Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/14/2010 Minor improvement

It wasn't looking good getting home tonight with the boys, a repeat of yesterday's struggle just to get them out of the car.

But somehow it turned around; Julian went right upstairs to finish his homework packet for the week, and later Gabriel later helped him review his spelling words. To my surprise and delight, so far Julian is solid in spelling.

In fact, the old Julian who impressed us with his work diligence in kindergarten is back. He insisted on finishing his whole week's homework packet tonight, he gladly did his reading (two science books he picked himself at the school library today), and his teacher sent me a note that he finished all his work in class yesterday and was rewarded with teaching the class a song. She'd been having trouble getting him to stay focused and had to redirect him a lot (all expected stuff for new first-graders of course), but he's been much better the past two days.

No evening at the Doudna household could possibly pass without some screaming, yelling, chasing, scolding, threatening, warning, voice-raising or countdowns, but overall it went a lot better tonight.

And lucky me, I haven't grilled in weeks, but I happened to be outside grilling chicken when I heard a large whooshy jet-ish sort of sound above, and saw a large form in the air through the redwood leaves. It wasn't moving fast, maybe just a helicopter, but it didn't sound like that.

And then, a real live C-17 emerged in its magnificence, looking even more tremendous in the sky than we saw just a few weeks ago on the ground.

I called out excitedly for the boys, who came running, and we ooh'd and aah'd together as the behemoth, modestly hiding its stunning agility, nonchalantly approached Moffett Federal Airfield. The older C-130s we see fly overhead all the time seem to approach much faster. I don't know anything about jets v. props (except that it's easier for props to take off from aircraft carriers), but maybe the engine properties of this plane make a slower approach possible, or maybe the C-17 pilot, aware of his plane's awesome power, was just being polite to the appreciative -- and very thrilled -- residents below. This is only the second C-17 I've seen land at Moffett, I've seen far more F-16 fighters than this gigantic cargo plane. WAY cool.

The first C-17 we saw from home (May 2009), before I knew I'd see this plane fly in an airshow a few weeks later and be blown away. At the time, this first C-17 sighting was so impressive that I grabbed my camera:

Then the C-17 we saw at the airshow at Edwards AFB last year. I got to meet the pilot a few weeks ago at the Watsonville airshow (unfortunately the demos were grounded due to a recent crash in Alaska).

Come to think of it, that's what pulled the boys out of their obnoxiousness and turned the evening around into a relatively tolerable one. Thanks, C-17. Fabulous, functional, and great timing.


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