Hats Off to Rodeo

I’ve been attending a lot of rodeos lately. I know nothing about rodeo… seriously, NOTHING! I don’t even know if the plural of rodeo is rodeos… it might be rodi for all I know. Okay, I know it isn’t but only because I checked.

From an outsider’s point of view, here’s what I can tell you about rodeo events:

  • Sponsorship is key and health be damned (kind of) – banners around the ring and on flags paraded around tout things like chewing tobacco and alcohol but every rodeo I’ve been to has a breast cancer “Tough enough to wear pink” night.
  • For the cowgirls, bling is BIG… I’m talking huge, and must be worn on everything, all at once… shirts, shoes, jeans, necklaces, hats, purses. I seriously don’t think you can OB (over bling) at a rodeo.
  • There is more than one type of cowboy hat. This is I didn’t know or even think about until recently (read “yesterday”). I was so amazed by this revelation that I had to photograph them. I don’t know if there is rhyme or reason to the selection or if it’s just a preference. I probably will never know because I won’t ask and I’ll probably forget about it when I find something new to obsess over.

I’m puzzled by Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. Customers who bought the large glass canister I was looking at also bought: Jockey Men’s briefs, Fancy Feast cat food, and “200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes”.

I no longer want the canister for some reason.

This company… called Zappos!

Years ago I started shopping online almost exclusively. I dislike crowded stores. And it bothers me when salespeople don’t care if they really help you, only that they asked you if you needed help. My tolerance for bullshit has decreased with age. This condition is hereditary, I get it from my mom. Once, in Nordstrom (a company supposedly known for its service), my mom reached over the counter and hung up the phone on an employee who unwisely chose to continue a gossipy personal conversation instead of hanging up and assisting us with our purchase. Not only did my mom end her phone call, but she gave credit for the sale to a nearby salesperson rather than say no one had helped us (which would mean that “Chatty Cathy” could have the sale). It was classic, the poor girl didn’t know what hit her. I remember being painfully embarrassed for the unfortunate recipient of my mother’s wrath. But really, it was her choice not to help us.

Having choices and making decisions are strange things for most employees. In my experience there is usually a “company policy” that basically prevents an employee from making any type of decision, I guess, for fear that they’ll not make one that is in the best interest of the company. That is unless the company is Zappos. They know and trust that each and every employee will do the right thing because they are “the company.”

I ordered my first pair of shoes from Zappos on June 2, 2003, and I’ve been a loyal customer ever since. But what I didn’t realize about them until recently, is that they are an extraordinary company. They have a unique culture and each employee fits into that culture or they’re not hired (just to make sure, every employee is offered $2000 to quit… twice!) Employees, customers, vendors all getting along? It shouldn’t be a ground breaking business model, really it shouldn’t, but shamefully, it is.

I could go on and on and on about Zappos, but I won’t. Just enjoy my pictures, read “Delivering Happiness” by Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, and next time you are going to be in the Las Vegas area, go to Zappos Tours and schedule your tour of Zappos.

zappos_sign

Zappos reception area.


zappos library

This is the Zappos library. The books are free and available to ANYONE, employees, vendors, and visitors. It's #5 of Zappos core values - 'Pursue Growth and Learning'

First stop - the Zappos Insights 'lounge', complete with disco ball. What you can't see is that the aisle is a wood dance floor, the ceiling lights are covered with a gauzy black fabric, there's a small sofa and the guy at the end has tequila and shot glasses on his desk.

We’ve successfully (a relative term) planned and executed 3 prior birthday parties for PH (which stands for Peanut Head, an affectionate albeit unfortunately nickname.) Pretty standard affairs really, an activity, followed by pizza, cake and present opening. PH picks a location and sits back and let’s us, his minion, plan the event. I fill out invitations, PHd (short for Peanut Head’s dad) picks a cake and reserves the site, I put together a little party favor bag, deliver the invitations, and collect the RSVPs. (It’s good to have minion!)

In the past we’ve had about a 50-65%% attendance rate. Not that I’ve actually calculated the percentage or anything. (Okay, I have. Yes, I have a problem. I’m in a 12 step program for it. I’ve been on step one for about the last twenty years, should I progress I’ll be sure to let you all know.) So, to spare you from the full brunt of my neuroses, I’ll cut to the chase – we went from feeling so sorry for the kid (“Well at least his cousins will be there”) to, “oh, holy heck only three kids can’t make it”… in less the 6 hours. That’s from 2 to 19 out of 22.

Of course it all went splendidly, everyone got along, there were no power struggles, the kids did not think the light switch was the best part of the party room, and every child behaved like the perfect little lady or gentleman their parents are raising them to be. So much so that one masochistic parent, that chose to stick around, offered to go next door to the state liquor store. I put the kibosh on that as I didn’t think arming inebriated children with metal clubs was a good idea. I paused briefly when said parent explained that it was for me not them then I politely declined… it was well before noon.

In the end, PH said it was his best birthday ever. (He’s also said that I’m beautiful and skinny too!)

That’s him at the end of the table.

I L-O-V-E love this little girl! I want to eat cake just like this, just once!

My wonderful husband (PH’s father) either getting ready to sing “Stop… in the name of love” or being caught in a futile attempt to recall order and semblance.

I’m pretty sure he was saying something like, “Put the camera down and help me.” Or else “dinosaur, what dinosaur?”

TweetDeck

I never “got” Twitter. I’m sorry, I just know the people I know and they really didn’t twitter uh tweet that much. Enter TweetDeck and queue the angel choir. TweetDeck makes social media fun! I’m not just limited to my wonderful friends! With the “TweetDeck recommends” feature I can find new people (I found my new idol @thepioneerwoman), and also confirmed famous people like @neilhimself.

Oh, and I have a search column for people tweeting about the company I work for (justification for having it open at work?).

TweetDeck

Ready, aim….

I’m so not from around here but I accept that and I’m glad that my confusion can be a source of amusement for friends and coworkers.

While on a drive through the scenic countryside, I noticed that a lot of farms had trebuchets on them. I rationalized and fantasized but still couldn’t come up with a good explanation for their presence or prevelence. I finally gave up and figured it was country joke I would never get.

Among my hypothesis’: homestead protection, building projects, or just plain boredom. In my head, pictures of General Custer’s troops launching boulders at bands of indians (totally unPC of me, I know). Another scenario involved bored farm kids, orange gourds and not loving thy neighbor.

I finally got up the nerve to ask my ever-patient husband, “What’s up with the trebuchets?”

“What trebuchet?”

“That trebuchet!” I said, pointing to the large wooden contraption next to the aging barn.

After he stopped laughing and started driving again he replied, “Oh, you mean the hay bale mover?”

Crap, wrong again!

Honesty or Good Training?

PH returned from school the other day and greeted me with, “Hello, O beautiful one.” Immediately suspicious I waited for the, “I want…” or “Can I have…” When it didn’t come I just said “Thank you for the complement, how was school…”

A Place For Our Stuff

A few months ago my husband and I were discussing how we needed to go to one of our rental properties because the tenants had moved out and left behind some stuff. PH kept interrupting asking, “Are you talking about our old house?” and “What’s at that house?” His dad explained that we’ve never lived in that house that we own it and rent it to other people and those people left stuff there. He thought about it for a few seconds then asked his dad, “Is that where you and iMom keep your toys?”

PHd is very impressed that PH thinks we have so many toys that we need a whole separate house to keep them in. I’m a little sad that he thinks we’re hiding them from him.

Car Parts

Pulling into the driveway the other day, I noticed that the bumper that my neighbor’s son had pulled of his car and deposited on the side of the house, was still there after a week. I said to my husband, “Look he (neighbor’s kid) still has that friggin’ bumper laying there.” To which Peanut Head replied, “Friggin’ bumper, what’s a friggin’ bumper?” – Oops, oh well, it could have been worse!

Mind Reading 101

One of the more entertaining aspects of watching a child grow is seeing how he takes information from the big world around him and integrates it into his own little world. In Peanut Head’s case it isn’t always a smooth transition. Last night at dinner he was regaling us with a tale of his current favorite subject – dinosaurs, when he just stopped talking. His dad and I stared at him intently, waiting for him to continue. The next words out of his mouth were, “Wow, I just read my mind.”

It has been so hard not to spit food across the table lately.