Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hot Hot Heat

These last 2 days have been record breaking heat in the Lower Mainland. Its been hot! Way toooo hot. Yesterday Abbotsford was 38 degrees! That's right! Hotter than Mexico. Our house has gotten up to 31 and our games room over the garage is registering close to 40! We don't go in there. I am writing this from the backyard, where I have been getting eaten alive all week in the evening because its the only place I can stand to be.

The girls were in dance camp this week for their Highland and enjoyed it, thankfully it was over before the really hot part of the day. The rest of the day has been spent very lazily. The heat has just zapped us. We have been having little outings in the evening to cool off. Mostly an excuse it go in the air conditioned van. We were at the mall tonight, yesterday it was the indoor pool, the night before a slurpee run and a drive. I hope there is a break from this heat soon.

On a brighter note, I am managing to keep my garden somewhat alive in this heat and have actually produced some cherry tomatoes out of a pot container. The tricky part is not having Kaylum eat them before they are ready. I took this image tonight just after I watered. The flower is supposed to attract butterflies, I am still waiting.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not so Super of a Store

You've seen the commercials, the one where one of the richest men in Canada happily tries to sell us rice and ice cream and make us think that his store is reason to switch supermarkets for. Makes us think he's a regular guy, just like you and me. But I wonder, has he ever shopped in one of his stores? Has he ever had to stand through a long and pointless price check while his children want to leave? Has he ever experienced the "service" his front end staff provide to customers? I think no. Or perhaps yes and he is a heartless bastard who doesn't give a crap about service, as long as the money keeps rolling in and those commercial spots have us all fooled.

I don't generally frequent this store anymore. Lately its because Wal Martin hasn't had any stock of the diapers I like. So on Wednesday I packed up the 3 and off we went. I don't generally grocery shop with all 3 any more, there are advantages to school apart from learning stuff.
There were some bumps in the trip, hands on other people's bodies, hair pulling, cookie and snack requesting. The usual stuff. So by the time we were done the gather of the groceries, they kids were done. Well I always forget to budget in for time the check out. It was rather busy that day and there was a good 4 people deep in each line up. Great. The cashier I choose was mid-price check when I got in line. Didn't think this would be a problem, but it took 10 minutes. The lady who was buying it turned and apologized and I shrugged. Its not her fault, but I was secretly hoping she would just say leave it so we could get the show on the road.
The price check system is so flawed there. They shouldn't have to come to a grinding halt to get a price.
So on we go to the person in front of me. I am starting to hear things about the debit machine. Bad things. Like debit is down. But the lady in front of me paid no problem. Well I pulled the short straw that day because debit did not work for me, nor did credit. Now I am unhappy. "Would you like to go to the bank machine?" "Well I guess I don't have a choice" So gather up my children and truck over to the machine. Luckily there is no wait, because everyone behind me has to wait til I get back with the cash for the transaction to be finished before the line moves again. I hand over the cash, put Kaylum back into the cart (the last place he wants to be) find a snack in my purse to occupy him and finish packing my groceries.
This annoying beeping starts to come from the girl's till, the till is jammed and won't open for her to get my change. WHAT!? I just want to pay and go. I am beyond mad now. The girl is just standing there stunned. I said, "Can you call someone?" She says, "They won't come." I said, "How do you know, you haven't called them!!!"

Then I started getting lipped off by a lady in the line up. "Its not her fault!" She says. "Yes I know, but standing there isn't going to solve the problem." We went back and forth a few times before she finally tells me she's done with me.

So now we are standing there, my groceries packed, my son climbing out of the cart and this stunned cashier holding $220 in one hand and her other hand on her head. So call someone!!! Paige someone!!!! She doesn't.

Why I just didn't leave then, I don't know. She had my money, albeit $12 more than the bill, but I could have just left. I paid, right. Well I didn't. I went over to get the front end supervisor to open her til. "Oh I can't. If the till is jammed, I can't do anything." She told me to wait until she was done checking an customer and we can see what she can do. No. Now I am so mad and frustrated I am shaking. The kids were angels through all this. That was awesome. I walked back to the cart and proceeded to dump out my groceries on the lane and asked for my money back. The people behind me, started packing up their cart to move lanes. Kylie was rather confused why I did this.

So after getting cash, paying $1.50 sevice charge at their ATM for the cash I couldn't use, I walked over to customer service for my $1.50 back and to talk with the store manager. By now the store is in chaos. The whole debit/credit system is down and there is a giant line at the ATM. The supervisors are making lovely announcements about this debit not working, but its no good to those already stuck at a till. Customers are pissed and just walking away from lanes and their groceries.

I am thinking to myself, I have already invested an hour and a half into this trip and now I have to go and do it all again!?! UGH! The manger came down and I explained what happened to him, he asked where my groceries were. Over there on the lane. "Oh no, no. That's no good! Don't leave," he tells me. He calls someone to come over and gather my groceries and to check me out at the customer service till. Well clearly she has a comprehension problem (I'm being facetious). "Where are your groceries?" She asks while looking at my cart and very confused. AAAHHH!! Now I am done, so mad that the tears are about to come out, but I won't let them because its just stupid groceries. The manager slowly went over his instructions again to her and assured me that the original cashier would be dealt with later. All the while I am getting dirty looks from that cashier and her front end supervisor, probably because she knows she's gonna get dealt with too.

So this lady that has been assigned to help starts loading the groceries in my cart. The EMPTY shopping bags were on the bottom level, so she felt in necessary to cram everything on the top level. UGH! She checks me out and I re-pack everything, all the while thinking, I've already DONE THIS! The store manager comes over again to apologize, reassure me there will be a reprimand and sent another nice lady over to help me to the car. I refused, its easy sailing now. But he insisted, "Take care of your kids." She was really nice and even loaded the groceries into the van for me. Total time from entering the line to getting in the van, 1 HOUR!! That's right. 2 pm! Way past lunch time and way past nap time. Good thing I have good kids. They were really patient through that while extra 45-50 minutes it took to check out. Thank goodness!! Otherwise I probably would have cried.

So, this real Canadian StupidStore can stick it! I am never shopping there again. And while I appreciate what the manager did, in the end, its not going to change anything. He's been managing well over 10 years, I know, he was my store manager when I worked there. And unless there is some massive policy overhaul, they will not change the way their service towards customers is.

So I ask Mr Weston, are you proud of how your company runs? Do you care, something must be right if you are one of the richest men in Canada? Should we care that we get no service but your prices are good? Is this Karma coming back to me for my lack of service some 10 years ago?

Pretty Nails

Someone was a little grumpy after his nap today and while painting his sister's nail, he got quite upset that he wasn't included in this. So.....

Daddy was a witness, albeit he was on the phone. Here's pretty prince enjoying some dessert tonight.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Canada Day

I had a shoot in Steveston on Canada Day and the girls we dying to go to some Canada celebrations so I took everyone along with me. While I shot at the Britannia Shipyard, Sean took the kids over the the Salmon Festival for a wander around. By the time I met up with them there were tons of people in the community center field and it was feeling more like a party than a family festival so we left after buying some ice cream.

We wandered over to this corner where there was some shade and nice grass and the kids ate their ice cream, climbed a tree and had some fun running around. It was really windy, really windy. I wish we brought our kites. We had more fun on that corner than inside the festival.

After that we went to Hon's House of Noodles. We hadn't been there since last year and it was just as delicious as the first time. Again we ordered too much but it made for another great dinner on Thursday night!

Some pretties before my shoot

Happy Canada Day!

The kids were sufficiently tattooed when I got back to them!

This is Kaylum's version of thumbs up "right on"

Breathing is over-rated. Hard thing to do with 3 on top of you!


Last Saturday we hit the BC Highland Games competition in Coquitlam. It was the girls first out door competition and it was a warm one! We had a collection of supporters with us that morning, Grandparents and even Great Grandparents came out to watch the girl's second competition.

The girls did well, Keira danced 2 dances and Kylie 3. Both didn't place this time, but the classes were huge this time so the competition was fierce. Well as fierce as it gets for the 5-7 crowd. They had fun and that's all that matters.

We would have liked to check out more of the games and shown the kids the pipe bands but it was hot and Sean had a chiro appointment, so we left as soon as we had the results.

Kaylum's First Dentist Appointment

I am so proud of my little guy! Yesterday was his first dentist appointment and he was fabulous! The girls have been going regularly for a couple years now. So when they called to book them in, I made an appointment for Kaylum too. They said we'll just get him in the chair and get him comfortable. Sure, no problem.
The girls had their appointments first and then Kaylum went in. He climbed right up on the chair and gave us a big smile!

Of course he has his cheer leading squad with him (aka big sisters) so he was very comfortable and happy. The hygienist said we'll just put the bib on and see how he is. I told her, you go as far as he will let you, which I think will be all the way.

She clearly did not believe me but when we got to this stage of the exam, she was just taken a back. How did you get all 3 of your kids to do so great at the dentist!? She asked.

She polished, flossed, rinsed and sucked. Each step she asked Kaylum's permission and he replied with a simple, Uh huh. She just couldn't get over him and how well he did. I knew he would be fine. I know the hygienist was relieved he was.

Aldergrove Lake

Or like my Dad calls it, Aldergrove hole. It is a man made lake, it has always had an undesireable reputation and prehaps that is why they layed rock around the lake this year, to clear up the murkyness of the water. But its close to home and the kids love it. The rock is just crappy and really dissapointing, I hope the parks department change their mind. Its hot and really hurts the feet. The water is no longer brown, but dark green. Ok maybe less murky, but I would rather have sand for the kids to play in.

We went with our friends. This is our 3rd summer for making these day trips together. 7 kids in all and they all get along great! This is Kaylum's first summer being able to play in the lake. You notice that he has a life jacket on. Not something I really like to do, but he's a nut and loves the water. So a little extra safety never hurt.

I got a bunch of these floaty rings at Superstore in 2006 for $1!! Can you believe they are still going strong! In fact I still have 3 in packages.

Kaylum and his Vikki. He loves her so much!

This one cracks me up!

OK, I thought of one nice thing about the rocks, it holds your umbrella up really well!

Ice Cream!!

Last week after school was out we went for a little drive over to the Birchwood Dairy in Abbotsford for an after school treat of ice cream! I had never been there before but have heard many good things about it. And it didn't dissapoint. They have an awesome selection of ice cream and other dairy products and some other items you would typically find at a market. They also had some animals and swing and of course some fun tractors to sit on. The kids had a blast and we certainly will be back!

Kids love really blue ice cream

They had little baby cones for those under 3. Perfect for Kaylum

Cherry came with us too, she almost stayed too. We aren't use to her making trips with us anymore, Keira has slowly become detached from her.

Fun swing shots. They were pretty high off the ground so I could lay under them with out getting kicked.