I love you exactly as you are, wonderful , beautifully and uniquely you!
God's blessings upon you in 2011!!
"The winds of grace are always blowing, all you have to do is set your sails" Ramakrishna
…That's what little boys are made of. Or so the 19th century nursery rhyme tells us. Personally, the puppy-dog tail thing is a bit disturbing but that's for another day. Besides, after almost literally being trapped inside my very small home with my two youngest boys for 5 days straight, I have my own idea of what little boys are made of.
Little boys are made of, Gas... they're definitely comprised of a whole lotta gas! As any mother of boys can assure you, boys like to, and find it endlessly amusing, to burp and fart. And if they’re not burping or farting, they learn how to mimic it via sticking their hand in the opposite armpit and then squeezing said armpit against the hand. Why the passing of gas is such a huge amusement is beyond me. It is so popular someone, at some point, thought it necessary to make a toy to simulate the sound of passing gas, the whoopee cushion (this may be one of those weird Trivia things I’ll research, but later, I don’t feel like it right now).
They’re also made of dirt, it’s not quite as bad in the winter, but my boys can go from zero to stinky in 28.3 seconds. This is not made up, this is a documented statistic, there was a study, really (ok, not really, but, really). I could scrub my boys down in a hot, boiling bath with a full bottle of Detol and within moments of getting dressed they have managed to get something sticky in their hair (this is why my boys have buzz cuts), under their fingernails is black and the right trouser knee has grass stains on it. (Or something less identifiable but likely far more disgusting). I say only one trouser knee because they have long since blown out the left knee on pretty much every single pair of pants they own.
But here’s the gross bit, little boys are also made up of snot! I think I should get free shares in the Kleenex company, Puffs and you know, that other brand (I'm too
sick tired lazy, to go look). Not because the boys use it, so much as I keep buying tissues because I hope they’ll use it. The reason this drives me crazy at this particular moment, is now I’m made up of large amounts of that lovely nasal mucus-y stuff.
It’s been cold here, not like, Canadian cold, but like Antarctica cold, in fact a couple of days ago, the wind chill in the small town I live near was several degrees COLDER than the South Pole. Global Warming, yeah ok, sure. I’ve said it before, if this is Global Warming, I don’t want to be here for Global Cooling. So at -47°c/-53°F we weren’t going anywhere, for five days, a weekend and then three missed days of school, we were stuck in our wee trailer (which feels even smaller now). It gets better, at the same time, Little Man, my youngest darling child, had a bit of a cold. It didn’t really bother him and he went about his play like a trooper, but here is how I know little boys are made of snot. Little Man is very affectionate and he would come running up to me for a hug only for me to realise, too late of course, that he was wearing his snot. Not kidding. Tissues? What are tissues? Isn’t that what sleeves are made for? And my arm? And my face? This kid had glistening lines marching across his left cheek, from the back of his hand and up to his elbows (I'm sure you can guess the logistics of cheek to hand, etc).
Now school is back in (for one entire day), Little Man’s cold is pretty much gone, I have a kid-less weekend on the horizon with some fun activities planned, and I’ve a “code in mah node… all stubbed ub and feeld lahk carp”. And somehow, or maybe it’s just because I hate being sick, or maybe it's the fibro, my cold is worse than his, I definitely do not feel like "playing". I did everything right, I washed my hands, I made him wash his, we were all taking extra vitamin C, echinacea and making sure we drank plenty of fluids, but I’m sick. It seems like ages since I’ve had a cold, but there it goes. Not only that, I seem to have some mild, but irritating issue with my eyes, maybe pink eye but it doesn’t look like it, they just have a bit of a burning sensation and are dryer than a popcorn fart.
So there it is, my take,
What are little boys are made of? Little boys are made of gas and dirt and lots of snot. And they’re more than happy to share.
Best wishes to my American friends, for a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday with friends and family. "May your walls know joy; May every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility". God bless.xo
This morning I woke up before my alarm. This isn’t particularly unusual except that it was timed a bit nicer this time, rather than 2 or 3 hours before, it was only about 10 minutes so no great loss and kind of nice to not be jolted awake, even the radio can be a bit unnerving after a crap sleep some nights. I find waking up to a specific time (due to erratic sleep patterns perhaps) extremely difficult, and it doesn’t seem to matter what time that is, so I set my alarm a good half an hour before I actually need to be out of bed so I can let myself wake up a bit more gradually.
My routine is basically this: iPhone harp alarm goes off, I wearily hit snooze and attempt to doze off for a few then radio alarm comes on and I blearily try to listen to the "97 second" news update. By this point I might open my eyes, if I can, I reach for my iPhone and check out fb & twitter. Yes, I’m an addict, my name is Shannon and I’m addicted to social media. There, I said it, but I’ll tell you something else, just seeing others starting their day with cheery (and sometimes not so cheery) messages helps to put me in a better frame of mind to start my day.
Here’s the weird thing about today’s routine, I’m laying on my back, reading tweets and suddenly it occurs to me, I have my ankles crossed, and not only are they crossed, it doesn’t hurt! What? No pain? What is this? A small smile starts to tug at the corners of my mouth. One of the cats jumps up and walks up my belly, across my chest, to give me a nose kiss, still no pain. That smile is growing by leaps and bounds, so I call in the other cat just to be sure and then I start poking myself, maybe I’m dreaming. Nope, I seem to be wide awake. I get out of bed and I feel awesome!
Ok, so what, big deal you say. I tell you what, if you’ve ever had a bad case of influenza remember what the first day felt like after you were better. It’s a big deal, but soon you forget all the aches and pains and life goes on it’s merry way, you take it for granted that, other than an occasional headache or after you bump your knee on the corner of the coffee table for the umpteenth time, you will go about your day pain free. For someone with FMS (Fibroymyalgia Syndrome) amongst other things, pain is a constant companion, those flu like aches and pains are NEVER gone. Imagine this, your cat jumping on your legs while you're laying down is uncomfortable, a hug can leave you breathless and forget your child ever sitting on your lap and cuddling, the pain is so excruciating you feel like someone is pouring a layer of hot lead on your legs.
I just had an odd memory this morning, when I was a child I often woke with “growing pains”, yes, I know that’s not odd, shush for a moment. What I’d forgotten is what I felt like in the morning some days. As far back as I can recall, say the age of 9 or 10, some mornings I would wake up and feel like the Princess and the Pea. Remember that story? With all those mattresses, what was it, like twenty or so, that poor princess could still feel the pea and woke up feeling bruised and battered. I remember relating to this story so significantly that I thought maybe I am a princess and somehow I was switched at birth (not kidding). I know I am no princess (except in my daddy’s eyes, but he’s been gone some time) but that tells me just how far back I’ve lived with pain. In just a couple of months, I'll turn 42 years young, so that is at least 32 years of almost daily pain. I’ve had periods of remission, but I think that’s still pretty significant.
This time it’s been well over four years since I’ve had any reprieve. Last time it was for one blissful day. Pain free is so significant and such a blessing that I can recall the exact feeling even if I can’t recall the exact date. I’d been at a prayer meeting the night before and the pastor and attendees prayed over me. It may once again only last for a day (I was going to add maybe only an hour but it’s already been 3 hours :D ), but even if it lasts one week, or one month, I pray that I NEVER, not for a moment, take this blessing for granted!
So, when I say I woke up today and I am pain free, I can shout for joy and tell you that it is a HUGE deal! “Thank you Abba Father, thank you for this gift, for blessing me with this day. Thank you for giving me the pain too, so I can remember to never take any day for granted!”
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” Psalm 100:1
Casting Crowns, "Praise You With the Dance"
Attention: Manager, The Fairmont Empress
My recent stay at the beautiful Fairmont Empress was regarded with much anticipation. Ever since I was a young girl staring up at the castle like hotel from the harbour I've wanted to stay there. With the recent excellent rate offered to those attending the Social Media Camp at the Victoria Conference Centre, the opportunity arrived for a 30 year old dream to come true. I had no expectations of staying in a suite, I knew I would be in a smaller room and that suited me fine. The room itself was absolutely lovely inside, everything I needed. But I do feel I need to make a couple of comments regarding customer service, one not so positive and one positive.
When I booked my room I explained to the agent that my plane would be landing in Victoria quite early the Friday morning and would really appreciate if it was possible to check in early as I have a disability and it would make things a lot easier for me if I didn't have to haul a bunch of things around until regular check-in time. She was absolutely accommodating, asked what time my flight arrived and accordingly booked a 9:00 AM check-in for me. At the time I was also told I would be getting a room with a view of the city. I was immensely pleased with all this and promptly shared with my friends both verbally and on social media platform how great the customer service is at the Fairmont Empress.
Due to circumstances I didn't actually show up to check-in until shortly after 12:00 PM that day, no big deal except I still didn't have a room to check-in to. I must say I was very disappointed, I was tired from an early flight, sore and needed to rest and the best the desk clerk could offer me was, drop my suitcases with the porter and someone would call me when the room was ready. I didn't receive the call until 3:00 PM, a full 6 hours past when I had booked the early check-in (a time chosen by the booking agent, not me). No accommodations were made for this inconvenience and no suggestions even made as to what a stranger in your fine city could possibly do or any indication how long it would be. When I did finally have a room to check-in to, I found my view to include a brick wall from one window and a back alley from the other. Noise from early morning workers waking me every morning of my stay at 5:00 AM banging for an hour straight of something that sounded like the lid to a dumpster. All of which I likely would not ordinarily comment on if it weren't for that original inconvenience of having to wander the city without any idea how long it would be. I realise things happen beyond the control of the hotel, but perhaps it would be a good idea to help out when you leave a person, particularly a disabled one, without the room they were promised, even if it is just for a few hours.
On that note I do want to commend the porter that showed up at exactly the right moment the day I checked-out. Somehow he happened to be on the 4th floor at 4:50 AM just as I was struggling to get my bags out of my room and head down to catch the Airport Shuttle. He helped me with my bags, we had a lovely chat, he brought me a bottle of water while I waited in the lobby ( I didn't ask for it), and helped me take my bags to the shuttle when it arrived. I didn't catch his name but I really appreciated his help and kindness at such an early hour so please pass on my kudos for such an excellent representative of your organisation.
Ms. McCann, good afternoon and thank you for sharing your experience while visiting our hotel in Victoria.
We do strive for the highest standards of professional and attentive service for which we are known at Fairmont and I am sorry we fell short on your recent visit. Your feedback was shared with our executive office at the hotel to review and advise.
My reaction, sounds nice, but yeah right, it'll likely get dropped at that point. Was I ever wrong. The phone rang at exactly 8:00 PM, an unknown person from somewhere in BC. It was the hotel's executive manager (or some such important, top brass position). Edward indicated that he was about to send an email to me, but decided a phone call would be more appropriate. Apologising profusely, he felt horrible that I was not entirely satisfied with my stay at The Fairmont Empress. He took all blame on the hotel's part, said they should be prepared for such situations and that it was an excellent learning experience. He then asked me what could they possibly do to make it up to me.
Well, I really didn't know what to say, to be honest I think I was in shock that he was going to this much effort. I explained I really didn't expect anything, just that I thought it best they should have some policy in place if this situation presented itself again. I indicated they were quite lucky my disability is minor compared to some and that if some one was quite disabled it could be a much bigger issue. He still insisted he must do something and suggested a free night at the Empress but I explained I don't travel much and really didn't know when I'd be back. He has an executive meeting coming up where they will make a more considered plan, but said if I had friends in the area he'd be happy to give them one special night in the hotel. Edward then explained that many hotels were under the banner of Fairmont but that they were owned separately and he wasn't sure he could get me a free night, but would do his best with his connections in the Banff area.
I was pleasantly surprised, they really cared that a guest had a disappointing experience and he must make it right. Everyone makes mistakes, it happens, but that he was sincerely upset that my visit wasn't completely satisfying meant the world to me. They could have sent me a placating email with a coupon for an entire weekend free and it wouldn't have meant nearly as much as taking the time to phone with a sincere apology and owning up to a need for a change in policy, to learn from the mistake. Customer service like that is hard to come by and truly shows that some people really do realise they wouldn't have a business if it wasn't for the customers.
So instead of me posting, if you're not rich and famous, this may not be the place to stay, I'm sending a shout out, if you want to be treated with respect, friendliness and caring, The Fairmont Empress is the place to stay when you're in Victoria, British Columbia!
What is your best customer service experience? What is your worst? Feel free to share :)