I realized the other day that it’s been more than four months since I posted here, which isn’t like me. Typically, I’ve held myself to a pretty high standard when it comes to how often I post on social media: once a day on Instagram and once a month here on my blog. In fact, that high standard has typically applied to all facets of my life… I’ve always been “go, go, go!” at home, at work and here on The Great Planes. But there’s been a lot going on in my world lately, so I thought it would be best to take that pressure off myself, slow the pace and embrace more of a “go with the flow” lifestyle. It’ll take awhile to get there, but I’m trying!
With that… I suppose it’s time for a story. This one isn’t ALL about airplanes, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. I call it, “The Three Keys.”
Last month, I became the owner of a very special key. It was special not only because of the door it would unlock, but because of what it symbolized. It was the third of three keys that now hang together on the same keyring… jingling in my purse while I am out and about each day, and hanging on the wall silent and still each night while I sleep. By themselves, each one means something, but collectively they represent a sense of fulfillment in my life, and for that I am truly grateful.
1. November 2020: The key to our first new car
For the majority of our first 10 years together, Scott and I had just one car between the two of us: a bright red 2008 Toyota Yaris that I bought used in 2010. Her name was “Littler” (for “Littler Red”) as she followed “Little Red” — a 1998 Ford Escort that was unfortunately totaled in 2010. The accident wasn’t my fault, and I suffered only minor injuries, but it was traumatic nonetheless. Also, it meant that I needed to find a new set of wheels, and that for the first time in my life I would be taking on a car payment (yikes!). Littler had no bells and whistles… She didn’t have cruise control or a sunroof, there were no powered windows and no automatic locks — she was as basic as they come. But she was special to me and to us.
In fall 2020, Scott and I came to the difficult realization that we seriously needed to consider buying a new car. Littler had been in and out of the shop, and it was no longer practical to keep fixing the seemingly endless issues that were popping up. In choosing our next vehicle, I had only one requirement: it had to be bright red to carry on the legacy of Little Red and Littler. We found a 2021 Subaru Crosstrek as bright as a brand new fire engine, and immediately knew it was the one. This car was the biggest of the three, so naturally, we just called her, “Red.” I love that car to pieces as it was our first “big purchase” as a couple and it is such a big part of our lives today — I drive it to and from work, Scott drives it all over the state to go hiking, and I climb atop it to get the best vantage point when taking photos at local airports.
2. May 2021: The key to the Boeing Archives
When I started The Great Planes almost six years ago, I really didn’t know how big a part of my life aviation would become. I’m a natural storyteller (at least I like to think I am) and I went to journalism school to build on those skills and that passion. So when I discovered my love of airplanes, I figured aviation communications was the way to go. Until that point, I had been job hopping like crazy. I felt like I had no “calling” and started to feel a bit hopeless. But aviation changed all of that… I suddenly felt hopeful. Just about the same time I started my blog, I found an industry mentor (thank you Benét!) and soon started picking up freelance writing gigs. Eventually, I began applying like mad to full-time communications positions with airlines and manufacturers.
I got my first job with Boeing in 2017, and after only a year of working in executive communications in our Chicago office, I was fortunate enough to snag a position on our Historical Services team in St. Louis. Even though Scott and I didn’t necessarily see ourselves staying in St. Louis long term, I loved my job so much that the location didn’t matter all that much. But then, after a couple years, we got our long-awaited opportunity to move to Seattle — the Mecca of commercial aviation and the home of the Boeing Archives. I’ll add that we do have three archives locations, one of which is in St. Louis, but the Seattle collection is by and large the biggest (and in my opinion, the best). I can’t explain the feeling I had when I took possession of the key to our collection… I guard it with my life!
3. October 2022: The key to our first house
To say the last two months were a whirlwind would be an understatement. Scott and I, along with our good friend Jiho, took a 2-week trip to South Korea in early September. A few days after returning home, Scott and I went to see a couple houses. We had been looking casually for a few months, but hadn’t seen anything that was “just right.” After living in Seattle for just over a year, we realized we couldn’t afford to rent much longer — if we were going to be spending this much on housing, it had to be going toward something.
When we stepped into the small single-family home that we now call ours, we knew it was the one. We put in an offer, took part in a small (but still stressful!) bidding war, and ultimately got the email from our realtors we had so longed to receive, “Congratulations! You got the house!” That set into motion weeks upon weeks of doing “all the things” that new homeowners do: selling old furniture that was too big, visiting the new house to take measurements, buying new (smaller) furniture, listing and showing our apartment, canceling and setting up utilities, yada yada yada. We talked with our realtors or the credit union almost daily before signing what felt like 75,000-pages worth of closing documents. But the moment we got our keys, we breathed huge sighs of relief. We knew we had done it, and we couldn’t be happier.
So… will there ever be a fourth key? Maybe a fifth? Who knows. For know, I’m happy with the ones I have. Besides, great things come in threes!