Sunday, October 23, 2011

Impossible Possibilities

**WARNING** Lots of Acronyms in this post...Welcome to the Airline Industry!

For the past 4 months, I have been living away from my sweet home. It all started in June when I entered Flight Attendant training and was required to stay in a hotel in Salt Lake City (SLC) near the airport. I was one of the lucky ones because I was only 1 hour from my home and was able to see my hubs, kids and grandchildren periodically. Most of the people in my class were hundreds, even thousands of miles from their loved ones...

As soon as training was over, I was immediately assigned to the Portland (PDX) domicile. I finished my initial flight and was sent to PDX the very next day. Again, I was blessed to be sent with several of my friends whom I had grown to love during our 29 day training in SLC. We each had 3 nights in a hotel so we combined our nights, stayed together and stretched our hotel stay into 9 days. During that time, we found a crash pad not far from the city train fondly called the Max which meant that we could leave our cars home and have readily available, affordable transportation to the airport. (More on the crash pad in a later post...after I get back to SLC for good...!!)

So now it is October. I am still in PDX and I am still living in a crash pad with anywhere from 5-15 people in a small 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment, depending on the particular month. It's a challenge to say the least.

I have been very fortunate during the month of Oct to have been awarded a Reserve Line with Sunday/Monday/Tuesdays off. Reserve is simply being available at your domicile in the event that you are called to fly. That means that I HAVE to be in PDX available for a possible assignment from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on my duty days= a LOT of down time=a LOT of sitting around=potential boredom=precious time away from my family and home.

With my Oct. schedule, I was able to usually get back to SLC Saturday evening and able to get back to Portland Wednesday morning before 9:00...not bad at all. Nov is a different story! I was assigned Mon/Tues with only two weeks of Mon/Tues/Wed more Sundays, no more church! I'm bummed!

So yesterday, I finished a 2 day trip to Burbank, which by the way, was incredibly beautiful with very blue skies, clean air and 78° weather. It was a long layover and so nice for a change. But the problem that I had was that we would get in to PDX AFTER the last flight left for SLC on ANY airline out of PDX. That meant that I would miss church and seeing 2 of my precious *Littles* in Primary (Sunday School). One gave a talk about the power of prayer and the other gave a scripture found in John. It's a big deal to a 4 and 5 year old. I listed myself on the 6:00 AM flight this morning from PDX-SLC but it was pretty full and since we fly "Space Available", I was concerned. After all, it is UEA (Utah Educators Association) convention in Utah and since kids are out of school, many families take a mini vacation, thus filling up the flights in and out of SLC...Ugh!!

I am forever amazed at the tender mercies of the Lord. I prayed that I would be able to get back to SLC this weekend and the way things were looking yesterday, there was no way that I could get back until Sunday night at the earliest...if then...and more than likely not until Monday afternoon...if then!! As my crew and I arrived to the Burbank (BUR) airport yesterday to work our last leg back to PDX, my First Officer (FO) informed me that if I was willing to fly to Redmond/Bend, OR (RDM) on the 10:10 PM flight, I would be able to get on the 6:10 AM flight from RDM to SLC. This meant staying overnight in a hotel...I called our crew hotel in RDM, secured a room for $42 and bolted to RDM.

Yes, I arrived home this morning at 8:30 and my sweet hubs picked me up, dropped me off at home so I could change into appropriate church attire and I made it in time to see my *beauties* give their talk/scripture!

Again, the Lord blessed me and cleared a path for me to get to my precious family. This has happened to me over and over and over again. Impossible options mysteriously appear at just the right moment.

When my sweet father passed away, I was in Burbank, working a trip, scheduled to fly one leg back to PDX then was going to try to get on an oversold flight back to SLC. Unbelievably, a SLC based flight attendant rode to the airport with my crew and we were able to swap trips. She flew to Portland and I flew to Salt Lake in time to be with my family and have a few priceless moments with my dad before the mortuary took his body out of the home. Coincidence?!? Absolutely not. I believe that it was a well laid plan by the Good Lord above who knew my needs and provided a path for me.

So today, I am home with my family. I ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep last night and I am TOTALLY exhausted but sleeping in my own bed, eating a home cooked meal and attending my own ward (church) with my family is more precious than anything. The Lord once again provided a way for me to find my way back. That is the most amazing thing about God. He knows each of us and loves all of us no matter who we are or how we live our lives. He is always available to bless us with tremendous abundance if we will but ask and have faith that He has all power to make the impossible possible. That's all we have to do!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Salad Dressing Moment

I'm sitting at the Oakland Airport waiting for a flight to Portland so I can go back to my base to sit Reserve tomorrow before I do my trip on Friday. It's not the most glamorous part of my job, by any means...anyway, as I am sitting here waiting, I have been thinking a lot about my sweet dad. I am absolutely amazed that he has been gone for over 3 weeks now. Time moves on so quickly sometimes and as the late great George Harrison so eloquently stated, "Life flows on within you and without you." What a whirlwind these past 22 days have been. Watching him die and sitting by his bedside day and night to having a beautiful funeral to honor his life to burying him and saying our final "goodbyes"...well, at least for now!

Anyway, I have had plenty of time to reflect and remember. After all, reflecting and remembering is all we have after we lose someone we love. I have been very calm, haven't really had a breakdown and feel an amazing amount of peace and comfort from above. I can't deny that the Comforter has been very near and has done a beautiful job in comforting my whole family.

So I have been wondering. Am I going to breakdown? My husband lost his sweet mother a few
years ago and did very well considering she was all he had for a parent. One day we were at the grocery store...he had gone to another aisle to pick up a forgotten item. When he joined
me at the checkout, he was teary. He proceeded to tell me that he had seen bottle of Catalina
Dressing and it almost brought him to his knees because his mother loved it; it was her favorite.
We have kind of chuckled about that incident, but now that I am in the same situation, I'm wondering what MY Catalina Dressing will be?? I have avoided listening to certain songs, watching cetain football games and the Western & Food channels because I know that I will
possibly lose it. Silly, I know, but I'm not sure that I am ready to face the earthly finality of his passing.

I was talking to some dear friends who have lost loved ones and asked them if I was some sort of freak because I haven't "lost it". They shared very familiar feelings and we came to agree that maybe we are "OK" because everything that could be said has been said and our respective relationships with those that we lost was in the best place possible. You see, I had a GREAT relationship with my father. Don't get me wrong, we had our differences over the years...probably because we were more alike than we realized at the time, but there was NOTHING left undone.

Along with the assurance that my sweet daddy is in a better place, free from the bonds of his broken down body, how grateful I am that he left this world knowing that I, along with his other 3 children and devoted wife, had nothing negative between us. We were all there at the end taking care of him, whispering our redundant "I Love You's" and expressing seemingly endless, "Thank You's". That is a blesssing and through the inevitable pain of loss, it serves as the most sincere kind of comfort possible.

Take time to mend broken relationships. Express your sincere love and gratitude to those you love every day. Put aside petty differences and focus on the blessings of the relationships that you have with those you love. Life is SO short. Regrets are more painful than swallowing your pride, eating a little crow and offering a humble apology. Do what you have to do, say what you have to say, but DO IT. Relationships are precious and fragile...handle them with care and do whatever you can to make things right...