Thursday, August 30, 2007

Save the Assistants

I've been meaning to post about some of the issues of being an office assistant, and just happened across this short piece. The website Save the Assistants sounds very interesting but I haven't had the chance to look at it yet.

For me, the most frustrating part of the job is being asked to do things which I have not been given the tools to do. Because of high turnover, no one here has any idea what vendors we use for certain things, what our lease information is for office equipment, etc. So "order more envelopes" is a huge project because I first have to somehow figure out what we did last time, then get authorized by our accounting department in our corporate office to place an order. And they have gotten behind on so many bills that we have had service cut off. Our fax/copier was broken and it took a week to get a payment to the repair people so that they would fix it - and in the meantime, everyone kept coming to me to find out why it was still not working. Or the other annoying task of being asked to make a phone call without being told all the info the person will need - so then I have to go back to the boss for more information and I end up sounding stupid.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Singles perspective part 2

See my previous post for the article. I was about to write a long response to Selena, and realized that it was turning into a whole post....

I was also crying when I read this. I really hear her sadness and how bad some people make her feel. Many people do not think before they speak, and it is shocking how many really offensive things people can find to say. (And that doesn't even include things that most of us who are well-meaning say and do on a daily basis without meaning harm.)

Unfortuantely, those of us who would like to act in the way she suggests know the other side.

1. Unlike many people who talk about "the singles crisis," I am aware that not every person who is unmarried is looking to change that. And I am pretty sure that there are just a higher number of women than men who are concerned with getting married.

2. In addition, there are the people (again, I have heard it from more men than women) who believe they want to be married but aren't really interested in actually doing so. I know this because they choose who to date based only on appearance. My first attempt to actually try being a shadchan for a stranger was with a guy who seemed like a really quality person until he dropped the "she has to be skinny" thing into the conversation. Later on, he told me he had been having an e-mail correspondence with a lovely woman from our community who I am friendly with. Well, she is a full-figured person and I just knew he would never be interested in continuing. The weight thing, as has been discussed on so many other blogs, is the biggest issue but there are certainly other limits I have heard as well (no one divorced, no one over 30, woman can't be older than the man, and on and on....)

3. For every friend who feels as this author does, that she wants her married friends to make suggestions, there are just as many who would consider it offensive for me to make any attempt at assisting in their search. (Including women who go to random shadchanim, but don't want their personal friends to make suggestions.) I have a friend who goes to singles events, shadchanim, etc. But she got upset when a couple she met at our Shabbos table said that one of their best friends might be a good match for her, and wouldn't allow us to follow up on it for her.

What we all can do, though, is just try our best to not say or do things that will clearly be offensive. For example, the couple above could have spoken to me privately after meeting my friend instead of discussing it around the table. And as the author explains, this is not only about "singles" - this applies to everyone because we each have our own life situations.

Singles perspective

I usually put off posting great articles that I've read until I have time to make some comments, which I never do. So I am posting this without my own comment for now. I though this article expressed so beautifully the perspective of people who are single, and there are a lot of thoughtful ideas in the comments section as well. I think the main point is that we all need to be sensitive to whatever life situation our friends and community members are in.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Parenting Article

I just read this nice parenting article. Those of us who have now been moms for a while have learned that you can't be perfect, and just have to do the best you can.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Can You Believe This?

My son's school has 2 classes per grade, and our school's policy is that you try to invite your whole class, or all of one gender. (I jokingly considered having my son invite all the girls only!) If you are only inviting a few kids, that's ok but you have to be discreet.

We have a slight advantage with a summer birthday, in that it is not likely that the kids will discuss among themselves who got invited. Even so, I decided to invite my son's new class as a chance to meet each other. (This includes kids he already knows, some he does not because they were in the other class last year, and a few new students.) We were thrilled to see that most of the mean boys from last year are now in the other class, so we happily did not invite them. There was one who Dovid liked, but I decided that if we invited him we'd have to invite another kid "Joey," who is a big behavior problem and has been quite rude to my son. We only chose 2 special friends from the other class, both girls and neither of them in any contact during the summer with the boys we didn't invite. (So, to summarize, we didn't single anyone out from the other class, but certainly were glad to be able to avoid certain people, including Joey.)

So the kids started arriving, and one mom came with three of the guests. Wait, I am looking closer at the three incoming kids....There were many kids who my son and I didn't know, so I thought maybe this one kid just LOOKS, I'm right - it's Joey! Yes, everyone, we had a 5-year-old party crasher! Someone actually sent their child to a party to which he was not invited, and without an RSVP.

To Joey's credit, he behaved most of the time, said hello to my son (which he often does not do in school), and brought a present. And my son was amazing - he QUIETLY said to me "Why is Joey here?" then acted perfectly nicely to him just like any other guest.

I have been over the situation and can only think of two good explanations. One is that the mom honestly believed that we would have invited her son and that we made a mistake. Fair enough, I guess, especially since apparently an invitation addressed to my son got lost in the mail a few weeks ago. But in that case, wouldn't she have called to RSVP?

Other explanation - the other mom was watching the kids for the morning and had to bring him. But again, no phone call or explanation at the door. And he brought a present, which means some thought went into this.

I'm just still waliking around like "Wow, we had a party crasher. Unbelievable..." I am not mad and certainly will not say anything to the mom, but you just have to wonder...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Birthday Party (part 1)

When I was in kindergarten, my parents had the class over to the house for my birthday. Even though the party was in our yard, the kids made their way into the house and climbed all over things. I was hesitant about giving my son a party at home because of this experience, but a few weeks ago DH had a great idea for a low-key party – pancake breakfast (with the kids in their pajamas) and Sunday morning cartoons. With the addition of one game (tape-the-tail-on-the-donkey, requested by my son), we pulled this off quite successfully yesterday.

Actually, it was supposed to be next week. Last Friday, a few hours before Shabbos, we got a call from another mother in the class. Apparently she had already invited all the boys on the date we had picked. So we were calling people right before Shabbos to let them know that the date was changed. My whole family was in town for our birthdays (my son and I have the same birthday) so the house was quite full, but I liked that my parents got to see the kids that their grandson spends time with. We had a teenager take care of the baby, and my best friend was a huge help with serving the food and keeping the kids in line.

The cartoon thing was a huge hit – and the kids were even excited to watch something educational. The only chaos was during the game, when the kids crowded into the dining room to play the donkey game. They even threw out their own trash!

I really enjoyed the chance to give The Party before school opens, not only so the kids could meet but also so that I could meet the parents. There were two new kids who were very shy and their parents (who were really nice) stayed at the party.

There was only one “incident,” and it will be the topic of tomorrow’s post (although some of you have heard me talk about it already.) It is not something that was a huge problem, but raises a lot of birthday party etiquette issues.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Cool Map

Here's the states I've been to:

create your own visited states map