In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Two-Tone

Sometime around 2004 I won a prize. My sales efforts for the year earned me a gift of one item from a catalog titled “Copper Tier Winners”. It basically meant I place third with hundreds of others within the nation wide company.

This was during a time in my life when I was working so hard with my head down and nose to the grinder, that to receive recognition caused confusion. I didn't need a gift, I needed a vacation! Not really paying attention to my progress but just working like a dog, the numbers came in, and by years end, I was a winner! 

Suffering from lack of sleep, long commute and a stressful work environment, I felt more cynical that elated. “Blood, sweat and tears and they give me a crappy watch. Oh well it’s better than nothing.”


IT'S DEAD
So, six years later, the battery dies. My new job requires me to work on a timed schedule in an environment with almost no clocks. After weeks of unsuccessfully trying to use the suns position as a guide, I decided it was time to get a new battery. So out of pure necessity I drove the three miles into town to fix this issue.

“How long will it take?”
“Come back tomorrow morning. It’ll be ready by then. Ten bucks total.”
“Great!”
That was in May.

Months later I called in to apologize and let them know I’d be in that week on my day off.
“What name is it under?” I told them.
“We don’t have a watch under that name. What kind of watch is it?”

I suddenly realized I didn't know the brand of the watch that I had been wearing for almost 6 years.
“Ummm it’s a two toned ladies watch, like a cheap Timex or a Seiko.”
“Nothing like that here.”
I left them my name and phone number in case they came across it.

Feeling hopeful this afternoon, I walked in to the jewelry store to meet with the assistant in person.
“It’s been a few days. Have you found it?”
“What kind is it again?”
“A ladies two tone watch.”
“Is it this one?” In the clerks hand was my watch!
“YES, that’s it!”
Then the lecture started, with a smile, but a lecture none the less “Now, this is not some cheap Timex or a Seiko, OK. This is an upper end Citizen. The difference of about $300.”
“Really?”
“Yes. You had us looking for cheap ol’ ladies Timex the whole time.” The owner walked over and added, “So we found the cheap Timex owner, eh?”

We all had a laugh and I thanked her for correcting me. After wearing the watch for 6 years, probably looking at the face ten times a day, I didn't remember the brand. To me the watch was a big joke.


The whole watch battery thing made me think back to that time. I thought about how hard that year was on me, “How’d I ever do it?” I wondered.

Seldom do we ever pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Sometimes, many of us who are performance driven belittle even the smallest achievements. 

I’m glad I lost my crappy Timex; because today I picked up a Citizen!
I’m a winner!  (you can tell because I'm wearing a nice watch)



...and I still need a vacation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grape Pop


My husband, Christopher, has a wonderful story from his youth about a time he would have given anything for an ice cold grape pop. I was thinking about his little adventure while working outside in the sun the other day, myself needing to quench my thirst. It brought a smile to my face and wanted to share:

One summer while visiting his Grandma’s house outside of Burney California, he decided to go for a short hike up a large hill anchored on the back end of her property line. Grandma Conrad’s land was nicely positioned up against Shasta National Forest. The pine filled forest is beautiful with an easy to climb terrain. His “short hike” ended up being a four hour episode in dangerous 100 degree weather! In addition, thinking he’d only be out for about an hour, he brought no water with him.

When he tells the story he honestly wonders how he found his way back at all. He had suffered dehydration and got direction turned. A twelve year old hiking alone in the woods, with no water or map was a recipe for disaster. Lucky for him, Grandma had a beacon in her kitchen. Like a lighthouse safely guiding ships to harbor, her fridge was full of his favorite Crush grape pop. All he could think about was that chilled purple drink as he tromped through the pine needle and dust covered trails. The bottles called to him, guiding him home. He says he remembers just thinking about nothing but grape pop, to the point of saying the words out loud as he walked “Grape pop! Grape pop!” When he walked through Grandma’s door, he bypassed his worried family altogether, making a beeline for the fridge, downing two pops before answering any questions!

Of course there are many times in life when we get direction turned. Either due to poor planning or being in new territory, unknown elements stifling common sense. Keeping ourselves focused on the goal at hand can also be like a guide to our “grape pop”.

That day while riding back to the lodge for my next assignment, I had no immediate crises on hand except thirst. “Grape pop!” I said to myself, verbally illustrating the level of my thirst. Saying it perhaps in a delirious state of mind due to the hot sun, or just out of respect for a courageous little boy who found his way by keeping his eyes on a dream.