So yes, I went into the training simulator used by the 134th Air Refueling Wing, 151st Air Refueling Squadron, at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee.
And I refueled an F-22 and a C-5. For real.
I'm prissy as you know so I guess it was a sight to see when I clambered on all-fours into that tiny space and wriggled on my belly onto this narrow ergonomically-correct cot-like thing and put my feet into metal braces out behind me that I could not actually see, and rested my chin on the little black padded thing provided for that purpose.
Once I got into place and had been assured by Andrew that no military-type males would be looking in there on me, judging, I was all excited.
New experiences; I'm all about that.
Once I'd gotten all comfy and acclimated, Andrew suggested that I scoot over to one of the similar cot-like things on either side of the boom's space.
He got all serious and businesslike so I busied myself taking pictures of my son, handsome even in low light and close quarters.
The boy made me wear earphones just like his for a while but I took them off because I was certain they were mussing my hair.
I got schooled in where the controls are and what they mean and what they do. I remember everything he told me.
Then it was my turn to actually refuel an aircraft while in flight.
First up was the F-22. Fighter jet, my friends. See that little fake pilot?
The monster C-5 came later.
I was still excited but I concentrated more because I wanted Andrew to be proud of me.
And he told me I made a perfect contact.
It wasn't scary at all because I remembered the whole time that we'd never left the ground.
After I'd refueled the C-5 -- another perfect contact, tank you -- we walked around the facility where Andrew goes to work every day, and he introduced me to a few of his fellow boom operators, plus several pilots.
One fine gentleman in uniform asked if I were proud of my son and of course I said Of course.
And he said, Well you should be because he's one of only twenty-five boom operators in the whole State of Tennessee.
Another uniformed gentleman standing beside the first one chimed in, And one of only nine-hundred-eighty boom operators in the world.
I am even prouder than I thought I was, and that's a lot.
Daggy says Way to go, Uncle Andrew. She's here in Knoxville with us, as is her mother and her Aunt Erica.
That's what Dagny does every single morning as soon as she wakes up: V for victory. Curled fists, ready for action.
So then Andrew drove me out in a special bus to the flight line, where we walked around some more and then I actually got inside a KC-135 Stratotanker.
I had to climb this ladder straight up fifteen feet, a feat I accomplished deftly and with style.
Andrew showed me the actual boom pod where he does his job, and it wasn't nearly as nice as the one in the sim. The KC-135 Stratotankers are sixty years old, after all.
Here's the nose of the one I climbed into. They dole out Fink-O-Lene. Price per gallon: 2 Much.
The engines are big and you don't want birds getting slurped into the blades while you're airborne.
My baby hopped right on up in there. He be spry.
Here he is, showing me something.
And posing yet again, for posterity, sweet obedient adventurous son that he is.
These photos were taken on Wednesday, when it was overcast and cool. Today there is not a cloud in the East Tennessee sky and the high is forecast for nearly eighty degrees.
Dagny is dressed for the occasion.
Decked out in pink with black polka dots, black lace, and pearls, secure in the arms of her doting Uncle Andrew, she's ready for an adventure of her own.
And that is all for now.
Happy Friday ~ Happy Weekend