Friday, June 29, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Friday Night from New York.

I cannot figure out how to begin this blog. Well, probably just begin it and the thing will take on a life of its own.

Last night, after returning from a long, totally engaging, profitable for the company (and maybe a bit for the staff as well, day, I as usual took my time to prepare a really supper, pour myself some red wine, sit down to relax. In my line of work I do not often sit for long.

Yesterday was the first day of our major summer sale. My shop is understaffed for reasons explained in prior blogs.

For probably 4 or 5 hours straight yesterday, I was like a racehorse with blinders on. I operated the sales register computer, with a colleague to my left folding items that customers wanted, and a colleague to my right doing the final packing in tissue paper and into the shopping bag bit.

This was without a bathroom break. Adrenalin ran. Customers were happy with bargains.

La. la. la.

Turns out that our shop had sales results yesterday way above what anyone expected. We "beat" other much bigger shops in our district. We were beaten by only one other shop.
"We" need more staff. Possibly beating the other more staffed shops will stand in the wayof our getting more staff.

But enough of the small talk. I am slurping down my pasta last night, and as I often do, listening via computer to a radio talk show from London. Cabbies are calling in, asking colleagues to try to go to Haymarket to help people to get away from that area. I was so impressed that this could be put out onto the air waves. It would never have been possible here in NYC.

Not long after, I cut my lights out and slept the deep sleep of the exhausted. It was not until this morning that I learned via cable tv what had been discovered in Haymarket. And then ... not long before I had to go to big-sale-day-two, I heard of another alarm in Park Lane.

All this in a way helps me to sort my priorities. I know that I am devoting way too many hours to my job. I have yet to figure out a way to enlighten the company to restructure the staffing of the shops. All the same, tonight I am safe. I have traveled to and from work via the subway, with the usual bums sleeping on a range of sleeping, tourists from midwest USA wondering if they are in the right car to get to the Statue of Liberty, Friday night lovebirds on their way to a night of ... could it be love, tired immigrant- and native-born workers looking tired on the way to work and on the way back, folks with their heads in tabloid newspapers, folks with their ears full of sound distribution units, folks consulting various forms of cell phones/blackberries, folks with little children (some in strollers) and all sorts of other folks.

This city is so full of energy brought daily by its inhabitants.

Today was another very busy day at the shop. We definitely will get our monthly bonus. Don't really bother with it, but know that some of my staff really do. Had a rather good actress, Blair Brown, in this evening. She is lovely, and low key.

I keep wondering where my energy is coming from. This morning when I awoke I felt so tired, and thought I saw great bags beneath my eyes, but as the day wore on, I totally forgot about that and just got on with it.

Tonight I feel glad to be living here in New York, but so very tired, and wondering how I might be able to reconfigure my weeks to get some time off. Still no good news from my assistant, the new mother.

We had rain last night (not like the rain that many of you all have suffered) but it cooled the air, and this evening is almost pleasant.

It is just possible that I may get a day off on Monday.

Please wish me luck! Or maybe just wait to see if I do take that day off!

Pleasant dreams.


  1. Dear Frances I really do feel that you're overdoing it. I think your company is very lucky to have somebody as dedicated as you are and that they are taking advantage a tad. Please take care of yourself. With regard to the bombs, as one who was in Harrods when the bomb went off, there is a spirit in London that saw them through the Blitz, the IRA bombings, and our July bombings. I was horrified to hear that it may all be starting up again. Trying not to be too political I do feel that the British sense of justice and fair play is being exploited too much lately.
    Don't work too hard. ToadyXX

  2. Came on just after Toady and was going to say the same thing about over-doing it. The tiredness theme shows up on your blogs. I wish you were working for yourself and all that energy and dedication was feathering your own nest. I DO hope that get that day off on Monday but surely you ought to be able to know when you get days off so you can plan them. Please don't burn yourself out.

  3. I think it's so easy to get yourself into the habit of work, work, work. You need to slow down. Do you have temp agencies? Get some in, give yourself a deserved break and do nothing. Once tiredness sets in, mistakes start to happen.

    Take care!
    Crystal x

  4. What more can I add that hasn't already been said? When I finally acknowledged that I was going to have to give up work for health reasons, at first I wandered around with no purpose. I felt useless and I became useless. But then I found life - real life, and started to appreciate the little things I was always in too much of a hurry to notice. It's about achieving the balance and, at the moment, it seems as if your scales a slightly heavier on the work side. Monday? Yes!! Move heaven and earth. The company will benefit from an even more energetic and refreshed you, so it is worth the investment in "me time".

    Thanks for the info on the shoes - I'm having a few probs tracking them down here, but is it a new concept that is filtering across the ocean? Have even looked on eBay, but can't find the right ones yet. Will keep at it though, because I think they could be just the thing!x

  5. I used to love days like that in the shop, the adrenalin,the laughs,the money in the till. then closing time and you realise you havent eaten all day or sat down and the exhaution hits you and you've got to do it all again tomorrow..
    You need a break or the shop will be seriously understaffed without you there xxxx from auntie josephine xo

  6. I am wishing you luck and congratulations on your success. I know what it is like to be passionate about your work, conscientious and hardworking. I am the same about my little library which I had/still am constantly trying to build up and save from the axe (totally incomparable to your NY shop of course). But you don't want burnout as you will become ill which is the body's way of saying slow down. I know it's hard, I am on leave today but have just been dreaming about the library and how sad is that?
    Perhaps it's time for you to find 'me-time' as you are such a talented, gifted person and time to not be defined by your job alone. Take a holiday? Think about your real dreams?
    Sorry I do go on don't I? I am just going on my 'feelings' from your blogs. Hope I make sense in all my ramblings.
    Happy Days.

  7. Good morning from New York.

    I thank all of you. You all are quite correct in what you've said. I would definitely have written something similar to another person.

    Until I am able to hire additional staff, or the business begins a sort of summer slowdown, it is hard to see how things will greatly improve. So...I have to kind of take it day by day and try to fit in little breaks where I can.

    It is very unusual to have three people, including the assistant manager, gone or about to the gone, so it was not possible to really plan for this gap.

    From the interviews with applicants that were held earlier this week, perhaps one person emerged who might be suitable. It is hard to believe that more resumes/applications are not in the hopper, so to speak. After all, there are six stores in our greater NYC area.

    Some of my staff are also working very hard (not all of 'em, but most!) I don't want to wear them out either, so there is a bit of a conumdrum. I think that the current situation will clear bit by bit, but what I keep trying to tell "those above me" is that the budgeted staffing level is simply not adequate; it is not a matter of making good use of what/who is available. We need a bigger staff.

    Sometimes I believe that I have successfully broken through with this obvious fact. Then, another cloud passes over the comprehension reception department.

    Anyway, having slept soundly last night, I shall finish my nourishing breakfast, and get along to you know where!


  8. Love hearing about New York - you really bring it to life with your vivid descriptions.

    As everyone else says - don't overdo things work-wise. I know - easier said than done.

  9. Oh dear, I do so worry about you. It all seems so intractable, but if a solution is not found by those above you, the predictions of your purple friends are likely to come true and your body will stop you. Here's a big purple hug and prayers that it will work out for you quickly.

  10. I love reading about your life. It's good you are doing so well but still keeping a grip on reality. I'm not a great one for urban scenes anymore. I don't even go to London, only an hour away by train, but I love to hear about real New York.

  11. Hello Frances ...I'm not going to add to anything that has already been said...clever lot aren't they? I love a glimpse of New York through your goes the camera? Waiting to see the street where you live. You may find photography relaxing...when you get past the instruction manual that is!

  12. Hello Frances ...I'm not going to add to anything that has already been said...clever lot aren't they? I love a glimpse of New York through your goes the camera? Waiting to see the street where you live. You may find photography relaxing...when you get past the instruction manual that is!

  13. hello frances you do work so hard have a rest and take it easy you deseve it ,you dont want to be ill . have a rest and think of yourself for a while bless you jep xx

  14. Francis I commetned at crack of dawn but it seems to have been eaten alas! Cities can be so exhilerating but I think you must be careful your success does not come back and hit you!! Too many sales and you are right thye will say you do not need extra staff... please do not forget the me time adn the water colour pencils!!Hope you get a day of soon.!

  15. Good Evening Dear Francis,
    Wonderful that you have "hit" the sales target, if I lived next door to you I could come in and help. We go about our lives busy, busy, trying to juggle everything, career is obviously important, but the 'me' time always seems to be so hard. Do hope you get time to paint those lovely pictures, and to read those lovely books now and then. How is it going with the camera Frances? I have yet to acquire a new one, I am fortunate that my son has been able to put lots of photo's on my computer from his, but I would love to have my own. You mention the news in London - my son lives near The Strand, my heart thudders when I hear bad news on the T.V. or Radio, he tries to assure me that people HAVE to go about their daily business, and that I must not worry, easily said than done!
    Hope you do get that day off on Monday Frances, you so deserve it.
    Warm Wishes to you.

  16. Hello Frances - I hope that as I write this you are sleeping the sound sleep of one who knows that the morning is yours to with as you please. Hoping you have tomorrow off!!!
    I was touched in a strange way by your description of listening to the call in show from London - the world is small in so many ways, so why is it so difficult for our leaders to lead the way to peace? I believe that you and I and millions of others have the will and would gladly spend many evenings listening to one another (and chatting) if given half a chance - and we'd come to understand one another in the doing.

  17. Oh Frances, you capture city life so well, I am transported there. Blair Brown, sounds like our prime ministers!! Know what you mean about the awful terrorist acts, Glasgow airport was horrific, so glad no innocent people were harmed, we had friends who were there leaving for their holiday.
    Thank you for the lovely comments you have left on my blog, I am so glad you enjoy reading them, it makes it very worth while when you get feed back like that. Posie x

  18. Hello Frances. You sound so in need of a break, but so far in you can't see the wood for the trees. I hope someone will come to your rescue. xx

  19. I can't add much to what's already been said, but enjoy the brief respites that you get, and relax. I love that feeling of being super busy, everything adreniline-charged and then - whack! exhaustion hits.

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