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Today was a good day

So today a lot of good things happened.

Well some of them happened before today, but I just found out about them today.

First off, remember this craziness?  I heard from the lawyer today.  Apparently since I was never arrested, all he had to do was persuade the prosecutor that the cops were acting punitively and I was acting in good faith trying to balance what I had been instructed to do by my job, and what the law said. The prosecutor agreed, and declined to file the charges, and I am free and clear.  Case closed.

Whew.  That was a long time coming.  I already feel lighter.

Secondly, an op-ed I wrote a couple of weeks ago got printed over the weekend.  I found out about it today. You can read it, it only has one factual error that I know of.  You heard it here first.  I really was 5 the first time I read Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I didn’t make that edit.  Oh well.  It makes me look a little less full of myself.   Mad Props to Cori who first described Jasper Fforde’s brain as being made of cookies. People seem to like that line. Apparently we’ve already gotten a new mentor application in from someone who read the article.  YAY!

Finally my dad is back at work today.  The verdict is in, he had a TIA, no lasting damage.  Apparently his C-PAP machine (which prevents him from stopping breathing 90 times an hr) is his risk factor.  So he’s on aspirin, a blood thinner, and has to improve his diet and get some more exercise.

I really appreciate all your kind words, thoughts and prayers.  It was a shaky couple of days, and I’m so thankful that he’s in one piece still.  Someday I will have to introduce you all to him, via this blog, because he is the best man I know.  You all would love him too.

So all in all, a good day, and I’m ready to relax in my easy chair and be thankful for a while.

 

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                I’ve often complained about the people who stay at our hotel, and frequently it’s the local, low income guests that I mouth off about.  To be quite honest, they’re not the worst.  They just stay with us more often.  The people I can’t stand are the ones who think they’re entitled to things. They really get up my nose.

                I think entitlement is killing our culture.

                That may sound melodramatic, but I don’t think so.

                This last weekend we had a girl’s soccer tournament in our area.  Our hotel hosted teams from wealthy suburbs of Milwaukee and Indianapolis. It was like Chatswin threw up on our hotel.  Pampered girls; a bevvy of svelte blonde soccer moms; over-indulged children; it all was exacerbated in a lot of booze and sugar. In addition, it was graduation weekend for Notre Dame, so the remainder of the hotels guest also had deep pocket books, and a “you owe us” perspective.

                Now I’m in customer service.  I agree that my profession means that I am meant to help my customers, and do the best I can by them.  This doesn’t mean that I someone has the right to take advantage of another. 

                Let me give you an example.  It’s annoying that people insist on filling their large travel coffee cups from the breakfast room coffee, when they have their own coffee pots in their room.  Two cups and we have to brew another pot, causing other people to have to wait for a cup of coffee with their breakfast.  Annoying, but we deal. Keeping fresh coffee available is part of our job.  On the other hand, watching your teen-aged daughters throw french fries at each other in the lobby.  Not stopping them, or asking them to pick them up from all over the floor, and watching the desk staff clean them out of the carpet?  Well that’s just obnoxious. You deserve good service.  You’re not entitled to a servant. 

                Yet this is the type of behavior we witnessed all weekend.  The blatant lack of caring about anyone beyond yourself, and the breeding of such narcissism in your children was evident in almost all the families we saw.  It really made me sad for our future. 

                To me, the four most important things that I want to instill in my future children, and indeed the kids of my close friends, are:

  1.   The completely secure knowledge that they are loved
  2.   A deep sense of faith
  3.   The ingrained understanding that the world does not revolve around them
  4.   Profound sense of grace and gratitude for all they have been given.

                None of these things were evidenced in the interactions I witnessed this weekend.  Instead I saw demanding behavior from parents and children alike.  Not just directed towards us, but towards each other. I saw enough pre-Copernican [1] behavior to satisfy me for many years.  Witness with me the conversation overheard in our lobby between two teen girls:

                Daliah: Where’s your mom?  I thought she was coming.

                Bayleigh: She was.  But she’s like a relator now.  She had to show a house.

                Daliah:  What?  You mom has a Job? 

                Bayleigh:  Yeah.  For a couple months now.

                Daliah:  That sucks.

                Bayleigh: I Know!  I HATE it!

                No idea that it’s probably the mom’s job that made a trip like this even possible for the girl. The entire situation was, instead, evaluated by how it immediately affected her.  In addition, there was absolutely no sense of gratitude on the parts of anyone.  When we went above and beyond, they demanded more. When we asserted rules, they demanded an exception.  When one woman was discreetly notified that her card was declined she proceeded to loudly berate the front desk staff for making her daughter worried that they didn’t have enough money, and in the process let everyone in the lobby know the very thing we kept quiet for her sake.

                The thing is, it’s not the iphones, expensive cars, and costly personal grooming, it’s the attitude that seems to go hand in hand with it.  I have my selection of gadgets and enjoy a good pedicure on occasion, I’m just seeing over and over that when you hand people everything, they never learn to care for others.  I know as parents there is a desire to give your children every good thing, but unless you balance that with gratitude you’re raising a hot mess.

                I see this every day at work, not just with the soccer moms and their Plastics, but with the boss’s daughter. It breaks my heart to see the pain and damage her lack of caring causes her parents, and her coworkers. Today her mother was doing the laundry for nearly 50 rooms.  The daughter came in with her bedspread and wanted her mother to wash it. She was angry when the mother asked her to help.  The girl is 35, married, living rent free in her parents house.  Her parents supplement her income, and yet she is demanding that her overworked mother wash her bedding. She is the grown up version of the kids I saw this weekend. The sad thing is that I see this kind of narcissism becoming common place.  It isn’t the way for a society to function.  It isn’t the way to encourage one another, and build community and life.

                The thing is, I don’t know how to go about balancing this or correcting this.  If I chose to live a life where I put other people first they don’t see how life can be different, they just think they’re getting what they’re entitled to.  Serving those who think they deserve to be served just perpetuates the entitlement cycle. So how then do I build something different?  How do I help the people I’m around choose to care for those beyond them? How do I help people see the way they’re taking advantage of others? Furthermore, how do I keep myself from being infected with the entitlement virus?  It’s contaminating just about everything I see.  And I think it’s killing us.

 

1. Copernicus being the person that figured out that the Sun doesn’t revolve around the Earth, thus we were not the center of the universe.  Pre-Copernican people still see themselves as the center; post-Copernican people now know that life is not a story about them. 

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Loosing my Religion

Not in the faith sense, in the REM sense, the southern sense.
Today temperance is something I’m holding to with all 10 fingernails, but it’s slipping from my grasp. I mean, what do you do to an employee who:
*ignores instructions
*ignores notes
*ignores prompts
*ignores personal conversations
*ignores reminders
and fails to do her online training of the new software system that the hotel is going to use?
Fire her, right?
Ok, what if she’s the owners daughter?
Answer: You try very hard not to punch her.
For weeks you try not.
You try not to punch her when you tell her that she is the only employee that has not completed the training and she says “What training?’ and you say “the on-line training I’ve sent you three messages on, the one we’ve had two conversations about, the one you talked to the other front desk staff about, the one you reminded your brother to do, the one that I wrote on the schedule that had to be done last week because the switch-over is coming next Monday, that one?”
I tried not to hit her when she hadn’t done any of the training by the Saturday before the Monday the conversion happens.
I tried really hard not to hit her when she texted me on Sunday and asked what time the training was on Monday. Instead I calmly texted her the training web site, her user name and password and specifically told her what training to do.
Now, here I am. Loosing my Religion.
Here’s why.
I’ve been at the hotel since 8am on Monday. I have had very little sleep. Now I’m about to stay up all night, because she came to work having done only 1 of the 10 training episodes and has no clue how to do anything on the computer. She didn’t ‘realize’ that there was more than just the “Intro” training. (which just means that she didn’t pay attention all the times that I told her, wrote her….etc.)
So now she’s in the other room doing the training while I’m doing her job.
And I’m trying not to punch her every time she asks a question, can’t figure something out, or generally says anything.
It’s taking all I have. I may do a McDonald’s run.
Her dad and I are going to have a conversation in the morning.
This is insane.
I’m not normally a punch people kind of person, but I’m fast becoming one. I don’t ask for much, just that you do your job.
Is that too much?
Clearly.
(Update:
Her: What does it mean “Phone Field”? Where am I supposed to put this phone number?
Me: (sitting on my hands) The empty field right beside where it says Phone)

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Or so my fortune cookie said.
Ironic that, as I was sitting, waiting for my fate to be handed to me.
Yes, finally the long lost inspectors were in my hotel.
I'd been expecting them since May.
I know they're supposed to be random and show up when you least expect them to, but this is ridiculous.
I munch on a crab rangoon.
This is going to be bad.

My friend Evelyn manages a hotel in the same chain down south of here.  She runs a good hotel, a tight ship.  She barely passed.  As soon as the inspector was out of the door she was on the phone with her corporate boss, getting some help.  I run a good hotel, but am fully aware of our shortcomings, the stain that won't come out of the hall carpet,  the lack of room for all the expected pool furniture, the curtains on back order, creating an evil vortex where curtain doesn't match bedspread in every single one of the rooms.

I checked her in you know, the inspector.  She came in while I was working, and I checked her in.  She got into a conversation with some other guests, and I thought.  She's far to nice to be just traveling for business, she's got to be in the hospitality industry.  And then the germ of horror….I wonder if she's our inspector?  I realized at that moment that I was not wearing my name tag.  It was in the car.  As soon as I dispatched  the guests I ran to the car to get it.  Maybe I was over reacting. 
Next morning I was sitting at the table, eating an English muffin in my pajama's, watching Lily read a book. The phone  rings, I take it, Lily looks at me and says "bye bye" which I believe is what she thinks my name is, and I hear Annie say, "the inspector is here".  I was out of my door in 30 min.  I tore to the hotel, pausing only to call Annie and ask if it was the girl I had suspected the night before.  It was.

I came in to the hotel.  Greeted the inspector.  She thanked me for the awesome directions I had given her the night before.  I told her that I suspected her after the 'Texas' conversation, we laughed.  Then it went well, just smoothly.  Few little hiccups, but no fear and trembling.  She showed me the way the bed's will need to be made in the future, I co-miserated about her allergies.
And then it was time to wait.

The inspector appears, prints something, I put down the chicken fried rice, and we go meet.  She walks through everything, with me, and tells me that we passed…..with an exceptional score.
So all that fretting…for nothing.
And, apparently, my fortune cookie was right!

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