A Thank You Gift From Larry: A True Story of Honest Work, Grateful Emails, and Tea

In the festive month of December, when holiday cheer filled the air, the high school office workers chatted happily and spoke of their plans for the coming break: a flight to Chicago, another to California, still another to Oregon.

But one worker, the quiet one in the corner, what plans did she tell? Nary a one, for she was on the phone.

It was a parent, a father, seeking information on a program Quiet One knew little about.

Did that stop her from helping? Of course not. Transferring the call would return her to office chatter.

Quiet One listened. He was out of the country, he said. Frustrated, lost, bereft. No communication given. Could she help?

She made notes, spoke with student’s counselor.

What’s this? Father’s name is not in database? He is not an approved contact? Calls are made, mother is reached.

But he’s in London, mother said. Why list him?

If his name is not listed, they told her, we cannot talk to him. He remains frustrated, lost, bereft. No communication given.

His name is added.

Father is called. Quiet one explains, he is grateful. He tells her what he seeks, she sends it.

He has a hotmail account.

She tries not to judge.

Me, email 1He is appreciative.

first thank youA week goes by, it is the day before winter break. Cookies in the break room, someone says.

Homemade?

Store-bought.

Quiet One opens her email.

emailShe frowns. Help a person once, help them always. That’s how it goes.

Quiet One contemplates. Respond thoroughly, she decides. Consider every angle. Anticipate every problem.

FinalHe sends his gratitude.

heart attackQuiet one is pleased. She has done well. Her work is now complete.

Another email arrives.From him , email 4Not necessary, she tells him. Just doing her job.

He insists.From him, email 5He must be joking, she thinks. He’s in London. What can he do?

She plays along. Response, email 5Quiet One turns off computer. Coworkers leave. Good wishes for a nice winter break.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Two weeks pass. The workers return. The mail is sorted. Quiet One received a card.

A card from Larry.

She opens the envelope. Tea bags fall to the desk.

TeaHer first cup of the day, Countess Grey from Fortnum & Mason.

A twist on the traditional bergamot-infused blend, Countess Grey is based on well-twisted orange pekoe teas, lifted by classic bergamot and a light orange flavour. Its light and delicate character makes it ideal for morning or afternoon drinking, when the spirits require a little reviving.

Quiet One is revived. She emails her thanks to Larry.

He responds.Final emailTo a man in London, she is his dearest.

A job well done.

Happy New Year. ☕️

Gmail Spy Thwarted!

Breaking news y’all!

As an update to my previous post on Gmail’s Covert Spy, Google recently announced they will no longer be reading your emails in order to send you targeted ads. Read their blog post here.

An excerpt:

Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization. G Suite will continue to be ad free.

In other words, while they won’t be targeting their ads by your emails, they will still use your search history, YouTube browsing, basically any Chrome activity you do while signed into your account. You are able to change that if you so desire, though they don’t make it simple.

Fortunately, one of my favorite things to do at work is make how-to-guides no one wants. And since I’m on summer break, I’ll make one for you.

Here’s how to keep Google’s Spy from personalizing your ads:  Continue reading “Gmail Spy Thwarted!”

Gmail is Watching You

I’ve known for a long time they were monitoring my emails.

It started a few years back when my sister and I were exchanging updates on our ongoing projects. She sent me a picture of a blanket she knitted for her grandson.

Fingers typing on keyboardThere, on the side of the screen next to her note, was an ad for a yarn company.

I dismissed it, thinking it was coincidence. After all, when I signed up for Gmail, it’s possible I filled out an interest survey. I didn’t remember filling out a survey, but hey. It’s possible. No need to get paranoid over it.

Then my sister emailed with the idea of visiting a local winery together. Next to her note were two ads for wine. One of them was for the winery. Continue reading “Gmail is Watching You”

IT Support: I Bow Before You

White dog next to person with laptopSo I’ve been doing some cleaning around the ol’ blog – not sure if you noticed? New theme, upgraded account, no ads (you’re welcome), clearing out some dead links. Just kind of sprucing things up a bit.

Not to brag – well, maybe I’m bragging a little – but I  wasn’t at all worried about making these said changes. It’s not that I’m a computer whiz, exactly.

Oh heck, let’s be honest: I’m more whizzy than your average suburban housewife.

All this is to say that on my second day of working on the blog, the new theme and upgraded no-ad account in place, I started my first post of the new year and wound up with a problem I couldn’t fix.

And I wound up calling support. *sob*

Here’s what happened…  Continue reading “IT Support: I Bow Before You”

Faced With Such Temptation, What Would You Do?

I have a dilemma. Maybe you can help me.

About two years ago, I started getting another woman’s emails. Not all of them, of course. Just a few, and only from time to time.

emailYou see, she has my same name, identical spelling, and she clearly was intent on having her full name as her email address, regardless if someone else had it already. She just decided adding her middle initial would take care of it.

Only she’s not that good at remembering she added her middle initial. Either that, or an “l” in between an “i” and “h” is not that easy to detect. Continue reading “Faced With Such Temptation, What Would You Do?”