Friday, July 29, 2011


While mom was here Max did a couple of funny things.

One thing he did was to start calling me by my first name!

I think it is because mom was here and he heard her calling me by name a lot. He can't really say "Julie" so it sounded like "Goo-ey" but it was frustrating (and mildly funny) to me! He is back to calling me mom now although sometimes he still slips in a "gooey!"

The other thing he started as we were putting up the tramp was to remind us of the "rules at Cece's house".

Cece is our neighbour and she has taken the boys for respite since they were in foster care. We love her! She has a trampoline at her house and until we put up our own it was the only place Max had been on one. Cece has trampoline rules - and one of them is "Only two people on the tramp at once". In the top photo you can see Max waiting for his turn while Gramma bounces with CJ. (We were actually not finished putting everything up but they were very eager to jump so we had to stop our construction project while we had a jumping interlude.)

Max started in saying everything "was a rule at Cece's house". It started with trampoline rules - no jumping when someone is getting on, no jumping when someone is getting off, no shoes on the tramp, no toys on the tramp, and then it just started generalizing to EVERYTHING. What it boiled down to was if MAX wanted a rule - he said it was a rule at Cece's house.

Cece apparently has a LOT of rules. I tried to say "well we are at our house Max and our rule is ...." but he could not be deterred.

One afternoon mom and I went into town to run some quick errands. As we arrived home and got out of the vehicle Hugo came running over to the van barking. Hugo is a nerd and barks at everything that moves (I don't think he can see at all) and mom said to him. "Hugo, Don't bark at Gramma, That's a rule at Cece's house!" I died laughing.

One last thing I will share before signing off this epistle. We have had no proper fridge in the house for many months. We have just been using a bar fridge. We bought a proper fridge recently but when it arrived it was too large to get into the passage from the living room to the kitchen so the fridge was stuck in the living room for a few weeks. We decided when mom was here to move it into the kitchen because we needed many hands. When we moved it into the kitchen, -which involved taking off the fridge doors and removing a kitchen lower and upper cabinet and then levelling the floor ( a small indication on how something on the list like "move the fridge" turns into a major project!) we took the mini fridge out.

I had planned on taking the mini fridge to work and putting it into my office. Mom and I carried it together and put it in the back of tinkey winkey, my little truck. I don't want to exaggerate but I think the truck was parked about 25 meters from the house. We put it in the back and then went to town to run our errands. We were going to take tinkey into town but when we got in the battery was dead so we had a change of plans and took the other vehicle. When we returned from town Max had taken the mini fridge out of the back of the truck BY HIMSELF, carried it over to the house, plugged it into the outside plug which we use for winter plug in - AND he had put his hammer in the freezer!

What a kid!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

our list

Here is the list we made of things to do.. When we completed the item we crossed it off. If we did it more than once we put the date next to it so we could go back and know what we had done.
When we were making the list I put "build a treehouse" on the list and it was a bit of a joke. I do think that one of the next visits mom makes will include a treehouse building project though - we just have to find a tree to use in the yard!
Some of the things we decided not to do on this trip and other things we added. I laugh that we put "possibly, maybe fun" and then put dates next to it! I would like to say that we did actually have fun on more than three occasions.

Some things took longer than others, for instance we were doing a LOT of laundry. The laundry had backed up because the drier died and as we were working on catching up the washer sprung a SEVERE leak. It seemed as though every project we started required making adjustments of some kind or another. For as many projects we had there was a greater amount of adjustments made. Partially that has to do with the old house we live in, but MOSTLY it has to do with having Max and CJ around. Holy Moley do they ever require a lot of supervision.

We would be in the middle of putting something together and we would turn around and parts of it had "walked away". Putting together the trampoline is the perfect example of this. We had pieces we needed to fit together. We were bringing  them all to one spot to lay them all out. As fast as we could lay them out pieces were disappearing. It took two of us to put the pieces together and the third of us to chase the boys around gathering things back. I made the mistake of putting things together but not screwing them in (step two on the list of directions) and so we had to go all the way back to step two when we reached step ten and realized we couldn't progress if the pieces weren't screwed.

I have to say the tramp was one of the best things we did - I have a few favorites - the trampoline is absolutely in my top three of the things we did.  We managed to get it together (with only one small missing piece which I still have to order) and we spent a LOT of time on it.

Gramma made awesome memories with the boys jumping with them on the tramp. She is sassy though - she tries to double bounce me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Phone frustration

I am having huge issues with usage on my phone. I am on a plan that allows for 500 MG free use per month.
I don't download ANYTHING on my phone - no music, no movies, nothing. I don't watch youtube videos.
I have installed three items - Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio and a list making app. I don't allow the boys to touch the phone and I have no games for them downloaded onto it.

In one month I "supposedly" used 9015.099 MB!

Yesterday I installed a 3G tracker to track my daily usage.

In less than 24 hours I have transferred over 18MG of info. WHILE I SLEPT last night over 7 MG was transferred.
I have wiped the phone clean TWICE and I am at a complete loss of what to do...

I know I am not a technological wizard by any stretch of the imagination but it simply does not make any sense to me - and no-one I have spoken to seems to be able to help.

I took the phone today to the IT department at work. They are going to wipe everything off the phone and reinstall the 3G tracker and we will see if that helps. After I left their office I realized that ALL MY PHOTOS from my mom's visit were on the phone and will now be wiped away. I almost cried. I have no photos anywhere else of mom's visit this time and all the projects we worked on. I also had some of her with the boys on the trampoline and those are gone also. DANG PHONE!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mom's visit: Post one

I know I am a day late and a dollar short with these posts about my mom's visit, but I want to go back because there is a lot to write about.

Mom is a ridiculously hard worker and so we sat down on day one and wrote a list of things we wanted to accomplish while she was here. We are both huge fans of lists, I particularly like crossing things off once they are done.

For the first few days of the visit I still had to go to work, so I left each morning with much chagrin. I would have preferred to be at home where the action was happening!

The first day I was working Shel took mom around the quarter and measured in the car the distance for her walk. It was exactly 9.6 km all around the quarter and the driveway is .2km, so from door to door it is exactly 10km! I did tell mom I would ride the bike while she walked but she is an early riser and I never made it. She walked every day (except Sunday) and even walked in the pouring rain and through swarming mosquitoes. One day she brought us home a dog from a neighbouring farm. Everyone was thrilled to have a visitor.

While I was at work on the first day of mom's visit she and Shel sorted and counted bags and bags of recycling. I think at the end of the day they sorted over 1400 cans and cartons to be turned in. I was able to borrow tools from the maintenance man at work and when I got home we took apart the bathroom taps and kitchen taps and fixed the drips. To be honest we fixed the drips in the tub - and I know what we did, but when I took apart the kitchen tap it was completely different and I had no idea what to do so I just put it all back together and lo and behold it stopped dripping! I DID change the way the handle turns to turn the cold water faucet on and off, (and I didn't know that I was doing it when I did it). It has taken some getting used to but it fixed the drip so I was happy!

Having mom visit makes me super happy. I knew we would get a BOATLOAD accomplished.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A letter from Canadian Tire

I was so frustrated with my experience at Canadian Tire that I contacted the customer service department with a letter.
They responded to me with this comment, "We are sorry to learn about your dissatisfaction with Canadian Tire."
Well that was sure big of them!
Not a "Sorry that the product was not available even though it was advertised on sale and in stock," or a "Sorry that our staff are idiots" (even though I didn't exactly expect that as a response.)
The thing about saying "Sorry about your dissatisfaction" is that it does not accept responsibility at ALL for the role the store played in my experience.
I guess it further frustrates me with the corporation and my experience there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why Canadian Tire Frustrates Me and should be closed on holidays!

I believe that with few exceptions, ALL stores should be closed on Federal Holidays.

Why do I believe this?

It is very difficult as an employer to staff these days. People make plans to be doing things away from work on days that are federal holidays. They should. Holidays exist for a reason.

I know as a parent that there are some things unexpectedly that happen on holidays - like broken bones from trampoline accidents where we require services provided by emergency providers and pharmacies and I appreciate their availability at all times. However, stores like Canadian Tire, The Brick, Walmart and so on should shut their doors for 24 hours and send everyone home.

What they do instead is advertise special "holiday sales", open the doors to customers, but because they have a problem staffing the day, they operate on a skeleton staff that provides less than satisfactory customer service.

I know I am partly to blame for these stores opening, because I enjoy taking advantage of the sales, and so I go. I should clarify that. I USED to go. I will never go again, and hopefully others will also stop shopping on these days thus making it a waste of money for chains to open.

We had the WORST customer service experience EVER at Canadian Tire (a store I generally REALLY like - because you can give like Santa and Save like Scrooge) in Peace River.

My spouse and I have been looking for a locking cabinet for our kitchen. Our house is DESPERATELY short of storage, the kitchen specifically, and we need locking cabinets to keep the boys out. We have been looking for ages and we finally decided that a cabinet make from metal, typically designed for a garage, is exactly what we need. We got a flier from Canadian Tire advertising a sale on a Mastercraft Cabinet that suited our needs EXACTLY and was on sale beginning on July 1st. (Canada Day)

Mastercraft Metal Garage Tall Cabinet

We checked online that the product was available in Peace River Store and we called the store to check the hours of operation. The product was in stock and the store was open. So we went to get it. We drove. A LONG TIME. The sole purpose of the trip was to get this cabinet so we could proceed with other projects over the weekend.
When we arrived at the store there were three employees working. One was at the customer service desk and was also acting as checker. One was in the paint section and there was one other employee present. We arrived in the store at the same time as another woman who was carrying her used weed eater. She asked at customer service for an employee by name and was directed to the paint section of the store. We asked at the same place for the metal cabinet by name, and with the flier and were also directed to the paint section.
When we got to the paint section the lady with the weed eater was being assisted by one staff member. She was describing a problem with the machine and he was taking it apart and trying to fix it. I don't know anything about warranty or arrangements she had with the store to fix her broken weed-eater. I thought it was interesting though. I didn't know Canadian tire fixed things, but I am sure the lady was appreciative.
I spoke to the other staff member and asked about the cabinet. She was uncertain of the availability of the item and needed to talk to the staff who was fixing the weedeater. She asked him where the shelving was. We stood. And stood. And stood all the while the guy was taking apart the weedeater and completely ignoring us!  I was becoming more irritated by the minute. I could see he as busy obviously. He WAS helping someone who arrived before we did. But all we needed from him was a verbal response and he was not even acknowledging our existence. We finally stopped just standing there and walked up and down the aisles looking to see if the shelf was on display anywhere. We couldn't find it. We returned. We waited some more.  He finally said that the shelves were buried in the back and they were not available until Monday (it was Friday) because there was no-one to operate the machinery to get them out. I explained to him that it was advertised in the flier and showed as available on the internet and that we had driven a long way to come and pick it up. He said it was not his fault there was no-one there to get it. All the while he never looked at me once, and continued to take apart this used weedeater. By this time I was REALLY frustrated.
I asked him for his name and he refused to give it to me. I asked the girl at the counter if she had a phone number I could call, and she gave me her name and a card with the phone number of the store.
We went to the customer service counter at the front of the store and said we would like to make a complaint and she said she was not able to take a complaint from us at that time because she was not the person who regularly worked behind the counter and so she had no way to "process" a complaint. We asked if there was a number we could call for a corporate headquarters and she said she had no idea and had no way to find out that information for us. FOR REAL!

We left the store.

We called on Monday and asked if the shelf was available because we didn't want to drive all that way again if it wasn't. We were told it would be ready for us in one hour. We returned to the store. THE SAME THREE PEOPLE WERE IN THE STORE WORKING. The man who said he couldn't help us was the one who wheeled the cabinet out. I was so incredibly choked I can't even express it. The SAME people who could not help us were the exact same people working when they were able to help us! What is that about?

As far as I am concerned the store should be closed on a holiday if the staff can't provide for customers the items they have advertised. The staff - with the exception of the paint section young lady - were VERY unhelpful and downright rude. If it were possible for me to have purchased this item without travelling over 3 hours to the next closest store I would not have returned to this location and I will avoid it at all costs from now on.

Gone so long

I can't believe I have been gone for so long.
Fortunately (and a bit unfortunately) life seems to be back to semi-normal and I have an internet connection again so I can start posting once more.
My mom was with us for two weeks and we worked insanely hard and accomplished RIDICULOUS amounts of things which I will write more about later.
After mom left the rain arrived and it seems as though the rain hasn't stopped since - which matches my mood. I miss living closer to family and I always seem to have a "post family visit depression" after family visits end. This one hit me particularly hard for some reason.
Anyway. Back to "normal"  - whatever that means!