So: very bad day

Ever have a day that was so messed up that you wonder what kinds of karmic misdeeds you did to piss off the universe so much? A day when you were already feeling frayed, frazzled, and funky (not the good kind either)?

That was my yesterday.

First, my iphone did a swan dive into a nice wet, round porcelain recepticle. At my work. Yes, I tried to save it. Reached in, fished it out and shook the toilet water out of it. Used air in a can on it.

It was alive long enough for me to back it up to my computer, then it started randomly calling people (hi Claire!) and finally died. Hopefully Gazelle will give me $20 for it since that’s the going rate for a non-working iPhone. It tried to turn on one more time last night and then promptly gave up.

Now you’re sufficiently grossed out (sorry, I wasn’t going to try to flush it down and there was no other way to handle the situation without leaving it in the bowl longer than 30 seconds), I need to tell you the rest of the story.

It may be hard to believe, but my day got worse.

Yes, worse than the very nice Genius with the Italian accent at the Apple Store telling me the price tag of my new phone which made me gasp. It was first new iPhone I’ve had in ages. Usually I keep Bruce’s cast offs then use them until the battery no longer charges.

Truth be told, my iPhone was almost ready for replacement since I was having to have a charger handy at all times and recharge ½ way through the work day. Besides the obvious price tag sticker shock, the timing was really the problem. You see, I’m going on a business trip Wednesday morning. Going at lunch on Tuesday wasn’t going to happen since I already had a meeting scheduled. Then last night was Zumba and in order to get over to the Apple Store and get a new phone, I had to skip it. Grrr. I was already going to miss my booty shaking and sweating on Wednesday. Grrr.

As I headed down the highway from the office towards the Apple Store closest to my house, I noticed that my tire pressure light suddenly came on. Thinking one of my tires might be a little low, I got off at my usual exit and went to the first gas station for air. No luck on the air machine, but there was another gas station a few blocks away and I knew they had a machine.

When I got out of the car, I checked the usual suspects: my front tires. In the past that’s where the problem was. Then I saw my back passenger tire rapidly deflating.

UGH! Close to home. No phone. A flat tire with a big hunk of metal embedded right in the middle of the treads. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. And I hadn’t changed a tire in years. With the clock ticking and the Apple Store hours rapidly evaporating, I started unpacking the trunk. I also grabbed the manual since I didn’t want to screw anything up.

As I was sizing up the situation (and trying not to cry in frustration), a man called out to me and asked if I needed help. I didn’t want to bother him or anyone and said that I was ok. That’s when he insisted on helping. He wasn’t from around here, but he was in the area helping out on a job.

Neither he nor I could speak the other’s language very well, but we figured out between the two of us how to use the very new (and super stiff) tire jack and get the spare tire on. It probably took him a lot less time than it would have taken me since he was much stronger than I am. He was also probably much younger that I am.

Nice Man also told me it wasn’t proper for me to change the tire so that’s why he was helping. Maybe I reminded him a little of his mother or a favorite aunt.

While this was all happening, several more nice men stopped to ask if I needed help. Some were dressed for various trades, some were in various renditions of corporate business wear. One tradesman looking guy had a big old red and white pit bull in the back of his truck and seemed shocked when I said “I’m good, but I love your dog.”

When Nice Man was finished changing the tire and the spare was on, I thanked him profusely and asked if I could pay him something for his help. He said no and said that he was just doing what he was supposed to do. A good deed.

I thanked him over and over and probably made him a little embarrassed with my thank yous in the gas station parking lot. He was still in his car when I drove off, maybe waiting for a friend who worked at the gas station to finish his shift. And when I got home, Bruce drove me to the Apple Store.

While I was in the moment, it may have felt like the worse day ever, but in hindsight, perhaps it was one of the best.

First, it reaffirmed my belief in the power of the kindness of strangers.

Second, it helped to remind me that there is hope for the people of this country and not everyone is an angry, hateful person, despite what the news is portraying. There are nice people all around us, even at the corner gas station. All you have to do is listen.

 

 

So: lollipop moments

bigstock-Texture-of-lollipop-macro-7349666
Sometimes the things that we might think of as throw away moments can be a big deal. You know what I mean. A smile at a stranger in line next to you. A casual chat with a distant coworker in the elevator of your office tower. Opening the door for a mom with her hands full of toddler and shopping bags. Helping a contractor lift a huge compressor into his truck. Letting a neighbor know that they’ve got a damaged sprinkler that’s flooding their yard. Sharing a chuckle. Letting someone else go first. You’ve got the idea.
We all have the power to make life better for those around us. All it takes is a tiny bit of effort, hardly more than you’d be spending otherwise.

And in case you don’t believe me, watch Drew Dudley’s little video from a few years ago:
One of my coworkers shared the TED talk with me back in August and I finally watched it yesterday. It got hidden in the recesses of my inbox, I’m ashamed to say. But it was a lovely thing to watch. It was an excellent reminder that when it all comes down to it, it’s not always the big things that make a big difference.
I have a far-away friend who lights up a room when she walks into it. She is one of those people who is always trying to do those little things that make life so much better for everyone else. You just feel better knowing that she’s around. Maybe that’s because she doesn’t shine, she sparkles. And she shares those sparkles liberally, almost like she’s covering a cake with sprinkles. She doesn’t just have your back, she’s got you covered.
It’s rare that you ever see that sparkle dim. But this has been a very tough year for her. She’s done her best to keep on keepin’ on because that’s just who she is. I’m sure it’s been tough. But one thing I’ve noticed is she’s always refueled by other people’s kindnesses towards her. Even the smallest thing can bring back her sparkle and allow her to keep making the world a better place for others.
What if the person you smiled at while you were picking up your coffee was like my friend? What if the tiny effort required for you to push the corners of your lips up could make the difference for more than just you and that person? Or what if it was like Drew Dudley’s lollipop moment story? Would you pass on some caring? Or would you pass on caring?
Today’s gratuitous dog photo wants you to know she thinks I’ve been typing way too slow tonight. Gidget’s ready to go to bed:
photo[2]

So: love love love

Woman holding heart, close up

 

Seems like the entire planet needs a little extra love this week. Some people are getting very discouraged. They are thinking the worst about their fellow humans because a few sourpusses, big bullies, and meanies are running their mouths and doing unkind things. Some people are just very, very sad.

We can help.

I challenge each and every one of you who takes a peek at this blog post to spread a little love tomorrow. Or tonight if you want to go ahead and get an early jump on it. Anything. Leave a note. Leave a bigger tip. Hold a door. Hold a hand. Buy some donuts for your coworkers. Buy a round. Listen. Listen some more. Let someone in your lane. Let someone with one thing go ahead of you at the grocery store when you’ve got a full cart. Help load something heavy into a stranger’s car. Help out someone who can never help you. Spare some change. Spare a smile. Make a phone call to an old friend. Make room for someone else to sit down. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. Buy food for the food pantry. Give a compliment. Give a hug. Just give a damn about the rest of the people on this big blue marble.

I’m putting this out there because it’s been a rough week for a number of people in my life. And as the saying goes, being kind because everyone is facing a hard battle will help them a lot. Even if you don’t impact them directly, I bet there’s someone else near you who is having a parallel experience. Or maybe a worse experience.

A bit of hope and a smidgen of kindness can go a long way on a dark day. Won’t you help me be the light today? C’mon, show your sparkle. It can be our secret.

Even if you’re looking at this post weeks later from the posting date, please do something. It’s not too late.

And if your heart is feeling a bit hard today, just have a look into the big brown eyes of the subject of today’s gratuitous dog photo of the day:

IMG_5587

Pure love! This little cutie is Daphne, one of our many office dogs. She’s gotten a bit bigger since this photo was taken but she’s just as cute.

 

 

So: Mr. Rogers

20130415-214409.jpg

I have to be honest: I don’t feel like writing tonight. At all.

Today’s events in Boston have shaken me up. I’m sad for Boston, for the families directly affected, and for the world.

I’m about to spend the next 7 days on the road. In planes. In major North American cities. I’m going to see friends, clients, and colleagues, people that inspire me and make me better. Friends that I don’t get to see very often that I miss desperately. I’m still excited about all of these wonderful opportunities despite my unease.

So tomorrow I’ll remember what Fred Rogers taught me when I was little. I’ll be kind. I’ll be patient. And while I’ll look for the helpers, I’ll be a helper too and spread a little love when it’s clear that the world needs it most.

Hug your dear ones a little tighter tonight and send light and love Boston’s way.