Becca Wilhite Blog

July 29, 2011

Customer Service as a Way of Life

Filed under: goals,gratitude — becca @ 8:00 am

Ever since last week when I had to order sixty pillowcases for a church kids’ craft project, I’ve been thinking about customer service. See, I enjoy getting what I want. Anyone feel the same? Hands? Okay. We’re on the same page.

I enjoy getting what I want when I don’t even have to ask for it (like Kid 4 coming to snuggle up right on my lap, or grapes being on sale at the grocery store). But I enjoy it a whole lot when I pay for it, too – like buying online. See, I love Amazon. I know. As an author, I’m supposed to be above all the commercial-ness and ease with which the common herd buys their books. But I’m not. I have no bookstores within 25 miles, and the 25 mile one was … yep. A Borders. So. There’s that.

And it’s not just books. I buy cereal from them. And presents for my family. And pillowcases.

Lots of pillowcases.

It was a third-party thing, where Amazon was just acting as a link between me and my pillowcase supplier (there’s a metaphor in there, I’m sure). And the Amazon people sent me a “your order is official, your wish is my command” email. Then I saw the probably delivery date. Problem. Because the 3-5 days in the ad became 7-9 days in reality. So I sent a note.

And I got a response. Within minutes. From some nice guy who WANTED TO FIX THE ISSUE AND MAKE IT ALL RIGHT. Who apparently called UPS and FedEx and asked how to make it possible to get me what I wanted. Who responded again, and again, with clarifications and questions and assurances, and even an offer to cancel my order if I wasn’t happy.

Wasn’t happy? Are you kidding me? With someone standing over my virtual shoulder (in an entirely un-creepy way) and watching my back, I was so, so happy.

And I want to be that guy.

I want to deliver what I promise. I want to make sure people in my world, in my sphere of influence, are glad they chose to deal with me.

I want to deliver and then say thank you.

I want to deliver and have people say, Oh, no. Thank you.

I want to deliver the goods.

July 26, 2011

Music to my Soul

Filed under: familyness,happiness,kids — becca @ 7:54 am

Hey, look: Here’s Kid 2. I love this girl.

I love that she works hard to do the things she knows she should do.

Like practicing the violin.

And letting her daddy take pictures of her. That part makes us all happy.

Also I love her blue fingernails. I may have been accused of thinking that blue fingernails only belonged on a corpse. I MAY have been proven wrong.

Kid 2 is funny. And sassy. Oh, so sassy. She’s smart. She devours books. Song lyrics heard once take up permanent residence in her head (oy). She draws the best cartoons and stick figures I’ve ever known. She has wit and charm and a highly developed sense of irony.

She has perspective. (Get it?)

She cries in sad books, but not when she’s angry. She laughs at me when I do stupid things — all the time, and laughs at herself enough to make it all right. She runs, she sings, she draws, she gets incredible grades, she makes people laugh. She’s learning piano, getting fantastic on the violin, and sings like an angel or a rock star, depending on the song and the moment.

That’s my Kid 2, and I think she’s pretty amazing.

July 22, 2011

“Kiss Your Face” Week: Day Five

Filed under: animals,gratitude — becca @ 11:43 am

Once again, a slightly more theoretical face-kissing today.

The Birds.

Not the freaky-fabulous Hitchcock film (although, if you could kiss a film’s face, we’d have YEARS’ worth of blog fodder). The real birds that live in my neighborhood. There are the ones in my yard — mostly robins and magpies and swallows — and they’re nice (robins for chirpiness and swallows for swoopiness and magpies for general malevolence [1]). And there are the other ones in the ‘hood – like the totally white something-something I saw in my pre-sunrise walk this morning. It was getting amorous with some other little something-something birdie who was a fairly normal mountain birdish gray-brown, and if I had not been in such an understanding mood (love is colorblind and all that) I might have stopped it. It was so lovely, all glowy-white, and didn’t it want its babies to be just the same?

I love that these little birdies wake me up with their singing (except the weird black ones that sound like a backed-up kitchen sink drain), and that they keep it up all day long.

Thanks, birds. I love your guts. I kiss your faces. From here.

[1] I’ve been writing a demon magpie into my WorkInProgress. There’s a constant stream of inspiration in my strawberry patch. *Shudder*

July 21, 2011

“Kiss Your Face” Week: Day Four

Filed under: familyness,gratitude,kids — becca @ 8:36 am

Today? I’d like to kiss the faces of my Kids. And so I will. Times Four. (Except Kid 1 is away at a conference. And she doesn’t even read this blog. So I’ll have to do the virtual kissyface for her. But for the rest, here I go.)

My Kids are fun. And smart. And sarcastic to the point of earning much respect. And they’re readers. And they pull weeds without audible complaint. And they’re learners and laughers and musicians and buddies. And they’re really great. And I love them. And I bet you would, too.

July 20, 2011

“Kiss Your Face” Week: Day Three (And Contest… With a Prize)

Filed under: giving,happiness,silliness — becca @ 8:42 am

For the technologically fearful (that’s me, baby) this leap into the 21st century has carried a decade of shiver-inducing New Things To Learn. But can I say? I love texting.

Oh. I do.

For a lot of years, I have been a vocal proponent of email over telephone. Because, hey — if I can give you the information you requested at your ungodly hour (any time after 10:00 p.m.) at my own ungodly hour (between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m.) then everyone wins. And I love when everyone wins.

But text? Oh, text. I love you. And I would love to kiss the face of the clever person who invented you.

Here’s why.

I love my Kids. So much. And as they get older, they still like me, too. But they spend a lot more time away from here than they used to. I love to be able to sneak my way into their lives for a quick moment, whenever I feel like it, just to tell them something that started as a normal mom-message and was auto-corrected into the most bizarre mystery of the day.[1] Some day I’ll share with you some of the intended vs. received messages we’ve done lately. Proofreaders, beware. It may be painful. [2]

Also, I love that people can tell me something really fast, in not-very-many-words, and I can respond or not, as the mood strikes me.

And it’s instant (unless you have the Wrong Phone Plan, as I once did, when messages would arrive 24 hours later… but we remedied that by having Kid 2 take my phone to DC with her and leave it there. Forever. At Arlington Cemetery, because we’re nothing if not appropriate.)

And people are clever and send texts that make me laugh.

And we all know how I love to laugh.

Also I love love notes, in the middle of meetings (mine or Husband’s).

And saying, ‘Hey, Kid, I’m here to pick you up,’ without getting out of the air-conditioned car.

And the messages that say, “I’m inside the store. What do you need?” Oh, I love those.

Not to even mention emoticons, of which there are more than I would ever care to try to learn. My favorite is this one ;>}. (the ever-popular “winking face with beak, smirk, and chin-mole”) or this one .{<; (“upside-down winking face with beak, smirk, and chin-mole” which carries a bit more of the sinister with it…)

HEY! LET’S HAVE A CONTEST! Comment with your best emoticon. And a description of what it is. Do it. You know you want to. I’ll send the winner a book. (One I wrote, your choice.) [4]

Don’t you love it when I let my stream of consciousness dictate my blog posts?

So anyway, today I shall virtually kiss the face of the inventor of TEXT MESSAGING. Ready?

:*

*Mwah*

(And one for reals - a kiss IRL, if you will...)

[1] I am well aware that the iPhone is too much tech for me. I know it. This knowledge does not make me love it any less.

[2] Because, really? Who puts the “send” button right where the delete key goes? Who? Who does that? Nobody who’s getting his face kissed, that’s who. [3]

[3]… but wouldn’t it be ironic if that was the same guy who invented texting? Wouldn’t it?

[4] United States or Canada only. Contest closes Sunday at midnight (hahahahahah!) or when I get up early on Monday morning. Winner will be chosen by a panel of experts (who live in my house).

July 19, 2011

Belle’s Bookshelf “When You Reach Me”

Filed under: awards,Belle's Bookshelf,books,kids — becca @ 11:58 am

I know. You’ve waited long enough. Here is the latest installment of Belle’s Bookshelf, done by my Kid 3, now 10 years old.

I have recently read a book that was way better than I expected. It is called “When You Reach Me” written by the master of resolving: Rebecca Stead. My Amazing Mother gave me this book for my birthday in June and handed it to me and said “Just read it.” So now I’m handing it to you and saying “Just read it.” Thanks, Mom.

This book is a challenge to write a review on, so I won’t tell you much, so I don’t spoil it. The main character’s name is Miranda, a strong-hearted, calm, city girl with a single mother, who, in the beginning, gets accepted onto a game show, The $20,000 Pyramid. Miranda faces many challenges that most others will not face. It deals with friendship, race relations, families, money, winning and losing, and forgiveness.

This book has adventure, humor, heartbreak, puzzles, happiness, and most of all, lots of resolving – every point in the story (even the naked man running down Broadway) comes to a resolution. To prove my point of amazingness, this book recieved 21 honors, including the Newbery Medal.

You can check it out from your library, but after you read it, you’re going to want to buy it.

  • 195 pages, published by Yearling/Random House
  • Perfect for ages 8 and up, depending on maturity (mention of the naked man might make some kids uncomfortable)
  • Could be a good read-aloud, but I want to hold it in my hands while I read it.

“Kiss Your Face” Week: Day Two

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 9:17 am

Emeril Lagasse.

In general. I love a guy for whom cooking is such a violent passion. But it has been many, many years since I had daily access to a cooking network. So I buy cookbooks. Especially ones that have pretty pictures inside. And I have 2 such things by Mr. Lagasse: “There’s a Chef in my Soup!” and “There’s a Chef in my Family!” both published by Harper Collins. They’re excellent books for kids (or college students) who are learning to cook – totally silly and playful, but with extremely specific directions on things like zesting fruits, deveining shrimp, and basting. Among lots of others. And real food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. BAM! (I had to. Can’t help it.)


Thanks, Amazon...

In specific today, I’d like to testify that Emeril’s Blueberry Syrup is true. Behold (In my words, which are not so numerous or funny as his):

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I use frozen ones)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest (too much work for me)
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons butter

Boil the water with the sugar and add the blueberries. Boil for a couple of minutes until the berries explode. Then I stick in the little immersion blender thingie to blend some of them up (but not all — I like to have berry chunks — who doesn’t?). Then mix cornstarch with the o.j. and stir it in to the blueberries. Boil 2 more minutes and then add butter. Serve this stuff over anything that will sit still, like pancakes, waffles, ice cream, lemon pie, or a banana.

Amen.

Thanks, Emeril. *Mwah!*

July 18, 2011

“Kiss Your Face” Week: Day One

Filed under: gratitude — becca @ 7:52 am

Welcome to Kiss Your Face week. I’ve been preparing for this all year. [1] Today’s recipient? The guy who invented the paper plate.

I had occasion last week to remember just how much I love paper plates, in the summer especially (last summer when we had no dishwasher MOST especially). I may be nobody’s Save-The-Landfill spokesperson, but oh, people. I love me a dinner (or a lunch, or a breakfast) that ends in sliding things into a trash can. And no only that! They’re full of uses! Dozens! Or at least Six! Behold:

Makeshift frisbees
Paint palette
Death-eater masks
Quilting templates [2]
Bookmark
Fan

Okay. So maybe we’ll just stick to eating from them. But oh, thank you, Mr. Paper Plate Inventor Guy. I’d love to kiss your face.

*Mwah*

(thank you, oodora.com)

—-

[1] that was a lie. I just made it up on the spot. Surprised?

[2] Yes. Of course that was a joke. Don’t you know me at ALL?

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