Almost like Europe

Here I am, sitting in the KLM lounge in Terminal 5. In front of me I have an espresso and a sparkling water. I’ve got a window seat that lets me watch the big wide bodies being loaded. Alitalia is first up. I might have mentioned a time or two how watching airplanes being loaded makes me both wish I could do it again and then again glad that I have a different job now. Things I miss are the precision with which planes are loaded, the feeling of being physically tired when you go home, the super jolt of power when you are pushing back a big plane and those highly paid pilots have to listen to the ground monkeys while the plane is still hooked up to the tow bar and repeating all those moments all again. Things I don’t miss include doing your best in the worst weather possible, never quite getting the smell of Jet A out of your hair and clothes and the management structure and hierarchy. Now of course, most of the baggage handlers are contractors which is also the result of all of those management structures and changes. I have nothing against the people who are working as contract employees. I am sorry that they are not paid what they are worth and rarely have benefits. Not to mention that they don’t get to experience that sense of ownership that I think every airline employee needs to have. I also think they have a right to much better wages than what they get. I am definitely proud of the fact that I was a Ramp Rat. In the end, that pride and time served didn’t matter and I have gone on to other things after the last rounds of layoffs, pension defaulting, etc. I don’t ever regret the time served though. And believe me, if you knew some of the individuals I worked with, you would understand why sometimes it felt like time served. As much as I was a strange animal for them, a woman throwing luggage, some of their concrete mindsets and attitudes made them an unusual animal for me to be around.

I got here very early today because Cedric’s flight was at noon. It was hard to say good bye to him, Rupert and Meredith. I think that is the worst part about visits. We decided yesterday that we will make this an annual event. We’ve already done it two years in a row so we’re committing to it now. It has been a really fun and relaxing week with some important time together building memories. From our bike ride from downtown to Montrose Beach to go to Mumford & Sons to going to see the awesome 80s band 16 Candles at the Pride street fest in Boys’ Town and having an Indonesian dinner together on the balcony, we did pretty well with each other.  No one got punched or arrested and no one did any punching. For us, this was progress 😉

Dylan left yesterday to go back to Cleveland which meant that Sunday night, we went to Giordano’s for pizza. Dylan had some difficulty at 16 Candles at first but after a few beers, he stopped worrying and got into the music. It seemed then only fitting that we should further push his boundaries with the fully carb loaded stuffed crust pizza from Giordano’s! There’s moments I feel sorry for him, since he looks at the world in a very black and white way. I used to have moments were I felt compelled to try and break though some of that concrete thinking. However, I have realized that’s not my responsibility, it is his and only if he wants to do that. If he likes his life the way it is, that’s his business. He’s still not invited to stay at my house again. However, if he had been more like this in Amsterdam, it would have been a much better visit.

Then there’s Cedric. My brother that reminds me so much of my mom, I want to kick him sometimes. I am sure the feeling is mutual. I am hoping that he will come and visit soon since he is the only one who hasn’t been to visit me yet since I moved. Cedric is a good egg. I have to wait him out a lot, conversation is definitely slow. He is my brother that I can sit next to for hours with neither one of us talking and it is just excellent. We went to the Chicago Diner last night – it is one of my favorite veg places in the world so far. We did this the last time we were in Chicago too. He’s off home to Charlotte, back to the 100 degree heat and his dog and his ridiculous work schedule. I missed him before we even dropped him off at Terminal 3.

Yesterday afternoon I watched Rupert and Meredith’s wedding video, complete with the rehearsal dinner and the reception. It was a difficult thing to watch because I remember where I was with my mom on that day. We watched the wedding ceremony on a borrowed iPad via FaceTime. It was really hard for my mom. I had never seen the rest of the celebration. I am glad that they were surrounded by so many people who love them. I can see why. I feel that we are exceptionally fortunate that there is a Rupert & Meredith. I have learned a great deal from them about communicating, acceptance and the importance of having fun. I hope that for all of us siblings we find our partner that embraces those things and their priority in building a life together. Knowing that it took R&M four years makes me feel a little more confident that we can all do it. I wish my mom had had more time with them.

I’m going to miss my family. However, now that I know we are going to do this annually, I can start planning 😉 I just watched my airplane come in to the gate. I am flying an airplane that is named for the City of Jakarta (Indonesia). It reminds me that I am going home. I know of Jakarta from Mom stories. Sitting on the upper deck again. I liked it so much last time that I switched my seat so I could do it again. Oh my goodness, they have horses coming off. They just opened the cargo doors to horse transport containers. Okay, that is another thing I miss about being a Ramp Rat! I do think all the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups in my checked luggage for my pet sitter and other friends are definitely melted. Okay, I am going to watch the unloading… I know, I am a dork 😉

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