Triple shots of Bugachi, Double suits on Dad made Micro-economy shine, Hoops in Charlotte sun makes Monday better than Panthers was

Selling *eleven* of those very good-feeling shirts ($170) Sunday was product knowledge and good service. Finding 3-size 3Xs – I didn’t know they existed until checking the computer -was a $500 difference maker. Was on sales floor 20 minutes Monday when Mr. Froelich and his son literally walked into a pair of 44L Peter Millar suits ($895). Way to start a day, and appreciate banker Dad who knew suits, shared enthusiasm about A-1 service while getting two really good ones for son’s job in CA .

Totally unexpected: $20 tip from a 40-yr. old gentleman after I ‘sized’ him, and provided 10 minutes of good intell on suit factors. ie. Fill or indent of shoulders, sleeve length (S-R-L), 6″ standard difference between jacket size and pants, ‘close’ and ‘tight’ on slim cuts. He’d never had a clue what to look for in the process.

Wore Boss Blue jacket, Nautica shirt and Nantucket Red pants, new Steve Madden shoes ($120, cognac) Sat., went full ‘Blue’ Sunday.

Alpha Dog? OK for Baker, feelin’ it a little myself with Micro-economy

— Glenn S., ‘Mr. Hugo Boss Blue,’ 9/11/22

Nobody doubted Baker Mayfield’s worth during the 4th quarter of Panthers first game of the season, especially his seven yard scamper for TD. Despite losing the first game of season at home to Browns 26-24, there are a reliable number of fans still on Panther bandwagon, most looking for more McCaffrey carries.

STATS – Mayfield https://www.pff.com/nfl/players/baker-mayfield/46518 produced a TD run, the difference (6 pts.) in 17.9 ppg for Panthers in 2021. Just sayin’.

Robby Anderson is happy with 75 yard TD catch, check. DJ Moore 3/43 receiving, tough day for new kid Ekwonu to block DE Myles Garrett (2 sacks) – check. One TD (1 yd. run) no injuries for McCaffrey, with 10 rushes/33 yards and 4 catches/24 receiving yards. Check. Panthers had 4 fumbles off snap miscues – fixing that is mandatory.

The defense wasn’t stellar most of day – Nick Chubb had 141 yards on 22 carries – but held late, so Cleveland’s York needed a 58-yard bomb for the winning FG. Browns weren’t supposed to give up 17 in the 4th, so Mayfield gets ‘almost’ credit. Sunday still goes down as a loss, BUT…I expect to buy a ticket or two, a game for $40 could be real this year.

My micro-economy – We have product, I have expertise

  • Brookes Brothers small corduroy shirts ($118), big rugby stripes and big wale pants (golden brown, green) will kill. Yes, more preppy stuff than we’ve seen, and this is a great market for it. Sales-wise, it doesn’t seem we’re losing anything to Peter Millar reopening in nearby Phillips Place.
  • Plenty of Canali suits, a wall full of Ted Baker, sports coats, and even tuxedos available now. Hugo Boss gets prime spot across front of department, with plenty of ‘Blues,’ which I (perhaps immodestly) have repped well. Talks with customers affirms they trust me as very competent, able to impart inform/opinions. Leading people to good choices 1-1 with great SERVICE counts in micro-economy.
  • All three suits Monday were Millars, a natural choice if a guy is ‘thicker.’ Gentleman with fiancée carrying a dramatically wrong size Boss (they liked the color coming in, naturally) listened-followed up well about successful change to Millar cut. Having six people in Alterations Dept. allows us to commit to tight needs, like a three day turnaround. Free hemming and a reasonable $15 expedite fee is a relief for customers, their professional opinions always a great hole card for us salespeople.
  • Finding 3X Bugachis were actually in the store, because I checked the inventory on computer, became a $500+ sale instead of sending a guy with bowling ball-type shoulders away with zero. “It feels great!” is the most common response of Bugachi ‘tryer oners,’ and its a low maintenance garment – hang dry, no wrinkles or ironing – with 8-way stretch that stays close but not tight.
  • Settling on a solid cream/striped tie (Donahue, $115) that shadowed Mom’s dress, with a classy off-white oooo! feeling Bugachi, the step-Dad in charcoal suit was a great ‘tryer oner.’ Both were happy with decision – after three calls about groom changing suit colors, they could say, “No sweat, we’ve got ours.”
  • Greatest challenge is still, “This young man needs a suit,” because they’re usually thin guys. I find a short presentation of What Abouts with designers usually moves the needle positively. Kudos to the Mom who happily got her son all in black (“Like Neo in ‘The Matrix'”) all smiling for the effort, finding a $299 Topman jacket and $129 pant separates. An $850 Baker (Size 36) looked great, but 29 waist pants wouldn’t have lasted long on growing 16 year old.

About hoop shooting, Lifestyle, New Normal

Heading for October, #gshorkonsharonroadseam has been a stable, productive, very nice, safe to be location, a 1000% step up, being across the street from the Myers Park CC pickleball courts for 11 months, not tip-toeing with homelessness. Its a world of difference about New Normal. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/12/11/vaxxed-check-with-a-comma-threat-of-homeless-handled-well-a-good-suit-feel-to-end-of-2021/

Working afternoon-evening shift at Nordstrom, I’ve put $$$ in the bank, re-established my writing discipline at creative and professional content creation levels. I take pride in how affirming physical elements are with cycling, read with my Mom weekly, good days are cherished.

Two things I’ve always believed in absolutely – my jump shot, and a God-given, frequently sharpened writing ability. With two bricks, you’ve got something to build with.

Getting out for even 25 minutes of hoops regularly in gorgeous Charlotte sunshine has been a bedrock to my physical state forever. At 65, five months into my 29th year in Charlotte, I’m a Boomer with Attitude, and tagging a hoops session on after work is still a terrific habit.

What constitutes New Normal is the Social Security and Medicare that kicked in this year. Pretty sure I’m going to finally need glasses.

Growing up, even before first FICA deduction, we Boomers heard regularly about shaky finances with Social Security UNLESS things were changed, These benefits are long-term commitments, NOT ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS subject to political rhetoric or negotiated loss. It was insurance, a safety net, and we Boomers paid up every step through FICA.

Reading with Mom started with bike riding earlier to beat summer heat, a very affirming new habit.

I was glad when my first check arrived last August. Apparently there’s a COLA (cost of living adjustment) I’ll benefit from soon as well.

Millions of people getting a chunk of student debt forgiven? Not a problem by me. Graduating in Spring of 1975, when South Vietnam was overrun in track-speed time – the worst finish to a US war in history, including the documented final ‘copter out rooftop desperation – I’ve always felt WAY lucky to not have been involved in that meat grinder. My year older brother Mike, driving around the country in a 37’ RV with two beagles, actually had a valid number.

Taking ten grand or so off a couple million poor bastards debt, my Normal as Any Life since then is worth cutting somebody else extra slack. Not my $$$, really. And hey! we don’t need to hear “It’s not enough!” either.

FYI

One very New Normal was ordering a case of wine through National Geographic ($59.99++). Never let it be said I didn’t do the least I could for a good cause. Also, a personal ‘double down’ on a Democratic ‘7 seats for $7’ campaign, see what evil they can stop with my $15. (Sort of) New Normal – I’m squeezing in a four game Sunday of Little League umpiring for 13 year olds, only 2nd time out this year. American Family Baseball rocks.

Social Security benefits are long-term commitments, NOT ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS subject to political rhetoric or negotiated loss. It was insurance, a safety net, and we Boomers paid up every step through FICA.

— Me, because documented naysayers that GOP are, their reaching for the legendary ‘3rd Rail’ by talking about Social Security as a budget drag is truly, breathtakingly stupid. (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Ron Johnson.)

How I feel about life since our North Carolina COVID shutdown https://cdtalententerprises.com/2020/03/30/hoops-heat-for-lockdown-prep-weekend-worries-about-ny/ and the relative freedom of going unmasked to a stadium full of Panther fans in September, 2022? New Normal has been working out pretty good, even thumped some tennis balls against a wall in semi-celebration of ‘official’ end of pandemic. Thanks Brandon!

Caught a Knights afternoon game, a Homer Dog with beef dog, bacon bits, coleslaw.

Hugo Boss ‘Blue’ as micro-economy bonus, New Normal as Fine Summer, Opportunity Knocks in America, Mayfield on my Mind

During recent Anniversary Sale, had two-5 suit days then and fairly steady couple weeks into August since, so I treated-invested myself in style, such a great suit. Nailing $4000 on a Monday night Fact: People are still spending $$$. Still about my micro-economy, sold four more suits Saturday, two after signing out! Loved stopping at a 50 cent lemonade stand around the corner, classic 80s weather for biking the Booty Loop is sweet.

Panthers training camp quote, “You want to pick him 12 times just to make him (Mayfield) shut up,” is going to be a classic.

She noticed the Hugo Boss ‘Haze’, He Stated His Case

Never a bad thing to have a good-looking woman want to take a picture of you in a really nice suit.

Reporting regularly from prime turf here in (Nordstrom) Charlotte, I’m not seeing the economic malaise some have been fearing. There have definitely been slack times, but those I’m serving-talking with, nobody is really squawking at prices, and suits are about $150 more than at start of the year ($895-950 on Boss, Baker, Millar stock, Canali’s $1,695 sport coats).

We’ve gotten way better than previous product levels support , starting just before Anniversary Sale in early July.The new configuration of Suits area supports fact not everyone in department should be trying to sell suits.

The two couples I helped late Saturday were a 100% gift-wrapped pair of sales. After talking with one where wife thought he should check out other suits vs. ‘just’ Boss, even though they both loved how he looked, I gave them a card with suit info, and checked out at 8:00.

Recognizing I’d left my notebook in a drawer, I drove around the mall, and after putting on my blinkers to scoot in, they came walking from the parking garage and said, “Oh, sorry you’re leaving, but we’d like to order that suit.”

Without even checking back in, I ordered his ‘Blue,’ then had to ask about wanting to see other suits.

“I made my case,” he said, she said, “He knew he wanted that suit.” Since both were still smiling, he did an excellent job.

The incredible part was a couple standing behind him immediately asking if I could size him for a sports coat, because he was leaving for Atlanta the next day, then deciding to buy a $950 gray Baker. That’s over $1800 in sales, and I knocked it all out in 25 minutes.

— Me, 8/20/22, and then I had a bourbon at the Palms, in tribute to Wil Butler, Gentleman.

People spend money on selected, useful, quality items

  • Saying “Everyone likes Peter Millar” is truth. No doubt about Moms buying for sons heading to college. consistently and right now. We can’t keep pants in stock, I thought we were on replenishment with suits?
  • That $4,000 Monday, I was only person-cashier in half the department for last two hours, and customers seemed to buy what they had in their hands.
  • First contact of the day was rewarded by changing search from size 18 neck to 17.5 “Because I’m not wearing a tie,” and wound up with three (Donahue, $155) shirts instead of none.
  • I was standing right next to a Nordstrom hyper-light check sport coat ($259) in 42Reg, and found 34/30 Nordstrom pants, when a client who needed a jacket for funeral asked what he might be able to wear without alterations.
  • Helped a Dad with a younger child and stroller child, to try on four suits! He wants three more soon, and is losing weight steadily. He’s got my card.

My on-going point is still about keeping customer service as best practices, its a consistent and reasonable dividing line for people. Gentleman who checked out shirts the other day, came back with fiancée for one we’d felt good about with a nice Calvin Klein blue suit. She’s a frequent shopper there, let me know previous Nordy service “your reputation for getting best possible results is great by me, or even for those who don’t know exactly what they want.”

I like the vibe of knowing people I talk with are getting what I’m sending out (‘If it doesn’t say Trim, its not, and shirt looks like this…’) and its still a minor Boomer challenge to put people into good-better looking stuff. College-kid lady appreciated my finding the last, Small gray Millar half-zip on a Few & Final rounder. My attitude is, if its here, I’ll bring it. People’s smiles come through any mask when you bring the size and color needed.

That customer service best practices and a consistent, knowledge based-style is a reasonable dividing line for people regarding my efforts, opinions, and stories is an on-going belief.

50 Cent pink lemonade (and Mayfield)

Around the corner on Sharon, #gshorkonsharonroadseam

Having two quarters in my pocket wasn’t New Normal, just very much like we’d all like to imagine Before was like, walking through my #gshorkonsharonroadseam neighborhood and happening on a lemonade stand with several adults around, just before a rainstorm hit. I’ve never forgotten a truck driver type who asked me why I was snapping the lid down on the pitcher, he might want some more. His buddies bought some too. If I’d had a buck or two the other day, I would have tipped well – though less than the pair of $5s in the till.

Getting two offers for a ride home once it started raining, I said no, I’d planned on walking in the rain. One of the Moms with a golf cart full of kids, handed me a Modelo, and that’s as friendly as it gets, North Carolina or anywhere else.

#cdtalententerprises.com

Baker, ‘and it wasn’t close’

Baker Mayfield is going to be welcomed, and yes, Panthers needed an alpha-type for quarterback; Brian Burns get the role on defense. He’s going to benefit greatly from having McCaffrey to hand the ball to and catching check-downs, and a muuuuch improved offensive line. I can’t be the only person who thinks CMC made O-line look better than they might have been with his 1000-1000 season, but they’re solid now. Even have backups. (Yes, healthy comes up with CMC, but never from me).

Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo has emphasized line play elsewhere (Giants), https://www.panthers.com/team/coaches-roster/ben-mcadoo, and new Line Coach James Campen (from Green Bay, 19 yrs. a coach) was an upgrade too. https://www.panthers.com/team/coaches-roster/james-campen

Rhule finally said it was Baker, and everybody likes gritty guys gettin’ it done. The training camp quote, “You want to pick him 12 times just to make him shut up,” is going to be a classic. Baker is going to earn plenty of acclaim, and dough, after converting part ($3.5MM) of his Browns salary into incentive $$$ with Panthers. Charlotte likes its sports people to do good in the community, just sayin’.

This offense can go long now. Mayfield can make all the throws, that 13-play drive against Pats last week is exactly what you’d want your #1 to do. DJ Moore will earn that contract https://www.nfl.com/news/panthers-sign-wr-d-j-moore-to-three-year-extension-worth-61-9m-in-new-money#: Anderson will be happy, several rookies have shined.

The team has a strong core of leaders, Phil Snow’s Panther defense could be special. With Baker ‘Our Guy Under Center,’ the best possible upgrade mission will have been accomplished, thank you GM Scott Fitterer.

9-8 and playoff whispers for team will mean Rhule’s last three years are locked in.

–Glenn Shorkey, http://www.cdtalententerprises.com/ 8/24/22

Mayfield won’t throw dumb INTs because he feels a sack is worse, he isn’t an anxious rookie, nor is he broken physically, after playing hurt in 2021 with a sore left shoulder. Seeing the mess that Cleveland is QB-wise with Watson’s suspension, he should feel free to chime in on the Sweet Caroline’s “So Good! So Good! So Goods!” any time he, or wife Emily Wilkinson, feel like it.

WFH upgrade, 5 suit day count in micro-economy, Boomer with Attitude starts Year 28 of Charlotte Experience with ‘New Normal’

With sincere thanks to NY bro David’s effort in delivering the desk 800 miles, having a chocolate donut with Mom, and snap decision to drive to/stay overnight at Steve’s place in the VA mountains are quality family time. ‘Stable’ is $700 of new wheels not being a crisis, #gshorkonsharonroadseam is Home in Year 28.

Its a reboot for #WFH (#workfromhome) career to have family heirloom upright secretary back. Uncramped work area in second bedroom vs. living room, and Mom’s favorite rug becomes the space I’ve needed. #gshorkonsharonroadseam
Bro David and Mom, who still likes her donuts.

Ready to hop on my trusty 12spd Miyata and GO! after finishing this blog is very much included in any New Normal, and I’ve taken comfort from maintaining a decently high physical balance even before lockdown end of March, 2020 or Medicare 65 Boomer.

Working a retail schedule, I push myself to continue above average habits on cooking-eating and exercise. I refuse to consider current 190 means I’ve lost muscle mass from 193 ‘best,’ become a littler, older man.

I hadn’t stepped on a scale until lately, and I’m not worried.

Take a collective breath on another glorious, sunny North Carolina blue sky, high 80s day instead, and catch the Rangers-Lightning game later pal, New Normal isn’t all bad. One-ninety? I look good. Doing two laps of the Booty Loop nearby? Sure, and riding, walking around, or close to work, #gshorkonsharonroadseam is a great New Normal.

I say Boomer with Attitude, and my physical body movement is still an expected positive. I’d like to thump some tennis balls to check out my swing, after shoulder injury from a bike accident two years ago, but I pulled a calf muscle. What do you mean, did I stretch first?

–Me, officially Medicare-old 65.

New Normal

New Normal was willing to take part in a sweaty Hotwalkers Ball tent with LOTS of excited people at the Queens Cup Steeplechases in early May, my first major crowd time in a while really. Bros Steve, Dave and I went to Charlotte FC soccer game Saturday, 26,000 in lower bowl, but I hadn’t considered how close things would be on the train I took in. I’m three-vaxed, but last four stops to stadium were maximum crowded, and I don’t pretend to be bullet-proof to whatever else comes down the pike.

Yes, I used ‘bullet-proof’ instead of other words, not lightly, but because these most recent slaughters cannot possibly EVER be considered as a New Normal.

–Me, and 90% of America

Will Ukraine and Russia pummeling each other – using former Russian satellites ammunition, aircraft, and tanks- become part of New Normal? If Poland feels Ukraine’s pain based on pre-World War II, Booyah! Everyone wants to be in NATO now. Putin’s self-fulfilling worst fear. The button, and pulling the whole world down with nukes – does that reenter the world worries as New Normal?

I was four and living in West Palm Beach, FL during Cuban Missile Crisis of ’61, even a kid could feel the tension. I can’t fathom full out war outside my door like in Ukraine.

A week before Fourth of July, the economic pros say 50/50 on recession, while I finally had inventory and posted a four suit week. My writing gig as http://www.cdtalententerprises.com proceeds.

Bros Weekend -Soccer, Mom, Road trip

The donut with Mom was a son who cared treat, David even had a big ol’ glazy fritter for me, as we wheeled her out to the gazebo in middle of Carmel Hills parking lot. Since then, I turned getting her out of the room where I usually fed her lunch into a New Normal for me, reading to her twice a week while getting rides in earlier to beat real heat.

We three decided to road trip up to Steve’s place in Meadows O’ Dan, VA (147 miles) right after visit with Mom, and figured out the TV situation in time to see two blowout games. It was the first time I’d been up there, and it gave David a two hour head start on return to upstate New York on Monday.

First visit to Steve’s place in Meadows o’ Dan, VA. peaceful. Eggs & coffee, discussion beyond just sports, 15 min. drive to a ‘real’ road, then pedal to the metal driving

The Bro stuff wasn’t anything extraordinary, except that we haven’t done it all that much recently. We did a goodly amount of opinion passing during a British movie about a WWII espionage effort that helped a successful invasion of Sicily, and several episodes of a whacky as hell series regarding a pregnant 40-yr. old Brit and younger American who cares. Both of them seemed to know about it.

Going back, it took a full 15 minutes on twisty roads to get to something I could connect with at I-77 . Blowing down the highway to get someplace on time is a road trip staple, affirming I can plan and execute with precision.

Nailing a FIVE SUIT DAY after getting back, on a MONDAY! Ooo-rah!

Already doing a happy dance from two customers buying two suits each, a gentleman appeared just before closing, said he had an emergency in New Orleans the next day, and needed a black suit right then. Two black Baker suits was all I had in stock, one was the 44 Regular customer needed. Whether one of us was lucky, or maybe living Right, it worked for my micro-economy.

My Micro-Economy

It wasn’t pollen, but something had me draining crazy bad for three days, enough that I called out on Wednesday. After day four of those little pills, results for drying up were as desired. No suit sales again (one for week) but still $2000+ overall Saturday. One customer liked the shirt I suggested so much, he had me order THE LAST ONE in system to get 34/35 sleeve.

We’ve done it more often than should have to for standard replenishment level items.

A former Davidson football player – so said the tee shirt – bought five of the eight Peter Millar shirts he tried on (surprisingly, three Smalls) while upgrading his look to what others in his office are wearing. Right, everyone still likes Peter Millar.

Knowing the back is FULL of suits that we’re not supposed to sell until *mid-JULY* for Anniversary (and will be strongly discounted then), when I have people NOW who will pay full price, its a definite crimp in my micro-economy.

Inflation? As the WORLD gets things back in gear supplying whatever to whomever, there will still be choke points, like Ukraine (winter wheat) and Shanghai shipping (20% of shipping, lockdown) but annual 9.1% rate isn’t the sweet spot. We, the collective America, don’t have any sway on that, so we’ll have to adjust micro-economics to reflect What Is in real time. More umpiring income again this Fall?

Getting new rubber all the way around for 2013 Hyundai Sonata, the $700 wasn’t a crisis in my micro-economy. Saying “Do it” without a hitch is a cool New Normal. WFH gigs as consistent parts of micro-economy is still New Normal.

Lifestyle

Yes, I’ve watched a lot of hockey and hoops after work, don’t know if I’ll apologize for wasting time either. Watching our sports is a very real part of Normal Culture. Nobody is putting out COVID warnings for all those raucous crowds for March Madness, 75,000 here in Charlotte for home opener, and plenty of towel-waving people in tight, dramatic hockey games I’ve watched.

Minus The Breath of Death possibility of recent past that COVID-19 represented, having dates for Whitewater Center concerts in search of Ms. or Mr. Right could be New Normal good too.

#gshorkonsharonroadseam is still where Home is.

8 Examples of Great for Mother’s Day – When She’s Happy, Everyone’s Happy (@the mall)

After a sometimes frustrating day directly related to on-going supply problems – like no tuxedos to sell! – from time spent on tie selection to finding a pair of size Small black shorts, Mom’s deserve their reputations for successful shopping. They also appreciate those who help them.

Moms #1 and #2

Day after Mother’s Day, not lilies. #gshorkonsharonroadseam

Abe Madkour, Publisher/Exec. Editor of Sports Business Journal/Daily, and wife Christina are what personal relationship building with clients is all about. Sunday they brought three suits to put together shirts and tie outfits with – two blues and a darker one, with plaid elements of copper/burgundy.

A frequent question of mine is, “Is he a good try-er on-er?” and while she said not particularly, “Abe knows where he wants to get to on situations, and he does what’s necessary.” That involved trying on five and buying three shirts, including ordering a lavender-speck shirt that set offs an A-1 hot raspberry and dark paisley tie choice. IMHO, guys are mostly past the not trying on attitudes of yore.

Collectively we nailed his “I want some things that always look good, and one combination that’s definitely major pop!”

Coming from our alterations area and having the lady and teen son already at checkout with a decent pile of clothes, was a revelation. Best practices first question is to ask whether they’d been working with anyone – maybe they’re getting another item in back – her response a gratifying, “I’m working with YOU.”

Just sayin’, glad the current manager was close enough to hear that, we’ve had some hoo-ha! about customer grabbing recently.

What became an $800 sale began with my questioning whether black shorts she wanted to order in Small matched options on my screen. Going back to find another size to help with search, she returned with the desired black shorts, a large ‘S’ on front tag kid hadn’t seen. If that isn’t the archetypical Mom move…

Going back to find another size that might help with search, she returned with the desired black shorts, a large ‘S ‘on front tag.

If that isn’t the archetypical Mom move…

Half-way through the ringing up, Ray passed behind me and said, “I forgot all about them,” later explaining he’d gone upstairs after putting them in the dressing area to have a quick sandwich on a busy day. He relaxed, forgot, and yet no bad feelings because he knew the sandwich, not me, was the point.

#3 – Mom got lilies

Brother Steve took some great looking lilies to Mom at Carmel Hills, and said she was awake and coherent while he served her lunch. She was a strong eater the last time I was there, and nobody minimizes what Good-er Days means to all of us.

With plentiful traffic throughout Mother’s Day, lacking certain basics in current suit-tuxedo market affects my micro-economy directly. Having kept a selling streak going over a decently long stretch, over a month, when ‘Not available in black’ is the search answer for a size 40 or 42 (but plenty of 38 Shorts) for anything, you have a clear supply problem.

Putting guys into any Peter Millar suits or jackets has been iffy, the only positive is knowing how brisk my selling COULD BE if product was available.

Guys know why they are buying suits, weddings or old stuff doesn’t fit. If I can’t get a prom guy hooked up, I can ‘size him’ as information for all to go forward with in search. As a small point of personal pride, a Mom or Dad’s thank you so much! for the time and information, call it small ‘L’ legend building.

Me, often, because it counts plenty to provide that extra service.

Maybe that’s when you earn those times a Mom finds her son’s shorts and says, “YOU are helping me.”

#5 A fantastic leftover stir fry

Knowing all it’d take to satisfy me at 8:00pm would be a pack of noodles and the rest of squash, broccoli, orange pepper, onion, mushrooms and last of hickory smoked sauce, with two country ribs of chunked pork from Saturday night mmm-mmm! ahhh . Microwaved and again proof that leftover Chinese is always worth eating, just boil fast noodles, add crispy chow mein noodles, feet up, watching playoff hockey.

Three hours, two pair of socks!

Until walking into jackpot situation at register with Ms. Combs and son, the only sale on my scoreboard was two pair of socks. Two bing! bing! situations later, its a much brighter day. The challenge of juggling opinions – including a daughter and teen friend’s votes – with the Madkour’s was smile-worthy. Dad told us four guys, “If Momma’s happy, everyone’s happy,” a truth I helped many attain yesterday.

There’s no question about telling people there’s an online place at bottom of receipt if they want to tell management how helpful I was. Also, how #cdtalententerprises.com on card I often give them has blogs specifically about my POV on economy from behind the register.

— Me, lately.

A regular flow of prospects was available most of seven hours, and I’m a pro, never a need to panic, especially since we’ve gotten Peter Millar product. EVERYBODY likes Millar stuff. Salesperson-wise, its simple to enlighten customers about the fact more is now available size-wise. People smile when I add, “At least some of its finally off a ship, onto a truck, and gotten to here.”

Pointing out new possibilities is an easy intro to whether there’s something they want. “Do you have…?” is music to my ears.

SERVICE is still the keyword. Finding that single 17.5″ neck, 36-37″ sleeve the computer says is available ALWAYS counts. People might have gotten used to ordering on line, but getting good help face-to-face is a factor many, many people mention regarding me.

Talking to multiple shoppers will mean some are already with another salesperson, integrity is appreciated, often found lacking in retail. Talking with Abe and Christina Madkour was a terrific luck of the draw while walking through suits, other times its just a comment or two and keep walking. I considered it a social interaction, actually fun, the back-forth of likes and how abouts, time agreeably invested.

I later recognized I’d played hoops with Abe over twenty years ago, Sunday or Monday night at St. Gabriel. Might have even approached him about sports-business writing, a talent I still work with.

#7 People buy from people they like

Yes, I absolutely was stylish Sunday, thanks to another appearance of my light green Palm Springs jacket, with mallards on classic green Vineyard Vines tie, slim cut blue with white slashes (Nordstrom brand) pants and sneakers. Classic white with green stripe Polo shirt was sharp, useful showing what ‘Trim’ means vs. Regular. Its not just a coincidence a Woman like Christina asked me for help making Abe look sharp.

#8 A half-hour shooting session after work, a hockey story

#gshorkonsharonroadseam

As both long time de-stressor and thinking resource, shooting hoops has always helped keep my scene stable. During worst of pandemic, the three rims in back of Rama Road School were only ones in Charlotte without rims rendered useless by 2×4 section across them. There’s a colored map of US in parking lot, sometimes I shoot from Anchorage, Alaska.

This picture of a now raggedy red-white-blue net, our backyard court in Schenectady, NY often had such a net. Easy to remember how Mom, in her sewing room upstairs, would hear a Shit! slip out of her teenage sons during 3-3 games, everyone knew it was a five minute penalty.

Another Mom memory while watching the hockey. Back in college, brother Steve brought Mom, Dad, Aunt Jo, Uncle Howard, and cousin Mike, to my Brockport Girls Hockey Club game at Cornell’s Lynah Arena, before his JV hoops game.

Keeping the story short, our rag-tag ten girls – some without cages on borrowed intramural helmets – opened an 8-2 can of whupass on a 20 girl Ithaca College team with identical equipment, helmets, and jerseys. Four girls with two goals apiece, Judy Dufresne was a star in goal. My feet didn’t touch the ice afterwards, walking over to offer their coach a “Good game.”

After borrowing green jerseys from the Brockport Men’s team Friday after practice, I’d tossed them in an equipment bag, never thinking about them until passing cold, wet, stankin’ jerseys out to the girls Saturday afternoon.

When they objected to the conditions, all I said was, “Put them on, we need to tape numbers on the back.” It seemed like Ithaca didn’t want to go near our girls… Many are probably grannies now. (Forty-three years ago. smh, the thought of those jerseys when I opened that bag. I’m crying laughing…)

Between periods, when I went into the stands to talk to my family, Mom mentioned “All the girls seem to have enormous rear ends.”

She had no idea the pants were padded.

Thanks for the memories Mom, and all the rest of the Mom-ness along the way.

Income stream vs. Inflation – Umpiring passion affirms micro-economy decision making

As #gshorkonsharonroadseam begins a sixth month of housing stability, a $320 payoff for umpiring seven Little League games during a weekend of Carolina sunshine was a no-sweat affirmation on all levels of my micro-economy.

As a side-hustle, umpiring ($40-50/game) means doing something this Boomer considers meaningful for $20+ an hour. The MVMT watch is an inexpensive ($100) reminder of the self-motivation over last six months.

When selling an $1,800 Canali suit Monday was just a cherry on top of four days of positive results, its easy to admit things worked pretty close to optimal in my micro-economy.

By all means, have some gratitude when that happens, and its very okay to tell ‘your people’ when good opportunities and events happen along a sometimes rugged way, not just the dammit! stuff.

I admit to being half-stunned when Don Mason – the head of one organization I get assignments from – asked while I filled out some tax paperwork, “So, did you finally find a place to live?” Until this past week, when he texted to ask if I wanted to do any Sunday gigs, I hadn’t been in communication with him since October.

While I was tip-toeing with homelessness, Don fixed some concerns by cutting me two replacement checks, cash that filled real holes, and I was glad to let him know my current situation. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/12/11/vaxxed-check-with-a-comma-threat-of-homeless-handled-well-a-good-suit-feel-to-end-of-2021/ Few pull themselves out of troubled times without help from others. My family helped for sure, Don was supportive as well, a difference maker.

Once I got past the 5-moves-in-5-months hairiness he’d heard about and baseball ended, I was so very glad to be at #gshorkonsharonroadseam with lovely homes everywhere I walk, I concentrated on a Nordstrom’s ‘target rich environment’ at Christmas and commission checks.

I admit to wearing a scruffy pair of gray pants to umpire Sunday, and several other umps offered gear like plate shoes (foot protection) and alternative color shirts. I appreciated Don’s concern, and with my bank balance considerably up, moving to a good apartment #gshorkonsharonroadseam across the street from Myers Park Country Club’s tennis courts, finishing a second book, (https://www.wattpad.com/story/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus) and resurfacing my writing-editing business #cdtalententerprises, yes, people should hear from you when things are going a heckuva lot better.

If you enjoy your side gigs AND make a couple extra bucks, that’s a great combination of passion and productivity. Micro-economy fact: $320 umpiring, 14 hrs. game time vs. $12.80 draw = 24. 5 retail hours. Much better work conditions.

I’m willing to add that income stream again, potentially $4000-5000. Coach-pitch is a minor hoot to watch-umpire, with the coaches and grandparents in attendance soooo sincere and supportive. The five run rule keeps two hour games moving reasonably. I get $40/game, I don’t even gear up, just the blue shirt and hat, and everyone is glad to chat.

Saturday I got home and created an excellent chicken stir fry lunch in time for the first semi-final (sorry Nova), then got my NCAA groove on, right to end of Duke-NC. That’s a pretty relaxing schedule, only took two foul tips in the mask Sunday, too.

At first I’d objected to a Nordstrom schedule with three Sundays in a row off (plus Easter), weekends usually having better shopper traffic. Set against actual commission I might get working a retail Sunday ($59 total last pay period), my micro-economy will continue rolling with alternative cash flow.

“Don’t quit your day job” (until…)

My opinion as an umpire is the one that counts, being in control an affirming factor and part of the job description. Getting others to clear rooms or fold shirts at Nordstrom’s won’t happen because I wear Blue.

— Me, a sad fact about that day job.

There hasn’t been a day recently – and Friday was April Fool’s – when aaaab-so-LOOTELY every necessary element of that day’s business worked out in A-1 fashion for me, launching four productive days and culminating in that Canali suit on Monday.

Three specific suits I’d done the phone work to order for clients all arrived in the tah-dah! nick of time, one was a clutch overnight delivery.

  • Client #1 (Mark) and his wife were super pleased with his perfect shade of lean blue Baker suit, which required only hemming the pants (one hour) to make it ready. Turns out, he’s a dentist, and after three years of pandemic neglect, I asked if he was accepting new clients, so I picked up an extra major goodness besides selling a suit.
  • Mr. Greenberg’s charcoal suit and he arrived at almost the same time – he’d been tracking it on FedEx, was ready to roll.
  • Sondra’s 42L in black (Ted Baker) indeed arrived as expected, I learned Thursday we weren’t as time crunched as she’d previously explained.

Before I knew all those suits would work out so successfully, Nik and his Mom (Nicole) came in. While everyone was quickly pleased with his glowing-good Baker suit, the Bugachi shirts (great feel, wash and hang dry – no ironing!) were a revelation to his Mom, and I couldn’t help smiling at her “No argument, you ARE getting that!” after he tried on a great tan check (Peter Millar), in an overall $2,100 sale.

I congratulated him regularly for his willingness to keep trying things on, it makes a difference,

My best practices explanation to wives-significant others is, suits are different. “Out there” non-shopper guys don’t know how many times they’ll have to put on-take stuff off. If he puts on-takes off 5x with suits, he’s probably seen two designers and two sizes, and he knows the reward – a new suit – is close.

Me, often, and its been magic when guys recognize that truth. (I’ve sold 20 suits/jackets/tuxedos in last 21 workdays)

That doesn’t mean it works for suits, it actually pushes regular trying on! Doing the looking doesn’t have to be miserable, its my job to put items in front of potential customers for yay/nay consideration. The younger guy needing a tie to match his prom dates dress wasn’t thinking a paisley blue and silver tie, but when she showed me the dress picture, and school colors are light blue, that’s exactly where things went.

Income stream – inflation

The elf I painted for one of my brothers, who worked at Home Depot to keep his house years ago.

So, most economic discussions the last couple years revolved around the effects of COVID, including moving the work environment to the home office or kitchen table. Whether WFH employees in higher or lower cost of living areas should get different paychecks was asked on LinkedIn and other sites many times, as was willingness to accept lower pay for the option. https://www.businessinsider.com/remote-working-from-home-thirdemployees-would-take-pay-cut-2021-11

Looking at the inadequate supply of suits in my store – having to order a 42 Regular in a popular Baker style speaks loudly – there’s an ongoing supply-demand problem. Suits have moved up $75-$100 in last couple months, those weddings and proms will keep coming, and the $750 sports coats (Millar) are going well at the other end of Sharon Road from my place.

While the US economy is rocking, its still going to take a while to even things out. Relative to the Ukrainian situation, I believe we’re getting it right much more than US – or specifically Biden in the polls – is sometimes given credit for. Having plenty of ammo in my micro-economy is a fact.

I could easily bike to work if gas prices get too crazy – its only about three miles. My rent and Social Security check are close to a balance, my Blue Cross-ACA is reasonable, but I’d suspend my entry to those benefits if another long-term gig utilizing my writing-editing background works out. I constitute a resource https://www.linkedin.com/in/glennshorkey/ and honestly expect to keep wordsmithing all the way to the end (10 years?).

Seems like Boomer talents are back in vogue, pushing, or maybe allowing semi-retired to put their shoulders into a collective effort to move things along better. Enlightened self-interest still works as an incentive to collaboration. Umpiring isn’t just balls, strikes, outs, its doing something necessary for the greater good, AND I make more than gas money for the effort.

Having tried multi-level marketing in the past, handling my micro-economy with three income streams is still a best practices route. There’s no real need to panic buy ‘before it goes up’ either – the used washer/dryer I’m putting on my back porch ($250) are in very good shape, a purchase that wouldn’t have happened three months ago. Just sayin’…

Weddings, return to office, Peter Millar ‘Make you a suit’ Guy pumping my micro-economy

Third house on Brandon Circle, across street from my apartment. #gshorkonsharonroadseam is a good-looking ‘hood to walk around.

Seven out of last nine days I’ve had a suit or tuxedo sale at Nordstrom’s, and coming out 40% over goal last pay period means there’s no need to change positive projections into March-May.

“Don’t make me put on the black hat…” (great accessory though it is)

Kicking effort to the max – no break, only two people in department, no suit sale competitors that Sunday pre-Valentines Day – and working a terrific split while helping a newbie salesperson with a tuxedo ordering-Hugo Boss suit-sport coat triple play, made a gooood difference in my micro-economy.

SERVICE continues to be my point of excellence, but having some luck always works. Manager pulled off a tuxedo transfer that Monday, which arrived for alterations on Tuesday! and customer picked up WEDNESDAY (a day earlier than promised). He and wife were thrilled, but until I watched Marquelle for 25 minutes on phone Monday, I only knew he’d accomplished it for me before.

Telling my client of his effort, and introducing him as part of the package-difference maker, is good team stuff. Derrick (the new guy) got congrats on first suit ($2600 total) from the customer’s wife, she said he could handle any situation now, her hubby being juuuust a little tough-demanding.

Luck isThe wife-to-be, who handed her guy an off the rack amazing fit of a 44L sport coat, is smile-worthy. Super-affirming to cut the tags off so he could wear it out of the store. (With shirt, $800)

Kyle, an exactly my size 42 Regular, who came in two minutes later, as they announced 15 minutes to store closing. He’d left his clothes for an event at home, wanted a black Ted Baker, which became a first shot ($895) perfect fit – he only needed the pants hemmed. Ready the next day, $0 to expedite it.

–Me, 3/1/22

The Peter Millar Guy

Emphasizing which designers have trimmer side cuts, “and Hugo Boss moves the arm holes down, allowing guys with size in shoulders and arms to be comfortable vs. squeezed” has become part of my introductory patter. #gshorkonsharonroadseam

The pastries and warm coffee for the 8:00 ‘Make you a suit’ session with long-time (45 years) suit guru Rich Biegel were okay, and he’s going to get some immediate business, because recently I’ve been seeing strange shaped guys who need such help.

Biegel gave Nordstrom’s suit people across the organization props for selling a high percentage of suits at full price, which he linked to the perception of service provided, both affirming. Although I wasn’t aware of how popular the line was early on, after months of exposure to sizing guys, differentiating the Millar line as what those who definitely don’t fit in ‘younger cuts’ suits like Baker and Boss feel comfortable in, is obvious now.

Emphasizing which designers have trimmer side cuts, “and Hugo Boss moves the arm holes down, allowing guys with size in shoulders and arms to be comfortable vs. squeezed” has become part of my introductory patter with those buying a suit. It demystifies the more or less question up front. Millar has that touch more size, beyond leanness taken out of Baker, and its a comfortable price point ($650 sport coats, now $895 suits). Canali’s are a clear price point difference ($2,095).

The obvious questions about the cost of such a garment and production delivery time seem reasonably good for special fits. If 25-30% over regular price and delivered in four weeks is to be believed, there’s someone whose shoulders fit in a 48 and the rest of him – that extra tire at belt level, and shorter than average arms – becomes a challenge I’m better prepared to discuss in future. If that someone wanted *several* suits made for him (not custom though), that could be a new layer of business for me.

Tailoring is what Mr. Biegel was essentially promoting, and appreciation for the six people at Nordstrom’s who are aces in the hole for a suit seller, is very real. Working with (or ignoring) certain physical elements makes a difference – while everyone has a small difference in shoulders, Rich recognized my right side was a whole inch lower (bike accident two years ago, I was ‘tore up’), and that would be incorporated in making a suit.

Answers to the obvious question about cost and delivery time for such a garment seemed reasonable. If 25% over regular price and delivered in four weeks is to be believed, I’m better prepared to discuss ‘making a suit’ with someone whose shoulders fit in a 48, but the rest is a challenge.

When your suit seller knows their business

Holding-helping clients put it on allows ‘seating’ a jacket to best advantage, instead of letting guys swing it overhead, shrugging into it, and doing The Hulk move. Smoothing shoulders can reveal forward lean of shoulder or arm positioning considerations for sleeve most never consider.

Checking the sleeve length (hint of shirt or onto hand), lapels (comfortable or tight in chest), at the button (absolutely), and ‘it covers your butt’ fills essential boxes – the rest is what mirrors, girlfriends, wives, Moms, and fiancees are for.

Lifestyle and safety

Saturday was a day without a suit sale, and losing several hours of possible production – after a gunshot in the mall caused a surge of fast-moving people through our store and closed the mall for an hour – was legitimate. We’ve been trained on getting people in department out the back way, and we cleared customers as expected.

The guard at Gucci not having a holster for his gun was the alleged problem, but not enough employees came back into store to run the registers, so we closed down.

I’m somewhat more concerned about a very real rise in the number of customers and co-workers who immediately stopped wearing masks when the North Carolina mandate expired. Its been a small comfort that it was store policy, given how numbers have risen every time that hasn’t been enforced for last two years. I won’t be wearing anything while cycling the greenway today either – never did.

Tonight will be a meeting of my Men’s Club, and next week’s annual Fish Fry (March 11, St. Gabriel School cafeteria) will be the focus. Our Lenten Fish Fry and our Christmas tree sale have been a legendary thing over 30 years, and this will be our third community event since Thanksgiving. Protocols and numbers sure, but this seems just a little more like what life used to be like.

With fingers crossed for some similar degree of ‘Normal,’ I’m also thankful for the opportunity to bring flowers to Mom for her 88th birthday on 3/1/22. This was first time we (brother Steve and wife, Mere) have been allowed to visit since Christmas.

Now #gshorkonsharonroadseam instead of City View, still smarter than one trick bear

Retail sales, Upwork boost micro-economy, ‘Officially old’ with Medicare, #gshorkonsharonroadseam is born

The Myers Park CC pickleball courts across the street on Sharon Rd., ‘The Seam of Charlotte’

After becoming a Medicare eligible “person of a certain age” last week, all previous Boomer attitudes are still locked in. I have no intention of quitting my blogging business and creative writing by arriving at sixty-five – I’ve got plenty of words left to twirl.

There’s some potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine any minute, which piles an additional HOLY SHIT! situation onto the physical problems of an ongoing COVID disaster. I’m triple vaxxed, thank you, and those events are above my pay grade and outside my personal ability to affect.

Stephen Covey said keeping a better focus on things one can control – like my writing business – yields more desirable results than worrying about the 95% that will happen no matter how much you think or worry about them.

While checking in about many wild and scary political badnesses in these United States is both the job of a good citizen and tough to take at times, I’ve got my micro-economy to run. Odds are, at some point the sheer weight of evil done badly will take trump down, I’ll catch up to whatever news on that quickly I’m sure.

Retail, micro-economic POV

I posted my POVs on retail and economics regularly during seven years working for a major Southeastern retailer (Belk) during the Great Recession, I’ll now be using #gshorkonsharonroadseam while presenting my POV of retail economics in 2022. #gshorkonsharonroadseam is an intended word play, between my physical location in Charlotte and that personal job challenge of getting guys into good looking Ted Baker suits for allll the weddings we’ll be having in 2022.

These are usually the doldrums, and there’s barely any stock in back, but a backlog of weddings in America offers a near future payoff for Boss, Millar, Baker and Canali suit-selling in my 32 hour Nordstrom’s week. Get your suits in Southpark, guys!

Me, 2/01/22 #gshorkonsharonroadseam
Brother Steve had a small filet, but as Dad might have said, “That fine steak didn’t stand a chance.” I wish I’d owned a dog lucky enough to get that bone.

Having replanted my flag this time last year, I’ll give myself an Attaboy! for finally https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/01/18/smarter-than-average-bear-content-writing-boomer-replants-thought-leadership-flag-2021/ settling my housing situation well, after five moves between June-late October. Tip-toeing around homelessness for me, millions are still on the move, and not everyone has family that can help in these often tough times.

Going with brother Steve for a magnificent rib-eye at Capital Grille, with a bit of Tin Cup and watching the 49ers-Packers game later, I accepted being Officially Kinda Old on 01/22/22. Yes, it felt good to be out, and Capital Grille’s reputation is sterling by me. Pandemic-wise, they was FULL shortly after we arrived for 5:15 reservations.

A tenet of real estate training was DON’T TALK OLD or RETIRED WITH BOOMERS, most are Forever Young believers.

Cycling three mile laps on the Booty Loop in Charlotte just four blocks away, that’s part of an ongoing POV about a sixty-five year young mind-body working as well as I know how.

Boomer with Attitude, and Bias to Action

There’s some pride about getting an initial 3,600 words of synopsis going for my third book, ‘Betrayed with Cause: Scorch a Sister, Punish the Prince,’ and my New Years Eve purchase of the fantastically bright, fast, high quality DELL Inspiron 24 5000 has immediately improved my CDTalent Enterprises work rate. https://cdtalententerprises.com/a-writer-whos-smarter-than-average-bear/ That’s going to be a major difference maker in 2022.

Commenting on an unimportant factor outside my micro-economy, its absolutely Mr. Tepper’s money to spend if he’s willing to keep 10-23 Coach Matt Rhule as the coach of the Panthers for Year 3. There might be some buyers remorse for that $62 million contract – it can happen when said coach was sniffing about (no longer available) Michigan gig as a change – instead of playoff-level football that doesn’t include Panthers in NFC South – will be a very background concern for me.

How about a little love for the HORNETS though, Charlotte! Seventh place in East at 28-23, and Coach Borrega has a couple *players* worth watching in LaMelo Ball (19.5ppg, 7.7 asst), and forward Miles Bridges (20.2ppg). Hornets nailed 24-threes in Pacers game. https://www.indystar.com/picture-gallery/sports/nba/pacers/2022/01/31/pacers-give-up-franchise-record-158-points-loss-hornets/9281839002/

Production at a Premium

Fact: In two weeks, my retail schedule went from 39 hours a week to under 30 for several weeks. Retail blahs in January is a fact

Fact: I told people I hit for the cycle last Sunday: A $1000 suit, $600 car coat, $600 sport coat, and $400 fragrance buy – with barely six hours on the clock because the mall closed early. I need to have about $1,300 in sales in a seven hour shift to pay for myself versus ‘going in the hole,’ based on a $12.80/hr. draw. Those four sales would equal 13 hours draw.

Writers and actors are often advised to keep their day jobs, and beyond those anticipated weddings and suit sales, many buyers indicate its a back to work move. How many wore suits before the pandemic brings a legitimate “Who cares?” response – as long as the guys are enthused.

Working mostly afternoons through closing, my best morning hours are now blocked for writing production. That includes an Upwork account where pre-pandemic I’d gotten $35-40/sess. for tutoring reading and writing.

Fifth graders through juniors and seniors will especially need essay writing tutoring. This pandemic has screwed up the educational system, and reading-writing programs are dear to me. I’ve appreciated the seniors I’ve worked with through Communities in Schools (CIS) workshops about improving scholarship request writing.

I’m a terrific editor, and monetizing that long time skill by being Zoom savvy, tutor-assisting student essay writing, will contribute to both my passion and micro-economy.

– Me, 1/22/22, My mission statement for 2022, as #gshorkonsharonseam

I’m driving a top-flight, fully loaded DELL now, and with technology holes filled, my marketing and self-promotion will be considerably better.

Tweak the Assets, Work the Strengths

Service attitude is always a primary strength, both in retail and writing projects. Having couples try on 3-4-5 coats isn’t unusual when sizing, and guys pay attention with suits. What most dislike in regular clothes shopping is not knowing how many times they’ll have to take off-put on.

With suits, its all about them, one big task, make the effort and gain a significant reward. Focusing writing processes and editing generates a similar good suit confidence feeling for writing clients.

Serious buyers are ‘suiting up’ for internships and job interviews. Getting younger guys through the process without any mystery, mothers have thanked me for making it quick and painless in a totally good way, and chatting with Dads who remember first suits as important is always cool.

Frankly, our tailors at Nordstrom’s represent a huge resource for my productivity, by discussing what can or can’t be done with alterations, especially pants. Their pros and cons expertise is akin to bringing the lefty in to get a ground out in baseball, but always focuses the choices between designers and sizes. Any good salesperson, like me, should close a really high percentage when someone’s moved positively that far in the process.

When my manager put me into 42 Regulars to develop my knowledge base about suits, it felt like Money. After showing a younger client the sheen of blue with both a Hugo Boss and a lean Ken Baker, I cheered for the mother who recognized how much he reallllly liked picking the Baker.

–Me, about twice a week, and I’d like to think that becomes a reputation.

Will opportunities get better than SwedishBikiniTeam?

It doesn’t get any better than this! was an Old Milwaukee Beer commercial, circa 2014, but then came the Swedish Bikini Team! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c2NEFPqTwY

The Swedish Bikini Team is NOT what’s going to happen next if we can’t get a grip on the pandemic America, and I still have a micro-economy that I’m particularly interested in continuing to move forward. Bet you do, too.

Older and wiser activists that they are, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell offered their artistry in the drama that is Joe Rogan and COVID misinformation. Those artists were willing to lose the significant presentation of their musical contributions Spotify provides to get a bad thing to stop – MANY GOP officials can’t bear to consider doing anything similar. Neil Young’s music isn’t GONE, but if all of the hoo-hah! moved the needle on disinformation, and just maybe it did, more power to them.

I’m #gshorkonsharonseam now, Sharon Road instead of City View. Better location, same writing-editing business.

Vaxxed, check with a comma, threat of homeless handled well – a Great Suit Feel to end of 2021

From my porch this side of Sharon Road, ‘The Seam of Charlotte’, Southpark left behind at S.Wendover. Down a long, definite downhill and past the tennis -pickleball courts. That little left hook on the sign is for Chilton Ave., where homes on left border Myers Park CC. Keep right for more *very* nice homes on twisty-turnie Sharon to the church and Queens University.

Having recently been gladdened by a Thanksgiving gathering – and that commission check with a comma in it – there’s a genuine feeling of peace about important subjects in the title, especially that booster shot.

After getting enough ‘nothing they charge for’ support from the techs at YouBreakIFix to be back on a laptop and producing my first blog in three weeks, I left $20 for tech snacks anyway. I’m writing about thanks and gratitude as soon as possible.

The Great Suit Feel comes from my manager at Nordstrom’s getting me into 42 Regular suits with four of the designers we carry: Baker, Boss, Millar, Canali. I noted in a LinkedIn post that the easiest way to describe it was “It felt like Money.”

The Check with a Comma

I’m very okay with reflecting and enhancing the good cheer of this season, and yeah, I appreciate what Maverick called a target rich environment right now to work with – I was $5,000 (25%) over goal for first paycheck. Business cards and a significant online resource to track customers is part of the process.

I received half the promised $500 sign-on bonus in this weeks check, and Saturday I’ll invest in extending my wardrobe – the employee discount during ‘House Week’ is 30%. Nothing earth-shattering, but I had needs.

Fact: My micro-economy is definitely better, I have wardrobe budget!

I’m pretty good in 1-1 situations, helping people make buying decisions, and produce about $600/hr. I don’t typically get many returns either. My essential credo of customer service is sell it right. My writing and sales communications background has always relied on assembling facts, so walking a motivated looker through a ‘how about this, what else, and how much’ process that ends in a sale has always seemed natural.

Career salespeople and content writers know that getting all the lights green, and somebody signing something, is what has to happen to create Success. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2019/08/05/content-creation-client-needs-same-as-dating-info-to-righter-decisions/

Nordstrom’s is my first time back in retail since leaving another SouthPark Mall retailer across the parking lot seven years ago. I blogged about retail during those rugged times (2008-2014) – pssshhh, nothing Great about that Recession – and as a single guy without a mortgage, kids in school, or even a car payment, I still accumulated significant credit card debt. Bare bones 28 hrs. a week retail jobs meant lots of coworkers were taking from their futures to pay the bills.

Buddy Jack W. and I worked the Nautica line strong, and even during a Recession (2013-14) nearly always made their bonus levels. Although we seldom created the two credit card applications a week Belk management obsessively valued, I had enough bonus that January to – with a little bit of credit card – self-publish my first book.

On the run room, October 2021.

This September I submitted my second book in the Marlena the Magnificent line, https://www.wattpad.com/story/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus/ while tip-toeing with homelessness between June and the end of October, when I landed in the terrific location described at the top. Here is what I’m calling ‘The Seam,’ with a literary nod to my suit selling.

Having suit-buying customers see I’m well put together-being stylish means I’m wearing suits and ties again for the first time in years.

SUITS is where the action is in Men’s Furnishings. Just yesterday a load of those good suits showed up, and the velvet tuxedo jackets are $725 (“Yes, Mr. McDaniel, you were right on the money about 40 short…”), and those asking about black Canali suits ($1800) is consistent – I’ve talked about it numerous times in two weeks.

Laughably (almost) is fact many guys are still showing up three days before major events and requiring emergency measures. While $$$ can expedite anything, point is people are planning on formal occasions and dressing up for it.

Its a pleasure to talk with those who know what they actually want, and I’m now comfortable with the returns and alterations functions. Even compared to being a WFH (work from home) person for essentially two-plus years, I feel safe there. Corporate culture has all employees masked, as are vast majority of customers, and I’m never bum-rushed by a dozen people all day like maybe Walmart.

Customer Satisfaction

Our ‘Team Selling’ of Mr. Martin’s suit (Nordstrom’s has a button for splits), and my first suit sale included a GREAT job with alterations, but coming back with a promised article (I always say “8 of 9 yesterday”), creates customer anticipation and brings a smile when its presented.

The relief one Mom got from our good tailors was cool. She’d been a little tense about her HS football guy in Ted Baker pants wanting to show a little ankle, and the tailor’s, “I’m not cutting anything, we can always change it back” was the whew! she needed.

Getting my secretary back

Having recently referenced Jim Croce regarding work conditions, https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/11/01/croces-carwash-blues-is-an-anthem-for-american-workers-in-2021/ that he “should be smoking on a big cigar, talkin’ some some trash to a secretary…” well my secretary is a 200-plus year old, honey brown upright heirloom that two brothers are hopefully shipping to me for Christmas. (How about that Oriental rug Mom was so fond of too, for my wood floors…)

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It had to go north with brother Dave in early May, because I didn’t have a plan for an important heirloom when I was starting a five-moves-in-five-months odyssey in mid-June, and nobody wanted it to wind up by the side of the road,

More than just furniture, that secretary means reclaiming a psychological asset and another positive uptick to current lifestyle. I was never sure I’d see it again once it was on the truck,

2021’s been that kind of year. Plenty of angst, starting out lousy enough with the January 6 Insurrection, so many wondering how anyone could slow the train wreck of political considerations and deadly COVID concerns. There was a real powering up on vaccination front, and being Officially ‘immunized’ in mid-March instead of late May, I’ll continue putting that under customer satisfaction delivered by Biden administration.

(Closer to) Normal is Good

FINALLY – Last year was the first time in 35 years our community group didn’t sell Christmas trees, so getting ahold of 350 and selling out in nine days really put us back on track. (Sigh) The absolute JOY of three young brothers, those energetic little guys rolling down a small hill – wow! Unquestioned tree hugging fun, and pretty damn close to Life as Normal, y’know? It brought waves of good memories, years of ‘us four guys’ looking for a tree expeditions, cutting and tying onto our station wagon’s top.

$5 any tree back then! plentiful snowball throwing, “Here’s a good one!” and all the rest that decorating entailed.

The Great Suit Feeling as life in my micro-economy, things DO feel a lot better than even forty days ago, and I’m not alone on making positive changes. I’m better positioned on ‘The Seam of Charlotte,’ have improved personal lifestyle and economics – clothes and computer, about $700 each – will be small testaments to progress. I am safe by all applicable standards, and am willing-able to socialize.

I also believe its okay to give the guy walking the traffic median $2 any time of year.

Umpiring a Fall of American Family Baseball, It was often an Honor to Participate

Taking a foul tip in the collarbone is the worst. My equipment being a little loose almost cost me.

The shortage of certain people in many areas extended to umpiring, and when an ex-umpire mentioned at our monthly meeting about possibilities for anyone with experience, I started doing Little League games in Dilworth the next Wednesday.

I’ve done arc-pitch softball in FL and NY years ago, working with youth baseball has been super interesting because of the intense family aspect.

One recent assignment involved a second Blue, who I’d done my first game ever with. He reminded me about trying to get changed into shinpads in my car without undressing – I finally gave up, and did the game with the plastic over the pants. (Not a good look, not repeated)

I’ve put in some 14 hour days since, worked two weekends with blast furnace 96! temperatures, and taken my share of ‘meat shots,’ and umpiring is more than just a welcome cash cow. With about 20 hours game time, $40-50 per game averages $20/hr. with a much more exciting office. It’s fun, not a gripe.

Getting the mask relocated by a foul tip, my standard line is, “I don’t get up for breakfast if I don’t know I’m gonna get hit a couple times.”

Me, a couple times a day while umpiring.
Everybody has a back pack, usually with a pair of antenna-bats.

7 Innings of a Blue’s ‘tudes, Calling it as I See It

Chatting with people near the fence about the difference in early sunshine and cool Fall temperatures this past weekend, compared to the blast furnace 96 I’d done one of their teams games in early June, one Dad’s immediate response was, “Yessir, I remember you – you gave my son some great advice. Thank you,”

That advice involved him twiddling with the grip on his pitch – which all the younger pitchers with small hands do – even while he was going into his delivery. My point was, when you work to get a certain grip, that’s usually a signal – especially if other team has seen the results before – your ‘something different’ pitch is coming.

When you throw it for strikes, the question is, can they actually HIT it while knowing? If not, take your time, set yourself and grip, *then* throw the pitch was my sage counsel.

The umpire schedule organizers tried to tell me early not to chat with the crowd “because one bad call and they’ll turn on you,” but I’ve always been a yakker, so…

My attitude is I’m contributing a little something to the American lifestyle, not just judging balls-strikes-outs. Telling that pitcher, or a first base person to make sure they keep heel in contact with the bag, it seems to make a difference.

Yes, I’ve been surprised at overall support on a regular basis. That so many coaches swear they tell young charges not to question the umpires (You’re right, Hayden, that was too good a pitch not to call a strike, but…), is affirming a rule of order.

2nd Inning

Pregame, I regularly mention players asking for time out and stepping out of the batters box with coaches and dugouts. It’s often coaches trying to break a pitcher’s rhythm, and my sense of sportmanship extends to fact if he’s ready to go, you better be ready to hit. I am not going to grant time very often, and have called three balks resulting in two runs scoring from third.

While batters stepped out without permission, seeing them do so caused the pitcher to stop his motion, and if they don’t release the pitch, its a balk. Its unfair to the pitcher, and letting young minds know how I enforce it (and the high strike) is a good piece of info to put out there. Armpits to knees, yes, use that bat.

I’m willing to listen to a coach appeal a play, say, where several runners wind up after an infield fly pop-up gets dropped (they can run at their own risk). Do NOT keep going on an individual call, coach. Catcher, do NOT pose with a ball that’s over the other batters box line wanting a strike – nothing good will come from you trying to show me up like that. I’ll tell you that, once.

3rd Inning

I was only threatened one time by a spectator, and only once did I get fed up enough to have coaches confined to the dugout. That I could say, “Zip it, or see the game from further away,” and enforce it was a great tool to know was in my bag. That I restored the previous freedoms in the next (title) game was still about fairness.

Having a catcher ask why I’d called a recent pitch a ball, 10 year olds wouldn’t have the stones to ask that if they hadn’t seen coaches question every situation for three full games. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/06/29/america-and-family-baseball-joyful-4th-is-umpires-call/ I’ve told that story numerous times, and that *specifically* wasn’t happening on MY watch. Adults need some telling where the lines are too.

4th Inning

The single best thing an umpire can have is consistency, and high-low is easier for others to see than any distance off the plate. That’s why catchers are taught from earliest exposure about framing pitches, making them look closer to the strike zone. “How could that not be a strike?” is the crowd question, what I tell catchers regularly is “I saw where you caught it, and I saw where you put it.”

Doing a 9 year old tournament, where many were doing kid-pitch for the first time, my off the plate (17″) calls of two balls wider wound up taking 2:30 hours to have a victor. Calling it unhittably further outside was unfair, but walk-athons are deadly.

It was the single most brutal five games I umped all year. I had 8-9 bottles of water, a couple Gatorades, and still didn’t need to relieve myself until 9:00 at night. I told a nurse about it the next day, she said I was lucky she didn’t meet me in an ER.

5th Inning

Except for that one bitchy team (plus two other yellers), I was uniformly impressed with how dedicated coaches are to keeping kids in the game. Arriving early and having time to jaw with them is personally satisfying. That Dad and Coach sometimes have to deal with situations around a pouty son is reality. Listen to the constant barrage about hitting the next pitch, or what to do about a passed ball (“You should be here!”) at a game – coaches keep it going even in a rout.

When there was a question of not having enough time left to start another inning and get the home team last at bats, you’ve gotta love the answer: “So we get to practice our defense another half inning? Its our first game of the season, its okay if we don’t get to bat.”

That’s taking every opportunity to help kids get better. If I can help with an observation – “Your catcher is setting up on the outside third of plate, and if your pitcher misses at all, its going to be a ball” – I can be a difference maker too.

6th Inning

After taking two foul tips on the exact same spot on top of forearm one weekend, I changed how I positioned myself from hands on knees to always having the batter side arm tucked behind myself. Plastic only covers so much, then there’s meat shots. Making necessary changes to protect myself (I was also a hockey goalie in college…) was a no brainer.

There’s usually an Oooo! and “You okay Blue?” from the crowd and coaches when they hear the crack! of a chest protector or see the face mask get rearranged. Its more the blast in the bicep or maybe a hand that changes your machismo for a while.

As a physical challenge at 64, I feel good about an occasional thwack! I’m certainly not too good to think ringing the register with a $350 weekend, while talking baseball and peoples kids, is a bad thing in any way. The hard core travel teams are miles from the rec league supporters, most of whom recognize their kids might get pummeled for a season before age and experience kicks in.

7th inning

Yes, its seeing athletics as part of their young lives, getting to relate to some of that bonding and what’s happening between the ears I knew was important when I played Pop Warner football. Doing 10-under games, then 12-13s, the physical difference of two-three years is amazing.

The chunky 10 y/old who just learned a curve ball that week thought, “Maybe we should have a go, Ump.” I said, “Learned a curve ball this week and you want some of this? You must be a confident guy.” “Yep!”

The best way for an umpire to avoid 95% of any coach or crowd BS is to be right on top of the play versus calling it from across the diamond. The kid sliding into third and his coach yells he’s safe, my “Coach, he’s got the glove pinned against the base, he’s out!” means I just turn and walk away.

On a bottom line, “Don’t reward stupid” is legitimate. The slow-footed kid who tries going first to third when there’s a confusing play at the plate almost always deservedly, gets nailed at third, and if its close, he really shouldn’t have been going… Their coach will talk to them about a bad decision.

Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves for winning the World Series so convincingly. Everyone in Charlotte was rooting for them, all the young players for sure, and they epitomize the idea of sportsmanship and the bonding that makes a bunch of young people a team. See everyone again in the Spring.

Croce’s ‘Carwash Blues’ is an anthem for American workers in 2021

The statistics about how many millions of Americans are so dissatisfied with their pre-pandemic jobs and a willingness to take a leap of faith to change that is, in a word, incredible .

Singer Jim Croce’s first line, about an individual who “Just got out from the county prison, doing ninety days for non-support,” kind of pales in comparison to the massive hunkering down and unemployment millions of Americans have dealt with since the world found out about COVID-19 in early 2020.

“All I can do is shake my head, you might not believe it’s true, but working at this end of Niagara Falls is an undiscovered Howard Hughes.”

-Jim Croce, ‘Workin’ at the Carwash Blues,’ 1973 ‘I Got a Name’ album

Although there will be many who don’t know who Jim Croce or Howard Hughes (VERY eccentric rich guy, legendary talents) were, an unprecedented number of them seem willing to take a leap of faith about rectifying a negative by leaving an unsatisfying situation just as offices and industries start to open up. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/14/1-in-4-workers-quit-their-job-this-year-according-to-new-report.html

While this smacks of the optimism this country has always had about something better to offer, its also an attitude that will be tested mightily. For Boomers who used retirement accounts to skin through mortgage, educational needs, and basic bills in 2008-2014’s Recession, that nest egg for their Golden Years has probably been reduced to a significant degree.

While everyone seems to know there are an incredible number of jobs (10.4MM) available, https://www.bls.gov/jlt/ there are two factors that continue to stifle a workforce that SHOULD be ready and willing to dig into the possibilities.

Many of those jobs are a brutal combination of work conditions and low pay that only the most desperate are willing to consider, $15 an hour burger flippers (much better than starving) and ditch diggers still ranking low.

Perhaps more importantly – and this won’t be the first time most will hear this lament – recruiting systems and HR/placement personnel don’t seem to have a grip on how lousy a disconnect exists between resumes from applicants and archaic and confusing selection operations. https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/fatal-recruitment-flaws/

“You need to apply everywhere”

That’s the simplistic advice just about every job searcher has heard from family members, and while online capability makes the necessary delivery of one’s paper portrait easy, the volume of those a candidate is up against for any remote position is staggering.

Dissing of Boomers for relative ‘kids’ with more recent tech skills – but no idea how to talk to senior management or interact with customers – is often, and justifiably, called a disgraceful use of available resources. Just sayin,’ its ageist.

There’s no doubt that companies turned to recruiters to offload the enormous burden of sifting possibilities in 2008, when the Great Recession meant a flood of apps came to HR departments. The belief that ELIMINATING a large quantity of people based on “The client told us what they want, if a resume lacks *any* criteria (ie. software, years of specific experience), into the crap pile for you!” was operational.

The current Black Hole still doesn’t recognize the need to TELL anyone they aren’t being considered, a courtesy that would reduce some anxiety for those who need to move on.

Even at this time, when businesses are screaming they’re strapped for ‘qualified’ people to fill jobs, the system is still using antiquated formats of start-stop dates, rigid position titles, and ‘Describe job function-responsbilities’ boxes that can’t possibly fulfill every word combination that bots and ‘crawlers’ judge as necessary. Dissing of Boomers for relative ‘kids’ with more recent tech skills – but no idea how to talk to senior management or interact with customers – is often, and justifiably called a disgraceful use of available resources to fix such a talent shortfall.

Anyone who has checked what LinkedIn means when their resume is judged to have only ‘four of ten skills that other candidates have’ will almost always be surprised at what they supposedly DON’T have. Those with significant expertise in more than one field will be screwed by a dependence on chronological demands of formatting. Recruiters never recognize many factors because the industry standard eight seconds of review ignores all but the most recent experience relative to current position demands.

Achievement vs. ‘just what you did’

Achievement vs. ‘just what you did’ looks like this, https://cdtalententerprises.com/2018/12/16/could-millions-narrow-current-skills-gap-in-job-market-with-better-recruiter-interviewing/ and the blog being nearly three years old hasn’t changed how difficult it is to determine or satisfy what companies want to know.

Can cover letters or personal appearance make a difference?

The recruiting world seems divided on the usefulness of cover letters. Many have no use for them, when dozens appear, and the FACTS of a resume are all that matter. Concurring with writer Alison Doyle’s rationale for cover letters offers strong reasons to do so most of the time, even if it takes extra time by candidates and might not be read. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/should-you-include-a-cover-letter-if-it-s-not-required-2060291

If your skill set is anything but easy to describe, work it into your letter. ‘Customer Service Administrator’ is weak, so for those who WANT to see you are willing to put that extra effort into what it means, it counts a lot.

For the Boomer Generation and many others, the limitations of COVID-19 and The Great Recession were/are a spike in their greatest assets – personality and communications. Sales types are used to hearing ‘No,’ but having zero recourse to the fact so many companies outsourced candidate selection a decade or more ago, and the obvious negatives of the pandemic emptying offices of *anyone* to talk with or impress, are figurative handcuffs.

No face-face meetings or hands to shake, no clues about favorite teams to glean from displays in the office, no assistant out front to provide a name that allows an application to be sent more accurately.

When many jobs changed to work from home (WFH) options versus being sited in say, Charlotte, NC, job candidates started going against a whole lot more people than ever before. Anyone whose had difficulty getting a computer to agree that their information is inputted correctly when it sends a message about it being wrong without what might need correcting, your frustration is shared millions of times daily. A single typo could be a difference maker.

Falling back on “It is what it is,” flies in the face of getting results that demand change. Those family members who might have jobs that provided necessary paychecks over the last 20-plus months, will no doubt try to convince those on the edge to “Take whatever you can, you don’t have to like it, just make money and keep looking.”

A 1971 TIME magazine cover picture of a gowned graduate pumping gas was dramatic, and every generation has its challenges. Yes, its difficult as a Boomer – or a $250k in debt graduate – to think of much less satisfying jobs and an economic situation where the future is as murky as this job (and political and health) situation has become.

Croce’s “Steadily depressing, low-down, mind messin’, workin’ at the car wash blues” is right on the reality of 2021 for many.

Just to put a somewhat rosier glow on the idea overall, getting a face to face interview with a major retail operation Thursday became a call with a job offer Saturday while I was umpiring a Little League game for extra cash.

It’s essentially a commission situation ($12.80/hr. base and benefits), and IMHO, I’m an above average 1-1 sales and service person. A training class starts next week, but nothing is stopping me from continuing my freelance/contract writing career, which has been a side gig most of my life.

I’m not entering Croce’s executive position, but in an ‘opportunity rich environment’ like Nordstrom’s, I’m aligned with their expectations of productivity. Results should become obvious in the very short term.

It’s not the $50,000 and benefits gig with a CBD manufacturer for a content creation situation in 2019, but cashing commission checks is an upside, where lifestyle doesn’t rely on Social Security checks.

That my second book, ‘With Platinum Fury Focus’ gets elevated on wattpad or turned into a movie is still a lightening bolt possibility too, right? https://www.wattpad.com/story/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus

Good luck on your next moves America, we all kind of need it.