What I Did Not Do During My Summer Vacation

I was on vacation during the month of July. I ceased all work related activities. I also didn’t… Read a USATODAY Eat airport food Shave Tell a passenger their flight cancelled… just for the fun of it Turn my back and walk away from the TSA while they attempted to explain the rules Make small […]

How Hollywood Gets Airline Life Wrong

In many ways… Hollywood’s depiction of airline life is completely wrong. In some ways it’s spot on and I claim those scenes as just another day at the office. My ownership to what scene I sell as truth depends on the audience I’m with. If I’m sitting with guys and it’s a pilot surrounded by […]

Captain Dad – I Called Maintenance Control for a Toy Helicopter

My work life and home life collided yesterday when my son complained that his toy Hess helicopter wasn’t working as it was supposed to. “My helicopter won’t fly anymore!” It never flew. The blades spun. It lit up. It made lots noises. But it never flew. In his world it did though. And now it […]

The Things You Find in Hotel Beds

Do not read this if you are in a hotel bed. If you are in a hotel bed please tell me you removed the bedspread. Please tell me you didn’t eat something with your bare hands after touching the remote control, alarm clock or light switch. You aren’t walking around barefoot are you! You’re using […]

On Father’s Day

  I used to give lip service on Fathers Day. Cards were sent and thanks was given and the love was spread around as abundantly and efficiently as I could spread it. But I’m not sure I really meant it. And then I became a Dad and realized that my life was no longer about […]

Eat, Sleep, Fly

Sometimes people ask me what it’s like to be a pilot. “Wow, that must be so cool! I bet you’re really smart. You must have been good at math in school. Are all pilots as handsome as you?” I’ve never gotten that last one. I made that up. When asked about how thrilling it must […]

The Beat Poets Taught Me How to Talk to a Four Year Old

Many days during my college decade were spent studying the Beat Poets and experimenting with stream of consciousness prose. We turned words cut from the newspapers into dialog and had nonsense talks over wine. We verbally riffed and let our talks ebb and flow on a course of their own often ending where they began… […]

He Already Thinks He’s Smarter Than Me

He’s only four and he already thinks he’s smarter than I am. He’s learned how to give the look that says, “Seriously? I wasn’t born yesterday you know?” I give him the look back that says, “In the grand scheme of things… close enough.” He’s given me that looks twice in his life and they […]

On Fatherhood: Almost 40 With a 4 Year Old

How different his world is in 2014 than mine was when I was his age in 1978. This is the blessing of the late blooming father. Had I begun the child rearing phase of my life a decade or more ago things would be different. We could enjoy the Hunger Games together, we could both […]

The Time I Told an Aviation Icon I Didn’t Have a Business Card

Filed away years ago as, “Well, that sure was stupid.” Once, I met Southwest founder and former CEO, Herb Kelleher in the airport. We talked at length and I got the impression he liked me. He suggested as much. And then he asked for my card. To which I replied, “I don’t have a card. […]

Is the First Officer Actually a Pilot?

Since the beginning, there have always been two pilots up on the flight deck. Had it not been for the Wright Brothers, maybe we’d only have one seat up there. It’s a common misconception that the First Officer (commonly referred to as the copilot in the movies or ‘gear monkey’ in real life) isn’t really […]

What You Should Not Ask Your Flight Crew

We obviously spend lots of time around the humans. We are in the service industry after all. Day in and day out we spend our time carrying you, your loved ones, your bags and your ‘service animals’ from here to there with ease. We do this with a smile on our face. Not because we […]

Living in Hotels – It’s Us or The Bedbugs

I spend about a ten nights a month in hotels. I’ve been doing this job for fourteen years. I’ve slept (or attempted to sleep) in a hotel bed roughly 1700 times since then. I’ve learned a few things about survival along the way. I’ve not caught any nasty infections, have maintained a relatively healthy immune […]

I Fear My Son Will Think I Don’t Read

I fear my son will think I don’t read… or listen to music… or vacuum since that task has been assigned to the robot. It’s been years since I bought a physical book and I can count the number of physical CD’s I’ve purchased in the last decade. I have neither of these things laying […]

The Storks are Nesting

I just turned 39 and I may have begun nesting. I suppose this typically happens before the child is born but maybe since having him I’ve become aware of what world I want him to be raised in. That world is one that is away from the humans. It has goats and green things and […]

But They Do Have Free Breakfast

When I was a young airline pilot and new to ‘the road’ I ranked hotels by their proximity to good food and entertainment. Now, I judge hotels on two things: internet speed and shower pressure. Oh, and free breakfast. I’m not even a breakfast guy. But when it’s free – I’m a kid in a […]

Though We May Not Share Blood

Since his birth in 2010, I’ve wondered when we would start seeing our traits in him. Without the blood bond biological children share with their parents I’ve been anxious to see us in him in ways that must be distinctly learned.  Along those lines, I’ve also been anxious to uncover the surprises we will find […]

Why it it Imperative you Land a Pilot

This article was floating around Facebook today explaining why it is imperative you land a pilot. 6 reasons to be exact. Since I am a pilot, I figured I’d explain my reasoning why scoring a Jet Captain should be on your to-do list. While you may find a man irresistible who gets paid to strap […]

You Say You Want A Revolution?

There will certainly be a time in our sons life where he will think he is cooler than us and rebel against the way we chose to raise him. He will be on his way to becoming a Jedi of his own. In an attempt to limit the damage to his ego and curb his […]

It Puts the Lotion on the Skin or Possible Parenting Fail.

For a few years now (well, specifically since January 2010), I’ve been quoting a particular scene from a particular horror movie during a particular time in the post bath pre-story time portion of my sons evening. I realized today this could come back to haunt him in a two possible ways. One… asylum. Two… a […]

Watching the Wheels in Motion

“In our personal lives, also, we journey from ignorance to knowledge. Our individual growth reflects the advancement of the species.” Carl Sagan Watching Judah’s brain develop is fascinating. All those cliches about learning something new every day and growing before your eyes are tired and true but are overused for a reason. They are correct. […]

Automated Chicken Coop 2.0 – Off the Grid

Years back when Mrs. Stork said she wanted chickens I agreed as long as I was able to build the coop. Actually, I said no for years and finally caved when I started lurking in the dark corners of the internet and learned about automated chicken coops. Actually, I’ve always spent time in the dark […]

We Tried to Sell Our College

It’s been twenty years since I was a college student and I returned this past weekend as an alumni to preach the airline life. These guys on campus now are kids! Many born after I started college. Not only could I be their father… I could be the father to their older siblings. But, while […]

Thomas the Tank Engine in “Just Say No to Drones”

It was a bright and sunny day on the island of Sodor and all the trains were running on time expect for one. Thomas the Tank Engine sat with his big engine running idle and burning fuel at Sodor Station waiting on a return call from crew scheduling. “What is it this time?” Asked the […]

Being a Pilot is Ruining Me

I’m not gonna go into all the obvious hazards of flying likes skin cancer, alcoholism, divorce and controlled flight into terrain. Those have been covered before. It’s the day to day stuff that is killing me. It’s not the job… it’s the lifestyle. Although I may only fly a few hours a day, if I […]

2013 resolutions. The cockpit will be a happier place.

As the new year approaches its time to evaluate accomplishments from the past year and set goals for the next. While I succeed each year with many of my Xbox related achievements, I think 2013 will be more about work and what I bring to the cockpit. Across the aviation industry, morale is low and […]

Yes, Here Comes the Story of the Hurricane

In Florida, before man made global climate change, we had hurricane drills in grade school. We’d learn where the best place to hide was and how to skin, cook and eat alligator.

Eight Years Ago We Wed – Since Then, I Became an Adult

For years now (more than a decade of them) a friend and I have been playing the “who’s the first to become an adult game”. It started in college and was simply a game that would define the moment when you became a man. You entered adulthood when you bought frames for your posters or purchased a box spring for your mattress were common life changing events of the time.

It’s My Potty, You Can Cry If You Want To

“The rules are pretty simple… Tell me when you have to go potty and we will go potty. Got it?”
I say this at 8am feeling confident I’m gonna crank out potty training today. Boot camp style. Let’s do this.

I ask him again if he understands the rules.
“Yeah.” He says.
He says “yeah” to pretty much everything these days.

I May Be A Jedi Now

And this… was the coolest moment… of my life. The coolest (actually, the only cool) thing I have ever said spontaneously.

To Goa With Love

With the luxury of non revenue travel also comes the joy of spontaneous adventure. Our trip to India would begin with either a flight from Newark into Delhi or Mumbai. We had tentatively prepared an itinerary around Delhi being our entry point but when that flight was full and we were able to score the […]

My Feet Were Fish Food

I sat with my bare feet dangling into a tank training a few hundred recently imported Chinese flesh eating fish to not only welcome my feet but to think the crust buildup from walking the streets of Mumbai is down right delicious. The “Dr. Fish Foot Treatment” at The Bambooo House (three o’s) is temporarily […]

Everyday… it’s something new

All those stories about them learning something new everyday… are true. A few days ago we taught Judah to throw and chase a soccer ball. Now he is kicking it around like a pro. And looks much more natural at it than I ever did after five scoreless years playing soccer. In the 80′s, and […]

Six Pound Challenge – Failed!

In high school… I could eat! I was a growing boy. I was always hungry and never gained weight. I was invincible. Or so I thought. There was (maybe still is) a restaurant in Tampa that offered a six pound challenge. Ninetysix ounces of beef for the willing. Eat it all and the table eats for free. I rolled in there with my family like owned the place. I was so confident I even took a date! The whole family gathered around to watch… they ordered what they wanted because surely we’d all be eating for free.

Breakfast Flashcards

Breakfast today… oatmeal with wheat toast and a cup of milk mixed with some Sesame Street Beginner Words flashcards. For the record, I stacked the deck with the half he knows already… and yes, if you look quickly you will notice that I call Ernie, Bert. I’m still getting used to this.

Get Your Sticky Fingers Off My Tablet!

Spending money on myself has a whole new meaning now that there is a child in tow. When I buy myself a toy, I like to think that it will also have an educational use for him. Not always the case… as in Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3. When I bought the Kindle Fire […]

He is Chasing Planes Around Already

Judah has the aviation bug… already he has begun chasing planes around. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Specifically, it may have started when I was single digits sitting in my fathers office watching people fly RC airplanes in a field across the street. The obsession culminated during many summers at Space Camp not learning about poison ivy like most kids.
It’s a common question in the cockpit during a round of self loathing. “Are you going to encourage your kids to work for the airlines?”

My Days are now in Song

I’ve been home for too long and apparently have had too few conversations with adults. I’ve been off for a few weeks and have spent a majority of that time with a child who only utters a few simple things… more like breaths with some noises attached. He’s experimenting with passing air over his vocal […]

Must Have Been a Hard Three Hours at Daycare

I dropped him off at daycare before lunch with the plan of only having him there for three hours while I ran some errands. Three hours. He was there for three hours! Part of that was lunch. He was falling asleep in my arms as I carried him to the car. How much energy could […]

Tributes to my Grandfather Tom – updated

“Breakfast Bonus” “Tom McEwen, former Tribune sports editor and columnist, dies at 88″ TBO.com VIDEOS “Remembering Tom McEwen” “Eulogies at Tom McEwen Funeral” ARCTICLES June 11th, 2011 “Farewell, our friend” TBO.com “Sports luminaries, Tampa community turn out for Tom McEwen’s funeral” Tampabay.com “McEwen remembered for loyalty, friendship and laughter” TBO.com June 10th, 2011 “Tom McEwen […]

Is it okay to talk to the Roomba?

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”… and then the Roomba drives by and asks me how things are going. We talk for a bit and then he’s off to the races. We’re Roomba sitting for the weekend. A friend is out of town and we are taking it for a test […]

Learning to use a straw

And drink without using his hands! We made the progression from bottle to sippy cup and now on to straws and then to lidless vessles of staining beverages. Judah seems to like using his teeth as fingers as he realizes he has a third hand.

For a Moment, I Was a TV dad. And not a cool one.

“Hey Fellas…” I said when they opened the door at 4pm and from the looks of it, hadn’t made much of the day yet. “Sounds like you guys had a really rocking party last night. I would have totally come over but the baby had an ear infection and I may have eaten some bad edamame. So it was lights out for us pretty early.”

Pacita Jugo Ladd… “Nana”

My Nana was many things to me over the years. She was a grandmother and a babysitter. She was a mentor and an advisor. She was a resource for travel tips and great grandmother to our son. Through it all, and especially as I grew mature enough to realize it, she was a friend. Our conversations, though split by a fifty year spread, were always casual but meaningful. She would offer me suggestions on how to live my life and how to raise Judah and do so as a peer… never with an air of authority. She kept that spicy Filipino side suppressed until necessary to quickly end a conversation. And believe me, should could pull out the big guns if need be!

I plan on being my son’s Don Draper

I also plan to splice in some retro commercials from Youtube into our viewing routine to manipulate his ‘wants’ and convince him hand me downs and toys from Ebay are the must have holiday gifts. One year he’s gonna go crazy for Furby’s while the next he won’t be able to live without Castle GreySkull.
You can by a 1985 Teddy Ruxpin (with 2 cassettes!) for 15 dollars on Ebay.

A tale of two snowmen

Our neighborhood in Baltimore is situated between several colleges and universities and therefor we have many student renters living on our block. It gives me the chance to often think back and realize what a horrible tenet I must have been – back in the day. When we ran out of oil for the furnace we would burn garbage in the fireplace and all sleep in the living room.
During the snow storm last week several snowmen sprung up after the weather cleared. The boys to our right are athletes (I had to spell check athlete) while the boys to our left have a drum kit that they practice on early in the morning.
When looking at the snowmen, I’m certain you can guess whom belongs to whom.

$#*! my son’s caterpillar doesn’t say

Several times between now and the era of the stage 2 Huggie overnight diapers I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of sleep deprivation to awake in the land of disproportionate proportions with over sized talking caterpillars, four keyed colorful pianos and airplanes whose propellers spin with a psychedelic glow not too far off from the St. Elmo’s fire that buzz around the blades of a turboprop before a lightening strike

Catholic School made me a Sinner

I put in twelve years of Catholic school… I was released on my on recognizance but served parole under the watchful eyes of a Baptist College. You could say I was “institutionalized” and feared life on the outside. Twelve years of a regulated wardrobe can have a lasting effect if they occur between five and […]