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Dear Diary – Can it really be called fast food if they have to go out back and milk the cow?

I popped into McDonald’s one day after an appointment, to grab a bite to share with a friend. The drive-thru was full but the store was empty.

I hate the self-order kiosks. Not only am I reluctant to use the germ-covered touch screen, I’ve had problems placing orders and paying there too. But with no one at the front cash, my options were limited. Once again, there was a problem. I easily ordered 1 cheeseburger, 2 fries, and 1 medium hot chocolate, but when I ordered an orange pekoe tea, my only size option was small. For anyone who knows anything about me, small is unacceptable.

I waited awhile before someone noticed me at the front cash. I explained my tea size situation 4 times before, exasperated, she told me she’d ring me up. When I was digging for my cash, I found a full rewards card and I asked if I could use it for my tea. She said “no” because she had “already hit the button”. I pointed out that since I hadn’t paid yet, she could edit the order. She did, but she was not happy about it!

I proceeded to wait another long time with my hot tea and hot food for my hot chocolate. Time slowed down. People came. People went. Workers glanced at me quizzically. Thick, white hairs started growing in my eyebrows. I could feel them. But Bessie eventually came through, and I left, 25 minutes later.

I like to take the back roads. I find there are fewer stupid people operating vehicles there. My friend’s house is less than 10 minutes away…unless the two back roads I could use cross the railroad tracks. And they’re closed for repairs to said railroad tracks. At the second road, because the signs didn’t disclose both roads were closed, I turned into a parking lot as my u-turn, behind a silver volvo. The driver of the volvo was so discombobulated by this detour to her destination, that forgot how to drive. She started pumping the brakes, or just stopping in the laneway. Her turn signals flashed where no road or empty parking space existed. She’d creep and jerk and rev, and stop to fix her hair. As the line of cars piled up behind me, she nearly bounced off a black BMW before pulling into an empty handicap spot. “Good riddance”, I thought. Only to inch along behind a transport truck.

I finally made it to the main road I had crossed over not 20 minues earlier. I crept through 2 more unrelated construction zones in the 2 minute stretch before parking in the last visitor parking space and sighing with relief.

My friend lives in a seniors building, so the key is supposed to activate the automatic door. You know what’s coming, don’t you? There I stood in the rain, with my purse falling off my shoulder, precariously balancing a grocery bag, a paper bag, a tray of not-so hot drinks, twisting a key with no results. I could still get in if I used the key in the alternate lock and manually opening the heavy door, if I had a hand free. To set down one item would tip the balance, and I would likely lose it all. Including my sanity.

Thankfully an older lady with a walker and a curly brown dog, took pity on me and pushed the button inside. My fries were cold. My nerves were raw. And Bessie, her milk was sour.

Good thing I had a large tea!

Dear Diary – The squirrels have found my bird feeder. I was so excited that after 2 years, the birds had finally found it. So, Hubby moved it for me, away from the porch posts. Then he raised it higher when he caught it jumping at the feeder. Yesterday, I caught it hanging on for dear life with all four feet, trying to wrap it’s head around the ledge to pull itself up. I chased it off the porch and through the yard, barking like a mad dog. Now the squirrel and my neighbours think I’m mad (if they didn’t already think so!)

Dear Diary – I lit a fire under someone at the roofing company and they came the very next day. I wasn’t nasty but after hearing nothing since September, and with our deposit cashed, we were starting to wonder. We knew there have been material shortages and delays as a result of covid, but is it so hard to pick up a phone and say, “we haven’t forgotten you”? Apparently.

The work looked great. We were particularly excited to re-route one of the downspouts so we’d no longer have a skating rink at the corner of the carport.

It’s raining today and not hard, but the water is pooling at the wrong end and spilling over. I left a voicemail message. On the plus side, the guy’s mailbox wasn’t full. The bad news is, I may have to wait another 2 months before I can light another fire. I should get my skates sharpened.

Dear Diary – A whole unexpected day with quality one-on-one time with all my favourite people in the middle of a very ordinary week!

My parents emailed Sundary evening to say that they had decided to deliver Little Guy’s birthday present, was that ok? They would enjoy a much-needed mini get-away at a nearby hotel, then spend Wednesday morning with me in my office. So we sipped tea and snacked on muffins, and talked for a very long time, before we piled into the car to return my Amazon package.

So you see, after all my worry and fuss about the package that Purolator said was delivered but was not, it was found! On Saturday afternoon, a lady from down the street ran over to ask Hubby to pick up his package. It had been delivered by purolator…to the wrong address. I can see how 256 could look like 252. Mmmm…no I can’t. I also can’t see why the neighbour didn’t try to let us know for 3 days? But what was lost, was found, and we rejoiced.

After sitting on hold and bouncing around on Friday, Amazon had agreed to re-ship my package free of charge. I tried to notify them not to, but it was too late. It was already in the hands of Canada Post. Long story short – Canada Post delivered the second package on Monday, and after a lot of hand-wringing, I figured out how to send it back. Free of charge.

That’s where I needed Dad’s help.

The package was long and heavy, and awkward. I didn’t want to have to drag it from the car and through the store to the post office counter, alone. I’ve dragged things through stores before and received lots or strange looks. I also sat on a large box beside my tiny car in a parking lot, waiting for Hubby to come with his bigger car and bungie cords. But I digress…

How many adults does it take to return a package to the post office? Apparently 3!

The patriarch wanted to drive and he slid the box in the backseat. But that meant there was no room for Mom. I was in the front as “navigator”. I was just helping her get settled in the backseat, pinned down by the heavy box, when someone decided we could lay down part of the seat. Mom rolled her eyes at Dad and I, as we took turns fussing between the latch and the trunk, and the awkward box, but we got it sorted and safely made our way.

Mom said she’d stay in the car. As I walked around to the trunk, she was peeking out the back window at me, with a silly grin on her face, and then she started bobbing. Had I finally broken her? Meanwhile, Dad was getting out of the car and muttering under his breath.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Your mother can’t reach her bag of chocolate in the trunk.”

Sure enough, like a squirrel trying to reach deep into the hollow of a tree, Mom was digging through the hole in the trunk. Not crazy. Chocolate! I understand.

Package returned, I grabbed a driver’s handbook and a set of batteries: one for Little Guy who reaches a milestone this week; the other so I can see how many stones I now weigh. It was also a good time to activate my new debit card…with tap!

Tapping has become the easiest, hands-free way to pay; it’s almost too easy. The instructions said all I had to do was use it to purchase something online or in person. But every time I tapped, it beeped rudely and told me “tap not accepted”. Every time I tried to swipe it, it beeped rudely and told me “tap not accepted”. After several attempts, I gave up and used my credit card. If I find out my old debit card has been deactivated, I may light a fire under someone. I’m getting pretty good at it!

I was so frustrated until Mom shared her chocolate.

We toured the local craft store before sharing soup and sandwiches at the house, and they headed home. After school, Little Guy and I saved some marines from virus-infected mutant creatures, and after dinner, Big Guy and I protected the payload. Hubby and I rounded out a blessed day curled up in front of the t.v.

There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family.
Or more happy, or more exasperated, or more secure.

Jim Butcher

Dear Diary – It was my own fault for leaving it to the last minute, but at the end of a very busy week, tired and stressed, I traversed into an unknown part of the city, in the dark, alone, to deliver my Operation Christmas Child shoebox. I wasn’t going to bother doing it in person (I packed boxes online last year) but I got so excited helping Mom shop for her box, that I shopped too.

First I drove the 30 minutes to our new church to drop Little Guy at youth. I’m so excited that he’s involved with “real people” again, and seems happy to be there. Then I drove another 20 minutes toward my destination. I sort of knew where I was going, and was more than a little panicked when I found out I couldn’t quite get there.

Before I left home, I looked at my options on google maps. It indicated that there was a major obstruction at the east end, so I headed for the western option. Makes sense right? Only when I came to the western intersection, it was completely closed for paving. There were police cars with flashing lights but no detour signs. I continued south searching for a sidestreet so I could pull over and maybe google my way where I needed to go. A few other cars had the same idea so I kept following them and praying, not only that I would get where I needed to go, but that I wouldn’t become so lost in the residential warren of very large and expensive homes, that I would have to make an SOS call to Hubby.

Neither of us find that experience delightful.

When what to my wondering eyes would appear at the end of the street I was on…but the very road I needed to be on. There were flashing police cars far on my left, and no traffic. There were flashing lights very far to my right (it turns out they were firetrucks cleaning up after a big fire). God had led me around the snarl and the church was almost straight ahead, the steeple lit up like a beacon.

It was mad chaos when I arrived, with teenagers running and chattering like toddlers, but the joy in the air was contagious. The organizer, my petite powerhouse friend shrieked over the noise when she saw me, turning heads, but I didn’t care. It felt so good to hug her. She just got engaged (and I told her he’d be worth waiting for)! I met her beau. I admired the ring. I watched the joyous chaos for a long time before I slipped out into the cool night air with the warmest feeling.

‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.’

Dr. Seuss, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Dear Diary – I have to bake a birthday cake from scratch this afternoon. Birthday cakes have not always been a success for me. They often stick in the pan. They fail to rise. Thomas the Tank Engine nearly put me in the funny farm. My purple birthday cake tasted like sawdust. And the lumberjack cake was an experiment in what not to do.

I don’t have a good feeling about this!