Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Almost a Winner

I thought I won something today. I never answer the phone when it looks like a telemarketing phone number, but I read on a contest website that you should always answer in case someone’s contacting you to tell you you’ve won something. Just in case they're right, I pick up the phone and I hear “Congratulations! You’ve won a Las Vegas vacation!” My heart was pounding for a second, until I heard “press 9 to claim your prize.” It sounded a little too automated to be authentic. Sure enough, for only $1200 I could get a two week vacation in Florida (not including airfare). I knew it was a scam, but I paused dramatically when the woman told me the price and said, “What’s $1200?! I thought I had won!” Two nights in Vegas were the free part IF you bought the Florida package. Scammers. But I’m resilient and I AM a winner!!

Speaking of Winners, I went there this morning. The customer service there is atrocious. It’s actually not so much the customer service, but the staff itself. Every single time I am there, the staff is having issues amongst themselves. Today there was only one cashier open, and there was a customer with TWO shopping carts heaped to the brim at the front of the line. She was paying for stuff in separate transactions and it all seemed a bit complicated. Plus she was saying “no tax! no tax!” You could tell all of the clothes were for her. She was about 50, but petite, which apparently entitles you to have the provincial sales tax waived. There were about 7 people lined up behind her. Another worker came to the front, but instead of opening a new line, she and the lone cashier started complaining about another worker.
“Where’s Andrea?”
“She’s on a break.”
“She can’t still be, she was back there half an hour ago when I was there.”
So Andrea is paged. The phone rings. After a short discussion:
“Andrea still has 5 minutes left of her break.”
“That’s what she said.”
“Where’s Cindy?”
“I don’t know.”
Cindy is paged. No one appears. They keep discussing the situation, complaining loudly about all the workers there. They could have rung through the whole line, which is growing by the minute, by this time. I am standing there in disbelief and had to clamp my mouth shut very very tightly. I almost freaking out. Neve starts crying. I encourage it. Finally Andrea saunters to the front, looking very displeased. And THEN, as soon as she’s ready (still looking like she wants to kill someone), the other cashier says “I’m going for lunch now.” Seriously. You know how they have awards for the Top 10 companies? I’m going to start awards for the worst 10 places. That is #1. Well actually they’re tied for number one with the Canada Employment office. Don’t even get me started on that.

Here' s Neve with a coffee filter on her head and a wand.

I was away this weekend at a women’s retreat. It was a nice break and I had a good time. The girls I went with are lots of fun, just don’t put them in charge of an overhead projecter. Dale seemed to manage almost too well while I was away. He arranged for a sitter Saturday morning (he had to work), did a sushi and movie night on Saturday and even took them to church Sunday morning. He asked Chloe to dress Neve, which was a smart move. Chloe did very well, except for not putting a shirt on under Neve’s jumper. Dale would have done the same thing, but now he could blame it on Chloe. When I got home, the house was clean and the kids were happy. The only thing I noticed was that Neve had a bruise under one eye (see photo). The details on how that happened were vague. Chloe said Daddy didn’t put Neve’s hair up, so it was in her eyes and she couldn’t see where she was going so she kept bumping into things. Maybe it’s time our little monchichi* had a hair cut.

Spencer had pond hockey yesterday. He’s still the slowest skater there, but he never complains and just tries so hard. There’s room for improvement on his aggressiveness. I took him to hockey yesterday, and he was telling Dale about it when he got home:
“I had the puck and then suddenly there were all these white guys (the other team has white jerseys) around me. I said, ‘I hope you don’t mind if I have the puck.’ But they minded.”
At home we try (oh how we try) to teach him to be civilized and polite, and then when it comes to hockey we tell him to “GET THE PUCK!” and cheer when he steals it away from the other team. No wonder he’s confused.

*I just googled monchichi to see if I spelled it right and it took me to some hilarious links. They reminded me of all the funny sayings and slogans we saw in Japan and I laughed my head off. You might not find then as funny, but I thought they were worth putting on the Links section on the sidebar. On Engrish.com, click on the first picture and then you can click Next to go through them.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Neve's (almost) Two!

Surprise! Shaking things up with a new look. Time to move on. This template looks springy to me and spring is good.

Birthday season has begun at our house. We had a baby party for Neve on Saturday morning. It was really just a playdate with the little girls on our street but we put up balloons and called it a party. Speaking of balloons, Neve loves them when they’re up high, but pretends to be scared of them when they’re on the ground. She has a certain cry that’s reserved strictly for balloon-on-the-floor situations. She does it at other people’s houses too – once Bailey babysat her at Bob & Jan’s and when I picked her up, Bailey told me Neve refused to play downstairs and that she seemed scared. Turns out there were balloons down there. We have to put them out of sight and then she’s okay. But sometimes when she thinks no one’s looking, she plays with the balloons.

On Sunday night we had another mini-party with some of my family. Neve loves being the centre of attention and plays it up. It’s really no different from any other day, besides the presents. She was quite excited about those and would say “WOW!” and clap. Dale’s mom is coming for supper and birthday cake on Thursday (Neve’s official birthday), so it’s pretty much a non-stop party week.

Nothing more festive than skewered Pooh heads.

Neve sitting in her light-up fairy birthday chair like the queen that she (thinks she) is.

We still haven’t bought her a birthday present and since American Idol is on pretty much every evening this week, I don’t think she’ll be getting one (don’t tell her). She really doesn’t need anything, so I was thinking of buying something for her room. I haven’t decided how I want to decorate it yet, so when I see something I love I’ll buy it and say it’s her belated birthday gift. Believe me, she’ll end up ahead because I will buy her many things with that excuse. Just like I spend my Christmas money many times over. I want to finish decorating Spencer’s room before I start Neve’s. There’s not much to do in his room. The main thing he needs is a dresser. His birthday’s coming up so maybe I can convince him he wants a dresser instead of Batman Lego. He is obsessed with Batman Lego. He plays with his Batmobile and armoured car every single day. But a dresser is nice too.

Here’s a tiny Spencer story: we were at Starbucks yesterday and Neve was being silly.
I said to Spencer, “What would we do without Neve?”
He says, “I wouldn’t laugh very much.”
And the other day, he asked, “If there was a wooden bird, what sound would its wings make?” If anyone has the answer to that, let me know.

I have a new hobby. New people bought the house across the street a month or two ago and I think they’re running a grow op. The only thing I’m basing that suspicion on is that they wouldn’t accept cookies from us. Chloe & I went over with freshly baked cookies one evening, and I could see them watching TV through the window. They heard the doorbell and looked out the window. Chloe was waving at them and pointing at the cookies, but they wouldn’t open the door. What kind of people refuse baking? Throw it away as soon as we leave, I don’t care, but not even answering the door – that crosses the line. The other night at around 10:30 there was a police car parked in front of our house. So (of course) I sat by the window and waited to see which house the police would come out of. Eventually they emerged out of the house beside the anti-cookie house. I have to admit I was disappointed. I was imagining reporters knocking on our door and asking us if we knew anything about the people across the street. And as much as I’d like to discuss the cookie incident, I will take the high road and say “no comment.” People’s comments to the media after discovering a neighbour was arrested are rarely brilliant. “We didn’t really know them but they didn’t mow their lawn very often so I’m not surprised.” or “I never spoke to them except to ask if it was okay if I trimmed a tree close to the property line.” How is this news? Are people that desperate for their 15 seconds of TV time? I suppose I should get off my high horse; those tricky media people might catch me offguard. Promise you won’t laugh at me and my idiotic comments. Or for imagining this scenario in such great detail.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stuck Inside These 4 Walls

We have been inside our house WAY too much the last couple of weeks. I won’t bore anyone by talking about the temperature, but I prefer to be stuck inside my warm furnace heated house rather than have my skin frozen white in 3 seconds. But I have to admit the scenery is getting awfully familiar in here. The kids have been surprisingly good; Chloe is usually able to force Spencer into playing school or something. I try to limit the kids’ TV time, but Neve turns it on and watches it whenever she pleases, which is quite often. The other kids whisper to her to go turn it on because everyone knows she gets away with anything. Funny how she always manages to turn it to Treehouse. Anyway, we left the house for the first time at 5:00 p.m. today to go bowling. The kids had fun. Bowling doesn’t seem to be my special talent. Even with the bumpers up, Chloe beat me. And I was trying. The kids were handing me bowling balls and I was getting mad at them for standing too close to me because I was trying to focus on my game. I really do need to get out more. I did go out for dinner on Friday night, spent the afternoon at the Clarion spa on Saturday, and had people over for dinner Saturday night so it was actually quite a bit better than most weekends.

The kids both finished their Valentines last week. I so love being more organized. Chloe made her own valentines involving lots of foam heart stickers. Spencer used leftover Hot Wheels valentines from last year. Good thing we changed schools (because I’m sure people have nothing better to do than keep track of what kind of valentines their kids received from whom). He started talking fondly about a certain girl in his class and was trying to decide which one to give her. He eventually decided on “the coolest one” because he said he started liking her when they were playing at the Car centre at school. “She is so smart and when she left the car centre, I felt sad.” And who says boys don't express their soft side? Thank goodness for Mama's boys. And Chloe’s been mentioning a boy at school, but she and her friend both like him. It doesn’t seem to affect their friendship; in fact having something in common seems to be strengthening it. I shudder to think how different that situation would play out 5 years from now.

I'm having a mini birthday party for Neve next Saturday morning with a couple of her baby friends. It's a Pooh-themed party, because she is crazy about him/it. My other kids never liked Pooh and I can't say he/it is my favorite either, but I guess it's not about me. We're trying to decide what to get Neve for her birthday. What do you get the baby whose older siblings already have every toy? I'm thinking about a spring outfit (you can't accuse me of being pessimistic about the weather) or a picture or something for her room. Or an outfit for me. She's not going to care. The other children would be horrified (their birthdays are coming up soon).

I haven’t won anything in my contest quest yet. I’m still confident I’ll win something by March. Maybe by the end of March. I haven’t been very faithful in entering contests, so I have a bad feeling that’s hindering my chances. I can overcome that, I’m a winner. You’ll see.

Still not doing great on getting to bed earlier either, but my two hour nap this afternoon perked me up. Not enough to be in top bowling form, but enough for a little extra energy to get my FA off the couch.