground.  Imagine that.  On the ground AND in the air, it's the same conclusion!  Snow and ice everywhere!  Oh well...I was paid another $22.  RIDICULOUS.

This afternoon, the bank called me requesting more paperwork.  Crap!  It turns out that being an independent contractor is pretty much a shot in the foot.  The bank has also figured out that my taxable income is under $7000...and the underwriter is very much not keen on that.  I totally understand.  What I don't understand, though, is my SPECIFIC situation.  I could literally pay for that house in cash.  But I can't get a loan on it.  Gotta love the hoops you have to go through.  We'll see how it all turns out.

Late this afternoon, I went back for another workout.  The guys were playing cards, and I just needed to do something.  I've enjoyed having a nice workout room, but I wasn't feeling too motivated to do it.  But I changed my clothes and did it anyway.  It was so hard!  I was lazy!!!  I did NOT want to be in there...but I pushed through.  I focused on my arms...and I had a good workout after all was said and done.  But it was soooooooo hard to stay in that room!

Then at 6:05 Stan walks in.  Sweet!  A workout buddy.  "Um, you are going to Florida, Matt is going to Lousiana, and we are going to Georgia."  WHAT?!  Aggggggggggggggggh!!!  I was soooooooooooo excited!  Get me out of here!  I couldn't work out anymore (ok, ok, so I was ready to be done anyway!).  I biked a little bit more but couldn't get the excitement gone.  Matt came down to confirm.  Woo hoo!!!  I was going to Florida!!!

I went upstairs...and then made a very quick decision.  "Guys, I am going to leave tonight."  ha!  I was so wound up, I was wide awake, and I had been EAGERLY awaiting this decision for some time.  I simply needed to get out now.  I checked the weather, and it looked good.  I packed up in five short minutes (it's a beautiful skill acquired on the road), went downstairs to grab a bite to eat, called the shuttle, and waited.  After about 30 minutes of waiting, I was off!!!  I was going to Florida!!!

I packed up my plane, filed IFR to Destin, Florida, and then hit the skies.  I was airborne around 8:20 P.M.  And I had a few hours ahead of me!  But it was beautiful.  I'm not goin' to lie, for some reason, my body takes awhile getting used to the night-time flying.  I don't know what it's just uber-sensitive.  I feel EVERY small movement of the plane...much differently than during the day.  Not sure if it's fear or just a heightened awareness of my surroundings.  But I take awhile to get settled in at night (and in hard IMC).  But after about 20-30 minutes, I was so comfortable, it was ridiculous.  I had absolutely SMOOOOOOOOOOOTH air (as often happens at night), and I had nothing but beautiful lights all around.

I couldn't really tell you what I thought about tonight...but I think night flying is when I do the most thinking.  About life, people, everything.  It's just you and the tranquility.  Not much traffic was on tonight.  It's times like these that I think I would enjoy being a cargo pilot.  (Of course, put me close to a thunderstorm at night, and I would probably change my mind!), but this is what flying is all about.  It's almost sad to have to experience it by myself.  SOMEONE else should get to see what I am seeing.  It's just not fair!

But I loved it.

I had 390 miles to go tonight, but it passed by rather nicely.  I was cruising at a wonderful 122-132 knots.  I'll take that any day.  I only had one jet that crossed my path, and outside of a deviation around a restricted area, it was just smooth sailing the entire time.

I made that fun approach to 32 from the Gulf of Mexico.  Man, it never gets old.  And at night?!  Wow.  I don't know how to describe the "wall" of darkness as you leave earth.  You literally have NOTHING to look at over the ocean.  I saw no boats tonight, and the high overcast blocked out the moon and stars.  It seriously looked like a wall.  It's pretty intimidating.  But I turned base, then final, and came just a few hundred feet over that swimming pool high atop that high-rise.  My favorite.  I landed just after 11:30 P.M.  3.3 hours of perfect flying.

I landed, unloaded my bags into the van, and was shuttled off to the hotel.  It was still a bit colder (45, I think), but there was no snow to be seen anywhere.  I'll take it!  I couldn't quite sleep yet (a flight like that is just too fun), so I stayed up for an hour or so.  I ended up going to bed at 1:00 A.M.

I set my alarm for 8:00 A.M.

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