Thursday, November 27, 2008


Does anyone in the customer service industry ever help you out anymore? I would have to go with NO! It's Press 1 for this - press 2 for that - then you finally arrive at the place which you hope is the right one and "all the customer service representatives are busy at the moment" - and with my current experience - I'm not even allowed to hold. Instead, I am asked to leave a message and "they will get back to me as soon as possible"!

Well - it's been 4 days!! They need to re-think their soon-as-possible position! Grrrrrrrrrrr.

We booked a trip to Cuba for January - we want to change our hotel - so I emailed the "modifications" people and, granted, they did write back - 4 days later! And with an open-ended question instead of just giving me the information I'd asked for in the first place.

ME: Hello...blah blah blah...can you please tell me how much it is to change to XX hotel including any service change fees, taxes, etc.

THEM: we have two types of rooms - Canal View and Ocean View - which one?

Why for the love of god could they not write back saying "ocean view will cost you XX dollars and canal view will cost you XX dollars - which one would you prefer?"

Because that would be too easy that's why!!! So now I have to wait another 4 days for them to answer my next question....which of course was "how much is canal view and how much is ocean view?"

Normally a few days turn around time wouldn't bother me. But because we're changing our hotel, we have to pay a service "change" fee, and the closer the "change" date is to your departure date - the more expensive that fee is. So already I'm 4 days more expensive than I have to be. Which I realize now is all part of their devious plan to get more money out of us. (cue scary music.....) Thank goodness our trip wasn't next week or we'd be S.O.L.

Also the other day, a customer service rep from the photo company we ordered a wedding print from practically ripped my head off for calling them, when (unbeknownst to me) our print had already been mailed and why was I bothering them? Alrighty then......

Oh, and don't let me forget about last week when my husband had to call the wireless router customer service people (i'm sure that's not their technical name) because his laptop wouldn't connect to the internet. Know what they told him? "We can only help you for one year...after that you're on your own. Your one year expired yesterday. Sorry and good luck."

Customer Service Sucks These Days!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Visit with the In-Laws & Girls Day Out!

This weekend was a nice one. Rich’s dad and step-mom are in visiting from Calgary, and they’ve been staying at Rich’s sister’s place to spend time with their new granddaughter! On Friday night they came to our place to cook us dinner and spend the night. And a wonderful dinner it was! Claire made a delicious salad with slivered almonds and baked pears (it was SO good!) and the main course was coconut curry chicken with rice and green beans. (She made me a separate batch with coconut curry Tofu!) It was really really good, and spending time with them was even better. We relaxed after dinner with a bottle of wine we brought home from Florence (which they were very happy about!) and talked a great deal. We will see them again tomorrow night for dinner and then they head back to Calgary on Thursday.

And yesterday was also a very special day. After breakfast, I drove to pick up my nieces - Kendra (who’s 8) and Harper (who’s 5), for a special girls day out! Upon pulling up to their house, I could see them waiting in the window waving at me and jumping up and down as I got out of the car. I didn’t realize they were so excited to spend the day with me – but they sure were! I chatted with my brother and sister-in-law for a bit, got the list of ‘emergency contact numbers’ – (oh ye of little faith) and off we went for our fun afternoon!

I have to admit – this is the first time I’ve had both of my nieces with me, without anyone else. It was just the three of us. I was a little nervous – they are excellent kids, but they have a lot of energy and I guess my worst fear was if one of them got out of my sight or took off on me or something like that. It made me a little nervous driving with them in the car too – they are precious cargo don’t you know!

But that fear went away as soon as we arrived at the mall and hopped out of the car and they each grabbed one of my hands and said that they wanted to hold onto me all afternoon! So that eased my mind. Of course…it was only a matter of minutes before I heard “can you hold my coat Auntie Leece?” I knew my hands would be full, so I wanted to get a large bag to hold the coats – and what better way to get a bag than to shop for stuff!

I told them they could go to whatever stores they wanted – they could each pick a clothing item, a jewellery item and a make-up item. So “Claires” and “Ardenes” were our first stop. Let’s just say that Auntie Leece bought them each a little more than the initial deal. Headbands, bracelets, rings, P.J.s, t-shirts, dresses; they pretty much got whatever they wanted! But they are such good girls and they continuously thanked me. I feel extremely lucky to have such wonderful nieces.

We started to get a little tired – (okay – I started to get tired), so after a couple hours of shopping, off we went for lunch. I thought we’d go to a nice sit-down restaurant, relax, have some girl talk, but they both wanted McDonald’s – so McDonald’s it was! Harper got her chicken nugget happy meal, and Kendra was lovin’ her quarter pounder and I settled for a garden salad (pretty much my only choice there) but it was fun and we still had a nice relaxing lunch. After that it was back to a couple more stores – a stop for some Kernels popcorn, and after 4 hours of shopping - we made our way home!

I think what I loved most about this day was how happy it made the girls. And I really believe that it wasn’t because of the “stuff” I bought them – but that they enjoyed being with me. They would kiss my hands while we walked – they would tell me they loved me – they would say thank you each time I bought them something and they really seemed to appreciate it all. After dropping them off and heading home, I had a sense of fulfillment and realized just how important this day was for me, as well as for them. I feel extremely lucky to be their Auntie!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Let the Reno's Begin!

Over the past few months, Rich and I have been discussing whether to relocate to a newer house, or to renovate ours. Our house is older and doesn't have the amenities that we (yes, "we") are looking for. We kind of feel like it's not our "dream house", and we want a dream house!

The thing is though, we LOVE our area and we don't really want to leave. I can walk to the beach and there are great hiking and biking trails surrounding us. Also - it's walking distance to the train station which Rich and I use to commute to work on a daily basis. We are steps to restaurants, shopping malls, doctors, dentists, etc. - it's just a perfect spot for us!'s a nice's just "older" inside.

So we've made the decision to stay and renovate! Our first project is a built-in wall unit. The room we are doing this in currently has our tv sitting on two little side tables and besides a couch and an ottoman - there's really nothing else in there. It's a great room with great potential. So we met with a designer/builder the other night and he's drawing up the plans for us as we speak for the unit. Between Rich and I we have hundreds of books (mostly Rich's) so the majority of the unit will be bookshelves, but of course we've left a big cut-out in the middle for the new 50" Plasma tv we'll be getting! (okay...maybe 47" inch....but who's counting?).

The same fellow who's building this for us also does kitchen reno's, so we'll be discussing pricing with him on new cabinet doors, granite counter tops, knocking a wall down, putting in an island - it'll be gorgeous if we can do all that we want to. And let's not forget new stainless steel appliances! We'll finish off with a second bathroom downstairs - complete with soaker tub; two-person stand-up glass shower (wink wink); ceramic tile; pot lights....and we've even been talking about a sauna if we can pull it off!

Little by little we will get our house just the way we want it, and we know without a doubt - this WILL be our dream home! Now...all we have to do is win the lottery and we're good to go!