Saturday, July 19, 2008

Home for the Eighth

Last month, I was surprised to learn that a day of vacation I'd requested had been approved. Summertime is crunch time with my employer, since the possibility of a hurricane evacuation in the Gulf of Mexico looms. Also, a goodly number of our 650 pilots belong to the National Guard or Reserve, and summertime means that they'll be unavailable for at least two weeks. I'd imagine that summertime is not a fun time to work in our pilot and aircraft scheduling department.

But I got my extra day off. Without that day of vacation, I would have whispered "happy birthday" to Dylan as he slept in the wee hours of the morning, before walking out the door to catch a 6 a.m. flight. Instead, I got to spend my son's birthday with him and his friends at Waterworks Park. It was great fun for the kids and the adults. The smoke from the fires had been oppressive for days prior to The Day, but a southerly wind sprang up the night before and gave us the gift of clear skies for the party. Dylan had a blast, and he's outgrown that tendency to say "I didn't have a good time" at the end of a really good time. He's learning that endings can mean celebrating instead of mourning.

Actually, he started doing that two years ago, on his sixth birthday. Wow, have two years really gone by since that one?

I flew out the next morning on the commuter flight to San Francisco. I felt really happy, and really thankful. I got to be home for my son's birthday.
My friend Roland posted "Why is My Blog So Boring?" I've never found his blog boring, but I know how he feels. My last stint at work was one of the slowest ever. Out of the thirteen days I was there, I flew during two of them. Yet, in spite of getting paid to mainly sit on my ass, I managed to post just one "real" blog entry. The rest were video links, an "iPod Roulette" submission, and some cute animal photos. (The latter giving evidence that I'm oh-so-secure in my masculinity. Ahem.)

There are a lot of people out there with real writing talent who would love to have the time to write that I had during those thirteen days. I feel guilty. I feel like I wasted an opportunity. I feel like a lazy slug.

I've often wondered about the mystery of what provides the creative spark to sit down and spew out words on the keyboard. Maybe I let that mystery hold sway too much. I've never been so good at kicking myself in the ass. Maybe the real mystery is in learning how to be better about kicking myself in the ass.
The fires continue. Visibility yesterday was down to a mile in smoke. Dylan and I were out feeding the llamas when Air Force One flew over on approach to Redding Airport. President Bush came in to check on the progress against the fires. Our Governor Schwarzenegger was there as well, and evidently did not refer to the President as a "girly man."


david santos said...

Hello, Hal!
I loved this post and this blog.
Happy weekend.

Kelly said...

Personally, I enjoy ALL your blog entries, "real" or not! As for the ones you call "real"... they are always worth waiting for!!

I'm one of those bloggers who just posts for fun, but that's the point. I do have fun with it (whether anyone else ever reads it or not).

So glad you got to enjoy Dylan's birthday with him! He's growing up fast!

debby said...

I think your blog is funny and displays your spirit in a very real way.

Bob Barbanes said... went back to the waterpark after all, eh? HA! Did you go down *that slide* again?

Glad you were able to be with Dylan on his b'day. Eight already! Sheesh, they grow up quick.

I'd like to post more too. Trouble is, I have more fun and spend more time reading other people's blogs, and I don't spend the time composing posts of my own. I should...I know... It's funny though, how we come under this self-induced pressure to "put product out" simply for the sake of writing something. It's a trap we probably shouldn't fall into.

I hope this hitch is as quiet and uneventful as last.

Redlefty said...

I've got four blog posts written in my head but not on paper yet... but who's to say that even if the last two weeks hadn't been psycotically bush that I would have actually used the time to write them? :)

You're doing fine.

Pam said...

Actually, my friend, YOU'RE one of those really talented writers!

Writing is as they say "1/10 inspiration and 9/10 perspiration".

Just because I have some down time I don't always write. Sometimes I read or even just veg.

Glad you were able to celebrate Dylan's birthday! My how time flies! Sam's 9th will be Sept. 7th. He and Dylan are, I think, a year apart. Sam goes into 3rd grade this year. He's one of the oldest in his class.

Back to the water park, eh? LOL!!

Looks quite a bit like our Hawaiian Falls the kids love to go to here.

When my 15-year-old grandson comes to visit in Aug. I'll be forced to brave the heat and lug all 3 kids to Six Flags. I WILL make it on a day when Trish is off work!

Bob said...

The inclination to write something really creative comes and goes. One of my college professors always said, quite simply, "Write what you know." That's what you do, Hal, and you do it so well. I relive a lot of earlier days with my own children when I read about you and Dylan.

Roland said...


Actually, I like the pics and the ipod stuff. It shows personality.

debby said...

I've been thinking, Hal. I'm glad your Governor did not call our president a 'girly man'. The very last thing we need is our president trying to prove his manhood. Cripes. You could wind up in a war like that.

Algernon said...

You have a natural, untrained gift for writing about the ordinary and revealing how it shines from within, always. Every moment.

Hal Johnson said...

Well dang, this has been an awfully nice bunch of comments. I'm gonna have to be self-critical more often!

But really, thanks everyone.

debby said...

Hey, Hal, know what? Today, while I was waiting for my turn to address our board chairman about the whole secretary issue, I killed time by reading your old blog stuff. It was good. I really enjoyed it. Just wanted to mention this since you were being so critical of yourself.

Hal Johnson said...

Well dang again, Debby, thanks so much. But hey, I want to read more about the secretary issue. I'm a nosy bastard, ey?

debby said...

I don't want to blog it yet. The board chairman listened to me. He did not say much except 'She can't expect to be yelling her head off one day, and everything is back to normal the next.' and 'Do you have any suggestions for improving the situation?' He did roll his eyes once when I said that she told Heather that she wanted me moved out of the office. He also laughed when I said that Judy, in defending her outbursts said, "I'm very emotional and my family knows this, and they just accept it about me, why can't you?" I told Dave, 'listen, sometimes I walk down the hall from the bathroom to my bedroom naked, but it wouldn't be appropriate to do that at work.' I was told to wait until Judy had her meeting w/ him, just in case he had questions. I sat in the office from about 8:30 until 11:30, and was excused. The boss said that Dave is going to convene a meeting to decide how to handle this. I said, "What? He thinks it's me?" She said, "I can't talk about it," while vigorously shaking her head no. Which was a relief.

debby said...

PS Being a nosy bastard is the trait of all good writers. The polite way to say it is that you are 'an observer of human nature'. At least that's what I say. Basically it means that I'm a nosy bastard too.

Hal Johnson said...

Sheesh Debby, I hope that situation at work really gets resolved and doesn't get just the bandaid approach. It's amazing how one person in a workplace can make a whole bunch of people miserable.

David said...

Uhm Hal,

That's a whole lotta comments for a "boring" blog. ;-)

Write when and what moves you. You do it well.