Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I gotta fever...

I have taken my temperature no fewer than half a dozen times in the last 35 minutes. Because I need to know if I have a fever. Because having a temperature or bleeding from the head are the only legitimate indicators of illness.

I learned this quick and easy set of diagnostics as a latchkey kid growing up in Central NY. My single mother's work schedule as an underwriter for a regional insurance agency meant that my four siblings and I got ourselves off to school AND handled the after school routine sans adult supervision.

And if we didn't want to go to school? Or we wanted to get out of some afternoon obligation? Or wanted a little adult attention? Or maybe one of us genuinely felt sick? Well we'd start calling mom at work. Incessantly. And she'd start to get in trouble with her supervisor for the constant interruption. So, on the 5th or 10th call to mom at work she'd hiss into the phone, through clenched teeth, "Unless you have a fever or are bleeding from your head, you are not sick. Now STOP CALLING."

Therein lies the extent of my medical training.

And now, nearly 35 years later, I'm almost nearly obsessed with taking my temperature.

Today I feel sick. Laryngitis, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, ear ache - a generic upper respiratory infection manifesting itself in multiple ways. But I haven't yet registered a fever. So I can't stay home from work. But I'll keep taking my temperature. A girl can dream, right? Crazy, fever-induced dreams.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tweetise on Customer Service

A treatise, I learned today, is a long exposition on the principles or philosophy of a topic. A treatise is generally longer than an essay.

I would like to rant about customer service, but don't want to write a treatise. (Bet you don't want to read one either.) So I'll keep it short, a tweetise, if you will.

Through both the wedding planning process and the home renovation process, I have been continually astonished at the poor response times of sales people. As a result, I have the following advice to anyone who is in the position of selling anything - from widgets to ideas - please consider the following:
  1. If reaches out by phone or email to inquire about spending money at your business, respond using the same method they used within two business days.
  2. If someone says they are very interested in spending money at your business, respond even faster than you did the first time.
  3. If you tell a client you will be in touch with pricing in 24 hours, be sure to get that pricing ready in 24 hours - or be prepared to reach out and say you need more time.
  4. If you are not interested in responding within these time frames, consider shutting down your business, or at least shutting down your business development systems. Because you clearly don't need new business.
Some businesses, like the bank giving you the construction loan to finance your home renovation, have you over a barrel and can take as long as they damn well please to return a call. Other businesses, like a caterer or kitchen designer, are presumably in the process of continuously nurturing new clients.If I've taken the time to call you, I'm potentially ready to make a buy. So call me back. Please. Call me back.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I dream of a good night's sleep

I'm not a great sleeper. Anxiety keeps me up at night. And when I'm not feeling anxious, what Buddha called the "monkey mind" keeps me awake. You know the feeling - when you lie down and all of a sudden you are writing a grocery list in bed, or replaying a conversation you had earlier in the day. And when the monkey mind isn't thwarting my dreams, BMG's snoring is.

BMG is a GREAT sleeper. I think a lifetime of being in the hospital helped him learn to sleep wherever and whenever he can. He falls asleep within seconds of slipping beneath the covers. Seconds after that, the noise he refers to as "purring" (and I refer to as "sawing logs") begins.

I try to go to bed before BMG does, so I can at least eliminate the snoring distraction in my effort to get at least six hours of rest before starting the next day. And it isn't unusual for me to take two Tylenol PM (something has to hurt somewhere), ideally with a glass of wine, to speed the process along. What's even better is taking two Tylenol PM with a glass of wine and falling asleep in front of the television, whose inane dialogue makes it impossible for me to hear the thoughts in my brain.

Last night I did the drugs and booze thing, and was pleasantly ready for sleep by 10:00 PM. I kissed BMG twice, and tucked myself into the big bed.

At some point in my dream cycle I woke up because I remember someone telling me the best way to get a good night's sleep was to sleep in the bedroom to the RIGHT of the room I was in. I'm not sure why - something about the pillows being better. I pulled myself out of bed and started to walk to the right. And then I remembered, "There is no bedroom to my right." Confused I determine that my dream was directing me to the second bedroom on the LEFT. So I wander into this room, and start to manipulate the pillows so I can climb in.

And that's when I woke up. And that's when I realized I was having a dream about getting better sleep. And that's when I said, "What the heck, maybe THIS will work." I nestled beneath the covers, fell asleep, and didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 4:51 PM.

I dreamt of getting a good night's sleep, and it worked.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Beets and Asparagus

Photo courtesy of the 
William & Sonoma website.
I've finally arrived at a point where I can remember I've recently eaten asparagus, and not be surprised when I'm assaulted by that weird asparagus smell the next three times I pee.

Beets, however, are another issue. I still have a mini cancer panic every time I use the toilet in the 18 hour window after I've consumed the delicious, sweet, red tubers.

That is all.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Worst Way to Die

Transfixed and horrified by the news of the death of 37 year-old Jeff Bush of Seffner, Florida this weekend, I have decided that death by sinkhole may, in fact, be the worst way to die.

Photo by ABC Action News-WFTS TV.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Work/Life Balance or Work/Life Integration?

My boss and I have been a little at odds lately. This is predicated, in part, on the zaniness in my life - planning a wedding, renovating a house, living temporarily in someone else's house, and managing some family concerns both here and 325 miles away. I am not operating at my best as an employee at this moment.

The overwhelming nature of my life does not, however, impact my position on the conflict with my boss. In a recent discussion, long before the kerfuffle created by the "no work from home" edicts at Yahoo, she posited that the oft cited desire for "work/life balance" was ridiculous. Her philosophy is that work and life should be integrated. Her point being that working should not be thought of as separate from living - that work IS living.

In an ideal world, yes. If I were an actor or a painter or an author - maybe even an architect, politician, professional athlete or a spiritual leader I could imagine my work being integrated with my life. Because living is the source of inspiration is drawn for creative, spiritual and political pursuits. Conversely, in these and similar professions, working inspires life choices. Salvador Dali's home was an extension of his art, and American politicians' life choices intensely impact their legitimacy as leaders.

Certainly my core values influence my life and my work choices. And obviously the first world chaos in my personal life is impacting my success at work. I generally feel proud of my work accomplishments, and am invested in having meaningful work.

But increasingly I find myself believing that I work to live, rather than living to work. Work/life balance is the name of the game, and it means my work has to pay enough AND not tax me so much so that I have money and time to pursue the other activities that make my heart go pitter pat.

This means work, for me, at this moment in time, is a means to an end. It offers me a paycheck that I then use to pursue my goals and dreams - whether that is getting married, building a house, spending time with family, enjoying beautiful food, traveling.

If I were to pursue "work/life integration," I would be working in a job that affords me opportunities to pursue the activities that make my heart go pitter pat - while both energizing my soul and paying me enough. My work with the 5 book is, I hope, taking me in this direction. Until them, I'm firmly in the "work/life balance" camp.

Where are you? Do you adhere to the work/life balance OR the work/life integration camp? Or something else? If you were to have work/life integration, what would it look life to you?