Category Archives: Civility

Only Child gets those life irritations out of the way

Only child in her home

Only child in her home

Sometimes just listing the 10 or 12 things that irritate you the most can help you get going into what to focus on (or not) in 2017. As I often do, I took this process backwards – did my focus and goals first. But I do have a category box for What I don’t like doing/What I don’t need to do.

So, loosely based on that,  (or some of the flip side of my goals) and just what I’ve observed in the world the past year, here in no particular order is my dirty dozen:

  1. Friends who phone and don’t leave a message. How am I supposed to know they called when I was out or otherwise not available?
  2. Telemarketers and the like who leave a voice mail message.
  3. Rain in the winter – heavy or otherwise and heavy rain, heavy winds any other time as well.
  4. Winter
  5. Unforeseeable house and property problems such as water getting in the basement from no. 3 above or for any reason.
  6. Consumer service and utility screw-ups.
  7. Family, friends and yes, me too, getting sick, especially with something serious.
  8. Public transit problems.
  9. Leaders of countries who are dictators (that’s the leaders, not the country here).
  10. Rude pushy people.
  11. Not getting enough sleep.
  12. Going crazy trying to manage my time.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. But I do love many things like gardening, writing and reading. Another blog post will go into some of that.

What are your pet peeves – what irritates you a lot?

May your 2017 be happier, brighter and more focused than 2016.

Good riddance to 2016.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Civility, Extreme Weather, Leaky Basements, Life demands, Lists, Only child, Public Transit, Rain and wind storm, Sleep deprivation, Time management, Weather

Only Child looks at the macro of our horrid world

01910012You have had enough of my rants on personal reasons why this world is so bad, so except for my opinion on it, today I’m going to go into the macro area – why our 21st century world is doing worse than going to hell in a handbasket.

First, for those who didn’t read the comments from my last post, here’s a brief update. I’m not going blind yet and have expensive eye drops for life for my left eye. My son Martin is helping to pay for them. The left eye has glaucoma and is badly damaged. The right eye is fine. So, not getting an eye patch yet for the left eye. No Pirate Sharon for now.

So what is wrong with the world we live in? Here are a few things I’ve either seen (in person or online or TV), read about or people I know have experienced. FYI I believe the world just went really bad when we entered the 21st. century. Think 9/11 in 2011. Before we left the 20th century, the world was still livable, not perfect, but not way out of whack.

Here we go with my dirty dozen on what’s globally wrong.

  1. Terrorism escalating. Enough said here.
  2. Recessions, high unemployment, high debt (some people have no choice but to go into debt because income doesn’t meet expenses even if they do budget. I’m not talking about buying too expensive houses and taking on mortgages that can’t be paid if someone loses a job).
  3. Pollution.
  4. Extreme weather being the norm everywhere. I do blame global warming for a lot of it and we (the collective “we”) screwed up. I still believe that God controls the weather and could put a halt to all this or at least get it back to normal. But I also believe that because he gave us free will and he doesn’t like what we have done/are doing with it, he’s not helping us. Can you really blame him?
  5. The world is overpopulated. And you can use your own take on the whys and the wherefores here.
  6. Religious fundamentalism  of any kind and its results.
  7. Bad leaders and potential leaders in some countries. You can also use your own take here.
  8. People are getting ruder and nastier and more violent.
  9. The over-technological world we live in. Is all this necessary when we see what it does and can do to people? Yes, basic cell phones are probably necessary (text and phone functions) for emergencies and the like. But all the “bells and whistles,” the apps, etc.? And full digital kitchens? Come on, where’s the fun in cooking?
  10. Too many people getting too many cancers.
  11. Medical – both the primary caregivers – some are so inept and also how the practices and medical clinics are run. Here’s what’s happening with one cardiologist being disciplined.  And the cost to people for medical services, including drugs and supplements – what isn’t covered by government medical insurance and the high cost of private insurance.
  12. Too many people living below the poverty level and too many living high on the hog with too high salaries. The middle class? What’s that? It’s shrinking.

What am I doing about it? Trying to combine what is necessary for me in technology and becoming more self-sustainable (if there is such a word) in my life. I’ll go into that more in a future post.

So, what are you doing about this world we live in? One of my blog post followers has a slogan at the top of her blog

“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

Check out her blog posts. It is people like Laurie who give us hope for the future.

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, God, Health, Health Insurance, Life Balance, Life demands, Money, Only child, Problems, Rude Rage, Technology overload, Weather

Only Child looks for any silver lining

Only child contemplates the world we live in

Only child contemplates the world we live in

The world circa 2015 is going to worse than hell in a hand basket. Try nowhere in a rocket. Even Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, can’t save us.

Every day I wake up to more bad stuff – both in the wider world and personally.

The worst part may be that 90 to 95 per cent I didn’t cause.

Consider the following:

Worldwide: the weather – there is not a place in the world that is safe from extreme weather. Those who follow my blog posts here know who I blame for this (Hint: “dog” spelled backwards). Even waking up to the sun shining doesn’t provide much hope. Think skin cancer, windburn to evergreens, etc.

Worldwide: terrorism, financial debt, unemployment, overuse of too much technology, rudeness as the norm, etc.

Personal: problems with utility companies (don’t get me going here), computer problems, house and yard damage (much due to weather) and resulting financial problems and health problems, time management problems (some of the latter is my fault), etc.

I think you get the picture and it isn’t pretty.

The only solution seems to be to get away from it all – but where to go – a one-way ticket to outer space?

So I “hide” deeper in my writing. But excuse me – first I have to finish going through all the year-end bookkeeping for my business and do the tax stuff. No doubt to get “robbed” by the CRA – more money I don’t have much of to be forked out.

I am polishing up my tin can – a big tin can.

Lottery tickets don’t work for me.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, Computer problems, Health, Income Taxes, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford, Sign of the Times, Technology overload, Technology problems, Uncategorized, Weather, Writing

Only Child turns new leaf to kindness

Winter weather still causing problems

Winter weather still causing problems

Late last night or early this morning – depending on your time take – I had just finished reading the newspaper and was heading for bed when the power went out.

Instant panic. After the big Southern Ontario power outage of summer 2003 and the ice storm-induced outage starting Dec. 21, 2013, I do not take kindly to power outages. Especially when I have put it out there to God (or whomever you believe are the powers that be) to please keep all utilities working 24/7. And I’m not listened to.

Immediately I went into action. Phoned Toronto Hydro to report the outage but couldn’t get past the “hit No 1 to report an outage.” When I hit “1” the phone went dead on their end. I was using my trusty landline phone on the wall – no electric connections there. The next half hour was spent actually going outside and looking to see where the outage was and more phone call attempts.

Surprise. It was a small pocket on part of my street and the street my house faces. My friends next door had power and the street light on our property line was on. Back into the house with another try to get Toronto Hydro. This time it didn’t ring and nothing at their end, but all fine at my end of the phone. In my panic, I decided to try 311 – the city help line – but they were backed up with calls. So I hung up and decided to call 911 – maybe the police could report the outage to Toronto Hydro; maybe they could get through to Toronto Hydro.

Well, I got the rudest person – a civilian – in police communications. He kept rudely repeating I had to call Toronto Hydro and despite my saying I tried but couldn’t get through to them, he kept saying that 911 was for fire, police and medical emergency. On the rude scale he hit above the 10 mark. Even if not his place to help me, he could have been polite and soothing.

I finally did get through to Toronto Hydro – after getting through the main line and listening to the recorded message of current power outages being attended to (mine, not mentioned), I hit “2” instead of “1” and got a live person. What a difference from the asshole civilian at police communications. This Hydro fellow said they already had one notification from the other street here and said he would add my street to the list. I asked how long before power is restored and he said as soon as they could as they had crews at a big fire (Note: thanks to the weather – not Toronto Hydro’s fault – there are problems with the transmitters up the poles and elsewhere – come getting on fire and so the power goes out.)

I thanked the fellow and then got busy with my own emergency stuff. Moved all my “delicate” fridge food (eggs, milk and the like) except for the rest of a casserole (which shall hit the green bin) to my “second fridge” – the old milk chute from the 1950s when milk was delivered – it’s a mailbox now. Put the fridge thermometer in and a later check showed it at fridge temperature. Made several more forays into the fridge to remove fresh fruit and veggies, bread and peanut butter – stuff that could stay out of the fridge in case that was going to be part of my meals today (along with the tinned stuff I stock up on). I even managed to take a shower by candlelight. The hot water heater is gas-fueled. So is the furnace but the thermostat is hydro induced. Apparently years ago, maybe even before my time, gas furnaces started up without the hydro connection. Obviously somebody screwed up when changing that setup.

I took some valerian (natural relaxant/sleep tablet) and crawled into bed under the covers.

And if it sounds like I was composed, no. I kept getting up to check this and that. But finally fell asleep but woke up. Just after my second wake-up, and my mind was going through how I could get through my day without hydro and get my morning coffee, the power went back on. I got up and wandered through the house, enjoying the lights and being grateful.

This morning I phoned Toronto Hydro to leave a message to thank the fellow I talked to and the workers for taking the time from all these hydro fires to restore power in a small pocket where I live.

All this has made me re-think something I had tried to do a few months ago but it got lost in the swarm of bad stuff coming at me. I will now live in a more kindly manner and try to do more random acts of kindness (I have actually managed to do a few, despite all my troubles).

That doesn’t meant that those who give me a hard time get off the hook. I will just be more selective and focus on the important.

Like the rude police communications civilian. I’m contacting Toronto Police Services and complaining about his attitude. Chances are I’m not the only one he treats so callously. And as all 911 calls are recorded with the caller’s location, they shouldn’t have problems figuring out who is the guilty party here.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, God, Gratitude, Life demands, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto Police Services Communications, Winter Weather

Only child learns lesson in banking service

Only Child ponders that banking situation

Yesterday I had an experience with my bank that throws out the usual premise of  “big banks, big bucks, low concern for the lowly customer.” It might have been because I was polite when I complained instead of my usual storming in and shouting.

To backtrack. It was the first day after the long Canada weekend and I expected somewhat of a lineup inside the bank.  I had to go in as I had to get into my safety deposit box. When I arrived, counting a couple of older adults (well, older than I am), nine people were ahead of me, including the two standing at the only two working tellers. This bank branch has four teller wickets. A third teller, a fellow I’d never seen before had the “another officer will be pleased to serve you” sign up and was busy doing whatever tellers do when they close but still have to finish up. The lady ahead of me in line told me she’d already complained – to a loan officer as the manager wasn’t in and that third “teller” with the closed wicket was really a teller. I waited in line 20 minutes and during that time counted 12 people and one dog behind me in line.

The teller usually takes you to the safety deposit boxes, but because they were so busy she had another staffer do this. Clearly, he’d never done the safety box detail before and I had to instruct him. I maintained my civility with him and the tellers – none of this was their fault.

And maybe deep down in my subconscious I remembered another visit to another bank years ago right after my mother died. Her pension cheque had just arrived and my godmother-aunt came with me to deposit it in my now late mother’s account. I had no idea if I could do this but my godmother said it was okay as I was just depositing it into her account, not cashing it. And I was going in as me, so my name would be on the deposit slip. In my memoir I write about this scenario.

What I do remember is something else connected to money. Mom’s pension cheque for August arrived just after she died.

My godmother takes me to Mom’s bank…

“Just fill in the deposit slip in your mother’s name and deposit the whole amount,” my godmother says. “Don’t even tell them she’s dead. You can do that in a few days when the cheque clears the bank.”

I hold my breath, keep my mouth shut and pass the deposit slip (copy made for my records) to the teller. As she looks at it, I imagine someone, God, my conscience personified, but definitely not my Mom, shouting in the teller’s ear.

“Julia Langevin is dead.”

The teller rubber stamps the cheque and the deposit slips, gives me one, and puts her copy and the cheque in her drawer.

The cheque clears. Of course the estate lawyer has to notify the company issuing the cheque of her death. They write back instructing me to return the cheque if it hasn’t already been processed,

(excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

The key words above are “if it hasn’t already been processed.”  The key word’s for yesterday’s bank incident could be “how to process.” I decided to phone head office and complain about the branch situation. No contact number was on the bank’s website so I phoned the general 800 number in the print phone book. Here a fellow told it me was the office of the president for complaining, and gave me a phone number…the French connection. Despite my French maiden name I can’t speak much French. So I left a cryptic message in English and checked online under the bank’s name and “president complaints” and found the English phone number.

I phoned and a pleasant man answered and took down my information. I made it clear that I gave full marks to the two tellers who were trying to cope. He replied, “thank you.” He took my name and phone number and said he would get back to me. I expected to wait a few days but it was more like a few minutes. The problem was one teller quit unexpectedly on the Friday, the third teller was a student who could only come in for the morning, and a new manager was coming in on Wednesday. And this bank representative apologized to me for the bad service.

So, is this a case of the old axiom of catching more flies with honey than vinegar? Or can bank employees – even connected to the president’s office – be polite and quick to sort out the problems?

Take your pick. Now, if only my bank balance could increase that easily.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only child writes

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Filed under Bank service, Bank service complaints, Banking, Civility, Complaining tactics, Only child, Only child memoir

Only Child: follow Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”

Only Child behind barbed wire and feeling the lack of respect

My hairdresser hit it right about the nonsense I’ve been dealing with from others. In last week’s post, Only Child tumbles into overwhelm (May 3, 2011), I mentioned some of the situations that have thrown me into overwhelm. Well, it’s not just the situations per se, but the people involved in them. While colouring my hair on Saturday, she listened to me rant and grabbed onto the incident about the person who kept phoning me  with questions and comments a couple of hours before a meeting we were both going to attend.

“She’s disrespecting you,” my hairdresser said.

I never thought of it that way, but yes, it’s true. Ditto for the fellow doing the excavation and grading work outside my house. After promising me a new-used picnic table (his idea to remedy his breaking the leg off the old table  when moving it. A new leg on the old table would have satisfied me), he is now incommunicado. He didn’t show up when he said to do the table exchange and refused to return my one follow-up phone call. Note, I said “one,” as I’ve put him on “delay” until the time arrives for him to do the grading.

All this lack of respect got me thinking in two directions. First, there is a lot of disrespect in our actions in both business and the personal. Think voice mail and the dreaded message, “Your call is very important to us.” Think rude e-mails and Facebook retaliations. This may go against what I also said last week – trying to gain control and get out of overwhelm. But perhaps, a lot of the disrespect stems from people believing they have no or little control in their lives – business or personal. My hairdresser says she’s noticed people are very cranky lately and is blaming it on a shift in the planets. Even if you don’t believe in her “why” she is right about people being grumpy. I know from my own state of mind.

The other thing I started thinking about is not just why I may not be getting the respect that I deserve but why I’ve let it happen many times. Growing up as an only child I was bullied by both a friend and a teacher (a nun).  Of course, I had no brother or sister to stand up for me and as a shy person, I was terrified to stand up for myself – unless pushed to do so. On one occasion when the bully friend and I had sharp words, I acted – with a little help from my mom.

I don’t remember the issue, but we’re standing outside on my front veranda. The Bully is letting me have it; I am burning hotter and hotter inside. Mom must hear us because when I run inside to get a knife, she hands me a ruler. The Bully knows she’s in trouble and she runs down the steps. Brandishing the ruler like I’m Zorro without the mask, I tear after her down the stairs, down the street, and around the corner. I’m steaming with how good it will feel to whack her one across the back and head, but she is too far ahead of me. Unlike Zorro, I have no horse, only my short eight-year old legs. I go right up to the side door of her house after she dashes inside. I yell and shake my ruler. I wish I had the nerve to run into her house and finish the job, but what will her mother think and do?

Maybe Mom is trying to protect me by teaching me to stand up for myself.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

Of course I haven’t been Ms Doormat up to now. I’ve learned from practice to be assertive in my work and sometimes in my personal life. Not without fear sometimes. I think the answer is “mutual respect.” Don’t push the person too far. Watch your timing and words when you ask for information or a favour. Mutual respect is offering to give something in return.

And here I have to add one instance in the last few days where mutual respect is happening. One of my East End Writers’ Group members has offered to help me with an area of my book proposal for my memoir because she says I have helped her with her writing within the group. In return I have offered to provide supper the evening she comes over to assist me.

Aretha Franklin had it right in her song, Respect. Spell it out like she does and listen to the words, especially the beginning, the end, and the chorus.  And follow them. Lyrics at http://www.lyrics007.com/Aretha%20Franklin%20Lyrics/Respect%20Lyrics.html, plus several video downloads on Y0u Tube.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aretha Franklin, Assertiveness, Civility, Only child, Overwhelm, Respect

Only child looks at responsibility and integrity

Only Child's late mom who taught her honesty and integrity.

Lately I’ve been whacked by people’s irresponsibility. Friends, colleagues promise something and then back out without telling me or let me know way after the fact. For example, I just held my annual Open House Christmas Party – most of those I invited let me know if they were coming or not (those who kept silent either way are another story); a few had to cancel at the last minute due to illness and one because her flight got her back home too late – but they all called me. That is the courteous thing to do. But some  of those who promised to attend were no-shows. Okay, so you’re thinking, it’s only a party. True, but it makes me wonder if this is their usual modus operandi for everything. What does that say about them? Wouldn’t it be better to be honest here? What ever happened to honesty and integrity and common courtesy?

My late mother had an honesty and integrity code. I call it her Ten Rules of Honesty. Some of them were a bit weird but she sure taught me the importance of  having ethical and moral codes. The one that fits the closest for my current situation would be show your truth by your actions, or perhaps you show your truth by your actions or inactions.

Civility has taken a drastic nosedive the past 15, maybe 20 or even 25 years. I’m not referring to kids and teens here. The “culprits” (for want of a better word) in my situation are over 30, in some cases well over 30.  So, I can’t blame it on a generation-raising factor or a society gone lax in its attitude or outlook. In fact, one of the most polite children I know is my nearly-seven-year old neighbour next door. He is thoughtful (even brought flowers for me when he came to my party with his mom) and came up to me at the end to thank me for inviting him to my party. Even another friend noticed his politeness and acknowledged him for it.

So, maybe we (and I’ve been guilty a few times, too) “big people” need to step back from our over-busy world, take a deep breath, pull up our socks (or stockings or leotards) and try to be more considerate of others. Not RSVPing to a party may be minor in itself. But what if the situation were more serious – perhaps a business commitment or in the personal vein, promising to take your elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment and then not only not showing up but not bothering to call and tell him or her.

Are we turning into a bunch of uncivil uncaring louts? Maybe we need to not just get a life but get back the integrity  in our life.

For what it’s worth.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only child writes

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Filed under Betrayal, Christmas, Civility, Consideration, Integrity, Life learning, Only child, Parenting, Responsibility