Archive | September, 2011

Autumn is Lovely But….

22 Sep

It happens every year. Summer comes to a close, the evening air is cooler, vacation time is over, the neighbor children appear at the bus stop at 8:15 a.m. each weekday. It makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for each breath I take and love my life most days, but I mourn the passing of Summer and have done so for 50 years. Actually, I can trace this feeling back to when I started 2nd grade. I love the heat and the humidity and the sand in my shoes.

They say if you love something, set it free. I’ll miss you, Summer. Until next year…Sandy Footprints


That Nice Kirby Sales Rep

8 Sep
Kirby Sales Rep

Kirby Sales Rep at Work

We had a Saturday afternoon free. Relatively free, anyway – just errands to be done and tying up loose ends before heading out to dinner and a show with friends. During a cold call from the Kirby Vacuum cleaner people that morning, we decided to let them come by and show us the vacuum/carpet shampooer in exchange for a free rug cleaning, which we had been putting off for ages. What we didn’t plan on was that the Kirby sales rep would be such a great guy.

Once a musician, some changes in his life required him to work a 9 to 5 job so he could take care of his young son, so he signed on with the local Kirby distributor and learned about the Kirby system ten years ago. We had done some research – if you Google “Kirby Vacuum”, you’ll find many stories of people being bullied by unsavory sales people into making purchases they neither wanted nor could afford. Our Kirby rep told us at the beginning, “I’m here to show you how it works – you’ll either buy it or you won’t”. Fair enough. We wanted our carpet cleaned. And we felt strong enough to say “no” to this guy at the end of the process.

He was neither a bully nor unsavory. What he was, was knowledgeable, pleasant, quick, and efficient. Being in sales ourselves, we appreciate that in a salesperson. He was personable without being too personal.

We listened to his pitch, asked questions, and let him clean our carpet. What we didn’t do was say “no”. The Kirby Sentria system vacuums rugs, floors, furniture, and delicate items like lamp shades. It also shampoos carpets (without soaking them or using harsh chemicals) and has brushes and crevice tools to make vacuuming air conditioning grates, ceiling fans, that narrow space on either side of the fridge or car seat, and especially carpeted stairs, easy and quick. There are more accessories for floor buffing or polishing, sanding and other tasks, but we opted out on those. I’ve since used many of the attachments and functions of the Kirby Sentria we now own, and it truly is one of the best and most efficient household appliance investments we’ve made in our 28 years of home maintenance.

This post was intended less as an endorsement of the Kirby product itself, and more an endorsement of this terrific sales professional, who represents his company, his product, and himself, with enthusiasm and class. Thank you, Tom, for showing us how it’s done.

Earn the Right to Ask

5 Sep
The Colosseum

The Colosseum in Sunshine

In relationships, whether business or personal, you must earn the right to ask the difficult questions or make the requests that seem impossible to fulfill.

It’s all about trust and it requires time and effort. Totally worth it, though, don’t you think?

Photo by Matt Spitz

Local Fresh Ambition plus Egg Salad

1 Sep

Marsh Haven EggsA week or so ago, a hard-working and ambitious friend generously presented me with a dozen eggs from her own chickens, along with a little jar of honey from her very own bee hives! Two major treats. The eggs are long gone – we eat eggs almost daily in our home. The honey is being savored by me, by the teaspoonful, or in a sandwich with spelt bread, lightly toasted, and all natural peanut-butter.

I never thought much about how much attention chickens would require if you raised them yourself, but my friend revealed that she and her husband rise at 4:30 a.m. to tend their chickens and walk the dogs before they go to their full-time jobs. There’s much more to it, but just getting up that early is enough to make me believe these people are super-heroes. They love their chickens and noted that each has its own personality and one or two of the hens likes to be held and cuddled. So, these chickens are really pets with the added benefit of eggs for daily enjoyment. And, oh, the eggs!

I had heard that really fresh eggs have bright orange yolks, and you can see from the picture above that is true in this case. And they taste better to me – perhaps because I know that they came from happy chickens, raised in a loving home.

Here’s a little kitchen hint for you, brought about, as so many good ideas are, to fix a mistake. While cooking this batch of eggs in the photo I was distracted, rushing to get somewhere, and removed them from the hot water a bit too soon. Hours later after refrigeration, the eggs remained a bit soft and difficult to shell. Rather than struggling to peel them, I cut each egg in half with a very sharp knife, and used a pointed spoon to scoop out the egg into a bowl. It worked pretty well – you still need to be careful of shells, but this method is a winner. Just smoosh the eggs with a pastry cutter or knife and fork and add whatever condiments and spices you enjoy – I use a little mayo, sea salt and fresh pepper, and a couple dashes of ground mustard – and you have a lovely egg salad. Let me know how it works for you…

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