Life is Like a Roller Coaster

roller coasterIt’s amazing to think about all of the ups and downs in a regular day and how they can affect the psyche. Earlier this afternoon I was feeling the high of just having figured out a new piece of technology that could make my life easier and my presentations more beautiful. I was pretty excited. Top of the roller coaster, I had my hands up in the air ready to enjoy it. Maybe it sounds goofy, but for old people like me, mastering a new piece of technology is a victory. And besides, I get sick when I get on roller coasters these days, so I’ll have to get my thrills where I can.

I just think about how many ups and downs I’ve had in one day – and feel lucky that I don’t really let it bother me a bunch. OK, it bothers a little, and then, therapeutically, I write it out. So the technology thing was an up. I had a really nice lunch with another good friend today. I’ve been doing that a lot lately and it’s a great habit that I’ve started, especially since my days are spent mostly with a cat and a hamster. And they basically sleep all day. Having lunch with a good friend is a great way to connect and empathize and laugh and strengthen your bonds and share your burdens and hopefully lighten theirs. As soon as I got home I sent her a note scheduling our next lunch because we always wait too long in between.

When I picked up my son and his friend from school today, I got a smile from their wackiness. They immediately launch into these goofy British biddy voices while roughhousing around the back seat. I recalled how the only day all year that they haven’t been overly loud in the back seat was last Friday, the day of the teachers vs. 8th graders volleyball game. It’s a big annual event and it appears the teachers really worked out more than a semester’s worth of revenge on this rowdy class. I didn’t attend. I just heard the score and the extreme quiet in the back seat on the way home. In traffic we pulled up next to one of the teachers at the stop light. The boy in my car who played, waived weakly at her, his eye black smeared all over his face by now. She looked back and mouthed “Sorry” with a tinge of regret in her eyes. “Harsh”, my son said. I don’t know why I found their defeat funny.

Maybe it was the battle I had with The Boy this morning as he left for school. He’s upstairs coughing right now. I’m deciding if I need to take him to the doctor and trying to find a spot in my schedule to do that. He stayed home from basketball practice last night with the cough and a sore throat. He can still walk though, and he’s got no fever so he went to school. It’s zero outside and there’s a wind chill advisory and they were out yesterday because of the snow and cold temps. But he doesn’t want to wear a coat. No eighth grade boys wear coats. He usually wins and leaves with only a sweatshirt. It’s just a short walk to the carpool car. They don’t go out for recess. And there’s not a decent place to put his coat where it won’t end up on the floor. I win today and he leaves angry. “I love you” I say to no response but a slamming door. Bottom of the roller coaster.

I love having my own business and all of the learning that comes with it and all of the new people and old friends entering my life. I’m working on a new project that started just today and the three main people that I am working with are from my past. Fun people. Agribusiness is a small world, really. I’m excited for the new challenge. Roller coaster up.

My husband walks in the door, stressed. This is really his roller coaster, but he works in the school food service industry and some lunch ladies in Salt Lake City gave them all black eyes as they made national news for tossing kids’ lunch in the trash for non-payment. It’s a ridiculous catch-22 and now local parents are starting to make an issue of a non-issue, concerned that it could happen here. His boss got an e-mail from a parent today, wanting to know the policy. We’ve talked about this before and it’s really a deal that has no easy solution. Because of new lunch guidelines brought by Mrs. Obama, the kids are now required to pay for their lunch at the end of the lunch line instead of the beginning. This is so that the person taking their money can also check if they have the appropriate healthy food on their plates. That’s the requirement. So really the only way to deal with someone not paying is to repo the lunch at the end of the line, which is terrible PR. Just ask ABC News. Put yourself in the manager’s role. What do you do? You would think parents would pay for their kids’ lunch when they find out about their delinquency, but they don’t. Right now you’re saying “I pay for my kids’ lunch. Really? People don’t?” Believe me. They don’t.

I suggested to my husband that they turn it over to a collection agency. Been there, done that, he said. And then he told me about the lady who was refused a car loan because she didn’t pay the lunch bill. Bad deal. Angry parent. Again, what’s the solution? Let everyone eat lunch without paying. Raise the school budget and the tax levy so we don’t have to see mean lunch ladies on the national news? That probably could have been its own blog post. Anyway, roller coaster back down. On top of that, he didn’t want to hear my ideas on crisis communications. That’s really what’s needed here.

Screech! Clunk. I feel my car coming to the end of today’s ride. Maybe tomorrow I’ll stay off the midway.

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