I will never forget the day that I moved in with my boyfriend, Jason. I had just returned to the US after my 2nd tour to Iraq and life was throwing so many changes my way. Jason and I had made the decision to move in together while we were overseas. He returned stateside before I did by several months, so he was in charge of finding a home and getting things settled while I continued to safely land aircraft from my control tower perch in Mosul. The days went by slowly, but surely, and I came to my new home in Enterprise, AL.
When I walked into my new life, I immediately checked out my number one priorities; the bathroom and master closet. Both met my demanding expectations, so as far as I was concerned Jason had done an outstanding job. He then asked me how I liked the kitchen. I glanced around at the stainless steel contraptions, the seemingly never-ending countertops and massive amounts of cupboards. I replied with a casual "it's nice," and went about with unpacking.
After several hours of settling my wardrobe and beauty products into their new home, I moved on to my kitchen supplies. I casually tossed my off-brand toaster into a cupboard, and lovingly placed my state-of-the-art can opener on the countertop. I unwrapped a new package of paper plates and plasticware and placed them in a drawer. Kitchen, complete. Grocery store, here we come!
Grocery shopping has always been easy for me. My cooking ability has limited me to 2 aisles in the supermarket, so it's never a long journey. So when Jason and I entered the market, I assumed that we would be in and out and on to more exciting things. I marched straight to the freezer section, throwing pizzas, tater tots, fish sticks and steamer veggies (for nutrition!) into our cart. I then navigated to the soup aisle, and tossed about 15 cans of soup into the cart. Add peanut butter, jelly and bread and we were done. Or so I thought...
"What do you want to make for dinner?" Jason asked me. I thought about it for about 2 seconds and suggested that we have PB&J with some nice chicken noodle soup. Jason laughed.
"No, really! I thought we could make a nice dinner to celebrate our first night in the house together."
I stared at him as the realization and panic set in. He wants me to cook! He wants ME, the owner of 1 bowl, paper plates and a can-opener, to cook. Me, the girl whose first and only attempt at Kraft mac and cheese failed miserably, even under the direct supervision of her mother. Me, the college graduate that still thinks Ramen noodles and shredded cheese is a gourmet meal. I had to think my way out of this, and quick.
"I remember a great sushi place on Rucker Boulevard, we should eat there." Thank goodness I had been stationed here before. Disaster: averted.
That night, after wonderful sushi and sake, we settled on the couch and discussed my flight packet. I listened to his entertaining stories from when he was in flight school, and how much work he had to put in each day. He assured me that while it was hard work, it was the most rewarding career he could imagine. Flight school was what I wanted, and my boyfriend was going to help me make my dream come true. Since he had gone through the program, he would understand how demanding it is and I would be on Easy Street, concentrating only on flying. I wouldn't have to worry about the mundane aspects of life, such as cooking, cleaning and filling up my gas tank. Restaurants and Jason would take care of that stuff.
A month later, Jason mentioned that he had gone over our bank statements, and did I realize that we had spent over $450 that month in restaurants? Before I could reply, my phone rang. Pleased to have avoided yet another 'cooking' conversation, at least for a few minutes, I answered the call that changed my life, career-wise and kitchen-wise.
"Congratulations, Sergeant. Your packet has been qualified and selected. Welcome to flight school."
Dinner that night, was on me.