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My desktop computer monitor died yesterday. There were warning signs which I tried to ignore, but eventually the screen went totally black, and I knew. It was over. This is when the little brat inside me took over and had a tantrum.
“I shouldn’t have to do this! This shouldn’t be happening! I hate this stuff!”
Then the grown-up, executive-functioning part of me quietly comforted the brat, got on the phone and ordered a new monitor. The grown-up has only little more idea of how to do this than the little one, but for a moment, there’s relief. We’ve taken action and made a decision. For now, this is comforting.
The new monitor arrives before 9am, and the adult speaks gently to herself and says, “I’m a smart person. I can do this. Let’s lay out all of the pieces in an orderly fashion, read through the instructions and get this puppy up and running.”
At the first glitch, of which there are many, l’il Jane starts in again, “I’m a girl! I don’t do tech.”
Amazingly, with patience and persistence, the monitor lights up and even reveals everything that had been left behind yesterday. Hooray!
But, wait! A dialog box comes on the screen and says: Input signal out of range. And the screen goes dark.
This is when it starts to get ugly. I call the help line who requests the serial and product numbers*–which are discreetly hidden between the pedestal base (see image) and the back of the monitor making them nearly impossible to discern. Many tantrums, one magnifying glass and a dollop of patience later, it’s determined that this is a Dell issue and not an HP issue. In other words, begin again.
I won’t belabor this any longer, but suffice it to say, it was challenging, the clock was ticking, and I have a few things on my list to accomplish besides hanging on a help line. Bottom line, what got it all going perfectly was the strategy I had forgotten that always works.
This post is being written using my beautiful, new HD monitor and it looks damn good!
*No one at the help desk mentioned that the numbers also appear on the box in which the monitor was packed. I started getting all suspicious of the company that sold me the product. I went into a dark fantasy of this reputable business getting monitors off the back of the truck, having to repack the damn thing and start from square one. Trust me. I was not someone you’d want to be around this afternoon. I would have preferred to toss it out the window and start over. Now that it’s all over, I love my new HD monitor and all is forgiven.
I’ll never forget my daughter Laura’s pride in her accomplishment when she announced to our family that she had spent the afternoon getting her bookshelves organized in her room. I think she was all of 8 years old at the time.
My expectation was that they would be in neat rows starting with Alice in Wonderland or an author with the last name beginning with “A” then working the length of the shelf to the z’s. But instead, she very excitedly escorted us into her bedroom where my jaw dropped at the beauty of her rainbow-colored arrangement of her library. It worked perfectly for her.
Stephen Covey includes Sharpening the Saw as the 7th habit in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Today I used the essence of this dictum:
Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle
when I took time to modify a resource I’ve been using for several years.
I keep a document on my computer with all of my passwords. Every time I get a new password, I simply cut and paste it into this document. I know that my expedia.com username and password are there along with my AAA membership number. It’s a handy reference for my family’s Social Security numbers, should I need to access them or the bridge line conference number I use weekly.
But each time I needed to look up one of these figures or phrases I’d make a mental note to myself: “I should really alphabetize these one day.” Then I’d curse a bit as I scrolled down the list looking for my JetBlue membership number or some equally seldom-used bit of trivia. “Yeah, I really should do that.”
Today I did it. I printed out the entire list (4 pages) and arranged them in order for future usage. It feels really good to have taken the 20 minutes to save me far more than that in the future. Plus, I like that really satisfied feeling I get, like I did just a minute ago, when I added a new resource. I signed up for a new website that allows me to download royalty-free images and added that new password to my list.
Kathy entered the Brubeck Room, which she helped to bring to life, in a queen’s robe. She was escorted up to the front where her throne awaited her. There was a delightful hour-long concert by Triple Play in her honor followed by Special Toasts and gifts that allowed those in attendance to hear the full range of Kathy’s contributions.
Curt Welling, who served as emcee for the celebration honoring Kathy’s retirement from the Wilton Library on Sunday, credited her with creating “the beating heart of the community.” That was just the beginning of the accolades for this smart, talented, hard-working and dedicated woman who I’ve had the privilege of knowing since high school. One fact that stunned me is that over 700 people visit the library daily. The First Selectman, who also spoke in tribute to Kathy, called the Wilton Library the”cultural center of our community.”
My own personal experience of Kathy’s brilliance and generosity came when she was taking her MLS (Masters of Library Science) degree at Syracuse University. She was so excited about all that she was learning, she insisted that I needed a website. This was over 15 years ago, and she offered to create one for me. Which she did. My very first site was beautiful, thorough and got me on the map, thanks to Kathy’s efforts. Doesn’t everyone have a nephew or a family friend who makes that same offer, but how many of them actually follow it through to completion?
I’m excited that now Kathy will have more time to play. She’s an avid reader, theatre goer and traveler. Since her last day at the Library is June 30, and I’m taking July off, I can see some fun excursions with her in my near future.
It would ruin any mystery surrounding the birthday gift I’m giving her tonight. But my experience at Lululemon yesterday bears sharing with my audience of business owners and other interested consumers.
I selected a cool, reversible jacket as my gift to Barbara, brought it to the checkout counter and asked that it be wrapped as a gift. “We don’t have gift boxes. We’re a sustainable store,” I was told with just the slightest edge of superiority.
“Could you put a little tissue around it?” I asked, hoping for a touch of festivity in the unwrapping experience.
“No, we don’t believe in adding waste to the environment,” the salesgirl said. Actually, she didn’t say that exactly, but that was my interpretation of her repeating the ‘sustainable’ mantra in slightly different language.
Another jolt I got at that counter was the guestbook sign-in. Hoping to get the inside scoop on what towns other shoppers were visiting from, I was surprised to see that the pages consisted solely of names and email addresses. Clearly, paper, envelopes and stamps were not going to be used by this company.
I admire and support the philosophy and commitment of Lululemon, but have to confess to suffering a bit of culture shock, this being my first time interfacing with the reality of it.
I do plan to tie a (recyclable) ribbon around the cool, environmentally correct bag they did give me for transporting said gift to its recipient. I hope Barbara likes it. They did print out an extra gift receipt, just in case.
I treat myself to a pedicure every couple of months. Not the standard fare of popping into the ubiquitous nail salons in my area, but a high end, highly skilled treatment that really takes care of these bodily extremities and nurtures me as well. My practitioner, a successful business owner, operates her shop solo where she sees one devoted client at a time. She communicates primarily through text messages, which is how I had set up my appointment for last Friday.
Imagine my dismay when I arrived at her salon to find another woman about to dip her feet into the warm, bubbly tub my toes were yearning for. “You’re not expecting me, are you?” I asked, stating the obvious.
My pedicurist looked at me with wonder and said, “No.”
What do you do in 2011 when you believe you’re right and can prove it? I pulled my BlackBerry out of its holster and went directly to her text message that said, “I have anytime on Friday…” Admittedly, this was followed by a couple more phrases which didn’t make sense and I ignored. I texted back, “I’d like 10am on Friday” and put it on my calendar.
Because she’s a savvy business owner, she too has a BlackBerry and also found our correspondence. She looked at it, looked at me, and said, “What I meant to say was I don’t have anytime on Friday.” Human error.
I laughed, had a moment of relief that I wouldn’t have to face the icy parking lot with open-toed shoes, and said good-bye.
I won’t tell you today what transpired. I’m curious to hear what you would have done as the client and the business owner. I’ll post all your comments.