Welcome to my New Home!

I have moved back to my birthplace - a town of about 1800 in rural New Brunswick, Canada.

I have been gone for 20 years working in various cities, but not a lot has changed around here. People still leave their keys in their cars and their front doors unlocked...people still walk into your house without knocking and help themselves to a cup of coffee....and neighbors are both nosey AND some of the most helpful and wholesome folks you will ever find!

I am not sure if I will fit in here. I am used to "breakfast, lunch and dinner", not "breakfast, dinner and supper" which leads to all kinds of confusion when my friends show up at noon for a meal I was making at 6pm. I am also used to wearing $100 Lululemon yoga pants not $15 WalMart specials. (Not that there is anything wrong with WalMart!).

I have a convertible, which is completely inappropriate for a town that has snow 6 months of the year. I loved it when the old-timers would say, half-smiling, "So, you gonna be driving that car this winter?" like I might have just fell off the turnip truck the night before. I'd make my big blue eyes as big as I could as I would sweetly reply "Do you think I could....?"

Well, I WILL adjust, I WILL! One way or another, I want to be part of this town. I want to "be the me I was when I was child", not the one I created while living in the city.

So, let me share my experiences with you, as I adjust to this new, but old, environment.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

People are Funny

I have been a people-Manager since I was 28 years old. I have met and managed some wonderful people. But being a manager can be quite a challenge. You need a strong sense of humor to get through some of the days.

Over the years, I have had some interesting conversations with some of my employees. Some of the conversations have made me laugh, some have made me cry, and some have made me want to poke them in the eye. Luckily for me, there has been lots of laughter, little crying, and the only time I ever poked anyone in the eye was on a streetcar in Toronto when I lost my grip on the pole I was hanging on to, and a lady was standing too close to me.

So I have decided to share some of those interesting conversations between myself and my employees here....for your reading pleasure. All of these conversations happened somewhere in the last 17 years. Likely the employees who made the comments don't even remember doing so. But I remember. I remember it all.

Spiritual Lady
One of my employees was late for work. When she arrived, she asked me to step into the boardroom with her, and to bring a box of Kleenex. Since she had been having medical issues, my first thought was that she had received some terrible news about her health. Instead, she began...."The reason I am late for work is because my spirit guides told me I should drive right on past work and go to a church where a man was praying, and who needed my help".


She continued to tell me how her "kundelini was rising" and that she could see spirits all around.

I have nothing against people who have non-traditional spiritual beliefs. I have nothing against people being late for work. But I do have something against people who creep me out and give me nightmares and the heebie-jeebies every time I see them.

Pretty Lady
A very pretty young lady came into my office, obviously in distress and wishing to talk. When I asked what was wrong, she said that she never wanted to work with a particular gentleman again, and asked if I could please make sure that happened. When I inquired as to what was the issue, she said that "Every time he looks at me, he's undressing me with his eyes....you know what it's like..."

I didn't want to smile. I tried not to smile. But I smiled.

And then to test her skills to see if she TRULY could tell if someone were undressing her with their eyes, I undressed her with my eyes. Nothing. Nada. Zip. No response. 

By the way, I do not know what it is like to have someone undress me with their eyes. But at my age, if someone wants to do that, I encourage them to do so with my blessing.

Creative Lady 
I got a phone call one morning from one of my employees. It was early enough in the morning that I assumed she was calling in sick for the day.

When I answered the phone, she said "Donna, I wont be able to come to work today. I looked out the window and it looks really windy".

You know how some people have an allergy to peanuts and if they go near peanuts, the result might be anaphylactic shock and potential death? I am thinking that this creative lady was going to tell me she had a severe allergy to wind, and if she stepped onto her porch she might go into anaphylactic shock. Or maybe she has a deep-rooted psychological fear that she is going to end up in a tornado like Dorothy, and she HATES Kansas.

Man on a Mission
I had a male employee who made it quite obvious he thought of himself as very intelligent, very capable, and just a whole lot of other good things.

He was a lot of those good things, but he was also lazy and refused to do what I asked him to do for customers.

So I had to fire him.

His response "You can't fire me, I am going to be the General Manager here some day".

If he would have stopped there, we just could have parted ways on friendly terms. But no, he had to continue.

"And I'm smarter than you, so I should actually have your job instead".

Um. OK. So I should fire you from your current job and give you mine? Good try, but YOU'RE STILL FIRED!

Middle-Aged Me

As hard as it is to believe, I am officially middle-aged: 45, to be exact.

I don't feel bad about becoming an old crow. I am actually quite excited about this.

There's a whole lot of stuff I no longer have to worry my pretty little head about. For example, I don't think it's necessary for me to worry too much about trying to achieve an acceptable bikini body before my upcoming vacation to Cuba. I used to stew something awful before holidays: starve myself a little, get more than a little exercise obsessed. Now, what the heck! I'm an old lady. I'm seriously not worried about my cellulite anymore. I don't poke and prod at it, and tan it, and massage it. I'm 45! I've got more important things to think about than cellulite!

I'm also no longer worried about being polite and respectful 100% of the time. Rather, I am a lot more direct and to the point. I only have half my life left, no time for beating around the bush! For example, some time ago, one of my employees had her Dad pass away. I have lots of empathy for people going through that, since I myself became an orphan 2 years ago. So, I had to rearrange work schedules for the next week to make sure the lady could have bereavement leave. One of my other employees was not happy with my redistribution of the hours. To get to the heart of the matter, I bluntly said "I just want to understand your concern...Betty's Dad has DIED and your concern is that you only are getting an extra 4 hours of work out of it?" When she nodded, I was astounded and rendered speechless. At my advanced age, I have no energy to carry on conversations with self-centred  witches. I am not saying that I've become unprofessional, just more likely to point out the absurdity of what is in front of me. The elephant in the room, so to speak.

Other things I am so pleased about, now that I am middle aged:

1) nobody expects me to be fashionable....which is virtually impossible in Perth-Andover, anyway, since we can't even buy a pair of under-roos here. But on the rare occasion I am fashionably dressed, people seem to view it as a wondrous thing to behold.

2) I'm not worried anymore if I am going to have a successful life. This is it...given that I kept myself alive to 45, I consider that a grand success.

3) If I have an alcoholic beverage with breakfast I'm not worried someone is going to tell on me.

4) it is unlikely I am going to get pregnant and have to confess to my friends and family that I've had unprotected sex

5)  I don't have to justify my choices to anyone. If someone tries to goad me into it, I hang up the phone, tell them to leave my house, or stare at them blankly until they get embarrassed and wander away. It's not necessary that everyone likes me. If you don't,.....whatever....

6) I have a low tolerance for crazy behaviour. If you have drama, stay away. I will politely and respectfully delete you from my porch or my Facebook account.

7) I don't feel guilty about eating enthusiastically, whatever I want. When I was young, (and I think with many young females), eating other than to keep yourself alive was like some "dirty little secret". Now my only "dirty little secret" is that I haven't done laundry in 13 days.

8) I can say "no". To anyone, about anything. No guilt. No-one can make me do anything I don't want to do. So there.

9) I have given up on the concept of having a perfectly clean house at all times. Dirt driveways and 8 little puppy paws have rendered me into a state of submission.

10) I can write about all of the cool stuff I have done in the last 45 years, and it is no longer embarrassing.....looking back, I have done some pretty funny stuff, of which many things are blog-worthy. More to come on that!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Top 9 Wishes

My drive from home to work is often up to an hour each way. I tried to shorten the drive time but driving as fast as may car would go, but that didn’t work out well. One day when I was high-tailing it to work, I passed the only other vehicle on the road, who was going a snail’s pace at 120 km/hr. I almost ran over top of the car as I sped up on him at 160, but slowed to a leisurely 140, and passed. As I zipped by, I only then realized I had just passed an RCMP forensics van. I had a split second to decide if I should slam on the brakes or keep going. I figured a bunch of forensics nerds surely would not be able to give me a ticket. Well, my judgment call on that one was not good. I didn’t get a ticket, but I did get a good scolding by a forensics gentleman who is not a nerd, and who does indeed have the ability to give offenders like myself a fine. Oops.

During my long drives, I start to make lists of things that I wish would happen, or wish would be. Daydreams of a finer life.

 Here are my top 9 wishes:

1)      I wish that the Star Trek do-dad that can transport people from here to there in no time, really existed. That would make my 2 hour daily commute much more manageable, and I would have more time to spend on my hair in the morning.

2)      That one could achieve the positive health benefits of exercise just by thinking about it really, really hard.

3)That I could quickly and discretely change my skin color depending on my mood. Sometimes I like  the tanned look…sometimes, I like pale.

4)      That more people would be like me and send NICE emails to HR about my manager, instead of calling HR because of a general belief that all Managers are notoriously evil and should be destroyed.

5)      That there would be more “whoopsa-daisies” on the road to make commutes more interesting Whoopsa-daisies are those unexpected lifts and dips in the road that make your care weightless for a few brief moments. It’s kind of like flying without the expensive airfare and luggage charges. If wish #1 came true, this wish would be unnecessary.

6)      People would shut the heck up and stop trying to prove their superior intelligence. As Steven Covey wrote, “Seek first to understand, and then be understood”. Many people’s rule is “Talk their ear off until their eyes glaze over, and then talk some more until they are rendered numb and unresponsive”. If a fella has to work that hard at trying to show they are intelligent, the fella is probably a dolt.

7)      Projection would no longer occur. Did you ever have anyone say, “you shouldn’t eat that candy bar”? And you are left wondering, why do they think it is any of their business what I ingest?  The reason they are commenting, is that their internal running commentary is really directed towards themselves, but their internal lecture overflows out of their mouth and into your space. I call this the “Hector Projector” phenomenon.  Projecting your own beliefs onto someone else. Whenever you hear someone say “you shouldn’t…..” say to them, “Yes, Hector” and laugh maniacally. Hopefully, they will leave you alone from then on.

8)      That the weeds in my ditch would be zapped into outer space, and be replaced by lovely lupins.
9)    That I could be a writer as a full-time job. I would travel the world signing aoutographs. But I woulnd't have to drive or fly around the world. I would use that Star Trek do-dad to transport myself here and there in no time.