Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sometimes I Wish I Was a Drinker

I know that it's not healthy for those who turn to the drink to cope. Sometimes, life is just plain hard. It's exhausting. It breaks your heart.  I wish that I could wash away the things that tear at my heart.  I wish that I could shut off the voices that plague me.  

But I'm not that kind of person.

I feel too much, I worry too much. I feel personal pain for others misfortune. I shouldn't, I know that. The only choices I can control are my own. It's just my nature. I love too deeply. I care when I shouldn't. I worry even when I know I can't do anything at all to change what is happening.  I know my place. I state my piece and hope for the best.  I'm honest. I've been told WAY too many times that I am too honest. It shouldn't be a fault, but it can be.  

My heart breaks for those who are suffering, whether I know them or not. It hits harder when they are close. It hurts more when I want to step in and can't.  

A little girl, she's barely an adult. I tried everything to support her, and then I just couldn't anymore. I got close enough to see all the reasons everyone else had turned their backs. I got burned, just as they did. She's a big girl. At least, that is what I tell myself.  But it's not good. Words she whispered haunt me. Things she spoke loudly... without words.  I held on as tight as I could but it was beyond my control. He pushed me out, like he pushed everyone out.  I just pray that there are some of us left when she finally sees what we saw.  I can't erase the things she told me. I can't erase the fear I heard in her voice when she was ready to leave. The exceptional plans she had made to leave.  She covered every angle, so she wouldn't be found. And if found, she was still safe. 
I can't let go of the fear I felt when she called to tell me she was marrying him.  I don't want to care. I want to let go.

A lady, my age, I've known all my life. Lost in a world of constant fear.  She pushes away those who sincerely wants to help, I'm not sure if she knows that. She tears through other peoples lives, to justify her shortcomings. She dreams of a peaceful life. Without health problems and nightmares of losing those she loves.  I've held her countless times as a friend. I've reached out when she didn't want to be near anyone. I've tried... I've tried many times.  But my life seems entirely different and she doesn't want to see it. She rips at my soul when I see her. I've said my goodbye's to that dream of connection. I let go, but I can never forget her.

Another, who has withdrawn herself from conflict whenever possible.  She has hidden from the slightest complication in life. Now, when her own life is becoming complicated, she is not able to deal with it directly.  She chose to ignore those tough times, and now has no skills to cope on her own. In the process, she has shut away many of those who could have helped.

A father who lost his young wife tragically and much too soon. Thrust into the world of single parenting. Lost to a world of hiding his pain in a bottle or pill.

Those who hurt others purely for spite. They don't know what damage they caused. They don't see what they have lost in the long term. 

Those who turn your words of encouragement and support against you. 

Yet another, who fell madly in love with someone who would never commit. So much so, that he only flirted from the other end of the country.

One who is obsessed. One who is sick. One who is lonely but afraid to break out of her shell.  

I feel so much more than I should. All I can be is a shoulder to lean on, I can't change how they will carry out their lives. But I still wish dearly that I could. That there was just one more thing I could do or say that would make all the difference.  I offer advice, but it falls on deaf ears. No one can help if you don't believe there is anything wrong. Right?


Those who have helped to mold my life, often gave unwanted advice. Those who have pushed me to face my own fears, to break free of my own inner silence, they are the reason I'm still standing. 

I internalize everything.  To a fault. When you say something mean to me, I will play it over and over in my mind. I will seek the truth in the words. Sometimes, I will find that the truth has nothing to do with me but others, I find the answers and make changes. If enough people are telling you something is wrong, chances are good that something IS wrong.  I listened. I've made changes.

I can deal with just about anything these days. I have been puked on, spit on, climbed on. I have sat with my child in a hospital bed, praying that he just starts breathing without tubes.  I have been through the dark side of marriage. I have been cheated on, dumped and had my name run through the mud.  I have been bullied and I have been stalked. I have lived with alcoholics and drank myself into oblivion more than once. I have witnessed abuse, assault and domestic violence.  I have lost everything I owned and been buried in debt.  

I can get myself out of pretty much any situation that presents itself. But I can't get you out of yours.

Letting go.. is hard. Letting go of anything. But letting go is necessary if you ever want to be truly happy.  Why does it sometimes feel like a fault?  I can see clearly what I have tried and where I have failed. I know what I can and can't change. I know that the lines are drawn and I have no further effect on them.  

But it still hurts.  

I can let go, I can be free. These things, these thoughts that hurt me are mine. The thoughts that linger ARE under my control. I can choose to be free of this guilt, this pain. I can choose to accept that I tried. I did not fail, because the battle was not mine. I can use moments of all of these relationships to better my own life.

I will be aware of my choices.
I will carefully consider the advice of trusted friends.
I will always seek the truth in any statement made.
I will always be honest
I will always love too deeply.

I will be strong for those who are not. If I had always been strong, I would not have had these connections to begin with. Even if they do not learn the lesson they should, I can learn.

I seek happiness and peace in my life. I believe that a crucial point of moving forward is letting go of yesterday. However, I also know that I need to fully acknowledge what I am letting go of, or this process loses it's meaning.  Being happy, means accepting and understanding the things that are UNhappy.

I could sit here and mourn my losses. I could drink away the hurt. I could sit here and just be sad.  But the tears are gone and there are no more coming. I control my own happiness. I treasure the small moments as best I can.

Life changes constantly, we must change with it.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moron Customer Service

Oops.  I meant
More On Customer service.


For just about everything in life, I believe that you do not earn the right to complain about something unless you are willing to be a part of change or solution to the problem you are complaining about.  Whether it is service from a certain store, or even something in a personal relationship. If you keep doing (or allowing to happen) the things you are complaining about, you are not part of the solution.

If I have crappy service at Wal-Mart (yes, there are people in some of the stores that actually provide customer service) I have a choice.  I can shut up and just put up with it because I'm saving 40 bucks today. OR. I can just stop going there. Choose a different location or entirely different chain. Right?

If I get bad food at a restaraunt, I will likely not eat there again. But then, in a restaurant that I have been to a thousand times, I will not be upset from one bad order. I'll choose something else on the menu.  I might mention it to my server. In a good restaurant this might even lead to a visit to the table from a manager, perhaps a discount on the bill.
But.  Let's take McDonalds as an example.  I've known many people who will make a special request on the burger, just to be sure they get something that hasn't been sitting under a heat lamp for two hours.  So "hold the pickles" has nothing to do with tastes or allergies or anything, but if there is the evil pickle on the burger... what do you do?
a) pick the pickle off and let it go since you really didn't have a good reason?
b) take it to the counter and ask for a replacement?
c) freak out because their staff didn't pay attention for the ten thousandth time? Demand a manager?

Really, when it's not a big deal, a consumer should let it go. Maybe you have driven all the way home only to find you have a completely wrong burger, not just a pickle. Or something is missing. They should understand that the drive thru is meant to be a convenience, we do not want to turn around and drive all the way back to you to replace it. We probably don't have time for that, or we would have came in.  It certainly depends on the problem.

Now as the employee, who receives that call, or greets that customer at the counter, take these steps
1) Listen to the customer... the whole story... Make sure you UNDERSTAND what part of it is making them upset.
2) Apologize. SINCERELY. If you don't feel bad that your staff messed up, you shouldn't be a manager.  You CAN'T apologize sincerely if you have not listened to the entire problem.  Someone with an allergic reaction needs a bit more of an apology... than say, someone who just got pickles.  Someone with a missing meal or fries or whatever... deserves a different kind of apology.
3)This is not just "I'm sorry."  Be a PARROT. For real. I will believe that you understand my problem if you say it back to me. I will know you are paying attention to MY concerns if you can do this. "oh, I'm sorry it didn't go well" means nothing to me.  "I'm really sorry you got a Big Mac instead of your McChicken"  See the difference?
4) Ask the customer how you can make it up.  Don't just spit something out there... you are damaging yourself first. Yes, there are reasonable limits to what you can offer up, but you deal with that after. Say you suggest a full meal replacement, when all they wanted was a new burger, you just cost yourself money.  So "I'm really sorry you got a Big Mac, I understand this is a long way out of your way so you don't want to just rush back here... What can we do to fix this for you?"  This is now MY responsibility. You are providing a good service and asking for my feedback.

The last time I complained to McD's specifically, I didn't ask for anything. I didn't want anything replaced or refunded or free. I asked them to take some time to review the process in their drive-thru. I told them that I understand there are new employees and the like and mistakes happen... but please revisit the training and ask your employees to make sure they are actually checking the orders before they go out that window. I was pleased to see a manager working the window the next time I got there. HOWEVER, this manager gave me the wrong drink.  And I don't mean diet coke instead of coke. I mean a fruitopia that should be bright red but was as clear as water.  Kind of instantly obvious to me. Did you even look?
That visit was one of the few better experiences. I went inside (because I had checked MY order before leaving...) a worker saw me, called me to the front of the line. She started to make an excuse, then just apologized...agreed that it should have been noticed and gave me the right drink. Easy Peasy. I had no need to get super P.O.ed. She handed me the RED drink and said she would go check the machine. Done.

So, if you handle the issue right, you will save yourself from the abundance of super-cranky customers.  And if you listen to what they have told you, you can improve the processes and prevent future mistakes. If you ignore the customer, you keep repeating the problem, and they get meaner and madder every time.

Customers do have a huge part to do with customer service. Those that want something for nothing do make it bad for the rest of us.

So consumers of the world... be part of change. Don't be complainers!

And Businesses?  Don't treat all of your customers like they are the bad ones. Treat everyone like they are the first customer you ever had and they will keep coming back.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Perfect World

In a perfect world, my kids would stay in bed after bedtime. I would be able to go to bed at the same time as the trucker.  In a perfect world, finances would come easy and we would have the space we want in our home.  I wouldn't have to split my office with play area.

In a perfect world, trust would run rampant. There would be no backstabbing, no disappointments. It would natural to trust someone first instead of it being a risk. Our hearts would always be full and never broken.  There would be no battles for control, or upsets over losses. Everyone would have patience... all the time.

But this is not a perfect world.

I still teach my kids to hold open doors for others. I teach them to stop and help someone, to pick up and return an item you've dropped. To say hello to neighbors walking by. I show them to help others, and also to be careful not to be conned. I give change to those who need it. I buy a coffee for a friend who is feeling low. We ask questions... and listen to the answers.  

Times change, I read recently about chivalry being dead. I disagree. 
It may be weak, but it is not dead.

I was treated to having car doors held open for me, offered my seat before my date sat down.  I have been serenaded, more than once, and not just at karaoke. (That happens more by women, sadly.... but that's a whole different story!)  I was presented with a single white rose a thousand times more than a dozen red ones.  Sure, some of these things have slipped away almost entirely, but it is not a societal shift that occurred. I became a mom. And my white knight is a dad.

He doesn't hold the door open on the van for me, we're busy getting kids buckled in and making sure we have everything we need.  He may sit before I do in the dining room at supper, but it's usually because the kids will just keep getting up and leaving the table until one of us is in there too.  I don't often get roses of any sort, but the kids are encouraged to bring me wild flowers (read: dandelions) any time they want.  Life changes. In our house at least.  

When I went to college, I had an 8 month old baby. I bussed it downtown, took him to daycare and headed to class. In the first sixth months of school, I didn't open a single door for myself downtown. Not one. In fact, when it did happen I actually DID notice.  I believe that most people really are good. Sometimes it may be hidden, but don't we all want to be just a little bit more than what we are?

Little things. Life is all about little things.

My kids might not go to sleep when I want and I don't often get to bed at the same time as the trucker, but we are making a better effort to get our alone time too.  I may share my home with my mother, but it is financially smarter for ALL of us. Why scrimp and save every penny just to have our own separate places when we work well together here?  We can all have a small taste of the good life this way.  As the kids grow the space they need for play changes constantly. My office will be just an office eventually.

When you pay attention to the little things, life just gets happier.  Buy a coffee for the guy behind you in line or in the drive thru.  Hold a door open for someone to go by.  Let someone ahead of you in line at the grocery store because they have less items than you do. Simply smile and say thank you to the Wal-Mart Cashier. (really, do it. I don't think they really ever hear it anymore).  How about in a drive thru? Place your order and then say thank you, before you drive ahead. They hear it, and I can promise they will be smiling when you get to the window.

You know how to teach your children to be responsible and kind?  Let them see you do it.  It can be a struggle sometimes to turn the other cheek, but they need to know that part too. They will see that sometimes you can be the bigger person and not just because it was easy.  Life is hard. They need to know it.

This is my world, 
and it is perfect 
enough for me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

To My Children

One of the million things that I want you to fully grasp before you grow up and move out is that it is HUGELY important to be kind and patient.

If more parents would share the responsibility in teaching their children to be friendly and helpful, to give the benefit of the doubt when possible, I think the world would be a more peaceful place.

I also believe that this is not a skill you can just teach. Like reading a book or handing over a user guide.... we, your parents, need to MODEL this behavior.  If we are frustrated all the time, if we are impatient, argumentative and rude... you will be too.

There was a day not long ago that I overheard my boys fighting over a game. A perceived wrong in the eyes of one and the other defending himself as he was completely clueless as to what he did, but knew he was right no matter what....
I did jump in and stop the arguing... I walked them both slowly through what had actually happened. Essentially they both had the same facts, just entirely different perceptions of what happened.  After a good discussion, they were fine again.

I sat for a bit and reflected on the situation. And you know what I figured out?  The trucker was working a lot of long shifts, I had been running myself on empty.  Meaning, WE were being impatient and cranky. We were being short with each other, and ultimately with the kids too. Our frazzled nerves and tired bodies were wearing everyone down.

We took a day to just chill out, he napped, then I napped, then for a little bit we both were napping.  We stuck to an easy supper. Made no plans. Just stayed in that perfect vegetable state for a day.  The next day we were still a little groggy (our bodies didn't know what to do with all that sleep) but we were recharged and energized. We found a solution, set it in place and went back to paying close attention to how WE were acting. And the kids are no longer at each others throats. 

There are two valuable points here.  I took the time to understand and encourage them to understand what the problem WAS.  Then I found the underlying cause and resolved it.  I'm not saying we have a perfectly harmonious house ALL the time.  But we do have a happy home most of the time.
In any situation, your best bet is listening to the person you're conflicting with and making sure that you both understand the problem. At that point, and only at that point can you begin to resolve the issue.  This is a lesson that will carry you through your life. In all your personal relationships and professional ones and most certainly as an employee of any company. An open and understanding mind will open doors for you wherever you go. Every employee of every company is a part of customer service. Good service means repeat business, recognition and often new opportunities and promotions for you. You benefit the business, you benefit yourself. And if you are in a position that you are not happy with, look for the underlying reasons and change it. Maybe you have the wrong job. Maybe you have been working too many hours, or not enough. Maybe, by teaching you to look for deeper reasons and to show patience and kindness first, you will never have to worry because you will be successful no matter where you go.

Trust me, it works. I have never left a job that didn't try really hard to keep me (even the one that went bankrupt, I had 4 job offers from co-workers after that).  I'm honest and up front. If I'm having a problem, sometimes it might take me awhile to own it, but I DO own it.  I accept whatever consequence and move on. (sometimes this is taken as being too honest, but .. what do I have to hide?).  

Just do the right thing, no matter where you are. At home, at work, at school. It is not the end of the world if you admit when you are wrong.  Even if you are not.  Be the bigger person, be patient and kind, loving and understanding.  If you wait for someone else to do it, it won't happen.  Happiness breeds more happiness. Misery loves company.  

Don't let the world bring you down. 
Work to bring the world back UP with you.

When the sky is dark, BE the sunshine.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What Ever Happened To Customer Service?

Maybe I am one of those picky consumers. Maybe I have a higher than normal perception of what customer service should be.  As much as I hated providing customer service in my old jobs it gave me a good understanding of what customer service should be.

Even when I knew that a certain skirt would not fit the buyer, I let her buy it. And I let her return it when she came back a few days later complaining that it was 'cut different' and didn't fit.  

Even when I knew that my employee had not in fact made any racial comments to one customer, I listened and handled his concern tactfully. I also discussed with that same employee what it was that he was upset about. Taught my employee to be careful how she phrased things.

Even when I've had things thrown at me, seen ornaments smashed on my counter and been called every name in the book, there is the part of me that just wants to repair the relationship and move on.  

At the lower levels, I was one of the first to pass a grumpy customer off to management and at the higher levels, I always supported my staff, yet handled the customer's concern in a way that was acceptable to them.  Yes, providing customer service means admitting you are wrong, even when you aren't, sometimes.  When I couldn't please a customer as a manager, I openly handed over the number for the next level of management.

It seems, from my recent experiences that this is just not the case any more. Escalating a concern is made difficult at best.  

Two examples?  McDonalds and U-Haul. 
I tried to contact the regional office for McDonalds after a store manager told me it was MY responsibility to check my order before leaving the drive through and also about the time when the manager on duty asked "Do you want it fast or do you want it right?"  I got nowhere with the store, so I followed up with the next level. I left a detailed message as requested and promptly got a call back from the SAME STORE MANAGER.  Who said the same thing. AGAIN.  Where is the next level of management?  They immediately redirect the calls back to the stores that received the complaint.  With no resolutions, I have become the ultimate pain in the ass customer at McD's. (Yeah, I know I have an ego problem. But they set the challenge out there).
I go inside EVERY time. I open EVERY burger and check EVERY drink while STILL standing at their counter.
Afterall, they did tell me it was my responsibility to make sure my order was right.

Then there is U-Haul. A moving nightmare. One problem after another. Yes, we got the job done, that was the only part that was easy. Picking up a trailer was a train wreck and then we were sent to a location for drop off that wasn't even open. The customer service rep on the phone says "well, do you want to drop the trailer off or not?"  Seriously?  Let me tell you exactly what I want to do with this trailer. I decided to look up their customer service forms online. Their telephone service reps were about 75% of my problems.  I was careful to choose the correct categories and state my issues clearly. Within 20 minutes of hitting "SEND" I received an auto reply message from U-Haul customer service.  It says "We're sorry to hear about your concerns, please complete the form at this link to ensure your issues get resolved quickly."

Did I fill out the wrong form? No. I filled out their form. Their contact/customer service form listed on their website. Not only did I waste time filling in the required information in the first form, but it doesn't even get read and I get redirected?  This was not the first Gong Show with them either. The last time, we let it go. But now this makes three entirely different cities that have caused us grief. It isn't just one bad store, so I felt it was time to move up the chain.

I do understand there are thousands of people who manipulate the systems. I get that there are thousands of people who will simply try everything to get something for nothing.  I did not ask either company for compensation. Just that they revisit their customer service steps and remember that without customers they have nothing. 
They depend on the lazy. They thrive on those who just want to get things over with. And they don't care to listen long enough to find out if there is actually a real problem. They redirect you and avoid you until you just simply give up the chase.  They get away with bad service and they do it over and over and over.

If you listen to the issue, you can tell when a customer is just making things up. You can tell by what they want. For U-Haul, we wanted them to flag their system so that no others traveling to Calgary would end up at a closed location when they try to drop off.  I will not go GET a credit card just because it's easier for them. If they don't even know when their own location is closed EVERY weekend, what might happen to my credit card information?!?!?  
At McDonalds, having to stand in line for 15 minutes in the store to get the attitude noted above. NOT COOL.  By then, the rest of my meal was cold too. They replaced 1 item. One.
Hello?  I'm standing in line with a closed bag and a receipt. 
Pull me to the side and get me the CORRECT order so I can get the H*LL OUT. 

I know that good customer service DOES exist. Occasionally I experience it.  And I am quick to be thankful and praise the staff or companies that are doing a good job.

Companies like Lego or Hasbro are tops on my list. Nintendo is pretty good too. I was searching for a replacement piece to a Lego set we had bought. A leg on a mini figure broke within the first day. They have places where you can look up the individual product numbers and buy single parts. I couldn't find the piece I needed in their list. So I just sent a general email describing what it was that I needed. You know what I got back? A personal email. It said that they were not sure which piece I meant, could I please clarify by looking up the number online. I replied that I had tried to find it but could not. I provided the set number and the mini figures name and described in as much detail as possible what broke.  This was followed up by another personal email, not an auto reply, that said basically "we're not sure what you mean exactly so we've sent what we think you mean. We hope this helps." I had the part in about 2 weeks. At no cost to me. And they sent the entire body of the mini-figure, even though it was only the leg that had broken. 

My kids were thrilled. Good Service Makes People Happy.

Hasbro makes Beyblades. Macboy went through a big phase with Beyblades. He still likes them even now.  He had started using his own money to build his collection. This made it even more heartbreaking when the bolts snapped.  So online I went, searching for a way to replace ONLY the face bolts instead of having to replace the whole thing. The facebolts are the one peice that holds the entire Beyblade together. Without it you can not use them. I could not find any easy way to just buy the single peices so I used the online form to ask Hasbro directly.  By that point we had a couple broken bolts.  

Hasbro sent my boys, within about 3 weeks, 4 full Beyblades. They were not brand new or anything, no special stickers or decoration, but a nice variety and so much more than my kids expected. We asked for just the bolts and got a great selection of additional pieces to customize the beyblades too.  Along with this package that brightened my kids spirits and my overall opinion of Hasbro Toys, was a sincerely worded letter of apology and a thanks to my kids for using their own money to buy from Hasbro.
I recommend Hasbro Toys to everyone and often.

A few weeks after this, when my boys were quietly playing with these toys, it struck me how simple the customer service process was, with both of these companies. So, you know what I did?  I emailed again. I picked the most general categories in their little email system and sent a message stating how wonderful I thought their service was and how much I appreciated their attention to our concerns.  I told them how I would recommend their brands based highly on the service I received. They didn't ask me a million questions about what happened, they just said "oh, that's terrible, let us help you."  My initial request was simply "Where can I buy these pieces?" And they sent them to me at no cost.

And again, from Hasbro, I received a personal letter. Thanking me for thanking them. For real. It was full of comments like "no one ever shares the good moments, but the complaints spread quickly. We appreciate that you took the time to provide positive feedback. Thank you for your purchase and interest in our brands."

I know some people 'work the system' all the time and that screws the rest of us. But ultimately, customer service means providing the benefit of the doubt and LISTENING to what the customer is telling you.  The first bit of advice I got when I was first promoted into management was "Learn how to shut up and just nod and smile. A customer who knows they have been listened to will be more cooperative and reasonable in finding a solution."  Also, a customer that is listened to will generally not start yelling. Or swearing or throwing stuff. (And if someone starts off that way, chances are YOU are NOT the problem. But you can help turn their day around if you provide good service.)
Serve my meal properly and without attitude? You'll like your tip. We'll smile, we'll laugh, we'll probably stay for dessert!  And I will recommend you, by NAME when possible. Including to your manager.
Treat me like I'm preventing you from taking your smoke break or chatting with your friends... I won't even eat there and you WON'T get a tip. Good customer service is hard to find these days.
If you don't have a sincere attitude to help people, don't get a job in customer service.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Family Meal

Maybe this post would be a better fit on Wendy Can't Cook, being about dinnertime and all, but I think in my world, it's perfectly appropriate to post it here.

Over the last few months I have struggled daily just to keep the basics covered. Life went from moderately crazy to completely overwhelming and then settled back down again. The trucker and I seemed to hit a brick wall and that made life even more difficult. When you don't feel like your partner is on the same team, reaching your goals becomes almost impossible. But we are back on the same side again and continuing to work on communication. I think that is something that evolves constantly in a marriage and we need to make it a focus ALL the time. ("We" meaning anyone who is married!)

One of the things he told me during our 'getting to know each other again' stages here was that he is very frustrated by the fact that I don't always (okay... don't often) have a meal planned for supper. When I was feeling raw and hurt, all I heard was "you are home all day and can't even make ME dinner." I felt like a failure. As a wife and a mother. I mean really... what's one meal? Then I got angry. YES I'm home all day... but I WORK too. I have three kids to raise and clean up after. I am TIRED too.

But... after much discussion (yes, discussion, we'd passed the argument stage by then) I finally started to understand what this meant. He doesn't care if there are toys on the floor. He doesn't care if the kids rooms are messy. He doesn't care if homework is done. He just likes to know what we're having for dinner. It's a long day for him, when he leaves for work at 4 a.m. and sometimes earlier. He's practically starving by the time he gets home.

Slowly, I've come to understand that it's not about FOOD at all. I was still missing the point. 

A few years back, we both worked out of the house. I had child care in home and they would usually have dinner ready for the kids around 5. I would get home around 6 and just throw anything together for the two of us. But when I started Mat leave after Angel Baby, I changed the rules. I WANTED dinner to be a family affair. I enforced harsh rules on my family and forced them to adjust. Basically normal rules for many homes, but new and hard rules for us. Supper is at the table. Everyone. No exceptions. No TV on, ever. And you eat what I make. End of story.

It took a long time for the family to adjust. Seriously. We ALWAYS had the TV going. Someone would be in the kitchen, someone in the dining room, and sometimes I didn't even try to make all of us eat at the same time. It was crazy. But after a while, it got easier. Everyone noticed if the TV was left on, everyone started to at least try some of what I made. And suddenly, everyone started talking.

I am a very involved mother. Not a helicopter mom, but I make a point to know what's going on at school and with my kids friends. I know how their day was by supper time because I ask about it in the van on the way home.

BUT... The trucker doesn't get that. He works weird hours. Sometimes he can be home before they get home from school, sometimes it's not until after bedtime.

Do you see where this is going? He's not upset about food (yes, he is hungry, but he can feed himself too), he's upset that our Family Meal is getting missed. I indirectly steal those moments from him. Unintentionally, I take away quality time for him to provide direct attention to the people in his life that matter most. Myself and the kids.

If you think about it all... not just him, but family dinners in general... it HAS to be something we are hard wired from birth to look for. There are so many benefits to eating together that I won't even try to make a list here. But we MUST BE BORN KNOWING THAT MEALS ARE MEANT TO BE SHARED.

After all... how fun would a Tea Party for One be?

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's A Fact! And Other Stuff You May Not Want To Know About Me

It's a fact. That sentence can only be said out loud in one way. And if you never watched The Kids In The Hall, you won't say it right.

You already know I'm a queen procrastinator. That I live hugely on coffee and I have three kids. You know that I work from home. You know that the hubs is a trucker.

You may not know that once I sat down on an escalator in the mall and it almost ate my shorts. For real. That was scary.

I like to golf.  I suck, and I only get to go once or twice a year right now, so it will be a long time before I get better at it.

I love needlepoint and cross-stitching. My Aunt bought me my first cross-stitch set when I was about 11 and I've loved it ever since. Sadly, it doesn't get much time spent on it.

I can't/don't drink. Well, once or twice a year, I will. I usually go overboard on those days because if the first drink is gonna make you sick, you might as well make it worth it.

I'm a super huge karaoke dork. I mean fan. I love to go and sing my heart out.

I still have a small container jam-packed with random notes to and from friends in high school. They still make me laugh.  Especially those that were written with a thesaurus... those are hilarious.

I am very selective on Facebook. I'm one of the few people I know with less than 100 'friends.'  (29 to be exact).

I was taught how to drive by my dad. He gave me the keys to the riding lawn mower.  Later he gave me the keys to the standard truck and told me to pull the boat out of the garage out back.  Then he paid for my driver training and I've driven an automatic since. (yes, the boat and the garage ARE okay.)

I cry easy. Like way too easy. Like when my friend at the fair won 85 stuffies at games and I got nuttin. Yep. But she's a softy and gave me one. It was a kangaroo with boxing gloves.

I have a strange and powerful memory. hehehe

My kids go to the same school I did. One of the teachers there now, was there when I went there. But I'm not telling anyone who.  She looks DAMN good, for teaching that many years.

I LOVE a challenge. I can figure out things and make plans work. Some of my best sewing creations come from no pattern at all. And the kids like to test me. Like asking for spiders on cookies or balloons on cupcakes.

My oldest was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome in 2009. Included with diagnosis were ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which I disagree with) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies. He is fascinating. I don't blog about it, because it all just simply IS. Most people I know don't even know.  It was a shock, but not horrible. TS+ is not an incurable disease -- it will never be a death sentence.  It is just THERE

I most definitely overcompensate for my children in all areas where I feel my childhood was lacking. And I
don't care what anyone thinks.

I look more like my dad than my mother. But I think I act more like her.  I'm happy about both of those things.

Macboy and Angel Baby look like me, Art is his daddy all over again.

I have worked in clothing stores, coffee shops, gift stores, fast food, deli's and corporate offices. And I am a level 3 engraver. I loved engraving... working in a kiosk, not so much.  And of all the jobs I ever had, none of them meant as much as being a mom. I WAS that little girl in kindergarten when asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?"  I cheerfully replied "A Mommy!"

Well there you go. Not that you asked.
But then you don't get much choice what I write, do you?