Knots.

It’s amazing to me how in tune I can sometimes be with my kids. Mia was nervous all yesterday about a new theatre camp she was doing this week. I had practically bribed her to do it because we want to see what the theatre school is like, and the production, Hairspray, is not something she’s familiar with. But my brave little girl went off this morning without a hitch (amazing for the kid who used to have the most awful separation anxiety). But I had a knot in my stomach. She didn’t know anyone and it all felt foreign. I hadn’t explained to them that she’s really sensitive. And sometimes she gets a tummy ache when she’s nervous. And I left her, clutching a handful of papers, only to notice that her performance was on Sunday, not Friday as we had thought. And on Sunday, we were expecting 40 kids and as many adults over for a barbeque. So do I decide to send Mia to her performance on Sunday with our Au Pair? Leave her at the theatre while we all ate burgers at home? Darian and I settled on making a decision tonight, when she was home from her first day.

But at noon, a little voice called me, reasonably cheerfully, to say that they had asked her to call and check that she was still going to make it to the performance on Sunday. And I said of course. That we would move the BBQ. That she should consider it done. And I asked her if she was having fun. And she said yes. And I put down the phone with an even tighter knot in my stomach.

Because even though she said it was fun, and repeated that when I collected her from camp, I knew that it wasn’t. I sensed her discomfort. And when one of the counsellors asked if she was feeling better, and she said she’d had a tummy ache after her audition, I knew that I was right. I don’t know if it was the grip of her hand, less enthusiastic than usual, or the slight tension in the corner of her eyes that only a mom can recognize. But I knew that she wasn’t completely comfortable.

And therein lies the question: was she not comfortable because I wasn’t? Or was I not comfortable because she wasn’t?

All I know is that tomorrow I want her to have the best day ever possible, and now I have a knot in my stomach in case she won’t.

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Disappoint(me)nt

Disappointment must be one of the hardest emotions to face. It doesn’t have the oomph of anger, it doesn’t come with the devastation of betrayal. It’s just a bad feeling in the heart and a bit of a kick in the gut. You can function with disappointment. It’s not debilitating. It doesn’t allow for heaving sobs or wails of agony. Nope. It’s more of a subtle emotion. Just a niggling little thought in the back of the head. Sometimes briefly forgotten, but often constantly reminded. Not nice really, disappointment. Kind of a disappointment all round. Funny, right?

Yesterday someone disappointed me. Some would think that I’d be devastated. Perhaps even shocked. Dismayed. Appalled. But no. I’m disappointed. Because it’s the same things, from the same person. And I’m disappointed that it will never change. And disappointed that it will never be different. And finally, disappointed in that person’s horrible manner with me and that they can’t give me the love and credit that I truly believe is due.

And so I sit, with a bad feeling in my heart, and a bit of a kick in the gut, and the constant reminder of just how disappointed I am.

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Good

Sometimes I am simply glad it is night.

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Pablo? Is that you?

I just had to laugh at Mia today. She was entertaining herself by drawing in the car on the way back from camp, and was really excited to show me her artwork when we arrived home. Max said that he couldn’t tell what it was, to which Mia replied in her sassy 8 year old way, “Hello – it’s cubism.
Max, it’s a giraffe. “

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Chirp chirp

I’ve recently started taking to Twitter when I’m in a retail environment. Like the other day when I was in the Lucky Brand store and instead of assisting me, or even acknowledging my presence, the THREE store clerks decided it was more important to discuss their Memorial Day plans. Or when I passed the GNC store in the mall, and the store clerk was leaning against the door frame, texting, and cleaning his ear with his finger. That can’t be on brand for GNC surely?

I didn’t hear anything back from either company after I tweeted, but LaShonda from Fedex Kinkos immediately messaged me after I Tweeted a blow by blow account of the insanely bad service as I received it. LaShonda asked what store etc, but then never got back to me, so in the end, I felt that my voice went off into the ether. What a difference it would have made if she had simply sent a message back to say thanks! And ironically just last week the same store lost our printouts. So clearly I didn’t effect any change.

In the past I’ve received a free membership to the National Association of Professional Women whose saleswoman put the phone down on me after I asked if there was a cost to membership before I let her continue with her pitch. And a free membership to Zagats after their wine club sent me wine I didn’t order and the person on the phone argued that I did. Nina Zagat herself also committed that most hilarious faux pas by cc’ing me on an email that I shouldn’t have seen. But that’s an entirely separate blog entry, right?

But wait. This is not about getting free memberships that I don’t want of will never use. The point is that every time a company had made good on the issue, whether something significant or a mere response, it has completely changed my relationship with them. The PR woman at Zagats thanked me profusely and said that she wished more consumers would speak up. Was she sucking up? Maybe. But it worked!

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Winner, winner chicken dinner

I think it’s interesting that Obama, now for the second time, is asking people to donate a minimum of $5 towards his campaign, with the promise of a chance to win a dinner for 4 with him. The winners are picked in a random drawing and get airfare and hotel accommodation thrown in too. Brilliant! I am utterly delighted that our president would use the tried and true practice of a good old sweepstakes to raise funds and influence people. See – marketing DOES work, people! Alas, since this is a good old competition, it’s governed by the same rules as a sweepstake, so they can’t actually require a purchase, or in this case, donation, to win. And not donating doesn’t preclude you from winning. Which of course is hidden in the fine print, along with the link to the free entry. Here you go:http://my.barackobama.com/dinner-with-barack I’ll pick up the check, ok?

I just had to update this based on an email I received this morning from my buddy Joe. Yes, Joe:

Friend –

The President and I have a routine — we get lunch together almost every Friday.

But all I get is lunch. You could be one of four supporters to have dinner with him soon.

Donate $5 or more today to have your name automatically thrown in the hat here:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Dinner-with-Barack

I’m reminded every week that sitting down for a meal with the President of the United States — without TV cameras or a big crowd — is something only a few people will ever get to do.

You’re not going to want to miss this chance.

I wish you luck,

Joe

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Hair today, gone tomorrow

Several months ago I wrote on Yelp about a hair salon nearby that I had gone to, and I felt the service was below par and the salon dirty. Dirty to the point that I didn’t want to put my handbag on the counter and had to ask the stylist to wipe off a chair.

Anyway, a few weeks later I received an email from one of the salon employees. She thanked me for my review and said that I had highlighted some of the issues that the staff was constantly bringing up with the owner. And then I received a phone call. From the owner. Who thanked me for my feedback and then asked me to take down my review. She asked that I call her back. Which I did. At which time she proceeded to say that I was right, but I was completely wrong and needed to take down the review because it was bad for her business and said she was going to report me to Yelp. At which point I laughed and said that Yelp would support me, because that’s what it was for and then she started screaming at me, and I politely said that I was going to put down the telephone. Which I did. She called me back later than afternoon and apologized and offered me a discounted haircut, which I declined.

She is now out of business. For the second time. And I bet it’s no thanks to me. If you run your business badly and are rude to customers, it’s going to take you down. Why not put the ego aside and relish the feedback you get from consumers?

Here’s a great example of exactly that: my co-worker Todd recently went for a haircut and the following day received a call from the salon. They wanted to know how his experience was, and said that if he felt inclined to write a review on Yelp, they’d give him $15 off his next haircut. Now I’m sure they only suggested that after ascertaining he was satisfied, but I think it’s this kind of discourse with consumers that creates a relationship. And $15 off doesn’t hurt either.

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