Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day--February 14, 2010


Woke up at 8:30 A.M.  I had decided to find a church.  But as I took a shower, I looked out the small window at the top of the wall.  "Nawwww, this can't be!"  I saw palm trees with nothing but the cleanest of blue skies behind it.  I took another angle...not a cloud in the sky.

I checked the weather afterward, and sure enough, the skies were clear.  Palm Beach was calling for 3500 feet scattered, but I could at least finish 90% of the project.

I packed everything up.  Yes, everything.  I was moving out.  I was obviously not wanted here anymore, so I loaded it all up.  I wrote a letter saying I was sorry this was how it all turned out, and I left it open for making peace, but I knew I had to leave.  It was just so awkward.

I headed for the airport.

I took off and headed west.  My first two plans had some funky blue...yes, blue...clouds/smoke in them.  They were low and thin, but they were very apparent when looking east into the sunlight.  I couldn't do these.  So I headed north into what looked like a World War II bombing strafe run.  Smoke was billowing high in just about every direction...and the winds (though not too strong) were carrying them to the southeast.  I was able to squeeze out a couple of the flight plans, and then I headed for the coast and hoped that the smoke would appease later in the day.

I had four plans along the coast, and thanks to a very unwelcoming staff of controllers a month and a half ago, I decided NOT to call them up.  I simply flew (legally) over the top of their airspace.  Frankly, they were not helpful last time, and I knew I would be moving around quite a bit, and the explanation would be more difficult than necessary.  So I just flew and monitored their frequencies!  I had a corporate jet fly 500-1000 feet below me...and he zipped by.  It's amazing how fast those jets move up close.  Other than that, the airlines were asked to look out for a "target, maneuvering steadily at 4600 feet, altitude unverified."  Of course, every traffic call they gave out, I also used as my own traffic call.  It worked out perfectly.  I was surprised to open up one plan, though, only to find three WHOLE lines!  This was the plan where Matt's computer went kaplooey...and I had to take over.  I remember it exactly!

Well, I finished up those plans, then headed back to the west.  After some flying around, I was able to finish the last two plans (frankly, I wasn't going to take "no" for an answer...I desperately wanted to be out of Fort Lauderdale).  I ended up flying two of the plans from the morning over again, as the smoke had cleared up even more.  I think the morning pictures would have worked (or else I wouldn't have shot them, right?!), but I wanted to make absolutely sure that these pictures were worthy.  Plus, it was only a few miles...a few extra minutes of flight time.  Having GOOD pictures would certainly save yet another trip down to southern Florida to do a second set of reflies.

I hope they all turned out!

I landed and sat at the airport for awhile.  I knew this was going to throw a kink in my boss's plans...but I also knew that I HAD to take advantage of such an opportunity.  You simply don't get clear days like this in southern Florida.  Oh, and the clouds off the coast?  Well, they WERE there...just a few miles off the coast...far enough away to not be a problem.  I was thrilled to be done!

I guess I can mention now, too, that those plans were to have me train on the twin.  I had been told this earlier in the season, but logistically, it never worked out.  But here I was...in Florida...and the twin was in Florida, too.  We were going to TRY to get me some twin time!  I was certainly excited...but admittedly not 100% certain.  But I called the boss to find out where I would be going.  He was flying.  Crap.

Well, I ended up getting ahold of him at 4:40...and he said I should plan to meet him in Sanford, Florida, the next day.  I grabbed a hotel (I had yet to hear from the lady "friend," even though I asked her to call me), then returned the rental car ($60/day!!!), then walked the few miles back to the hotel.  Frankly, I would have certainly drive if I had a car, but it was also nice to walk.  I stopped at a church that had some cars in the parking lot on the way back, and I learned they had a Sunday evening service.  When asked if it would be like the morning service, I was told that it was a service geared around a pastor leaving.  Hmm.  I was pretty dejected about that.  Here I was, ready to go!  And the service wouldn't have even been appealing...or relevant?  to me.  Frustrated.

I walked back to the hotel...looking for restaurants as I went.  Nothing really sounded good.  I started to head to a restaurant, then realized I really, really didn't want to go alone.  So I headed to the hotel...how could I find somebody?!  Then my phone rang.  It was her.  She tried to make small talk, and I allowed that for a few...I asked about her Valentine's Day (she doesn't believe in Valentine's Day), about her grandma (doing much better), and about us (not good.

More or less, she went off on how I used her.  How everything I did revolved around me using her.  And she had a list.  She felt used for me staying at her house.  I had told her it was a couple-day project (she knew about the cloud situation, though, and she admitted that).  I had stayed three nights, and I guess she didn't like that.  Huh.  She said how I had used her washer and dryer and left clothes in there.  Absolutely unacceptable, she said.  She yelled at me for leaving the house with the dryer running...it woke her up.  I pleaded that I had NEVER heard of a dryer beeping at the end (I hadn't...I thought that was reserved for microwaves), but she didn't believe me on that one, either.  Then she was mad at how I didn't give her advance time of my arrival.  Although I called the night before, the day of when I was two hours away, and then when I landed IN Fort Lauderdale.  She said she would leave the door open for me since she was taking a shower, and that I could walk in.  So I did.  But she was mad at me for not calling her on the way TO the house...saying that she didn't even have time to make the bed for me.  I just don't get it.  I really don't.  And she absolutely positively COULD NOT believe I gave her "the third degree" about a guest that she had brought into her house (the one from yesterday).  Frankly, yes, I DID ask questions about him, but once I found out it was NOT the guy she had told me about, I asked more!  And, yes, I DID ask if you had kissed him, because I couldn't believe you would be kissing another man while you had a boyfriend!!!  Only later did I realize you had lied to me, and that this WAS in fact your boyfriend!  But I have no regrets about asking you...it's what friends do.  Seeing as how it was your boyfriend...and how we had kissed last time I was here, yeah, I guess that would be awful awkward for you, wouldn't it?  But how was I to know?!  And you didn't have to answer.  Seriously.

Of course, I could have had a rebuttal for everything she said, but I knew it was a worthless battle.  She had made up her mind.  NOTHING I could do would change that.  No logic, no reason, no truth.  So I said, "ok," and we had an awkward silence.  But I just knew that was it.  There was nothing I could do.

But dang it, I was mad.  And I was very sad.  You had showed me how to use the washer and dryer...and even shown me where the detergent was!  You had left the door open for me...and I had called you from the airport while HERE!!!  And I used you?!  I only used you?!  Even the last time I was here?  I guess this doesn't take into consideration the nights we spent together...talking on the beach, laying on your couch watching movies, going fishing together.  I guess this doesn't include the fishing trip I bought you...or the meals I bought you...or the times when I called to see if we could get together.  I guess this just overlooks those.  Oh, I am furious.  I am still mad.  I just couldn't believe it.

So I asked her how much she wanted.  Dang it, if she felt like I used her, then I wanted to prove to her that I didn't.  Sandy, I would rather you have all of your detergent back, your water back, your time back, your few days back...if we could just be friends.  So how much do I owe you?  Huh?  If you think I'm just in this to USE you, then let me show you I'm not.  Let me pay for everything!!!  Agh, I hated the very idea of having to do that, but how could I let her know I was there for HER?!  Not for her stuff!!!

I would have paid for a hotel and just spent the evenings with her if I could've.  Just dinners.

I was devastated.

But then it came up again.  "Andy, all you do is use me.  And this other guy, he never uses me.  He never asks for anything.  So when he asked for ONE thing, I said ok.  And that is that you leave."

I nearly cried.  I seriously teared up.

The conversation was over.  My hands were tied.  "Ok."

And that was that.  Of course, I never told her about the toilets I scrubbed, the hair I picked up out of the shower, or the kitty litter that I scooped.  It didn't matter, and I knew it didn't matter.  She didn't like me.  And this guy was talking to her on the side to not like me even more.  Jealous?  Of course he is.  And I think rightfully so.  If they are a couple.  I mean, I would hate to have my girlfriend have another guy over (frankly, I wouldn't allow it).

But dang it, don't screw me over.  And don't ever, ever blame it on me.  Tell it how it is.


I walked to IHOP by my lonesome.  And I just sat there completely and totally dejected.  I was seriously at one of the lowest low's of my life.  And it's the fact that someone viewed me as a leech.  Someone I cared about.  Someone I care about.  I seriously coudn't even bring my eyes up to talk to my waitress...who was cute.  I just stared at the table the entire night...lonely...and just really, really sad.

I had lost yet another friend.

The waitress must've seen it.  She tried cheering me up, but there was no hope.  Simply no hope.  I was so pained.

As I paid at the cashier, she handed me a gift and said, "Things will get better.  They will."  I must've looked like crap.  I was wearing my heart on my face.

I walked back to the hotel and watched some TV before bed.  I saw myself in the movie "3" about Dale Earnhardt.  Frankly, I see myself in so many people anymore...and the people I see are all guys that can't hold girls.  Dale, Warren Buffett, Charles Lindbergh, Howard Hughes.  Men that dream big.  Men that chase dreams.  And men that lose the women.

What a wretched life.

But I did get a phone call.  I would be training starting tomorrow on the twin for sure.  I needed to be at the airport at 8 o'clock in the morning.  And I needed to be ready to fly a twin.  Mentally.  Oh boy.

I shut the TV off and immersed myself in my old Twin Comanche literature.  It had been a year and a half since I had flown a twin-engine...and I was rusty.  But dang it, I am going to do this.  So I studied right up until bedtime...which wasn't too far off.

Mixture, Props, Throttle, Gear Up, Flaps Up, Fuel Pumps On, Identify, Verify, Feather.

Dream on that, Andy.

I went to bed at 9:30 P.M.  I was to wake up at 5:00 to head to the airport.

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