Monday, March 30, 2009

Goin' Postal

I made a trek to the post office today and would like to share an exchange that took place at the counter in front of me while I waited my turn in line (or "on line" as they say in New York and on TV but that's another post):

Customer: I need a book of stamps. But I don't want the ugly ones. What pretty ones do you have?

Postal Employee, Alva: [points unenthusiastically towards a bulletin board adjacent to counter that has samples of each of the stamps that they have. There are a total of 5 different "books" thumbtacked to the board.]

What's up there is what we got. Except for the green ones. We out of those.

Customer: [scans board for a second, then says:] OK, I'll take the ones that have the blue and orange on them.

Alva: Those are Breast Cancer Awareness stamps and cost $___ so much more than a normal book; the extra money going to the charity.

Customer: OK, well, how about the ones with Mickey Mouse on them.

Alva: Let me check. I think we out of those, too. [Checks drawer.] Yep, we out of those, too.

Customer: [Sighs] OK, how 'bout the ones with the plane on them?

Alva: Those are 59-cent ones.

Customer: Well, what 42-cent ones DO you have?

Alva: [looks in drawer, then reports:] We have the "Forever" stamps.

Customer: How much are THOSE?

Alva: They whatever the going rate is which is 42-cents right now but if the rate goes up -- like it's gonna in May -- they still good.

Customer: OK, I'll take one of those.

[End Scene]

Now, it took me almost as long to type and recount this as it did to stand in line, horrified, and watch it the first time around.

Key lesson, though, kids: Stamps are going up on May 11th to 44-cents. Happy mailing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hung Up

I went to a store today and purchased two dresses. Now neither were "big ticket items" but, collectively, I was dropping about $75-80 bucks. When I went to the cash register, I asked the clerk if she had two hangers I could take with me. It's my nice way of saying, "may I please have these two cheap plastic hangers upon which these dresses came?" Yes, I prefer in most cases my white plastic tubular hangers from Target or, for special items, a good wooden hanger, but a lot of times, I prefer the ones from the store. They're cheap, I figure they're built into my purchase price and they have the nifty notches on top for sleeveless numbers to keep them from slipping off. Now, if I'm buying a tank top for $2.99, no, I don't request the hanger. But if it's a nicer pair of pants or a dress, yes, I do.

So, in response to my question, the saleslady says, "no, hon...we don't give our hangers away." First of all, please don't call me "hon" (or "Val.") That was strike one but I remained focused on the task at hand. I said, "well, that's a shame. I'm spending a little money here in your store, I know for a fact these are a dime a dozen and I'd hate to buy two perfectly un-wrinkled dresses and then cram them into a little bag." She looked at me, looked at the dresses and then proceeded to replace the dresses on the hangers while she muttered -- yes, muttered -- "well, I'll just let you have them if it's going to upset you."

Battle won but not the war. Customer service, people! never goes out of fashion.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Movers & Shakers

I want you to meet some really neat people...the Oatsvall family.

Scott is a coach at my school and he's the only Oatsvall I know personally but I feel a kinship with this family and since they have been on my mind and heart lately, I wanted to introduce them to you.

They had two sons then adopted a daughter, Emily, from China. After Emily came another tug on the adoption heartstrings and they adopted a special-needs little girl, Maggie, also from China. They are now in the process of bringing two more children into their lives, a sibling pair from Uganda, Africa, Abigail and Joseph.

I find their story beyond interesting, a little (OK a lot) scary, and just extremely inspirational. I've never felt more like a rock just sitting on the beach being bumped around by the tide than when I read about what all this family was doing for the 1st time. They are just super folks, have enormous hearts and live their love for the Lord every day.

Someone told me about their blog at work and one night I thought I'd go and check it out. Before I knew it, I had been reading for close to an hour and had gone back months in their posts, following their journey. Now I look forward to good news, share the bumps and obstacles and pray for these people who are on a remarkable journey.

In the days, weeks, months since getting to know these people through their blog (a.k.a., cyber stalking), Jesus has really turned my heart to the topic of adoption. Something I'd never really thought about before. I still laugh, incredulously, at the notion, for several reasons, but my mind and heart is open to whatever He may have up His sleeve and in store for me. Perhaps, I'm just supposed to be more aware. Maybe I'm supposed to become more involved in another pet project to which I have been following closely and feeling pulled towards lately, Sweet Sleep.

Who knows. All I can say, today, is "I'm listening."

Wut on urth iz tha wurl cuming tu?

Twice in the last four days, I've seen some appalling displays of our educational system (or the lack thereof). On Friday, I saw this in the Brentwood Walgreen's. These stickers were on every one of the shopping carts:

Then this weekend in Atlanta, I saw a sign twirler (you know the guys), standing on the corner holding a sign that read "Townhouse Action." I tried to take a picture quickly but it didn't turn out. Now, either there was a pivotal "u" missing from the word "Auction" or there was something freaky going on down at the townhomes.

So, what do we do? How do we correct this, pull ourselves collectively up from our spellchecking bootstraps and improve our communication? Maybe it's as simple as slowing down a bit, paying a little more attention and not relying solely on that little "ABC" button to help us cross our "t's" and dot our "i's."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

You wouldn't know it today....

...but Spring is in the air!

The Bradford Pears have bloomed (shown here on Old Hickory Boulevard) here and everywhere around town, lining the city streets and speckling yards with what appears from a distance as ginormous vanilla ice cream cones.

When the BP's come out, I take it as a direct message from God. "Look what I can do." And also, "Hang in there just a little longer."

In 4 weeks (or less), the white blooms will be gone, replaced by green leaves but for this moment in time, we have this magical, horticultural phenom to enjoy. At once, it looks like silvery snow hanging from the limbs and a burst of Springy rebirth.

So on this day, I offer up a prayer. "Lord, thank you for little signs you send down that say 'I'm here.' And for all the ones we don't notice, I love big, screaming ones like the BPs on OHB."