Comic Con Cruise!

 

While I was away from the airline industry for two years, there were three things I missed:

Observing people.
Everyday CAN be a new adventure.
Travel. Travel. Travel.

One of the awesome benefits we have as airline employees are “interline” discounts. Airline employees enjoy steep discounts at hotels, resorts and on cruise ships— particularly in the off seasons or during special times/cruises when there is a large amount of availability.

In January of 2017, I received an email offering a crazy cheap price on a “charter” cruise out of Tampa. It was only a 4-night cruise, much shorter than I’m used to. And it promised special entertainment. For the price, we decided to go.

Turns out, it was the first Comic Con at Sea. The cast of Stranger Things was on board. There were comic book writers and artists, a cosplay contest and a “Gotham City” ball. Heck, there was even a burlesque show! To say it wasn’t your normal cruise would be an understatement.

Everywhere I turned on the ship, there was Batman, Spider-man, Superman, Wonder Woman… even Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island! It truly was fun to see all of these people getting into the Comic Con spirit on a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

The primary reason this cruise will always stick out in my memory, though: how incredibly nice all of our fellow passengers were. The comic con fans themselves were all interesting to talk to— and more than happy to dive into deep conversations about their favorite pop culture addiction.

Then there were the airline employees that were taking advantage of the special discount. We all work very hard (when we actually do work) and then we also play hard when we have time off. All in all, this short cruise was one of the best I’ve been on… and I’ll have more charter cruises to discuss in the future!

As always, your support is appreciated…. and so are your purchases of my books, which you can find on Amazon at my author page!

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Playing Catch-Up, Part Two

Playing Catch-Up, Part Two

In the midst of all of these life-changing goings-on, we were also in the promotional push for one of our bestselling children’s books. Pete the Popcorn: Pickles, Peppers and Paprikas was released on Sunday, November 22nd. The book is a partnership with Tony Packo’s restaurant in my home town of Toledo, Ohio. If it sounds familiar, it could be from the 1970’s television show MASH. Jamie Farr’s character always spoke of the Hungarian hot dogs at this east-side staple.

There were three book signings at all three locations of Tony Packo’s. The second one was on December 9th. My interview was in Cincinnati, Ohio early in the morning on the 10th. And then we had to be in Cleveland, Ohio on the 11th for a different launch event for our book Crusty Cupcake’s Christmas Catastrophe. Busy times, indeed.

My interview with Allegiant was everything that my interview with Delta should have been. Stress-free and informational, led by kind people. I wasn’t totally sold that the airline would be a good fit for me and my personality— I came from an airline where everything was free. Allegiant sells EVERYTHING… right down to water. How would I handle that?

However, upon completing the individual portion of the interview, I was given a packet containing drug testing and fingerprinting information. I knew what was happening, even if the job offer didn’t come on the spot. I proceeded to the drug testing site, peed in the cup, and we drove to Cleveland, where we had an afternoon school visit.

The call came on Monday, once we had returned to Toledo. On my application, I was asked to list which crew base I would prefer. To my amazement, Punta Gorda, Florida was listed as one of the options. That little town that I’d never heard of, where we stopped for gas, could be my new home. Anywhere in Florida was fine for me… but something attracted me to the quiet.

Orlando would be too many kids. I already deal with kids.
Fort Lauderdale would be too young. My partying days are over.
St. Petersburg would be too busy… although the beaches are nice.

So we threw the old dart to the map and listed Punta Gorda as our first choice. And that’s what I was offered when the phone call came.

Christmas and New Year’s were a blur. On Sunday, January 3rd, I found myself on a Spirit Airlines flight to Las Vegas, my home for the next five weeks.

 

 

 

As always, your support is appreciated…. and so are your purchases of my books, which you can find on Amazon at my author page!

Playing Catch-Up, Part One

 

Playing Catch Up, Part One

It was October of 2015. Joe and I were completing a tour of schools in several southern states before taking a break in Florida.

We spent a few days in Boynton Beach before making the beautiful drive to Key West. There, we spent a week with two sets of great friends… and took part in the very adult-themed week of Fantasy Fest, which is Key West’s Halloween celebration.

On the drive home, we stopped for gas in a town called Punta Gorda. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would soon become more than familiar with this sleepy town on Charlotte Harbor.

At one point during our long slog through the State of Florida, I declared to Joe that we would be moving to Florida within one year. I didn’t know when. I didn’t know how. But I knew that warmer weather and a change of scenery is what we both needed.

Shortly before arriving at our friend’s house in Tampa, I received a phone call from Delta Air Lines. During this conversation, I was invited to attend a face-to-face interview in Atlanta, Georgia. Having worked for a Delta Connection carrier for 9 years, I was excited at the possibility of returning to a job with an airline.

Just a couple days later, I was on a plane to Atlanta (which was funny, having just driven through the city less than 48 hours before.) When I got to the interview, I just wasn’t “feeling it.” In all honesty, the flight attendants and human resource professionals that were processing the applicants were… how do I put this? Stuck-up? Uppity? Better than me?

Soon, we were told the news that I was expecting, but dreading: all newly-hired flight attendants were being based in New York City. And we’d be required to live within a two-hour radius of JFK, LaGuardia and Newark.

Ambition or quality of life? That was the choice I was given. And I chose quality of life. Living in New York City would put my Florida plans on hold indefinitely. So I went with the unknown: an interview with Allegiant Air, that was already on my calendar for early December.

 

As always, your support is appreciated…. and so are your purchases of my books, which you can find on Amazon at my author page!