Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is creativity for the birds?

I write about plenty of dry topics in my job like health insurance, retirement plans, employment policies and technology systems. While I try to make these topics sound friendly at best, I don’t usually get to be humorous or sarcastic when I write (except in this blog), so I appreciate people who have that creative license in their work life. 

Groupon’s copyrighters often do a nice job with this (including plenty of funny analogies—and some that are just plain groan worthy). Earlier this year while preparing for a California vacation, I signed up for the San Francisco Groupon in search of some good deals for the trip. I was particularly intrigued by their promotion of a deal at a falconry center.

How does one make calling birds of prey sound like a worthwhile purchase to the general public in 50 words or less? With something like this:  

The call of the wild is like a call from an elderly grandparent: Though you can’t quite make out what’s being said, you feel better about yourself when you answer. Pick up nature's phone with this Groupon.

Let’s all give a collective slow clap for this copywriter. If you’ve ever talked to an elderly grandparent on the phone, you know exactly how true this is! 

While the Falconry Experience didn’t make it onto the short list of activities I participated in during a very rainy vacation, it gave me a good laugh and led me to their website where I learned a thing or two about the “majesty of the ancient art of falconry.” Who knew?   

I should acknowledge that Groupon as a whole has made some communication blunders. But let’s not let that spoil these kudos for clever promotional writing.

Makes me think… perhaps a clever analogy or sarcastic plug is necessary to explain why reading (or writing!) this blog is a good investment of time. If you have any ideas, sound off in the comments!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Broadway bound!

This week I’m headed to the Big Apple for a couple of days thanks to my thoughtful hubby. For my birthday a couple of months ago he surprised me with tickets for us to see Newsies on Broadway. It was almost two years ago when I mentioned here about how one of my favorite Disney movie musicals was being adapted for Broadway. Since then, it has nabbed eight Tony Award nominations, making it a bon-a-fide hit. So, I’m just a little excited to see it, and only wish I could bring my fellow Newsies superfans along (shout out to Heather and Sarah)! 

At the moment, I’m in the midst of crazy pre-trip madness that comes along with taking a couple days off from work and parenting, but I know I’ll have a great time once I’m there. And I’m incredibly thankful to have family so willing to care for and love on my toddler for a couple of nights while we’re away. 

Thanks, Phil, for the chance to visit The Great White Way! I must say that I’m truly amazed at your ability to select thoughtful gifts for me that you also gets to enjoy! Yes, I’m married to one smart man. And actually, his birthday is coming up next month, so if anyone has ideas of things I could get for him that will also benefit me, do tell! (For instance, is there any way I can make hiring a cook and house cleaning service seem like a gift primarily for him?)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Clean sweep

I’ve been waiting for a perfect spring weekend for awhile now and finally got one just a couple days ago. The sunshine and spring temps meant it was the perfect opportunity for me to open the windows and let the cool breeze cover the scent of bleach as I deep cleaned my home.

That’s right folks. Equipped with allergy medicine and blaring iPod, spring cleaning is one of my simple pleasures. Of course cleaning is still a chore. I’d rather be doing any number of things, but as chores go, cleaning is tops for me.

This is most definitely an inherited trait. My sweet grandma was militant about cleaning. And growing up, Saturday mornings were spent helping my mom wash and vacuum the floors. At the time, I hated it. I vividly remember cleaning the kitchen floor on my hands and knees, complaining that I was being treated like Cinderella. Not to mention the fact that I was unable to give my full attention to the latest episode of Saved By the Bell.

I didn’t fully appreciate this cleaning obsession until I was an adult. Now at home, everything has its place. (My desk at work is another story.) And while things aren’t always in their place, you can be sure I’m going to do my best to keep things in order.

I think part of my fondness for cleanliness comes from wanting to be in control. When everything else in my life seems out of my control, I get to have my say about the amount of dust on the floor. (Let’s just say, Swiffer has a loyal customer in me.)

For that reason, cleaning is sort of like therapy for me. Nothing kicks stress like scrubbing the heck out of the kitchen floor.

Has anyone else had the spring cleaning bug lately? Or, what sends your OCD into overdrive?

And for those of you wanting to pay a visit soon, please do! Just remember to remove your shoes, avoid fingerprints and don’t splash water on the counter tops. I jest...mostly.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Adventures in air travel (a top ten list)

Over the years, I’ve traveled a fair amount for both work and personal reasons. And since I also work in travel industry, I’m hyper-aware of all things airport security, on-time airline performance, and weather delays. I’ll tell you that the best travel involves neither work nor children and instead is just me and my hubby getting away to someplace warm, like Las Vegas or California – both trips we’ve been blessed to be able to take this year. But those ideal situations aside, here is my top ten list (or rather two top five lists) comparing the common flying scenarios I face in my paradoxical life.

Why business travel is better than traveling with a child:
  1. iPod tuned in, rest of the world tuned out (I avoid chatting it up with fellow passengers at all costs)
  2. "Alone" time with just me and a book and the occasional gossip magazine (even if crammed into a middle seat).
  3. Getting to expense my airport food, parking and bag fees
  4. No need to wait for TSA to verify that liquid in the sippy cup is actually milk
  5. No diaper changes…’nuff said

Why traveling with a child is better than business travel:
  1. The “traveling with small children” security line at the airport (where there is one). Bye bye long TSA line! (Just don’t set your baby on the luggage belt no matter how careful and in control you know you are…I thought I was going to get arrested when the TSA started yelling, “Baby on the belt! Baby on the belt!”)
  2. It means we’re going to see people we love, as opposed to business colleagues
  3. Sympathetic strangers willing to befriend you in a time of need (especially if they have ever traveled with children themselves)
  4. I always have snacks in carry on when I need them (even if they were initially intended for my child)
  5. Getting to hold my sleeping child while he naps on the plane
We got lucky on our last flight with a first class upgrade and plenty of leg room for a little one to hang out in on the floor (it seems very dirty now that I write this, but at the time it was a godsend and we had plenty of hand wipes handy).

I’ve actually been very fortunate in my previous baby flying adventures, but I’m sure there are some horror stories in my future. If nothing else, they will make for funny blog posts and another mothering badge earned.