Flying High

by Janis Patterson

The Husband is an avid rocketeer and even has a Level 1 High Power rating. That’s heavy, folks, and means he can send up huge rockets. So why am I talking about rockets on a mystery writing blog?

I could say it’s a mystery to me why anyone likes sending up rockets, but that would be a cheap shot. I just know he’s not alone. There are thousands of hobbyists across the country and at least two national organizations. (I don’t pay that much attention to that part of it.) Our local chapter has at least two dozen members, and I remember being surprised that several of them were women. Of course, I am a member, but that’s only because of a family membership. Plus the fact I like some of our local members very much, and our group’s going out for dinner after a meeting is always a delight.

The rockets not so much. First of all you have no idea of how many parts go into a rocket, and considering how spread out they are during construction apparently not one can touch another while the rocket is being built. Second, every rocketeer needs multiples of different sizes of rocket bodies, which to me look just like cardboard tubes. Frankly, our sunroom (rocket central in our house) looks as if a pipe organ had exploded in there.

Thirdly, building a rocket takes an unimaginable amount of time, energy and money. Especially money. A dedicated rocketeer can spend up to a year building a rocket – deciding the size, creating the fins and attaching them, putting in the motor mount, calculating motor size, choosing a parachute, deciding whether or not to have a GPS and/or a camera, choosing the paint colors and design, then doing a base coat while the thing is still in pieces… then once the rocket is finally completed spending endless hours putting on the final finish. Sanding, painting, buffing, sanding again, painting again, buffing again… all for the dubious joy of sending the thing aloft with a whisssth, as likely as not never to be seen again! AAAAUGH!

Once in an attempt to understand I talked to The Husband about this. He didn’t see anything that wasn’t immediately obvious. “What’s to understand?” he asked. “It’s fun.”

Fun. Humph. I would really just as soon watch paint dry. Which, if I think about it, is not a very fair statement. The Husband seldom (like once every couple of years) reads fiction, yet he accompanies me to my local MWA meeting, whether or not the subject is one that interests him. Of course, directly after that I go with him to his rocketry meeting, where I know I won’t find anything that interests me beyond the cameraderie of dinner afterward.

However… I was born with an overdeveloped fairness gene, and must look at the other side. He finds fiction boring, much prefering history. He has always been absolutely astonished that I can spend an entire day at the computer wrestling with a storyline, weighing one word against another over and over again, sometimes barely conscious of what is going on around me (do NOT ask about the burned roast!) until I am so knackered I can barely stand and still enjoy it thoroughly… most of the time.

“It’s fun,” I tell him. The look he gives  me is probably equal to the one I give him. If I have learned anything it’s that we must be tolerant and supportive of our spouse’s passions, no matter how incomprehensible they might be to us!

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6 Responses to Flying High

  1. EARL STAGGS says:

    Susan, no one but you could mix writing with rocketing and make perfectly good sense. You reminded me of my wife and me. She doesn’t like to read, but she crochets almost 24/7. While I pursue The Great American Novel, she pursues the Great American Afghan.

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  2. It is important to share activities with our spouses. My husband and I also support each other in our interests.

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  3. Janis, you’re lucky to have such an understanding spouse. As for rockets, a friend of mine is a rocket scientist; he’s an engineer working at Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif. He may have done work on the space shuttle, but not sure. Other than that, he’s a pretty down to earth guy.

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  4. patyjag says:

    Great post! My husband tolerates my writing and I tolerate his fascination with tractors. 😉

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  5. lindamthorne says:

    I honestly think I got into writing because my husband spent hours, weekends, playing war games. When the kids were young, they’d be board games with our son and his neighborhood friends. Then came the computer and he’d play them there, alone. It doesn’t bother him I’m not interested. He only wants me to allow him the time with them. In return, he’s read and edited every thing I’ve written, many times over. I agree, marriages work best when partners understand and allow for each other passions.

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  6. marilynm says:

    Never knew anyone who made rockets–except kids for school projects. My hubby has always been an airplane nut–still reads tons of magazines about them.

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