Sunday, August 21, 2011

In the early morning rain- tweet tweet

Waking up too early on a Sunday really makes me mad. It's the one day I'm supposed to be able to sleep in. But, my iPad started up on its own (I had left Pandora running... I think) and roused me enough to realize that (1) I was  sweating profusely; and  (2) my pinpoint headache behind my right eyebrow had grown in size to the point where I really had to get up to take an Excedrin. Suck it up. Bill groaned as I made my way round the bed and grabbed my robe.

So, at 6:15 a.m. I wandered downstairs to eat the last of the dessert and make some coffee.

But, what to do with this quiet time alone?

Only the Buffalo News was on the doorstep. As much as I love Buffalo, I rarely read the Sunday paper - it's heft makes me mad since it's made up of printed ads and coupons. I prefer the NY Times. For some reason, the Times had not been delivered. So, that was out. Besides, my head wasn't quite right for reading, yet.

I looked around the kitchen - I had actually done a bang up job cleaning it last night (after a fantastic baked haddock dinner simmered in cherry tomatoes, basil and garlic  -  a recipe that Bill had concocted.). No need to clean anything.

And, then I spyed my mother's new cell phone. Her old phone had given up the ghost (her words, not mine) so I had ordered another one for her from Verizon. It was really, really hard finding a phone for her that she could use. I was looking for a phone with big buttons, a speaker, blue tooth capabilities and... well, that's about it. She doesn't use the net, text messaging or take pictures. Her only request was that it be pink. I couldn't do that either. Why don't they make phone for seniors that have big buttons and no complications?  And  in fun colors that could be found at the bottom of a dark purse?

Anyway, I spent the next hour programming her phone with frequently called numbers and making everything with a big font. The screen is complicated and it has one of those slide out QWERTY keyboards. Although she is a master typist (or at least she was - in her day) I know she will never use it. She tells me she would like to text - but this is a woman who never figured out how to get her voicemail. The kids and I have learned that there is no point in leaving her a message on her cell since she does not know how to pick it up.  Mum is on our family plan. Her usage is minimal since she views the phone as  means to make only out going calls. Exclusively. Occasionally, she will  pick up a call  - but usually only IF she is in the car.  The dealer set up her blue tooth so the call will ring through the radio. I think the only reason she picks it up is to quell the noise so she can get back to NEWS RADIO. 

One thing that many of her friends don't realize is that she's a total news hound. Since she's come to live with us in the summer she serves as a constant source of amusement when she interjects some newsworthy item into our dinner conversation. At first, we completely doubted her stories - thinking that she was either making it up, was informed by an addled friend or just got it wrong.  We learned. Initially, we double checked her stories  on the Internet. Invariably, she is right about her facts - though they may be a little askew.

I've also learned that she reads the Buffalo news cover to cover after Bill and I go to work. If you start to tell her a story about something you've read, she's already got the inside scoop - because she's supplemented her information with Channel 2, 4 or 7.

Which make me think that perhaps I should teach her how to text. She could parlay that ability and set up her own twitter account. With her nose for news she make be the next  tweeting sensation....

On second thought, if she's tweeting all the time, she won't ever pick up her phone - which is the reason I got her a phone in the first place.

Argh! Well, at least her phone ready for her. She can study it when she wakes up. At least she got to sleep in this morning.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Walking meetings

 With the nicer weather, I started having walking meetings with my co-workers. I work in a glorious district of Buffalo, so it's very pleasant just walking around the (large city) block. We have a couple of rules for these walking meetings: (1) you have to have one specific topic and you cannot veer from that; (2) you can introduce personal stuff only at the end of the walk; (3) it's only efficient if there are 2 participants; and (4) half way point must be the Tim Horton's located inside Women and Children's Hospital by the elevators. 

I happened upon this tucked away Tim's when Emma had her tonsils out last summer. Imagine my delight when I wearily walked to the cafeteria in the early, early a.m. and found this wonderful little kiosk of coffee. SCORE!

Today, I took a walk with a fellow coffee lover. I had finished a delicious coffee that I had brewed at home, but it just wasn't enough caffeine. So, off we trotted to Children's. Yes, we discussed business. Jeez!

It's a little weird going into a hospital just for coffee. Inevitably, the people we pass inside the halls have a range of emotions on their faces: joy, sorrow, distraction, confusion (this is the most prevalent), and that's just the staff! Kidding!

Seriously, it's a good reminder for me to walk that short distance to the coffee stand. It reminds me how lucky I am  -  that I'm not there to deal with some heartache. And, there is so much heartache! Luck is a common theme in my conversations with Bill. Just this weekend, on our walk to Tim Horton's by our house, we competed with each other to determine who was the luckiest. I think it was a draw.

There is a ray of sunshine, however, and she's located  in the Tim Horton's coffee kiosk. Diady Rivera, the manager serves coffee with a smile, a wink and a pleasantry. I told her today that she surely makes a difference in the lives of the patients/doctors/family members who line up for coffee. She told me that it was easy for her. She feels especially for the kids who have to come in early for chemo treatments. She winks and tells them that a free donut will be waiting for them when they are through with their appointment. She says she thinks it helps them get through their ordeal.  I got the distinct feeling that Tim Horton's, the company(doesn't Wendy's own it?) isn't fronting the bill on these donuts...

When I told Bill about Diady he reminded me of the Irish twins who work at Roswell. If you ever had to endure chemo (or accompany those who are part of that endurance test) at Roswell you know who I am talking about. These two gentlemen are the light and life of the chemo waiting area. My mother-in-law actually looked forward to seeing them when she went for her appointments.

Sometimes, hiring managers know what they're doing. Pairing the right personality with a particular job is an art. And making staffing decisions at a hospital can make all the difference to a patient.  A great topic to explore in our HR meetings - but perhaps a little too complex for a walking meeting.