Monday, December 15, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...if you live at the North Pole, anyway...

The weather here has been insane this past week! Last Sunday it started snowing while we were in church, and it snowed, and it snowed. And then it started getting cold. Last Thursday it took two hours to get to work, when normally it only takes 45 minutes. Friday afternoon it snowed some more, and traffic was backed up everywhere despite warnings to stay at home - the storm hit right around rush hour and it ended up taking people hours to get home. On Saturday we went to Australia (the movie, not the warm country where it's currently summer, unfortunately) and the normally five minute trip took quite a bit longer - either the snow was loose and slidey under the tires, or it was so packed down it was like driving on ice. The movie was pretty good though, and the theatre was mostly empty.

So if anyone not in Calgary is reading this, let me explain what I mean by cold. We're talking between -25 and -35 cold that when you step outside and breathe, your nose hairs freeze together. If you try to breathe through your mouth to avoid that very weird sensation, you start to cough because your lungs can't get any oxygen out of the frozen air. If you put a scarf over your mouth and nose to try to help with the breathing, the patch by your mouth freezes and is really just gross as it thaws and re-freezes as you breath out and in. You have to plug in your car (technically the block heater which keeps the engine warm) overnight because if you don't, it won't start. If you're going to go through a drive through, you need to test your window first, because there's a good chance it's frozen shut. I don't open the curtains or the blinds in the house because the windows are so cold you may as well be outside. It's so cold that the switches for the trains freeze up and leave crowds of people huddling in poorly heated shelters while they try to get to work. In short, it's so cold that you'd be in danger of loosing small appendages by the time you got to work, if you didn't go out prepared. (Like the lady I saw at the train only wearing thin leather driving down-filled MEC gloves rated to -30 were feeling not quite warm enough...I can't imagine how painful that must have been!)

Have I mentioned how much I love Israel and how nice and warm it was there??!!

My Mom and my brother got here from Nova Scotia yesterday, and it was a beautiful day - the snow was white and sparkling in the sun, and the sky was blue, blue, blue. It was also -30 with the windchill... I was kind of afraid they'd get back on the plane and head home to balmy NS where if it gets to -10 it's a cold winter. But Mom said it reminded her of when she was a kid in central Newfoundland, so they're still here. :) She came bearing seafood, and we had a yummy shrimp and rice thing for dinner, so it's a good thing they did stay!

Now I just have to survive a few more days of this, and then it's supposed to warm back up to -10 or -15, which will be great and we'll all be shedding layers and driving with the windows open. :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Much Rudeness at the Firm

It was so weird - my boss isn't here today, so the receptionist called me and said there was someone here about one of our clients.

I went out to the front and this lady was there, and she said she was this client's mother and she came to pay his bill and take his file.

I said we hadn't heard from him in months, and if he wanted someone to pick up his file that was fine, but we needed something in writing from him before we could release his file.

She totally freaked out and started ranting about how she came from Airdrie and had ID (like that proves anything?) and if I didn't give her the file 'right now' we were never going to see our money, etc. She pulled out a piece of paper and said here's his number, call him. So I said I'd go try to call him from the number that's on the file (he lives in China, so I really didn't want to wrack up a phone bill, either), and she laughed and said that he has a new number now. (?)

I was starting to get a little worried she was going to attack me or something, so I said I'd have to go talk to the office manager. Loris could hear everything from her office because of how loud this woman was being and she told me to tell this woman that she could pay, have the client send us a message with the address where he wanted the file to do, and we'd send it.

I delivered the message, and she swore, pushed past me and stormed out. She also stopped to swear a bit and tell the receptionist I was rude.

I'm glad the office manager and the receptionist could hear and witness the whole thing, otherwise I'd be a bit worried that I had been inadvertently rude, but they backed me up really well.

I can't believe how rude she was and how mad she got. She didn't phone, we haven't heard from the client in months…and to go ballistic like that? She seems pretty unstable. I was feeling pretty unstable after that hands were shaking so badly I could hardly type. I don't do well with confrontation in general, but this was just so totally out of the blue. It's not an unreasonable regulation - any other law firm in the city would expect their bill to be paid and to have authorization to release a file, but this woman seemed to think that I should just kowtow to her. SO WEIRD!

Anyway, I'm very thankful I don't have to deal with that kind of hostility very often, that's for sure. I'm very much looking forward to going home in a couple of hours and having a hot toddy - I think I earned it today!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

An Alberta Wife

Three men from Ontario were sitting together one day bragging about how they had given duties to their new wives.

The first man had married a woman from Quebec and had told her that she was going to have to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from Manitoba. He had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man had married a girl from Alberta. He told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little bit out of his left eye - enough to fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher.