COMMUNICATION????

Does it ever occur to you that in a day and age when there are more modes of communication than ever before that we as a society communicate less than ever before?

When I call a business, it rings and rings, then is answered by an automated message which says they are too busy to answer my call. Then I get options, such as hold indefinitely, which often winds up with either my hanging up or them disconnecting me. Or, I am asked to call back when they are less busy; the funny thing with this is, I can call 311 at 3 a.m., and still receive the same message that they are receiving higher than normal calls, and I should call back at a time when it is less likely to be so busy. Really?
And how often have you been put on hold, only to then hear a dial tone? And that after waiting for over ten minutes in the first place? Not to mention the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing, so they must continually transfer the call to someone else who doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on or how to help you.

Have you ever been in a restaurant where you see two people on a date, but one is on their cell phone the whole time? But don’t blame cell phones; years ago I was at someone’s apt. and he had a crush on me, so this was his chance to get to know me, maybe get a little closer, when his phone rang and he not only answered it, but chatted for over ten minutes before then going to his bedroom to talk more privately. I was a mope, who did like him, but after yet another 15 minutes with no indication he was returning any time soon, I left. About an hour later, he came knocking on my door (as we lived down the hall from each other) and apologized. Well, sorry, Charlie, the boat has left the harbour and you are no longer a passenger.

I walk my dogs and pass numerous people whom I’d like to say hello to, just as a friendly gesture, but of course, most don ear buds so my greeting would fall on deaf ears, as they are either on a phone call or listening to very loud music. Most times, they are looking straight ahead, thus ensuring nobody tries to initiate any kind of communication.
Then there’s call waiting, where my call must be put on hold so the other person can find out who else they could be speaking with, who might be more interesting than I. Of course, I understand when the person with whom I’m speaking is expecting a call, as I’ve had to put people on hold, but I don’t keep them there for extended periods of time. If it’s something important and will take time, I go back to the first person and explain and ask if I may call them back. That way they’re not waiting and waiting. On the other side of the coin, I’ve told people I’d just be a few seconds, and am true to my word only to return to said person to find they’ve hung up. Impatient much are we?

Then there’s the internet which seems to have taken over common sense altogether. We used to get actual invitations in the mail (that’s right, the word is invitation, as the word invite is a verb and invitation is a noun, so please don’t be so lazy as to drop the mere two extra syllables.) We actually received an invitation to a wedding, and a thank-you, also via e-mail. HOW RUDE!!! Maybe this is the wave of the future, but it’s a future of which I want no part. The only reason I can see for sending Christmas/birthday, etc. types of cards via e-mail is if the people to whom these are being sent are not close to you, and/or you don’t have their address.
In conclusion, I wonder if all the cell phones were suddenly gone, and the call waiting and the internet, if we might not just begin to again communicate in earnest with one another, you know, maybe even face-to-face. Even Skype, is at least that is face-to-face and great for instances where people are distant, this is a better way of communicate. I feel this is especially great when it comes to world leaders who wish to discuss climate change and pollution, but do so by taking a car to the airport, a plane to the city where the talks will take place, a car from the airport, and the reverse after all the blustering is done. Isn’t that a little like serving booze at an AA meeting or junk food at a diet club meeting?

I don’t know what this world is coming to, but it seems we keep taking one step forward and two steps back; as J.B. Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful wrote, it’s a crazy dance.

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Should we or shouldn’t we; that is the question

There are many concerns with respect to bringing refugees into our country/province/city. Of course, everyone is terror-fied about the possibility/probability that some who enter will be members of ISIS or Al Queda, but there are more concerns abound.
My husband and I live in Toronto, and our crumbling infrastructure will not support 10,000 more people, regardless of from where they stem. I am also wondering if these people are being questioned as to what their prior lifestyle was, to find out if living in a big city will be best for them, or if they will be most uncomfortable and would prefer somewhere more rural. Many may have been farmers and would prefer living where they could farm, raise animals, be somewhere more in keeping with the lifestyle which they had back home. To assume everyone wants to live in a big city is wrong.

I also fear for many who will not be welcomed, as they have forgotten the adage, there but for the grace of God go I. And if you don’t believe specifically in “God” feel free to substitute whichever deity in which/whom you believe.

Something else to consider is how many terrorists are already living in our neighbourhoods. We cannot assume everyone living in Canada is a good person, is someone happy with the adage live and let live. Many use religion as an excuse to hate others, and sometimes, hurt or kill others. I also like the saying; I don’t agree with your way of thinking/believing, but I’ll fight to the death your right to believe. Well, I won’t fight to the death, but I do respect the rights of others to believe differently, to pray differently. I only ask that it not be taken to extremes, which means don’t deface temples, churches or mosques or fear that which is different so much you feel you must destroy that which stands as a representation of other people’s belief systems.

The problem is, past governments have encouraged people who emigrated here to keep their lifestyles and customs, rather than encouraging them to fit in, you know, like the old proverb; when in Rome, do as the Romans. Often people want to become acclimatized, but for a few s-disturbers who expect, nay, demand that Canada change her customs to suit them. Hence, for the past few years, we were forbidden to say Merry Christmas for fear we’d be seen as racist but that’s no longer the case. I told Walmart at that time that if they can have a sign reading Happy Diwali, and are more than happy to take my money for Christmas gifts, then they should respect those who celebrate Christmas. There is nothing wrong with saying Merry Christmas, and anyone who could ever possibly be offended by being wished a Happy anything has a problem; just stop trying to make it an issue of racism. Canada is a Christian-based country which welcomes all other cultures and religions, but when these refugees are brought in, I can only hope they will love Canada, appreciate that we rescued them, and adapt to our way of life, including the use of soap, anti-per spirant, mouthwash or at the very least, breath mints. And regardless of what your custom is for dressing, it’s only common sense that in winter, people wear winter coats, boots, etc. To continue to wear thinly made clothes and sandals or flip-flops is just plain idiocy.

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IF YOU CAN’T ACCEPT SOMEONE FOR WHO THEY ARE, CAN/SHOULD YOU TRY AND CHANGE THEM?

In this day and age, with so much knowledge and ability to garner knowledge, there is no excuse to hate anyone just because you don’t understand why they are/pray/look the way they do. I have always felt that hate stems from ignorance, and that doesn’t mean someone is stupid, but doesn’t have enough facts for an informed opinion. There are also those who have incorrect information and choose to believe it as it supports their already skewed belief system.
A great example is how many religious zealots truly believe that homosexuality is a disease which can be cured with prayer. I always ask people to put that to a test. I close my eyes, and when picturing someone to whom I sexually attracted, realize if I picture someone of the opposite sex, I’m heterosexual, and if I picture and get aroused by someone of the same sex, all the prayer or beatings in the world won’t change that; it’ll merely be prudent to say what someone who is beating me wishes to hear. The same goes for those who are uncomfortable in the gendered body in which they were born. I again close my eyes and if I feel feminine, then great, as I was born female. But if I were to feel with every fibre of my being that I was masculine, then there would be a very large problem. Now some people may be content to dress as the opposite sex, but many such as Renee Richardson, suffered too greatly to continue to be trapped in the wrong body.

Still, many don’t believe this and as such, hate anyone who doesn’t live according to their belief system; those are the people for whom I have great pity. I have a hard enough time living up to my idea of how a good and decent person should behave, let alone demanding others live up to that expectation. We are none of us perfect, and as such, need to accept people (and ourselves*) for whom and how they are. Of course, there are exceptions, such as paedophiles, rapists, murderers, thieves, drunk drivers, etc., but I digress. I understand many have problems with limiting their intake of alcohol, and while I disagree that this is inherent, or a disease, I do believe these people should be allowed to just go off and get as drunk as they want. That said, there are many problems which arise when someone is an alcoholic; many have a very bad temper when drunk, I being one of those people. I luckily got very bored with getting drunk on a daily basis, and thankfully gave it up, and never had a license during that time. This is a good thing as driving while drunk was once considered cool; that is until someone got hurt or killed. While I was nasty when drunk, and said some mean things to people, thankfully I stopped before I really hurt anyone. I am not one given to violence, therefore I was not likely to physically injure anyone, but that isn’t true of many others who have issues with booze. I have a relative whose grandfather was an alcoholic and her mother, his daughter slept with a knife under her pillow, for fear of what he might do while intoxicated. Sadly, and I feel this goes more to learned behaviour than alcoholism being either a disease or inherited, my relative’s mother became an alcoholic as well. While her mother wasn’t predisposed to violence, she wasn’t pleasant to be around, and ruined many family gatherings. And as I said regarding learned behaviour, my relative also grew up to have a drinking problem, and married someone who was more than happy to join in on the drinking. Said husband did not have anyone in the family who drank; overate, certainly, but as Manischewitz wine was what was served during holidays, it was much too sweet to ever turn anyone into an alcoholic, thus confirming, at least in this instance that alcoholism is a learned behaviour.

Thankfully, this couple doesn’t drive when inebriated, but their tempers do flare up, that’s for sure. In instances such as these, yes, it is wise to try and have people change or at the very least, alter their behaviour. The same is true with respect to overeating, and both these behaviours have things important in common, such as the effect of these “habits” on family, friends and careers. How, you might ask? Well, someone who destroys their liver as is the case with many alcoholics, as well as someone who becomes diabetic and has other health issues as is true of many who are obese becomes a burden on the health care system. A case in point is a chap with whom I worked many years ago. He drank, ate and smoked to excess, then needed by-pass surgery. His physician refused to treat him unless he got all his habits under control, and lost weight as well. This man did as his doctor demanded, had the surgery and within mere weeks, was back to all three habits. My question is; what happened thereafter, and if he again needed medical care, did his doctor refuse him, or did he make the same demands, knowing that once the treatment was over, so would this man’s control? Soon after this man’s return to work and his bad habits, my assignment at our place of work ceased, so I’ll never know, nor will I ever know if he lived long enough to require further medical attention. But medical requirements aside, there are the effects on these people’s families as they watch their loved ones drink/eat/smoke themselves to death.
I have maintained a weight loss of over 100 pounds, and realize how much of a burden I was to my husband. As I was so obese, I couldn’t do many things, which meant my husband had to pick up the slack, such as having to do all the snow shovelling, heavy housework; and when we were on vacation, there were many things I wasn’t able to do, and as such, my husband either lost out or did them alone. I also felt embarrassed for him when he introduced me to friends or co-workers, and was often taken to be his mother. You can imagine what went through people’s minds when they saw us kissing, and many admitted they thought my husband and I were very sick, not to mention shameless for kissing in public.

This leads into the habit of smoking and why it is so bad for everyone. First, the impact on the health care system, next the impact on loved ones who are around them, and that includes pets who are at the level where the smoke is directed right at them when smokers are seated, or in an enclosed vehicle. Next is having to endure the smoker’s endless coughing when those who are heavy smokers. I know of people who smoke though they have Asthma, and when they waken, spend several minutes hacking up what sounds like a lung. And what do you suppose they do in between coughing jags? Yup, light up another cigarette. Then there’s the cost of higher insurance premiums, and the risk of these people falling asleep while smoking and setting their homes ablaze. I was friends with one such person, and he not only killed himself, but his sweet little innocent, helpless and defenceless dog.

The problem lies in trying to get someone to change where there is no desire. I have a relative who was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I too was diagnosed with that when I was seriously overweight, and that was one of the factors I took into account when I decided I had to make changes in my life. I staved off the disease which follows; Diabetes. Sadly, my relative did not, and became diabetic, and had to take pills. Well, many, as did she, feel that as long as they can take a pill, why not stay on the same path. The problem is, it doesn’t (and didn’t) end there. The next problem is when she had to start injecting herself with insulin. At first, it was once a day, and then became several times a day. Now a few years later, still refusing to change her diet, this woman is blind in one eye and has a large blood clot in one leg leaving her unable to walk and she is now in a wheelchair, can no longer get in and out of a tub so has to take showers, and has a devil of a time doing the crafts she used to enjoy. Worse than that, she is in danger of losing her leg, as was the case with the late and beloved comedienne Totie Fields, who eventually succumbed to her illness. My relative has to have a nurse come in to tend to her, is often taken to hospital as her health is steadily declining, but still, she will not eat healthfully. Truly, there is nothing anyone can do if someone won’t help themselves, but the fact that some people’s habits effect so many in so many ways makes it difficult to just say live and let….

Where it is best to accept others for being different is when it comes to religion, politics and other belief systems, but again, only if they don’t try to proselytize others, or kill in the name of their belief. I just read of a young woman living in Afghanistan who was found guilty (was there any evidence?) of adultery and literally stoned to death. First, no-one should die for this so-called crime, second, as I wrote, was there any evidence? In countries such as this, often all one needs do is point a finger, much like the Salem witch trials, and they are found guilty and murdered. And third, what happens to the man in these instances? And let’s be honest, if she was guilty, was it not because women are forced into loveless and often violent marriages? Then you have government sanctioned and likely ordered atrocities being perpetrated against gay men in Russia. I learned that what they do is set up a date with someone and when the person arrives, they are beaten, often to death by a group of those who hate gay people. The saying which comes to mind in these instances is; Me Thinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much.” Who are gay people hurting, other than those who pretend to be straight and then, after years of marital hell, finally admit the truth. I understand how hard it must be in many instances to confess to being gay, but in this day and age, at least in North America and some other continents, being gay is no longer the big deal it once was. And in many instances, some who are gay and think they are in the closet are more like ostriches, as they think no-one knows they are gay, but EVERYONE knows. An example is, Danny Pintauro of Who’s the Boss. From the first time he spoke, I knew he was gay, and everyone knew with people such as Ellen Degeneres, Jane Lynch and Rosie O’Donnell. Now yes, there are those who shocked many, though some say they knew, I was surprised when Meredith Baxter told of being a lesbian. But I ask you; in what way does that have any effect on anyone but her immediate family? And who are any of us to judge? If it truly offends you, I have an idea…don’t watch any shows she is, was or will be in. As someone once said with respect to movie stars, just because you pay $12 to see their movies doesn’t mean you have ANY right to judge them or tell them how to live.

To wrap this up, we are all just people trying to survive in a dog-eat-dog world, and most of us do our best to live and let live, and accept each other as we are. But those who don’t, won’t or for some reason can’t, I suggest you remember these words; judge not lest ye be judged, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and my favourite, there but by the grace of God goes I. In other words, each of us has something about us, or something we do, or believe in of which many disapprove, so before we go casting aspersions upon others, we’d do well to remember that it could be any of us that someone deems wrong and decides to take action. Are you prepared for the wrath of others? I know I’m not. Think about it. If you believe in a deity, isn’t it for them to decide what action, if any, must be taken? Are we not all created in his/her image? If you want to rail against some, choose those who are actually harming people by their actions, and try not to cause harm to anyone while trying to change them.

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The best way to run a campaign

Well, our (Canadian) Federal election is all over, and I hope that those in other countries who are plotting their election strategies will learn from this election. The funny thing is, a few years ago Rob Ford (yes, THAT Rob Ford) was running for mayor of Toronto. As we would drive around our city, we saw many signs defaming Mr. Ford, everything from attacks on his history as a councillor to making fun of his girth. Now Mr. Ford had two options; he could have gotten down in the mud with his opponents, and slagged them off, siting their time as councillors, or whatever. But he took the honourable route and instead only told of that which was wrong at City Hall, (but not naming names) and that which he planned to do in order to make Toronto a better, more economically balanced, responsible and accountable metropolis.

Mr. Ford chose the latter and it was exactly the right strategy. People are all too aware of that which is wrong in government, and don’t need to be reminded. What people want is to know what those vying for that position will do differently. Well, it worked and Mr. Ford became our new mayor, winning by a landslide. Of course, that which went awry came later, and has nothing to do with my point, which is running a clean campaign.
This was the case with our new Prime Minister, Mr. Justin Trudeau. He could have slung mud with the best of them; goodness knows there was much at which he could point his finger. But instead of looking at the past, P.M. Trudeau focused on the future, and what his vision for Canada’s future was.

There are those who remember his father, the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, some with fondness, others not so much. Of course, now people are going to compare Justin to his father, and there will be many who think he can’t measure up, others who think he’ll surpass his late father’s record, and those who will simply treat Justin as his own person. I personally choose the latter. I know I wouldn’t wish to be compared to a famous parent, or sibling, or any relative. I wouldn’t wish to be seen as merely a younger, latter day version of anyone. I mention this as this will surely be the case when Hilary Clinton is running, and she will of course be likened to her husband, former president Bill Clinton. I’m certain she has learned much from his days as president, but I also think she has much to bring to the table of which she learned when Senator of New York.

Naturally as the U.S. is a much more densely populated country than Canada, there are more issues, more people to please, more opponents who will want to, shall we say, mud wrestle. I can only hope Mrs. Clinton will rise above all of that and focus on the job for which she is a contender; that of getting the U.S. out of debt, out of combat and into a more peaceful and economically profitable future. I dare say, there is much ammunition should she decide to go the other route. I mean really; Donald Trump??? That in Canada would be the equivalent to having Don Cherry run for the office of Prime Minister. Both are good for a laugh, but hardly credible as the leader of a world power.

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If you want to get totally frustrated, try dealing w/ the government and/or Amazon

As I have written, had illustrated and published the first in my children’s book series, I thought the best way to try and market it would be on Amazon. They have an American site as well as a Canadian site. I wondered why I wasn’t selling any books, and upon going to my listing, found that it was inactive, and showed that there were no books available and won’t be for the foreseeable. I was nonplussed, as I have over 400 copies sitting in my basement. I tried getting an answer from someone at Amazon, but received two totally different reasons for my site being closed down. The first reason was that as my book wasn’t selling, they closed it due to inactivity. I told them, it’s like trying to win the lottery without buying a ticket…not going to happen.

Then I learned they wanted my Social Security Number. I told them I am Canadian and don’t have a Social Security Number, but rather a Social Insurance Number. As well, I am selling on Amazon.ca, not Amazon.com, and lastly, I am selling as a business, not as an individual. After much haranguing, back and forth, getting angry at their lunacy and lack of ability to comprehend, I found that they said they must pay taxes on my account. I told them I will collect and pay the taxes, they are not responsible, but they said they must pay on all those who have products on their site. Regardless, they don’t need my SIN, so I tried to get verification of this by contacting Revenue Canada.

Well, that’s when the frustration began. I called the first number, and the person referred me to another number. That person referred me to yet another number, who referred me back to the first number. I called seven different numbers in total, and not one of them could give me a straight answer. Is it any wonder people were recently messed up by having been given erroneous information when filing their income tax return? The left hand hasn’t got a clue what the right hand is doing, and truth be told, I don’t think the right hand knows what the right hand is doing, and the same for the left hand.
So I have now written again to Amazon, after finding on their site the following information:
Amazon is required to file Form 1099-K in U.S. dollars (USD) for U.S. taxpayer sellers who meet the following thresholds in a calendar year:
• More than USD $20,000 in unadjusted gross sales, and
• More than 200 transactions.

So I’m now waiting to hear from them as I’ve sold only two books, and as such, am so far from having sold 200 books, or having made (laughing) $20,000 worth of sales, it’s ridiculous. I asked them, how the *(&) am I supposed to sell anything WHEN YOU’VE CLOSED MY ACCOUNT????? I’m sorry, but between the no-minds of our revenue agency and the idiots at Amazon I’m about ready to call it a day. I really hope I get someone with at least an IQ over 35 when they finally respond to my query, but one thing is certain; they are never, EVER getting my SIN, and will never convince me they need it. Personal information such as someone’s SSN or SIN has nothing to do with a company doing business, period, end of discussion. Oh, and did you notice the words U.S. TAXPAYER SELLERS? It’s rather obvious they didn’t, as I’ve told them over and over ad nauseam that I am Canadian, selling on Amazon.ca, the ca being Canadian, and am selling in Canada. I mean, do they even bother to read their own terms & conditions?

I used to think highly of Amazon, but now….

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Our Planetarium

I live in Toronto, Ontario, which tries to pass itself off as a world class city. In some instances, I suppose it is, as we boast a large museum, large art gallery, opera house, and many theatres which offer Broadway and off-Broadway shows. We’ve recently put in a huge aquarium and have a zoo which offers the animals large, more natural enclosures rather than old-style cages.

That said, when I first came to Canada, back in June, 1973, one place I loved to visit over and over was the Planetarium, which was attached to the Royal Ontario Museum. For one ticket, I got to see either a laser rock show, which was a spectacular light show to bands such as Pink Floyd, or a lecture which told of the stars and planets in our galaxy, as well as giving access to the museum.

As is the case with all structures, the Planetarium was in need of maintenance which of course costs a fair amount of money. Those in charge had two options: come up with the money, or close. Sadly, they chose the latter.

So now, we tell the world how impressive the Canadarm is, which was used in many space missions, of our heroic astronaut Chris Hadfield, and expect students to strive for such achievements and hopefully either make it into outer space or design/help develop more initiatives such as the Canadarm. That said, wouldn’t it be worth the investment to re-open the Planetarium, which still has the enormous telescope with which to view the heavens, and pique the interest of those whose futures are as yet defined?

With today’s technology, I’m sure the laser shows would be even more spectacular, and as there are more bands today, light shows could be set against bands which appeal to both today’s youth as well as boomers, and even those who enjoy classical music. This would attract not only those living in Toronto, but tourists as well, especially those living in places which do not have anything like our spectacular Planetarium. It would bring much needed money to our city, and give the perfect venue for lectures by Mr. Hadfield. Schools used to and could again, organize field trips for students to learn about astronomy and perhaps follow in Mr. Hadfield’s footsteps and become tomorrow’s number one astronaut.

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When so-called seasonal items are no longer available

Did you ever try to find something which is ridiculously considered season, but truly is something which, in this instance, is something which may be eaten year round?

There is an iced cream store, which though a bit pricey, gives huge scoops and has an awesome selection of flavours from which to choose. This store, however, closes for the winter. As well, Dairy Queen also closes many of its locations for winter. So if we were to examine this policy more closely, what is being presumed here is that barely anybody eats iced cream in winter, and by that logic, all the Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, Second Cup stores, etc. should close for the summer, as obviously nobody drinks anything hot in summer. Of course, they could remain open and only sell iced coffee, iced tea and the like.

What got me started on this path of insanity is that all our corn boats have broken, and danged if I could find any in any of the stores, as this is considered only for summer. I was told in one store to return in spring. I guess people won’t find any propane for their barbeques either, as of course, no one would ever dare to use their barbeque in winter, regardless of how warm a day or evening it might be.
I also had a problem one year, when my husband Greg and I were going away for a week, to a warm, sunny locale. I, however, having lost a lot of weight, needed a bathing suit, but again, that is only for summer. Does that mean not only does everyone remain all winter in the cold climes, but they don’t even go to indoor pools?

When it comes to foods and/or clothing being seasonal, I wonder then, why I can still get Cadbury Easter eggs all year long. Boggles the mind, wouldn’t you agree?

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Integrity, or the lack thereof

Is it I or have people stopped having integrity when doing business? My husband and I were selling a 1996 SVU and when we posted it on Craig’s list and a couple of other places, the responses, such as they were, came from those wishing to get almost literally, something for nothing. There wasn’t that much which needed repairs, and for maybe $1,500 or $2,000, this could have run another few years. But instead, we had to call a scraper, and wow, I swear they are in cahoots. How else can one explain that on the one hand, they say they only want the metal, of which there is much when speaking of an SUV, but on the other hand, they want all the parts. I asked why they care about parts if they are only going to use the metal? I got varying answers, and one guy even came out, all ready to give me the money, but then lay on the ground, and complained that he thought the catalytic converter wasn’t original. Huh?

Who the heck cares, you’re only going to crush the car and recycle the metal…or is that just what these companies all say, in order to buy a good vehicle and either repair it and sell it for a lot more than what they paid, or sell off the parts. Either way, integrity is sorely lacking, as one person had the nerve (get this) to say though he’d offered me $400 last Thursday, now on Monday, the price of metal has drastically come down and he can only give me $350. You needn’t ask what my response was, but there were some choice words, like thief, arshole, etc. And then I slammed down the phone and I hope I hurt his eardrum. I had called another place, and he didn’t answer, nor was there a way of leaving a message, so I hung up. Within two minutes he called back and I told him what I wanted. He then asked what the best price I’d gotten was, as he was offering the same as the last three places I’d called. He said he’d add $10 if I let him do the job. I said fine, he could come the next day. Well, the next day came, and was starting to go, so I called and asked what was happening. He said he’d come after 5. So again, I waited and waited, and the day ended, the next day came and went as did the following day. So on Monday, I left a message that I was very annoyed that he practically begged that I use his service, and now he can’t be reached and didn’t even have the decency and respect to let me know what was happening. So today, Tuesday, as I’d been forced to make arrangements with another company which I’d contacted, but was paying less, were due to come yesterday, and again, nobody showed up and though I’d called thrice, nobody let me know they weren’t coming.

So today I called and I was hoppin’ and what did this creep say? First he said he’d forgotten, which is total b.s. as no-one could forget when they’d been called thrice. Then he said his guys couldn’t pick up the car in the rain. Really? Tell that to all the towing companies which come out in all weather and tow vehicles from wherever they’ve broken down. Finally he said he’d send someone, and when someone called, I thought it was from the first company and when offered the lower amount, I was upset and said no. So now the second company was ½ hour late, and when I called, he said I’d told his guy not to come. Never did the man with whom I was dealing say that he’d contract out the job and that person would call to arrange his coming. Well, I said to send the guy, and thankfully he came soon after I’d called, and though we had some problems getting our Alex out of the driveway, as Alex was facing forward and he needed to be in front of the vehicle in order to tow him, we managed to get Alex across the street, and he paid what I was promised. I thought he was going to say after all the agro, he was going to pay me less, as that was what had happened the weekend prior, when we’d been offered $375 for our Trans Am, and they knew when we’d called that they’d need a winch and flatbed truck, but when they came and had some difficulty, suddenly we could only be paid $100. Really? What a scam! Did this moron really think I’d believe that after one weekend, the price dropped so dramatically that he had to give me $50 less than promised? I guess as he’d never seen me, he assumed there was a giant S on my forehead.

What is the bottom line? Integrity is too often a thing of the past. Sad, isn’t it? If only these people would put themselves in the place of those whom they are screwing, perhaps they might think twice before treating people like they were nothing more than rubes. I’m only glad we don’t have any more cars for these rotten businessmen to screw us out of.

Oh, and one last example of screwing potential customers. We have a Ford, and it has a few things which need to be diagnosed so we can see if a) they are serious, like lights coming on indicating there is either a serious problem or an electrical/wiring problem, and b) how much it would cost to affect repairs. I called the local dealership and trying to get anyone on the line was neigh onto impossible. Finally when we’d decided to go elsewhere, someone called and left a message. When I returned his call the next day, he quoted me so much for just the diagnostics, we were disgusted. He said it would cost upwards of $500, just for the diagnostics, and get this; he said they had to charge that as those doing the diagnostics had to get paid for their time and effort. Did he really expect me to believe these guys don’t get paid unless they are working on a car? So their secretary comes to work and if there aren’t any phones to answer or any correspondence to type, she doesn’t get paid? Does this guy really think I just fell off the Ford turnip truck? Needless to say, we will simply continue to ignore the lights and have a friend who works on cars do what diagnostics he can. As for ever, EVER buying another Ford? About as likely as our buying a Ford Edsel!

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Blog on Fate

Some people question if there is such a thing as fate. There are so many examples of people being in a place they would never have gone to and can’t explain why they were there, it’s hard to dismiss fate out of hand.

A perfect example is an event which meant so much to me, and leaves me shaking my head wondering what are the odds. My husband and I were on vacation in St. Lucia, and decided we would go to this particular restaurant as they were known to have live music. We showed up and asked the waitress what time the music would begin. This was the month of June, which is considered low-season for tourism and as such, we learned there would be no music, live or otherwise. We decided to sit at the bar rather than leave, and have a cup of coffee. There was a man sitting on the bar stool to my right, and I noticed that every time an employee came near, he called them over and gave them a pen as a little gift. This interested me and someone giving gifts must be a nice person whom I wished to meet. I asked what was the reason he was giving pens away, and while the reason now escapes me, we told each other our names, and I introduced him to my husband and we got to chatting. He had the soul of a Gypsy, never lighting in any one spot for too long. He said he had been living in Freeport, Bahamas for many years, and I told him that my mother lived there the last years of her life.

I told him that she’d had cancer and a friend had come up with a control for cancer, and as they were friends, she went there for treatment. As the treatment was expensive, he didn’t charge her, but rather, when she was feeling better, gave her a job running the office. This man told us that he was the manager of the Italian restaurant across the street from the clinic, and knew the doctor running the clinic, our family friend. I told him I remembered my mother telling me that she and Dr. Burton would often go to that restaurant for lunch, and when I described my mother, who had black, frizzy hair and was quite pretty, he remembered her and how she came in often for lunch w/ the doctor. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, especially as my mother had at that time been gone for nearly 28 years, and yet here I was, sitting beside a man who remembered her all these years later. Now some may say it was a coincidence, but I believe it was fate that brought us to that restaurant on that evening, and that we stayed for a coffee, etc. What are the odds?

Another example is not a pleasant one, but cannot be explained by anything but fate. One evening, my brother, our best friend and I were to go to a Frank Zappa concert. We were to have picked up our friend’s girlfriend and her best friend, also a good friend of ours, and we were all to go together. I had a cold and felt I shouldn’t go out, and my brother and our friend got into my brother’s car, a Vega, and as per usual the piece of junk wouldn’t start. They decided go in our friend Frank’s car instead. After the concert, the girls were taken home and my brother and Frank came back to our house. Frank was a very good mechanic, a hobby of his, and he decided that though it was rather late in the evening, he would see what was wrong w/ the Vega and try to affect repairs. He did so, the car started, and they took off for a test drive, my brother driving. They stopped at a convenience store for some cigarettes and as was typical, upon returning to the car, Frank wanted to drive and see how the car was now running. This is where the fate comes in. We have no idea what they were doing in a part of town in which they’d never before gone, and why Frank would have driven around the two cars in front of him stopped at the Stop sign, but he did, and drove right out onto a highway, where they were hit by an oncoming car. The car went 100 feet into the air, and when it came down, crumpled as it was made of aluminum. Frank’s head hit the roof of the car and his body was crushed, where he sustained extensive internal injuries and died soon after. My brother was finally removed from the car, after the firemen used the Jaws of Life to open the car. He lived, but I cannot help but think it was Frank’s time and they were in that accident, in that neighbourhood solely for that reason, as there is no other explanation for their having been there, or for Frank having done such a dangerous thing, which was totally out of character for him.

How often have the words been spoken, someone was in the wrong place at the wrong time. One more example was when my husband went into a health store where he would get his supplements. He saw that the store was due to close temporarily for renovations at the end of business that day. Greg said his goodbyes to the young man with whom he usually dealt, and said he looked forward to seeing him, John again in about two weeks. The next evening, John went to a bar for a couple of drinks, and left to walk home, as he lived nearby. He had to pass a rather rowdy bar on his way home, and at that time, the bouncer had ejected a patron who was too drunk and starting trouble. Instead of leaving, this vicious man decided to take revenge on the bouncer by going to his car and getting a gun. He returned and shot at the bouncer, but instead shot and killed John, and innocent bystander who, as fate would have it, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. As I mentioned earlier, I believe it was his time, and that was why he was there at the precise moment that the thug decided to exact his revenge on the bouncer, who was merely doing his job.

I’m sure everyone has a tale similar to these, which they may or may not shrug off as coincidence. Perhaps that is just a euphemism for the word Fate!

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Our wonderful Schnauzers

In my last Blog, I told of dogs I’d had or Greg and I’d had in the past. Now I’d to tell of the lovely dogs we now have. First, I’d like to tell about Miss Lara, our (nearly) eight year old black Standard Schnauzer. We drove to Quebec to get her, as I felt the pepper and salt Schnauzers looked like old men. She nuzzled into me on the drive home, and then nuzzled Greg when I took over driving. She slept on a pillow on the floor beside our bed the first night, and we got a crate which she slept in for the next several months. We loved to let her run in the nearby park which has a ravine, but were soon made aware it was toxic and had killed many animals. We had to do something to keep her from going crazy if she couldn’t run in the park, so we decided to adopt a rescue dog.

Greg looked on line and found a Schnerrier (Schnauzer/Terrier) in Indiana, so we drove in a blinding snowstorm, slept in a hotel and went to the rescue facility the next morning. Well, we met our soon-to-be pup who was 7 months of age, and he stunk to high heaven. The man gave him a little bath to make him a little less stinky, and we drove home. He was in the back seat, curled up with the stuffed dog we’d bought him. When we got home, we picked up Miss Lara from the Doggie Hotel, and introduced them. She was not impressed, but he thought he’d hit the mother lode. You see, Brodee, our Schnerrier, had been tossed into the woods when he was two months of age. A man and his wife took in those whom nobody wanted, and when we picked up Brodee, he was there with about 40 other dogs, and kept in a crate, often for 20 hours a day, and frequently with another dog. So to have this huge house, and only to have to share it with one other dog, well, he was a happy camper.

But at first, he didn’t really know how to behave, and Miss Lara wasn’t sure she wanted to share her home with another of her species. About two days later, Brodee was upstairs and yelped. Miss Lara flew up the stairs to see if he was alright, and they have been inseparable ever since. They do everything together, they eat side-by-side, they drink at the same time from their water bowl, they even share the lounger, sleeping next to each other. If Brodee cries, she still goes racing to see if he’s okay. Even when we take them to a leash-free dog park, they play with each other more than with other dogs. He copies everything Miss Lara does, from trying to imitate her Chewbacca noises to her sitting with her bum on one step and her paws on the step below. He’s a bit unwelcoming of guests, but soon warms up to them, unless of course, they cough…or moves. A good friend of ours is very animated when telling a story, and this drives Brodee a little crazy, and he barks and tries to make a snack of our friend’s ankles, but other than that, he’s a good boy, and we love him and Miss Lara with all our hearts.

I would like to end this blog with the following quote:
“My dog is usually pleased with what I do, because she’s not infected with the concept of what I “should” be doing”. -Lonzo Idolswine

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