My assistant manager, Chad, and I have a running count about who has stuck their foot in their mouth more. Over the years… We have both been in awkward conversations with our customers where we think we know enough to be friendly and then inevitably find out we are woefully unprepared when our customers have had a
Example. Customers have been bringing their cars in for service for over a decade and they always come as a team. Husband and wife together checking in and waiting for their service together. Over the years we all get to know them and it’s not uncommon at my store for people to know the customers by first name when they pull into the drive. We are not “cheating” by looking you up ahead of time on the schedule. We really know who you are!
So, when a Wife comes in by herself, and we have had a happy, joking relationship over the years… It’s easy to say something like “Henry relaxing while he makes you come down here today?”. It only takes one second before you can read the facial emotions that tell you that you have stepped in “it”. “Henry passed away a few months ago” will be the type of response you get.
Divorce, breakups, and deaths are all the common themes behind these mistakes. How can we know? We only see cars on average every 4 to 6 months.
I don’t think we would do it any other way.
I am finding out it happens in reverse as well.
Customers only see me every 4 to 6 months and a lot of them last talked to me this spring or summer when Summer was still actively going through treatment.
“How’s your daughter doing” has been asked several times over the past few work days. Three times on Friday and twice today.
I am getting better at it. I am sure those customers who I thought I offended by fumbling around after feeling like the fool feel the same way I do right now. Thankful that they asked. Thankful to know that even though we have been through the fire and hell of those days and weeks in June… They were still thinking of us and only wishing for the best.
I sometimes feel like the whole world was on high alert as Summer was in hospice, but there is a world outside of my immediate circles. It felt like everyone in Pekin was at the visitation… But that was not the case!
I find myself scrolling through pictures and and then adding them to sappy templates for Reels and TikToks. I love the end products and watch them too much.
I had done a few with selfies that I had found on Summer’s phone and then some pictures of her and Nate. They were nice memories of Summer in her prime. Then, I did a few that were drawn from images from last year’s visit to the pumpkin patch and our final vacation.
It’s a mental gear shift. To go from young and energetic happiness to a driven woman fighting for her life in chemo treatment.
I don’t see myself drawing a picture or pacifying my need to share her memory in any other way right now… So, it is what it is. Tune me out if needed.
Bill Embry reached out to me this weekend. Bill has been our contact for the Mackinaw Community Fund. I sent him an email telling him that we really need to get a tax-deductible way for people to donate to the Scholarship fund that we are establishing. I know a lot of you are asking… And I can completely understand why. I later talked to Bill on the phone and asked if we could fire this up while Angela had a large chunk of her other fund in a CD. He said that he would have to talk to the other board members to make sure we would be a good fit.
It seemed odd. But I guess everyone and everything in a charity needs to be vetted. I was expecting 2 weeks per our conversation but Bill got back to me in a few days.
“You and your family are highly regarded in the community” was a highlight of our follow-up conversation. Really? Stahls, highly regarded? I felt a little weird at first… But that settled into relief (that we are moving forward) and a bit of satisfaction that we have done something right in the town that helped make our kids who they have grown to be. (were? I hate dealing with these adverbs)
Look for that info soon. Bill, Angela, and I will be sitting down to talk about the specifics of the scholarship. Then we can get the information that everyone needs.
Paypal woes. OMG. So, I set up the WIX sight and it did a brilliant job of taking orders and taking credit cards as part of the plan. But, the PayPal payments ALL rolled back. I started sending emails to everyone about it after I started to understand what was happening. I did not have a business account and even though I put my personal account in the information blanks… WIX would not finalize payment with PayPal.
It all slid backward.
What a pain!
I am so sorry for the confusion… Especially when everyone is being generous to help out.
On the plus side… This may have saved me from being taxed on the transactions??? I guess we will see at the end of the year if I get a tax bill for 30%!
We finally paid for family grave locations in Fairbury at the Avoca Cemetary. We have drug this on so long! 400 bucks got us a double lot next to Fugates, Stahls, Rathbuns, Penrods, and Murrays. I think we have the arrangements figured out except for the monument. I suggested to Carla that we get a giant boulder and put our respective names on the sides of it.
I was told to talk to an old classmate of mine who handles monuments to make sure we stay within the standards of tastes and style. (we always push those limits!)
We have some AFLAC benefits that should help pay for the memorial. That has been a godsend.
My high school class had put together a donation for the scholarship fund a few months ago. It’s taken me this long to finally get back to Fairbury and get with my former classmate Kelly to retrieve it.
I loved seeing her. We have known each other since we were 4… It’s a bit surreal to see each other after all of these years and catch up over this. It sucks.
I did find out she sells Pampered Chef with her daughter… So, I ordered a spatula. If you know me at all… You know I put some miles on mine!
When we got home… The brakes were making a grinding on the trailer.
Its always something.
Aiden came home for the weekend… He needed to change out his summer clothes for those coats and gloves that October in Wisconsin demands. He also brought home the convertible we let him take to school for the past few weeks. I am pleased to say the roof did not get cut open while parked on the mean streets of Kenosha as I had feared.
We had a couple of days with him around. Dinner with family in Mackinaw on Friday. A little time together on Saturday and lunch with Linda on Sunday. All of that plus seeing his buddies both nights before he left back for Wisconsin. Angela had a few minutes where empty nest syndrome kicked in after he left. She let me know as he drove down the driveway. I guess I should give her credit for expressing it out loud. I just bottle it up and am content to know that every parent has this grow-up period. Adulting sucks.