Thursday, July 3, 2014

In Which I Learn The Customer is NOT Always Right



You know how every once in a while, something hits you smack in the face and knocks you for a loop?  A couple of weeks ago a friend posted this article on Facebook:  The Top 5 Reasons "The Customer is Always Right" is Wrong.  For most people, it was an "interesting article."  For me, it was an eye-opener as to why I don't make a good administrator.

I still have angst over my time as the director of a small, private school.  I had been a teacher there for over ten years and when the director left I thought I might be able to take on a new role.  I was recently divorced and ready for a change.

Big mistake!

The trouble was, I was a people pleaser.  I felt I needed to be able to please everyone, but in the end I ended up pleasing no one.  Without meaning to, my efforts to satisfy the parents, (i.e. the customers,) ended up discounting my most important resource... the wonderful teachers with whom I had always enjoyed a collegial relationship.  By trying to help resolve a few parents' unreasonable issues, I created a hostile environment for the people I should have been protecting.  No longer was the school I adored a fun and generative place for me to be.  I had gone from being a popular teacher to being "The Man". After three years of ever increasing anxiety over my inability to pull families and teachers together toward a common goal, I was a basket case.  I knew it was time for me to leave.

I've been recovering from this experience for the past five years and while I knew I had gotten past the initial heartbreak and regained most of my confidence, I was still uneasy. Then came this article, which made me slap my forehead and say, "Duh!  Of course!"  It all made sense.  As a result, I think I have finally been able to bring some closure to that episode in my life.

It's not easy for me to admit openly that I was such a complete and utter failure at something.  (I don't think that's ever easy for anyone.)  But it's important for my growth to do so.  I owe a deep and sincere apology to each of the fine teachers who were a part of the school at that time.  I let you down at a time when you needed propping up and for that I am truly sorry.

Yet as painful as my administrative experience was, I wouldn't be the same person I am today without it.  Happily, I can now say that I am thriving once again in the classroom.  Not only that, since leaving my old school I have become a much better teacher.  The work I have done with active participatory learning and conflict resolution in my new classroom has clarified for me what it means to be a teacher.  I am filled with gratitude that I have been able to learn from a painful experience and that I am once again where I was always meant to be.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hint Fiction



Speeding down the hill on her bicycle, she threw up her arms and yelled, "I love life!" just as the branch fell from the tree.

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Jayne got tired of us sitting around on our butts, not writing anything, so she gave us a challenge... Hint Fiction!  Tell just a hint of a story in 25 words or less.  Check out the others who played over at injaynesworld.  

Looking Her Best: A Magpie Tale/Hint Fiction Entry


It was always important to her to look her best.  Especially this one last time.


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So, Jayne offered us a writing challenge this past week.  Hint Fiction: a 25 word or less tale that leaves things open to interpretation.  Then today Tess put up this image as a Magpie Tales prompt.  The two go hand in hand!  Check out both their sites to see who else took up the gauntlet.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Wooters' Hooters" or "That time when my boob went to Florida without me"


I took another little detour from life recently, thanks to the wonders of modern medicine. For three weeks, no matter the weather, (and there WAS weather,) I faithfully showed up at the Lipson Cancer Center every morning at 8:15 for radiation treatment.



Let me tell you, it's all fun and games at the radiation department. You get to get tattoos, get naked, (well, partially,) and chill out to some pretty radical light shows. I was affectionately know as "Woot" by Sam, Paul & Amanda, the radiation technicians. They were quick to tell me I had "the best name, EVER!" I'm guessing it tickled their fancy to say they were treating Wooters' Hooters.

Anyway, I'd lay down on the table, put my arms above my head, and after lining things up with my new tattoos, they'd start drawing circles and X's on my boob with a sharpie to show where to shoot those ray beams. After they were done, they'd scurry out of the room and I'd lay perfectly still while the monster machine rotated around me and zapped the hell out of my boob.  


Basically easy and painless. No side effects other than a bit of fatigue, so I continued working full-time throughout the treatments.  

About a week after I "graduated" my boob began to get tender and change color, just as the doctor told me it would. Yes, my cancer boob started to look like it went to Florida without me. I slathered it with aloe vera lotion which helped a bit.  Next it got all raw and wearing a bra became impossible. Once that phase was over, I developed thick, dark, leathery skin all around the nipple and things started to itch.  Good times.

Now things are pretty much back to normal. For the time being anyway. Next up on the schedule... anti-estrogen meds for the next five years. Common side effects from those... same as menopause symptoms, particularly hot flashes. Been there, done that so I know what it feels like. It will seem like Florida in August all over again. Oh joy, oh rapture.

So look out world... my inner bitch is ready to rock and roll!

Friday, February 28, 2014

On the Road with 30M2DoW: Final Episode


T.S. Eliot was sadly mistaken.  April is not the cruelest month.

February had been brutal.  I spent the entire month trying to outrun Nicky Eff, perpetrator of the most heinous crime to hit the internet this decade.

In the end, to resist had been futile.  Nicky had me dead to rights, right there in the hydrangeas.  There was nothing for it... I had to write something for her 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge.  That was the only way to get her to leave me in peace.  (And get my clothes back.)

But wait...  from out of the shadows stepped another figure, this one in a trench coat and fedora.  Yes, it was Jack Gouda.  Ever the gentleman, he took off his trench coat and handed it to me, saying, "Here, toots, put this on. Don't embarrass yourself any further, eh?"  (I noted that he didn't think that Katherine and Reffie should be at all embarrassed.)

"Please," I said.  "Put me out of my misery!  You're the only one who can."

With that, Gouda drew his .44 Magnum from his holster and leveled it at me.

And then my brain exploded.


Out spewed every single one of the prompts Nicky had listed for the 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge.  And each one plastered itself onto the laptop Nicky was so conveniently holding.

Not only that... Henry, Max, Dufus, Maryse, Bud, Linda, Jayne, Margaret, Ramon, Reffie, Cooter and the gang, Katherine... they were all there.

Yes, Nicky finally succeeded in having her way with me and it would be a long time before I recovered from the trauma.

So take it from me, dear readers... the next time someone invites you to participate in a writing challenge, be afraid.  Be very afraid!

And don't say I didn't warn you.


Never to be continued.... I hope.

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Now, get yourself over to the Cheese Shack one last time to see who else participated in the 2nd/3rd Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing extravaganza.  (And while you're there, order up a commemorative t-shirt from P.J.!)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

On the Road with 30M2DoW: Episode 27

How did you find out?

There we were, Katherine, Reffie and I, laughing hysterically in the hydrangeas.  We had no idea how we were going to get home without any clothes, not to mention the fact that we had no idea where in the hell we were.  All we did know was that we didn't much care what anyone thought of us anymore.

Maybe it was the anticipated end of this interminable writing challenge that was making us giddy. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to come up with something profound (or even stupid) to say about a prompt thought up by someone you've never even met, day after day after day after day after day?

Just as we were catching our collective breath again, there was a voice from outside the foliage.

"Looking for these?"

Our clothes were being dangled over our heads.  Worse, next to our clothes was Axe-Murderer-Fake-Barbie!


Oh, no!  It couldn't be!  And yet it was...

Nicky!

"How did you find out where I was this time?" I moaned.


To be continued...

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There aren't too many more chances to see who actually agreed to participate in the 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge.  Head over to We Work for Cheese before it's too late!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On the Road with 30M2DoW: Episode 22, 23, 24, 25, 26... Whatever


There we were, nearing the end of the 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge and I had yet to succumb to to Nicky's demand that I participate.  Although I was perturbed with Nicky's persistence in trying to track me down, I had to admit it had been a blast hanging out with some of the folks out there along the way.  So much drama, though...

I kept telling myself, "It's only a dream."  It wasn't possible that Nicky would continue to show up in so many places.  And yet is seemed every time I turned around, there she'd be again!

There are things you don't do... attach threatening notes to hunks of cheese, send your kid to  demolish cars and kidnap people, become a peeping Nicky, show up at a dinner party unannounced.  I mean, really... how gauche!  Then again, maybe it's just a Canadian thing.

After the "lost weekend" at the Rack 'n Roll, it was time to move on before Nicky saw Ramon's light display on social media and figured out where I was again.  So Reffie, Henry and I headed east.  (Ramon stayed behind as Ethyl hired him on as the full time lighting specialist at the Rack 'n Roll.)

We didn't stop until we hit the Outer Banks where we ran into Katherine.  We were sitting out on Corolla Beach, enjoying some beers and a few shots of tequila when I mentioned to Katherine how exhausted I was from this whole ordeal. And then she said, maybe we should go all Axe-Murderer-Fake-Barbie on Nicky's ass.  Sort of like a "Chucky" remake thing.  "Or at least steal her shoes," offered Reffie, "She can't go anywhere without her bitchin' shoes."

(If Fake Barbie can go this bad ass with nails, imagine what she could do with an axe.)
The more we drank, the better our ideas sounded.  We were walking along the beach, talking and laughing and thinking up stupid stuff to do to Nicky.  The weather had turned unseasonably warm, so we shed our shoes and sweaters.  One thing led to another and before we knew what happened, we were naked and lost.

To be continued...

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Now that I've caught you up with what's been happening on the road, head over to We Work for Cheese to catch up with the bonafide participants of this writing extravaganza.

Monday, February 24, 2014

On the Road with 30M2DoW: Episode 21

Yes, I made that

It turned out that we spent four days with the gang down at the Rack 'n Roll.  When I finally crawled out from under the pool table, I stumbled outside into the parking lot.  There, above the Rack 'n Roll was the most astonishing display I had ever seen.

"This is for you, Nicky!" was emblazoned in Christmas tree lights along with this image...


Ramon stepped up behind me and whispered, "Yes, I made that."

I don't think I have ever loved a man more than I did Ramon at that moment.


To be continued. . .

* * * * * * * * *

Follow the pointing finger over to We Work for Cheese to see who is all caught up with Nicky's prompts for the 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge.

On the Road with 30M2DoW: Episode 20

Chaos


When we walked into the Rack 'n Roll, the scene we saw before us was total chaos.  There was yelling, there was kissing and there was crying babies.  Some woman named Vera was caterwauling about losing an election while everyone else ignored her.

We had picked up Reffie on the way to the Rack 'n Roll and she insisted that even Evil Twin never behaved that badly.

Hard to imagine.


Another woman, name of Ethyl, was giving me the evil eye until she saw I was with Ramon. Somehow that seemed to calm her.  Funny, though, because usually Ramon has the opposite effect on women.

The only thing that was missing was a guy in a trench coat and fedora.

I walked up to the first person I saw and introduced myself.  Turned out it was Cooter, the new mayor.

"Cooter," I said, "My name's Boom Boom and this here's Reffie and this other one here's Ramon. We're on the lam from some dame named Nicky and we need to know if we can lay low here in your town for a few days."  (I made up for the lack of the guy in the fedora with my 30's pool hall lingo.) "Ramon here can pay for our keep in Christmas tree lights, if'n you've got mind to put some message in lights."


To be continued...

* * * * * * * * *

Yeah, yeah... so I missed a few days!  Last thing I knew I was talking to Cooter and the next thing I knew I woke up under a pool table.  Dang!  I hate when that happens!  The next few episodes will be along shortly.  Now, get on over to the Cheese Shack to see what everyone else has been up to while I've been out of commission!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On the Road with 30M2DoW: Episode 19

Tastes like chicken


I ran out of the House of Many Dogs so quickly, I almost forgot one of the dogs.  I ran back in just long enough to thank Linda and Alex for the hospitality and to grab Henry, (along with one of the knives from the little green man.)

Ramon, (Linda's Paraguayan next door neighbor that she had been trying to set me up with,) was out washing his car and stopped me as I ran past.  He said he'd take me anywhere I wanted to go, so we hopped in his car and took off.

Ramon had just whipped up a bunch of asado with achuras, so we had something to eat along the way. I'd never had asado with achuras, but Ramon assured me it was delicious.  I asked if it tasted like chicken, but Ramon said, no, that it was made with organ meats. Organ meats?  Uh, no thank you! Ramon may be a hunk, but his idea of a hunk of meat to use for cooking was suspect.  At least it looked better than poutine.


But I digress... we still had to figure out where to go.

I had learned from Linda that, (in addition to being a hunk,) Ramon was an expert at stringing Christmas lights. Things in the Christmas light business were slow at the moment.  I think it was the time of year.  But Ramon had heard there was a place down Texas way that needed some lights strung. A place called the Rack 'n Roll.

Sounded like as good a place as any to head next.


To be continued...

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Ramon and I may be on the road awhile, so grab some asado and head on over to We Work for Cheese to see who is participating in 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing today.


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