Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Crew Solo (45 years Later)

 As most of you readers are well aware, a little bit more than half of my Air Force career was as a pilot flying F-4's, AT-38's and, that wonderful airplane, the F-15 Eagle.  


Gratuitous Airplane Picture

Then I had to pay my dues and fly a desk.  However, that career also had one additional, wonderful advantage.  I met and married my wife.  That was a little over 40 years ago.  During that 40 years, as did most folks, we had a few ups and downs.  On our first try, we had Little Juvat, our son.  We then went through a few miscarriages trying to bring him a sibling.  Finally, we managed to have MBD, our daughter.

Both have done well at their missions in life, not the least of which is marrying wonderful spouses.  MBD was the first to bring a grandchild into the world.  Now about 15 months old, she's a lot of fun and can run an old Fighter Pilot out of airspeed quite quickly.

Little Juvat and LJW also have a wonderful daughter.  Unfortunately, Miss B was born early and required hospitalization for a few months.  She's doing well, but requires some special care and attention.  With Little Juvat in HK, LJW has her hands full with Miss B.  Mrs. J and I have been helping as best we can, Mrs. J more so with the child care.  Me?  Well, more brawn than brains means I get to schlep and carry a lot.

But...LJW asked if we could take over for a weekend as a couple of her friends from College wanted to get together in Houston.  Miss B's personal logistics made it unfeasible for her to go along. So we said OK.

 It's now Friday and we load up the stuff we need to keep Miss B breathing.  (IIRC from High School Health Class, that's somewhat important.) LJW brings her up to our house and drops her off.  

Mrs. J and I are now flying solo.  

Get It?

Takes us a bit of time to pick up "the Routine".  There's feeding time, nap time, play time, and, of course, changing time.  Rinse and repeat several times each day.  But, Miss B's a lot of fun to have around.

Most of the time.

Feeding time is complicated by difficulty in trying to get her to take a bottle.  So she's got a nasal-gastric (NG) tube that feeds her.  This would be a tube inserted into her stomach through her nose. 

Replacing that tube when Miss B accidentally pulls it out?  That would be the cause of  the aforementioned "most of the time". Holy Crap! That was officially "Not Fun" for all concerned.

During feeding time, the NG tube is  attached to this device which controls the amount of formula and its flow rate.  The switchology of the device is about the same complexity as the switches needed to launch an air to air missile in the Phantom.  In other words, easy to screw up.  Which when the baby is fussing and hungry adds a bit of tension to the crew.  

And, to make it perfectly clear, while I was the Aircraft Commander in the Phantom, I most certainly am NOT in this particular situation.  

That would be Mrs. J. (as if there was any doubt).  My role?  Stepin' Fetchit.

 It takes about 45 minutes for each feeding to complete.  And because of Air intake, Meds and a whole slew of other reasons, an attendant has to be in very close range to provide assistance in the case of a "Spit Up".

Miss B can be very prolific at that.

Yes, Beans, our washer and dryer got a lot of work in this past weekend, both for big kid and little kid clothing.

All that having been said, Miss B is a lot of fun to be with.  

She got a bit fascinated with my finger.  Don't know why and didn't mind.  It occupied her for a few minutes.  She also liked her ball.

But, the 4 feedings, especially the 2359 and 0400 ones, and the need to otherwise be constantly close, took a lot out of the Staff.

Fortunately, my easy chair, not only pulled duty as a dinner table, but as a bed also.

Which allowed me to do a quicky wood working project for Mrs. J.

Got the idea here

It's an acoustic cell phone speaker.  Based on Bean's commentary the other day about "computerphonecamera", I thought including this picture today a completely appropriate way to remind him that a cell phone also is a "stereo".  

Surprisingly, especially surprising me, it works quite well.

For some reason or another, Sunday Evening was quite short and Monday Morning Reveille was sounded quite a bit later than usual.  The Crew Solo mission for Mrs. J and I was completed with a few bumps and bruises, but, all in all, successfully.

Peace out, y'all!


  1. Miss B certainly has gotten big, good to see. That device is familiar, Mom had a similar one because of the feeding tube she had juvat.

    1. Nylon,
      Yes she has, she keeps bumping up against 5 Kilos, which apparently is a milestone of sorts for the Medical folks to change something in her care. Not exactly sure what it is, but LJW was a bit disappointed she didn't make it over the weekend. We'll see at this weeks pulmonary DR visit.

  2. The power of grandkids! That speaker is a nice project.

    1. Thanks, Rob. It was nice and simple. Simple being an important attribute this weekend.

  3. Congratulations on the first solo run - I can imagine it was nothing but stressful. I do love the picture of her smiling!

    The "feeding station" looks incredibly complex. My typical reaction to all electronic items of "Reboot! Reboot!" would fail me miserably.

    That acoustic speaker is a right cool idea. Glad to hear it worked so well (and thanks for the link!).

    Any update on the The Powers That Be and Little Juvat's situation?

    1. THBB,
      Thanks, yeah for all her attached paraphernalia, she seems to be a pretty happy baby. That having been said, she was quite vocal in expressing displeasure at the tube replacement. My job was to (try) hold her head still, while Mrs. J was inserting it. Quite strong the little lady is.
      No, Reboot was required and successful several times this weekend.
      Yeah, the guy in the video does a really good job at laying out the construction sequence. It really does a pretty good job of pumping the volume of the music out.
      Not really, he's beginning the PCS assignment process as we speak. Options for him are quite good and nice places. Hopefully he'll get one of those. It would make visiting him VERY nice.

    2. Excellent. We shall continue to pray for the best of all possible outcomes.

    3. THBB,
      Thanks, Prayers are always welcome.

  4. Great work by the care team.

    Neat woodworking project.

    Maybe the next cellphone project would be to replace the camera flash with some accessory that uses actual flash powder. No, I did not start my photography hobby that way, but sometimes when talking to young people, it feels that way.

    1. JiP
      Thanks, we're still in Sleep Dep recovery mode (it's been a long time since I've been able to sleep past 6:30. Earliest so far has been 8:00. Yes, it was a long weekend.
      Thanks, Brought the BP down nicely, I thought.
      Re: Flash Powder. I hear you my friend, I hear you.

  5. What a blessing you two are for your daughter to give her a break to visit friends. May they come yours and your family way daily.

  6. Now that's a lot of work!

    (No such thing as a gratuitous airplane picture. Just sayin')

    1. Sarge,
      Yeah it was. Gained a lot of respect for LJW in handling her situation. Even with the two of us, Mrs. J and I had to plan every activity, chore or action. Miss B couldn't go anywhere, but was fidgety enough to get herself into "situations", so somebody had to be in close proximity all the time. At 7 months, a baby has to be watched, but can be picked up put into a car seat and taken to the grocery store to do the shopping with you. Miss B? Not so much. I hadn't realized exactly how "Not so Much" that really is.
      Agreed about the picture. Found a really nice one on Getty Images. However, they wanted to charge a royalty fee. Given my working budget here at the Chant, I opted for a free one.
      Any Chance for a raise?

    2. He won't give you a raise because he'd have to give me an even bigger one since it's all about seniority around these parts! 🤣

    3. Oh...So That's where all the blog subscription money has gone! Wait....

  7. Juvat, my admiration for Mrs. J and yourself jumping into flying solo and caring for Miss B while her Mom had some R&R. Of my eight "grand issues", when holding them for the first few times and learning they won't break, I've had to have them placed into my arms while sitting down in high armed chairs and a minder on both sides of the chair. Had I assumed the duties you all did, I'd be all thumbs, pale as a sheet and useless as those things on the proverbial Boar Hog.
    Phone speaker was an excellent choice of gifts.

    1. Cletus,
      The next to last sentence in your comment very nicely summarizes my weekend. Thankfully I have a very talented wife to provide guidance (as do you).

  8. Miss B has sure grown!
    I'm so moved to see Mrs. J's and your efforts for her care. WOW!

    1. BBC,
      Yes she has. Seems like a couple of weeks ago she basically fit in the palm of my hand. Just need to get her over the 5 kilo mark.

  9. Miss B continues to be in our prayers! You two, too, for that matter. How wonderful it will be to see this miracle child romping around with you - no tubes attached. Can't wait. And I suspect y'all can't either. What marvelous grandparents USAF produces ;-)

    1. LtFuzz,
      Thanks, and you're right, all concerned can't wait.
      BTW, I bought that Bread Book you suggested. Mrs. J loves it, and is looking for a bit of a break to start baking. Thanks for the recommendation.

    2. Bread? Did someone mention making bread? I've been doing this bread (from the short) https://youtu.be/JwLo010f8j0
      Good stuff, easy to make and turns out really nice... The easy to make sold me on trying it out and I was all kinds of impressed in how it turned out from following the directions. It takes 5 minutes to mix it and another 5 minutes (of work, later) to get it into the dutch oven. Go slow on the mixing like she shows, my best has been almost a thick paste.
      I use a scraper/spatula to get the dough out of the pan onto the board. I was surprised at how it turned out with a little effort it took to make.
      I'm going to mix one tonight before bed and bake it in morning for bread tomorrow.

    3. Rob,
      Thanks, I'll pass it on to her and let you know how it turns out. I'm the Cook in the family, she's the Baker. I generally screw up toast, so have given up on that side of things. Now, Cooking on the other hand...THAT I CAN do!

  10. I have made acoustical mirrors like the one you made! They are fun to make, and actually work quite well! HUZZAH!

  11. Everyone involved in her care are modern-day saints. You're a very good man and an even better Grandpa. Is there at an expected time frame for when her development will catch up and allow normal feeding?

    1. Tuna,
      No not really. The Doc's said it could take til her second birthday. Or not. Getting her weight up is the current objective. When that happens we can take her off the NG tube. That will make things much more pleasant for ALCON. We're trying to intersperse the tube with the bottle, in hopes that that works. She fights the bottle a little right now. Which of course causes weight loss which...
      Soon, Please Lord!

    2. Okay, thanks. More specificity to add to my prayers.


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