Plans

While typically I plan in advance what I’m going to write about and post regularly, you may have noticed that things have been rather quiet here lately at Naked on the Tundra.  It wasn’t an intentional hiatus, rather, it was a series of events that resulted in me spending time doing a lot of things other than writing.

My plan was to write about:

Thanksgiving and everything for which I am grateful

The amount of money we spend on our Thanksgiving meal

The amount of money we spend on Christmas

The reasons that I don’t shop on Black Friday

Instead, I had the opportunity while driving from Nashville to Michigan to experience firsthand the first big snow storm of the season, the opportunity to visit my twelve-year-old niece who was spending time in DeVos Children’s Hospital along with my younger sister, brother-in-law and fourteen-year-old niece, the opportunity to see my parents and older sister who were also visiting my niece, watch my grandkids while their parents took one of them to urgent care to get a stitch, have my email account hacked, my credit card number stolen, and catch a cold.

First Snow November 2015

Even though it wasn’t fun to drive in, it sure was pretty!

For the past week, being a conscious consumer has gone completely out the window.  When I needed gas, I didn’t care that Speedway has a D+ rating because it was on my way to the hospital and I chose convenience over conscience.  When my niece, who’d barely eaten for four days, said she wanted a turkey on Italian with mayo from Subway, I didn’t say, gosh, you know Subway has a C- rating and I’m really trying to stick with places with a B+ or better rating could you pick something else?  No, I drove straight there, ordered it up with no hesitation, and happily plunked down my cash.  When I couldn’t get all my Thanksgiving items purchased prior to the big day, I went to D rated Meijer on Thanksgiving morning and picked them up. 

Plans are great, but they don’t always line up with reality. In truth, I can’t really say that anything for the past week has turned out quite like I anticipated. If I’ve learned anything in the past fifty odd years, it’s that I can get upset and flip out about things, or I can take them in stride and try to find something positive in all of it.

I’m grateful that I was able to drive through eight to twelve inches of snow in southeastern Michigan without incident despite less than ideal conditions.  It’s very distressing that my niece was so sick, but I’m grateful I was able in a few small ways to help her and my sister out during their unexpected stay in Grand Rapids. I’m grateful my parents and sister drove over so I could see them before the holiday.  I’m grateful that I was here to watch the grandkids so they all didn’t have to go to urgent care when one needed a stitch.  The email and credit card issues are a hassle, but are insignificant in the grand scheme of life.  I’m grateful that there are so many people in my life praying for me and my family – I’m not sure how people get through things without that kind of support.

I’m still trying to find the silver lining in getting a cold, but so far I’m coming up with nothing.  If you can find one, be sure to let me know by leaving a comment.  What do you do when life doesn’t go as you plan? 

Man plans and God laughs.

Yiddish Proverb

Seductive Sirius

On January 5, 2015, I posted this on my Facebook page:

Ah, Sirius, how I have loved you! We have traveled many miles together and I have enjoyed your company immensely, your commercial free programming, your myriad of stations to choose from, the way you are always there for me even when I’m driving through remote places. But today’s topic is entitlement. I really, really tried to justify my NEED for satellite radio. I travel a lot. It’s commercial free. I listen to Christian music on The Message. But truly, there’s no way I can justify $200+ a year. Sure, I was given the option to change to a more affordable subscription and I really wanted it. But I stood fast on my decision and kept saying no thank you. And for the price I pay for my semi-annual subscription, I can support several of my favorite artists by buying their albums.

Sirius has been very diligent in contacting me every few weeks to let me know about their latest and greatest offer to win me back.  Typically their flyers go into the shredder and their emails into my trashcan, but this week, well, this week they came out with something fabulous.  The letter was titled Enjoy Thanksgiving with a Free Listening Event!  From November 19 – December 2, they are turning my Sirius radio back on – and I can listen for free! The fine print said that all I need to do is go to sirusxm.com/listen1 to learn more.  No commitment is necessary!  If I do want to continue my subscription, it will only be $20 for the first five months.  What a fantastic offer!  I actually considered it for about twenty-four hours.

Sirius

In the end, I’ve decided I’m going to pass.  While I do enjoy commercial free music, at the end of the day, I still can’t justify it.  It’s also possible that as a big corporation Sirius XM Radio, Inc., might not be one I want to patronize. Unfortunately, there’s not enough information available about them (other than financial) for me to make an informed decision so I will have to let this offer pass me by.

Are you ever tempted by clever advertising?  What offers are hard for you to refuse? 

Traveling

This week I’ve been away from home on business.  The meetings went well – we built some bridges, shared ideas, solved some problems, and even had time for a little fun.  Still, I can’t tell you how great it felt to put my key in the front door, walk over the threshold, put down my bags, and be back home.  It seems like Hannah felt the same way – she had to go lay in her crate for a few minutes and then systematically take every toy out of her toy basket and play with it a little bit.

When I was much younger, I thought it would be fun and glamorous to travel for work, that it would make me feel important and significant.  I admit I was a little envious of those folks that traveled in first class, all decked out in their business attire.  I imagined them running successful businesses, making important decisions, living glamorous lives. 

Like so many things I once believed, that’s not really how it is. Traveling is exhausting, unpredictable, and is subject to weather and the abilities, moods, and cooperation of many different people. A lot of people I talk with say they would prefer not to travel for work, they only do it because they have to.  There are others who enjoy that life, however, I’m not one of them.

Even though we ate at nice restaurants, (we had a lovely meal at Terra Preta and it was a delightful surprise to find that the Detroit Street LunchBox at the Detroit airport features Zingerman’s products!), I feel like I need to fast for a day to let my body recover.  I’m looking forward to eating meals I’ve prepared with my own hands and having some time for contemplation after dinner while I do the dishes. 

There was also the problem of trying to find places to patronize that had a positive rating in the Better World Shopping Guide.  One day the only lunch option we could find was Panera, with a D+ rating.  They did send me a survey after the visit and I took the opportunity to add a comment asking them to please make changes that would change their rating.  Marriott is one of the preferred hotels for my company, so I stayed at the Courtyard, which has a B rating.  Unfortunately, the gas station where I filled up on the way to the airport was an Exxon station, which scores an F and is rated as the number 1 worst corporation on the planet.  Yikes!  There were probably other stations I could have stopped at, but since I was running a little behind schedule and hadn’t planned ahead to find a preferred station, I opted for convenience. 

Now that I’ve got my bags unpacked, my lunch ready for tomorrow, and my slippers on, it’s time to relax a bit in the recliner and say a little prayer of gratitude for all the blessings and comforts of home. 

How do you feel about traveling for work?