Not in an intimate way, but I love the guy who does our taxes. I think I love him more because of the last guy who did our taxes. That's a guy I did not love. When I asked the last guy why $20,000 from my business account had been sent to the IRS without me even knowing, his reply was, "Oh, you should have asked me how much I was sending." WHAT??? Owning my own business is new to me, so I repeatedly say, "Please hold my hand through this. I don't even know what questions to ask." Dave is incredibly financially savvy, but all the rules and regs of owning a corporation even stymie him. I was so frustrated by his lack of communication, we switched tax guys and I love the one we have now. Communication is key for him, as well, and we laugh and joke to build the relationship.
This evening, I witnessed a most hilarious conversation, one that sounded like me talking to someone about what I didn't know about business, corporations, and taxes. Or better yet, it sounded like a conversation you might have heard in 1990.
I was in south Chicago ready to consult and train tomorrow, but ready to try some of the local Italian fare, so I went to a recommended restaurant near my hotel.
As I munched on my salad and fresh bread, waiting for my baked shells, I heard the following conversation between the restaurant owner and two of her waitresses:
Owner: Have either of you ever used a laptop computer?
Waitress 1: I've seen one but I only have one of those computers that sits on my desk.
Waitress 2: Yeah, I have a laptop at home and an I-pod, too, to play my music.
Owner: I see sales for laptops in the paper today but I wonder if you have a laptop, do you need another internet connection?
W2: I don't think so. I think your desktop internet connection will get you to the internet.
W1: Yeah, I think you do need another internet connection for the laptop. I don't think you can use the same juice for two things.
W2: I use the connection with the world on it and I think my granddaughter can get on mine when she brings her laptop over to my house. Oh no! I hope it isn't charging me more when she gets on my connection.
W1: Oooohhh....you better check into that. You could get a big bill from AOL if you aren't careful. I think you'll pay an extra per-minute charge if someone else hooks up to your internet.
W2: Have you ever used Google?
W1: No way. I heard it uses too much working memory.
W2: That's why I use that one with the world on it. By the way...does your desktop computer cost more to get on the internet than my laptop?
W1: I don't think so but now I wonder....
They both turn to the owner who is looking at them like they both have three heads. The owner, without missing a beat, says, "Forget about the laptop. I'll just keep watching t.v."
That conversation reminded me of the old question, "Do you ride the bus to school or do you bring your lunch?" Say what?
In other news, my shells tasted great!
Just for today, perhaps we should make sure that when we converse with another person, we are talking the same language.
We have all heard the stories of dumb questions airline passengers ask:
*"Can I get some fresh air? Why can't I open the window?"
*"Can you turn down the engine noise? I'm trying to read."
*"Why did the engine stop?" (when the pilot reduces power after take-off)
*"Can you make the baby stop crying?" (I really do get that crying babies set many travelers on edge but what is the flight attendant supposed to do?)
And the ever-popular "Do you know who I am?" to which I have heard a flight attendant reply, "No, but I hope you do."
I am certain these and many others provide fodder for water-cooler talk for airline employees.
Well, I am happy to report I am now one of the many statistics for dumb questions asked. And....I'm so happy, I'm going to share it with you.
After working in San Antonio the other day, I was scheduled to travel back to Tucson, AZ that evening via a connecting flight in Houston. My layover in Houston was only 50 minutes, and since I finished work in San Antonio earlier than expected, I hoped to hop on an earlier flight to Houston for added "cushion". The representative at the ticket counter said, "It looks like it's a full flight but head to the gate and see if you can fly stand-by at the last minute."
"Great. Thanks!" I said and I took off towards the gate.
As I approached the gate at which the earlier flight was about to board, I asked the gate agent, "Any chance I can get a seat on this flight? I am supposed to be on the later one but it would help a bunch if I could get there sooner to avoid a tight layover." The gate agent smiled and said, "I can put you on stand-by but the odds aren't great."
I asked, "The flight is full?"
She replied, "No, actually, there are 50 seats but it's weight-restricted to 35 folks."
I actually thought for a minute before I asked, but I had to do it. "I'm curious. How do they know they need to weight-restrict it? Do you already know there are going to be some heavy folks on board?"
Without missing a beat, she busted up laughing. (good grief!) She slapped her thigh, even, and said, "That is literally the funniest thing I've heard in months. That is so cute!" She paused to wipe a tear from her eye and then said, "I've got to tell Jenny" and turned around to the other gate agent to tell her how hilariously stupid I am.
Meanwhile, I still didn't know the answer to my question, although I had a sneaking suspicion my guess was incorrect.
The gal who had just provided Jenny with the best story of the month finally came back to me and said, "So, no, they don't know the weights of the passengers. They just have a lighter load of fuel this trip so they can't fill the flight."
Ah! Makes sense!
Suffice it to say, I got on that flight. I think they made sure they made room for the crazy lady who gave them the best laugh of the month.
For myself, I am grateful to provide that workday humor and hope we can all be as gracious! :)
Just for today, I am hopeful you can find humor in all that you do.
Dave's dad used to say he felt closest to God when he was out on the lake fishing. If I fished in North Dakota, I would feel closer to a icicle.
My own mother said she "worshiped the trees of East Texas".
Dave grew up Catholic. I grew up Episcopalian. Some of my best friends in grade school and high school were Jewish.
As I travel a great deal for work right now, I don't always get a chance to go to church in the same place at the same time each week. Dave and I decided to go to a sunrise Easter service this morning. Sunrise in Tucson is gorgeous. Cool air, bright blue sky, and praise and worship music. Beautiful!
As the pastor began to speak about the perplexing nature of Easter, a hush fell over the crowd. Except....except for the birds. As soon as he began speaking, one bird began "cheep cheep". Then another went "twert, twert, twert". Another chimed in with a louder "Peet-peet-peet-peet". I almost laughed outloud as they overtook the attention of the congregation. All I could think was "we all come to worship in a different way".
Just for today, perhaps we should realize that when we all come together, we may speak, worship or love in a different way. But, we can still communicate.
So grateful, today, for God, family, friends, and the ability to do work that I love. I hope you are too!
In educational consulting, we highly encourage school leaders to not just tell teachers what they need to do differently but to ask them questions to help them further their reflective practice. Sometimes, I feel compelled to clarify that we wouldn't encourage a question if they are seeing something unsafe in the classroom. For example, if two students are hanging from the ceiling lights, it might not be wise to ask: "How do you feel your students behaved during the lesson?"
I have recently encountered two other big times not to ask questions.
Going to the dentist is not my all-time favorite activity as I accidentally bit down on the drill while having a tooth filled when I was nine. But I admit my newly discovered Tucson dentist has me convinced they have my best interests at heart. I love my dental hygienist. She seems so interested in my dental care and compliments me on my flossing behaviors.
But.....as she was cleaning my teeth a few weeks ago, she had the pick (otherwise known as the devil's tool), the water and the suction in my mouth at the same time. And that was the moment she chose to ask me, "How did you bite down on the drill, again?" Hmmmm....what to do? what to do? Do I start pulling out the 45 instruments that are currently filling up my mouth? This is not a yes/no question, either. Luckily, she realized the error of her ways sooner than later, laughed, and said, "I'll ask you in a bit. Just relax." (which is a funny instruction for me, anyway)
Today might win the prize, though. I was spending the morning at my lady doctor, having my well-woman exam. To keep it G rated, suffice it to say I had to have my upper and lower well-woman issues examined. Being required to strip down to a paper dress (which, by the way, is a laughable style statement) might be difficult enough but in mid-examination, my dear doctor chose that moment of exploration to ask me to tell her more about my travel, specifically, "Tell me about your travels." Really? I'm not certain I can concentrate on anything else besides the poking and prodding I am hoping will be finished soon. Much less am I able to do a Trip Advisor update in the midst of all this.
So, I believe in paying it forward. So, as Dave sat down after a long day at work to relax and read the newspaper, I leaned over and asked, "What are your top five reasons for loving me?" :)
Just for today, perhaps we can think before we ask questions that might otherwise wait for a better time.
I worked in the northeast yesterday and drove back to the airport to catch a 5:30 p.m. flight back to Tucson. As I got to the airport, I noticed the board indicated my flight was already 20 minutes late. Oh no! I knew I was already cutting it close with only a 50 minute layover in Houston. "I really would rather not spend the night in Houston!" I thought. To be clear, I love Texas----love IT! But there is something about the lure of sleeping in my own bed that motivated me to check the board. Another flight was leaving for Houston in 20 minutes!! I got in the line for security and began the snail's pace that reminds me that busy airports resemble rush hour. In front of me was a gentleman (loose term) who had already began imbibing prior to getting in this security line. Rush hour---happy hour---same?
As the line crawled towards the security desk, drunken fool began to express his feelings about the line. "This airport stinks!" "What are they thinking?" and many other gems graced our line time.
By the time we got through security, I jogged towards the "leave-early-gate" only to see no gate agent there and the door closed. The flight was closed. Up saunters Guy-who-should-not-have-any-more-alcohol. As the gate agents come back from releasing the flight, he starts in, "Why did you guys already shut the door?" They calmly responded, "Sir, the flight is supposed to leave at 4:40 and it is now 4:41." Ranting and raving, he stomps off to --- YEA!---try to get a seat on my original flight.
The 5:30 flight was delayed about 40 minutes, and "my friend" made it on the flight only to begin yelling at the gate, "Why does THIS flight have to be late when the last flight left early??" I couldn't help but wonder what he expected them to respond. The folks standing near me and I just exchanged smiles which, translated, said in no uncertain terms, "Aren't you glad you aren't married to this special someone?"
I knew before I boarded where he would be sitting and I was right----the seat in front of me! The couple that sat next to me was from Mexico and as the guy in front of us began rocking (and squeaking) the seat back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth), the Spanish guy looked at me. I believe he wanted to know if everyone in the U.S. is an idiot. The Spanish gal looked at me as the squeaking chair got louder and louder and she began to.....giggle. It was contagious. I couldn't help it. Call me giddy from fatigue at this point, but I began giggling too (softly, of course. I taught students with behavior issues for long enough to know you NEVER show you find misbehavior amusing----it will NEVER END!)
Well, apparently, it does end.....after slamming down three rum and cokes within a 30 - minute time frame. After that, his head dropped to his chest and for the rest of the flight.....just snoring. (Lucky seat mates, he had).
At the end of the flight, I turned on my phone to see a text from my airline---telling me they had booked me a seat on a flight to Tucson the next morning!! I looked at the time as the door to the jet bridge opened----15 minutes exactly until the flight to Tucson would leave. Could I make it?? Two terminals away. They close the flight at the 10 minute mark. I'm in a dress and high-heeled boots. I am carting my roller board. Can I make it? I have faith until drunken dude realizes AT THE DOOR that he forgot his jacket. He has to get past us to swim upstream like a salmon back to his seat. I believe I came dangerously close to knocking him into an empty seat as the rest of us exited the plane as rapidly as possible. And then I sprinted.....no, ran.... to the next gate. I had to laugh at all the people I passed who were outright laughing at me maneuvering through the airport in my boots that were NOT made for walking. As I approached the blessed B10, I heard the voice of an angel, "Arneson? You can relax. We were about to shut the door but we knew you were coming. You made it. Relax"
The heavens opened up and I came extremely close to weeping. As I sat down in my seat, I saw that everyone around me had a book and was quietly reading. No hint of crazy-boy-who-should-not-drink-anymore. Whew! Heading home.....
Just for today, when things start to look rough, can you find a way to find humor or look on the bright side? For me, it makes all the difference in the world!