Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie...

Gus gazes out at the full moon
Full moon at 7:00 am!!

Thanks for the feedback on yesterday's post...and per request I will share a couple of memories from my old flying days...

The first airline I ever flew for was a little tiny charter company based out of Tallahassee called Atlantic Gulf Airlines.  Well, technically it was Air Illinois dba (doing business as)  Atlantic Gulf.  Teeny, tiny!  I think we only had about 3 or 4 airplanes, and they were the BAC 1-11, an older plane made in the early to mid 1960's.  One of my first trips was supposed to be a quick turn between Miami and Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Shortly after departing Montego Bay, I heard a thumping sound coming from the right engine and noticed all the passengers staring out the windows.  A few minutes later a mechanic who happened to be onboard as a passenger came to the back and looked out at the engine, went up to the cockpit and conferred with the pilots, and then....we got the announcement to prepare the cabin for an emergency landing.  Oh my!!  If you've ever been to Montego Bay, you know that you are over water until you actually land - so we had to get all the passengers in life jackets and in the "brace" position.  I was so scared!  I thought I was so professional though, and did such a great job of staying focused - until after the plane landed safely and a passenger came up to me and hugged me and said that my face was absolutely WHITE.  Ha! So much for being professional!  The pilots had had an indication of a fire in the engine and used the fire extinguisher in the engine (the thumping sound)...nothing was actually wrong, just a faulty light.  But we were stuck in Montego Bay for two days.  That was when I learned to always, ALWAYS bring a change of clothes - even on a quick turn...because you just never know!

That was my first scare, and I quickly became used to aborted takeoffs and landings when Atlantic Gulf went bankrupt and I went to fly for this airline...

There she is - the old BAC 1-11
and here I am in my Florida Express uniform (don't you love that 80's hair?)

I started working for Florida Express (FLEX) in 1987, and that is where Tim and I met!  Florida Express was based in Orlando and it was a fun airline!  I met some wonderful people who are still my friends to this day, and I think it was just a really unique experience working there.  


Braniff Airlines bought Florida Express, and I then transferred to the Kansas City base...still flying the BACs though...there was one aircraft that we all called "Christine" because she was creepy...lights would go on and off by themselves, the coffeemaker in the galley would go on by itself....No one liked flying on Christine!

Tim and I used to bid to fly together during this period, so that was a lot of fun! This was a lot of up and down flying - nothing very exciting.  I had a LOT of Wichita and Omaha layovers!

Then, sadly, Braniff went bankrupt in September 1989.


In February 1990, I started flying for this company...

...which is when I realized that most planes DON'T have aborted takeoffs and landings every other leg!!  Who knew?!

Training in Houston, then based in Newark where I shared a "crash pad" with 5  other girls.  Luckily, we weren't all there at the same time.  After a few months I transferred to Denver where I was on reserve for two years...then transferred to the Cleveland base, hated the flying, and transferred back to Newark again.

Most of the flights at all of these airlines sort of blend together...I've been called a "bitch" more times than I like to recall, seen some pretty strange "carry on" items, seen some really, really large "two year olds", been bounced around in turbulence, been elbowed and tripped while walking down the aisle, had bruises all over my body - and NO idea how I got them, and I now have varicose veins thanks to all that uphill and downhill walking in heels!  I never, ever, ever want to wear panty hose again in my lifetime, and I am pretty anti-heels now too!!

All in all, I enjoyed my job though.  There were some jerks, but there were also a LOT of nice people that I got to meet.  I loved having first time or nervous flyers onboard, and having the opportunity to show them how much fun it can be.  I loved being able to help people, and I loved the people who were nice.  

One other flight which stands out was from Houston to LAX.  A young woman went into the forward lavatory about an hour or so outside of LAX 
She was in there a really  long time, but we were busy and didn't think much of it until she poked her head out of the lav door and asked me to go get her husband.  It turned out that she was having a miscarriage.  She was crying and almost hysterical, and when I looked in the lav there was blood everywhere.  It was awful.  It looked like someone had been murdered!  There were two doctors on board, and I ended up getting my suitcase down and getting the poor girl some sweatpants so she had something to wear....The EMS guys met the plane and took her off, and I never heard anything more about her.  That is the worst - when something happens on board and you never hear any follow up!!  It was the end of the day for us in LAX and we headed off for the hotel, but I always felt so bad for that cleaning crew - I wonder what they thought when they walked onto that plane and saw all that blood!

My favorite thing...was working First Class.  I enjoyed being able to take my time and give a nice service.  My least eye flights.  Ugh.  Not so much the being up all night part, but more the type of people you'd get!  Let's just say that if you are ever on a red eye and notice someone doing something under a blanket - look away!!  Pretend you don't see!!  Please, please, please DON'T call the flight attendant and point it out to him/her and ask them to go make the person or people stop!!  Blech!

And guys?  Ummm, a full airplane is probably not the best place to peruse the latest issue of Playboy.  Ya know?

OK...well, I do have more stories, but I think this post is long enough!!  I'll leave you with a couple of flight attendant tricks...on long flights when the lav gets stinky odiferous, we put coffee in there.  It absorbs odors.   Here's another one...when something spills in the galley, we get some feminine pads and mop up with that.  Hey - we don't have sponges and mops onboard, and they are VERY absorbant!!  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Much ado about absolutely NOTHING!

Yesterday I was chatting with my friend Nora, and discussing how she'd like to get someone famous to participate in this event that she is helping with.  I suggested Jon Bon Jovi (only because I LOVE him!) and then a few other celebrities....the conversation then somehow shifted to famous people we know, or wish we knew, and I mentioned some "celebrities" I had had on flights.

You see, long ago in a galaxy far, far away I had a job other than my current one of chauffer/short order cook/housekeeper/referee/scheduling coordinator/and wife and mom.  I was a flight attendant.

Before I go on, let me answer the inevitable questions:

*  Yes, it was (sorta) fun.  Mostly.  Some of the time.
*  It's harder than it looks.
*  No, I don't really miss it.  I DO miss having a hotel room ALL TO MYSELF!!
*  I also miss the camaraderie.  Jumpseat talk is the best.

And also, before I go any further....may I just say that flight attendants work VERY hard.  Much harder than most of you realize.  Give them a break.  It's not their fault that the flight is late, or the the kid behind you keeps kicking your seat, or that the airline is cutting back and there isn't a meal (or if you are lucky enough to get a meal, that there isn't any chicken left).  It's not their fault that you can't lift your "carry on" bag.  It's not their responsibility to lift it for you.  They're doing the best they can.  They are tired too.  They are also underpaid and understaffed.  And whatever you do, if you are traveling with a baby or a small child, DO NOT try to hand a dirty diaper to the flight attendant during the beverage service.  Just think about it, ok?

OK, then.

So...a few of the "celebrities" I had on flights.  You know, back in the day.  
There were many, many soap opera stars.  Sorry, I can't remember their names.  Some of them were really nice (like this guy from One Life To Live that I had on almost every week for a while there!)

...and others, not so much.  A bit full of themselves.

Another not so nice one that I happen to remember is this one...
SHE is "famous" for marrying a famous rock star (Mick Jagger) and hanging out at Studio 54 with Andy Warhol.  Not much else.

Most of the others (that I can remember) were nice.
I had Reagan's Secretary of Defense on...

Caspar Weinberger.  Very quiet.  But he wasn't rude or anything.  

I also had this famous figure skater on...

Scott Hamilton.  Very sweet.
And SO SMALL!! He wasn't much taller than me! (5'2")

Does anyone remember Laurin Sydney, CNN's entertainment reporter?

She was on my flight a few times...she always traveled with her tiny little Shih Tzu puppy.  She was always very sweet too.

But the most famous celebrity I ever had on?  You won't believe it.  You also won't believe that he was the NICEST one.  Seriously.  Very polite....called me by my name (as opposed to OMISS).  This was around 1991 or 1992 - before he REALLY became famous.

The best part of the story?
He ordered "oj".

Ha Ha Ha.

PS.  If you know anyone famous who might be willing to help, please contact Nora!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I gave birth to vultures??

Parents give up many things for their children.  We sacrifice for our little angels, and do without so that they can do wonderful things like go to private school, take ballet and tennis and taekwondo.  We don't go out to eat so that they can participate in an exchange program and spend part of the summer in France.  We buy our clothes at Target so that they can wear the popular, trendy (expensive) name brand clothes that all the other kids wear.  

But THIS is just too much!

Tim came home with a First Class amenities kit and gave it to me, saying that he thought I might like some of the stuff to put in my purse.  Before I could even look at it, my kids had descended on it like the ravenous and greedy vultures they are!  Like a pack of rabid hyenas on a dead and decaying carcass, they were tearing at the poor amenities kit and grabbing things like their lives depended on getting the tiny bottle of mouthwash and hand sanitizer and lotion.

After the snarling and slobbering and grabbing frenzy was over and they had absconded with their ill gotten gains, I decided to take a peek in the kit to see what was left.

A pair of socks.
Some (Murad!!) lotion and face wash
a pair of earplugs
a United Airlines pen

Before I could even reach in to look at it, Paige was back.

"OH, can I have these socks?  I love these!"

"Oooohhhh.....look at this pen!  I love this pen!!"

She was reaching for the earplugs and the lotion, but I grabbed the bag back and shouted said sweetly, "THOSE ARE MINE!!!"


Kids these days.

Monday, Monday....

Poor Clay stayed home from school today...he has been sick with a cold, and now he has an ear infection.
Thank goodness we still had some antibiotics (from the France trip last summer) and some of this:

He has been sleeping all day today, and he slept the day away yesterday too.
Lucy has been trying to make him feel better by snuggling with him.
(Good thing she had a bath yesterday!!)

I am on a mission to do some spring cleaning - I took the curtains down in our bedroom and I'm washing and bleaching them....wiping down all the baseboards, getting the dust bunnies from under all the furniture...

It amazes me how bad it gets, and how quickly!!

This house is seriously disgusting.  If I don't keep on top of stuff - daily - well, it gets like this.  And then I get all grossed out when I glance under my dresser and see dust bunnies multiplying and growing, and see gross gunk on top of the ceiling fans, and notice so much pet hair on my curtains that it looks like they are alive.

Not that my house is that bad or anything!
I'm just saying.

So today will be spent ministering to my poor sick little boy, in between vacuuming, dusting, mopping, wiping, bleaching, pine-sol-ing, and febreezing. I don't think those last two are words.  Whatever.

Then, I need to get down to the guest cottage and do the same thing there because we have company coming next week! (Yay, I finally get to meet my friend Nora in person!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Lucy stinks.

She really, really, really stinks.

Paige decided to throw the ball in the pool so Lucy could swim before giving her a bath.  Unfortunately, she decided to throw Lucy's favorite ball - the one she has chewed and chomped on until it has a hole in it.  When the ball hit the water, it didn't float.  It sank.


Paige decided that she would jump in and get the ball for poor, sad Lucy.

Unfortunately, she forgot that we have had a loooonnngggg winter and thus the water is still quite cold.

Lucy's FAVORITE ball at the bottom of the pool.  In the DEEP end.
Lucy looks sad with her second favorite ball.
Paige has second thoughts after putting her feet in the COLD water!!
Paige:  I don't know, I don't know, I don't know!!
Clay:  Stop being a wimp - just jump in!!
Paige:  I'm NOT a wimp!  But it's cold!!
Clay:  WIMP!
Paige:  Am not!  Stop it!  I'd like to see YOU get in!

Mom:  Stop it, you two!  Paige, are you getting the ball or not?

Paige:  (wimpering) I'm getting it.  (more wimpering)
Paige:  (gasp!)  AAAARRRRRGGGGHHH!!!!!!!
Paige:  bbrrrrrr....I can't feel my body!  I think I have hypothermia!
Clay:  HaHaHaHaHaHaHa....
Lucy:  My ball!! Get my ball!  (pant, pant) Where's my ball?
Paige:  I did it!
Paige:  I can't feel my body!
Paige:  Mom, I don't think the pool is really warm enough to swim in yet.
Paige:  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....I'm so cold!  I can't feel my feet!  (shivering) Mom, may I go take a hot shower now, please?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday stuff, etc.

We woke up early this morning to get Clay to the Taekwondo carwash fundraiser, and I was rushing to meet the other team parents for a fundraising meeting.  I was a few minutes late getting to the McDonald's...and looked around and didn't see anyone else there.  Clay was outside washing cars, but I didn't see any other moms.  Finally, I saw someone and I asked her where everyone else was.  She told me (wait for it....) The meeting had been cancelled!!!"

"Oh, didn't anyone let you know?"



BIG sigh.

So.  I grabbed a cup of coffee (because by this point I NEEDED one), and Paige and I ran a few errands.  
When we got back to the carwash at McDonald's....we found the boys holding the signs....
And doing THIS to get the trucks to honk
Which they did! (over and over and over)

After we got home, we went outside to pull some weeds and plant a couple of flowers...
Paige was very helpful....
Lucy was VERY excited that we were home....
The kids were both supposed to be helping plant flowers, but you can see what Clay was doing instead!
Oh great!  Now Paige is getting distracted and practicing dance moves....
Walking like an Egyptian?  What about my flowers??
Playing soccer with Lucy.  NOT planting flowers.
STILL not planting flowers!

Other than the flowers, we still need to:

*clean the turtle tank (Clay)
*clean the bird cage (Clay)
*clean the house (everyone)
*change sheets (everyone)
*make dinner (me)
*fold clothes (me)
homework (Clay)
write a short story (Paige)

I read the news today, oh boy.....

You may have heard about the little girl, Somer Thompson, who was abducted on her way home from school one day and her body was found in a landfill in Georgia a couple of days later.  She was from Orange Park.
This community has breathed a sigh of relief that an arrest has finally been made.

Good Gouda!
Tim gets home tonight from Amsterdam.  We can't wait - because he always brings back a big hunk of this

REAL Gouda....smooth and creamy.  Oh, we adore it!

Also, of course, we're happy to see him too!!

Friday, March 26, 2010


I have been battling a migraine for the past three days. I thought I had conquered it yesterday, but woke up again this morning to the evil migraine.  Ugh.  I took Clay to school (complaining about the headlights on the cars the whole way - it felt like they were stabbing me behind my eye!!) and took some medicine as soon as I got home.  The medication knocks me out, so I lost a couple of hours and got a late start this morning.  When I (finally) woke up, I felt SO much better that Paige and I decided to celebrate.  

We stopped and had lunch on the way to ballet, and shared THIS for dessert...
Fabulous, chocolatey, and definitely not on the diet!


I am sitting here in the lobby at the ballet studio, waiting for Paige and really don't have anything else to say.  So I'll share a story Tim told me from the other day (the last time we were at ballet!!)

Tim had just finished pressure washing out by the pool, and was sitting and enjoying a well-earned (Belgian) beer.  He looked out at the lake and saw about 30 little ducks swimming peacefully around our dock.  

He was enjoying the peace and quiet, and feeling mellow when he heard the eagles flying overhead...

He looked at the lake and didn't the see the ducks.

And then...

He saw them - all of them - huddled under our dock, holding very, very still and being very quiet.

"Nope.  No ducks here."

"You see any ducks?"

"No sir, Mr. Eagle...NO DUCKS HERE!!!"

After a few minutes, the eagles flew away and all the ducks came out and resumed their normal ducky activities.

I wish I had been at home to capture this with the camera.  You'll just have to use your imagination!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So sad...

This morning I learned that one of my friend's two year old daughter passed away yesterday.
The story is here.

My heart is filled with sadness for my friend and his wife.
McKenzie Bailey
2/25/08 - 3/24/10

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

We have been trying to think of names for the new guys...
Last night Clay was suggesting Thor, and Achilles, and Paris (he just finished a unit of Greek mythology)...I was suggesting things like Bogey and Bacall, or Rhett and Scarlett...Tim was coming up with names like Kirk and Spock and McCoy...

And then Paige chimes in with, "I think we should call them Curt and Rod."

Hysterical laughter.

From Paige.

Head shaking and sighs from the rest of us.

The turtles are still unnamed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

They grow up so fast....

We've been noticing for some time that our BEST pet, Thomas the turtle, has been outgrowing his tank.  Thomas has been with us for almost 5 years - Clay caught him in the lake in his cast net when Thomas was just a tiny baby (about the size of a half-dollar).  
He spent the first year of his life as the class pet in Clay's 5th grade classroom - enjoying the activity while sunning himself on his log and doing yoga.  After that he lived here with us, graduating to progressively larger and larger tanks as he kept growing.  In the past, when we would ask Clay about letting Thomas go live in the lake again, he always said that he would know when the time was right because he would catch another baby turtle.  He felt that finding a baby turtle would be a sign from God that it was time to let Thomas go.

Today, God gave us that sign - not once, but twice!

Oh, I knew this day would come - but I didn't think it would be so hard to see him leave.  

You see, I have a soft spot for Thomas.  I delight in watching him do yoga....he's not as flexible these days as he was in his youth, but he still tried.  When he was younger, his yoga pose was to raise one front leg and the opposite back leg while he sunned himself.  Lately, he would clamber upon his log (sometimes it took a few tries for him to heave himself up) and rest upon his massive shell while raising ALL his legs up and enjoying the heat.

I loved going and sitting in the big, comfy chair next to his tank and watching him swim gracefully around his tank.  Again, there wasn't a lot of swimming these days because he was getting too big for his tank.

Clay caught these two guys (gals?) in the creek.  That's how small Thomas was when he caught him almost 5 years ago.

Look how big he is now!!

We all went out to say goodbye to Thomas.

Isn't he cute?  Just look at that sweet face!

Today we said goodbye to Thomas.
We wish him well.
We wish him safety and happiness.
We hope that he'll find a cute little girl turtle and fall in love.

Good luck Thomas.  We love you! 
We will miss you.

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