Friday, June 25, 2010

6 month update

if you’re keeping tabs on your pal rob, here are some updates:

I made some new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year; here is a 6 month update:

I made a resolution to eat no fries and no fried food all year. that has been pretty good. I’ve been in situations where there has only been fried food available and have had a few bites here and there. it hasn’t been perfect, but I’m doing pretty good. my new goal is to have a soda-free-summer. about 25 day in and I’m going strong. I don’t even miss it.

we have also not charged anything for the last 6 months. this has really helped us to pay down our credit cards! whenever I buy something online, I first go and get a gift card and use that instead of my credit card. I’m hoping to make it until December, but we’ve got a cracked winshield on one car, and bald tires on another. hang in there car parts!

we did get to take Janie to Disneyland, and we can’t wait to get back. she has recently fallen in love with toy story 2, and we are excited to go on the toy story ride and take pictures with buzz and woody.

I said that I wanted to have a good attitude, and I’m really working on it! (that last post wasn’t the best example). I have read a bunch of books on this, and I think about this and talk about this all the time. its cool, because I often hear my friends talking about it too.

I wanted to get to the gym 250 times this year. this isn’t going to happen. I make it about 3 times a week if I’m lucky. I’ve added some meetings to my weekly schedule that make it almost impossible to go everyday.

I’m still making a ton of homemade toys! I just made jane a soccer field for her figures, and a hat for her buzz lightyear costume.

my trees didn’t make it. there are 2 left. they are fighting to stay alive. I had the students plant pine tree seeds instead. I’ll share more about that camp in the future.

my job is a blast, and my family is awesome.
thanks for keeping up with me. and thanks for reading my blog.

God is love.

bring exact change to vasona

so, today I took jane to oak meadow park to ride the train. we brought $10 in cash (2 $5 bills); $5 for parking and $4 for a train ride with $1 left over. there was no parking attendant at oak meadow, so I thought we saved $5, but there was no parking spaces available because they were repairing the parking lot. so we went to park on the street, but there was no space on the street because everyone else had to park on the street. so we went to the next door vasona park to park, even though parking there is $6.

there was no parking attendant at the booth at vasona either; so again I thought I saved $6. but I saw a sign that said that you have to get your parking ticket from a machine. everyone else in the parking lot had a ticket on their dashbord. So we got back in the car and drove over to the machine. the parking ticket cost $6. all I had was two $5s. I stuck both in. instead of giving me $4 in change, it printed a $4 refund ticket. We got back in the car, went to the train station and asked if we could trade the $4 refund ticket for 2 train tickets. the train guy said, “oh that is for vasona. we are oak meadow. we have nothing to do with that.” I asked how to get a refund. again he said, “I don’t know- that’s a vasona thing. we’re oak meadow.” so I spent a bunch of time getting a parking space, I spent $6 on a ticket, and now I can’t even buy train tickets because I have no cash left.

so I called the number on the ticket. I got the standard, “if you know your party’s extension…” I pressed zero. a lady answered. I asked her how to get a refund and she told me to come to the administration office. I asked her where it was. she had a hard time explaining that to me. she asked me where I was. I told her that I was at the billy jones wildcat railroad. she said, “oh you’re at oak meadow! we’re vasona. you parked in our lot. we don’t have anything to do with them.”

it turns out that the administration office was a couple miles away, on the other side of the park, near the youth science institute. I let the lady know that this was frustrating and inconvenient. no good attitude prizes for me today.

so we got back in the car, drove over to the administration building and gave the lady our refund ticket. she asked a guy in the office to help me. he did not look up from his computer for a minute. then he gave me a form to fill out. after I filled out the form, he gave me my $4 in change.

so we lost about 45 minutes of playtime because:

1. vasona and oak meadow don’t work together, even though they are side by side parks and the train goes through both of them.

2. oak meadow had no parking and vasona didn’t staff the parking booth,

3. the parking machine doesn’t give change,

4. they let a machine answer the phone, and they make you fill out a form to get change when you over-pay, and really,

5. customer service is not really a value.

it took me a while to calm down. I was so ticked off. but then I started thinking about customer service in my world. are the systems set up for the guest, or are they for my convenience? am I making it easy for people to participate? or it it way too complicated for people to sign up for events, to pay, to get information? how well do different departments work together in my world? do people walk away from event under my leadership with the same frustration?
we can’t let that happen. its got to get easier. its got to get streamlined; and frankly we have to care about the frustrations that people are dealing with and stay with them until they are fixed.

vasona tried to save money by not staffing the ticket booth, and they tried to save time by letting a machine answer the phone; and what they communicated to me was that Janie and I were not worth their time or money. and that makes me not want to come back. (but how can I stay away?!)
when it’s a park, its frustrating. when its church, someone’s eternity could be on the line.

bottom line #1: we have got to be excellent and customer service and make sure that everyone has a great experience.

bottom line #2: bring exact change when you park at vasona.
or use your credit card (which I wish that I did!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

boardwalk growth chart-

here is a picture of jane from may of 2009, and from today, june 2010-
looks like she has grown about 3 inches taller! what a big kid!

(and yes, she is sporting (678) business card in the 2nd picture- that's just me being a freaked out father. praise the Lord we haven't had to use it!)