Monday, September 26, 2011

The Next

So this past week at PAE was the soft announcement to our industry colleagues that Betsy and I would be merging and then Piccadilly would be taking over her roster in anticipation of her retirement next summer. What a response. A few close friends and mentors heard last Tuesday. Everyone has been really excited for us and that makes me happy.

A very sweet guy and friend, Larry of SMG, now The Roots Agency, congratulated me in the exhibit hall Saturday morning and then came up to me at the closing party to again how great the news is and how proud of me he is. Then, in front of maybe five of our close colleagues, tells me, "You are going to be the next Marc Baylin."

I know my face turned a million shades of red and I am almost certain my amaretto sour lost its balance for a few seconds.

I had NO idea how to handle that. Wow. I mean it was no doubt a compliment. And what Larry was referring to of course the instant roster and connections one assumes when he buys out another agency, which is what Marc did years back, just before he hired me.  It rounded out his existing roster and took things to another level.  And while I am not as established as he was when he had this very opportunity, it definitely accomplishes the same thing.  I am able to move forward at a greater speed.

There have been several comparisons in the past week and it's a weird place to be in mentally.  I try not to even go there but one can't help but notice certain similarities in career paths as others.  I just hope that once the dust settles that people do see me - my personality and my drive.  I'm such an individual and I'm doing this in a new era.  I'm one of the youngest people in my industry, and certainly one of the youngest managers and business owners.  I do admire my colleagues and I glean a lot of business lessons from them...but I also follow the beat of my own drummer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Huck Finn Memories

I am sitting on a bench along side the Mississippi River. A gorgeous river walk here...a railroad that I had to.cut across... tug boat chugs by...I remember reading Huck Finn. I feel like in the.novel. Where is my raft? Because I sure want to lay back.on it, look up at the sky and float away down river.

I am creeped out by the bugs and the little field mouse that scampered past. But it is a lovely evening in.Baton Rouge.

I am pmsed and moody, sensitive, and feeling like being alone. The conference is meh. My few appointments have showed and they have been good conversations so far. But there is so much looming...exciting but scary stuff. Where are people when I need them? When I drop the wall and say, "Its scary." Where are they? I have good mentors...when I ask or chase them down. I wish just once someone chased me down and really checked in.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The week of 9/11

It goes without saying that this day and perhaps the days leading up to and just after are particularly solemn and somber. It was a horrific day, one that at 23, I will never forget. While I did not know anyone directly affected or killed, it made me push aside old wounds and grudges and reach out to friends I hadn't seen or spoken to in years. I had to know they were OK. After all, I had loved and adored them in a previous time and always would...we just had falling outs.

It clinched a year of personal loss though for me -- between a relationship with a friend/beau that I had loved and adored falling apart to my grandfather passing away to handling a layoff at my first job out of school, to this -- it was a beat you down kind of year.

It would take me a while before I felt better about myself, my life, my relationships, my choices, and before I was really able to move forward in a positive way. I think about that this week and of course all the people who were touched personally by those attacks 10 years ago.

10 years makes you think...a decade. Wow. So much has changed and yet so much has not. I am reminded of a quote I saw on the wall in the Spy Museum. I can't recall it verbatim or who said it but it was from 1954 in the height of the Cold War and was something to the effect that security comes at a price and often that means inconvenience. I can relate to that.

I found a little hope in a performance I saw that day.  A colleague, friend and client, Sebastienne Mundheim of White Box Theatre, created a beautiful performance - Paris Wheels and the Ready Maids -  originally for PIFA this past April but remounted it for the Philly Fringe.  I had helped Sebastienne with the marketing of the performance and Sunday Mitch and I went to see the show at Crane Arts Old School.  It was so beautifully created and told - the lyrical storytelling, the puppetry, the story of Henri Rousseau and his quest for beauty in France while his world was being destroyed around him.  It was a story of hope and I left feeling honored to have seen it that day.

Adding to the sadness of the week is news of a little girl, a 5 year old girl from Phoenixville, PA who lost her life this Sunday, 9/11 of all days, to brain cancer. There had been some FB feeds here and there this summer but it wasn't to the point where it cluttered my feed. I didn't really pay much attention. The other day several friends had posted about this child and I clicked through not expecting to read what I did. Her father - god bless him - blogged about the entire experience. His baby girl had lost her battle just two days before and he and his wife and other daughters were grief stricken. I can't post the link to it here because it's just too much. I was a total wreck reading it. I feel badly that I was in my own world this summer and unaware of something so close to home. My donation, late as it is, I hope helps with their medical bills. But mostly, I heeded his advice. I stopped work Monday at 4:30, I went to M's daycare and got him and while we didn't do anything special, we were just together. We've been praying for this family nightly. Today are the services and I pray for her and her family. I can't pretend to know what they are going through...just that it is a nightmare. Every parent's nightmare. The sort of thing that destroys people and families and I hope the Lord does something in this hour of need.

Update: On my way to the Phillies game last night, about 7pm, dad and I were driving north on 95 and out of nowhere a huge double rainbow spread clear across the sky.  Many moons ago someone told me a rainbow was a sign of God's love.  Remembering the last line I had written here just before I left, thinking about that little girl and family, I sure hope they saw it. 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Babysitter's Here

As I type this I am thinking of Dar William's tune - The Babysitter's Here.  I love this song and it cracks me up.  I think we all had a favorite babysitter, or maybe more than one?  I had three but that is because I lived in three houses growing up.  In Wilmington, there was Karen who would bring us story books and toys; in Smithtown, NY, there was Krista who was just fun and played tons of games with us; and here in PA, there was Katie who was always so calm and chill, never yelled at us and let me and sister stay up late watching The Golden Girls.

I have no idea if I was ever anyone's favorite sitter.  I think I will always be remembered by the boys I nannied in 2007 (I was nearly 30 by this time).

Now I am the one hiring sitters...or at least trying.  It is just a different time and beyond difficult to find a good sitter in 2011.  No clubs, referrals, kids knocking at my door looking for PT work, or even ads posted at the local co-op or pool this summer.  We thought we might have scored on one ad but as always, we are met with the black cyber hole of emails.  I just don't get it.  Why do these girls say they want work and then not even reply yes or no?  Have their parents not educated them on proper etiquette? 

It does bring me to the parents.  They must be footing the spending bills the way my parents would not and did not.  Basics, yes; extras, no.  If I were a kid today, my iTunes downloads would be on me and that would mean I'd have to earn and save.  But I guess neither girls or guys are into sitting or mowing yards these days.

The sitter I do have is good.  She is good but not great.  I realized I set the bar perhaps unreasonably high.  When I babysat kids, I would feed them, play with them, give them baths if they were dirty, I'd read to them, and I put them to bed within 30 min. of their parent mandated bedtime.  Then I'd unwind a bit but always cleaned up -- the kids' messes, the kitchen messes (dishes in the washer or cleaned, tables and counters wiped down) and overall would leave the place better than I found it.

I come home to toys scattered M's room a total disaster of toys and blankets and some the kitchen table a complete mess, the floor a mess, and the dishes piled high in the sink.  We treat our sitters very well (I'm a firm believer in pay well and the kids come back) - and we pay for their pizza or Chinese take out and pay between $8-10/hr.  Last night, after a wedding, we were out $100.  Between the food and payment.  And my house was a wreck.  I don't expect dates to be cheap but I do expect value and a certain degree of awesomeness from the sitter for the food and the $10/hr.

I'm just not seeing it.  And I happen to think because I had some awesome sitters and I think I was great (at least in the parents' eyes) that my son deserves a great sitter.  The closest I have come to fabulous is my ex-boss' daughter.  She is younger than most sitters we get -- she was 12/13 when she first watched Mitch (with her mom) -- and aside from a little squeamishness in changing dirty diapers, she rocks.  She's 14 now and loves my son.  They all entertain each other.  I suspect if she were to ever come to my house she'd be really responsible about everything.  She's be like me.

So where do I go...what do I do?  I sound like Scarlett.  I have heard of online sites but truthfully, I prefer referrals...or to import Emma from D-town.  I have to find a solution though...because there is a world of amazing ethnic restaurants out there and more cool couples that V and I are finding and want to hang out with...and we need Dar's (and my) definition of a pure awesome babysitter.