Monthly Archives: July 2008

Oops! They’ve Done it Again

So, on with the crappy bit of work here. Three round-trips to Haiti last week tuckered me out for days, but bad weather meant we picked up so much time that I fulfilled my monthly obligation for work. I sure am glad for a week off now – I need it! Three of those trips in a row was a bit of a mistake on my part. I think it was too much for my still struggling sore chest muscle, but I made it through.

I’ve one more month of whine-time. August is my reserve month, and as if the gods were DARING me to think it could be any worse, I got denied ALL the days off I asked for because they “had French speaker schedules to cover”. I don’t get to go to Niagra Falls with Del and his visiting brother. I don’t get to go to see my father for his birthday. Mind you, when it comes to a reserve schedule, a French schedule is no different than a non-French one. We’re all  a bunch of bodies on a list and they call whomever they want for whatever trip. If scheduling actually respected the fact that I’m being held to a “French speaker schedule” and gave me the French trips, I wouldn’t mind so much. But they don’t. Trust me. I’ve done this for years and if there are French trips sitting in the computer to be assigned, they will skip right over me and call whom they like, even letting the plane go out without a translator. It happens. all. the. time.I have at times called and begged for French trips I see sitting in the computer, only to have the scheduler say “I’m sorry but I can only give it to a French speaker.” I have to say “Hello, Bueller! I’M a SPEAKER and you’re holding me hostage for these trips!”

Ok, maybe I don’t say exactly that…

Now I realize I’m getting a little technical here for the average “civilian’s” interest. Sorry about that. But you’re so helping my sanity by letting me grouse. It’s sad that I was excited to come back and in just 5 short weeks I’m bitter. It’s astonishing how cruddy things have gotten in the last years.  (For you passengers, too, it goes without saying!) One more month. I can do it. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

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When a Butterfly Beats its Wings…

Last week when I went to Brussels to finish “closing out my life” there, I made the mistake of assuming it would be at least warm enough to wear flop-flops. It wasn’t. So all week I had to run errands for 12 hours a day in my new sneakers, sans socks. Ew. I hate going sockless. It makes the shoes, erm, lose their new shoe smell, and begins to rub uncomfortably on my heel. But I did what I had to do.

On my layover in Brussels the other day, it was again too chilly to wear flip-flops. So I pulled out my flat trainers, only to discover I had again forgotten socks. Grrr. This layover was my last opportunity to arrange for my one remaining Zoladex shot – the only thing I did not get accomplished on my trip the week prior – and I didn’t have time to dawdle. So again I put them on, but I could barely stand it, sighing that I would have to carve time out of my day to buy some black socks somewhere. I certainly didn’t have the time, but I couldn’t stand another day without.

But first I had to get to the pharmacy to pick up my cartoonishly large syringe. As the pharmacist went back to retrieve the product, I leaned against the counter and looked down at the niche underneath where I can rest my purse. Can you guess what I found? One. solitary. freshly laundered. pair of black socks!

I am still stunned by my luck. Of all the things to be left behind in a pharmacy….There was nothing else forgotten along with them, and they were obviously clean. How in the world did someone come to forget one lone pair of socks, just like I needed (black and clean)? On that very morning! Was that person just then snapping their fingers thinking, Damn, I forgot my socks! Did they never notice the socks were gone? If only they had known that their carelessness would be answer to the tiny dilemma of my day…

If we tried to calculate the odds mathmatically, I’m not even sure it’s possible. I do believe in coincidences, and if I have angels looking out for me I wish they’d aim a little higher when solving my life’s problems, but I have to say, this was a pretty weird coincidence. I sat down right there and put them on, without a doubt in my mind that they were meant for me.

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There and Back Again

Work has kept me pretty hectic, as predicted. Last week I already had to call in sick for some rest, and I have some sharp muscle pain underneath my bad arm which makes it all but impossible to now lift my bag overhead, but I don’t want to call in again. For now I’m just being careful and my crews help me with lifting my bag when necessary since I have no choice but to bring it on the plane. I hope it goes away soon.

Mostly it goes okay though. Since returning I’ve been to Costa Rica, London twice, Turks and Caicos and Brussels (yeay). I’m sort of keeping a photo journal of work moments, to express the ways in which is it both wonderful and terrible all at once! I’ll have that posted soon if it interests you. Yesterday was both. The morning was gorgeous in London, so I got up and walked to Kensington Park, went to a free art gallery there and ate breakfast on the grass in the sun, with the palace in the distance and lots of mothers and babies teetering around. Then our departure got moved up to an earlier flight, which meant I could possibly catch the last flight home after! By the skin of my teeth I managed to get the last seat on that flight out. I was so exhausted that my eyes weren’t even focusing and my head was pounding (since I’d essentially woken at 4am body time). I was happy that I’d get to sleep in my own bed though. By the time we arrived in DC it was midnight, and just as I walked out of security, assuring a fellow commuter that she did not need to drive me home since I don’t know how to direct her, a hand grabbed my arm. It was Del! Come to meet me at the airport and carry my bags for me. He treated me to a taxi home and even make me bacon and eggs for my starving self’s midnight supper. I’m not sure I’ve ever loved him more as in that very moment 🙂 What a lucky girl I am…

I leave you with an interesting story. An American Airlines crew got to a flight over an hour late and was booed and hissed (and worse) by the waiting passengers. The crew refused to fly and the pax had to be put up and flown out the next day.  There’s been a lot of hooplah about this, and though I feel awful for certain passengers who surely did nothing wrong (!), I just have to say to people who think the crew was being “whiny”, “pansy” or inappropriate: if the entire crew got there late, you can be assured it was not their fault. Either their layover was illegally short or their connecting flight was late. (Entire crews don’t all just happen to come to work late!) Thus, even if the pax were frustrated, we understand this, but the crew was not to blame and was surely frustrated too. You have no idea what they possibly went through to make it to that flight to take those people home at all. Did the company fail the passengers? Probably. But being hostile to the crew is not the answer and I support the crew making that clear. And if you boo and hiss me and say profanities, I too would refuse you. (Hurling profanities is an easy way to get thrown off a flight.) The last thing anyone wants is to take hostile people off the ground and seal them, together, into a tiny metal tube 30,000 feet in the air. Some people underestimate the danger, but we have enough problems with crazies and hostiles up there without knowing taking a whole flight full of them.

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