Archive | February, 2009

Alex & The Time Machine

25 Feb

Alex & The Time Machine

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

I was attempting to nap yesterday afternoon, as I was wiped out from the MRI contrast and as I had to take off the dexcom for the MRI I took the opportunity to test out my old (not expired, just previous) pain meds, which made me quite drowsy – which I do not remember, so maybe I was just drowsy because the pain was low and so manageable…  My eyelids fluttering closed is the signal for kiddo to find the noisiest game or toy to play at this end of the condo, while hubby disappears into the bathroom or suddenly is compelled to do something that he has had years to complete but right now he cannot he break focus from it.

So I usually don’t wind up napping.

Once I was out of bed, and annoyed, kiddo decided that he was going to nap. And he did. We could not get him up for dinner, homework, nothing at all….From 5 until 11 he napped…Jeff carried him to the bathroom at some point and decided that Alex was down for the night and closed his bedroom door…

At 6am today there was a very distressed little boy climbing into our bed. He was losing his marbles because he missed dinner and now the sun was coming up. Alex is very rule and schedule based. The world ceases to turn for him if something isn’t complete, like a ritual, like dinner. The new day starting without him having eaten dinner is somewhat like if you made a non-PDD kid go to school sans clothing. (assuming the non-PDD child isn’t in love with their nakedness the way many in the 2-4 year old set are, of course)… It’s not right, it’s not how things are done.

So he lost it. He sat on our bed and wailed as though someone has stomped on his heart and the pain was unbearable. We had not caught on just yet, and tried to tell him that it was ok, that clearly his body needed rest more than dinner and if he was hungry we could make him some toaster waffles.

But he needed dinner.
And the sun was coming up fast.
And the screaming grew louder.
(sorry to our understanding neighbors who never complain…you have no idea how much we appreciate your kindness.)

I toasted some waffles. Alex looked at them as though they were a squirming platter of venomous snakes.

Finally, absolute brilliance struck Jeff.

He declared that it was still night in our house. He shut the shutters, dimmed the lights, he heated up a slice of pizza and called Alex to have dinner in the den. Alex still wasn’t buying it, but he was willing to listen.

Jeff jammed a few bites of pizza into Alex’s mouth. Alex calmed down and declared that hey could now have breakfast.

*sigh*

But Jeff knows that Alex is more detailed than this and this freakout could potentially drag on for the entire day, or even days. Alex requires so much structure, but the world doesn’t always cooperate. We have been here enough to understand a little of how Alex functions, even if this is one trait I do not share with him, I am his mom and I see how his breakdowns become more than mental or emotional, they edge into the physical (when he was a baby we thought that the crying it out thing was still within normal realms when he was still crying after a few hours… and then he’d vomit… that was a clue that what works for some probably wouldn’t work for us, and not because any of the parties involved were being indulgent, we had a different kid, for better and for worse…This was one of our first clues…I wish we could have interpreted it appropriately…)

Alex’s favorite “game” these days is “time machine”…He pretends that Jeff’s walk in closet is a time machine (it has a sliding pocket door, that fits Alex’s description of a time machine)… Jeff finds it funny that Alex’s time machine doesn’t actually travel through time- but it does go to the moon, to the master bedroom, and to target so we can get more Annie’s Mac n’ cheese in the family size box (yes, this is one of Alex’s gems)….

This morning, Jeff saw the opportunity…He grabbed Alex’s hand and said “no! You can’t have breakfast yet! It’s night! You just ate dinner! We must go to morning! To the time machine!”

So we all got in and Alex pressed the appropriate buttons (pretend buttons) and made the time machine sounds… When we “arrived” he opened the door and stepped out and declared “Good Morning!” and was giggly and happy, like any other morning….

Needless to say, I’m putting “time machine” on our list of tools (which I will share, dear reader, soon…promise)…

The picture on the left is a chalk/chalkboard drawing hubby did of Alex in his time machine…He also made him a “pop up”/moving parts card of the time machine for christmas… There was a home depot gift card inside for Alex, so the two of them can build a model of Alex’s time machine…

I love the two of them so much….

I hope you have a wonderful day…. Perhaps if it’s not going your way, you could try the time machine trick? :-)

Best wishes,
xo
Bek

Expectations

23 Feb

Wink wink nudge

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

The more I read on various message boards about customer service – from both sides of the transaction- the more I realize that the primary role of customer service is not actually the service role, but a very different one that begins the moment the customer walks through the door (brick and mortar or virtual).

Customer satisfaction and good customer service are usually a direct result of setting customer expectations and then meeting those expectations.

In my old career of providing customer service for large corporations, I discovered that the dissatisfied customers were the ones who had unreasonable expectations that could not be met or those who had reasonable expectations that had not been met. From first contact to last, all interactions with the customer are building expectation.

Companies begin building expectation by choosing a specific location for their storefront. The build expectation through their logo design, their reception area, even the ease of navigating their phone system when you call to ask a question- before the customer and company ever exchange paper, the expectations are being set.

Some expectations are assumed, they are ingrained in our culture- whether that culture is our specific location in the world, our language, or the type of business we engage in. But beyond the cultural expectations, everything else should be set by the company, and expressed effectively.

When this doesn’t happen, people get mad. People share their anger with their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and with the blooming of the internet and it’s blogs and message boards, masses of strangers and near-strangers. The sharing of information has made company reputation somewhat precarious. There is the old scenario of someone having a bad meal at a restaurant and telling a friend, who then tells a friend, who tells a friend… Today that one person may mention the terrible meal on their blog, and instantly that information is open to everyone- that one person they told, could be 30 people in that first day – who tell 30 more people…Or it could be tens of thousands of people, who remember the negative review while making small talk with tens of thousands of their friends. Bad news is viral.
There is the argument that any publicity is good publicity, but still bad news is viral.

You want people to take the chance with your company, with your product, with you, as a small business you may be less likely to afford to lose potential customers based on one person’s negative experience.

What uses more energy? Putting out fires or preventing them?

Preventing the fires (from negative customer experience to bad press) is difficult, it’s a multifaceted, never-ending process, but once the process of identifying, setting, and meeting expectations is put into place, the results can be quite spectacular.

My first suggestion is to start a small notebook to brainstorm.

Be mindful of your start to finish experience when engaging as a customer with similar businesses. In my case, I took note of my experiences with companies such as Amazon.com and my experiences purchasing goods from sellers on ebay and on Etsy…it doesn’t have to be the same type of goods…Actually, I find that an assortment of experiences work best- a broader range of expectations and goods, and in these difficult financial times, it’s something you can study without breaking the bank, while purchasing necessities for your family and business.

If you take an experience from start (realizing you need to buy a specific widget to having the widget in your hands) to finish and really dissect the experience- from why you chose to buy the widget from that particular place to what you expected from the experience before it even began, and how any expectations changed and why during the experience, and how your expectations were met and not met and how things could have been done differently to have met all of your expectations.

Many people consider customer service to be an entity, something that comes into play only after a negative product or service experience. The more time I spend on both sides of all transactions, I realize that the most important responsibility of customer service runs throughout the customer experience. In a time of job cuts, and corporate customer service having a negative association (people almost expect bad customer service from most companies these days, regardless of their actual experience with the specific company), we really do need to examine why customer service has earned this association, and ultimately I keep coming back to the concept of expectations.

The best way to understand the areas you need to address, as far as setting, expressing, and meeting them in your own business, is to take a very close, and very focused look at your experiences as a consumer, and as a provider of goods and/or services in regards to expectations throughout the customer experience.

In the coming weeks I will be taking a closer look at my experiences with expectations, I would love to hear some of yours as well…

Best wishes!
Bek

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Checking reflexes…

22 Feb

Today I was talking to Jeff about some spine info I found on the internet.  I haven’t been googling about my shoulder, and my arm being numb and shaky. I was going to do that after the MRI and it has gotten somewhat intermittant rather than constant and constantly worsening… But it’s still there…

And my legs are weak.

So I know something is going on.  So I googled.  I read aloud to Jeff.

And Alex heard me.

He comes in to the bedroom, smiles and me and

“BAM!”

Slams my left knee cap with his solid hardwood toy tool bench hammer.

Shocked the daylights out of me.

He told me “like at the doctors”

I replied “they use a rubber hammer!”

Jeff came to see what the fuss was about and I lost it.  I just cried and cried and cried, while I really wanted to laugh but the tears just kept coming.  It was funny, by itself it’s funny…..But my body does not agree…  My back hurts, it feels like a stack of cement blocks grinding against each other, whittling themselves down to nothing.  It’s not just pain, it’s that nails on chalkboard, things not moving right feeling that won’t quit.  My right arm isn’t working right, it’s numb or all pins and needles and the intention tremor is worse. And now my legs feel like I just ran a marathon and went on a bar crawl- sore and rubbery, wobbly.

Blech.

Kiddo feels so bad about the hammer thing.  He was trying to help. He is always trying to help me feel better.  And that makes me feel so terrible.  I want him to focus on being a kid, I want to be able to enjoy his childhood and his life and I really want to participate.

I hope this is just some temporary swelling thing and nothing that requires anything else to drag the last of my energy and my strength away from me.

Will update soon…

xo

b

Pop-up Love!

18 Feb

Valentine’s gift

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Alex and Jeff made me a pop-up book for Valentine’s Day!

I can only imagine the amount of effort both of them had to conjure up to complete this treasure…. They both worked so hard…

Mama & Me

This is Mama & Me. We do fun stuff together. (the pulltab makes us stir the pot on the stove together)....

My Mama is brave.

My Mama is brave.

My Mama is smart. (pulltab makes a lightbulb appear over my head)

My Mama is smart. (pulltab makes a lightbulb appear over my head)

She gives hugs and kisses.

She gives hugs and kisses.

Mama is the best mama in the world!

Mama is the best mama in the world!

copyright Alex 2009

copyright Alex 2009

Am I the luckiest mama in the world? I think I must be!

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17 Feb

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