Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's all in the timing.

I've been meaning to buy some decent shoes for walking and running. Normally I workout/jog barefoot, and if I'm working out outside (during the few months I am willing to do that)I wear cheap shoes from Wal-mart.

Now that I'm an aunt, though, and an aunt that will be visiting her niece and nephew for two whole weeks in the near future I decided I should buy some proper shoes. I remember from my own babies how much walking with a stroller I did and I intend to do the same with these new family memebers.

I went to Sportchek and bought some real people shoes. Had to buy something to make them fit (kids shoes fit, but aren't cushioned for grown-ups), which added to the expense of course. Nevertheless, I was happy to have spent the money, because everyone knows it is bad for your feet and knees to run barefoot. Right? RIGHT?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Because it's what we do.

Everyone has been blogging about the giant storm. We had snow that started late Friday night(after freezing rain at the airport on Thursday and fog Friday morning), and ended in the wee hours on Monday. I delievered bread Saturday morning in an incredible blur of snow and ice and didn't drive anywhere again until Monday.

Monday we had to go. If it weren't for exams at school I would have kept us all home. As it was, about three blocks before school - at the point where you turn right for the school, left for the main drag - traffic stopped. Completely and totally stopped. We sat there for ten minutes before the kids started panicking about getting to school on time. So they got out of the car and joined the other kids pouring out of the other cars and started walking. I turned left and took the long way to work.

The long way that took much longer than it would have on any other winter day because of course people stop to help those that are stuck. A little bit, I'm sure, because you never know when you may be the one looking for help. But mainly because the people here are friendly and helpful. Helping is what we do. Young and old, we help out. For instance:

The Boy went to school wearing a jacket, mitts and a toque. No boots. Nevertheless by the time the day was done he had helped push 14 cars and one snow mobile out of the snow. Why would a snow mobile need help? Due to a typical teenage mix of smart and not so smart.

Someone at the school went there by snowmobile. Smart! On the trip home he tried to take it through a back alley. Not so smart! A back alley with light and fluffy six foot high snowdrifts. It went for a little bit and then sunk...and tipped over onto its side. After that rescue The Boy called to ask me to come and get him. It had taken them at least twenty minutes to drag the thing out of the alley. It sure wasn't going forward, and they don't drive backwards at all. The got it right side up, and then dragged it out. All of this in snow up to The Boy's shoulders. When I got him he was soaked and had snow everywhere. We went home- stopping once to help another stuck vehicle - and not only were his shoes snow-encrusted, there was snow down his jeans, in his shirt and in the hood of the jacket. We even had to shake snow out of his jacket pockets! As cold as he was, he got rid of all the snow and came with me to do some grocery shopping which he LOATHES, so I wouldn't be driving alone with the possibility of being stuck myself. We weren't stuck, but we stopped for two more cars that deep in snow banks. I was a little bit sore in the shoulders yesterday morning but The Boy...he was a mess of aches and pains. But he said that he didn't mind, people needed the help. This is Saskatchewan, and helping is what we do.

Pendulum Swings

Life's pendulum is returning from the dark side and one might even say swinging a bit towards the light. The bank finally fixed things, and refunded me the money that I had paid to get things done by a particular date. A date that came and went without anything happening, leaving me stranded and about as close to tears of frustration that I've been in eons. The bank staff here were very helpful. The over-the-phone Ontario people should be glad they're far far away.

One out of three issues related to the car has been dealt with. The second should get started today and be done by tomorrow, and Friday I will do what I would have done last Friday if the bank hadn't messed up. So car-wise, things are ok, or soon will be. Unless there is some further disaster. Which could happen. Far be it from me to court bad luck by saying that nothing could possibly go wrong!

Kid wise I'm getting better. Yes, I meant to say I am getting better. They're fine. I'm just progressing in the whole watching my babies mature anxiety stakes. The Boy went out on Saturday night. He was going to stay at a friends after the concert. Yes, I met the parents first to make sure they would be home. I'm not crazy! One of the other boys was driving them all home after the concert. And I agreed to that. I didn't even let him know how incredibly difficult it was for me to say yes on that front, particularly with the storm that hit on the weekend. But I said yes. And I DIDN'T spend the entire evening - or any part of the evening - picturing him dead in a ditch or buried - and dead - in a snow bank. I'm getting better!

The eating-better-food and making-healthy-snacks plan - as opposed to the forgetting-to-eat and then scarfing-fat-and-sugar plan has now become a routine that I am used to. I'm not going to make light of the first ten days, they were tough. I was hungry, cranky and tired for most of that particular nightmare. But I was determined to soldier through for at least ten days before I thought about quitting. I remembered from working overseas that ten days is about what it takes me to adjust to new foods.

Exercise seems to be going well too. I no longer look at the magic clock (runs on water and lemon juice) hoping that my time would be up. I sometimes even go over now without noticing. I need to be in serious shape, now that I am an aunt. I'm in training for miles of walking with the twins in a double stroller. Six weeks til I get to see them!

The Boy is closer to Cuba, The Girl is closer to her Quebec trip and I am closer to a really long break from work. So life is good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I don't have time to kick your ass and I'd just as soon shoot you anyway.

Things in my life have been somewhat stressful as of late. I'm sure that's no surprise, given some of the recent posts.

After a Walmart-face* sort of a morning, things have calmed down. Hooray for meditation and the willingness to make things as plan as possible to irritating bank people. Does this mean I threatened a bank person? Why yes, yes it does.

*What is Walmart-face? It's this: when you are SO ANGRY that as you stride through Walmart on a Saturday the waves of shoppers part before you like the Red Sea. My co-workers kept themselves to themselves as I went from office to copier to office to fax and back, several times. I am upset so infrequently that they knew that whatever it was it would be best to leave me alone. Which was a good call. I had the energy but not the time this morning to kick ass, so I would have been obliged to shoot and move on.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Everyone has the right to be stupid, but some abuse the priveledge.

Sweet Saskatchewan Lobster. As coat rack is my witness I am not making any of this up:

The Girl lost her wallet. We think. There was one place that it might have been so I said I would call the lost and found and see what was what.

I went online and found the Lost and Found number. I called that number.

I got transferred, because apparently the lost and found number on the site is actually just a general number, despite being called the Lost and Found Contact number.

Told the person I was transferred to what I wanted. Was transferred. Again. Because the number I was transferred was still not the elusive L&F.

The phone rang on and on, and finally the man that made the last transfer was back. Very mystified and apparently asking me why they might not be answering the phone. He was a little irked with me in fact. After all, the computer he was looking at SAID they were in. Where were they?

Having convinced him – maybe – that I had no idea where they were, I asked for their direct phone number. A number that is a secret, since he couldn’t tell me what it was. I don’t know why, and I didn’t want to ask, so I left it there. He suggested I call him directly in half an hour. Maybe then there would be someone in L&F.

About twenty minutes later I called him again. And indeed it was him, the exact same guy. Who proceeded to say that he couldn’t help me, I’d have to call L&F directly. And then he gave me the number. Acting, the whole while, as though we hadn’t JUST TALKED.

I called the number. Except….it wasn’t L&F. It was a totally different area of the company, and the woman who answered the phone had no idea why I’d called her. She suggested that perhaps I should go to the web site and get the correct phone number for L&F. I said thank you and hung up. Why did I not call her several different kinds of stupid? Well, partly because she had not, after all, given me her phone number to call. And maybe she was having a bad day and didn’t know the loops I’d already been through.

I called Bozo back. Told him he’d given me the wrong number. He was...puzzled. His only comment was “hmmmm... oh…really?”. I assured him that yes, indeed, really. He said he would transfer me to L&F. Which he did. No answer. We had another discussion as to why I thought that might be. I suggested that perhaps he could leave them a message with my phone number. Or he could let me call them directly and leave my name and number and a message.

Silly me – I’d forgotten about the secrecy involved with the direct number of L&F. And he didn’t think he’d be “allowed” to give them a message. His solution was to keep trying them, over and over again - with the occasional return to me stating that they were still mysteriously absent - until someone answered.

In time - a very long time or perhaps it just seemed that way - I got someone in the L&F department. Only to find that no, there was no lime green animal print wallet anywhere. I’m counting this as a cosmic test of my patience. A test to see just what it would take to make me cry in frustration. I must have passed the test because I didn't cry. I don't think whinging in a blog counts as losing my patience.

And you thought quitting smoking was bad.

I have changed the way I eat. Not because it is the new year but because
a) the Wii has been repaired and returned and I am NOT going to exercise just so I can keep eating whatever I want. I'm going to exercise to get in shape. Also,
b) I am going to a wedding in the summer and my home town in the spring. I am NOT going to be looked at with pity at the latter and I WILL be able to dance as much as I want without collapsing. Not to mention I would like to wear something other than a caftan.

Anyway - I know from working overseas that it takes me about a week to adjust to a different diet. So for a week I've been mean and snarly and fairly tired. I just wanted to let you know that I have adjusted - plus or moin - to the new regime and you are safe to talk to me. Actually, you would have been safe whislt I was adjusting too, I was too tired to act out on the general crankiness.

That is the end of announcements, you may return to your regularly scheduled program.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

And I don't drink, either.

You know what doesnt' help in difficult situations? This. Not in any real way, that is. I tiny bit of emotional release but other than that people just look at you oddly and your friends start to worry.

What might be behind my desire to self-injure?

A car issue. I suppose you're wondering if I mean the bit about the lease ending and the bank not keeping in touch with me regarding the arrangments I'm trying to make. You'd be wrong. Not that that situation has improved. No indeedy it hasn't. It's just not the specific catalyst for the head banging.

Well then, you think to yourself (I'd say "selves" but really, do I have more than one reader?), it must have to do with the fender bender and the problems with the hitter waffling on paying. Nope, not that either. And whilst the waffling has ended, the car is still not repaired. No fault of Auto Extremem, they're still awesome. More of a timing thing.

So, a third thing, then? How can there be a third car issue. EASILY. As it happens I'm going to assume that there may be a fourth fifth or sixth thing. Prudent assumption, I'm thinking.

The problem is this: car is still a lease. For a few days. Also covered by extended warranty, for a little longer than that. I've been trying to get it in to be looked at because the engine light came on over the weekend. If there is going to be some hugely expensive repair needed I would like it to be paid for by someone else.

I called Monday morning and made an appointment for today. When I asked about a ride back I was told no problem, but there might be a wait if I came in first thing. I said I could drop it off at 10:15. "Great!" she says. "You'll be able to get a ride right back". Yeah. So in I go this morning.

Me: Hi, I'm Jane Doe, here to drop off my car.

Service Person: Oh - well - you were supposed to have dropped it off early and leave it all day with us. What would you like to do since you didn't do that?

Me: Actually, I talked to you (ALWAYS pay attention to the names of people who promise you things will be done) on Monday and made arrangements for 10:15. YOu told me that would be fine.

S.P. (looking at computer) So you did.

Me: My plan is the same - leave it here for the day, and get a ride back when you're done.

S.P. No problem. We'll call you when it's done. The scan to see what the problem is will be ----- dollars. We'll call you when we've diagnosed the problem, and you can decide if you want to go ahead.

Me: Cost? We had a fairly long conversation on Monday about the warranty on the car. There shouldn't be any charge.

S.P.: So we did. No charge then.

She gets keys, I leave. Not long after I get back to the office I get a call.

Me: Hello, blah blah blah.

S.P. This is the service department calling. We know what the problem is, would you like us to go ahead with that? The cost will be -----.

Me: Warranty. (I think that despite the terseness of the answer it was nevertheless nicer than the answer in my head).

S.P.: So it is. There is one thing we can do here that isn't covered, which might help. Or it might not. The problem is with something covered by your extended power train warranty. But we can't do that, so you'll have to get the car and take it to one of the blank dealers in town. When can you come and get it?

Me: Well...when can you come and get me? When I dropped it off you said someone could pick me up when you were done.

S.P.: So I did. The number is 555-0000. If you call him you can arrange a pick-up.

Me: Thank you. (Why thanks? Because that's how I was raised).

So - car not fixed. Not the bumper, not the engine. Appointment for engine? Not until next week. Appointment for bumper? Just waiting on a call. Appointment with bank guy? Soon. As in as soon as I calm down a bit.

If you're not thinking about banging your head on my behalf...well, why not?

Meditation. That's what I need before I call the bank. Five minutes meditation. Much better than head banging.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For you. A bit. But Mainly for Me.

Read this.

And repeat # four to yourself four times a day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Twas the night before Christmas

It's hard to come up with the right words to properly convey Christmas eve. So I'm going to tell the story with fewer words. Here we go!

Went to work.

Came Home.

Had one of these.

Got picked up.


Went to something like this. heading for this.

Ate some of this.

Headed out to something close to this.
Had a lot of this, and it was.

Went to another one of these.

When it was time to leave, these had broken out and needed this.

This is the type of emergency that everyone pitches in on. So I did. Wearing this, these and these. In this. Coat and mitts too, thanks heavens!

A Christmas eve to remember fondly. Forever.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Dude, Where's My Car?

My poor M.I.A. car. Well, M.I.R. really. Missing in repair. Took it in Tuesday and thought I’d never get it back. I did, though, and I am totally gob-smacked at how awesome Auto Extreme is. They do things other than body work, and I would recommend them to one and all. They're on South Railway, Regina. Totally great guy owns it too. (oh relax, you guys, he isn’t single. Figures – I meet two guys over the hols: one married and one from out of town) I went from a really bad/dreadful/awful day/week to my usual bouncing optimistic in less than an hour. They

Oh, and I learned something that ya’ll should pay attention to: in this cold prairie weather you should use your parking brake either all the time or not at all. Always or never, ok? Unless you want to end up with your car in the shop. Has to do with condensation on the cable and the effect the expansion of freezing water has on cables. Maybe everyone else knew this, maybe they didn’t, but it’s a good thing to know. I’d lived here a year before anyone explained the need for a bloc heater. I just wondered what all the plugs were for. Anyway, back to the week of badness*.

First, so ma famille doesn’t panic, let’s list the good stuff:
No one I know is dying.
I'm not dying.
No one I know has recently died.
I still have my kids and they are as fantastic as ever.
I have my car back.
The Girl will (thanks yet again to the body shop) get signatures on her Rider Jersey, and pictures!
I have a house.
I am fed.
I have a wonderful family.
Co-worker bought (and brought) me a large peppermint hot chocolate, just to make my day better.

Things are well and no worries with my overdue aunt status. Soon, guys, soon!

Got the car back spic and span…and if you’ve seen my car (I have teens, and the elder uses the car from time to time) and know the weather that fact alone should make you gasp in shock. And maybe even a bit of awe. I’m seriously going to have to bake for them as a thank you.

Ok, the week:

No car from Tuesday afternoon until this morning.

Guy who hit car is waffling on paying for it.

The kitchen has two sinks. Only one can be used.

The fridge, fixed for an unknown length of time.

I have two bathrooms. Only one toilet worked…until this morning. Neither work now.

The gap at the bottom of the door is not the only problem. The handle is wrecked. Mainly this is a laziness problem. I've bought the replacement, I just need a warm-ish day and some spare time.

The Boy needs shots prior to travel. The “two business days” that the travel clinic promises to take before they call you back with an appointment is bleeding into three. No shots=no trip.

The car lease finishes on the 18th. I'm trying to make plans for that. The bank was supposed to get back to me yesterday. Nothing so far.

Until the above is done I can’t free any $ for toilet repair. I’m seriously hoping that the problem has magically been fixed in my absence.

Hair still not cut off, and as I was thinking about this past summer – which is when I decided that I’d cut it off it I hadn’t had a date by the end of the year – I realized that I didn’t just finish a year of dateless ness, I finished a decadeof dateless ness.

Baking going well except that…I’m now doing two wedding cakes this summer. I’m not really sure if this should go in the good things column or the bad things.

I am completely and absolutely ready to win a lottery. ‘Cept I should probably buy a ticket, yes?

*Should I ever decide to have a week of bad assness, I’ll let you know in advance so people like Mayb can join in.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Oh sleep it is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole.

I like my sleep. I really really like my sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I have a life, and I get that there are other fun things to do in bed (reading, writing, snacking, folding laundry) but sleep is a big deal. Clearly people know this about me as I can recall one Christmas where every single present was somehow related to sleeping.

Anyway,I don’t usually pay to much attention to things people tell me as I’m drifting off to sleep. My chances of remembering what was said – as opposed to just incorporating it into a dream – are pretty slim anyway, so what’s the point? I guess there would be a point if the house was on fire, but that hasn’t happened. Not so far.

On Monday night, I was just falling to sleep, rejoicing in the return of my babies to the family fold, reviewing the greatness of the just-seen Holmes movie when I heard a loud THUMP. At which point things went like this:

Me (quietly, in my head): Oh, good boy. He DID let the dogs out again before going to bed, just like I asked. Hope he remembers – now that the door has thumped shut – to put the cold air blocking towel back at the base of the door.

The Boy: ummm…mom? Are you awake ?
ME: Don’t forget the towel.
T.B.: Towel? Right. Well, the fridge door is gone.
ME: Where is the fridge door?
TB: Wha…? The door. The door to the fridge is off.
Me: Off what?
TB: The DOOR of the FRIDGE came OFF. It’s OFF right NOW.
Me: Oh. Coming.

Dazed mother lurches into kitchen. “HEY! The DOOR is off the FRIDGE”.
TB: I KNOW. I was getting something to eat and it opened and then it just wasn’t on anymore.
ME: So. (this may have been followed by some confused blinking on my part).

TB: So….let’s fix it. Ok?

Me: Yeah…fixing….ok.

This was followed by some not very intelligent fixing, fixing which nevertheless sufficed for the time. The fridge was at least closed by the end of it all. The actual fixing came the next day. When I was awake, and able to think about how to repair the stupid thing. If only I’d been awake enough the night before to wash grease off my fingers prior to returning to bed. Can’t have everything, though, and at the very least the door was closed and the towel was in place at the back door. A moderately successful evening.

I don't know. What do you think it looks like?

I occastionally have too literal a mind. This morning, for instance.

The gaming console I bought last year is in Toronto, getting fixed. With the wonder of modern techonolgy I was able to track its journey from here to there, with the added bonus of being able to track its repair status once it arrived.

Watching it travel was mildly entertaining. The first entry was a note that I had given the parcel to the courier. What wasn’t mentioned was that it was the wrong one. Right company, wrong guy. The guy I gave it to happily took it, and I signed in the space that I was asked to, but then later in the day I had a very grumpy courier complain that my parcel was HIS pick-up, and that no one tells him ANYTHING, and what is THE POINT to it all? I tried to cheer him up but still spent a bit of the afternoon worrying about the possibility that he’d throw himself off a bridge before the day was over. ‘Course, given where we are, that wouldn't be so much fatal as entertaining, would it?

The next entry was that it had arrived at the local depot. Then there was the slightly mysterious entry “Stop-off at Winnepeg, MB”. No explanation given. Did the parcel want to visit someone? Was it traveling to Ontario in someone’s car? Some employee who was going that way anyway and said that take a parcel along?

The stop over turned into a couple of days, because there were no entries until today, and today is when it all happened. Arrival in Toronto. Dispatch to dispatch (I think some bored clerk was making things up. Can something really be dispatched to dispatch?), then to the actual address where it was “Received by Rob”. Very homey that. Not signed for by Shipping and Receiving, not logged as being left in reception. Maybe Rob was out for a smoke and said that yeah, he’d take it in. When he was done, of course. Never mind, the point is it had arrived!

I found the repair bill number and decided to go to the site to see how things were going. And here was the status: “Console has arrived and we’re looking at it”. That was the message, in its entirety. And now all I can picture in my head is my console sitting on a bench….surrounded by a handful of employees with serious contemplative looks on their faces. Which may explain why I was told that most repairs take two weeks.