flightmum











So, it’s been almost six months since I blogged. I just ran out of time for this activity. I had a choice to either spend what little spare time I had to blog after the kids went to bed, or to do laundry. After a few days of the kids running around buck naked, I knew I had to return to becoming a dazzling laundress instead of a famous blogger. But I had hoped that I’d come back to writing again eventually because I enjoy composing (I hope) witty and thought provoking words and, well, gosh darn it,  I like the attention of my followers.  Plus, my aunt told me that she likes reading my stories and that I am talented. Thanks,  Auntie.

So, I am back. Not sure what kind of schedule I will keep. Might write again tomorrow or in six months time. Who knows. We shall see.

To the meat of my blog:

I flew with a husband and wife team. They were so adorable.  They buddy bid to fly together on as many flights as possible.  Their children have grown up and moved away and they are a few years away from retirement. They drive in to work together and bid to fly to fabulous destinations with long layovers. Essentially,  they are getting paid to have several mini holidays together every month. This month alone,  they have ‘vacationed’ in Santiago and Bejing.

When their daughters were younger,  they would choose to work opposite shifts so someone was always home with the girls.  They did this for many years.  Working opposite days could really take a toll on a marriage.  It’s a gamble and doesn’t always turn out for the best. Look at all those movie stars married to each other, who take turns going away on set and making films while the other stays home with the kids. Conscious uncoupling, I tell you. Otherwise known as Splitsville. See, same could happen to the flight attendant power couples, except for the three million dollar paychecks.

I know another airline couple who decided to work opposites to raise their kids. Well, eventually they got used to their own time alone with the children and didn’t know how to be a couple anymore. Now, they still bid opposites, but the kids live with mum half the week while dad flies and vice versa.

Anyway, back to the love birds, they were so sweet and still very much in love after all these years. They were a pleasure to work with. They shared their stories with me about their doctor and pilot daughters. Ironically, their life story goes as follows: two flights attendants met, married and had two daughters. One daughter became a doctor and married another doctor. The other one became a pilot and married another pilot! Maybe that is the secret of a strong marriage…marrying someone with the same profession as you,  as they will be very understanding of your job constraints and the unusual hours you work.

Perhaps it’s true: Birds of a feather flock together. 

 

 

Advertisements


{April 8, 2013}   Freedom Flight

As a mum, it goes without saying that my kids (especially when they were young), preferred me to do things for them or sit next to them. As opposed to their father.  My younger kids constantly fought over who got to sit next to mum at dinner time. When they woke up in the morning, they’d crowd me in bed while my husband had half the bed to himself. I’d tend to have two children sandwiched around me and one child with the coveted position of lying ON me. Their dad is a good sport about all this. He knows the kids love him immensely.

I don’t know if the kids gravitate towards me because of the mother/child bond OR because of the irregular hours I work. They never know when I will be available to kiss them good morning or tuck them in at night. Their dad always had more regular hours.

Anyway, no complaints.  I am very lucky. 

Many years ago,  my husband and I and our two boys were trying to fly home on standby. (Our daughter was just a figment of our imagination). The passenger agents called our name but said she only had 2 seats available and did we want to take them? We only needed 3 seats as our youngest was 18 months and would have been lap held. I asked if I could sit in the flight deck and she replied with an affirmative. My husband and I discussed the different options.  Basically,  we could pass on the seats and wait half the day in the airport for the next flight.  Or, I could sit in the flight deck while my sweetie sat with our 3 year old and a laptop held 18 month old for a five hour flight. It was a no-brainer. Ha ha.

We decided to go for it and boarded the aircraft. There were some tears as I headed left towards the cockpit and the kids and husband went right towards their seats. My husband gave me a brave smile and off they went.

I strapped myself into the jumpseat and waited for take-off. Once airborne,  I explained to the pilots that my husband and young sons were stuck in the back, while I got to have adult conversation.  We all had a good chuckle. All of a sudden,  I had a drink and a newspaper in my hands. It was a very relaxing and carefree flight…one I wouldn’t have had in the back of the aircraft with two little boys vying for my attention. It was a shame about being separated…but that is the sacrifice I made for my family that day. You’re welcome.



{April 7, 2013}   Fight Club

What happens at flight club, stays at flight club. 

I worked a turn around flight to the Dominican Republic the other day and boy, was that one a doozy!

I don’t want to sound like a snob, but I will anyway.  The cheap all-inclusive price tag attracts the low class passengers.  (i.e. trailer park) 

Wow! So much happened on that flight, I don’t even know where to begin. 

During boarding,  we packed in over 130 passengers into their sardine-like seats. There wasn’t an empty seat to be had. There was a mix of people: couples,  families,  locals and also a wedding party consisting of around 30 or so guests.

After take-off, we went through the aisle with food and drinks.  As expected,  the service took longer than usual as people were drinking heavily. About half way through the cabin, we experienced some minor turbulence. A woman grabbed me and asked me what’s going on. I explained that it was simply normal bumps and it was nothing to worry about. She looked at me suspiciously and said: You know something! And you are not telling me. What do you know? 

I tried to assure her that she was safe but I don’t think she was buying it. We managed to finish the service before the really bad turbulence started and the pilots asked the flight attendants to sit down.  As I headed to my jumpseat,  I saw a look of terror on that poor woman’s face.  Later, another passenger offered her a prescription pill (perhaps Valium), and she was quite alright for the rest of the flight. Passengers were requesting more drinks as I was bouncing around the cabin heading towards the safety of my seat. I told them all that I’d be back. 

After about 20 minutes, the turbulence subsided and off I went, trying to find my passengers with their drink orders. Of course, on these  kind of flights,  it’s impossible to venture into the cabin without getting even more drink orders. So, there I was racing around the aircraft like a chicken with its head cut off. A passenger asked me for two cups filled with ice, which always makes me suspicious of them. Are they drinking their own alcohol?

I casualty mentioned that it is against aviation law to drink your own alcohol onboard and he could get arrested upon arrival. I then asked him if he still wanted two glasses of ice. He replied with a simple, “No”.

As I was mixing yet another Caesar, a passenger in the first row shouted to me to come. “What seems to be the problem?” I inquired. The passengers that summoned my attention, were a couple sitting in the window and middle seats who were unlike any of the other peeps onboard. They were well dressed and she was wearing pearls, for goodness sake! The woman gestured to the man sitting in the aisle seat and said, “That man is being extremely rude!”. Rude man answered,”I simply asked them to close the window shade as the sun is shining right in my eyes.” It went on and on about the way it was asked and why didn’t you, rude man,switch seats with your wife, etc, with me trying to play mediator. I suggested the window passenger close the shade and use the reading light instead. He replied with, “I need natural light to read by” Obviously, I wasn’t going to get a solution satisfactory to both parties, and I couldn’t exactly give them a time out, although I was really tempted! I used my best patient mother voice and said,” I have no empty seats to move you. We have two hours left in the flight to get along. Do you think we can all just get along for two more hours?” They nodded slowly like little kids that just got in trouble. Disaster averted…

I had to make announcements asking passengers to please keep the aisles free and refrain from asking for drinks as we would be out in the cabin for a second service. Otherwise, it would have been never ending.

As promised, we were out once again to offer drinks and food. But nobody was interested in food this time. We had to hussle because we had less than an hour left in the flight. One of the flight attendants came upon two men sitting one row apart, ready to duke it out. Apparently, the guy sitting in the seat in front of the other guy was by then sick of the BIG guy in back of him knocking into his seat the whole time. There was a lot of,”What’s your problem?”. Followed by the BIG guy replying with, “I have my baby on my lap. What’s wrong with YOU?” Of course, this argument was fueled by many a drinks consumed. The flight attendant was pretty sure fists were about to fly. She switched the seats of the passenger who had been drinking his own alcohol with the ‘What’s your problem’ passenger. Once again, everyone scathed unharmed.

Nobody was more happy to land then the flight attendants even though we were not laying over. Back in the day, passengers used to clap when we landed. You never see that anymore except Clap Clap. They clapped. Figures.

Upon deplaning, my snooty couple were still bickering with the sun in eyes passenger. “Excuse me! Can you move? I am TRYING to get my bag!”

Finally, everyone was off except the ‘What’s your problem?’ passenger and the couple with the baby. It looked like he was waiting for them to continue where it had left off. The flight attendant and I looked at each other and sprung into action. “Where are your carry-on bags, sir?” We got them for him and ushered him off the plane.

I promised the crew, that the next flight wouldn’t be as challenging as the last, especially since we had ran out of beer and vodka. Passengers would be tired from a weeks worth of drinking and sun worshipping.

Halfway through, the first service for these new passengers, I heard a woman shout to the woman right in front of her,”Excuse me. Could you NOT recline your seat?!” Oh oh, I thought. Here we go again! But, the other woman replied softly,” I have the right to recline my seat”, but then put her seat back to the normal upright position. Ah, no drunken testosterone to deal with. Phew!



{March 22, 2013}   The book of vomit.

It’s been seven days since my last blog. Forgive Father for I have sinned. Psych. What can I say?…life has been busier than usual. Our children’s nanny is away on her yearly holiday, which equates to a very busy momma.

As of last week,  all of my (ya right) spare time has been devoted, unfortunately, not to blogging, but to  trying to finish my non-fiction book for my monthly book club meeting. Or as my husband calls it, “Nerd club” (he’s just jealous). Well, my efforts turned out to be fruitless as it was the first time I ever came to book club without finishing the assigned book. I hold my head down in shame. Forgive me!

Of course, when our extra set of hands is away on vacation, my whole family becomes sick with the stomach flu.  I know that previously I had written about how amazing I thought our body was and how cool it is that the vomitus centre knows when we are going to be sick. Well, I’ve had a change of heart. No two ways about it, puking sucks. There is nothing cool or interesting about the act of puking.

Since I was last sick, my oldest son also joined the vomiting party. Then, my daughter decided to give a repeat performance in the upchucking show. Twice. I have been up to my elbows in changing pukey bed sheets and laundry galore. Not cool!

As I write this, I feel queasy. Oh oh. Here we go again! But, is that my vomitus centre warning me about an impending puking session or am I just having phantom stomach pains. Time will tell. Stay tuned…ha ha. 



{March 12, 2013}   March Madness

Last month, my mum invited the kids and I to come visit her during our spring break when the kids would be off school. Talked it over with the hubby, and we decided it was a good idea, even though he had to stay behind and work. 

Since we exclusively fly standby (get on the plane only IF there are empty seats available),  I tried to pick a time and date to travel that OTHER passengers wouldn’t necessarily want to travel. I picked the Sunday right after school ended as I had to work around my boys’ hockey games. Big mistake!  Every province has their spring break during different weeks. So, even though most people going on holidays would probably have gone away already, Sunday was a BUSY travel day, because a whole other province was rushing home after their week off!

The flights looked terrible and were oversold for the whole day, but, I decided to go for it anyway.  I figured, other passengers might misconnect their flights and we might get lucky. After all, SO MANY of my flights that I work are forecasted to be full, but we end up having empty seats. You never know!

After hockey, off we went to the airport with fingers crossed and lots of snacks, books and electronics. We missed the first flight. No problem.  Off we went to sit at the next gate. No luck. I felt good about the third flight as it was a much bigger aircraft.  When we didn’t get on, I heard the gate agents saying that NO  (cons) employees got on that flight except the two that sat in the flight deck.  Didn’t get on the next flight either.  Started to get nervous. The thought of being at the airport (again) for twelve hours by myself with 3 children for a one hour flight, mind you, did not really appeal to me…let’s be honest.

Thankfully,  the children were well behaved.  Perhaps they saw my crazy look and knew that they better not upset mummy, or else there would be he’ll to pay.

As we were walking to our NEXT gate, a man stopped me and said that I was very brave to be flying standby with three young children.  I agree and added, ‘or perhaps stupid’. Anyway,  off we went and waited once again for our names to be called. My kids were starting to get a little antsy by now. Who could blame them?  I was too. When I approached the gate agent once again and inquired about whether he thought we had any hope of getting on his flight, he rudely answered: No cons are getting on. That was it for me. I was tired. I wanted to go home.

I broke the news to the kids, but mentioned that we’d try again the next morning. Perhaps the flights would be better.

When I got home, I checked the flights to my destination for the next day, and they were just as bad. I called my mum and explained the situation.  I couldn’t stomach spending the whole day in the airport again, so we brainstormed and came up with the idea that I’d wake up early and drive the 5 hours to her home (10 hours round trip with a 9,7 and 4 year old. Gulp). 

In the end, I got some kind of virus and ended up throwing up all night long instead, so that killed that plan. But, I did fly out of the small downtown airport and finally made it to grandma’s 24 hours late. 

 

 



et cetera