We got a note in the agenda to meet our middle son C ‘s teacher.  Uh oh! Six weeks into the school year and it’s time to face the music.  Last year,  however,  in grade 1, we got called in to see the teacher at week 3 and week 5, so perhaps things are looking up! This year’s teacher tells us that our son fidgets,can’t sit still and hits others.  Hmm…not all bad?! But, his teacher says that his son also does the same and he also got called in to see his child’s teacher.  I really like this teacher.  My oldest son, H had him two years ago. The teacher said H was a perfect student in his eyes.  Thankfully,  he realizes that my two sons are individuals and he does not expect them to be the same.  If he did, we’d be screwed!  C. has big shoes to fill. C. gets caught up with ‘the bad kids’ and does not know how to control himself. The teacher’s mantra is: Don’t be a sheep. Be a Sheppard. Baaah!


{October 28, 2012}   Flight to Nowhere

My son H and I had a wonderful time at the family wedding, especially when the cake toppled over!  We got on the flight to attend the wedding ok. All we needed was for the return flight to pan out.  We headed to the airport and waited for them to call our names.  The flight was tight.  We needed one person to no show to get on. Hello? Is there a traffic jam available?  After a while,  our names were called.  Hooray!  Piece of cake!  Everything worked out.  We headed to security to wait our turn.  Ten minutes later, we were paged over the intercom to go back to the check in counter. Crap! That can’t be good! We headed back and the passenger agent said : I am sorry but an employee with more seniority than you arrived and I had to give them your seats. Oh man! How am I going to get out of here?  Fortunately,  because of my last stand-by experience, I had prepared myself with zed fares on other airlines.  I needed to find flights with open seats on both flight legs to get home.  I had five available options.

After visiting three different airline counters, I was running out of options. All the flights out of here were full or oversold.  I felt desperate and discouraged. I went to my last chance airline and tried to check into the flight on their kiosk. No matter what info I put in,  it did not work. I asked a passenger agent to help me as the time was ticking. The flight was to leave in 45 minutes. She suggested I try putting my name in the computer.  As I was about to explain to her that I already tried that, she was gone. I guess it was break time.  What am I going to do?  I felt like I was letting my son down. 

I went to see the business class agent and asked him to help me while I tried to fight back tears.  I needed a moment.  He was very kind.  He said it was going to be close, but he thinks we might get on the flight.  Hooray! That was the best news I heard all day. And it was only 1 pm. 

We headed to the gate and nervously awaited to hear our names.  Finally,  after what seemed like an eternity,  we did.  It was sweet music to my ears.  Like winning the airplane lottery. And, we were even sitting together!  The agent handed me my boarding card and broke my heart in one full swoop.  She said that the flight was full and we were going to have to check my carry on bags. I told her that if she checked my bags, I’d miss my connecting flight to my home town. She didn’t care.  She said I had no choice.  I either check my bags or I don’t get on.  Back to heart palpitations. When I got to the aircraft door, I explained the situation   to the flight attendant and he was much more sympathetic. Some pillows were moved in the overhead bin and a bag was pushed to the side and our two suitcases fit. Okay! We were back in business!  Having kind and caring employees makes a world of difference.  In the end,  my son and I arrived home four hours later than planned.  It’s all part of the adventure…

When standby travel works out, it’s awesome! As airline employees,  we get to travel relatively inexpensively and get unlimited travel for ourselves,  our spouses, children and parents. Sounds pretty sweet,  right?  Sometimes we even get upgraded.  But when something goes wrong, it is dreadful.

We were invited to an out of town family wedding and my whole family was planning on attending: myself,  my husband and my three children. But, as that weekend approached,  the flight was getting fuller and fuller. In the end,  my husband and I decided that just myself and our oldest son, H, would go,  as then we would only need two empty plane seats instead of five.

Frankly, we were traumatized from the last time we tried to get away for a few days.  We had jumped on a plane to visit my brother and his family.  In fact,  we got the last five seats on the flight and my daughter, D and I got to sit in first class! Now that’s the way to travel! On the way home,  we missed the first flight to our city, as the flight was full. No problem. There were 3 more flights that day. The next flight had a mechanical problem as one of the airplane instruments was broken. The airplane was to be grounded until the next morning. Oh no!  Now we are in trouble!  All the empty seats that day were going to be filled up by all those passengers from the canceled flight. We were never going to get out of here!  And I had to work the next day!  I made a quick decision to fly to a different city,  and from there,  try to fly home. Fortunately,  once again,  we got the last 5 seats on the flight.

When we landed at that alternate city, we were pretty confident we’d get out as there was a flight almost every hour to our home town. We started standing-by at 5 pm. Every flight,  we impatiently waited to hear our names called, as to indicate that we got on the flight. But, it wasn’t to be. They were all full.  By 10 pm, my children were fast asleep on the plastic airport seats. By midnight,  we had to bunker down and hope we’d make it on the 6 am flight the next morning. By this time,  my husband was not talking to me as he was angry that I did not purchase discounted tickets on other airlines,  called zed fares, before we started on our trip, as that has to get organized before you travel.

I looked at my 3 children uncomfortably sleeping,  draped a sundress on them,  as I had no blankets,  and decided to try to get some shut eye. As I was relocating my valuables,  I noticed I only had 4 passports instead of 5. Somehow,  I lost my daughter’s passport!  Now, my husband is even more angry.  I retraced my steps and tried to find it, to no avail. I think I might have slept 45 minutes that night.

The 6:00 am flight was full.  If I did not make it on,  I would miss work that day.  I decided to ask to sit in the flight deck, as I am a flight attendant,  I am allowed to.  I kissed my family good-bye,  promised them they’d be leaving soon too and off I went.

Once I landed,  I drove home,  showered,  put my uniform on,  and drove back to the airport.  Meanwhile,  my family still had not made it on a flight home. I had left my husband to wander around an airport all day with 3 young children.  Boy, did I feel bad!  I headed to the plane to work my turn around flight.  When I arrived back home at 11:00 pm, I called my husband,  hoping that he was enroute to home.  But, he was still at the other airport.  He told me that he’d probably get on the next flight,  which he did.

Next morning at 5 am, the family landed. As I went to the airport to pick them up, I kept my lawyer’s number on speed dial,  in case I needed it. So, you can see why my husband was reluctant to go to the wedding with me!

{October 22, 2012}   Rest in peace, Amanda Todd

It is so sad that Amanda Todd, the teenager from British Columbia, took her own life after she was relentlessly bullied. I totally get it. I remember being a teenager and how in the present I felt. It was hard to look past the teasing and name calling.  But, I knew in my heart of hearts that I just had to get past this, and adulthood would be much better. You do escape, but not unscathed. It does affect you for your entire life.

I wish Amanda knew to believe that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Some actresses did some nude shots that they later regretted.

If there is at least one positive that came out of her YouTube video, it is that we are openly talking about bullying and the repercussions that come out of it. We are talking and we are not forgetting. Nobody can afford to look away anymore when bullying is going on. If our youth is getting bullied, it is all of our problems.

Rest in peace, Amanda. I wish you were alive to see the difference you are making in people’s lives. Both near and far…

{October 18, 2012}   Air Ambulance Chasers

Airline employees are like ambulance chasers. When we fly for pleasure, we prey on the misfortunes of others. We fly standby or space available. So, we don’t get a seat on the flight if it is full. We get on over sold flights if there are no-shows. You slept in and missed your flight? That’s great!  Traffic on the highway and now you are late?  Fantastic! Stuck in customs?  Wahoo! Your connecting flight is late?  Thank-you for flying with us!  Better luck next time! Pardon me, but I have a plane to catch.

{October 13, 2012}   Double nanny duty

I was working a flight the other day and you could see this family coming from a mile away. There was a mom,dad,an almost 2 year old, a 3 month old baby and two nannies. Yes, 2 nannies. All for a one hour flight.  They arrived at the aircraft with their double stroller, double car seats, and double nannies. The dad explained to me that he purchased 6 seats on the aircraft.  Had he left the nannies at home,  he could have only purchased 2 seats with each of the babies on the parents’ laps. I guess some people have way too much money!! The mom looked fabulous with her size two designer clothes. The nannies sat next to the babies during the flight which allowed for the mom to chill and the dad to read a book. Lucky parents.  Parenthood is so exhausting! The almost 2 year old was in the first row of economy and was chatting away quite loudly the whole flight.  The guy right in front of her, in business class kept glancing at her, willing her to shut it. It was quite hilarious to watch. 

et cetera