My little weekend escape is over or almost over. This afternoon I was on the back of the plane which allowed me to hear the count and recount of passengers manually by the crew before take off. 91 on board. Confirmed 91 on board by the second attendant.
That led me in my idle time on the plane to calculate the percentage occupied to available. Just over 63% was occupied on this flight. I think that’s an upward tick compared to some previous months of hard times for the airlines. How long can airlines hold on with diminished capacity?
I was flying Southwest as mentioned in a previous post. Group boarding but one seat open in between each passenger unless people are family. Another friend was on Delta with the same open seat strategy which I observed on my last Delta flight. Delta includes sanitizing wipes in the on-board sacks. Another was on Spirit and oddly enough there was no breaks in seats and the plane was more full according to a friend. Interesting how each airline adopts their own plans relating to safety and profit.
The airport seemed busy enough on my return leg but not packed. I again enjoyed the people watching aspect including the two women with shower caps, masks and chemistry- type goggles that I saw in line at Starbucks. I really wanted a picture for this post but I couldn’t bring myself to snapping it.
Just another day in the air for this girl. Surprisingly I was super relaxed and just observing for my pre-flight wait, my actual time in air and as I moseyed on out of the airport for the day.
Time to get back into the swing of life for a few days before traveling again. Figuring out my end of year travels. Have to wrap up the cruddy year of 2020 where I seemed firmly planted most days on the homestead. Off to adventure more.
This was a new term for me this week but apparently it’s all the rage. I went to Disney World on a last minute-trip and boy did I see a lot of 2020 nuances.
Let’s start with the temperature checks. I get it but wow of all the times at Disney this is new and different but definitely expected in 2020. Then there is the mask up rule. Over the mouth and nose at all times. It’s on signs, it’s broadcasted all day on speakers and cast members let you know often.
Only time to remove the mask is when you are actively eating or drinking in a stationary position. No shifting the mask on the move, in line or just for fresh air. Not to mention their mask guidelines are specific. No neck gaiters. Must be two layers. No mask with the vent. Kids over 2 need one. Not just at the park, at Disney Springs and pretty much everywhere. I only felt like I could take a mask break in the bathroom of all places – behind closed doors.
It’s normally a popular fashion statement to have matching Disney shirts, family reunion shirts or special occasions like a newly wed couple or first trip to Disney, but this year the theme was different. Majority of shirts said Socially Disneying or Disney 2020 with toilet paper for the zeroes. Interesting, new and something I didn’t expect.
I also didn’t expect lines to get into retail stores to get a souvenir. One-way traffic when walking. Cow corral type setups at entry points to separate people. Limited food service. Reduced choices all around for snacks. I only found one place that sold my turkey leg that is a normal purchase at Disney. Such a disappointment but with only 30% capacity, I am sure all staff is not working which impacts sales.
The longest, twisted and turned lines that only an imagineer could have designed! I am an adult I can adjust. Kids over age 5 seemed to do well with masks. Kids 0-4 seems challenged A-Z. Take a look.
I thought back to taking my kids in the 0-4 years old category, Squirming around in lines. Wanting an ice cream while waiting in lines. They always thoroughly enjoyed character visits and autographs. Guess what visits are at a distance. A far distance!
Parades at Magic Kingdom were interesting. One float – people gathered in closed proximity. The float moves on and people disperse. 20 minutes later another float. Same scenario. What a clever way to still offer a parade while keeping people together less than fifteen minutes. Genius.
Then at Animal Kingdom they put the characters on a pontoon boat and sent them around in a water tour with music and cheers and waves. Seemed to uplift those around even at a distance. Such creative ways to bend and flex on Disney’s part so people can still enjoy a little different Disney experience during the pandemic.
Disney also did a great job with signage. Reminders in lines to be 6 foot apart. Signs to separate. Seating even on walls or resting places by bathrooms had signage showing not available for seating due to 6 ft rules. In addition there were plastic dividers on rides where lines wrapped and people would normally be in close quarters for an extend period of time. Just creative overall.
Although the theme park was at a drastically reduced capacity it still had lines. Mainly because every other seat was empty on rides.
Now that I covered all the steps Disney took to comply with new rules and regulations, let’s talk about judgment. Those who thought I should not go to such a public place. Those who believe social distancing involves becoming a recluse and staying trapped inside your home avoiding people.
Sorry folks that’s not me. I maintain my health and sanity in more than one way. I work out for mental clarity, stress relief and to get out of the four walls of my home. This is a requirement for me but a risk to others. I support local small business because I am a small business owner and I need to go out to stimulate the economy. I can mask up and comply with local rules but I won’t be a prisoner of the pandemic.
I enjoy fresh air each day. I walk my dog. I go to the park. I ride my bike. I’m sure some particles in the air could get me sick. Particles in the air could have gotten me sick in 2019 before the pandemic too.
Just wrapping up this post with one can socially or physically distance and still be active. Maybe social Disneying is for those who are extreme risk takers but even the most cautious people need to interact with others, breathe fresh air and really just celebrate life. Anything less just isn’t living. I’m not even sure if I’d say it’s surviving. It’s more like being robotic and slavelike.
Everyone has a right to an opinion. Everyone has the freedom to speak. However one should never judge another unless you walk a day in their shoes. And at Disney that means walking a marathon on most days.
I had a great time in Disney. Made mask memories and saw a side of the country practicing safety measures that I would not have seen otherwise. I may not do it again but I enjoyed my spontaneous trip.
The other day I wrote about my travels in reference to my exposures in the airport mainly. As I reflected I thought maybe I should write about my in-flight experience.
This trip was on Southwest where my last trip was on Delta. The boarding process is different when it comes to how they group people for loading but it’s tolerable. Once on the plane I enjoyed the funny announcements. “No alcohol on this flight. That includes alcohol you may have brought with you. Save it for the after party. After you land that is.” Silly but gave me an under the mask giggle.
Then the mystery snack pack arrived. The little bag labeled with nothing but the logo or that was all I could read in the dark plane. What’s in it? A super secret surprise…
I had to put my flashlight on. It’s a snack and a smile package of deliciousness. First I can take my mask down to eat so guess what I chewed ever so slowly. Savoring each bite. One by one. There were little pretzels with a hint of seasoning of some kind. There were cheez-its or knock off cheez-it. It didn’t matter, both of those are favorite snacks. And the bonus was the round bagel crisps for an extra crunch. Yum. A snack pack made just for me! I even asked for an extra one and the gentleman was so sweet to give me another. Lucky me. Munch munch munch I did.
Got to wash down my snacks with some ice cold water. After being masked up for so long in the airport itself the water seemed extra refreshing. I never usually say I like water but this time I can say I actually did. Huge growth moment.
Flash. Flash. Flicker. Flash again. Flickering blue lights. Lasers. All out of the corner of my eye. Why it’s my travel buddy watching music videos that must be rave-type with strobe lights galore. I had to look away. Too much of a crazy show from a neighboring seat.
When I wasn’t snacking and avoiding the laser show, I was admiring the cute little 12-week-old mini golden doodle that was riding in front of me. So cute. So tiny at just 8 pounds with the wimpy little bark. Tucked inside his momma’s carrying case. He did so good on his first plane ride. Made me miss my little Teddie Aspen a little more.
Quick flight. Less than two hours. They had WiFi but I just drifted into my own little peaceful state of self and just enjoyed thinking about things. Making plans in my notes on my phone. Recapping some business matters from the day and so on.
No turbulence. A smooth landing and off I go to the new city. Time to unbuckle and navigate my way to see how another city is adjusting to covid. What new rules will I adjust to? Just a day in the crazy world we live these days.
I recently wrote about what I missed due to the pandemic state we will live in currently. What I neglected to mention is that my memory chest had grown immensely during the same time. An irony of sorts.
A kind soul said to me one day: I hope your memory chest becomes as full as mine one day. Those words rang true to me in many ways. Many years separate us in age but quality memories ring true with both of us.
Sharing is caring and building memories involves sharing. Sharing of good times, great times, sad times, trying times and oh so many adventures. Here’s a virtual toast to your memory bank. Building the best of the best memories.
For today I am reliving my memories in photos, journal entries, blog posts, adventures and so on. Below is the blossoming of a lifelong friendship. From teammates to besties to barn buddies. Their shiny smiles can light up a room.
And then there is ageless beauty of a mother, wife, caregiver learning to soar on her own in a complex world. As you recall In my last post I said I missed smiles. The smiles hid behind masks. These two photos alone show what I wrote about. In nature, away from crowds, in the fresh air, less populated areas you are not looked upon with disgust for no mask. It’s a glorious feeling. A sense of freedom among the chaos.
Onto lazy day snuggles with your puppy. Who says you can’t grab a blanket and snuggle away. It’s never too hot to grab a blanket and pile it for a snuggle sesh.
And who can forget backyard bbqs and all the fun they bring. Memories fill the the chest. The hand written notes saved have a spot in the chest. The memorable cards saved have a secret compartment, too. The newspaper clippings from back in the day have a place as well. The trophies and other keepsakes are all part of the memory collection. The memory chest. They all make the memory chest plentiful and unique to you. Keep building yours, like I am mine.
Share the memories. Share the smiles. Make others smile. When creating this post I didn’t look for smiling pictures they were just the ones that seemed to fit. Ironically there are full smiles.
Unfortunately there are some corona memories in the bank. Hopefully they will be covered with dust soon. Until then I will escape the ordinary to find my peace and make additions to my memory bank. My words to pass on to you will be the same as the ones given to me: May your memory bank be as full as mine one day.
How amazing is it that when I wrote this post that the cup above was on my daily tea from a local vendor. How did they know a smile was on my mind? Enjoy the journey. The escape. The process in general. Pay attention to the little signs around a you.
These three words have come up multiple times in the past week.
First, from my friends in the teaching profession. Those are the three words they are being told to embrace as school begins in person (don’t say face to face it sounds too close) as we return to the buildings. Don’t plan too far in advance, as things could and probably will change day by day. In fact, since we started writing this post, we’ve already switched from in person to online school in many places to start the upcoming year.
Be flexible and ready to adapt to evolving conditions and unexpected challenges. Be agile, able to move quickly, efficiently and confidently from situation to situation. Pivoting to change direction is almost inevitable. With so many unknowns and twists and turns on the horizon those words are valuable to latch on to. For teachers who are trained to plan, abide by calendars, and be as routine and predictable as possible, it’s a bit against their training and possibly their nature. Time to rethink, reframe, and expand in a different direction, and help students and their parents do the same.
Me on the other hand, I giggle a bit on those three words. They represent my life In many ways, during a pandemic or just a routine Tuesday afternoon. All the twists and turns. All the adapting. The organized chaos I call life. I thrive under pressure and beg for adversity most days. It’s fuel to my fire.
Then the conversation hit on a Friday night at the ball field. We all had masks on. Following the rules. The sun was scorching despite the evening hours. I took my face mask down briefly for fresh air. It was still hanging on an ear. Technically I was wearing a mask. The directions didn’t specifically define what mask type, how it needed to be officially placed and so on.
Out comes a gentleman I knew well. He saw my mask and followed his glance with an affirmation (or was it an accusation?) of me not being a rule follower. That spurred a discussion that lingered. I am a rule follower. I just choose to follow the rules within the terms I choose. He implied that I am an A, B, C2-C3-C4 person. As if all the rules have an asterisk. Options within the boundaries.
Yes, that is correct. I always have a backup plan and C4 may be a good pivot point description for me. Explosive. Dynamite in a way. Always with a second, third and fourth plan. I call it depth. It’s layers deep. I make the rules work for me. It allows me to not only survive but thrive.
Some may see it as grey. Operating in the grey tones of life. Pushing the limits. Especially if the limits don’t make sense in certain situations. Staying in the black and white only confines me. Shades give life texture, interest, originality, make me memorable. For some, it makes them rewrite the rules with more care and specificity. It forces people to be agile in their mind and in their lives. But I am always at least one step ahead, if not more. Rewrite the rules and try to corral me. Just another challenge for me to find the gray and keep growing.
I see it for what it is. Depth, diversity, dynamic layers ingrained within. How the mask conversation turned into an unmasking of sorts