Hagar is back in the cockpit and with it starts the unpredictability of our life. Big deep breath and the ‘super chilled I can handle anything you throw at me’ head has to be dusted off. The job comes first, that is the facts of life that I never take on, or contest. The function of the support we give is that we never question the job and we work around it.
I had a fairly busy day yesterday, with a bit of juggling. The Menace (2yr old daughter) was with her childminder, The Grenade at school. I had few press releases to get out, some domestic admin, and at 5.30pm I needed to be at the school for a parent briefing from the head, and then at 7.30pm, I had confirmed that I would attend a ladies dinner night at the Mess. A fellow wifelette’s husband had been posted and this would be our last opportunity to catch up before she is catapulted into another county. Hagar was flying but had said he would be back by 7pm. He knew that he needed to be back so I could go out and there were no issues, it was simply a matter of co-ordinating the timings.
At 10am, I receive a call ‘the cab’s gone tits.’ (translation = the helicopter is broken)
“Right.” I paused.
“I haven’t left yet, the ETA is pushed back. I won’t be home until 8.30pm.”
“Right.” I said.
“I’ll call if it changes.” click.
Ok now , I am re-jiggling in my head. I text my friend, who lives on station because we live off base. Now I am thinking that it might be best to collect The Menace at 5pm, and bring her to the parent briefing because it seems unfair to pick her up at 7pm, and then dump her with The Bear, who will now be juggling 5 kids (including my 2). So instead I’ll drag her along to the briefing, which will make it marginally stressful; newbie mum (me, we have just been posted, so we are the new kids on this school circuit) flying solo at a parent gig, with rogue 2 year old and The Grenade leaping around the fields like a gazelle on speed. I am not changing the childminder yet though so the text is a holding plan B to milly mum, who will be flexible without being irritated by any further change to the plan.
“Mate Hagar not back until 8pm any chance The Bear will watch my kids for an hour from 7.30pm when he gets back to station. Or even that I come to yours and handover at yours to save me an hour. xxx”
She replied, “Sure that will be fine, bring them to us. See you at 7.30 x”
At 3.30pm, the phone rang,
“Hi, it’s me. The cab is still US (pronounced Yoo Ess – translation – the helicopter is still broken) but we are scheduled to lift (take off) at 5.30pm but I won’t be back until 10pm”
“Well, call me if you are lifting then”
“I can’t call you if we are lifting because I’ll be sat in the seat (translation – the seat of the cockpit) and if we go, we go. I’ll call you at 5.30pm if we don’t go. It’s the best I can do.’
“How optimistic are you feeling about going?” I asked.
“I think we’ll go, it’s only a box” (Sorry no translation, that’s all of I got and I wasn’t looking for a mechanical analysis)
Now, I am thinking, ‘Shit! 10pm, that changes everything. Now I need a babysitter instead.’ I called a friend whose daughter babysits and she didn’t answer. Do I dump the kids on The Bear on the pretext that its an 8.30pm pick up so that it’s 8.30pm collection and just load him up with DVD material that’ll keep them both occupied? Fortunately, my kids are insomniacs and it has it’s benefits – they don’t need sleep in the ways some kids do.
At 4.30pm, I get myself ready for my parent briefing dinner/night out and rustle up an outfit that can carry both events. I throw on some make up and start gathering PJ’s and DVDs. I am opting for leave them with The Bear and see how it plays out. Experience has taught me never to set your life by the timings.
4.45pm the phone rings; “we’ve shit canned it. I can pick The Menace up at 5.30pm’.
‘Phew!’ I ring the childminder and let her know that Hagar will collect The Menace at 5.30pm. I text my friend, “Cab US no babysitter required x”
I think, as I jump in the car, and head to school for my briefing, ‘it’s started, the beginning of the chaos and no control.”