Saturday, November 22, 2014

It Takes A Village

Email rec'd at 3 pm: Jane, could you contact the publisher and ask them to add the words "USA" in the COUNTRY OF ORIGIN field on the customs documents regarding our magazine shipment?

I don't usually deal with the publisher of our magazines, nor do I ever handle the shipping/importing of them. But the fella who does was in a car accident yesterday, so I gave it a shot.

Email from me to my contact at Pubpress: Hi. Not sure if you're the right person, but you're the only email address I have. Could you add the words "USA" to the COUNTRY OF ORIGIN field on the customs document, or could you forward this email to the person who usually does this sort of thing?

On a whim, I included my contact person at Focus US, and cc'ed her on the message. She knows everything. Let's call her Kia. (Short for Knows It All). Plus I cc'ed everyone remotely interested in this project.

Kia's email to me: Hi Jane. The publisher is located in Kentucky and they are on Eastern Time. Their office is now closed, so they'll handle your request on Monday morning.

My reply: OK. Monday morning is fine. Thanks.

Seconds later, the transport company sends an email to both Kia and myself: The driver is one hour away from the border.

Well, this information is a game changer.
There's a driver. With 100,000 magazines, in a truck, approaching the border. It's Friday late afternoon/evening (depending where in the country he is) and he won't be able to cross unless we get the words USA added to his paperwork. Is it snowing where he is? Will he have to sleep in his truck all weekend? Is he cold?

Time for a Plan B.
Think, Jane. Think.
What's a good plan B?

Kia and I exchange a few emails.
I think the driver is probably back east. (He is coming from Kentucky, after all. And he left on Wednesday.) He's probably trying to cross somewhere in Ontario. And then come across the continent to Vancouver via Canada. I'm thinking, maybe, instead of sleeping in his truck all weekend, maybe he could just start driving west via the US? And by the time he reaches the west coast on Monday - we'll have that paperwork issue all sorted. And he can cross over in Surrey.

Hey. It's a plan.
I rock at plans involving crossing borders.

Kia in Colorado thought she'd try and find a home phone number of someone from Pubpress to see if they could help. She tracked down the contact information of one of the press men. He said he'd make a few calls to see if he could get someone to go back to the office.

Meanwhile, the driver kept moving forward, inching his way towards Canada.

An hour passes and Kia and I have our fingers crossed that someone at Pubpress is willing to give us a hand.

Email from Kia: Jane which border crossing is the driver at? 

I haven't a clue. Kia makes some calls and finds out he's at Emerson, Manitoba.

Emerson, Manitoba?
Can't be a very big/busy border crossing. Are they even open for commercial traffic in the evening? Do they have a computer? Does anyone there know how to open email attachments? Is it snowing in Emerson?

Email from Candi at Pubpress (not her real name) at 5:30: I'm hoping they'll accept this. (The attachment is a note, handwritten by her, on Pubpress letterhead simply saying, Country of Origin - USA.)

I'm hoping the customs people in Emerson are laid back prairie folk who are OK with handwritten, scanned email notes.

A flurry of emails then went back and forth between Pubpress, Kia and the Transport Company and finally at 6 pm (our time) (PST) I received the email, "All Clear!".

So we all (by the time I got the All Clear email, there were 9 of us trying to get that driver into Canada) went home and started our weekends.


Can I admit that I was a bit emotional by the time I left work?
Besides me, there were 8 people, all across North America, most of us strangers to each other, working together to keep that shipment moving.

Everyone was in a different time zone, and everyone had finished work for the day. Plus, it was Friday. No one had to do this.

Yet everyone did.
And, as far as I can tell, no one was complaining about helping out.

I had a teary moment a few minutes after I sent a thank you email to the whole lot of them for rallying around to help me keep that shipment moving towards our mail house. I had just been the recipient of kindness and effort by strangers. None of them had anything to gain by helping me out. They all just did it.

So professional.

So awesome.

Such a good learning experience.


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. It's been a month. I totally forgot how to use these. Thankful that Clint was able to walk me through the process, AGAIN, on how to use Netflix. Sadly, he wasn't able to tell me how to stop scrolling through the options and finally just pick something already. After an hour, I just hit play and watched whatever movie was in the DVD player. Edge of Tomorrow for the win.

this is my TV screen. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

2. I am thankful for the hockey tickets I received this week from our envelope supplier. Jenn (a HUGE Kessler fan) (she wrote a book about him) had just finished writing the 110,000 words for her new book, and I celebrated by attending the Nucks vs Ducks game. So much fun going to a game with a loud, outgoing, American fan who knows the game well enough to shout play ideas to the guys on the ice.

3. I am thankful for words.

Words are so powerful, yes?
On Monday night, I attended Brenda's retirement party and blogged about it late on Tuesday night.

On Tuesday night I had visited my dad. On my way out of the building I had two ten-second encounters with women I had never met before. One in the elevator and one in the lobby. One thought I was pregnant, the other thought I was old enough to be a resident of the care home. I wrote out those conversations and posted them as my status late on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, while at work, my phone/computer pinged all day long notifying me of responses to my words. People were crying (blog) and laughing (status).

Do you know how weird that feels?
To write words and have someone's (in this case, it was a lot of strangers) emotions affected by those words?
I may have been crying when I wrote that blog post. How can it be that someone can read those words and cry too?
I was laughing when I wrote out my status. Wild, then, that someone reading it, catches that laughter and responds in kind.

I don't think I've been aware of that happening before. At least not with strangers. And not so many.

And then.

Then, at the end of the day, a sweet girl comments on my Facebook status using just two words, "love  you" and I come undone.

WORDS.  Use them wisely. They have so much power.

Shalom, friends,

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