Thursday, March 15, 2018

Forever a #ToysRUsKid

My time at #ToysRUs is sadly coming to an end. Many friends, including myself, are looking for our next gig. Please reach out if you see anything in the creative services field (copywriter, copy manager, content writer, social strategist, graphic designer, copy editor, proofreader, animator, copy director, creative director). These are some of the most talented, hardest working people I know and it's been a pleasure working alongside them.
They say you can tell how long someone's worked for TRU by the number of Geoffrey plush they have. I have enough to fill my boys' arms. I started with TRU in the middle of September, which is the kickoff to our digital holiday season (print had already been in full swing since the spring!). It was a young writer's dream- writing about toys and play instead of pharmaceuticals or finances. I loved the rush of Black Friday. The late-night push to get jobs out the door. I remember telling Shawn (my then boyfriend!) that it was exciting but it was too hectic and that if non-holiday season work was the same pace, I'd be looking for a new job. (And it was. But I stayed.)
That was nearly 9 years ago. In my time with TRU I've gotten engaged and married. I excitedly announced my first pregnancy and registered with BabiesRUs for everything my Owen needed. Through the loss of my father, the birth of little Wyatt and welcoming my nephew into my home, my TRU family was by my side...even helping to furnish Jack's new room and giving me time to get him acclimated to a new environment.
These past 8.5 years have creatively challenged me more than words can express. I've been given the honor of experiencing things like helping facilitate an in-hospital birthday visit from Geoffrey to a cancer-stricken toddler. Because all kids love and deserve to play, no matter the circumstances. I've brought Owen with me to work so many times because my supervisors know how hard it is to be a working mom. I marched with a band through ToysRUs Times Square as we welcomed children of fallen FDNY to our holiday party...helping them forget their worries if only for a few hours. I've answered my desk phone only to be surprised by a tiny voice on the other end asking if we had his favorite action figure for sale. (Yes, we did.) And I've run to the store with my own kids to celebrate milestones big and small...watching their eyes light up at the sight of "millions of toys at ToysRUs."
It's been an exciting, crazy ride. And one day I'll tell my grandkids stories about that time I worked in the advertising department of what was once the world's biggest toy store.
Oh, and please stop posting crying Geoffrey memes. Geoffrey is never sad. And I'm hopeful you'll see him again. Forever a #ToysRUsKid.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Wrong Sarah Files: I Love You, Too Barbara

From time to time I get emails from Barbara. I don't know who she is but she thinks I'm another Sarah. I've responded a couple of times to her and told her she had the wrong email address but, inevitably, she'll email again. Her messages are short and sweet and she's always telling me how much she misses me and loves me. I'm not sure her relation to Sarah but I like to think they are old friends who maybe don't see each other often but when they do they pick up right where they left off. I have friends like that.

So, it's kind of nice to hear from Barbara, even though she's a complete stranger. I don't get any emails from loved ones anymore. It seems this form of communication is now reserved for retail promotions and school notices. Well, for me anyway. My dad used to email me all the time and we'd have long, deep discussions back and forth. He was hard of hearing and lived several states away, so it was the perfect way for us to communicate. Email freed us from the distractions that we'd normally have when talking with one another in person. He'd ask me to repeat myself and I'd speak louder and more forced and the words didn't have the same impact when shouted. He'd get frustrated and so would I. He moved away shortly after I graduated college and email became our number one way to talk.

Dad passed nearly three years ago. Every once in a while I'll reread our emails. Sometimes it's intentional...when he's on my mind and I want to feel like he's just an email away. Other times it's when I've been searching my gmail for something in particular - something completely non-Dad related - and the results include a conversation I had with him. There are funny jokes he'd send me, pep talks when I felt discouraged and, towards the end of his life, worries about my mother's future.

So, when Barbara reaches out...whomever she may be...I'll answer. Because it's nice to hear from someone who misses you.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sorry, Wrong Sarah

For as long as I can remember, people have confused me with someone else. For most of my school years I was called older sister's name. And I got tired of correcting people (plus I was soooo shy), so I'd just answer to Elizabeth.

As I grew, people would tell me I looked familiar but could never quite place it. I took a job after college and a new colleague commented she knew a lot of people with my first and last name. I nodded awkwardly.

It was around this time when gmail first came out. Back then you had to be invited by another user in order to make your own account. I received an invitation and created, what I thought, was a clever username.

That's when it started happening. Since I created this email account, many years ago, I've received hundreds of emails intended for another Sarah. There's a hair bow maker out west. A charitable mom in Texas. A yogi, a lonely woman, a youth group member and so many more. In the states and other countries. I get family photos, potluck reminders, e-receipts and anything else you can think of.

So, after years of saying I'm going to write about this, I am finally writing about this.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Boogie Down, Baby

Memories of a Congested Baby...

While Shawn got ready to go out with the guys for a few beers, I laid Owen down on a blanket on the living room floor. “Gwahhh!” he cooed as he looked at me with his big, blue eyes.

What a nice night for mommy and baby to hang out! Then I placed a clear plastic tube to his nostril and began sucking out the boogies. Let the screaming commence.

Parenthood is comprised of a bunch of trial and errors – especially in those early days. When we were leaving the hospital with Owen, my thrifty aunt told me to raid the drawers of the infant station where Owen had spent his first two nights of life. We grabbed diapers, ointment, and that nasal bulb syringe we affectionately named the “boogie ball,” as if we were robbing a bank – stuffing it quickly into our hospital bag.

When we got home, our 18-pound, epileptic cat, Ruffian, took to the boogie ball as he would one of his own. It soon disappeared for months and was later found in his stash under the changing table, along with a pacifier and other baby stuff. But that was ok because we received at least three other boogie balls as gifts.

You try to keep your baby healthy and safe – especially in those early days. So I felt I was pretty strict about following my pediatrician’s advice. Keeping him away from crowds and small children, making visitors wash their hands before holding him, etc. But then life happens. When Owen was 3 ½ months old, I had to go back to work. So off to daycare he went, where he got sick on his third day.

After the puke bug cleared, came the colds. Constant colds. I expressed my concern at daycare to baby Ryan’s mom. She nodded in agreement. “I feel like Ryan’s sick every other week.”

Owen had a cold and that cold kept on going. So out came the boogie balls. Now Owen, you see, is smart. He can see the boogie ball coming a mile away and he prepares. He hunkers down and tenses up, turning away before you even put the tip to his nose. Then begins the writhing… and the screaming. By the end of the session, you have half a boogie in the tube, a red-faced baby and a bunch of cats hiding under the couch.

And let me tell you, for a baby diagnosed with low muscle tone, that boy sure can move. He arches into a backwards “c” shape to avoid the boogie ball as best as possible. He looks quite elegant when doing so, actually.

So for two weeks he was congested. Two weeks. Saline spray, boogie ball, humidifier, repeat. We were doing all we could. It was a struggle and the boogie ball was the main problem- it wasn’t working. I went to my best friend for advice- Google.

I found a community of parents fed up with the boogie ball. “You manage to get a long, gooey one into the tube,” one exasperated dad wrote. “But the second half doesn’t make it and is hanging out of his nose. And then he sucks it back in.” I was on the edge of my seat reading his story. I felt his pain.

Now I was well aware of other options… well aware, yet apprehensive. There are the electric kinds, which sound dangerous, and the manual suck kinds, which sound disgusting. But Owen couldn’t breath and he was waking up every hour.

So I went out and bought a $30 electronic boogie sucker. I never thought I’d say that. It didn’t work. The motor was so loud, he could hear it coming a mile away. Other than that, it just didn’t suck out his sticky boogies. I was dealing with a different beast entirely.

There was one thing left… the tube where you manually suck out your kid’s snot. “No!” I thought. “I am definitely not going there.”

You see, years ago, I read about the NoseFrida tube while at work. I was so disgusted that I gathered my coworkers around my computer and read them the description. They were on the verge of gagging.

“WHY?” I kept asking. “WHY!” Fast forward two years to a miserable baby who can’t sleep and, well, I thought maybe I should give it a snot… er shot.

So in one week, I ended up spending roughly $45 on boogie-sucking materials.

But do you know what? The NoseFrida works. I’m telling you, it works. Get over the idea of it. Just don’t think about it. No, you won’t inadvertently eat any boogies. Sure your baby will probably still scream his head off when you do it. But it works! And then your baby can breathe! Then you can gag as you watch the boogies wash down the drain. Success never looked so gross.

Forever a #ToysRUsKid

My time at  # ToysRUs  is sadly coming to an end. Many friends, including myself, are looking for our next gig. Please reach out if you see...