Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Turnabout is Fair Play

I'm back on my feet after having been less than well for three days. The new man was an absolute sweetheart, looking after both me and my kids as well as doing the cooking and cleaning.

This morning, unfortunately, he is the one not feeling so chipper. He's napping in one room and my youngest is in another, both with rummy tummies. So much for taking the kids to the local pool today for a swim during their Christmas vacation!

All I can say is thank goodness I'm back to my old self and able to care for them both.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Aussies on Ice

I took my kids skating at a nearby ice rink this evening. We had lots of fun, even though none of us is a fabulous skater. While circling the ice in pursuit of my boys, I saw a young couple holding hands while skating. The young lady, a Canadian, was a much better skater than her Australian sweetheart. At one point she dropped his hand to skate ahead, turn with her camera and take his photo.

"C'mon, honey, smile!" I heard her say to him.

His reply - in a thick Australian accent: "I can't skate and smile simultaneously!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Starting Over

How frustrating. All I wanted to do was have my former husband's name removed from the utility bill that is addressed to the two of us each month.

For the last fifteen+ years I have taken care of the bills, making sure they are paid on time and in full each month without fail. Yet because those bills are in both our names, the primary account holder is automatically the man. The result: I do not have a credit history with these companies and in order to put the accounts in my name, I must close the original account and open a new account (for the same home), pay the new account fee, and then fill out umpteen forms to try and avoid having to pay a large "new account holder" deposit fee: $200 for the utility bill alone.

All I can say is thank goodness I always maintained a credit card in my name alone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Are You Flossing?

It was that time again - time for the dental hygiene check-up with the friendly neighbourhood dentist's office. Things started off awkwardly: I had the fun task of informing the dental team that has looked after my family's teeth for years that my husband is now my former husband, after having walked out on me six months ago. He didn't bother informing them of his new address so his dental check-up reminders are being left on my answering machine.

The dental visit itself was fine, despite the disappointment of not getting a prize from the treasure drawer even though I'm still a member of the "no cavity club". I was informed, however, that I should get a mouthguard to wear nightly to prevent the teeth-clenching that occurs in my sleep. In the last six months the recession and wear from teeth-clenching has increased. It's stress-related, the dentist reassured me. At least it got me off the hook for not flossing as much as I should!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Multilingual Storytime?

Lately I've been working Sundays at the library, doing storytime for preschoolers. One Sunday I had a grand total of one child and her mother, and English was not their first language. Painful - trying to encourage a child to sing along when she is staring slack-jawed at you and you're not even sure if she understands 10% of what you're saying.

Last Sunday was a vast improvement. Nearly a dozen kids, parents in tow, traipsed into my storytime class. All it takes is one or two outgoing children to join in with me and then the whole group comes alive. We had a fantastic time reading stories, singing songs, jumping around like bunnies and being snapping turtles.

I also had the opportunity to view my storytime from another angle. My new fellow dropped in to observe. He is European and English is not his first language. Most of the rhymes and songs I did with the children were foreign to him and of course the books were vastly different from those of his childhood. A few things, however, seem to be universal. "I'm a Little Teapot" and "Head and Shoulders" are known in multiple languages. Now that I've taught him the Canadian winter version* of "Head and Shoulders", he promises to teach me the lyrics in three other languages.

For those of you who are interested, I made my own Canadianized and winterized version of "Head and Shoulders". (Please note: a winter hat is called a "toque" and it's pronounced "took" with a long "oo" as in "cool" or "pool", not a short "oo" like in "book". A parka is a warm winter coat.)

Toque and parka,
Snowpants, boots,
Snowpants, boots.

Toque and parka,
Snowpants, boots,
Snowpants, boots.

Scarf and mitts
And a bright red nose,

Toque and parka,
Snowpants, boots,
Snowpants, boots.

Small Miracles

The powers that be in the library system have delayed the roll-out of the new software until mid-February. I'm pleased, but I wonder: what happens to the people who took training back in September but haven't had a chance to practice or even see the software program for five months? Will we all need another round of training?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jumping the Gun

Why does a company insist on having employee training for a new software program, then mention at least once every ten minutes during an entire day of training that the program has bugs and glitches and is still being worked on and is not in its final state?

Why not wait until the software has been customized for the company, have a pilot group test the program and provide feedback, then make final changes before rolling it out to all staff and providing relevant, accurate training?