Friday, October 30, 2009

A survey made me think

Earlier this week, I received a survey via snail mail asking questions about recent visit to the pediatrician.  I noticed the survey also had a website url, so I logged on to take the survey.  I think feedback is important and having worked in customer support organizations, I know the good companies at least review the statistical results of customer surveys, besides I a web survey doesn't even cost me the stamp.  As I was filling out the survey I was thinking about the service I get from our pediatrician. 

Over the past years we have had mostly good experiences with pediatricians.  One we really liked but he was NEVER on time.  I think the best case was getting in 30 minutes after the appointment was supposed to start.  With young kids this just doesn't work, no matter how great and knowledgeable the doctor.  Another doctor was knowledgeable and much more on time, but there was nothing special about him.  We seemed to be just another family...somewhat assembly line medicine.  Good care but no real warmth, and we probably would have stayed with that practice but we moved and were looking for more convenience.  After we moved to Westborough, we began to use the services of Dr. Waugh

Once you start working with a great pediatrician you realize how good they really are, and while thinking about the appointments we have had to fill out the survey, I realized all the points I like about him.

  1. Timeliness - My wife nor I have ever waited more then 5 minutes to be called once we arrived at the appointment.  This is consistent for well visits appointments as well as sick visits.  Not only are we called quickly, the doctor also arrives quickly after to the examination room.  For the readers with children you know, keeping things moving is critical to kids remaining happy.
  2. General manner - We have never felt rushed or confused with Dr. Waugh.  I consider myself an educated man, and I read up (mostly online) about the conditions or experiences I have with my kids, still I am not a doctor, I didn't put in the commitment of school and training to perform that highly complicated job.  Dr. Waugh is always willing to answer questions and explains things in ways I can understand...without me feeling like I am being talked down to.  He also never seems to rush us.  One appointment he took almost 30 minutes to explain an item we didn't grasp.  I also trust when Dr. Waugh tells us not to worry, he is very calming overall.
  3. Patient history - Dr. Waugh asked us to provide past medical records a week before our first appointment for the kids.  At that first visit, it was obvious that he read ALL of the history.  He recalled specific aspects and asked for clarification on items that seemed to be less then fully documented from other doctors.  Instantly it felt like we have always worked with Dr. Waugh.
  4. Technology - By now readers of this blog understand that I am somewhat of a geek, but I think anyone would be impressed with the use of technology in the Southboro Medical offices in Westborough.  From handhelds, to computers in each examination room.  Dr. Waugh is able to pull up records, reference past situations, and order prescriptions easily and accurately.  He uses technology to increase his efficiency and never as a substitute for knowledge.  It is the perfect mix.
  5. Hours - This is more a compliment to the Southboro Medical practice then just Dr. Waugh, but with two working parents weekend hours are critical.  Southboro has Saturday and Sunday office hours at the Southboro office location.  Every time we have used this extremely convenient service, we have continued to be impressed.  

I completed survey giving the practice and Dr. Waugh specifically glowing results, and as I thought about the questions and answers I realized I am lucky to have found such a great practitioner.  I recommend him to any parents or soon to be parents looking for a pediatrician.  At a time when our health care system is under fire and doctors are overworked and under appreciated, doctors are pushed and stressed and patients can feel the stress.  I am proud to be able to utilize a practice that services the patients and their families with such professionalism and care.  Going to the doctor is not stressful for my kids and that is a credit to Dr. Waugh and the team at Southboro Medical in Westborough.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time for a party

I was on vacation the last couple of weeks so I haven't posted in a bit, but I am back and continuing my reports of experiences in the Boroughs.

Today's blog is about Taylor Rental in Westborough.  Now, I host/coordinate several large parties/events each year, some private and some for community organizations.  I have been doing things like this for several decades.  I enjoy having people over to my house, getting together at a venue, friends intermingling, and in general being the host.  To date I have not purchased *everything* that I would need for each event so I consistently rent the additional items.

I have also lived in a couple of locations west of Boston and used several rental agencies over the years.  AA Rental in Watertown, Taylor Rental in Sudbury, and Taylor Rental in Westborough are the ones I have used the most.  I typically will rent tents, bouncy houses, tables, linens, and sometimes karaoke equipment, but over the years I have come up with a few odd requests as well, a trailer to hold a float for the St. Patrick's Day Parade, multiple underwater pumps to create a fountain...and others. 

Through the years of service at other locations I always felt forgotten the minute I returned the equipment.  Even with repeated business I was just a number, until I moved to Westborough.  Gene, the owner of Taylor Rental in Westborough, runs his business as part of a community. 

It's trust...a feeling, something that is harder to quantify that makes me want to highlight Taylor Rental today.  It's how business was always done in my grandfather's generation.  A hand-shake meant your word, and both parties stuck to it.  When you talk to someone any agree both parties trust the other.So many people these days are so focused on getting the cheapest deal and are willing to sacrifice service and commitment in their business relationships.  When I talk with Gene at Taylor, I trust him.  He is a businessman, he supports his family and his employees like any other businessman does, but I don't feel that I as a consumer are being taken advantage of just to line his pockets.

I have rented items from Gene a total of 7 times in the past 3 years.  Every single experience has been positive.  Sometimes I am not sure of the things I need, Gene is willing to bring his experience to the table and help me make the right decision, not the most expensive decision.  Sometimes, it is last minute and I just have a moment to call him, the right item is ready and waiting.  Add to that quality, I have never had an issue with anything I have rented from Taylor in Westborough.  Every item was exactly as I expected, worked as described, clean and complete.  And Gene's team is professional and helpful, for next to nothing they'll deliver everything you need to the local area. But again it all comes back to trust.  I trust the people at Taylor Rental, I feel like they care a little that my event is successful, not just about the money I pay them.  Many businesses are like this, but too many are not.  I don't need a red carpet every time I enter, but I also don't expect to be unknown.  Ok, maybe once in a while a red carpet is nice too.  :-)

I am proud to return to Taylor Rental and support them as a local business, and I encourage you to do the same.  I am going back to setting up for my party this weekend.  If you take my advice and rent from Taylor, tell Gene, the Broughs Reviewer sent you and I wish you success in your events as well.

Taylor Rental Westborough
50 E Main St Westborough, MA 01581-1481
(508) 870-1990

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mr. Kim Webster

This morning while at my sons' pre-school I bumped into Mr. Kim Webster.  I had to take a moment to share my experiences about Mr. Kim with anyone who happens to come across this blog.  When it comes to local children's entertainers, Mr. Kim is the best.

I first learned about Mr. Kim because through the pre-school my children attend.  He visits all the classrooms in their school on a biweekly basis.  He also works with the Marlborough public elementary schools, and I have seen him hired for several of the local festivals.   Mr. Kim resides in Grafton, but is definitely an active member of the Boroughs.  Now I know what a lot of parents are thinking...great another set of annoying songs that my kids enjoy.  I had the same thought process when my wife brought home the first CD over a year ago, but trust me on this one, Mr. Kim is different.

Mr Kim is not like so many of the over the top, only kids can sit through a concert entertainers.  Not only does he have a phenomenal ability to entertain kids, I see him as an educator, and his somewhat folky style is fun.  Let me elaborate; Mr. Kim preformed at my summer BBQ in 2009.  There were 37 kids at this event under the age of 8 (crazy I know).  Mr. Kim was the only "entertainment"  There was the playset and a bouncy house, but no clowns or movies, all I needed was Mr. Kim.  For over an hour every kid sat entertained on the lawn singing and laughing as Mr. Kim performed.  He had them engaged and mesmerized.  And all the while as he sings with his puppets, he talks about the basics of music theory, rhythms, and notes.  He shows a bell curve and has the kids sing along from low to high to low.  I am proud to see my 4 year old understanding notes and tracking his sounds to the curve, and not just because I was a band geek in a past life.

Here is some information on how to find Mr. Kim:

Mr. Kim just joined Facebook last week but as we talked this morning I know he is planning on using Facebook more to keep the public up to date on his performances and other events.  I know he performs at private parties as well as community events.

I encourage all the parents in the area with young children to take full advantage of a Mr. Kim concert if possible.  I am confident your kids will enjoy it.  And for those outside the area look into his CDs, "Children of the Sea" contains the Popcorn song which I have attached bellow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Flu season is upon us again.  So we are all in search of the standard flu preventions for ourselves and our families.  Today's Blog isn't actually about the Boroughs as there is yet to be a MinuteClinic at the one of the Boroughs' CVSs.  But Ashland is not that far away and they impressed me today.

As I have mentioned before I have two sons, one almost 3 years old, and one 4 1/2 years old.  Our usual pediatrician, who I love, did not currently have flu shots.  Ran out/waiting for more, I'm not sure.  My wife wanted to get flu shots over with to add some additional prevention and save us a possible series of sick in our household.  After some checking we found out my insurance is taken at the CVS MinuteClinics and they offer flu shots every day.

The closet MinuteClinic to my home was in Ashland on Rt 135.  This morning my wife wanted to catch an exercise class at the Y so I took the boys to Ashland in hopes of a successful, and quick, set of flu shots.  Personally, I have never gotten a flu shot in my adult life.  I never really get sick but this morning I thought better to do it with them then make the boys scared so I too partook in the festivities at the MinuteClinic.  Overall I am very impressed, to the point where I think I will look here first for future flu shots.

I walked into the CVS at about 10:40am.  I entered my boys information into the kiosk near the back of the store.  There were options to indicate additional people visiting at the same time, so I didn't have to reenter all information three times.  This shows some customer testing before they launched this service, which always makes me happy.  There was one person in front of me in queue on the machine.  I waited no more then 4 minutes for the woman to call my name.

The nurse practitioner confirmed information in the computer, entered more, took an image of my card and was ready to go.  Of course shots are not a favorite of most children, but they folks at the minute clinic were great, they talked to the kids, they tried to make them feel at ease, and grabbed them a cup of water when my youngest asked for it.  Real professional with courtesy, exactly what anyone would want at this type of place.  One in the leg for my youngest, the arm for my oldest, which I did need to bear hug him to keep him calm, but it was not a big deal and the nurse and the nurse practitioner, and they were great.

Start to finish times were:
6 minutes to enter the data for three people
4 minutes waiting
5 minutes of insurance information
2 mintues to prep and finish the 2 year old
4 minutes to calm and prep the 4 year old
1 minute for my shot as they watched
2 minutes to pay for the animal crackers we grabbed off the shelf and ate while in the clinic

24 minutes TOTAL

After some running around with the whole family today, we stopped back so my wife could get her shot.  Start to finish, that visit took less then 10 minutes, and my oldest even joined her to hold her hand.  We were trying to remind him it wasn't that bad.  Different nurses this time, but the same great service.  I am impressed overall any will have to do some more reading on what else they handle.

If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, I recommend you check to see if there is a MinuteClinic near you, and maybe the CVS in Westborough will eventually add this, I know I would welcome it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nourse Farm on Facebook

In some searching today it appears there is a Facebook page for Nourse Farm CSA.

I put a mail into John Nourse to see if he will update each week to show members and potential members the great items Nourse Farm offers.

Fresh and Tasty

Last April I decided that it would be good for my family and I to eat more vegetables.  And if possible, expand the selection of items which I know I like.  This of course is the healthy decision for the whole family, but in reality my 2 year old and 4 year old don't expand much past chicken nuggets and mac and cheese so it was more for my wife and I.  I decided to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  There are two CSAs in the Boroughs that I know of. 

    Nourse Farm -
    Heirloom Harvest -

I originally applied to join the Heirloom Harvest CSA.  I knew nothing about either location, but Heirloom Harvest has done a better job when it comes to Google optimization so originally I didn't even know about the Nourse Farm CSA.  At the time when I applied, Heirloom Harvest was already full, the farmer, John Mitchell, sent a nice note saying we would be added to a waiting list and if they remained full he would contact us next season.  I did some more research and found Nourse Farm, so I applied there.

The application process for Nourse Farm is simple, decide if you want a full or half share, or a pick you own berries share, and fill out a form.  I emailed the form then called to give my credit card.  Cost for the entire season $600 for full share.  Twenty-two plus weeks worth of fresh vegetables.  And at times more then I could eat so some friends got to enjoy as well.

I don't know what I fully expected, all I knew was that I would get into better habits this summer eating more vegetables and my wife and I may be able to get the kids to try some new things.  I am shocked at how truly AWESOME the Nourse Farm CSA is.  I have shared my experience this summer with anyone I can find, as this gem of a CSA in Westborough should have its name in lights.

Reasons why Nourse Farm CSA is great:
  1. Berries, Nourse farm is the only Boroughs CSA that also includes berries.  Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, all fresh and delicious.
  2. Cost, even not eating vegetables regularly I know I spent more buying these same items at a grocery store.
  3. The vegetables beyond fresh, I often shop at Roche Bros which has very fresh vegetables, but there is a difference with Nourse Farm, the freshness is unmatched.  The flavor and crispness of the vegetables, and the delicious juice of the berries make my mouth water just writing this blog.
  4. Unlike most CSAs Nourse does allow you to select each week the items you want to some degree.  You can use your allotment to get more berries one week and more zucchini the next.  The flexibility is great and gives newcomers a way to try without feeling trapped.
One note for all the new subscribers to a CSA, the beginning month has a lot of lettuce.   The peppers and zucchini don't come till later in the season.  This again is why I was impressed with Nourse Farm, I can only eat so much lettuce but I can eat a ton of berries and having the berry aspect to their CSA really helped me find value every single week.

I also learned a few new dishes with the vegetables.  Being the cook in the family wanted to use the vegetables that I just received.  With a couple of online searches I learned to make bok choy and shrimp, spinach risotto, ratatouille, hot pepper and broccoli pasta, and homemade raspberry and strawberry jam.  All amazing if I do say so myself.

Both CSAs are now accepting applications for next year.  I will be rejoining Nourse Farm and I encourage everyone to take the time to check it out. Maybe I'll post a reciepe at some time as well.  My advice, don't miss out on what a CSA can offer.

Support the Boroughs, and enjoy the benefits!!!