Sunday, September 30, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

The calendars are whispering that September ends today, October begins tomorrow. How can this be true? I may have asked this question around this time of year, last year, but this year I do really mean it.

I am looking forward to a break in my usual schedule, and that break will begin mid-October. So much needs to be done before then. I suspect that many items on that long list will not be completed. Even so, a break will be welcome.

The past week flew past.

I had hoped to have lunch with a childhood friend, now resident in the U.K., while she was in New York visiting one of her sons. But, even though we had many e-mails planning the best day for this get together, it only took one staff member coming down with a very bad cold to squelch the lunch.

I was at least able to see my old pal and one of her very handsome sons for a brief, brief hug and chat at the shop. The shop was so busy, I had to keep breaking away from the catch-up conversation to go help customers. There was absolutely no way that I could have left the shop for a long lunch. I was disappointed, but if I am supposed to display responsibility to my staff, that is what I have to do.

On another day, I used half of my day off to attend a quarterly company meeting at the the company's showroom in the Garment District on Seventh Avenue. These meetings are unlike most other company meetings, in that stretching exercises and meditation minutes intersperse reports on spring fashions, quarterly sales, and profit-sharing estimates. We are having a very good year, and the profit sharing bonus looks to be very generous. More about that will be known in about six weeks.

We had our semi-annual special event in the shop on Thursday, offering refreshments, $25 off each purchase, a gift with each purchase, and the opportunity to help us support a worthy philanthropy that encourages leadership, rather than followship, in young girls. (We contribute 10% of the day's take to the charity.)

These events take a fair amount of planning, and the actual day is a very high energy, demanding, somewhat exhiliarating experience. On my way to the shop that day, I stopped into the bank to cash a petty cash reconciliation check for the prior month's expenses. As one does, I sort of zoned out in the bank queue, going through mental lists of event-related tasks ahead of me.

Then. From my right, I heard a male voice say, "Hello, Frances." I turned and saw a man smiling at me. He looked a bit familiar. Well. The man was someone with whom I lived for a number of years back in the 1970's.
He recognized me. I would not have recognized him otherwise. (This same scenario occured on a sidewalk about twelve years ago, and at time, I shamefully admit not knowing who he was even after he said his first name.)

On Thursday, I did speak to him for a little bit, wanting to be polite, but also wanting to flee. Finally, the bank teller said, "Next," and so I was able to say bye bye. Of course, when I was finished at the teller's window, he was still there waiting to talk some more. So, I did talk a little more, and then said that I really did have to get to work.

I left the bank in a daze, going through many memories, and thoughts of bridges crossed, forks in roads, all that sort of thing. I did wait for the "walk" sign before crossing the busy street, so I got to the store intact, if quite shaken.

The day was incredible, and I really had no more time to think of the encounter at the bank. We did about $32,000 in business. Wow.

I was so tired at the end of the day. Just spent.

Luckily, I had given myself the next day off. After getting through the usual errands, I pretty much vegetated in the late afternoon. That was luxury.

Back to work yesterday for another hectic nine hours. And I am still behind on various projects. And still cannot seem to convince my bosses that we need more staff. I am still in the dark as to what will really happen with regard to the return of my new mom assistant manager.

The week that begins today will be pivotal, if some of these staffing needs are to be addressed before my mid-month break. During the week prior to my vacation, I will be out of the store for four days of managers' meetings. So...that is really three weeks during which the shop will not have its manager (me) present. This may turn out to be all for the good. Especially if chaos erupts, as it very well may.

I do know that as long as I keep patching up the schedule, making sure that all runs smoothly, there is less incentive for anyone else to discover the joys of this level of responsible dedication. Opportunity is about to knock.

Hoping that you all will have a lovely Sunday.


  1. The end of September has definitely come quickly this year, I agree! I expect you will become busier now with the festive period drawing close.

    Crystal xx

  2. i never want to run into an old boyfriend. ever.

    october is my favorite month. i agree september has flown by. but october will bring beauty...and maybe adventure for you.

  3. Sounds a bit like an old film, Frances, all you needed was violins playing softly as you met your old 'love!

  4. It sounds as though your October break is coming not a minute to soon. You've had a rough time of it in the store since your Asst Manager left, but the proof of your good leadership is in the figures, isn't it?!
    October and May are my favorite months - love the change of season, even is it isn't so dramatic here on the coast.

  5. Hi Frances - thank you we have had a brilliant Sunday - just back from a long walk and feeling wonderful.

    Where indeed did September go - Autumn is now here in full force.

    You know Frances if I was in a position to employ someone, or if I was looking for the prefect boss - I would pick you every time.

  6. How strange to meet the old boyfriend. I think I'd feel a bit spooked too. I do hope you get to enjoy your break, it is richly deserved, you work so hard.

  7. Good evening Dear Frances,
    You work so hard, I do hope you eventually manage to enjoy some free days of sheer bliss and creativity in your paintings and drawings, or even just sit in Central Park with the Autumn Mists, to read a book. I agree with Westerwitch, you certainly do deserve to be BOSS at the shop.


  8. I inevitably seem to run into old boyfriends when I'm looking my absolute worst. It is slightly spooky, thinking of the twists and turns of life. I aree that October has crept up on this year.

  9. I feel exhausted Frances! How do you keep going? That encounter DOES have the makings of a film; very unsettling for you though. I hope whatever memories that were unearthed have not left you feeling too shaken. Love the sound of your break - it will be much needed as the Christmas mayhem approaches I imagine. Any plans for it? Thank you for all the lovely comments and suggestions too Frances; I am so glad you like the website. Initial feedback has been wonderful and the orders have flowed in too xxx

  10. What a thought provoking week for you. You seem to have had you past rather thrust in your face over the last few weeks which can be a trifle unsettling.

    It will do the staff good to learn to live without you even for a short while all the more to appreciate you upon your return.

  11. I often think the most embarrassing moment is when someone comes up to you and says 'hello' and obviously knows you and yet you can't remember who on earth they are or where you might have met them. If someone doesn't make an impression on me I tend to forget them, although not deliberately. As to the store -don't worry - I am sure they will rise to the occasion. Relax and have a good holiday. You need the break.

  12. Hello Frances,
    We went to the beach at St David's yesterday; it was the most glorious west Wales day, blue sky, bright, clear sunshine and sparkling sea and I saw the jet stream of a plane overhead. Tom commented that its next stop was New York and suddenly it was more than a place name because I thought of you and your life there. A good thought.

  13. Wow Frances, to be recognised by an old boyfriend after 30 + yeras is amazing, you've obviously not aged greatly!!How wonderful!

    Shame about not getting to have lunch with your friend, least you had a brief moment.

    Hope you get to have a wonderful break mid Oct. What will you do? Where will you go?