I got lots of feedback that the last entry was just too damn long. Most of you were kind enough not to put it in those words exactly, and I thank you for that.

Flight training is going as well as could be expected – I start the simulator training tomorrow. That means that from 6 am till 2 pm for the next two weeks my Sim partner and I will be evaluated by superpilots to see how we handle the aircraft during various emergencies and other abnormal situations. Engine fire with ice on the wings, smoke in the cockpit, and a terrorist knocking on the door. Stuff like that. If I don’t screw it up, I’ll be taking my checkride on the 19th. Then I could be flying you and/or your family around. I don’t believe it, and neither should you. Wish me skill – I don’t believe in luck.

THE HOME INVASION ESCAPE PLAN – A story of losing one’s shit.

Shortly after Sara and I moved into or casa, we heard rumblings of bad juju going on in the neighborhood (with a capital ‘hood’). We live in a tiny slice of Disneyland surrounded on all sides by what the city of Atlanta euphamistically refers to as “Transitional areas”. Transitional means “fewer crack houses than this time last year, depending who you ask”. While there has never been a report of anything untoward happening in our wonderful little neighborhood to date, I procured a Ruger .357 revolver partly as insurance, and partly because there is something old west about having a revolver. Mostly because I don’t really know shit about guns and my dad said “This one is easy – pull the trigger until you hear a loud noise, and if you hit what you were aiming at, it will either be dead or slowed considerably. If you don’t hit it, keep pulling the trigger until someone dies.”

So Sara and I had a scenario-based talk about what we would do if we heard anyone breaking in. She sleeps like a corpse, but I sleep like an easily disturbed bird or small rodent at the bottom of the food chain. If the cat farts in the basement, I will wake up and skitter off into a corner, covering myself with laundry.

So I said “Here’s the deal- If I think someone is in the house, I will punch you in the face until you wake up, which I usually only do on your birthday. You will then open the door to the porch (right next to the bed), which will trigger the alarm if it hasn’t already been triggered. You will also grab your phone and start dialing 911. Go out the door and climb/drop down to the ground. Then go out in the street and start screaming like a crazy person and throwing rocks through people’s windows. Whatever. Get attention.”

Meanwhile, I will have grabbed the gun and stationed myself on your side of the bed, pointing at the doorway, ensuring you will get out. If anything casts a shadow through our bedroom door it will have several holes in it, depending on how many times I am able to reload and how wild my aim is. Once I hear you screaming in the street (and assuming I am not fighting bravely with said intruder), I will then holster my gun in the waistband of my crotchless tighty-whiteys and vault the railing, diveroll into the flowerbed, and join you safely in the street where we will both continue wailing.

Whoever is in the house can have whatever they want. I do not care.

Have you ever come home from work and found that something had fallen? Maybe that rack that hangs your pots and pans from the ceiling just crashed to the floor while you were gone? No? Your television detached itself from the wall and smashed on the hardwoods?

Probably not. Here’s the reason – and no one has ever been able to explain it – that shit only happens in the dead of night when the darkness makes the walls seem farther away than they are, and you can hear your own pulse in your ears.

4:32 am. I am sort of asleep, sort of awake. House is quiet, I’m staring at the ceiling pondering something profound that I can’t remember right now. And then a wall of shittering noise (the kind that makes you poop a little) assaults my earballs. Like someone has thrown a bowling ball through a plate glass window.

I do remember thinking for a split second “not very subtle…”

And at that exact moment, the whole “scenario based escape plan” bullshit evaporated into the fabric of space and time.

For some reason I will never be able to explain, my first instinct was not to arm myself and get the hell out, but rather this overwhelming urge to find the source of the noise which until just then I was sure had come from inside my skull, as my ears were ringing.

The following happened in less than a second –

I threw the covers off and vaulted out of bed, whisper screaming in an unnaturally high pitch, “WHAWAZZAT?!?”

Finding myself outside the bedroom door (never even a part of the escape plan), I grabbed the doorframe to stop my forward progress and spun back in, returning to the top of the stairs with a fistful of firearm. I know I was in full Seal Team 6 firing stance, with the veins pulsing in my arms, but Sara (who should have been outside the house by now according to our plan) assured me I had the gun behind my head like I was going to fling it at someone in a “very girlish” manner. She’s a liar.

As time started to catch up with me, I took a few steps down the stairs and then realized I was being stupid. Whoever is in the house is certainly not going to try to throw their gun at me, and can probably shoot better than I. I started back up the stairs and Sara said “Over here”, which scared me even more, causing me to do that cool back-to-the-wall-gun-pointed-up Jack Bauer move. Then I rolled across the hall longitudinally, pointing my gun at the bathroom door where the intruder was. Again, Sara insists that I set the gun on the banister, closed my eyes, and windmilled my arms as I marched down the hall, screaming “FISTS OF DEATH I WILL SCRATCH AND BITE YOU” or something.

Of course, she was in the middle of putting on some jeans (presumably in an effort to climb down the railing to the street like we had planned), and was standing in the hallway with one leg of her pants on, pointing at the base of the bathroom door, where I saw a few pieces of shiny metal peeking out.

Turns out when they built our house in 2003, the builder in all his penny pinching wisdom decided that the best way to affix a 40 lb. mirror to the wall above the sink would be to glue it up there with caulk. Over the years and through the temperature changes, the caulk dried out and pulled away, finally surrendering to gravity at 4:32 am.

We looked at the pile of broken glass. I would estimate if I had a penny for every piece of glass in the bathroom, I could have paid Oprah Winfrey to shut the fuck up forever, which has always been one of my dreams. We stood there, my arms gradually stopped windmilling…and we sort of did that thing you can only do when you don’t have kids – we looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and went back to bed.

She said “Could you imagine how much more this would have sucked if we had kids? ‘mommy…what was thaaaaAHAHHHHHHHHH! MY FEET ARE BLEEDING!!! OH SWEET DORA THE EXPLORER HOW MY FUCKING FEET BLEEDETH!!!’”

Neither Sara nor I are sure exactly how children express themselves. Only that it is loud and sticky. And causes respiratory infections.

So we got up a few hours later and cleaned up the glass. Then we went back over our escape plan for next time.

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