Monday, August 12, 2013

Rant about email subscriptions

Dear company:

It's not you, it's me. Okay, technically, it's my spouse, but anyway, I have to leave you.  I don't want to, I'd like to change, but you aren't making it possible. You won't adapt, you won't meet me halfway, so I have to walk away.

I'm in email update Hades right now. My husband decided we are going to change web service providers, which is necessitating a change in email address. I've had that email address for a long time, it's tied to my business, it's a part of my communications platform, and shortly, poof, it will be gone. And the transition is becoming a giant pain in the server.

Hey, companies, it's 2013. You have Facebook and Twitter and Linked In and RSS and Pinterest and blogs and e-communications and you want me to subscribe to get all the latest updates and coupons and deals and why do you make it so freaking complicated to KEEP doing that?

If I had a dollar for every time the last few days that I have had to unsubscribe and resubscribe rather than just update my email, I could take my family out to dinner, and I'm not talking McDonalds. We're getting into Red Lobster territory, here. Many blogs, companies and other places now have an "update preferences" option on their e-communications. Make it easy for me to stay with you, why don't you? Every time I have unsubscribe and turn around a second later and resubscribe, somewhere, a computer chip cries. It CAN'T be that complicated to add the feature-other companies have managed just fine.

A couple of companies insisted that I couldn't just update, I had to start over with a new profile. I quit those companies. If they are that hinky about an email, what would their return policy or defective merchandise policy be like?  I grudgingly subscribed to one retailer because, although it's beyond me why, my 8 year old daughter adores their over priced, oversexed $50 for a pair of jeans with rips and holes in them clothing, and I was hoping for a coupon or discount once in a while. According to the chirpy little customer service rep at the end of an email, I had to set up a whole new profile to update my email because they "didn't have the functionality to just update."  Seriously? SERIOUSLY?  Nope, I don't think so. Just take me off the list.

I have a quizillion things tied to my current email address. It's a sign on, a communications channel, a way for clients and editors and friends and colleagues to reach me...and I'm trying to remember all of them and update them. I also have listserves and newsletters and blogs and a bunch of other things that I receive email from. I know I won't capture all the changes, but hopefully I'll hit the important ones. I have every loyalty card known to creation...but don't push me.

So, really, it IS you, company. Get with the program, use the freaking technology or I'll move on. Don't make it harder than it has to be to stay in touch with you, because frankly, this whole process is making me cranky and my kid found and disposed of my candy stash and I don't plan on restocking until the kid is back in school.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


If I had a loonie for every time that word has come out of my mouth in the last couple of months I would be debt free...

To preface things: I like plain clothing. I like well tailored, simple classic pieces that aren't flashy, fancy or too tight. I've never cared a fig for designer labels, mainly because when you have a big bust, designer clothes don't FIT you. Even when I was much thinner, I had hips and thighs and breasts and Designer off-the-rack clothes don't FIT me.

And I don't like to stand out. When you have large breasts, you don't usually have to draw attention to them. More people than I can count have conducted whole conversations to them. Newsflash: they don't talk back.  And confession time:  I was molested when I was 12 or 13. I was fondled on my breasts, and when I slapped the hand away, he said "do you blame me." I was a kid, I was naive and I knew nothing about sexuality etc, and it took me until my mid-20s to put the blame where it belonged. My lasting legacy, however is to cover up.

And to put the cherry on the top, my mother was still telling me what to wear to her funeral on her deathbed, because even at 49, she didn't trust me to dress myself. So I come with issues around clothing.

Enter my 8 year fashionista daughter. Although it's probably my fault for letting her watch the Disney Channel, she wants to look like the teens on the shows she sees. She wants to wear off the shoulder tops, skinny jeans with rips, tops with cutaways, string bikinis and she's never met a bling she didn't like. She wants to wear big hoop earrings like Selena Gomez. Did I mention she's 8...

Clothing manufacturers don't make it easy to dress our little girls as 8 year olds and not mini-tarts. Go into most girls' sections and you will have off the shoulder tops, skinny jeans with rips, tops with cutaways and the like. The skirts are short, the tops are low...what happened to letting our children be children?

I'm trying very hard not to be as dictatorial about clothing as my mother was. That being said, I am simply not comfortable with my daughter dressing like Trailer Trash Barbie. I'm trying to find a middle ground, and we have had conversations for a couple of years about clothing and appropriateness and classy versus trashy. We once sat on a ride at a fall fair and critiqued some of the outfits. To be fair, she asks me (constantly) mommy could I wear that, and I do try to find some middle ground. I'm trying to let her make some of her own choices.

She declared to the whole women's change room yesterday that my clothes were disgusting. She was mad because I wouldn't let her wear a particular top without something under it, and she was lashing out. She still can't wear the top.

But in my heart of hearts, I think she has a point. While I will never be comfortable with cleavage or super tight jeans (Pillsbury dough girl anyone? shudder) maybe I could try a belt once in a while...My mother told me it just made me look fatter and I'm ingrained to just listen. Besides, belts aren't comfortable. I like colour, but solids. I have a couple of black and white. Maybe I could try something more daring. I have a horror of looking like an ottoman. I'm already shaped like one these days.

 My mother based all of her fashion thinking on what the CBC Newsworld anchors were wearing, who, of course, you only see from the waist up. Although it was one of her best colours, it took a lot of convincing to get my mother to wear bright pink because she didn't think an octagenarian should wear bright pink. While my mom is still exercising her influence from the grave, (when I was dressing for my birthday, I had chosen a lovely grey knit dress. Clear as a bell in my head, I heard "it won't look very nice in pictures, dear." and she was right, so I changed...) she wasn't always right. (sorry mom).

I'm sure my daughter and I can find middle ground, although right now I'm tempted to re-outfit her closet with plain t-shirts and plain jeans to eliminate the fight. She is a strong independent thinker with her own opinions...and if I channel in the right direction, she'll be unstoppable. once she's not grounded any more for being rude to her mother...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Snow Day and a Special Needs Child

SNOW DAY!  When I was a kid, I can remember being glued to the radio on snowy mornings, waiting for the magical words "Schools in the Baldwin-Cartier school board are closed..." and then we'd head out for a play day in the snow. Snow days are still magical days for kids...unless your kid happens to have OCD and Anxiety and things like a change in schedule can throw her off for days.

It's April in Canada. It's been a weird year. We are currently sitting under a severe freezing rain warning, and the school boards have just closed all the schools for the day. While I think it was the safe decision, I'm not looking forward to the reaction when my little girl wakes up and finds out. You see, today was supposed to be a retreat day in preparation for her First Communion on Saturday. With school being closed today, it will be bumped to tomorrow...

Fridays are the Kid's favorite day of the week. Friday means art, hot lunch, STEAM program and Tumblebus. If the retreat is moved to Friday,  none of these things will happen because the Kid will be at the church all day. And that will be enough to set her off for the weekend.

She will worry about missing STEAM and Tumblebus. She will worry about her hot lunch and what will happen to it. She will be upset that she's missing art and STEAM. All of these worries will distract her from the purpose of the retreat and will make for a challenging day for the teachers.

This is a little kid who can be thrown off if a t-shirt ends up in the wrong drawer. This is a little kid who can't eat soup and pudding with the same spoon even if she washes it in between. This is a little girl who can't walk out the door unless all of her winter clothes are on, and who has to put these clothes on in a specific order. Having two entire days disrupted does not bode well for her anxiety level.

Snow days are supposed to stress out the parent, not the kid. It's just another challenge brought on by OCD and Anxiety.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dear Toronto Blue Jays

Dear Toronto Blue Jays,

Welcome to your new season. With all the activity in the off-season, your fans have high hopes for a return to the successes of the early 1990s.

What you don't know is you have an added advantage this year, because you have an extra angel in the outfield.

My mother, Myrna, was one of your most dedicated and passionate fans. She knew all your stats, all your names, and read the sports page first every day until she got too sick to follow the game any more. She cut out the schedule at the beginning of every season, and watched every game. She worried and fretted about you like you were her own family. When young players with families were traded, she worried and fretted. When you were injured, she worried and fretted, and would call me to tell me you were fine again and playing. When you played badly, she worried and fretted. When you played well, she rejoiced. Did I mention my mom was 86?

Conversations with my mother during baseball season  were peppered with comments like "I don't know what Cito was thinking..." "Jose played well tonight." and an ongoing stream of choice words and commentary for the time that Ricciardi was GM.  I didn't follow baseball, but mom would tell me all about the game anyway. Sometimes, I handed the phone to my husband so she could have a cheerful talk with a like minded soul.

My mom floored her great-nephews with her in-depth knowledge and understanding of the game of baseball.  She could debate the relative merits of the DH rule. She could call a ball and strike better than some umpires, and she knew that RBI and Earned Run Averages didn't matter a fig unless ball connected with bat or glove when it mattered.

We took mom to games in Toronto a few times, but she liked watching the game on television so she could hear the commentary and see the replays. Besides, the stadium music was too loud.

Last year, the skin cancer my mom had been battling started to win. Radiation triggered strokes that caused dementia. My baseball loving mom couldn't remember how to turn on the television, and if I left the game on, she often asked me to turn it off because it was too confusing to follow.

But she still read the sports page...until the very end, my mom read about her Jays.

I know my mom was only one of thousands of fans, but in the last year of her life, when everything was taken from her-her independence, her mind, her health, her dignity, her apartment, her privacy and ultimately, her life, the Toronto Blue Jays was one of the few constants that remained and continued to bring her joy.

My mom and dad were great baseball fans. They  now have seats in the ultimate sky-box, and if there are a couple of odd deflections into foul territory, you can thank your angel in the outfield.

Earrings and Easter Eggs-cross post from the Sandwich Chronicles

Earrings and Easter Eggs.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Firsts

Cross post from The Sandwich Chronicles.

The Little Things

What I am discovering with my mom's death, is it's not so much the big things that are getting me, it's the little things. The little things stab me in the heart.

My mom's favorite Christmas carol was "Silent Night." I made it as far as "holy night" and then bolted for the coatroom at mass Christmas Eve.

For as long as I can remember, on Christmas Day everything stopped for the Queen's Christmas message. We all sat around the television until the Queen had finished speaking, and then Christmas Day continued as before. This year, I spoke with mom's best friend mid-morning Christmas morning, and she mentioned she had just listened to the Queen's message. When I listened to it later, I broke down. For the first time in my life, I watched it alone.

My mom was a staunch monarchist, and was particularly fond and protective of Prince William. She would have been thrilled to hear there was a baby coming. It was hard not to pick up the phone and talk to her about it.

Hilary Clinton stepped down and John Kerry took over as Secretary of State. That would have merited several long discussions about it. I am a third generation political junkie and one of the last things mom and I did together was watch the US election returns in her room at the nursing home.

The Pope resigned. That would have merited several more long discussions.

I found a perfect dress for my daughter's first Communion at an upscale second hand store. It was new with tags, simple, appropriate and $15. Mom would have been thrilled, all the more so since my daughter loved it on sight.

And the Blue Jays are starting spring training. With the team they have put together and my mom cheering them from heaven, if they don't win the World Series this year, something is seriously wrong.

And when the Dairy Queen opens again next month, there will not be a rite of spring ice cream with mom for the first time in my life.

I miss mom a million ways a day, whether it's finding her handwriting on a note in a box, looking at old pictures or hearing her voice in my daughter's teddy bear message that she recorded. I can handle the big things. The little things hurt.