Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It Shows.

My brother and I went down to the Neiman Marcus downtown on December 26.  We went because our mother had given me a bottle of perfume and my brother a bottle of cologne and we wanted to smell them before opening the package in case we wanted to trade them in for a smell that we preferred.
The store wasn’t too crowded (the reason we chose to go downtown instead of to NorthPark) and it was fun to see the store and look around a little.  The thing that stood out to me was the gal who was working at the men’s cologne counter.  She was darling and sweet and even though she knew that we weren’t going to buy anything, she went out of her way to make sure that we had a great experience – even providing my brother with some great samples of other colognes that she made up herself while we waited and chatted.  She had just gotten a new puppy and so we talked about that, about my brother’s dog (the best dog in the world, bar none), etc.  She had worked both Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, so she had not been able to see her out-of-town family for the holiday.
Many other people in her situation would not have been so nice – see what happens the next time you go to the Post Office – but is the difference because of the NM training, or is it the individual?
Now I know that Neiman Marcus has great customer service and training for their employees (I am a product of their training – it was my first job after college.), and NM is known the world over for it.  The Container Store is another example of great training, combined with an employee-first culture.  But the more I think about it, I think the individual employee is what makes the difference.
You can give someone the best training in the world, but if they are an unhappy person, it will show.  If they are a person who feels put-upon, woe-is-me, what’s-in-it-for-me, and so on, they are never going to be the right employee.
So, let’s surround ourselves with happy people in 2012.  It shows.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I feel so lucky.

I'm finished with shopping, wrapping (well, to be honest it's mostly "sacking and tissuing"), and now I'm just waiting for Sunday. I feel so lucky. I know that there are children in Dallas who are hurting. Families who are separated due to military service, distance, and just strife amongst themselves.

My family is here. We have enough money to give gifts, pay the mortgage, and have food on the table. I feel so lucky. I know that there are children in Dallas who are hurting. Some who won't receive a visit from Santa, lay down their heads on a clean bed, nor have a decent meal.

To our donors at Community Partners of Dallas, thank you. You helped 5,304 children feel lucky this year at our big Toy Drive.

And you helped me feel lucky too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Running the Traps

Tomorrow (Wednesday, December 14, 2011) is the wish distribution day for our 5,000+ kids.  It is my 9th toy drive distribution day and it has gotten easier and more efficient each year, even though we serve a lot more kids than we did 9 years ago.  Anyway, as I said we’ve been doing this for a long time now and we have a basic formula that we tweak each year to improve.  Thanks to Peacock Alley, our staff, and our great volunteers, the distribution formula works.
But this year we’re scared.
Scared to death.
The weather report has been saying for a week that we are looking at rain and thunderstorms tomorrow and since our formula says that the most effective and fast way to get the toys into the vehicles of the caseworkers is to set up in the parking lot – LIKE WE ALWAYS DO – well, I have had lots of sleepless nights the past week trying to figure out the best way to make adjustments.
The staff here is getting pretty sick of me saying things like:  Well, what about this?  What if this happens, then what?  I’m worried about this, let’s talk it through.  I think we need to look at changing this if this happens.  Blah, blah, blah.
Yes, my co-workers are sick of me trying to think every detail though, but I have to do it.  It’s my job.
We’ve made a rain plan if we need it and now I’m letting go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I f'd up the Secret Santa.

I f’d up the Secret Santa today.  Well, actually I f’d it up last week, but I really don’t even believe that I did it, I think I was perfect and Ann was the one and, well I digress.  Here’s the poop:
Each year the staff at CPD does a Secret Santa and we have 2 or 3 days of secret gifts and then the final “reveal” is the night of the holiday dinner at a restaurant.  It is fun and during the toy drive it is about the only thing we have that is not moving at a maniacal and frantic pace.
Anyway, today was the first day of the secret phase.  When I arrived at the office this morning I had a lovely gift of a tin of Two Sisters Spiced Tea Mix (Theirs is the BEST, bar none, you will be spoiled for any other, highly recommended!).  Yea, I thought – my Secret Santa is a good one and they know what I like.  Then I went out for a meeting at 10 am and returned about 11:30.
Low and behold, I find another Secret Santa gift on my desk!  Super cute – a darling pot scrubber thing designed like a cute girl with red hair (you know that I loved that, especially if you are a regular reader of this blog) – but I was puzzled.  Why did I get 2 gifts on the same day?
Of course I immediately go to Joanna and tell her what has happened and we discuss.  I decide that my Secret Santa is Renee and she doesn’t work on Thursday and Friday, so she just decided to rush the Secret Santa season.
About an hour later the plot thickens – Joanna has found out that my Secret Santa did not give me the pot scrubber. 
Oh no – this means that I must have 2 Secret Santas which means that someone else ain’t gettin' squat.  I then send an email to find out who has done what and who has not given anyone anything, another staff member on her own goes out and buys for one person who hadn’t yet received anything, but that was in error, her Santa just had not yet delivered, well suffice to say that
I f’d up the Secret Santa.
Pray for me.
P.S.  Of course my friend Cynthia said that if I was going to give myself 2, why didn’t I just put my name on everyone’s little piece of paper so I’d get 10 gifts on day one, but my co-workers would have figured that out too quickly.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Wish

The Toy Drive is upon us at Community Partners of Dallas!
This year we have wishes from more children than ever before – over 5,300.  That means that we have more than 10,600 wishes to fill, plus even more than that for those kids who will come into care of CPS today and every day until the holiday is over.
The thing that always gets me every year is thinking about what it must feel like to be one of our kids.  When you have been let down over and over again by the adults in your life, when your hopes have been dashed, and promises not kept – well, even speaking a wish out loud is hard.  Your wishes have never been filled and your parents have never delivered upon a promise.  So when your CPS caseworker asks you what you want for Christmas you might whisper an answer, but all the time you know that it probably won’t ever come true. 
But when that wish is fulfilled, when that caseworker arrives at your foster home with the very thing that you asked for, you once again start to hope.
And a hope can become a dream and a dream can become reality.
We could use your help right now.
We have LOTS of wishes left and our deadline is Saturday, December 10th.  These wishes and dreams from these kids are not extravagant either:
  • Anthonia is 10 and she wants a Dairy Queen Blizzard Maker.
  • Freddy is 4 and wants a Leapfrog toy.
  • Jayleen is 11 and wants some pre-teen books.
  • King is 1 and wants a Tonka Truck.
For 10 or 20 bucks you can show a child you will never know that she matters.  That he can have a dream fulfilled.
Call us and a wish will be on its way to you – 214-624-7557.  Thanks!