The People of Saddleback



by Melanie Carey (Customer Service)

When people hear that you work from home, their usual reaction is “well that must be nice” or “lucky you”.  Yes, it is quite nice to not have a commute other than walking from the bed to the desk, with just a pit stop by the coffee machine.  But like everything in life,  it has its pros and cons.

I never realized just how much of a “people” person I am.  Not in the sense that I love talking to people, even though I do, but in the sense that I enjoy physically being around others. I thought I was a homebody.  I’d much rather prefer a night cuddled on the couch with the honey and pups rather than going to a party or being around a ton of other people.  But when your honey gets deployed and your only real human interaction is now with the cashier at the grocery store, being a homebody isn’t so satisfying.

I immersed myself in crafts and taught myself how to use my sewing machine.  I stocked up on tons of scrapbook paper and stickers and I threw myself into making the best care packages for my husband. One box said   “Sorry I’m so Cheesy!” and was filled with nothing but cheese-themed snacks.  “You are my sunshine!” box where everything in it was yellow.   “Don’t be blue, I’ll always love you!” with blue items…you get the picture.  Oh yeah, I totally was THAT girl.

Now, when your significant other is on a ship half way around the world, it’s not really possible for them to return the favor of care packages.  So imagine my surprise when I went to check the mail and saw a box addressed to me.   Who doesn’t love that feeling of an unexpected surprise in the mail?!  Turns out, one of my co-workers (a military wife herself) knew I might be feeling blue and sent me a little something to cheer me up.  Keep in mind, I hadn’t actually met my co-workers in person at this point.  I was shocked someone could be so thoughtful for someone they had never met before.

Fast forward a few weeks and another box arrives.  I remember this one specifically because it was a pretty rough day.  One of those days where you really just want a hug. As sweet as my dogs are, their friendship just wasn’t cutting it.  This box had some of my favorite treats in it with an amazing card about being a “tough cookie” from a DIFFERENT coworker.  This one brought up a big lump in my throat.  Somehow this little box and card was exactly the “hug” that I needed that day.

This has gone on for 7 months now.  Since my honey is finally coming home next week, someone spilled the beans that they got together and made a plan to send me stuff throughout deployment.  I believe they called it “Operation Encouragement”.  I have received 8 cards (one even being handmade!), candy, cocktail mix, chocolate, a gift card for donuts (are you noticing a theme here?)…all from different coworkers spread out across the U.S.  Their kindness and generosity, their love and compassion, their insane hilariousness (is that even a word?) and nuttiness…working with them is what makes working from home worth it to me.  I don’t even like calling them coworkers because they are so much more than that.  These people are some of my nearest and dearest – even if we aren’t very “near” each other at all.

So this is my public shoutout to the people of Saddleback.  I’m blessed beyond measure to have you guys in my life.  And to everyone else reading, don’t be jealous I work from home.  Be jealous that your coworkers aren’t as awesome as mine.  :)