Monthly Archives: September 2018

Faster, Henry, Faster~!

Recent self-portrait

Each year at our family reunion, we enjoy a newsletter with updates from each family member. Mostly, people talk about vacations they have taken, new jobs, retirements, the usual suspects. One person’s news this year consisted of the fact that she is retired and spends her days watching tv and playing games on her laptop. (No judgment here! Just stating a fact.)

Watching TV. Playing games on her laptop.

Now, I watch my share (or probably more than my share) of Netflix. And I do enjoy me some Toon Blast pretty much every day. But that description strikes me as a life of pretty much leisure time, and even though I do those same activities, I don’t see my life as having much leisure time. As a matter of fact, I’m busy, busy, busy. All. The. Time.

I read these things about downtime, the value of relaxation and recreation, taking a “sabbath” day. Maybe it’s time to reread some of those things. I love my life — my wonderful family, my job, the opportunity to blog, my friends, podcasts, books, movies.

Of course there are seasons in our lives. But aren’t seasons supposed to change? What would we miss out on if we had endless summer? Or unending winter?

I’ve let this post simmer for a couple of days because my posts tend to be about lessons I have learned, not so much about things I am in the middle of. I’m going to have to chalk this one up to being mid-situation, pre-resolution.

The one thing I have found that helps is to take a piece of paper and write down all the tasks that come into my mind. Once I get them out of my head and onto paper my brain seems to settle down. And while they are in my brain, everything seems urgent and the tasks seem unending. When I write them down, voila, there are still plenty and some of them are urgent, but everything seems a bit more manageable.

While making a list addresses the practical aspect, I still haven’t even touched what it would mean to act as if I have all the time I need, that relaxing and leisure time are not only justifiable but even essential. My housekeeping needs aren’t going away any time soon. Opportunities to work with and teach Kepler are myriad and have the potential for long-term impact.

All I know right now is the sheer volume of details is getting to me. While I can’t imagine ever wanting to spend my days playing games and watching tv (still no judgement), a less frenetic pace does have a certain appeal. In keeping with my philosophy, it’s time to look for something to move toward, some non-frenetic thing that I want to go toward. What is that for you? What tips do you have for a busy, working mom and wife to be something other than a perpetual motion machine?

As always, thanks for reading.





News from the Clicklist Front

So I thought I’d post a picture of me at work.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500 - Practice

Hehe. But I am pretty speedy quick.

i haven’t posted much about work but I made a discovery I am really excited about so I’m going to write here, on my blog, about it.

Clicklist selectors use a handheld device called a rad which tells you the next item to pick and includes the mapping location for the store. Location is as follows: It’s designed to be able to be used by the greenest, newest employee from the get-go. The whole system is set up to be as mistake-proof as possible and it works pretty well.

Anyone who knows me at all, though, knows I’m interested in continuous improvement. I like to do better and be better with each passing day. After five months I’ve learned a few ways to work with the system to be more efficient.

Here’s how it works:

I scan six tags which are on totes. The totes are numbered 1-6. After this step, the first item appears on the screen. Maybe it’s some kind of shampoo. The item is listed, along with the UPC code, and the location. A lot of times, the location is correct, but there are a number of reasons why it might not be. Anyway, off I go to the location to find the item. I find it, scan it, and then and only then the rad tells me which tote to put it in. Then I put the item in the correct tote and scan the tote. Only after that does the rad tell me the next item and location. All along the way there are built-in safeguards to keep you from picking up the wrong item. You can’t scan the wrong item or the wrong tote without a tone letting you know YOU DID IT WRONG, BUCKO.

Just like every piece of electronic equipment known to man, we run into (LOTS OF) times when we have to wait for the “server” to respond. So, I might stand there for a few seconds waiting to find out which tote to put the item in. These few secondses add up.

I just discovered that the rad has a colored bar across the top on every entry. Well, actually, I knew the rad had a colored bar but I didn’t know it meant anything. But it does! It means something important and helpful and cool!  The six totes are color-coded. Tote 1 has a maroon bar; tote 2 has a green bar, etc. What this means is that I now know without waiting which tote the item is going to go into.

Corporate has set up standards for how many seconds it should take to pick each item, and how accurately we complete the task. The goal is 38 seconds per item. That may not mean much without context — each selector pushes a large trolley through the store up and down the aisles, so part of the time is moving from location to location through the entire store. There is a huge range of seconds-per-item among selectors. I’ve been hovering around 38-42 seconds lately. With this realization about the color coding and utilizing it on the job, my pick time today was significantly lower per item.

Selectors don’t get any extra incentive pay for being fast, but truly if i was only working for money, there might be other jobs that pay more. But this job is just a great fit for me!

This post is probably a little “niche.” Probably along the line of two plumbers joking around about someone using a particular wrench for a job. (h/t to Steve Martin for that idea) Probably this is the kind of thing that most people aren’t really going to be able to appreciate the significance of. But I wanted to write about it because to me this is a very exciting discovery and has some pretty cool benefits.

Ooh, and one last thing. The “big boss” (supervisor over several stores) was in today and my supervisor had me tell him about the effectiveness of using the color-coded bars the way I am. He didn’t just take my word for it, but said he was going to do some research about it, because he hadn’t heard this from anyone else.

Cool thing was when I mentioned that totes 1 and 6, and totes 3 and 5 are very close in color, he said he is able to change those colors to any color we want! That will make the process even better! I look forward to that happening.


If you haven’t already tried clicklist, do! The $4.95 fee for the first three orders will be waived. There is no upcharge for your items. Kroger has a very nice produce section that is restocked constantly all day every day. And if we provide a substitution you do not care for, you do not have to pay for it. Give it a try!






Of Denim Jackets and Snoozing

Before living in Australia, before having children, before I had ever tried Giordano’s pizza, before buying our first home, many years ago on this day I woke up planning to go to breakfast with my new college friends. I was a transfer student at Wheaton College and several of us had made plans to go to breakfast.

When I checked in with the girls, one after another of them claimed they were too tired and every single girl backed out. Well, here I was, all dressed and ready to go. Fresh off the most amazing 18 days of my life where I had gained tons of confidence and resolve, I determined I’d just go to breakfast alone and see who I came across.

As a walked up the sidewalk toward SAGA, the old Wheaton dining hall, I spied a denim jacket with a shearling collar up ahead and I realized it was a student I had recently met named Greg Taylor. I paused for a second and then called out, “Greg?” He turned and waited for me and we ended up eating breakfast together — for three hours.

I was hooked. His warm, gentle, caring, intelligent self shone through and Made An Impression on this 20-year-old from Ohio.

September 2, 1982. 36 years ago today. I guess I had an inkling that this was something special because look what I saved:


Of all the special dates in our life together, I remember this one for being the beginning, even though it took awhile before we actually started dating.

Newspapers are no longer 25 cents, and Zingo Bingo or lottery prizes of $15,000 are nothing these days, but we’re still together. Still having breakfast together. Still sharing this good life together. Still a couple and now a family with the addition of five offspring.

Thanks, girls, for sleeping in that morning! It changed my life!



A tiny bud of creativity

Over the past few days, I’ve noticed a small and quiet pull toward my blog. A growing longing to write again. I’m excited about this because my creative juices have been pretty sparse for awhile.

I’m just heading into work for the day and will be busy but let’s see if this little bud grows into a shoot into a bloom into a flower. Thanks for reading!