Sunday was an awesome day. Not only did we wind up having glorious weather after a prolonged anticipation of stormy skies and rain, but we also had a company party! Thank you to the Monitoring Department (especially the supervisor Brigitte) for organizing; it turned out superbly! Co-workers brought their families and we all gathered in a picnic area where the directors took charge of preparing the grill. After a scenic ride around the park on the mini train we were ready for lunch! Chris J (The Boss) served up hot dog after hot dog and burger after burger, but the best was yet to come – the specialty du jour, “Kickin’ Chicken” – proclaimed as scrumptious beyond belief and relished to the last tidbit.
Before long, all were nourished and happy — a well-wrought happenstance, between the pasta, potato, and carrot salads, the veggie trays, chips and salsa, and delicious homemade cookies. And then, when the kids had played on the swings and slides, the men had thrown Frisbee and lasso golf, the babies had been cuddled and fed and passed around and admired, and everyone made generally content, we loaded up the leftovers so we could head over to the zoo.
It turned out to be a pleasant surprise! I’d never been to the Topeka Zoo and they had some intriguing creatures, including bats in the rain forest building, one of which darted in a circle in the dome as we watched. Flamingos, owls, caimans, turtles, snakes, elephants, apes, and a variety of others made for a very neat and instructive experience. Who knew that giraffes have the longest tails of all land mammals and only need a few minutes of sleep out of the entire day?!
So thanks to everyone who came and made it such a great time. For those who weren’t able to make it, plan to come in the Fall! We’re looking forward to it!
This past month it seems like I’ve been flashing an ID more than usual. Between eating out more often and visiting Costco in our neighboring state, it’s been a busy era for the plastic. I’m surprised more often than not to find myself casually waving my DL or debit card in the air as I distractedly make small talk with the cashier or my shopping buddy. Despite the large amount of security and red tape in the world (for better or worse), identity theft is a well-traveled avenue, and not one in need of advertisement.
A couple years ago I was working in a bridal shop in our capital city of Topeka (somewhat known for its crime). One day, a thing happened. It was in no way unusual. A group of girls came in and dispersed throughout the store, checking out their options and gathering dresses to try on. After some time trying on all kinds and colors of these, they decided on a wedding gown, a few bridesmaids’ dresses, a tiara, a beautiful veil and some wedding jewelry. They were ready to buy. It’s hard to think twice in a situation like that, despite some red flags that may pop up in your mind. A fellow clerk closed the sale with them. They paid with a check, and my boss went to the back office to call their bank and double-check that all was well. She learned too late that the checks were stolen and the account had been put on hold until they could track down the responsible party. That very large sale – a happy fact on most days – had a very sad ending. The moral for me was that, although you don’t want to be jaded about people and what they will do for a little gain, you can’t be too naive about human nature. As someone once put it so wisely, “it is what it is”.
In this particular instance, the checks had been stolen by a car window being broken and the lady’s purse stolen, but there are many more ingenious methods. I’ve heard of people taking a picture of a credit card or ID (even from a distance) on their cell phone. Nonchalantly waving my debit card as I waited in line may have been the most simple-headed to date but, between traveling somewhere (with a lot else on our minds) and letting our guard down in the comfort of familiar surroundings, to just being distracted (at the gas pump, for instance), it’s a healthy reminder of the value of a safe identity. When I remember, I like to keep my card in the palm of my hand if it’s not directly in use, and to be subtle with it when I do use it. What’s the point of inviting extra trouble into your life where it doesn’t have to exist?
Have a great week!