Sunday, January 22, 2012

Memories to Savour

The first candid shots of my son and his bride's wedding are beginning to populate my inbox, and with it come many mostly wonderful memories.

  • Most delightful surprise:  My 2 yr old grandson leaning forward from the pew behind me during the rehearsal, tapping me on the back and loudly whispering, “Hi, gramma!”  I’m pretty sure he was hoping I’d help him escape for a game of hide and seek.
  • Most senior moment:  Realizing the other earring was safely entombed in the afghan at the end of my bed… at home.
  • Most sure I was losing my mind, but only a senior moment:  Searching hotel room and car for the rehearsal dinner table decorations, only to realize I not only left those bags, but also the 2 crock pots and dinner ingredients in my parking garage stall, back home.
  • New favourite grocery store:  Sobey’s in Whitby
  • Ironic end to the rehearsal evening: “I’m hungry!”  My “worked like slaves” daughter and son-in-law snuck across the hall to my mom and dad’s hotel room to polish off the rest of her famous crab dip.
  • Best compliment:  “Can I have the recipe for your lasagne?”  President’s ChoiceJ
  • Biggest waste:  Buying the pack of subs for the greenish hued groom and his crew’s lunch before the wedding.
  • Pleasant surprise (or gift from God?): A hotel in Whitby became the “family home” for the days surrounding the wedding, and it felt like we were all able to be a family to the groom, even in that setting.
  • Best smile:  After all those years of trying to get him to show his teeth for photos, I couldn’t tear myself away from the brilliant, beaming smile the groom lit up with when his bride made her grand entrance.
  • Miracle to enjoy: After months of hoping and praying he’d be able to attend, watching my son-in-law stride down the aisle during the processional. 
  • Biggest regret:  Growing up in a household and church where dancing was forbidden and then finding out the guy you married just plain won’t dance!  It sure looked like fun at the reception and I simply plan to dance my heart out in heaven someday.
  • Enjoyable once-it’s-all-over moments:  taking down the d├ęcor after the reception with family (even my last trimester-pregnant daughter-in-law) and surprisingly, some of the bridal couple’s friends, even though we were turning into pumpkins.
  • Most humbling moment:  Hearing how the teary-eyed photographers and long-time friends of the couple were impacted by the day, the stories, the speeches, the families.  To God be the glory!
  • When I take a moment to think about it:  My parents and my children and my siblings and their children were there from all over the place.  What a blessing to have such godly support over the years, and in particular, on this day!
  • Most eagerly awaited picture:  my family.  My poor grandson spent Christmas Eve throwing up, so the family photo we were going to gift each other with didn’t happen.  It’s rare that we’re all able to be physically together at the same time, so this photo will be a treasure.
  • Most eagerly awaited photo #2:  I have a sepia-toned wedding photo of each of my other two brides and grooms, with a frame and spot on the wall just waiting for number three.  I guess that means I’m done with weddings for my children- they’re all grown up with families of their own now, and it’s time for me to parent them by prayerfully supporting them in a new way.  What more could a mom ask for?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tying up loose ends

For someone who didn’t do any Christmas shopping, I sure spent a lot of time returning and exchanging today!  I’m musing about customer service and thought I’d work through the highs and lows of the day by sharing it with you.

The last of my family left today.  That meant that my car was all mine again and stores were actually open.  I managed to lug everything that needed to be attended to in one trip, but for some reason, no one else dared to share the elevator with me.

My first stop was the Garage, where I was returning for the 3rd time to repair the repair that had been done just in time for the arrival of my family and the consequent many trips around southern Ontario for family gatherings and a son’s wedding.  (My car was in good working order, but sounded terrible and was driving me bonkers.)  As I made the circuitous trip across town again, I was contemplating finding a new mechanic somewhere in my neighbourhood.

The outcome?  A creative solution was found, the work was done at their usual not too harried pace while I organized my day over a Tim Horton’s cup of tea, and there was no charge.  As I drove away listening to the restored purr of my aging ride, I decided to give this inconvenient garage another chance.

Next on my list was Rona, the bank and Home Outfitters, mercifully all in the same plaza.  The line-up at the bank was long, but the greeter called me out of line and took care of depositing my USD cheque in mere minutes!

I only had $4.50 worth of unneeded rehearsal dinner decorations to return at HO, which they did quickly, without a smirk.

The wrong colour caulking I wanted to return to Rona was purchased by my handyman son-in-law on his credit card, alas, a different brand than the one I use, so I was quickly and cheerfully given a store credit to use in the future.

Next stop was Winners, where I was returning a too heavy for my aging wrists blow dryer, a gift from my already on their way back to Seattle daughter and husband.  A bit wiser from my Rona experience, I mustered up my courage.  I wanted to come away with cash, so I could purchase a blow dryer somewhere else.  I had the receipt; the receipt promised a return by Jan 8th, so I adamantly pressed my case… and won.

Cash in hand, I headed to Cdn Tire to return a caulking gun that wasn’t needed after all, with the hopes of finding a blow dryer.  Both were easily taken care of within the next 20 minutes (but not before I confirmed their return policy).

Next stop was Goodwill, where I was finally able to deposit the boxes of donations from my son’s move on Dec 23rd.  The frozen but cheerful young man who hauled the boxes from my trunk was a bonus.  With energy to spare, I decided to see what manner of skirts I could purchase in their store for my March trip to Africa.  After trying on at least 15, I left a half an hour later with 2 skirts and 10 teaspoons for Welcome Home (where do they all disappear to?), for a total of $13.50.

Being in a generous mood, when the Party Store couldn’t refund my purchase of 3 pkgs of serviettes++, which had inadvertently stayed behind when we traveled to Whitby for the wedding week (it’s a longgg story), I handed them over to the hesitant clerk to re-stock.  My recent experience with the Dollar Store, which has a no returns policy, had taught me that it was costly to lug something back home, too.

I was so frustrated with the clerk at the Party Store that a bag of chocolate-covered almonds sounded really good.  Instead, this opportunity to recall the grace I experienced during my many stops today has helped me end the day well satisfied.