30 Days Getting Used to the News

Name: Dan and Allison Podlich

Occupation: Helicopter pilot and Massage Therapist

How we met: Dan and Allison are Couch Surfing friends who kindly let me crash in their spare room in East Tennessee in the lead up to Christmas last year. While I was there the three of us competed in the Santa Hustle, a running event where the entire field dresses up like Father Christmas.  It was hilarious. Take a look at how we went here.

Meet Dan and Allison:

Our Backstory:

When Christie visited us in Tennessee last December, we lived our lives very much like most people; from day to day.  I was in massage school and Dan had a five-day-a-week “normal” job (though flying helicopters for a living is pretty exciting in its own way).  We’d complete one day, then started the next. Weeks zoomed by, all the same, and months came and went hardly without notice (except, thank goodness, for weekends hiking through the Smoky Mountains, where we did get to witness the beautiful change of seasons).  Christie brought a fresh outlook…challenge yourself to do something new each month.  Dan was looking into a new job at the time, and Christie was very encouraging.

In January, Dan took a job flying helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. In March, we moved to Lafayette, Louisiana.  This is a relatively common job in the helicopter world, but compared to what we had done before, very unique.  Unique because he works two weeks on, then has two weeks off.  When he’s on-hitch, he’s gone.  He lives on a base somewhere along the coast; and when he’s off-hitch, he’s completely off. We now live our lives in 14 day increments, or “hitches”.

I work three days a week as a massage therapist and three days a week as a barista. My schedule does not allow for two weeks off every two weeks, so when Dan is home, our schedules take some coordinating to do all the activities that he plans in his free time.

Our Last 30 Days (plus a few):

Three hitches ago (six weeks), we found out we are pregnant! A little surprising, but not totally unexpected (we’d been told about the birds and the bees).

Taking time to process the news, the first thing we did was go camping, checking out North Louisiana and Kisatchee National Forest. It was hot and the little river was pretty much dried up to a trickle, but we found the nicest beach we’ve ever seen in a swamp, and some pine trees, which we hadn’t seen for awhile.

Next we cancelled plans with our good friend Leelan (so sorry!) in New Orleans because we were becoming just a tad overwhelmed with impending parenthood. We also cancelled the next weekend’s camping in Mississippi. That will have to wait for another time. Instead, we spent our time touring birth centers and hospitals, and comparing doctors.

We did make it to a BBQ at the beach with a local group of Couchsurfers though, and made a batch of beer that I won’t be able to drink until March!

Dan went fishing a lot too, which sometimes meant (when it was stormy) he ending up drinking at our neighborhood bar called the Wild Salmon.

Dan went “on-hitch” and I slept a lot. I ate all my meals out for two weeks, except for the one night I visited Dan and he cooked for me.

Dan came home and we left the next day for a long awaited trip home to the Northwest. We took our dog, Baxter on his first airplane ride and he did very well and was very glad to arrive “home” to his Auntie Noelle.

The first weekend we took some good friends to our favorite hidden gem of a swimming hole and they loved it.

We had dinner with my family and made the big announcement.

We had dinner with Dan’s family and made the big announcement.

We spent a week in a tiny town called Stehiken at the headwaters of our beautiful Lake Chelan. No roads to get there, no cell service, or even landlines. Just pristine views, fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing (with an amazing experience of fighter jets doing a practice run up the valley. Talk about a contrast). It was a great week and we got our much needed mountains and crystal-clear water fix. As much as we like to travel, see and experience, there is still no place like home.

A weekend with our niece and nephew had us questioning whether we’re really ready for parenthood after all but what can we do now?!

Baxter, (and our box of fresh Washington State produce) made it back safely on the plane.  We had our first doctor’s appointment.  They confirmed what we suspected, we are in fact pregnant.  It’s real. 
We saw it on the big screen.

Now we’re back to work, waiting for that next off-hitch because the beer should be ready for tasting (by Dan) and we can enjoy another 14 days of possibilities.Our next adventure: Louisiana’s high point – Driskill Mountain. All 535 feet of it!

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