Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Revisiting Dating with a Chronic Illness

When I was on dialysis, I wasn't really confident enough to "put myself out there" and start dating. I'm not sure why, because I know lots of people who do it...but I just couldn't. Just in recent weeks/months, I've gotten back into the swing of things. In the past few days, I've went out with two guys. Night and day. One was a punk, who I will not even talk about, and the other, who I met yesterday, was a perfect gentleman.

So yesterday, after spending time texting for a number of days(I met this gentleman online), he asked me if I wanted to meet. I felt a bit apprehensive, as I hadn't texted with him that long, but I got a good vibe from him. He asked if I wanted to meet him for a drink, so I agreed.

We met and had a few drinks and chatted. He's funny, a perfect gentleman, and "easy on the eyes".  There were no awkward silences in our conversation which was great. The conversation was so great, that 2 beers and 1 coke later for me and 3 beers later for him, we had realized that we had been on that patio chatting, learning, and laughing for 3 hours. He told me about his old school Italian upbringing and the fact that he's old  fashioned. I noticed that he opened the door for me, asked questions, and paid for drinks.

The days leading up to our meeting via texting was great too. Since giving him my number, he texts me every morning to say good morning and ask how I am, as well as in the late afternoon/evening to see how my day went. Very thoughtful.  I at first thought that he was perhaps a bit shy based on his texts, but when I met him, I realized that was not the case.  At the end of the night, he drove me home.  When we got to my place, he gave me a big hug. I could tell by looking at him that he wanted to kiss me, but he held himself back in keeping with his "gentlemanly-ness". Haha.  He sent me a Good Morning text this morning as well.

He's a nice guy and I'd like to see him again, but the thoughts of when and how to tell him I have Lupus, I had a kidney transplant, I have a fistula, I have a huge scar on my stomach, I had my hip replaced...bla bla bla.  I guess the major ones are Lupus and the kidney transplant, but eventually everything else will have to come out too if we decide to continue hanging out.

I guess I'll just have to play it by ear. I do feel like it's important to bring it up at some point soon. Clearly these different issues do not define me, but it's also not something i'd want to hide...ya know?

I'll update on the situation of me and him as time progresses, and if that doesn't work out, my other dating escapades.. lol

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Love Weddings!

One of my best friends got married this weekend! It was a beautiful ceremony which was located outside.  It was hot and sunny, but everyone was provided with lovely purple fans to match the wedding's theme/colours. Considering the rain storm that occurred the very next day in the afternoon, the day of the wedding couldn't have been a more gloriously sunny day.

I think back to the past, when Sarah, myself, and our friends were just kids in our late teens/early 20s-going clubbing, bars, out for dinner, the movies...just doing anything and everything that kids at that age do! 

And now, we're "big girls" doing things that adults do (we're adults? ....terrifying!) LOL! Clubs and similar environments have kind of lost their appeal. We're older, smarter...and our interests and tastes have changed. We much prefer doing things that allow us to really enjoy each other's company, like going out for coffee, lunch/dinner, gatherings at a mutual friend's house, etc. Bars and clubs are not completely out of the question, but mostly reserved for special occasions/celebrations...and even then, that's only if the person we are celebrating REALLY wants to do those things (aka still rare)! 

And then, all of a sudden..I'm attending Sarah's wedding!

It seems like only yesterday...we were at our respective homes getting dressed and ready to head to the school dance...or to prom...a club..just anywhere.  I remember how sweet it was when our friend Carolyn got her driver's licence and could drive us all everywhere, so we frequented patios, malls, even a weekend trip to Wasaga beach!

At Wasaga Beach
I couldn't be happier for Sarah for having found her prince charming, Sean! Sean is a super great guy and I'm very comfortable saying that they are just perfect for each other!! I'm certainly glad that myself, Sarah, and friends decided to wander into that strange bar that day-the day Sarah and Sean met! I remember us girls teasing Sarah on the way home-saying she was gonna marry a phd! Well LOOK! :)

Words cannot describe how much I love my friend Sarah. She has been right there with me at my side through thick and thin, and I am truly blessed to have her as one of my best friends. So many laughs and happy moments coupled with the harder and more trying times.  It doesn't matter what it is or what I'm going through, I've always known that Sarah is but a phone call away. I'm honoured and happy that I was able to share this wonderful day with her.

And now, a few more pictures of my bestie's wedding!

This is Kerrie and her husband Jeff-I was one of Kerrie's bridesmaids last year, remember? :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Shame on you

I know, yet again, it has been a while since I posted. I will try to post more in the future!

Anyhow, I feel compelled to blog about my experience with a company called The French Oven, a bakery in Toronto the makes cakes and desserts.

This issue dates back to June 9, which was a Saturday. I had just finished participating in the Sickle Cell walkathon and needed to go to the grocery store to purchase fruits and veggies for my smoothies, so my Mom and I went to Freshco, a local grocery store.  As I had in the past. I went to the fridge section of the bakery and picked up a couple of the particular dessert in question. It was called a chocolate fudge dessert cup.  It's essentially a single serving cup that comes in a little plastic container. I've purchased a few in the past, and have liked them. So, I picked up some more. 

When my mom and I got home, I was so hungry from having participated in the walkathon after not having had much of a breakfast, I decided to eat a dessert cup while preparing lunch. Having been outside in the brightness of the sun, my eyes had not yet adjusted to indoors.

I took a bite of my dessert cup. Ew..this tastes really weird.  I smelled it. It smelled funny too..the only way I can describe the smell is that it smelled sour. I told my mom, who has a very astute sense of smell, to smell it.  She thought it smelled off too. I looked at the expiry date-the cake was not to expire until the following day.  I closed it back up and put it in a clear plastic bag, then into the fridge.  I decided that I'd take it back to the store.

Later on in the day, I got the urge to take the dessert cup out of the fridge and examine it further. When I did, I was horrified at what I saw.  The plastic that the cake is contained in is clear, which enables me to look at the sides and bottom of the cup without removing the cake from it's container.  It was covered in dozens and dozens of round little mold spores. Wow...I took a bite of that earlier today...

I panicked.  I had just gotten a transplant 3 months earlier, and I was worried that having taken a bite of this mold-laced cake could cause some sort of ill effect.  I picked up my phone and called the grocery store.

I spoke to the produce manager as the store manager was not in at the time of my call.  When I told him what had happened as well as my immunosuppressed status, he was equally horrified.  He asked how I was feeling and if I was ok, which I appreciated.  He told me that he would get in contact with the supplier of the cakes, and if I could bring the offending cake to the store the next day. I agreed.

After church, my Mom and I headed to the grocery store. The produce manager wasn't in, but I did speak to the meat manager.  She was helpful as well.  She took my information as well as the cake so that the store manager could see it when he arrived the following day.

The next day, which was Monday June 11, the store manager called me, but I missed his call as I was at work. On my break, I called him back.  He informed me that he had informed the French Oven of what happened, and that they should be in contact with me.  When I got home, sure enough, I did receive a phone call from Alok Razdan, president and owner of The French Oven.  He apologized, and stated that he would have a courier go to the store to pick up the cake for further investigation, and that he would get back to me no later than Thursday (June 14) with the results.  I agreed.

Thursday came and went with no phone call.  The following week on Tuesday June 19, I called the French Oven back and spoke to Linda.  She told me that Mr. Razdan was not in, but would be in around 10:30am. I left a message.  I didn't receive a phone call back.  On Friday June 22, I spoke to another gentleman. I didn't catch his name. When I asked for Mr. Razdan, he too told me that Mr. Razdan would be in later on in the morning.  I asked him to please have Mr. Razdan return my call before the end of the business day. Guess what? the phone call never came.

At that point, I called the manager of Freshco back and told him what was going on.  He promised to contact the French Oven himself to see what was going on. He also told me to call him back if I did not receive a returned phone call the following week.

 On Monday June 25, Linda called me and left me a voice message.  She informed me that Mr. Razdan had decided to give me "3 dessert cups free of charge" (this was actually 2 free cups, since I did not yet receive a refund for the moldy one). I called back and spoke to Linda. She reiterated to me what she said in the message. I told her that this was actually TWO free cups, since I hadn't received a refund for the first one.  She told me that the 3 free dessert cups is what Mr. Razdan had decided to do.

What disappoints me the most about this whole scenario is the lack of a returned phone on the day promised with the promised info as well as a lack of a returned phone call after I called twice.  I had to call Freshco's manager, who, by the way, was EXTREMELY helpful (not only him, but also the produce manager and the meat manager) to call The French Oven for me. It was only then that my phone call was returned.

Each dessert cup costs $1.59. So in essence I was given $3.18 worth of free product, or 4.77 if you forget about the fact that I hadn't yet received a refund for the first one. In the end, I wasn't worried about getting free dessert cups.  What I REALLY wanted was to receive a phone call back, as promised, with the information he promised to give me as to what happened with the dessert cup I bought. Having worked in customer service my whole employment life...this was a complete and utter customer service fail.  I emailed The French Oven on June 29 expressing my concerns and disappointment.  No response.

I went to FreshCo to collect my "free dessert cups".  The store manager graciously refunded me the one dessert cup that I bought, which I appreciated.  I told him that I hadn't received any phone calls back from Mr. Razdan, and that I had also sent an email and was waiting for a response.  I don't expect that to happen.

All but 1 of the free dessert cups that I got ended up going into the garbage eventually.  All of them tasted off, and all were no where near their expiry dates.

Based on the amazing customer service I received, I will certainly continue to shop at FreshCo. Customer service is EXTREMELY important to me and can dictate whether or not I choose to continue spending my money at a particular company or on their goods and/or services. Freshco's customer service definitely impressed me.

I have given the French Oven ample opportunity to call me back and make things right, but instead I was swept under the carpet and ignored.

Shame on you, French Oven.

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