Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Aimer dans les nuages

Love in the skies.....ahhhhhhh

Who says you have to go to gay Paris' to find love & romance? (say that in your best Maurice Chevalier accent- think "Gigi" here)

Love happens in the air everyday on aircrafts. I am not talking the mile high club either. (given the fact, that the lavatories on the planes I fly are smaller than most broom closets, it would be nothing short of a miracle)

No, I am talking about holding hands when the couple has been seperated to having the aisle seats and we just are not able to move them or they are on their way home from a vacation in Brazil and she is nestled in his shoulder, stealing kisses in between snoozing. Funny thing is, nine times out of ten, it is older couples, mostly in their 50's that are the romantic ones.

Oh sure, we get some young couples that are really touchy, feely, kissing up a storm...but that is more of a passionate nature. I am talking about a love or romance that has stood the test of time.

One couple on one of my flights had their grandchildren seated with them. So they were seated 2 x 2, grandpa with one child and directly in the row behind them grandma and the other child. Both grandparents were in the aisle seats so their grandchildren could be by the window. Upon taking off, the husband reached his hand behind the seat and the wife took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. He let go and looked back at her with a tender smile. It was a small thing, but touching none the less.

One of the cutest couples I had, was a couple of weeks ago. It was obvious that the wife was sitting next to her elderly father and her husband was directly across in an aisle seat. I was doing my beverage service and asked what he would like to drink. He said he would like a "Pepsi please" and she clarified by saying "A diet Pepsi", well, I thought she was telling me she wanted a diet pepsi, but she shook her head no, pointed at the man across the aisle and said, "HE wants a diet Pepsi."I got it and apologized as I poured his drink. He winked at me and said, "I don't know WHO THAT woman is but she has been following me around ALL weekend long, telling me what to eat and what to drink." She quickly peered around me and said, "You better hush mister or I'll complain to this nice woman and have you put off the plane." The whole time they were grinning from ear to ear at each other.

I quickly moved on to finish my service, but on my way back I smiled and asked, "Mam, is this man still pestering you?" She looked at him for a minute and said, "You know, he is pretty adorable now that I have a good look at him. Nah, I think I might take him on home with me." He burst out laughing and said he was "ok with that." It made my whole day and every time I would think about those two, I would smile and get tickled.

These little displays of affection somehow comfort me and make my day brighter. Maybe it's because my husband and I have been married for 20 years now, this year. We often talk about growing old together and not losing our affection for each other. We don't want to be one of those couples that hangs in there long enough for the kids to move out and then decide to divorce. We try and make time for date nights and special times together, although with this job, it is becoming more and more difficult. I think a lot of couples can relate to that. Life gets in the way and we lose touch with each other, so when we are able to see older couples still have tender moments, it gives the rest of us hope.

So, when our hearts begin to wain just a bit, maybe we should book a flight somewhere, anywhere and redécouvrir l'amour quelque part dans les nuages.

au revoir de votre steward amical,


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Behind Closed Doors

One of the "perks" of being an FA, is that when you travel out of town, the company puts you up for the night. Usually, it's pretty reasonable digs, but they aren't always as they seem.

Like in Des Moines, pretty, pretty hotel. Comfortable beds, clean room, nice hot showers and thin walls. I come in so dead, dog tired, when I get into the hotel, all I want to do is pass out and sleep. But darn it! The walls are thin and you can hear everything!

The first time I was there, a "par-tay" was going on next door. Laughing, loud music...until 12:30 @ night (did I mention I had to get up @ 4:30 am?) Finally after a call in to complain, I heard managment pound on their door and all was quiet. That is, until the next morning, bright and early around 4:00 a.m.! Yeah, whoever had tied one on the night before, was now singing praises to the porcelain god! I could hear it as well as if they had been in MY BATHROOM! I am not too sure, but there might have been 2 people tag teaming the comode over there. I started feeling pretty nauseous myself, got up, stumbled to the bathroom, said loudly, "I hope ya'll can hear me! Serves you right for keeping me up 1/2 the night! I hope you puke your guts out!" Turned the shower on and figured I best get ready for the day.

I was dead on my feet the whole next day. When I got home that next night, I threw my luggage and clothes in the corner, collapsed in the bed and slept for hours. My poor family really needed and wanted to spend time with me, but I just couldn't function.

Since then I have been in different rooms, in the same hotel. I figured the first time was a fluke, you know, new enviroment, strange bed, etc. But, alas, you can hear the next room's TV, or person talking on their cell phone. (not the details mind you, but more of a wah, wah, wah, sound like a Charlie Brown cartoon.)

I have conquered this finally, by wearing ear plugs. The soft foamy kind.(although now I wake up every hour to make sure I don't over sleep) I set the alarm in the hotel room, request wake up call AND set my cell phone alarm, but I have this deep seeded fear, that I won't hear them and won't wake far, so good.

Other hotels, are just noisy, because of traffic, trains, that kind of thing. Some are just kind of ... creepy. I dunno, the people in the hotel look kind of, questionable.

Well, I am home now and have been sleeping so hard, I have pillow marks in my face and drool on my pillow... nice visual huh?

There is a lot to be said for a good night's sleep and I won't take that for granted, ever again. It doesn't hurt to pack your ear plugs either.

Rest Well!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's 5:00 Somewhere!

I am fascinated by how early in the morning some people will start to drink, ESPECIALLY on a plane. I'm talking alcohol here. Now, I don't really drink anyway, (I did in college in my younger, single, crazier days). I maybe have a glass of wine once a year, if I do at all.

As a flight attendant, I am up early in the morning for the first flight of the day and that usually means for me 3:00 - 4:00 a.m. wake up, head to the airport to report for duty and flying at somewhere around 6:00 a.m.

There was the time on a short flight back from Monroe, 6:30 in the morning and we had just reached flying altitude. I made my "beverage service" announcement and began giving out juice, water, coffee and the occasional ginger ale for queezy tummies. Then I get the request,

dude: "Uh, yeah, so, I would like a Formosa please?" I squint my eyes, look at him and ask slowly, "Is that a champagne & orange juice mix?" He nods, "Yeah, can I get one?"

and yes, I hate to stereotype, but he looked like a California dude.

me: I shake my head and paste a smile on my face (thinking good grief are you serious?! I haven't had my first pot of coffee quota for the day and you want a FORMOSA?!) "Um, no sir, we don't carry champagne, but we do have some orange juice."

dude: "Oh, ok, well, ummmm, ok, like... like can I have a... a whiskey and Sprite then?"

me: Still smiling and thinking, (Ok dude, it's 6:30 in the morning, SUNDAY morning for that matter. Have you ever heard of intervention?) I look at my watch, still smiling and ask, "Really?"

dude: totally oblivious to my shock and awe of this request, "Uh, yeah, that would be cool."

me: "Ok, that will be $5." thinking, seriously, he will not want to pay THAT much for a drink this early in the morning.

dude: "Ok, cool." and hands me a $10 and says "keep the change for a tip."

I return his change and politely tell him I am not allowed to take tips. He says, "that sucks" drinks his whiskey and Sprite and is totally happy for the rest of the flight, which BTW takes about 45 minutes total.

This morning again, on another short flight out of Des Moines, we were sitting on the runway waiting out some bad weather before we could take off and the customer call light comes on. I get out of my seat and make my way quickly to the passenger. (I am thinking, ooops! someone is sick.)

me: "Sir, is there something I can help you with?"

guy: He has cash in his hands and asks, " Uh, yeah. Can I get a gin & tonic please?"

me: Looking at him with my fake, "you have got to be kidding" smile, I politely say, "I am sorry sir, but we could be cleared for take off at any moment. We don't do a beverage service until we are inflight and then it will be water, coffee & juice only. At this point it will be unlikely we do one at all because of the bad weather and turbulence."

guy: Looks confused, disappointed, already intoxicated because I could smell it on him, puts his money back in his pocket and says ok.

We were sitting out there for a long time, and yes, he rang for me again and asked if he could get a drink. I reminded him we were on the runway and, no, I could not get him a drink. He then asked for some pop. (I am southern and we say "coke") I told him I could not get him a soda either but would see about getting him a cup of water.

My thought for the day?

Time flies and knows no boundaries when it comes to alcohol and apparently it is never too early for a drink.

Bye for today, or should I say CHEERS!


Friday, June 6, 2008

Pop Culture Testosterone & Getting Older

I have my computer set up in a corner of my kitchen by a window and I can look out to see the trees blowing in the wind and the clouds roll by. The sounds of Rocky 4 are playing in the background and my boys are experiencing all of the wonders of pugilism and the testosterone is at work.

Seems funny that my boys are getting into these movies that are what? 20 years old at least? The Rocky movies are definitely a blast from the past, but what I find interesting is that what was old is new for the next generation. So many POP Culture references are used in Family Guy, (I personally don't like Family Guy) Youtube, Weird Al, etc. and our kids are experiencing these things from a different perspective and LOVING it! It's wild. I don't know whether to feel old, or strangely refreshed and young again. I do have to say though, it is a chance for them to catch a glimpse of my generation and understand me better.

Getting Older Sucks....
I had to go for my yearly physical yesterday and when the doc asked me how I was doing, I honestly felt old. I told him, "I wake up and I hurt in places that never use to hurt. I play trombone when reading and my arms are beginning to not be long enough. My metabolism has not just slowed down but has come to a screeching halt. Getting older sucks." He laughed and agreed, but that was little consolation to me. He put me on a diet and meds for my weight, ran some bloodwork and sent me on my way with a "oh, and BTW, it is time for you to have a mammogram." He handed me a name & number for the clinic he prefers, "because they don't hurt you like some of the others. " and I was on my way. The thought have having my breasts smashed and poked (wasn't it bad enough to have to lay there and have the doc do it?) isn't my idea of a good time. Getting older really does suck.

Another Day Another Dollar...
I am on reserve today (which means I am on call) so I have my makeup on, bags packed and by the door in case crew scheduling calls me in to work. I had my uniform dry cleaned yesterday. So, if I get called in to fly, all I have to do is get dressed and go. I am not at liberty to tell ya'll who I work for, but I am a Flight Attendant on a small commuter line of air crafts. I went away for 3 1/2 weeks for training, which was gruelling. I don't think I have been pushed that hard or had so much homework and tests to take as I did in that time. I came home, did some training flights and got cleared to start working. Now it is where the rubber meets the road...or maybe I should say, the plane meets the sky. I have been working for a couple of weeks now and can honestly say, I am not sure I altogether like this job. I love meeting the people on the planes, the pilots are really great to work with, the other FA's are very sweet, but it's the staying overnight in strange hotels (have I got some stories about that!) being gone for 2, 3, 4 even 6 days at a time and living out of suit case.

I knew it would not be a glamour job, I had a very clear understanding of that. I am just seeing that my kids are really needing me at home and truthfully? I need my kids, I MISS my kids, I miss being home at night, and sleeping in my own bed. I have invested a lot of time in training and money to get this job and I am going to keep working until something else comes along.

I am discovering that you can't paint yourself into a hole when it comes to jobs. Now, I don't think that people who have a new job everytime they turn around is so good either, or like your crazy, good for nothing, cousin's brother in law that can't hold down a job for more than 6 weeks at a time because he didn't like the boss, work or whatever. I have learned a lot about myself from this experience. Like, I am pretty smart, I can work under pressure, I am great with people, I am more confident in myself and my abilities. I also have learned, I REALLY don't like stress and this job has more than its share. I won't go into everything right now, but I'm sure we can all agree, anytime you work with the public in a high profile travel industry like Air Travel...THERE WILL BE STRESS. (hey, that sounds like a movie title...I should write a script!)

I have put in applications for some other jobs and am waiting to hear back from them. Right now, I get paid only for what I work ( that means from the time we take off, to the time we touch down, + per diem, which is not that me). You work holidays, weekends, your birthday, your wedding anniversary, your kids also never know when you will get called to go and fly. You can't really plan for anything and can never get too far away from the house. You are constantly checking your phone, your caller ID, your messages. I don't like it and I always thought of myself as a "fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal " but maybe it is because I like having my freedom to do what I want. Maybe I like to be able to plan things better...I don't know, I can't put my finger on it, but I am sure I will figure it out sooner or later.

I did put in an application for a job that would be a "normal" 40 hours a week job, with less pay, BUT I would make more money because I would have more hours. It would be regular 10 - 6 hours (kind of like when I owned the shop), 20 minutes from home, (I can sleep in my own bed every night and come home to my kids), get government holidays off AND be able to take my kids to work with me a couple of days out of the week. That would be a plus considering we home school. I also can see some potential for growth, maybe even make a job or niche for myself. If they call, I will take it. The kids are thrilled, but I just can't see myself being a FA for the next 10 - 20 years. Usually, there is little chance for advancement and even though I am doing great for new hire and am getting good marks, it doesn't increase your paycheck. I feel kind of fickle about it all but can't help but think how this whole FA job has been hard on the kids...they are very supportive and realize that I have no choice but to work right now, but being away from them for as long as I am, is not good. I am just lucky to have a job right now so in the immortal words of Forest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."

I need to close out today's post and to me that is the hardest thing about blogging (or any writing for that matter), when, where and how to stop writing. But hey, that is the story of my is what it is.