The Daily EO: February 1st, 2013

I toured staff of the Coquitlam Food Bank through our warehouse and facility today.  I kept their coats and purses and other items securely in my office – I closed my office door so they felt comfortable.

So secure, in fact, that when we came back to get their belongings, the office door was locked.

With my keys on the other side.

February 1st, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  It’s funny how many extra keys are lying around when you are looking for just the one you need.


The Daily EO: January 25th, 2013

I left work as soon as I could on both Wednesday and Thursday.  Both days it seemed to be one more problem, one more email, one more political maneuver than I had the capacity to deal with.  Full up here, people.

And the weather seemed to suit this – dark when I got in, dark when I left, pattering rain on my skylight, and foggy, overcast for days on end.

So, Friday, when work began at 6:30 am for the first of my departments three team meetings, I expected more of the same.   Dreary days with a burdened heart.  Here I was telling my team members that “good enough is not good enough” and that I needed a shift in thinking from “what can someone else fix?” to “What can I do differently?” and here I was struggling to get through my days.  “Working too hard to be only mediocre.”

January 25th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  I heard what I was telling my team members and my outlook changed too.

The Sun Comes Out.
The Sun Comes Out.

The Daily EO: January 18th, 2013

Friday’s Schedule:

  • 8:30 – 9:00:  Production Status
  • 9:00 – 9:30:  Review of Skid Flow into Production
  • 9:30 – 10:00:  Establishment of perimeter cleaning schedule
  • 10:00 – 11:30:  Operations Team Meeting
  • 11:30 – 12:00:  Review of coverage for vacationing team member
  • 12:00 – 12:30:  Webinar to review Annual Physical Inventory Process
  • 1:00 – 3:00:  Software Training Session on Scheduling Module
  • 3:30 – 4:30:  Handheld scanner training and process establishment

January 18th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Internet problems caused the Software Training Session to be cancelled.  It was the most freeing thing that happened all week.  2 hours of unscheduled time – I didn’t know what to do with myself.


The Daily EO: January 9th, 2013

January is three things to the retail world:  White Sales, Get Healthy and Organize Your Life.  Take a look at your flyers: Canadian Tire has all their Rubbermaid bins on sale, Old Navy has their workout gear on sale and the Hudson’s Bay is selling off towels.

And there is something about January that spurs on the clean-out mode.  Perhaps is it the long stretch from now until Spring, or the excesses from Christmas – both food and things – that get us focused on cleaning, organizing, and reducing.  I don’t really know why the white sale traditions in January.  Perhaps it is because you had to burn the sheets unwanted holiday visitors slept on?

I watch Hoarders (the TV show) sometimes and cringe always because I was raised by a consolidator.  (which we think would be a great reality TV show – match up a hoarder and consolidator in one house and see who goes crazy first).   But have you noticed – those who have big houses with lots of space have difficult wrapping their arms around the problem of clutter.   Why?  Because they have been free to live without unfettered for years – free to collect and gather and store without real implications.

I can tell you – as the manager of the warehouse for my company – the same is true in business.  If your business plan calls for a 20,000 square foot warehouse and you have a 40,000 square foot one, watch out!  Soon you will have the thing full and wondering where the next incoming shipment will be stored until needed.

Any mistake, poor system or bad decision without dealing with the ramifications will get hidden in your warehouse or closet.  And you’ll find yourself looking for space to store your necessities.   And while Rubbermaid bins are not going to fix our warehouse, the concept is the same.

Deal with the mistakes, fix the poor systems, review what you’ve got and throw out the valueless.

January 9th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Reenergized by beginning my clean-out plan.

The Daily EO: December 21st, 2012

The strange consistent sound drove me from my office.


Down the hall from me someone was using the heavy duty paper shredder.  She was in sales and much of her discarded documents contained confidential information, so it made sense that this sensitive stuff was destroyed before disposal.   It was a large box of paper and her buzzing continued for 20 minutes or so.

Then the next person started with their box.

grrr/buzzz…pause….grrr/buzz…pause….grrr/buzz. . .

As I moved through the office, I noticed many conversations that started with:  “I’ve got bit yet, probably about 10 minutes?” or “Hey!  Wait!  I am next!”

The 5, 6, 7, 8 full garbage bags piled up near the shredder.


Shreds of paper gathered on the carpet around the office.

December 21st, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Apparently the annual shred-a-thon is a Christmas tradition – corresponding with our carpets and chairs being cleaned.  Not a pending FBI raid.


The Daily EO: November 27th, 2012

I spent most of the morning worrying about the number of pairs of shoes to bring.  And how long it would take me to walk to the Skytrain.   And did I have my passport.  And how casually should I dress for the flights?  I am travelling with senior members of team afterall.

I am travelling to Utah for work, and I am more worried about the stupid things than anything at all important.  Should I take a snack?  Will I take a travel mug?  Where should I put my business cards?

Have I packed my passport?  The flight leaves at 1 pm, right?

I’m excited to travel to Utah – I am catching up to Emile.

When I am actually on the plane, I start to finally relax a little bit – except for the germy, phlegmy old man sitting beside me.  I don’t want your germs.  I’m leaning into the aisle.

Why am I going to Utah?  Does it matter?  Something about wooing a new customer or something.

Where’s my passport?

November 27th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Minutiae distracting me from what’s really important.

The Daily EO: June 2nd, 2012

My landlords (and friends) are selling the house that we live in.  They are doing a private sale, so everything needs to be done by them including the listing and showings.  They were away this weekend, so I found myself doing two showings for the house.

Showing a house is a strange business.  It is like job interviewing.  You suddenly have to brag about how great everything is (or you are) and try to work in all these details on this wonderful life you lead in the house.  How you’re sorry to leave it.  How you wish life wasn’t forcing this difficult decision to sell and move.  My eyes always see details, so I struggle not to acknowledge scratches or dings or dents or crooked items, my personal failings, etc.

This place is the perfect house for new home owners that want move in ready, or someone who is looking to downsize to perhaps put some of their savings into RRSPs.  Is it perfect?  No, of course not, but it is an updated home with 6 acres and 2 car garage.  Just out-of-town for privacy but close enough to still be close.

Private sales used to be that old crotchety neighbour you that collects broken down cars in his front yard.  Years ago, he headed down to Home Hardware and purchased a”For Sale by Owner” plastic sign.  It hangs weathered outside barely readable beside the “Beware of Dog” and certainly uncalled.  And you’d tell funny stories about Old Man Birmingham and his house for sale.

Now private sales are booming.  And why?  Because if you are selling a $300,000 house in Canada, the usual commission rate is 6% (3% for buying realtor, 3% for selling realtor).  That is $18,000 commission out of your pocket.  Oh, and with the HST, it is $20, 340.  That is about 4-6 months take home income for the average person.  (Granted, if you shop around, you can probably find a cheaper commission.)  And even when you hire a realtor, you have to do the improvements, declutter, organization, and the constant cleaning yourself.

To sell a home privately – and you use a service – it costs as little as $500.  So, with some effort, that is potentially $19,000 in your pocket.  Holy Moly.  That’s a new car.  That’s 2 dream vacations.   That is 6 months earlier you can retire.  That’s a lot of buckwheat.  And you can choose to then drop the price of your home for a quicker sale because you have some margin.

I am not going to argue against the value of real estate agents as I have worked with several that were exceptionally helpful.  And I think there are certain times they really can help.  Say, if you are moving to a large centre and need someone to help direct the area you want to live in.  If you don’t have time to do the showings, etc yourself or you are selling a $1.4M cottage in another city.  Obviously you need people to help you with this.

June 2nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Pinching my arm extremely tightly in the closet door during a showing and carrying on without even taking a pause. (SoB!!)   With any luck, it will develop into an abscess and can film it for YouTube.