This all started a week ago. Rob's unit has a place in Kentucky that they send helicopters to for special work. Since Rob is the only TI in the unit on flight status, one of his jobs is to travel up to Kentucky with a Pilot and Co-pilot, and crew chief, if needed and then either fly back another copter or drive back. Sometimes they fly both directions, sometimes they have a driver take them one direction and fly the other. For the flight crews, this is usually an over night trip, good for up to 4 flight hours and a pleasant trip.
Last Tuesday Rob and a flight crew were driven up to Kentucky to pick up a helicopter that was ready to come back to North Carolina. Rob's alarm went off at 4 am so that he could have plenty of time to get ready to leave and be able to get past the check points before the 6 am departure time. I had to get up at six to be at work at 7, so I was determinedly sleeping in, after all, Rob would be home on Wednesday. I knew when the overhead light went on, that I was not going to get to sleep for the rest of the night.
"Have you seen my wallet?" Rob demanded.
"No, do you know the tune?" ok, I was still half asleep.
"D*mn it, Pam, I'm serious. I can't find my wallet." I got up and helped Rob tear the house apart, but we couldn't find Rob's wallet. He even went out to the car and searched his overnight bag, but couldn't find it. He started the car so that it would be warmed up and he could leave as soon as he found it. We searched some more. No sign of it.
Rob was going to leave without it, but I reminded him that his food and lodging money was in it and he'd have no money to use for meals if he didn't have his wallet. He looked some more. I woke Mike to help us hunt. Mike and I proceeded to tear my bedroom apart, for the second time, while Rob searched the living room. I suggested that Rob look through his overnight bag again, but he said that he'd already looked. We looked some more then Mike said that something smelled like burning. Rob looked out the front door then dashed outside. There was smoke pouring out from the hood of his car. I went in to the bedroom and dressed for work, I'd have to drive Rob to work after all. He brought his bag into the house and looked through it a third time. This time he found his wallet. He was going to run water into the radiator then drive to work, but I pointed out the time and hustled him into the van.
I drove him to the airfield, getting him there at 6 am (am I good or what? Don't answer that Dave.) then drove to my own job. I'd just pick him up from work Wednesday evening and he could fix the buick at his leisure, right? Wrong. That night I got a call from Rob saying that the helicopter wasn't ready and there were severe lightning storms heading into Kentucky. He'd be home on Thursday.
Now, as most of you know, I'm considered to be the originator of most of the insanity that pervades my house. At least the cats think I'm to blame for anything that happens, and they'd watched me leave without Rob and come home over nine hours later without him. I had disposed of Daddy. I was BAD, EVIL, ROTTEN and TO BLAME. They all refused to let me touch them. I figured that Rob would be home on Thursday, before Tanada had got it into her head that his disappearance was permanent, and I'd be spared the mess behind the washer. The last time that Rob was gone a long time, he was in Korea and Tanada's displeasure was evidenced by using the area behind the washer as a feces disposal area. It was an unpleasant time and I still have occasional nightmares about it.
I didn't hear from Rob on Wednesday, but on Thursday his supervisor called me up demanding to know if I'd talked to Rob since Tuesday. I told him that I'd talked to him Tuesday night, but was just getting ready to call him to see if Rob was in yet. Nope, still storms in Kentucky. Maybe Rob would be home on Friday.
Friday, I called Rob's unit to find out if he had come in, and got an officer in his unit that was under the impression that I was angry with Rob for being gone, and was going to do something drastic to him. I had to re-assure him that I wasn't upset, just worried about him. It hadn't helped that I'd worked while running a fever on Tuesday, and had taken Wednesday and Thursday off with temps of up to 102 F. I had gone back to work on Friday, but still wasn't in great shape.
The officer apologized to me and told me that Rob's helicopter was grounded in Kentucky with a "Safety Of Flight" condition. This is when something happens to cause all the helicopters of a type, in this case--all blackhawks, to be grounded until they are each inspected and found to not have the condition that the powers that be were worried about. Of course Rob's helicopter didn't pass it's inspection. I was assured that the parts necessary had been fed-exed to them and he'd be home on Saturday, or at worst, Sunday. I said something on the order of sure, fine, I'll wait for his phone call.
By Sunday, I'd noticed that not only were all the cats ignoring me, but Tanada, Merlin, and Berfert were following me around to give me the "Evil, Cat Stare Of Death." Pine Cone wouldn't stay in the same room with me. Penelope wouldn't go near me unless I was in the bathroom then she'd watch me like she was hoping that I'd flush myself down with the drinking water I'd befouled. QC was the only cat sleeping on my bed and I was given the distinct impression that I was a mercy case on her part. She felt sorry for me. She'd sleep with me, but she wouldn't let me pet her. I found Tanada sleeping with Mandy. Berfert and Penelope were sleeping with Mike and Merlin and PC were sleeping in the living room. QC was the only one who would sleep with the enemy.
Desperate, I fed them pouncies, their favorite snack. I ended up throwing them all away. None of them would accept anything that came from my hands. I made inviting nests for them to sleep in. They slept on the kitchen and bathroom floors instead. I coo-ed sweet nothings at them, they curled their lips in contempt and turned away. I was to be given the ultimate treatment reserved only for the most severe traitors. I was to be ostracized, cast out, ignored, eradicated.
I was mildly depressed at work on Monday. I hadn't heard anything from Rob, or his work all weekend and all I could hope for was to talk to someone after I got home from work. I didn't think I could handle one more day of being an outcast from my own fur family. I tried a last effort phone call to Rob's work, only to be told that Rob would be home Monday night, if the copter didn't break down in route. I sang as I picked Mike up from JROTC practice, I told Mandy she could go with me to get Rob, and sang all the way to the airfield. I didn't mind swerving around the concrete barriers or handing over ID cards, the cats' DADDY WAS COMING HOME. Forget that I'd be really happy to see him, the cats were going to be happy, and maybe they'd forgive me.
Rob laughed when I told him some of the purgatory the cats had put me through. No one likes to be a pariah in their own home. In fact, I don't think he even really believed in what I was telling him about them. Until we were home and they heard his voice. He ate his dinner with six cats sitting in a ring around him, and Pine Cone happily untying his boot laces. They escorted him to the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and back again. I was still ignored, but the wall was starting to crumble. Pine Cone was willing to be in the same room with me. Tanada slept on top of my computer. Penelope didn't insist on watching me go to the bathroom. Life was starting to flow back into it's usual groove. Then at two am, Tanada did something and half of the CDs fell from the rack on top of Rob's hard drive. She came to me whimpering and perched on my kidney for a good five minutes before curling up in a ball between Rob and myself for the rest of the night. I cuddled her and told her that I was sorry she was scared and that Meowmie would make it all right. She purred and went to sleep. I am out of the d*g house and back in my owners' good graces.