Who Turned Off The Sun?

​That was amazing.

Today the sun was turned off for two minutes.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past month, you know that today was the day for the “Great American Solar Eclipse”.  I spent the day in downtown Nashville to watch the Eclipse with my wife and daughter.  My wife had to work today but got an extended lunch break so she could watch it.  I attempted to find us a good viewing location.  After I dropped her off at work, I went to scout various locations.  My first option was for a parking lot nearby that I pass everyday walking.  It is maybe, 10% capacity every day but today, they blocked off the entire parking lot.  I am assuming to keep people for getting off of the interstate and watching the eclipse there.  

We found a place close by and got our special glasses out waiting for the moment the skies went dark.

The shadow rolled in pretty quickly and at the moment of totality, you could see Saturn as well as hear the cicadas start their nightly song and the nearby street lights come on.  It was a bizarre couple of minutes but it was worth all the hype leading up to this incredible astronomical moment in history.  I am almost certain that my goosebumps lasted the entire two minutes as I witnessed this event with the most important people in my life and hearing the cheers of people all around regardless of color or political differences.  It’s too bad it only lasted two minutes.

Just an hour later life was back to normal.  The sun was back in its place and tomorrow storms will roll into the area as we forget about our incredible solar system until the next event.

It was like a sci-fi movie watching so many people look up at the sun in their magic solar eclipse glasses they either got for free or paid up to $5.00 for to view the cosmic show.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Nashville without it being another excuse to have a party. As if Nashville needed another reason for that.

For me, the solar eclipse just reminded me of how awesome God is to have created our Earth, Sun and Moon.  These things are nothing men could do – only God.  It was a spiritual moment for me.  As I drove away from the viewing location, I was just in awe over what I had just witnessed.  I am glad that I got to see it.

Yes, I was a little put off by all the over-reporting of the event on the local media and all the greedy people charging various prices for those solar eclipse glasses which are now in someone’s scrapbook or in the trash can now.  Some people didn’t give the eclipse much of a thought.  While I am glad the hype is over, I am sad that those magical two minutes passed by so quickly. The photos and videos I took of it doesn’t come close to seeing it person.  I don’t think I will ever forget it.  

Thank you God for that wonderful show today.

Driving 101:  Back It Up

Yesterday afternoon I had another near miss when a driver bolted backwards out of their parking spot and nearly caused me to hit them.  This was no slow back up.  The woman just cranked it up and backed it out of there.

This is not the first time. I am very anxious when I have to back out of a parking space or drive through a parking lot.  Once again the common problem seems to be impatience.  No one wants to wait or consider their surroundings.  Just put the vehicle in gear and out of there.

Here’s what you are supposed to do:

  • Look before backing up.  Use your head.  I mean turn your head to look.  Don’t depend solely on your mirrors or backup cameras.  It is easy to lose our depth perception just using mirrors or cameras.
  • Put vehicle in reverse and back out slowly.  Look in all directions for people walking as well as other vehicles.
  • Turn your steering wheel into the direction you want to back out.
  • Always be alert of the backup lights (white lights) of other vehicles.

Another part to this backup issue is for people who are walking in a parking lot.  Always be the better person in the situation where cars are backing up. You can see the situation much better than a driver can. Always be prepared to yield to the driver.  I know people have the “pedestrian having the right-of-way” mentality but an accident is going to hurt you a lot more than the car. I see too many people trying some power play with this and dare a car to hit them.  It isn’t a contest.  Most drivers aren’t trying to purposely hit you.

If you are driving through a parking lot, be alert to drivers who are backing up.  Don’t be a jerk and fly past them if they are already backing out.  I know.  None of us want to wait.  But really, how much time is it going to cost us.

Also, if you have passengers in the car with you, enlist their assistance when backing out.  It is always helpful having extra eyes being alert.

So I beg you, please, don’t just assume no one is behind you when you back up.  Back up slowly.  Tap the horn (Yes, it’s still okay to tap it instead of laying on it and using an obscene gesture) if there are people or other vehicles that are not aware of your intentions.

 

What’s The Excuse For Making Excuses?

excuse

I probably shouldn’t post a blog when I’m livid.  That’s where I am right now.

I can’t get into specifics but the general issue is people who get away with crap and are never called out on it.  Somehow there is a double-standard somewhere for certain people to act however they want to act and they are excused for it.

Seriously, I want to sign up for those benefits.

It happens on our jobs, in our families, in our church and just about anywhere you have a group of dysfunctional people gathered.

And the one excuse that makes me lose my mind is when someone is excused of their bad behavior because “that’s how they are” or “that’s how they were raised”.   Well, I’m sorry about that but the person doesn’t get a free pass for that reason.  If so, does that make it okay for me to just be ugly to someone and then say “oh, it’s because of how I am.  My bad.”?

No, not going to fly with me.

People who work in retail see folks who act however they want but because of that stupid “the customer is always right” motto then they think they can do anything then play that card when they are called out on it.  No, I’m sorry, the customer is NOT always right.

Bad behavior should not be excused.  It should be dealt with and corrected.  Whether it means counseling, medication or a good old fashioned spanking.   (Okay, I’m kidding about the spanking.)  Honestly though, people are getting away with bad behavior and when you honk your horn or say something they cuss YOU out or flip YOU off when THEY were in the wrong.   What’s is wrong with people?   Oh wait…don’t tell them or they will get mad – or worse – they will shoot you for calling them out.

If you work a job, you are responsible for you.  Too many times the good employees with an ounce of integrity are taken advantage of by the slackers who violate all kinds of office policies yet not a darn thing is done to them.  They aren’t reprimanded or written up.  And if they are everyone’s buddy or the party person, they get the free pass for being a slacker.  Yet, if the good employee makes a mistake or snaps one day they are ran up the flag pole for it.  The slacker is usually the one holding the rope on that flag pole.

Truth and integrity are hard to find now.  I know of a business that has gone through a handful of employees in one year because the people they hired stole, were totally obnoxious or tried to take over the business from the first day they walked in the door.  Meanwhile, you can’t hire people and the good ones are having to pick up the slack and are overworked because of it.

It also drives me nutso to deal with people who re-write history in their own minds.  They don’t remember things quite the way it actually happened.  I mean, you can have it on paper and signed by them and they will have the nerve to deny it.   No, that’s not the way it happened.  It made them look bad or that’s not the way that WANT to remember something.

And you wonder why I am not welcomed at church or family reunions?

I have been too quiet for too long because – you know – that’s how I am.

 

Unclicking Kroger’s Clicklist

clicklist4

Okay, I’m officially done with Kroger’s Click List service.

In one of my first posts of this blog I applauded and supported Kroger’s Clicklist service when it was first rolled out.  Today, I am retracting my support for it after last night’s experience.  Actually, since my last three experiences with the services.

After the third strike, they are out.

The service starting unclicking for me when the folks picking out my produce on the list just threw in whatever was close to expiring into my basket.  I got some lettuce home and discovered it was already brown.  They clearly don’t pick it out as if they were picking it out for themselves.  In fact, most of the people working the clicklist are too young to care about stuff like that.

milkSo, I decided that except for produce items, I would just get the bulk of our groceries.  Certainly they couldn’t get that wrong.   Assuming was my mistake.  I started getting the review of items that were out-of-stock or substituted on my list.  First, I never approved that anything was to be substituted on the list yet they did it anyway.   Second, one of the things out-of-stock was the milk we usually get.  When I questioned it, I got an attitude from the employee.  So after getting my stuff I went inside and – guess what?

I then went home after buying my milk and produce to find that they put two giant coffee cans that I never ordered and weren’t on my list! 

There is a serious problem with this service and nothing is being done about it.

You might be asking if I have spoken to a manager about this.  I have.  I got promises that they were working on it and improving it but nothing changes.  Nothing.    They are being “retrained” on the service or changed or some other excuse.  Why was it better in the beginning than now?  I personally think they are overwhelmed and not capable of keeping up with the demand. 

So you would think it would be best to go inside and buy the groceries the old fashioned way?  Have you tried to buy groceries with employees working the ClickList and trying to navigate round them in their hummer-like shopping carts?  Yeah, good luck with that and don’t expect them to move out of your way. 

clicklist3

I’m done with the ClickList.  Just hire a personal shopper if you want better service.

Seriously, if I had some suggestions to improve the service I would add an “in-store pickup” so that a customer can go in and pick up the groceries so they could check them before leaving the store.  In addition, add the option to tip the employee if they did a good job picking out the groceries for your cart.

Grocery shopping shouldn’t be this complicated.  Unfortunately, it is a necessity of being an adult.  Kroger is still my favorite store simply because they have the brands I can get in one store and at a better price.  Honestly, I would shop a Publix if they weren’t higher.  I would do Walmart but I just have a problem buying groceries at a store that also sells everything else.

So, over a year later, the idea I thought was the best idea at the time has deteriorated into a service that is not worth using.  Until I see a marked improvement in the service, I will go back to grocery shopping the old-fashioned way and do my best to navigate my cart around the ClickList people. 

 

When Did The Workplace Become An Alternate Daycare?

kidswork

Okay, let me address the elephant in the room – or actually – the children in the office.

I have seen this trend happening more and more frequently.  Co-workers bringing their children into the workplace to avoid daycare or waiting until school starts again.

Let me say that I am not against children or bringing children to the workplace if parents have daycare issues they are having to work out – temporarily.  However, the workplace is not an alternative daycare option.  There is no place for it if the business is not running its own daycare for their employees.

I see it too many times that people bring their children into the office and expect their co-workers to act as babysitters while they work.  Babysitting is not their job and it shouldn’t be expected of them.  I’m sorry that the kids are out of school for the summer but the office is not the place for them to hang out.   What about others who actually think ahead and arrange for their children to be taken care of?  It’s not fair to those parents is it?

Employees bring their children in assuming it’s okay without even asking for permission to do so.  They do it and supervisors are too afraid to say anything to these employees in fear that they will be perceived as monsters.   Well, what about the people who are trying to get the job done?

I have even seen security guard let children come through with their parents without any regard to potential security concerns.  That just seems a bit odd to me.  I had to go through an extensive security background to get the job I have yet a 10-year-old can pass through simply because their parent couldn’t get a babysitter that day?

Business should have a policy in place for this issue.  It should be fair and it should be enforced.  The policy should be one of the following:

  1. It is okay to bring children to the office without asking.
  2. It is okay sometimes but you need to ask permission first.
  3. It is never okay to bring children into the office.

Here is an example of an office policy:

We understand that there are times when unplanned emergencies and situations occur that leave you without a sitter on a workday.  For this reason, we sometimes allow employees to bring their children to work, as long as they meet the following guidelines:

Age: Children must be at least 3 months old.

Length of Time:  Children should not spend more than 1 business day at the office in a two-week period.

Prior Permission:  Employees must obtain prior permission from management before bringing children to work.

Toys and Games:  Employees must provide toys, books, and/or games to keep children occupied in the office which do not create a distraction for other employees.  Office supplies and equipment are not their toys.

Supervision:  YOU are responsible for watching your children.  Do not expect other co-workers to watch after them.

There are some issues that should also be considered:

  • Safety – children in the workplace should always be supervised and have limited access to dangerous areas.
  • Productivity – children can be cute but they do get bored.  They may become overly excited and want to run around or ask questions.
  • Security – some businesses work on sensitive matters that would not be appropriate for children to be around.
  • Insurance – It could be illegal for minors to be in the workplace for liability issues
  • Etiquette – some places are simply not appropriate for children and gives visitors an unprofessional view of the business.

Of course, if a co-worker of mine brings their children to work I would never be mean to the child.  No one should ever take it out on them.  Always address issues with the parent or your supervisor.   It isn’t the child’s fault and you certainly don’t want them to be left someplace unattended.  Always be kind to the child.

The main thing is stop assuming that you can bring your child to work or take advantage of the situation.  Employers need to provide clear policies on this and enforce these policies when they are not followed.

 

 

 

Friday Flashback: State Convention

macon01Growing up as a preacher’s kid, there was one time of the year that was exciting.  While we rarely took vacations, the trip to Macon, Georgia for our church denomination’s state convention was the “vacation” for me – at least when I was younger.

Our church held a state convention every year in Macon.  If you are not familiar with a “church” state convention, it was where all of the churches in our denomination in the state would come together for a few days in July.  There was a lot of preaching, singing and various programs throughout the weekend.  When I was younger, the preaching didn’t really interest me.  The real treat was staying in a motel and eating out at restaurants.

My first memory of going to the State Convention was probably when I was six-years-old.  We stayed downtown at the Dempsey Hotel which was within walking distance of the Macon City Auditorium.  The Dempsey is now low income apartments but back then it was something special.

One of my favorite restaurants back then was Shoney’s.   Eating out was a rare treat and Shoney’s was just over the top.  It was also pretty awesome to get a Big Boy comic book.

Oh yes there was preaching at the convention but I don’t remember much of it back then.  My dad was a trooper.  I was amazed how he could actually sit and listen to them with the strictest of concentration.  My mom – on the other hand – wasn’t one that sat through the sermons.  She would take me with her to the stores downtown.  The old Woolworth’s was one our favorite places.  I still remember the creaking wooden floors and the musky smells from the store.

When we went to the convention with my grandparents, my Ma-Ma loved going to the S&S Cafeteria.  I will always remember that about her and I still remember the crowds during lunch then and waiting in long lines.

The convention moved to the Macon Coliseum for a few years.  The Coliseum was clearly much larger than the crowd we had.  It was still fun to be there.  The convention moved back when the auditorium was remodeled.

cogop-conference

In later years, they would have the Youth program on Saturday Nights.  The youth of the state would line up and march into the auditorium and sit in designated seats closest to the front for an evening of youth-oriented programs.

Perhaps the most anticipated part of the convention was at the very end when the State Overseer would announce the appointments of pastors and churches for the next church year.  I think there was one year that my dad didn’t know where we were going until the overseer announced it.  Most of the other times we knew but that would be top secret information.  It would be humorous as the overseer would be going through the list of churches and hear everyone turn the page in their program at the same time.

Oh yes, there was preaching and I did appreciate many of the sermons in my later years of attending.  I still remember some awesome sermons from one of the State Overseer’s several years ago.  I actually bought a tape of his sermons and listened to them many years after that.   I probably didn’t sit as attentively as my dad did but I learned to appreciate it more the older I got.

The convention was also a time to catch up with old friends and people we met over the years.  We all grew up to have families of our own and move on in our lives.

Honestly, I can’t say I miss the convention anymore.  Life has changed and I have changed.  They still have the convention but it’s every two years now.   The last one attended was nothing like I remembered it to be but those old memories are still there.  Staying at the various hotels in Macon.  Eating at the restaurants and enjoying our “vacation” at the state convention.

What Is WRONG With People?

d49erparkingWhy is it that when you park in a parking lot with LOTS of parking space that someone decides to park RIGHT next to you?   And then they have to squeeze their way out of their car!

What is wrong with people?

I don’t know.  It left me thinking of other unexplainable things that people do.

  • You pushed the button for the elevator and someone comes up and pushes the SAME button.
  • People talking very loudly on their phones.  Why is it that voice levels are higher when someone is on the phone?
  • New employees who immediately want to take over.
  • People who throw their money or credit card on the register.
  • People who get way too close.
  • People who barrel out of the aisles with their shopping carts without looking.
  • You set up your chairs in the park or on the beach and someone sets up right next to you.

So what IS wrong with people?   Two things:  Selfishness and Impatience.

People want to do what they want to do when they want it.  They do not want to wait on anything or anyone.  We no longer care about the “Golden Rule” or any other rules for that matter.  Instead of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, we just try to get ours done first.  People are wrapped up in their own little worlds more than ever thanks to our smartphones.  It’s me and my friends list and if you’re not in that list then you are invisible and not worth my time.

loud_talker

Yep, that’s the world we live in now.

Honestly, I have been walking in the hallway of the building where I walk and people will run over you if you are in their way.  People refuse to move or acknowledge you are there.  It’s crazy.  You begin to think that you are invisible and, sadly, that’s how people see you if you aren’t a member of their little world.

And don’t get me started on people’s use of language.  It is very discouraging how people have a total disregard for others.  It used to be that people were more conscious of their surroundings and courteous of others.  People have no problems rattling off repeated F-bombs without regard to who is around.  In the not so distance past, men would apologize if they accidentally cursed in front of a woman.  Oh, forget that now.  The women are cussing back just as much as the men.  It’s sad really.

Don’t even think of calling someone out about their selfish actions or they will rip you a new one.  It amazes me that you can correct someone for doing wrong yet they fuss you out about it when THEY are the ones in the wrong.  So let’s add prideful to the selfish and impatience of our society now.

So what can we do about this?

Not a damn thing I’m afraid.   I blame smart phones for how bad is has become and the mentality behind it.  The attitudes have gotten worse the minute we have a communication device in our hands instead of the people in front of us.

The only thing we can do is to not let the selfish/impatience/prideful attitudes of others change us.  Sure, we are all selfish at times but not the extreme we see out there today.  The actions of others doesn’t mean we have a right to join them. I do think you still need to pick your battles and stand up for yourself when you think it is necessary.  You also have to be careful with that too because people are so angry and just ready to blow a fuse.

You will end up really disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them.  Not everyone has the same heart as you do.  The important thing is to do our part.  It might not change others but we must not allow the negativity to change us.