2013 – A Year in Review

The postings on this site are my own and do not represent My employer’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

Ah, I remember when I was 8.  Back then my biggest goal was to be 12, because for some reason that was the number I was aiming for.  I clearly recall thinking it would be FOREVER until I was 12 and I was overwhelmed by impatience.  Then, when I turned 12, 16 was the big number to hit, and THAT was so far, far away.  I think on that, realizing how very far away it remains today, but will leave that one alone!  🙂

But this post is not about yesteryear, but about 2013 and all it encompassed.  Of course, I cannot talk about EVERYTHING, but there have been many “big rocks” that certainly were highlights in the year.  Enjoy my walk down memory lane for 2013 and feel free to point out anything you felt I missed in the comments!

January

January, and 2013, started out with a bang.  I came into work on 1/2 and found out the contract my employer held with The company I have been working for had ended.  No worries, they hired us!  It has been a wonderful change and I appreciate the job I have.  I do miss the few that did not make the transition and send the best thoughts to them.

February

I was honored and blessed to have Pastor Robert Barker ask me to fill in for him and provide the main sermon for his congregation (and my former church home) at Crossroads Community Church while he was out of town.  If you want to use up 35 minutes of your time, check the message out here.

April

Deana and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary!  Even writing that it feels…..interesting.  On one hand, it seems she and I have been together forever and 10 seems so small in comparison to the fullness I’ve felt with her.  At the same time, there are days when our love is so overwhelming it feels like we are still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship and I question how it has been so long.  Good thing we met each other so young.  ;P

We also purchased our Hyundai Elantra in April and got a smoking hot deal with the help of their employee and our brother, Michael!  Thanks bro!

Zack turned 11 this month despite my demands for him to remain little.

I believe this is the month that my mom, after being hospitalized A LOT for over 2 years, received surgery that changed so many things in her life!  She is much more aware (her dementia is not as bad), her overall health has been stabilized, and I am very happy.

May

Deana and I were blessed to be able to attend a conference in Las Vegas for my work, allowing us to drive to California for a few days to see friends and family.  I was able to see my parents, my besties Sonya Bishop and Julie Kang, and family such as Julia and Drew.  We even got to spend a few hours at Disneyland thanks to the free entry provided by our friend Cassie!  It was a short trip but a huge blessing.

Kenny turned 18 in May – GASP!  I am very proud of all that he’s accomplishing too.

Also in May, we lost a good friend and a mentor of mine; Sandy Schuster.  It was hard as we were in California when she passed and then I was traveling for work during her memorial.  Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of something she said or did, and I am thankful that Maddy remains a big part of our life.

June

I was beyond blessed to fulfill (with the support of Deana) a huge dream; I purchased my 2013 Spyder ST-S!  I have wanted one since they first came out and I have not regretted it for a minute.  I LOVE THIS ROADSTER!!!!  And yes, I named it JT after Justin Timberlake and I will often be accused of saying things such as “I rode JT GOOD!”

I also got a tattoo this month, the addition to my existing hearts with the names and birthdays of Kirstie, Kenny, and Josh.  The addition was Zack and Sophia and it rocks.

Kenny also got his first Texas job, working as a certified lifeguard at Hawaiian Falls.  It also allowed him to upgrade his Geo Metro to a Dodge truck – I am proud of the hard work and savings he accomplished to meet this goal.

This month also offered historical decisions in that DOMA and California’s Prop 8 were overturned.  These decisions have huge impact on a large section of our society, including myself and Deana.  To think that our legal marriage is now recognized at the Federal level is humbling.  And to see our California brethren being able to join us in marriage is wonderful!  Since then I am so happy that several other states have expanded equality!  I must once again thank my family and friends who reached out the day DOMA was overturned and shared their congratulations – it still blesses me to think of that!

July

First off, July was huge in that I paid off ALL of my medical bills!  These included my hospitalizations from my ulcer as well as my surgery in May 2012.  I am VERY excited about this, even now!

Also in July our family got to vacation in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho!  This is a beautiful resort town and is GORGEOUS!  We got to hang with good friends and also see the sites in Montana and Washington as well.  Best memory for me is being hurled out of the raft during white water rafting and Kenny yelling “ROCKS!”  ha.

July also began my CRAZY traveling schedule for work as we kicked off the new software training phase at all of the US plants we serve, which lasted through September.  It was great to meet many of my co-workers for the first time, some more than others!  If only they didn’t complain so much about the software…..right Taryn?  🙂  I am also glad that I was able to see my brother, David, on two of those trips to Bakersfield.  It is great that he lives right next to LAX!

August

My baby, Deana, had her birthday of course.  I am sad to say I was traveling for work.  Thank you D for working within those crazy parameters and always being so understanding.

This was also the month that Josh, not yet 13, grew taller than me.  For pete sake, really?  Tis true.

September

TONS of birthdays this month!  Kirstie turned 23, Josh turned 13, and Sophia hit double digits at 10!  Whoa there mister!

I got my first “super short” haircut that I actually LIKED.  Oh, I have had others in the past, there are plenty of pics to prove that, but this time IT WORKED.  I just got it again and even though I had thought about growing my hair out, I am glad I don’t have to deal with curly craziness as of right now!

Deana, Zack, Sophia and I also were able to go to Paris, Arkansas with Jerry, Julie, Kaylie, and Mom for her ancestry “homecoming”.  This is when people gather at the private cemetery where her mother, grandmother, and other relatives are buried and basically have a BBQ.  Seriously.  It is a little weird, I am not going to lie, but it is also awesome.  We have done this before and usually clean the headstones, area, and love hearing stories from Mom.  We also ordered mom’s headstone – yeah, a bit weird – and stayed at the Lodge in Mount Magazine which is BEAUTIFUL.  I wouldn’t trade it or the memories.  Next time I am bringing JT and riding there; this year there was too much rain.

October

Well, first this was the “Go Live” for my software rollout at work for the 9 US locations.  This project, of which I am its manager, was HUGE and had been going on for over a year.  I was a bit anxious and nervous, but it went overall very well and I am very blessed.  This was a BIG DEAL of my life and much of the year, and I am thankful for the support I received from so many people.  Deana, many of my friends especially at Ennis (you know who you are), and my kids who managed when I was traveling so much.  Thank you all!  The support has been ongoing and I give a special shout out to Cary at work who has really stepped up on that front so I can focus on the Canadian rollout.

Also in this month Deana started her 4th Open Enrollment for the City of Dallas.  The amazement I feel is tremendous as she absorbed so much on the home front due to my rollout, yet she is only one of 4 benefits employees handling over 13,000 employees and she rocked it.  Her professionalism and ability to multitask in every aspect of her life is amazing.

Zack and Sophia also rocked the world of soccer as they both won first place in their divisions and I believe are continuing on the state level.  Sophia’s team, in fact, is 100% undefeated!

November

This month celebrated the marriage of Stephanie and Chris!  Wow, what a momentous occasion and one of the most fun receptions I’ve been to in a LONG time!  To see some footage of said wedding, check it out here and here.  The month also included, prior to the wedding, a great bachelorette party and a very fun drag show!  No, I didn’t dress as a woman though was called out as Rachel Maddow.

Another important event was Kirstie being baptized!  She made this decision and I was very blessed to be able to attend this heartwarming event!  To see a quick clip, click here.  So proud of you Teet!

December

Ah, December!  My birthday month!  Christmas and family!  But I have to say that I enjoyed attending Josh’s recital in this year’s Regional Honors Band!  He is very musically inclined and I am glad he is able to play the trombone and be recognized for his hard work and effort.  To hear one of the songs he and his fellow honor students played, click here.

Deana and I also got to hang out with some cool friends at yet another drag show and it was FUN!  Thanks Tracy for the invite and looking forward to more in 2014!

I was also blessed to be able to meet my second cousin (I think) when I traveled to Atlanta for work!  Nancy’s paternal grandmother was the sister of my maternal grandmother!  We found out about each other through Nancy’s sister Ellie; I had “grabbed” something off of Ellie’s ancestry.com family tree and we realized we were relatives.  How cool is it to find family members that way???  Cool!  And sitting with Nancy, who really was a “stranger” in many ways, just felt……right!  She enthralled me and made me laugh and well……I loved it!  I am looking forward to what 2014 hold on this front!  Especially you, Ellie!

Misc

I actually started saying “twenty-thirteen” this year, instead of “two thousand thirteen”.  I feel almost cool.

We (the kids and I) have recorded several “cover” songs for our annual CD again.  It is a bit behind schedule and so it will be release hopefully in Q1 of 2014.

Again, if there are items you think of, post them in the comments!  I hope that 2014 offers many blessings to you and yours and I look forward to being part of them!

2014 is another year that will be full of work and travel for me!  Canada (Toronto and Quebec), Australia, and the United Kingdom are filling up my card!  🙂  What is in store for YOU in 2014?

Travel Etiquette 101

I have been blessed to have not had to travel for business as much with my present job, – much less than my last job.  However, it still does occur and it brings me back to the fact that many travelers – especially business travelers – have lost touch with travel etiquette!  So this post hopes to evangelize this area for 2013!  No pressure, my 2.78 readers, but you need to help get the word out!

Here are some of the basic tenets of traveling with proper etiquette, as noted by Gina:

  • We’re all in this together.  That means you might be an executive making the big bucks or a lower middle class worker wondering how you’re  going to pay the rent on the first…..it doesn’t matter.  We have met at this juncture because we both (all) need to get from one place to another, for whatever reason, and our humanness should not be wiped out by the seat we were assigned or the order in which we were allowed to board the plane.  Planes are small enough without taking up space with massive egos.
  • Help One Another.  This is especially important for older passengers; I mean seriously, who can really stand by and watch an older passenger struggle to get their baggage in the overhead or have difficulty finding the numbers for the seat assignments?  Does is help ANYONE by getting frustrated because they’re slowing others down or don’t have a super-traveler’s speed?  Come to think of it, as HUMANS we should care for each other a bit more often instead of assuming everyone should move the hell out of our way.  Maybe if we HELP, like lift that bag for that lady or assist in helping that older gentlemen find his seat (or assist that young mother struggling with a toddler….the list goes on) EVERYTHING will work out better!  They are blessed by a kind co-traveler, the boarding process moves more quickly, and we ALL can get to where we are going that much faster.
  • There’s a person in that seat.  I know it’s easy to forget about that when you need to push up your tray or get up to go to the bathroom, but your actions directly affect the person sitting in front of you.  If you slam the tray up or push hard to latch it, the person in front of you will be slammed or pushed, perhaps harshly out of a dead sleep.    If you grab the seat to haul yourself up, said person will probably be catapulted to some degree, which is never pleasant.  So please be conscientious and slow down, don’t use the seat as your tool for movement, and everyone wins.  Remember, someone is behind you, too!
  • Headphones are a beautiful thing.  While I know it’s easy to assume the songs you love are everyone’s favorite, that is often not the case.  Nor do many enjoy listening to your FIFA soccer game, cheers and jeers included, as we try to read our books.  Nor is that R rated movie (even if it is academy award material) really enjoyable with its sex scene sound effects…..can you say “awkward”?  So please, travelers, remember to always use your headphones regardless of the type of device you are using (smartphone, iPad, or laptop).
  • Don’t be an Overhead Hog.  Lord knows everyone carries on their bags now that most airlines charge to check them.  I get that, and I have NO problem with those bags being brought on.  But there is still a tacit cost to it and EVERYONE should have a fair share at the storage!  So excuse me, but if you brought luggage and a backpack or laptop bag, put the latter under the seat in front of you.  Or if you brought a jacket or cowboy hat, don’t take limited overhead space for such trifles!  What happens is the poor guy in Group 4 gets on and his luggage, which won’t fit under his seat, has no place to go as your laptop takes up the space his bag would easily fit!  And you might say, “hey, you snooze, you lose!  I want to be comfortable!” but I argue, what happens if YOU end up in that place?  We, as travelers, are better than survival of the fittest!  And further, remember we are all in this together, and if bags have no place to go,the Flight Attendants need to coordinate their handling and this delays our flight.  So your greediness for overhead space for objects that can easily fit under the seat in front of you while also providing ample legroom messes us ALL up.  Just don’t do it!
  • There’s a Method to the Madness.  When the plane lands, especially if it was delayed at all, everyone is in a rush to exit.  Oh, who am I kidding?  No matter what, we all want to get off the plane and get to where we are going.  But even with that rush to be off the tiny area we’ve sat in for hours, there are seldom justifications that allow a person to push ahead of the exit etiquette rules (though they are broken every.  single.  time.  I.  fly.)  The ONLY exception to this rule is if the flight was so delayed that passengers that have connecting flights must to exit first to catch the connections…..and please, if that’s the case, LET THEM GET OFF FIRST!  Otherwise, etiquette demands that each row be allowed to exit, grab their overhead bag(s), and proceed off the plane.  DO NOT try to jump pass the row ahead of you because you’re already in the aisle……if there are three seats to the left and to the right in the row ahead of you, let them ALL out and proceed unless they specifically wave you on.  Demanding precedence for ANY reason causes delays to the people behind you and delays to the people who are technically in front of you.  And that is not cool.  I know it sucks when you’re in the back of the plane – I am often there – but the fact that it sucks does not mean other people should be forced to wait for you to push through.
  • Smile.  When I was traveling almost 75% of the time, it was easy for me to get bored or even frustrated that I had to listen to the FAA safety speech, wait for my drink, and otherwise go through the boring in flight ritual.  Well, imagine how the Flight Attendants feel having to DO all that, day in and day out, while most of the people they are serving care less about most of the process?  And, while I know they have chosen this job as a career, can you imagine being stuck in a plane day after day, usually filled with cranky travelers?  Make a huge difference, one airline employee  at a time, and smile and even go out of your way to say thank you!  And while you’re at it, smile to the co-travelers around you – even the ones that push their way forward or slammed their tray into your head – its amazing how it spreads like a yawn.
  • More to come soon!  Let me know what you think so far!

Observations of a (No Longer) Dormant Traveler

So I was fortunate to attend a conference this past week for the main software I support at work.  Said conference took place in beautiful Marietta, GA.  But this post is going to reflect on the travel-related portion of said trip!

Now, based on my older posts here, you know I used to have significant business travel in my career.  Not so with this new job, this was my first trip.  And overall it was not that bad and, let’s face it, conferences are pretty cool.  Free food, free alcohol, and you get to chat with mutual software users and they offer lots of dirt!  So, as far as business traveling goes, this is top of the list.

It started fairly early Wednesday at DFW Airport, Terminal E.  I have to say this leg was pretty uneventful until I went to security.  I am used to FLYING through security at DFW – 5 minutes tops – so I was surprised that the security for the Spirit Airlines area was LONG!  45 minutes long!  I almost got nervous, except for the fact I am pretty anal about getting to the airport early (can I say anal here?) so the safety buffer I usually build in saved me.  But while in line I saw some interesting things.

First, there was an older couple being dropped off by their middle aged son (and I can say that, because I will admit, he was around MY age.  And yes, I am slowly accepting I am middle aged).  They were Spanish nationals based on the passports I viewed as they said their goodbyes before the security line (which ran about 50 feet from the actual security area) lead into the roped off area.  But what REALLY caught my eye was the mother, who was fighting valiantly not to cry, but instead silently sobbed, her body racking with spasms, as her son and husband discussed the details of the upcoming roped off maze of the security line in Spanish.  My heart soared with compassion and pity for this woman as I imagined her thinking this may be the last time she will be able to see her son, as she and her husband were obviously in their late 70’s and may not be able to make the long flight again.  Her son and husband seemed oblivious to her pain, though it was not malicious, nor was her tears dramatic in nature.  I watched her anguish evolve with each bend of the security line, as we passed each other every few minutes, and wanted to reach out and whisper, “Entiendo (I understand).”  Over and over this overcame me, as I silently prayed for the peace of the Lord to touch her love and her heart, until at last I was distracted with the busy tasks of loading my items onto the actual conveyor of security.  My heart melted as I saw her son standing just on the other side of the rope, having waited for nearly an hour, saying one last goodbye to his parents, especially to his mother.

The emotions didn’t last long as I realized I was pretty darn close to calling time for my plane boarding, so warm feelings and all aside, Gina got her butt to my gate.  And I have to say, “Budget Spirit Airlines” do some things right, but I give a shout out to Johnny for whatever he did to get us in Zone 1 and in the emergency lane on the plane!  EASY, CHEESY!  But the airline otherwise, well, is “very different”.  EVERYTHING costs extra!  Want to check in at the airport and print your boarding pass there?  $5.  Want some water during the flight?  Pass the moolah!  Seriously!  But the plane itself was very nice and the flight was on time.

Johnny, who actually didn’t make this trip after all, warned me about the size and perceived chaos of Atlanta Airport and how to make my way to the rental car area.  It was very helpful, and I survived without a scratch!  Thanks Johnny!  I was able to drive to my company’s Atlanta plant and meet some of the people I support on a daily basis and also received an amazing tour of the manufacturing facility.  Then, to the beautiful Marietta Hilton for my stay and conference!  And it also included historical Brumby Hall & Gardens!

This hotel is quite beautiful actually!  And I have nothing but great things to say about almost EVERYTHING – the art lining the walls throughout, the decor, the meeting rooms, the hotel rooms themselves, the food, the staff, the city golf course that I was able to view from my room each day……the list goes on!  The only downside was that, at least on my floor, there was NO insolation between rooms!  Night one was tough as I had an all night TV watcher and 2am phone converser.  Night two was quiet and nice!  🙂

One snag – a flat tire on my rental car.  Did you know if you waive the rental car insurance, flat tires are not covered?  I didn’t know that, either.  And I still can’t lift due to my surgery, and who wants to change a freaking tire anyway?  So $49 bucks later, it was changed.  I am very blessed with this, however, because it could have come to my attention right when I NEEDED to leave for the airport!  However, by the Grace of God, I was compelled to take my luggage out to the car at 7:15am and saw the tire.  So it was easy to get someone out, attend the last day of the conference, and there was really not much stress added.

Now, heading home was a bit stressful, at least a little bit.  The address of the rental car facility was NOT the “real” location of the return area.  Caused a bit of a stressful moment, but fortunately I found a security guard at the “mailing address” to give me some directions.  I gave myself a HUGE buffer going home as Johnny laid out the security structure of Atlanta and what not.  So it wasn’t too scary once I got in the airport.  What WAS scary were the men travelers!  I mean SERIOUSLY, they were, how shall I say this?  RUDE!  I have never been man handled, pushed, bumped, or otherwise trampled upon more in my life!  And I’ve been to Europe and Russia!  I was SHOCKED!  In fact, a man actually pushed me aside so that he could get on the airport tram ahead of me!  And all the limited seats on the tram were filled with YOUNG men as woman stood around.  Maybe I am just old fashioned, but even I won’t sit down if there is an older couple standing.  Now, let me say that I do NOT think these were “Atlanta Men”, but travelers in this airport.  Maybe they didn’t know about the security or were stressed about missing their planes, but I was very discouraged about the lack of chivalry across the board during my route to Terminal D.

One amazing realization really happened twice on this trip – the TSA is not as concerned about some things as I expected.  First flight, I realized I had packed a small Purell container that I did NOT put in the “liquid bag” for screening, but it did not raise any problem.  Going home, I didn’t realize a gift that was handed out at the conference contained liquid, which also was packed and didn’t raise a flag.  Fortunately, it didn’t hold things up and no harm, no foul.  But I would still recommend you follow the rules!  🙂  Said from the person years ago who had carried a fork in her purse through 3 airports with no problem, even unaware it was there, and almost got arrested in Mexico when they found it.  🙂

So Gina is safe and sound and hanging with her family!  And she can now share all sort of great ideas for the software, don’t forget about that!  🙂

Secrets of a Business Traveler

Before I spent more than 50% of my work week traveling, I thought those that did lead a prestigious life. Airplanes, site seeing at different places, and being important enough for others to ask for you to travel to (or for) them.

I have flown seven times in the past 4 weeks – in fact, as I type this on my “travel friendly iPad”‘ I’m en route to San Francisco in prep for a client upgrade pilot. I share this because I can say without hesitation and with authority that I am a BUSINESS TRAVELER, and it often sucks.

At least for me, as an employee of my present firm, it’s expected that you either fly on weekends or “after hours” so that you “give the most to our clients”. That really means, in my estimation, that they’d rather pay me to be productive in the office than sitting in a plane. This translates to long days – for me, this day of travel will exceed 15 hours. “ah,” you say, “but you can rest on the plane!”. Perhaps. Except, in reality, there are many things that beg to argue with that perception:

1. Airplanes are freaking uncomfortable, unless you fly first class. And let’s just say, at my firm that’s not an option.

2. People are inconsiderate. Cool TV in the seat? Most people, at least the ones that sit behind me, push the hell out of the touch screen. Picture my head bobbing with each push…..

3. People are inconsiderate #2. Many people see no issue with grabbing the seat in front of them to assist with hauling their butts up, steading themselves with it as they adjust in prep to go to the toilet, even if it’s nearly 11pm and the occupant of said seat is sound asleep.

4. People are inconsiderate #3. Loud conversations at 11pm. Yeah, do you see a trend?

So, the plane is not that great for rest and relaxing – or for work really. But what about the cool hotels? I admit, some are pretty awesome. But even the best, when you’re without your family and working 12 plus hours each day, the only real benefit of the hotels I use are I CAN SLEEP!

Further, though I’ve been able to travel to some pretty amazing spots in the US, I have had NO TIME to see many of the sites I’ve been to! I land, walk through the airport, get a shuttle to the hotel, sleep, go to my client’s site, work, go out to eat for dinner, and go back to the hotel to work and then to sleep. The one exception to this is a trip I made to Oklahoma last year where Deana and the kids came along – we got to see some sites in the evening that were nice. But really, even if I DID have time to see the sites (though that is often not true) I really don’t enjoy it when I am by myself. I’d prefer sharing the experience with my family or friends. Of course, I have NOT been able to travel to So Cal for work, and that would be an ENTIRELY different situation – I would hit up my friends and family QUICK if I made it out there!

So the moral to this story is, before you decide that your friend (who is about to go on a business trip) is “living the life”, instead pray for them to get plenty of rest and return safely (and quickly) to their family!

Traveling to “The City”

I have been fortunate enough to be giving the opportunity to be trained on the latest version of AccountMate – the software package I support through my employment.  My employer signed me up and has sent me to my home state, to the beautiful city of San Francisco!  Yeah!  I am blessed.  Too bad the training wasn’t set in SOUTHERN California!

But true to form, I have some traveling scars!  So of course I want to share them with YOU, my 2.78 readers!

First of all, I am a little OCD about traveling – I generally like to be at the airport 2 hours before my flight is scheduled to leave, even for domestic flights.  My thing is that you never know when there will be a car accident or other things out of your control that will delay your forward motion to the airport.  This philosophy has caused stress on my family members at times, as many of them are late to EVERYTHING, so having me freak out because we are behind the 2 hour rule stresses them out (and, well, to be honest I am pretty stressed, too!).  But for this trip, it was all me…….

In this case, I am glad that I am OCD, because there was a SERIOUS accident on the main freeway I needed to take, which SERIOUSLY delayed my driving time.  What should have taken me 1 hour took me 2!  But I need to divulge something…….I actually left even earlier than I was supposed to, because I was going to a long-term parking lot I’d never been to and I was not sure how efficient they were, so I had plugged more time there “just in case”.  So even with this delay, I got to the airport 2 hours before my flight.  LOL

ANYWAY. DFW is a very large airport and they are very efficient in the security area, etc.  I got in very quickly and found my gate and settled in.  I am reading a very good book right now – biographies on Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots and how their very lives worked to create animosity between the two.  Very interesting and it was nice to have down time to enjoy it.  But soon it was very apparent that the boarding was delayed, as “the plane was still being cleaned”.  At this point I usually get nervous in general, because now that AA charges for checking bags, EVERYONE has carry on bags and many are pretty darn big.  So I was stressing as I was in group 4 and I was concerned that there would not be room for my bag.  I admit, I have never had that happen to me, but I have ALWAYS stressed about this and the new rules made this anxiety worse for me.  But I chose to not freak out and be especially nice to those around me……..

In this case, I easily found a space and was very pleased to see the other passengers assist to help strangers find room, too.  So the anxiety was unnecessary.

So we got settled, but the time to take off just kept going.  We were scheduled to take off at 12:25pm, and I easily could see that we had passed that by about 15 minutes.  I was concerned but what could I do?  I was very glad I didn’t have to catch a connecting flight, so really there was no reason for me to stress…..

Suddenly, the captain got on the speaker and said that Maintenance was reviewing a mechanical problem and that a decision was pending as to if we would be taking off or if we’d need a new plane.  Said decision was expected within 10 minutes.  So, 20 minutes later we were told that the decision was that we needed a new plane.  Really, my only stress at this point was if the NEXT flight would have room for my luggage in the overhead compartment!  🙂

This situation reminded me of the times I’d fly to Dallas to visit Deana and the kids when they were living in Frisco and I had not yet moved.  During that time I was stranded more than once due to mechanical issues, and yes those were with AA as well!  So this new situation was a reminder of days gone by.

Anyway, I am of the mind that I’d prefer not to fly on a mechanically unfit plane, so the change was not horrible.  And I have to say, I was pleased to hear our new gate was very close – DFW is a HUGE airport and the hub for AA, so it could have easily been an ordeal.  Our flight, when all was said and done, took off by 2:40pm so that’s not bad.  And truthfully, my first seat was kind of broken so the new plane offered a more comfortable ride. 

But now for the fun part!  PEOPLE!  They ALWAYS seem to provide me plenty of material on this blog!

First, there was a young guy on the first flight that, once he heard there was a possibility that the flight would be grounded, he got on the phone right away with AA and got his name on a totally different flight.  I have no problem with that.  But once the announcement was made that we WERE changing planes, he bolted out of his seat and almost mowed the guy in front of him and put his stupid little “I am an important person” ass right in my face.

I have to say, why do people on planes often think THEY are more important and should be let off the plane before the people in rows ahead of them  This is very common on planes and too often I feel the need to teach them airport etiquette.  (Of course, people who are about to miss their connecting flight do not fall into this category.)  This was no exception, especially since I now had an ass in my face.  (I was on the aisle).  So I stood and said, “wow, so much for being a courteous traveler!”  The gentleman across from me, who was mowed over, looked at me, smiled, and I knew he was a good guy.  Of course, we had to wait a while as we were in the 18th row and there were about 85 people ahead, and the nice man and I had no problem with that.  But “ass man” seemed to become more agitated with each moment.  As it got closer to our ability to move, the nice man says to me, “Go ahead and get ahead of me.”  I smiled and said thank you, and then he adds, “I hope I earned points for that one.”  I replied, “Well, you certainly did!  I have been shown that chivalry is not dead and that others are not selfish.  I will certainly make mention of you on my blog!”  Ass Man was FURIOUS, especially since I would not push forward until the rows ahead of me got their bags, etc.

It was SWEET!

Oh, and Ass Man was not on our replacement flight.  🙂  But, true to form, the person that got his seat didn’t know or care about letting the rows ahead of him exit first, either.  THE IRONY!

Now, for my seat mates.  Next to me was a man I’d guess was in his late 40’s or early 50’s.  He was a small man, about my height (5’ 6”) although he had a nice build.  He was attractive by American standards.  What was GROSS, at first at least, was that his obvious girlfriend was close in age to my daughter……EARLY 20’s!  I don’t know, that just grossed me out but maybe I’m not being fair.  But that was not all that bothered me.  First of all, he was one of those loud “everyone should listen to me because 1) I’m good looking and 2) what I have to say is meaningful” talkers.  Additionally, his girlfriend had the same view of HER conversation!  So that bugged.  But then it quickly came to realization that Mr. Small Arrogant Guy had a bladder of a peanut because he asked me every 10 minutes to let him out.  It was further aggravated by the fact that he ALSO asked to get up to get into his overhead bag 3 times, to get water twice (hello, small bladder), and really just expected me to move without any problem.  He also had no respect for my personal space, not even pretending to not put his drinks right in my face and wait for the Flight Attendant to get them, etc.  But don’t worry, two hours in I pretended to sleep and he was VERY antsy.  LOL. Oh, and before that I put my iPod on so I wouldn’t have to hear their stupid conversations.

Once I landed at SFO, things were easy.  Got the shuttle to the hotel, checked in, and then met up with some of my co-workers for dinner.  The hotel is very nice and, because of the time change, it felt great to “sleep in”!  (5:30am local time = 7:30am “body time”).  NICE.

So now, here I sit writing this blog in Word as I don’t have internet access and am filling “down time” with my thoughts here.  I can check my mail on my iPhone, so that’s cool.  Oh, and Facebook.  Important!  J  BUT, I just got an email from my COO saying that I need to buy the internet access for work, so WHOOT!  I will do that later today as it covers 24 hours so that way I will have it throughout the day tomorrow, too.

It is NICE to be in California again!  Wish I had friends and family close enough to visit.  But seeing the sky and water – AWESOME!  Well, not that there isn’t sun in Texas, but you know what I mean.

More Info Coming Soon…..

…..and other items my intentions tell me to do, but sometimes never appear!

I realized yesterday that I hadn’t put together my Year End Recap.  I obviously will not make it by today, but I DO plan on doing something here this weekend.  So for my thousands of readers…….well, maybe that’s an overstatement…….stay tuned!

Message to Nancy G. – girl, just come clean and admit you’re not dead.  No need to try to get to me through bogus comments or fake FB people.  Tell me what you’ve been up to.  Tell me, are you working on the reservation or are they so big they have their own internet company that provides you service?  What can I do to you now?  Even if I had the means to kick your a$$, I wouldn’t.

Anyway, today is Joe’s last day.  He’s the guy I am replacing.  I don’t think I’ve described him in detail here……making a note to do that this weekend, too.  But now I must get ready for work!

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Gina OUT

So, What’s Up with Gina?

Where to begin!  So much has happened in a short amount of time, it’s hard to even have enough recall to post anything here that isn’t dizzying!  But, I will try!

Probably as no surprise to my regular readers, Dupar’s was getting worse and the owner was escalating his questionable behaviors. I can’t really get into the details of it, but I left on 11/20 knowing pretty much I will never be paid again from them.  It went south from there, but I was determined to focus on the positive things that had been scheduled in my life; an important celebration, Thanksgiving, and my trip to England and Scotland with Deana.  I was freaking out on many levels, but kept that at bay at least through the listed items.   (On a good note, BB kind of acknowledges the crap I put up with because he is paying for my insurance through February, which I do appreciate very much!)

About a month before this all happened, Edgar asked if I would be willing to move to Texas. I was agreeable, but said I would not until my lease was up at the end of July. I gave him permission to move earlier with the boys if he needed to (he has been struggling financially due to the CA economy). With the change of my job situation, I contacted my landlord and said I needed to break the lease, that I would be moving to Texas by the end of the year. The day before Thanksgiving, I sent out 5 resumes to Texas companies, just to get my feet wet. For comparison, I had sent over 300 resumes out in CA over the previous 8 weeks, with only 5 calls back and the offers were pathetic. Anyway, before even boarding the plane to London that Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), I had one interview set up. In Scotland, I received a call for another! So I had two interviews scheduled for the week after I returned from my trip.

Long story short, I got the job I wanted in Texas! I have been here in Texas since one day after returning from Scotland and Deana has been frantically packing in my absence. Edgar’s last day of work was 12/15 and he will be leaving after Christmas (which is when I originally had planned on driving out).  I started my new job 12/15 and on the first day went to Oklahoma for an on-site client trip!  I was in Oklahoma for four days, drove back to Dallas on that Friday, then flew to LA early Saturday morning…..only to turn around and drive over the weekend with Deana, Kenny, Zack and Sophia back to Texas. Josh chose to drive out with Edgar. Kirstie is staying in California to finish school and then who knows what will happen.  We are staying for a few months with Deana’s Mom, who has a big house, and hope to settle down once I get my savings back up.

Christmas was a bit different but very pleasant.  And, for the first time in my life, I watched snow falling on Christmas Eve.  The snow remained on the ground for half of the day on Christmas, before the sun withered it away.  Kenny, Zack, and Sophia got a kick out of that for sure!  It was weird being apart from Kirstie and Josh though!

I LOVE my job though!  I am replacing Joe, an 82-year-old brilliant man!  I will have to share some tidbits of Joe soon as he is truly a wonderful man.

Until then, Gina is OUT!