Wednesday, 28 September 2011

They've stopped beating the staff?

I've had to deal with a lot of customer service lately. My (only a baby!) iphone sipped a bit of moisture and died. I think it may have been alcohol. My sisters were over.  My fibre optic TV is epileptic and Dh's car needed service. First Apple. What a pleasure! Not that an iperson like myself would expect anything less! The phone was under warranty so I did expect an obligation on their part to talk things over when I called. However I enjoyed the experience as they used real people words, called me by first name and really wanted to make the damn thing work for me. After a very long time and lots of effort back and forth they declared it dead and sent me a new one. It arrived 2 days later but of course I was in the shower so the UPS guy needs to come back. Even the news that I needed to fork out money for a replacement was delivered with sympathy and empathy. They also updated their info on me so that when I called the next day to see about my very old ipod on the blink, my call bypassed the endless 'press 1' crap and a nice automated voice said 'Hello Nancy, Are you calling about ...?' and I was and I got a person right away. That nice person spent a long time helping me with my issue even though there was no warranty at all. That's service! We decided not to let PC people play with my itoys because that's just poor ihygene. DH take note!

Then I had to deal with the fibre optic people and my previous experience with them has been dismal. Not so this time! The helpful person confirmed that he too could see a problem, that the promo on free channels was indeed puzzling and he wished they would listen to him, and that he too had not recorded 2 1/2 men successfully. He sent out a repair guy the next morning and he came at 8 am! I am now all fixed up - and was most entertained as he chatted with DH on the phone - holding the receiver away from his ear and mouthing "he's not listening to me!" at me. I gave him toast, tea and homemade jam for that one! I didn't mention ham, as he is getting married next week and doesn't need to know yet, I'm sure.

The car people are always excellent and I know their boss. He has never beaten his staff and it has always shown. They all seem happy and have all the time to deal with you and your issues. Love those guys! How much? I drive 100 km each way to have my car serviced.

While I was there the pay me person was telling me about her grandchild's first day at school. She was so impressed by the teachers and principal out on the grounds before the day started. They knew all of the returning students, greeted them by name and with personal interest, and seemed to love what they were doing. She felt so blessed to be leaving her little one with such people. I remember being one of those staff and how I loved first day. When you don't beat your staff and they are well placed in their job - they can do anything and do it well.

But can we sell that to the Americans? Perhaps it's best if we don't?

So the thing seems to be that service staff seem to be happier and therefore are passing on the feeling in their work. It's amazing what happens when you stop beating the staff!

Friday, 23 September 2011


The wedding went well. I got to help dress the wedding party! Haven't you always wanted to do that? We met at the bride's house where there were girls in all states of unreadiness. The flower girl was in complete control and seemed to have a handle on what needed to be done, and the lack of time available. I was impressed with that one. I ironed the bridal veil and dress. No pressure there! Natural fibres wrinkle with reckless abandon. That was the compromise I made with that gorgeous Prada linen/silk blend. Worth it just to say Prada linen/silk blend, I think. I slipped her into that baby like it was made just for her. She was gorgeous, and I think she felt it.

Meanwhile, out with the bridesmaids (I didn't make those dresses but they were lovely) the invisible zippers were giving troubles. When I mentioned the invisible zippers at sewing guild this week, there was a collective gasp. They look wonderful, but they have a tendency to be weak and unreliable. It's just the nature of the beast. One of them split. I took it apart twice before finally just ripping out one side and sewing it back in. Poor girl! She was mortified!

However, It's not often that you are put in a position of trust like this. Buying a dress off the rack is a sure thing. Having your aunt make it just sounds risky. She trusted me to work with her and get this right, or close enough. Wow. That's quite a gift I got from her. And then I got to help with the dressing. I am humbled and grateful. That's a pretty special time, and I got to be there. And I was useful! Even better! I got thanked at the wedding. Never thank people by name in public - you know you'll forget someone and then there's hurt. The thank you wasn't required. I got my reward earlier. The sharing leading up to the day and on the day was better than any other thing you might try to do for someone.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Yesterday, the niece who is getting married tomorrow, phoned me to say she needed a veil and now was the time to get this down. I think we both thought it might appear on its own, but it never did. She has been a relaxed bride but eventually the panicking crowd around you will bring anyone to a boil, and they kept asking about a veil. By the time she arrived at my house I had out all the white lace, edgings and tulle I could find. It was an impressive display, but of course! It also made me think of my own veil so I went on a hunt. Out came my veil, dress and I popped it all onto my dress form. Note the beanie hat with the veil. 

Now I was a lot smaller back in those days. I was 30 when I married but had just finished running a few marathons and playing soccer and canoeing, and I was thin. The dress will no longer button on the dress form. I had forgotten about the buttons. I had forgotten about a lot of details and it was nice to review. I love the crinoline and the train. Forgot the train completely! I do remember vacuuming bugs out of the crinoline after pictures in the back yard. I loved making that dress! It was the first time I worked with silk taffeta. I lined the niece's dress with the same silk. I also made my little sister's wedding dress once upon a time. I forgot about that too! The lovely thing about losing your memory is all these pleasant surprises!

So I sent her off with the beginnings of a veil. She needed a hair thing to attach it to, and then some trimming before I finish the edges, probably today, but the wedding isn't until 2 tomorrow, I think. Plenty of time! Her whole wedding is based on the concept of having friends and family contribute to give it meaning and a sense of community. I love it! She hasn't asked for anything much - just a little participation where you can. Different, and lovely. Hopefully I'll have dress pics for you all soon.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Pain in the Butt

Ever so often this site has a new interface. Slightly annoying but easy to use as well.

I hurt my back. I was taking masking tape off a doorway I had been painting. Most distressing! I was on my way out to see Squid. Squid ( is a local and Amazing drum performance group that was performing free at a local outdoor shopping place. Instead, I got into my angel dress (no waistbands or other tight fitting areas) and iced. I am no fan of ice either. But! There was frozen yogurt in the freezer! That almost never happens and I made short work of the opportunity. I'll need to post on the angel dress when it comes out of the drier and I get a pic.

Now the night before I was out with the niece for part one of her stag. This was probably the calmer, more sedate night as her mother, future MIL and various aunts etc were included. The next evening was at a rented cottage with a more adventurous guest list, I'm sure. We began at her apartment and then offed to a downtown bar. It was lovely and they served me tonic in a tall glass. Yah! When you're the DD it always seems they serve you these teeny glasses and you just have to wonder why they bother. I like to order something pretty but....

Several years ago I lost my voice. No, I didn't yell it to death. I am too sweet to even think that way. Why would you even go there? It was a virus thing they tell me. After that I am not back to full voice but soft, with no ability to project. When you're in a noisy bar you need that ability. I have exactly 1 friend who gets it right. She just talks for me, and does it well, with attitude. I feel quite comfortable with her in a crowd. She wasn't there and it wasn't the same. I used to love going out with a group, but now it gets a bit lonely at times. Now, if you just stick to pleasantries and expected exchanges, everyone hears me. That's not me. However it becomes me because that's all I get across, especially after round 2. Anyway, she wasn't there and ordering had to simplify.

There! The oven just beeped and I slid buttermilk biscuits into the oven. They should be coming out just as DH gets home and he won't have any willpower against them. It's payback for the weight I gained from the frozen yogurt in the freezer. That'll teach him to mess with me. Almost as good as ham on sale. That again would be another post.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

My Toes

It was the first day of school yesterday - for everyone else but me. I had a bike ride, went for a pedi and had a marvellous coffee and croissant at a local shop. (Yes, I did gain a pound this morning. Damn croissant!) Decadent!   It felt slow and relaxing. I ran into a friend at the coffee shop who admired my retired status greatly. She had dropped 2 of 3 children at school that day and is at the other end of the continuum. I'm glad I'm me.

I am feeling a bit unprepared for things. The house is not tidy or organized and I am doing a major purge of my sewing room. You should see the stash of unfinished projects I am uncovering. It's either scary or exciting, I can't decide. Will I be feeling more settled and under control at the end of the month? Will it always be like this, or will I see the day when I just wake up to a tidy breakfast table, a perfect bathroom and only 1 craft project on the go at a time? Will the kittens ever learn to wear bibs and wipe their feet after leaving the litter box? (The kittens are 16.) Will the pheasants stop tipping the seed holder and pecking my potatoes?

I think a cup of tea would be nice around now, don't you agree?

Friday, 2 September 2011

Ears and Dresses

I'm painting the Hoe Hut. It is my graduation present from DH, his way of getting me out of the man cave garage. It huge and it has a loft. If I get really PO'd at him, I could move in easily. I must check the wifi tomorrow. I think it's close enough to the house.

Well, anyway I started out by spot priming the knots in the cedar shingles. I'm priming away, not unhappy as I have my itunes on, but it is one of those deadly boring tasks that have to be done. A mosquito comes by and is buzzing my ear. I swat, knock out my earbud and it nosedives for the shellac based paint. Damn! I have tiny ears and they reject the apple headsets and most other headsets as impossible to fit without surgery. I loved those earbuds. They suited my delicate and adorable ears perfectly. My ears may be one of my best features, but they can be somewhat Diva like in what they will or won't tolerate in or out.

So today I painted on in silence. Painting is the application of a full gallon of noxious sticky fluid in the thinnest layer possible. Now that is a ridiculous task. Needless to say I spare no finesse while painting and have much paint evident in various places on my person.

My lovely niece picked up her wedding dress. I miss that dress. It lived here for months while I worked on it, worried about it, sewed, basted, ripped apart, resewed - you get the drift. It is 3 metres of white Prada silk/linen, 3 metres of white silk taffeta lining, lots of spiral boning and tips (I'm getting good at that), horsehair, 25 satin buttons and button loops sourced off eBay, and lots and lots of thoughtful research into how to construct a bridal vision. Now it's done, and I miss the dress. It was like a little child, going off into the world to fulfil its destiny. I think it needs 1 more little hook on the back closing, but she sensed I wasn't wanting to give it up and ran for the getaway vehicle. I do get to see it at the wedding. Sniff.