Stuck? Be Your Own Hero


Last night when I tiptoed in to check on my littlest, Georgia, I noticed a battery-operated book of nursery rhymes tucked tightly next to her chubby little body. One wrong move and Hickory Dickory Doc would be playing at full volume, surely waking her, potentially waking the other three children and then – worst of all – waking me.

So I did what anyone would do – I shoved my arm through the rails of her crib to surreptitiously snatch that offending book only to find myself stuck. I attempted to extricate my arm to no avail. Twisting and turning led to pain and a bit of panic. I wanted to call for my husband to help but he was fast asleep on the couch with the TV on, the dishwasher running, and the dryer whirring. Waking him would require yelling, and result in the very scenario I was attempting to avoid, a houseful of awakened children.

I continued to pull and push, sweating and, yes, swearing (but under my breath, so it didn’t count). After a few moments of this and some silent self-talk, I decided to settle down. I reminded myself that the world would not end if I had to spend the night asleep on the floor with my arm held prisoner. Then I started laughing, quietly of course, imagining little Georgia waking up with her mother’s hand dangling over her face. And at that moment, I moved just the right way, resulting in freedom.

At a recent event, the client asked where a sponsor’s product could be found on the floor. The answer was “nowhere” as the chefs had abandoned the product for something better suited for the dish. I delivered that message to the client and could actually see her heart beat faster as the blood drained from her face. Instead of panicking and screaming for help, I decided to stay calm, use some humor, and make a promise that I didn’t know if I could keep (event planning cornerstone skills). I told her not to worry, I’d make it happen…I told her to sit tight and keep the faith and I would have that product on the floor ASAP. And you know what? It worked! She bought my lip service and relaxed, while I race-walked to the kitchen (chefs LOVE it when you interrupt them in the kitchen to ask about some bamboo plates, FYI) and told them in the nicest way that I didn’t care what they put on those bamboo plates but it better be something-and something fast. Ten minutes later, the guests had bamboo plates in hand, we had a client who narrowly avoided heart failure, and I had a moment of triumph.

I figure that unless you are really, truly stuck, it’s best not to cry wolf. I don’t go to the chefs for every issue – and I don’t scream at – I mean scream for – my husband over every little thing. I don’t. So when you really are stuck you have two choices – either save up your favors for when you really need them (thank you, Chef Ted, for the bamboo plates and thank you, Andy, for picking up the dead bunny in the backyard) or figure out how to stay calm and get yourself unstuck. My episode with the arm-in-the-crib resulted in a major bruise, but no permanent damage. My episode with the client-looking-for-bamboo resulted in a major moment of worry, but a permanent spot as a hero…at least for a day.

Stephanie Blackford
Communications Director, Epicurean Culinary Group