Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Maybe One Of Those Wrought Iron Frogs In A Bikini?

Husband sells and rents industrial dishwashers and dishwashing soap to restaurant and hotel kitchens.

They also do repairs.

Customer calls the other day.

Dishwasher is leaking. Please send Technician immediately.

Technician comes.

Customer's Partner Sees Technician. Says It's not the dishwasher, it's the trap system drain vent. We need a plumber not a Technician. Go Away.

Customer calls back. Where in the name of lillyfeathers (restaurant guys are delicate as you can imagine) is your Technician?

Technician was there. Your guy sent him home.

Why would he do that?

Well with all due respect Sir it seems like the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

Customer calls again. We need soap! You brought us a dishwasher with no soap!

Hmmm. That's strange. Let me see what happened.

Check with Sales Rep who swears up and down that she sent soap with order, Customer swears up and down that there is no soap around the restaurant.

Sales Rep gets on the phone with Customer and describes time of delivery, who signed for it, and what soap box looks like.

Hey, Customer says. We found it. But now we have a new problem.

What are we going to use to prop the door open?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Full Circle

Check into correct hotel.

Attend conference.

Check out at Front Desk and ask for hotel shuttle back to Airport shuttle terminal so that I can take the bus back to the airport using my prepaid ticket. Remember? From Part One?

I'm sorry, our shuttle doesn't go to the airport bus terminal.

Huh?

Our shuttle only goes in a 5 mile radius. The airport shuttle terminal is more than 5 miles away. But I have an idea for you.

OK?

There's a hotel down the street? The Holiday Inn? They also have a shuttle, it's bright green? They drive to the Airport shuttle terminal. So our van guy can drive you to them, and then you can just ask them to take you the Airport shuttle terminal.

Isn't that what got me into this mess in the first place?

Complaint Lessons Learned:

1. You may think the hotel is confused when they tell you they don't have an airport shuttle but in fact you may be calling the wrong hotel
2. You may not be happy waiting for a van pick up but in fact you may not even be staying at this hotel so the van driver owes you nothing
3. You may be relieved to finally check into the correct hotel but in fact you may not have a lift back to the shuttle
4. Holiday Inn has such amazing customer service that even rival hotels are sending me to them



Monday, 21 November 2016

It's All About The Journey: Part Four

Wait a minute. Maybe you're staying at the Hilton:
  1. It's less than a mile up the road
  2. It also starts with H
  3. It's also on a street that starts with A
  4. Both have a bright green logo.
Let me call them and see if they have your reservation.

Yup. You are staying at the Hilton.

Wow, That's Flaky, even for me.

Don't feel bad, Hon. People do this all the time. Would you like a bottle of water?

Yes. To pour on my head so I wake up.

We will get Mike (the van driver) to take you over to the other hotel.

Oh great. I didn't even tip the guy, now, he's going to have to take me from the hotel I'm not even staying at.

Can I please get some change?

Sunday, 20 November 2016

It's All About The Journey: Part Three

Are you sure you're staying at the Holiday Inn?

Yes. I'm here for a conference.

Oh, the Liver Conference?

(What's a Liver Conference? Never mind, I don't want to know.)

No. The Crimebake. It's a mystery writer thing.

That's not at this hotel.

Questions Running Through My Mind:

1. Do I have the wrong weekend?

2. Do I have the wrong city?

3. How will I write this up for the blog?

Saturday, 19 November 2016

It's About the Journey Part Two

Hi it's Mark.

Are you the van driver? I don't see you.

Yeah, I was across the street waiting to see the bus. Guess I missed it.

Ok, because I think you told the hotel you were here waiting for me, and I was like am I in the right place? I don't see this guy anywhere.

Oh ha ha. Yeah, I meant I was across the street. I'm coming to get you now.

Lovely conversation about labour issues in workplace that I would share with you but was sworn to secrecy under the Hotel Van Non-Airport Shuttle Code of Conduct.

Maybe I will have to give him a tiny tip. Scrounge for change and come up empty.

Get to hotel.

I'm sorry we don't see your reservation here.

That CAN NOT be possible. I booked it months ago.

Fish, you said?

Yes.

Could it be under another name?

(Like whose? Make me an offer)

Scrolling through phone and of course have several hotel reservation emails from past travels but not this one.

Are you sure it's not Evan Fish?

Yes. I may not be able to see an invisible van driver but I definitely know my own name.

I'm sorry Ma'am.  We have no reservation for you at this hotel.

You're kidding.

Hmmmm. Now what?

Friday, 18 November 2016

It's About the Journey Part One

Hotel Reception, Can I help you?

Yes, Hello. Do you have a shuttle from the airport?

No I'm sorry Ma'am.

Check hotel website again.

Complimentary shuttle.

Call back hotel and ask to speak to someone who is actually standing in a actual hotel.

Yes, we have a complimentary shuttle but not all the way to the airport. When you get out the airport doors, take shuttle to bus terminal and our shuttle will pick you up from the bus terminal. Call us when you get on the bus.

Hi I'm on the bus.

Great. Shuttle will be there in 20 minutes.

Announcement over Bus PA System: Airport express bus tickets are bought when you leave the bus. Save $2 by buying return ticket.

Buy return ticket to save $2. (This is foreshadowing so please remember this nugget for later).

Disembark and look for bright green van.

Not there.

(Wait 20 minutes at bus terminal)

I was feeling guilty about not having American money to tip this guy but with every minute that I stand on the interstate waiting for him, my guilt abates about twenty five cents.

Hi. I called earlier about an airport bus terminal shuttle?  I'm at the bus terminal and I don't see the driver.

Let me check.

(music)

He says he's there Ma'am.

Um, ok. I really don't see him.

I'm not sure what to say, Ma'am.

Walk around bus terminal which is smaller than my first apartment.

No bright green van.

Is there any way I can get his phone number?

Sure. (gives me phone number)

Call.

Voicemail.

Call.

Voicemail.

Hmmm. Now what?



Thursday, 10 November 2016

Seven Things You Should Know Before Moving to Canada

1. We don't have hulu. At all. We don't have a Canadian version of it. Oh, That's OK, you're thinking. I will just watch my favourite shows on nbc.com or hbo on demand. Not so fast, cupcake. We don't have those either. Even if they are already loaded on your phone/iPad/blackberry tablet, once you cross the border none of those will work. Don't worry though. If you bang your head against the wall in frustration? Your medical care will be covered.

2. We don't have free refills on soda and coffee. We have them sometimes and in some places, but they aren't ubiquitous. So, like if you go out for pizza, the server may not be appear at your elbow every seven seconds offering to get you some more of that Slice. (Because we don't have Slice either.)

3. Books are more expensive. There is no reason for this. We do not read less, or upside down or inside our igloos. All books, including e-books, cookbooks and used books cost at least 10% more in Canada. Don't worry though, we have libraries. And if you can clear the snow off your car to get to them, I'm sure they're lovely.

4. We have one NBA team and it's in Toronto. Canadians may not necessarily know what March Madness is, much less be prepared to discuss it, bet on it and watch it on hulu. (See? I just mentioned NBA and College ball mixed together! Clearly confused about the finer points.)

5. Hockey, on the other hand, is not a joke up here.

6. We do not have an NFL team. See #5.

7. There is no such thing a Senior Prom or a Homecoming Dance in Canada. If you are in High School, (or you have kids in High School) and you dream of one day pinning a corsage to someone's lapel and posing under a white trellis (or whatever it is Americans do at these things) you may be disappointed. Sure, some schools have dances. Some even have formal dances (where everyone breaks out the "good flannel" just kidding). But Homecoming in the Fall and Prom in the Spring with all the fancy prom-posals and powder blue tuxedos? That's pure apple pie. Oh don't worry, we do have apple pie.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Chad

Here's how airbnb works:

It's an app.

You browse through people's houses and apartments.

You reserve with your credit card.

You message the person with any questions and you make plans to pick up the keys.

Then you stay in their house, use all their stuff and leave it pretty clean but not perfect.

You make plans to give back the keys.

And you leave.

Here's how airbnb worked for us last weekend:

We browsed through and found a place to stay.

We booked.

We messaged a few times and didn't get a response, complained to airbnb and then got a response that day.

We asked if we could check in 30 mins early.

Chad said sure.

We landed and got a message saying 30 mins early no longer worked.

We loitered in a hotel lobby wasting time read each other sub Eurasian sonnets while we waited.

Showed up at the apartment and Chad gave us each a hug. He had fresh flowers, mini chocolate bars and cold water in a carafe (well, three different carafes) by the bed.

We got the keys, asked about parking, he gave us the parking pass.

Next day. We are in his apartment. All our stuff is there, we are out buying sake making the world a better place. We get a message from airbnb saying that Chad has modified our reservation.

Oh?

He's charging us an extra $20 for parking.

Hmmm. That was not mentioned when we met yesterday and he gave us a hug.

(Yes, there may have possibly been some writing on the wall but there were also miniature Aero bars.)

Write back to airbnb and say that I need an extension because I want to check the original terms of our agreement which I can't do from my phone.

Airbnb says she doesn't know if that option is available.

Chad messages asking for the $20.

Decide not to respond because don't feel comfortable having fight with him when all our stuff is in his apartment. Don't want to come home to find my black converse sneakers with black stitching that I got at Target very fancy and important shoes on the curb.

Leave apartment, parking spot and keys at designated location.

Chad lodges official complaint against us because we did not pay blackmail additional fee levied against us after we had already booked our stay.

Chad states that he is being flexible because instead of charging $40 for two days of parking he is only charging $20.

Airbnb rep named Miggy calls.

Explain situation to her: blah blah not responsive, blah blah mini Kit Kat bars, blah blah parking spot.

Tell her I am planning to pay the $20 because I don't want to have a fight with this guy. Plus, karma.

Miggy turns out to be as cute as her name.

She says. Because you are being so nice about this, we will give you a $15, no $20, no $30 US credit toward your next airbnb stay.

And that my friends, is how airbnb works.



Friday, 4 November 2016

Guinea Pig Abortion: The Next Frontier

Please get your placards ready ladies and gents and non-cis people because we have something new to march for. 

Today we have a guest blog from your friend and mine, disaster on toast,  Outrunning the Cloud (aka V). She has so many great stories to tell, but when I heard this one I was like You'd Better Tell it Yourself. But in italics, so everyone will know it's not me speaking.

She wrote the piece.

Fantastic I said. I'll Post It Tomorrow.

(That was six or eight weeks ago)

So here you have a fantastic story that's been sitting in my inbox for way too long waiting to see the light of day:

Last year, my elderly dogs seemed to be aging at an advanced rate, so I wanted to spare my children the sadness of their impending demise. I let them buy 2 guinea pigs for the low price of 35$ each. We lived happily for over 6 months with 2 geriatric dogs and 2 admittedly adorable guinea pigs. As a bonus, except for big bags of hay, the pigs were quite happy eating all the veggies and fruits my kids didn't eat, so I don't have to take out the compost anymore.

Did you know that it's very difficult to tell what gender a guinea pig is?
Well, we found out quite by surprise 2 months ago, when my daughter screamed from the den: 'Mom, something happened!!!!' I was all prepared for a dead pet, but instead, we now had FOUR, yes, four guinea pigs. Apparently, we had a male and a female.

This provided for a lovely lesson in biology, reproduction and what happens when guinea pigs don't use condoms. When my daughters start dating, I will remind them of what happened to Caramele and Cinnamon when they didn't remember to use protection.

Like any good pet owner, I took the family to the vet to ensure that 1) mother and babies were fine and 2) this would not happen again. I was told that we would need to wait for 6 weeks to find out the gender of the babies and then we would decide. This time, I left the 'sexting' to a professional. (yes, that's really what it's called. It predates cell phones. And it's hilarious when your 11 y.o. says she is going to the vet to get Sexted) Turned out they were both boys, so Mommy, aka Caramel, went it for a hysterectomy yesterday. A guinea pig hysterectomy. That costs 347$.

After Rosh Hashanah lunch, I apologized to my hosts and made a quick phone call to the vet, to make sure that our darling little fluff ball had survived the surgery. I knew something was up when the receptionist told me there was a delay and someone would call me back.
When the phone rang, I was certain I would be told our pig had died in surgery. Nothing, I mean nothing, prepared me for this:
'we had to cancel the hysterectomy because when we opened her up, we found 2 almost full term fetuses'

Pro-life supporters will be happy to hear that apparently, vets cannot perform guinea pig abortions. Hysterectomies yes, abortions no.
So I paid 347$ for a guinea pig hysterectomy that did not happen.
Who's joining me in fighting for the rights of guinea pigs to abort unwanted fetuses? Or was she already too far along? Where do we draw the line? And can I start a fundraiser to pay for the NEXT hysterectomy????


Complaint Department Lessons Learned:

1. The cure for elderly dogs is not young guinea pigs
2. Guinea pig non-abortions are $347 but actual abortions: priceless
3. We think abortion is legal in Canada but clearly our work here is not done
4. When looking for new material, check your inbox. You may have a hilarious guest blog waiting to be posted.




Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Homework For This Week Was To Eavesdrop


We are sitting in the airport waiting for our flight to board when I remember that I have homework. Homework that I could be doing right now, instead of knitting a few more rows on the orange hat or finding out who stashed the body in my latest page turner.

I look around to see if anyone is talking so I can eavesdrop.
No such luck.
Earbuds, earbuds and sleeping.
Oh but wait.

There are two women sitting behind me. I can’t see their faces, but I can hear their voices perfectly. I tune in.

“Did you talk to Lisa recently?”

“No, not really.” Accent. Could be Russian.

“Was it a couple hundred did ya think?”

“It was 700.” Yes. Definitely Russian.

“She’s so good at her job. It’s just her personal life. At least she’s not with Zack anymore. I hear his name come up around the office. Are those dried bananas?”

“Plantains.”

“Oh plantains.”

“Plantains?”

 “Awesome. Sure.”

Truth is, I’m more interested in Lisa’s sordid affair with Zack than I am in the plantains. 
 Flight is boarding though, so that’s all we get for now. 
Homework complete.