Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Unexpected

My daughter got married last month. I've always told my children that the most important decision they'll ever make is whom they choose to marry. She chose well. But marriage is a choice too. I didn't expect this. Any of it.

I didn't expect my daughter would wear her mother's wedding dress. I didn't expect my daughter would ask me to read Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese." I didn't expect those vows, with hints of tender history and romance and humour. I didn't expect my wife's uncle to whisper this to me just before I went to the podium to speak, "Don't. Fuck. This. Up." I didn't expect to laugh so much, and cry, and laugh again. Or that they would sing that song, carefree and full-throated at times because that's what musicians do I guess. I didn't expect them to swing each other around in a circle during the first dance. As my sister-in-law remarked through joyful tears and laughter, "Who does that except L & P?" I didn't expect people from all over Canada, even the world. I didn't expect people to tell me how much our daughter means to them. I didn't even expect the father-daughter dance. I didn't expect to be the last one to leave the dance hall. I didn't expect that even though I've been a Dad for a long time, it will always be new, again.

I didn't expect to feel this content. Isn't it a wonder that we are always surprised by love? Forgive me: even though I've been parenting for 25 years, I've never done this before. And I'm grateful.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fave Reads 2018

I know it's 2019, but I'm still working on another degree. Yet, the end is near [insert final scene of The Breakfast Club here]. Did you forget about me? I couldn't blame you. Today, I'm working on a bibliography and going through my good reads bookshelf, thus, I rediscovered some of the books I enjoyed last year in and between classes. I once shared my faves at year-end annually, but six months late is not so bad, right? And perchance you might enjoy some of these too? In no particular order:

A shocking memoir
that reads like a novel.
Literally, an education
can save
your life.
This is why we humans
can't have nice things
like rage and magic
fingers; although, we can
learn much from our
mistakes, or can we?
 This is not a
book for just kids. 
Quite often perplexed, I
needed this book, and I
will need it again and again.
Working on rethinking my
attractions and repulsions.


If you're reading this list you
probably love books. This storybook,
by Oliver Jeffers, will grip your
book-loving heart. 
I used to think I wasn't
smart enough for philosophy
but Diogenes would say,
"That's bullshit." Thanks
Astra Taylor (& my professor).

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

going through the wash.

If you blur your eyes, that's me in Grade 4. I went through the wash. No big deal, right? We've all been through the wash at one point or another and another and maybe another too. But we're still here. Faded. Or pixelated. A little worn, but still here.

After several months working on another course, I have some time off. And I'm nearing the end of this Master's degree. So, for about three weeks, I am going to read (what I want). And write. And sleep late. And watch movies. And talk. And talk to myself. And walk. And laugh. And ponder the sky. And ski? And be silent. And be thankful. And be.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Ugh.

Ever wonder what that movie scene moment would be like to cause an explosion and then walk away? Me neither. However, I did discover that when you drive away while still attached to the gas pump, there is no massive explosion. At least not in my case.

Ugh.

Yup. I drove away while still attached to the pump. Gassing up, I jumped back in my vehicle the other morning to resync my phone to the dashboard menu. It took about three minutes and during that time I forgot I was still attached so I drove away. When I heard a noise and noticed the gas pump nozzle hanging out of my vehicle, I experienced disbelief, belief, denial, disbelief, belief and a bowel movement pretty much simultaneously. Confused, I hopped out of my vehicle, checked the hose AND WHAT SORT OF TRICKERY IS THIS? The nozzle has a breakaway feature? And no damage to my vehicle? BLEEPING GENIUS. So I pushed the hose and the nozzle back together. BUT WAIT COULD IT POSSIBLY BE THIS SIMPLE?

I immediately entered the gas station and confessed, and then, like some sort of Dunning-Kruger effect ground zero, asked, "is it fixed then?" I will quote the response of the woman behind the counter.

"Ugh. No. It is NOT fixed. I will fix it. This happens. All. The. Time. Just go. Please go. We should really start charging for this. Ugh. It's okay. It's not that big of a deal. Just go. Just have a nice day."

Her admirable Canadian politeness training kicked in, but quite honestly, she did not give a shit about whether or not I would have a nice day. Nevertheless, I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS GAS STATION MIRACLE.

One final caution: do not assume all pumps have this feature.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sometimes you're the idiot, sometimes you're ALL the idiots.

Not long ago I quickly drove home at lunch to grab something. On the way out my back door, I must have pressed my vehicle's panic button on the fob but when I heard the noise I had no idea I was responsible. Shaking my head, I thought, some poor idiot pressed the panic button...don't they realize the neighbours have two little kids? Rounding the corner heading for my vehicle, I realized the poor idiot was me so I grabbed my keys to quickly press the panic button and deactivate the noise but what I didn't know was that I also had the keys to our other vehicle, also parked in our driveway and thus I activated another panic button. Wait, what?! With both the first and the second panic alarms now blaring alternately,  several thoughts all at once:

  1. What is happening?
  2. Who is the other idiot?
  3. PANIC.
  4. Am I the other idiot? PANIC. Press ALL THE BUTTONS NOW.
  5. More PANIC.
  6. Am I both idiots? Press ALL THE BUTTONS AGAIN.
  7. It's like I'm 96 years-old.
  8. WHY WON'T IT STOP?
  9. WTF? 
  10. I AM BOTH IDIOTS!
And then FINALLY, quiet. Ugh. 

I wouldn't last 20 seconds in The Quiet Place

Friday, February 16, 2018

Dear Ford Canada,

You win.

Despite being assured during numerous phone-calls by your several customer service line representatives that a supervisor would return my call in two business days (didn't happen), by 7:00 p.m. (also didn't happen), and to quote "I guarantee that my supervisor will call you in the morning" (nope), I no longer want to talk to your supervisor. Why? Because I am willing to concede in this big corporation tactic I like to call the-customer-will-eventually-give-up game.

I write this open letter because as I grow older, I vow not to become a grumpy, bitter old man. Let me rephrase: I hope to grow old but I am actively working on preventing the bitterness that sometimes comes with age. I seek not to be a complainer. I do not have grudges I wish to nurture. I do not get offended by everything I disagree with. I recognize and am grateful for my privileges. Perhaps I'm stereotyping, but I want to age intentionally mindful that life is too fantastic and too enjoyable to waste time on being angry. Plus, like all of life's experiences, despite the wrongs, this one had some 'rights' too.

If it mattered to you then you might be pleased that one of the 'rights' included how I was treated by my local Ford dealership. When my 2013 vehicle went into the shop over a month ago for a new block heater, I expected to have it back in a day or two like every other time my vehicle has needed service. Great local service is one of the reasons my wife and I have purchased for each other and our family--and this fact surprised me when I did the math--eight Ford vehicles from my local dealership in the past 25 years. So, when I was told that a hose broke during the installation, I authorized a replacement, and here I am a month later still waiting for that hose. During that time, our local dealership has provided a courtesy car to us, but mostly I have been using my wife's vehicle (also a Ford) for the 2 hour commute I take for work sometimes three days weekly. She has been using the courtesy vehicle. Our local dealership is also installing better tires on the courtesy vehicle because (and I quote) "at no point in time do we want our customers in a non safe vehicle." Fist bump.

Anyway, after a month of searching for a part--apparently there were none in North America--I am told it is slowly making its way to Alberta. Is that little hose-r driving itself? Is it being transported by a donkey? (Oops, bitter moment.) Now remember my vehicle, a very common Ford Escape, is just barely five years old. And consider that some people might not even own their 2013s yet. How then could this part be so rare? About 2.5 weeks into this, I called your service line to beg someone to find another parts source. Nada.

Ok. Patience, right? Exactly. We all need patience. But after a month, I needed one of your Ford Canada supervisor to do four things:

  1. given the timeline, determine if there was any possible way this part could expedited,  
  2. given my vehicle's relative newness, explain how this happened and hear what you might do to prevent it from happening to others/me again,
  3. and in doing so, apply the phrase customer service literally by acknowledging the situation deserves a little more finesse than just a patronizing first level phone interview,
  4. but first, RETURN THE PROMISED CALL. 
But nope. No one called back. This kind of crap, Ford Canada (O you mighty corporation interested mostly in sales not service), is why I declare my defeat. 

Sure, I explored other avenues. For example, I researched the woefully pitiful other contact information on your website essentially designed to undermine human contact. I took the surveys after I spoke to your customer service line operators but they informed me that the surveys were actually my opportunity to judge their phone skills, not assess the INCREDIBLE lack of follow up. (Oops, creeping into bitter again. Sorry.) And so I will continue to wait patiently and thus prevent the bitter-old-man-ness from clogging my veins. 

Or...I suppose there are a few other things I could try including social media or perhaps sharing my struggles with Chev or Honda or Dodge or Toyota? But is the competition any different? Maybe it's time to find out? Another avenue is to never buy another Ford vehicle. We can always vote with our pocketbooks right? That is a tempting option, but honestly, my local Ford dealership has always been good to us. Whatever I do or do not do next, this experience reinforced, at least for me, that customer service is alive at local businesses, yet quite cremated at the Ford Canada Corporation.

In closing, I'd wish you a good day, but you aren't listening anyway. So instead, a good day to my readers. Do what you will with this info, my friends. 
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