Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Parking Lot Rendevous

My place of employment (a private company, not city owned) received this "note" jammed in the door of the funeral home on Sunday, after a notice was left on this person's car when it was parked in our private parking lot, without permission on Saturday (during open business hours).  The past Saturday in question, our city was hosting its annual Grape & Wine (Niagara Wine Festival) Parade and Festivities in the downtown core. We are also located downtown just a few blocks from the big event.   This is an annual event so we are more than aware of it and understand what it contributes to our community each year. 

Now back to the note.  First of all, if you are going to make "threats", the very least you can do it own them.  Sign your name, leave a phone number or better yet, call to have your say to an actual human being on Sunday.  My biggest irritants these days are everyone's sense of entitlement and everyone's extra courage when they are backed by anonymity.  I'll presume she would not have made those threats if she was speaking directly to a human being.  But since she didn't have the nerve to leave her contact info (I'll also presume it was a female based on her writing.) I'll leave my reply right here.

Dear Self-entitled Driver:
Perhaps next time you decide to take it upon yourself to deem yourself worthy of trumping every other person in town you'll think twice and take 1 minute out of your day to actually ask the owners of the parking lot you wish to park in, for free, if it's okay for you to use the space.  If you had done that you would have realized that we actually are VERY community minded and would have given you permission to park in our lot.  However, we would have stipulated which spaces were available for you to park in.  You see, we like to ensure that there are spaces that are always available for the people that are actually parking to use our services/business. 

Because death doesn't only operate Monday to Friday, 9-5, our business was open.  I know that's rare in a downtown core so maybe you were confused.  But again, that confusion could have been cleared up had you actually tried our door to see if it was open.  And then when the door opened you could have, you know, asked! 

While I appreciate your presumption that every private person, business, and sector within the city limits must support all city endeavors, our client families will always come first (regardless of your threat of tattling to Facebook or the St. Catharines Standard).  So because of that there are a few different situations that we "hold strong" on with regards to random people simply using our lot without permission for free parking.  These situations warrant a note being left on the offending vehicle and include the following:
  • People who make it a habit, day after day,; to park their car in our private lot during week day business hours so they don't have to buy a city parking pass.  Now that's not very community minded now is it??
  • People who park in our lot when our "no parking" signs are out and visible at all entrances.  These people choose to just outright ignore our temporary signs and drive right around them to park.  These people are just like you!  You'd probably like each other.  However, these signs are only put into the lot when we have an active funeral going on in the building or there is a visitation for a deceased person. 
  • People who not only aren't courteous enough to ask to use our lot, but sneak in and park in the parking spaces that are actually permanently marked as Immediate Family Parking Only or Clergy Parking.  This is the category that YOU fall into!  You see, these are the spaces that we ensure are left open so our client families ALWAYS have a place to park. And these are the spaces where you left your car.  
We even let our direct competitors (that would be other funeral homes if you are confused) use our lot for funerals they are conducting when they take place at either church beside us, provided one of the three examples above aren't breached.  AND, we allow our lot to be use by both churches for their church services provided our temporary signs aren't out and they don't park in the Immediate Family Parking Only spots!  I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty community-minded of us.

I do have one question for you, dear self-entitled driver.  If you were invited to a private party at your friend's house and you showed up and their drive way was already full and the street outside of their house was littered with the cars of all the people that got there before you, would you just take it upon yourself to park in their neighbour's drive way without getting permission from them? Oh you wouldn't because that's their drive way and it's privately owned?  Hmm, you can think of our parking lot the same way.   

Also, just so you are aware Ms. Self-entitled (I've shortened it because I feel like we know each other a little better now) on Saturday we DID have a family coming into the funeral home to make arrangements for someone they love who died.  Someone who wasn't lucky enough, like you, to go have a stellar time at Grape & Wine with her friends or family.  You can imagine... a family who are probably at a most stressful time in their lives who shouldn't have to be stressed out even more just trying to find a parking space. 

So just to sum it all up, you are a selfish person.  IF you had thought outside of your own self centered bubble you'd realize the world, nor the funeral home I work at, don't owe you anything.  IF you had the wherewithal to come into the building with a smile on your face and inquire if it was okay to park in our lot you'd have been pleasantly surprised when you received a, "For sure, but just make sure you're not in a family spot. And have a great time!" Oh wait you wouldn't have been pleasantly surprised, because you just expected that response.  My bad.

And one last thing, these are just a few of the Community groups myself or another member of my team volunteer their time with.  I wouldn't want you to really believe we don't give back to our community.  This is just a tiny list of how we contribute to our city and region, but by no means is it all encompassing:

Masonic Lodge
St. Catharines Business Club
St. Catharines Ad & Sales
Kiwanis Club
Niagara Victim Services
Foundation Board Member of a local retirement community
Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre
Chamber of Commerce

So if you ever see this and wish to apologize for being a jerk, please, call the funeral home or stop by some time to see me.  I'm pretty sure you know where we're located.  We have a parking lot just out back and along the side of the building for you to park with ease (unless someone like you beats you to the space). 

Kind and warmest regards,

The Manager of that "Non Community-minded Funeral Home."

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Up Up and Away

So here I sit, killing time until I have to go pick Gage up from class.  The last time I posted about Gage and school, he was leaving home and venturing out into the big, bad, scary world as a college student.  Well expensive lesson learned!  He wasn't quite ready for that.  And the course he chose to take didn't hold his interest once he started the actual program.  So after the first semester, he decided to cut his losses, drop out and move back home.  While I was disappointed for his sake, I'm not going to lie, despite the renewed chaos in my house, I was super glad to have him back.

So since January he's been back with us.  The house has been overrun by hordes of 19 year old 'kids' (plus Roan's friends) again, the grocery bill went up, the laundry loads increased but so did the stories and conversation.  During this time he has been working part time, obtained his driver's license and decided on a new career path and put a plan into action.

Last month, I guess it was, he enrolled in Ground School and has started to work towards obtaining his Pilot's license.  The end goal, after a bunch more years, is to become a Commercial Pilot.  Roan finds it funny that school to become a Pilot where you fly an object is called Ground school.  I'm hoping it's because they are going to teach him mad skillz so he always returns a plane to the ground in one piece!  This whole flying those little metal coffins with wings part is causing this poor momma some added stress.  Between driving a car and flying a plane, I have a feeling all those grey hairs I have managed to elude are going to come in full throttle.

Eric and I have been telling him for the past few years, while he was trying to sort out what he wanted to do for a living, to find something that he enjoyed that he could also turn into a career rather than just having a job.   A family friend who has been working towards his own Pilot's license over the past year or so offered to take Gage up for a Familiarization Flight back in May/June.  Unbeknownst to Gage the Pilot let him control the plane from take off through to lining it up for landing with the runway.  He spent about 30 - 40 minutes flying the plane over the Welland Canal and parts of the Niagara Region.  The only thing he didn't do was put the plane back onto solid ground.  Needless to say, he loved it.  He talked incessantly about it so, we planted the seed about turning this into a potential career.

After another month or so, we did some research and learned he could take classes a couple days a week and fulfil his flight hours through the Niagara On The Lake Airport all the while living at home and working part time; both of which would help offset the costs associated with all this training. 

So here I sit, waiting to pick the kid up from class hoping he never crashes a plane, never has to do an emergency landing and gets a job with Air Canada. 

This image has nothing to do with flying or Gage's schooling.  It's stupid and funny and I had no where else to put it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Hello again.  I'd love to say I'm back, making a concerted effort to maintain my blog but I don't like false promises.  So let's just see what becomes of all of this. 

I've been struggling to find anything substantial to write about, so I just don't bother to come around these parts too often.  But I started this blog to act as a diary of sorts so, I guess I don't really need anything too specific to talk about.

That being said, my exasperation shock dumbfoundedness (that's not a word but it should be) brought me back.  There's a long, drawn out, stupid story that's been unravelling around me that has gotten to the point of irritating the shit out of me.  And so here I am.  To find my thoughts or feelings on it.  It's not my story.  And you have no idea how utterly and eternally grateful I am that it's not my story.  But it's a story that affects two of the most important people in my life.  So if affects me. 

Following my marital break up in 2002 I have often wondered how long I'd be subjected to the actions (or inactions) of my ex-husband (father of my children).  As the boys have gotten older and my reliance on the ex to participate in co-parenting has diminished I find I'm subjected less and less, thankfully.  If I'm being frank the only thing my ex has been fairly consistent with is disappointing them and me.  The older the boys get and the more they start to see him for what he truly is the less inclined I feel to cover for him or defend his actions.  But I can't help looking at my kids and feeling a pit of anger in my gut for how poorly he's parented over the past 19+ years.  Like piss poor.  Everyone but him sees it.  I genuinely think that he believes he's a good father simply because he pays child support.  A fucking legal requirement.  Nothing he should deem medal worthy. 

He's fallen down on this role so often nothing surprises us any more.  His excuses always lie at the feet of another person.  He's never really taken ownership over any of his terrible decisions or actions.  I've always seen it but now the boys see it.  I knew this day would eventually come.  I always thought I'd feel vindicated but I don't.  I just feel sad.  Sad for the boys, not the ex.  I don't feel anything for him.  I'm used to constantly being let down.  I'm used to the excuses.  I'm used to his pity parties.  I'm used to his absences.  Sadly now the boys are too. 

He's now entering into his third marriage after a 3-4 month relationship (by the time the wedding date comes) with a woman who has 5 or 6 kids.  And you know what?  After 5 years or so he's finally put beds in his 3 bedroom house for a child to sleep in!  No, not his children - Silly you!  The unfinished, dank basement or the living room couch is good enough for his boys! And that extra room that hasn't housed a room-mate or himself for the past 5 years was good enough to hold all the boxes of shit he didn't need instead of being used as a bedroom for his kids.  If he thinks for one second this didn't go unnoticed by his youngest child, he's a fucking moron.  He also has his head crammed too far up his own ass if he thinks his kid hasn't realized that every time he's late to pick up his son(s) he has somehow managed to pick her kids up first. 

So when he sits back after a few shots of hard alcohol and reflects on his life and wonders why his kids don't spend a lot of time at his place or with him or show obvious support of this upcoming marriage he should pull his head out of his ass, if ever so slightly, so he can get a clearer image of what he's done over the years to contribute to this turn of events.  And maybe he'll be able to be a decent role model for her 5-6 children. 

I know I gave up a lot of personal time, freedom, money, etc., for the sake of my two sons.  And lord knows my house is a constant state of chaos and my grocery bills are astronomical but you know what?  It's all worth it.  Because for my kids, I am "home".  I am where the heart is.  Truly.