The Sleepcation

I just invented something. And this is not an “I-have-a-great-idea-for-an-invention” sort of thing – this exists now. I just used it this weekend, and you can too. I call my invention “The Sleepcation.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t sleep a whole lot these days. Not as much as I’d like to anyway. It’s an adulthood thing for sure, but what is it about adulthood that won’t allow us to sleep like we used to? New parents have an easily defined excuse called screaming babies… I don’t have those, so that’s not it.

After pondering this question recently, I arrived at the following explanation: It’s our perspective of the future. When you’re young, the future is a vast, infinite unknown you don’t have to worry about. There’s plenty of time to sort it out, whatever “it” is. As you mature, you face the realization that the future 1) isn’t vast, and 2) is something you actively create every day of your life. If you’re at all like me, you got to work right away after this realization and you haven’t looked back since. Trouble is, an old-fashioned good night’s sleep is hard to come by with so much at stake. Even if I could rewind my brain to an earlier, simpler age, I still wouldn’t sleep nearly as soundly on account of the Septa bus stop 25-feet from my bedroom window, an upstairs neighbor who walks around like Bigfoot fleeing an amateur photographer, and a smart phone that won’t quit.

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Along came the Sleepcation. I hatched these plans a while ago and originally it was designed to be a solo trip, void of social interaction, but alas, a good friend was all about it when I shared the inner-workings and joined me on the first ever Sleepcation. I was happy to have the company.

Here are The 5 Components of a Sleepcation. Let’s call them Rules and follow them strictly:

Rule #1: The main objective is good sleep. Therefore, dozing off takes precedence over any other activity during a Sleepcation (except driving – wait until you get there first).

Rule #2a: No cell phones or computers.* You may use your cell phone for directions to your destination and for communicating with the owner of the cabin you will be renting only, but once there, no mas until the drive back.

Rule #2b: No working. No thinking about work (too much) or discussing it either.

Rule #3: No eating out. I grabbed an empty Omaha Steaks cooler out of my basement, filled it quickly with whatever I could from my fridge and cabinets, and purchased the rest of our food at a grocer en route.

Rule #4: No leaving your accommodations for anything other than a walk-about. You’re there to stay put… and sleep.

Rule #5: No clocks. In fact, no discussion of time whatsoever. This was easy in a cabin in upstate New York – the one clock in the place I took off the wall and laid on a shelf. Cell phone and computer were off and stowed.  We spent almost 48 straight hours not knowing what time it was. How often can I say that? The first night I stuck a loaf of bread in the oven and said we should take it out in 10 minutes. My friend asked how we’d know when 10 minutes was up and quickly corrected the situation, scolding me for even referencing a number of minutes to begin with. I concurred. “We’ll take it out when it’s thoroughly warmed.” During a Sleepcation, you eat when you’re hungry; you sleep when you’re sleepy, irrespective of time of day or night. The rest of the time you lay back with a book you haven’t had the chance to start yet and you sprinkle in a little exercise to help you sleep even better.

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There you have it. Simple, and easily executed within a 3-day weekend. Good luck with yours; I’d love to hear about it. If you have a rule you’d like to add to the list, I’d love to hear that too.

*A Kindle is allowed.

Choosing the Right Vendor

How do you approach the process of and decision behind choosing vendors to do business with? It’s important for me to make a personal connection with the person behind the ad, computer screen, counter, or phone line. To see where and how they operate. To get a feel for what the upcoming customer service experience will be like. In cases where it’s possible to go “back stage,” I always opt to take the extra step before choosing a new vendor, or at least early in the business relationship. Does it matter much with one-time transactions? No. Not as much, certainly. But just as our clients benefit by coming back to us time and time again, I like to depend on the same vendors over time – whether it’s someone I’ll be calling on daily or just once a year.

So, when it came time to choose a new print vendor for holiday and thank you cards this year, a long drive to Carlisle, PA, was in order. Carlisle is the home of Kseniya Thomas of Thomas Printers, a small shop specializing in the classic letterpress technique.

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We were led to Thomas after seeing – and instantly liking – a piece she had done for a client of ours the year before. Letterpress, while not the least expensive way to go, definitely has a unique appeal. Aileen DiPrinzio and I had the opportunity to meet with Kseniya and see her in her throwback workshop first hand! The visit helped make our decision and our order turned out great!

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Pantano & Sons Hosts 2-Day Safety Training

Regulation compliance is a never-ending task. Let’s face it: at times it’s a chore. But being safe isn’t a matter of compliance; it’s a necessity given the two most important things in our lives – our health and our families. As Phil Godshall of Coaching4Contractors puts it, “Compliance training in OSHA, EPA, HUD and others tell the ‘how to’ and the ‘what to’ from the regulation side.  They do not give you the ‘why to’.   We all make many decisions each and every day regarding our safety and the safety of the ones we love.  Safety Awareness training presents that ‘why to’ – an understanding of the required paradigm shift in that decision making process to work safe, drive safe and most importantly be safe at home for you and your family.  The training puts you in a much better position to sustain your business, your life and the lives of your loved ones; enjoying the fruits of your labor with those you care about the most.”

I’d agree. That’s why we enlisted Phil’s help last week to administer a two-day course at our warehouse in Norristown for not only our staff, but staff from a few client companies as well. As a trade partner to some of the most reputable contractors and facilities management teams in the Philadelphia area, our crew’s safety and that of our client’s personnel is dependent on a cooperative effort.

The two-day course included certification in OSHA-10-hour Construction Industry Outreach Training, Fall Protection Awareness, and Respiratory Awareness. Most importantly, we all walked away with a renewed sense of our surroundings and valuable information to add to our existing knowledge bank. After all, no matter how many times you’ve done something – or how much you think you know – there’s always more to be gained.