Wednesday, September 11, 2013

12 Years and a World Away

September 11, 2013 isn't a particularly special other than being the 12 year anniversary of 9/11/01 when the Twin Towers fell, the Pentagon was hit, and a commercial airliner was brought down in a Pennsylvania field by some courageous passengers, and our country felt exposed, violated, seriously wounded and more patriotic than ever before.

I was a college freshman at Kent State University in northeast Ohio on this day 12 years ago. I sat through my second week of freshman English with about 15 other freshman - all of us oblivious to what was happening a few states away. We all walked from that class on to what was next - for me it was a break so I stopped by my dorm room. My roommate was like a statue; shocked and on the phone with her parents she pointed towards the TV which was playing the only thing on any channel, the smoking tower of the World Trade Center that had been hit. At this time the thought was it was a freak airplane accident. As we watched, we learned along with the rest of the world, that it was no freak accident when a second plane slammed into the other tower. The rest literally is history, but those crystal-clear memories are etched into all of our minds.

What I never could have expected 12 years ago is where I am today. I do remember thinking what the horror must have been for those airplane passengers as they realized what was unfolding, or in the case of Flight 93, the courage of those passengers to protect the rest of us by making the ultimate sacrifice. How did their families feel when they got the call on-board and hung up the phone before storming the cockpit to take back control? I never thought of the crew. I never knew I would have to think of the crew.

But now half of my world is the crew and I freeze with the horror thinking of what EVERY commercial pilot and their loved ones felt on that day. They lost their loved ones, their colleagues, their passion for aviation. I can't let myself imagine it too much without coming undone.

Then I look around my desk at work and feel an enormous sense of pride for my colleagues. I work in PR for first responders. Paramedics, EMTs and firefighters are my colleagues and I have tremendous respect for them; not just on 9/11 each year. But I feel a sense of pride that they allow me to be part of their world. They sacrifice so the rest of us can be safe.

Today, I cherish my conversations with my pilot before and after his flights just a little more. Today, I can't say enough about what first responders give so the rest of us may sleep at night. Some of us are just lucky enough to sit on the sidelines near these people and closely orbit around their humble greatness.

I hardly doubt my generation will grow old without another "Where were you when..." moment . I hope we can reach old age without one. I hope our children can grow up in a world where they don't have one. I know for the most part all of that is out of my control, but what I can control is living today, tomorrow and the next and not taking for granted what so many others were robbed of, or what they gave so the rest of us may live. 

Respect your first responders, thank them for working 24 hours straight and not seeing their families for Christmas or birthday's, and for always answering the call. And fly with kindness because that crew is someone's whole world and you never know when they may become more than a hassle to your day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A 25-minute flight

Last week hubby and I decided it was necessary to get a different vehicle; time to get rid of the Corolla and get something we can load our pups in and go camping, and a Corolla just won't do well off-roading. We found a great Subaru but it was in Flagstaff and we live in Phoenix. I am definitely more motivated by a great vehicle than a long drive. So, I assumed we would drive together to Flagstaff, get the car, and each would drive back to Phoenix. Long day, but worth it. I was wrong.

So we flew...from Phoenix to Flagstaff. I didn't even know there were flights from Phoenix to Flagstaff, let alone several flights every day. So at 6 a.m. we woke up, headed to the airport (through some serious rain) and hopped a flight to Flagstaff to look at a car. Who does that?!?!

After a very long, very bumpy, very rainy 25-minute flight, we arrived in cool and cloudy Flagstaff. Thank goodness we loved the car because I was not looking forward to flying back through those bumpy all! While hubby sleeps on bumpy flights, I cringe and grip to anything...not sure why I think grabbing something will help stop the bumps, but driving two hours in the rain sounded way better than the flight!

So the flight was totally worth it after 15 minutes with hubby driving his new-ish vehicle. He loved it and that made it all worth it. That, and the fact we made it back home in time to watch football!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Let's drive instead!

Five years ago, when hubby and I had just moved in together, we decided it would be a great idea to buy a 11 p.m....after drinking a little bit. Most of my best decisions happen with that type of lead-up. So for five years, our little tent waited, and waited and waited to go camping. This past weekend, it finally got its chance.

Seriously, how did it take us five years to go camping? I may never fully understand. So anyway, hubby gets home from his trip on Saturday afternoon and starts to pack up everything we will need for our one-night camping expedition. Who knew you needed SO MUCH stuff to camp for one night?

Sunday morning, at 5 a.m., hubby wakes up (picture a little boy on Christmas morning...he couldn't sleep the night before and woke up with so much dang energy I about smothered him with a pillow) and our dogs, our loaded car, and the two of us hit the road. We didn't get too far before I had to stop for a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks since they just became available, but after he realized how important it was for me to be properly caffeinated, we were happily back on the road.

The drive was about 2 1/2 hours from hot Phoenix up to beautiful and cool lakes outside of Payson. I can
honestly say the drive was amazing. Plus, being able to roll down your windows in Arizona is sooooo nice!

I'll admit it, I was a little nervous. Hubby can be a bit OCD and I can be a bit "ah - whatever" and I was a little worried I may not have taken it serious enough. But alas, we found a camping spot, pitched the tent (successfully on the first try) unpacked everything and found this amazing lake within 45 minutes of arriving!

He wanted to fish - and I humored the idea. He has now gone fishing twice and yet to catch a fish, but one day he will. I should probably explain here how much he adores our dog, Ruby. This dog is basically his soul mate and vice versa. He couldn't WAIT to throw Ruby's ball in the lake and let her swim around. She loved it! But, I kept telling him, little fishes don't so much like 50lb dogs jumping in the lake near them so they aren't going to be around. No big deal - he continued practicing his casting skills, Ruby swam to her hearts content and I sat next to our boxer who is afraid of swimming.

I have to say, bathroom situation aside, it was a pretty wonderful 24 hours! So much so, that we decided we have to go camping again in a few weeks to another beautiful corner of Arizona. Don't worry, after that there are a few fun trips planned that include airplanes, amazing cities and no swimming dogs!