June 17, 2009

How NOT to train your employees.

I just got back from a required training on how to provide excellent customer service. The training was scheduled from 9am-1pm. At 1:15 we were only half way through the outline, so I motioned the instructor over and asked, "How much longer do you think we will go?" He said, "Oh, we should be out by 2:30 or 3:00."

Someone who keeps me 2 hours over the scheduled time clearly doesn't respect my time, doesn't really know what he is teaching, and isn't gonna share anything about customer service that I don't already know. Maybe I just have a bad attitude.

June 14, 2009

5 Tips for Hosting a Safe Teen Party

Last night we had a houseful of teenagers, 27 of them to be exact. My middle daughter wanted to have an 8th grade graduation party (and since her July birthday parties are generally less spectacular because everyone's on vacation, we said sure).

We have hosted several big teen parties over the years, and I'd like to think we have gotten pretty good at them. So how do you survive a teen party? Five steps:

1. Deny all responsibility. I put Party Girl in charge of the bash from the get-go. The kids are responsible for planning the activities, food, decorations - and clean-up before and after. The flip side of that is that they are also responsible for the actions of the people they choose to invite.

2. Do your thing and go home. A free-for-all is a recipe for trouble - so is pin the tail on the donkey. Have activities planned, but not too much. Last night Party Girl planned an hour and a half at the park, where they could organize games of basketball and volleyball, or sit and talk. Then they came back to the house to watch a movie and eat.

3. Go big or go home. I don't mean spend lots of money, I mean do it right. Yes, we used the sports equipment laying around the garage, and provided the regular concession stand variety of junk food. But, my brother in law loaned us his DVD/projector set-up so the kids could watch the movie on the whole garage wall - a far cry from piling in the basement in front of the 30-incher, that's for sure.

4. Enlist help. No one wants parents hanging around, so we sent the group to the park, 2 blocks away, unsupervised - sort of. I escorted one late-comer to the park and got a good look at what was going on. I put my neighbor who lives behind the park on alert for any trouble, and my brother in law stopped on his way into the subdivision to make sure he "connected with Party Girl about the video set up". Add in the pesky, tag-along siblings, and they had a spy-by every 20 minutes or so.

5. Earn a reputation. I overheard Party Girl telling a friend, "if anyone brings stuff to the party my mom won't call their parents, she'll just call the cops." Zero tolerance, and I mean it - and they all know it. The kids who want to avoid drugs and alcohol know our stance - and the kids we know use are clearly absent from our events.

In the end, it's about combining teen recklessness and the adult "rules" for one awesome evening.

June 13, 2009

Today is the last day....

...of school. Finally. 

The end of the school year is always such a frenzy for us, that we never really started any traditions for the last day of school. Here's one from Having Fun at Home that I wish I had thought of when my kids were little.

Any ideas for next year? Maybe if I start planning now.... (everyone who knows me is stifling a giggle, because they all know how last-minute I am - go ahead and laugh - I have a whole year to work on this).

June 12, 2009

Who knew she was so observant?

My middle daughter and I were running an errand today and she pointed out this sign as we passed:

"Las Fajitas"
"Mexican Restaurant"

(insert 13 year old's sarcastic tone) "Really? Las Fajitas is Mexican? I never would have guessed."

June 11, 2009

Hang on, I'm coming....

My daughter and I were on the way to pick up pizzas for dinner (because I am too cheap to pay the delivery charge and tip) when she got a text from one of her best friends, Erin, whose boyfriend just broke up with her.

"Mom, I have to go over there. She could barely talk, she's so upset."

So I went in for the pizzas, and we headed for Erin's house. As we pulled into the driveway I asked my daughter when I should plan to pick her up. "I'll call you. Probably tomorrow. Erin needs me." With that she grabbed a pizza from the stack, ran up the front steps, went inside without knocking, and was in Erin's room before I even left the driveway.

There are some things that are the same no matter how old you are. Like best friends who will drop everything and bring you their pizza when you really, really need it. 

June 9, 2009

What a nut....

My co-worker's five year old daughter Annie started a new summer day camp today. About 10am the day care called in a panic, because Annie had eaten almost half a peanut better granola bar before she told them she was allergic to nuts. My co-worker's laughter really threw them off - until she said, "Annie's not allergic to nuts." Turns out she just thought it would be fun. Kids - gotta love 'em!

June 4, 2009

Enough! Enough! Enough!

The kids are done with school next week Friday. Exams are next week. The teachers can stop assigning homework any time now. If they haven't learned it by now, it isn't gonna happen. Wrap it up already!

June 3, 2009

I knew I shouldn't have joked about it.

Sick. I spent my whole weekend sick. I had to check my phone to make sure I actually called work, not just imagined it. I have no idea what my kids ate - if they ate. On the plus side, the giant pile of laundry on the bathroom floor is collecting all the dog hair I didn't sweep up....