One day at a time, 365 days a year

Just us … and all that entails :)

May I Help You (While I Get Nosy)?

I am generally pretty friendly with clients in email, but I don’t ask personal questions or engage clients in personal discussions unless they initiate it first. Even then, that usually only happens after I’ve worked with a client for some time.

I think that most of engage in our workspaces in similar fashion. You might become best friends with someone in the office, but it’s likely you don’t get in their business from the first day they show up at work. It’s also unlikely that you talk with customers or vendors on the phone and immediately launch into a personal discussion with them.

Why, then, do store clerks believe this is OK? It seems that this is something that’s becoming more common and I, for one, am completely annoyed.

The most recent and flagrant example was at the grocery store. The clerk not only asked me if I found what I was looking for (a completely acceptable question) but also asked me what I was doing that day. When I answered somewhat vaguely (in the hopes she would get a clue that it’s really none of her business if I’m cleaning the garage or heading to a concert), she poked more. Here’s about how it went:

She: So, what’s going on today?
Me: Oh, you know, the usual.
She: And what’s that?
Me: I’m working, running errands.
She: What else are you doing?
Me: That’s about it.
She: Really? Wow.
Me: What do you mean by wow?
She: Just seems like a dead day, working and running errands. What kind of work do you do? Do you work an odd shift since you’re out running errands in the middle of the day?

At that moment, I shut down. Why the hell is this any of her business? I should add that this is not a small neighborhood grocery store where clerks might be accustomed to having personal discussions with their regular customers. This is a large grocery store in a relatively metro area. I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me and that’s that.

I find that grocery store clerks are the worst, but I’ve had clerks at CVS also get into my business and sometimes, that’s just not comfortable. When you think about the various things you might need to pick up at the drug store, you can see how someone asking you why you need this or that might not be a welcome question.

There’s one particularly nosy clerk at my neighborhood CVS. When I had to get my son some Ben-Gay for an injury he suffered in a basketball game, the clerk asked who needed the Ben Gay, then launched into a long and drawn-out discussion about how my son was too young to need it, he was going to smell like an old man (likely insulting the old man behind us in line) and then asking for specific details about what happened.

Call me anti-social, but I don’t see how these discussions are appropriate. I am thinking of coming up with rude or inappropriate responses (“No, I didn’t find everything I need to make my crack” or “I need the ibuprofen and chocolate because I’m PMSing”) but I know I won’t follow through. Unless I get REALLY annoyed 

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Candy.. really?

Our local aquatics center (just a couple of fun pools attached to the high school, really) is in its third year. In past years, I have thought it would be nice if they had a vending machine there, so I could get water or the kids could get a Gatorade.

This year it seems they went one further. They have added a little snack bar at which kids can get candy and sodas. I know it’s summer and kids love candy and soda, but it’s such a mixed message. We talk often about how our children these days are malnourished as so many of them shun fruits and vegetables, yet we willingly open little snack bars that feed them exactly what we say they don’t need.


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Girl Scouts 100th

In case you haven’t heard Girl Scouts turned 100 years old this year. There have been many celebrations and I suspect there are many more to come.

As a Girl Scout leader, I have attended a few events and even helped plan some (as a member of my service team’s 100th anniversary committee). But my co-leader surprised me this week with something celebrating the 100th that I didn’t even know existed. She brought me this bear that she and her daughter named “Scouty”.

When my girls were in the 1st grade, we had a darling Webkinz pug puppy named “Daisy” (since the girls started out as Daisy Girl Scouts). Daisy now sits on the futon in my office and Scouty has joined her. They add fun to my garage space!

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Things don’t always go as planned

The son had high hopes for this summer season of basketball. He has high regard for the coach and believed that all the ills that befell his freshman team would disappear in light of moving on to the JV coach.

Unfortunately, this coach — though well regarded and known for bringing a winning season every year to the JV team, getting them ready for our school’s championship varsity team — seems to play the same favorites that the freshman coach played.

We had hopes that he would “figure it out” and there is still hope, but it’s hard to watch the weakest players on the team (who routinely dribble when they should pass, turn over the ball and shoot when they should .. well.. pass) start the game and make the same mistakes over and over again.

There is still plenty of time and while my son blew through every expletive in the book today after yet another game where he mostly warmed the bench, his tears meant something important — even coaches who don’t always “get it” should notice where the passion and conviction is. Often it’s at the end of the bench. And talent? Yep, it’s there, too.

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Took the daughter to see Wicked today. It was feast for the eyes and ears. I realized that she had never been to a big theatre production before. She’s a busy girl, so we tend not to do things that require her to sit for any period of time, and she has had limited exposure to theatre.

But she’s very interested in theatre right now, so it seemed the right time. She has see “The Nutcracker”, of course, and several high school productions, but this was her first foray into a true, major production.

She was enthralled. Amazed. Completely glued to her chair (thank goodness). I’m not a huge theatre person (has always seemed a bit out of my price range as well) but I am always so thrilled when I see a live performance of anything. And this one is worth any amount of effort it takes to see it. The message is nice as well for my girl, a 10-year-old heading to 6th grade (middle school here). The message about popularity and cliques and the effect those things can have on people is extremely timely.

A good time was had by all!

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Paperwork! Oy vay.

There is a second file box below this one, and just as organized 🙂

I have spent half the morning working through paper and filing things. Just things? You know, the usual. Old bills, health care receipts, things from the kids’ schools, IRA and 401K statements.

Why has this taken me so long? Because I hadn’t done it for months. I would simply pile the papers on top of the file box. When I needed something that was actually filed, I’d move everything and get what I needed, then place the pile of paperwork back on top. Lazy!

I kind of wonder why we still have so much paper in this digital age. I suppose I have quite a bit less than I previously had. For example, I no longer get banks statements in the mail (and thank goodness because those are pages and pages long) and I no longer get most bills. I do still get the utility bill from my county and a few miscellaneous bills in paper form (like those dang medical bills) but most bills are delivered electronically or I go to the website to look at the bill and pay (such as my gas and electric bills).

So why so much paper?! Now that I think about it, it’s kind of driving me crazy. I am so happy I spent all this time today organizing, but I recognize that it’s not going to last long. Let’s be real. More paper will arrive, I’ll start piling it up again and in a few weeks, I’ll have to do this all over again.

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Gotta Get the Pedicure!

First day of summer means breakfast at Ihop and a pedicure so the toes are fresh for flip flops. Just the daughter of course; the son passed on the pedicure, said his toes were just fine, thanks 🙂

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…And it’s over

I have had a child at our elementary school for 10 years. I realized as I dropped off my daughter today that not only was she done with elementary school and moving to middle (my god, she was just promoting from kindergarten YESTERDAY!) but we were done with that elementary school. 10 years. My kids really are big kids 🙂 It’s hard, because I always look forward to what’s ahead but miss what’s left behind …

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Awards season

I am not a braggy parent. I am, of course, extremely proud of my kids’ accomplishments, but have little need to brag to other parents. I do share with grandparents their various accomplishments, but have little need to tell everyone.

It’s awards season, which means Facebook post after Facebook post where parents brag about the things their kids have done. Frankly, I think it’s great that your kid got a 4.0 in 4th grade, but it doesn’t tell me that your child is brilliant or on his or her way to MIT. It tells me that 4th grade (and c’mon, it’s 4TH grade!) wasn’t a huge challenge, or that the teacher was an easy grader (yes, those exist) or something else.

I’m much more interested in hearing about the things kids DO, and not what they do better than everyone else. I think that my generation in particular is extremely bragadocious. Why is that? I haven’t a clue, but I imagine it has something to do with some insecurities that must have manifested themselves as we grew up in the 1980s.

Sometimes I worry that by not standing around bragging about my kids (both of whom are always honor roll and who test off the chart) they get overlooked. But then I realize and understand that the way I work is I’d rather my kids get credit where credit is due, from their own efforts and in all due time. They are quiet, hard workers who always land at the top of the heap, sometimes to the astonishment of their teachers, who didn’t see them coming.

So to the parent who told me today (without any prompting on my part and with whom I wasn’t even having a conversation) that her daughter nearly got 4.0 all through 4th and 5th grade except for one B, I say I’d rather you brag about her generous nature or her loving spirit. A brain without a heart is irrelevant and if she’s that brilliant (aren’t they all) then it will show itself in due time. You don’t have to tell me about it.


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Is it August yet?

The kids are barely out of school and are already driving each other crazy. Only one is really out of school and I think he’s already a bit bored and the other doesn’t get out until Wednesday. But she has no homework and no after-school commitments these days, so she’s kind of bored, too … and they are bugging each other .. and bugging me .. and bugging the dog .. and as much as I was looking forward to summer, I am now wondering … is summer break a mistake? 🙂

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