The Wolfeboro Project- Two Months In

The Wolfeboro Project- Two Months In

One step forward; two steps back – or so they say. Patience and persistence have been a challenge because this thing they call ‘life’ gets in the way. And it’s difficult to manage two households from six-plus hours away. We soldier on.

Our last visit to Long Stack was over the long Memorial Day holiday. In the meantime we have:

  • had outstanding handyman Rick take care of a laundry list of minor fix-it and safety issues including fire-proofing the garage and weed-whacking our tall front lawn grass.
  • had the radon remediation crew back to fix the electrical snafu they caused when installing the fan system that keeps the air flow going through the house to avoid radon build-up in the air we breathe.
  • contacted; scheduled; unscheduled then rescheduled three contractors to give us estimates on building a screened porch on the deck (more on that in a bit).
  • contacted and talked with two landscapers who will give us estimates on landscaping a six to ten-foot perimeter around the house.

All this from 350 miles away. It’s exhausting. The new normal of taking care of two homes, plus a business and family obligations is something I am wrapping my head around. And my head hurts – a lot – more often. I keep reminding myself to breathe and know things will work out. This is a long-haul project – there is no hurry.

The contractor schedule crashed and burned this past week. Doug has been serving on a criminal trial jury. That is challenging enough except the trial that was likely going to end with a verdict last week, ground to a halt when the courthouse transformer blew up and plunged the building into darkness. Repairs were made on a Thursday; but officials kept the courthouse closed Friday, too – which then cancelled our plan to head up to Long Stack on Sunday.

Yes, I know no lives were lost and no blood was shed; as they say, never let a good deed go unpunished. There’s my terrific husband NOT gyrating his way OUT of jury service and dutifully fulfilling his civic duty; and he ends up on this case that is now dragging on. The high hopes are that the case will indeed come to a close with a verdict – or not – this week. Then we’ll high-tail it north this coming Friday.

But wait; there’s more! Our long-time friends who ironically have a lake house up north; weeks ago invited us for July 4th weekend. The plan is we’ll spend a couple of nights with them, then enjoy our Independence Day (literally) at Long Stack where we will both work our jobs from our north offices.

And we have rescheduled the three contractors; we’ll call the landscapers this week to schedule appointments and I can tackle my daunting DIY project: scrubbing out the fireplace grit. (Borax + Dawn detergent + water + goggles + wire brush + plastic sheeting; scrub-scrub-scrub) And I found this nifty article about the cost of renovations.

Keep your fingers crossed that the wheels of justice squeak along; the case ends and we can again own our star-spangled independence.

 

When the Goin’ Gets Tough

When the Goin’ Gets Tough

ImageThe heart of any business or personal success is the team you have working on each and every detail.

Look at the Louisville Cardinals team and how those young men banded together to bring home the Midwest Regional trophy while teammate Kevin Ware was carried off the court after suffering a horrendous broken leg. While teammates convulsed in shock and tears streamed down the faces of thousands who watched Ware’s leg snap, the team pulled it together and rallied to put the lid on the regional championship.

I am working with a team of volunteers from Sustainable Cherry Hill and staff members from Cherry Hill Township to put on for the South Jersey region, the 4th Art Blooms Earth Festival. Everyone has a part to play. Volunteers worked with the township police department on safety and route planning for the family-fun bike ride that opens the festival at 9 a.m. Today, I met with John Martorano of Magnum Computer Recycling to find the easiest site location so visitors to the festival April EF2012_20120428_0327th can bring e-waste for safe recycling and disposal. I worked with the Cherry Hill Food Outreach Council which will have a donation station at the festival for non-perishable foods. One of our volunteers has coordinated the entertainment schedule to include several chorus and dance groups and musicians to perform throughout the event. It’s an amazing experience to work with people and maintain a ‘can-do’ attitude so everyone achieves most of what they hope for.

Attitude is everything when it comes to a project involving many people. To have even one team member who seems to work against the grain, can ruin the experience, if not the event, for everyone. The Louisville Cardinals could have folded after they saw what happened to Kevin Ware. The injured Ware yelled to the team to win the game as he was carried out of the stadium. Some hiccups can threaten any event and lead you down the path of ‘CAN’T-do.’ With the team I am fortunate to be associated with – township and Sustainable Cherry Hill – plus our amazing sponsors and supporters – the Cherry Hill Earth Festival and the family-fun bike ride Saturday, April 27th – will be another step toward helping the community and region focus efforts on sustainability in home, work and play.

Positive Means More Than Negative

Positive Means More Than Negative

Being interviewed for many people means being in a pressure cooker. The stress can often overwhelm even the coolest of people. Whether you are talking with a human resources manager or a reporter, it’s important to balance poise with being yourself and showing yourself in a positive light.

postivesmileWhen a reporter is interviewing a news-maker, the reporter is going for the sound bite. He or she wants information, yes, but he or she wants that information explained¬† in a captivating way. Face it, you don’t want to read in the newspaper, online or see on TV or hear on the radio that “My company is the best at everything.” The reporter wants to know what’s really going on behind those closed doors. The news-maker may be asked, “What’s it been like to work in a company that’s had so much turmoil in the past few months?” The response should be thoughtful – yet provide good information and a good sound bite for the reporter and the public. Something like this could work: “This has been a challenging time for the company. There have been moments when we didn’t think the company would make it – but we have gotten through what we hope is the worst of these challenges and we’re moving forward.” There might be more details in a real scenario – but it’s important to stay away from negativity. The second you say something negative, that is what will be pounced on. That negative comment could end up being the lead of the story.

In a job interview situation, the human resources person or the manager interviewing you also wants to see that you can handle challenging situations with style and grace. take the positive approach when they ask the probing questions. “Why did you leave your last position?” You sure don’t want to go down the negative route here. This surely can be a tough question if you left the position in less than desirable terms. This answer you can surely plan.

  • During my time at that company I really got to expand my knowledge in the industry. Now, it’s time for me to take on a new challenge.
  • I really feel as though I excelled in many aspects of my position. During the changeover in management, I adapted to the new leadership styles and really am confident I held my own during that challenging period.

Sure, these are positive ways to say negative things; it’s really important to show that YOU can be positive. Sometimes in an interview situation, people will try to get you to be negative. Don;t be trapped. Take a breath – and find that lemonade amid all the lemons others throw at you. It’s less toxic and a great exercise that you can practice all the time – in your personal and professional life.