Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just say sorry! And happy birthday!

This morning I sent two-thirds of my children off to camp for the rest of the week. Different schools, different camps, but exactly the same days. What are the chances? They were both excited to go and I’m looking forward to being responsible for only one little human for a few days. We went to Marble Slab tonight; we can afford it for just three of us, but not for all five. Don’t tell the others.

Things have been pretty hectic around here and will continue to be until we head out on a spring break jaunt to Florida. I fluctuate between feeling panicked and overwhelmed at all that needs to happen before then to feeling calm and in control. Most days the panic wins. And the days – like today – where I felt like I had a handle on things, all sorts of silliness happens. I lost my bank card yesterday, which is a common occurrence because I tuck it into my pocket and then it falls out when I pull out my phone. I have learned my lesson many times except I really haven’t at all. I waited until today to cancel it (in case I found it during the night?!) and get a new temporary card, which is inconvenient because at some stores it doesn’t work for the first 24 hours, depending on their debit machine. And then when I went to get the mail, some good Samaritan had found my bank card and put it in my mailbox.  Doh!

Then I go to the optometrist’s for an eye exam because my eyes have been doing crazy things recently and I automatically assume I am going blind because that’s my biggest fear ever. Thankfully, it turns out that my eyes are fine but one of my contact lenses is the wrong prescription. My prescription has stayed exactly the same for over five years, but now suddenly it was out by .5. The doctor and I were trying to figure out why, and since I had recently opened up a new box of contacts, we came to the conclusion that Superstore must have given me the wrong box by mistake. He said, “Go back and tell them. If we had done that here, we’d give you a free box.”

So I went home, dug through the filing until I found my old prescription. Guess who made the mistake? The optometrist. There was a 2 where there should have been a 7. It was from two years ago and since then I’ve gotten contacts and two pairs of (cheap) glasses with that prescription and I didn’t notice until now. Not sure what’s up with that, but my theory is that my near vision is starting to fade so I’d been testing my vision in each eye separately and knew something was off. 

Luckily the optometrist’s office is close by, so I zipped back. I asked to speak to him but the receptionist – who was very pleasant on my earlier visit – was mean and told me it wasn’t their mistake, without knowing anything about the situation. I eventually spoke with the doctor, who took a quick look at the prescription and said, “It’s my fault. I wrote a 2 instead of a 7. My mistake.” and handed it back. He looked at me like, okay, you’re right, I’m wrong, that’s it. As much as I appreciated that he admitted to it, I’m all about the “sorry.” There was none.  

So I said, “I just paid $95 for an eye exam I didn’t need and now I have to buy a new box of contacts. What can you do for me?” I didn’t even count the two pairs of glasses, the discomfort I’ve been having due to a wrong prescription, and the inconvenience of coming to see him twice in one morning.

He was instantly defensive and said, “It was time for an eye exam anyway.”
Maybe so, but not this close to our holiday when I have a million other things to do.

He said, “I guess I could give you a couple pairs of contacts.”
I guess. He stalks to the supply room, gives me a whole box of contact lenses and walks away.

If I was Prime Minister, I would institute mandatory customer service training. The issue is not that people make mistakes. We all do. Owning up to it is a great start. Why not take it one step further and say, “I’m so sorry. Here’s a free box of contacts to show how sorry I am for your wasted time/money/inconvenience.” I was satisfied with the free contacts, but he’s a really nice guy and we get along well, so I didn’t feel great about leaving on bad terms. If he hadn’t been sulky about it and actually apologized, it would have been 100% better. In fact, I would have left with a better impression of him than before the problem. Mistakes are an opportunity to create loyal customers. That’s going to be my slogan when I get into office. Vote for me. 

Enough with the negativity. It was another beautiful sunny day with lots of melting snow. Here’s a picture from March 10 of last year.

Here we are this year. I love it.

Oh, and please go make nice comments about Jim's beloved Caddy on the previous post. It's his birthday!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Let it Be

Darla asked for a new post, so this rambling report is dedicated to her.

We'll start with today. It was one of those days that make you feel alive and joyous and gives you a reason to go on living. Not that I needed one, but it's always nice to have extra. The temperature was above zero and the sun actually felt warm on my face. Neve and I went for a walk on the river trail quickly before the ice starts to melt and they shut it down. I know there are still two months of sketchy weather ahead; one day can be nice enough to go barefoot in flats and the next day there's a blizzard. All the more reason to celebrate a day like today.

Last night Spencer and I went to see Let it Be, a Beatles Tribute show. We love the Beatles. Spencer is quite passionate about them and probably knows more songs than I do. And I know my fair share, including some pretty obscure ones. The tribute band was actually really good. Most songs sounded exactly like the original. The audience consisted of a lot of older people. There weren't many 13 year old boys to be seen. The most interesting thing besides the concert itself was watching the security guards. They were nice, friendly grandpas who were super helpful with showing people to their seats before the show started but as soon as the music started, they became hardcore security dudes. Photography was prohibited and they made their way down the aisles to scold anyone who dared to snap a picture, even if their phone or camera was long put away by the time the security guy got there. Among other things, dancing in the aisle was frowned upon (in front of your seat was allowed) and it was funny to see their vigilance as they carried out their duties. They would have put the Secret Service to shame. And at intermission, they instantly became the gentle grandfatherly types again.

The couple beside us was also interesting. They were maybe in their late 20s and appeared to be on a date. Conversation was stiff and awkward at first, but then the drinks started setting in. One of them left their seats every 15 minutes or so - and had to squeeze past us every time - except during the intermission, when they stayed seated in their seats the entire time. Shortly into the show, they started whispering occasionally, which progressed into full-out talking the entire second half of the show. They had to speak pretty loudly to be heard over that pesky background music, but they succeeded. The guy also started singing "Eight Days a Week" at regular intervals, but he didn't know any words except the title. Anyway, they seemed pretty comfortable with each other by the time it was over. It didn't actually bother me too much because I could turn my back to them, and Spencer was so enthralled by the music he didn't even notice.

I didn't even want to take a picture until they told us we couldn't, so I snuck a couple. The joke's on me though because you can't even tell what it is.


 The rest of my post is just pictures I've taken lately.  Here's my brother Jim's Cadillac that he's been working on for years. He has possibly put more love and care into restoring this car than he has into raising his daughters. I'm kidding of course, but then again, he has never asked me to take pictures of his children ...

If you like what you see, I have hundreds more. Or if you're the World of Wheels type, you can go see it there in person in two weeks. If the number of people who stopped to take a look at the car while I was taking pictures is any indication, this baby should get a lot of attention.
And this baby turned seven on Friday. She had a hot tub and spa birthday party with her friends while I took pictures of the Caddy. Bella is fun and smart and full of life and energy and we're all pretty crazy about her.

Birthday season is in full swing - my great-niece Nixi turned three yesterday. I missed her party because of the Let it Be concert, but Chloe and Neve went. There were pictures, but right now I don't know how to get them from Chloe's phone to this blog post. She's another cutie that we are lucky to have in our lives - she always makes us laugh and I just want to squeeze her whenever I see her.
And here's a couple of random pictures from a week or two ago. I call them "Cousins" and "Trees." I'm creative like that.

There are lots of other I could write about, like my awesome aunt's amazing wedding (say that ten times fast), Neve's gymnastics competition yesterday and assorted other topics. But I better get to bed with this time change and all. Dale's been sick all weekend, so I'm not really in a hurry to get to bed. He coughs a lot and his coughs often turn into phlegmy situations that I will not discuss further. He is not the greatest sick person and my nurturing skills are horrendous. I'm not going to lie; it's a bad combination. I am praying for healing.