On Wednesday night I posted this status update on Facebook:
"The glamorous side of parenting: just spent the last 2.5 hours knee deep in puke, poop, ER appointments for twins, 2x pharmacies, (super expensive) medication, puke buckets, toilet disinfections, linen changes, multiple hand washes, 1x hyperactive 3 year old plus a husband who chooses this particular moment to suggest the reason why the 3 year old is so naughty is because I am too indulgent. Having a great time, wish you were here."
It's been a shitty week at Casa Albertyn, literally and figuratively. Adam and Kate were hit by gastro this week. On Wednesday night I had to take them to the ER doctor and by Friday Adam still wasn't better so it was back to the doctor for him with a short hospital stay. Both of them are thankfully recovered. But it hasn't been fun.
Marko, bless his annoying, master-of-bad-timing little cotton socks, is not a great nurse. It is because he doesn't like to be nursed or showered with TLC when he is sick. Weakness will not be tolerated! If he is sick he will go into the bedroom and lie there, not talking or eating for 7 days until he is better*. Me, I prefer a little bit of TLC and if not, perhaps just a smidgen of help.
Yesterday the bug finally caught up with me - despite me washing my hands a million times a day, there was no escaping the body fluids that emanated from the kids this week (it hasn't been pretty). So I was feeling really grotty and Marko wasn't exactly being soft and gentle. In fact, I don't think anyone has ever used either of those words when speaking about Marko ever but you know - a little softness would be nice.
So I eventually snapped at him and told him that he must try to dig REALLY deep and see if he can actually be soft and kind. If he thinks it is at all possible. Maybe just for like a second.
I got to the bedroom later and saw that he had tidied the room, made the bed and laid these things out on the pillow for me - meds, iPad and aircon remote - all the things to make me feel better. (My slippers were next to the bed). I had to laugh. This is Marko being soft and gentle. I'll take it. What a great nurse.
The Father Christmas? That is Marko being Marko, saying "I will be sweet, but I am not going to stop teasing you even if you are sick and a little grumpy". Actually, if those were his words he would remove the word 'little'.
*When we first met, I took great offense to how he fobbed me off when I tried to nurse him. The first time he got sick, I made a bed by the TV, I made him tea, offered to make him toast, put a glass of water next to him, a bucket etc and I kept asking him if he was ok and whether I could do anything for him. He eventually told me to just leave him alone and he will get better shortly. I was so hurt. TLC and nursing are clearly not his love languages.
As I get older, I get increasingly more painful. Which is saying a lot as I am coming off a high base - I was born anal, nit-picky and intolerant of bad / surly service. But lately I have become even worse. I abhor bad service and I refuse to tolerate it. I am a paying customer and I demand to get the service I am paying for. I am a huge pain in the arse. But I also try to give compliments where they are due - I am known for writing letters to management if I get exceptional service from someone. And when I get bad service, I tell over a 1000 people about it - the people who read my blog every week. So here is my week's pick of the good and the bad in customer service.
First - the bad: Last night Marko and I went out on our 'date night', a fairly rare occurrence but one that I am trying to do on a more regular basis as I have been very, VERY bad at speaking Marko's love language lately (ever) - his love language is quality time and physical touch - my two worst things. But I am trying. Which is why we went out for supper last night. For our rare date night we went to Lemon Butta at Willowbridge for some sushi. We went early (so that I could get home early - am horrible date) and the restaurant was about half full with most people sitting outside. The owner of the restaurant called our waiter over for some sort of impromptu meeting, two tables away from us and for about 10 minutes proceeded to crap on this poor guy's head about missing a shift on the weekend or something like that - he went on and on and on. In a really loud voice. I thought he was really rude to the waiter, but besides his shocking people management skills I thought it was highly inappropriate to (a) be crapping on the guy in front of all the other staff and customers and (b) be doing so just two meters away from his customers who are there to relax and enjoy a night out. It was extremely stressful and spoilt my meal. I am so irritated by it. Hence this blog post. As Marko says, perhaps the guy had a point but he didn't have to make it so loudly and so publicly. He has an office just up the stairs. I felt embarrassed for our waiter.
Another bad: If you live in Cape Town and listen to Cape Talk, you will have heard the RAM couriers ad. It is on every five minutes. The adverts must be fairly effective as when I needed a courier the other day, I decided to look them up on the internet and give them a call. I was put on hold five times for the sales department. Eventually the receptionist must have got bored with putting me on hold and informed me that the sales department were busy at the moment (no, really?) and that they would call me back shortly. It's been 6 days. Not a single call. I have obviously used someone else. So their advertising might be effective but their service is clearly non-existant.
Then, the good: This morning I did some errands with the three kids. I took them for breakfast, I popped in at the bank, I had a meeting with my accountant. With all three kids, two of which were acting like terrors. I only have one well behaved child and it is the child who I least expected would be my 'easy' child. It was stressful, to put it mildly. My last stop was to pop into Dischem to get something which I can't tell you as it is too embarrassing and you will mock me about it (it is not what you think). I could have got it elsewhere but I chose Dischem because it was the easiest to park, walk to the shop and herd all three children through the shops without having tantrums (my own). I got to the shelf and I discovered there was none of what I was looking for on the shelf. I was so annoyed - I exclaimed out loud "Oh no! I've come all the way to get XYZ and they don't have!" and I turned around and walked away. Through the check out aisle where I had to buy everyone a cooldrink and a small sweet. Because I am a sucker. As I was paying for 3x cooldrinks and 3x small sweeties, the packer who was packing shelves ran up to me and said "are you looking for XYZ? I have found some for you at the back of the store". How cool is that! It saved me a trip to another store plus my sanity. I called the manager over and gave him feedback about the packer. The manager said they have a reward system that he will nominate the staff member for. I am really impressed. Thanks Dischem.
Lastly, an update: Remember about 18 months ago I posted about a coffee shop called Silver Spoon that had charged me two bucks extra to use their condiment sauces? I stopped going there after that but about a month ago I decided to go back because their food is WAY better than the other coffee shop in the same mini mall. Because I am fickle like that. I did feel a little anxious about going back - maybe they had read the blog post and would now either hate me or spit in my food, or both. But then I thought they probably don't even remember me, never mind read my piss-willy little blog. As I sat there, I could see the manager/owner looking at me and I thought "oh fuck, they do remember me. Hope they don't have germs in their spit". The owner came over to me and said "Hi, do you have a minute, I would like to chat to you?" My armpits got a little sweaty but I stayed cool and said 'no problem'. He said "you were here a while ago and you gave us feedback about our service. I just wanted to say that we appreciate your input and since then we have made changes to the way we do things around here, so thank you very much". Awesome! I was so impressed. I think that is really great service - admitting when you have made a mistake and trying to improve so that it doesn't happen again. So thank you to the young man who owns Silver Spoon. I will be back.
So, I am a pain in the arse customer, but I do try to acknowledge and support establishments that give good service.
Me: I don't know what is wrong with Fluffy* lately, she is acting like such a grumpy old bitch.
Marko (under his breath): Sounds familiar
Me: She keeps snapping and growling at Shelley, I feel so sorry for her
Marko (mumbles): I can relate
Me: Maybe it is hormonal. Do you think it will help if we have her spayed?
Marko (with deadpan expression): Well, I had you spayed and it made no difference to you. I am not sure it will help.
Cheeky bugger!! (Only part of that is true, I am 'spayed' but I am not a grumpy old bitch! Not really. And anyway, I do not growl. Often.)
Serious question for dog people - Fluffy is two years old and really has become grumpy lately. She used to adore Shelley but now she seems a bit bipolar - one minute she loves Shelley and the next minute she wants to bite her head off. Literally. Shelley is spayed, Fluffy is not. Do you think it will help if she is spayed? Why do you think she is acting like she has PMS lately?
Another serious question - Fluffy is a rescue dog. She was rescued from the township when she was a young puppy (8 weeks). She has been with us for two years where she has always had plenty to eat and yet she still behaves like every meal is her last meal which someone (Shelley) might take away from her. Do you think that is just because of her personality or is it because of her origins?
*Kate has elected herself as official 'giver of names' to all the pets. She is not great at it, but no one is prepared to challenge her for the role. Fluffy is the most unlikely name for the dog. Firstly, she is not at all fluffy, her coat is short and fine. Secondly, she is a mix breed pavement special with rottweiler and staffie in her. Plus a dash of German Shepard and heaven knows what else. She looks pretty scary. Not exactly the cute and fluffy type.
Kate and Fluffy:
The ever patient Shelley waiting at the side of the pool with the grumpy old bitch (not me this time) lurking in the background.