Monday, November 25, 2013

How Hope Springs Eternal in the Mind of a True Optimist

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
― Oscar Wilde

I don't write about my work in my blog.  Have you noticed?  I spew on and on about everything under the sun but I don't refer to my workplace at all.   I think it's unprofessional to write (a.k.a. "complain") about your work in a personal blog.  I am not going to write about it today (much) other than to say I am starting a NEW job on Monday...a job I am well-suited for and ridiculously excited about. 

But I have to tell you the story about how I GOT there.

I had been looking for other work for some time.  I had been interviewing here and there and came close to snagging a few positions but never quite got there.  It was befuddling to me because I have always been a person who could secure a new job in just a couple of months.  The economy has shifted, however, and I am at a different place in my career. Times are hard for a mid-level marketer.

I grew more and more frustrated in my work but just couldn't seem to move anywhere.  Finally, one day several weeks ago, I threw up my hands in disgust and said, "OK, God, obviously I am not getting anywhere on my own.  Put me where you want me. I am letting this go."  The phone rang the next day.  (I'm not kidding.)

I began interviewing in earnest.  People were e-mailing me for interviews and calling me for interviews.  I've not seen anything like it in the two years I've been dabbling with finding a new position.  It was like God was saying, "See, kid?  All you had to do was ask for help...and trust Me."

One day, I received an e-mail from someone who had an editor job open at a local magazine.  WHAT?  That was a WRITING JOB!  I had sent in my resume on the off-chance that someone might make a mistake and call me because I didn't have ANY experience for the position other than my own desire to write and my years of toiling away in the business world.  We set up a phone interview.

The interview was brief and I hung up, discouraged.  She reiterated several times that they were looking for a "seasoned editor."  Well, obviously I had zero experience so they'd have to look elsewhere for a little salt-and-pepper.

A couple of days later,  I received an e-mail inviting me in to interview with the editor-in-chief.  WHAT??  That guy is a REAL WRITER.  He's a REAL GOOD WRITER.  I read everything he'd written in the past...oh...three years and I put on a jacket and I went to talk with him.

He questioned me about my ability to be a journalist.  We talked back and forth for a while and I told him earnestly that I could DO IT.  I could be a writer.  I AM a writer.  I have the business card, for goodness sake.

I asked him to give me a chance to show him that I could write.  He let me interview him for a "real" story, coaching me a little along the way about what questions to ask.  After a bit, he told me that NOW it was time for the REAL interview.  He was SUPER NICE.  And he was a REAL WRITER.  I was in awe, honestly.

I walked into the president's office and took a seat.  The conversation as follows is not verbatim, but it's pretty darn close.

President:  "I haven't really had a chance to look over your resume, but I'm wondering how on EARTH you got through two levels of interviews to be sitting here.  You have NO EXPERIENCE."

Me:  "But I DO have experience.  I just don't have experience in this PARTICULAR area.  I am a non-traditional candidate, see?  In my heart, I am a writer."

President: "You seem like a SALESPERSON.  Why aren't you in sales? Salespeople make money.  Writers don't make money."

Me:  "I could be a salesperson.  Do you have a job in sales?"

President:  "Are you going through some sort of mid-life CRISIS?  Why are you sitting here?"

Me:  "Because I CAN WRITE.  I can do it.  I can be a GOOD writer.  In my heart, I am a writer."

President: "In your heart...if I told you that I had a job washing cars, would you want to do that, too?"

Me:  "No.  I don't want to wash cars.  But sales I could do.  Writing I could REALLY do."

It went back and forth for quite some time.  It was the toughest interview I ever sat through.  He asked me questions designed to dig out pieces of my character.  It was fascinating.  And exhilarating.  And I loved it.  I didn't know what to think about it when it was over but I loved that I was able to have the experience of interviewing for a REAL WRITING JOB. 

The next Monday, I received my first job offer from a small company looking for a marketing director.

I emailed the magazine and told them I had an offer.  I needed to know if they were at ALL interested in moving me through the next phase before I accepted any other offer.  

And I kept interviewing.

I received an email from the magazine.  I WAS STILL IN THE RUNNING.  I was scheduled for the final leg:  a writing test. (Holy crap.  Did they KNOW that I had no experience?  Yes, they told me that they KNEW I had no experience.  Why on earth was I still in the running?  I was BEYOND thrilled.)

I kept interviewing.

I went into the writing test, nervous but beyond excited.  I sat down and "interviewed" a senior editor playing a role.  I then wrote my very first article in my very first newsroom and handed it in.  I was thrilled.

I received another job offer...and, much like Godfather lore, it was something I simply couldn't refuse.  I will be able to write in my new position...not like the REAL WRITER job, but enough to make me grow.  I emailed the folks at the magazine and told them I was taking the other job.

It was a great ride.  For just a moment in time, I was there in a newsroom, tapping away on the keys like a Real Writer.  I sat there through those interviews believing enough in myself and my abilities to convince other people that MAYBE, just MAYBE, I could do something I had never done before.  It was glorious.  I will never, ever forget it. 

And along the way, I learned a valuable lesson:  sometimes it's a good thing to let go of the reins in life.  I hope it's a lesson that stays with me.

Time to get ready for my last few days of my old job. 

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dear College Admissions Counselor

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

My extremely talented, super gorgeous, amazingly intelligent goddaughter has requested that I write a recommendation letter for her Common Application to a variety of prestigious universities (I am just a TEENSY bit proud of her as if I had anything at all to do with her wonderful-ness).  I am not going to write that letter here, but I'm TOTALLY going to use the blog as a warm up for the REAL letter I will write for her a little later.  These are the words I REALLY want to use but I will behave and write a fine, upstanding recommendation so as not to screw up her chances of securing a spot in the freshman class of (insert name of the most prestigious university you can think of here). 

Dear Prestigious University Admissions People:

In life, we rarely have the opportunity to encounter people who are exactly the people we would like to be if we were smarter, kinder and more attractive.  My Gorgeous Goddaughter is one of those people for me.  OK, smarty-pants admissions people, it is NOT because she's a total hottie and I would like to recapture the days of my own firm-fleshed youth.  But I want to tell you a little bit about why you need to let her into your snooty-patootie academic world:

  • She is ACTUALLY nice to people.  Don't get me wrong, Academia World Granters, she's not one of those people who HAS to be nice.  You know who I'm talking about, right?  No, but she is one of those people who champions the underdog.  If there's a kid who looks lonely sitting under one of the storied trees on your campus, this girl will go over and smile at them and make them forget about torturing cats.  She will most likely attract a stalker or two at some point BECAUSE she's so nice to people but I think your security team can handle it.
  • She's WAY funnier than you would expect (and funnier than I think even she knows).  I think this mostly because she laughs at my wisecracks.  But here's the thing about truly funny people:  they're the SMART ONES.  And, believe me when I tell you this O Wise Ones, you NEED some funny people in your classrooms.  I've seen some of the folks who alum from your hallowed halls and I am here to tell you that funny is definitely something you could use.
  • She is humble.  OK, she's not an idiot so she does KNOW she's smart.  But she goes about her intelligence quietly.  She doesn't need everyone to know she's the smartest kid in the room (and I would brag openly about her test scores, but she's not my kid so I can't).  She just does what she does like a Woman Behind the Curtain and, BAM, before you know she's given you a heart.
  • She takes advantage of every opportunity.  Riddle me this, University Gatekeepers, how many kids do you know who are brilliant AND who can rappel down a huge rock face?  This kid is a ballerina AND a math nerd.  She's a cheerleader AND has taught Sunday school in El Salvador.  She can canoe AND organize a charity event for Locks of Love.  This girl is a-mazing.  No, make that A-Mazing.  Capital A.  
 So, I realize that all you people take, like, what?  6 people?  every year.  I realize that your world is narrow and elite.   But I want you to know that no matter WHERE my Gorgeous Goddaughter chooses to attend (and, don't get me wrong, she will have MANY CHOICES, Illustrious University Peeps), she will excel and achieve more things before breakfast than you and I will do in a week. This kid is going places where most of us don't even live in daydreams.  She's the Real Deal.  She is a rare and dazzling gem and I hope you see her shine from the depths of the papers you have in her very thick admission files.  And she is more than her ridiculously high test scores and excellent grades. She is the Total Package. She's the kid who will walk out of your doors and you will stand there, blinking, because you know you've just witnessed history in the making. 

So, don't embarrass yourselves like the coach who kicked Michael Jordan off the basketball team wayyy back in his early days.  You don't want to be the university who turned my Gorgeous Goddaughter down when she's running the Show.  And I do mean RUNNING THE SHOW.  Don't be that place who turned her away.  Give her your stamp of approval so she can move on with her life and make her choices.  (I'm just saying that she may not choose YOU but don't let that hinder you from rubberstamping her passage through.)  

She's better at being a human being than I'll ever hope to be.  And I cannot wait to watch her soar.  

Go on.  Stamp "Admitted" on that app.  I'll wait.  

Her Biggest Fan

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blood and Cookies (Or, How I Triumphed Over Adversity Already Today)

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Today, I feel like a Disney princess.

I don't feel like a Disney princess (please note that there is a marked difference between a DISNEY princess and a REGULAR princess...Disney princesses are way cooler, more diverse and have much more magnificent party dresses) because I have a teensy tiny waist or because my facial features are delicate or even because woodland creatures live in my house and scamper around while I sing. While all these things MAY be true (I said "MAY," I didn't say "ARE"), the real reason I feel like a Disney princess today is because I have triumphed over adversity this morning.

Because I was able to "sleep in" until 6 a.m. yesterday, my mind was cranked up and ready to go this morning at 3:30 a.m.  Because my mind and my body are continually at war, I stayed in bed until 4:00 a.m. until I finally gave up and headed downstairs to make coffee and cookies.

Yes, cookies.

Who, you may ask, gets up at 4 o'clock in the morning and thinks it's a great idea to MAKE COOKIES?

Well, I did.  This morning.  Sometimes, I think it's a great thing for people to wake up in the morning to the smell of freshly baked goods.  I want the boys to leave my house someday and be reminded of home every time they smell freshly baked bread or cookies or cakes or clean laundry.  And then, I want them to get into their chariots and coax their horses through the wooded kingdom to visit me in my castle.  But I usual.

So, my PLAN was to come downstairs, brew some java and whip up some Tollhouse deliciousness to fill the air with the aroma of love and bustling motherly activity.

But first, I needed to feed the loudly mewling cat who weaved around my feet while I let the dogs outside.  I picked up a fresh can of cat food from the pantry and paused.

Yesterday, I did SOMETHING to my second finger on my right hand.  I picked up a splinter or SOMETHING but it's swollen to about twice its normal size and very stiff.  It hurts but, like all hurts,  I assume it will go away sooner or later.  For the time being, I am simply trying to avoid using that finger or even really touching it.  'Cause ouch.  BUT, it's the finger I normally use to stabilize the can of cat food while I pop open the tab with my index finger. 

Dilemmas like this are not uncommon in my world.

So, my brain kicked into high gear and came up with the brilliant solution to simply use ANOTHER FINGER to steady the can and I stood over the trash can with the lid open poised to drop the discarded tab directly into the trash when.....OUCHY MAMA WOWIE!!!   I sliced open the THIRD finger on my right hand with the sharp edge of the can top.

Mother of PEARL that was a lot of blood.  Blood spurted out from the gash all over the lid of the trash can and my white kitchen floor.  I didn't curse but moved quickly to the roll of paper towels next to the sink and sprayed THOSE with festive red patches while I tried to gather enough towels to stave the flow of blood.  I lifted my hand above my head with pressure firmly applied and contemplated the cat.

Hmm...the cat STILL hadn't been fed.  But my right hand was now rendered virtually useless and, not to mention, THROBBING with pain.  Just so you know, the fresh pain did make me forget about the pain in my other finger.  So, yeah, that theory DOES hold some water.

Eventually, the heavy bleeding stopped and I fumbled with feeding the cat with the remaining useful thumb and fingers on my right hand.  I fed the dogs and let THEM in and then carefully eased the coffee into its filter without splashing any blood into THAT.

I stood there in my kitchen for a moment and surveyed the damage.  Not too bad.  I cleaned up quickly and then applied some handy Bactine (because the bottle stated VERY CLEARLY that it would stop the pain) and a Band Aid with Neosporin built right in which is ALMOST as good as a 64 box of Crayolas with the handy sharpener.

I ALMOST didn't make the cookies.

But I am a Disney princess today.  I persevered.  I triumphed over carnage and my children will be blissfully unaware of my continued sacrifices for them.  Until I tell them.

My two useless fingers.  I guess it's time for another BandAid...

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Monday, November 18, 2013

A "Listful" Morning

When I cannot bear outer pressures any more, I begin to put order in my belongings… As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects.  - Anais Nin - See more at:
When I cannot bear outer pressures any more, I begin to put order in my belongings… As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects.  - Anais Nin - See more at:
Early in my career I felt that organization would destroy my creativity. Whereas now, I feel the opposite. Discipline is he concrete that allows you to be creative.  - Verna Gibson - See more at:
Discipline is doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, when we don't want to do it.  --Bobbi Porter

This morning, I woke from yet another terrible dream at 2:34 a.m.  This one began, as they almost always do, with a Very Bad Man attempting to do me harm.  As I (almost) always do, I ran [note:  there have been a couple times when I've turned around and punched and kicked the Very Bad Man...those awesome dreams did NOT wake me up].  But, running in these dreams is never easy.  My path is almost always treacherous or difficult.  This morning's iteration had me jumping over shrubbery and enormous tree roots on a steep uphill slope.  Don't worry, this blog will not focus on dream interpretation...I just thought it important to begin at the beginning this morning.  I just want to be clear about how I got where I am this morning.

When you wake up with your heart pounding and your adrenalin rushing, it's often pretty difficult to return to a peaceful snooze.  And so, because sometimes deep down I think I hate the idea of a good night's sleep, I began to think about everything that I have to do.  Everything.  I began to focus on the fact that my white kitchen floor never seems to get clean.  I thought about how I need to remember to buy longer black pants for Thing 1's upcoming band concert.  I wondered who came up with the gecko idea for Geico.  After a half an hour of tossing and turning, I had a Grand Epiphany:  MY LIFE WOULD BE BETTER WITH LISTS.

I have a dear friend who crafts the most amazing lists.  She has lists for EVERYTHING from housecleaning to gift giving to "how I need to spend my day."  She shops for groceries with a list instead of using my time-tested method of wandering aimlessly up and down aisles in hopes of remembering to buy toilet paper at the end.  It both amuses and amazes me.  She gets way more done in a day than I do in a week and she doesn't wake up at 2:34 a.m.

My epiphany was substantiated when I opened up the pantry to retrieve the canned cat food.  There wasn't any.  I went to the grocery store (without a list) yesterday and forgot to buy some.  On that SAME trip, I had forgotten to purchase dishwashing detergent...which was one of the two items that had spurred me to MAKE a trip to the store in the FIRST place.

So I sat down to just start a free form list of things that are on my mind this morning.

THIS is why I never get anything done:  nothing but crap ever flows from my head.   

I started again.

Most of my lists revolve around figuring out how to make a list.  Do they teach this skill in school or do you simply have to have a mind that thinks about one thing at a time?

OK.  One more time.

Did I mention that I am a smartass EVEN to myself EVEN on lists?  (Whenever I tell myself I'll think about something tomorrow I ALWAYS add the "at Tara."  Sometimes, I even add "I'll never be hungry again."  And if you don't get those references, you need to read more.  Or, perhaps, watch the classic movie channel.)

Pffft.  I think I'll drink more coffee.  Or start my morning walk early.  Or call my friend and ask her to make a list for me.

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Being Brave

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
― Nelson Mandela

Yesterday, as I was cleaning my house, I set my Pandora station to Anna Kendrick because I love the cup song she sings on Pitch Perfect (my latest guilty pleasure movie that runs in the background at least twice a week while I putter around my house).  A Sara Bareilles song played that I had never heard.  I sat down and let the chills wash over me.  Lyrics are all-powerful to me...and these have haunted me for the last 24 hours:

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

                           -Sara Bareilles, Brave

So many people in this world hold their tongues in fear.  They are violated in unspeakable ways every day and they cannot speak for fear of their very lives or because they simply do not think they are worthy of protection.  I began to think about how truly blessed I am in this life.  I say what I want.  I have freedom to go where I want to.  Today, no one hurts least not in the ways that are truly, deeply scarring.

I want to speak up for those who cannot speak.  Until they find their voices (and it is my fervent prayer that they WILL), I will speak.

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

                         - Sara Bareilles, Brave

  • For all the children who are beaten, neglected, screamed at and told that they are worthless, stupid and ugly:  I speak for you.  You are precious.  You are a beautiful gift to this world and someday, with a lot of grace and the wonderful reserve of will you will find, you will know this about yourself.  I speak for you.
  •  For all of the kids who are shoved around and taunted because you are different:  I speak for you.  People are frightened of those who are different.  The hate that is in them is not for you.  You are precious.  You are loved.  You were designed perfectly just exactly as you are. Don't fall for their lies. I speak for you.
  • For all the women in the United States who are humiliated and scarred, physically and emotionally, by the actions of those who supposedly love you:  I speak for you.  You deserve a life of safety and protection.  You are precious.  Priceless.  Abuse is not love.  You have worth and gifts....and there is only one you.  Please do not let yourselves be destroyed.  I speak for you.
  • For all the women around the world in poverty, slavery and in war-torn countries whose bodies are violated in unspeakable ways by strangers: I speak for you.  You are precious.  I pray that you are freed.  Your rescue is possible.  There is hope.  They cannot touch your heart.  I speak for you.  
My deepest, most heartfelt desire is that people who have no voice will find their voices.  Speaking out is the most powerful antidote against fear.  Living in silence will never be the ultimate answer.  It is only through digging deep down and telling the truth with your own voice that you will finally be free.  You can speak.

I am grateful that I found my voice.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013


“Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.”
― Charlie Kaufman

Communication with your kids is important.  Everyone knows how vital communication is to the success of every relationship.  How many articles have been written about how to talk to your spouse, your parents, your friends, your boss and your dog?  For many years, even though I earned a bachelor's degree in communication, I thought it was all about talking.  But communication is about an entire environment of verbal and non-verbal cues.


 In my home, I have an intentional atmosphere for my kids. In that atmosphere there is no yelling (OK, EVERY now and again I say "GET YOUR JACKETS!").  There are outlawed words:  "stupid," "dumb," and "shut up" are a few examples.  Most of our time is spent together downstairs.  We may be in different rooms, but my house isn't terribly large so we can talk with each other or, if we're not in the mood for talking, we can at least SEE each other.  My home is intentionally SAFE for my kids.  While I try not to over-praise them (kids totally see through that stuff...they know they can't be great at EVERYTHING), I do consistently honor them by respecting them with my words and my actions in our home.  I hope they feel loved and cherished.  I have intentionally set up an environment where they can feel safe enough to say ANYTHING they want to...within reason.

That is not to say that we don't joke around.  A lot.  They have the misfortune of having a mother who relishes sarcasm and who appreciates their growing senses of humor so much that I allow boundaries to be pushed PROBABLY a little further than they should be.  As they ease more into the adults they will become, I enjoy bantering with them back and forth. 

This morning, Thing 2 and I were exchanging texts.  He used the phrase "U r busy" and then proceeded to regale me with ALL the various text acronyms he's picked up.  I responded back with my own text talk just to show him that I'm TOTALLY still hip and with it.

And then...

Thing 2 will not get into trouble for testing (or texting) his boundaries by using WTF.  I was actually fairly amused by it.  But he KNOWS that he was testing a boundary and will, most likely, not use it again for a while.  Until he decides to test me a liittttle bit more.

But the beautiful thing about it is that he feels SAFE to test those boundaries.  He communicates with me easily and often.  Thing 1 is slightly different because he communicates far less (both verbally and non-verbally).  But I know that he feels safe to talk with me because we've had some jaw-dropping conversations over the past year or so.  (I did a good job on the outside but on the INSIDE my eyeballs were rolling back in my head and my jaw was on the floor.)

And now I'm going to go bone up on my text talk.  Apparently, THIS is how we'll roll. BRB.

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It's About Time

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

This is the day of the year when people happily exclaim that they get an EXTRA hour of sleep.  All it means for us reverse insomniacs is that we are miserably aware of exactly how early we're getting up.  For me, today it was the "new" 3:20 a.m.  Yesterday I was up at 4:30...which is only 10 minutes later than I was up today BUT, because of the time change, it FEELS (and looks on the clock) like I'm up a whole extra hour early.  Sigh.

What TIME is it?
This whole reverse insomnia thing is a vicious cycle.  The earlier I get up the earlier I want to go to bed.  The earlier I go to bed, the earlier I seem to get up.  Actually, that's not even true.  There is no predicting what time I'll get up.  Since it's the weekend, I seem to be up EXTRA early.  But tomorrow when my alarm is telling me how I should try defying gravity, I will hit the snooze button until about 6:30 a.m. because nothing makes me sleepier than facing a Monday at work.

So, faced with hours in front of me with nothing to do other than laundry, work on a website, cut more bay leaves (that's another blog altogether) or read one of the three books I'm currently NOT reading because I just can't seem to get into any of them, I opted to do a little research on Daylight Savings Time.

Benjamin Franklin (was he a drunk?  Somehow I just picture ol' Ben as a drunk...) first introduced the concept in 1784 while he was in Paris. Probably while he was in a brothel in Paris (did Ben go to brothels?).  He wrote an essay about how people could conserve candles by getting up earlier in the morning to make use of the daylight.  Ben probably didn't consider people like me who rise hours BEFORE dawn.  Ben, I could USE some candles right now.  It's dark, Ben.  It's been dark for the last two hours, trust me.  But since you're in the brothels, you're probably still fast asleep.  [Kelly's note:  OK, please don't think that Ben Franklin was a drunk and a philanderer just because I wrote that.  I have no clue about Benjamin Franklin's pastimes.  I just have this CONCEPT of him as a drunken womanizer.  It may be true.  But maybe not.  I read a lot of fiction.]

The first concept of Daylight Savings Time as we know it today was actually credited to a guy named William Willett in 1905.  His parents called him "Will Will" for short.  I think he may have stuttered uncontrollably.  [Again, I'm just making this up.]  Will Will was pretty messed up, though, because he suggested that the clocks be moved forward twenty minutes four Sundays in April and then doing the same by switching them back 20 minutes four Sundays in September.  Will Will must also have been a drunk because that REALLY sounds confusing to me.  You know that ministers EVERYWHERE were wringing hands and gnashing teeth at that idea because their pews would've been EMPTY for EIGHT SUNDAYS of the year due to the mass confusion over what time it was.

Will Will died in 1915 without ever having to defend his proposal.  I wonder if he just changed his OWN clocks.  "Screw you, people.  This is a GOOD IDEA.  You can think me late/early if you wish, but I'm marching to the hands of my own damn clock."

And so, Daylight Savings Time was FIRST implemented in the U.S. during World War I on April 30, 1916 so that people could save fuel for the war effort.  Many other countries adopted DST as well for the same reason. After the war was over, though, people went back to the same ol' same ol'.

Franklin D. Roosevelt did it again during World War II but called it "War Time" which was much like "Hammer Time" but without the crazy pants and the beat you can dance to.   The law went into effect 40 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and they went a little crazy with it.  There was "Eastern War Time," "Central War Time," and "Pacific War Time."  After Japan surrendered, they thumbed their noses and relabeled EVERYTHING "Peace Time."  They gave peace a CHANCE, people.

From 1945 until 1966, everything was chaos.  Cats and dogs were actually living together.  Everyone could decide when AND IF they chose to observe daylight savings time.  You could go over to the next town and they'd be having lunch while you were still eating breakfast.  Confusion reigned supreme and I'm sure there was more than one person who just decided to sleep in and blame it on the clocks.

Congress ended the confusion (they actually DECIDED on something and IMPLEMENTED it...those were the days, right?) with the Uniform Time Act of 1966.  States could exempt themselves from it, but most states adopted it.  There have been tweaks here and there and it was revamped (somehow...there is a list of things they did but frankly I'm growing bored with the topic now) in 2005 to be the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  They probably renamed it that because they wanted people to think that Congress actual cares about energy use or, really, the people of this country at all. 

So, in the end, I got to poke fun at Ben Franklin, Will Willett AND Congress.  I think that makes getting up at 3:20 a.m. TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Enjoy your extra hour.

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Waiting for Stella

“Customers are human and humans can view situations in unexpected ways.”
Marilyn Suttle

So I am currently sitting in the "Customer Lounge" of my local friendly Nissan Dealership. I am now aware of how much I've been missing out over the last 42 years.

This is the first time I have EVER taken a car to a dealership for service. Ever. In my whole life.

But Stella is kinda new. Like, less than 7500 miles new. And I want to treat her RIGHT. She DESERVES a little pampering now because, even though she isn't aware of it now, her metal-and-plastic butt is going to carry ME, my KIDS, my DOGS, and ALL MY CRAP for the next twelve years or 300,000 miles...whichever comes first. 

So, for now, Stella's having a little bit of a spa day. At the dealer. 

Things I Didn't Know About Dealer Services and Didn't Know to Ask:

  1. When you go to their super fancy website to make your appointment ONLINE (because even though I am an extrovert, I don't always want to talk to people), they make it sound fairly inexpensive:  "you mean Stella gets ALL THAT for only $50?  DONE!" But when you show up, they tell you ALL that they'll do for your girl and it is "only" twice as much as the price online. "But I thought the 7500 mile service was only $50?" I am here to tell you that if you HAVE to ask that question a) you probably can't afford your "new" (mostly) car and b) you will be met with certain scorn. I learned the difference between tiers today. And I am definitely on the lower tier.
  2. The BIG reason I was STOKED about going to the dealership for Stella's oil change and tire rotation was that I would get a "free" car wash.  Anyone who sees my car on a regular basis can tell you that I will EASILY drive the 3,500 miles needed for an oil change before I will wash my car.  Every now and again I get a wild hair and clean a car...happens about twice a year (OK, fine...ONCE). Today, it does happen to be raining cats and dogs.  Today ALSO happens to be one of their busiest service days of the week. (Listen, I didn't PAY ATTENTION to the fact that it is Friday.  I drove almost 100 miles PAST the mileage that it showed on that little "change my oil" sticker in the window.  I am kinda freaky about making sure it's changed on time.)  On one of the busiest days of the week they CAN give me the "free" car wash but I would have to wait an additional 20-30 minutes on top of the 1.5 hours I was already told I'd be waiting.  Sorry, Stella.  You're going to have to bathe in God's natural shower today.
  3. The "Customer Lounge" is one of the swankiest waiting areas I've ever been in.  It's nicer than many doctor's offices.  They had "free" Krispy Kreme doughnuts for their valued customers (that's ME!  I'M a VALUED CUSTOMER!).  They had family-friendly television with cooking shows and little cult-like messages about how awesome Nissan is.  There was a note on top of the tv that said something like, "Hey, we're not planning to offend our customers and you can't either.  Watch your dirty political shows and murder-soaked newscasts at home.  Don't change our channel." "Free" newspapers were stacked next to the comfy (clean) armchairs.
  4. When Stella was finished with her (low tier) service, I walked out to the covered service area with my friendly service advisor and paid Stella's fee.  He then proffered a choice of two pieces of candy.  (Car dealerships are a little slice of heaven, I think.)  I gasped and exclaimed, "OH!" and picked the Crunch bar.  He said, "For THAT reaction, you get TWO!" and handed me another Crunch bar (which I happily squirreled away in my purse).  
Stella is all set for another 3,500 miles with her non-synthetic oil.  And in a couple more visits, I'll give her the ol' Special Tier treatment and have all her filters goosed and cleaned and whatnot.  I AM glad it's still raining cats and dogs though...she really did need that "free" bath.  

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