Category Archives: Actions Consequences

Will striking hydro workers actions be the death of us?

Christmas tree with lights – endangered?

LEGISLATION WAS PASSED THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2018 TO BLOCK A STRIKE BY ONTARIO HYDRO WORKERS. READ ABOUT IT HERE

BELOW IS WHAT THE SITUATION WAS BEFORE THE BILL WAS PASSED AND MY COMMENTS ON IT.

Looks like the big Grinch this Christmas and afterwards is the Ontario Power  Workers Union (PWU) who are in a “legal position” (quotation marks mine) to strike since Friday December 14. If the strike goes ahead, these workers plan to shut down Ontario’s hydro power plants starting with the nuclear ones and then moving on to the other plants. Brownouts and blackouts would be a certainty. The nuclear generators take 21 days to completely shut down and the shutdown could begin seven to 10 days after the “legal strike position” day.

That means as early as this Friday December 21. This is scary stuff.

What is wrong with the above?

Everything. Why are hydro workers even allowed to strike? Any utility service should be legislated as essential service. It is for the safety, health and even life of people – you know, us the general public who get stuck unwillingly as the third party in these labour disputes.

This is not an inconvenience strike. People could die. Not just seniors, but all ages. Remember the big blackout  in December 2013 just before Christmas? That was caused by an ice storm so not people caused. Obviously the PWU workers don’t remember it. And they were the heroes then, working so hard to restore power. How the mighty are falling – as the saying goes.

But this strike – if it goes ahead and people die from no heat and no light because of workers’ actions, isn’t this murder? The workers have the intent to shut down the power knowing what it could do. At the very least, criminal negligence causing death. Actions bring on consequences.

But there is some hope from our stick-wielding (figuratively speaking) new Premier of Ontario – Doug Ford. I am not a fan of his, but if he can pull off what he is trying to do (and it is legal), then maybe it will be the one good thing he has done. Mr. Ford has called the Ontario legislature back to business, back early from its Christmas hiatus, and his party is trying to pass back-to-work legislation with the issues between OPG and PUW to be solved by arbitration.

That’s if NDP opposition leader Andrea Horwath doesn’t stop it. She is over-making an effort to do so. But hopefully Ford’s Conservative party will out number her in the vote and hopefully the vote will be done by Thursday. It would also be good if the Conservatives passed legislation for utility strikes to be illegal.

His late brother Rob Ford did this when he was mayor in Toronto – but not for a utility – for Toronto’s public transit system (TTC) workers.

In this day and age, strikes – full scale or otherwise – are not in anyone’s best interest and don’t really solve anything. Both sides suffer but it is us, the third party. the general public. who suffer the most. And we are not even on either side and so not involved until the plug is pulled (pun intended here) with a strike. Negotiations with binding arbitration might have to be the answer – at least for essential services. And more services need to be legislated as essential.

So, I’m keeping toes crossed (can’t type with crossed fingers) that Ford’s legislation gets passed in time this week and the strike and its killing consequences are avoided.

Meantime, you can follow stories on this at various newspapers and TV stations on line (as long as we have power and batteries don’t die on cell phones), such as these. I’m not providing direct story links as the stories will be updated.

If you Google “Ontario Power workers and hydro strike” with or without Doug Ford’s name added you’ll get a list of the stories.

Let’s hope we will all be in the light for Christmas and after.

Cheers (I hope)

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Essential Services

Van hits pedestrians on sidewalk in Toronto – time to reinstate capital punishment?

Only Child thinking about Torontos’s van murder.

Yesterday in north Toronto at Yonge St. and Finch area a van drove into pedestrians on the sidewalk, killing 1o and seriously injuring 15. Police arrested the man very shortly after.

“I hope he burns in hell, whoever did this; I hope this sick person gets dealt with accordingly,” said Ali Shaker, who was driving behind the van and said it was a horror show with the vehicle running down person after person. (from The Toronto Sun. See rest of story at http://torontosun.com/news/local-news/multiple-pedestrians-struck-by-van-on-yonge-st).

So do I hope this person gets dealt with accordingly. To me “dealt with accordingly” means capital punishment, something Canada abolished in 1976.

And before you think I’m being blood-thirsty, I base this on Canada’s laws regarding sentences for murder. The police do their job; the suspect gets arrested and charged; there is a court trial…and then it all goes haywire. Even judges are hampered with sentencing. Sure, we have life sentences in Canada (usually 25 years), but… if life imprisonment meant until the convicted person dropped dead in prison, fine. No  credit for time spent in prison awaiting trial, no parole, no parole requests, no day passes – if it meant all this I would change my wishes for reinstating the death penalty. Taking another person’s life (or in this case, 10 – so far) – unless  in self-defense or as part of proper police procedure  – should  mean the guilty party forfeits either his or her life or at the very least, any life outside prison. Even if the person is found insane.

About ten years after Canada’s death penalty was abolished I took a law course. My instructor said that the law should not be “not guilty by reason of insanity” but “guilty by reason of insanity.” I agree with her.

Many states in the US have a charge called Vehicular Manslaughter – which works for me for drunk drivers killing people. But this crime on April 23, is murder, intentionally done – whatever the killer’s motivation. It is vehicular murder in my books. Some states also still have the death penalty. Most also have stiffer life imprisonment sentences, including to be served consecutively, which could mean until death sends the guilty to another hell. That works for me.

What do you think?

Here are a few more websites to check out.

Capital Punishment history in Canada here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_punishments_for_murder_in_the_United_States

Globe and Mail article on why Canada’s life sentence for murder rarely is that

 

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Life, Life Sentences vs. Capital Punishment, Van Murder Toronto

Only Child’s thoughts on son turning 40

Sharon and Martin

My son  Martin turned 40 on Saturday and that opens a whole she-bang of emotions and thoughts. Some are probably obvious, like we are all getting older. In this crazy world (and “crazy” is being kind), I’m not sure living to a ripe old age is a good idea. No, 40 isn’t a ripe old age, but getting into and being in seniorville – let’s just say the downs often overshadow the ups.

But, one of the ups is Martin – at 4o or 20. He  may not always answer my emails or phone calls promptly, but he helps me a lot – not just with computers (that’s his line of work) but with some life-threatening events. Events, such as the big unwelcome and uncalled for prolonged ice storm December 2013 in southern Ontario. The storm caused power outages, sporadic in locationa (a friend living near me had no power outage; Martin didn’t either) but I did and so did everyone on my street  for 48 hours. Others were without power for longer. Martin was on the phone constantly to me (I used my old landline phone on the wall which still worked – as long as I didn’t touch the wireless landline extension) to see how I (and the boarder and her cat living with me then) were coping. He told me what to do to remove the ice on the veranda and for a path down to the road without just hacking away with an axe and shovel. And when the temperature was going to dive down he insisted that we go to a downtown hotel and stay – at his expense. I just had to pay for the cab to get there. Martin also took us (not the cat) out for dinner at a nearby restaurant after he got us settled in (the cat, too) and got my laptop hooked up to the hotel’s wi-fi system for guests. He also phoned me when the power had come back on in my neighbourhood. He had found out from my friend next door who had texted  him. And he was there with a leased car and a ham and potatoes for Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. And drove us home. He did stay out of it while the boarder and I pitched stuff still in the fridge that hadn’t fit in the temporary fridge (an old closed up from the outside milk chute) and a very few items from the big freezer. But he did cook dinner and we all exchanged Christmas presents.

He was raised by both parents, despite my ex and I being separated since Martin was a toddler. At first it was dicey, but once some routines were agreed on  – with the flexibility factor included – I think this joint parenting worked. My ex was good getting Martin into things like scouts and soccer   – just as well as I don’t drive, but we both kept tabs on Martin’s experiences in school, including going together to parent and teacher evenings for grade school. One year, Martin’s spelling was terrible (he was seven or eight) and so my ex and I, as a team, descended on the school, prepared to give his teacher hell for ignoring this spelling problem…until we arrived to meet her and saw her leg in a cast. We downplayed our anger to concern. The following year Martin had a teacher very concerned with his students’ spelling.

I wasn’t a harsh disciplinarian with my son, preferring to use what I had learned from a friend who had raise three children – the consequences method – all actions had consequences. Some of my work friends condemned or made fun of this attitude, but that and talking things out with Martin seemed to pay off. To paraphrase another friend, my son turned out well and I am proud of him.

Martin is also an accomplished musician, playing guitar and lap steel guitar with a local Toronto band called Beams. This Friday, Feb.23, Beams is holding the launch party for the release of its second CD at a bar called Little Budda in downtown Toronto. They will play around 11 p.m. but the opening band is earlier. My friend, Carol and I plan to go. Click on the Beams link HERE for their website with info on the CD and song excerpts and go to their Facebook page for tickets.

And oh, yeah he hasn’t missed any of the three book launches for my three Beyond mystery books.

He has been spending time with his dad and his dad’s wife and friends across the pond but now that he’s back I will be taking him and his girlfriend out for dinner one evening next week. I did email him a birthday greeting last week, complete with a 40th birthday cake graphic inserted in the email (e-cards got too confusing for me to work – they used to be easier to send).

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Help and Support, Martin Crawford

Only Child on problems and anxiety

Pondering problem solving

A couple of weeks ago I had a fast lesson in something I believe in. It is something a bit off kilter from the usual psychological thinking about anxiety and problems. A lot of the thinking is on getting the anxious person to calm down, meditating, etc.

Well, folks that never worked with me because that doesn’t make the problem go away  or solve it. And I have almost a lifetime experience of being anxious and worrying. I come from it honestly – both my parents (my mother, in particular, were worry warts. Mom, could have won a prize as Biggest Worry Wart). So, maybe it is in the genes.

First, a disclaimer here – if the above don’t count as disclaimers – I am one of many people who have too many problems to deal with – often at once, at minimum one right after the other.

So, my lesson.

It really was something stupid. As often happens for whatever reason – health issues getting in the way again, too many things to do – I was running late to get out of the house and get to something very important – a TV taping for my latest book Beyond Faith on the Liquid Lunch at thatchannel.com. I am known for being really early or somewhat late, but this time I wanted to be a bit early.

After piling on all the winter outer clothing (another reason to hate winter), I raced outside. I had checked online for bus times, but of course, I got a later bus – but didn’t have to wait long for it. On the bus, I was practically having a panic attack, demanding that I get there on time to you-know-who.

For some reason I looked at my watch and had to look again.

According to my watch I was one hour early. I had to check the watch several times to make sure it was running. The second hand was going around at its usual speed, so the watch was working.

That was confirmed by the digital time at the subway station when the bus arrived there and I went down to the platform.

Somehow, while on the computer doing work before leaving I had misread the time on the computer.

Thank you, God, I said in my head.

And the worry, the anxiety suddenly left me and I felt calm and relieved and I had extra time, so stopped in a shop to get something I was going to get afterwards and did a bit of walking. I arrived about 20 minutes early – plenty of time to chat with the producer and sign the form and get inside the actual studio for the taping.

And I didn’t meditate or do any calming exercises. The problem disappeared and that was that. Not that all problems will disappear this easily. Many require a lot of work. But I still believe solving the problems is better medicine than meditation, etc.

Now, I have to apply my beliefs with two problems I now have – the guy I was paying to shovel my snow  didn’t show up this morning to shovel yesterday afternoon’s/evening’s and overnight’s snow – just under 10 cm. And of course with my precarious health, I am having more respiratory-virus related problems.

So, I will have to shovel the snow, which is not good for my health. Also I am a senior, so add that to health issues.  I may do some shoveling today and some tomorrow.

As for that snow shovellng guy – unless he is sick or his kid is sick, he will get the “gift of my wrath.” Those who follow this blog know I tend to treat people as they treat me – good and bad.

And that interview about my book? Here’s the link to where thatchannel.com posted it to You Tube. It is also archived on their website.

Meantime I’ll be doing this.

And this is how I feel about it all.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Anxiety, Health, Health Seniors, Life demands, Meditation, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, snow shovelling

Only Child asks: Is this good customer service? Part 1

Your customer service rep today

Customer service is becoming non-existent in my life if the past two weeks are any indication. Here is one of those real stories.

The Bank and the Safety Deposit Box

For 19 years I have had a safety deposit box at the same bank branch. The box’s location? Floor level. Not great for a senior with bad knees and bad feet and a bad temper when the first two act up.

So, I decided I would get the box changed to one higher up. Might as well get up in the world.

Well, pardon my knees – maybe I should have gotten down on them and screamed bloody murder.

No one at the bank branch seemed to know what the procedure was. First time near the end of the rental year for the floor box, when I went in about it, a teller told me to come in a few days before the actual fiscal year end. So I did and those who should know better were running around like the proverbial chicken with no head – except the chicken would score higher on the intelligence level.

The teller didn’t know but at least had the sense to check with Debbie, the Customer Service Manager. Debbie didn’t know how to close it either. Isn’t it her job to know the ins and outs of customer service? I was told that only the teller named Tina knew what to do and to come back the day it closes and she could do it all then.

It was beginning to sound like some secret ritual.

So I showed up the last day of the rental contract, the last day I could pay. Tina was there and transferred my payment from my chequing account. Tina tried to close the account and open a new one so the box could be moved.

The computer couldn’t do it. Tina said it would have had to be done a few days before and I said I did come in then but nobody knew what to do. She figured it would work on the Monday so said to come in then. Monday arrived and I was too busy with writing work (and dealing with other snafus – for another post), so decided to be courteous and call the branch and leave a message for Tina.

And ran into recorded voice mail hell. You can no longer just leave a voice mail message for someone at the bank branch. You get this female robot voice asking what you want – of course their less than pea-sized robotic brain has a limited number of what they will recognize. So the voice asked for my bank card number. Which I gave her. She said it wasn’t recognized and I immediately got back to square one when you call in.

I ended up calling the main line, complaining, and a very nice and smart representative named Dennis got me transferred to the branch…to Debbie, the customer service manager – oh excuse me, her voice mail. So I just left a message to pass along to Tina that I couldn’t come in today and was just calling as a courtesy. Tina called back shortly and I said I couldn’t come in before Friday but she wasn’t going to be in Friday. Friday is the only way this damn bank branch is open to 6 p.m. and I couldn’t see why I should steal from my work time to waste time at a bank because they don’t know what they are doing.

So I went in around 3 p.m. Thursday and got into the line. The manager, Vince, was walking by and I told him loudly all about my problem and that only Tina knew what to do to change safety deposit boxes, etc. etc. And that the others, particularly Debbie,  the customer service manager needed some retraining. He apologized – but I wasn’t impressed. He always comes across as an unintelligent jerk – a yes man who doesn’t listen. The previous bank manager, a woman, was so much smarter and helpful. She was quick to straighten out a mess one of her tellers made including writing the utility companies involved to tell them it was a teller’s error and I always pay my bills on time. But she’s not there and we are stuck with Vince and Debbie.

Tina did straighten everything out and I got my new safety deposit box at eye level. Tina also got my up-to-date email where  she said I would receive a survey. and I could tell what happened.

I expected the survey, but not a place to put everything.

The survey, not only had a place for comments about what happened, but asked the question “What would correct this situation?”

My answer? Get rid of Vince; retrain Debbie and train the rest of the staff.

Then I rated them: Tina A+, everyone else at the bank involved F-

Now when I go into the bank branch I’ll be looking to see if Vince is Gone Boy.

There are many more customer service snafu stories in the city of Toronto. Hang on – I’ll be writing more in upcoming posts. No one will be spared and sometimes I will name full names.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Actions Consequences, Banking, finances, Problems

Only Child looks at Karma

Only child ponders ins and outs of Karma

Only child ponders ins and outs of Karma

Karma is defined “as the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person” (Merriam-Webster online). That is taken in its broadest general sense. To break it down, if someone hurts someone else, the person doing the hurting will get their “just desserts” in the future. Or as some people (including me) believe – what goes around comes around, good or bad.

Problem with that is we usually don’t know what happens to someone who does us wrong or someone who helps us. This non-disclosure makes me wonder just how much Karma is taking place.

I do have a couple of concrete examples in my life of both good and bad.

First, leaving the good for last, here is the bad.

A few decades ago, when I worked in editorial for a legal publishing company in Aurora, one of the employees in finance, offered to drive me to work in the morning. It was her idea – I never asked her to do this – and as she lived near me and I was on her way there, I said, “yes,” gratefully.

She had a young child to drop off at daycare on the way – fine with me, even when she was a bit late arriving to pick me up. I knew very well that small children can slow you down. What wasn’t fine with me is this bitch (you will see why I call her this in a sec), suddenly blamed me for her being late – i.e., she said I was always late and never ready when she arrived to pick me up. I admit to a couple of times rushing out with the garbage as she arrived, but 98 per cent of the time I was ready.

Not only that – when she blamed me she said she could no longer pick me up and drive me to work. No warning, no giving me to the rest of the week at least. It was her prerogative to decide not to pick me up any more – but don’t blame me for her delay problems.

So, I started taking the infrequently running (then) Aurora Transit bus to work.

Karma arrived in a month or so when the bitch broke her ankle and couldn’t drive herself to work. She was then in my position – having to get someone else at work living near her to drive her (and the kid to daycare) to and from work. Perfect example of what goes around comes around. And I had nothing to do with making it happen.

The good Karma is with my son and me. When he was growing up I raised him quite differently than my mom and dad raised me. This is not a blame  on my parents thing here. Mom and Dad were elderly parents (Mom was 41 when I was born – not old by today’s standards) and Dad was 49). So they were overprotective, particularly Dad and Mom was strict. But the big blame, if you wish to call it that, here is the Catholic Church and how it infiltrated our lives in the 1950s and early 1960s. You couldn’t go to the bathroom without wondering if it was wrong and if you were committing a mortal or venial sin.

So, among other things, I treated my son as an individual. Although he went to Catholic schools (the property taxes went there and my ex who helped raise our son didn’t want to have him to got regular public schools), we didn’t do the weekly Sunday Mass thing. The Catholic Church then wasn’t so strict, which helped some. Instead of being strict with my son, especially as he got older –  age 10 on and into his teens, I used the actions result in consequences approach, something I learned from a friend. Sometimes I decided on the consequences, but I kept it reasonable and connected to what he did. One example was when he and some of his friends got into the liquor cabinet at one of the friend’s homes. He told me about it afterwards. At the time he was playing in a band, so I decided a complete grounding was not the right thing to do. Martin and I discussed all this including why you don’t drink at age 15 and 16. True, I told him he was riding a bike, not driving a car, but he could still have an accident. So, I said he was grounded from anything but school and band practices and gigs for two weeks.

One of my co-workers at school who got wind of this via a mutual friend whose daughter was one of the group into the liquor cabinet thought this was too lenient.

I didn’t. The incident didn’t have anything to do with my son’s band practice/gigs, so why punish the whole band for what he did?

That’s just one example. I also took him on trips via train and airplane in southern Ontario and to the east and west coast of Canada. Those were the days when I had money and had a good job.

And as a sidebar – my ex, who as I said helped raise our son – wasn’t strict either. He actually got our son involved in extra-curricular activities – but discussed them with me –  and also treated our son as an individual. You might say we made lousy spouses, but were in sinc with raising our son.

Today, the tables are turned and my son helps me a lot. He takes me out for dinner, paid for my new living room couch (his idea – the old one was very badly damaged, including some damage from the ex-boarder’s bloody cat), picks ups heavy stuff I need (which I pay him back for), such as a vacuum cleaner and salt for winter ice on the sidewalk and driveway. He also has bought me some electronic equipment such as a Kobo, a new scanner and a digital camera, plus helps me with computers – getting leased ones, setting them up, and helping with computer snafus.

It’s not only that. We have turned into friends and tell each other stuff. We have met each other’s friends, including Martin’s partner, Juni, and my grade school and high school friend, Margaret.  He is concerned about my health issues and so am I about his.

So, that’s an ongoing Karma for a longtime situation raising my son.

It’s just all the other crap happening where I don’t have to do some consumer advocacy stuff, that I would like to know that Karma is working. Happenings such as when a car nearly runs me down on my green light or a cyclist riding on the sidewalk instead of the road. And when a stupid bitch hit me in a parking lot and took off. What happened with them? Did Karma work? Did they get their just desserts?

Ditto for the good things, such as anyone on a bus, streetcar or subway who gives up their seat so I can sit down. Or somebody who chases after me down the street with a bag of fruit I had just bought and had unknowingly dropped on the sidewalk when I thought I was dropping it in my bag and hands me the bag, saying “you dropped this”?

Of course I thank them right then. But do they get their good Karma for their good deeds?

It might be nice to know. Because it would certainly raise the little trust I have overall in this world of 2016.

My two dollar’s worth anyway.

What do you think?

Comments please.

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Actions Consequences, Believing, Elderly parents, Family, Karma, Life Balance, Mom and Dad, Only child