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Meanwhile, the seal is still roaming the Delaware...

...although you were probably unaware of it, since my ISP kept spitting me offline the last time I was here


before I was quick enough to


preserve the news.

Well, Kate the LudditeWife finally dozed off and stopped hollering "Get off that %$#@! computer and get a job! I don't care *where* you go -- just find a job!" for reasons which I will reveal after keeping both of you reading this on tenterhooks for the nonce.

Daytime (starting around 3:45am, when Gaby, the Scruple-In-Training, awakens and starts squawking for company) has been the usual round of roofing lake houses, replacing garage windows, knocking down wooden greenhouses and erecting metal ones, repairing leaks in koi ponds (never realized there were so *many* of them in the area), creating serene vistas out of knotweed / grapevine / poison ivy-filled back yards and hitting Job Fairs. Nighttime has been the usual round of filling out apps on company Job Boards and checking my spam traps search bots, who insist that being a tractor mechanic in Fargo is right up my alley. In March, I figured I'd better brush up on my 'lectrical skills (just in case) and rewired my old flight helmet...


I'm not closing in on King William of Redmond in the earnings department, but at least I'll never need to buy another pen (Job Fair participants in Crystal City pass out logo'd pens and mini-mag flashlights -- those in New Brunswick give you gallon-sized plastic tote bags. Just in case you were curious).

Long time back, AFSis passed me the cheery message that jobs for the walking dead guys of my -- ummmmm -- experience level were few and far between. "Few and far" about describes it. I only know of three other guys who were in my line of work (Cobra 'Structor Pilot / Safety Geek) who didn't bolt for Apaches or Black Hawks when the Green Machine dumped the AH-1F and they're flying desks for OSACOM, the Army's airline.

Which brings me to the reason KtLW is now sound asleep instead if hovering over my shoulder offering job-search tips such as, "That application is incomplete. You need to fill in *all* the blank spaces, even the ones marked 'Females Only' -- trust me, I *know* what they look for..." and "Be sure to tell them that your flashbacks aren't anywhere near as violent as they used to be."

Last Thursday, I got a phone call.

"Hello, I'm [program manager's name and defense contractor's ID withheld just to make John nuts] and I understand you were a Cobra Instructor Pilot? And you have NVG gunnery experience? And you have a current passport?"

"Yes to all three."

"Would flying Cobras in [someplace not in the western hemisphere] sound like something that you'd be interested in?"

Oh, man -- throw me right into that briar patch, Bre'r Fox!

Inbound e-mails with attachments arrived, followed rapidly by outbound e-mails with attachments. Long story short, as long as I don't die before I take a Flight Physical, I'll be indoctrinated, innoculated and enroute to being a Castle Correspondent before the end of June. The gig runs until September, with the chance that the contract will be extended.

Somehow, I just *knew* there was a reason I rewired the ol' SPH-4...


Gee, should we start sending you boxes of 100 Mile an hour tape now or later? Bondo maybe? ;) I've seen what some of those Cobra's are patched together least the Navy AH-1W back in the 80's *shudder*
I quote The Lord: "Carborundum! Look alive, there! Wake up you sleepyhead! that fool Bill is up to no good, agin! You git yer ass in gear, and get yer gear on yer ass and go look out for him while I have a little talk with Bill!
Long as the power train and armament are *reasonably* intact, everything else is cosmetic. Ummmm -- with the possible exception of the #2 hydraulic system...
No, really, glad to see that you're still willing, as the song has it, but please promise us that you do the walkaround preflight inspection with a very cynical grumpy jaundiced suspicious eye before you get into any ancient flying machines. Yeah, and I'm talking intrusive SAC-level psycho evaluations on the last guy who turned a wrench on the thing. If you insist on doing this, my earnest prayer is that everybody who works on any ancient machine you fly is an obsessive autistic perfectionist. Who likes you, and thinks that you are kewel.
Good man. I hope the gig works out.
'Bout time you earned your keep here! 8^ ) I'll tell BCR to work her magic with the GA's. They prolly need to recruit some...
Congratulations, Bill! Don't know whether to be relieved or worried, though. :) Nah, mostly relieved and happy for you... *hugs*
BillT - Borrow money from the head mechanic (great survival tool in the contractor world) Seriously - You will have some young maintainers who liked working on aircraft, but not military life, so they left for the big contractor world. However, most, if not all, of the maintenance supervisors will be retirees, like us, so that should boost your confidence.
Yay! We missed you, Bill ... good to see you around these parts :-) Glad to hear you're going to fly and teach young whippersnappers how to do stuff. They'd better appreciate you right and proper, ya hear? Or the SB Brigade will give 'em what for!
Congratulations! Could this be any more perfect for you? I laughed at the briar patch reference becuase it so totally fits the situation. I am so very pleased and excited for you.
Congratulations! Is your contractor going to cough up for an HGU-56/P, or are you attacehd to the SPH-4?
Who needs new tricks, eh you Old Dog?! Congrats, Bill, and I hope you enjoy the briar patch!
HEY NOW! I also pointed out many of your finer qualities. Like "how to treat a woman", and "how to keep your GA's out of the unemployment line", and "you should write a book", and many others. I just know from personal experience that once you get to be 50, it's hard as HELL to get anyone to give you half a chance at a job you're more than qualified for. I just don't get it. It's a plague that's affected some very important people in my life- my Dad, you, and 1SG Keith. It sucks ass. You think it's hard to get a job as a 30 y/o without a college degree? Try getting one as a 50 y/o- with or WITHOUT a degree. It's truly mind-boggling. That being said... YAYAAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAY FOR YOU, SUGARBUTTONS! You've got a REAL "brigade" now!!! Have fun, hon. You'll do GREAT.
No. No. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! They PROMISED me! All that careful sabotage ... I mean pre-filtering of email, the letters that got chewed up in the Post Office machinery, the mis-routed voice mail--all for nothing? And let me guess--you AREN'T going to be teaching the young whippersnappers how to do airdrops of stuffed toys at local county fairs in peaceful, bucolic countries. Ha. Now there's a whole squad of GAs that have no [profanity redacted] idea what's going to hit them. The Tuttle virus will spread! Oh well, at least I'll have company in the therapy sessions now. Where did I go wrong? [Sound of muffled angelic weeping]
Heh! Thanks, kids. I just know from personal experience that once you get to be 50... Ummmmm -- methinks that needs rephrasing, Twin... Where did I go wrong? Carb, ol' bubba, you should've convinced Father Chiara that I was a perfect candidate for the Trappists instead of nattering on about the Jesuits and logic. Could this be any more perfect for you? Well, it could be someplace that didn't qualify as a hostile fire pay region, Mags -- but I figure that'll be offset by some new TINS episodes (along with the backlog of stuff I haven't posted yet)... 'Bout time you earned your keep here! Want me to settle my bar tab before I split, or should I hit the in-country ironmongery for some handmade stuff instead? Don't know whether to be relieved or worried, though. Still dealing with that Blogger Anguish, kidlet? *gah-rinnnn* ...everybody who works on any ancient machine you fly is an obsessive autistic perfectionist. I'll be happy with somebody neurotic over tool-accountability. Kinda ruins your whole day if you miss that #2 Phillips stuck under the collective bellcrank during preflight...
Heh. We'll keep yer tab open - for the same reason you should borrow from the Chief Wrench-Turner.
Not sure how to rephrase that, Chief. How 'bout "personal observation" instead of experience?
Depends on *how* personal the observation was and which of your personae was doing the observing...
Congrats Bill, give em hell and don't forget to duck!
Good things do happen to good people, something I needed to hear. Congrats, Chief. This should be interesting to say the least.
So, you, ah, need those gloves back, Chief? ;-) I'll send you a tube of Loc-tite for the Jesus nut ...
You've seen the size of my hands and you're asking if I need those winter-weight dainties? Heh! Heh squared! Forget the Loc-tite -- send an arc welding kit.
I was a wondering what had happened to SugarButtons' Cuddly Wuddlyness. Congratulations on the job and I echo JTG's admonitions. Keep in touch.