There is always a new venture looking to simplify our lives and the world. We now live with endeavors such as airbnb, Uber, VRBO, where individuals can make money using their own homes or car. There is a new one that just launched in Portland called: “Flight Car.”
It is an interesting idea. You go to the airport, park in a Flight Car parking lot. Take a free shuttle to the airport and while you travel another fellow traveler can “rent” your car while you are out-of-town. Flight Car also will wash and vacuum your car before you return. Take the free shuttle back and pick it up. If your car is not rented you still receive a free car wash and vacuum. It sounds like a great idea, and in many ways is not much different from airbnb or VRBO.
Yet, why does it feel odd to me? Of course you are making money, and the longer you are away the more money you make. For me it feels different to have someone rent my car than my house. Many individuals that rent out their airbnb do not rent out their actual residence, rather depending on the city, it is an extra property, and sometimes it is only meant as income. I do not have a really good reason, but my car feels slightly more personal to me. You could have a manual car, and the individual that “rents” it has no idea how to drive manual. You do not know when you get your car back that they have basically killed your clutch. It will not show right away.
While Flight Car indicates that they have insurance up to $1M, it still just feels strange to me. Maybe because in a house you can often fix things easily or replace them. Cars are sometimes not replaceable. If you have a specific year and model of a car, it might mean that it is nearly impossible to get again. You might have the last year and model of that body style. The Flight Car “renter” wrecks your car. It would not be the same as replacing a hole in the wall in a home. I am all for fewer cars on the road and conservation, I just do not think I could rent mine out.
Would you leave your car at Flight Car while traveling?
Growing up in the Midwest, we called the thing you use to clean your rugs a sweeper. Yes regardless of whether you were cleaning a hardwood floor or a rug or carpet we would say: are you going to sweep? Now I say the collective “we” but I really mean my family growing up. Jump forward to my life with Chris and I would ask if he was going to “sweep” and he would just chuckle and ask what I meant. To him sweeping was when you were going to use a broom and truly “sweep.” Using a vacuum on carpet was “vacuuming.” I think I am 75% converted, but I still have slips where I ask if he is going to “sweep the rug.” Any other Midwesterners out there that said the same thing, or is this just something that was strange about my family?
In any case, this idea of sweeping was one I came across recently, and it made me ponder the idea of “sweeping.” The idea of sweeping and clearing away the gunk for new energy, is a welcome concept for me. One I had not thought about much before reading this Daily Om, titled: “Releasing and Welcoming.” This line particularly inspired me:
“Sweeping each morning prepares the ground for the new day at the same time as it deepens our awareness of the importance of letting go of the past to welcome the present.”
While I do not sweep each morning I am a clean freak, and this idea can translate to many other cleansing rituals I do around the house. For example, if I am inspired to be creative, I first want to clean and clear the gunk, extra stuff, and organize my life first. Once I have done so, I find that my creative time whether in front of the easel, or with pen and paper is that much richer. I have unearthed and removed the dirty thoughts, frustrations, and extra junk in order to find the space to welcome new creative ideas.
I do just the same thing at work. At times I might feel stuck about an idea or a new project. My teammates might find me start to clean my desk area, or the larger team space. I begin to organize. Sometimes I hear the mutter of: “here she goes again.” Often in the act of cleaning and organizing, I find the answer I needed for that project, and I go back and dig into it with gusto. It is amazing what a “vacuum” or “broom” can do to sweep away the crap. Yes, the 25% of me that still says “sweep the rug” will always be. You can take the girl out of Indiana, but you cannot take Indiana out of the girl.
Sometimes we live in little bubbles. We get in our cars in the morning (or maybe on a bike, or via public transit) and go off to work. Some days we highly engage with others, and some days we may never leave our desk, but often the routine is the same. We spend our days in a fairly similar fashion, and then turn around and come home, partake in our evening activities, go to bed and turn around and do it all over again the next day. We all have our own form of a bubble, just some of us have larger or smaller bubbles than others.
Yet, we have the ability to pop those bubbles, to expand and grow our horizons, learn new things, or never take the same route home each day. Our lives are weaved together each moment of every day. Our choices build the story of what others think of us, good or bad. If we are continuously dependable others will begin to depend on us. If we do not show up as continuously dependable then trust begins to erode. We always have a choice to how we show up, and how we tell our own stories.
I wrote a blog post last year titled: “Brand YOU” and discuss how we each create our own brands, and decide how we market ourselves. I recently finished reading Austin Kleon’s newest book: “Show Your Work” and well I am always a sucker for inspiration around telling a story, specifically when it relates to a personal story. This idea specifically resonates with me:
“Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already telling a story about your work. Every email you send, every text, every conversation, every blog comment, every tweet, every photo, every video–they’re all bits and pieces of a multimedia narrative you’re constantly constructing. If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.” page 95
Pop your bubble, remember that every interaction you have is a line in your story, and how you tell your story (via in person, Instagram, Facebook, etc) is part of the Brand you are weaving. Now with the Internet that weave is permanent and hard to unravel, so put some thought around the mark you want to make.
I remember our Kirby vacuum from my childhood. That thing looked like it could make it through a war, yet I think I remember my dad fixing it more often than not. It had this thick large rubber band on the bottom that would often break, get off its track, or get caught with all our hair. I remember when the bag got fairly full and you turned it on, all this dust would explode out. Fun times.
A few weeks ago, we bought a new vacuum. I know not the top of the list of items to purchase, and you may be wondering why I am even writing a blog on purchasing a vacuum. You see the vacuum is just a vehicle to the real morale of the story. A little back detail first.
We had a crappy vacuum from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was fine, but now we are living in the house that we hope to be in for a very long time. This house has both carpet and hardwood floors meaning that one or the other was not getting as clean as it could be from our current cheap vacuum. We decided that since we plan to be in this house for a long time, and are not moving every few years as we had been, that it was time to purchase a “grown up” vacuum.
Now to a few weeks ago. Inner east side Portland, on a Saturday afternoon. We decided to go to a local store that just sells vacuums. I say to Chris as we get out the car: “Let’s make this fast, this is the last place I want to be right now.” We go inside to a fairly large store with so many different types of vacuums that your head would spin. I am bored already. Stay patient Tami, if we find a good one the hardwood floor would no longer befriend your constant shedding hair.
We get the salesman that is about our age. We also learned that he grew up in vacuum stores. He father was a vacuum salesman. He is passionate about it. Who knew that in 2013 someone could be passionate about such things? He steers us clear from the Dyson, which shocked me a bit because those have the higher price tag. He tells us the ball on the Dyson has hard plastic which will be fine on carpet, but will scratch our hardwood floors. He steers us from upright vacuums (which is what I was wanting) to the canister vacuums. Chris asks him what are the perks for purchasing directly from you? The salesman says to support a local business. Chris said, well yes, definitely but any others? No. After demonstrations, dialogue, and explanation of which vacuum would be the best for us we thanked him and said we were going to think about it.
Chris went back the next day to pick up our vacuum. He researched online reviews and pricing. We could have purchased it online, but based on the service, care, and knowledge we received, we wanted to support our local business. No more hair all over the hardwoods. We are happy vacuum owners, and I am grateful that there are still businesses that care about customer service, their products, and truly finding what is right for their consumers.
I can assure you that I never once remember my father brushing, blow drying, or helping with my hair. I have many memories of my mom doing different things with my sister’s and my hair. We would braid it and then sleep and have semi-wavy hair the next morning. We used soft rollers we would also sleep on and wake up with soft curly hair. One time I remember my mom got my sister’s hair stuck in the comb-like curling iron, and she had to cut it out of my sister’s hair. I remember being completely shocked and never her wanted her to touch my hair with that thing. Other than those memories, I mostly had short and rather funky hair during most of my elementary through high school years.
Hair was never something I was fond of. It required work, frequent haircuts, time to style, and the weather could change all that work in seconds. So when I saw this video recently, I was in amazed for a few reasons. 1. This precious girl’s father is doing her hair. 2. Use of a vacuum was new to me. 3. The girl is not fazed by it at all. 4. The end result was rather surprising.