Sunday, 31 March 2013

Overheard At The Manicurist

Skyfall:  Would your rather be a mother or a wife?
A Petal for Your Thoughts: Oh my g-d that is like just so true.  

Lessons Learned

1. We must all go out and burn our bras immediately
2. It is completely none of my business what people are saying at the manicurist, they are probably both nuclear physicists 
3. Apparently being a mother and a wife are mutually exclusive
4. Careers are like so last year
5. There are nail polish colours named for James Bond movies
6. I had time to get a manicure last week

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Physician, Heal Thy-

Cell phone bill includes charges for texts to Czech Republic.

Closer examination shows a variety of miscellaneous and unexplainable charges.

Husband heroically sits on hold for four hundred hours close to 78 minutes.

Finally gets through to service desk.

Service desk person listens to tale of woe.

I need to connect you to the Loyalty Department, Sir.

Yes. Please go ahead.

But I can't.

And why is that?

Because Sir. I can't forward any calls.  My phone isn't working.

Yeah, I know what you mean. Mine neither.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Complaint About the Dentist

Hate going to the dentist (sorry, J).

Yesterday the big day.

Brought copies of my book to take the edge off to distribute as gifts.

Gave one to the hygienist.

Gave one to the receptionist.

Asked them if I can take their picture holding the book.

Posed them next to dental equipment and asked them to look dental (dentally?)

Framed the picture just right, and -

dropped phone on the floor.

Screen black.

Tried everything.

Screen still black.

By the time my teeth are clean and I get to the receptionist to schedule my next appointment, I have mentally sat in traffic for 47 minutes, circled for 13 minutes to get a parking spot in front of the Apple store, parked eight blocks away in the snow and am sweating in the store waiting for service.  Have also convinced myself that work is on fire, my children are frantically texting me and my husband's phone is also broken so there is no way to reach either of us.

Receptionist reaches across the counter, smiling gently.

I hand her the phone.

Have you tried this? she says, pushing the on button.

No wonder I hate going to the dentist.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Smart, Smart But Dumb, Dumb

My daughter T. turned 8.

Took a few of her friends bowling.

Ordered lunch.

Sang Happy Birthday.

How smart am I.  Great birthday and didn't have to lift a finger.

I am so relaxed, in fact, that I walk right out the door of the bowling alley without paying for a thing.

Driving home I am humming along to the radio thinking about all the reasons this was a great plan.

Trying to figure out how much it cost me.

Oh. Yeah. Cost me nothing.  I forgot to pay.

Screech on the brakes, U-turn.

Race back to bowling alley.

Smile at clerk.

I forgot to settle up with you.

Yeah, I know.

Were you going to call me?



I don't even have your number.

You don't have my number?

(Clerk looks up at me wondering whether I just came from an Active Listening workshop).

But I walked out without paying.  What were you going to do?



(She is now past Active Listening and thinking Rain Man).

It happens sometimes.  People walk out without paying and there isn't much we can do about it.

I guess I'm not as smart as I thought.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Things That Did Not Occur To Me Before I Signed Up For Writing Class

1. Didn't think through the logistics

More traffic than expected but had left early enough that wasn't major issue.

Found spot behind building.

Old fashioned parking meters.

The kind that don't accept credit cards.

No change in wallet, bottom of purse or under car mats.

No cash with which to get change.

No ATM in sight.

Minutes till class starts.

Run up stairs to class and ask room full of complete strangers if any one can lend me some change for parking meter.

Four people offered change immediately.

Learned Two Lessons:

1. Writing students very nice
2. I make a great first impression

2. Didn't think I'd actually have to work

Before first class got email from the teacher.

A Syllabus.


In class she gave us writing catalysts.

And we had to produce, right there.

Plus submit two essays over the eight week course.

And critique at least three essays per week.  According to preselected criteria.  Prepared in writing before each class.

What does she think this is? 


3. Didn't think about technology

In addition to the readings, there are videos to watch.


Are they allowed to tell us what we have to watch?

Is that even legal?

Seems a bit fascist.

Plus the screen on my phone is a little small.

4. And the final thing that didn't occur to me before signing up for a writing class

Maybe I should have taken a writing class BEFORE writing a book.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Reviews Are In

"Why didn't you write 'by' on the front cover? It just says "The Art of Complaining Effectively" and "Amy Fish"! Why did you put those little hearts?"

"Did you want the front to be off-centre?"

"Whose decision was it to make the word ART larger than the words Complaining Effectively?  I guess it will work, but I really wouldn't have done it that way.  The book is about COMPLAINING, not about ART."

"$14.95 for the pre-sale? and $18.95 after that? Well I guess you did your research.  I trust you.  Do whatever you want.  As long as you realize that You aren't charging enough.  It should be at least $18.95 for pre-sale."

"Is that the font we ended up choosing? Somehow I thought we decided to go with something bigger."


This book is even better than I thought.

You don't have to actually read it.

Just hold it in your hands and you start complaining immediately.

I've never been more proud.

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Art of Complaining Effectively: Book Excerpt

When my boys were little, I read an article about how the best predictor of academic success for boys is the amount of reading they do during the summer.

Raced to the public library on a Saturday.

Noticed how under-funded and under-resourced the local library is compared to public libraries in other cities I have lived in.  Felt mildly depressed, pushed ahead.

Got to counter.

Clerk would not let us check out the books.

Library members?


Live in district?


Apparently, paper work requirements had changed since our last visit.

Paper work that could only be verified during business hours.

Can we take out the books and then coordinate paperwork on Monday?


Can we put the books on hold and come get them once paper work is completed?


So you are saying there is absolutely no way we can take these books home because it's Saturday?

That is correct.

Tears welled up in my eyes.

I hate taking No for an answer.

I was not particularly calm.

I was not particularly composed.

May have possibly slammed books on the table and stormed out shreiking at the top of my lungs muttering under my breath.

Want to know what happened next?


1. Invite me to speak at your event and all attendees will get free copies of the book
2. Attend event where I am speaking, and as an attendee you will get a free copy of the book
3. Pre-order for shipping on March 17
4. Order any time after March 17 for immediate shipping

Yes we ship anywhere in the world.

Yes we can gift wrap.

I hope you are as excited about this as I am.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

A Jewish Complaint

When someone dies, Jews observe a 7 day mourning period called a shiva.

There are several rules to a shiva, including but not limited to:

1. It lasts 7 days
2. Mourners sit on low chairs
3. Kosher meals are brought in
4. Mirrors are covered
5. Prayers twice a day.

The prayers twice a day require ten people to be present.

In a pinch, you can use 9 people and a Torah.

Ten people joined in prayer is called a Minyan.

People in the Minyan:
1. Have to be Jewish
2. Have to be over 13

According to Orthodox rabbis, they have to be men.

According to the rest of the world, as long as you are Jewish and 13 or older, you're in.

Here's my complaint:

People who follow no Jewish doctrine, who would not know a mishnah if it came up and bit them on the, uh, arm, hold desperately to the rule that a Minyan is for men only.

A few years ago we went to a drive-by shiva where they would not be sitting the full 7 days due to a pre-planned trip to Miami Beach.  Low chairs - too uncomfortable - pushed to the side.  Mirrors not covered (cling wrap so tricky to remove).

Well, it's almost time for the Minyan, said Mourner 1, sucking the last bit of sauce from a spare rib.

Lemme just finish the Moo Goo Gai Pan and I'm all yours said Mourner 2.

They did a head count.

8 men.

You can count me if you want, I don't mind praying.

Oh, no, we couldn't possibly include you in our Minyan. That's only for men.

(Look of panic crossed Husband's face.

Don't worry, Honey, I won't make a scene.

Retreated to the kitchen where I belong.)

Luckily we were in a condo, and they could send someone to ride the elevators and recruit a sucker a nice young gentleman who would meet the Minyan criteria (of being Jewish and having a, uh, pulse).

Found one suitable candidate. Wearing a Hooters T-shirt.

Someone hand him a book so we can get started.


So let me get this straight:
1. You are willing to sit shiva for a day and half so that your vacation will not be interrupted
2. You don't mind sitting on your comfy couch instead of the standard issue chairs
3. You have a wife and a girlfriend and everyone here knows it
4. You ordered Chinese food with all the trimmings to a house of shiva


The one rule that you are absolutely clinging to, the one rule that will not be violated in your home, is that the Minyan is for men only.

How am I going to change this.

Maybe I need to start riding the elevator.

And wearing a Hooters t-shirt.