Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy 20th Captain Doug!

Mr and Mrs. Morris

How it started....

Over 30 years ago, I met my future wife at a fraternity party. I was first year at Dalhousie University and she was in grade 12. It begs the question, why was she there... after all... drinking age in Nova Scotia is 19? I have a daughter entering grade 12 today and I hope she doesn't partake in any frat parties. For one thing drinking age here in Ontario is 19, and besides, she might meet a "wanna be" pilot. :)

I thought at age 20 my career was well on the way having a commercial pilot license with a three year B.SC in physics. Boy, was I wrong! Many may think this next saying is politically incorrect...but it's said... "Behind every great man is a woman." Charlene was/is that woman. And believe me, to chase a pilot career is no easy task, for either one in the relationship.

To those aspiring pilots out there, hold off marriage until you are firmly entrenched in your career because aviation is a marriage challenger. For me, I kept telling my wife, "wait until I get established in the airlines." That happened when hired at Air Atlantic.
I couldn't dodge her any longer. :) On September 7th, 1990, we married in Bermuda. Yes, we capitalized on airline discounted tickets for us, family and friends.

Airline passes...(Don't know why I am mentioning these)

Even as I speak, my eldest daughter is sitting in the CLT (Charlotte, N.C) airport travelling home on passes. Yesterday after my flight, I picked up my middle daughter visiting a friend in Montreal. (I hope she didn't visit any fraternities - Captain Doug belonged to "Delta Upsilon" and was awarded "party animal of the year"...think "Animal House." I must tell my daughters to stay away from frats. :) And my son and wife arrived last week from Halifax on a pass.


But with any relationship comes it challenges. Heck, we moved eight times and six of those moves transpired during Air Canada days and I've always been based in Toronto! We even entertained moving to Dubai to fly for United Arab Emirates. There I learned the saying, "happy wife, happy life." In hindsight, I'm glad we did not pursue it. We were also close in heading to Bahrein for two years. But a the recession kicked in and quashed that idea. China, India, Vietnam, Korea, the middle East are all screaming for A320 drivers. But Captain Doug is no longer wanting to chase carrots. However, my wife is still up for a challenge - or so she says.

She has been with me scraping every cent to build time as a private pilot, watched me change careers, "scud run" it with a bush pilot operation in the Maritimes, see my brain turn to mush right seat in the Dash 8 at Air Atlantic, "wing walk" over to Air Nova and then sit on the fence as to whether to go to Air Canada. (The connector union had many convinced to wait and get on fictitious seniority list. I thank my lucky stars I was not one that waited. It took me a millisecond to decide. The millisecond relapse also included my wife firmly saying..."give your head a shake!).

She also witnessed starting wages at Air Canada of a meagre $35,000 (it's 37,000 now) for a family of five, a two week strike, me stressing on simulator rides, me taking a seniority hit of 601 numbers, taking a 25 percent pay cut on the "small bus" fleet, flying with "undesirables" (luckily it's rare in the left seat), no pay raise in 12 years, and commuting (twice in my career).

Yes, she persevered.

Relationships, similar to flights, come with no guarantee of being turbulent free. Luckily for us, the seat belt sign has been off for most of the journey.


Lavi said...

Great personal post Doug. Congrats again... I'm trying to decide if it's a good idea or not to send this post to my girlfriend. It'll give her a chance to run for the hills. ;)

I'll keep you posted on my decision.

S.O. Lukas said...

They played this at my best friend's parent's 20th wedding anniversary:



From the Flight Deck said...

Lavi. LOL. Yes, she will run for the hills knowing what is in store for her. :)

You have to be a tough breed if you want to be married to a pilot. :)


From the Flight Deck said...

S.O Lukas. The song is beautiful! Although my post came off a bit negative (many of them do), one has to appreciate the good things, good times, health, accomplishments in life. Twenty years of marriage is another of life's accomplishments.

Again, I loved the song and I know many readers will love it too.

Captain Doug

Christer said...

Congratulations Captain Doug! Thanks for your updates- wishing you and your wife some enjoyable time off.

Daniel said...

Aww how nice :) Lucky lucky lucky person :D

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. That's what I keep telling myself...lucky, lucky,lucky....

From the Flight Deck said...

Thanks Christer. The family and I are deciding which restaurant to go to.

Looks like it's more of a challenge than I thought.

But I know one thing.. I have two teenage designated drivers...sweet.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you and your wife!

Regards Nehal

From the Flight Deck said...

Thanks Nehal. Just received a small cheque for selling 16 of my books. I think I will use the money to take up flying. Seems like a funny thing coming from an airline pilot, but it's time to get checked out in a small airplane...again.

Heck, I've got ten days off. If I stick around home, my wife will have a list a mile long. Oops better not say anything derogatory on my anniversary. :)

Andrew said...

Happy Anniversary Doug,

Sending your kids back to school must have been a great gift :P.

Enjoy your time off!

Chris Gardner said...

Congrats to you and Mrs. Capt. Morris for your 20th anniversity may their be many more. Other news I did buy your book yesterday use the money for more flying,lol.

From the Flight Deck said...

Andrew. You have that right! The only thing is...as they get older the more expensive schooling gets.

Captain Doug will be driving a light truck to Queens university to move my eldest daughter this weekend.

Thanks for the post.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Chris. Thanks for buying my book! Every little bit helps towards my flying lessons.

Something tells me I will be shocked to find out how much it will cost to get "checked out." :)

Then I will have to stay current. Maybe I'll charge the kids in the neighbourhood to go flying. :)

Thanks Chris

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Captain Doug on your anniversary!

Thanks for the great blog post on your flight in and out of YYC, though the weather sounds like it was pretty typical for around here!

YYC Dispatcher

Chris said...

Congratulations Doug - I wish you many more happy ones.

From the Flight Deck said...

YYC Dispatcher. Thanks for the congrats. You guys sure had unsettled weather this year. Maybe next year? :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Chris (second Chris) Thanks for the comment. The response has been great. There's lots of emails this blog does not see as well.

How could I quite this blog with readers like you guys?

Captain Doug

Memopilot said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Memopilot said...

Congratulations captain ¡¡¡

Wishing you both have 100 years more of happiness.


WILLO2D said...

Congratulations to you both. I shall raise a small glass of usquebaugh in your honour this evening.

Here's to the next 20...

With very kindest regards,


From the Flight Deck said...

IanH. Thanks for the toast! Usquebaugh...sounds tasty...I think? :) I keep telling myself to answer your email.

My apology!

How is the blogging going on your end?


Gareth said...

Lovely post Doug, Hope my marriage has the seat belt signs off for the majority of the Journey,


From the Flight Deck said...

Gareth. Thanks. I wish you a smooth journey! Captain Doug

WILLO2D said...

Hi Doug,

Usquebaugh - from the Gaelic meaning "Water of Life" better known as Whisky - in this case: Lagavulin single malt distilled in 1984. As smooth as a baby's ***!!

e-mail - when you're ready ;)

blog is ok - next installment almost ready - I just need to find some pics. Still working on the alternate backgound issue...

Kind regards


From the Flight Deck said...


Don't worry about the background issue. I've come across two other blogs with the same aviation theme. It's a shame we can't create our own.

I'm not really a whisky drinker but if your hoisting...I'm drinking!

Talk soon.


From the Flight Deck said...

Memopilot. Sorry I missed you on my list of "thank yous."

Thanks for the nice comment!

Captain Doug

P.S You must have a special key to place the "exclamation mark" !!! upside down. :)

You know...I just answered my own question. A keyboard can be turned into most languages.

From the Flight Deck said...

Giulia. I inadvertently erased your comments! I know your comments were well written because they always are. They are written from a teacher that pays attention to detail. Good for you.

My apology for this! About a week ago, I asked you readers for more comments/feedback. Well I got it!

Now I have to be more organized to handle this blog's new popularity.

It confirms a well known saying, "be careful what you wish for." And that applies to most things in life!

I did not forget your gentle challenge of getting a Westjet pilot for a class presentation.

Count me in! I can't cede to the competition. :) :) :)

shege2000 said...

Captain Doug,

Happy anniversary. It is a good thing seen a marriage going stronger at that anniversary year. I wish you all the best in the next future and also wish you a golden marriage anniversary in advance. I may catch up with you for autograph, if by chance, you flying the flight to Vancouver next week Tuesday or the way back of Saturday

From the Flight Deck said...

Shege2000. Thanks for the best wishes. I fly to YVR on the 19th. But keep flying AC. :)


Mark said...

Hey Doug. Congrats on the Anniversary. That’s an amazing accomplishment.

Sorry I haven't written on your blog in a while, bad on me. I have been crazy busy.... Renovations, work, and of course flying!!!! I just did diversions and nav today. Still loving it, that is for sure!

Chat later and sorry again for disappearing for 6 weeks.


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Mark. I was wondering where you were. I guess we all live busy lives especially when you throw flying lessons into the equation. :)

Welcome back and thanks!


2whls3spds said...


My bride and I have been together for 10 years and she has been flying (Flight Attendant) for 26. Definitely the best years of our lives!


From the Flight Deck said...

2whls3spds (Aaron) Thanks on the congrats. I hope the same feelings are there after 20 years. :)


Memopilot said...

I feel Shamed.Im sorry cap, my exclamation mark key is no longer useful.

But to keep my comments in a decent way, i found the ASCII code, look

!!! Yeah ¡¡¡¡ (Alt+33) Numberpad

Happy Flights ☺ (Alt+1) Numberpad

From the Flight Deck said...

Memopilot. Just by accident I found your exclamation mark ¡ (I use a MAC). It's "option" and then "1"

Sure would like to make a smiley face.

Maybe someone out there can tell me the "Davinci code" of a smiley for a Mac?

I hope your flying starts again soon.

Captain Doug