Angry From Manchester and the Good Life

EPSON MFP imageRecently, I was reminded of something which happened 15 years ago, it made me chuckle so I’m going to share.

At the time I did some work for an outdoor clothing manufacturer. They had received a letter and thought that I ought to read it. “Angry from Manchester” had invested some real time in penning this missive. She obviously felt strongly. She had seen a brochure that I was involved in creating and wished to tell readers that  it was unrealistic.  She went to great lengths to say that no one smiled this much, no one had this much fun, no one looked this good and no one really did these things. She also went on to suggest it was immoral to use fantasy to sell clothing.

EPSON MFP imageMy laughing more and more as each sentence unravelled did nothing to assuage the concern of the gentleman who had given me the letter to read. Eventually he asked what I found so funny. At this point I felt I ought to come clean and so I asked if he remembered calling me asking if I knew any models that they might use. I had queried if they had a plan for the brochure and photoshoot and when the response had suggested that they did not I had seen an opportunity. We had talked about their first popular jacket being called the Torridon and how this might be a good location, we had then discussed how the mountains on the island of Skye were iconic and finally to round things off canoeing on some remote Scottish loch would provide balance to the imagery. He thought this sounded great and did I know of anyone who might be able to do it. I told him I did. What I did not tell him was that this was the vacation my then girlfriend and I had planned.

EPSON MFP imageLet me tell you being paid well for going on holiday is living the dream. Handing your expenses over to an accountant to repay is wonderful. Swopping out a tent for hotels because someone else is picking up the tab is sublime and then being given some R&R time in the most amazing hotel after the photographer has left is genius. “Angry” was never going to know just how real this brochure was. We were smiling and having fun for a reason; we had chosen to. I do not want to assume too much, however, I am guessing that “Angry” fails to understand the practicalities of this simple idea, consequently she misses out.

EPSON MFP imageWhat I have come to realize and yet sometimes forget is that when I know what I want then others will often help me achieve it. When I look for opportunities for mutual gains (win-win scenarios) we create an incredible “happy energy”.

As I look at friends on Facebook who still live “the dream” I am thankful the tradition lives on. Time for me to start spell making again and bring some more potent magic into our current good life. What are you doing to make your “good life”?

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Making Lemonade From Lemons

A few years ago my wife Kimberly taught me a good lesson. I was lopping some trees in our yard to make a swing for Cai. Kimberly advised me against cutting a particular limb the way I was and following perfectly felling the previous one I ignored her. Inevitably she was right and the weight of the tree took out the railing of our deck. I was distraught; firstly because I was seeing dollars fleeing the confines of my wallet and secondly my pride had suffered a blow far more substantial than any I had delivered to the tree.

Kimberly calmly suggested we make lemonade out of lemons and consequently with a little ingenuity Cai not only gained a swing he was also soon master of a frigate with rigging up to the ship’s wheel and a slide to leave the deck.

This year has been an interesting one. Following leaving my job and Alaska (where we were somewhat sheltered from the economy) in the summer I have been surprised to find that gaining a new job is not as simple as I initially thought. Over the holiday season we did not have the expendable income we once had and the potential for the festive season to not be quite so merry has been a very real threat. The solution (for me) has been to acquire the keys to the woodwork shop at Cai’s school and some wood from Habitat for Humanity. Cai is now the proud owner of a castle and Kim, well she was awarded a wooden spoon. The thing is that both these presents are probably some of the best I have given, the love and energy that went into them far exceeded the last minute gift I might have bought if I was working 60 or more hours a week. Also, I was able to take Cai into the shop and he helped carve Kim’s spoon. Watching a piece of old dirty wood turn into something beautiful as he uncovered the layers was a wonderful metaphor that was not lost on him.

So some of the things I have gained form not working is spending a lot of quality time with Cai; we walk, bike and go to the museum together. We have become more frugal and thoughtful with our resources. We have come to appreciate the little things a lot more and we plan things out as a family more consistently.

These may be tough times and there may be lots of lemons but the real question is what is your lemonade?

Originally posted in http://denver.jobing.com/Community_Blog.asp

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