Sunday, September 18, 2011

From Miss to Ma'am

At what point in time did I go from Miss to Ma'am?  I was recently on the phone with a tech support person for my retail website and the girl I was speaking to was very nice, knowledgeable and...young.  I'm guessing she was in her mid-twenties.  At the end of the phone conversation she said, "Is there anything else I can help you with ma'am?"  Immediately my nose hairs crinkled and I was stunned silent.   I regained my phone composure, thanked her accordingly and that was that.  Or was it?  Over the following few days, I started trying to pinpoint exactly where in my life the switch took place.  From when did I go from youthful, artistic, dreamer/impressionable type, where life was a bowl of orange blossoms, to ma'am?
As a late bloomer, I related to the "college crowd" probably past my welcome, but at some point the college crowd stopped relating to me.  I was kicked out of the club without even realizing it.  Blindsided so to speak.  I should have guessed this was all happening when I started feeling victorious on the rare occasion that I got carded, or maybe the fact that I now own underwear that is sold in a plastic pack of multiples.
My ma'am change did not happen after getting married, nor did it happen after having my first child.  I feel this is a recent change, even though I can't quite pinpoint it.  If I had a guess, I would say it began somewhere between 1 and 2 years ago. 
According to the Kubler/Ross stages of grief model, I seem to be surfacing from the 1st stage of Denial and entering the 2nd stage of Anger, (judging by my crinkled nose hairs.)  There doesn't seem to be a time frame on all these stages.  That is individual.  It could take years!  After Anger comes Bargaining, the hope to postpone or delay.  That could get ugly, but since I lived the better part of 10 years in LA, I've seen that stage manifested in the most unfortunate ways and know better. 
Only after the 4th stage of Depression, will I begin to Accept.  And who knows what that means!?   I think I'll revisit cozy comfy Denial and report back on this issue later.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Silent Night

Photo from the 911 Digital Archive    

Instead of adding an entry, I will remain silent in honor of all who were lost, all who were brave, and all who are still missing a loved one this evening.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Import Taxes. Something Stinks in Denmark.

Everything in the US is imported, so why is my tiny company that imports a specialty item from New Zealand taxed almost 20%?  Twenty percent taxes on my specialty product,  plus shipping, customs handling fees, and import broker fees and I'm supposed to be able to operate a healthy small business?   Am I being punished for importing from another country?  I'm all about living locally, etc., but I also feel that healthy trade is good for our country and good for our people  My company is importing a woolen cloth diaper from NZ.  And to try and keep it local, we are making the insert component of the diaper here in the state of California.  Bi-Country teamwork if you will.  Lets face it, New Zealander's know their nappies....and they know their wool.   They have been on board with cloth diapering far longer than we, disposable-lover Americans.  That's not to say that there isn't a growing movement and awareness within our US brethren, but what's wrong with learning from, and using a helpful product from our friendly Kiwi neighbors? Why re-invent or steal the wheel?  The product is fantastic and in my opinion, charmingly from New Zealand. 

The other day I was at a fabric store and saw cute little wooden birdhouses for sale.  The price?  Only $1.  One dollar will buy you a cute little wooden birdhouse.  (The birdhouse is very small, so it is really just a decoration or a children's painting project.)  The birdhouse is made in China of course, but I've been to China and I know wood is not plentiful.  China does everything by coal and as a result has the highest CO2 emissions in the world.  But that's another blog chapter.  My point is, the New Jersey Company that sells these little bird houses to the fabric stores must have a very advanced accountant.  Is it possible that this New Jersey company exports wood to China so that the bird houses can get assembled there and then imports the final product back into the US?  And how is it, with all the export/import taxes, assembly charges, etc., that this little birdhouse can be sold for only one American dollar???  How is it possible to make anything off of this little birdhouse, let alone pay for all the fees associated with manufacturing and distribution?   I'm confused!  What kind of deal does this New Jersey company have with US Customs and how do I get in on it?