My new hasty packing method is proving to be a pain. Under the old regime I put all the hardly used stuff on the bottom and then the daily used stuff on top, and spent time arranging it all just so. Now everything is just in any order and I hate it. That experiment in speed packing is not one I will be repeating. I somehow find clothes to wear anyway.
At the breakfast I realize that unless I count the stuff on the bottom of the yogurt, the spread includes no fruit. They have little packets of oatmeal, but it's not just oatmeal, it's mixed with sugar and salt. Why do they do that? Everyone who has a stove or microwave available has to them has access to sugar and salt to flavour their meals to taste. Rant rant rant.
This time I'm wearing my toque and gloves. And it's -7. I get out a screwdriver and remove a panel from the nose of the aircraft, in order to get at the circuit breaker inside. The heater circuit breaker is hidden where even the most desperately cold pilots can't reach it in flight, in order to prevent us from blowing up the airplane in an attempt to stay warm, should the heater be malfunctioning. All I have to do is press in that little red button. Ahh, potential warmth.
The fuel crew includes the dog this time but not the daughter. As I approach the airplane I think "aargh." There is frost on the wings and I didn't use the new wing covers. Fortunately it is really sunny and the frost is melting and sublimating. The leading edges of wings are already dry and the rest is fairly soft. I whisk off most of the frost while he fuels and the dog explores the frozen puddle, seemingly fascinated by water that breaks instead of splashes when you jump on it. It's a puppy, only six months old, so it's skinnier and jumpier than it will be when it's full grown. The fueller puts the hose away and I consider saying "don't forget to check the litres," but I don't. We go inside and he realizes that he didn't note the number of litres I took. Ah bad CRM on my part. I should have spoken up. Or even better, I could have noted it out loud, reminding him without letting on that I was doing so. (I glanced at it and saw that it was more than 500 litres, as I expected, but didn't note the exact amount). He goes back out and gets the number.
The building smells vaguely of backed up toilets, and I do say this out loud. It's the water. There's a sign in the washroom advising us not to drink the well water, and whatever is in it that we shouldn't drink builds up in the hot water heater, making the place smell when the floors are washed. Charming.
The remaining frost is almost gone as I start and the winds are calm so I run up facing the other way, making them completely dry before I taxi out to backtrack the long runway.
It's a short flight with beautiful weather. I left my sweater on and never even needed the cockpit heater. What a difference a day makes. The area that was so gloomy and inaccessible yesterday is clear and dry and we encounter no problems. I land on the long runway. It's not butter soft so I say "we're here!" with an implied, "I guess you couldn't miss that," acknowledging that the landing could have been better. This airplane is easy to land well, so I should do it well every time.
After I park I put the wing covers on. The client helps, which is wonderful, but I feel guilty that he's doing my job and I can't really help him do his. I let him know he's welcome to wait in the warm terminal, but he's happy. Maybe he's curious about these new wing covers, too. I'm putting them on partly in case the frost is harder tomorrow, but mostly because it's sunny and there's no wind: a good condition under which to learn to put them on. They are really skookum, with holes for the static wick to go through and fitted tip covers and straps to cover the whole wing outboard of the nacelles. And they're really easy to put on when there's two people in no wind and broad daylight. We'll see later about being alone in the cold windy darkness.
I take a walk through town. As I walk down Fourth Street, the houses on the right side of the street look dilapidated. It's not poverty or a lack of care, but the winter. The houses have spent the last five months being iceblasted by furious winds. The doors lack paint, faux stone facings are worn down to their backing, the edges of roofs are all bashed back. Even brick and concrete looks fatigued. The flat lawns show a little green in the brown. There's no zoning here, so a tanning salon, an upholsterer, a wrecking yard, a church and private homes are all intermingled. My walk ends at the Co-op at 4th and 8th, where I buy hummus and vegetables and a couple of bagels for me. I grin to myself at the old guys in feed caps doing their shopping. It was exactly what I was expecting to see, so it's reassuring to see them. I also pick up a bag of chocolate Easter eggs for the met station people who have been working around the clock so that I have the information I need to stay safe. And it's fun to give people Easter eggs. Now I just have to not eat any.
Even though I had groceries, I decided not to take a taxi home. I didn't tell you which town I was in, not because it's any secret, but because I thought it might be fun for you to figure out where I am from what I've said. I haven't checked to see if there's enough information here to tell exactly where, but you know from the name of the main street what province I'm not in, so go from there. Another hint, which might not help at all, is that it makes me think of Waiting for Godot, but I'm not implying a sense of hopeless waiting for something to happen. Oh and the post title is a little Easter egg for long time readers, because I love you guys for sticking with me all these years.
I eat my dinner and then realize what have I done? Those chocolate Easter eggs are CALLING MY NAME. How will I make it through the night?