Monday, December 31, 2007

Amazing Race 12, Ep. 8

Did you hear that howl of disappointment which resonated from Chez Loudshoes last night at 8:55? Thing 1 and I were keening like Turkish earthquake victims. We loved those kooky goth kittens. Kynt and Vyxyn were clearly disappointed, but seemed to be more than mollified by the consolation prize of being named the most fashionable racers ever.

I cannot tell you how much I wish they had U-turned Jenn and Nate, not only because they'd still be in the race, but because I would have loved to have seen Jennifer have the mother of all nuclear meltdowns and ended up in a puddle of herself right in the streets of Mumbai like the Wicked Witch of the West. I think the mighty Killer Fatigue had a hand in this, as everyone was working on a minimum of sleep for the third or fourth day running; I'm sure if Kynt and Vyxyn had been tracking, they'd have played that much differently.

Also, India has proved to be absolutely lethal to racers in the past. Remember Emily and her mother in the first race, who just gave up and lay down on the street and cried?

I fear that Nate and Jennifer are going to end up in the final three, if not win this thing. There, I said it. It would be too much to ask that they get to the final three, only to come in second at the mat, wouldn't it?

Jennifer trying to give that garland to the elephant was downright hilarious. I hope for her sake that was Killer Fatigue also, because what wedding has she been to that the groom was an elephant? (Babar's, maybe.) I liked the dog that kept messing with her, too. You know, it occurs to me that she's been unpleasant to ever animal she's encountered in this show. That tells me a lot about a person.

I liked that TK and Rachel seem to have just found out that they are racing for a million dollars. It was like that was brand new information for them.

I have never heard of an airport being closed before. Like, closed for the night, not closed because of a bomb threat or bad weather. Just closed because everyone went home for the night and will be back in the morning. Crazy Italians.

Seriously, Ron has got to SHUT THE HELL UP!! I'd have pasted that poster right over his mouth if I had been there. Honestly, they guy has the social skills of a drunken three-year-old.
How on earth did he ever hold down a job or stay married is anybody's guess. He started the poster up too high, he broke the box he was standing on, he messed up the poster, and then he argued with the judge, but it's all her fault. Ass. And why does the guy keep choosing to do physical tasks when he has a freaking hernia???? I wanted him to crash into an open flame with that bike full of propane.

I think Don has become one of my favorite racers ever, and he is definitely my all time favorite senior citizen. Remember the Groaning Grannies? He's nothing like either of them. Is there anything he hasn't done? I dearly hope there is some really weird final challenge, like doing your own dental work or tanning the hide of a buffalo or calculating the square root of time that he will be able to do and will make Jennifer's head burst into flames.

Nate has some interesting ideas in regards to sociology and gender roles, does he not? I had no idea that hand/eye co-ordination was directly related to one's possession of a uterus, but apparently, it is!
"Why can't you do this? You're a girl!""Why couldn't you row the boat? You're a boy!" ranks as one of the funniest exchanges ever.

Jennifer is really very tiresome, isn't she? She was pissed off that Kynt didn't close the elevator door, but really she was mad that she didn't' get a chance to do it to him, first. And all that whining and moaning in the taxi on the way to the's like if she doesn't have Nate's full attention at every single moment, she's afraid he will cheat on her or something.

And next week, "Where the hell are TK and Rachel?" will be the theme song.

Until then!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just When You Think It's Safe To Go Shopping Again.....

I was browsing around on the internet the other day and came across this clothing catalogue. (Really, I must go out and find myself another hobby, because it is becoming tragically apparent that I spend far too much time on the internet.) I am shopping impaired at the best of times, and would dearly love to be able to buy my clothes on line, but I'm afraid I would find myself in stuff like this.

These, I think, were left in the clubhouse by a 90-year-old golfer who forgot that he wore pants that day. In 1975.

Does anyone else hear the "I Dream Of Jeannie" theme song? "Yes, Master!"

I swear I saw Elton John wearing these once. Didn't they have a goldfish in the heel, though?

The next time I have to attend a "Sexy Medieval Monk" party, I know just what to wear.

These are exceptionally practical, don't you think? Perfect for running errands, shovelling the driveway and working the 8:30 show at Caesar's Palace. Which is totally my life.

You know, some days my bum just doesn't look big enough. These would be perfect for those days. And, in a pinch, we could have me bend over and show movies on my bum if the need arose.

These are spandex leggings with pretend stitching to make them look like jeans, for when I want my hips to look positively bovine.
See, my theory that clothing manufacturers are laughing at us is borne out. I am vindicated. And now, I will wear my pajamas until the madness ends.

Friday, December 28, 2007

We Are Gathered Here Together....

Thing 1 and I went to a very lovely wedding today. (The bride has been Thing 1's Girl Guide leader for lo these many years, and also comes to me to get her hair done.)
It's nice to go to a wedding that's not all about colour of the bridesmaids shoes or the size of the ice sculpture or the bride using the day as an excuse to become a demanding, petulant shrew. There were no "signature cocktails", no personalized water bottle labels or stupid "themes". (Once I saw a tv show about weddings where the bride and groom idea for a theme was "The Civil War". I kid you not. They had the big hoop skirts for all the women, guests included, and the men all wore grey or blue uniforms and they got married at some big antebellum mansion in the south. How on earth a war seemed to be a suitable theme for a wedding, I have no idea. I wonder if there were any black guests, hmm? And how did they feel about that? While we're on the subject, why do you need a "theme" for a wedding, anyway? Doesn't a wedding come with a built-in theme already? Like, a wedding?)
Anyway, the wedding was very nice, with the bride and groom being two very nice, very grown up adults who appeared to be absolutely delighted with themselves and each other. It was nice to see.
During the ceremony, which was brief and to the point (gotta hand it to those economical Presbyterians!) we sang one hymn, which was Christmassy, "Angels We Have Heard On High", the one with all the "glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oo-o-oria" bits. Well doesn't this guy in the row ahead and a bit to our left bust out with the most amazing, rich tenor voice! You could see people all over the church getting a bit of a start and raising their eyebrows and turning to see who it was. He was fabulous. (I was hoping people would think it was me.)
I love to sing, and am terrible at it. But what I lack in talent I can make up for in enthusiasm. One of the reasons I kind of like going to church is because it's the one place where I can sing as loud as I like and nobody can stop me. ("I can still hate it, though", said Thing 1.)
After the ceremony, we went home and resumed our normal routine, and I thought of those two, nice people who were lucky enough to find each other and start a life together, and who realize that a marriage lasts far longer than a wedding. I wish them the best.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Best Week of the Year


It's not that I'm particularly glad that Christmas is over, but I am glad that Christmas is over. I like the day, I like the sentiment, I like the feeling of "specialness" that comes with the holidays, but I don't much like the way it hijacks my life for 6 weeks. Have you ever heard of that Chinese curse, "may you live in interesting times"? That's kind of how I feel about Christmas. And this is my favorite week of the year; everyone is full, entertained, occupied, happy to stay home and, most importantly, expecting nothing of me.

We had a very nice Christmas here at Chez Loudshoes; I think I can speak for the Mister when I say we both like each other's families very much, and there are no hardships in spending a couple of days with them. (When I hear clients talk about the emotional minefields that have to be circumnavigated over Christmas I thank my lucky stars that I landed up in a Norman Rockwell painting, by comparison.) My mother and mother-in-law fed us magnificently for 3 days running, and the leftovers are spectacular. (We have prime rib, ham, turkey, 2 kinds of apple pie and trifle. Trifle, in case you are wondering, makes a splendid breakfast. Particularly if you get up before your father and have at it before he does.)

The girls made out like bandits, although Santa did not come through with a Wii, as Thing 2 had requested. (Truth be known? Santa blew that one off a long time ago. Santa is of the opinion that Wiis are like hot tubs, the best one is the one at somebody else's house.) But they are good kids who are happy with whatever, even if they don't get something in particular. For the next few days they will happily snort around the house amusing themselves, and there will occasionally be a delighted cry of "oh, I forgot about this!"

Yesterday we had an interesting phenomenon, weather-wise: there was a freezing fog on Christmas night, with no wind, which resulted in spikes of ice crystals forming on almost everything outside.
Here is the clothesline in the back yard:
Today it is snowing softly and is a very good day to stay in, which is what I will happily do. My book, a cup of tea and a nap with a semi-liquified cat are my rewards for getting everything done. I deserve it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Amazing Race 12, Ep. 7

Wow, good on ya, Gramps! I didn't think he'd go through with the tattoo, but he did. Can you just imagine if Jenn and Nate had gone for that Fast-Forward? I doubt very much she'd have gotten the tattoo, and it would have been all his fault, too. On the other hand, I can see Kynt and Vyxyn saying "cool, have at it". (Did anyone else notice that the font of the tattoo was almost identical to the font of the "Fallen" t-shirt that Kynt was wearing?) Man, the producers are getting more and more harsh with the Fast Forwards..... I mean, Joyce had to shave her head, the tattoos; Flo and her partner had to wave at the surfer in the river, for goodness sake, for their Fast Forward. It wasn't even tiring, let alone nail-bitingly stressful. It also seems a bit harsh to have people get a permanent tattoo, not of their choosing, on a non-elimination leg, when they wouldn't have been out any way. (I had heard that there would be no non-eliminations this time around, so I was glad there was when it saved the Goths.)

I hope Gramps enjoys the spa vacation he won! He totally looks like a sea-mud wrap and aromatherapy facial kind of guy.

I want the guy at the flag detour to be on every one...."Nnnnnno!"

Seeing Jenn and Nate come in #2 yet again, was deeply satisfying. I was worried that the tattoo team was going to wimp out and go back to the Roadblock and the Bicker Twins would finally get their heart's desire.

I really felt sorry for Vyxyn on that drive; that Killer Fatigue had set in and she was in a free fall of despair after that. I've been there, baby. (I think the whole year after Thing 2 was born was like that, actually.) In my experience, sleep deprivation will mess with your head like nobody's business. But their worst day is like Jenn and Nate's best one; that "fight" they had in the car, with Kynt squeaking "stop the car! stop the car right now!" like a panicky, asthmatic hamster was barely even a change in blood pressure around here. I get more riled up when the Mister forgets to empty the dishwasher.

Whatever drug TK and Rachel are on, I know a couple of people who could use a massive dose of it. They stayed incredibly calm throughout what looked like the worst of days. If I had been Rachel waiting down on the ground for an hour and a half I think I would have burst into flames.

Ron is still such a tool.

As much as I like Kynt, could we please just get him out of the closet and get it overwith? Seriously, the guy is putting on sparkly pink lipgloss and preening in front of a mirror....this in no way shouts "hetero" to anyone.

I wonder what the Speed Bump aspect is? If it involved being a speed bump, I would think that would be awesome.

Until next week!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tis the Season.

You can stick a fork in me, I'm done. All the Christmas preparations are finished, as far as I'm concerned, and I have no intention of organizing, planning, arranging or otherwise masterminding anything in the forseeable future. It's not Christmas itself that I dislike, it's all the work leading up to Christmas that I dislike. My mother claims that if the woman of the house doesn't make Christmas happen, it won't happen, and she's dead right. (She is a very, very wise woman. She also says that "nothing good happens after 2:00 in the morning", and let me tell you, that lesson has bonked me hard in the head more than once.)

This Christmas the preparations seemed to be a little easier than other Christmases, probably because I didn't get it into my idiot head to make a whole bunch of stuff this year. For a couple of years, in an effort to make Christmas a bit more meaningful and extra-special (and, who are we kidding here, cheaper.) I decided to make a heap of presents, and each and every year it resulted in me weeping and cursing and heaping abuse on myself, and vowing to never do it again. The worst was when I got it into my fool head that I would make pajamas for all the children on my list. All eleven of them. I don't know what I was smoking when I got that idea, but honestly, it was one of the single worst ones I ever had. (Believe me, that is saying something, because I have had some spectacularly bad ideas. For example, paying good money to see any of the Batman movies and convincing myself that the cheap shoes that were a size too small would be just fine). Now, pajamas aren't terribly difficult to make; it's not like you have to be worried about the fit, for example, and if they are 6 inches too short, well, so be it. But making eleven of anything is not for the faint of heart, and I very nearly burst into flames in the process. The bloom was off the rose by about pair three, and I had seven more to go, and I think I made up a couple of new swear words by the end of it, and Himself was looking through the phone book for divorce lawyers. It was not pretty. But everyone loved the pajamas, and when they asked me to make more of them the next year, I had no problem not even pretending to be polite about saying "no".

I also gave into the dark side this year, and bought gift cards for almost every adult on the list. In fact, I went into some stores and just bought about 10 gift cards and was done. I know loads of people think gift cards are souless and thoughtless, but I LOVE getting them, and figure those same people would rather get a soulless, thoughtless gift than, say, one of the following:

The first is a "Be Nice or Leave" sign for your home, which, frankly, is a little harsh, if you ask me. I assume the people in my house are going to be nice, the family in it notwithstanding. Otherwise, I wouldn't have invited them. The second is an animatronic robot Elvis "in all his heartbreaking glory", whatever that means. It sings and talks and you can even do karoke with it. Just don't mistake it for the real thing. Lastly, we have at Ten Commandments lawn ornament, which has "the scripture is written in English on one side and ancient Hebrew dialect on the other", for all you purist Talmud scholars out there. Now, doesn't soulless seem nice now?

I've got a couple of things to make tomorrow; some butter tarts, some guacamole and a lemon meringue pie. (No, not all for the same meal.) I think I've got everyone covered in terms of gifts, and I have a couple of "emergency" presents I can give away if I'm caught out. (Like my friend Kelly says, you know you're in big trouble when you find yourself buying peanuts at 7-11 after Midnight Mass because you need to bulk up someone's haul. )
I'll be away from the computer for a couple of days, so there won't be any blog entries for the duration. I'll take this opportunity to wish you all the greatest thing I can think of during Christmas or any other time: peace. Peace of mind, peace and quiet, peace of heart, peace and contentment. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

This Is Why We Never Let the Cat Decorate.

This site amused me terribly. I don't know what's wrong with me.
A Cat's Christmas is a site depicting two cats and a Christmas tree. I especially appreciated the "before" and "after" shots of the tree, about 2/3 of the way down the page.
Thankfully, Toby has far more dignity than these two. He acknowledges the wisdom of having a tree in the house.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Little Ray of Sunshine.

I can't quite recall what the following was in response to, but my 13-year old flatly informed me this morning that "Yes, wishes do come true, but I seriously doubt yours will."

She's going to make some man very happy some day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ummm, No Thanks

Do you think this someone, anyone, might have said this title out loud before it was published?

The PR team on this must have been slitting their wrists.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Such Thing As An Ordinary Day

The day started as usual: an insistent cat with a determined agenda. I got up and started what I thought would be an ordinary day. But, I have come to realize, that there is really no such thing. Every day, at some point in it, brings be to the corner of " Well, Would You Look At That Street" and "Holy Shit Boulevard".

The van is in the shop at the moment, because it was making some truly ghastly noises that we couldn't ignore, no matter how loud we turned up the radio, and a warning light of some sort kept coming on and going off at random intervals, which made it hard to take it seriously. (Whenever it would come on saying "BRAKE!" in the most gently alarming tones possible, the Mister would turn to me and say "it came on again", like I A) didn't know it and B) could do something about it.) The upshot is, I had to walk to get my errands done today. Which isn't a big deal, but because of the snow we got the other day, the walk was a tad more adventuresome than usual. It was like the guy driving the little sidewalk snowplow decided to redesign the entire sidewalk experience, by ignoring the existing sidewalk and going up onto people's lawns, or reckoning that some of the sidewalk didn't deserve to be plowed and shunned it altogether for large stretches. I got quite a workout, let me tell you.

Then I went over to the bank, where I saw a dog poo right in the bank. Not something you see every day. A woman had brought her yappy little dog into the bank, and while she was talking to the teller, the pooch took umbrage at the amount of time it was taking, and expedited the proceedings. I think I can speak for most of us in the line when I say most of us have felt that way about the bank at one time or another.

Then, I went to the mall to do a bit of shopping, when I visited the bathroom and heard someone crying. Since it was just me in there and I knew I wasn't crying, I figured I should see if she was okay. She was young and distraught, but assured me that she would be fine. It turned out she had just seen her boyfriend with another girl, when he said he was too busy to see her that day. (I at least got her to laugh when I suggested that maybe this was like a sitcom, where the other girl was his cousin/sister/a nun that had come with him to buy her a Christmas gift. She said it was someone from school, but thanks for trying.) Anyway, I told her boyfriends were like buses, there'll be another one along in a few minutes, but that she was entitled to a good cry and ripping him a new one, when she was ready. No matter what was happening in my day, it couldn't get nearly as bad as hers, I figure.

Then, I met The Tattooed One for a coffee. She's not working at the shop anymore, and I really miss her; no one can spot a crazy like the Tattooed One. She really made my Wednesdays. Anyway, she gave me the most rockingest Christmas present ever, which will make way more sense to you if you watch this video, (you only need to see up to the 53-55 second mark.)
I love this shirt. I really love it. My Christmas is perfect, and it's only December 18th.
I got home, eventually, after getting a few more things for the kids, and I think, I think, I am done shopping. (Who am I kidding? I'll be done shopping when there's no more time to go shopping.)
So, what started out as an ordinary day, turned out to be a, well, less than ordinary day. As they all are, I guess.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Concert.

Last week the girls had their school Christmas concert. At least one girl did....Thing 2 dropped out of choir early on in the proceedings, because she "couldn't see the point". Fine by me; I've seen enough Christmas concerts in the past 10 years to last me a life time. Thing 1 was in the Grade 8 band, which performed the most dirge-like "Good King Wenceslas" I ever heard. Honestly, it would make you want to lay down and weep, it was so depressing. I do like the concert, though, because I get to see so many parents I don't see anymore, now that our kids are too old to hang out on the playground after school. Oh, and the kids work hard and deserve some recognition, and it's not simply a social opportunity for me.

One of the mothers there was deeply embarrassed that her child did not wear the requisite white top and dark bottoms, and kept repeating "I didn't know! I didn't know!" over and over again. I told her not to worry; at Thing 2's kindergarten concert, one little girl, sitting front and center in the first row, kept herself amused for the entire concert by playing with the hole in the crotch of her black leotards. I thought the kid was going to get her knees completely behind her head at one point. The child's mother was a puddle of mortification by the end of it, and, in fact, the child does not go to that school anymore. (I'll bet it's not a coincidence.)

We sold some fair trade coffee as a fundraiser for the school before and after the concert, which was why I was there. We had some samples for people to taste, so that they could choose the roast they wanted to buy, and a bunch of Grade 8 kids came up and asked if they could have some. Sure, says I, and then watched at they each put about 6 tablespoons of sugar in their little styrofoam cups of coffee. I told them not to tell their parents who gave them the coffee. I'd be surprised if they have gone to sleep yet.

At the end of it all, it's a kind of nice way to see people and feel Christmassy and get a requisite dose of "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth".

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And Since We've No Place to Go....

The other day on Facebook, I put my status as "wanting a snow day", so I feel like I'm kind of responsible for today's weather. (I had no idea I had that kind of power....I resolve to use it only for good. Good for me, I mean.) We've had about 8 inches of snow, enough to make driving difficult if the roads haven't been plowed. It was coming down pretty hard and blowing around quite a bit, and that made the decision to stay home today a very easy one. The idea of enforced relaxation appeals to me very much.
Thing 2 stayed over at my parents house for the night, because we had our staff Christmas party last night. I went to drive over and get her this morning, but after nearly getting stuck a couple of times, I took the van back home and walked over instead. (After pushing a neighbour's car out of the Himylaya of snow at the stoplights at the top of the street, I was glad I wasn't in the van.) Thing 2 was happy enough to walk home, feeling like a pioneer girl and singing Christmas songs along the way to entertain me. We discussed the stories she will tell her grandchildren about her adventure of walking 12 miles in the snow, uphill all the way, with only cardboard shoes for her feet and carrying a cord of wood. I think her grandchildren will be more interested in the fact that there was snow, because with global warming, they probably won't ever see any.
The girls played outside in the snow for most of the day, the Mister shovelled the driveway and messed around on the computer, and I? I drank coffee, ate chocolate and did the Sunday crossword. I baked cupcakes and read my book and had a nap. Toby took one look at the drift outside the front door that was bigger than him, looked at me with a wounded look of deep disappointment, and went to go look out the window. Really, we should schedule a snow day for about once a month, they are fabulous.

Friday, December 14, 2007

There Are No Words.

I thought I'd seen it all, really I had. (Twenty-five years in the beauty biz will do that for you.)

But then, wandering around the internet I found this site: Kitty Wigs, and I tell you, I was gobsmacked. Well, wouldn't you be?

Apparently they really are wigs for your cat. Isn't this just about the creepiest thing you've ever seen? I mean, that's going to haunt you for days, isn't it? But wait, there's more.....

Apart from the fact that I cannot conceive of parting with fifty buck for one of these horrors, I shiver at the very idea of the unadulterated loathing with which Toby would greet his new adornment. He'd eviserate me in my sleep.
No, there will be no be-wigged cats at Chez Loudshoes, not until Toby comes up with the fifty bucks himself, anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Please, Mr. Postman.

We may not be getting any more mail from now on, because I think the postman is afraid of me.

A few weeks ago, the Mister and I went Christmas shopping, and started in on the presents for the kids. We start the lengthy process in November, because A) we do all of Christmas on a strictly cash basis, and spreading it out over a couple of paycheques means we don't have to eat popcorn for dinner in December, and B) the stuff we want to buy is still in the stores in November; by December you know all you will be able to get is toothpaste and potatoes for the little darlings. Anyway, we bought a bunch of stuff, which I know will thrill them, and we put it away where they are unlikely to stumble upon it.
I got Thing 2 a very nifty craft book, from (Which is a terrific company that makes the most wonderful activity books, and I highly recommend them if you have someone to buy for who is between the ages of 8 and 14, or a middle-aged, suburban housewife.) For whatever reason, perhaps I was having a stroke at the time or something, I put the book away somewhere safe, not with the other presents, and have not been able to find it since. And the thing that makes me really mad is that I distinctly remember saying to myself "you really shouldn't do this, you know, you should put it with the other stuff".
So, after everyone was gone out of the house this morning, and before I did anything else, I took a real tear around the place and still could not find the stupid thing. As I stood in the middle of the living room, pulling at my hair and yelling at myself, I saw that the postman was crossing the front lawn with a look of alarmed panic on his face. And then I realized he was watching an angry, crazy woman in her pajamas going all "Wicked Witch of the West" on the cat's ass about finding the Christmas presents.
I guess we don't have to worry about shoveling the walk anymore.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

.....And The Staff Isn't Much Better.

Yesterday's blog was all about some of our more amusing clients, who's decidedly original rationale make our jobs so much more fun. Lest you think I am being punitive and judgemental about our clientele, let me assure you that, no matter how nutty the clients are, we've had plenty of staff to compete. In the 25 years that the Mister and I have worked together, we figure we've seen about a hundred staff go through our place, that we can remember. Lots of them were nice, normal people who just wanted to make a living. Aaaaaand lots of them were certifiable.

The "juniors" or "assistants" are the people who shampoo the clients, sweep the floor, do the cleaning and the laundry. (For some reason, they are vastly overrepresented in this particular litany.) We had one guy who used to bring in his own laundry and do that during his shift.

There was one girl who had put her wedding dress on layaway, and way paying for it over time. She was only 18 and didn't have a boyfriend. In fact, she had never had a boyfriend, but thought she may as well get the dress now, since it was perfect. We told her she should probably not mention this on her first date.

After bugging one of the colour technicians for weeks to highlight his hair, one guy called in the next morning to say that he wouldn't be in because now his hair was too blond and he couldn't go out. We nicknamed him "The Frosted Flake".

When I was a junior, I worked with a girl who I swear couldn't tell time. She never wore a watch, and couldn't time colors off the clock. (For example, if you told her to rinse a colour in 10 minutes, she'd always set a timer.) She'd ask me if it was time for lunch or time to go home etc. I wonder how she got through life.

We've had several receptionists who had terrible trouble with the till. One of them never did manage to balance the till, not once in the 6 months she worked there. Another one couldn't make change without a calculator. Another one told several clients that I didn't work there any more, while I was standing right beside her.

There was one guy who went off to Toronto to complete his apprenticeship, for six weeks. We thought he was coming back, but when we went to a hairshow, we noticed he was working for someone else now.

One young woman sat through an entire staff meeting, and after it was done, said good bye and see you tomorrow. A little while later we found her resignation letter sitting on the front desk. Why did she sit through that meeting if she wasn't going to work there anymore?

My favorite was the junior who figured, on his first day, that he was never going to remember our manager's rather unusual Greek name, and decided to call her "Miss Thing" from now on.
On his first day.

I tell you, between the clients and the staff, I don't know what's normal anymore.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Customer is Always.....Crazy.

Like any business that has to deal with the public, we have our fair share of nutjobs. Now, let me first say that the vast majority of our clients are delightful, charming and reasonable people, with whom it is a distinct pleasure to do business. In fact, I have a couple of clients that I feel badly about charging, because I have such a good time while they are in my chair that I am more than compensated for my labours.) Then there are the tiny percentage of clients that make my head burst into flames.

One woman insisted she had to get her hair done on a particular day, because it would be a new moon that day, and “everyone knew” that your hair grew slower on a new moon than on a full one. (If I hadn't been the one to take the phone call, I'd have been sure someone was making that one up.)

I remember one day when we had a woman call, very upset, to tell us that we were, under no circumstances, to cut her daughter's hair. (You can imagine our confusion....usually if people don't want us to cut their hair, they don't come in. It's generally a very reliable system.) It turns out that here estranged husband had their 3-year-old daughter for the weekend, and intended to bring the daughter in for a haircut. (Clearly, this was just one of many, many barroom brawls in this couple's lives, and we wanted no part of it. Usually, if someone who isn't visibly drunk or in need of psychiatric help comes in, wants a haircut and demonstrated an ability to pay for it, we'll do it.) She threatened us with all manner of legal action, character assassination and karmic retribution, but we trimmed the kid's hair anyway, and everyone lived to tell the tale.

We had a woman walk in one Saturday who had just had her hair coloured and cut at another shop on the street and although the job they had done wasn't too bad, she was unhappy with it and wanted us to fix it. (Now, changing a new colour job isn't for the faint of heart; it can be tricky, especially going from darker to lighter, lest one end up with khaki coloured straw on their head.) The colour tech spent about an hour and a half on it, and the client was very happy with the result. She was, however, very unhappy with the fact that we were going to charge her for it; she felt that she had already spent enough money on the original procedure, and thought we were being unnecessarily harsh in wanting money for the job we had done.

Clients that ask me to cut a millimeter or a quarter of an inch off their hair baffle me. A quarter of an inch is the size of the "capital I" on your keyboard; a negligible amount. I offer to just wave the scissors over their head and they can pay me $40. It will look exactly the same as if I actually touch their head.

A client called to complain that she had had her hair coloured a month before, and now she could see grey at the roots. She felt that with the amount of money she had spent, the colour job should have lasted longer. No amount of explaining that her hair had grown in the month and that's why she was seeing grey at the roots would convince her....the last place she had gone, the colour job lasted three months. We suggested she go back there.

I understand that our prices are at the higher end of things, and that not everyone would choose to spend what we charge. However, much like the restaurant industry, standards and expectations differ wildly in our business, and your experience will be very different depending on the establishment you choose to patronize. I did a woman who complained bitterly about how much we charge for our services, and couldn't understand "how we lived with ourselves, charging those prices". When I suggested that she might be happier going somewhere else, she replied "but they don't do as good a job as you do."

Invariably the response to "I'm sorry, the person you would like to make an appointment with is all booked up" is "But I really need to get in with her!" Just once, I'd like to be able to reply: "Oh, wait a second! I had forgotten about my powers over time and space! Let me conjure up a two hour appointment for you out of thin air! There you go!"

Wedding parties and brides are a whole nother's usually their movie and we are all just bit players, but sometimes it's more than you could ever imagine.
We had a wedding party show up two hours late for their hair and makeup appointments. Not only had they missed their allotted time altogether, but we were already working on our next clients....they wouldn't have even been finished at our place by the time the wedding was to start! They thought we were being particularly unreasonable in not fitting them in.
One bride wanted to book her party on a day where we were already booked, and couldn't fit them in. She wanted us to give her the other bride's phone number, so that she could call her and "see if they could work something out”. (We said no.)
Another woman called wanting her money back. It seems she had come in for her son's wedding, six months earlier, to have her hair blow-dried. She had liked it on the day of the wedding, but now that the pictures had come back from the photographer, she wasn't so happy with it, and wanted her $18.00 back. I think that's the only time I've seen the Mister actually hang up on someone.

So, when I was at the mall today and heard a young woman ask the clerk at the frozen yogurt stand if their product had any dairy in it, I nodded my head and said to myself "I'll bet you only want a quarter inch of it, too.".

Monday, December 10, 2007

Amazing Race 12, Ep. 6

Too bad for Hendekea and Azzaria; that simple mistake cost them dearly. I checked my tape over, and when Azzaria was saying "economy" to the ticket agent, she was saying "as fast as possible". The agent might have only heard her, and found her the best seats at the time, which were business class.

Wow, Azzaria, you are totally wrong-o on the role of an older brother. An older brother's job is not to "challenge" or "guide" a younger sister, an older brother's job is to A) infuriate her B)embarrass her, C) be condescending to her and D) give her noogies at every available opportunity.

Man, that Jennifer and Nate are both prizes, aren't they? Their dynamics alternately baffle me and sicken me. Can someone exlplain the thought processes that go on with relationships like that, because I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why people continue to stay with someone they so clearly dislike. I kind of remember being about 14 and having a "boyfriend" that I didn't like very much, but he liked me, and I enjoyed the status of dating someone, so I put up with him for about a week or so. They kind of remind me of that.
When we were watching, Thing 2, who is 10, asked about Jen "what is wrong with her?". Just about sums it up, doesn't it? I'm surprised neither of them shoved the other one off that cliff.

Personally, if I felt strongly enough about anyone to tell them "I hate you with a passion" and mean it, I sincerely think that would be the last thing I ever said to them. We'd be done.

And Jen? Do not give Phil the stinkeye at the mat. No good will come of that.

It would be fun to keep these two in the race, if only to see the look of bitter acceptance on her face when they come in second at the finale. Also, I want to see him get on a flight to "Brovniak" or some other place which sounds like where he wants to go.

I practiallly stood up and cheered when Phil told them they had to go back down to the bottom of the hill and get a taxi and come right back up. That was a great, big, steaming pile of awesome. And the best part? The taxi driver that wouldn't take them the first time, who did take Ron and Christina? He's the guy that brought them back down. Thank you Anonymous Croatian Taxi Driver!

I also want to thank the guy at the top of the hill with the gun. That? was great. Especially since you startled those two twice. In fact, I loved just about everyone's reaction to the gun. Guns and goats would be a nice combination on this race, no?

Don and Nick have got to stop with the close finishes, they're killing me.

When they were on the Amazing Bathmat, I noticed that the "little pink kitten" has got quite a rack on her, and said so to the Mister. He replied that those two have so much going on he hadn't had time to notice. He was too distracted by Kynt's makeup.

I loved when Ron and Christina were told they won catamarans, and Ron cheered "I know what that is!". Remember when Charla and Mirna won the exact same thing and went "Yay!...wait....what's that?".

Favorite Line of the Night: from Vyxyn- "It's okay. I have a dad, too."

Where was everyone's backpacks?

Until next week!

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm Ready for My Cape Now

Everyone should be so lucky as to feel like a superhero now and've shown up, solved some one's problem and made the world a better place and safe for democracy. It's a very nice feeling, and today was such a day.

It started yesterday, when I overheard a woman at the mall lamenting that she hadn't been able to find a particular store, which she had driven in from out of town to go to. It used to be at the mall but had now moved out to it's own site, and I was able to tell her where it was. She beamed at me, and thanked me profusely.
Then, as I was going downtown to pick up Himself from work, I noticed that my Good Friend Wendy was in the van right in front of me. Like any good friend in the 21st century, I picked up my cell phone (stopped at a red light, naturally) and called her and said "Look behind you!". As we laughed and squealed and generally carried on, she said she was bringing her Thing 2 (who happens to be one of my very favorite children of all time.) down to a squash lesson, and was almost out of time and hellishly low on gas, and it dawned on both of us that I could bring him down to the lesson (a few blocks from where I was getting the Mister!) and save her a lot of angst and grief and gnashing of teeth. We pulled in at the next available opportunity, made Thing 2 change vehicles and off we went, me with Wendy's heartfelt "you are my village!" ringing in my ears.
The kids teachers were staying late at school last night conducting parent/teacher interviews, and my Thing 2 has her Girl Guide meetings at the same place on Thursday evenings. Last night they girls were having a Christmas party and everyone was supposed to bring something sweet to share and, as per several requests, we brought fudge. On our way in, Thing 2 thought that maybe we could bring a piece of fudge to her teacher, since she had been there since school ended, and no doubt was in need of some carbohydrate reinforcements. Man, was she ever....that woman couldn't have been more thrilled if we had brought her a Mai Tai and her own cabana boy.
Later in the evening, I got a phone call from another delightful friend, who wanted to know if she had reached "I-800-I-Messed-Up-My-Daughter's-Hair-Colour". I was able to fit in the daughter, (another teenager I would willingly spend all day with) today at work, and after a couple of hours, managed to fix her hair and make her suitable for public consumption once again. She was delighted, as only a teenage girl who has narrowly escaped a life of social ruination can be.

So, tomorrow, I will work in learning to fly.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

University or Therapy?

I know that the ritual of the picture of one's happy, smiling offspring on Santa's knee is a cherished one for many parents, particularly the newish parents for whom the whole "kids at Christmas" thing is fairly new and still novel. But small children have a way of blasting your best laid plans to smithereens with split-second mood change, and that new parent had better get familiar with that idea right smart. One of the things I learned really quickly as a parent is that a two-year old will turn on you like a rabid dog, given the slimmest of excuses, and you, the parent, must be ready to abandon any scenario, at any time, at a moments notice, and with equanimity. Such is your lot in life until the little darlings are old enough to understand "I gave you life, you're giving me this."

Sadly, some parents learn this particular lesson way too late. By then, the money set aside for higher education will have to be spent on some pretty intensive therapy to counter-balance their lack of parental resourcefulness.
I found the following pictures on The Sun-Sentinel website, which is a paper out of southern Florida. Now, not all of the pictures come from southern Florida, so I'm not going to hold that against them, but the glee with which the hundreds of pictures in the "Scared of Santa" feature are published does give me pause.

Santa's looking pretty chipper for a guy who's got two absolutely traumatised toddlers on his lap. No doubt the two are wailing the place down with some pretty bone-chilling shrieks, and Santa looks like he's just had a beer at the Sunday School picnic. That's cold, man.

This poor child looks like she is afraid, truly afraid, that Santa is going to eat her. And she may be right. I mean, look at him...does he look like he's ever said "no thanks, I'm full" in his life?

Holy shit, this Santa scares the bejesus out of me, and I know I could deck him if I had to. That kid doesn't stand a chance...... Run, little girl, RUN! Man, where did they find this guy? I'll bet his sister has a house in the woods made of gingerbread.

Check out this Santa.... "God, I'd kill myself if I wasn't so damn tired." That little guy shouldn't be afraid of Santa, Santa's just going to topple over and have a nap real soon. Then he should be able to escape without any problem.
This guy is enjoying his job way too much. I wonder if he strangles kittens for fun in the off season.
I love this kid; she's giving Santa a full-out, direct-frontal assault, while still having the presence of mind to keep a steely grip on that candy cane. I would not want to mess with her, girl has her priorities.
Wow. Psycho Santa. From the unnatural blue-grey of his beard, to his expressionless reptilian gaze to the apparent ease with which he is breaking that child's arm, he is ten kinds of unnerving. It just appears to be dawning on the kid on the right that perhaps this Santa is, in fact, an alien.

I love this one best of all.....a mere facsimile of Santa can make you relive the horror all over again. It's a clear case of PSSD: "Post Santa Stress Disorder".

Just for the record, I wouldn't have put my kids through this sort of trauma just for a picture of them with Santa. I will happily save the trauma for more important things, like bathing suit shopping, or haircuts. Luckily, we've been saving for years.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Serves Him Right.

Like almost everyone else in the Western hemisphere, I've been out and about Christmas shopping lately. I'm pretty lucky, I'm able to be at the stores when everyone else is not, which suits me perfectly.
The other day I was out at Chapters, buying for other people and browsing for me, when I overheard the following exchange between a customer, who was carrying a large book which he was holding open, and a staff member:
Customer: "Hi, I was wondering if you guys had a photocopier around here that I could use?"
Staff Member: (pause, clearly wondering if she had heard correctly.) "Um, no. We sell books here. I believe what you are looking for is a library."

She? is awesome.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mother Nature is Cruel.

Thing 2 is trying mightily to earn some money to buy Christmas presents. It's not like we make the poor kid buy for all and sundry, or that she's got to spend much on anyone, but we do encourage the kids to put a bit of money away all year, so that they have it when they need know, "savings". (Thing 1 has cottoned onto this idea in spades, but Thing 2 is still struggling with the concept. ) So, now, in the first week of December, she has figured out that she's going to need about 20 bucks real soon.
Yesterday we had our first snowstorm of the season, and we got about 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground. Since the temperature is supposed to rise in another couple of days or so, the Mister and I would normally let nature take it's course and not bother with clearing the driveway. But Thing 2 took it into her head that if she shovelled the driveway, perhaps she could make a bit of cash. Not one to stand in the way of hard work or initiative, especially if it's someone else's, I heartily endorsed her idea, and we agreed on a wage of 5 bucks for the job.
Off she went, into the wild and woolly late afternoon, and by God, she cleared that driveway. I was amazed; I didn't think that child had it in her. (Note to self: Is Thing 2 comes at you with a snow shovel, get out of the way. She's better with one of those things than you think.) She was delighted with herself and her 5 dollars.
This morning we woke up to another 3 or 4 inches of snow, and as we looked out the front window I casually remarked to her that the driveway was all filled in, and that you could hardly tell that she'd done any shovelling at all.
There was a bit of a pause, and then a worried Thing 2 beside me blurted out "Does that mean I have to give back the 5 dollars?".

Monday, December 3, 2007

Amazing Race 12, Ep. 5

It’s hard to determine which team was more unlikeable last night, Team Nosejob or Team Infidelity. They both bickered and whined and shouted at each other so much that I’m not sure they even registered that they were on another continent.

I’m not so sure that the Twigs needed to use the U-Turn at all, given that the last team last week was at least an hour behind them, but on the other hand, they at least used it in the right way; if you think you are decidedly in danger of being eliminated, why not make sure there’s a team well behind you? Seriously, Tall Twig needed to let it go.
I wonder what kind of awkward arrival they had at Sequesterville? (The resort they have to spend the duration of the race at.) Do you think Lorena and Jason bought them a drink? Sadly, it appears that their feminine wiles did them no good on this race at all.

I really thought that bus was going to mow down the Twigs. ("Wow, this will be the first actual death on a reality show.")Man, that was close. I wonder if the camera guy gets to go home now.

I’m puzzled as to why Jen was so obviously hurt and outraged when Nate called her a bitch, as she herself has used that very term in reference to every other female on the race, especially for the egregious task of doing better than her.

I’m liking Grandpa a lot. That remark as they came out of the travel agent’s in Ouagadougou, “C’est la vie! That’s French, in case you wanted to know.” Is exactly the kind of thing I would say in the same circumstances, and then who ever is with me would justifiably want to kill me.

God, Ron is a tool sometimes, isn’t he? That “fossilization” thing was annoying the first time around, but he just kept saying it. The fact that the woman spoke almost no English didn’t seem to faze him one little bit.
And, did you hear he has a hernia? Because that was brand new information for me until he volunteered to go up on the stilts and toppled over like Wile. E Coyote. But on the other hand, could you imagine him during the counting task? She’d be patiently counting away, and he’d be counting, sort of, while telling her how to do it, what she’s doing wrong and how she could be doing it better, and then she’d put one of those pickets straight through his chest.

Was it Ron who said that all he knew about Lithuania is that they make great pastries? Because,….God.

Am I a horrible person for wanting to slap Christina every time she chirps “I love you, Daddy!”? Because I had a boyfriend that did that used to do that to me, and I got out of that relationship before I completely lost it and ripped his head off.

I loved all the racers who gleefully announced “I can count!”, like that was the entire task. In reality, it was concentrating which was the crux of the matter. (“87, 88, 89, 100!” Okay, so maybe counted mattered, too.) Why didn’t Jen and Nate do it in opposite directions if they were having such a problem being in the same hemisphere as each other?

That festival, by the way, was amazing! I will definitely put that village on my “List of Places To Go Once I Win The Lottery and My Children Finish Medical School”. Those people who’s sole purpose was to mess up the counters? They are my new best friends. The only thing that would have made that better is if they had had goats, too.

Is Azzaria secretly Hendekea’s father? Because he seems to be determined to treat her like a child, despite the fact that she seems astoundingly competent.

Whatever TK and Rachel are smoking, they should give some of that to Jen and Nate. I loved her response to the Detour choices, “Ooooh, stilts!”. Sometimes you just have to go with the task that looks like fun.

Another new band name, courtesy of Phil: “Land of the Gnomes”.

Until next week!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Just Learn To Bake, Already.

While wandering around the web the other day, I came across this offering in the Williams Sonoma catalogue.
(For those of you unfamiliar with the Williams Sonoma catalogue, it is a food and cookware company that appears to be making an ungodly profit, from the looks of things.)
The picture on the left is pretty much what it looks like: 9 cupcakes. There are 3 cupcakes of 3 flavors each, and htey weigh about 3 ounces each. That would make them pretty much a standard size cupcake. We are assured that they are made with "fresh eggs, real butter and other premium ingredients". (As opposed to bleach and gasoline, I imagine.) The founder of the company, Perfect Endings, from which these delicacies originate "learned to bake from his Southern grandmother", which I guess is important because everybody knows that female bakers from north of the Mason-Dixon line are imcompetent losers.) They can be delivered right to your door for your holiday celebration.
All of this is relevant because I cannot imagine what could possibly justify the price tag of $59.00!! These suckers are $6.50 EACH, if you can believe it! What if someone had two? You'd kill them, you really would. What if there were 10 people at your table? What would you do? I know several families for which this would be a reason to call in lawyers. Not exactly bringing on the warm and fuzzies, now are they?
Okay, I just read down a little further in the ad, and it tells me that these are "One of Oprah's Favorite Things", which sheds a little light on the subject. Except, I'm not Oprah.