Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Rhymes With Oranges

In honour of my son B's 16th birthday tomorrow, I thought I would write a story about him wanting to go to a hockey game when he had an exam the next day.

(Oh wait. Already done and published. Click here to read.)

OK fine. I will write about the time B was terrorized by his French teacher, who told him he was so lazy he needed to see a doctor.

(Oh wait. Already done and published in my book. Click here to download and read.)

Alright, I will take him out for dinner to the same restaurant my mother (may she rest in peace) went to for her 16th birthday where the big treat was that she and her friends were allowed to smoke in public, and spent the entire night puffing on their cigarettes while ignoring their $50 steaks.

(Not good. Turns out smoking causes cancer. Teenage boys like to eat. And steaks there now actually cost fifty dollars.)

Plan B. A new story:

Playground. 2004. Five year old B holds out a gum wrapper. What do I do with this?

You need a garbage can, I say. Maybe there is one over there.

Person next to me rolls her eyes companionably. Give it to Mom. Always Mom. Mom is a garbage can.

No. I say to her. I am not a garbage can. I never accept wrappers from my kids. One of the first things I taught them was how to throw things in the trash.

Um she says scurrying away clutching daughter's wrist and looking at me like I have just told my child to make their own lunch.

Eleven years later B comes in from what was allegedly a walk for fresh air an innocent stroll through the park. Mom you gotta see this. Grossest thing ever.

Whips out his phone.

A garbage bag exploded Mom and there are SYRINGES everywhere. Bloody gauze. OMG Mom look at this - some of the syringes still have NEEDLES in them. This is DANGEROUS. Someone has to come and clean it up Mom. I'm calling Town Security.

Looks up number on his phone. Calls Security. Reports disgusting garbage explosion in park. Looks out window. Sees Security truck. Goes outside to meet the guy and show him exactly where everything was found.

Complaint Tie-In:
1. If you teach your children to throw out their gum wrappers themselves maybe they would know how to safely dispose of their bloody syringes.
2. By showing B where the trash can was as soon as he could crawl, I taught him that he can do things on his own, like complain effectively about hazardous waste in the park.
3. If you leave your son in the playground in 2004, eventually he will come inside.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

E Pluribus Unum

Mom can we have something really special for my 10th birthday? asks T.


Like really special?


Special special.

What do you have in mind? 

Can I have my friends over (dramatic pause) and can we EAT CHIPS in the BASEMENT?

Um, yes. That sounds really special. Guess we can cancel the pony.

Also Mom?

Oh, maybe this is about the pony. Uh-huh?

Can I get a cake from CTBY?


Friends picked up, chips eaten, time for cake.

T cuts open cake and it's all white.  

Vague memory of ordering white cake with chocolate frozen yogurt passes through my mind, while vacuuming ketchup chip crumbs from the basement and wondering if a pony would have been so damn messy. 

Next morning am picking chip flakes out of the carpet notice receipt from CTBY where we have clearly ordered a vanilla cake with chocolate frozen yogurt. Also on receipt is an e-mail address.

Take picture of cake remnants. Take picture of receipt. Send gentle e-mail saying that we are above average consumers of Kit Kat Shivers frozen yogurt and that we clearly ordered blah and we clearly received blah blah. I just thought you would want to know.

CT's writes me back. We are so sorry. Please accept a full credit for the purchase of the cake. Gift card will be waiting for you at the cash with your name on it.

Thoughts at this point:
1. My book says to be specific in what you want, I did not take my own advice, and still got a full credit
2. Book also says complaining is more of an art than a science. This falls into the art category.
3. Free Kit Kat shivers. Husband will be thrilled.

Two hours later am at the office. Have already told 12 people about my victory.

Phone rings.

Owner of CTBY.  I was trying to figure out where we went wrong. I spoke to the guy who took your order. He's the same guy that poured your cake. He said you ordered chocolate frozen yogurt, but as you were leaving, your daughter changed it to vanilla. Our copy of the receipt clearly says vanilla and vanilla. In fact, he's saying he offered to change your copy as well but you said don't worry, I'll remember.


So it looks like there wasn't a mistake after all. 

Oh. So are you saying you want the credit back?


Thoughts at this point:
1. Like the fact that owner tried to investigate complaint so that it wouldn't happen again. Like that he called me directly to explain what happened. Feel Super Guilty that these are all ideas for possible book about complaint investigation that I still haven't written.
2. No more Free Kit Kat shivers.
3. If the guy who took orders remembers our conversation, and I don't really remember either way, I tend to believe him more than myself. 

See my Dad that night. Tell him whole long story. 

Well my Dad says. That's Interesting.  There is actually a legal principle that states festinare nocet, nocet et cunctatio saepe; tempore quaeque suo qui facit, ille sap it meaning that if someone remembers something in the affirmative, then it is more powerful than not remembering something at all. So if this guy remembers that T changed your order, it is in fact more believable in a court of law than you not remembering anything at all.

Thoughts at this point:
1. Thank g-d I was nice and not overly demanding because in the end I was wrong and if couldn't show my face at CTBY would be stuck driving to Albany every night to get Husband his Kit Kat shiver.
2. Do ponies eat chips?
3. Hope none of you speak Latin because then you would know that I couldn't find the exact principle my Dad was referring to, and took the most official sounding phrase from the Wikipedia list of Latin phrases.