Apathy Syndrome

My laptop screen cracked while I was on a trip. So I haven’t been posting much. I’m writing this on my phone.

The last few weeks have been a little depressing…

My grandmother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. I went down to visit her as soon as I could. She’s a little confused and has a small tumor under her brain. She’s receiving radiation therapy to deal with that tumor. However the doctors believe that the the procedure will prolong her life and improve the quality of her life but not save her. I will have lost both my grandmothers to cancer.

I’ve began to feel like my life has peaked. Financial problems, the apathy of my supposed business partner, and the repetitive nature of day to day life have taken their toll. I feel like I will never become more than what I am already.

I don’t have much energy for anything. Reserve life is hard. I get called in nearly everyday I’m on call. The phone calls normally come in the middle of the night. Although going to bed early would probably help, doing so would often limit or eliminate any time with my girlfriend.

I don’t know what to do next and all my scheming seems more like a sick hobby than actually any kind of solid planning. Until I have a working computer again, I’ll likely not be posting much which is probably for the best. (because who wants to read depressing shit like this anyway)

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I Belong to Crew Scheduling

24 hour reserve is harsh. Being on call 6 days in a row makes me stir crazy. I hope that I’m not on reserve too long. I’ll probably be on reserve at least a year. I can never be certain when they are going to call and I don’t know when I can risk leaving the house for run, to do laundry, or swing by the convenience store. They can call me and expect me to be at the airport in as little as two hours. Forget holding a line, a set schedule,I’ll be happy when I can be on reserve for 12 hours a day instead of nonstop for several days in a row. On the bright side I did manage to get a schedule that had a week off. I only get 10-11 days off a month so the rest of August will be rough but between the 13-19 I plan to get a little traveling in. I’m going to shoot down to Palm Beach to hang out with my friends there for a couple days and then try to hit at least one more destination which is still up in the air. I have to do some traveling though to lift my spirits and remind myself that part of the reason I didn’t get a regular 9-5 after my last employer starting to shut down was because I hate to stay put. Places to go, people to see, adventures to have.

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Back Home

I’ve been back in Jersey for about ten days now. I spent the first 6 days on reserve at home. Either this airline is better staffed than they lead me to believe. It’s really weird because summer season is in full swing. My room mate, who has worked for the airline for several years thinks they might be making lots of build up lines. (schedules made up to cover vacations, medical leaves, and training) At least I’ve gotten to spend some quality time with Mona. Things are going to be messy for a while. Mergers do that, but at least I’ll still have a job in the fall.

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The Last Hurdle

I finished my IOE. Luckily most of what I was doing on this aircraft was identical in every way to what I did on the last aircraft I worked on. Other than being delayed and getting done in Cincinnati around 3am yesterday and having to arrive in to Houston at 12am it wasn’t bad, just exhausting. At least my crew was nice and the weather was cooperative. That was the last hurdle. Initial training is done.

Now I just get to sit around for 5 days until graduation.  Deborah, another former flight attendant from my previous airline, and I are going to hit up Loving hut. I was surprised there was one in Houston. In case I haven’t mentioned it, Loving hut is a vegan restaurant chain. There are surprisingly quite a few of them. Other than that nothing too exciting planned for the rest of my time, probably be staying in mostly because it’s supposed to hit triple digits this week in Texas. Texas, the only place that has ever made me miss New Jersey…It’s been an interesting place for this liberal vegan I guess the last week here won’t kill me. provided it cools down at night ,I might get another few runs in. I discovered a running trail not long after arriving and having a regular schedule has allowed me to run quite a bit. I also eat a lot healthier when I dine alone. I’m not sure why but I seriously eat far less sugar and consume fewer calories when I eat alone or prepare a meal only for myself. I’m anxious to get back home and jump on my scale. I think I’ve lost at least 10 pounds this month.

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I’m relieved to have finally finished training but my time here has allotted me a lot of time to think, which is always a dangerous thing. I think over the next 6 months or so I’m going to have to make some difficult decisions. There are things I need to improve/change. I turn 30 in August and at some foolish younger age I decided that would be my deadline to have most of my shit together by. Anyways it’s put my psyche in to red alert and all this regular routine bullshit has afforded me time to reflect and examine key elements of my life, usually when I’m flying the line I have no idea what’s going on. One thing I have managed to do is get my self a introductory flight lesson. They had a great deal on groupon and all I have to do is schedule it when I get back. So I can at least hopefully make up my mind about my career or at least narrow my options. I look forward to a future where I have most of the things I want in life and I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

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In Training

I heard back from  the airline I applied with and I am currently in training. If you add up all the context clues you could probably determine who I work for now, but I won’t be naming the airline in this post or discussing anything too specific about training to avoid mentioning anything that is privileged information. That being said I can tell you I am truly happy to have gotten this opportunity. My former airline is winding down operations at a slightly faster pace than originally planed and the parent company I could have transferred to has just in the last two days been dealt another large blow to it’s business model on a whole. Honestly my last month at my previous airline was a little depressing, we had some really great crews, it was the end of an era.

 

Despite the large amount of homework and studying I have had time to reflect on the changes that lie in the future.This operation is far more organized and stable than my last airline. It makes me wonder if I will be happy here and decide to make it a long time career. In doing so I will limit myself financially. Enjoying what I do for a living is a high priority but flight attendants don’t have very high salaries and this industry is very cyclical. There are ups and downs. Certainly I won’t be starving or financially lacking in a huge way but enough that it could determine what options I pursue in the future. Will I ever be able to go back to school? Will I ever be able to financially support someone else? Will I ever be able to buy a home and when will I be able to buy a car? The car and home aren’t huge priorities, as currently with my income being what it is it makes more sense to rent and I don’t need a car in the city. Lots of opportunities I do have are time sensitive and if I don’t pursue them soon I won’t be able too. No pun intended, but time really does fly when you’re crew.  As for Mona, like seemingly every woman I know who is approaching the dreaded 30th year of their life, conversations about motherhood come up frequently. Kristen, my roommate,is no different and Alicia, another one of my roommates, is about 2 months along in her pregnancy. I’ve never really had a desire to be a father. I simply realized that having children might be a price I’d have to pay to keep a woman around. I don’t dislike children, but at the same time if I can not adequately provide for their needs. All these thoughts consume me but I am trying my best to live in the present and not worry so much about the future. I mean after all I haven’t even been with Mona a year, but I frequently worry that I am wasting her time. It’s easier said than done. I am a particularly good worry wart.

Fortunately I have gotten my bid preference and thus can keep my apartment with my awesome room mates and be able to more easily spend time with Mona. The fact that I don’t have to scramble to find a new or even a temporary place to live has reduced my anxiety levels considerably. I’m not overly fond of Jersey but for the time being it’s home and moving would have caused a large amount of complications. Newark turned out to be the least favorite choice and the the most junior people at the bottom of the list all got sent there.

Another bit of good news is that I will have the opportunity to add Mona to my travel benefits.  I think it will improve our relationship and allow us to have more exciting weekends. Provided we can find a suitable cat sitter, for Pearl, an adorable horribly needy shelter cat I picked out and Mona adopted a few months ago. I have this great desire for my life to be this great adventure and I will get to test out Mona’s ability to be an adventurer as not being one is a deal breaker. My best friend Matt, will go in the newly offered second slot and pay slightly more to travel. He was very understanding about the switch up since I will be on reserve Mona being my “# 1” will allow her to more easily spend time with me. Overall this will make maintaining our relationship easier. I actually miss her a great deal ,  which is comforting because the last few relationships have left me feeling rather emotionally detached and the pangs of longing are in a sick way comforting. Thankfully I have not turned in to a heartless robot just yet.I wish I could fly her out here now. Amy, of all people, generously offered up a buddy pass to get her down here but those are pricey and I worry about Mona getting stranded.

In other happenings, I have been running a lot lately , which is great and makes me feel so much better but has had a strange side effect. There’s a really great running trail right next to the hotel we’re staying at. Running always vastly improves the quality of my sleep. The deeper sleep has led to vivid dreams. I have had three nightmares since I’ve been hear. Matt and I were attacked by a bear and just barely got inside a house where we barricaded ourselves in.Dream # 2: I had a child with a faceless woman, she ignored me for the child and the child took all my money. Dream # 3: After a lovely road trip with Mona we pulled over for a quick nap and I was assaulted in the parking lot, which of course turned out to be in Newark. What exactly these dreams say about me I don’t know, what I  do know is they all make me bolt of bed with my heart beating like a drum. I realize that part of the lucidly frightening dreams is just my mind’s response to stress and fear of change. Hopefully it should subside after training.

Training though challenging is going well and the class is full of great people. So for the most part I can’t complain. My room mate Daniel is a real card, always making jokes and chasing tail. He also ran in college on a scholarship and is much faster than me, as I discovered when I could only keep pace with him for the first five minutes of a run. It’s good that we get along though as a bad room mate can make training unbearable. I’ve witnessed some real cat fights in my previous adventures in training but thus far have been lucky in regards to my room mates. The rest of the class is pretty young which makes me senior in my class and then there are some old pros with previous airline experience. It’s nice to have some Flight attendants around to trade “war stories” with. The material is mostly review for me. The only thing that has me nervous are the evacuation drill because my old airline’s procedures are so firmed planted in my mind. At this point I’m about half way done with training. If nothing tragic happens I’ll be on reserve in Newark in July and hopefully holding a line sometime around January, if the last class is any measure of reserve time.

I’m sure this is all rant and raving but forgive me I haven’t studied this much in ages.If only I had tried this hard in school.  I’m not sleeping or eating enough on top of that with the time requirements for training. Anyways my brain is thoroughly broken and I will edit this for grammar or sanity at some point in the future.

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Great Interview, Long Day

I had what was quite possibly the best interview of my life yesterday. Which is impressive considering I was running on about 3 hours of sleep.

I arrived in Houston around 8am. Unfortunately I was seated in the only row of seats on the plane that do not recline, the ones in front of the emergency exit over the wings. Its a crime united counts that row as Economy “Plus”. So at I arrived feeling super sleepy as I had counted on a nap on the way there since I had to be up at 3am.

After showing up the wrong interview. You see two white vans were picking up at the same location for two flight attendant interviews.” Are you interviewing with express or United? “, the woman searching for my name
on the check in list. That’s when it dawned on me I had ended up at the wrong place but not missing a beat I told her I guess I could interview with United since I was already there. She laughed but it didn’t work which is ok I suppose. The girls I had tried to chat with who were going to the United interview were super snobby and everyone they were interviewing were so unhappy looking.

When I got to the right interview everyone was so nice and friendly I was almost relieved I had missed the opportunity to apply for united during the brief period they had been accepting applications.They were about 40 people there and some of them were from Colgan Air, like myself. I immediately hit it off with an older woman whose demeaner and look just screamed flight attendant. I thought she might be the one doing the interview until she introduced herself. She was however previously a flight attendant. Her big hair and accent immediately let me know she had flown in from Atlanta. As it would happens I was right. She kept calling me baby and winking at me when I looked at her. I couldn’t tell if she was just being nice or making “battle plans” if we ended up in training. There was also a group of girls who were about to graduate from a trade school for flight attendants in Washington. One of girls by the name of Brittany stated more than once she just wanted to live somewhere that was not Spokane. Another interviewee was from Atlanta. The cougar kept calling him Jonathon which I was fairly certain wasn’t here name and she had confused us but he didn’t correct her. He had apparently been cut from the Atlanta Braves and was understandably disappointed about it. Unfortunately he turned out to be too tall for the height restriction. The ERJ has a pretty low ceiling. Someone else who sticks out was this Thai girl, I think her name was Ahnjee. She was sweet but I’m not sure she got hired and she had seemed pretty sad about it. I thought over all it was a super group of people and I was surprised when I didn’t see that everyone seemed to be picked which I was able to determine by careful observation. I think training will be fun except for the whole being poor and starving.

When I did my one on one interview I surprised myself. It wasn’t hard for me to convey how much I love being a flight attendant. The job has its ups and downs , no pun intended, but it’s hard to imagine myself doing anything that didn’t involve jet setting around all the time.

I think I got the job but there’s one small hang up. I knew they didn’t pay for training but I thought that they provided meal vouchers. United and many other airlines that don’t pay for training provide at least two meals a day. So basically I’m racing to come up with some measure of feeding myself that will not result in me charging up all my food on my
recently paid off credit cards.

I’ll know for sure in about two week weather I’ll be invited to training.

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Space Shuttle Discovery

I’m in the middle of a trip and we have a log 5 leg day. We’re delayed in Dulles. Today the space shuttle discovery was transferred here to be displayed at the smithsonian museum. The enterprise will go to NYC to go in display. I went down to the end of terminal B to get a better look. It’s cool I got to see it but it makes me sad that the space shuttle program has come to a close. I think this nation’s priorities are wrong. I hope that commercial space travel makes some great leaps in the next few years.

I’ll add photos to this post I took when I get home. My iPhone doesn’t allow me to upload pictures.

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