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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to Work

I didn't work at all last week and that is very strange for me. I learned a lot of things. I learned that I was more exhausted than I had even guessed. I learned what my home looks like in the middle of a late summer morning or afternoon. I learned I will need to tell David more frequently that I need to take some time off. He supports that. I learned that I kind of like spending a few quiet days with the phone ringing rarely. I read a lot and I slept. A lot. I made good food and froze individual servings. I have not cooked for myself in a long, long time. I got a massage just before Stephanie left for Denmark and I can hold out for the two weeks she'll be away. Possibly.

Monday morning felt a little different as I drove in. I've been musing for awhile now that autumn is almost here. Monday morning I lived that. No blazing sunrise in the desert. Glowering gray sky, scattered clouds, and I really shouldn't have been wearing my sunglasses as I drove eastward in the sunrise hour. There were some youngblood skateboarders that I really couldn't see well enough as they exhibited "bullet-proof" and I exhibited "need to get to the office".

Up and down the stairs twice, as I am a woman who carries bags and bags of stuff, plus I had David's birthday gift and on Mondays I stock the office fridge with my food for the week and I had Starbucks and, and . . . "Limes, you going to sit down?" "Yes, home dudes, let me greet my little birds I missed so much and then I'll sit." "Good to see you in your chair, Limes." "Thank you, homes." "Thank you for such an awesome gift, Limes." "Found it at the Harvest Festival, David."

So ... Monday (as well as many recent days for a few years now) the wind screamed. My return to work started with one of my favorite events - we had a huge wool rug to clean for a commercial client. I love this process, as it takes place out on the deck and no matter whose job it actually is, everyone pitches in. I've never heard one of them say, "Hey, I need to be paid commission for this if you want me in it." I've heard each of them say, many times, "Hey, Bro', what's that [cleaning solution] mix you're using?" or "Show me how you approach this." or "Uh-uh, those fringes aren't good enough. I'm going back after it." A little fun has grown up around, "Hey, Limes, come out here and I'll teach you a thing or two." For I have the classes and certification, but have never cleaned a carpet or rug. But once when we had an enormous and very, very old handmade rug to deal with, I was able to show them how it had been cut down and reassembled from something very much larger because I sew and work with textiles. This is us doing what we do very, very well. It's a beautiful thing. We learn from one another. We value and respect one another.

So the enormous wool rug was cleaned and placed across the deck railing to be blown dry by the remarkable wind. It was a grand day for it. The morning progressed, all vans and all technicians out on the road for a busy day. Black August behind us, September seems better. I worked hard at re-entry and David showed all the signs of a man being pulled hard in many directions. The phones jangled, which is a good, good thing. Cashlynn and Chloe shih-tzus went up and down the stairs a few times for potty breaks, Bloomsbury and Benson birds seemed to sing for me particularly sweetly. About mid-morning, I heard a very loud expletive that immediately suggested to me that rug had set sail across the Las Vegas skyline. Yep! Overboard. Aloft!

In David's new enterprise, he occupies a much different role than in our little world. He dresses beautifully and professionally. I'd known the man to wear beautiful athletic wear every day since I'd met him, but now he wears beautiful career wear. Down the stairs he went in his gorgeous lavender shirt and crisply creased trousers. Up the stairs he trudged with that wet, smelly ton 'o wool rolled up and tossed across his shoulder. As the phones still screamed, I could only watch him out the window. He moved patio furniture. He stretched the rug out on the deck in the sun where it lay in its 400 square feet of glory. He brushed himself off muttering, "Damn, not one of them noticed the hurricane force gale? They all worked on it and not one of them . . . "

The morning pressed on and I was booking jobs at a fast clip. David went next door to where interviews are being conducted at his new business venture. I saw the first interloper clomp across that wet rug in the middle of booking a huge job for a new client I had wowed. Uh-oh! Rug clomping! In something that must have been reminiscent of the old Candid Camera clips, my phones rang non-stop for the next 2 hours. They were rolling to voicemail and I had three lines going at one time. I watched interviewees come up the stairs and cross that mighty rug both coming and going to and from their appointments. I was so distressed by this, I had to turn my chair away from the window as I was being distracted from my phone conversations. Not that I could have done a thing except direct traffic - that rug is too big for me to roll or move in any way. Finally, David appeared from around the corner, eyeballed the condition of the rug, ran to its edge and nearly tipped over onto it! This was not turning out well, this rug venture.

The afternoon passed quickly and home dudes began to roll into the parking lot. The pair whose job it actually was to clean the rug trudged up the stairs. I heard Justin say, "Where the hell's that rug?" while he was still in the stairwell. I saw the relief on his face when he saw it laid out on the deck. I also saw the terror cross his features when he saw the thing's condition. We all began to talk at once and the noise level rose. There was some urgency to re-clean this rug, get it at least partially dry, and deliver it as promised. Human nature being what it is, before the work began, everyone needed to express a little angst. Then home dudes tore into it again.

The next morning in huddle, the rug was discussed. "Was the customer happy with that rug, guys?" "Oh, yeah, we've got a customer for life!" "Great - good save, you two!" "Limes, you seemed a little too amused watching a couple of guys have to scramble for their lives." "Oh, no, homes! I never want to see a man have to do his work over again. I was just thinking how, in my inexperience, I'd have approached that rodeo a little differently. You all would have laughed at me, but I picture myself employing maybe ropes, bungee cords, string, a little twine. I might have been silly enough to go looking for a pair of big rocks or some of those full plastic gallon jugs of cleaning solutions we keep by the hundreds. Yes, you'd have snickered at 'the girl', but sure as shootin', I wouldn't have let that rug fly away!" This is us doing what we do very, very well. It's a beautiful thing. We learn from one another. We value and respect one another.

In my ears right now: Steppenwolf ~ Magic Carpet Ride.

Something that charmed me: We all came from vastly different work backgrounds. We've all proven to be open and willing to learn. I've learned from them how to look around and find some solution for a problem quickly with whatever I have at hand, make my fix be good enough and move on to do the next task well. They've learned from me how to be good record keepers who can do math and who participate in discussions in staff meeting. We've learned from each other, and grown.

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