May 15, 2016 Rebuilding a Schedule

I’ve had this post sitting in draft for almost two months now. There has been allot happening, and the vast majority of it is very good. I do have time on my hands though, and am looking for ways to re-engage in either aviation or utility work to stay busy.

Click on the tabs to take a look at some of the opportunities I’m looking at, and feel free to weigh in your thoughts.

Once I stepped away from airline aviation in December, I ended up taking a break from everything. Now that Bev’s surgery is behind us, and her Mother is out of her second visit to the hospital, things are settling down. Bev is back to devoting her time to caring for her parents, and I need to get myself busy doing something new.

That leaves me with building a new schedule for myself, and this post will explore some of what I’ve been thinking. Those of you who have retired might understand  why the choices aren’t necessarily straight forward. Writing this all out has been therapeutic for me over the last 5 months, even though I never published a word until now.

I’ve been catching up on to-do lists at both houses. Up north I learned to replace a missing roof tile (thanks to Scot), and started organizing tools and cleaning up in general.

Down at the beach house, our freezer has been leaking water down from the freezer into the fridge. YouTube helped me fix what ended up being a frozen drain line. Feels pretty good when you can save yourself and few bucks, fix something right now, and end up understanding more about the appliances you rely on.

The outside of house had gotten quite dirty and had some algae growing on the siding from all this rain. I hand washed all if it to clean it up, and then removed 28 shutters to clean and paint them. Several impressive wasps nests had to be removed, but the cool water kept their activity manageable. It took me two weeks to get the painting done, simply because it never stopped raining the entire time.

Bev came down for a few days during the second week to help with the weeds.  I started cutting back trees and hedges all around the house, and took two truck loads of yard waste to the transfer station. By the end of the second week, we had the house looking great and headed back up to Smyrna. The next items on my list include painting the upper grill on our air conditioning unit, and fixing balancer springs on two of the windows. YouTube already made it clear how to fix the windows, and I’ll go there again before I tackle taking the A/C grill off to paint it.  What did we do before the internet?

As I’m getting caught up on the home maintenance work I’ve avoided while I was either flying for the airlines or working in DC, it is time I started finding other ways to fill my time (contribute to society). Since December, several unsolicited opportunities have come my way. Each of these carry the potential for engaging some of my time and talents, but need to be cultivated and developed before they become real.

Check out the tabs to see some of what I’ve been up to.

Soon after I retired I was approached by a friend of mine who is heavily involved in DAMF – the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation in Georgetown that includes a flying B-25 Mitchell Bomber. He wanted to let me know that pilots were needed to fly the airplane in airshows and events, and thought I might be interested.

Of course I am!!

The B-25 is the same type of bomber that was flown in the Jimmy Doolittle raid over Tokyo. I’ve spent some time working at the museum now, learning to work on airplanes and doing other maintenance around the hangar. I’ve been able to complete my ground school for the B-25, and have been scheduled for flight training a few times already. I haven’t flown it yet, but attempts are being made to get me up.

As amazing as this opportunity sounds, it is a volunteer organization running an expensive machine. There are several pilots coming and going already, and my role is to be a local fill-in. That makes the schedule a moving target, so I’ve adjusted how I am looking at this opportunity. Instead of clearing my calendar in the hopes of flying, I will only do that if I am specifically scheduled. So far, even those steps haven’t worked out very well.

I will keep working to find the right balance and keep my expectations low. If I get to fly it just once this hear, I’ll be very happy. 

In the meantime, I enjoy working at the Museum Hangar and continuing to learn. I meet great people and learn something new every time I am there.

I should also admit that the B-25 ground school, in itself, was incredibly valuable. I spend two consecutive days looking at course content while I held actual fuel pumps; filters; prop governors; and brake packs in my hand to understand how they work. Excellent experience. 

While this activity will not be the highest priority this year, I do plan to stay involved.

The Acquisition Opportunity….   In late February, I received a late night call from a high ranking utility executive friend of mine. He heard I’d retired again, and was in the middle of developing an acquisition deal he was excited about. He wanted to let me know he planned on pulling me into the project if it happened, and asked me to call him before deciding to work again. While he didn’t go into details about the deal, we had the chance to talk more about my requirements, were I to get involved. This discussion was useful in setting the tone for the other opportunities I had been looking at. It made me think it all through.

The work to be done sounded similar to the highly successful NOC project I had worked on for PHI. For that project, I was working 6 days a week and in hotels as much as I was home. I explained that I was not interested in living in hotels any longer, but would be interested if I would be sleeping in my own home for the most part.

He understood and assured me that there’d be no problem with that. From the point of view of earning a few extra flying dollars while doing something fun, this ranks as my most exciting opportunity so far.

Since there is no way for me to assess if this will ever happen, I’ll go forward attempting to do other things while keeping myself available for something like this.

PA Consulting….  Sometime later I heard from a friend working in management at this utility consulting firm. We worked together on the NOC project and he also heard I might be available. I was pleased to hear from him, and agreed to interview.

Several interviews were completed over the phone, where I talked about accomplishments and emphasized my requirements. I’d be looking to limit my nights away from home, and retain the ability to take snap vacations with Beverly as they presented themselves. We really wanted to use our airplane more – a few days at a time.  I truly believed they would pass on me, given my requirements, but they remained excited and ended up ‘hiring’ me.

So now I am affiliated with this firm. My amazing accountant – really cool guy – sat me down and helped me move my AirDorrin corporation in the right direction (from a Class C corporation into a Class S). In the same day I went to my bank and established the bonafides there for managing consulting income. I’m ready to get started now, and waiting for that first assignment.

Nothing yet though…..

Over the last few months my hangar was damaged in a storm. I called the airport where I used to be based, near my home in Smyrna. I was looking for temporary hangar space, or even an open hangar if they had one.

I was reminded what a small world it is when I ran into a good friend who had started working there. Not only did he find me a brand new hangar for a month, but he told me about an open position at the airport. He suggested that I apply, and I did just that. The position would be zero stress for me, bringing in about twice what I was earning at the airlines. On top of that, the job was at the airport, not 5 minutes from my home in Smyrna.

It has been months since I applied, and the last time I checked, they simply hadn’t started interviewing yet. Bureaucracy moves slowly. Good thing I am not in a rush, huh?

I had viewed myself in a job like this when I reached 65.  I haven’t really thought about whether or not I want to do this now, but followed my philosophy of fully developing all options before deciding on a course of action.  I’ll decide once I know more about it, or am eliminated from consideration.

I just think it is really cool that my friend thought of me. We’ll see where this one goes.

I have been working on a book for some time now. With all this time off, you’d think I’d be hammering away at it.  Trouble is that I kind of lost interest in most things after retiring in December, and that kept me from wanting to think much about flying.

My focus had become entirely on family. I needed to make sure we were all healthy, and doing what we needed to be doing to ensure this beautiful ride goes on.

As a result, I’ve ignored this blog and stopped writing the book.  Just didn’t have a positive enough attitude to be sharing my thoughts.  

With the passage of some time, I’m beyond that now and ready to re-engage.

I need to do better managing weight and exercise, to say the least. Over the last year I’ve put on weight I’d previously lost. It’s time to get a schedule together that has me doing some form of exercise most days of the week.

Diet and exercise before I end up with physical and medical issues is in order.

Wanting to take the bicycle out today, but it is still pretty cool.  Off to the gym for one day in a row this week.