Abusement Parks - Zach checks in

I’ve had several requests from friends lately to give some sort of update/post/whine/whatever. “Sarah O’ my heart” does a great job at giving the day-to-day, ins-and-outs of our situation. However, I’m feeling the itch that must be scratched! … Don’t read into that too much… It’s a metaphor for: I’m feeling the need to tell people about my life!

Since D-day, that is Demolition-of-My-Career-Induced-Irrevocably-by-Barfing Day, I have been granted quite the cocktail (not that I would know) of emotions. Let me take you on a tour of these emotions.

First stop: The abusement park known as Dizzyland, not to be confused with Disneyland. Surprisingly, they do have a lot in common. You will find plenty of roller-coasters at Dizzyland; however, they aren’t the roller-coasters of fun. Instead they are roller-coasters of disappointment, inadequacy, and (let’s be honest) fear. To dream of something since I was 5, to see every single thing line up JUST right for the last 7 years to set me up for the realization of my dream, and then to see it come crashing down in a matter of a few days is, to say the least, a big roller-coaster of disappointment, inadequacy, and fear. Luckily, I only spent a few days in Dizzyland.

After Dizzyland, I visited Irony Land. Irony Land is peculiar. I didn’t even know I was there until I saw the way I was reacting each time I glanced at my flight suit that I will never wear. Before D-Day, I witnessed the attitudes that many non-pilots (not all of them of course) had toward pilots. There was this underlying tone of vehemence and jealousy in everything they said to, or did for the pilots. I thought to myself, “pilots aren’t too bad. Why can’t anyone get themselves to do more than just tolerate them?” Funny (ironic) thing is, after visiting Irony Land, I am one of those people. I find myself fighting the insistent urge to cast judgmental glares at the sea of flight suits walking around me in Irony Land. It’s not that I’m jealous in the sense that I would want to sabotage any of them or anything. More accurately, I hope they know what they have.

Brief digression: Just last week, a pilot-trainee was kicked out of the program just weeks prior to graduation for breaking a stupid-simple, but important rule. Why risk something that is so valuable to so many? For every pilot in the Air Force, I would argue that there are probably 20 people/kids/kids-at-heart that would kill to be in his/her position. So, DON’T be a dingle-berry! Appreciate what you have!

Next on this strange vacation is a place known only as ResignationLand. This is the place where all you see around you are signs of abdication: a comfortable pseudo-suede couch, a HUGE bowl of ranch popcorn, Seasons 1-6 of Lost, World of Warcraft, and zombie books. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) I kinda like this place. It occupies my time, takes my thoughts away from my troubles, but it sure is hard to leave. Kinda like Hotel California… *Zach hangs his head in shame knowing that Sarah will have no idea what he is referring to, but is quickly cheered knowing that Mark Christensen will, that is, if he ever reads this… he is cheered again knowing that SOMEONE will… right?* Anyways… Don’t get me wrong, I don’t spend ALL my time there… just more than I should *cough*.

When I can take myself away from ResignationLand, the other bemusement park (oh wow, I am just full of witty puns today aren’t I?) that I visit on a daily basis is Don’t-Give-Up Land. This park can be quite rewarding, if you can get through it. At least, I have to believe that as I sit at my desk at work writing this blog post. You see, I am now sitting in Don’t-Give-Up land. Though ‘at work,’ I find myself bored and yearning for the next non-bemusement Park to come my way. I have been tasked with a temporary job that the Air Force has given me where my potential isn’t seen and my skills under-harnessed. I understand why they did it. I’m getting paid, and I must do SOMETHING after all. I get that, but have you ever been given a temporary job that has no effect on your overall career or skill set? It can be difficult to take seriously. Yet, seriously I take it – because it’s not in me to do a half-hearted job.

Yes, I trudge on. If only because that’s what I have always done and it has always paid off. After all, I have a lot to be grateful for. I have a beautiful wife that has never failed to thank me after 1,000 car-door-openings. I have a roof over my head. I am healthy *Zach is transported back in time to November 2009 – the last time he was truly ill – remembering the fun times with Derek playing Mario Party for 5 days straight.* I’m $till getting paid. God is watching out for a family member and keeping him from dying in a potentially horrible car accident. I will be taking a 9 day PAID vacation in July. The Lakers met humility this NBA season. There are a lot of fun movies coming out this summer. I have a tootsie roll ready to be eaten in my pocket. AND, last but not least, I have full confidence that someday I will come across my favorite amusement park: I’m-So-Glad-God-Took-the-Pilot-Opportunity-Out-of-My-Stubborn-Fingers-to-Give-Me-My-REAL-Dream-Job Land. That place is out there somewhere, and I’m going to find it!
-the husband


  1. It is probably a true statement that most pilots forget to be grateful for what they have. But I do not think I will ever forget how difficult IFS & UPT were for Ty, and thus, how difficult it was for me, his wife, during the entire experience. There were plenty of days where Ty wished he was a natural, and he wished he could switch places with all these pilots who seemed to out-fly him. But I don't think he would switch the rest of his life to be in their shoes. And I think we forget this often. We are so richly blessed in our lives, and I try not to forget it (because it is so easy to do!).

    Everything always makes sense in hindsight, and I know in 5-10 years everything will make you more grateful for this experience. I'd suggest you read this talk: http://devotional.byuh.edu/node/332

    It has seriously helped me through so many trials in my life, including being the wife of an AF officer! :)

  2. You should write a self help book, you're a great writer.

  3. Thanks for the post, we miss you guys! Zach, never stop writing!


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