Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wait a minute

You know its not so much taking minutes in a meeting where you have no knowledge or intelligence of the matters being discussed – it’s deciphering your jumbled jot notes and trying to compile them into coherent thoughts after the fact. What made perfect sense as I keyed stuff in Tuesday… today is complete garbage! First point I made: a change was made to the agenda. Motion to accept by so & so, seconded by so & so. Did I key in what the change was?? Oh no, I wrote that down on another piece of paper, you know, the one I threw away… Taking minutes has got to be one of the most subjective tasks out there. I mean try reading the minds of 7 execs in the room and decipher what it is they want on paper. And don’t forget – a lot of what they say they don’t actually want written down – its confidential!! Then there’s always the problem of the exec who asks you to go “get something quick” and you lose your train of thought, oh but that might happen anyway when you almost fall asleep from the sheer dryness of the subject matter. I feel like I’m back in high school and my only hope of passing, is if the teacher is in a good mood. It all stems back to a set of minutes I took about nine years ago. It was my first meeting at my new company. I was very intimidated and furiously keyed almost every single word I heard. I had pages and pages of notes – so much work to decipher. Only to have my boss say – you’re not very good at this are you. **sigh** I’ve relaxed a lot since then, I only key what I think might be important and then discard most of it. That seems to go over much better. Go figure.

February 5th – the letter not sent!

Dear Water Dude

I’ve enclosed a cheque for $6.00 to catch up for our January 22nd under payment ($3) as well as today’s. I didn’t realize you’d raised your rates till after I put a cheque out for you and saw the receipt from last time.

I wanted to suggest that a letter to your clients when you do a price increase might be in order. Perhaps with some kind of explanation. This latest increase is a 9% jump. Since we have moved to Headingley, five years ago, your rates have gone up 59%. We’re paying you approximately $400 more per year, than we were five years ago. Even public utilities do not increase at that rate.

If you could give me some explanation for the significant increase in the last years, I would sincerely appreciate it.

We value your service and hope to continue doing business with you as I don’t know who else I’d order my water from.


Thursday, February 04, 2010


My mom's oldest brother died. I haven't seen him since 2000 at a family reunion, he was in the mid stages of Alzheimer's then. The Alzheimer's got progressively worse and took its toll more severely in this last year or two. He'd been unconscious for months.

The memories I have of Uncle Henry are few. I can picture him looking down the table at a family gathering many years ago, I can see him smiling looking over his glasses as he spoke to me. I have a vague memory of him sitting in a chair bible in hand, a part of, but separate from the goings on in the house. I remember a stern look that quelled any misbehavior in a heart beat. As with the majority of the 12 siblings my mother had, times with Uncle Henry were few. But relationships with him and others was based on quality not quantity. Relationships were forged on two week summer vacations, once every five year family reunions and the family newsletter. There was no facebook connection, email correspondence or even phone calls. But somehow these relationships formed - as I get older I realize the value more and more.

I look back over the years at missed opportunities. There have been times when a family gathering was planned in Winnipeg and I could have been there, but wasn't. Or times on our holidays where we could have made an effort to included extended family on the way to our destination, but didn't. When emotions run high I feel selfish for hoarding my time. When all is on an even keel I don't really worry about them too much. Every family reunion I attend I am welcomed with open arms by all of my aunts/uncles and cousins - we are family. During that time I am filled with thoughts of keeping connections, being more pro-active and telling people that we'll "stay in touch". Then the daily grind sets in and I am content to not have to worry about anything but my immediate concerns.

I honestly believe everything happens for a reason. God has small ways of making us take time. Tuesday again, I was on a mission. Concerned with no one but myself and my goals. I was running into Safeway for the latest Air mile special (which will, incidentally, help me get to the next family reunion) right before I had to pick up Mandy from work. I was in the zone, made great time driving and had the blinders on. Suddenly I heard my name and the kids old daycare worker and husband were right there. I almost ran away with barely a hello, then Deney said, oh just let me show you the pictures on my key chain - they have a 4 month old granddaughter. I put the breaks on, stopped, took my time and enjoyed a wonderful conversation. It felt SO good. When Mandy phoned to ask me where I was they laughed and let me go. I quickly ran to where my air mile special product should have been - sold out. ok, lesson learned (for now) - slow it down.

I think part of the reason I'm thinking so much about this is I worry about my mom. She's now lost 3 brothers, if I lost 3, I'd be one over. I think about the fact that every sibling gone is one closer to her turn.

On the flip side I think the remaining ten siblings should play a few games - there's now 5 girls, 5 boys - it would be a fair fight for the first time ever.