Fifty Hours, Tipsy Posts, Uber and Fried Chicken

Please forgive me if my spelling is a little off; my latest venture left me a bit snockered, and very friendly with the Uber driver… and singing Latin-flavor songs in my hotel room in the worst voice ever.

One of my pilots tipped me off on a place called the Great Lakes Brewing Co. This sounded like a place that I just had to visit. There are brewery tours, but my suggestion is to schedule one as far in advance as possible. Walk-ins are accepted, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get to experience the tour if you drop in; the preferred method of scheduling a tour is online. Since I didn’t know in advance that I would have a 50-hr layaway in Cleveland, it wasn’t possible to plan accordingly… but since YOU will know whether or not you’re going to Cleveland, add this to your itinerary if you like a good brew, good food, or like food tours.

After a short Uber ride to my destination, I checked on the wait to get a table for myself. It was a short 15-25 minute wait, and there was a downstairs bar where I could grab libations while waiting. One unique thing about this place is that they will text you when a table is ready for you. Keep that phone charged and ready!

By time my table was ready, I managed to get a glass of Conway’s Irish Ale. It had a slight syrup/molasses flavor to me. In general, it was a light and enjoyable beer. I also tasted the Christmas Blend and the Burning River Pale Ale. The former had a similar flavor composition to Conway’s Irish Ale; the major difference was the nose. The Christmas blend had a clove-like aroma to it, which may have been due to the cinnamon and ginger used in it. Burning River Pale Ale, however, was altogether different. The pine note was strong with that one, and it had a bitter finish in comparison to the first two.

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The food is also quite good; this place has chef’s specials. I tried the entree special, which was a ravioli with black beans and spinach, I believe. Forgive me for not knowing the specifics; at the time the waitress explained it to me, I was too tipsy to follow along. I heard bacon, ravioli, spinach and black beans, and was instantly on board. The ravioli was crisp instead of the usual texture that is expected of a boiled ravioli; I believe it was fried. In my very tipsy drunken state, I compared it to an amazing grilled cheese (I’m such a flyweight when drinking alcohol; it’s sad).

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I also ordered bread pudding for dessert. It was nutty, which may have had to do with the bourbon-butter. Said bread pudding was also formed into a square, and topped with a blob of house made whipped cream. One can never go wrong with a crap ton of whipped cream on something.

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Finally, I took my check, and carefully walked my tipsy self out of the restaurant to get an Uber ride. The car smelled like fried chicken. Even after having eaten, this was a welcoming aroma; it was as welcoming as my Uber driver was to my incessant chatter.

I am so grateful to have had such a long layover; otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience what is in this city. Even so, there are still a couple of things that I’d like to keep on my list. The one Uber driver was nice enough to inform me of a few other places that I’d like to visit here.

I look forward to my next long overnight here, or anywhere else. Who knows what I might find?

Icarus

As father and I jumped off, we frantically began to flap our arms, praying that our wings would carry us. Before long, we didn’t have to flap as hard; we had caught an air current. We were actually flying! Deciding to fly a bit higher, we had to mount into the air through a cloud. It was a bit daunting; while in a cloud, whiteness surrounds you and visibility is minimal. Still, I flapped. Finally, I emerged into the warmth and beauty of a blue sky. The cloud through which I flew seemed as frothy water below me. Entranced by the blue of the sky and the warmth of open air, I felt alive and powerful. I wonder how close I could get to the heat of the sun…

So I may have taken creative liberty here (the real story is less descriptive), but after seeing what Icarus probably saw when he flew, I get how he could have easily forgotten his father’s admonition.

Seeing a takeoff firsthand is something that everyone should have the opportunity to do. I’ve received the opportunity to do so twice. The first time around, it was too cloudy to see anything, even at altitude. The next time, however, was altogether different.

As we mounted into the sky, the aircraft was swiftly approaching a cloud. It’s unnerving to fly full speed through something as big as a cloud, even if you know you can fly through it. I found myself cringing and bracing myself. Nothing more happened than being surrounded by grayish-white; think of it as a thick fog.

Once we got through it, not only was there sunlight that was barely seen on the ground, but now blue sky appeared. It was big, open and limitless. Those clouds we flew through were now far below us, and resembled a churning, foamy river or ocean. One can’t help but to feel awakened at the sight of such a thing.

I immediately thought of the Greek myth where Icarus and his father soared through the sky like birds. Aside from him drowning, I envy them. I could almost see them diving in and out of the clouds, and breathing in the salty sea that would’ve been well below them.

I have always wanted to fly; this occupation allows me to soar through the air. Even if I decide to take up something else, I know me. I won’t stay grounded for long.

Know Your Exits

Although I’ve just started this job, I’ve realized how I’m well suited for it. Let me count the ways:

  • Routine bores me. There is no other industry that I can think of that is as ever-changing as the aviation/airline industry… and I worked in foodservice!  Flights get canceled, delayed, or rerouted. Sometimes your flight is shorter or longer than anticipated, and the time you show up for work changes also. It keeps a girl on her toes, that’s for sure!
  • I was the dork that read the safety card. Before becoming a flight attendant, I read the safety card when boarding any aircraft. I also watched the flight attendants because they fascinated me somewhat, and made sure to know the operation & location of the aircraft exits. Being a flight attendant has exacerbated this. I still read the safety card if I’m being carted from one place to another on an unfamiliar aircraft. I also look for the safety equipment; hey, you never know! I still watch flight attendants sometimes because they all operate differently, and I still stand in awe of them because I’m so new.
  • I actually like flying. If I had a superpower, I would want to fly; this job is as close as I get to possessing said superpower. It’s cool to sometimes ponder the fact that you’re floating in the sky in a hunk of constructed metal, scientific explanations aside. I still remember gazing at the clouds on my very first flight when I was 13. Now, I get to see it everyday in between services. One of the coolest things to witness on a flight is flying into the sunrise; the flight has to be at a specific time to see this. I am not a morning person… but getting to observe this and the feeling it gives you is well worth an early flight.
  • The uniform. There are more casual options, but I like the formal look: the navy suit with skirt, wings on the breast pocket, the neck scarf… I like the feeling that it gives me. It’s also interesting to see how people look at you as you glide through the terminal. I’ve tried wearing heels, but they were horribly uncomfortable. I’ll have to try it again; maybe I haven’t found the proper pair.
  • The desire to help. I love being helpful, and that’s what flight attendants do, insomuch as they are able. There may be some that aren’t, but I try to be. I was one of those people that wanted to be in the exit row; I willing offer assistance as needed. Now that I’m a flight attendant, I take things like that more seriously than I did previously.

The more I think about it, the more that I feel like a mom in some ways when I work flights. I repeat myself, tell people to be seated, and give information that is necessary to make for a safe and comfortable flight. I also offer drinks.

One of my friends is flying to a location, and the flight attendant part of me wanted to give an admonition, but I restrained myself. Now when people tell me they’re going somewhere, I just want them to be safe… not for the purpose of striking fear, but to keep them knowledgeable if the worst happens. There are 3 things that anyone flying anywhere should do:

  1. Listen to the Flight Attendant.
  2. Read the safety card.
  3. Know your exits.

Few people do it because they don’t want to imagine the worst, and they think they’ve heard it all before. Maybe you have, but it will be forgotten if you ever have to use it. I feel like that will be my new “see you later” to anyone that flies.

So ends another day on reserve, but I didn’t get called today. For those of you who are “up in the air” (I had to), be safe, enjoy yourself, and know your exits. Oh, and be nice to the flight attendant.

Ciao!

The Solitary Life

I’ve always been independent and used to flying solo. Now, I’m flying solo in a very literal way. With the size of the aircraft on which I work flights, there is only one working flight attendant at any given time. If there is a second working flight attendant, one of them is training. Although doing things by myself is something I’ve become accustomed to (and even liked), it’s not until recently that it has lost its savor.

This is a recent development, and I’ve no idea why it’s come about. It started surfacing the last few times that I dined out alone. This was something I used to love doing and never thought twice about it; now, a sense of malaise creeps into my conscious thoughts as I wait on my appetizer to come. Where could it be coming from?

As much as I love my job, it’s impacting me in specific ways. Like I said, I’m usually the only working flight attendant, so I have no coworker to exchange witty banter. Sometimes it’s a good thing because someone with a bad attitude can’t cloud my positive outlook; however, there are times where I found myself wanting to say something to SOMEONE. Most times, I can’t talk to the passengers. The flights are short, and most people travel in pairs or groups. They certainly aren’t thinking of the flight attendant unless they want a drink or to know if they’ll make that connecting flight.

Could I talk to to the pilots? Yeah, sure… when they aren’t busy. And really, when are they not busy? They make sure the tin can in the sky stays in the sky; I’d say that’s pretty important. Besides, some of them aren’t conversational; this often conflicts with the shy & introverted new girl that is nervous about starting conversations. I really liked the last two guys I flew with; the captain and I talked food. Once you open that up, I’m your friend whether you like it or not.

THEN… because my job requires so much and the lack of sleep schedule is trying, I come home and sleep for about a day and a half! This leaves only about another day and a half where I could potentially interact with other humans besides my mom, sister and nephew. Do I get to see other people, though? No. Unless I go to church (which is about once a month), my extra waking time is spent getting ready for my next trip. Three days can move along quickly if you aren’t mindful.

Truthfully, even though I live in the same house with my family, I don’t get to see them either. It’s because we all have our own lives, which is okay… but thinking of all these factors helps me realize why I’m feeling how I do.

The New Year is coming, and I’m thinking of making some changes, despite my disdain for resolutions. I’m glad I’m seeing this problem now, so that it can be remedied in its infancy. Maybe I won’t consider them resolutions so much as changes.

So here’s what I have in mind:

  • USE THOSE TRAVEL BENEFITS! I’ve always loved traveling and flying. I have a stretch of days off next month, and am thinking of taking a trip. I don’t think I’ve ever written a blog about me traveling somewhere, so that will be ground breaking. Yay for new things! I think it will keep me from being overwhelmed about wanting to do my job right, and overwhelmed with other life stuff.
  • Keep trying new things. Deep within me lies the mortal fear of being boring, so I stay in the habit of doing different things and going to new places. It also keeps complacency away. No matter how happy I am with my job, it’s good to keep oneself rejuvenated and fresh by trying something different once in a while. Besides, I have a friend that told me she never knows what I’ll come out with when she talks to me; I now have a reputation to protect!
  • Get a car! Your girl has been without a car for two years. TWO YEARS. Public transportation is a blessing when you don’t have a car, but it’s even more blessed to own a motor vehicle when you live where I do. For example: to drive to the airport from where I live is 15 minutes. If I take the train or bus, we’re talking about 2 hours. Yes, really. If I had a car, not only would commuting be easier (and I wouldn’t have to ask for rides), but it will open up other possibilities! I can now: explore other food locales, pick up hobbies, and eventually, move away from home. That’s a big one because I can’t even consider moving away from home because I depend on rides.
  • Pick up other hobbies. Obviously, I love food… but there are other things that catch my fancy that I think will help the loneliness. Some things in which I’m interested will allow me to be around other folks, which is good. My solitude is important, but constant solitude isn’t my thing. It’ll also help a girl stay well rounded if she indulges in other pursuits.
  • Start saying hello, particularly to men. In most cases, hello never killed anyone. Having this occupation as well as working in retail has helped me not be as shy… but I still find myself hesitating to speak if someone catch my interest. It’s not always because they’re attractive, but sometimes there’s something compelling about a person that makes you want to talk to them. So I should do that!

That’s about all I have for now. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas; have a happy and safe New Year! I’ll end by saying this: if you don’t want to make resolutions, don’t do it… but if you need to make a change at all, don’t hesitate. Deciding to change things doesn’t have to wait until this time of the year; that might be too long.

Ciao!

Keep In Touch

Three little words with a loaded meaning.

Last time I heard these words was 2 months ago (well, 2-1/2 months ago now), when I was whisked away to train for what is now my current occupation. Everything happened so quickly that I barely had a moment to breathe. Well-meaning colleagues saying “keep in touch”, and “don’t be a stranger” are the last words that I remember.

This has always been hard for me, even before I got this job. Between being introverted and having a weird phone phobia, it’s a struggle. Yes, I dread talking on the phone, even with people that I like and have known for years. I was in my mid 20s before I felt comfortable placing a food order over the telephone. Walking into the store? Solid. Talking on the phone? Cue the mini panic attack. Even with good friends, it’s always been like this. Although I love it when I do get a chance to have a long chat with a dear friend, it’s also exhausting because of the phone angst I had before the intended party picked up the receiver. Even in my teens, I hated being on the phone.

I’ve never openly talked about this before; am I the only one that feels this way?

Certainly the weird relationship I have with phones has been mentioned in passing, but it’s been hard to articulate just why I feel like that… so it’s been a subject that is generally pushed to the back burner. My way of making it clear that I don’t like phone conversation is just to not answer or not be attached to my phone like most. This, however, isn’t the best way of addressing said issue.

It’s not that I don’t think about the people that I care about and have become attached to often; it takes effort to practice the meaning behind the phrase.

Like most people, I get lazy with it… and realize that I’ve been using my job as an excuse to be slightly disconnected. I think it’s also difficult to convey just how draining the work is physically and mentally. I’ll sleep long, have energy for a couple of hours, then have a sudden drop and nearly dislocate my jaw from yawning. Yesterday, my mom had to drive me home from Nana’s because I suddenly grew fatigued. Because she was a nurse, the hours she kept runs parallel to the way I work; she currently understands me best. How she felt and what she experienced is similar to what I’m going through now; it’s a blessing to have someone that gets it.

This is another reason that keeping up with anyone is hard; sometimes it’s physically not possible. I want to avoid being a grouch because I suddenly got tired. My friends and loved ones deserve to see me when I have the energy to interact.

I’m not saying this to fish for sympathy or make excuses; it just needed to be said in the hopes that no one will be offended by my lack of communication. There are a couple of things working against me, but I want to work through it.

Please don’t think I don’t love you if you don’t hear from me; when I get home, I sleep for about 1-1/2 days. For the other 1-1/2 days, preparation to go out again is in full effect. That means: laundry, preparing food, budget planning, napping in between, and making sure my family sees my face. Even though I live with them, I don’t see them much these days.

Who would’ve thought putting 3 words in motion would be so difficult? Though it be trying, I owe it to those I love to do my best.

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.

Sky Girl Life

I sat demurely in the backseat of a black Mercedes SUV on my way to work, looking out at the dark 4am sky.

I can’t deny that it made me feel like something special. This was my first time using Uber, and I saw that there was a black car option, so I chose it. I thought maybe black car was the only option they had. Since I didn’t have a ride available to get me to work on time, I opted to call one in. I felt like a dignitary or a princess. The only thing missing was a partition. I sat in the back, feeling like the lady I was. Yep, I could live like this.

Then I saw how much it cost. It was WAY more than what I spent for a Lyft. Yep Rach, you aren’t a baller. Well, you live and you learn. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I want to feel fancy… and by want to, I mean when I can afford it.

No one is up this early besides me. People get to come onto a flight early in the morning, shuffle to their seats and sleep. Me? I envy them. I am already standing there–with flawless lipstick and freshly done hair–smiling and greeting them as they look at me bleary-eyed.

That particular day, I had a few legs. I commuted to another airport to start my trip, then I went on to 4 other destinations.

What’s bad is that I remember the trips, but not the days that I actually did them. A man asked me how I can keep track of what city I’m in. I told him that I have no problem doing so; however, I can’t manage to remember what day it is at any given time. I suppose the trade-off for remembering where you are is not remembering what day you were there.

I’m starting to get my “sea legs”, more or less. I did almost fall down on a flight when we hit a bump of turbulence. Thank God I was around kindly passengers that put their hands out to steady me. I managed to proceed quickly to my seat after this. I haven’t fallen on anyone yet, but maybe it’s just because I haven’t flown enough.

Being tired is my biggest issue. When I get home, I’m drained physically and emotionally. Getting up early for your on-call does catch up to you, especially if they do call you and give you 5 legs in one day. Even if a rest day is thrown into the trip, falling asleep can be difficult, even if you really want to and need to.

It’s kind of crazy… but I kind of love it. I’m well suited for a job that is ever changing, and this is that job. I get concerned about how it will affect my social life and friendships outside of work, but it seems to be working out so far. Thank God I have friends that understand when I don’t want to go out because I’m tired.

I’m on my last day of rest, which will likely be spent gathering food and other necessities that I’ll need for my next trip. I had 3 days, but 1-1/2 of them were spent in bed resting. Sometimes I wish I had just one more day, but when I get that call, I’ll be ready for the next trip.