"Any day where you get things wet, it's a good day."

-My seaplane instructor

So I wish I hadn't waited until this late in the season, as it's chilly and the wind is messing with my scheduling. But since I need a biennial flight review anyway, and since any new training requiring an FAA checkride counts, why not learn something new? Today and tomorrow, I was scheduled to learn to fly the Aviat A-1C Husky amphibious aircraft, towards my ASES, or Airman, Single Engine Sea rating.

When I got up this morning at oh dark good god, it was calm but had just finished a chilly rain. The METAR for the area was predicting winds of 15G35 (15 knots, gusting to 35) in the area, which meant flying an aircraft with a maximum crosswind rating of 8.7 kts is a big no-can-do. When I showed up at 8am and met my instructor, we thought about it for a bit. He said "Well, it's OK right now, why don't we skip the class part and see if we can get in an hour before it gets too windy, since you're here anyway."


Learned to preflight the Husky (pump the floats, check the spreader bars and struts, check the flying wires, check the water rudders...). Pulled her out onto the apron, got in. First new thing: the Husky is a tandem seat aircraft, my first. This means I'll be sitting in front, with the instructor behind me. As he pointed out, this means one critical system is all mine - the landing gear, which now has two different ways of getting you killed. If you land on water with the gear down, you sink the airplane and probably die. If you land on land with the gear up you bend the airplane and probably don't die which means they can bill you the half million dollars or so. Plus medical bills. So now there are two sets of four lights - four blue, four green. Green is down, i.e. ready to land on land. Blue is up, ready to land on water. The point is that from the back seat, the instructor can't see this panel, which is directly in the middle of the instrument panel and slightly below it. So they have to trust you to not be lying to them in checklists.

It's a regular Lycoming IO-360, which I've flown in other aircraft, so starting up and run-up was familiar. Taxiing is weird because the front wheels are free-castering, and you're sitting seven feet or so off the tarmac due to the big-ass floats below you. And of course, that stick.

We took off, Danbury tower helpfully letting us turn right immediately and head towards Lake Candlewood. We set up for a landing, the instructor briefed it, and said "Okay, your airplane."

...what? "Don't you want to show me one?"

"Naaah. You got this."

gulp"...okay, my airplane. Checklists..." ran the lists, set up, went in, held it off, didn't balloon...

"That was perfect!"

"Holy cow that was awesome let's go again!"

"Okay, I'll show you the first takeoff because on seaplanes they're harder, so follow along. My airplane..."

So we did. We did around 8 water landings. I practiced idle taxi (water rudders down), plow taxi (don't do this except for very specific reasons), and step taxi - basically the airplane is up on the floats 'on plane' as boaters would say, with the flaps up to keep lift down, zipping along at 40-60MPH on the water. Turning is done entirely with air surfaces, carefully. Don't want to dig in a float, that's how you sink the airplane.

(What a ridiculous phrase.)

By the time the wind had gotten too high for comfort and we had to come back to the airport, we'd done the 8 landings, 8 takeoffs, I'd learned to beach the airplane with the reversing prop, we'd practiced step taxi and idle taxi, and I'd started to learn J-turns and L-turns for confined area ops. We didn't get to do actual L/J takeoffs, dock work, or glassy water work because the wind got high.

Holy cow seaplanes are fun as hell. In addition to the whole landing on water thing, in this airplane I am flatly required to do one thing I've always wanted to do but in the Cessnas have never had the opportunity or been allowed to - follow a narrow river valley 150 feet up, below the level of the surrounding ridges, making sharp turns to stay over water. It's the kind of 'boy fantasy' flying I remember from being a wee lad, pretending I'm trying to lose (or catch) a German fighter down on the deck. Well okay, I'm now flying an amiable cow of an airplane, not a fighter - but I am standing it hard over on its side to make those turns, low down, watching the trees go by on either side. SO much fun.

OH YEAH the second landing, while we were idling in the middle of the lake, a pair of Bald Eagles came and circled the airplane maybe 50 feet up. I feel like they were laughing at us, poor clumsy humans with their clunky thing. But I got to watch Bald Eagles from 50-60 feet, in a lake, with the foliage just changing, from an airplane. So very good.

I'm not going to finish training this week, the wind got bad and tomorrow is going to be worse. But I'll be back in a couple of weeks to complete. My instructor says I did really incredibly well for a 200-hr pilot - he says I have 'natural stick and rudder' instincts, and I just need to learn to smooth out and learn this airplane a little. He said if it wasn't for the fact it would be too windy tomorrow afternoon, we'd try to finish - but we'd have to schedule the checkride with the FAA examiner for that afternoon, and there's no way that's a good idea. So I'll come back.

Seaplanes, y'all. Crap airplanes and crap boats and more fun than either.

My plan to get up early did not fall into place the way that I thought it would. Instead I fooled around for so long that I was almost late to work. I know I need to get better at managing the stress in my life. Today was pretty awful, nobody said anything about anyone quitting. We went to a meeting where it wasn't discussed, I wish I had a recording of the meeting so others could see what's going on at work. I felt really bad for my manager, but felt that she handled the assault and aggravation very well. One of the fights that erupted was about small plastic deli cups that people in our department use to parcel out samples of products for customers. I never do this, but others in our department do, and they also take things home for themselves using this system which is why I object to it. Testers are designed for in store use, helping yourself to a quantity of green clay mask reduces the amount we have for customers. Testers like that are stupid in my opinion. Who is going to put on a clay mask in a store? In those cases I wouldn't even bother with testers, but I digress.

It's been so long since I talked to the former assistant manager that I forgot how nasty and vituperative she can be. She was openly attacking my boss at the meeting, saying things like she didn't know about the products up in the cabinet in our breakroom. When products are damaged or returned, we will often put them upstairs in those cabinets so people who have a headache, feel nauseous, or have other ailments can go there and get whatever they need to alleviate their discomfort. There's an honor system involved, one of the women who works in my department fills up plastic bags that we put our bulk spices in and comes down with her supply of the products she wants to use, but not purchase. She says she can't afford them, but it's funny how she can afford all the makeup and hair care products that she buys. My boss is one of the most generous and giving people I have ever met. Today alone I took home almost $100 worth of products.

Before she came in I dropped a travel collection of hair care products on the floor, the shampoo leaked inside of the bag, and we obviously can't sell a travel bag that has a brown stain on it for full price. At times like that I would prefer we cut the price in half and drop it into what we call our disco bin - discounted, about to expire, sale items that are being clearanced out go in there along with things like sunscreen and bug care when those seasonal products are no longer appropriate. We lose money on those things, but if we cut the price in half on a new item and tag it 'as is', we can recoup what we paid for the item. It's cool to get freebies, but not when the bottom line is affected which is what really bothers me about people who are greedy, and I admit it's hard not to be. You're never content, it's never enough, I have so many supplements, magazines, deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste to last us a good long while. But I keep bringing things home because they were free.

Our cafe has a hot bar. They could parcel out the food, but it gets tossed because our GM can't determine what a fair distribution system would be. I'm inclined to believe that this is the best way to handle things despite the loss of nourishment and utility when food becomes garbage. Employees should never be in a position to profit or benefit from broken, damaged, or otherwise unsellable items. My friend and I have a system worked out that I like. We split things in half when we can. I'm still resentful that she gave some products I was given to her sister. I had told her she could try them, my intent was to have them come back to me, and I guess I failed to communicate that clearly to her. I should have held onto those products because I didn't loan them to her with a clean heart. I wanted them for myself, felt small and guilty about that, loaned them to her, and now they're gone. Big deal. I will get tons more product and now her sister has a treat she didn't before.

I'm mad because I was given products that weren't for sale at our store because we don't carry them. This is so petty and ridiculous I can't believe that I'm even typing this. Seriously, what kind of a person am I to begrudge someone else two free products when I have received well over a thousand dollars in merchandise since I've started working there. Those travel kit products will last me for months since I wash my hair once or twice a week, I got a month's supply of probiotics for free, and could have had two carrier oils and a deodorant had I wanted them. I gave those to the girls up front and I felt good about that. I need to stop being greedy because it's monstrously unattractive in others, and it isn't right for me to blame them when I'm exhibiting some of the same self centered behavior they are. 

The meeting was needed. A couple of grievances were aired, many things were clarified, and I really hope that HR saw for herself the animosity and hostility that my manager and the rest of the department has to deal with on a regular basis when we're working with the former assistant manager. She's on her way out and she's challenging authority and being incredibly disrespectful. I think I'm going to give myself a break from the freebies. I want to declutter at home and that's practically impossible when I bring home more stuff. Maybe this is something I can do in November. I'll tell my manager that I'm decluttering at home and whatever would have gone to me can go to someone else. I think this a good strategy, and a great goal. It's good to earn things I want and need.

Praying this finds you well,


P.S. Decided I wasn't being fair to the guy I'm seeing. This is almost always the case when I'm frustrated with him. I would like more communication, but I knew what he was life long before this. Thinking about not being a part of his life was awful. I'm fortunate to have him. Really glad I didn't call things off, but still going to talk to my therapist about the relationship. Knitting club is tomorrow. I can do this.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.