When $10 is Priceless

There’s something about the Petoskey stone. As the artist sat behind the booth, I reached for the earrings, wanting a closer look. And that’s when my phone rang.

“Hey Tyler!” I said, still looking at the earrings. “What’s up?” As my son and I chatted, I turned the earrings over in my hand. “So, I’m looking at these Petoskey stone earrings,” I said, wanting to share my find with him. “And I can’t believe they’re only $10.”

Photo“Hang on, Mom,” my son said. “Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.”

As I stood, waiting, I set the earrings back onto the display, thinking that, even at that wonderful price, I really didn’t need another pair of earrings.

Not long after, my son came back on the line. “You there, Mom?”

“I’m here.”

“Look at your phone. Do you see it?”

Pulling the phone away from my ear, I look at the dark screen. Suddenly, it lights up, displaying a notice from the app, Venmo – which basically serves as a virtual wallet. A notice appears, letting me know that my son dropped $10 into my account.

“Now, go buy those earrings, Mom.”

That’s my boy. And I can’t help but think this would be the perfect Venmo commercial.

 

 

 

 

 

Why he’s a Superhero

Together, my husband and I peered through the windshield as the evening storm whipped itself into a frenzy—chasing concert goers scrambling for the safety of their cars while winds blew gushes of rain horizontally. An hour later, with the delayed concert officially cancelled, we pointed the car for home, dodging fallen branches and darkened traffic lights as we traveled slowly through the streets of Grand Rapids.

As is often the case when you’re married to a journalist, you learn that news never rests, and I took it in stride as my husband took numerous calls as we walked the grounds at the Frederik Meijer Gardens, and I understood when he excused himself to receive more calls as concert goers rose to their feet for encore performances. As the music played, the storm made its way across West Michigan, coming at us like the 80’s rockers taking ownership of the stage before us. Then, quicker than a flash of lightning, we were told to get to our cars…quickly.

But as we headed home, I was less than thrilled to hear my husband tell the person on the other end of the phone that we would be glad to drive to a small town located somewhere east of Hastings to capture weather video.

Hastings. No, a town EAST of Hastings. And I just wanted to get home.

Now, operating as part of a Storm Chaser team, we drove down country roads, talked with convenience store employees, and finally found the designated area believed to be hit hard by the storm—with a flattened barn sprawled across a field. A news team from a another local TV station was already on site, and a young reporter carried a camera as a young photographer fumbled with a small light that lamely threw a tiny beam of light into the darkness.

And that’s when my husband threw on his superhero cape. Politely passing the news crew standing beside the road, he cranked the steering wheel, turning our car toward the flattened barn, threw on the high beams, and stepped out to shoot the destruction with his cell phone. I watched my husband doing what he does best, while the neighboring news crew also watched him, no doubt, having an Aha Moment as they witnessed my husband accomplish in two minutes what they were trying to for the last hour. I KNOW that the moment we drove away, the photographer hopped into his news vehicle and turned on those magical high beams.

That’s my husband, my Superhero. Every single day.

 

Hitting the Pause Button on Your Career

“I’m so done with the 9-5 career,” my friend explains, taking a stab at her salad. She sits back and sighs. “Staff meetings, sales calls, budgets…I just don’t care anymore about climbing the corporate ladder. I just want a job that I don’t have to bring home with me at the end of the day.”

Woman working - CopyShe’s not alone in deciding that the next chapter in her life doesn’t necessarily include power-lunches and clothes that require dry cleaning. So what do you do for a living? is the question often asked at networking events. But, is it professionally acceptable to bag the power-suit and just get a job that doesn’t define us?

While Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg correctly stresses in her book “Lean In” that more women need to have a seat at the corporate table, It’s not the only option for achieving a professional balance in life. But there are many factors in deciding whether to chuck the heels and briefcase.

Let’s look at the downside of stepping off the corporate ladder…

  • Most part-time jobs are hourly and pay substantially less than full-time jobs. While we might have a romantic vision of living a simpler life based on a lower income, are you really ready for fewer nights out on the town, and less trips to the café for $7 iced coffees?
  • Like it or not, jobs define us in our culture. Many people can’t fathom why a woman with a bachelor’s degree in Business is suddenly ringing up scarves at the local boutique. Something terrible must have happened, is often the thought that pops up.
  • Working a so-called regular job can sometimes come with a boss who is not only much younger, but also less knowledgeable in the world of business. The reality is, you may be taking orders from someone who has yet to get their first credit card. And YOU will have to suck it up, buttercup.

But there is an upside to non-career / part-time employment, and the benefits can make all the difference!

  • At a regular job, the hamburgers don’t follow you home at the end of the night. That’s right, clocking out at 8:00 means you’re done, not just taking a break until your home, and opening your laptop after dinner to continue working on your current project.
  • Stress levels go way down. For the most part, a regular job is generally less stressful. Gone, are the weekly budget meetings, sales sheets, and cold calls. That’s not to say that all part-time jobs come with less responsibility and goals, but the level is generally less.
  • Designer Hours – OK, the downside of working part-time is that you will generally have to work hours that are less than ideal, like evenings and weekends, but owners and managers will also work with you in putting a schedule together that fits your lifestyle. This can allow for you to be home for your kids when they get out of school, or open up a 3-day weekend. It’s up to you.

At the end of the day, we all need to do what’s best for us. Career vs. job, it’s really about what looks best on you. Here’s a thought … let’s not worry about how our jobs define us.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Women’s LifeStyle.

To Walk in her Shoes …

“Maybe you can go over and talk to the mother and son ahead of us,” the golfer called out to me as I started to drive the golf cart away from the couple, who are regulars on the course and not used to waiting for others. “They’re playing really slow.”

woman putting“No problem,” I said. “I’ll ask them. I’m sure they’ll be OK with it.” As etiquette dictates on the golf course, slower players generally allow faster golfers to play through. This is going through my head as I pull up to the mother, and together, we watch her ball careen across the green, before bouncing onto the rough on the other side. I smile before asking her if she doesn’t mind letting the twosome behind them play through on the next hole.

“You know what?” the mother says, watching her son putt. “We were planning on letting them play through because they’re pushing us. My son and I were playing just fine until  this hole. But yes, we’ll let them play through.”

I thanked the mother for her graciousness, and went on my way. It wasn’t until an hour later, as I spotted the mother and son walking off the ninth green, that I thought about the favor I asked of them. “How’d you do,” I asked, expecting an answer falling somewhere in between We had a great round and I just couldn’t hit a ball straight today.

But this mother’s answer was quite different. She stopped and put her hand on her son’s shoulder. “You know,” she said. “This has been a pretty rough day for us.”

“Our dog died today,” the boy added, bowing his head.

“It’s just been a hard day for us,” the mother sighed, packing up their clubs.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “As a pet owner, I know how heart-wrenching that is. Would you like to go another round … on us?”

“No, but thank you,” the mother said, with a slight smile I hadn’t seen until that moment.

As they walked off the course, I thought about the day they must have had and how we all contribute to making someone’s day worse or better. Let’s strive for better.

Heidi McCrary – Author

What day is it?

Standing behind the counter at a local golf course on a beautiful summer evening, I accepted the cart key from the golfer and wished them a pleasant evening just as the phone rang. Answering the call, expecting the usual questions regarding tee-times and leagues, I was suddenly caught off guard.

Old_Lady_golfer - Copy“Hello,” a voice, obviously an older woman, said on the other end of the phone. “I’m afraid I slept in. Please tell the other ladies on my foursome to start without me. I’ll be in as soon as I can.”

I paused, not sure how to answer this request since there wasn’t a league in progress, and I assumed she must be talking about the league scheduled for the following morning, and included older women golfers. But I was confused how her sleeping in this evening affected her playing the next morning. Before I could respond with something resembling, What?, she thanked me and hung up.

Setting the phone down, I chewed on this one-sided conversation for only a moment before another golfer walked in, diverting my attention back to getting people on the course.

It wasn’t until a half-hour later, an older woman walked into the pro-shop, and I greeted her with a smile.

“Did I miss league?” she asked.

“I’m sorry,” I said, recognizing her voice as the one on the phone from earlier. “I’m not sure what league you’re talking about? Which league are you on?”

“What day is it?” She asked, as I saw her smile diminish, replaced with a look of confusion.

And that’s when, together, we untangled the mystery. This lovely lady had taken a catnap, and upon waking and seeing the clock showing 7:45, thought she had slept through the night, not realizing that it was 7:45 in the evening, not the next morning.

Embarrassed, she thanked me for clearing up her confusion, and sheepishly explained that she was 90 years old. I smiled and told her that it was a mistake anyone could make, and the fact that she was still golfing at 90 was a testament to her strength.

Let’s lift everyone we encounter. A smile with a guiding hand goes a long way.

Heidi McCrary – Author

 

Three Women…

…Three Random Questions

Do you have a favorite park or trail that you like to visit to get away from it all, or did you just miss the entire weekend catching up with the gang from Schitt’s Creek on Netflix? And if partying with Mick Jagger is on YOUR bucket list, we have just the friend for you. We’re catching up with a few women, and asked them three random questions…

HSJulie Jackson Chenery / Co-owner of Autobody USA – Type A personality and social butterfly: My passion and purpose is to help others get what they want but don’t waste my time if you aren’t ready to help yourself first. 

Sandy Shaw / Teacher & Musician – 2018 Michigan Orchestra Teacher of the Year

Dawn Worthington / Owner of Worthington Photography & Video – Favorite Quote:  I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO FOR WALKING AND REFLECTION?

 Jackson Chenery:  Walking  in nature with my dog is my happy spot, but it has to be warm and comfortable—68 to 82 degrees with a light breeze.

Shaw:  I’ve enjoyed the winter colors at  Chipman Preserve in Comstock. Besides discovering unique barks like the spiked Honey Locust Tree, other displays of multi-colored berries and textured fungi are delightful to spot. Dead logs give way to deep green moss, while some feisty ferns pop out through the snow.  It’s nature at its best. 

Worthington:  The beach is my refuge and ultimate happy place. I love the Florida Golf Coast—St. Pete and Fort Myers Beach. Closer to home, my most creative ideas are developed in the shower.

 WHAT ARE YOU BINGE WATCHING?  

Jackson Chenery:  I love to learn, but hate school. Ted Talks and YouTube videos have replaced television. I have a short attention span, but I am very curious.

Shaw:  This is Us, on NBC, has caught my fancy. Each episode manages to tug at my heartstrings as a young couple raises their two surviving triplets along with an adopted baby who happened to be dropped off at the fire station on the same day as the other births. If you want to question your own parenting, watch as these parents always seem to be able to choose the best way to react to their Big Three issues! 

Worthington:  Heart of Dixie / Netflix

FAVORITE CONCERT YOU’VE ATTENDED, AND WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL? 

Jackson Chenery:  Lynyrd Skynyrd with the Grass Roots at Soaring Eagle Casino last year with my lifetime girlfriend Julie. We reconnected, shared a hotel room, and stayed up giggling all night. In the morning when we were checking out, we got to meet the band! 

Shaw:  I enjoyed sitting near the front row of Miller Auditorium to watch and hear jazz tenor saxophonist,  Branford Marcellus, years back. His brother played the drums while his father, Ellis, played the piano. 

Worthington:  Billy Joel at Madison Square Gardens. Best part being there with my husband who LOVES Billy Joel.

ONE RANDOM ITEM ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Jackson Chenery:  I would love to spend a day with Mick Jagger or Richard Branson.

Shaw:  I’d like to try skiing someday. I’ve always been mildly athletic, but grew up in the flat plains of Saginaw valley. I stayed in Kalamazoo mainly because of the hills that add so much character to this region. 

Worthington:  Cross country trip in an RV! My retirement plan.

Three awesome women answering three random questions. Here’s a thought… How about combining all three questions? You know, once you’ve devoured Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, practice your own standup routine while walking the Kal Haven Trail or one of the other many marvelous parks in the area!

Heidi McCrary is a contributing
writer for Women's LifeStyle.