There are things you just don't expect to see in Texas … and now will never forget.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We knew a winter storm was coming to Texas, as it dominated the local news for a good part of last week and certainly going into the weekend.

Red, of course, had her hurricane preparedness lists, and looked to those to be as prepared as possible. Of course, there were additional things that had to be considered for a winter storm – like wrapping external pipes, having faucets drip, and having warm clothing and blankets ready. (Northerners may be used to prolonged sub-zero temperatures, Southerners are not. But, at least being from New York, we knew what to do.)

But you can plan and prepare all you want. When the power goes out for an extended period of time (no matter what the cause) it's a shock and you have to quickly go from planning mode to reaction mode. Which is what happened to both of us, with Black's high-rise losing power early in the storm and Red's house joining the millions (!) without power a day later. Our specific situations aren't important, but we're each very grateful that we're back "online" and are writing this from our homes where power has been restored. (Luckily, we didn't lose water.)

But throughout the last few days, we've been inspired by the resilience and heart of Texans who just don't give up. In times of need, Texans come together. Whether it's neighbors helping each other, strangers handing out blankets and bottles of water, restaurants giving away food, or Mattress Mack opening Gallery Furniture megastores as shelters, Texans are tough, big-hearted, and never give up.

Our hearts go out to all those that have been impacted, and especially those still without power and water. We ask that everyone do whatever they can, even if it's just conserving power and water, to try to help others. As always, we'll overcome this challenge. Together.

Ok, let’s be clear (pun intended) … Communication is critical. Whether in your personal life or in business, not to mention communication skills are transferable between the two (Black even suggested Red hold family “business” meetings). And what better time to work on how we communicate, and maybe even have a new attitude toward vocabulary and “50-cent words” (Red loves those, but terminology scares her!?), than during Effective Communications Month.

Talking isn't the same as communicating. And hearing isn't the same as listening. Think about it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Being an effective communicator, whether in our personal lives or at work, is a critical skill but one-size-doesn't-fit-all as we each use very different methods and styles … ranging from lots of words and talking stuffed animals (Red) to bullet points and racing flags (Black).

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Most workaholics can rationalize working all the time. At least to themselves.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: “Gizmos” already blurred the lines between the workweek and the weekend, but the WFH (working from home) “revolution” caused by the pandemic has destroyed the line; except for people like Black, who have always treated every day as a workday.

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We all “celebrate” Memorial Day differently, but we all should remember it’s a day to honor those who gave their lives serving this country.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, and Red remembers celebrating over the years with family get-togethers, barbeques, and pool parties; whereas Black “celebrates” most holidays by having a quiet day to work uninterrupted, but it’s important never to forget the significance of the holiday.

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