challenges, travel

Southwest Shitshow

Today I am flying across country. From one cold front to another. Snow coverings to celebrate a white Christmas this year and frigid temps that call for warm blankets and toasty fires on the home front with my puppies. A welcome I gladly await but sadly have postponed it thanks to Southwest Airlines and their poor service.

I had been magically flying just above the clouds somewhere on the way to Denver, Colorado. It was a peaceful time of reflection. I was thinking of all the people I have in my life that are amazing yet missing those who aren’t with me this holiday season. As I was flying high I felt the presence of those I miss this year. It was almost like the clouds had names of loved ones gone too soon. At this point in the day there was a calm in the air. Not a worry in the world and I was looking forward to being home.

After landing in Denver, the trip home became a little more complex. Staffing shortages for Southwest Airlines were spiraling out of control for days and today things were supposed to be back on track. That was false. Insanity was lurking everywhere. Crying people everywhere. Cops patrolling gates which is not normal. Emotional outbursts at counters. Lines for days at every Southwest counter yet no supervisors in sight and guess what corporate is closed for the holiday!

The backlog and staff shortages caused rippling effects across the county but Denver was one of the most hard hit. The airline swears it was not poor planning on their part rather storm related issues but I beg to disagree. Plane after plane delayed or cancelled waiting on flight attendants to show up to staff a flight or pilots running out of time due to long delays and federal regulations. I have never seen planes sitting at a gate for hours waiting for staff to load the hundreds of people waiting to get on the plane. Most gates had no attendants either because all those who showed up for work didn’t appreciate the hounding of those waiting for a human to give an update.

Fast forward: many hours sitting and being shuffled gate to gate only to watch planes sit idle or get unloaded due to no staff, incomplete flight crew, or in my case over time limit pilots. It was pure insanity and I was in the midst of it. Then finally we load onto a plane at 8:45 pm and sit for over and hour. Babies crying. People getting anxious of why the plane hasn’t moved. The list goes on and on. Then they take us off the plane because the pilots are under the federal guidelines but their union contracts says they can’t fly. Oh the crowd went wild. Anger was written on many faces while tears well up in the eyes of tired and hungry kids. No hand out of water or blankets for those forced to sleep in the airport. No hotel voucher. Nothing. Just a long line to wait to be rebooked on the computers they kept crashing due to overload of resources. An absolute shit show. The picture above shows the length of every line at every Southwest kiosk. The wait was hours long.

Most rebook options were 2 days out at best, but my case was 12/31 some 6 days later with no access to my bag and no accommodations. Sounds amazing right?

That means you are stranded with no access to bags. Many in tears due to holiday gifts being in their checked bags. No options. Many just stuck. Some elderly couples were in disarray not knowing how to operate the internet swiftly or an app. It was unsettling to watch as folks crumbled around me. A young couple had tickets to Disneyland for first time with young kids and they wouldn’t get that money back or get the experience they had planned. 

I have never experienced such chaos in an airport. Southwest had people stranded for days. My inconvenience seemed minimal in comparison to those traveling with small children or even animals. I heard so many kids crying that just wanted to see Grandma or Grandpa for Christmas. It was awful. Now flip the script to other airlines. They are still flying and the chaos seems mild in comparison despite other airlines taking all the rebooks from Southwest’s incompetence.

In my case it cost me another $1,500 to get home and I had to split up with my child to even make that happen. I had to spent the night in an airport and I had no luggage or hygiene items. By the time I got off my cancelled flight no food places were open. Stores were closed for even water. I will definitely rethink my carryon accessories in the future to prepare for airport Armageddon. When I finally boarded my Delta flight Santa had delivered goodies to all their passengers. Mini stockings full of candy. What a treat and what amazing service. Southwest didn’t even give a bottle a water or blanket to those stranded. What an irony.

Signing off a little sleep deprived. A little annoyed. Most definitely disappointed in Southwest Airlines customer service. 4 hours to wait by phone. An app that crashed. Terminals frozen at the airport. Disconnects on phone and so on. Delta will get my money in the future even if it’s more expensive. Delta even gave out mini stocking goody bags to its passengers on my rebooked flight. So crazy.

I will pick up this with the how to get my bags from Southwest in the coming days.

challenges, perspective

Sleepless Shit List

Do you ever have a sleepless night? I do. Sometimes I’m worrying about a kid. Sometimes I’m thinking about a deadline. Sometimes I’m mad. I could even be excited for an upcoming trip. Anxious for a doctor appointment. Any number of reasons.

Today’s reason was just the normal bullshit that built up over the week. Anger would be the feeling or distraction. Wrestling with my kids to find solutions. Planing ahead.

Thinking about rainy day scenarios. Covid blah. Sort of like playing a game of chess with yourself inside your brain. Sounds fun right? Not exactly.

If I don’t sleep good my workout sucks in the morning. If my workout doesn’t flow my morning usually blows. From there the day goes down hill. Add in the crazy of a normal day and everything magnifies.

I am sure there are people in worse situations and that’s why I hit the reset rainbow button in the morning. Training my mind to see the rainbows and sunshine in the day vs focusing on life’s blunders.

Some days this works better than others. Today I decided to make a shit list in my head. Hopefully to tire myself out. Ironically I fueled it. Like gasoline on a fire. Poof. The shit list went from in my head to paper to the white board.

Who is on it? What did they do? How does one get off it? Is it even possible to get off the shit list? So many questions. The point is I have a shit list currently. Funny how my sleepless night turned into a shit list.

I tried to soothe my mind as the weekend approached. I put the AirPods in for a cardio session at the gym. I eased the anger a bit it not enough. I spent time with a loved one. It took the edge off but not enough. I mowed acres of grass. The fresh cut smell of grass was soothing. I found an escape even if temporary.

I circled back to my environment and the shit list was still there. Each of the top three independently made selfish decisions yet again confirming their status on the shit list. How funny to be awake and realizing what I dreamed in my sleep was factual.

So crazy. The shit list remains. Those on it know. Now it’s up to them to get off it. But will they?

challenges

Frustrated 2.0

I started this post a few weeks ago and then stopped. Just stopped mid-stream. The post was negative. I don’t like to write about negative attitudes. However, here I am a few weeks later and I’m crotchety again. Go figure.

I’ve been dealing with chaos for a couple of months on a few projects. One stalled for this reason. Another sidelined for a different reason. Lack of human capital on another. Just one roadblock after another.

I’ve kept my calm. I’ve committed to endure the test of time. What I have little tolerance for is ignorance, laziness and stupidity. When any of those factors hinder my progress I want to bang my head on the wall. Literally and physically.

Sometimes I just don’t get how something so simple seems so challenging for others. Am I a details snob? Weather has been rain rain and more rain. This hinders outdoor projects. Supply chain issues hinder renovations on the home front, even something as simple as getting a fence put in.  Transportation issues arise. Add in price increases due to supply and demand. Thanks Corona. Thanks for complicating life on a whole different level.

Some examples to note for my review in the future when I revisit my blog time capsule: I went to Best Buy it was closed at 8pm on a Saturday. Wow. I went to a furniture store for a need and guess what they close at 7pm on a Friday. Places are still buttoned up tight from Corona. I hadn’t seen it as much as I’ve been on the home front a bunch. Just a big wake up call I suppose.

All these small things keep adding up and boom stupidity hit. Lack of preparation on somebody’s part causing an emergency on my end. Should life work that way? Most days I bend and flex but some days I draw a line in the sand and say no way. Solve your own issues. I have enough of my own.

When I look back 20-25 years, I had to lean on myself for problem solving or engage resources to help in shortcomings. Today’s younger generation is just not built the same way. If google can’t fix something you might as well call in the marines.

Maybe we need to go back to the card catalog and encyclopedia days and do some leg work to get answers vs. having google supply a cheat sheet.

I am cranky so this is my cranky pants post. You may see one or two of these a year. So sad to say the first one is already in the books.

3Splitz Farm

Rain, #1

We knew it was coming. Early morning scrambling outdoors, when I wanted to be scrambling eggs.  Had to get things done before the clouds opened up. Hammer and nails. Pounding through the Sunday morning quiet.  Always with one eye toward the horizon. 

The new day turned darker. The sky began to spit, then stopped. Hammer hammer hammer away.

Finally it turned from darker to that menacing deep gray and in we went. To watch the rain come down through the window. A comforting sound even with the smacks of thunder.  A lamp on in the corner of the room.  Cozy with the sound of drops and pattering waves on the metal roof. Watching the puddles grow on the porch and in the dirt.  Flowers and horses soaking in the refreshment while the humans take cover. 

I grabbed my computer, cuddled under the covers, all snuggled in for nature’s show through my grand window. Then Nashie the plump pup jumped up into my lap, daughter and boyfriend not far behind.  All just sitting there, chatting, giggling, nothing better to do than waiting for the rain to pass.  Part of the plan? Not really, but nothing to be frustrated about. Nature doing her thing.

A game of solitaire starts in the next room.  Drip drop, rumble on and on.  All we can do is wait. And watch. And wait.

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Open to Growth

Last week I wrote about making a second attempt at 21.1 in the CrossFit Open. I was tired Monday morning but I told somebody special I would do the workout again with them. We both improved but many lessons were learned.

One lesson was I did better. I improved. I put in the work. I took my time where I needed to. It wasn’t about being the first to finish. It was about endurance for me. The climb on that wall. Over and over. It was a mental and physical challenge.

I needed to do this for me because in other compartments of life there are struggles. Those who take my mental energy without looking beyond themselves. It’s weird how my CrossFit workouts that hit that breaking point lead me to revelations outside in other aspects of life. When you dig deep, you are in a special kind of mindset.

Keeping with this story, my workout bud was struggling with a movement. She opted to halt her own progress by throwing in the towel a little early. She had enough. She wasn’t feeling like she put forth her best effort. She improved. She did amazing given her experience yet the improvement wasn’t enough for her in the moment. Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than we need to be. One can also easily display their frustrations outwardly on others around them which happened with this person. The dirty looks. The sour attitude. The pouty face. The isolation. It was all there. Front and center.

Taking this story to the outside world. Today it’s a door slam. Tomorrow it’s a hole in a wall. The next day it’s hurtful words. It’s always best to learn how to keep emotions in check. One can learn this at any age. The sooner you master your mindset and emotions the better.

Patience. Resilience. Balance. Strength. These words all come to mind when I want to shake someone and say yes you did great. Maybe not your personal best or what you were going for but it’s more than many. Nobody ever gets better if they don’t try. She tried which was a step toward growth. She didn’t see it herself. In moments like this other must help the person see their value when they can’t see it themselves.

We should never compare ourselves to others. We all have our own journey. Take pride in your progress and efforts. They will never be the same as the person to you.

It’s open season. Lots of raw emotions flair up day to day. Sometimes it’s my emotions other days it’s those around me. It’s part of the process. The community. We all support each other in successes and failures.