Thursday, August 4, 2016
It's Me Burfday!
I didn't ask for my birthday off at work this year, haven't in quite a few. There's nothing at my age which makes me happier than being alive and having a job to go to.
Airport Security had other plans. All employee badges expire on your birthday. A bartender who works with me had a birthday last month and when getting his badge renewed the fingerprints and background check came back in less than twenty hours. Then he went back the next day and got his new badge. I waited later than I ever have but still went thirteen days before my birthday...plenty of time, I thought.
One of the managers went two days after I did and already had his fingerprints back. Everybody told me not to worry, they would let me work on my birthday, just had to be clocked out of the airport by midnight when it expired. My birthday was on Sunday so was pretty nervous when they hadn't come back on Friday. Now I'd have to wait for Monday and hope they came in early enough to go by the badging office before work at 1:30.
So on my birthday, Massey offered to drop me off at work so I wouldn't have to park and come back and pick me up after work. What an awesome kiddo. She wouldn't even take gas money.
I strolled in, scanned my badge, punched in my number and waited for the green light and BEEP.
Didn't happen when I tried it a second and third time.
I knew immediately there was a slim to none chance I was getting through security and going to work.
I called my manager, who came outside of security to try and get me through.
He had a gift bag in his hand which he handed me, said my co worker sent it to me (also thinking I had a slim to none chance) and wanted me to have it on my birthday. He hugged me, told me to enjoy having my birthday off and go home.
I had called Massey the minute my badge didn't work telling her to turn back around. She came back and parked in the deck connected to the terminal.
It felt really strange to be prohibited from going through security, especially since so many of them know me by name. Massey and I will go through together and the TSA guy running the metal detector will say say "Cotton one..." then when I walk through "Cotton two".
I can make a lot of things happen when determined but this time didn't have a snowball's chance in hell so simply gave up and went back home. At least I had Massey picking me up curbside, that's always a big deal to airport employees...trust me.
I opened my gift bag from the co worker (lovingly known as Sister Bitch). Just opening her card made me feel better.
Then looked in the bag.
OMG...it was a two-fer!
Two of my favorite work sayings ... "Bitch please" and "You're killing me Smalls".
The immediate next thing I thought was, in forty days I'm not going to see these people or work with them forty plus hours five times a week.
A lot of, most of, the majority of... will may (probably) never see again.
I've learned and grown more these past (almost) three years working at at the airport more than any other time in my life I can think of.
That's a good thing.
I got to work with two of my three kids and the job was good to all three of us. I'd say we all three made the name 'Cotton' well known and liked on concourse F and the parking decks.
My finger prints didn't come back until late Monday afternoon. Now that my badge had expired couldn't get to HR or the restaurant to pick up my letter of confirmation to take to badging so one of my managers said he'd print off a copy and meet me in the badging office on Tuesday morning. His birthday's next month so he was going anyway.
Got there and spied him in line for his finger printing, stopped by and snagged my paperwork from him and joined the other long line for the test you have to take before getting in yet another line to finally get your badge.
That was so nice of him, he had plenty of time to get his own badge but went ahead and did it that morning so could bring me my paperwork.
That's the kind of managers I work for.
He handed me my papers and said "I left you a birthday present at work, it's on the manger's desk".
That's the kind of people I work with.
I retrieved his present when I went into work later that afternoon, yes my new badge beeped and the light turned green.
I opened his card and my heart swelled with bittersweet emotion. I was really really lucky to have landed (airport pun) this job.
How cool was that?
He's a cool cat anyway.
He gave me a bag of every one of my favorite snacks and even a Skittles candle with so much meaning behind it made me laugh outloud. (old blog post)
Another manager and two other co workers gave me a box of Godiva chocolates; the box is so pretty I dread opening it. I think it's the first time I've ever gotten Godiva chocolates.
My sister and bro&law had sent me the greatest (to me) card ever in the mail.
Another co worker had left me a gift bag too. A pack of pens, small note pad, magazine and even baked me a cake!
I don't think I've ever gotten so many things for my birthday from co workers. It was totally and completely overwhelming.
I had the greatest birthday ever. I was turned away at security but was loved anyway. I got to go home and cut grass, my favorite thing to do. My son made me a cake from scratch at his restaurant, my daughter bought me a huge (what I call 14k) cookie cake from Great American Cookie Co. and all my family called me, even ole Jed.
Hard to believe we're the same two people almost three decades down the road and Thank the Lord we both changed hair styles.
As excited as I am about us all being together again as a family, am more than anxious about leaving what I know now as my life. Working in an insane, eclectic and fascinating place which wears me out but pays me handsomely for it. I've met people from literally all over the entire planet. It's actually been a really cool serving job and chance of a lifetime for a lifer like me. I've bonded with my co workers and even a few strangers. I feel like after almost three years there can finally say with conviction that am an asset and vital part of the team. I know this sounds stupid to people who have never worked in the service industry but as a lifer is a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and even appreciation.
I think one of my greatest qualities (of about two) is seem to find laughter in almost any situation. Crying seldom helps... my eyes get all puffy, and my snot locker gets full up and the problem's still there. Laughing always seems to make the problem smaller and easier to deal with.
I keep waiting for something else horrible to happen to us, have been for well over two years now.
So I'm obviously on a roll....after our fumble, tumble and sometimes rumble.
It was a long hard uphill six year climb but sure looks pretty up there from where I stand now.
I think this was about the best birthday ever except maybe for my fiftieth surprise party my daughter helped arrange... one year into our six year debacle and a much needed laughter break.
I'm totally ignoring the fact that in forty days will be living in another state, away from my sister and away from my best job ever, forever. That makes it much easier to not process at this given point in time.
Here I go again, starting over again..Maybe I should have kept that joke six pack of Ensure at my fiftieth birthday party.
I've decided to enjoy the last few weeks I have left and not think about my exit until I hand in my badge. I've decided to quit thinking about not being able to be at my sister's house in thirteen minutes if I want or need to see her.
I'm just going to continue to laugh, find something funny about every single thing that happens at any time of the day or night and just enjoy my chaotic life here, then go start another one in Florida.
Case in point.
Tonight a co worker had a six top of women. After they paid and left, she came up to me and said "I'm not even sure what to say about the randomness of what's under table 120." I walked over and looked...and immediately took out my cell to take a pic.
You didn't notice one leg seemed to feel three inches shorter than the other when you upped downed your way out of the restaurant?
That's classic! ...and no she never came back for her shoe.
I'm just going to enjoy these last few weeks, then throw our crap into a truck and take my show on the road to Orlando.
I hope they aren't a tough crowd.
Til next time...COTTON