I’ve been to Starbucks many times middle of the day only to find them closed. Closed due to staff shortage. Is this a thing? I mean they pay good for that type of job. This isn’t just once or twice it’s like 6-7 times now at varied locations across city boundaries. Thus my decision to write about it.
Then I share my experiences only to find Jimmy John’s sub shop has the same issues per a friend as do many other small businesses. Restaurants, coffee shops, the list goes on. How much longer will this ordeal continue? It’s frustrating to get somewhere to find a hand written on the door saying closed.
Next I went to a small restaurant. Hours are 11-3 four days a week. Very nice place but so little hours. How do they pay the rent? It blows my mind. This pandemic just waks havoc everywhere.
Maybe you were looking forward to a special treat you promised yourself. Maybe you need to meet a client for lunch. Oh that happened to me last week. Restaurant was open but only the bartender was working. Not enough staff to serve anyone. I was at a loss. Had to find an alternative space for my client.
Keeping in mind Starbucks didn’t have seating indoors. It’s raining and you did your research to check restaurant hours before going. Geez! Now the next time suck is to call in advance to make sure staff is working but again some may not answer phone at all. Staff shortages are real.
We see teacher shortages in schools. We see shortages in offices. We see many shortages in retail. The list goes on and on. Life is complicated most days. Opened businesses that really aren’t fully operational is annoying to say the least. This pandemic is just carrying on far too long for my patience.
A snack and a smile used to be Southwest Airlines’ claim to fame on flights. Or so their snack pack advertises. That’s all in the past.
Today, life is different. We fly with masks. No mask no fly. They announce it multiple times. They also announce a numbering system overhead regarding snacks. This is a new protocol for me since my last flight a few months ago.
No need to take down your mask to order. Instead you have the finger. And yes you choose your finger. A 8×11 laminated sign with pictures and numbers to order. I guess it’s idiot proof. I really wanted to capture this with a photo but the flight attendant didn’t look amused. The sign is funny to me but probably ingenious to others. No smile with your snack this trip. That’s false advertising on my snack pack! No smiles. Seems like the trend for trips in the future.
Maybe there will be a middle finger for #1 for the jerk in front. Maybe the silly mom will hold up the peace sign to get her Diet Coke. Maybe four sideway fingers from this girl for some water. How did we even get to this point?
Now that I’m here trapped in my middle seat, listening to my AirPods to tune out the crying baby in front of me. My drink came covered with a fun fact napkin. Love the marketing amusement Southwest! I learned another fun fact from Southwest. Looks like the new slogan is mask up. Cheers to a great trip.
Maybe the next time I fly maybe I will have a touch screen to order my drink and snack. Cheers to mask life. Cheers to travel. Cheers to the lady next to me whose sweaty leg is sticking to me. Cheers to the crying baby in front. Cheers to my daughter sleeping on my shoulder. I can smell her morning sleepy breath through my mask. Gross! Cheers to the turbulence that is keeping the napkin moist on my drink. Really that napkin was to keep the airborne germs out out of it. Another Southwest value add.
It’s back to school, which means back to work for me. Summer was gone in a flash.
Each member of our school leadership team was asked to choose a theme song for the year. We got some examples to spur our thinking.
Music is one of my love languages – not just love, it’s any emotion, really. The lyrics, the melody of a song can convey meaning I can’t seem to put into words. Playlists can transport me into different eras, remembrances, states of mind. Songs mean much.
So a theme song for the year was a big decision. I tried thinking about it and came up with some possibilities, but nothing seemed to fit. As a singer, it was all about the lyrics. I’d think of a song that had a great chorus, but then there would be some lyric about drinking or broken hearts or something else completely unrelated to school. In that case, it’s a no go.
What was the message I wanted to capture? Resilience. Flexibility. Hope. All things that speak to me in this transition time. In addition, I wanted something upbeat and catchy to keep the mood light.
This is it. This is life, the one you get So go and have a ball.
This is it. Straight ahead and rest assured You can’t be sure at all.
So while you’re here enjoy the view Keep on doing what you do So hold on tight we’ll muddle through One day at a time.
So up on your feet. Somewhere there’s music playing. Don’t you worry none We’ll just take it like it comes.
One day at a time, one day at a time.
Many of the people in that room didn’t even remember that sitcom, much less the song. So, a chance for them to learn something new.
Even in the very first week of planning, this year has already thrown us some curve balls. We’ve gone from masks are recommended to masks are required no matter who you are and if you’ve had a shot. I’ll admit my chest and shoulders slumped when I heard we were masking again, but I had already seen it coming and brought my laundered masks to work. Life goes on. It does.
We will get through it. We will have to help each other. We will have to approach each morning with a fresh perspective. We will do the best we can. If we trip and fall, it’s up on our feet and at it again. Somewhere there’s music playing…
One day at a time. One hundred and eighty five to go.
One of 2020 goals was to complete a triathlon. I registered and started training and then, you guessed it, COVID. Postponed until 2021.
A lot of life changed between mid-2020 and now. Still, I kept that race on my calendar and wondered at times if I should still give it a go. The swim was the weakest of my weak spots and I had not really done anything to train it. I happened to be at a lake the week before the race and swam for 20 minutes without touching bottom. It was slow, but I did it. I also completed a 10K successfully the week before the triathlon was scheduled. With those things in mind, I decided to give it a go.
A triathlon is a strange race. So much different than a show-up-and-lace-up-and-get-running 10K. There’s so much equipment, so many rules (a 24-page rule book!) There’s transitions to think about and plan for. There are referees, penalties, even disqualification. All this made me incredibly nervous. I read, made lists, planned, packed, and off I went. Brought my precious facebook marketplace bike in from my car and tucked it in. I was up half the night wondering if my decades-old helmet would meet the standards. Finally, 5:00 am came.
I double checked my list, had some hotel room coffee and off I went. Transition is such a madhouse. By the time I arrived there were already hundreds of bikes hung from racks. A lady saw me in my confusion, forcefully grabbed my bike and told me where to put my towel and transition setup. Everything was tight. You get about 12 x 18 inches to lay out your running shoes, socks, running belt, clothes, and anything else you need. If your space is too big or you block someone else it’s a penalty. Nerve wracking. Timing chip on my left ankle. Race number in permanent ink on both my biceps. My race age on the back of my leg. Now the long wait to start.
One of the reasons I chose this race was the waterslide start. Yes, you waterslide one at a time into a river then start the swim. This made for about a 30 minute wait after the first person started. But, it is better than the scary start-in-a-pack situations I have read about. There were maybe 50 people behind me. I met a couple of other first-time-tri-ers as we waited. We shared out nerves, our whys, and our training for the race. Finally, it was time for me to jump in and hit the course.
I confess, I can move in the water but I only kinda know how to swim in any systematic stroke. I can’t freestyle so I alternated between a sort of breaststroke and backstroke. People passed me many times as I made my way down the course, passing one buoy then another. Just keep going. I finally got out of the water and made my way to transition, being careful not to get hit by bikes on their way out.
I was one of the last to pick up my bike, so it wasn’t very crazy. The first people were already returning from the 14 mile bike. Helmet on almost first thing (that’s a disqualification if you get on your bike with no helmet.) Shirt, shoes, race belt with energy chews, water bottle, etc. etc. Finally I cross the mount line and I am off.
Bike riding is a peace place for me. Just gliding along. Had some energy blocks and hydration. Tried to keep it around 12 miles an hour which is a good pace for me. Looked around. Thanked police and security. Glide glide glide. I missed having my phone but taking pics would have slowed me down. Playing music or having headphones in is cause for disqualification – this was one of the hardest parts!
Finally, the run. This transition was much simpler. Just hang the bike and helmet, grab a water and go. Seeing people who had already finished was sort of hard but also motivating. Just keep going and it will be me, too.
Well, this second transition was logistically simpler, but physically this transition is rough rough rough. Trading the speed and relative ease of biking for the slow plod of running is a shock to the system. I just had to pace it out and keep going. This was hillier than I had anticipated and I just walked up the hills and didn’t worry over it. I met several people who were just walking the whole 5K. It was an out-and-back so I cheered on every one who was still on the course. I passed my two friends from the start line on my way back to the finish. We were going to do it!
Finally, I came up the hill and saw the finish line, so I broke my rule and jogged in. I jumped and slid down the finish slide and got my medal. After a minute to regroup, I went and waited for my new friends at the finish. I cheered them in. What a great feeling, to be a triathlete!
Did I place? No. Do I care? No. I didn’t specifically train, although I am active…but I was still just thankful to have made it through. Completion was the goal. I cheered for the winners. I gathered my things and slowly made my way back to the car.
I have never smelled as bad after a race as I did after this triathlon. It was a long 4 hour drive to the farm. Everyone who saw me in town and on the road seemed to know what I had done. Was it the medal? The numbers on my arms? (The smell?) Who knows. But lots of congratulations. Lots of reasons to smile and feel accomplished.
I would definitely do another one. I’d even train for it. Maybe even take swimming lessons. I have some people I’d like to do one with so that gives me something to look forward to. It was amazing and strange and memorable all in one. And I’ll always be able to say I have done it.
It’s 4am. The alarm clock buzzes. It’s not the normal hit snooze. It’s travel day. Vacation time. I spring out of bed. I’m in motion. Excitement in the air but also jitters.
Stressed to get in the car with everyone and everything. Is there traffic? How long is the line at the airport? So many unknowns but I’m on a timeline. Unneeded stress for vacation time, but it happens. Bags checked. Now security. More stress. The aroma is straight marijuana or the pungent smell associated with it. The people in the lines reek. Do those folks even know the smell is lurking? Does the old lady by me recognize the smell? I just shake my head.
Mask on. Babies crying. Chatter in different languages. The cries get louder. Workers moving the trash by me in large bins. Elderly folks getting pushed in wheelchairs. The sounds of every kind of rolling suitcase you could think of. Today I am paying attention to the different sounds wheels make. Rickety wheels. Fast wheels. An annoying beeping sound distracts me. Overhead announcements. So much distraction.
The things you observe while charging your phone in the airport. The line for Chick-fil-A is never ending. It’s not even 7am. Everyone wants their breakfast. I have nothing better to do than count people in the line. Almost 100 people in line. Would you wait? My stomach is growling but I’m not waiting. Starbucks is open as well. Their line is long, too. Maybe 40 people deep. I guess I’ll wait for my on plane snack or maybe I’ll day dream about a yummy breakfast at my destination. I heard a lady talking about a pancake flight at a local place. Sounds intriguing.
Flying is interesting. The airport has great people watching. Today is my first to fly with a Boy Scout troop. All decked out in their finest uniforms. Maybe I will sit by one to ask where they are off to.
Let the adventures begin. Time to unplug for take off. Wonder where I’m going….