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.