Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

I'm growing up! (And out.) I feel like I need a little more space for myself. Have you ever been in a situation where someone asks you your name and, for a millisection, you actually can't remember what it is?? Yeah, that's me right now. So, I'm carving out a little space that's just for me. A space where I can talk about tv, movies, theatre, running and many other fascinating and, no doubt, random thoughts that cross my mind. I hope you'll come visit me there once in a while: Run ANC.

I will drop in here now and again, when I feel there's something that I just have to share about the boys. But they are growing up now, and they deserve a space of their own too. Who knows, maybe they'll start blogging. Watch out...!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Waiting for Batman

Planning a birthday party for a 5 year old is no easy feat. Well, maybe it is for some people. No doubt some people do this kind of thing in their sleep, but not me. I stress and I worry. Is there going to be enough food? Are people having a good time? Is the entertainment "cool" enough, but still appropriate for a young five and his younger friends and siblings? I did everything last minute and consequently spent way too much money. I didn't buy enough tablecloths and there could have been more beverages. But, Big C wanted a Batman party, and Batman party he had: plates, napkins, loot bags, blue cake with a Batman shooting out of the bat cave, everything....and we had a special appearance by Batman himself.

I found a local company online that does superhero parties - you could have Batman, Superman or Spiderman come to your party and play games with the kids, sign autographs, etc. I knew going in that hiring anything like this is a crap shoot of sorts, unless you've personally seen the performers in action, but it's what Big C wanted and short of dressing up as a superhero ourselves (and have to explain why we weren't at the party a la Pokeroo) or hire someone we knew (and no one we knew would do it), what's a girl to do?

It must be a good gig to get into - dress up for an hour, play games, make jokes and get a couple bills. I know it's the actor in me, but I feel compelled to say that if you are going to do this kind of thing, you better do it well. I am just itching to call up the company and give them my notes on the performance, but Mr Earth says that it won't be appreciated unless they ask for feedback. It's killing me to keep my mouth shut, so here I am.

  1. Be on time. Kids have very little patience, and tend to get out of control when you are not on time. Especially when they don't get fed until after your act. Plus, it's simple professional consideration. Show up when you are supposed to. Ten or fifteen minutes may not mean much to you, but it can be FOREVER to a kid who is overexcited. And, if you are late - and things happen, I get it - then APOLOGIZE. You don't have to apologize to the kids, but you should apologize to the person who hired you (i.e. me).
  2. If your website advertises a "grand entrance so the kids know they have the Real Thing", then make a grand entrance. I met the guy in the hall because, it being winter, I knew he would have a coat and probably some other personal items. He wouldn't let me take them for him. He skulked into the room with a winter coat and a large duffel bag. Entrance, not so grand.
  3. Speak up and command attention. Kids are loud. You have to get their attention, especially at the beginning. It doesn't matter if you have funny jokes (and he did), if no one can hear them.
  4. Get your energy up. I expected someone with a more exciting presence. Who was more excited to be there. I know these kinds of gigs can be crap, but I don't care. I am paying you to be excited. The kids probably didn't notice, but every single adult in the room thought that Batman was hungover. That is not a good thing. In all fairness, he may have been trying to do a cool Batman voice, but it didn't read that way.
  5. Appearance. This is totally unfair, but I am picky and this is my blog so I'll pick if I want to. The guy was too short. Batman is not short. And if you are short, you have to act tall. No hunching or pigeon-toeing. And tuck in loose tags. The costume itself, though, was great.
  6. Tone of voice. Towards the end, he was making jokes that were just shy of sounding like attacks. He was trying to be funny, but it came off as a little mean. He should watch that.

These are all observations that I am making as an adult and as actor. The kids thought he was great. Big C thought he was hilarious and had a fantastic time. In the end, that is all that matters to me.

But, if anyone should call me up and ask for feedback or a recommendation, I got lots to say...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Five years ago today, I became a mom.

1 year ago today, I became a stay-at-home mom.

Through it all, you've been with me.

I couldn't have done it without you. That smile is sometimes the only thing that has kept me going.

You've got something special, kid.

Life is good.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mr Earth is the COOLEST!

Just look what awesome present was left chillin' for me in the fridge this morning!

Truly Mr Earth - you rock my world.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Down the Rabbit Hole (Reno Day 29)

Alternate title: Why IKEA Is A Big, Swedish Pain In My Ass

Okay, so we're still without a kitchen, excepting for the pseudo-kitchen we've set up in our downstairs bathroom (shudder), and here's a big reason why...

I ordered the cabinets back on October 15th. When I did, I had to pick a "delivery date". The order guy explained to me that that is when the cabinets would arrive in the store. In any of the five days following that date, IKEA would phone me to arrange for an actual delivery date. Once they arrive, you have 10 days in which they must be delivered or you start paying $250 a week for storage. I phoned my contractor to see when we would need the cabinets and he said that they wouldn't be ready for them before the middle of November. So, I picked November 16th.

After a week of reno, the speed of my contractor's guys made it patently obvious that we would be ready for the cabinets before November 16th. One whole week before. So, I phone IKEA to see if I could move up the delivery date, since all the cabinets were in stock when I ordered them, and any process can be sped up if you want to. I worked in customer service for over 7 years and I know this for a fact.

I called them on October 30th, and the agent that I spoke with on the phone told me that I should completely ignore the "delivery date", that it was a total crock. Orders actually arrive in store 2-3 weeks after you order them, which would make the time that my cabinets were to arrive anytime between October 29th and November 5th. I was so relieved. We would be ready the cabinets November 9th, and this would work out perfectly.

November 5th came and went. No cabinets.

I called on November 9th, and the next agent that I spoke to said that they were on their way and someone would call me in the next few days.

I called on November 11th and the next agent that I spoke to said that they were on their way and someone would call me within the next few days. I insisted on knowing where, exactly, the cabinets were. She said she didn't know. Which made me question how she could possible know that someone would call me within the next few days. I forced her to call someone who DID know where there were. The Warehouse. She called back and left a message saying that they would arrive in store on November 13th, and someone would call me for delivery.

November 13th came and went. No cabinets.

OH, and did I mention that every time I call IKEA, it's a minimum of a 45 minute wait to speak to someone. MINIMUM. Every. Single. Time.

On November 16th (the original "delivery date" - remember that?) came and went with no cabinets and no phone call. I spent over TWO AND HALF HOURS on hold, and was unable to do anything more than confirm that the order was in the store. That was one 5 minutes of my on hold time - the rest was waiting to speak to someone who could set up a delivery date. I never reached anyone. I have two small children who, at some point, needed to be attended to.

I emailed IKEA begging to have someone call me. Several days later, they sent me a formula email apologizing that I was having a bad time and hoping that I would buy from them in the future. The email came from "IKEA" with the subject line of "IKEA.CA". No person actually spent time writing that email. (Although they did plunk in my last name in the greeting.)

I emailed the "Kitchen Expeditor", explaining my dilemma and begging for some assistance. The agent who had confirmed that the order was in the store apparently left a message for her to phone me back. She never did. She did email me back the next day to say that "she didn't arrange for deliveries and to please call the delivery desk."

On November 17th, I spent over three hours on hold and finally - FINALLY- got through to the delivery desk and arranged for a delivery. I was so angry by this time that I shouted at the poor girl. I apologized. They would deliver on Saturday November 21. My window for delivery was anytime between 9am and 4pm.

On November 19th, I came home to a message that my order had arrived and was in store, ready to be picked up. I had to call them back to confirm that I had a delivery date.

On November 21st, the order did indeed arrive. The two guys did not allow me to check the order, or even count the boxes. They insisted that I sign something saying that the order had been delivered. I complied because I felt overwhelmed and bullied, and I frankly didn't know what else to do.

I spent the next 2 hours checking boxes, and 3 pieces were missing. I also had one large box that didn't belong to me at all. I called IKEA, and told them that I was missing part of my order, as well as having an extra box that was not mine. The agent suggested that I come to the store to sort out the missing pieces, and pick them up and carry them home myself. I could have IKEA deal with it, but they would have to open a file and it would be 5 days before anyone called me back.

I googled the address on the extra box, called the owner, and left a message saying that they would be welcome to come and pick up their box at our house, if they didn't want to deal with IKEA customer service. They called back the next day and said that they would rather have IKEA deal with it. Suckers.

I fully realize that I picked that "delivery date" in the first place, but I still insist on asking: if the delivery date could not be moved, then why did they not tell me that on the phone when I asked for it to be sped up? If everything was in stock, why could the delivery date not be moved? Why was it so hard to speak to an actual, live person? Why did I get conflicting messages every time I did actually speak to someone?? And why - for the love of all that is good and holy - does it take at least AN HOUR on hold to speak to someone?? Newsflash: HIRE MORE PEOPLE. And please, if you do, hire people who know something about good customer service. Because your people don't.

The upside is, one of the delivery guys came back with some (I hope all) of the missing pieces. Our contractor's guys were here today, and have put together a maze of cabinet boxes. We are once again moving forward. My nerves are shot. I had to have the phone surgically removed from my left ear. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of IKEA right now.

But we are moving forward.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Apparently, I'm all about the pictures these days. I have lost all grasp of coherent communication due to the kitchen reno.

Two years ago today, I was planning to go for a run after a week off for some muscle spasm that I was having in my back. Instead, I woke up at 4am and got up to go pee, only to have my water break. Three weeks earlier than expected. The result, however, was way better than I could have ever expected.

There are no adequate words to express the joy you have brought into my life, my fun-seeking, daredevil, why-walk-when-you-can-run little man. You are one of a kind, and well worth the daily heart attacks. You challenge the status quo, and I love you for it. Don't change that. You take me outside of myself, and I am a better person for it. I hope this year brings an excess of words. I can tell you have a lot to say, and I'm dying to know what's going on in that quirky head of yours.

Love you, Doodle.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en Triptych

Pre-trick-or-treating. Little G's shirt is wet because he threw a fit when I tried to put a costume on him. Once he got used to the idea, though, he really got into the spirit of things. He actually went to more houses than Big C.

The Pumpkin. Big C asked me to make a "vampire pumpkin" to match his costume. There was a second pumpkin - a scary ghostie - but the candle broke in the high winds and it almost caught on fire.

Post-trick-or-treating. The boys decided it was much more fun to give out candy than to go get it. (Huh??? Not my children, obviously.) They sat on the porch for more than 45 minutes giving out candy. Big C complimented children on their costumes and Little G tried to give them only candy that he had eaten first.
Good times.