Friday, November 15, 2013

Jeff's Kind of Anniversary

If we did the gift thing this year would be the easiest to buy for my husband.
His love of wood and burning said wood is undying.
However, our gift to each other, as usual, is to not have to buy a gift.

I say it every year and I'll say it again.
The time is flying by and yet it's hard to believe we've only been married for 5 years.
Our wedding feels like yesterday and at the same time I barely recognize the people in our photos.

Their whole lives ahead of them.
Ready to take whatever comes their way.
We chose our wedding song {and now one of our kids' lullabies} knowing that we had a crazy ride ahead.

Troubles they may come and go but good times never grow old.
So if the road gets rocky babe just steady as we go.

We really have lived by these words.
We've had our troubles {don't we all} but they are much outweighed by the good times.
Can't wait for the road ahead.
Happy 5th Jeff.
Love you always.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas: Step One

It's time to fill those shoeboxes again.
The Samaritan's Purse is collecting for Operation Christmas Child next week from November 18-24 so there's still time to participate.
You may remember from last year that we really enjoy this campaign.
I  struggle to find charitable activities for the babes but this one is great.
We again went shopping for our "friends".
The trip was a success in my books since I only once had to talk Fiona away from an item and remind her that we were not looking for ourselves.
Cedric was determined to unpack rather than pack so we'll give him another year to get in on the action.
This year, in the green spirit, we reused some old shoeboxes {including the one from this post} instead of picking up the branded ones.
I was told last year that when the kids receive their boxes they especially take joy in the personal notes.
So we made sure to take extra care to make them really special this year.
And sure enough, creating these cards ended up being our kids' favourite part as well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Long Weekend: How my iPhone Saw It

We don't get to the lake often in the winter.
It's not because we don't want to.
It's just busy from September to Christmas.
Some of you may be thinking that this is for the best.
I mean, you don't even have a furnace or running water out there right?
Guilty, but you know what?
We love it.
Jeff is in his element when it's only his fire between our comfort and hypothermia.
The kids and dogs come alive in the snow.
And is there anything better than coming in to drink hot chocolate and watch Elf after tobogganing?
I think not.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Today I Realized I Can be a Pain in the...

Good customer service is extremely important to us.
I can't count how many times Jeff and Jason have gone way out of their way for a customer.
They'll go in at crazy hours for a drop off.
Drive someone across town.
Spend hours sourcing just the right parts.
Jeff has even been known to respond to texts at dinnertime {shocking, I know}.
If we get a request that seems off the wall we do what we can to make it happen.
And it's not just the owners, we have some amazing employees {and past employees} who work so hard and take as much pride in our work and joy in our successes as we do.

This is not intended to be a big old pat on the back.
I am aware of many other businesses of the same mind.
But lately I'm wondering why this doesn't seem to be the standard anymore.

For years, we've made excuses such as "it's Alberta and good help is hard to find."
I'm not pretending I have the answer, we've had a lot of staff turn over.
Sometimes we know immediately that someone doesn't care about the job.
We just don't accept that attitude. 
But is it now rare that we don't accept this?

The trigger for this post is two fold.
Just last week I was chatting with some friends about how there seems to be a lack of initiative among many workers.
One of them told a story about how her husband was at a coffee shop and asked for a dark roast.
The barista replied that they were out of dark roast.
He then proceeded to turn around and point to the shelf behind him stuffed with, you guessed it, dark roast.
Well today we were doing our weekly grocery shopping.
I've mentioned before that getting a cookie at the end of our shopping trip is a big perk for my kids.
When we went to get said cookie she replied that they didn't have any cookies to give.

Now I would like to say that I know we are in no way entitled to a cookie.
 My kids will be fine without a cookie.
I so appreciate that the store provides the kids with free cookies and it is a great example of good customer service.
I have also mentioned in the past that I want my kids to know that they can trust the information I give them.
It breaks my heart if I set an expectation for them and can't follow through with it.
For all of you out there thinking that they will need to learn that you can't always get what you want, I don't disagree.  
My kids however are toddlers and have plenty of opportunities to learn this and...well...they're toddlers.

Back to our shopping trip.
In the past I may have simply said "ok" and moved along.
But as I get older I find that I care less about the judgement others might have of me and more about accountability and responsibilities.
And I think that if you put out a sign that says you offer a service, you are responsible to provide that service.
So instead I said "Can I ask why?".
She replied that the shipment hadn't arrived when ordered.
They had been out for two days and had been sending kids away empty handed.
I said "In that case you wouldn't just open a different type of cookie?"
The assistant manager overheard and said that they had to follow policies so that wasn't possible.
I said "I don't mean to be a pest and we really appreciate that this isn't something your company needs to do but I have just told my kids they would receive a treat so it's disappointing."
And you know what?  
They agreed.
They opened a box of the chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms on top and the kids were thrilled.
The kids got an extra special treat but I think I was even happier that them.
Those employees may have called me names after I walked away but I felt in a way that I made a very little breakthrough.
I know policies are necessary and do need to be followed.  They're not, however, in place to prevent good customer service.
Don't employers want staff to that take initiative, think outside the box and make their patrons happy?
I know we do.

And really, do they have a detailed cookie policy? 
Seems excessive no?

I also understand that some people don't love the job they're doing and maybe aren't paid fabulously.
But what is the worst thing that could happen from putting in more effort?
In fact, you would most likely get more job satisfaction from your mind-numbing-minimum-wage job.
You're there either way, why not make the best of it?

If nothing else, I guess the next 10 kids will get a cookie instead of being turned away like the past 2 days worth.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Night in Which I Attempted Our First Real Standoff

Once in a while I reach my toy breaking point.
A couple of nights ago that point was way beyond reached.

We have a toy dumping basket.
It's the equivalent of a "junk drawer". 
The toys that go there aren't junk of course, there's some great stuff in there.
If it just doesn't fit elsewhere it gets tucked away in this basket and my sanity stays intact.
Fiona, however, decided to empty this basket {for no particular reason} all over the floor.
Our hidden collection of small misfit toys was spread out on full display.
My sanity wavered.
This is ridiculous of course, I do realize.
I could clean this in 30 seconds but in this particular moment I was done cleaning up after her.
I reminded Fiona that anything she takes out must be put away by bedtime.
We were an hour and a half away.
Lots of time.
She could get it done, no problem.
This was not how she saw it.
The whiny voice immediately came out with "It's too loooong Mommy, can you help meeee?".
I held firm. "No way Fiona, you took them out, you put them away."
Then the real melodramatics. "I can't dooooo iiiiiit" she said, throwing herself down in a heap of sobbing toddler.
I walked away.

An hour later, still no progress and dangerously close to bedtime, I snapped.
"Fiona, I have given you plenty of time to clean, this is your last warning and anything on the floor at bedtime goes in the garbage!"
Then I thought better, "No, not the garbage, we will give the toys to other children who will appreciate them and treat them well.  We are not treating them well at all right now."
"I don't want to give theeeem."
"Then what needs to happen?"
"Clean them."
"Exactly, it's your choice what happens to the toys."
"But I don't waaaant toooo."
And repeat.
I cringe typing that because it's so mean but it felt so necessary at the time.
There was also a little part of me that really did want to give them all away.
With Christmas fast approaching I feel we need to reevaluate our current belongings.
Thankfully I have a pregnant Sister-in-Law who I hope will happily accept some baby items.
This should fulfill my current need to purge.

You will be happy to know that Daddy came home just in time to save the day.
I was able to keep my word and his arrival and guidance gave Fiona just the shift she needed to get it done and keep her toys safe. 

So I ask you, when did you start really enforcing clean up with your kids?
Maybe it's still too early for me?
Any tips you can offer?

Friday, November 1, 2013

And Now a Very Happy MOvember

Shield AuMObody is back.
Track and Shield is taking a break and putting the running shoes and razors away to let the MOs take centre stage.
Prostate cancer research is so important to our families so this month of fundraising is a big one.
We have recently acquired some fresh faces at the shop.
Our mission by the end of the month is to make them just a little more {or less depending on how you look at it} fresh.
I have enclosed a MO guide to inspire you.
The more team members the better so all you MObros and MOsistas head over to and join team Shield AuMObody.
We would also obviously appreciate any donations you wish to make.
Can't wait to see those MOs!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...