Last week, I was in the potato chips aisle of the Safeway downstairs. I was just browsing when I noticed another dude in the aisle with me. When I look at the chips, I am about one or two steps from the shelves, so I can see more of the selection. This guy was right up against the shelves. No one stands that close to the chips but this guy was.
He was also looking down at his waist and it seemed his was fidgeting or making busy movements with his hands, which were in front of him and also around waist level. At first I thought maybe he was jerking it but I stole another glance and I could see and hear the rustling of potato chip packages. He was sorta re-arranging the chip packages, like taking two packages of the same type and just switching them. I didn’t take a lot of time to figure more of this out. He was creeping me out, so I just left the aisle.
I’d never seen this guy before, so maybe he was just passing through. This week, I was back in the Safeway and there he was again. This time, he was in front of a smaller potato chip rack located in the deli section. Again, he was right up close to it, doing his odd re-arranging thing.
It’s clear he has some form of OCD or something similar that compels him to do this. How did he find this Safeway? Where is he from? Where does he live? What’s his story? I am curious but I’m not exactly about to approach him and get these answers. Whatever his story is, I hope he is getting the assistance he needs.
Because I wasn’t hungry at noon and I had a 1pm meeting, I delayed getting lunch until 2pm. Usually that is fine because at 2pm, all sorts of food serving places are still open. It’s 2pm not 2am. Also, I wanted a sandwich today for lunch and my favourite local sandwich place is open until 3pm.
I walked to said sandwich place and got there around 2:15pm. It’s very popular and there’s usually at least one or two people outside the ordering window, waiting for their sandwich. Today, from about half a block away, I saw there was no one waiting. That was not a good sign. When I got up to the ordering window, there was a sign saying they had to close early today because of a staff shortage. Bummer. I couldn’t get a sandwich from them today. I wound up eating homemade scrambled eggs.
Not able to get some takeout for lunch, I decided I would get takeout for dinner. There is an excellent Japanese restaurant downstairs that makes ramen and Japanese curry. I wanted to get the curry for dinner tonight. I went downstairs and from half a block away, I saw the lights of the restaurant were off. That was not a good sign.
I got to the front door of the restaurant and it said they were sorry but that had to close today because of a staff shortage. In the same message, they said they were hiring wait staff and a broth maker (for the ramen I suppose). Bummer. I was too hungry to think so I just got some sushi nearby instead.
I am hearing what I experienced today is not uncommon. Lots of service-oriented businesses are experiencing trouble retaining or hiring workers. There just seems to be a shortage of everything these days from workers, material goods, common sense, and goodwill towards others. When will all this end?
I just happened to share an elevator with the strata council president on Tuesday. I asked him if the strata council received my request to change my floors and he said that they did and as he recalls, they approved it. I told him that no one had told me about this. He asked me who I was dealing with to get the request in. I told him it was our strata property manager.
So here’s why I might have not received notice that my flooring request was approved. I may have inadvertently pissed off the strata property manager. She never acknowledged that I sent in my request for a flooring change. My email just disappeared into the ether. I waited two full days before I sent a follow up. She actually replied to my follow up but her tone was angry from the start. From her reply, she basically told me she never got such a request, meaning she ignored it. I had to remind her that I did send it, even after she implied I didn’t send it properly (I did in fact send all the details).
I think she begrudgingly went back and found my email and then forwarded it to strata. She didn’t tell me how I’d be contacted with a decision nor did she give any estimate on when I’d hear back.
It’s not a surprise that I haven’t heard back from her even the strata council approved my changes. It totally sucks that one person can derail your whole renovation just because they don’t like you.
I’m sure that many of you that are working from home are familiar with virtual private networks or VPN, which is a way for you to connect to your employer’s internal network from home.
I won’t get into the details very much but I will say that last week, I discovered my company’s VPN no longer blocks access to certain pornographic sites. This discovery was done by accident and unfortunately after the fact. Also note that my employer also has the ability to track which sites I visit while on VPN.
That’s all I have to say about that.
As you may know, I have been trying to reach Disney by phone to change the start date of my Disneyworld passes. Prior to this weekend, I have been on hold with them for about eight hours in total, over the course of about three attempts. Each time, I have not been able to get through to anyone before having to hang up and do other things.
On Saturday, I decided to try again, this time starting around 2:30pm. I knew their customer service line ends each day at 8pm, so I had almost six hours to get through. The only way this was even tolerable was that each time I called I was using my Zoom account. When I changed phone plans about a year ago, I gave up free US long distance calling and Disney’s number is not a toll-free one. If I had been using my own phone to call, I probably would have racked up hundreds of dollars in extra charges. My Zoom account through work allows for long-distance calling to the US.
I also used a headset for the call, so this allowed me to be hands-free the entire time. On Saturday, I had a bunch of housework to do, so I just started the call and did everything I needed to do that day. I did several chores, took breaks to drink and eat, and I even turned the call volume down to watch a few YouTube videos.
Somewhere along the three and a half hour mark of being on hold, the hold music stopped and I heard the familiar sound of a call going through and ringing. Had I finally waited long enough to get through to a real person? The call connected and a person identified themselves and asked me how I was doing and what they could help me with for today. I was kinda speechless for a few seconds.
I kinda stammered out that I needed to change the start dates of my tickets to a date as far into the future as possible. They asked me some verification questions and we managed to move my tickets out one full calendar year. The whole customer service interaction lasted about five minutes and I was done.
I was on hold for probably close to twelve hours total, for something that took five minutes to fix. Interestingly, the customer service person also fixed some sorta bug with my reservations so that it’s now possible for me to change the dates by using the Disney web site now. This means that when I need to change the dates of the tickets again, I won’t need to repeat this tortuous exercise.
What an adventure this has been.
Most of my apartment is now just bare, rough concrete floors. As the temperatures have dropped, it’s not exactly the best feeling on my bare feet. It is cold to the touch for the most part.
Last night, however, I discovered an odd thing. I was walking near the end of my bed when I realized the floor was much warmer under foot. The concrete here was warm and inviting. I stepped away to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. Sure enough, the other parts of the concrete floor in my bedroom were not heated. Where was this coming from?
This was happening near the baseboard heater in my bedroom but the heater was not on. What I can guess is that the person who lives below me had their heat on (their heater is in the same place) and as the heat rises, it was heating their ceiling and then transferring the heat to my concrete floor.
I had no such comfort tonight as that part of my floor remained cold.
I was on hold with Disney on the phone for another two hours today without any success in getting through. I think I need to try a four hour block of time next time. Two hours isn’t enough time.
If there’s one thing, even if it’s very small, that has been positive about this experience is that the hold music really good. Most companies have friendly, non-threatening hold music, usually top-40 or classical but Disney has an amazing catalogue of music to choose from. Now you might think they leverage some of their biggest hits from Disney movies but their selections are more sophisticated than that. Most of their songs are selected from music you might hear from their theme parks. It’s so smart, since while you’re on hold, you’re somewhat experiencing what you’d be listening to if you were at one of their theme park locations.
Some of these songs are now stuck in my head due to repetition. They may not mean anything to you because you haven’t heard them a dozen times now over the last four days or so, but to me, they are very relevant. It took me about thirty minutes of Googling to find out some of these songs. They are now listed below in random order.
It is what I would describe as cold now in the greater Vancouver area. The last day I felt it was still quite warm was on the weekend before the Thanksgiving one. Evenings now require a jacket for sure, unless you want to feel uncomfortable.
I have closed all my windows down to a sliver, just to let in fresh air. It’s no longer practical to lounge around in a t-shirt, so I’ve started wearing a hoodie inside, as soon as I roll out of bed. I almost thought about turning the heat on in the living room. This is something I did not have the possibility of doing for about three years. Every since I removed the fake electric fireplace, there has been no heat source in my living room. I got a new baseboard heater installed last spring and this is the first cold season where I’ll get to use it. I probably won’t use it too much since I am cheap and electricity costs money.