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All posts for the month December, 2013

Making The Holidays a Wee Bit Happier

Published December 16, 2013 by mindfulofchatter

holiday-stress

 

It’s the much-anticipated, and dreaded, holiday season. There are cards to send, decorations to be put up, relatives to put up with and gifts to be bought. The stores are crowded. The roads are crowded. We are all a bit stressed and in a hurry. But we still want good customer service. So?

Okay.

Step one:

BE A GOOD CUSTOMER. You heard me. Stop being such a jerk. Don’t yell at the poor clerk trying to help you. That clerk may not have the authority to do what you may be asking her/him to do. Ask for a supervisor or manager if you are asking for something beyond store policy. And ask politely. This works on the telephone a well. Yelling at the overworked, underpaid rep will only get you ‘disconnected’ and no one will be happy. Really. Your yelling and making a scene is completely uncalled for. And you look like and ass. Not pretty.

Step two:

BE A POLITE CUSTOMER. Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone is in your shoes. Everyone forgot to get a gift for Great Aunt Milly and is rushing about trying to find something for her. Everyone has rellies coming. It isn’t just YOU. Take a breath. Count to 10 (or 20 or 100) and calm the heck down. Say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’. Help someone with too many packages to their car. Hold doors open. Smile. Above all – be patient. Do you know what happens when you do that? Others ‘pay it forward’. They smile. They hold doors. They let the lady with one item go ahead of them in line. They say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’. It is contagious. The world becomes a little happier as a result.

Step three:

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE FOR CUSTOM ITEMS. I work in business that makes custom items. We have a stream of customers who NOW want 20 to 100 custom items made before Christmas. A lot of them ‘have been thinking about doing this for a while now’. So we now have to work harder, and longer hours to get them finished on time. While I am not complaining about the extra hours (meaning extra pay), I still find frustrating to deal with someone who waited until a week before Christmas to follow through on a thought they had in November.

Step three:

DON’T BE A WANKER ABOUT THAT CUSTOM ORDER. Oh don’t give me that look. You know who you are and what I mean. You’ve waited until the last-minute. Now you want to be über picky about colors, style and the like. That’s fine. But listen to the people who making the items for you. YOU have no clue how to do this. This is why you came to us. WE know how to do this. What works, what doesn’t work. Be open-minded about suggestions so we can get your items made. The more you change your mind, the less chance we have of getting your things made on time. When we tell you white on white isn’t going to show up, please believe us. Oh, and along that line? White is white. There is no ‘dark white’ or ‘light white’. After white, there is off white, ivory, beige, tan etc., or silvers and grays. 

Step four:

DON’T BE ANNOYED AT HOW SOMEONE WISHES YOU A HAPPY HOLIDAY. I don’t give a whit about how someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. It not how they say it, it’s the thought behind it. They are wishing me joy and happiness. They are being warm and caring. So be it ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Holidays’, Happy New Year’, or whatever, I am pleased they are thinking of me. I say ‘ Thank you, Merry Christmas (or whatever) to you also.’ I smile. I am happy someone wishes me well. 

Merry Christmas to you all. Enjoy your holiday season. Spend time with the people you love. Call, text, or write. Do whatever you need to do to reach out to those who live far and away. Smile. Laugh. 

And make the holidays a little happier for all of those around you.

 

 

 

Meshing Lives

Published December 5, 2013 by mindfulofchatter

I have a female friend who dates, but doesn’t date. She is happy being alone, yet she goes out on dates from time to time. Some of the results are hilarious, as they tend to be in the world of dating in your 50’s.

Her biggest ‘bug’ is the insistence, on the part of the men, that she change HER schedule to fit theirs. She had been (I say ‘had’ because I am not sure of the current status here) seeing a man she liked very much. He had the some of the same interests she has. He was helpful, kind, he liked her the way she is now (not the way she might look with a few pounds gone), he mentored her, had intellect to match hers, he wined and dined her. She was happy seeing him. All was wonderful.

Until her schedule changed.

Her job became more demanding. She became involved in her community and politics. HE became a bit grumpy and whined that she was too busy. He almost demanded she change her schedule to suit him.

Wait. What?

As she told me this, she also asked why did it have to be so hard. Why did it seem the woman was the one who had give up things to make time for the man? Why didn’t the man have give up any his activities? She was tired of it. Tired of demands being made on her to bend, scrunch and fold into a mold she did not wish to fit into. Tired of being told how to arrange her life to suit someone who doesn’t even share her household. She sat a minute and sighed. It was seemed so perfect, she said. Right up until she did the things she wanted to do. Why? Why are relationships so freaking hard?

I told her if things were this tough, then this not the man for you. When you find the right man for you, your lives will mesh together.  His life and yours will come together because you both want the same thing. Adjustments will be made on both sides. Some activities will cease, others will be cut back and new ones will blossom. You will work it all out. It will not seem so difficult.

I got to thinking about this because of my own new relationship. I thought about how in the past, I tried my darndest to be what ‘he’ wanted me to be. Or to be what I saw my mother being. I can’t do that. I can’t twist, turn, scrunch and shimmy into something I am not. I lose. My kids lose. My S.O. loses. It is not a good situation. In fact, it sucks. Everyone ends up miserable.

My new S.O. ‘Luke’ (yes, Luke of ‘Best First Date Ever’) likes me the way I am. I am skinny enough, pretty enough and smart (arse) enough. He treats as if I am a queen. He makes me laugh. He holds my hand when we are out. He is happy to be seen with me. He cuddles up close when we are home just watching a movie. And he remembers my likes and dislikes (I know! I know!).

Because he lives in the next town over, we don’t see each other much during the work week. But we talk all the time via texts, chats and the like. We share our day. How things are going, or maybe not going. Funny things we saw or heard. All the little things that make up a work day.

It should be work, all this apart time, but it doesn’t feel like work.

With the up coming holidays, both of our jobs are becoming more demanding. We will both be busier and more tired. We have already wondered how we will handle it all. Weekends may become work days. Our down time together will be cut in to smaller bits. We have to make changes to accommodate the busier schedules. We both have wondered how we will do this.

Me? I’m not worried. Luke and I will work through it. We may hit a bump or two, but we’ll manage. Why?

Because we mesh.