challenges

Service Sucked

Recently I had the worst customer service experience in all my adult years. It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining. It lasted for weeks.

It all started when a company drafted my bank account. This was an approved transaction however somehow they reversed the transaction a few weeks later while I happened to be on vacation. Surely this was a mistake. Although I saw the alert while traveling I said it could wait to be handled upon my return. Surely it was an oversight that could be easily corrected.

Little did I know this clerical error would suck 45 hours of my life from me. Not in the blink of an eye. Over many days. Many excruciatingly painful phone calls. It was awful. My time is so precious to me.

The problem was compounded in many ways. One department needed the help of another’s to get the issue resolved. The employees are all remote so that task has be scheduled for a later date. The call comes from a restricted line that most won’t answer, including me. Then you lose your chance for service and the cycle starts again. It isn’t fun at all.

I learned if you call at 8:05am you get somebody on the line quick but they may not be super smart. As in they answer calls and follow a script. If your question isn’t on the script they are screwed and so are you! In my case my issue was complicated. Their company made an error and resolving it was not simple in their corporate structure. The lack of ability to escalate a call to a supervisor lends the representative to be ill-prepared and you the caller won’t get anywhere. Another vicious cycle. Frustration escalated. 

My story lingered. I’m still mad about it but it did give me a few new toys to look forward to testing out. Of course I shopped on amazon while I was on hold for extended periods of time. That was about the only thing I could do.

If I had a retail job or critical care job, I would not have been able to resolve my issues because I couldn’t spend all that time on the phone. Businesses who provide service need to be able to meet their client needs a-z. It’s not fair for a company to make a mistake and make the burden of correcting the issue on the consumer. End rant #504.

In the end I got an apology for the errors and omissions. That doesn’t do anything for my lost time. However, it shows that sometimes business automation isn’t the best. You need a human in the end to fix a glitch.

Conclusion: yet another example of why corona needs to leave the planet so normalcy in business can resume. If there is even such a thing.

challenges, fitness and nutrition

The Open

This is year #5 for me in The CrossFit Open. Pretty crazy for me to look back and reflect on where I started in the sport I love to where I am today. So many memories. So many relationships built. So many milestones hit. So many adventures. All part of my athlete journey.

A couple months ago the Open didn’t seem like something I would participate this year. It seemed like another disappointment with all the Corona cancellations around my athletic competitions. Then I paused for a minute. I slowed down to appreciate where I’ve been, where to want to get to, and how much I like data. The Open is a data point for me. An accountability pinpoint in time.

Maybe I weigh more this year. Maybe I lift less weight. Maybe I’m not counting my macros right now. Maybe I’m at a different gym. The variables shouldn’t matter. It’s Me vs. Me in the Open. 2021 is a recovery year for me. A rebuild of the foundation that got some cracks in 2020. I’m looking to see how deep the cracks are or how superficial they are. The only way I will know is to push my limits and see how I fare. The Open will help me gauge my comeback results of 2021.

As I look back at some pictures from the 2020 Open, I see some faces have faded in my gym world. As I look back to 2019, I see where some new friendships blossomed and each and every one of them is still intact. A group of strong females between 45-55 years old grinding away. Daily, weekly, monthly we almost in the work. Why not celebrate our commitment, consistency, and courage in the Open? 

2018 and 2017 were a bit of a blur for me as I didn’t do as good of a job documenting all my ups / downs but that’s where the leaderboard comes in. I can see where I stacked up to others worldwide. I can see how far I have come. As I write in this blog I may inspire another to sign up for the open. Or maybe sign up for a gym membership. 

This year I have a job to sign up two newbies to CrossFit to attempt the Open: one in their teens. One in their twenties. Both have journeys in their infancy. I’m looking forward to watching them shine in their own special way. Motivate. Inspire. Repeat. 

I have hope that when I write about my fitness highs, lows and everything in between that I have an audience. The audience may change from year to year and that’s okay by me. I love to inspire all ages. All types of people. The more I impact the more I write. The more I challenge myself to do more year over year.

Thank you for being part of my fitness journey. I’m on the road to fab at 50. You have a front road seat in the journey. You will see my fitness. My friends. My family. My competition. My exhaustion. My will. My pride. My ego. My personality. My triumph. 

Bringing my best: March 2021

Why not join me? The Open is open to all ages and this year you can even compete at home. Options are available to test your fitness.

challenges

1095 Days in Progress

Hundreds of days ago a project launched. 1095 days is its name. The scope was outlined but it was grey at best. A multi-year project that would cover many twists and turns. A new challenge of the mind and the hand.

How will it start? How will it end? Is it really just the middle that we are in? 1095 days is unfolding before your eyes. You are virtually part of the story. This very blog is part of the storytelling.

A book is in the works. So much to tell. So much to cut. So many details. What stays vs. what goes. Choices. Life has so many choices. As authors we choose. We choose our words. We choose our starting point. We create our audience. We choose to share or not share.

When we started this project I had no clue a pandemic would rock our world and linger for a year. Nor did I know we would capture so many feelings and emotions during the pandemic that would ironically fold into the project. It has to. It’s front and center. Here we are today still fine tuning the project. The destination. Everything in between.

To think about the project brings smiles galore. Just documenting life for a period of time is simply amazing. One can see the highs the lows and everything in between.

For me I’m right where I need to be. Immersed in my growth yet I am eyes wide open to experience new and unforeseen obstacles. Life 360 degrees. 1095 days of life is really just a wow factor to think about it.

Many struggle with visualizing tomorrow. Some struggle living for today. Today I’m looking ahead at what’s next in the process.

What’s next for me is over 100 burpees because I’m in a challenge and I slacked off a few days. For now I put the pen down to burpee the day away.

challenges

The 2020 Ta-Da List

2020 was a year that upheaved many goals. Maybe it was the rules changing about where we can go and what we can do. Maybe it was shifting priorities from getting out and going to just hunkering down and staying safe. Maybe it was self-imposed or created limits of mental exhaustion and the like.

Whatever the reason, 2020 pulled the rug out from our runway of dreams. The universe laughed at our plans. Goals had to shift. Travel, work, adventure, all kinds of things had to pivot.

I looked back at my goals and in a conventional sense, I didn’t meet them. I’m not giving myself a pass because life got hard. It is what it is. But, inspired by Gretchen Rubin, I decided to make a little “Ta-Da!” list, which reminds me that despite my 2020 challenges, things still got done.

  • I maintained my fitness regimen, moving my body pretty much daily. Most of the time this meant working out at home or in the gym, but I also started hiking more often and put many miles on my bike.
  • I took a more active role in my personal finances, learning how to move money around and make it work.
  • I partnered with trusted friends to purchase the property for 3Splitz Farm. We navigated the first stages of planning and implementing the vision for our rustic paradise.
  • I started a new business of my own.
  • I established a 501(c) and led that organization through a successful first year.
  • I bought a new car.
  • I read lots of books.
  • I parented my kids through a trying and confusing time in their lives.
  • I maintained several of my health priorities: eat well, drink well, connect.
  • I lifted up my friends and loved ones to lighten their mental loads.

2020 wasn’t what I expected, and 2021 won’t be either. Some of these accomplishments weren’t on my radar at all this time last year. This has all informed how I am thinking of my goals this year. Leave a little more room to move, to play, to grow.

I had to stop myself from writing the “shadow truths” about each of these goals. For most of these bullet points, there is something I could have written as a “but…” But ta-da lists shouldn’t come with qualifications. These are what they are, and many are a start. Several appear in my goals for 2021, to enhance, improve, and expand.

What’s on your ta-da list for 2020?

friendship, giving

Longest Night

When became an adult, got married, moved into a house and had kids (not necessarily in that order), I joined a Methodist church. I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school, so this was a big change. One of the first new traditions I embraced was the Longest Night. Each year, on Winter Solstice, the Methodist church had a service that focused on the darker times of the past year. People came who had experienced loss, depression. grief.

At that point, I had recently lost my mother. I had a new baby, a new home, and was overwhelmed and heavy-hearted. I joined the bell choir and played for that service. That first year, I remember just crying through the whole thing.

As you can imagine, the service is not just about loss. Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year. Once Solstice is over, brighter days are literally ahead. So the service is also about finding hope. About persistence. About the triumph of good and light.

I love symbolism so this service always meant a lot to me. I like the idea of things getting better. Of marking time. The cycle of increasing light. And it always comes just before Christmas, a time of frantic preparation. It is a moment to just be still and reflect.

I don’t attend that church these days, but I still take time to reflect every Solstice and remind myself that lighter days are ahead.

This year the Solstice seemed both especially poignant and especially necessary. COVID has wreaked havoc on many lives. So many in my circle have lost loved ones this year. Some due to COVID, others for other natural reasons, but COVID took away our ability to gather and mourn in the way we all want and need to. Still others are hunkered down at home to protect themselves and loved ones, which brings all the pain and challenge of isolation, disruption of routine, and more.

It has just been a heavy year.

I started hearing about the “Christmas Star” (or Great Conjunction) a few weeks before Solstice. Again, the symbolism of Solstice, this unique astronomical happening, and the stars were literally aligned.

I also had it in my mind to go caroling this year. I say every year I want to sing for people more (and not just the poor people at the gym who have to hear me sing along to the soundtrack when I’m squatting). I don’t know why I expect opportunities to be a backup singer for Yacht Rock Revue to fall out of the sky. This Solstice I see I need to create those opportunities.

Who could I bring some light to? We decided to visit two special Moms who have had challenging years, each in their own ways.

I loaded my car and started the night by going out to see the Christmas Star. I went to a parking lot in a remote park about 15 minutes from my house. I was surprised to find about 25 other cars in the lot, all there to view this planetary wonder. I just took some time to quietly look and think about this year and its gifts.

Then, it was over the river and through the woods to the first grandmother’s house. A couple of friends and family members joined in. We dressed silly, I brought my sleigh bells and song books, and off we set to spread some cheer. Our living room concerts brought laughter and tears, smiles and singing along. We took requests. We flubbed the lyrics and stumbled over melodies. We jingled our bells, giggled, swayed and twinkled. In the end, we brought cheer and good tidings and light. On the way to grandmother two’s house we saw lights and so many other holiday sights.

Both these women have lived through this challenging year. They’ve made the most of it. I hope we brought some light and hope to their lives this December. I know their smiles and delight lifted me up. As one of them put it, when we said our goodbyes, “same time next year!”

It’s a date.