Odds and Ends

ID-100309178

Courtesy of imagerymajestic at freedigitalphotos.net

The low number of posts in my Feedly account must mean that a lot of people are in the same boat I am — too busy with Christmas or other activities to post much. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I thought I’d take a moment and share a hodgepodge of stray thoughts crossing my mind lately:

  • Have you seen or heard of the adult coloring craze? I have always found coloring to be highly relaxing. I haven’t done it in a while, but when we were first married, I had my own coloring book and crayons. ๐Ÿ™‚ But the new books or pages for “adult coloring” now are very busy, intricate, and contain a multitude of small spaces, like the ones in here. I don’t know if I’d find that as relaxing – I used to like the big, open, simple spaces of kids’ coloring books.
  • I wish there was a rating system for books like there is for movies, along with parental guidance sites that will tell you exactly what the objectionable elements are. I hate being surprised by that kind of thing in an innocent-looking book.
  • It’s been fun Christmas shopping in the baby aisles again. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I have been dismayed that so many toys make noise or have buttons to push for songs. I don’t mind some of that, but they don’t all have to have that. I’d rather have a toy that they can manipulate and do something with rather than something they push a button and watch (primarily – again, a few of the other kind can be a fun diversion). And I wonder about sensory overload. I like having music playing during some tasks, too, but there is value in enjoying silence sometimes. I get overwrought if there is not some quietness in the day.
  • Speaking of babies…:) I had been wondering how Timothy would do with the Christmas tree. We made sure to put all the soft and unbreakable ornaments down at his level. When he’s over, there might be one or two ornaments on the floor when he leaves, but he really hasn’t messed with them as much as I thought he would. His favorite seems to be one that has jingle bells dangling from it: he’ll take it down and shake it as he walks around. We joked that it comes in handy to keep track of where he is. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Arranging ornaments for a baby in the house wasn’t hard: figuring out what to do about other decorations took a bit more consideration, like placing the Nativity set up on the mantle rather than on a side table by the front entry like usual. Because of the rearranging, I had some blank spaces where I usually put decorations. I had bought years ago a decoration that looks like an antique car (having all boys, I thought they’d like it), but then never hadย  place to put it. I’ve thought for years about getting rid of it since I wasn’t using it. But this year, I had a space for it – and Timothy loves it! He gets it down every time he’s here and rolls it around. I’m so glad I kept it. Surprisingly, the stuffed snowmen I thought he’d like, he hasn’t taken much notice of.
  • We had been keeping presents in the sewing room so far just so they aren’t a temptation for him. His parents are teaching him there are things he can’t touch, but I just didn’t want Christmas to be a source of stress and tension for him by having to constantly deal with not touching the presents all month. But now I am getting the room ready for my oldest son when he comes, so we brought all the presents out and put them under the tree. Jesse, who was helping me, remarked that now it looks like Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully the short time between now and Christmas won’t be too much of a stress factor in keeping Timothy from wanting to unwrap the presents. We did put the gifts bags with tissue paper behind everything else – I figured they’d be the greatest temptation for him.ย  If all else fails, we can block the tree off with his Pack and Play. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Poor Jesse, being the last child at home, usually is Mom’s helper by default, usually without complaining. But the company he works for has been overwhelmingly busy the last few weeks with Christmas shoppers. He has been working tons of overtime, so I haven’t had the heart to ask him to do the usual or extra tasks if I can help it. But that does put extra work on me. I do count myself fortunate to still have a helper – I know I won’t always.
  • Speaking of work, both my younger sons work in Customer Service of an online company. As I listen to them talk, I’ve wished I could write an article like the ones Reader’s Digest has been running this year about things you might not know about certain professions. Though I know in the long run this likely won’t help them, here is my public service announcement on behalf of customer service employees everywhere:

The customer service person you are communicating with is not the cause of the problem. Please don’t yell at him or her.

Most companies will bend over backwards to help you if you have a problem with your order: there is no need to call names, bully, or abuse them to do so.

No, you cannot combine coupons. That’s the case in almost every online or brick and mortar store I have ever shopped in. Acting ugly towards the employees won’t increase your chances. Neither will asking multiple times or cries of unfairness. Stores like to give you good deals but do need to make money. (See Can frugality go too far?)

2-day shipping does not mean you’ll get your order 2 days from the time you order it. It takes time to find it, package and address it, etc., or, in my sons’ case, to make it for you. You’ll get it 2 days from the time they send it.

When you e-mail the company multiple times, you create more work and then clog the system. I am amazed at how many people e-mail things like, “When will my order be sent?”, some of them daily, or will e-mail multiple times over the same problem. Most online companies will send you shipping confirmation and tracking number once they do get it off to you. They want you to feel free to e-mail if you have a problem or question but sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting.

Order early for Christmas! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Next year – it’s too late already for some companies to get items to you by Christmas).

Really, most of their customers are great: most orders get to people with no problems. There’s just a fraction who have problems, and of those a smaller fraction who are ugly about it. It’s easy to get frustrated, especially with the time factor involved this time of year. Of course, I know all of my regular readers are very nice and courteous people who would never be abusive to customer service people. ๐Ÿ™‚

My to-do list is waiting for me, so I better get back to it. It’s been nice ticking things off it this week. I keep reminding myself that I don’t have get everything done for Christmas before my son comes, but I want to be as available to him as possible since he’s only here for a short time. And I keep reminding myself that he has seen the house at its worst, so it doesn’t have to be in mint condition. But I’d rather it not look its worst if possible. I haven’t done any Christmas baking yet – I am too tempted to nibble all day if I have home-baked things here. But I’ll plan to later this week when everyone is here.

Hope you’re able to get everything done on your lists and are enjoying the season!

I haven’t been able to do any deep-thinking posts in a while, but some of my previous Christmas posts are:

A Perfect Christmas.

Grieving at Christmas.

Packing Up Christmas.

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5 thoughts on “Odds and Ends

  1. Barbara, may you & your family have a blessed joy filled holy day. A day full of lovely memories, traditions, and simply enjoying the dear family God has given you.

  2. I with you on the creative toys that don’t make noise for kids! Our girls loved playing with used (clean butter tubs). why invest in technology gadgets for toddlers when all they really want to do is use their imaginations?! Ah, customer service can be a tough one! It’s so important to be friendly and if you don’t feel like your concern (valid one’s–not ‘when will my item arrive I’m too lazy to look at the email you already sent me ones) can be addressed by the person on the other end, ask to speak to someone who CAN take care of the problem–nicely!

  3. So many things here that I want to send a hearty โ€œAmen!โ€ about. ๐Ÿ™‚ And a big to-do: Iโ€™ll be having small children at my house Christmas Eve, and I keep wondering about things I have sitting out. So I need to follow your lead and just move some things up higher now so it wonโ€™t be stressful to the parents (and me!) to worry about.

    Thanks for the customer service tips. I always like hearing things from people who are in the know. My niece worked at Verizonโ€™s customer service for awhile, and it amazed me at stories sheโ€™d tell.

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! I’ve got to get moving today and wrap more presents.

  4. I think customer service is one of the hardest jobs out there and kudos to those who manage to do it with grace. I smiled at your rearrangements for your smallest family member. I remember the first Christmas with four cats who really really love ribbon and tissue paper.

  5. I enjoyed these thoughts! Re. the coloring craze — I have two of the “new” adults coloring books and I concur that (sadly!) they’re not all that relaxing. EXTREMELY intricate details; I really doubt I’ll finish the 2 I have in my lifetime. I would also prefer one with larger shapes!

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