Saturday, September 15, 2012

Then there were the buzzards

Today started out great, with a lie-in until 1 PM in the afternoon.  No, seriously, 1 in the afternoon.  I think I went to bed last night at around 2 AM after watching WAY too many 'My Strange Addiction' and '19 and Counting' videos on the YousToob.  Also, 'Feed me Bubby,' a video series in which an intrepid young man videos his grandmother (the Bubby) cooking Kosher.  I now know how to make schnitzle, stuffed cabbage rolls, and what 'haimish' means. 

As a result of the Bubby-ness, I might rename this blog to 'A Haimisher Platz' just to see what kind of traffic that would bring.  Have I ever mentioned I love listening to people speak Yiddish?  I do.  It's this strange gmish of almost-understandable Germanic speak with weird alien noises thrown in and I should just learn how to speak it and then go confuse some Jewish people.  Because Oy!  Wouldn't that be nebbisher of me?

Sometimes I wonder about myself.

A place we were today.  Photo by Biff
So, right.  After sleeping for almost 12 hours it was time for  ADVENTURE DAY!!  The plan had been to hop in a tin can, elevate it to 3000 feet by means of props and flaps and ailerons and such (also with a hefty dose of PRAYER by me, as it is how we stay up in the air), and fly down to the Pik n Pig (watch the video!) for supper.  Proof of how much more comfortable I am with flying, I was actually looking forward to the trip - the beautiful weather only added to my excitement to be up in the air.

Yeah, I think the thyroid meds are kicking in.  Anxiety is low, enthusiasm up.  Extremities not nearly as swollen.  *Fist pump*

Yep - I had no problem getting into the plane, was looking forward to the ride, only startled a little bit at some turbulence I would have shrieked at 6 months ago, and had a good time watching the world go by.  As is the rule for me, I did not take the wheel when it was time to change fuel tanks, because that is sure to result in instant crashing and burning.  Sorry, Biff, I'm just not 'there' yet. 

It was a good ride, and eventually we found the airstrip tucked neatly into a gigantic FOREST of trees, with very little accommodation for things like 'plenty of room for approach' or 'taxiing distance' but that's not an issue as I was with a pilot who knows his stuff and by squeezing my eyes shut and praying some more I was sure everything was going to be OK.

Then I opened my eyes.


We were not far over the runway, descending nicely on a good glide slope juuuust clear of the trees, when three miserable cusses of turkey buzzards flew directly underneath us, not but a few feet from the prop. Bird strike = not a great idea when you're in a small single-engine aircraft, at ALL.  Biff had to gun the engine, hop the plane up a few more feet to clear the potential birdstrike, then put down fairly heavily on the runway and crank on the 'stop this plane' systems hard so as not to plow into the trees at the end of the runway.

Not once did I shriek or utter words of final passage.  He was working so HARD to land the plane there was nothing to say until we were taxiing off the runway.  Then it was only to mention how very exciting all of THAT was, which was the truth.  VERY exciting.  Bowel-chilling exciting.

So, after narrowly avoiding death by avian, I thought I was doing great with the whole 'hey I'm cool with flying' thing, and we had an enjoyable time.  Until, that is, we finished eating (the best danged smoked chicken I have ever had, and that is no lie.  Delicious), and it dawned on me that we had to get back in the plane and brave the buzzard-ridden tree-enrobed fear-maker of a runway again.

Which, predictably, is when some terrible little neuron fired up in my reptilian brain shouting 'oh HAIL NAW!', which, unapproved by me, started making my stomach twitch.  Other parts of me tried damping down that twitch, but more prayer, a stern talking by my conscious mind, and an attempt at being chipper had no real effect.  Something was brewing south of the esophagus, and it was only a matter of time before that something had its way with the rest of me.

Well, the long and short is that I made it to the parking lot after the cashier part of the meal was done, fake-coughing and paroxysming like a champ before the first wave broke the shore, as it were.  Not to overshare, but only a delicate little bit of iced tea came up. Oh yeah, not so bad, thos kids playing cornhole 50 feet away just thought I had to stop to take hock a big ol loogie!  Fabulous. Made it allllmost to the plane before the next breaker breached the beach, and STILL only tea arrived.  Such a gentle, forgiving stomach, to serve up the last of what I took in and not the whole meal!  Way to rock it, digestive system! 

After that, there was no more.  Apparently, the part of me that needed to barf out of abject fear was satiated with the effort given, and all was well thereafter.

The ride home was enjoyable, even.  I got a cool picture of Raleigh to show for it, see?
A picture I took today. It was kind of muggy at 3K feet.

So, sadly, maybe the anxiety isn't fully under control after all.  I wish it was.  There were such high hopes early in the day, but those stupid turkey buzzards that almost killed us dead in front of 'cue-eatin' locals just about ruined my high spirits, and that plain sucks.

However, knowing that Biff is SUCH a capable pilot makes me more than willing to continue to try out new adventures and to keep pushing the anxiety back into a corner of my psyche that's strong enough to overcome it.  That, and the Pik N' Pig is totally WORTH the trip.  As are many other places I'm still too nervous to attempt.  Baby steps, y'all, are still progress.

Tiff Out.

PS, on our way back to home base, we were jockeying for position with a pilot who had just made her first solo cross-country flight (at least 50 mile from start to destination).  She is a pregnant Indian lady (her radio calls are almost melodic, what with the accent. Very charming).  That, my friends, is what stones of steel are.  Pregnant and getting your ticket.  Yowza.  Further Yowzahood?  Her husband is getting his license too.  Crazypants awesome.  As was tonight's sunset seen to the left of our plane's tail.

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