Archive for the ‘Excess’ Category

Service of Just So: Foibles That Are Right for You but Excessive to Others

Thursday, December 14th, 2017


Everyone has a foible they insist on or a process they prefer that others might find excessive, irritating or ridiculous.

I sat next to a woman at a luncheon recently who mentioned that she’d ironed the bills she was giving to building staff as the bank didn’t have crisp new ones for her holiday envelopes. She inspired today’s post. I’d heard of this before: My mother would also ask for new bills for this purpose however I never saw her iron any.

Before we go to the dump—aka transfer station–upstate, my husband reorganizes the paper garbage so it ends up looking like a gift or a perfectly packed suitcase. When there may be 35 other things to be done, the time it takes him to prep rubbish does exasperate me but to each his own.


My friend Bob can’t stand an unmade bed. I don’t like seeing the toilet seat left up. Some must grind their exotic coffee beans moments before brewing and others don’t want a bartender to bruise the gin. [I never understood how you could bruise liquid. I mix tonic with my gin in summer and it’s never turned black and blue.] I knew a woman who deemed the house ready for company as long as the wastebaskets were empty. The rest of the place could look as though a hurricane had just passed through.

I visited a home where the husband followed his wife around the kitchen and if she stirred something on the stove he’d take the spoon from where she’d rested it and wash it. He couldn’t stand a mess.

Are you known for habits that others might question or do you know others who like certain things just-so that you think may be overdoing it?


Service of Caring too Much

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

love work

Can a person care too much about the place they work?

Sue Shellenbarger attempted to answer the question in her Wall Street Journal article, “When it Comes to Work, Can You Care Too Much?

She divided employees into “organization lovers” and “free agents.”

Frustrated at workLike any lover, the former can get hurt and become disillusioned. She describes the type in a sidebar as “caring, committed, attached and involved” as well as driven to contribute, to inspire others and play extremely well with team members. Simultaneously Shellenbarger’s summary also portrays them as potential malcontents, prone to get frustrated over things they can’t change and they react “emotionally to employer missteps.”

When BP blundered, wrote Shellenbarger, one of its employees, Christine Bader, quit. “‘The hurt ran much deeper when BP’s problems came to pass, because I was so in love with that company,’ says Ms. Bader, author of ‘The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist,’ a book about how people advocate inside companies for social and environmental causes. ‘My sense of identity was really shaken,’ says Ms. Bader.”

Shellenbarger continued: “Nearly 1 in 3 employees are strongly attached to their jobs and organizations, and their numbers are edging higher, based on a biannual Gallup survey that tracks attitudes common among organization-lovers. Some 30% of employees are ‘engaged,’ or involved, enthusiastic and committed to their jobs, up from 28% in 2010, the survey shows. Women have an edge, with 33% of them falling into this category, compared with 28% of men.”

wtf faceReading Shellenbarger’s description of free agents, I’m not so sure such passionate commitment is an edge. Free agents are, she writes, “detached, calm and self-directed. They leave problems at work, feel more in control and take missteps in stride.” She lists as “cons” that they also change jobs frequently and “can be seen as cynical.” Shellenbarger doesn’t share examples of such employees.

I know where I fit and in typical grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-street mode I wish I were more like the other. And you?

 grass is greener

Service of The Sky’s the Limit

Monday, January 7th, 2013


Last week NYC School Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke with morning talk show host John Gambling, WOR Radio, about the looming public school bus strike. The city pays almost $7,000 a year to transport each of 150,000 children by yellow bus compared to approximately $3,000 in LA, which claims the next highest public school transportation cost.

yellowscoolbusNews4 New York in “NYC Preps for Possible School Bus Driver Strike” reported: “The city has not used significant competitive bidding for new yellow bus contracts since 1979, according to [Mayor] Bloomberg and Walcott.”

Regarding another example of excess, I saved The Wall Street Journal‘s “Mansion” section from early December because the headline “Resort Living Comes to Campus” caught my eye. In light of the struggles of so many students to pay for college and the debts they incur, I marveled at Dawn Wotapka’s headline.

bubblebathWotapka wrote: “Welcome to University House, a $65 million private college dormitory that just opened near the University of Central Florida. Built by Inland American Communities Group, University House is one of the latest upscale communities sprouting up in college towns-including East Lansing, Mich., Tempe, Ariz., College Station, Texas, and others. Developers say that colleges provide a steady stream of new customers every year, and that students-and their parents-are willing to pay for luxury amenities.”

These include custom furniture, walk-in closets, private bedrooms and bathrooms and shared kitchens with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. A one-bedroom solo costs nearly $1,000/month.

Wotapka addresses the financial risks for the developers of the luxury dorms as more and more enter the field and the economy continues to drone but I’m more interested in the concept and the fact that it worked for even 10 minutes in this or any other economy.

Who sends children to college to live in luxury’s lap? I’m sure that the University of Central Florida is a fine school but wouldn’t whoever pays the bill be better off covering the tuition in an even better school than forking over money for fancy living accommodations? Is learning no longer the point or is it more important for precious offspring to take a bubble bath for as long as they want [which was what one student raved about her apartment setup].

Nothing’s too good for our children but for less than $7,000/year per student [imagine the money to be made for a family of four kids and/or several neighbors], I bet the New York City school system could find a taxi service or retired neighbor willing to drive children back and forth to school and put the money where it belongs–better teachers. Further, I’m ashamed at the success, even if only fleeting, of the luxury dorms. Your thoughts?


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