Saturday, June 27, 2009

IS Service the New Luxury?

A few days ago I was reading the latest edition of By Design magazine, published by the Seattle Home Center. One of the lines in an article by Kay Stewart & Craig Cross read "Service is the new luxury" really struck me. Initially I thought, "Yes, right on!"

I've had a few days, a few service calls, a few installations to reflect on that line. Is that really true for me? For you? Are you doing anything differently in this economy regarding service than you were a year ago? I thought about it as I spent several hours on the phone and internet searching for a cream colored very wide traverse rod. I thought about it as I took down the dog-chewed faux wood blind for a 79-year-old widow yesterday and replaced it with a new one. It was on my mind as I delivered a rush order of shades, and as I tried to match valance clips to repair an older blind. I thought about it as I placed orders late into the night. It's always been about great service, and from talking with many of you, it's the same for you.

Going above and beyond what is expected - that's the kind of treatment I love to receive. Why would I provide any less for valued clients?

What do you think?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Taking stock

Life can change in a moment. I know, what a cliche. You hear it so often, and it never seems to apply to you. But yesterday, in one quick moment, life's paradigms shifted for me - again.

I've had a few of those in my life. The "aha" moment I knew that the young man I was dating would be the man I would marry and spend my life with; those wonder-filled moments I met the eyes of my newly-born children; and most recently, when our youngest son was sworn in as a recruit in the US Marine Corps and I realized that my devotion to my adopted country ran bone-deep.

Yesterday's paradigm shift was a little more mundane, an incident that occurs often in this beautiful and verdant land of ours. On our way to church, driving at the speed limit of 55 on a state highway, we hit a deer. No avoiding her; we didn't even see her as she jumped from the tall grass in the ditch directly bordering the unshouldered two-lane highway in front of the vehicle. No time to brake. No time to panic. Massive front end damage. Praise God no human injury though the deer did not survive. We picked up the car parts and continued on...

It was later that the thinking started, the what-ifs. What if we had gone into the steep ditch - there were no shoulders. What if there had been on-coming traffic? What if my calm husband had overreacted, swerved, rolled the vehicle? What if the airbags had deployed and we had been injured by them, like a friend's daughter? What if...? What if...? And the thoughts went on and on. And that's when the Thank God's really started.

Thank God for His provision and care that our family was kept in safety - something we take for granted as we travel so many miles, both for work and for leisure. Thank God for dependable vehicles we take for granted - the work vehicle that is now at the shop being repaired, the one has taken me so many miles and on so many sales calls and installations and the spare one left behind by my Marine recruit that I'll be able to drive while this one is in the shop. Thank God that we were driving my sturdy SUV which bore the brunt of the accident well, much better than my husband's much smaller import would have.

I'm taking stock today of those "everyday" blessings. Not so everyday after all, but such rich blessings! Thank God!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Family Fun in Phoenix

A red-letter day in our family! My husband Bob turned 50! It's hard to believe that we're getting that old - but hey, with six grandchildren and the seventh on the way, I guess we've earned our years. I decided that something extra-special was called for to mark the occasion.

My husband's family is Canadian, and spread across the country. Why not gather them in a scenic place and surprise my husband with a mini family reunion? The plans were laid almost a year ago already. Invitations were sent out and plans proceeded. Finally the day came and my husband was surprised to learn that he was not helping me at a client's home that day as he had expected, but instead our bags were packed and we were on our way to Phoenix.

Once we had deplaned, we strolled towards baggage claim. Shock was written all over Bob's face as he spied eleven family members waiting for him at the exit. What was this? How did this happen? Yes, it was me, I confessed, who orchestrated the whole reunion.

We had a week together: siblings, spouses and parents. We left with wonderful memories of blazing Scottsdale sun, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, quadding in the desert, shopping in the outlet malls, and just relaxing around the resort pool. Hundreds of pictures. Time to chat, time to reconnect, time to realize again the importance of family.

And thanking God again for great blessings.