Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Things I Have Learned

It has been an interesting week here at Chez Zimmer. I have been so wrapped up in getting past the Temple Israel Purim event on Saturday, that I haven't really looked ahead - which has been refreshing.

I peeked at the calendar this morning to find that I really have nothing this week. NOTHING. A rare occurrence, indeed. The only evening activity on my calendar this week is a much anticipated girls' night on Saturday.

This past week was the polar opposite. I was sick, had many Jack-related appointments and the stress of a temple-wide bash on the weekend. So this week, I learned that I will work for less money in order to work in my jammies, heavily medicated and with a tissue stuck up each nostril at home. The worth of this particular benefit is immeasurable.

Having worked with volunteers - either in a paid position or as a volunteer and volunteer leader - I take some things for granted. For instance, that volunteers should be a) listened to, b) made to feel as if their contributions are making a difference and c) recognized. This, along with utilizing a volunteer's expertise and passion in any given area is the key, IMHO, to getting them to stick around. This week - actually, this month - I learned that this is not common knowledge. Every organization that works with volunteers should have a basic volunteer management training program. Just my two cents.

Also learned, don't try to have an impassioned conversation filled with heated emotion - either positive or negative - with an intellectual. They either don't want to get it or will try to talk the impassioned individual into the logical, reasonable point of view, which anyone giving an impassioned diatribe doesn't particularly want. Don't kill my buzz, man.

Finally, extraordinary days are possible. Had one today, in fact. My Jack Jack had a perfect day. Grammy and Grandpa were here when he woke up, he went to temple dressed as a pirate where he saw both Mr. Marc and cavorted his most favorite playmate, Mr. Stone.

Here is the beauty of my kid. In the midst of the chaos that was the Purim carnival, my shining star found a balloon and spent a good deal of time batting in around, drawing others into the game with him. He was surrounded by games galore, jumpy houses and about 200 other kids and my fabulous little friend made up his own game and was fantastically happy to be playing it.

After we got home, he was happy to remain dressed in his Purim costume and was incredibly lovey all night.Very snuggly and huggy.He fell asleep as I sung the last song in our nightly bedtime repertoire: Hey Jude. An end to a perfect day.

Already learned, but bears remembering: Be thankful for days like these. Lock them in your memory and draw on them for your strength and your happiness.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crap I Eat in My Car

Although I love my new job, I work weird hours: 10-2. It's awesome, but completely eliminates lunch - which the Fluffy Girl NEEDS. I end up trying to scarf down a snack on the way into work and then, by the time I am done, I am so hungry that I feel more than a little like Godzilla rampaging through the streets of Tokyo.

To this end, I have crammed a lot of crap in my face between work and home. Here is a representative, but incomplete, list of that crap:

  • More Raisin' Cane's chicken fingers that I can count. And fries. Drowned in that special sauce which, I swear to you, must list "crack" as the first ingredient by volume.
  • Hummus and pita.
  • Yogurt parfait.
  • Peanut butter crackers.
  • Maple roasted walnuts from Whole Paycheck
  • Sushi. No, not with chopsticks (but I DID use the soy sauce - big mistake).
  • A startling amount of coffee and Gatorade. Apparently, I am also parched.
While I am completely embarrassed to be seen driving down the road gorging myself on various ethnic foods, a girl's gotta eat. And between the job, the house, the kid, the marriage and the 12 volunteer projects I work on, sometimes that has to happen in the car.

Just thought I'd share. Now excuse me while I see if I can fit this Thai Curry in a go box...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Burned by the Blog (and the 'Book)

I haven't blogged in several weeks. Not for lack of anything to say (HELLO, have we met?) but because of The Incident.

My last post was entitled "Back in the Saddle Again" and was generally a love letter to my new job. I love it. I do. I also am being completely spoiled for any other boss by my current Executive Director. However, in the last post, I mentioned that he seemed a bit scattered and that his desk was messier than my husband's - something I thought impossible.

Hey, guess what?

One of the board members has a Google Alert set up so that anytime someone mentions the name of the organization I work for on the web, he gets notified. Guess who e-mailed my blog post to my brand-spanking-new boss?

Oh yes, you are correct. The board member in question (and other board members that he e-mailed the post to) thought that I was presenting the organization in a poor light. I have summarily deleted both the blog entry and the note on Facebook that pulls directly from this blog.

Let me first explain that 98% (and that is a conservative estimate) was explaining how much I love my job and how lucky and happy I feel to have found this organization. But because my boss has a messy desk (which, in my opinion, leads to the seeming scatteredness... he could find stuff if he cleaned it...) this reflects poorly on the organization? That confuses me. Doesn't EVERY company or organization have at least one person who works under piles of notes and documents? I know my husband is That Guy in his office and I don't think it reflects poorly on him.

Much to my boss's credit, he laughed it off and told the board they were over-reacting. It is worth noting that he has since also cleaned his desk. But I think that is out of fear of what I might do to his office while he is on vacation next month. We joke about it. (But I am dead serious about getting major filing and organization done while he golfs in Florida.)

Do I regret that I called him "seemingly scattered" all over the interwebs? Sure do. He is seriously one of the nicest guys I have ever met and is awesome at his job. The fact that I may have offended him or made him look bad to the board really does pain me. The board didn't take the other 98% of the post into consideration - my screaming from the electronic rooftops about how fantabulous this organization is.

So, I have been cautious. For all I know they now read this blog on a regular basis (which is part of the reason for this post. Really, the organization and the Exec are just awesome and I feel so in my element here.). If they do, I am guessing they won't find me funny, or even amusing. They will just be looking for more ways that I reflect poorly on the association. Which sucks, because I thought I made a pretty good impression in Florida last month. To have undone that with a silly blog post is stupid on my part. I now have to work twice as hard to get back to square one with some of them.

That thudding sound you hear? That is me alternately kicking myself in the pants and banging my head on the desk.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Having an "Aha! Moment"

Columbus experience Snow-megeddon yesterday. Granted, we received less than a foot of snow, but you wouldn't know that from all of the local stations preempting regularly scheduled programs to remind us that it is still, indeed, snowing. That public service announcement was clearly aimed for those living in homes without windows.

We were scheduled to usher at temple last night. While we are quick 10 minute straight shot down Broad St. to the temple, we were worried about the well-being of our babysitter. We called (three times, actually) to cancel her. In what can be viewed as Divine Intervention, she never checked her voice-mail and showed up right on time, so off to temple we went.

Literally 10 people showed up for services in a congregation of 600 families. While I felt bad for the clergy, it did result in a very intimate service. A service that included the Torah portion of the Israelites receiving the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. The ten congregants, plus three clergy, gathered in front of the open Ark, peering in at the Torah while Rabbi Rosenzweig read the parsha. Rabbi Zinkow explained that God spoke to each person at Sinai in a voice they could hear. In the voice of a parent, for instance - a voice that should sound sweet to each listener.

After the reading, the rabbis asked what God is asking of each of us. "Oh!" the voice in my head proclaimed, "That makes sense."

When praying every evening, I always do the thank you prayers and the I-would-appreciate-Your-help-with-this prayers. But I have never included the "What do you want me to do?" prayer. It makes so much sense to me.

And upon asking the question, there, in front of the open Ark, I immediately heard the answer. Patience. Tolerance. Kindness. I had heard that voice only once before in a moment of incredible need while we were trying to get Jack safely into the world.

I will certainly be asking this question more frequently and hope that I have the patience, tolerance and kindness to listen to the answers and act.