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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Hello, it's me...


Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything....
-Adele-

Helloooooooooo!!!  Is anyone still here?!  
I am SO sorry for ghosting you for over a year on the blog and five months on Instagram.  I have no excuses... none... nada... zippo... nothin'...  .  Nor do I have any explanations.  I simply just fell off the proverbial social media.  I will blame it on my introvertedness (not a real word, I know) and just needing to be quiet.

We are all very well- healthy and happy I am very pleased to report!  I apologize to those of you who have contacted me out of concern for our well being; I'm really sorry to have made you worry.  

Something major has happened in our lives and if you follow me on Instagram you already know this, but for those of you that don't Dan retired graduated from flying this past July after 31 years with American Airlines.  The FAA mandates that commercial pilots must retire at 65.  Dan turned 65 in August.  
I chose to call it "graduating" because it sounded so much more upbeat and fun as we start on this next adventure!
Since this was, and is, a big part of our lives I thought I would start back posting (here and on Instagram) where I left off on IG with Dan's retirement flight.  I want to share the experience, which was really cool, and also have these photos all in one place for the sweet memories.  
I went along on his last trip, which was a three-day trip with layovers in Tampa, Florida and Boise, Idaho.  I had not flown on his plane with him in over a decade.  Being on his final trip and, ultimately, his final flight with American was exciting, fun, bittersweet, and so insightful about all that he would be leaving behind.  






My very handsome Captain of my πŸ’“
on day-one of his final trip.  




This was my last post on Instagram from July 31 😱  (again... sorry for the ghosting.)
I received a very sweet and funny email from a concerned reader named Sandy who wrote... "You have not posted since it was to be Dan’s final flight?? Did you not make it home?Did you disappear and get a new identity? Are you on a lonely island somewhere? All this is said in fun, but I miss your posts."
Especially with that new show this season called Manifest  (where an airplane and its passengers go missing for five years) I bet lots of you thought the same thing!:)




Day one started very early.  We had to get up at 2 a.m., (which was a weekly occurrence for Dan) to arrive at the airport by his 4:30 a.m. sign-in time, which is one hour prior to take off.   Our ritual was that he would always text me when he arrived at the airport (texting because I was back fast asleep the second he drove down the drive:) as I worried more about him driving to Boston than him flying all over the country. 




Walking the jet bridge to the first flight of the the last trip!  





  Dan always tells people that I could fly his plane since we've discussed everything about his various airplanes for the past 31 years, so I thought I would give it a try:)





Let me pause here a moment to brag a bit, if I may! ... Dan was an amazing airline Captain.  First Officers (the pilots in the right seat) loved to fly with him   The first day after the trip his phone was dinging all day long with texts and phone calls from his fellow pilots and pilot friends congratulating him.  FO's would trade trips if they ever saw his name in open time just to fly with him- they enjoyed him as a person and appreciated his relaxed, articulate flying skills.  He was an exceptionally skilled pilot having also flown F-4's and F-15's with the Air National Guard.  He has 38 years of military and commercial flying time.  He loved to mentor his FO's knowing that many of them would be moving to the left seat (i.e. Captain seat) in the next several months.  He was a wonderful ambassador for the airline.  Besides looking cute in his uniform (!) and having a great intercom voice (!)  he would (time permitting) learn his first class passengers names and walk the isle introducing himself and talking to the passengers.  Most people were shocked to see him "in the back" and would say that in all their years of flying they had never seen a Captain do that.  He was quick to recognize who wanted to chat and those that did not so as not to disturb anyone.  Dan never rested on his laurels and continually worked at being an even better pilot.  He sought to keep his passengers (and crew) informed and comfortable in any situation- if the flight was on time, was late, or there were any mechanical issues that needed to be addressed.  Safety first.  He would do everything he physically could to ensure that his passengers made their connections.  Being the dog lover that he is when he found out there was a dog(s) in the cargo bay he would check on the animal and then have a flight attendant inform the owner how the pet was doing.  He has always stated that his job as a pilot was 5% flying and 95% situational management, and he was excellent at his job. He also endeavored that every leg that he flew had the smoothest landing possible. A "grease job" was his constant goal.




Several months prior to Dan's last flight one of his very favorite BFF First Officers asked Dan if he had anyone lined up to fly his last trip.  He had not thought about it at this point.  Dave offered his service for the flight and Dan was thrilled.  The morning of the flight Dave was pulled off the trip by the company to fly another trip (it happens), so Dan flew the first day with Jim, who jumped at the chance to fly one last time with Dan.  Dave, knowing how important this final trip was to Dan, moved a mountain to get back on the trip for the second and third day.  Lots of calls to bosses in Boston and DFW and he was back on the trip!





 A hug and a kiss to start the first day off!




The jet bridge has been pulled away,






and the tug is pushing the plane back to the  taxiway.  As you can see in the photos it was a gorgeous morning to go flying.  The flight attendants announced at the beginning of each flight that it was Captain Dan's final trip after 31 years.  He received rounds of applause with his landings and many congratulations and well wishes from deplaning passengers!  It was all so sweet and heartwarming for me to witness.  I was so happy for him. 






When we arrived at the first layover hotel in Tampa we walked into the room to find this presentation which was setup by Dave who had arrived at the hotel a few hours before us.  Isn't that just the sweetest?!  We met up with Dave for dinner night one.




Day Two.
This is Dan's friend and First Officer- the very smart and wickedly funny Dave.  I can't tell you the last time I've laughed that much for three days straight!  Dave was the perfect First Officer to have on Dan's final trip and I'm so grateful to have been along for the last ride.





So proud of him and his career!
 





The captain at work.  It is seriously crazy how much commercial (and military and contract and ...) pilots have to know to fly a plane.  Next time you fly, thank your pilot!!










We arrived in Boise right after lunch on the second day.
I'm bummed this photo is so bright and blurry because it was such a fun time, but I  wanted to include it for the fun memory of the afternoon.  





Day Three.
  One leg to Dallas and then one leg, the final leg, to Boston.  This photo is in Dallas right before the final leg home to Boston.  One of the chief pilots in Dallas met us at the gate and asked Dan if he would like to say something to his waiting passengers.  This was totally unexpected.  I couldn't get my cell phone out fast enough to record the entire speech,  but was able to get some of it!


Click HERE





Last leg of last flight.  I was starting to get a bit emotional at this point.











As he taxied the aircraft to the runway in Dallas Dan received a "water cannon salute!"  This is when Dan got emotional.



Video of  his water cannon salute





This video was sent to Dan from DFW Operations.




My late father and Dan were very close.  As I sat in my seat waiting for the last flight to take off I said a prayer to God, the Universe and to my father that Dan's last flight and last landing would be a great one since I knew how much that would mean to Dan.  I was sitting in an isle seat and the man one row ahead of me in the opposite isle seat had a newspaper open that was in my direct line of sight. Now mind you, if the person next to me- either to the right or left, or the person directly in front of me had a newspaper open it would not have been in my direct line of sight.  On the page of the newspaper I stare at a very familiar image...  a large photograph of the Tower of Americas in San Antonio, Texas.

  I grew up in San Antonio and my father, who worked in the engineering department at the City Public Service, helped design and layout the electrical for the tower in 1966/67 during its construction for HemisFair 1968. I remember driving to the site with him on the weekends to check he progress.  The tower has always been a symbol of San Antonio (home) and my father for me.  In that moment I knew my father was there with us in spirit.  After wiping away my tears the next time I looked up the man was looking at the "Sports" page (my father loved all sports) and then he turned the page again and there was the familiar font of the front page of the San Antonio Express -News that I remember well from growing up.  That man in the opposing isle seat, the only seat in my direct line of sight, could have been from anywhere in the world on this flight to Boston, but he arrived from San Antonio and was reading the San Antonio newspaper which just happened to have an article about the 1968 Tower of Americas in it on this particular day and he just happened to be looking at that page with that symbolic image to me when I just happened to look up.  Coincidence?  I think not.
I could overhear two gentlemen (brothers) sitting in the row behind me talking about the Tetons where they were returning from a fly-fishing trip.  Dan and I spread my father's ashes in the Tetons many years ago as it was his favorite place in the world.  The signs were all around me that my father was there with us and he did not want me to miss a single one.  
The flight, and Dan's landing in Boston were perfect, by the way.  


After looking down the road at retirement for so many years it feels a bit strange to both of us that it is actually here.  His being home all the time just feels like he is on a long off-period between trips. Dan is loving not having a schedule. When people would ask what he would do after "graduating" the joke was "Whatever my wife tells me to do on the to-do list:)" But the truth is we haven't done a single thing!  I think we've just been settling into this new adventure and living life. (I think the new year will be a perfect time to start cracking the to-do list whip, don't you?!)   Since his last trip we have had several guests visit, and in October we flew to Oregon to surprise my mother on her 92nd birthday, and to see Dan's mother who is in poor health.  Otherwise we are simply enjoying being home and loving on puppy dogs!  We tend to stay busy, but I honestly couldn't tell you what we do.  Dan occasionally toys with the idea of doing corporate flying, so if you, or your company, or anyone you know has a private jet and needs an excellent pilot give him a holler:)!


It feels nice to be back writing.   Thank you for letting me relive this experience and share it with you.  I haven't seen the photos in a while, so it was lovely to remember the trip... for both of us.
xxojoan

104 comments:

  1. Awww! Great post - glad to see you back! The two of you look fantastic! My best to Dan and the girls. Artie

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  2. OHHH MY GOODNESS !!! I'm so glad you are back (I've been missing for three years) My husband turned 65 two years ago and retired / American/ international/ Philadelphia/ captain. He was nowhere near ready, but is at peace with it and has been blessed with a new flying career. He is now a personal pilot for a lovely family and plans on flying for 4 or 5 more years. He'd definitely go back to the airlines if they called, but is enjoying the trips and especially the family and their "Barbie jet" ;). I've been an avid reader of your blog for years and so enjoyed reading about your move, your home and it's gorgeous additions and transformations. I have hijacked many of your ideas.The Thomsons wish you a happy retirement....keep blogging!!! (PS...my oldest son lives in the Tetons! (Jackson) we love it too)

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    1. Kathy!! I used to follow YOU until you stopped blogging!:) How crazy the connections of AA (Dan flew international for several years) and the Tetons. Dan said he would love to chat with your husband about after-airline flying and the transition! Would love for you email me at fortheloveofahouse@comcast.net xxojoan

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  3. Wonderful story...loved reading this. Congratulations to you both!

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  4. I saw your email pop into my box today and thought wow it's been a long time since I've seen one of these..I thought maybe I had been missing them! I enjoy reading your blog. What a great post. I really enjoyed reading this. I totally agree with you- your dad was on that flight!! Best to both of you and the pups.

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  5. Thanks for taking us along! I teared up:) My very best to you and your husband on your new adventures! Job well done!

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  6. Glad to have you back "in the saddle" again! We missed you!

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  7. Welcome back!! Fought back tears as I read your post. I flew (F/A) for AA for several years out of ORD and DFW and to this day I still get butterflies on every take-off. AA cockpit crews are the BEST! Congrats to you and your family and enjoy the next chapter after “graduation.” πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

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    1. Thank you! And BOS cockpit crews are well known around the system as being the best of the best!

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  8. So glad to see you back! I love to fly, travel often and appreciate a great pilot and a great landing!! Loved the stories - especially about Dan checking on pets and letting the owners know how it's going for their pet! I actually interviewed and was accepted into "stew" school years (and years) ago but made another job choice but I've always thought maybe I should have!! Looking forward to seeing you back on the blog and IG!!

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  9. Blessings as you make the life transition. My husband and I have found retirement to be wonderful!

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  10. I was just thinking about you yesterday! Glad to hear from you and congratulations to Dan!

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    1. I have been working on this post for three days, so that's probably why! The power of the universe!!

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  11. Congrats! How is sweet Ella?

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    1. Sweet Ella is wonderful. She has lost most of her hearing, but other than that still keeps up with her little sissies on a 2 mile walk! She'll be 15 in May. I'll tell her you asked after her! :)

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  12. Welcome back! Congratulations to both of you on this next stage of your life. What a wonderful tribute to your husband you have shared with us.

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  13. Relieved and happy to read your post. I, obviously along with other fans/followers, was a bit concerned about the lack of words/pictures. It will be a pleasure to learn about your lives post Dan's graduation. Welcome back. A follower (first time commenter) from Port Angeles, Washington.

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    1. Thank you!! Love Washington state! My mother lived in Oak Harbor for several years.

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  14. What a great "inaugural" post! We all need a time out from time to time, but a great surprise seeing your blog post in my in box once again!
    Catherine

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  15. I have missed your posts. My husband and I went to Maine this fall and then drove to see some of New Hampshire and took many backroads while enjoying the state. I would look down some of the farmhouse driveways and think I wonder if this is where Joan lives!!! Loved you shared about Dan's retirement. It was a great story and the San Antonio paper part made me tear up!
    Glad you are back to posting.

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    1. I read your comment to Dan and we both went "ohhhhh!! that is just so sweet!" Hope you had a great trip to New England!

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  16. I love this. Thank you for sharing. My husband is also a captain at American. Only 6 more years until he "graduates". πŸ˜‰πŸ˜

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    1. Dan says to tell your husband to go get 'em on Section 6 ;)

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    2. He laughed. He said by the time they pass that one he will probably be retired. We do have two sons following in his footsteps. Can't get enough of this airline life! πŸ™„πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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    3. ha!! That seems to be the way that it works because the company can easily drag it out for 7 more years ;)

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  17. Thank you for sharing this important moment with us. Heartfelt congratulations to you and your husband as you begin this new chapter. From our airline/military family to yours, we say THANK YOU!

    Hugs,
    Jill
    United Airlines/ANG

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  18. Welcome back and Congratulations on your husbands 'graduation' ! What a lovely post, and such a touching ending with the water cannon salute. That must have been a very emotional moment for you both. Hope you and hubby are enjoying his time at home...... Missed you and glad you are back !

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    1. It was Patricia! We are enjoying this time, thank you!!

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  19. Wonderful post, Joan! Congrats to you and Dan on the retirement - what an amazing career! I am looking forward to reading more of your posts in the New Year. :) Glad that y'all are happy and healthy - puppy dogs too! ~Miranda from Hannah's Hill

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  20. Thank you for taking us along on such a special milestone event. Congratulations and Happy Trails.

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  21. Love that Dad ‘came along’ for the flight too. What a gift.

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  22. Welcome back. I too was surprised to see a post in my e mail.
    I've never commented, but followed as we share a love for rescued
    dogs. Both of ours are rescued.
    Congratulations to Dan, enjoy your retirement you deserve it.

    Linda C in Marysville, Washington

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment Linda! And thank you for rescuing too!

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  23. Ah...you are back! Loved this post...congrats to Dan on graduating! I hope life’s blessings continue for the two of you! ;)

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  24. This was so fun! I'm planning on retiring in 18 months and am excited. You and Dan look really skinny so I guess this year has been good to you. Wow, Dan was a really hard worker. 2 a.m.? Two-hour commute? Wow.

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    1. Congrats on your upcoming graduation;)! You get the best comment award for the skinny part. lol:):):):)!!!

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  25. Congratulations to Dan on his graduation! So thrilled you are back! I've so missed your blog; it was my very favorite. Your gorgeous home inspired many ideas for our recently built home.

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    1. Love knowing that we have a small fingerprint in your home Lisa!! Thank you!

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  26. Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing Dan’s last flights. I have thought of you often and miss your blog posts. So happy you’re back. Congratulations to Dan on his graduation! Hope you and Dan are enjoying this next leg or chapter of your lives.

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  27. So happy for Dan! We have missed you and worried about both of you... next time I was in NH I was driving up to knock on the door to make sure all was good! So glad all is well! Don't ghost us like this again as we all worry.

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    1. Hey Nathan (aka eagle eye;) Sorry to have worried you. xxoj.

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  28. I'm so glad you're back! I missed you and your posts. Congratulations to you and Dan. I look forward to receiving your posts again.

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  29. I've missed your blog, I was just thinking about you this past weekend, and low and behold I get your email. I’m so glad your back! Congratulation to Dan for graduating (retiring), what a wonder send off by his friends. If I had known you were going to be in Tampa I would have come to TIA with a big banner congratulating Dan on his retirement, I live about 20 minutes from TIA when the traffic is good.

    I'm looking forward to reading your adventures with Dan and you sweet pups.

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  30. So nice to have you back! Reading about Dan’s last flights had me crying happy tears for you both. Then reading about how your dad was with you on the last leg... well...alligator tears. Can’t wait to see where your next chapter (and the to-do list) takes you!! Welcome back!!

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    1. Thank you Jamie! The to-do list if very long at this point;) lol!

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  31. Hello! I cannot tell you how glad I am to see your new post! Would you believe I randomly just checked in with your blog a few days ago hoping to find a new post? I must confess, I haven't completely read your new post yet, but perused it, and then decided to get myself a glass of wine, cozy up, and savor some pleasant reading before going to bed. So looking forward to it! Congratulations to both you and Dan! And please keep blogging! We've missed you! :)

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    1. Thank you Michelle! Hope you liked the post. Cheers!xxo

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  32. Congratulations to both of you on this milestone!!!

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  33. How exciting. New adventures for you. I'm sure it is a big change for you both. Look forward to more posts :)

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  34. Hello Joan and Dan, You know, I had sometimes wondered what Dan did professionally, and airline pilot is perfect for someone who is strong, caring, and dependable, as you have proved him over and over again in your posts. I wish you both many years of happy and active retirement. I am sure that there will never be a dull moment with the two of you around.
    --Jim

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    1. Jim, so lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your sweet comment. We still both quote you (and in turn, think of you) from when you once told me that we can turn any regular outing into a lark!! Hope you are well! xxojoan

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  35. Ah, thank you for sharing such a special and momentous occasion! You've been missed in my inbox, so welcome back. Wishing you, Dan, and the puppies a joyous Christmas and New Year! Would love to see your holiday decor. :-D
    xo Heidi

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    1. hi Heidi!! Thank you for your sweet comment! I am a minimalist when it comes to holiday decorating, but will try to put up some pics! xxo

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  36. Joan, Grace-anne here from Dallas and from your old neighborhood. I once lived on the corner of Lawn Haven @ Edgemere near the old Dealey School and you were on Royal Crest. I’ve been following your blog for several years now not knowing it was you. And, when I saw Dan’s picture and I knew immediately I knew you both! A huge congratulations to Dan and a big hug to you both. I am so happy both of you are doing well. I do enjoy reading about your enchanting home and sweet pups. Come see us when in Texas!

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    1. Grace-anne!!!!!!!! Omg, that is crazy that you've followed but didn't know it was us! You will not believe this, but I literally thought of you a couple of weeks ago when we were out antiquing and saw some coin silver spoons with monograms. You once told me to look for ones with a "G" monogram. I've never found one, but still find myself looking for you:) How are you and your family?! I bet your little ones aren't so little anymore! I can't remember, had y'all moved before we did? Flying through Dallas was the first time I had stepped foot in Texas since we moved here in 2008 :O I got here and loved it so much I never wanted to leave lol!! Would love to see your family, send me a pic if you can to fortheloveofahouse@comcast.net ! Remember little Kelsey?!
      Her ashes are spread here. So fun to find your comment this morning. xxojoan

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  37. What a momentous occasion following a tremendous career! Congratulations! xo

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  38. So glad to see a post from you again (Liz/Infuse With Liz). I can well imagine how emotional Dan had to be about retiring. I enjoyed reading this and learning about his career. I had no idea he was a commercial pilot. My mother is 96 now so I can relate to the issues that come up. Prayers for Dans mother. I am terrible about visiting instagram so I have missed whatever you’ve posted. Again so glad to see a post from you. Blessings to you and Dan for this Holiday Season!

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    1. Hey Liz! So nice to see you too! Hope you are well. xxo

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  39. Congrats to both of you! My hubby just retired from the FAA after 33 years. It’s a whole new adventure! We are thinking of doing a long trip up your way (the NE), since it’s been awhile since we’ve been up that way.
    I hope this chapter brings nothing but joy and happiness for you both.

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    1. Thank you so much, and congratulations to your husband as well! Definitely come see New England! Gorgeous all times of the year:)

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  40. I was excited and surprised to see a post this morning... Little did I know!!..lolol WOW..... I smiled... I laughed... I shed a few tears... What a beautiful post to celebrate your husband and his retirement!! And now new adventures.... Congratulations to your husband and to you!! Good times ahead !!

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  41. Congratulations on Dan's retirement! As with previous commenters I found your blog because of your house and continued to follow because of the similarities in our lives. Married to airline/military pilots and living in old houses, with bunches of dogs. We still have a while to go before airline retirement so I will be reading your posts with great interest! Glad to have you back! P.s.- we have a few AA friends, it's a small wonderful airline community!

    Pam

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    1. "bunches" of dogs!!! love that Pam! It's so crazy how many airline/military peeps here. I had no idea! Thank you for your well wishes!

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  42. Welcome back and Congratulations to you and Dan! It was fun getting to know Dan a bit through this post. What an amazing send-off! It's clear he is loved by his colleagues!

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  43. Congratulations Captain and family!! You have had a career to be proud of! Thank you for sharing your final legs and well deserved water cannon salute. Enjoy your December in beautiful New Hampshire with uninterrupted time!

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  44. OMGoodness, I was so HAPPY to see your name in my inbox, couldn't get over here fast enough! I just thought you had quit blogging. CONGRATULATIONS to Dan (and you) on his retirement, (graduation)!!!!! I am a VERY fearful flyer, so much that I didn't fly for almost 30 years!!!! I still don't like it at all. Our next door neighbor flies for American!!! I wonder if Dam knows him!?? I will email you his name. Best wishes to you both on this new chapter of your lives. Joe and I are enjoying retirement very much! SO glad to see you back!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!
    XO, Pinky

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    1. hi Pinky!! Thank you! So nice to see you here! Happy to hear you and Joe are enjoying retirement. xxojoan

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  45. PS, forgot to mention, my FIL was a pilot (in WW2 then commercial as well. I have picture VERY similar to these, of his last flight so this brought back FOND memories!!!!

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  46. Welcome back Joan!! Bonnie Blue and I have missed all five of you. Looks like your neck of the woods is having a snowy fall so far. I am still totally jealous of all your snow. Looking forward to seeing what all you have been up to on the farm! Take care and a very Happy Christmas to you all!

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  47. Congratulations Dan and welcome back Joan!! xoxo

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  48. I am so glad to have you back.
    We really did miss you!!!
    Please do a Christmas post so we can see your lovely decor.
    Enjoy retirement and your holiday!

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  49. So happy to see you are back! I have loved your blog for years and take such inspiration from it. Dan sounds like a wonderful man and pilot, and I'm grateful for his many years of service and commitment to keeping the skies friendly and safe. May you both be blessed with a long, healthy, and happy life together!

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  50. I'm so happy for you and Dan. I welled up reading your account of his final flight. You two will have a great time, I'm positive! The dogs will be so happy to have the pack complete!
    Karen

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  51. How lovely that you are back. I really enjoy your blog and your account of your husband's "graduation." Retirement is wonderful and life changing. It also takes a lot of work to adjust and flourish. But your two will have a wonderful time. Love, Maddie

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  52. It was really great having a post from you. Congratulations to your husband on his retirement. That was wonderful that you got to go on his last flight. You will both love retirement. We were so busy and went places all the time. My husband would wake up every morning and say well,what shall we do today. We love it.

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  53. So happy to see a post from you in my email! Congrats on Dan's retirement and thanks for sharing that momentous final flight with us. Years ago, I was married to a corporate pilot so I understand a bit about the life of a pilot. Wishing the two of you the merriest of holidays.

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  54. My son is studying to become a commercial pilot so I really appreciated this post!

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  55. Congratulations to your husband on his retirement. And I am so excited that you are back!!!!!

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Welcome! Thank you for leaving a comment; you have no idea how much your comments inspire me to keep writing- I appreciate each and every one. Comments are moderated by me prior to publishing on the blog, so if you don't see your comment post immediately it will be posted as soon as I receive and read it. joan