Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Rise and Fall of (my childhood. I mean,) the Mall. Specifically, the Woodfield Mall.

It's completely unremarkable, really. And it's old news as soon as it's penned.

Another store closing. Another mall's irrelevancy. Another suburban casualty. Old news.

Except - this is new news. As of 9pm tonight. Today. Now. 

"They" have decided to close not just another sad, humorless, hapless, irrelevant store in a long -forgotten - un-tiktok-able, stereotypical suburban mall. 

But this was my Mall. This is my gateway shopping experience. This was my 1970s. And my 80s. This was my history. And this is one of my favorite memories with my Dad and my Mom. Separately. 

The Harder Side of Sears

Woodfield Mall, in the much-parodied big-hair (guilty, but I was 8) suburb of Schaumberg, Illinois, was my litmus test for all future shopping experiences. Dallas Galleria. Galeries Lafayette. Cherry Creek. 900 North Michigan. The Forum Shoppes at Caesars ....

You name it, I've shopped it. 

But this. This is different.

Heaven knows I haven't darkened the doors of our local mall in years. But, Woodfield. 

With its twisty wooden slide, indoor ice-skating rink, Roy Rogers, Gift Gate (read: Hello Kitty), Express, I.Magnin, and incredible waterfall. This was THE HEIGHT of 80's shopping. And of course - Marshall Field's. So many amazing memories with my Dad, my Mom, my best friend, Rhubarb and Ribbie (the White Sox Mascots), etc. (and I'm all Cubs - all the time!) And the nachos at John's Garage.

Look. I'm very clear on the Sears saga. I'm very clear on the mall saga. I'm very clear on the old-retail-guard saga. But like another infamous 80's hold-over - this time, it's personal.

It's heartbreaking that so many childhood (fond!) memories have to go away. But, more important - I understand, of course, that jobs are going away. And, really, a bit of a way of life is going away. 

As much as we may or may not love the analog life - digital life and the evolution of commerce is not only important, it's vital. It's vital to the future. It's vital to the economy. It's vital to the next generations. 

But it still makes me really sad. 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Working from Home as Reality.

From the Washington Post, "A D.C. resident whose office closed permanently during the pandemic said he has three more hours each day to play with his daughter, relax or work late when necessary. An Alexandria resident who used to ride Metro daily is planning to move away to be closer to family after being allowed to telework full time. Limiting the commute has provided breathing space to better balance work and parenting." Story editing by Tim Richardson. Photo editing by Mark Miller. Design by J.C. Reed. Copy editing by Anne Kenderdine.

Over the many, many extended months of the pandemic, we've all seen articles like this. Workers of all ages pontificating the merits of working from home. Sure - we miss the tomfoolery - the office witticisms, the ridiculous hallway conversations and the brilliant high-fives (fist pumps?) after client meetings that redouble our resolve that we have a)a great job b)a great industry c)great co-workers. That WE. ARE. RELEVANT. And FUNNY. :-)

Well. You ARE still relevant. Your co-workers ARE still awesome and you still have A GREAT JOB. In whatever form that takes. But, let's accept that just as some of our peers love after work happy hour, complaining about Mondays in the elevator and eating "conference chicken" - many of us are better off, better because of and better in spite of - working from home. 

WFH. Telecommuting. Teleworking. Distance Working. It's had so many names, shapes and forms since the early oughts and late 90's. But one thing it's not - is 9 to 5 (music break). 

Let's jump right to the chase. In some form, I've been "working remotely" since I was 27. And we were given beta RIM devices from AOL. (AOL!). 

There is nothing easier than being on vacay on the Riviera (or visiting your Mother in the Riviera Assisted Living Facility) than working from a laptop, iPhone, etc. And there is nothing more comforting than the anxiety, stomach ache and stress cramps you DO NOT GET - because you can, well, WFH.

Things I can now do without (or with less) anxiety (in no particular order) - take my mother to the doctor(s); bring flowers to my mother-in-law; go with my dad to the doctor or a long lunch; meet my husband for work discussions and lunch; hang out with my retired brother; take my son and his friends to school; take my son and his friends to practice after school; handle all of my non-profit meetings online; work until midnight at home (with Forensic Files in the background); work from a restaurant during lunch; take "lunch" at 10am to hit a tennis ball or two.

I can LIVE and WORK. And I love work. And I love my clients. And I am one lucky girl.  

And at the end of the day, who wants to wear sky-high heels for more than 4 hours? 

Well, sometimes me. So I do. And lipstick - always lipstick.


The Ghosts of Disney Present ....

Every year, like clockwork, at the beginning of the holiday season, I can count on one thing. Bing Crosby. Disney. Ichabod Crane. Even Washi...