Friday, August 24, 2012

The one where she talks about moments in time

*Click* Once in a while I make that sound in my mind as I try like hell to freeze a memory. Just a little snapshot in time. I tried a bunch of times when The Parasite was a baby to just capture how that moment made me feel. Like when she was laying beside me sleeping. Or the first time she smiled. The way it felt when she was sleeping on my chest. The way it feels now when she climbs into our bed after a bad night and presses herself into me until she feels safe and warm and drifts off to sleep.

Of course you can't take a picture of a memory. Those snapshots in time are just my way of slowing it down. It hasn't worked yet, but it won't stop me from trying.

This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #66 word prompt: Snapshot. For more info about GBE2, click here

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Canada's Wonderland = Fun for the whole family!

I love amusement parks! I have so many happy memories of hanging upside down on roller coasters, I couldn't wait to see how my daughter felt about the big thrill rides. That's why we have kids, right? Guaranteeing someone to sit beside us on roller coasters?

While a day at an amusement park isn't how a lot of moms would choose to spend a Sunday, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. Lucky for us Canada's Wonderland is just a short drive away from our home on the outskirts of downtown Toronto.

My trips to Canada's Wonderland were, shall we say... a little different pre-kid. I spent all my time running from big coaster to big coaster with some stops for snacks in between. I had no idea how awesome Planet Snoopy and Kidsville would be for the little people. There are several opportunities to interact with Peanuts characters, kid-appropriate games abound, and if the people are REALLY little, there's an air-conditioned family center for feeding, changing and resting. Oh, and there's tons of family-friendly rides too!

This was my first trip to Canada's Wonderland since it was acquired by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. From my Starbucks latte on the way into the park to my tasty sandwich and my daughter's chicken tenders that were visibly REAL chicken, I was very impressed by the taste and quality of the food. It's a definite upgrade from previous visits.

Highlights of the day include our daughter's first solo ride (Snoopy's Space Race) which made her feel oh-so grown up. Luckily, the park guides parents with a rating system, grading rides on a scale from Low Thrills (1) to Aggressive Thrills (5). I'll have to wait a little longer to take her on Leviathan, but she handled Taxi Jam like a champ. Check out those arms in the air! The force is strong in this one...

Sure sign of a great day!
Genuine expressions of joy were on all of our faces for the whole day. I had no idea how much fun it would be to watch my kid have so much fun. Now that I do, I can't wait for our next trip to Canada's Wonderland. If you need a little happy in your life, a day at your local Cedar Fair park may be just what the doctor ordered. My only question is... What ride will you go on first???

This is a compensated review on behalf of the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in my capacity as a BlogHer reviewer. Park admission, meals and expenses were also provided by the company. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The one where she talks about the morning meltdown

The Threenager

I'm not a baby! Why is she treating me like a baby? I can dry my hands and hang up my towel all by myself. You know what? Screw you, lady. "I DON'T LIKE YOU." What's this? She has dared to step over me to go into my room and get my clothes for the day. Hey, I can do that by myself too! Oh my God! She just stepped over me again and went downstairs to the kitchen. Do you hear me, Mommy? "I DON'T LIKE YOU!" Has she moved on to the making of breakfast? Clearly my protestations are too quiet. I must sit here on the floor and scream louder. "I DON'T LIKE YOU. I DON'T LIKE YOU. I DON'T LIKE YOU." Um, I don't see her. Oh, I think she's in the living room again, time to ratchet up the volume! "I DON'T LIKE YOU. I DON'T LIKE YOU. I DON'T LIKE YOU." Hmmmm. She doesn't seem to be coming to my rescue. And I'm kind of hungry. I guess I should knock this shit off and go downstairs. Her breakfast smoothies are pretty tasty, after all...

The Mean Mommy

Oh for fuck's sake, kid. If you'd hung up your towel one of the first five times I asked you to I wouldn't have done it for you. I don't have time for this today. The rest of my dental cleaning is in 45 minutes, nobody has eaten, and I'm still in my underwear. What do I do with THIS pickle? Deep breath. She's not hurt, she's not sick, she's just three. Tune it out and keep on keeping on. Hey, you know from a floor away at the other end of the house it's... Nope, it's still really loud. Gee, I wonder if the hygienist frowns upon people arriving with boozy mouth for the first appointment of the day? Ahhhh, the blender. Never thought I'd be so glad to hear it. Oh, here she comes. Jesus, with the red cheeks she looks even cuter. "Come here, you. You look like you need a hug and a kiss."

This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #65 word prompt: Two Perspectives. For more info about GBE2, click here

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Operation Try Again - Week Six

Oh hey, I was going to provide weekly progress updates on this adventure. Ordinarily I'd make the excuse of laziness but really, it's because I've been busy enacting the plan. When I first set out on this course, I wanted to accomplish four things:
  1. Take the summer off: Done! I haven't had any hormone injections or blood draws or invasive ultrasounds since May. I have peed on no sticks and have only taken my temperature once because I thought I had a fever. I had no idea how much stress it was causing, but it's gone and I'm a much happier person for it. It was a much needed respite and may very well have saved my marriage from some serious turmoil.
  2. Lose 20 pounds by the end of the summer: Summer is (roughly) half over, and I'm 57% of the way there. I signed up for the September session of Bootcamp but in the meantime I found a Groupon for a gym near the office that I've been using over lunch when I'm not at...
  3. Acupuncture: Twice a week, and The Husband is going too. Have no idea what it's doing, but we'll find out in a few more weeks if it has had any effect.
  4. Professional help for the needle phobia: Done! Two sessions of EMDR working through the process. I'll be able to test how well it worked before another round of treatments at the dental appointment I have to replace some old fillings in two weeks.
There you have it. In the coming weeks or months I'll check my nerves to see if the thought of going back to the clinic makes me have another meltdown and we'll see where the chips fall.

Friday, August 3, 2012

BEWARE: @Flickr deletes accounts with no warning!

I started using Flickr for picture storage and sharing in 2005 or 2006. My account had a lovely little archive of my early days with The Husband and the very first pictures of our precious baby too. Comments from friends and family, my comments on the moments in time in which these pictures were taken, all happily stored away in my account. Until last Sunday...

When I got an error message logging in saying the account was deleted, I figured there must be some mistake. I checked the FAQs, and knowing I had done nothing to violate the community guidelines I requested help by email. The first couple of emails were the standard "Have you read the FAQs? What's your login name/email address? Did you violate the community guidelines?" to make sure I'm not an idiot. No problem, I expect that in any dealings with customer service, especially a team that deals with millions of people across all levels of technical aptitude. I was a little annoyed that the same questions were asked several times over in several different emails, but I'm usually very understanding. Until the conversation goes completely sideways.

The following is the (sorry, lengthy) email exchange I had with their incompetent customer service team. The circularity is (unintentionally) hilarious. I like the part towards the end where they delete my deleted account, right after I say don't delete my account. No, seriously - that happened! Read on:
ME on July 30: Thank you for your assistance. As I signed up for my account many years ago (2005 or 2006), there are several options for the answers to some of the questions posed below. I will include all of the possibilities in my response: <WHOLE BUNCH OF REQUESTED INFO TO IDENTIFY ME AS THE ACCOUNT OWNER> Once again, thank you in advance for your assistance. Sincerely, <ME>
Flickr reply on July 31: Thank you for contacting Flickr Customer Care. We appreciate your writing back and responding to our request. Based on your email, I understand that you want to reactivate your deleted "<MY FLICKR ACCOUNT>" Flickr account. I apologize for the inconvenience that this issue has caused you. I am glad to assist you with your concern.

<MY NAME>, please be informed that when an account is deleted, the content including the photos, metadata, comments, and everything else will stay on the servers for 90 days, but is no longer publicly accessible. After that period, we erase it from our servers, ensuring a clean wipe of your information. If an account is reactivated within 90 days of deletion, the content will still be in the account when it is restored.

If you deleted your account yourself, you can write us with the following details: * Your Flickr account Web address * The Yahoo! ID associated to your Flickr account (for confirmation since there are no Flickr account that is associated with the Yahoo! ID you have provided) * The following details associated to your account in order to verify your ownership:  - Date of birth  - Secret question and answer  - Postal code and country  - Alternate email address

However, if your account is deleted/inactive but you didn't delete it, it's likely that it was deleted for violating the Flickr Community Guidelines and/or Yahoo! Terms of Service. Accounts in violation of the Community Guidelines will not be reactivated. However, if you believe that your account was deleted in error you can write to us via the link below: learn more about this, please visit our FAQ at this link:
I hope I've been a good help today. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reply to this email.Thank you again for contacting us. Regards, <FLICKR>
ME on July 31:  Hi there, If you scroll down a little further you will see that I have already provided the answers to these questions. I read the FAQs, I did not delete my own account, and did not violate any community guidelines or terms of use. This entire email exchange started by following the instructions in the link you have provided below and as I am now answering the same questions for a second or third time, I'm getting a little frustrated. Please restore my account and all of the photos in it. Sincerely, <ME>
Flickr reply on Aug 1 (after I followed up requesting a status update): Hello <MYNAME>, Thank you for contacting Flickr Customer Care. Before I go into addressing your concern, I'd like to apologize for the delay in my responding to your inquiry. We are  committed to answering your questions as quickly and accurately as possible. However, we are currently receiving unusually high volumes which caused the delayed response.
Moving to your concern, I understand that you would like to restore your"<MY ACCOUNT NAME>" Flickr account. I apologize for the inconvenience this has been causing you. I am pleased to be of help. <MYNAME>, I have reviewed the information you included; unfortunately, I am unable to pull up any account matching what you provided. In order to search your account and assist you with your concern, please provide us the following information: * The email addresses you may have associated with your Flickr account (you can provide as many as you can) *The Web address of your Flickr account is possible. Once we have this information, we'll be more than happy to help you in whatever way we can. We appreciate your patience in the meantime, and look forward to your reply. Thank you again for contacting us. Regards, <FLICKR>
ME on Aug 1: As requested, the email addresses which could have been associated with my account are <LIST OF 5 EMAIL ADDRESSES>:  the URL that was associated with the account is: <REQUESTED URL> As you will see upon visiting that URL, you will note it says "This member is no longer active on Flickr"

Here is a link to one of my photosets, which gives the same error message: <ANOTHER URL> As this has been ongoing for quite some time now, anything you can do to provide a speedy resolution will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, <ME>
Flickr reply on Aug 3 (after I followed up requesting a status update): Hello <MY NAME>, Thank you for contacting Flickr. I can see you have requested assistance in restoring your deleted Flickr account. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Our records show the Yahoo! Account affiliated with your Flickr account has been deleted. You will no longer be able to access, edit or delete the associated Flickr account.
We can delete the account for you, however please be aware that the photos and metadata will be permanently deleted as well. If you intend on creating a new Flickr account, you will not be able to re-use the deleted Flickr account screenname. Please reply noting whether you'd like us to delete the Flickr account. Thank you again for contacting Flickr. Regards, <FLICKR>
Now, you'll note that until this point, I had been pretty polite. I did not use the words "Fuck" or "Moron" even once. I believe I showed remarkable restraint. You see how this email states the problem is that I want my deleted account restored, and would I like them to go ahead and delete my account? If you're thinking "What the actual fuck is going on here?" you're not alone.
ME on Aug3: No, I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want the account and associated photos deleted. My request all along, for a week and over the course of some TWENTY emails has been to have it restored. What do I need to do to make that happen? Do I need to set up a new Yahoo account and arrange assistance to transfer the files?
Flickr reply on Aug 3: Hello <MYNAME>, Thank you for contacting Flickr.I apologize for the prior miscommunication, as your initial messagerequested login assistance, not deletion. Nevertheless, I've gone ahead and deleted your Flickr account. If you intend on creating a new Flickr account, please note you will not be able to re-use your old Flickr screenname. If you should have any further questions or concerns, please let us know. Regards, <FLICKR>.
I'd like to pause for a moment and and ask you to picture the look of HULK SMASH RAGE that came over me as I read that on the way home from the subway. There may have been actual steam coming from my ears, or maybe that was just the whoosh of skyrocketing blood pressure. Who knows?
ME on Aug 3: My initial email said nothing of the sort. In fact, the subject line reads "deleted account." I do not understand how "No, I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want the account and associated photos deleted." could possibly be interpreted to mean that deleting my account altogether would be the desired course of action. Are my irreplaceable pictures and files now irretrievably lost?
Flickr reply on Aug 3: Hello <MY NAME>, Thank you for contacting Flickr. At this time, your issue has been escalated to a Yahoo! Account Services specialist. Unfortunately, we are only able to provide support via email at this time. We appreciate your patience and understanding. I can see there was some miscommunication regarding the action you would like taken with your Flickr account. I see that actually did not want the account deleted as it contains priceless photos. I'm very sorry for the trouble this situation has caused.
As previously noted, it appears the Yahoo! ID associated with this Flickr account has been  deleted. Because of this, we will be unable to restore access to the Flickr account. As such, we deleted the account for you for security and privacy reasons, because that is the only action we can take. Please be aware that the photos and metadata will be permanently deleted as well. However, if you intend on creating a new Flickr account, you will not be able to re-use the deleted Flickr account screenname.
I hope this helps clarify and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.If we can address any other issues for you, please let us know. Thank you again for contacting Flickr. Regards, <FLICKR>.
Ohhhhhh, it's for my own good! Well, thanks and fuck you very much!
ME on Aug 3: Please do not attempt to spin this as something done for my benefit. Deleting the account altogether in the midst of a discourse about RESTORING  it is the worst possible course of action. How is deleting an account that cannot be accessed anyway a protection of my security and/or privacy? I would like a reasonable explanation for this, and not a canned one, please. Are my pictures now irretrievably lost? Please provide a direct answer to that direct question. 
And there you have it... The most staggering incompetence in customer service I have ever seen. Will I get my pictures back? Will the canned responses ever end? Only time will tell!

UPDATE ON AUGUST 6th: My account has been restored!
Reply from Flickr: Hello <MYNAME>, Thank you for writing to Flickr. I apologize for the continued difficulties you are experiencing with accessing your Flickr account, and I hope this hasn't impacted you too much. I appreciate the importance of maintaining family photos. I have good news. Your photos are not lost. The email address you wrote from (THE SAME EMAIL ADDRESS I USED ALL ALONG, FFS!) matches the "<MY FLICKR NAME>" Flickr account. At your request, I have reactivated your Flickr account.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ice, ice baby!

Things were ticketyboo on my renewed quest for physical activity. I was even starting to enjoy it a little bit. Bootcamp ended, but that's OK I found a new one that runs half-hour sessions at lunch time. Getting out of the office AND clear up an evening for some chillaxing? Win-win!

And then last Thursday I was out for a run and something didn't feel right in my foot the next morning. By the afternoon it was pretty clear I had a bout of tendonitis on my hands. Well, on my foot. Fuck. Forces of evil are conspiring against me!

I gave it a week off and went for another run tonight. As I sit here with my foot on an ice pack after said run, I say to hell with you forces of evil! You won't beat me just yet. Tomorrow, Bootcamp - GAME ON!