Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: August 2012 (page 1 of 5)

A little advice from the real world

Today could be categorized into what I would call a “learning day.” Full of “lessons.” Life is a “classroom.”

Is anyone else doing the Joey Tribioni “air quotes” on everything today? 
First: Customer Service 101 
There’s nothing I love more than a good customer service rep who knows that her job is to make me happy. If you hate your job, please work in tech support. But customer service belongs to the chatty, the kind, the concerned and the willing to give me a credit for the inconveniences that caused me to be on the phone with you in the first place. 
So after patchy internet connection and a first call, which resulted in a technician appointment, I had to work from Panera today. This is not why I pay $70 for internet and phone. I pay it because my office requires it, because they know how grumpy I get when I have work while watching people stuff their faces with a nine-grain (sliced and toasted) with honey walnut spread – or worse. The Cinnamon Crunch. That “crunch” was the sound of my heart shattering after someone, with their gluten-y filled goodness, took another bite. 
All of this carbohydrate-envy-induced anger incited another call to request a a billing adjustment. It only took me about 3 sentences to convince her and a few moments later I have my $16 credit. Which doesn’t sound like much, but she was only able to cover from when I first called to complain until the date of the tech appointment. 
Lessons to learn: 
  • Customer service is for the nice people. 
  • Don’t wait to call and complain. 
Next: Basic Economics
You make an investment on beautiful – BEAUTIFUL – family pictures, and you call your photographer (because you stalk her like that) to ask if it’s silly to pre-buy the frames because you’re at IKEA and WHAT A STEAL to get these huge frames (because there’s nothing currently hanging on your living room walls, even though you’ve been living there for a year). 
Totally hypothetical situation. 
But as the discussion pursues about the purchase of the frames, the concern shouldn’t arise over either the pre-buy nature of not having actual pictures yet OR the fact that the frames have completely whacky dimensions. No, those things work themselves out with the aforementioned brilliant photographer. 
No, the words that should be spoken – probably from the mother who was accompanying this purchase – is, “doesn’t it seem silly to spend such money on fabulous pictures only to put them in cheapo frames?”
I hear your cheapskate little voices. They’re saying “what’s the difference? A frame’s a frame.”
Let’s put the differences in numerical order (not in sequence because, again, this is a completely imaginative situation). 
1. IKEA frames have those little metal tabs allllll the way around the frame that require something firm to flip them up. 
     1a. No, you cannot just flip up 3 sides of the frame and shimmy the framed work under the forth side. Try as you might, but you’ll end up forgetting the pair of scissors you used as a lever and breaking a nail. 
     1b. I mean, you could. I’m not saying it’s for sure or that it’s ever happened before to anyone you know. 
2. IKEA frames don’t use glass. 
3. Instead, IKEA frames use plexiglass and then put a shield on it that is held in place using nothing short of static electricity. 
4. You’ll be so anxious to get the picture in the frame that you lay it all out in the middle of the living room floor. 
5. You forget that though you just vacuumed yesterday, your dogs shed hair at a rate similar in ratio to which you produce children. 
6. Dog hair + static electricity = never good things. 
7. Though you relocate to the kitchen table, you have your work cut out for you wiping dog hair off the entire frame. 
8. Once you’re 98% free of the dog hair (because, let’s face it, you’ll never get to 100%), you put the frame together only to realize that your fingerprints have covered the edges after trying to get the thing back on the frame. 
9. You finally get the thing put together with a satisfactory rating above 80%, though a small black hair is lodged inbetween your husband’s teeth and your two-year-old comes down and plants her hands on the plastic. Which is fine because plexiglass NEVER shows smudges. 
10. You still haven’t even attached the metal wire which will hang the frame and the mere thought makes you want to weep. By looking at the hardware involved, it’s going to require that you have to re-up those little black tabs AGAIN. 
      10a. Tears. 
I think it’s clear the lessons we can take away from this speculative case study. You can spend $20 more for a nice frame or you can include “wipe dog hair off the ginormous and beautiful family portraits” on your weekly cleaning list. 
Visit me elsewhere:

In Defense of the Supermom

The other day a FB friend posted one of those humorous sarcastic postcards that I’m addicted to, but this one rattled me a bit. 

I kept thinking and thinking about it, and finally I realized it slightly hurt my feelings because, well, I tend to be on the Supermom Spectrum. I’ve had days – typically Mondays, I’m not sure why – that I’ll knock it out of the park in terms of productivity. But instead of celebrating a meal well made or a load of laundry folded, I feel like I’m supposed to hide that under the clothesbasket and lament a loss of motivation. 
The thing is, I don’t do everything well – I just do some things well and I do those things often. I know my strengths (dinner, laundry, naptime) and I play to them. But by no means do I hit levels of perfection. I’m awful at keeping my dog-hair laden carpets clean, but thankfully I married a man that can wield a powerful vacuum. My van is a disaster. DIS. AS. TER. For those of you wondering if granola makes a good snack to go, it does not. But that Master of Dyson who I married likes to clean out the vehicle before leaving town. 
I guess what I’m saying here is that you should marry someone who does well what you hate to do. 
Not really. 
Well, it’s good advice, but it’s not the point. 
My point clarified as FB post came to mind: 
I wonder if we moms could begin to apply it to ourselves… when can we stop being so concerned with being a good mom that we forget we’re already doing it pretty well? Can we please stop naming all of the ways we’ve screwed up our kids and just celebrate the ones we got right? 
Very few awful moms exist in the world; most do at least a few things really, really well. I know moms who know their kids’ individual interests and find ways to encourage them. Some moms have the knack of making even small  things – picnic lunches, a trip to the river to throw rocks, painting toenails – seem like an exciting event and their kids eat it up. And those mamas who patiently rock their babes for as long as needed without resenting them for the work that’s not being done? Someone please saint them. 
Don’t know what your mom superpower is? Think to yourself, “my kids will know that I love them when they remember how I….” and you’ll start to see a glimmer. Maybe it’s the way you put on a suit and fulfill life aspirations. Or the way you squeeze in a run at least 4 times a week. These superpowers teach our kids – especially our little girls – what it means to see yourself with value and worth. Or maybe you opened a store because you believe that even small town folk deserve access to quality products. Perhaps your mom superpower teaches what it means to believe in a dream. That’s just as good as a dinner without MSG. 
I swear, every mama wears a cape. Stop shamefully tucking it in your jammie pants. No one said a Supermom did everything well. She does something well and it changes the world for those she loves. 
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What I remembered by returning to work

In the first day back – within the first 5 hours – I encountered more reminders than true epiphanies. 

1. 8 hours is a long time to have to work in a given day. It’s just too much. I’m thankful the rest of the week is in 4 hour blocks. 
2. Computers are stupid and their users are stupider. 
3. Related: Dan W. still knows everything. 
4. This does not fill my life passion or calling. Indeed, I will not do this forever. 
5. Yes, the babysitter does live that far away. 
6. I work for a fantastic company. 
7. Working from home is so incredibly isolating. Poor MG who has unknowingly scheduled a mom date for this evening… all kinds of random thoughts will be shooting out from every direction. She’d be wise to use the wine bottle as a shield. 
8. I still hate making recruiting calls. 
9. It’s exhausting to be perky and nice and all customer-servicey call after call after call.

10. My family still wants dinner. 

Visit me elsewhere:
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