Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Do You Have a List?

Beautiful Newport, Oregon

I am sure everyone knows what a Bucket List is, but in case you have lived under a rock I will attempt to explain what a Bucket List is with minimal sarcasm.

A few years ago there was a movie and this person wrote a list of everything he wanted to do before he died, so he wrote a list. He did what was on the list. He died.

I never have put together a list and driving home from work yesterday I was thinking of one. I thought of what I would add to my list and as the list grew I knew that it was unattainable without funds. I thought about those Facebook bucket list posts of 'being at the Taj Mahal at sunset with my soul mate' which immediately had me mentally stabbing said person. In the eye. With my pen.

This year I turned 49 and as 50 looms I am thinking of ways to celebrate. In Nubian fashion the celebration will encompass the entire year and not only with family and friends, but by myself, exploring and reflecting.

So instead of a Bucket List I have come up with the Fuck It List. The Fuck It List is short because come hell or high water I will achieve what is on the list. It may not be anything exotic and it definitely won't be the Taj Mahal at sunset with my soul mate, but it will be meaningful to me, which as we all know is all that matters.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Tapestry.

My beautiful Poppy Tapestry Cushion Cover.

Ever since I can remember, my aunt has always had a tapestry that she was working on. When my aunt and uncle were first married I would spend the night and I worked on my very own beginners tapestry that my aunt had bought for me.

Tapestry is an art. Tapestry requires lots of patience. Tapestry is not cross stitch. My aunts home in South Africa had many of her framed completed tapestries and the detail and time invested in these pieces was and is quite incredible. My mother has one of my aunts tapestries and I know that my sisters and I have each put our claim on it, it's not going to be a pretty battle.

A while back I threw my back out and the pain was unbearable. I couldn't sit, stand or lie down. I was just miserable. My aunt had back problems, more severe than I have ever experienced and last year she had some intense back surgery to correct the problem.

As I unpacked the boxes from yet another move I looked at my tapestry and it brought a lump to my throat. My aunt made this for me when she had back problems, but she knows how much I love poppies and made this for me.

Every time I look at my tapestry I look at every stitch as they were made with love and I couldn't have a more priceless gift.

Friday, July 25, 2014

What's the number?

Yesterday I walked into the back office at one of my hotels to discover my general manager and two front desk agents in an absolute panic. The general manager was trying to get hold of the corporate office, I asked what the problem was and this was the conversation that transpired.

GM: We went to the gas station as we have to fill up the shuttle for our guests and we don't have the number that is needed to get gas.

FD1: We put the card in and it asks for a number.

Me: Your driver ID, that number?

FD2: No, we have that number, we need the other number.

GM: I am trying to call corporate because they never gave us the other number.

Me: Wait, so when you put in the card it asks for a number?

FD1: Yes the one before the driver number.

Me: You mean the ODOMETER?

All of them together: Yes, that number, corporate didn't give us that number.

Me: *crickets* *Guppy Fish Mouth Movements*

For the record, I did not hire these people.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Chaos and Calm.

It has been over a month since I started my new job and it has been stressful, entertaining, mind boggling, hysterical, head banging, ass kicking and with a few WTF faces thrown in for good measure.

The little red KIA and I have been doing lots of miles between Colorado and Nebraska. My iPhone is filled with podcasts and my music playlist grows larger everyday. I have encountered a tornado, actually was in between two, and that experience I never wish to repeat, but seeing as though my route is I-80 where tornadoes like to hangout, I guess it won't be my last.

I have worked 17 hour days, had a General Manager quit 15 minutes before we were about to take on a Million dollar account. I've had to fire a General Manager and work longer days because the staff wanted to teach me a lesson by walking out. I have dealt with stupid people, lots and lots of stupid people. I have encountered rude, drunk, ignorant guests. I have met scammers and con-men. I have been given a few hotels in a town that has a population of 18,119 people and where 13 meth labs were raided last year. I have been given the criteria to make sure that the people I hire have all their teeth. Yes, ponder on that one for a moment.

I fall into bed exhausted everyday and wake up with the chickens. I am learning to live out of a suitcase and finally bought a corkscrew and a wine glass. My days mesh together that I sometimes don't know what day of the week it is. Last week my body had enough and one of my General Manager's had to drive me to urgent care where I was given a shot of the good drug and ordered to stay in bed for the rest of the day.

One criteria I had when I took this job was that when I felt the need to take a break I could fly home for a few days. I have just spent 5 wonderful days in Oregon where I did the things that I love and have missed. I cooked great meals. I drank excellent wine. I went for long walks on the beach. I watched the fireworks from the beach. I visited breweries, the good ones.  I played backgammon and won. I read a book. I laughed. I cried. I reflected.

As I sit on the bed in another hotel room, in a different city, I am grateful for the past month and what I have learned from it. I have learned that I am strong. That it is okay to be alone. That there are people out there cheering for me to succeed and alas those waiting for me to fail. I have learned that my wingman will always be there, no matter what the turmoil of the day may be. I have learned that the employee's that earn the least are the happiest. I have learned that I am quite the salsa dancer with guidance from my housekeeping staff. I have learned that the saying "Keep Calm and Carry On" does not apply to me in a tornado situation. I have learned that no matter what the day may have in store for me I will always look for the beauty and the calm amidst the chaos.

At the end of the day before sleep takes over I count my blessings and that no matter what the next day brings there will be at least one person out there that will give me another great story to tell.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

That's Not My Job.

I have been at my new job since the 19th May and intensely busy would be the only words I have to describe how it has been and that would also be because my brain is on overload so words don't come easy right now. I am almost at that point of being found sitting in a corner, drooling and rocking back and forth.

I have been given six hotels to manage and five of them are migraine inducing with a total of roughly about 170 staff members all having their way of doing things and not without many complaints.  There was a day that I had to hide in my hotel room so that I could get reports done and just try and regroup.

In doing an assessment of what level everyone is at, I have been surprised (I really should not be) at how many staff members have thrown each other under the bus. One of the phrases I have heard the most these past three weeks is "That's not my job." I think I need to turn it into a drinking game, but becoming an alcoholic is not something I plan on being any time soon.

I have dealt with disgruntled employees, unhappy guests because you were unable to move heaven and earth for them, water pipes bursting, staff members smoking pot on their breaks because in Colorado it is legal so they feel they can, swimming pools that won't co-operate and General Managers leaving property and their staff at peak busy times.

The one shining light is that one of the hotels I have would be the hotel I helped with last year - the hotel where the staff fondly named me Ninja Bitch. I 'm now known as Boomerang Bitch. I love having Zac back on my team and he has been wonderful in helping me with pool, heaters, network printers and security camera issues. His hotel is two hours north of where I currently am so I have bribed him with food and beer.

I have found a way to escape the craziness. When it all gets too overwhelming I go to the hotel kitchen and start washing the dishes from either a banquet or the restaurant. At that point I am the highest paid dishwasher the company has. This mindless, soothing, job is what helps me escape and in my mind seeing dirty dishes become clean gives me a huge sense of accomplishment.

There is so much to be done and I know that I can do the job, I just need to tackle one little piece at a time and there have been a few days where I will have an employee in my office asking for something to be done and just for once I would love to say "That's not my job."