The Challenges with Changing Appointments

I don’t know if anyone else feels the same way, but what is it about changing an appointment that can put my stomach in knots, in ways that few events can?

At the root of the feeling is the simple fact that I take my commitments seriously. When I’ve made a commitment, I like to keep it. It’s a pride thing, for sure.

When life happens and a commitment needs to change, for some reason, deep down, I feel a sense of defeat… even when it’s not my fault… or nobody’s fault.

Even though I am confident in my negotiation skills and acknowledge that most people are pretty understanding, changing an appointment seems to have a triggering effect on me.

Does that feeling originate from my school days and the looming threat of losing points if an assignment was handed in late?

Could it come from the steep fines that certain businesses charge if 24 or 48 hours’ notice isn’t provided to change an appointment?

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that things can unexpectedly happen (… and quickly!) that can de-stabilize situations no matter how much we might like certainty and clarity.

This is certainly not a new concept that started with the pandemic. It is just an example of a major disruptor, with businesses and individuals (myself included) scrambling and pivoting to keep up with short notice announcements of openings and closings.

I admit that it took some getting used to, but the rapid changes heightened my acceptance of the reality (and inevitability) that life sometimes gets complicated. Life also requires juggling, even when circumstances completely beyond my control have suddenly caused me to be double or triple-booked.

While I am certainly able to go with the flow when the need arises, the reality is that I don’t want to be a burden to people. Regular readers will recall that worry and self-inflicted guilt trips are a specialty of mine.

Maybe my sense of fear is a little exaggerated, but I place a high sense of importance and respect for people’s time and energy.

In the eyes of service providers whose business is important to me, I’d like to maintain a good reputation as someone who has his act together when placing requests, who pays on time and who doesn’t create chaos in their scheduling system. I don’t want to be a high maintenance pain-in-the-rump that has them thinking, “Oh no, not him again” when I reach out.

It comes from a place of understanding that people are busy, people have full schedules, and many businesses these days are short staffed, a situation that I am all too familiar with.

I think my apprehension for changing appointments is further exacerbated by memories of my career.

Like most people, my days were quite busy with meetings and time-sensitive deliverables. The challenge came when I would get last-minute notification that a meeting was cancelled. While on the one hand I rejoiced at the “found time” that this created, which allowed me to work on another time-sensitive deliverable. On the other hand, I always held my breath knowing that the other shoe would drop later, when the meeting would get rescheduled.

When the rescheduled meeting would not create a conflict, I would breathe a sigh of relief.

But when the meeting’s new time meant that I’d have to be in two places at once, at first I’d take a moment to feel a sense of gratitude that my skills, knowledge and service were in high regard and demand. But that feeling quickly passed when the new time created a domino effect of rescheduling.

Mutually convenient dates and times are not always easy to find when everyone’s plate is overflowing and boardrooms are booked weeks in advance.

Eventually we’d get it sorted out… that is, until the meeting gets displaced again and creates another conflict… and another session of picking up the pieces of my shattered schedule.

Sadly, a few recurring meetings got shuffled more times than a deck of cards in Vegas. After repeat performances, when I’d receive the invitation for those, in an effort to save precious time (and to preserve my sanity), I’d take a chance and remain double-booked, expecting that it will get rescheduled later. Most times, that strategy paid off.

I never wanted to be THAT person whose schedule was in constant flux and chaos, causing a ripple effect on others. The memory of the stress of having to play “fixer” and rejigging meetings and all of their logistical details, has remained with me.

That being the case, I do my very best to keep my appointments. To me it’s a matter of respect of other people’s time and energy.

But when circumstances suggest otherwise, I try to remain flexible, regardless of the plethora of feelings that may ensue over changing appointments… I just need to peacefully coexist with the possibility of disruption.

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, your likes and shares are most appreciated.
If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

Leave a comment

Filed under Humour, 50+, stories

When Did Patience Go Out of Style?

Is it any wonder I sometimes find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place as an adult, when scenes like the following played out in childhood?

My mom would be in the process of trying to gently steer this only child onto the more courteous road of life where the world didn’t actually revolve around me. She would share words of wisdom and life lessons on the importance of patience, with beautiful sayings like “good things come to those who wait” and how taking turns just makes the world a better place.

Moments later, my Dad would stomp in, turn off the TV and announce that the grass needs mowing… now!

Maybe they should have checked first for the scheduling and timing of their life lessons, but despite the mixed messaging, in time I came to realize that they were both right.

In life, some things must be handled urgently while others can (…and should) be scheduled and addressed at a mutually convenient time. To recognize the difference is what I would consider to be the “wisdom” part of the equation.

But not everyone seems to have gotten the memo. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Humour, Inspiring, stories

The Case of the Missing Transaction Registers

Transaction register bookletsA while back, while running my socially-distanced, masked, sanitized errands, I stopped by a nearby bank branch with a simple mission: to obtain a transaction register.

For those who might not be familiar with what that is, a transaction register is that little booklet you slide into your chequebook holder, to keep track of your deposits and your withdrawals.

I realize that I am probably dating myself with that statement since cheques, chequebooks and chequebook holders might not be household names in many households anymore.

The fact is that cheques are losing popularity (in Canada, anyway), in favour of credit cards, debit cards, eTransfers and automatic withdrawals. I think it would be safe to say that during the pandemic when physical forms of payment were discouraged, the adjustment to contactless forms of payment may have accelerated the inevitable.

Just the same, there are occasions when a cheque is still the more convenient or practical payment option. This 2018 article from the Ottawa Citizen explains more on the topic:

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/cheques-are-both-down-volume-and-up-value-in-canada

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Humour, pop culture, stories

My Comfort TV

a 1970s style portable televisionHave you ever looked at the list of recorded programming on your digital recorder and thought, “No, I’m not in the mood for those”?

And then have you scrolled through your streaming service, looked at the list and said, “No I’m not in the mood for those either”? Me too.

It is no reflection on the quality of the shows whatsoever. To be honest, I do pick up new shows fairly regularly, and with great interest, to keep apprised of how the TV landscape and the screenwriting world are rapidly evolving.

But at one time or another, don’t we all have moments like that, like a teenager looking inside a fully stocked fridge and announcing, “There’s nothing to eat!”?

So what does one watch when that feeling strikes?

For me, I turn to what I call “Comfort TV” programs that are like a comfy pair of slippers or that cozy sweater. It is that list of shows that I may have already watched a few (dozen) times, but that I am always ready to watch again.

For some of those shows, they may represent a fun throwback to childhood.

For others, they just have a knack for tapping into something that strikes a chord, whether consistently tickling the funny bone or light, gentle, comforting storytelling.

Others are just timeless classics that are a joy to behold time and time again like a piece of art. Surprisingly, there are times when I might notice something new but from an older and wiser lens… or so I’d like to think. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, pop culture, TV

Another Company Name Change… Cue the Eye Roll

A collage of "Hello my name is..." stickersOne of the greatest ironies about getting older is that despite the whispers of life experience and wisdom through which we can better take life’s drama with a grain of salt, and to view it with the perspective and acceptance that prevent our heads from exploding on a daily basis, there is one troubling reality: new situations to replace them… which still hold the power to make our heads explode.

To me, a recent bugaboo has been company name changes.

A few weeks ago, my partner and I received an email from a company we deal with, announcing their name change. Frankly, it wasn’t a big change. They just dropped a few letters from the end of their name.

I felt empathy for the poor employees having to drop everything to update all of their forms, templates and signature blocks, at a time when their plates were probably already full. It brought back memories of a position I have been in more times than I wanted to recall.

I sometimes wonder if it’s just me who thinks that company names seem to be changing at a faster pace than before.

But the evidence speaks for itself when watching a vintage episode of “The Price is Right” on YouTube and noticing that many company names that were household names in the 1970s have completely disappeared.

I have to admit that remembering names is not my strongest attribute. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Humour, pop culture, stories

What Would My Contract Rider Contain?

Two bowls of M&Ms, one containing a variety of brightly coloured ones, and the other containing the brown ones that have been taken out.The first time I ever heard of a contract rider was back in the 1980’s, when I heard that in the tour contracts for rock band Van Halen, a clause stipulated that backstage, there needed to be a bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones picked out.

A little over-the-top? Perhaps.

Author Steve Jones, provides more insight into the reason for this clause, in a fascinating article from Entrepreneur Magazine entitled: “No Brown M&M’s: What Van Halen’s Insane Contract Clause Teaches Entrepreneurs.” If you are interested in checking out the article, please click on the article’s title.

As celebrities progress through their meteoric rise to stardom, I think it is fair that their expectations when touring or on location should indeed be commensurate with the financial rewards they bring to the table.

Some requests may be very practical if they need to travel with family members or an entourage of staff.

Other requests might seem less practical, maybe bordering on the frivolous, but that would be a matter of opinion. I am certain that some celebrities make such requests to create the environment that ensures that they are at their creative peak and completely in the zone. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Humour, stories, Writing

Memories of Trips to Grandma’s House

After living in the country for more than two years, I can say with absolute certainty that I like it here.

The peace and tranquility I feel, away from daily doses of traffic jams, chronic noise pollution and a higher concentration of people with an innate talent for exasperating others, have been worth the time, the energy and the price of admission.

Despite this having been a truly joyful experience, there has been one inescapable irritant: Asian lady beetles.

For those who might not have had the pleasure (or displeasure) of meeting them, they look very much like lady bugs, but with a more orange-coloured outer shell.

While I am told that they aren’t destructive to property, one could be inclined to just ignore them… but it’s impossible. The problem is the numbers… on a crisp, sunny fall morning, my partner and I could be squishing dozens of them as they try to enter the house in search of a warm place for the winter. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Cats, Humour, stories

The Power of Second Opinions

piggy bankWhile I consider myself an optimist who likes to think the best in people, I thank my Mom for raising me with a healthy degree of skepticism to keep things in balance.

If she didn’t, I think it would be safe to say that the Pollyanna in me might have fallen off the turnip truck, not seen the forest for the trees and may have gotten into financial hot water.

One life lesson that has proven invaluable has been the idea of getting a second opinion (…and sometimes a third.)

I don’t think a second opinion is needed when making small, routine purchases. Let’s face it, despite being starved for conversation after the pandemic lockdowns, we probably won’t make friends while canvassing for second opinions about long-lasting breath mints at the express check-out counter.

But to me, there are times when a second opinion makes sense to validate the necessity of an expensive transaction and that the associated costs are justified. Also, having a few moments to just take a deep breath and to absorb what we are being told without freaking out is an added bonus. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under home, stories

When Bath Towels Shed Like a Cat in Spring

a set of fluffy white towelsAfter the big move to the country, as I was unpacking my towels, I experienced a bit of a life-flashing-before-my-eyes moment, as each towel colour seemed to hold an association to a specific period in my life.

I guess the fact that I bought my bathroom towels in batches to coordinate with my decor each time I moved might have had something to do with it.

When I first moved out on my own, my bathroom (actually, my whole apartment) was decorated around basic black and white neutrals with red accents. It was easy, it was inexpensive (luckily, budget-friendly flat-pack furniture often came in either black or white), and it looked deliberate and pretty well put-together.

My linen closet was stocked with a first purchase of black towels. I enjoyed them because they were very low maintenance in the sense that they rarely needed special treatment. To me, they never showed stains the way a lighter colour might.

The only issue I had was the dust and the lint that they produced when they were brand new, despite several washings.

I found myself cleaning the pale bathroom floor more often than I would have liked simply because of the little black fibers and spots of lint that littered the floor. It only took a couple of days for the bathroom floor to look like it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. This was more than the Type-A part of me could tolerate. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under home, Humour

Too Excited to Sleep

cute stuffed toys in the shape of sheep I don’t know if it’s just me, but even after several decades on the planet, I can still get that giddy energy I did when I was a kid and sometimes find myself too excited to sleep.

When I was growing up, I remember being afflicted with that joyful sense of sleeplessness before my birthday, before Christmas, before summer holidays and before the first day of school (not for the school part itself, but to see my friends and favourite teachers again).

In the younger days of adulthood, I had those same moments but for different reasons. The start of a new job, an upcoming trip, a first date and the move to a new dwelling all brought with them a jolt of energy that could leave me looking a bit tired and puffy-eyed the next day.

A decade later, I noticed a shift to more experience-based reasons for being excited like once-in-a-lifetime concerts, Broadway shows, unique travel destinations, and celebratory meals with friends and family.

I get a chuckle out of how I’d even get too excited to sleep the night before the delivery of a new kitchen appliance. If that’s not an adult thing, I don’t know what is. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, Humour, stories