Stop the COVID-19 Train......I WANT TO GET OFF!

Pushka

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"I'm in a large swimming pool. It has an undulating floor. Deep in some parts - other areas seem to have the water just above my head height. There is no edge. The pool is so far and wide, that I cannot even make out the shoreline.
I can't breathe. To keep my head up, I'm trying to dog paddle, but I'm wearing jewelry, heavy clothes and big, clunky shoes. I'm carrying so many ridiculous items. Picture frames, my wallet - even vases. I also have a camcorder. Which makes sense. It's obviously there to document all the shackles that epitomized the materialistic lifestyle I lived - and now my slow spiral to an impending demise in the depths."


This wasn't a dream. It is my everyday thought process. And I am very much awake.

The COVID Train seems to have set a deadly new trajectory for Victoria, California and Florida, among other unlucky destinations. I have friends and family in all these places and my heart goes out to everyone who is suffering from this new wave.

The term wave is so apt: it really does feel like being enveloped by some elastic, evolving wall of adversity - and struggling to rise your head above it for some breathing space, before being pummeled again.

Where have the months gone? I lurked in here from time to time, but couldn't muster the inclination to write anything. March is so long ago. I think we've all aged twice over. I now have more grey hairs than Paul Scurrah. However, I do think that my thought process is helping me identify aspects of my personal and professional existence that now demand a good deal of serious reflection and (Word of the Week) a PIVOT.

Pivot seems to be the On Trend thing to say. One must exercise a slight nodding of One's head when they use the term - it make One look like they know exactly what they are doing. Which, for me - is utter bunkum. I have no idea where to pivot. When you've been doing the same thing to earn a living for over 40 years - it's a little hard to re-orientate yourself a few degrees and suddenly wind up floating in a sea of cash from your new income stream. Some people have managed to do it with hugely successful results. That's awesome. Good on them. I envy their entrepreneurial spirit. In our case, and countless others (Virgin Australia included) - the path to reinvention is a little more deviated. A little more blurred. That doesn't mean we are not going down fighting. It just indicates that we need to navigate a slightly longer path to get there.

There has been so much conjecture in the press about Virgin Australia and it's future. As a family of Velocity frequent flyers, the potential loss of VA was just another sad ache to endure.
I watched an illuminating Four Corners episode with great interest last week that detailed the chronological events of mismanagement and ill-fortune that culminated in what was once a rather dazzling and robust Aussie Airline falling from grace - and trailing with it, the livelihood of thousands. I know that Virgin was mostly foreign-owned. But I acknowledge it as an Aussie Airline because it employed so many Australians and let's face it - they were the only serious domestic competitor to Qantas.
One thing that made me giggle, was the rather tactile observation of a female Board member. She implied that, while the CEO is responsible and accountable for all decision making - the Board will ultimately move to oust the CEO if they believe such decision making is putting the Airline in jeopardy, or if the Board feels the CEO is making decisions that are contrary to the direction that the Board wants the Airline to go. (I think this is why JB left).

Or words to that effect.

I laughed, because she actually incriminated herself with those comments. If the Board has Ultimate Power - then the buck stops with the Board. Simple as that. I only hope they don't use PS as the scapegoat for a negative outcome, he's doing the best he can with one hand tied behind his back right now, as well as COVID19 grounding half the fleet.

What is interesting, is how the above story is a scale model of most small business. We are not a PTY LTD company, so we don't have a Board of Directors per se. But there are forces at work that demand our continued success. We have a mortgage. And kids (three still at home). We pay tax. Most people do. So there's an influential cluster that consists of our Bank, our Dependants and the ATO etc. They are our BOD. And they want results. I can tell you, answering to them is just as scary as when poor old PS enters that Virgin Boardroom. Mr Clipped and I can work as hard as we want, 24 hours a day. But unless we manage to jettison some of our cost-prohibitive spending habits and money gouging, er - Board members (sorry kids xx) - we are going to continue to swim around in circles in a futile effort to stay afloat.

Despite the fact that COVID isn't pulling out of the station anytime soon, there will always be love and laughter in our household. I will be 60 in 2022. So Mr Clipped and I are still managing to plan and dream of our next big holiday. Who and where we fly remains to be seen, but if we didn't have that dream to cling to, what's the point of it all?
Our kids are still healthy and (reasonably) happy. They have managed the COVID crisis so well. It's not on their radar to be affected by it. I mean, how happy can you make a teen anyway? Their DNA almost dictates that they are to be moody, whatever the season or situation and it simply isn't on the top of our agenda to entertain them. We give them unlimited love and support, as well as shelter and food. "Son, you just don't need that latest PS4 console. You NEED air and water - everything else is WANT".

Somebody once said making teenagers depressed is "like shooting fish in a bucket".

So true. So very true.
I think your writing style and capture of ‘the moment’ is exceptional.
 

Mattg

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I think your writing style and capture of ‘the moment’ is exceptional.

Absolutely agree. @clipped_wings, I don't know what your current day job is, but if it doesn't involve writing, perhaps that could be something to pursue in the future. Not many people have a natural writing style as eloquent as yours.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Pivot seems to be the On Trend thing to say. One must exercise a slight nodding of One's head when they use the term - it make One look like they know exactly what they are doing. Which, for me - is utter bunkum. I have no idea where to pivot. When you've been doing the same thing to earn a living for over 40 years - it's a little hard to re-orientate yourself a few degrees and suddenly wind up floating in a sea of cash from your new income stream. Some people have managed to do it with hugely successful results. That's awesome. Good on them. I envy their entrepreneurial spirit. In our case, and countless others (Virgin Australia included) - the path to reinvention is a little more deviated. A little more blurred. That doesn't mean we are not going down fighting. It just indicates that we need to navigate a slightly longer path to get there.

We had someone come to talk to us about their experiences of a 'pivot'. They were successful, and the talk was inspirational. Their circumstances leading up to the pivot were dire - due to covid both income earners in the household unemployed, family with young children to feed, mortgage to feed. Only one person eligible for government support.

Their's was a success story. And perhaps it only becomes a true 'pivot' once successful? It really was a case of them looking at their skills, breaking them down, and then looking at where those skills could be transferred - anywhere would do! A lot of environmental scanning then went into looking at their new area and where they could 'add value' due to their past occupation.

Not easy by any stretch.
 
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Seat0B

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I'm just sending you hugs, and empathy @clipped_wings. There's no denying that you have been dealt many blows by this wretched virus, and yet, somehow, you ARE managing to keep your head above the water. That is resilience and it is a very hard daily choice to choose to be that way. And yet, you are choosing that path, and even have spare head space for other people who are in dire straights too. You are a quality person, and you will rise.
 

Julesmac

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clippedwings I feel very sorry about your present situation - you sound to me like you have great inner strength, probably more than you realise. all the best - and make sure you call out. There are some terrific people on AFF with very good listening skills and much empathy
 

clipped_wings

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Hello again,

Thanks for the well wishes, those comments are hugely comforting to me and I hope that you are all safe and well, as am I.

I wrote what I thought was a comprehensive and stellar addendum to this story the other day. But in the process of reading and editing (one of my little quirks), I seemed to have lost the whole magnificent lot. It was there one minute, then POOF- gone forever. Oh well, I take these oddities as some kind of divine intervention - maybe my next entry was cough and someone or something stepped in to protect and preserve the illusion of me being a half-decent writer. That, or I accidentally pressed delete instead of enter. Ergo, when you think about it - pretty much cements my reputation as only a half-decent writer. The bottom half to be exact.

We'll never know the truth, so no point whining about it. I'll just start again and regale you all with the latest development in my life aboard the COVID train.....

It's late October and a sad milestone. This time last year, Mr Clipped and I were draping the house in cobwebs (or leaving the real ones where they were) and preparing for Halloween. I know it's considered a silly pagan custom by many, but to us it was an opportunity to have a little fun and enjoy our imagination. Firstly, it must be known that we don't do Halloween the nice way. We absolutely have to make at least one child cry, or the whole afternoon is a bust. Our front yard is littered with the plastic bones of some poor soul and the sensor-activated spiders lie in wait above the tree branches. The candy bowls with their creepy, bony animated hands would be full of Cadbury Dairy Milk goodies and the AA's would be carefully inserted into their ghoulish zombie hosts for the evening, ready to screech when kids arrived. A morbid looking table would be set in the front yard and our "guests" would include full scientific sized skeletons, a four foot alien we called Paul - and a couple of ugly dolls that rotate their heads. I do the full Hollywood Horror Nights makeup bit, which is funny because I think I look quite pretty. But it works wonders on the little ones and they refuse to come near me haha. Mr Clipped dons a blood splattered Jason mask and revs up his (chainless) chainsaw. He chases the older kids down the street. These days he can't run so fast with his robot knees, so poor "Jason" powerwalks after them.

One year we did a full custom DeLorean crash site from Back to the Future. Complete with MrFusion (old white jug) time console (old computer keyboard) and the Flux Capacitor (a full scale working model from Universal Studios when we had more money than sense). The family Caprice was wrapped in stainless steel digital vinyl and over 2km of old wiring and conduit was wound along the lower edges with neon rope lights, over to the exhaust panels (black corflute box grids) on the rear body. And we even added the DMC logo and OUTATIME number plates! We positioned the "time machine" so it looked like she had just crashed into the roller door and threw a heap of rubbish and old boxes around it. The flux capacitor fluxed away and when and when unsuspecting trick or treaters came close to peek inside the cabin, I triggered a remote control smoke machine.......WHOOOOOOOSH! She let out an almighty plume of fog and people dropped their candy I can tell you.

Hence the sad milestone comment. I have acknowledged there will be no Halloween celebrations for us this year. But that pales in comparison to some people's problems, so I am simply putting the pumpkins on hold until COVID releases it's cruel grip on the planet.

However, that's a small part of this week's episode. The good news is: I GOT A JOB! :D :D :D
I am now the proudest member of the team at Christmas Warehouse! It's a match made in Heaven and I am loving every day I go. It's only seasonal, so I know it has a finite life, but for now - it's giving me so much joy and I in turn, am trying to spread that joy to every customer I assist. They all think I'm bonkers for being so exhilarated selling Christmas trees and tinsel/lights etc. But I am pretty good at this gig and already have immersed myself into a very caring and supportive cohort of work friends. I think the job has saved me in many ways and I am so glad to finally feel productive and useful again. Add to this more wonderful news - Mr Clipped has been inundated with work, after pivoting the business slightly to include a new line of gorgeous custom etched social distance screening for the more discriminating venues who don't want an off the rack solution. His sign making expertise placed him in a commanding position to utilize machinery and processes with existing infrastructure and so the transition has been pretty seamless and lucrative. It's not without it's challenges, but we have determination to succeed and I feel the road ahead is illuminated with new horizons.

COVID takes away. And gives back. Time out for fresh thought awarded us with renewed hope for our immediate future and we are eternally grateful for the doors of opportunity that presented themselves.

But I know that many people are still struggling quietly. Not everyone was silly enough to bare their soul on these pages like I have. For me, this journal has been a vehicle to an outpouring of frustration, anger, amusement and acceptance of my elongated sabbatical. It's not everyone's prerogative to lay open intimate details of their time aboard the COVID Train, but I remember saying in my opening paragraph that documenting my journey may offer some perspective for others' if they feel inclined to read along. I truly hope that if any fellow Frequent Flyers have been in the same carriage on board - know this: I feel you. I am still there, riding this journey with you. If I can offer any words of support I will say this: You are NOT alone. Not on my watch.

Thus concludes the final chapter in my very silly, very real and (hopefully) slightly educational saga. I wish you all the very best for the rest of 2020 and beyond. I hope wherever you are at Christmas, whether it is with family/friends or complete strangers, that you are safe and healthy. Rather than engage you on this thread - it is still my dream to sit besides some of you one day in a Lounge, or onboard a glorious flight to somewhere, while we sip our champers and giggle how funny the world is.

If you're ever in NSW over Christmas - stop in at Erina Casey's Toys. Follow the fairy lights and look for the aging Elf with glitter on her face and a huge smile xx

This is Clipped Wings.
Over and Out.
 

drron

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Fantastic news.Great to see you getting such joy and Mr.Clipped repositioning the business.I am sure you both will succeed.
I guess a very proud family-of course really they are the only ones who really count.

So all the best for Christmas and may there be many more Happy Christmas times ahead.
 
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VPS

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Hello again,

Thanks for the well wishes, those comments are hugely comforting to me and I hope that you are all safe and well, as am I.

I wrote what I thought was a comprehensive and stellar addendum to this story the other day. But in the process of reading and editing (one of my little quirks), I seemed to have lost the whole magnificent lot. It was there one minute, then POOF- gone forever. Oh well, I take these oddities as some kind of divine intervention - maybe my next entry was cough and someone or something stepped in to protect and preserve the illusion of me being a half-decent writer. That, or I accidentally pressed delete instead of enter. Ergo, when you think about it - pretty much cements my reputation as only a half-decent writer. The bottom half to be exact.

We'll never know the truth, so no point whining about it. I'll just start again and regale you all with the latest development in my life aboard the COVID train.....

It's late October and a sad milestone. This time last year, Mr Clipped and I were draping the house in cobwebs (or leaving the real ones where they were) and preparing for Halloween. I know it's considered a silly pagan custom by many, but to us it was an opportunity to have a little fun and enjoy our imagination. Firstly, it must be known that we don't do Halloween the nice way. We absolutely have to make at least one child cry, or the whole afternoon is a bust. Our front yard is littered with the plastic bones of some poor soul and the sensor-activated spiders lie in wait above the tree branches. The candy bowls with their creepy, bony animated hands would be full of Cadbury Dairy Milk goodies and the AA's would be carefully inserted into their ghoulish zombie hosts for the evening, ready to screech when kids arrived. A morbid looking table would be set in the front yard and our "guests" would include full scientific sized skeletons, a four foot alien we called Paul - and a couple of ugly dolls that rotate their heads. I do the full Hollywood Horror Nights makeup bit, which is funny because I think I look quite pretty. But it works wonders on the little ones and they refuse to come near me haha. Mr Clipped dons a blood splattered Jason mask and revs up his (chainless) chainsaw. He chases the older kids down the street. These days he can't run so fast with his robot knees, so poor "Jason" powerwalks after them.

One year we did a full custom DeLorean crash site from Back to the Future. Complete with MrFusion (old white jug) time console (old computer keyboard) and the Flux Capacitor (a full scale working model from Universal Studios when we had more money than sense). The family Caprice was wrapped in stainless steel digital vinyl and over 2km of old wiring and conduit was wound along the lower edges with neon rope lights, over to the exhaust panels (black corflute box grids) on the rear body. And we even added the DMC logo and OUTATIME number plates! We positioned the "time machine" so it looked like she had just crashed into the roller door and threw a heap of rubbish and old boxes around it. The flux capacitor fluxed away and when and when unsuspecting trick or treaters came close to peek inside the cabin, I triggered a remote control smoke machine.......WHOOOOOOOSH! She let out an almighty plume of fog and people dropped their candy I can tell you.

Hence the sad milestone comment. I have acknowledged there will be no Halloween celebrations for us this year. But that pales in comparison to some people's problems, so I am simply putting the pumpkins on hold until COVID releases it's cruel grip on the planet.

However, that's a small part of this week's episode. The good news is: I GOT A JOB! :D :D :D
I am now the proudest member of the team at Christmas Warehouse! It's a match made in Heaven and I am loving every day I go. It's only seasonal, so I know it has a finite life, but for now - it's giving me so much joy and I in turn, am trying to spread that joy to every customer I assist. They all think I'm bonkers for being so exhilarated selling Christmas trees and tinsel/lights etc. But I am pretty good at this gig and already have immersed myself into a very caring and supportive cohort of work friends. I think the job has saved me in many ways and I am so glad to finally feel productive and useful again. Add to this more wonderful news - Mr Clipped has been inundated with work, after pivoting the business slightly to include a new line of gorgeous custom etched social distance screening for the more discriminating venues who don't want an off the rack solution. His sign making expertise placed him in a commanding position to utilize machinery and processes with existing infrastructure and so the transition has been pretty seamless and lucrative. It's not without it's challenges, but we have determination to succeed and I feel the road ahead is illuminated with new horizons.

COVID takes away. And gives back. Time out for fresh thought awarded us with renewed hope for our immediate future and we are eternally grateful for the doors of opportunity that presented themselves.

But I know that many people are still struggling quietly. Not everyone was silly enough to bare their soul on these pages like I have. For me, this journal has been a vehicle to an outpouring of frustration, anger, amusement and acceptance of my elongated sabbatical. It's not everyone's prerogative to lay open intimate details of their time aboard the COVID Train, but I remember saying in my opening paragraph that documenting my journey may offer some perspective for others' if they feel inclined to read along. I truly hope that if any fellow Frequent Flyers have been in the same carriage on board - know this: I feel you. I am still there, riding this journey with you. If I can offer any words of support I will say this: You are NOT alone. Not on my watch.

Thus concludes the final chapter in my very silly, very real and (hopefully) slightly educational saga. I wish you all the very best for the rest of 2020 and beyond. I hope wherever you are at Christmas, whether it is with family/friends or complete strangers, that you are safe and healthy. Rather than engage you on this thread - it is still my dream to sit besides some of you one day in a Lounge, or onboard a glorious flight to somewhere, while we sip our champers and giggle how funny the world is.

If you're ever in NSW over Christmas - stop in at Erina Casey's Toys. Follow the fairy lights and look for the aging Elf with glitter on her face and a huge smile xx

This is Clipped Wings.
Over and Out.

Very pleased for you and please don't make it Over and Out forever
 

ellen10

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Great to hear from you and to read that things have turned a corner for you both. Enjoy your productive days and making a difference. Best wishes to you and your family for and who knows maybe a few of us will meet up in a lounge one day and share our 2020 stories.
 

Mattg

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Very happy to hear you found a new job!

to include a new line of gorgeous custom etched social distance screening for the more discriminating venues who don't want an off the rack solution

I'm guessing you may mean "discerning venues"? ;)

Rather than engage you on this thread - it is still my dream to sit besides some of you one day in a Lounge, or onboard a glorious flight to somewhere, while we sip our champers and giggle how funny the world is.

I would be delighted to meet you one day. And if that's in an airport lounge or on a plane, all the better!
 
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