Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get A Grip has moved!

It's time to say goodbye to Blogger.  It's been a great platform for sharing my wit and wisdom with the world!

Come with me to my new digs:

Same brilliant tips, same fabulous prose.  Check it out!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Guest Post! Learning To Love Your Junk Drawer

My friend Rhiana, with whom I bonded years ago over the lethal combination of designer shoes and wedding planning.  When a friendship begins in such a manner, naturally it's going to thrive.

You can find more of Rhiana's musings over on she is a frequent contributor of much acclaim.  I invited her to write a post because I know she's crafty (in more of the "makes craft-type things" way than the "she gets around" way, at least for purposes of my blog...) and she and I tend to be of the same mind when it comes to organizing.  As it turns out, she ran into a common organizing conundrum, which she of course turned into a victory.  Enjoy!

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When Kristie asked me to guest blog I was ecstatic.  What you may not know is that I love, love, love me some Kristie B.    I just adore this woman and I jump at in any opportunity to be part of her amazingness.  (Yes, I just made up that word).  

So Kristie initially asked me to blog about my craft/art area since I teach art.  So that is what I started doing.  And then I realized my craft area doesn't actually functioning the way I really need it to function.  So I tore it apart and put it together again.  Still no dice.  So I am going to work on that some more and hopefully Kristie will be gracious enough to invite me back when it is finished so I can reveal that   to you.  Oh, and the moral to that story- just because it is organized doesn't make it functional.

So instead of my craft room I am going to share something else.  Something dark and personal.  My "junk" drawer.  Now I think it goes without saying that if it was truly junk it would be in the garbage so "junk" for me is that miscellaneous stuff that doesn't really have a home but you need to keep somewhere.  I have for you exhibit A:

So I used a bamboo kitchen organizer from either Williams-Sonoma or Crate and Barrel (I can't remember which) to wrangle all of my crap.  In the way back I have my label maker.  Now I don't use it every day but I use it often enough that it needs to be handy.  And if you don't have one you should go get one.  Like now.  Or after you finish reading my very, very important post.

I keep all my charging stuff in there.  All the camera and phone cords are in their own compartment.  I always know where they are and I always know where to find them.  The front left is where I keep my pens and post it notes.  The middle back is where I keep my D batteries.  Why just the D batteries you ask...?  Well, the rest of the batteries belong in the "Man Room" (which is a post for another day).  The D batteries belong in the heavy duty Mag Light flashlight that we keep in the kitchen for power outages so it makes sense that in an emergency we aren't shlepping down the dark stairs to our basement and into the dark, dark Man Room looking for extra batteries.  We also have lighters, a stapler, the camera, tape, and extra wine cork in there.  The key here is the drawer organizer.  This prevents things from sliding around every time you open and close the drawer and also prevents search and destroy missions.  When things are compartmentalized you can see things so much better. (Close your eyes, can you see everything in your "junk" drawer?  If not, go and get your drawer organizer.  And your label maker.)  A place for everything and everything in it's place.  It becomes less of a "junk" drawer and more of a miscellaneous drawer.

To recap, the organizing tips are:

* Just because it is organized doesn't mean it is functional
* Drawer organizers are indeed the best thing since sliced bread
* Get a Label maker.  It will change your life in ways you never thought possible.

Thanks again to Kristie B for letting me guest blog- she is da Bomb!  For reals yo!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Embarrassment Of Movie Riches

Movies are our thing.  As a family and individually, if we're home, we're watching a flick.  On my first date with Mr. Incredible, we went out for lunch and then came back to my house and watched National Lampoon's Vacation (true story!).  My paradise is a trip to the Sundance Film Festival with a few friends and a backpack full of foldover sandwiches and six movies back to back (this has happened, and it raised the standard for movie awesomeness).

We cancelled our cable almost a year ago, and in the interest of filling that void, we upped our internet speed and loaded our Roku Box with Netflix and Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime.  We also have a shelf full of the movies that we love and must own, as well as Boo's other shelf of all of the Disneys.  We are loaded to the gills with movies.  It's becoming a problem.

On any given Friday or Saturday afternoon, we'll say "Hey tonight let's watch a movie."  Fantastic.  We put Boo to bed by 8:30 with high hopes to start a movie by 9.  And then we start clicking through the Netflix queue (184 titles as of this morning, after a 10% purge).  Then we move on to Hulu in case there's something they've added that we don't know about.  Then we go to Amazon Prime, in case there's something they've added that we don't know about.  We've likely added a dozen or so movies that garner an "oh that's a good one but not for tonight" response along the way.

An hour later, we still haven't picked a movie, and now we're drowsy because we've spent an hour slackjawed doing basically nothing.  And we end up just turning the TV off.  There's just too much from which to choose.  We are paralyzed by the sheer size of the available selection (poor us!).

One of the reasons we cancelled cable was that we spent so much time surfing past crap (there's really too much to link to...) to end up on one of the dozen channels we always watched.  Truth be told, a year later, all I really miss is Food Network and Turner Classic Movies.  Mr Incredible misses the ESPN genre.  Boo doesn't really care because she still gets all her same stuff, to the point where she has skewed my Netflix recommendations firmly into Children & Family.

So what do we do?  I mean, it's totally a First World Problem, I know.  But it's everywhere.  We shop at Costco, and while I love what they have, I hate how much of it you have to get.  There's just so much.  It's like we've forgotten what it's like to have enough of something.  We were watching Mary Poppins (for the billionth time) (because it's a movie and that's what we do) and she says in her inimitable way, "Enough is as good as a feast".

Enough is as good as a feast.  Whoa.  Mary Poppins, you just blew my mind.

I've talked about my love of "galore".  In my world, galore is when you have enough to share.  A hundred thousand available movies is not galore.  A hundred thousand movies is overwhelming to the point where I just go get a book (or I download one to my just-acquired Kindle, which has opened up a whole new world of overwhelming...).  It never ends.  It's not a feast.  It's gluttony.

Even though everything that is available may not take up actual physical space in our home, it's still clutter.  It's a mess in my head, and that's just as bad as a mess in my house.  Worse, in fact, because it's not like you can just un-know something and get that brainspace back.

I'm not sure what my solution is for this one.  What's your solution?  What do you do when there are just too many options?  Are you like me and you just check out?  Or do you pick something just for the sake of picking something and settle and it's FINE.  This is probably not the last time I'll write about this topic.  It's ongoing for me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summertime, and the living is easy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was staring dolefully at the apricots we'd received in that week's farm share basket.  I'm not a big fan of apricots--when I was a kid, we had an apricot tree in the back yard that exploded into thousands of nasty bits of orange slime each pecked once or twice by a bird before it fell to the ground and rotted, and it was most often my job to pick them up.  GROSS.  Seriously disgusting.  I've lived a good life free of apricots for 25 years, no regrets.

But then they showed up in our basket, and Mr Incredible (rightly) insists on at least trying everything in the farm basket and not just waiting out the shelf life of whatever we don't like so we can just toss them.  So I had to deal with some rapidly ripening apricots tout de suite.  Fine.

I'd made strawberry preserves before, and it was kind of involving.  The simple act of locating Sure-Jell in a suburban desert grocery store almost killed the whole process.  Sterilizing jars in the Great Big Family Canner?  Crazy.  But it happened.  I knew I could do it, but I knew that there had to be an easier way.  I mean, Laura Ingalls didn't have to do that every freaking time, right?

No.  As it turns out, she did not.  She may have anyway, because that's how they roll By The Shores of Silver Lake.  But maybe she was just a glutton for punishment.  Or maybe she just didn't have The Google.  Because a quick search for "easy apricot jam" led me here and a whole new world of culinary wonder was revealed to me.  Twenty minutes after I thought "Maybe I could make jam...?" I had made jam, and it was cooling on the counter.

I made this!
I added some vanilla extract, and it became a marvelous dessert topping as well.  I was so full of myself that I also baked bread, because one simply does not put homemade jam on store bread.

When I was properly stuffed with bread and jam (omg so good), I came back to the Google and started sniffing around for similar recipes.  How many times have I tossed furry strawberries and blueberries and insert-name-of-berry-here-berries because I buy more than I can possibly eat?  I started with strawberries, and I found this great, simple, no-fail recipe that tells you how you can do the sterilizing and canning, but also how you don't have to.  Long story short, if you're going to eat the jam "immediately", which I assume to be within 7-10 days refrigerated, you just extended the life of your fruit.

I quickly found that there are two types of jam-makers: those who require pectin (Sure-Jell) and those who do not.  I do not.  Right then, things got easier.  Cindy Burke at blew my mind by putting it all on one site.  The riper your fruit is, the sweeter the end result and the less sugar you'll need.  Your fruit doesn't have to be perfect, but make sure it's clean and not fuzzy or similar.  You cook it down, stir in some sugar and lemon juice (lemon keeps it from turning brown) and if you know it's going to cook up tart or overly sweet or whatever, you season accordingly.  In my experience, you cannot go wrong with vanilla.  It makes just about anything better (amIright? yeah.).  When I get some strawberries, I'm going to go off the grid and toss in some fresh basil.  Doesn't that sound wonderful? YUM.

What I love about this is that it's super quick and doesn't require anything that you don't have in your kitchen already.   You don't need to break out Grandma's great big canner.  You can do this tonight for tomorrow's pancakes.  Really.

I would be remiss if I did not include some very clear information and finger-wagging about safety.  Food preparation is serious business.  Taking a dozen peaches and making jam for your family is great, as long as you're careful about your environment.  At, we learn scary things about E.coli and tells us all about the dangers of botulism (scroll down).

So that's it.  Don't shy away from buying as much summer fruit as you possibly can.  Eat all you want fresh out of the bushel basket.  When you're turning into Violet Beauregarde, just make some jam.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Guest Post! Movin’ on up

My friend Christina offered to lend a new voice to Get A Grip.  Her background is in Interior Design, and her current status as a bona fide New Yorker give her serious space management cred.  

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Hi.  I’m Christina, and I’m a fan of the folks over at Get A Grip.  You know, there are days when I read the blog and see the Huddle Up and I say “Amen, sister!” and there are others when I learn something new.   I’m big on organization over here too, even though we’re kind of messy. Messy, but hey, I know where pretty much everything is.  To be honest, my organization happens mostly behind closed doors.  Our closets and drawers are freakishly neat. Most of the time.

So why am I here? A little bit of a different perspective, some of my own organization tips, and most of it in the context of moving.  You see, we over here are “movin’ on up”.  We, my little family of 3 and a dog, are living in New York City (East Coast, represent!) and while we aren’t moving to the East Side, we are moving “up” – 10 blocks north, to be precise, and we are doubling our space.  This move will happen in about 3 months, and in the meantime we are trying to sell our current home and I am obsessively planning everything ahead for the new place.  The Get A Grip folks and I thought that sharing the experience with you, the lovely readers, might be worthwhile.  They help you get your life organized, and maybe, just maybe, I can help with ideas to get your stuff organized.  So let’s humor each other a bit, why don’t we?

Binge & Purge. Clothing, that is.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a new dress.  A really cute one too.  I needed to hang it up, and when I stepped into my closet I realized that not only were my dresses crammed into the dress section, but some were forced to share hangers.  Quel horror!  So the dress stayed folded in the shopping bag, which sat on the floor of my closet.  This is never good.  I mean, why would a new dress want to be hidden from view?  It should be out there, looking at me, saying “wear me!”, and not in seclusion waiting to be forgotten.

So then one fine rainy Saturday, I found it: my Motivation.  The voice inside my head was screaming at me to go clean out the closet.  And I listened.  And once I was done I had a big pile of stuff that I wasn’t going to keep.  And herein lies the problem: what to do with it all.  Sure, Goodwill comes to mind, but that’s too easy, and let’s be honest, not always the right place for everything.  Why don’t we discuss our options here, of where to send those old friends of yours who you are sending out into the world.


I have some stuff that is on the ‘nicer’ end of the spectrum, clothes that maybe I can make some money back on.  It’s not like I’m running around in Chanel over here (I wish), but there are some “ready to wear” brands that you’d find in the fancier sections of your local department store.  One never knows – they might be worth something and don’t I owe it to myself to find out? 
One thing I have learned is that there are resale and consignment shops for every level and price range of clothes.  Even if you can make just one dollar on something, isn’t that better than nothing?  It might seem like a chore, hauling your stuff to the shop on the off chance they will want your stuff, but you know what? Just do it.  You may have a local shop where you can do this, or you can find a shop that is part of a larger chain, such as Plato’s Closet (for your clothes-horse teen) or Second Time Around (for your fancy department store stuff).

Charity shops

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are the biggies here, but you might also look at donating your non-resalable clothing to a local church or other charitable organization.  Here in NYC my preferred donation location of choice is Housing Works, which provides services, advocacy, and housing for those in the community suffering from AIDS.  The shops don’t just accept and sell clothing – they take books and some furnishings as well. (I bought our AMAZING Danish modern dining set there for a relative steal).   Bottom line, if your can’t get money back from your clothes at a resale shop, you may as well send it out into the world to do good for someone else.


I read a shocking statistic that, at least here in New York, textiles make up almost 6% of landfill waste.  SIX PERCENT! And as much as we like to tell ourselves that the stuff we throw out is biodegradable (or whatever) the truth is that once something is part of the landfill and is buried under other Stuff and deprived of light and air, well, it’s just not going to break down and become on with the earth.  It’s just not.

Here in NYC we are lucky to have textile recycling available to us, and I can drop off stuff at any number of local farmer’s markets.  What would you recycle?  Anything you might not know what to do with that you might be sneaking into your Goodwill bag with the hopes that they will figure it out.  “Who me?”, you say. Yeah you, you know what I’m talking about.  The t-shirt with a hole in it, or the duvet cover that has ripped at the seams, or the favorite pyjama pants that you split the seat on thus rendering them unwearable, even in the privacy of your own home.  The damaged stuff that still has large areas of good useable fabric, that’s the stuff I’m talking about. 

If you can find local textile recycling, then this is an awesome option.  The sad truth is that I have seen torn-open garbage bags on the sidewalk outside of some charity shops filled with clothing that they didn’t deem acceptable.  You think you are asking them to deal with it so you don’t have to, and they’re just throwing it in the trash anyways. This bums me out.

Other things for the more ambitious

I can’t exactly throw up a sign and have a garage sale here on the island of Manhattan.  Sure, people have “Stoop Sales” or hold sales in their apartments, but I just don’t think that would fly in my co-op building.   But you suburbanites out there, this might be a great option for you.  From what I gather, yard sales can be a lot of work, but if you’re up for it, then go for it.    There’s ebay too, though I’m not sure how effective this is for grown-up clothes.  For kid stuff I hear it’s great – put your child’s outgrown clothes up for sale in groups, rather than as individual pieces.  Or host a clothing swap!  Among my friends we have little kids of all ages and will sometimes host a swap – set up tables by size, toss your used clothes in the pile, and pick up some new stuff in the sizes you need.  Combine this with brunch and a playdate and you’ve got a fun and productive Saturday morning!

It’s a lot of information, and maybe the thought of multiple piles of stuff going to different places overwhelms you, but it’s easier than it looks.  So go purge that closet and make room for some great new stuff!

You know, I’ve never figured out what is the best way to get rid of old undies.  If you figure that one out, please let me know.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

So you want to bake some bread.

I've been asked for my bread recipe.  Awesome.

Full disclosure:  I initially got the recipe from The Simple Dollar.  Hers has pictures, and for a baking noob like me, it was invaluable.  Now that I know what each step is supposed to look like, I don't need the pictures, so I typed it up.  I also made some variations with the ingredients, but not many.  It's a great recipe, and please go over to Simple Dollar and tell her so!  I did :).

Super Easy Homemade Bread

Get a big glass bowl.  Fill with hot water, and then dump it out.  Warm bowls make for good bread.

In warm bowl:

Dissolve 1 packet of yeast in 1 cup warm water
Soften 5 tsp of butter in the microwave, add to yeast/water
Add 1-1/2 tbsp cup sugar and
1 tsp salt

Stir that until it's a nice shade of beige.

Add a cup of flour, and stir.  The dough will be sticky.  Keep stirring.  Add another cup of flour.  Keep stirring, and pay attention to the consistency of the bread--it will become stretchy.  Keep stirring, have one more cup of flour on deck, and add it slowly.  You may or may not add that last whole cup.  Bread is fickle.

Generously sprinkle some flour on the counter. 

When the dough is in a nice ball, and doesn't stick to your hands or the spoon too much (you'll know), take it out of the bowl.  Put the bowl in the sink, fill with soap & water.  You'll need that bowl to be clean in a few minutes.

Check the clock, note the time.  Beat the crap out of the bread (classy people call this "kneading") for 10 minutes.  If it sticks to itself, the counter, or you, add more flour.  When 10 minutes are up, it should be a nice, pliable ball.

Wash and dry the bowl.  Spray the inside (duh…) with some cooking spray.  Plop the dough in it and cover with a nice clean cloth.  Let it rise for an hour.

After an hour has passed, the dough has possibly doubled or more, or not.  Don’t sweat it.  It’s fine.  Take it out of the bowl, and put it on your (still floured) counter.  Work it into a rectangle that’s as wide as your bread pan and about twice as long.  Roll it up, put it into your bread pan (did you spray that will Pam?  You should do that…), tucking the ends under.

Cover it with your cloth again for another hour.  Go clean up your kitchen and put stuff away. 

After the 2nd rise, put it in a 400* oven for 30 minutes.  When it’s done, take it out of the pan immediately, or it will keep cooking (trust me).


I use Sugar In The Raw, about a 2:1 ratio of Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour and whole wheat flour, and real sweet cream butter.  You can also add fresh herbs (dill! chives! rosemary!) to the flour as you stir it in.  If you're feeling fancy, sprinkle grated cheese over the rectangle of bread before you roll it up and put it in the pan.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not Everything Needs To Be Perfect

Let me say (write...) that again:

Not Everything Needs To Be Perfect.

Ideally, everything in your home will have a home of its own ("a place for everything, and everything in its place yadda yadda yadda"), but the goal of this whole thing is not to have your home look like OCD City.  Really.  The cans in your pantry do not all need to be facing the same direction (although it's lovely when they are, it's also kind of scary), and the towels don't all need to line up on the towel bar.  You don't live at Pottery Barn.  Your home is not a movie set.  You are not Gary and Elaine.

Your home should be your soft spot to land.  It should be your sanctuary from the rest of this prickly world.  You should be able to pull your car into the garage, walk into your kitchen (mudroom, whatever), put down your bag, sort your mail on an empty flat surface, feed whoever in your home is hungry, and then chill out for a little while before bed.

Think about it.  What would that be like?  Because it's possible.  That could be what many (not all, because I'm not a freaking magician) of your evenings are like.  Not perfect.  Just... easy.  Well, easiER, at least.

This is about being able to sit in any chair in your house.  It's about eating at a table, or at least being able to choose to eat standing up in the kitchen instead of it being the only reasonable place it can happen.  It's about having a clean towel next to your shower, and clean sheets on everybody's bed.  It's about having people over to watch the Oscars or the Super Bowl or just dinner (or the Tonys, which are next week!!!) and not spending two solid days clearing a trail from the couch to the TV to the bathroom.  It's about having a general idea of where just about anything in your house is.

It's not an impossible dream (♪♫to dreeeeeeeeeeeeam the impossible dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeam♪♫).  It's a reasonable expectation.  Really.  It is.  It's doable.  I promise (or as Boo says, "Pinky swear!").  It may take some time to get there, though.  You may not know where or how to start.  You're not alone.  A lot of people don't know where to start.  Hell, when I was first keeping my own house, it was a disaster.  I alphabetized my movies (it's always been lurking just below the surface...) but there was not a clean plate to be found.

The idea of hiring a Professional Organizer seems quite lofty, yes?  It does.  Hoi, polloi, aren't we fancy and helpless, not being able to clean our house?  Don't think about it like that.  One of my clients said it so perfectly:  "It's like you're a personal trainer for my house".  You know how you go to a gym (or, like me, you may have friends who go to a gym) and there's a person standing next to you, cheering or coaching or somehow encouraging you to continue?  She (or Hot Muscle-y He?) guides you through new routines, correcting your form, making sure you don't take on too much, pushing you to keep going?

That's me.  That's what I am able to do.  And to be crass and talk (if only briefly) about money, I'm likely within your budget.

So there it is.  When someone asks for an explanation of what I do (and they have a few minutes...) that's what I tell them.  I'm not going to swoop in and make your life perfect.  But I can help you Get A Grip (get it? makes sense now, doesn't it?) on it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Using my words

We spent most of Boo's second year of life encouraging her to use her words.  She would become frustrated about something and would get all stompy and arm-swingy.  "Use your words; tell me what's going on and I can help you fix it."

Of course now that she's got the vocabulary of a 45 year old truck driver, we spend a lot of time telling her to hush.  I digress.

Using your words is powerful, because it means that you're able to identify and articulate what's going on in your head.  I know that when I don't have a forum--like a blog, or even a group of real life people (fancy that!)--I tend to lose focus.  There's nothing being said, so there's nothing to be done.  I've always sought outlets for expressing what's on my mind.  In the immortal words of Hedley Lamarr, "My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."  Ditto, Hedy ("That's Hedley").

The flip side to this coin is when I have something to say about something important, but nobody is listening.  It's a given that not everybody is going to care what someone thinks all the time, but there are instances in which it's necessary to pay attention to what the stakeholders are thinking.  That really bothers me about my job--nobody ever asked me what I thought about it, or gave me a say in the matter. It just happened.  It was just decided that henceforth, I would be over there, doing that other thing.  My skillset, my background, my plans, my goals, none of that mattered.  I've spent a lot of time in the past year devising responses to the questions and conversation that I feel should have included me.

Not having a say really pissed me off.  I spent a lot of time and energy being pissed off, too.  I cared a lot about them not caring.  I was like that crazy chick in Fatal Attraction (YIKES SCARY ALEX) and I was all "well I'm not going to be ignored!" and that's quite possibly the least productive approach I could have taken.

Turns out, I was going to be ignored.  I'm likely still going to be ignored for as long as I'm there.  It's probably to my benefit if they do, as they tend to manage like seagulls.  If they're ignoring me, at least they're not screwing my stuff up even more.

Which leads me back to my topic of using my words.  My voice is powerful.  I'm funny as hell (ask anyone).  When I am at my best, I have a way of bringing the people around me to their best as well.  I am one hell of a counselor because I know how to lead a conversation toward a solution without being all bossy and Lucy Van Pelt about it (five cents, please).

Why is this relevant to organizing?  Because organization is a solution.  It's not the singular end-all, be-all solution to every problem, but sometimes just clearing a path through the chaos helps.  And I can help with that.  Clearing that path is like finding your own voice amid all the static.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Out of the (very very organized) closet.

I have previously alluded to the day I would inform my father (with whom I have a solid, albeit occasionally tricky) relationship about this whole Get A Grip thing.  That day? was Friday.

It needed to happen, because the next day we were all going to a party, and people would be there who knew about Get A Grip, and I could not run the risk of him finding out from someone besides me.  People were going to talk about it.  Lots of people know about it, but it was time for my father to know the truth about my life and how I was spending my time.

It was time to come out of the closet to my folks.

It started as most of our visits do.  "So," my stepmom asked,  "What's new?"  I took a deep breath and I told them that we needed to have a conversation about work.  Dad asked if I was having problems with work again?

"No, not again.  It's ongoing.  It's not going to get better, I don't think."  I went on to describe the environment, which isn't a bad environment, necessarily, it's just not the right place for me.  I'm not my true self at work, and the stress of it is causing problems in other areas of my life.  I'm not happy, and I deserve to be.  So a few months ago, I started exploring my options.  Experimenting, if you will, with alternatives to the mainstream life I was leading.  And I have discovered a new path that really is putting some joy back into my life.

It was my father's worst-case scenario for my career choices.  One of his children wanting to leave the fold and be something else?  And leave a pension and benefits?  Our people don't work for ourselves.  We are hard workers, yes, but we work for somebody. Not "clients", and by the way, what sort of people will you be dealing with?  Who doesn't know how to clean a house?  Who will hire you?  Your friends?  What happens when you run out of friends?  You might as well be a goddamn insurance salesman.

Le sigh.

Trying to explain internet marketing to my father is like..... trying to explain internet marketing to my father.  He is of the generation that still writes a check at the grocery store, and prefers to do business in person, face to face.  The internet is for email and tracking down classic cars and evidently people also put dirty pictures on it (such a funny story, the day my father became aware of this phenomenon), but to depend on it for your livelihood?  Does not compute (HA! Compute. That's a joke, son.).

In the end, and as it stands now, he's supportive of this new alternative lifestyle I'm trying to put together.  I'm pretty sure he thinks it's just a phase, and I'll grow out of it, but he's on board.  He's got my back unconditionally, as ever. He knows that I'm not going to do anything that puts our ability to keep a roof over our heads at risk. He wants me to be happy, and he knows that when I stand my ground on a big decision that I know he doesn't like, I mean business.

This is me, out of my very organized closet, standing my ground.  I mean business.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'll be your tour guide today...

I'm fairly certain that we all have a role to play during our time on earth.  Some are leaders.  Some are followers.  I?  I am The Directions Lady.  If there is a group of 50 people around me, I'm the one that a total stranger will approach and ask how to get somewhere.

Great moments in my history of giving directions include:
  • Once, while riding in the car with Mr. Incredible, an impossibly hot gentleman in a sports car I couldn't even identify in the lane next to me made the universal gesture for "please roll down your window".  I did, and he asked me "Do you know how to get to Paradise?"  Now, there is a street in town called Paradise Road, and we were headed in the opposite direction from there.  And the answer that I very nearly gave him ("Honey, you better believe I do know the way...." etc) could have changed the entire course of my life (um, sorry babe).  Wisdom prevailed and I pointed him in the appropriate direction. We'll never know if HotStuff McHorsepower reached Paradise, or what he found when he arrived.  Alas.
  • I have been to New York City for a total of 72 hours in my life.  On the third day, before I caught the train to DC (that sounds so very cosmopolitan, yes?) I was roaming the streets, soaking it all in.  Now, I'm not widely traveled, but being from where I'm from, I know what tourists look like, and I endeavor not to look like that.  I blend.  I decide to take a rest in Bryant Park (best public restrooms on the planet, btw) when a group of tourists (fanny packs, knee socks, maps and all) approached me.  I could hear the (likely self-appointed) leader say "She looks like she's from here, let's ask her."  I look like I'm from New York?  Really?  Made my day.  As a bonus, she was asking where something was and gave the intersection.  If you know your numbers, you can navigate Manhattan.  She's welcome.
I don't know what it is that make total strangers think I know what I'm talking about.  I just go with it.  If I don't know the answer, I'll try to find it (whipping out my phone to google something as they stand there with their phone in hand makes me feel smug beneath my altruism, truth be told).  I like it when I'm able to give legitimate help to someone who asks for it.  Professionally, I've been at my most successful when I'm in a role that includes sitting down with someone to work toward a solution.  Not every question has a black and white answer (although directions generally do...) and I've been told that I have a knack for finding the best path.

Evidently I'm approachable.  I've been told countless times that I remind people of someone they know--a relative or a roommate or some good friend from long ago.  So when people are lost (even little kids, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy) they come to the first familiar face they see, and that's me.  I'm cool with that.  Even though I'm not really a people person, it's important to me to be helpful when I can.

What's your hidden talent?  It may be so hidden that you don't even see it, but others might.  Are you a Directions Lady too?  Or can you accurately estimate how many people are in a crowd of thousands?  I have a friend who's a Bringer of Truth, and that's a valuable person to have in your circle.  Whatever it is, cultivate it.  Helping people find the right path is what led me to professional organizing, and since I started heading in this direction, things have just felt right.