Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prepare for Departure

We've got a lot to catch up on, so here goes:

Barbie Bootcamp: Four and a half weeks of intense training. September 19 is the day that Steve dropped me off at the airport RDU to go to IAH. This sweetie pie made me a little bag with a bacon and egg sandwich on a biscuit and he also tucked a cupcake in there. And then we parted ways.

I am happy to say that 43 classmates and I can now confidently evacuate an aircraft while shouting commands to "Jump and slide! And to get away from the plane!" (And for the record, I hope I never have to command this evacuation drill in real life. But if the need arises, you rest assured, I will get you off that airplane.)

We had several "test-drives" where we shadowed a working crew on an actual flight and assumed some of their duties. I went to Las Vegas, LaGuardia, and Ontario, California on my practice flights. We also learned specific things about each individual Boeing aircraft- like where the emergency equipment is, how to pour wine in turbulence, where the AED is and what it does, the proper brace positions for each jump-seat, and how to deliver a baby. You know, the basics. And my personal favorite day: the day we got into the pool in all of our clothes to practice "the rare event of a water landing."

We had a graduation ceremony and JoAnn (my best friend from high school who started as a Flight Attendant in 1999) pinned my wings. The pinning of the wings is sort of a rite of passage in this industry. Steve, Dara, my mom, and my dad also flew to Houston for the day. As much as I was grateful for our excellent instruction and for being hired into this career, I was really happy to be leaving Texas. I joked that I look like I work for Alitalia in this photo, since those crews always seem to be walking through airports with their sunglasses on and their hair slicked back, similar to how I was wearing mine:

Steve and I flew back to Raleigh- Durham so I could pick up a few belongings from my storage unit, pick up the mail from my PO Box, and be on my merry way.

After that, Steve and I took my car to Ohio to drop off Kitty at my Mom and Dad's in northeast Ohio. Poor little Fuzzball- he's been dumped off all over the place these past few months. Although, I do think he had a great home at Doug's house and Doug took great care of him.

Then we went to Lola, a Michael Symon restaurant in Cleveland. (Steve and I, not Kitty and I). The food was delectable. Steve always picks the best places to eat! This photo is the beef-cheek pierogi and the plate of awesome meats. (I forget the actual name of the dish, but I made a nose-dive for the prosciutto).

Cleveland was way cuter than I ever remembered during my childhood. There were charming street-scapes dotted with gaslights and historic buildings, small cafe's, and a charm that was not dissimilar from Greenwich Village. (Now this might have been only one or two streets in Cleveland, but we've got to give the "mistake on the lake" some credit, here! ) The next day we meandered around Cleveland. There was a Browns game going on, so the city was abuzz.

Since neither Steve nor I are much into football, we instead went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I had not been there since I was in college, and it was really fun. Not only that- but my new employer is a sponsor, so we got a very deep discount for admission! The building looks kinda like the Louvre from the outside: a big glass pyramid. This photo is Pink Floyyd "The Wall". (Just in case any Security Guards are reading this blog, I know nothing of how this photograph was captured....)

One more night in Cleveland, and the next day we kissed goodbye, and Steve flew back to RDU and I drove to my new home: Newark.

This past week has been hectic. The arduous quest for a Crash Pad has been the bane of my existence. What is a crash pad, you ask? It's an apartment with about 10 flight attendants piled into it. The rent is very very cheap and usually only a couple people are there each night, since our jobs have us lying our heads in hotels in various other cities most nights. Additionally, many flight attendants choose to commute from their homes in other parts of the country (or even the world), so this is merely a place to spend a night or two each month after a late flight, and then they will commute home the next morning. I, myself, intend to be in Raleigh on my days off, or perhaps I will fly to Cleveland so I can spend time with my family, or if the days off aren't grouped together, I will be in my "real" home: New York.

Since I am one of the few people with a car, I carted around several of my classmates around on this search. One is from Hawaii and still doesn't quite get the grit of the tri-state area and thought that every single neighborhood looked "run down". One is on a very restrictive budget. One doesn't want to live with a bunch of other people. Oy vey.

Finally we found a place in the Iron Bound section of Newark. It is about a 5 minute drive to the employee parking lot and about a 5 minute drive to Newark Penn Station, so there is easy access to the city. And it's reasonably priced. There are a few other flight attendants and even a pilot who share this Crash Pad. So far they have been incredibly welcoming and kind.

It's been weird being in the outside looking in. I loved every moment of my life in the big apple, and I never would have dreamed that I'd live in Newark (let alone North Carolina). I spent a couple days last week in the city and I was able to catch up with so many old friends that my head was spinning. It was wonderful and refreshing and it felt like none of us had skipped a beat. It felt just like it did a couple years ago, except instead of getting on the subway to go home, I got on the PATH train to go to New Jersey.

So right now it is snowing and today is the first day of the actual job. I have been assigned "Airport Alert" at 6 PM, which means I sit at the airport and wait. I wait for Crew Scheduling to tell me I'm going to some exotic place like London or Barcelona or Hong Kong or.......Tulsa.

Stand by for details. I am updating this again while I am actually in the Crew Room at the airport. So far a lot of flights have been canceled, but I am "on" until 10 tonight. Word on the street is that they are trying to get some of these international flights out, so there is a chance I could be crossing the Atlantic tonight. Here's hoping.....

On Wheel of Fortune the other night, I saw this:

I think that sums it up pretty well.