Monday, February 6, 2012

Great Problems to Have

Last night I couldn’t sleep. Why not? Excitement, of course!

As I was lying there not sleeping, my mind was abuzz with things to do— e-mails to respond to, people to contact or follow-up with, blog posts to write, media outlets to contact etc. It really is all a matter of balance. “There are only 24 hours in the day,” I thought. “You have so much to do, and other commitments to take care of in life too,” said the little voice in my head. 

And I got really present to how great I have it. How incredibly lucky I am to have so much on my plate. Too many e-mails could occur for me like a problem. Not enough time could definitely seem like a constraint or a problem. Making a media plan with no background in PR could seem like a big mountain to climb. And again, it could occur for me like a problem. I looked at all of this alongside my commitment to giving it my all to produce a landslide of cards for my sweet dad's 75th.

Then I decided that I should consult an old friend. And that I did.

Webster’s is a reliable old pal. I always consider what he has to say. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t. This one was some of each The first definition for problem reads as follows: “any question or matter involving, doubt, uncertainty or difficulty”.

Here’s what I think: There is plenty of doubt and uncertainty in what we’re up to. I have no idea how to produce 10,000 cards from the universe, but I’m sure going for it. And I have no idea how successful we’re been this far. Do I have any idea of how many pieces of mail are headed to Bubbles in Oxford, MD? Nope. More than 2,000? I’m pretty sure, yes. Any semblance of precision in my estimate thereafter? No.

So yes, uncertainty and doubt are present.

But the one that I think we most commonly associate with the word problem is “difficulty”. And I’ve got to tell you, there is no difficulty present for me here. In fact, I spent last night lying awake thinking about all of the great problems that this project could cause.

So in honor of my new relationship to the word “problem”, here are some problems that I’d LOVE to see as a result of this project:

1)   The volume of mail headed to Oxford, MD is 20 times what it normally is and the postal service has to send an extra fleet of vehicles to deliver the mail.
2)   Frank, the postmaster, has to work overtime and solicit help from others.
3)   Dad needs help carrying mail out of the post office every day for a week.
4)   He can’t read every card on the day on which it is received. There are simply too many.
5)   He has so many cards from old friends that he can’t possibly respond to each one in a timely manner.
6)   I can’t possibly thank everyone who contributed, as much as I would like to.
7)   We have nothing to wear when Ellen invites us on her show.
8)   We can’t possibly wear the same thing on Good Morning America and The Today Show, right?
9)   Mom and Dad look like hoarders in the months between until May when I go home and get to see those cards.
10)  People forever look at us as a crazy family.

I’m here to say that I’m up for embracing each of those problems. I could be part of a crazy family of card hoarders who wore the same outfits on Good Morning America and Ellen—That sounds just about right to me.


By the way, we’ve had one great problem come up already. We have had so many people jump on board so quickly that cards have already started arriving. One came last Friday. Seven came today. Given that we asked folks to start mailing on the 7th, I think that having early-birds is a great sign. And a great problem to have. Truly—too much enthusiasm? I’ll take it!  So, Fallon (whoever you are!), your card made it into his hands last week along with a card from my parents’ insurance agent and a card that was an invitation to his birthday dinner from close friends.

We debated what to do today, and ultimately decided to send Mom to the post office while dad was at the Y. She checked to see if any cards had arrived and they had (7!). Since Dad always gets the mail, she just took the cards and left the rest. So hiding in Mom’s sweater drawer (Don’t tell Dad!) are seven beautiful cards from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Puerto Rico. We’ll likely do the same tomorrow and plant ‘em in the mailbox for kick-off day on Wednesday. Woo-hoo! Onward and upward!

Early cards? Great problem! Bring it!


  1. I confess - I couldn't wait. I think 3 of those are from me! (and who knew PA's mail was so fast??!)

  2. 3 from you already! You really have gone all out, Jeannie Let's hope the USPS is as good with everything else as they have been with your cards!

  3. Jeannie, your family is coming in strong. Between you, your parents and your grandmother-- lots of great contributions. He LOVED the photo cards!