When I first hired in for Reservations at Southwest, almost 20 years ago, I knew that working holidays is part of the job. Just like with anything else, we adjust plans, come up with new plans, or do whatever we have to do to make the most of the situations we are put in. After a few years, we decided two Thanksgivings work best.
On Thanksgiving Day, I go to work and Southwest provides a great catered meal for us … all of the food with none of the dishes or cleanup. Over the years the menu has changed a bit, but not much: Turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings with a slice of pumpkin pie or pecan pie for dessert. My work family and I enjoy a nice meal while chatting about those Christmas gifts we are going to try and get on our shopping trips the next day.
On Saturday, I enjoy time with my family. My mom usually cooks with me, while my sister-in-law helps out. We enjoy a delicious meal while visiting, talking about Christmas and enjoying being together. Of course for this one I have the cleanup and dishes to do, but it is worth it to all be together.
For most of us who work on holidays, it's not about what day you celebrate, it's about being together with friends and family. I get the best of both worlds; I get to enjoy both my work family and my home family and two great meals. It’s funny, but usually when we get calls on Thanksgiving Day, the person who is calling in apologizes that I have to work on the holiday. I always say, “It’s okay, I don't mind” and I really don't!
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Growing up, we always had a garden in the backyard. Every year, my dad planted vegetables that would last almost all summer. As an adult, I always wanted to plant a garden, but I wasn't really sure where to start.
Tilling the soil and knowing when and where to plant everything just seemed a daunting task. It was just something I was afraid to tackle, until I saw the answer to how to make a manageable garden.
I was on Facebook and saw someone share how to create a wooden pallet garden. Could it be this simple—no tilling, no weeding, no worries? I was ready to give it a try. As summer is coming to an end, it’s time to plant for fall vegetables, so maybe this will inspire you to get your veggies out of the garden rather than from the grocery store!
First, I had to find a pallet. That part was easy enough, because we had some here at work that were about to be thrown out.
Next, I needed a barrier cloth and boards to shore up the ends of the pallet. I went to my local home improvement store and purchased a barrier cloth and some inexpensive fence panels. Some stores will cut the boards to size if you need them to, which is very convenient!
After that, I was ready to nail the boards in place, staple the barrier cloth to the bottom, and fill the pallet with the potting soil. If the boards on the pallet you have are too close together, you can remove one or two of the slats to allow enough room for planting.
The hardest part was deciding which vegetables to plant. After some thought, I decided to try growing green beans, onions, radishes, green peppers, and we even decided to see if a cucumber plant might work as well. For the green beans, I planted them at one end, and when they get big enough, I will attach a trellis for them to climb.
With a minimal amount of space, you can have a great garden. As you can see, the plants are doing well, and, except for watering, it has been no trouble at all. We have a concrete slab in our backyard, so I put our pallet on that. But, you can put the pallet in the grass without a problem because the barrier cloth will help keep the weeds out. If you want a garden but have either little space or little know-how, this is a great way to gain the experience of growing your own vegetables without a huge investment of time or money. We are already talking about what to plant next year, and we may even increase our garden to two pallets!
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How do you celebrate National Cheeseball Day? Naturally, with a cheeseball contest. We had 15 cheeseball entries, and of course one of them was mine. Some of our fearless Supervisors and Trainers bravely volunteered to be our judges, and the competition was fierce. After sampling the entries and having a meeting in a secret room (the conference room... oops, guess it wasn't so secret), the winner was chosen. First place went to Denise Bernum, second place was Carol Davis and third was Susan Benn. Since we work at an almost 24-hour center, I was not able to get the recipe for first or second place but I have included the recipe for Susan's third place winner. I did not win, but I bet if there had been a 15th place it would've been mine! I hope you enjoyed your National Cheeseball day as much as we did. Here is to next year! Recipe:
3- 8oz packages cream cheese 1 pound powdered sugar
1 small jar nutella 1 pkg cheese cake flavored pudding mix
1 pkg dark chocolate chips 2 tsp orange juice concentrate (do not add water)
1/2 tsp orange extract 4 oz bag chopped pecans
1- 6oz pkg sliced almonds
combine all ingredients except almonds. Form into ball and refrigerate overnight. In the morning cover cheeseball with almonds to coat.
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Brian had a great love for Southwest and all things aviation. If you ever had a question about either one, he would answer without hesatation. His vast knowledge and gentle spirit will be greatly missed. I, like so many others, will miss his Flashback blogs and his tweets of his much loved dog.
During his air test a young pilot flew through a rainbow. He passed with flying colors. Clear skies and great puns to you Brian. You will be missed.
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This year for Black History Month, Southwest teamed up with The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum to send four of the wax figures from the museum on tour to Southwest properties across the country. One of the five cities chosen to host the figures was Oklahoma City. Once I found out the figures were coming here, I started talking to my son about them. Of the four figures that were scheduled to be here, my son and I had only heard of one of the names before, so we decided to start researching and find out about all of the figures.
General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. – First African-American Four-Star General, U.S. Air Force; member of Army Air Core Squad known as “Tuskegee Airmen” Doctor Dorothy I. Heights – National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) President Earl Graves – Founder/Publisher, Black Enterprise Magazine Sojourner Truth – Abolitionist and Women's Rights Activist
Once we learned who they were and learned what great accomplishments they achieved, we waited for their arrival. We had quite a few different events scheduled for Black History Month, including several speakers who came to the center I work at, ending the month with the display of the wax figures. When the figures did arrive here at the center, I couldn't believe how lifelike they were. Dressed in costumes of the period when they lived, they were quite striking. When my son Vance saw them, he was a little taken aback. He said he didn't realize they would be life-sized and so real looking. We looked at all four of the figures and decided the one of General Daniel James, Jr. was our favorite. Not only in looks, but in all that he was able to accomplish as well. We were also quite impressed by the figure of Sojourner Truth. Sojourner's period costume really took you back to how many hardships she must have faced. Of course, all of the figures were amazing and we talked about in the future going to the museum in Baltimore, MD to see the entire exhibit. It really meant a lot to be able to share real history that seems to come to life with my family. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that takes such a great interest in not only me but in allowing me to share such wonderful opportunities with my family as well.
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This was the 12th Annual Oklahoma Memorial Marathon, but the first year that I have volunteered for the water stop that is sponsored by Southwest Airlines. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I always hear my Coworkers say what a great time it is, so I was ready to find out for myself. My husband and I got to the venue at 6 a.m. and started to help with setup. I was suprised but shouldn't have been, when we were asked to help unload and build the ticket counter. "Ticket counter?" I asked myself. Who else but Southwest would have a ticket counter set up? That, of course, was only the beginning. With my Coworker Jessica and her bullhorn in front to guide everyone through, runners ran along our makeshift runway and were given pretzels, Powerade, and water. Along with that came a lot of cheers and well-wishes from all of us! The most amazing part of it all was how thankful everyone was that we were there. We were thanked so many times by runners for volunteering. I thought we had the easy job! We had a great time hearing all the jokes that eveyone came up with. "Where are the oxygen masks?" asked one "passenger," while another asked, "Is this where I catch the express flight to the finish line?" We all had a great time answering these questions and especially loved it when runners showed us their wings. We were really pleased when Marathon officials asked us if we would be having the water stop again next year. They appreciated our enthusiasm and we appreciated being there. The money that is raised from the event helps to fund the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Southwest will be back next year, and so will I.
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Southwest is a constant source of support for the volunteer efforts of every Employee. Many Employees have donated their time, and a lot of great charities have benefited from the help and donations the Company has made. You never really realize just how much these donations mean until you or your family needs some assistance, or at least I didn't until recently. On July 4th, we rescued a dog--a two-year-old corgi who was an underweight, shaggy, dirty mess. It didn't take us long to fall in love with him, and for him to quickly become our newest family member. We named him Bandit. I have three children and they couldn't wait to play with Bandit. At first he wasn't playing very much, just mostly laying around and taking a lot of naps. He also wasn't gaining any weight but I just figured most of this was due to unfamiliar surroundings, and him getting used to us but I was wrong. My Coworker, Denise, who did volunteer work for Best Friends of Pets, let me know about getting Bandit neutered and offered to help us with his rescue. After having him for about a week, it was time to take him in and get him neutered. Needless to say, Bandit was not happy with us but he didn't really have much choice. The veterinarian gave him a full check-up and the news unfortunately was not good. Bandit had heartworms, and we were heartbroken. It was going to be very expensive to treat him for heartworms. We were devastated. As my husband and I were trying to decide what to do, Best Friends of Pets offered us some help. Well, a lot of help actually. They offered to pay for most of his treatment and we were grateful beyond words. For those of you who don't know about heartworm treatment for dogs, it is not easy. Bandit had to be given arsenic shots and then had to be crated for about a month. We had to make sure he was kept calm at all times. He was not allowed outside except for on a leash, and was not to get excited at all. Not easy, especially once he started to feel better. It was all worth it, of course, and we would do it again if we needed to. For those of us who are animal lovers, I am sure you understand. Once they become a part of the family, you will do anything you possibly can for them. Bandit is now a happy, healthy dog. He plays all the time and is constantly wagging his tail. He will fetch until it feels like your arm will fall off! We are so grateful to Denise and Best Friends for all their help. Denise and Michelle, another lady from the rescue, have now started a new rescue to help animals called "Forever Yours Dog Rescue." My husband and I are already planning on helping them in any way we can. I can never thank them enough for all they did, and continue to do, for all the pets they save. Bandit would not have made it without them!
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My Dad is an Ex-Marine, a retired air craft sheet metal mechanic, and an airplane junkie. He also loves all things Southwest. I'm not sure who was more excited when I was hired by Southwest: him, or me. As a teenager, I was dragged to more air shows than I care to remember, but of course now I love planes almost as much as he does. I benefit greatly from his knowledge of all things aviation, and I'm constantly asking him questions. When I first started working for Southwest, the company had just turned 25 (Happy 40th, Southwest). One of the many gifts we received was a print of a sculpture that was created for the Anniversary. I took it over to show my Mom and Dad, and my Dad couldn't get enough of it. He loved the fact that Herb and Colleen had signed it. I decided as a Father's Day gift, I would have the picture framed and give it to my Dad. So began a tradition that I've continued over the years. I have given Dad lots of things, from memorabilia I've bought myself to some I've won in silent auctions. One of the things my Father really looks forward to every year are the ducks. Southwest every year has duck races, that race down a pond. Ducks are randomly fished out of the water, and like a raffle, prizes are doled out. My Dad also greatly appreciated the bobble heads that were sold several years ago. They sit in "The Southwest Room," as named by my parents in their home. So what to get my Father this year? I think I will give him the Southwest/AirTran coin we received in the mail to commemorate uniting the two airlines together. Too bad Gary Kelly or Bob Jordan didn't sign it. But I'll never say never! Happy Father's Day, Dad!
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Working as a Customer Rep, sometimes funny things happen. We all get tongue-tied at times, but this particular day I had a bad case of the hiccups while on the phone with a Customer - which resulted in a story that is both funny and a little scary.
I returned to work after lunch and had a particularly terrible case of the hiccups. I tried everything to get rid of them, but they just wouldn't go away. I thought when I got back on the phone they would go away, but they stayed with me through the following conversation:
Me: Thank you for calling Southwest Airlines, [hic], this is Krista.
Me: I am sorry, but I have the hiccups. How can [hic] I help you?
Me: I am very sorry, but I have the hiccups. I have been drinking [hic] water but they won't seem to go away, I apologize.
Customer: I can't believe it that is so rude. It is just so unprofessional. I want to speak to a supervisor, now!
Me: Really I am so sorry, I don't know what to do. I can certainly let you speak to a supervisor, but I am very sorry.
Me: Yes, just let me put you on hold, just one moment and again I am sorry.
Customer: Are the hiccups gone? Me: Yes, I think they are. Yes, they are gone! Customer: I can't believe it, it worked! I really did scare you. I was never so relieved, and needless to say, glad the hiccups stayed gone! So we never know what is going to happen, but thankfully we have Customers who will laugh with us and allow us to have fun at our jobs.
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I have worked in Customer Support and Services (reservations) for over 14 years. In that time, I have been asked all kinds of questions! I thought it might be a good idea to answer some of those inquiries on the blog. Whether it's a question you have thought about but never asked, or information that makes you think, I hope you find each topic interesting. This month's question is one of the most frequently asked, and it deals with baggage. We get asked a lot if, instead of checking two bags at 50 lbs each, a passenger can check one bag weighing 100 lbs? Even though the weight is the same and our baggage handlers are tough, lifting 100 pound bags all day would be, well, not so great on your back. Luckily, that second bag isn't going to cost you a dime, because our Bags Fly Free! Got a lingering question? Feel free to leave it in the comments section.
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