Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Mr. Helpful and Ms. Sourpuss

If it weren’t that this really happened, it would be funny.

I had a complicated errand at the post office today, and a wait in line. Several people came in for passport services. They would wait in line and get up to the front and be told that the man who handles the passport services is at lunch. Actually, Mr. Helpful would tell them that, and add that just a block down the street, they could get the same services at the (?) county office (?) (I am not sure that is what he said because I wasn’t really paying attention, but the third or fourth time it happened, I caught on.

What is really funny is that there was a woman working in the same post office. She wouldn’t give any explanation, just say that no, the service wasn’t available now. When the bewildered patron would say ‘but it says on the sign . . ” she would add ‘oh the man who does that is at lunch now.’ Nothing more. Mr. Helpful would take pity on the customers and give them the additional information.

When I got to the counter, I got Mr. Helpful, thanks be to God. I had the wrong packet, but he quickly got me all squared away, and then asked me if I knew about the special rate boxes; I had paid $2.00 more than I needed to and the boxes were free. This guy was so impressive – and a stark contrast to the woman working next to him who gave her customers as little service as she could.

It takes so little to make people happy – just words, just a little information.

To push the envelope, I asked another, irrelevant question, and Mr. Helpful acted as if he couldn’t be happier that I asked, and calmly and politely gave me a lengthy explanation. Wooo HOOO on you, Mr. Helpful Customer Service.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | Customer Service, Florida, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Random Musings, Work Related Issues | 9 Comments

Heartache in Pensacola

It’s a beautiful full moon over the oil soaked beaches of Pensacola. There is a beach advisory against children on the beach, against pregnant women or people with weak immune systems being on the beach. The surf is contaminated with oil and VOC, which is volatile organic compounds, whatever that means, it is bad.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | Community, Crime, Environment, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Political Issues, Social Issues | 6 Comments

Lost in Space

Did you think I might have dropped off the face of the earth? The truth is so much more mundane, I am just up to my neck in boxes, and the tedious task of unloading those boxes and trying to find the right place for each of the myriad objects is frustrating and totally not worth sharing with you.

It was only a year ago I did this same move, on a smaller scale, the move from Kuwait to Doha. Only one year ago this month. This move is more complicated, with another whole household coming in, and now all our Doha goods have arrived, and I get to put everything away.

I decided to do things differently, and it worked for me. Normally, I am methodical. I choose a box, empty the box, put everything away, break down the box and move to the next box.

This time, I opened the box, and if I just wasn’t ready to deal with that box, I moved on to the next box. I would put away what could be more easily put away. Occasionally, I have had to run to the local Target store and buy some more put-it-together storage organization pieces, and that slows me down a little, but helps me store things for effectively and efficiently – I like to know where things are. If you have to go looking for things, and you can’t find them, then they are useless, no?

And, last and most freeing of all, now that I am working upstairs – when I finished with a box, I just tossed it over the landing, down into the entryway! LLLOOOLLLL! You cannot imagine the joy it gave me! Just toss, and it’s gone, and it makes a satisfying racket when it hits the floor, or the other boxes!

I also had a collection of boxes in what was called ‘the butler’s pantry’ in the house brochure. It is a room between the guest suite, laundry and garage, where there are two wine refrigerators – one for white and one for red – and more glass fronted cupboards, where AdventureMan stored all our wine and beer glasses. He also keeps beer in the white wine refrigerator, as we don’t drink that much wine.

Yesterday morning, once I had finished the last box, I broke down all the boxes at once. When you do it all at once, it takes like less than one minute per box. I had all the boxes broken down and into the garage in about 40 minutes. Wooo HOOO on me!

I still have chaos in two rooms, the room we call the Grandchildren’s Room, next to ours, upstairs. I have piles of things I haven’t used for years, but I keep hanging on to because I might want to use them sometime. Hmmmm. Actually, I love this room. It has the best light of all the rooms in the house, with a Southern window and a Western window. Lots of light.

And then, there is my quilt room. Quilters collect fabric, and being mildly obsessive compulsive, I like to have my fabric in order, by color, by type (floral? checked? baby quilt? Batik? Christmas?) and sometimes by nationality (African? French? Dutch?) or project (blocks from Germany? blocks from Doha?). Quilters often also have a lot of equipment, including more than one sewing machine and cutting tools, patterns, books, embellishments, etc. It is a real mess to put away:

You can see the chair in this room – to the right of that chair are two large bookcases, and in the lower part near the chair is also my “office.” That chair is where I do my morning Bible readings and where I write many of these posts, while AdventureMan is still snoozing. When I am working, AdventureMan comes in and sits in that chair to talk to me. There is an identical one in his office, where I sit when I am talking with him, and where I sit when we are watching the upstairs TV. AdventureMan jokes that we are wearing a hole in the carpet as we go back and forth to each other’s offices. 🙂

My kitchen has a couple clear counters, now, although there are still things I am trying to find places for. There are two ‘areas of sanity’ – the living room and the family room. I don’t have a lot up on the walls yet, but a few little things. Putting things up is fun for me, so I save that to encourage myself to get everything away – once I have everything put away, I can have a little fun. 🙂

As you can see, I still have work to do, but I wanted to take a minute to bring you up to date. 🙂

June 24, 2010 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Living Conditions, Moving, Pensacola, Work Related Issues | 7 Comments