31 December, 2005

Greatest Thing Ever...

At work this week, I got a very nice letter from a guy I bent over backwards to do something nice for, and it got bubbled up the right channels I guess, and our Executive Vice President published it in his weekly newsletter.

Get a very public pat on the back from your company's EVP, and every manager between you and him jumps at the chance to congratulate you.

Of course, in my case this has meant our area manager and our operations manager printing out said public pat on the back and writing a note at the top of it. Still - this is absolutely something I'll remember for a long time to come.

I was going to copy & paste the letter into here, but I can't access it right now. Instead, here's what happened from my point of view (as blogged on 9-18-05):

I did my good deed for the month today. I got a call around 4:30 from a guy whose 1-year wedding anniversary is tonight. They came here for their honeymoon last year and ate at the Fancy Restaurant, and came for the weekend just to eat there again for their anniversary. Anyway, he called to find out how to arrange flowers at the restaurant for his wife. I called the Florist who told me they stop taking delivery orders after 2pm. Oops. And short of taking a cab to the nearest grocery store, this guy was S.O.L. I took pity, and in a moment of weakness I offered to help him out.

I told him I could run to the store for him. I was like "I get off in 20 minutes - I can go get them and drop them at the restaurant for you." He was floored, and said "no, you don't have to do that" with a hint of "please GOD let it be true!!" in his voice. Like I said, I took pity. "I've been married a year and a half - I know how important the first anniversary is." Of course, he accepted.

I was just going to run over to Goodings, but when he said he just needed 2 roses I decided to call the florist again to see if I could go and pick them up after work. And they said I could! The roses were $5 each...but totally worth it for the presentation. When I got there they were still putting the order together, so I got to chat with the girls who were putting tomorrow's wedding arrangements together (wow!). Anyway, for $10 they put these two silly roses in a rose box (the kind gangsters carry machine guns in in the movies...shrunk for 2 flowers) with a beautiful bow, they put a gold-embossed card on it with Happy Anniversary written in it, and sent me on my way in 25 minutes.

Anyway, Mr. Anniversary asked me "what special thing can I do for you?" and I told him to write a letter. We'll see if that happens. Honestly, I was glad to help him out. I hope his wife loves the flowers and never knows that her husband is a terrible procrastinator!

So he actually wrote a letter! And yes, I'm now patting myself on the back. But I do a lot of crazy things for people and usually I'm lucky to get a 'thank you.' I'm going to bask in the glow of this puppy for a while to come.

"Then I'll just keep calling back..."

Here's some hints to anyone out there who may have a reason to call my place of business:

Calling over and over again and getting angry at the operators for connecting you to a closed office will not get you your way.

Saying that you are on the west coast and it's not 5pm there will not change the fact that it's after 5pm on the east coast.

Threatening to call back again and again until 5pm your time will not convince me to call the person in charge at home so that you can ask your "very important" questions.

I'm not saying that your call doesn't matter. I'm not saying that your voice shouldn't be heard. I'm not even saying that you are a waste of flesh. (although I won't deny thinking any of those things) I am saying that you are being irrational, and your emotions and inflated sense of self-importance are interfering with my place of business. If I acted the way some people act towards me any given day, I doubt I could sleep at night.

So next time you call a business - to complain, to make a transaction, or even to be connected to someone who works there - remember that there's a PERSON on the other end of the line. Saying 'please' and 'thank you' doesn't hurt, doesn't even take a second, and is respectful. Remember that the first person who answers the phone is probably not the one responsible for whatever has upset you, and therefore doesn't deserve your ire. Also remember that that person is probably an entry-level worker who makes half what you do. Consider whether you would treat this person the same if you were face-to-face. And don't be a jerk.

30 December, 2005

the E.A.G.

My cousin Jenn once remarked that our family has an "easily amused gene." And it is so true. We can laugh for hours about the dumbest stuff. I think my E.A.G. is more exaggerated than some other family members' - after all, I have perfected the art of sitting and staring into outer space and just letting my mind wander. My mind, I guess, amuses itself. Oh yeah - and Scott will probably have "ooh...shiny" engraved on my tombstone...because shiny things fascinate me!

Anyway, another facet of my E.A.G. is being irrationally proud of really stupid things. For instance, when I get all caught up at work and have a minute to sit and stare at the screen and I realize that things are running smoothly because I haven't screwed them up, I'm proud. When I finish my shower and there's still hot water left, I'm proud. And tonight, I did something I'm so proud of I felt compelled to blog about it:

I set 5 stations on my car radio all by myself!
This is obviously not a huge accomplishment...for a normal person. Ever since I got my car back, I have had to know how many times to click the tuner to go from station to station (5 clicks from 104.1 to 105.1, then 8 clicks from 105.1 to 106.7, then 5 more from 106.7 to 107.7), and I stopped listening to 101.5 completely because it was too far away to click to unless I was at a red light. So this weekend I mentioned to Scott that I needed him to reset my radio buttons, and he told me all I needed to do was hold in the number while the radio was on that station. that all? What a fool I've been! So now I have all five of my favorite radio stations set. Of course, the radio holds something ridiculous like 12 presets, but I don't think there are even 12 stations in the Orlando/Tampa market that aren't Spanish, Contemporary Christian, or Country! So here's my short list:
  1. Real Radio 104.1 (the greatest talk station ever)
  2. Mix 105.1 (as the name suggests, a little bit of everything)
  3. 101.5 - The Point (all 80's music, out of Tampa)
  4. XL 106.7 (Orlando's Top 40 teeny-bopper crap station that accidentally plays a good song every now and then)
  5. Magic 107.7 (easy listening, which also accidentally plays a good song on occasion. Magic also plays nothing but Holiday music from Thanksgiving to Christmas)

Now if only I could learn to set the clock...

29 December, 2005

Darwin Matthews

I just had a lovely conversation over AIM with my darling friend Darwin Matthews. He was the "Matt of Honor" in my wedding, back when we still worked in the same place. He has since moved on to dispatching for RCFD, and I of course have moved on too. I miss him like crazy. Last time we saw eachother was probably October of '04. I hate it when I lose touch with people like that. There's always just "something" that comes up and prevents us from making plans.

Anyway, he has inspired my 2006 New Year's Resolution:
Stay better in touch with friends and family.

Last night, I tried to ignore another sign that this should be my resolution - Disney released Spin & Marty on DVD. I know someone who definitely needs to own that.

28 December, 2005

Blowing out the Candlelight

This evening was my final Candlelight Processional of the year. I picked up my certificate and pin when I handed in my music, and was pretty happy to be throwing my robe in the bin for the last time after the show. Don't get me wrong - I've had the greatest time - but after being crammed in with 70 of your closest friends, under stage lights, trying to keep your knees from locking and your voice from cracking on the high notes, you need 10 months off!!

We spent the afternoon in Epcot with Mom and Pastor Bob and Janet. Janet's birthday was on Monday, so when I made the reservations for lunch (at Coral Reef...again) I put "celebrating Janet's birthday" in the comments. Imagine all of our surprise when she was presented a personalized menu at the beginning of the meal! I think maybe we'll go there for my birthday next year! They also put a candle in her dessert, which had a chocolate scroll screen-printed with Happy Birthday. And there was no obnoxious singing...which is also a definite "plus."

Unfortunately, it's the week between Christmas and New Year's, and the park was packed. Don't believe me? There was a 45 minute wait for Journey into Imagination. That's usually a walk-on. We didn't even bother trying for Soarin' because the tip board had it posted as a 130 minute wait. Ugh! So we ended up not doing any rides at all. That sucked a little, but we had a fun time regardless.

Scott and I were talking tonight about going to see Fantasmic some time next month once the people have all gone home. We're also contemplating Sea World passes for next year. I guess we'll see how that goes. What I really want...more than anything a nice long cruise. I want to eat all night and lounge all day, and I want to be completely stress-free for 4 days or more. Is that so much to ask?

27 December, 2005

Negative Nancy

There's a new girl at work (and by "new girl," I mean 50-something woman who's been there about 3 months) whose negativity has been a recent source of angst for me. We shall call her Nancy because it sounds good paired with the word Negative, not because her name is Nancy. I work with an actual Nancy who is just as sweet as can be...but we'll just ignore that fact for right now.

Anyway, Negative Nancy is the sort of person who has trouble saying nice things. She has said so many things recently that have offended my sensibilities that I've started writing them down. She is a constant reminder to me to be nice and positive as often as possible, almost like a "don't try this at home." Here's a sampling of some of the past week's Nancyisms...
  • One of our partners sent over 8 huge trays of sugar cookies to us on Christmas night. Upon tasting them, she said, "they're bland. maybe they sent them to us because they messed them up." Lesson: don't be ungrateful.
  • She walked into the break room while we were watching the tail end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and had three things to say: "what's this week's sob story?" - "I wonder what the resale value of the new house is." and "when are they going to fix my other house in New Orleans? one of you should write a letter and ask them to do my house next." Lesson: don't complain that your other house is in shambles in front of people who don't even have one house.
  • She called the help desk and I answered the phone. "Oh Jamie...I don't think you'll know this...I was hoping for Robert." Lesson: don't insult the person who is about to help you. Side note: she asked me something that I knew without looking up...that she should have known too.
  • A few of us were talking about different Christmas activities in the area, and Nancy had to throw her two tarnished pennies into the conversation. "I've never done any of that, and I'm certainly not going to this year. This place has sucked out all of my holiday spirit." The rest of us had to work on Christmas, too. But we either suffered silently or made the best of it. Lesson: don't bring down the morale of the entire team.

Remember kids, don't be a Negative Nancy. If you can't say something nice (or at least funny), don't say anything at all.

ParkHopper Preview

I'm moving away from my old blog. It seems to be a yearly event for me. I get bored with the layout or the limitations and I jump ship. The new posts will officially begin on January 1. Until then, you'll just have to wonder what the ParkHopper has in store for you.