business

A Numbers Game

I work in a profession where numbers are king. Pre-post data. Year over year growth. People love numbers. But not me, at least not always.

I have a love-hate relationship with numbers. I like the scale when the numbers go down. I’m not happy when the number goes up. Ever since I started Weight Watchers for the first time at the ripe old age of 12, I’ve watched that number on the scale with trepidation.

In my last round of weight loss, I learned that the scale can sometimes be a damn liar. There are all kinds of reasons for the scale to go up or down, some of which have little to do with what I did or didn’t eat. Maybe it means muscles are growing. Still, sometimes, I forget and get all tied up in what the scale tells me each morning. It becomes more than data and sometimes inches in to my judgment of self-worth.

Perhaps the number I fear the most has a dollar sign in front of it. For a long time, I have held on to a number as a symbol of my security, my prosperity, my future. That number meant a lot to me. So much that I refused to change it except when I was forced to.

It took a push from a dear friend and the universe to finally change that number from something that just appears on a screen to something real. Yup, I doubled down on my dollar sign and transformed that number into grass, soil, and timber. I changed in what I thought was the security of being a passenger and put myself in a driver’s seat.

So, the digits after my dollar sign may be smaller now. It’s what I have always feared. I have to look at it with a deep breath sometimes and remember…instead of disappearing, I am taking that number and transforming it into something new. Betting on my sweat and effort instead of just watching the screen, crossing my fingers and hoping it goes up. I’m taking the reins, moving in new directions, from the ground up.  Using my roots to create something new, beyond numbers.

Watch it grow.

business

Just 10 Bucks

The other day I read a rant on social media that annoyed me. It insulted many people, myself included, who purchase frou frou drinks at a premium price.

The funny part of the post was it was from a local small business owner who compared the frivolous spending to frequenting his/her upscale business, noting it was a poor choice. I had to giggle and say hmm.

For me, I frequent the poster’s” small business and I frequent the frou frou drink small business. To me it’s the same. Where I choose to spend my discretionary dollars. My dollars my choice.

I may choose to spend on frou frou drinks while other choose cigarettes. Is there a difference? Not in my eyes. Discretionary spends are at the sole discretion of the party with the money! It’s that simple. Clearly I’m not the only one who likes specialty drinks. The pic below is a throwback to a girls day out with a pit stop at the nutrition store. I’m sure there are worse things one could do, right? Needless to say the messages on the cup are inspiring, thought provoking and even applicable in this post.

Now the flip side on this is negative publicity. As a small business owner in today’s environment one would think to support another business vs throw another under the bus especially if it’s the type of business that relies on discretionary spends. It may seem obvious to me but it’s not obvious to everyone and why I chose to write about this.

We all have a chance to impact communities in one way or another. We can all donate to a local food bank to help those in need. We can all support a small business with a community store front. We can buy a fundraiser ticket from a local athlete. We can all choose not to litter when driving down the road. All of these simple gestures improve communities.

Why not be kind? Why not help others? If you are miserable don’t be a negative Nelly online. It doesn’t make you look good and could in fact hurt another local business or yours. It’s a no-win situation. Add in the fact that most community business owners live in their community and raise their family there. That means negative vibes reach them one way or another.

Kindness matters today. My post today is meant to enlighten anyone reading this who may not think about how their negative rants about a business in their community could have impacts. Far reaching impacts that could lead to devastating outcomes.

Support local. Buy local. If you are tight on budget dollars, like a social media post from your favorite restaurant. Write a testimonial on your local insurance agent. Share a post from your friend who is selling something online. It all helps. And I bet if you own a business you would hope your community would support you in the same way.

Today most adults are online. Maybe even 70% or more of their waking hours. There is a very high probability that they will receive an email, text, instant message, tweet, snapchat or other form of digital communication outing a negative Nelly. Don’t be the negative Nelly. People won’t want to be around you let alone support you down the road. If you didn’t know that, I just told you!

This story is titled just ten bucks. No business names are mentioned as I don’t want to throw shade in any direction. I just want to write about a topic that may strike a chord with somebody reading this blog. During this writing process I wanted to think about what I could get for ten bucks. Ten discretionary dollars. I made my list. I get to choose. My choice. My money. My waste. My reward. My happy.

When I went back and looked at all the things I could spend ten bucks on? My frou frou drinks all made the cut. So did a milkshake, a Starbucks drink and dessert, a single meal prep from a local vendor, an ice cream, and so on.

However, the one thing that didn’t make my list was the $15 overpriced discretionary spend from the person’s business who provided me inspiration for this post. So when I reflect and look for waste in my budget and pleasure received for my splurges, I’d have to say I would cut that service provider if the need arose. They priced themselves too high for today’s market and they bitched about it publicly. When push comes to shove I’d choose to shove them off my budget. Thankfully that is not the case today but one day I may need to make a choice.

Just ten bucks. It’s my threshold. I bet they didn’t even think of their price structure when they made a big long rant. But that rant made me review my spend at their location. Wow that is full circle negative karma if you ask me.

Just ten bucks. Make your list. It’s a challenge. What will you cut?

perspective

Floating

Today I am floating. Drifting off in my mind. Thinking. Wondering. Being overly curious. Where did my mind go?

Many places were visited whiled I drifted but somehow I circled back to what was missing. Things or situations I’m missing because of the pandemic.

I miss the care free days of no masks. I miss the smiles you share with a passer by when walking at the park. I miss the handshakes with a colleague at the business meeting. I miss hugs. Human contact in general. Just so many things or situations I miss.

Then I think about a different kind of loss. How many people that have been lost for whatever reason during the pandemic. So many I know that had been put to rest without a proper farewell. Is it a coincidence that the death toll is high even if not pandemic related causes of death? Maybe those just gave up because they missed things like me. We will never know but I do drift to the place where I think about it.

So many things or situations seem unfair right now in life. Many changes that seemed temporary or are they permanent? All these changes have consequences. Now businesses are starting to crumble. Even if you have money to spend sometimes it’s hard to spend it with limited working hours, restrictions and lack of availability.

I needed to buy a couch. No stock. Not even the floor model was available. The store was down to bare minimums because the supply chain has been interrupted. I had money to spend. The salesman wanted his commission. No deal could be made. That is hard on any business.

You want to get your nails done. A local shop used to be open 7 days. Now it’s 3 days and appointments required. No fun break at the movies. No adventure day window shopping at the mall. I can’t, I won’t, I shouldn’t, and so on. All scenarios that I don’t like to comprehend.

I’ve filled my time with other things but I do still miss what I had access to pre-corona. As I drift, I think will hope be restored in our world? Will there be a new normal or something that closely resembles the old day-to-day.

I miss laughter. I miss touch. I miss many things and situations. I have these feelings and I know many others have similar or different feelings about the subject. I’m writing about it. Others may vent in other ways. Some may give up.

Be aware of friends, family and coworkers who may be struggling. It may be anxiety, financial stress, emotional burdens from previous scars of life and so on. Keep your antenna up and offer hope when you can.

May tomorrow the best day you can imagine. Drift, dream, float in your mind to escape the troubles of the day in some way. It’s a way to cope with change. Keeping in mind I love change personally but I don’t love my world to change without my input. I don’t want the unsteady ground. I want the sturdy ground.

Maybe my altered reality in my mind is where I find peace while we are living a pandemic life in the current. Drift away your way. I know I do.

challenges

A Cautionary Tale

The countdown is on.

A few weeks until summer ends and school is back in session…or is it?

My district ended last year with over 40 unexpected days of digital learning due to COVID-19.

Now it is 6 weeks later.  Numbers of cases that seemed to be trending down in my area have sloped back northward.  School districts are starting to try to make decisions about how they will open schools. Cue the special meetings, surveys, and plans (subject to change, of course). Also cue the opinions, the feelings, the exceptions, the arguments, the fears.

Colleagues have asked me many times throughout my career if I would want to become a school administrator.  My answer is always a fervent and unequivocal NO.  Times like this only magnify those feelings.  I don’t envy the public scrutiny that leaders are under in this seemingly no-win time.

I understand…

A significant portion of the economy depends on schools being open.

Many kids have their best access to food, learning, and social / mental health resources when they are in school.

Being taught (in person) by credentialed professionals is what we believe works best for most students.

At the same time…

Many teachers and school workers are themselves vulnerable to serious COVID-19 cases, or live with and care for other people who have those underlying conditions.

This virus is still new and developing, so science is still catching up to understanding what it is, how it moves, and so on.

Our schools are mostly based on kids being close together and moving with organized freedom throughout buildings and surrounding areas.

All the money and power at stake make every decision a politically charged and controversial one.

Then there are the logistics questions that come along with schools opening…

How do kids ride a bus?  How do they have recess? Can they sing? Can they play sports? Will there be field trips or assemblies?  Anyone who has worked with elementary school kids knows that kids love hugs and playing together which often involves contact.  How do I police that? I can’t even start about the masks, or what happens when a suspected case pops up.

Will all the fun stuff just be stripped away? 

In the end, I know this:

No choice will make everyone happy.

No choice will keep everyone healthy.

No choice will meet everyone’s needs.

We will be doing the best we can given what we know, and know that what we know might change at any given time.  Not an easy position for any of us.

I went to a branch of our local public library recently.  They opened up the buildings a few weeks ago.  This gorgeous, light-flooded, award-winning building, created for people to congregate and spend time reading and learning, is full of caution tape to keep people out or at least moving.

IMG_2149 2

I’m not sure there is enough caution tape to insulate school kids and workers from what we are facing. Our best protections will be patience, good faith, positivity, resilience, flexibility and showing kids and colleagues that we care about them in every way we can imagine.

 

 

adventure

Spontaneous Saturday

I’m not a picker but I am picky. I’m a picky eater. I can also be picky about many things.
For those reasons alone most wouldn’t expect me to be a picker.

I have watched many of the picker shows on tv and was just a spectator. Celebrating with the tv for those rare finds. Never really been a garage-sale type of girl, but with today’s online outlets you can easily locate an item you specifically want. For me the search started with a barrel. I want an old barrel to use in an outdoor space as a trash can. Nothing expensive just a fun variation of a trash can. Look what I found:

Pretty cool for stop one. I was super happy but I had another stop lined up for an older dresser with a cute wine rack in place of a drawer. I just thought what a fun piece to have.

As I reach stop two, little did I know my facebook marketplace ad was going to land me at the home of a real life picker. A professional picker who digs it, picks it, and passes it on. So many cool things to choose from.

I went from his garage to his yard and got all types of goodies for a new project I’m working on. I scored the neat lantern above. A little dusty but perfect for my project. I found a never-used bamboo picnic basket set. So fun to think about using that on a hillside somewhere. I got a few more items for my project but I’ll make you wait to see the end result.

The next stop was going to be interesting. I was headed to see the Spool King. The spool man. This started when I was looking for a rather large spool that I could make into a table. I not only found my future table but I found some neat finished spools that I liked so I bought those too. Not sure where I will use them but I am excited for the buys.

I suppose later I will post what my project is about and what my table ends up looking like but for now, here is a picture of what I’m aiming for. 

It will be pretty cool if I can turn a trash piece into a treasure. Wish me luck.

As a first time picker I had so much fun. Not sure if I will do it again as I have some finds that will keep me busy for a while but I did get to savor the day. A new day full of new adventures.

Somebody’s junk can definitely be another’s treasure. I knew that but relished the moment of it on this spontaneous Saturday.