Patience!

I’ve heard it said “don’t ever pray for patience, because God will send many trying challenges your way so you learn patience”.

I must have thought that said PRAY for patience. That, and I must be a really slow learner because I can tell you patience has never been one of my strong points. Combine that with the fact that I am a very left brained person, and one might just have the perfect recipe for disaster. Why, because left brained people must have plans and everything must go according to the plan. When things don’t go according to the plan it can cause one to become overly stressed and lose their patience and that is never a good thing.

One might think raising a blind child would definitely be a good way to acquire an abundance of patience. I don’t know if that’s true for me or if I simply learned to change my plan on the fly when road bumps came along. Being able to change the plan is great for me because  most of the time my plans include a timeline for the plan to happen. So for example, when Shantel needs more time to get things done, in order to not lose my patience with her, I adjust my plan to accommodate her, but I still have a plan to satisfy my left brain issues. Sometimes I adjust my plan so many times it no longer even resembles the original plan, but hey, it’s still a plan right?

One thing that drives me crazy and can cause me to lose my patience is being late. I think it is just as easy to be five minutes early as five minutes late. You just have to have a plan and stick to it. So why is that so difficult for some people? When I pose that question to Shantel, she just laughs and says “Oh mom, you just worry too much”. So, when Shantel, asks me to take her somewhere. I will always ask her the important questions like where are we going? What time do you need to be there? And so on…. Then, I will give her the exact time she needs to be in the car so we can leave to arrive at her destination on time. Why do I need to go through all that with my soon to be nineteen year old daughter you ask? Well, Shantel has taken up procrastination like it’s her new hobby. She will put off doing things until the very last-minute. Of course, that drives me up the wall and down the other side, and can cause me to lose my patience with her, which is never a good thing because then I will feel guilty, and we all know what that can cause…See previous post on Guilt!

I wish with all my heart I could be as laid back as Shantel is about things. She just has the opinion that if things get done they do and if they don’t they just don’t. That concept doesn’t even compute in my left brain. So if even raising a blind child hasn’t helped me acquire any more patience, I’ll just be happy knowing I can adjust my plans on the fly!…:)

Next: Issues!

Your Not My Mother!

Wow, those are powerful words aren’t they? But, for once, they weren’t being directed at me! No, in fact that is what I told Shantel the other night as she was giving me a very long , but respectful, dissertation, on how I am one of the most left brained people she knows, and how I could benefit from learning how to self-calm… Well, picture my face as I am looking at her thinking, who the hell are you and what did you do with my precious daughter? Let me explain:

Shantel wanted to rent a movie the other night and wanted me to watch it with her so I did. At the end of the movie she said “well good night mom” gave me a hug and off she went to her room leaving me to figure out how to get the movie stopped on our new Blu-Ray disc player that shows movies on our new, large flat screen TV. Now, according to Shantel, for all you right-brained people, and “both brained” people, this is probably a simple thing, Ha!

My husband, Bill, gave me a VERY short, VERY quick, lesson on how to operate this contraption just before he want to bed. He has to get up very early every morning so he doesn’t stay up too late during the week. Anyway, I didn’t have time to take notes, so I tried my best to remember everything he said to do since I now know you have to work one control for the Blu- Ray disc player, and one for the TV. Apparently the two can be combined but that is even more complicated and hasn’t been mastered yet. So, now, here I am in the family room, all alone, trying to figure out what buttons I need to push to get the disc out of the Blu-Ray player and how to get the TV back on. I start pushing all the buttons on the Blu-Ray controller and got a bunch of stuff on the screen that I didn’t even recognize because I never saw any of it in my life, and it didn’t show up when Bill gave me the whirlwind  operational lesson. Go figure! I may not be technology brained blessed, but I am determined not to let anyone know I don’t know how the hell to get a Blu-Ray disc out of our new Blu-Ray player and get our new flat screen TV back on… So, I start pushing buttons on the new flat screen TV controller.  Nothing is happening except I’m deciding I am never renting another movie for the rest of my life unless Bill is there to operate this new flat-ray blue-TV…I hate this thing now and am getting really upset that not one of the buttons I am pushing is making anything turn off or on. The movie is frozen on the screen and I am starting to think I should just pull the plug. But, if I do that, I won’t be able to watch the news in the morning while I’m cleaning house…So I start thinking perhaps I could leave a note for Bill asking him to get the movie out and the TV back on, but I remember seeing a little grin come across his face as he was going to bed which now I’m thinking he knew I was going to have a problem remembering how to follow the operational instructions he whizzed by me in his rush to get to bed…No, I will not be defeated…I will stay up all night if I have to but I will not be defeated by this stupid contraption. I don’t even like watching movies at home anyway, I like to go to the movies and see things on a big screen that other people operate for me while I just relax…This contraption is not letting me relax..Bill is relaxing, Shantel is relaxing, but I’m stressed and may never relax again. Now I am to the point of letting a few little four letter words slip out like, S–T!,  S–T!!,  S–T!!! But, not to worry..Shantel comes to my rescue! She walks in and asks what’s wrong? I start telling her I can’t get the movie off or the TV on…she says “well, that’s because you are so upset” I wanted to ask her what was her first clue, but decided I better not run off the one person who is here to help me. Never mind that she is blind and can’t see the buttons I’m now pounding on,  and she didn’t see the operational instructions her father whizzed by me! She is here to help and I need help. So I ask her what she thinks I should do? She says “well, mom, you could benefit from learning how to self-calm”.  SELF-CALM, I ask in as quiet of a voice as I can manage at this point? How do you expect me to do that? She quickly goes into all the ways such as deep breathing, meditation, soft music etc. Picture my face at this point listening to this self-calming theory when I just want to pick up the TV and Blu-disc player and throw it all out the front door so I can go to bed! But, I don’t. No, I listen, and listen, and listen, until I can’t stand it anymore and I say “hey, Your Not My Mother”, I’m yours, so I don’t think I need any more advice about how to self-calm. But thanks for sharing”. Then, I picked up that damn Blu-disc controller and don’t have a clue what happened, but the movie went off and when I picked up the Flat TV controller the TV came on…I never told Shantel that I don’t know how I got it all working again, and I never told Bill I ever had a little problem remembering the tutorial he gave me. That will just be my little secret, at least until he reads this blog post! Ha!!!

In closing I will admit I am a VERY left brained person,,,VERY left brained. I must have a plan for everything and need everything to go according to the plan… Well, what’s wrong with that I ask? And, of course, Shantel is just more than willing, and able, to tell me all about how left brain people have their place in the world, and the world is a better place because of them, but they also lack creativity. Now, I don’t know about that, I like to think I am a very creative left brained person. I got that movie off and the TV on right?

I just knew encouraging Shantel to be a Psychology Major was going to come back to bite me!

Next: Patience!

Guilt!

Haven’t we all felt a sense of guilt from time to time? I know it doesn’t take much to make me feel guilt. I’ve been feeling a real sense of guilt since Monday when I went to visit my mom. Let me explain.

My mother resides in a 24/7 skilled nursing care center. I go to visit with her at least three days a week, and more often if she isn’t feeling well. When I go to see her I make a point to find out if she needs any personal care items because she doesn’t like the generic brands the care center provides for the residents. I let mom know I go to the grocery store every Wednesday, and remind her to let me know if she needs anything before I go shopping  so I can bring it to her on my next visit. In the past, I would look through her bathroom myself to see if she was running low on anything, but mom thought I was treating her like a child so I stopped doing that out of respect for her. However, I can almost always count on mom calling me over the weekend to tell me she forgot to let me know she needs something. When this happens of course, I make every effort to get to the store and buy whatever she said she needs, and take it right up to her even rearranging my own plans to accommodate mom. I do this because I feel a sense of guilt if I don’t. Then, to make it worse, when I drop everything I’m doing to go get whatever it is mom needs, I sometimes start to feel frustrated because she didn’t want me to check to see what she might need, but now she seems to expect me to jump through hoops to accommodate her. And, the more frustrated I feel, the more guilt I feel because I got frustrated with my mom…it seems like it’s a never-ending cycle of guilt, frustration, guilt…

Well, after months and months of this merry-go-round with mom not letting me know what personal care items she needs before I go shopping, I decided I was going to put my foot down and stop jumping through hoops to get things up to mom each and every time she calls me with her list of things she forgot to let me know she needs. So, this past Monday, when I was visiting mom, I didn’t ask her if she needed anything and she didn’t tell me she needed anything. We just visited for a few hours, then one of the aides came to take her for her shower so I told mom I would see her on Wednesday, kissed her good-bye, and left.

When I got home, Bill, Shantel, and I were all discussing our dinner plans and the movie we rented for the evening. The phone rang and it was mom calling to tell me she was out of depends. She wanted me to bring her some up right away. She knows I keep a case of them in the garage for her, and I can’t tell you how many times I have asked her to let me know when she is running low so I can bring up another package. I’ve tried to keep a spare package in her room for her, but they always seem to walk off if there are extras laying around…I told mom I would bring her another package of depends up on Wednesday when I came back to visit. She sounded disappointed and said she just had her shower and doesn’t have anymore depends, and doesn’t want to wear the “diapers’ the care center provides for the residents. I remained firm, but kind, and told mom I couldn’t come back up now, but I would bring the depends to her on Wednesday when I come back to visit her.

Do I feel frustrated, yes. Do I feel guilt, yes. Did I let it make me leave my family and our plans to take mom the depends?…No. Does that make me a bad daughter? I don’t know, what do you think? How far is far enough when you are dealing with elderly parents? How much is enough, how much is too much? It is so easy to say what we think we would do, but an entirely different story when you are in the position of mothering your parents.

All I know is I try to do the very best I can to look after my mom’s needs and still have a life of my own. But, I can say for sure, because I know me better than anyone else…when my mom goes to her great reward…I am going to need my family and friends to remind me I really did do a good job, because it will be the few times when I didn’t jump and run to accommodate mom’s need of the moment that I will think about in the end.

Next: Your Not My Mother!

Changing Bodies!

Did you ever want to be someone else? Look like someone else? Live like someone else? Have you ever imagined what your life would be like if you made different choices or you could trade lives, and bodies with someone else even if for just one day? I have wondered about these things a lot, but the reality is I am happy with my life just the way it is. Now, my body…well that’s a whole different story!

One of my favorite pastimes is people watching. I can sit for hours and just watch people. I find it fascinating to watch people and really get into wondering what each person’s life might be like as they go about whatever they might be doing at any given point in time. Sometimes, when I am on vacation at the beach with my family, I look at the people around me and wonder if they are there enjoying a much-needed break from their normal daily routines like me, or if they live in one of the surrounding beach towns and are able to enjoy the beach anytime they want. I wonder if they are happy in their life, what they do when they are not enjoying the beach etc. When I see people surfing in the ocean, I wonder if they ever had “issues” of being afraid of what they can’t see under the water, like I am, or, unlike me, are they thrill seekers and risk takes, or, even better, I wonder  if they were just born fearless and never give a thought about what “could” happen…? Perhaps they do, but they just don’t care…I wonder what it’s like to be them?

When I see people at the mall, I wonder if they are there searching for a specific item, or, are they shopaholics and just out to get their “fix” by spending money? I wonder how their lives are different from mine….?

What about sitting in a doctor’s office, do you ever wonder why other people are there? I do. I wonder if they’ve been sick and are now seeing the doctor for a follow-up “well” appointment, or, if they are there for the first time finding out what is wrong with them, and I wonder if they are afraid of what they might find out…?

When I drive through an upscale neighborhood, I wonder what the lives of  the people living in the big beautiful homes are like? Are they living comfortable within their means, or are they over their heads in debt and wishing they could down size without affecting their credit ratings? I wonder if they would want to change lives with someone of lesser means…?

When I see someone young, and beautiful, I wonder if they are happy in their own skin, or if they are constantly wanting to change something about the way they look? I wonder things like this because it seems to me that many people are never happy with what they have or how they look. If they are fat, they want to be thin. If they have long hair, they want it short. If they are short, they want to be tall…always searching for that “perfect look” which just might also give them that “perfect life”… But perhaps even if they had what they consider “perfection”, they still wouldn’t be satisfied. I wonder…?

Before I lost weight, I thought if I was thin, I would be happy. I remember wishing I would wake up one day and be thin, and be able to eat and drink anything I wanted without gaining any weight. I thought that would be what would make me happy. But, once I lost the weight, I found that wasn’t the key to happiness. It just showed me thin people are unhappy too. I had to learn that it isn’t what we look like that makes us happy. It isn’t what we have that makes us happy. It isn’t who we are with that makes us happy… I learned happiness comes from within. We are responsible for making ourselves happy. Only we know what we love, what moves our hearts, what our passions are etc. Only we can change our thoughts, thus changing our world.

As I get older, I’m becoming much more accepting of myself. I realize I am never going to have the “perfect” body. I’m never going to be able to eat and drink whatever I want without gaining any weight so I will forever be a Weight Watcher.  As I am getting older, I have also come to realize that all the wisdom I have gained along the way in regards to self-acceptance, is a very good thing, because it takes a lot of wisdom to put myself on the exercise bike every morning at 5:30 A.M. for thirty minutes at a fast pace, and throw myself in our pool every evening for thirty minutes of non-stop jumping, kicking, swimming exercise only to get out, look in the mirror as I am getting ready for bed, and see everything on my body is still going south in spite of it all? It takes a lot of wisdom to remind myself that I wouldn’t change who I am on the inside for anything, but I will always be open to changing bodies!!!

Next: Guilt!

Talk To Her!

Being the mother of a blind child, I have seen first hand how most people are very supportive. Some people even go out of their to be helpful. Oh, there are those who cast the occasional stare that they think went unnoticed, when my daughter, Shantel, and I walk by, or the rude teenager who will jump over Shantel’s long white cane when we are walking in the mall. But, for the most part, I haven’t had too many bad experiences when I’m out with Shantel in public. However, there is one BIG pet peeve I have with the general public to this very day in regards to their interaction, or lack of interaction,when they first meet Shantel, and she is out with me. What I have witnessed over and over again is that most people will not talk directly to her. They will ask me questions about what Shantel wants, needs etc. but it is very seldom that I come across anyone, who doesn’t know us, that will speak directly to Shantel first.

For example: Shantel had an appointment with a new doctor the other day. Since it was a new doctor and Shantel was not familiar with the office layout, I walked her into the exam room as her sighted guide. When the nurse came in to take Shantel’s blood pressure, temp, weight etc… she looked at me and asked “what is she seeing the doctor for today”? I turned to Shantel and said “Shantel would you like to answer her questions? Shantel explained why she was there and the nurse again turns to me and asks “what is her medical history? I told Shantel she could respond to her questions which she did and the questions continued on in this manner until I finally said, very nicely, “Shantel is eighteen and can speak for herself if you would like to direct your questions to her”. The nurse looked at me very surprised and said “oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude…

If we go to a restaurant, even when we are escorted to our table with Shantel using her cane, the hostess will always put a printed menu down in front of Shantel as well as giving me one… And, more times than not, the waitress or waiter will ask me what Shantel wants to drink and eat. Even when Shantel is trying to tell them what she will have, they will still look at me and ask if “she would like lemon in her tea or fries with her sandwich”?

Last week Shantel made an appointment to have her nails done. When we walked into the nail place, Shantel stepped up to the counter to let them know what she there for and still the woman looked at me and asked “does she  want acrylic or gel nails, and what color would she like”? Of course, I very nicely let the woman know Shantel made the appointment and is paying for the service and she would need to direct her questions to Shantel.

Being Shantel’s mom, of course I realize I am very comfortable being around her, and I understand some people many not be comfortable being around people with special needs and disabilities, but I think if anyone is going to work with the public, they need to get comfortable with people with disabilities and special needs so they don’t come across so obviously unprepared and even rude. What do you think?

I also have to say that Shantel is not the only person I’ve seen being treated like she can’t speak…I’ve also noticed the same type of behavior with other people with disabilities including those in wheelchairs and the elderly. When my mother still lived with us, and I would take her out shopping or to get her hair done etc, I would have to take her wheelchair because she couldn’t walk long distances etc…and again, I noticed people would ask me what she wanted done with her hair, or when we went to a restaurant, they would ask me what she wanted to eat as well…

What is it that makes people think people with disabilities and/or elderly people can’t speak for themselves?

I sure hope if I ever get old (not likely but it could happen) or if I ever have a disability, other than my already very apparent little flaws and “issues”…and any of you see me out in public… I really hope you will come right up and talk directly to me. And, even if for some reason I can’t speak (unlikely but one never knows), if its happy hour, I will still love to have a glass of wine with you:)

Next: Changing Bodies!

I Was Missed!

Sometimes, when we are going about our “normal” everyday lives, do you ever start to wonder if you didn’t do what you do, would anyone notice? For example: I am lucky enough to have figured out what my life calling is at a young age. I am a caregiver. I have always been a caregiver of some sort all my life and I believe I will always be a caregiver until I can no longer provide care to anyone including myself.  I am also lucky enough to love being a caregiver. Nothing makes me happier, or brings me more pleasure than the feeling of satisfaction I get knowing I gave something of myself to help another who couldn’t help themselves. That is why I always loved working with children and wanted to have a house full of kids when I was younger. But, since that didn’t happen, I have been blessed with others in my life who seem to need the loving care I provide.

When I love and care for someone, I give that person all I have to give. I will cook for them, clean for then, take them places they want to go. I will protect them, defend them and above all else I will be loyal to them. I want the people in my life, that I love, to know beyond a doubt that they can trust me and that I will always be there for them no matter what. There is absolutely nothing I won’t do for someone I love. Nothing.

Now, that all said, I do from time to time begin to wonder if my own little family, here in beautiful Chandler Arizona don’t sometimes take all the loving care I provide for granted? One would hope not, but one doesn’t really know now does one? I mean after all, I may not work outside our home, but believe me…I WORK! I do al the cooking, cleaning (including the pool now), grocery shopping, laundry, provide taxi service to our daughter Shantel…etc. You know the drill. All mother’s do that right? And, we do it with a loving heart and willing spirit right? Well, at least I can say I do. But still, I do wonder sometimes what would happen if I weren’t here to make sure everything gets done in a timely manner? Would things just pile up until they ran out of clothes, food, and the house looked like hoarders lived here? I certainly hope not…but still, I wonder…

Well, I am proud and happy to say while I was away for a whole week visiting my frissy in her city, New York, my family went on just fine without me. Yep, they kept the house I cleaned for them before I left clean, the laundry was done, the groceries were bought and even the pool was sparkling clean even after they had a big dust storm while I was away. But, I am also happy and PROUD to say they missed me. I mean they let me know they really, really missed me, which of course made me cry tears of joy. I mean, I want my family to be able to function without me, but just like with any job one might have, it is really, really nice to know your missed when you are gone. My family let me know right up front, they were glad I had my trip and had fun with my frissy, but they are really, really glad I am back and can take over my “normal” everyday duties again. Both my husband, Bill, and my daughter, Shantel came to get me at the airport even when my flight was really late getting in and they just hugged and kissed me and couldn’t talk fast enough to me to tell me all about how much I was missed and how boring the house is without me there. They both said they couldn’t believe what all it takes to keep this little house running as effectively as I run it and they for sure didn’t want me to come home and find out they couldn’t keep up with what all I do especially, my most important job of all…letting everyone in the house, and most of Chandler Arizona, know when there is a scorpion in the house!!! I don’t know how they ever got through that without me, but God bless their little hearts for trying!! They said they didn’t see any more scorpions..but I don’t believe I “trust” that yet…

So to sumerize…I guess absence really does make the heart(s) grow fonder:)

Next: Talk To Her!

New York City!

Ephodorians (remember this word & I will tell you where it came from at the end of this post)…that sums up my week with my frissy (sissy by choice, friend for life) in “her city”, New York City!

I know I can never capture all the fun we had, but I will at least give you the highlights of our week.

When I walked in the door of her beautiful apartment in upper west side Manhattan, I was greeted with the biggest bear hug and what I now know as ephodorians, began to flow freely. I sat my suitcase down, used the restroom, and off we went for a picnic in the park alongside the Hudson River. We ate, shared a bottle of wine, watched the people and the beautiful New Jersey skyline, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

The next morning we went to a section of the city called “Hell’s Kitchen” and attended a flea market and met some of the most interesting and amazing people. After wandering around there for a few hours, we finally decided to have lunch in a nice little Italian Restaurant, and then off we went to walk through Central Park. Amazing day, simply Amazing.

One day it rained and we decided to just stay in our PJ’s all day, something I have never, ever, done unless I was sick. What a perfect change of pace from my constant, on the go life at home. As we were sitting around sipping coffee, reading, and chatting the morning away. I mentioned that it would be the perfect day for me to make us a big pot of jambalaya! Frissy LOVES my jambalaya!!! So, we throw our cloths on in a hurry; grab our umbrellas and walk a few blocks to the grocery store to buy all the ingredients except the shrimp and scallops which she already had in her freezer. Back home, back into our PJ’s, I gave frissy a cooking lesson on how to make jambalaya while she photographed the entire step by step process. We had jambalaya for dinner for the next three days and it just kept getting better and better…

One day we went to Harlem where we met more amazing people. One man, Harley The Buckleman, stood out in the crowd. He designs and makes the most beautiful belt buckles. He has pictures in his shop of buckles he has made for everyone from our president to Hip Hop and Rap music stars. He is also a photographer, and has competed in several marathons. We must have spent at least an hour chatting it up with Harley and when we left, he told us to pick out any cap or visor from his collection and gave it to us for free! Just a lovely, lovely man.

We also went to visit the 9/11 Memorial at ground zero. OMG! What a sobering, emotional experience. Of course you see it on TV, read about it in papers, hear about it on the news…but to actually be there and touch the names carved into the memorial and see the footprint of where the towers stood, watch the water cascade down the sides of the walls and fall into the dark hole in the middle of the memorial floor is beyond what I can put into words. You really have to be there to experience it for yourself.

We also walked to the lower East Side of the city called the East Village. What an experience we had there. Less well manicured than the upper west side, but the spirit of the people cannot be matched. As we walked along the little family owned shops, we would come across small plots of land where buildings once stood but the city had not built anything on the lot so the neighborhood people started planting gardens on the lot. Beautiful community gardens. Some vegetables, some flowers, but everything grown was worked and shared together. I just couldn’t believe how beautiful these little treasures were. Each little garden plot was different and stunningly beautiful. There were also some larger plots of land that housed even more elaborate community gardens. Volunteers came during the hours the gardens were open and made sure visitors knew how the gardens started and how they are maintained. All the gardens had fences across them that were locked at the end of visiting hours. We met some of the volunteers some who referred to themselves as the garden ambassadors and they just couldn’t have been any more proud of their self-given title or their beautiful, precious gardens. I will never forget my garden visits and will revisit them when I return to my frissy’s city.

We also made a return visit to a restaurant I had been to when our family went to New York for our daughter, Shantel’s graduation from High School. It is one of my favorites. It is called Cafe Mogador and it has the most amazing Moroccan Food. Frissy and I had a Greek Salad and their wonderful humus with warm pita bread. Too die for!

Just across the street, we found the cutest little tea shop. We wondered in and began to chat with the woman who owned and operated the tiny shop and what a surprise she had for us. We learned all about her teas, over 100 organic teas of premium quality. She also carries a large variety of organic medicinal herbs. We settled on a delicious green tea powder called Matcha. It is a premium green Japanese tea with eight times the amount of anti-oxidants of regular green tea. The owner of the shop actually showed us how to mix and brew the matcha, adding soy milk and agave nectar for sweetening. Since the matcha is a powder, it needs to be whisked as you add small amounts of water to create a paste. You just keep adding water and whisking until the tea becomes the consistency you like. Then you add warm soy milk, and the sweetening. Of course the shop sells special little bamboo whisks just perfect for making this wonderful matcha tea and of course we just had to purchase the whisks as well. This tea takes a little more work to make, but oh my, my, it is so worth it.

Of course no trip to New York would be complete without a visit to Brooklyn. So off we went. What a lovely day wandering in and out of little shops, having a picnic lunch under the Brooklyn Bridge sitting at the edge of the water, and yet another surprise. We happened into a small soap and candle shop, Aromas Elements, owned and operated by a lovely woman whose name just happened to be Virginia. She chatted with us for over an hour and gave us free samples of her soaps when we were leaving.

Now, back to Ephodorians…Frissy and I were discussing our day and laughing about all the fun we had, the people we met, how so many shop owners wanted to give us free stuff etc. and we laughed so hard we were crying…when I said to frissy…this is so much fun and what a great way to release ephodorians!!! Frissy then started to laugh so hard she could hardly speak but when she caught her breath, she said “don’t you mean endorphins”? Well, of course I did, it just didn’t come out right, but we decided we liked ephodorians better, so I claimed the word to mean “whatever makes you feel good and gives you a rush or euphoric feeling…that’s Ephodorians, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Only one last thing to say about my trip to New York City…THANK YOU FRISSY for a FABULOUS, FABULOUS, week in “your city”. I LOVE you and MORE!

Next: I was missed!

Scorpion Control Update

If you read my post on FEAR, you know I recently found out we have scorpions in our beautiful new home, and I am TERRIFIED of them! Now, keep in mind, I have lived in Arizona all my life and never, ever, saw one in our around any of the homes I lived in. So what am I to do? I can’t move, so I had to learn how to deal with this horrific problem. And, thanks to my really smart cousin, Deb, and a few other smart friends, I learned about a whole lot of things we could do to control the scorpions. Also, my cousin, Deb’s, mother, sent me an email reminding me I have lived in Arizona for many, many years and the scorpions have always been here. She increased my confidence even further by telling me I am human and a lot smarter than a scorpion…I wonder if she will still feel that way about me when she reads this post…

So, first, of course, Bill and I had our pest control experts out to heavily spray our house and yard. They also put some kind of crystals out in the yard. Bill also went to Home Depot and bought some white powder that is supposed to create a barrier they won’t cross. Our pest control guy told him that stuff is really good. We bought the black lights, Terro instant scorpion killer spray, and Real Kill glue boards that I have placed in every room. We are also looking into having someone come to seal any cracks in our home, and Bill and I have gone out at night and “hunted” for scorpions with our black lights but we haven’t found any. So far, as this writing, we have still only seen the one scorpion outside and the one in our bedroom on April 28th. But, I am not convinced that is the end of them by any means. No, I asked my neighbor lady next door to my house if she has scorpions, thinking and praying she was going to say she had one or two here and there…but, NO, she told me she’s had so many she quit counting how many she has killed after the number reached 100!!! Are you kidding me? Not the answer I wanted to hear at all people, not at all!

So, what more can we do to try to keep the scorpions that I know are out there from getting in our beautiful new home? Well, I called my girlfriend, Holly, and told her about my problem and my fear… she told me she and her husband have some scorpions in the garage of one of their houses up in New River. She said her husband laid down some two-sided sticky tape across the garage doorway…she said that way if anything was going to come in the garage, they would get stuck on the tape and die.. Perfect! That sounded like the PERFECT plan for us. So, I tell Bill we need to go get some of this two-sided sticky tape and do our doorway(s)…, keep in mind my friend didn’t tell me to do the doorways, she said the garage…I came up with the doorway plan all on my own. And so off we go back to Home Depot…

We looked at many, many kinds of two-sided sticky tape and we came across a box that said “Heavy Duty Rhino Grip, double-sided Acrylic Adhesive Strip. I never heard of it before and neither had Bill. But, hay, it says this stuff will hold down anything even carpet! So we bought the widest roll they had, which is about 2 or 3 inches wide.

We get home and are now sure we have what we need to seal up our house good and tight…We have three doors we decided needed to have this tape under them. The front door, back patio door and the door leading into the garage..we clean the thresholds of each door and begin laying the Rhino Grip tape down. Man, this stuff is really sticky… as we finished laying the last strip under the last door, I was thinking this is going to be just perfect, and it was… until, yep, you guessed it…we couldn’t open any of the doors! I mean I had my foot on the wall and was pulling with all my might and that door wouldn’t budge. I quick called Bill, and he couldn’t believe it either, we had sealed ourselves into our own home and if Bill wasn’t as strong as he is in his upper body…we may have had to call 911 and had the fire department come with the jaws of life to break us out of our home! Bill braced himself and pulled with all his might. The door was coming away from the frame at the top, but the bottom, where we put the Rhino Grip tape all across the door threshold was not giving one inch! I mean that stuff really, really sticks…

Finally, after several attempts, and me thinking Bill was going to pull the door knobs right off the doors, the door did come open. One open, two to go. When Bill finally got all the doors open, we had to go back to Home Depot to buy something called “Goof Off”. We had never heard of that stuff before either, but we decided they had to make something for when people like us goof up and seal their doors shut with Rhino Grip!

Well, I am happy to say we got all the Rhino Grip tape off after many hours of work, and if nothing else, I bet we could be the spokes people for marketing Rhino Grip! What do you think?

Next: I’m leaving Saturday for New York City to visit my frissy for a week because I love her and I really need a break… Stay tuned. When I return after next week, I will post about the fabulous time I know we will have together!

Customer Service

I was at the grocery store the other day and I stopped by the deli counter to get some lunch meat. I noticed a bell on the counter with a sign saying ring if you think you received good customer service. I had never seen that before. Then, when I went to the checkout counter at the front of the store, there was another bell  and sign asking customers to ring the bell if they received good customer service. Later in the week, I went to a department store and when I paid for my merchandise, I was  told if I go on-line and complete a survey letting the store know I received great customer service, I would receive a $10.00 coupon towards my next purchase in their store. I find it really odd that stores who are there to provide service to their customers have to ask customers to ring bells, or bribe customers with coupons to say they are providing good service. It makes me think they shouldn’t be in the customer service business if they have to be informed when they are providing good customer service.

When I receive bad customer service, I let the manager of the establishment know first, then I tell everyone I know. I do the same thing when I receive good customer service. For example:

I went to the grocery store between seven and eight in the morning after I dropped Shantel off at school. I had been shopping at that same store for over twenty years. When I was ready to check out  I was told I would need to go through self check-out, because the cashiers don’t start until eight thirty in the morning. I went to the manager and said I’ve been a long time customer of your store and I don’t like self check-outs, I want a cashier to check-out my order. The manager went over to two cashiers who were standing near the “customer service” desk talking and laughing…the manager asked one of the cashier’s if they would come check-out my order. The cashier told the manager, right in front of me, that she was not on duty yet, and told the manager to check-out my order if I couldn’t do it myself. The manager proceeds to argue with the cashier who argued back with him. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I told them both that I was there to give them my money but since they are apparently not in the business of servicing customers, I would take my business elsewhere. I have never gone back to that store again. That was very poor customer service.

Another time Shantel made a ceramic money bank for my frissy who lives in New York City. The bank was for her birthday which is in early November. Shantel asked me to mail the bank to our friend so she would receive it in time for her birthday. I took the bank to Mail and More and mailed it in mid October. I didn’t ask for FedEx, but the clerk made the assumption that was how it needed to ship. Problem being my frissy would have to be home to receive it from FedEx and she isn’t just sitting around waiting for someone to send her a package. So when FedEx couldn’t deliver the package to her they left her a notice that she would have to call to find out how to get her package. When she called they told her they sent it on to Brooklyn! Frissy lives in Upper West Side Manhattan!!! LONG, LONG way from Brooklyn. When I found out what happened to the package, I called my Mail and More guy who said he would have the package sent back to Ahwatukee if I wanted. Since my frissy was coming back to her home in Scottsdale for the month of December, I agreed and we gave the bank to her when she came. Then, she had to pack it back to New York with her in her suit case…Very poor customer service, and I will never use FedEx because of that experience.

When I worked in Corporate America, I was the manager of three large departments that provided various services to our clients. I reported into my frissy, who wasn’t my frissy at the time (that came later when we both left Corporate), but she was the AVP of Internal Operations for our company. Let me tell you, when one of our clients, or internal partners, called me with a problem, it became my immediate priority to find a solution. Even if I didn’t know the answer, you better believe I would find someone who did know and get back to the client or internal partner within the hour to provide them with the resolution or status of how it is being handled. I would never think to argue with one of our clients or internal partners or ever say I wasn’t on duty etc. And I would never, EVER, tell my boss I wasn’t going to do something she asked me to do even if it wasn’t my job. If my boss asked me to do something that really wasn’t my job, I would automatically make whatever it was I was being asked to do part of my job! That in my mind is how you provide great customer service to your boss, internal partners, and ultimately your customer/clients.

I always felt I got satisfaction from a job well done, knowing I went above and beyond to get “the” job done if necessary. I never felt the need to have someone ring bells or complete survey’s to let me know I did a great job. I always felt if you are doing a great job, you won’t have to ask. That’s Great Customer Service, but apparently, in many cases, it’s becoming a thing of the past, which is sad, very sad… What do you think?

Next: Scorpion Control Update!

Grandchildren

We all have choices to make about some of the paths we will take in our lives. Some people choose to live a single life and never marry, some marry and decide not to have children, some have children and never marry, while others can’t wait to get married and have children. Most people realize having children is a huge responsibility. It can sometimes be a thankless job that takes time, money, energy, patience, love and it really helps if you have a good sense of humor.

At some point, as your children grow, you may be blessed with grandchildren. It doesn’t matter how that grandchild gets into your life, all that matters is how that precious grandchild will change your life. Now, you have a precious child you can love and hold, play with and spoil then send them home to their parent(s). If everything goes as planned, you will not be the one with the total responsibility for raising this precious child. No, you just have to be grandma or grandpa. The one your little grandchild comes to when mom and/or dad need a break, a date night, or when they come to visit on vacation. How ever you get to spend time with your precious grandchildren is always special.

You suddenly don’t feel the need to correct these precious little angels like you did your own children. No, grandchildren are somehow different from your own children. They don’t have to eat their veggies if they don’t want to. They can choose to eat candy and ice cream instead when they are with you. You find yourself more tolerant of these little angels because you just know they can do no wrong. There is no need for time-out at grandma and grandpa’s house. No, they don’t need time out, they just need to be redirected to a new toy, game or taken to the park…There is no need for nap time at grandma and grandpa’s house because these little angles are going home with mom and/or dad and so you don’t worry if they get overly tired, they can just sleep in later tomorrow. You also become more tolerant of noisy toys, games and musical instruments and you will buy them for your precious grandchildren to keep at their house so mom and/or dad can have fun listening to them play with their new noisy things. Why you are even more than happy to let your grandchildren play with finger paints, nail polish, lipstick, and play dough. And, you will buy them all of these messy things to keep in their very own room at home. Your grandchildren are so cute, precious, and funny, they just melt your heart, take over your good common sense, and have you completely wrapped around their sweet little fingers… and, more importantly, they know it.

Bill and I have six grandchildren. All but one live in Colorado now so we don’t get to see them as often as we would like. However, when Bill’s daughter, Katie, lived here in Arizona, and her daughter Alex was little, I took care of her while Katie worked. Alex had a great sense of humor at a very young age. She could melt my heart with some of the things she would say. Here are a couple of examples:

One day while I was taking care of Alex, she and Shantel were playing with a large tub of very small legos in Shantel’s room. I told them both they could play with the legos but they were going to have to pick them all up before lunch. Alex was about seven and Shantel was about ten. They had the legos all over Shantel’s room. I walked in and told them I was going to start fixing lunch for them and they needed to get every one of the legos picked up and put back into the tub before they could come out and eat. I asked Alex to help Shantel pick up her part and when all the legos were picked up and put away I was going to check the room. Alex scanned the room and had a look of shock on her face as she realized what a mess they made and that Shantel was going to need help finding the legos. As I was walking back down the hall, I heard Alex say in a sad little voice “I hope I’m still young when we get these all picked up”. I laughed about that all day.

Another time, when Alex was at our house for Christmas eve, my mother bought both Shantel and Alex a new toy out at the time that was a baby robot. The baby robots were preprogrammed to cry constantly at various time throughout the day and night until their needs were met. The baby robot would start crying and the child was supposed to give it a bottle, change it, rock it etc. until they figured out what would make the baby robot stop crying. I happened to walk by Alex, sitting on the floor with the most serious, concerned look on her face as she was holding her baby robot. She looked like she was absolutely at the end of her rope, and the baby robot was screaming louder and louder. I asked Alex what was wrong? Alex looked up at me and said “grandma, if this kid doesn’t shut up, I’m going to have to hurt her”. Out of the mouths of babies…

Grandchildren…don’t you just love them?

Next: Customer Service!

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