Monday, January 17, 2011

Wild Weekend

I don't know about you guys, but I had a crazy week and weekend over the past ten days. My little guy got super sick with the stomach flu--so sick he vomited continually for two days and couldn't keep a single thing down. I wound up taking him to Emergency for treatment two days in, and spent 12 hours getting IV fluids into him just to get him rehydrated. One of my friends was working there as a nurse that night, so it made his stay a bit more comfortable. I took him home next morning, but had to bring him back two days later. Not fun, and the poor little guy didn't eat a thing for six days.

By Friday he was feeling better, so I reluctantly remade plans to go up to Vernon (in the Okanagan Valley) for my uncle's surprise 50th birthday. Uncle Kev's my favorite uncle, and he's in the dedication for Cover of Darkness. He's a battle Captain in the reserves, plays softball and loves history, on top of being a hell of a nice guy. Enough said. But as it turned out, since my hubby was staying home with Little Weasel, I had to take Big Weasel with me and thought I'd catch a ride up with my dad. Only he'd decided at the last minute they weren't going to drive. They were flying up in his new Bell 407 helicopter instead.

Oh dear God.

Big Weasel thought this was an awesome idea, and I kind of had no other choice so I went along with it. Besides, my characters fly in helos all the time, and they manage it without having panic attacks. And Devon (the heroine from Deadly Descent, who you'll meet this summer) even flies them, for crying out loud. I refused to wimp out. Suck it up, princess.

My dad flew us while his instructor played the role of co-pilot. I was crammed in the back with Big Weasel, my stepmom and the co-pilot's wife as we took off and cruised through the Fraser Valley on our way to the mountains. And I pretended to love every second of it, smiling despite my pounding heart and sweaty palms. Wheee!!! Listening to the radio contact with air traffic control was pretty cool, as were the conversations between my dad and the co-pilot discussing various aspects of the flight, controls, avionics, etc. More research for my next book :) I'm still seriously thinking of taking the ground school portion of flight school. It would sure come in handy for my writing, plus I find it fascinating. Here's the Bell 407, my dad's new baby:

What would have been a five hour drive only took us an hour and a quarter by air, so that part was good. But honestly, the turbulence got my heart going pretty good because in a helo you don't just move up and down and sideways. Oh no. You move sideways and in all kinds of funky new directions. Awesome. But we got there in one piece and that's all that counts, and we landed right on the 1st tee box of the hotel's golf course, with a group of our relatives watching. The party was a raving success, and next morning we had a nice brunch with everyone before packing up and getting ready to go home again. The pilot flew the helo from the airport to our hotel and picked us up (I felt like such a jet-setter!), and as I climbed in I shouted to my fave uncle waiting by the helipad, "See how much I love you?"

He grinned and gave me a thumbs-up before walking a safe distance away while dad and the co-pilot started the pre-flight checklist and fired up the engines. We flew home through some pretty choppy turbulence through the mountains. We bounced around pretty good until I actually felt sick to my stomach. By the time Big Weasel and I arrived home I was still queasy and ready for some Gravol, but hubby announced we were having six people over for an early birthday dinner for me. A very sweet thought, despite my angry GI tract.

So there, I felt the fear and did it anyway, and my uncle now knows without a doubt how much he means to me. After all, nothing says love and devotion like facing your worst phobia for someone!
So here's a shot of Big Weasel and I strapped into the backseat. Don't I look calm and happy about being in there?