And a man busted out laughing…

…after we were stuck on a small plane for around 2 hours. No, this doesn’t include the actual flight time, which was about 90 minutes more.

Being stuck on an aircraft on the taxiway isn’t fun for anyone involved. Yesterday, on a full 50-passenger aircraft, we were stuck in a holding pattern on the ground because of the weather. Nothing could take off until a new reroute was established.

For me, it’s a stressful thing when this happens. Really, it’s no one’s fault when these events take place, but you still worry that someone is going to lash out. Food seems to help. So does liquor, but there’s never enough to go around in those situations. Besides, giving away all of the alcohol is ill-advised.

The best thing I could do was smile; that was about the only defense I had. I had a smile, some pretzels, water (which was quickly depleted when I did the water service), and some cookies. It wasn’t much, but it seemed to placate people insomuch as food can. Captain made an announcement at regular intervals to update the passengers and I, even if he didn’t have much to tell us. I’ve found that if people at least know what’s going on (even if nothing new has transpired), they stay pretty calm and remain understanding.

Before said announcements, he would call me on the interphone to check on me, and keep me updated before informing passengers of the situation. “Keep smiling!” he would say cheerfully before hanging up. He has no idea how much that helped keep me going.

After about 2 hours on the ground (and like 2 rounds of snacks, including the special delay snack. oy…), we got our route and were ready for takeoff. I was ready for a nap and wanted to be off the airplane… but stewardess life is much like the life of an actor: the show must go on.

The flight proceeded just as any other flight, with me doing a service. I would’ve loved to hide in a corner, but I also wanted to see how folks were faring. Besides, they may have wanted something more than water. It turns out that they did; I sold a crazy amount of alcohol! I haven’t beat my personal best yet, but it got close. As I approached two gentlemen sitting together, one of them did ask for a beverage. “I’m fine, please”, the other replied. Then he quickly corrected himself and said “I’m fine, thank you.”

…and he laughed. It was a big, hearty, tension-breaking laugh. I could feel the atmosphere in the plane change when he did that, and it certainly shifted my mood and feelings. To be able to laugh after such an ordeal was a blessing to me, and I’m sure to those that heard him. I even laughed with him.

Those were among the nicest group of passengers I’ve had the pleasure to serve, and moments like that are why I love my job and what keeps me going on hard days. When we finally landed in Indianapolis, IN and everyone got off, we the crew were blessed with smiles and “thank yous”. The more memorable ones were “Thank you for taking care of us”, and the last passenger that got off told me I had a great smile. There were two more flights to work, and they were back-to-back so that we could catch up, but that flight helped me carry on.

The man that laughed also gave his thanks, and walked off the plane, onto the jetway, and out of sight.

Travel 101

‘Tis the season to be traveling, apparently. With Thanksgiving being the most traveled day and Christmas being the second, that’s a lot of passengers with baggage, miles accrued, and flashbacks to summer for flight crews (let’s not speak of it).

Whether you’re a veteran globetrotter, an annual traveler or somewhere in between, these tips should help you get from Point A to B with minimal stress and most of your hair. Being a stewardess for a year has helped me to improve my travel game. Although I have traveled in the past, doing it as a profession brought finesse.

  1. Keep your seatbelt visible. I know you’re anxious to find your seat and get that nap in, but please keep your seatbelt visible to the flight attendants. We do actually have to visually confirm that it’s on. If we can’t see it, you will be awakened from your slumber. It’s uncomfortable for all parties to do this, so keep the seatbelt where it can be seen. If you need a blanket, fasten the seatbelt over it. And for pity’s sake, fasten it properly; it’s for your safety!
  2. Pack light, then take something else out. Do you need to take your personal hair dryer, or a 4th pair of shoes? Packing is spelled PRIORITIZE. If you don’t desire to check any luggage, choose your carry on wisely. Yes, it may be a standard sized carry on, but suppose you’re on an aircraft that’s too small for roller boards (that, by the way, is over stuffed)? Or what if your flight is full, you’re towards the back of the line, and carry ons end up being checked? It happens! If you can’t bear the idea of checking a carry on, be prepared for this. Pack no more than is absolutely necessary, and rethink what you consider a necessity. Medication, identification, wallets, and things that cannot go underneath the plane should not go in a carry on in case it needs to be checked. Duffel bags have gotten nicer in recent years… consider this as an option. Most can usually go in the cabin under the seat.
  3. NEVER BOOK TIGHT CONNECTIONS. Okay folks, this one is important for a number of reasons, all of which are summed up thusly: it’s stressful. When booking a flight, look at the time you’ll have to make a connection. Allow 2-3 hours (yes, hours) between if you can. Flights get delayed more often than you think they do. PLEASE allow yourself time to make your connecting flight. This saves people from being screamed at that have no control over the many things that can delay a flight. This is something you can actually control.
  4. Be kind and considerate to all of the workers. From bag checkers, ticketing and TSA agents, flight attendants, customer service agents… keep in mind that these people are here to assist you to your destination. Because folks want to travel during the holidays, they forfeit time with their families to make that possible for you. Cursing them out will not help you reach your destination any faster, though you might get to visit with airport security. Follow their directions, be kind, and use your best manners, even if you’re stressed out. You can do it; I have faith in you. Added bonus: if you’re nice to us, we’ll be sure to look out for you.
  5. Watch and talk to fellow passengers. Put the phone/tablet down. Yes, put it down… and observe. Being a stewardess and watching people has helped me be able to pick out the clueless traveler from the road warrior. Your road warriors (individuals that feel most at home in airplanes and hotels) know a thing or two about how to travel; glean from them.
  6. Relax and enjoy. Travel is tiring! I can’t totally blame folks that get grouchy, especially if you don’t travel much and things don’t go as planned. Even beyond travel, life doesn’t go as planned sometimes! When it doesn’t, try to look at the positives. You never know what dangers are being avoided by your being delayed, or what fun detour you may find during the journey. Pause, Breathe, and look at the situation anew. Be sure to wind down at some point with hot tea and cat videos on YouTube. That’s what I do sometimes.

Enjoy this holiday season wherever you find yourself, and safe travels.

Seasons Greetings from your friendly neighborhood stewardess.

One Became Four

“Go through the door, down the steps, and it’s the second door on the left”, he said.

“Got it”, I replied.

I came out and informed the flight attendant that I tripped on a crooked step. He made sure I was okay, then vowed to fix the stair himself with duct tape.

Mind you, this conversation concerned the lavatory on an airplane. This is what air stewards do.

This is Day 3 of a 4-day trip that was only supposed to be a 1-day trip. Thank God that I had prepared myself with the right amount of food this time; my bank account would not have been able to support me on one day, let alone 4.

  • Day 1: I worked a long behind round trip from Philly to Memphis, then back to Philly. I received a call from scheduling, telling me that I needed to catch a ride to Washington DC, then work a flight to White Plains, NY. Apparently, I missed a call telling me not to catch the ride. Needless to say, I stayed the night in White Plains. It was a short overnight.
  • Day 2: Worked a flight from White Plains early in the morn to go back to Washington DC. I caught a ride to Charlotte, where there were 2 pilots that needed a flight attendant. I had a bacon cheeseburger & fries at around 8:30am (winning!), then slipped into a food coma on the ride from DC to Charlotte, NC. Worked a flight from Charlotte to Columbia, SC. Very short flight. I had complimentary cookies at the hotel, and got a crazy look when I asked the restaurant staff for bread. I had run out of sandwich bread, thinking that I was only going to be gone for 2 days. It had been stretched into 3 by this point.
  • Day 3 (today): woke up this morning and checked my schedule. My 3-day was sprinkled with pixie dust, thus magically turning it into a 4-day trip. Last day is tomorrow, for sure. It’s my last day of reserve (on call). I’ll be home for real, but not before an early start and a grueling work day. Today wasn’t bad at all, but tomorrow is 5 flights, and I gotta catch a ride home from DC to Philly. Today, I worked 3 flights, and caught a ride to Cleveland, OH.

In truth, I don’t mind long trips away from home; when I actually am home, I feel dysfunctional. I don’t know what to do other than eat and sleep, and avoid doing chores. Oddly enough, I can settle into a routine very easily when I’m on-the-go. Being away from home often is almost normal to me, like I was created to live that way. It really isn’t for everyone.

Now I must try my best to sleep, as I’ll have to wake up at 4am tomorrow. Hopefully, the coffee maker works because I suffered today. Usually, I’ll have 1/2 a cup if I feel droopy, but the coffeemaker had other plans today… like to take a vacation and not let me know about it. These things must pass through me; we’re supposed to work together, after all!

I’m kind of glad that I’ll be home tomorrow; food supplies were running low, and my bank account mocks me with low funds.

All I can do is laugh and pray that this, too, shall pass. Thank goodness for fellow flight attendants because no one knows the struggle like they do. One of them that I met today has been doing this 3o years as a part time career. Both were fun guys, and it was a joy to be on their flight.

No Place Like Home

I sit outside on a beautifully warm Monday in what is this writer’s natural habitat: Starbucks.

With a notebook and paper in front of me (I know, how retro of me!), I casually sip my black iced coffee with a shot of espresso, and lose myself whilst pondering. A cute guy sitting across from me interrupts my thoughts. I know I should make an excuse to talk to him, but I know me: I’ll give a coy glance here and there, but won’t actually speak to him. Having a way with words only translates on paper, not in audible speech.

This is where it all began; most of those early blogs were written here. Now that I can write them from hotels in different states, I find myself missing the inspiration that came from Starbucks. Not just any Starbucks, though. MY Starbucks. I know the staff and they know me; I even went on a date with one of the workers. It didn’t work out, but I still think he’s delicious.

The more I sit here and think about it, the more appreciation for my domicile builds. Being away so much has made me embrace and enjoy being home all the more.

I sit sideways in the chair with my leg swinging off the arm, enjoying the breeze that rustles through the trees. The canopy of leaves provides shade where I sit, and cars zip hastily by as I enjoy my moment of repose. Memories of talking with girlfriends eke into my consciousness, and nostalgia takes hold. Now I get why some people nest in certain places and don’t leave.

Going out and about is great; it makes coming home that much sweeter. There are many different Starbucks stores in the world, but it’s not this store in this place. None of them have the memories that this one does for me. I’ve got a lot of memories here, and I’m not sure that I want to let those go. In fact, I’m eager to start some new ones. Maybe with the same friends, and maybe with different ones.

Other places that I love to hit up at home are:

  • Rita’s Water Ice. The water ice can be bought in pints, and their frozen custard is to die for also. Yeah it’s a chain, but I’ve been living up the street from Rita’s since I was a kid! It’s a seasonal store, but it tastes better that way.
  • Tom Jones Restaurant. This is a diner that’s open 24 hrs. The cinnabon à la mode is my favourite thing. At one point, I was hitting this place up at the end of every work week; I was tired and not trusting myself to cook.
  • Little Anthony’s. A pizza joint close to my heart because I got friendly with the guys working there. Highly recommend their white broccoli pizza & cheese fries.
  • Pinocchio’s. My other favourite pizza joint. Back in the day, an ice cream parlour was attached to it. Now that attached building is where you buy beer. It’s starting to become well known for its beer garden.
  • Iron Hill Brewery. Any place that makes something like brisket fries and the Mahalo Apollo is a place that is hard to stay away from! I was so excited when the latter came back this season. They’re also great with responding to comments on their Instagram page.
  • La Na Thai French Cuisine. This is my favourite thai place mostly because of their lunch specials. A friend introduced me to this place years ago, and I haven’t left. Whether I had little money and no job, or good money and a decent job, I always found myself here. The food is good as is the price. Plus it’s BYOB. What’s not to love? There’s no corking fee of which I’m aware.
  • Linvilla Orchards. There’s a reason that the Twitter name for this wonderful orchard/farmers market is @ilovethatplace. As a kid, I was all about jumping in the giant haystack, the pie, hayrides in the fall, and the corn maze. As an adult… well, I still love the pie. I also now appreciate the farmer’s market. And the cider doughnuts, which they sell all year round.
  • Margaret Kuo’s & Jing Fong. Favourite places for Chinese food take-out. You can also dine in at Margaret’s, while Jing Fong is solely take out. Jing Fong has the best chicken wings I’ve ever bought from a Chinese food place, and they make a vegetable egg roll that I actually prefer over the pork version. That’s definitely saying something!

And Philly. Oh wonderful Philly. That needs its own post. In fact, it has had a few on this blog. I have my haunts there, and am still learning this town.

It’s in my nature to be adventurous, and I desire to explore every corner of this earth that I possibly can; however, home will always be home. Maybe one day I’ll live somewhere else, but while I’m here and when I’m not flying out, I vow to unearth coolness in my town with as much zeal as I do my newest destination.

Peace & love folks; enjoy your week.

#weekendcoffeeshare

Single Girl Adventures

I had a layover where I was actually able to get out and explore my surroundings, and it was one of the coolest layovers that a girl could ever hope to get.

Your girl was running around NYC 3 weeks ago. Yep. Good ol’ New York City. I spent a bit of time in Manhattan, and went to Brooklyn. Besides the fact that it’s New York and that city brings out the adventurer and explorer in me, it also conjured fond memories of the month I spent there nearly two years ago. The creativity, spontaneity and je ne sais quoi that is New York City reminded me of how much I really miss it, and why I yearned to live there. I should visit more often.

I can truly say that I enjoyed myself that weekend. It started with a full face of makeup. Me wanting to use ANY makeup outside of work, let alone a full face (which I don’t even do for work!), is about as rare an occurrence as Haley’s Comet. Having said that, I couldn’t just stay in the house. I put on my favourite dress, and went out.

I ended up going out to dance all by myself, which is something that I don’t like doing despite the fact that I enjoy dancing. It was fun meeting different people, including the couple that paid for my drink when I first walked in. It was also great fun to dance with whomever I wanted.

The things that suck about going by yourself as a single girl?

  • creepers that dance with you and won’t let you go. you can run away, but if you at least have a female friend with you, they rescue you from these fates.
  • those moments when you aren’t actually dancing with someone and wish you were, even if it’s just a female friend. they’re less hands-y.
  • not having someone specifically to share an experience with.

Though I consider myself introverted, I get braver and more adventurous when I go somewhere with friends, even if they aren’t as outspoken as me. In fact, I almost met some friends that night. If I didn’t feel like I “had” to be home, I would’ve went out with some girls I met outside of the club. Alas, this shall have to wait until I get a place. In retrospect, I should’ve gotten their numbers; we could’ve chilled another time. Making friends is hard as an adult; I don’t know what it is!

This single lady put her hands up and danced the night away… and liked it. Here’s to more single girl adventures.

 

In Want Of A Burner

Let’s be real for a moment. Can we take a moment to be honest for a second?

Jetsetting is fun!

Granted, I do it for work, and I mostly explore the East Coast (and a bit of Canada) because I work regional flights… but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a job. I literally have a mobile office! I can be in Detroit in the morning, and in Huntsville, Alabama by evening. In a span of 2-3 hours, I can go to Rhode Island and come right back. AND… if I’m fortunate enough to have time in any of the locales that I visit, I get to explore the area and do my favourite thing: find good places to eat!

This is the life, right? RIGHT?

Well……

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to be land-locked any time soon! It’s just that one thing that gets old for me is eating out. Besides, my stomach doesn’t handle eating out well. The night before Easter and about this time last week, my stomach had been irritated, and I was back and forth between my room and the bathroom for HOURS (I’ll spare you the details. All I’ll say is “both ends”. It wasn’t a good time and I didn’t sleep). I was afraid it was my gall bladder because of how close together the incidents were. Thankfully, according to the doctor, it was not.

Plus, eating out all the time gets to be expensive. Although I do like to eat out at times, it’s mostly to give me inspiration for what I really like to do: cook!

In a hotel, there is precious little that can be heated in a microwave, and even some of your options are limited to what can last 9 hours in a lunch bag without any real refrigeration. Unless you’re going to one special place in a certain location, eating out loses its novelty. I find myself longing for ingredients and a burner over which to combine them and make something delicious.

I know I’ve had this gig for 6 months, but I’m still trying to figure out what to bring when I go away. Nuts, tea, protein bars, instant oatmeal (kind of depressing, but it works in a pinch), sometimes fruit that won’t bruise easily, and the occasional cup of ramen when money is tight seems to be the pattern. It sustains you through a 4-day stretch away from home… and if you’re lucky enough to be near a fast food place, you can grab a quick sandwich to supplement any residual hunger.

The days off have been happy times; the cast iron skillet hits the hob, and I turn the knob for that familiar clicking of the pilot that lights itself. It’s not to say that good meals are scarce on the road, but there’s nothing like cooking for yourself, and assembling things in exactly the fashion that pleases you. Things got so deep at one point that I even missed salad. Yes, salad. It was that serious.

My schedule says I’ll be home tonight, but since I have 3 more on-call days, who knows? I look forward to the next time I can round up some ingredients and enjoy something Rachel-made.

A life-update post is soon to come. A LOT has been going on and is about to happen soon.

Ciao friends!

T’was The Night Before Showtime

My life since about 9pm last night has felt like my stockings: a run-down, to’ up mess.

Today, I was very thankful for my long-sleeved shirt; it covered the very visible scratches on my wrists… stark reminders of last night’s events. There wasn’t much that could be done about the scrapes on my hands, but thankfully, no one pays attention.

Last night was eventful, but not in a desirable way. It involved being out in the cold for hours, blood (literally), and 4 hours of sleep before work. I thank God that scheduling was merciful to me and I only had 3 flights to work; the fatigue made me emotional. Anytime you nearly cry over ripped stockings, quit while and if you can.

All we were supposed to do was get some odds and ends so A (my bestie) could cook Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. After her shift, we planned to: drive to the Walmart that’s open 24 hours, get what we needed, and drive back in plenty of time for me to be able to rest before work, and for her to maybe start baking pies and crash. This is ALL that was supposed to happen.

This is what really happened:

Coming back from Walmart (which had no pie crust), the car started riding strangely and we smelled burning rubber. To our annoyance and dismay, one of the tires was flat… and it decided to go flat on a dark road where it was hard to find a place to pull to the side. There were a couple of houses around and (thankfully) a street light, but there was mostly woods.

Great. Wonderful.

She calls Triple A, who decides to inform her that they weren’t coming out. She had used all of her calls, and they needed money she didn’t have to come out and be of assistance.

Even more wonderful. and it kept getting better.

So then… since I have plenty of experience changing tires because of how many flats I’ve had with my last car, I try to help. While laying on the ground in the dark, I fiddled with the jack from the back of the trunk in an attempt to find proper placement to lift the car. I managed to get the wheel off the ground, and the jack decided to fall and drop the wheel back on the ground. I made another attempt, then quit from frustration and fatigue. Never mix being tired with being determined; the results might be stupid, and efforts will be futile.

We can now cue the blood. I noticed it on the one hand at first, but wasn’t able to see all of the other cuts in the dark. I didn’t receive the pleasure of discovering those until there was suitable lighting available.

Two random gentlemen, two police officers and a relative later, about 2 hours had slipped by. In that time, we managed to: get the car jacked up, remove the nuts, struggle hard with the wheel because it wouldn’t come off the car, and drive to a gas station to put air in the spare tire.

After all of that effort… we STILL couldn’t go anywhere. Why, you might ask?

because within this time, the car battery considered this the opportune time to die. When an attempt was made to jump the car, the end result was melted jumper cables and smoke… and the car still didn’t start. I’ve never seen jumper cables melt, and I pray to never see it again. It was at this time that a line was drawn, and we called it quits until morning.

I jumped in the driver’s seat in my friend’s dad’s car, and drove myself home rather than try to explain to people how to get me home. From our location, getting to my house would normally take 15-20 minutes. I was pulling into my driveway in 13.

Somehow, I managed to get 4 hours of sleep. I got to the airport much later than I wanted to, ran through the airport to clock in on time, and struggled with putting my bag away. I’ve never had that problem. It actually ended up being stuck at our final destination, and I had to get help to extract it from where it was stowed. This is the first time this happened, and it would happen today. Of all days.

I got coffee even though I shouldn’t have; it makes me jittery. The end result is akin to a small child on a sugar high. I tend to get dropsies when I’m that jittery, and boy did I have it bad! It also didn’t agree with me to have coffee that early, so my stomach was rumbling in the worst way. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I got a very large and visible run in my stockings, and a big hole in the back near the butt which I discovered later. AND… because I decided to wash all of my stockings, I had no other pairs.

yep… it was such a wonderful day. right now, I’m so grateful to be in the hotel where I can get some sleep! I won’t have much food, but I shan’t complain. I’ll sip some tea, take a nice warm bath, and call it a night. I hope y’all have a better Thanksgiving than I did.

Just don’t tell my mom all of this; she just might kill me for trying to be a mechanic in the dark. I know I’m 31, but it makes no difference to her.