Friday, February 27, 2009

American Idol Time is Here Again

It's that time of year again.
So far I am liking 3 of them that have been chosen for the top 12.
By far my favorite is Adam Lambert. The kid has range that is amazing!
But anything can change by the end of the season.

I have seen some other videos of him singing and I just think he is amazing.
Now the young girls are going to LOVE him....he's apparently gay but hell he is damn gorgeous and that didn't stop all the females from loving Clay Aiken or that David kid from last year! (but why they did i'll never know)

This kid has some serious talent!
Personally I LOVE his hair style and would love to have that cut myself.

If you haven't checked him out on youtube you really should. I honestly don't think any of the current crop can even come close to him. But then again, we all know this isn't about who is the best on this show now is it? But I hope this does get him a recording contract or Broadway or both.

And the looks run in the family.....his Dad ain't so bad either!...tee hee

Last night I said to Rick, "My God he is a yummy little thing isn' t he?"
Rick said, "whoa old woman you could be his mother"
"Yes, I could but I can appreciate how damn good he is and that great talent."
"Something tells me Margaret the word "yummy" wasn't about his great voice."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring...Oh where or where have you gone?

Normally by my birthday (less than a week away) I have tulips poking their heads out of the dirt on my back patio, buds on my azelea bushes and my Japanese maple starting to change from red to green. But this year it all sucks....still cold and no pretty flowers to be seen.

I have lived in this city since fall of 1997. I have never seen such a cold winter or such a long one. I long for spring.

My boys of summer have started spring training and have begun to play games. So far they look great. Won both games easily. Against the reigning world series champs and the Blue Jays. Not that spring games mean all that much really. But I think that it will be a pretty good year. I am the eternal optimist when it comes my boys in pinstripes..

Our business is booming and a realtor today told me yesterday that her business has really picked up and she has sold more homes in February than in the last part of last year. So that was great news. Now if only we can get the media to pick up that kind of information instead of reporting only doom and gloom. There are a lot of positive stories out there that just aren't being reported.

I am going to go make a positive includes Tanqueray and tonic.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shallow Musing from the Academy Awards

I watched the Academy Awards last night as did most of America.
I even saw some of Barbara Walters pre-Oscar show.
Okay truth be told I skipped the whole Jonas Brothers because really who gives a rat's ass about teeny boopers who try to tell me they are virgins.
You know what I say to that?
"Hey I look just like Angelina Jolie" C'mon it's about as believeable.

As you know from reading my blog I so wanted Sean Penn to win Best Actor.
I thought for sure Mickey Rourke would be the sentimental favorite. And if not then possibly Frank Langella would win because he was pretty damn good as well.
But Sean won! Yipee.
Robert DeNiro's introduction of Sean I thought was priceless and true.

Now for the really shallow shit.......

Meryl Streep looked like a hag. She really must start treating herself better. The bodice of her dress did not fit well and it looked like she was missing breasts. She always tries to play off dressing well with insipid comments like, "It was comfortable so I just threw it on" PLEASE. It doesn't mean we can't take you serious if you look nice. You don't need to look like some 80 yr old blind woman dressed you. They GIVE you these dresses you aren't paying for them. So dress that good figure you have woman!

Halle Berry is truly the most genetically gifted woman to walk the face of the earth

Sophia Loren was laughable. Her dress looked like a horrible prom dress from the 70's. Again a woman with a knock out body but you don't notice that. You noticed that her dress was from 1978 as well as her hair and glasses. She thought she looked good in that era and has stayed there. Come on over to the 21st century. She's in her 70's and she could be rockin'

Goldie Hawn's face lift saddened me. She used to have these big round eyes. Now she looks Asian. Wrinkles look better dear.

Who knew Anne Hathaway could sing like that? Wow to be that talented and look that good. She must have something wrong with her. I am going to assume she has really ugly feet or back hair because it's not fair to have it all like that. (hear that Halle Berry?)

Hugh Jackman is a doll. Like Anne Hathawy he is good looking, wears his clothes well, can act, sing and dance. And he isn't a shrimp like all those other actor boys!

I thought Ben Stiller’s impersonation of Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman was a hoot. But did the world get that? Hell, I doubt most of America got that joke.

And you thought you had to watch E's Fashion Police to get all these good fashion tips.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Way to Vacation at the Lake

My husband and I traveled a great deal in the past for our careers.
We would see each other on Monday and then off we'd go to various cities that we had to for our respective businesses.

I remember a time when I was sitting in my hotel room eating yet another chicken casear salad and working on my laptop when I decided to call him. I asked him. "What city are you in again?". I could never keep it straight. Always followed by, "when will you be home?" Love on the phone isn't what it's cracked up to be.

We couldn't wait for the weekends to be home.
Home meant a million things to us at that time.
It meant slowing down. No constant running to be somewhere.
It meant our own comfortable bed vs a hotel bed.
It meant eating a home cooked meal.
It meant no airports, taxi's and strangers.
It meant just being together in the same city and space.
It meant doing nothing!

When we would get the chance to run to our lake house all we wanted to do was be.
We loved sitting on a floating chair in the water with our favorite beverage.
Taking lesurely boat rides. Sipping wine on the deck overlooking the water was a wonderful evening. Just lazy warm days of nothing and being together. No running around, eating out, dealing with crowds etc.

It posed a problem when friends or family would visit.
All they ever wanted to do was run, run, run.
If something wasn't planned they were antsy.
"Are there bars close by?
"Where are the good resaurants? "
"Is there a movie theatre?"
"Any good beach bars?"

To us we had a bar in the game room, we had everything we needed right here so we didn't get it. The idea of running around and hanging at a bar on the water just didn't appeal to us so much. Tuesday through Friday we were at hotels, airports, restaurants, hotel bars etc. Runing to make a flight, running to get a taxi, standing in lines and just general horrors of travel.

Then it occured to use that the friends and family who are visiting us never go anywhere.
They go to work, they come home. Their life is slower so a vacation of fun to them is running around and seeing everything and going, going, going.
We, on the other, do nothing but go, go, go so a great vacation to us is to relax.
So we would take them everywhere and run around so their trip was fun for them.
But it made us hate our vacation because of it.

Now we are local. We go to work, we come home.
We eat at home now more than we ever eat out. So now going to the lake is so different.
Trust me we can still do nothing and enjoy it. But we can also now go and enjoy visiting a winery, finding a new waterfront restaurant, going to the movies, and finding all kinds of fun new places to explore.

So this year we are looking forward to all the company in a way we never have before.
Can't wait to see ya'll.

Monday, February 16, 2009

From a Service Point of View

When I was in the corporate world I was a senior sales executive and contract negotiator.
I had to read people all the time.
Over the years I had several training seminars and classes on personality types and how to sell to them.
I learned how to hone that skill and I found it very useful in my social settings as well.

 Some people you have to listen to their body more than their words.
Some people have a way of saying one thing and meaning another and you have to learn how to read this. I am great at reading tells in poker but I don't like to play cards.
I have tried to teach this to Rick because he does love to play poker.
But that is multi-tasking to him. He can't get it.

Here is one that never fails....never.
The higher the voice the bigger the lie.
Now I don't mean if someone has a higher than normal voice they are big fat liars.
No not at all.
I mean that if you are talking to someone and their voice goes up a noticeable amount the truth is not being shared here. I worked with a woman who did this all the time.
Her favorite line was, "I don't know what you mean?"
By the time the conversation got to this "high" point only dogs could hear her.
She was very easy to read. Try it next time, you'll see what I mean.

When I met one of my husbands former boss’s I knew immediately the type of guy he was. First clue was that he had to stand close to speak with me so he was looking down on me.
He was at least 1 1/2 feet taller than me. If I moved back to look straight at him he would get closer so he was looking down and I would have to look up to him. I drove him nuts moving until I asked him if he could give me some space. 
I knew this game. I have read these types before.
He always needed to feel like he was in a place of power.
Because this was not a work setting for me I wasn't allowing him to get away with this.
I knew right then he was terribly insecure man and when my husband had issues with him he and I would discuss what I had learned on how to deal with that type.
It worked like a charm for my husband and he couldn’t believe once he knew these things how much easier it was with handling all the personality types in the office.

When I left the corporate world to work within my husband’s new business I never thought I would use those skills again or at least not as often. But boy was I ever wrong!

But what is different from my old sales career is the personality types from a service point of view.

There are several distinct personalities who call for our services.
After answering these phones for the last few years I have learned a great deal about the people who call. It helps immensely on how to sell to them as well as what information to go over in detail and what to gloss over. Some people work best with little info and some need way too much.

Because people call several times and we speak a great deal before the actual job is done for them I get a “feel” for them. I have a mental picture of what they look like as well as feel as though I know a lot about them.

At first this was a fun game.
I would tell my husband what I thought his first appointment would look like and he would return and say whether I was spot on or not even close. I have been spot on 99% of the time. Rick seems to get a real kick out of it. I must admit it does in some small twisted way be fun for me too through the course of my day.

Then my little game progressed to what they do for a living. It has become very easy for me to figure out. I can nail this one. Here are some of the personality types and the questions they ask me, don’t ask me or how they treat me….which is very telling.

Gender – No matter where they fall the differences between the sexes is very big.
Women will generally have a lot of questions in comparison to the men.
Women buy because they like the service, liked me, liked what button I pushed etc.
If I hear the kids screaming in the background I know they will want to talk about XYZ etc.
Men ask price – now when can you do it. Period. End of story. Mind is made up.
Women ask everything and will mull over and then call yet again. This will take several calls before booking with women.

Full time Mommy – This woman will give you so much more than you need to know.
She wants to talk to another adult and it is sadly apparent. Her number 1 concern about the product is how this will affect the baby/kids. Will this be toxic? Should she have them wrapped in bubble wrap while we are there? Would it be best if they move out of their home for a week? (Seriously I was asked this) Never a question of price, process or warranty only babies, babies, babies.

Pompous  Man – This guy thinks he knows everything. Mr. Machismo.
I am just the little woman who answers the phone and he makes sure he tells me so in one way or another. He will always ask to speak to a MAN but since I tell him no man is available he reminds me that I am inferior by a snort or a comment. He shares with me that he has read everything there is to know about this on the internet so no need to share that info with him. He'd do it himself if he wasn’t so important. He makes sure to let me know with his sighing etc that he barely has the time to give me his name and address so we can show up. He talks fast and again makes sure to remind me before we hung up that I am just a woman.
This type heterosexual guy is sadly abundant and I think if they were double jointed and could give themselves fellatio they would never leave the house or speak to a woman again.

Government Employees – Living here in DC Metro makes us have a lot of these folks. They always ask to have the work done on a federal holiday or on a Friday when they telecommute. They don’t care about the details only ask about the cost so they can put it on their spreadsheet. They also don't expect this to be done quickly like civilians. They are government employees they know how long it takes to get anything done. They are more patient than others when I tell them I can't get them on the schedule for 2 weeks.

Military Personnel – I love these men and women. They are polite and call me ma’am.
They ask questions and listen to the answers. When I go through what they need to do prior to our arrival they thank me for the time I have given them and they do as requested. They are the only ones who complete what is necessary, who thank us, and who are truly a joy to work with.

Techies – They have read our website from beginning to end and will only discuss through emails. They always compliment me on the great website. The phone apparently frightens them. They will take a week to correspond with me on details via email when it could be done with a 10 minute phone call. Websites and emails mean more to them than social skills so picking up the phone and actually having a conversation is unthinkable. When I ask for a daytime phone number for contact they say they only text. I imagine them as pasty figures who never see sun. They email me all hours of the day and night which proves they have no life, social or otherwise. They seem skittish to me.

Over 65 – These folks are the only reason we still need to advertise in the phone book. Honestly who knew that anyone used the phone book anymore.
They call and are so confused about everything.
Everything needs to be explained over and over again.
They always whisper, “Does he speak English?” like whispering this politically incorrect statement makes it better. I don’t mind them at all because they do make me laugh and while they appear to be confused they are generally nice. Sadly nice is rare. I look at this group as my grandparents even though most aren't that much older than me.

Young Arrogant Guy – This is always a guy who tells me about all the homes or properties he has. He is either a flipper or a land lord and never over 34. Always wants it for the cheap because you know he has a big car payment -those Mercedes ain’t cheap. Speaks in fragments and not full sentences to show me what a mover and a shaker he his – he doesn’t have time for full sentences. While on the phone with me I hear him talking to others and I picture him texting, ordering a latte and flirting with the barista all on the phone.  Telling me that I am not that important but he sure as hell is.  He never is really listening to anyone but himself talk. He never stops bragging and I should be damn thankful he has taken time out of his day to call us for our services. He will always ask for a break in price and say it in a manner that he thinks I will be so frightened of losing the job that I will succumb to his request. I will never give these types a break like I will others .

Women in Leadership/Powerful Positions – This group fascinates me because they are like men only polite. They are of a “certain age” - baby boomers just a tiny bit older than me. They talk fast, don’t want a lot of information, spell out orders at me as though I work for them. Never a question – always a statement proclaimed with perfect diction and enunciation. They could be a bit intimidating if I didn’t realize that they had to be this way to get where they are. They are of that generation. Never rude but never warm. Just the facts ma’am and if they need to speak to us again their assistant always calls.

Cat LoversSee Full Time Mommy’s but replace babies with cats. Only thing that really gets me is they add cat stories and honestly I want to scream. I never tell them that I am not a fan of cats. Instead I listen and chuckle when appropriate. I know it's horrible of me - please don't send me hate mail. Dog people never talk to me about their dogs. Is this karma because of my phobia of cats?

Smokers – This group fascinates the hell out of me.
They always, and I will repeat, always ask about the chemicals used in the process.
They want to know the harmful affects of said chemicals on their lungs.
Stop laughing, they really ask this and don’t see this as odd.
What is even funnier is that all of them ask me this as I hear them puffing away on a cigarette. While I address their concern for their health politely I really want to scream THIS STUFF HAS NOTHING ON THE CARCINOGENS YOU ARE CURRENTLY INGESTING.  Rick actually arrived to a woman’s home where the bathroom tiles had turned yellow from smoke. She had a cigarette lit the entire time he was there and she questioned him repeatedly about the chemicals and the harm they may do to her breathing/health. Can’t make this shit up folks.

Realtors – Ooh, these are a special breed. As I have written before they too think they are VIP’s….interestingly enough especially the women. They will ALWAYS tell me that if we do a good job there is so much business they will send our way. Good thing they say that because otherwise we had no intentions of doing a great job!  They always tell us how wonderful the work is and all that work never transpires like they tell you it will.  It's no surprise to us but it is funny that they ALL say the same thing. Men realtors say the same thing but with less self importance attached. Both sexes in this field don't appear to be the sharpest bulbs in the box.

Interesting shit isn't it? It is to me anyways.
What is most interesting to me is that this is not random but constant.
Guess we’re not all so different are we?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Extending Lives

Monday I had this lovely conversation with a customer who sent us an email over the weekend while we were closed. Just another reason I am now misanthropic.

Here is the back story......She listed her name and her address as Alexandria VA. She made sure to use DR. before her name which lead me to believe this was academia versus medical. Those academic types feel the need to do that for some reason. If she was a man I would assume it was a small penis. Who knows what this woman's problem was.....but apparently she had several.

She did not elaborate as to her needs for a quote but left a phone number that was not a local area code. Now like most of you know the home phone as a land line phone has gone the way side like the phrase, "getting jiggy with it".
I am flanked by neighbors who only have cells phones. The neighbors to my right have a Michigan phone number. The neighbors to my left have a North Carolina number. I get out of town area codes all day long so that is not something that would be a red flag for me. People move, they use their cells phones. We live in a very transient area.

So at 9:00a.m. on Monday morning I called the woman who left me an email on Sunday.
Me: Hi this is Peggy from XYZ company returning Dr. XYZ email from over the weekend is she available?

Man: Who the hell is this?

Me: repeat above.

Man: She isn't available.....and now mumbling something to someone else about TILE

Woman comes on phone: SO WHAT IS YOUR BOTTOM LINE?

Me: Pardon me?

Woman: Are you stupid?

Me: Ma'am this is Peggy from XYZ. I am responding to your email request. What can I help you with this morning?

Woman: Okay so you are STUPID. I want a quote - what the hell is your bottom line?

Me: Would you like me to list quotes for all our services or is there one in particular you are interested in? (bitch didn't tell me if it was tub conversions or reglazing of a tub, tile or sink)

Woman: Okay stupid, I want to know how much it costs to reglaze my tub and be quick you have called me in California and you got me in the middle of my morning routine.

Me: I apologize ma'am I didn't know that you were on the west coast because the form stated a local address. I can give you a quote but I have to ask a few questions about your tub first.

Woman: So not only are you rude to call me at this hour but you are stupid (heavy sigh of disgust)

Me: (before she could say anything else): Well let me make this simple for you. If you have a small sink, with absolutely no damage, and it has never been reglazed before it costs $$.

Woman: ITS A BATHTUB. (like i was deaf)

Me: clawfoot, garden, jacuzzi or standard?

Woman: Oh my God you are driving me nuts!

Me: If it is a standard size tub and has never been reglazed before and we do it in white and it has absolutely no damage it will cost $$$$.

Woman: Well I never.....

Me: I didn't hear the rest because I hung up. I couldn't continue to be nice unless my head exploded and she wasn't worth the mess that would have made.

As Maxine says on the Hallmark card - Science has extended peoples lives - don't you wish you could choose who's life was extended or not?

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Funk

My friends are all happy about their team winning the big game. Me? I'm just glad it's over.

The only thing the Super Bowl means to me is that in just a few more weeks Spring Training starts. Now the real sport begins!

But overall February just puts me in a funk.
Not quite spring - winter still lingering.
My skin is pasty pale and I am sick to death of dressing in layers.
Who needs all that added "weight" at this time of year?
Overall it never fails to hit me this time of year.
It's like annual PMS.

Maybe that is why they made Februray a short month.
I don't know if there are such statistics but I honestly think if there were, you would find that more suicides occur in February. Just my hunch.
It's just a damn depressing month.

I would bet it's probably the time of year that people stop going to the gym. Everyone knows that the exercising will help with the blues but who the hell feels like going to the gym when you feel like shit. Having an evening with my pals, Ben & Jerry, always sounds like a much better option!!

I just shared with the world that I am feeling pale, pasty, fat, glum and want to wrap my arms around my friends Ben & Jerry. Jeez now I really feel like shit.
Think I'm going to the gym?