Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sickness, Jobs, and Perspective

My youngest threw up at school yesterday. He probably shouldn't have been there, I know. He woke up that morning saying his stomach hurt. A stomach ache is hard to diagnose as if it is a legitimate reason to stay home or a convenient excuse for not wanting to go to school. I also have a need to be at work and not let people down. I also have a hard time giving up a day's pay right now. So I took him to school. I checked in on him later in the day--he was doing fine after a rocky start. But a couple hours later his teacher had brought him to my room. So my wife was frustrated I had taken him to school. I still kind of feel in the middle of a rock and a hard place with those kind of decisions.

He said his stomach hurt again this morning. He hadn't had any more issues after the one. I thought he'd be okay. He maybe is. But I'm playing it safe today. We're both at home.

These sort of decisions were a lot easier when I was full-time at home. If my oldest was appearing sick, I'd generally just keep him home. Those decisions are harder to make when it requires missing a day of work for me as well.

There are a lot of things that are harder now that I'm working during the school year. Both my wife and I are tired when we get home from work, but there are meals to cook, clothes to wash, dishes to do, floors to sweep, bathrooms to clean, and a yard to take care of. Plus, we want to spend time with the kids, time with each other, and have time doing the things we need to do for ourselves as well. That's not including the meetings and other obligations that fill the schedules.

But I'm just preaching to the choir, here. Most of us are familiar with the busyness of life--and how it gets compounded when parents are working. Sometimes we just have to do our best.

A friend recently reminded me that no one has said on their deathbed, "I wish I had spent more time cleaning the house." Her point was that sometimes we don't do something we need to do for the sake of spending time with our children or spouse. Of course, we can't choose that every day or we'd get in trouble for sending the kids to school in clothes that haven't been washed in five weeks or for them getting sick from eating off dishes with an unnamed fungus growing on them.

The point is, sometimes we need to make the better choice. And some days that's keeping my kid home from school for the sake of his health (and the health of everyone else in the school). And I need to remember that having that time with him is a gift.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Best Buy's New Look & Give Away

We were invited to look at one of Best Buy's new store layouts today. Four stores in the Twin Cities had grand openings for their new store design (with others in other parts of the country). Many have commented on how it's similar to Apple Stores--my wife is the one who goes to the Apple Store more often, so I can't comment on that. I do know that it was very "user friendly."

The signage makes it easy to find what section of the store you are trying to get to. Products were well displayed. Staff was on hand to ask questions. And you can purchase your items at many locations throughout the store. Best Buy now has "Solution Central" and other areas in the store to get help--not only on finding what you need, but to help get information on how to find the right technology for your needs, set-up/wire/connect your entertainment centers or computers, and people on hand to help fix any products that aren't working.

While we were at the store in Eden Prairie, Best Buy was having give-aways throughout the day to celebrate their grand opening (we didn't win anything, but there were some nice prizes). Earlier in the morning, chef Kevin Vanderaa, big winner on the Food Network's Cupcake Challenge, had been on hand doing some baking demonstrations. "Cupcakes at Best Buy?" you may ask. If you have seen their new kitchen section, you'll understand why. They have quite a nice selection of kitchen appliances on hand now--anything from Frigidaire refrigerators to Kitchen Aid mixers. Additionally, they were offering a few workshops throughout the day--much like Home Depot offers workshops on DIY projects, Best Buy was offering talks on things like "Time Saving Apps" and "Media for On-the-Go."

I was glad to see all their traditional electronics were still offered and well-stocked. I was delighted to find some things I didn't expect: in addition to all their kitchen products I also came across an instrumental section (if I need to replace a guitar string), office supplies, even Star Wars Lego watches. Which was a plus, because I had my youngest son with, and he was happy with all the fun things to look out (most of the displays are at eye-level and many are where children can check out things they'd be interested in as well). Be sure to check out a Best Buy store with their new layout if you have one near you.

Best Buy has offered some some gift cards to my readers. If you're interested in winning one, please leave a comment on this post (especially if you have visited a new store--I'd love to hear what you thought) with a way to get ahold of you if  you win (such as an email address if one isn't connected to your log-in). Winners will be drawn at random on Saturday, October 21 at noon CST. Please post your comment before then.