Sweet Solution

I learned, from the Dana-Farber newsletter, DFCIonline, that the Jimmy Fund Clinic (where kids go for outpatient cancer treatment) always needs candy for the concierge desk.

This year they put out an appeal for our leftover Halloween candy.  All I had to do was drop it at the main desk.  They were happy and it was out of our house – WIN /WIN!

Bring It In Already Going

I have learned of two different situations in which is is VERY helpful to start something on your laptop BEFORE you go into a conference room to start a meeting, if you have no lead time in the room to set up:

  1. When you are hosting a WebEx and there will be many people remote.  You can start the meeting outside the room.  When you get inside (and dial the phone ASAP!) and go on fuss with projectors, etc., the connection will already be done.
  2. When you will be presenting something from your laptop or from the network, you can set it all up while you are in the hall.  Then the only delay is to get the projector going, not ALSO to boot up, log in, open files, etc.

I’d like at least one do-over with this lesson.  Learn it here and save yourself that trouble!

Ask (again)

Although I am waiting until the end of the year of blogging lessons to look for trends, I can already tell you that “Ask” is going to be a big theme!

I needed a new kitchen timer.  Just a simple countdown magnetic electronic thing.   My hardware store has them for $20.  Way too much!  Our Big Lots store had none.  So I went our local dollar-type store.  They seemed like the right place for this.  Nothing in the kitchen section.  Nothing anywhere that I could see. I was going to give up but I asked the woman at the register and she said she had seen them somehere else.  She went and found them in some random place.  ONE DOLLAR!

Keep Asking!

OK so I tried to get the deal from Eddie Bauer: 25% off and free shipping if you use your card.  And I had just remembered that I even had a card, so why not.  Worth one more check or a few payment clicks for those kinds of savings, right?  But then the website didn’t like my card.  And neither did the nice lady on the phone.  I asked for the 25% with my own card. She said no but she could still give me the free shipping with another card.  OK, whatever.

THEN she changed her mind and said what the heck and gave me the free shipping AND the 25% off!

The year is not over, but “ask” is definitely a trend that will be showing up in the summary!  Sometimes it’s little stuff, sometimes big, but there is world of difference between asking and not, I have learned.

Know Thy Meetings

If there is one practical thing that I have learned (or am learning) this year of blogging, it’s got to be: confirm meetings before making the 5-6 hour commute!

This week we were in the middle of switching meeting schedules for two ongoing project meetings.   I thought that they both started the new schedule next week, but no, one change was this week and the other starts next week.

The lesson is that I should have double checked and/or been crisper in my questions, because I ended up coming in on the “wrong” day for my objective, which is to have as many customer meetings face-to-face as possible, within my commute schedule.


Free Summary for your FSA

I learned, through an email from Medco, which manages my company’s prescription plan, that you can get a summary of EVERY prescription you filled all year, no matter where you filled it in America.

If you hit the right settings, you can get this for every member of your family.

This is going to save me taping many receipts onto paper to document and get back my tax-free Flexible Spending Account money!  One report does it all!

I also learned that when a very popular feature such as this is announced in an email campaign, every Medco customer on earth tries it at the same time and brings their report server down.  Learn to stagger, dudes!

Back of the Bus

It’s not a political statement, but a practical consideration: I learned to AVOID the back of the bus on the Longwood Medical Area Shuttle.

We used to have cute little vans with cute little drivers, one of whom sold cute little jars of jam.

When we lost all cuteness, and a schedule that made sense, we got a variety of buses, including some huge honkin’ long ones.

I learned, the hard way, that sitting in the back can be downright painful.  As in actually hurting.

First the driver missed the Beth Israel speed bump, completely.  And by missed, I mean missed slowing down for it.  He hit it full on.  We went flying.  Really.  It hurt.

Then  he managed to find other obstacles to hit, on roads that looked generally flat to me.  It was a ride of rounds of “Ow!” and “Sorry!”

Go for the front.