Content, Cautious and Conflicted

A sunny Sunday afternoon is upon us. It’s stunningly gorgeous outside. My first inclination was to have lunch outside at Eatzi’s. Upon discovery of an already packed patio, it seemed more tranquil to head to the office and hack away at the to do list–just as easy to enjoy the day next to a huge window, minus bugs and paper-snatching breezes. Not that I’d mind either of those today.
This week, I’m focused on several things. The irony of that sentence being my first problem. Product development is looming. Must happen soon. Travel is imminent. Parties are in full swing–seems like every evening. New packaging is arriving, which means the last shipment of the old packaging is headed out the door, and all the orders involving the new boxes have to be turned within the week. My favorite pair of jeans doesn’t fit, which may have something to do with the half-eaten reece’s pumpkin lying shamelessly on my desk. How did that get here?
Dilemma’s aside, I’m strangely content. This is my best guess at why: I’m surrounded by wonderful, smart, optimistic, energetic people. Although it sounds trite, it’s amazing, the difference that makes!
I’m not surrounded, literally, now. I hope they’re off enjoying a Sunday with families and friends, or drooling asleep on their sofas. And, yes, I’m at the office. Completely by choice, not stressed at all. Listening to music, burning a candle, sipping tea, creating things I love to create. Not cramming in last-minute decisions or putting out fires. Finally. Thanks to them.
What, you ponder, is the cautious and conflicted about? Something happened that I still haven’t managed to resolve in my head. I was plugging through product development, my door buzzed. We’re closed–except I’m in full view of anyone wanting to come in. Brilliant. Add curtains to list.
Me to door speaker: Hello?
Speaker: “It’s me, Roy.
Roy, Roy…Roy, who could…..Ah! Roy that mows the lawn, Roy. That Roy. Uh oh.
Me: Hi, Roy! Just a sec.
Roy is nice. Roy is sober most of the time. He’s got 3 teeth, I think. Unlike quite a few other people I might cross paths with in a similar situation, Roy can have a bit of an attitude. He tends to show up and demand to be paid for mowing. Randomly. After several attempts, he learned to come on a certain day every week when Lisa- in accounting, who has control of all the money, is here and can pay him. So the chaos has been channeled into a somewhat methodical stream.
I go to the door thinking all of the following things in the 7 second walk:
I’m alone.
What do I do?
I’ll just talk through the door.
I’m overreacting.
This is how people get whacked over the head. Working alone. Answering doors.
I’m only carrying my mug.
…jaw’s theme song…Where did that come from?
Maybe I should grab that exacto knife.
Just answer the freakin’ door–don’t be ridiculous.
Me: Hi, Roy (big, friendly, don’t kill me smile)
Roy: I thought since you was here today and I mowed already that you could pay me?
Me: (seriously? how may times have we been through this?) I don’t have access to the checks and Lisa’s not here. (determined to keep my sweet order, while not tempting violence) Would it be ok for you to come like usual tomorrow? (big, sweet, southern smile)
For half-a-second Roy just looks at me, “You’re a rich asshole.” Before he does, I’m way ahead of him. Touché.
He’s walking to his bike. In the opposite direction of my M6.
Me: Hold on, Roy. Let me see if I have some cash on me.
I let the door shut and do it’s consoling-auto-lock-thing while I grab my handbag. There’s enough to pay him, so I take it out and he says thanks. He rides off. Not much more. I’m still an ass, I feel better. The kind of better after the initial mouth burn of the scolding coffee.
So this is the conflict: order vs. chaos. Which one do I endorse?
Historically, Heather, the young boss, made the mistake of doing the task (instead of teaching the task), meeting the demand, thinking for employee. The idea being people naturally fall into a self-enabling order. Frankly, it’s easier. Deal with things as they come up, don’t let them pile. But 5 years later, demands for time and attention don’t come up 2-3 times a day, they come up 2-3 times an hour. A system is my lifeline. The Italy-loving, free spirit artist has officially accepted the need for it: structure. Especially for a growing company, but it is definitively the foundation that all the productivity rests on. Its a very hard thing to implement to existing staff, but thankfully I have a small, smart team of people who see the benefits, even if the tighter reigns aren’t as fun. So, I cling to my schedule. My order. The great pendulum has swung to the other side.
Then there’s Roy. Thank God for moments of balance and clarity.
But, this doesn’t mean I’m veering off schedule tomorrow.

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