Longing for Spring

growling gray skies
cold rain lashing the windows
spring hides below ground

Advertisements

Mind Your Manners

Something happened yesterday that I don’t think has ever happened to me before in my working career. Or if it HAS, it was so long ago I don’t remember it.

One of the many tasks I do for my team is to handle quarterly emails to executives about upcoming meetings. Yeah, that sounds amazingly simple and straightforward but there’s a reason why I do it and not the administrative assistant. There are a myriad of decisions that need to be made about these particular meetings: if the meeting is happening, who MUST be there, who is invited, who are other interested parties that must be informed and so on. These particular meetings can be very stressful for the participants as they are reporting back on their success/failure.

I inherited a standard email for these meetings and over the years I’ve modified it, and the process for sending them and acting upon responses. Timing is important because the administrative assistant needs the information to schedule these meetings. I start MY bit long before the meetings actually begin. I don’t make the decisions about who has to have a meeting – that information is conveyed to me by my team.

I have a moderate “success” rate over the years for getting responses from the executives. *grin* If I get 50% of them responding to me with changes or to say no changes, I consider that a smashing success. 🙂 Anything between 33%-50% is a good response. In other words, many of the people simply ignore the email. Even when the execs DO respond, we receive emails all the way up to and after the meeting with people asking to be invited or telling us they are no longer interested/needed on the call. It’s all fine – people are people and we can add and delete invitations.

I sent out my emails about a week ago. I asked the recipients to respond to me by the end of that week, giving them 4 days to review the proposed list of invitees. If this was a group that had already been in this process, it’s fairly simple to scan the list, and see who is no longer needed or who might be missing. This week I was told to add a few more executives to the meetings. Accordingly I tailored up my form letter and sent it to each of them, asking them to respond at the end of 2 days. These were all teams that had been through this process several times before.

Well. Last night (a little over 24 hours after I sent the email), I received a reply from one of the executives.

Ahuva, “to be honest – anything that is given only 2 days notice can’t be too important – so I won’t attempt to work through this.. ”

Well take my breath away. Isn’t it nice to be a VP and be snarky to someone you’ve never met on a topic about which you know very little? What if I were the CEO writing to him asking for a response within 2 days (or less)? Would he REALLY tell the CEO that anything that has only 2 days notice can’t be important? In his defense I will say that he is semi-new to the role, in that this is his first time receiving the email, but he HAS been an attendee at prior calls. So the concept of the meeting and the fact that there are a LOT of people on these calls, and the fact that they happen – none of that should be a surprise.

What a total ‘supply the derogatory term of your choice’.

I wrote a polite letter back within the hour (yes, doing all this after 9pm my time) finishing with take all the time you like to review. We’re going to schedule the meeting and we’ll update after the fact. I hope that he could read between the lines and hear things like “aren’t you a rude brat” and “we’re going to invite whoever and you can live with it” and “maybe as a newbie you should learn a little more about your responsibilities before you try to kick someone you think it’s safe to kick”. My coworker, who has to work with this character directly, seemed to think my response was very good.

I’m reminded of all those sayings along the lines of “be careful who you kick on the way up”. If this is how he treated me, imagine what he does to people with whom he’s really annoyed? If he was unhappy, hey, his peers simply ignore the email. That would have been a more mature response, odd as that sounds.

As a footnote, my administrative assistant gets this kind of nonsense every single quarter as she tries to schedule these meetings. Other admins give her grief because THEIR execs are soooooo important. People refuse to give time slots. They accept a time, the meeting is set, they come back and say no, that won’t work.

It’s not the need for changes. It’s the whole “I am so important and entitled.” It is so simple to be polite. Aim to be gracious, calm. Understand that there are live human beings with their own issues. Don’t pull the wings off of flies.

Let’s Elect Vacuum Cleaners

A member of my extended family – really, my husband’s family – posted to Facebook yesterday asking for recommendations on vacuum cleaners. Her much-loved vacuum of nearly TEN YEARS had died, and she wondered what she should buy to replace it.

Did you notice how I distanced myself from her? She’s a good person, raising very lovely children competent, talented, self-sufficient. More than a good person – one could even say she is admirable. She’s VERY MUCH like her mother-in-law (my sister-in-law) was at that age. Every thing is in stark black and white. There is no gray. And she knows everything. And is willing to fight you on it. That was tiresome when it was my sister-in-law and it is tiresome now. It impacts how I feel about her – hence the distancing – because I find it exhausting to have such negative passion directed at me and others.

(As a little side note, I actually get along very well these days with my sister-in-law. Yes, the one who said some fairly horrid things about me and who I used to call “the bitch”. I used to be very black and white also. Might be an age thing? But we both figured out that peace in the family was more important than making the other person acknowledge we were right and they were wrong. We excel at side-stepping the many areas where the pit-of-disagreement yawns between us. We even have fun together now. 🙂 )

Anyway, back to electing vacuum cleaners. It soon became apparent in the discussion that there were two major camps: The Shark Party and The Miele Party. The adherents were strong in their praise of the benefits of THEIR vacuum. They posted photos. They recited anecdotes of the cleaning power. It was very interesting. I almost wondered if I should have bought a Shark instead of my Miele, the discussion was so fervid and intense. There were even folk supporting the Dyson Animal and the Hoover. The conversation is still going today. I don’t feel distant from this conversation at all. I’m interested in the outcome, and I’m enjoying the posts.

This morning when I looked at FB, and this discussion popped on the top, I laughed a bit. It’s interesting the things about which we get passionate. And then I noticed that people WERE passionate, they were sure they had the best vacuum, but they did allow as to how there might have been some areas where their vacuum could use a little improvement. No one, however, seized those comments and started calling the adherent names, or pointing out their stupidity and their lack of morality for supporting the WRONG vacuum. No, none of that. The whole discussion was about the merits of their vacuum and the situations where it excelled and where it might be a bit weak. No one told my niece-in-law that she would be damned for getting the other brand.

Wow, it was refreshing. Conversation on merits of the contestant. No name calling. No moral judgements.

Let’s elect vacuum cleaners to public office. It will make us better people and I can’t imagine the vacuums will do all that much worse than some of our politicians.

Full Disclosure: I own 3 vacuums: Miele, Panasonic, Zip. 🙂

Superstitious?

Are you superstitious? Do you believe in karma? Jinxes? The evil eye? Kinehora (kayn ayin hara)? If you talk about a good thing, will you strengthen the possibility of that thing happening, or will you jinx it?

I suppose one might say I’m verging on a discussion of the power of prayer. That actually was NOT my intent. *grin* It was only as I typed the above that I realized the conversation could go there. Of course I have at least 2 friends who would be disgusted at THAT concept. And yes, they both read my blog, although one of them only sporadically. Maybe as often as he meets me for lunch. Which hasn’t happened in AGES because he’s ALWAYS busy. Hmmmm. Should I take that personally? Of course I also have friends who believe in the power of prayer. I can be an equal-opportunity friend. 🙂 I believe in the power of prayer, but I believe the power is in the pray’er and not where the prayer is directed. And I could be mistaken. 🙂 As I said, a whole other discussion.

If I heard about something that would be (probably) a “good thing” were it to happen, should I be telling everyone and anyone because the more people thinking positively, the more the karma builds in the “ether” (or wherever it is karma builds)? Or should I shut my mouth, try to scrub it from my thoughts, because – kinehora.

A watched pot never boils? Good things come to those who wait? Every dog has its day?

Life can be so complicated. 🙂

Never Blog When You Are Angry

never blog when you are angry
never blog when you are angry
never blog when you are angry
never blog when you are angry
never blog when you are angry

throws mouse….

never blog when you are angry
never blog when you are angry
never blog when you are angry

gets up and walks away

Cats and Carrots

I wanted to call this Carnivorous Cat Carrot Confessions, but decided that even for me that was a long title. As a total aside – part of me was terrified to use the word “confessions” in the title. Years ago, in what I think might have been my 4th or 5th blog post ever, I used the word “seducing” in the title. I’m not even going to give you the whole phrase. I was APPALLED at the hits on my blog and the URLs that sent people to my post. EUWWW. I changed the name of that post and it took weeks for all of the cached hits to finally vanish. As part of my TRUE CONFESSION (I’m sooooo daring!) I actually called this Cat Carrot Confessions. I then took a phone call, came back, looked at the title, shuddered, and changed the title. Ah, the power of the internet to ruin perfectly good words.

ANYWAY….

Cats are, so says the internet, obligate carnivores. I found a very interesting article that may or may not be accurate (the problem with the internet) but it supports my point of view so I’m using it. 🙂 Now I’ll pick and choose the facts that *I* find important. The author described the term “obligate carnivore” as an animal that MUST eat meat for survival. Cats –> eat meat. The author also states that cats have lost certain metabolic functions because the cats don’t NEED that function. Her example was on carbohydrates – you don’t need to break down carbohydrates if you are not eating carbohydrates. She (the author) goes on with some great examples of other meat-eating creatures and how no one would dream of feeding them vegetables but somehow we think it is okay to give carbs to our cats. Another article on “Vegetarian Cat?” put it even more succinctly: cats eat meat and if their health will be in trouble if you try to turn them into herbivores.

This brings us to carrots. According to Wikipedia, “Carrots are 88% water, 4.7% sugar, 0.9% protein, 2.8% dietary fiber, 1% ash and 0.2% fat.” See that 4.7% sugar 2.8% dietary fiber? There are carbs in them thar sugars and fibers.

Meat –> no carbohydrates.
Carrots –> carbohydrates.
Cats –> NEED meat.
Cats –> do NOT need carrots.
WHY ARE THERE CARROTS IN THE CANNED CAT FOOD??????

MY cats live a very good life and are very spoiled. My vet always says she wants to come back as one of my cats. I try to feed them well. Okay – I don’t take anywhere near as wonderful care of MY cats as @catsherdyou does of HER cats, but I’m pretty good. There are 3 of them now and they get wet food in the morning and evening. I use a mixture of prescription kidney diet and an over-the-counter (very expensive) brand. One of my girls has kidney and thyroid issues and that means I need to get medicine into her morning and night. Some people have cats that you can pick up and hold and cuddle, but my 2 big girls missed that memo. I cannot hold those cats. That means the medicine is delivered ground up and in the wet food. Which means I stand there watching the 3 of them eat and making sure that each eats from the correct dish (at least until all the treated food has been consumed). 3 cats. Two are over 15 years old, one is nearly 5. Not ONE of those cats eats the stupid carrots that are in the food. Even the PRESCRIPTION food has carrots in it!!!! (and potatoes!!!) Cats excel at pushing food around on the plate and picking only the preferred morsels from the middle of the dish. Once the food is pushed to the sides, it as if the dish was completely empty. Sad/accusing eyes implore me to “fix it”. I push all the food back to the center of the dish, add more warm water and replace the dish. The carrots are NEVER a preferred morsel. There are always carrots left on the plates.

Cats. Carrots. Where is the confession? I’ve begun picking out the carrots before I even put the dishes down. I don’t know who in canned cat food land or prescription cat food land thought carrots belonged in cat food, but I’m here to tell you that my cats don’t agree. Me-euwww.

I confess, your Honor – I remove the offending carrots.

Questions on My Mind

Celery. My experience has been that either people love it or hate it. It seems most of my coworkers’ spouses HATED it. With a capital H. Or would that be with a capital C? I know this because I used to bring celery sticks to munch and my coworkers would steal some because they never had it at home. I confess that I don’t always like celery in my salad because sometimes it just has TOO MUCH crunch, right? You don’t always want your salad fighting back. But for a dietetic snack, especially when you know you will be indulging later in the evening – celery is great. Because I’m out of cucumbers which are actually better, but not when you don’t have any.

Which brings me to the question. No, not why are there no cucumbers in the refrigerator – we put them in the salad. I made myself some celery and took a bite and – YUCK. It was bitter. The celery I was munching on YESTERDAY wasn’t bitter. It was almost sweet. Why is some celery bitter and why is some celery NOT bitter and how can I make sure I have the not-bitter celery? I guess that’s actually 3 questions. 🙂

The next question on my mind is tougher. I’m sure there will be no answers for this one. Search on the internet all you want. I have a scar. Don’t worry – I’m not going to discuss where it is or how I got it or how old it is. *I* understand that there are somethings which don’t need to be shared with the world at large. Or at small, either. What you DO need to know about this scar is that it is my weather forecaster. I never ever think about this scar. I’ll be minding my own business, thinking about things like celery, and hello! My scar aches. It has a special “the weather is going to change” ache. It’s right too. The weather DOES change. The tricky part is WHEN will the weather change??? Once my scar wakes up and says “weather’s going to change”, how much time elapses before the barometer drops and the storm moves in? According to the weather forecasts – sometime tomorrow night. That seems a long way off for my scar to know. Surely the barometer or whatever isn’t falling already, is it? Does my scar get weather alerts from some other source? Should I be prepared SOONER than the internet predicts, or should I be prepared LATER? The scar alert has sounded. When do I take heed?????

Is a puzzlement. And aren’t you glad I didn’t post any pictures?


Stat Counter

wordpress analytics
Advertisements