Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Race Day

The big race day was today.  Because of my previously mentioned busyness I haven’t trained nearly like I would have liked.  In fact over the last month I’ve run pretty sporadically.  It’s been really hit or miss.  I had planned to go out and run the race route for the last month.  That didn’t happen.  With my crazy schedule I’ve been lucky to run a couple of days per week.  I didn’t run at all for about a week and a half.  Needless to say coming up to race day I was pretty anxious about the whole thing.

Last week I decided maybe I should run the route.  It kicked my butt.  It’s been in the 90’s here over the last week or so and I’ve had to run in the afternoons.  Not good.  The terrain was much different than the trail I normally run.  It’s much hillier.  When I tell you the route was up hill both ways I do not exaggerate.  I almost backed out of it.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  It took me close to 45 minutes on both of my trial runs and then I found out that I’d misinterpreted the route.  It was actually a half mile longer than I thought. 

I decided that finishing the race was my goal. If that side stitch caused me to walk more than I’d planned so be it.   If it took me an hour and I finished dead last what would I have to be embarrassed about?  I would be accomplishing something the majority of people won’t even attempt.  Enough with the excuses.  So off I went. 

When I got up this morning, to my surprise, it had rained during the night and cooled things off significantly.  Temperatures were in the mid sixties.  Great!  It remained a bit overcast so no glaring sun.  Even better.  I warmed up properly, stretched and felt pretty good about things.  I arrived, got my first ever number bib, and waited for the race to start.

The race coordinator started out by calling all those who planned to finish the race in under 21 minutes to the front, then those planning to finish in under 35 minutes, then those in under 45 minutes and finally those who planned to finish in under 55 minutes.  I stayed toward the back because based on my two trial runs I thought it best to stay out of the way of those faster than myself.  Most people piled in the middle in the “planning to run in under 45 minutes”.  He blew the whistle and we were off.  Up hills and down hills we went.  Surprisingly I kept a pretty good pace.  I did have to walk a couple of times, but even with that I think I finished pretty well.  Better than I thought anyway.  I had a finishing time of 35:52, 15th out of 18 in my age group and 77th out of 101 runners overall.  Average race time was 30:43.  I’m hooked and I’ll certainly be running another one.

The Masked Avenger took the top prize as usual.  I’m not sure if anyone really even knows his name.  He shows up to all of these events donning a colorful wrestling style mask.  He runs the race in it and after the race changes into fresh one.  He ran the race in 17:51.  Needless to say I was well impressed. Cudos to the Masked Avenger…whoever you are.  


Mi Vida Loca

With my two weeks of training behind me I went into last Saturday overwhelmed with product specifics, special order instructions and a tiny bit of coaching on a little something they call “following the process”.  “Following the process” isn’t as easy in real life as it is on paper.  It sounds a bit robotic after a while, too.  “Good morning!(insert smile) Welcome to Fine Furnishings.  The weather sure is nice out, isn’t it?  What brings you in today? You’re just looking?  Well that’s okay.  My name is D’Ma.  Have you been into our store before? We’re having a fantastic deal on mattresses. Have you seen our La-Z-boy section?  We’ve got some special financing options available, too.  What room are you working on?  Oh, your living room?  Let me just sketch that out here.”

Yep, really easy on paper.  When you’re greeting your very first solo customer, however, things can go a bit differently.  And when they still “wanna just look” you’re supposed to chase them around the store and ask them twenty times if they have any questions.  This is called re-engaging.  So the next time you go into a furniture store to “just look” please understand that the person hawking you doesn’t want to do that any more than you want them to do that.  When they follow you around watching your every move it isn’t because they’re afraid you’re going to stuff a sofa in your pocket and make a run for it.  It’s because they have to be available if you have any questions.  You know, right there.  So you don’t.have.to.chase.them.down.  And because they’re supposed to continue to ask you if you’re looking for something in particular.  And because they’re not supposed to take “we’ll know it when we see it” for an answer.  They’re supposed to try to make you want what you see.

There, I got all that out.  The truth is….I don’t exactly “follow the process”.  Some people want special attention and some people don’t.  The trick is figuring out which ones are which.  All in all I don’t think I’ve done too badly.  They told me when they hired me the goal would be to build up to selling $40,000.00 worth of furniture and/or accessories per month.  It would take some time but it could be done.  After my first full week on the floor I’ve sold $21,000.00 worth.

My very first sale was last Saturday.  It was also a special order.  With a company I hadn’t even practiced doing a special order with.  I’m not sure what my customers thought every time I disappeared to go ask another question.   It was fun.  I loved every minute of it.  Picking out a frame for a sofa and love seat, picking out what feet to put on that sofa and loveseat, the fabric, contrasting pillows, fringe or piping, nail head finish.  Right up my alley.

Then on Monday I turned in my two-week’s notice.  That’s right. I quit.  You see, out of the blue last Friday I got a phone call from a CPA I’ve worked with in the past.  He knew of a job opening in accounting and wanted to know if I was interested.  At first I wasn’t really, but thought I should at least hear what the job was about.  I met with the company Monday morning and they offered me a salary plus benefits. On the spot.  More than I could pass up.  I took it on the spot.  So as quickly as I went into the furniture business I’m exiting.

I half expected the store manager to tell me he didn’t want me to work out a notice since I’d just finished my training and had only been there two weeks.  But he asked me to stay on for the two weeks.  So I’m doing that and treating every customer like I’m going to be there forever.  On my two days I work eleven to eight I’ll be going to my new employer’s office from eight until around 10:30. I feel like I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind.  I haven’t had any time to post and just barely enough time to read some of my favorite blogs.  Welcome to my crazy life…


I’m Sorry

I’ve been spending my time off either working on bank reconciliations (Yay! I got a client!) or sewing drapes.  This new job and my side ventures are seriously inhibiting my writing time. 😦  I went to Tessa’s late Sunday afternoon for some much needed rest and relaxation. I floated around her swimming pool for what seemed like a couple of hours.   

She was sitting by the pool with a nice cold drink when I got out to join her.  I’m not quite sure how we got on the subject, but you know how one topic just leads to another and to another.  We have a mutual friend whose child is gay.  She told me how she’d had to “hide” him from her facebook page because she couldn’t stand to see his posts anymore.  Then she told me of something that had happened in Sunday School not too long ago.  The boy’s father made some reference to him being “different”.  She gave him a “knowing and sympathetic” nod.  I’m sure he appreciated that.  

Then she turned the conversation to one of her children.  She said if her unmarried daughter told her that she’d take her to one of those “overcoming homosexuality” centers and not allow her to come out until she professed heterosexuality.  Her daughter is twenty-three.  She can only say that because she doesn’t believe her daughter is homosexual.

I wasn’t really surprised by her comment because she often makes bold statements about things she would or wouldn’t do, seeing the world in black and white.  That is until it’s something or someone close to her.  Then she sees the shades of gray, does something completely different than the bold proclamation and stays very quiet with it.  I think if she found out that one of them was it would be a complete game-changer.  It’s always different when it hits home.  It’s easy to make these brash statements when you think you’ll never be faced with the situation you’re making such statements about.  It’s always such a pain in the derriere when those statements come back to bite you in said derriere.

Anyway the rest of the conversation went something like this:

Me:  “I get what you’re saying about Sunday School Man’s son.  I’m not a big fan of PDA of any kind.  Some things should be kept private no matter your sexual orientation.  I’ve always believed that homosexuality was a choice, but I’m starting to think differently about that.  I think people may really be born that way.  It’s not a choice, but who they are.”

Tessa:  “How can God make someone born that way when he says it’s an abomination?  It’s a choice in the same way that sometimes I think maybe I could steal something and get away with it, but I choose not to.  Maybe I was born with the tendency to steal, but I have to choose not to do that.”

Me:  “So you’re saying that if you’re really born homosexual that your choices are to either spend your life with someone you have no desire for whatsoever or to be alone because you can’t choose to be with the person you really love because they happen to have the same plumbing as you?  How messed up is that?  That you’d be born that way and as a test of your sincere love for a creator you’d have to deny yourself intimacy?  I’m not sure what I think about that.”

She quickly changed the subject and I was glad.  I didn’t want to argue or debate.  I think I made my point without doing that.  Homosexuality can hardly be equated to the desire to steal.  That’s ridiculous.  You don’t need to steal.  Everybody needs love and it’s wrong to deny people that basic need.

I did believe at one time that homosexuality was a choice, that it was like any other “sin”, and that people with homosexual “tendencies” just needed to make a choice.  Homosexuality isn’t a “tendency”.  I’m sorry I ever thought that way.  I’m sorry I was ever such a holier-than-thou, religious wing nut, up on my high horse, self-righteous fundamentalist.  Did I leave anything out?  If I did I’m sorry for that too.