Monthly Archives: January 2009

Word of the Day: Stimulus Package

Does anyone else blush when they hear Obama use the term “Stimulus Package?” stimulus-packagebmp4

It’s not often that you get to feel good about a corporation and today, I have reason to feel good about two large American conglomerates – UPS and Starbucks. I’d like to share my stories with the hope that other companies will want to emulate these two fine examples of customer service.

UPS – “Ask what Brown can do for you” Their slogan is Kennedy-esque although I never thought they really meant it – until today.

My daughter ordered three pairs of shoes from Zappos to be delivered on the day that she was catching a plane to leave on a semester abroad in AFRICA. She had ordered sneakers, slip-ons and really cute sandals that she simply couldn’t survive the semester without. At 4pm, the package hadn’t arrived and although the UPS on-line tracking said that it was on  its way, we she needed to catch a plane. NOW.

So…even though my daughter is a big girl and could have done this  herself, I called UPS and asked where the darn truck was. They called me back, I met the truck on the other side of town, the driver checked my ID and handed off the package of shoes. ups_truck1

Then…UPS called to make sure that everything was okay. They called me.  Disaster averted, shoes packed, daughter en route to South Africa for semester abroad. Whew.

I celebrated on the way home from the airport at Starbucks where the stoner behind the counter barrista took my order for a “tall, non-fat  latte” and offered me free whipped cream on top. “Most people don’t know this,” he said,  “but you can get free whipped cream on every beverage at Starbucks.” If everything was run like Starbucks and UPS, we wouldn’t need a stimulus package. images1



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Word of the Day:Hint


Heloise and daughter

My local supermarket has a book shelf where you can dump your old books and magazines and take  new ones for free. I have found a lot of good stuff  there including a 1967 edition of Hints from Heloise.  Heloise’s daughter took over the helpful hint business after the original Heloise died and her column now runs in newspapers around the country and in Good Housekeeping magazine. She even has a hip-looking website.  But it’s the hints from her mother in the 1960’s that I think hold the key to making America great again and might even  save the planet.

Listen to this: “Cut the cuffs of worn-out rubber gloves into narow strips. This will give you rubber bands that will last for quite some time.” Nifty idea. They also sell bags of rubber bands at Staples, for like…fifty-cents. Has our society really changed that much in 40 years or was the housewife who sent in this helpful hint just bragging?

Here’s another: “Don’t throw away those envelopes from greeting cards that haven’t been sealed. I cut off the flaps from the envelopes and stow them in a small box. When I have to leave a not and don’t want the piece of paper to get pushed aside or lost, I just wet the glue and stick the note up in plain sight.” This is the birth of the Post-it note!

And my favorite one… “I cut the tops off my teenage-daughter’s worn bobby socks and discard the foot part. This leaves me with a ribbed tube which I cut so that I have a square of ribbed cloth. I crochet around the edge of this ribbed cloth with leftover crochet cotton, finishing it with a loop on one corner, thereby making a lovely dishcloth!”

I use paper towels. But I think that if we could learn to crochet, start hand-washing the dishes and get our teenage daughters to wear bobby-socks, we might be able to end global warming, rescue the economy and preserve the rain forests. Are you with me?

Heloise and Richard Nixon

Heloise and Richard Nixon

Looking at Heloise’s hat,  I am thinking that perhaps the times really have changed.

A lot.


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Word of the Day: Ciao

My husband has left me and I’m okay with it.

He’s away on a business trip for three nights and four days …in Italy. Now, some women might be jealous and others might be resentful. Some, after holding down the suburban fort and being a single parent for the better part of a week, might expect payback in the form of Prada or Gucci. Not me. I like being home. Let me be more specific. I like being home without Harris.

It’s not that I don’t love Harris and treasure every moment that we have together, I do. It’s just that I like it when he leaves, too. When he’s gone, I admit that I feel a certain freedom. I can eat all the stuff that he hates (green curry, blue cheese and black bean soup), watch the all of the chick flicks that he won’t rent (The Notebook, Baby Mama and anything with Clive Owen) and make coffee that’s really, really strong – not only because I need the extra caffeine to fuel my jam-packed single parenting days, but because that’s how I like it.

Maybe it’s the coffee, but when Harris is away, I get a lot of stuff done – especially the stuff that, if he were here, would require discussion. The last time he went away, I redid the bedroom.







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Word of the Day: Child Labor

I try to teach my kids the value of a dollar. That’s why when our neighbor asked if Lewis would take care of her cat while she went away during the holidays, I made him say  “yes.”  Now, I don’t know if the experience has taught him much, but I have learned a valuable lesson: When my kids have  a job, I am the one who works. child-labor_7866

That’s because I am the one who reminds Lewis that he has to feed the cat. I am the one who nags him before breakfast to walk the four blocks to the neighbor’s house.

“Go feed the cat,” I say. “Get it done early, then you won’t have to think about it anymore.”

“I will, ” he promises. But he doesn’t. His friends come over to play video games and it’s  practically dark by the time he decides he is ready to go.

“Have you seen the key?” Lewis asks.  I have. That’s because  I am the one who keeps track of where he left their front door key and I am the one who hangs it on the hook in the kitchen so it won’t  get lost. I am also the one who finally gives in drives him to their house waits outside while  struggles to open the door and let himself inside to dump food in the cat’s bowl, change the water and scoop the litter box.

Today, another neighbor asked if Lewis would shovel their driveway. I encouraged him to say “yes.”  After all, I do think it’s important for kids to have some kind of job.  Even if it means more work for me.

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