I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ignore Me You Will

On Saturday I dragged my friend 007 out for some serious clothes shopping. My clothes had sadly all fallen into a state of not being good enough even for bag ladies, so it was time to get rid of them and start again. Those who know me IRL know that I think going shopping for clothes is even less fun than sticking hot pokers into my eyes, so I needed a friend along for moral support. If I was a savvy shopper, I probably would have waited for Boxing Day.... but then I'd have to fight the crowds, the madness, the noise, the other people also looking for bargains. Given that I hate the experience to begin with, I'm not masochistic enough to try it when there are so many other crazy people out and about.

So off we went into the Melbourne CBD. Sidenote: I'm thoroughly urban, and I love love love large cities, and I love love love it when they are all gussied up for Christmas. It just feels like you can feel the heart of the city beating underneath all that concrete, as all the carollers and shoppers and kids wearing foam reindeer antlers cavort above ground. Melbourne's CBD is a shopping Mecca and there is nothing which you cannot find there - actually twice during the day we ended up calling directory assistance to find some stores and we realised we were only steps away from them!

I make no secret of the fact that I am large and lovely - which means my options for stores are fairly limited. That being said, I managed to put a sizeable dent in the old pocketbook (which also needs replacing. DH: That was an obvious birthday gift hint.). An interesting thing struck me about our shopping expedition - the amount of times the shop "assistants" did not want to actually assist us.

In every store which was NOT a large size store (because, you know, accessories clearly only come in 'small') we had a really hard time getting people to serve us. At David Jones (shmancy department store) several people actually walked RIGHT PAST us rather than offer to ring us up. Sidenote again - the directory lady at DJ's told me the large size section is "very popular" and yet it took 007 and I something like 10 minutes to FIND the place. It's way off in the back, in the corner, with NO shop assistants. Literally there was an echo as we spoke to one another.

Anyway in all the stores - DJ's, Hairhouse Warehouse, Catherine Manuell designs (cool bags, bitchy shop ladies), Myer, little Asian accessory stores, the Museum of Modern Art store and so on - NOBODY wanted to help us. I'm not sure why this is, other than perhaps shop chicks think that money from fat women is somehow not as good as money from thin women. It got to be quite annoying when, at one point, we literally had to chase someone down in order to take our money from us. There were several times when we would see 2-3 shop assistants chatting to each other, then look over and see us with arm loads of clothes looking for a register, and pointedly ignore us and keep chatting. In the large size stores, we not only had helpful and friendly staff, but we had people bending over backwards to help us - running to get different sizes and styles, suggesting other things we might try, having fun and ridiculous conversation, and so on.

Why is this? I mean I know there is the whole myth that fat people are somehow more jolly than others, and so fat shop assistants might therefore be nicer - but, seriously? Can the others really afford to ignore me? Now it might just be that this is coincidental ... that people who work in boutique stores are by nature friendly because they have to work harder for the sale, whereas chain and department store people will get the sale anyway. I don't know... but I do know that it was really rather frustrating for the both of us.

We had a fabulous day shopping, and laughing, and walking our feet off across miles and miles of hip city sidewalks, and that's really a lot more important than anything else. Still, I wonder if anyone else (fat OR thin) has had this experience in their Xmas shopping this year. Are people behaving differently because of the economy, or was it just bad luck on our part? Enquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


In my previous post I talked about how I've been going with my kids to various professionals to see if we can get to the bottom of some recent behavioural concerns. One of those professionals asked me what, if anything, was happening at home which might be unsettling for the kids.

"Hmmm," says I, "Well, nothing I can really think of. Life is just the same as usual, same routines, same everything." In fact I felt quite proud that my kids' life was going about as per normal.. that they were still fed and clothed and loved.

Life with triplets is totally bound by routines - a concept I've previously blogged about. Every single person you talk to will tell you that without a routine, your life is a total goner. DH and I subscribed to this theory very early on (before the kids even came home from hospital) and we've kept it going even today. I suspect some triplet parents abandon the routines once their kids get to school age, but in our household we've seen no need to mess with a good thing. The routine has of course changed with time - naptimes have disappeared, playtime has gotten longer, homework time has been added in - but still, we very much function via a routine of events.

So - my kids know exactly what to do when they come home from school. They know which days are bath days (although extras often get added in), they know their chores for the day, they know what is expected of them in the evenings. This way, their life (and consequently my life) are ordered. Not always organised, but ordered - it just tends to make things flow better. So in my answer earlier, I wasn't wrong. Things basically ARE the same for us... except...suddenly I realised that in the past few months, nothing has been the same.

I wasn't home for a month, and so my kids routine was disrupted for four very long weeks. I came home, and I'll be honest in saying I've been a bit of an emotional minefield since then. Then DS moved into his own room (for the first time in 8 years, my kids were not in the same room) and that disrupted his routine. Their school is under construction, so their school days became rearranged, and rearranged again, to accommodate the changes in the buildings. Then came a whole bunch of evening school events, which meant that for several weeks my kids were over tired, had late nights, and again fell out of their routine. Then we decided to sort out the mess of our house, which meant that the house itself was (and remains) in a state of disarray. Now we're heading into school holidays, which means that yet again their carefully crafted routine will fall by the wayside.

So I revised my answer.

"Actually," I said, "It's been MONTHS since anything was normal in my house."

And suddenly, I got it. I understood why none of us (except maybe DH, who could stand in the eye of a storm and be perfectly calm) aren't feeling ourselves. I understood why my kids have asked (for 3 days in a row now) to have an afternoon nap, when they've not napped since they were 4. It just all sort of made sense. We've managed to keep a veneer of a routine, but the heart and soul of it just all fell apart. We think we're in a routine because all the surface activities have remained the same, but in reality it's been anything but routine these past few months.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I need to RTFM

(RTFM = Read The Fucking Manual) A common suggestion given to people who cannot figure out how to get things to work.

Lately my kiddos have been getting into all kinds of scrapes. In some cases, it's just their usual kid-ness which rears it's ugly head. In other cases, it speaks of something more serious going on. Problem is, I have no idea - a) what the problem is (or more accurately, the cause) and b) I'm not entirely sure what to do about it. This is where parenting basically smacks me upside the head and reminds me that basically, I'm clueless.

My friends with teenagers assure me that it's only going to get worse from here - that I will more and more doubt my own parenting abilities, and that I will wonder what planet these alien children came from. This isn't heartening news. In recent weeks I've really become filled with self-doubt about my parenting ... mostly because I feel DH and I love, adore and care for these kids as much as we possibly can ... and yet still at least one of them just isn't the person I would hope they would be. I won't go into detail here, but suffice it to say there have been rather more phone calls from school, rather more tears, and rather more of the kinds of things parents don't want to hear about.

The sad thing is, I'm worried for my child... and yet I find myself focussing on ME rather than on THEM. I spend hours wondering what ELSE I could have done for them, what MORE I might have done, what promises did I fail to keep, what promises did I fail to make, what of ANYTHING might I have done to head this situation off at the pass. The reality of it is, I don't think there is actually anything... but that doesn't stop me from wondering, doubting, and being consumed with guilt. Being a proactive sort of person, I've taken a lot of steps to help this child of mine - from visiting with the right professionals, to giving them more one-on-one time, to talking with them and so on. And what then? What if none of these measures work? Suppose my child returns to school in Autumn and the same things happen again? Will I have utterly failed my child completely?

As parents, how do we keep from feeling totally helpless? I look around at the people I know and I see the ones who ignore their kids speech issues, physical issues, social issues, whatever issues...and previously I wondered how they can choose to not DO something about those situations. These days, I wonder if those same parents have not tried and then failed to resolve some of those issues. It's so easy to sit in judgement on someone else's child or parenting .. and so hard to know that you yourself are now a target for judgement.

Children don't come with manuals, but several times throughout their lives I've found myself wishing they did - because then, when I'm at my lower moments of wondering where the hell I went wrong - I could just RTFM and fix it up. Children not coming with said manuals is a serious design flaw.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hooray for Channukah!

One of the great injustices of my life is that I had the poor fortune of being born on Christmas Day. No two ways about it, December birthdays completely suck - but Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day suck even harder than the other 28 days. They're just totally crappy times to be celebrating a birthday. Aside from the potential birthday cake debacle, December birthdays are just terrible. All your friends are too busy to party, some of them are busy working out their religious choices, everyone just is stressed and not in the mood for yet another party and gift buying exercise. So I never get as much excitement out of my birthday as I possibly could or should... except that I always get the day off of work, and that's got to count for something, right?!

Now as I've mentioned before, I love and adore the holiday of Channukah. This year, to go with some of our brand-spankin'-new stuff, I've gone and bought some new decorations for the house. I went and cleared out the Aldi stock of chocolate coins, and I even managed to get my kids presents on time (Dear Borders, I'm glad I was able to help pay your rent this month. Happy Holidays, Love, Michelle). Tonight is the first night and for the next 8 nights I can light candles, eat chocolate, watch my kids open their pressies, and in general revel in this holiday. Plus it's an excuse to eat fried food!

So let's see.... kids, food, chocolate, candles, cheesy decorations. Yup! That's me sorted for the week! Birthday, Shmirthday. Who needs it?

Wishing all of you a happy, bright and no-guilt, calorie-laden holiday season!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is That A Chopper I Hear?

Last night was my kids' "celebration evening" which is a fancy way of saying it was their speech night. Speech night, for those not in Australia, is this curious thing which happens at the end of every school year. Basically it's awards, achievements, and a bunch of general 'stuff' about the school year all packed into one evening. Most of the time you have to also suffer a performance from the school orchestra (why someone doesn't put them out of their misery, I'll never know.) Anyway it's a fun-slash-boring night and this year was the first time the school did it coupled with the 6th grade graduation.

A couple of weeks ago DH got a phone call telling him that 2 of our kids would be receiving awards. (BRAG: DD1 for Achievement in English Literature and DS for Academic Achievement). Anyway while we knew about it ahead of time, the kids find out about it on the night itself. It didn't occur to me that this would be an issue - my kids have known for a long time that achievement is earned, that is requires personal effort, and that it's an HONOUR and not a right to be recognised by your peers and teachers. It didn't occur to me to actually need to console DD2 (who didn't win an award) beyond a cuddle afterwards.

As is happens, Helicopter Mom was sitting a couple of seats away. Her elder daughter won two very prestigious awards, and I went to congratulate her. "Oh, thanks," she says. "What are you going to do about DD2 not winning anything? How are you going to deal with that?"

Wait a sec. DEAL with that? I need to deal with this? I temporarily thought I'd forgotten a major rule in the Mothering 101 Handbook, and scanned my brain for an answer for her. Then I realised this was Helicopter Mom, so to her, OF COURSE I would need some sort of 'solution' for the non-problem which was my kid not getting an award. I bit my tongue - aren't you all proud of me? - and I just said that DD2 had herself received a number of awards earlier this year, and that ALL my kids understand that achievement is individual, etc etc.

To which she brightened up and said, "Oh yeah! My other DD won an award this year, too, I'll remind her of that when she gets upset at not winning anything." She then proceeded to tell me how she's just not sure how she's going to deal with it (eg the mother having to deal with her child who did not win) and so on. At this point I wisely decided to exit stage left. I went over to my kids and doled out plenty of hugs and cuddles and "yay you's" and we all felt happy and proud and sparkly.

...and then I approached my DD2, and I gave her a hug, picked up my pretend microphone, and in a loud announcer's voice said, "And the award for best performance in a Ro-Sham-Bo championship goes to..... DD2!!!" and then she and I had a play-off, right there in the middle of the 8 jilion kids and pushy parents. She smiled (even though I won), I smiled, and we left.

End of story. No needing to "deal" with anything. No... nothing. If nothing else DD2 has yet again learned two lessons tonight. The first lesson, which is the MOST important - is that life is inherently unfair. No amount of helicopter moms trying to even up the score will help, no amount of begging, no amount of wishing. Life, sometimes, just sucks ass and that's all there is to it.

The second lesson she learned? That no matter what happens, there will always be a hug at the end of it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


We moved into our house 7 years ago, when the kids were not yet a year old and therefore it was like living with a whole pack of drunken whirling dervishes. DH and I made the decision to keep all our breakable stuff (what I like to call "dustables") in storage until the kids were old enough to not break stuff. Well, old enough to come up with a creative excuse for breaking stuff rather than just a cute face and an "oops!" Part of the house clean up project was to find some way of bringing all those treasures out of hiding. This house has almost NO storage or display space, so it entailed buying a piece of furniture on which we could display all our stuff.

So - some money, several phone calls, a few choice curse words, and endless nailing and hammering and drilling later, we've now got the mother of all entertainment units. Said unit has TONS of display space - vast expanses of shelves which are begging for decoration. Out came the boxes (I thought we had one box, turns out it was FOUR boxes.) DH and I spent a hilarious evening surrounded by forests of packing paper and gleefully unwrapping stuff together. "OOHH! Me! Me! I wanna do the next one!" followed by "OMG! I totally forgot we even OWNED this thing!! It's SOOOOOO cool! Remember when we got this?" and so on and so forth.

Among our treasures were all the mezzuzot we got for our weddings (which we thought were long lost), out little plastic Leaning Tower of Pisa (purchased at Pisa of course), various Swarovski things, beautiful carved buddahs, shells collected on our honeymoon, the tiny wooden tree purchased in Germany, some lovely brass pieces from India, and so on and so forth.

Two items in particular were of great amusement to me. The first was a gold award (literally a cup on a wooden base on a marble plinth thing-a-do-dee) which apparently I won for achievement at...wait for it... Joe's Sports Camp. ME? Sports camp?? Seriously?? Best thing is I have NO RECOLLECTION of even going to said sport camp, let alone winning an achievement award. And since my sporting prowess is about as good as a blind uncoordinated elephant trying to dance the mambo... I have to wonder about the authenticity of this award. It amuses me no end to think that I of all people won a sport award.

The second item was a pocket-sized Etch-A-Sketch. Again, something I forgot I even owned, and something which I'd forgotten that I was frighteningly GOOD at doing. The kids have now become obsessed with this toy - they love playing with it and DS now hides it under his covers at night so he can just mess about with it until all hours. They've also become amazed at how good their dear old Mum is at the Etch-A-Sketch... I am nothing short of the current reigning Family Etching Champion. Nice to be back on top again (after my crushing loss to DD2 in the Ro-Sham-Bo Championships).

To me the most surprising thing of all is my emotional reaction to all this unpacking. We sat there amidst all the paper and the laughing and the hoards of stuff, and I just felt this feeling of overwhelming sadness. In part it was because my Dad had given me many of those things, but also because it made me realise that when I PACKED those boxes, I was in my 20's, mothering babies, and living a very different life. The people who acquired those things...the people we were before we had kids, a mortgage, a job, responsibilities... who WERE those people? Do I even remember who I was before I became who I am now?

It was really weird, that feeling of looking back at who I was versus who I am now. I think in some ways I've lost parts of me I'd like to get back - the person who is a little bit reckless, a whole lot silly, and quite a lot ridiculous. Sure, loads of parts of me have improved with age... but I think unpacking all the stuff is a timely reminder that I've been taking life a little too serious lately. It's time to let the silly back into my life.

I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to achieve this (as per usual, feel free to weigh in with your two cents)....we'll just have to see what inspiration I derive from the treasures recently unwrapped.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Help! I Need Somebody!

Many changes are afoot in my life - along with the house clean up, I'm also changing the way I do things at work. Spending more time on the things which need my attention and less on the everyday work - in the hopes that this empire can finally grow just that wee bit more. To that end I placed a job ad out there to find some new employees.

Well, the result thus far (and it's only been 3 days) has been very entertaining. Happily for me there have been a number of really strong applicants. On the entertainment front, there have been a lot (greater than 30) applications which just make me scratch my head. I should say that I would love to hire someone who is new to Australia, someone who just needs a chance at a job. So I can cope if they don't have a lot of local experience. Heck, I myself was in that position when I first came here. What I'm struggling with, though, is the applications which are totally irrelevant to my position.

So, for example:
- The guy currently studying to be a pilot
- The girl with no experience and no interest in the industry (as stated in her cover letter)
- The guy who is an accountant
- The guy whose application has a heading which says "non relevant work experience" right under his contact information
- The several people who submitted an application with no cover letter or resume attached
- The ones who live in Queensland (several states away)
- The girl who said she doesn't have a car but assures me she can carry cakes to the bus stop
- The girl who told me she "has experienced in backed cakes and maffins"

...and so on and so forth. I'm reading through every application and replying because I think it's polite to do so, but I'm annoyed at how the applicant is not being polite enough to READ through the original job ad! *sigh*

Anyway this gentleman's resume was most entertaining, so I thought I would share some of it with you. These are a selection of the items listed in "Areas of Expertise."

  • Experience working in a team environment, Excellent time management skills, Honest and reliable, OHS knowledge, Ability to work under pressure, Knife skills, Manu creation, HACCP
  • Professional work ethic and able to meet dietary requirements for diet.
  • Work in busy environment at Commercial and No commercial Places including School and Air Port
  • Work nonstop to achieve task, never said No to Extra work to comes from guest
  • Costing of Standard Menu Item Individually with almost no west of inputs. Clear vision on Minimum per Level of Kitchen supplies. I have selected supplier for best Fresh Ingredients at low cost.
  • Bangladeshi, European, French, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, African, Moroccan, Mexican, Malaysian, Italian and Asian, Indian stile cooking and menu knowledge on preservation of cooked and un cook food, Making Jam and Jelly, Chocolate, Commercial foods, Take away, Juice, Shakes, Smoothly, mix Alcohol, Beer, Wine with fruits and soft drinks, Ice cream making and have Signature dishes from all of them
  • STAE_OF_THE_ART to choose from.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Buffet, Cocktail party, Pastry, bakery items, Sweets and Desserts, Cakes, yeast goods, A LA crate, Asian fest feed food to open public, Wedding, Birth Day Party, Marriage Day Function, Sports even, Herbs and Vegetables, Cheese, Match Accompany with Food,
  • Small, medium and large restaurant, able to cook in bush like special force buy using own equipment to do function in real out door in Nature Like in a camp 1000 years ago, Native Australian Cooking, cooking for children’s and 5 Star Kitchen Work experience in all sections such as Cold Ladder, Banquet, Grill, Fish and In House Kitchen with groups of co workers from around the World.
  • Pizza making from beginning with verities
  • Stock taking, Receive, store and use stock
  • Meet standard recipe food quality and quantity from own made recipe
  • Able to carry 4 plates at a time
  • Able to explain menu item to guests
  • Take electronic payments on card
  • Prepare and cook menu item on set time
  • Select prepare and cook menu items on time
  • High standard hygiene and quality control
  • Use of charcoal and wood fire oven
  • Work Safe
  • Communicate over the phone, Train and work with colleges, Communication skills, Set up tables for food service and clean up as we go to minimize production cost and less west.
  • Use foodstuffs and side dish, EntrĂ©e, Developing customer satisfaction
  • Knowledge and experience in use of machines’ like dish washer, grill, oven, slicer, vacuum packing machine, micro wave and others commercial equipments’

... and let's just say that should I ever need to decorate a cake "in the bush like 1000 years ago," this guy is TOTALLY getting the gig!
NB: This is my 500th post! What, if anything, should I do to celebrate?!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Small Biz Skill FAIL

One of the skills I am VERY bad at is telling bad clients (who suck the life force out of you) to get lost. At the moment I have one client who is driving me crazy, and I don't really want her as a client any more... but I don't know how to get rid of her.

I would not be exaggerating when I say I've spent probably more than 12 hours in talking to her - in person, on the phone, via email, etc. In other words, whatever money I might have made on this job is now into the negatives. It's costing my money just to talk to her. She hasn't yet paid a deposit, hasn't settled on a final design, continually asks for different samples, and is basically behaving like a Bridezilla of the highest order. She would actually be the worst I've ever had. Fact is, even if I make her cupcakes edged in real gold leaf, she's not going to be happy.

As we all know, I really pride myself on customer service and going the extra mile(s) for clients. It's what I do, it's why people pay what I charge, and it's how I retain customers. Plus I get an immense feeling of satisfaction when someone's expectations are exceeded.

But this lady? She's not going to be satisfied, no matter how hard I try (and believe me, I'm doing my best.) The other day she came to drop off some cupcake papers (for yet more colour trials) and stayed almost 15 minutes. IN THE DOORWAY. Even though I told her I could not chat, I had an appointment in the other room (which I did.) I even had to go to my other client and apologise for the delay. So I WALKED AWAY from this bride and she still did not seem to get the hint as she stood there for another 5 minutes or so, talking endlessly.

So tell me. How do you get rid of someone like this?

I can't do it on price since I quoted her at the beginning of this process.

Ideas all welcome.

Friday, December 4, 2009

For The Love of Lawn

Yesterday GGME finished the job ... and when I say finished I mean he finished gardening and he also took the time to YELL at me over the phone, and then ask me for more work.

Bwahahahaha. Is he serious? Anyway the yelling was because I commented that I was glad he did not need to hire extra equipment (to get rid of a concrete block... in the end his helper bashed it with a sledgehammer and carted it away.) I meant it as a sincere comment, that I was glad he didn't need to go to a lot of trouble for that extra item. He lost the plot at me - shouting that I still had to pay the extra because it was "his equipment and time" that got used to do the job, and that I shouldn't "be trying to get a deal" and so on.

I interrupted to tell him I had NO intention of asking for a deal, that I was happy to pay for a job which was well done, and that I didn't understand why he was so angry at me. At which time he just repeated the argument about "but it's MY equipment that got used" etc etc. Eventually he calmed down enough to ask for more work building our fallen-over fence (not in a month of Sundays, sunshine!). So since he was feeling more amicable, I casually mentioned that I'm sorry (NOT) that he did not seem to enjoy working on our home. (Comment in my head: YOU'RE A GRUMPY BASTARD!)

To which he replied,

"Yeah, well, it's hard yakka." (Translation for the Americans: yakka = work)

Um, excuse me? You're a freaking GARDEN GUY and a BUILDER and your excuse for being a rude shmuck is to tell me it's HARD WORK? Surely this time you're kidding, right?

...and today I get a quote from Garden Guy #1, who was my initial preference. However when I called him to see where my quote was (2 weeks after our initial meeting), he told me he was too busy and didn't think he'd get around to the quote, and didn't care what I did with the tools he left behind when he did the initial site visit. He literally said he had no idea when he would be able to get me a quote.

I got it - 2 MONTHS later, and guess what? It was only a bit higher than GGME's quote, AND it included all the plants and an irrigation system. *sigh* So as a result of this debacle, great garden guy will miss out on a big job, and GGME will never darken my door (or my friends) again. BOTH of them will lose out.

And this, dear readers, brings me to golden rule of small business numero uno: It's all about the customer service. ALWAYS. Even when it's hard work.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Summa-summa-summa Time!

As is well documented on this blog, I am a HUGE fan of coke-flavoured Slurpees. This is partially because I don't normally drink 'plain' Coke (prefer Diet) and also because in my head I am still sixteen years old. So each summer the 7-11 company comes out with new 'summery' flavours and I'm always looking for an excuse to go and check out what is on offer. Nothing can ever beat last summer's sour apple, but you never know what hidden gems might lurk in your local convenience store. Plus I like to try the new flavour, tear it to shreds, and then go back to dear old Coke. It's all part of the ritual which is the start of summer in Australia.

So this past December 1st (the official first day of summer here) dawned and the weather wasn't cooperative for Slurpee runs. Yesterday, however, it was hot and I was grumpy, ergo, time to head to the corner store.

I had a choice of TWO summer flavours - either passionfruit (which looked, according to DD1, like "poison") and kiwi strawberry (which was red but tasted vaguely like Sucrets). Coke was all slurped out (eg liquid) so I ended up with the poison flavour.

Eh. Not so great. BUT it did signal that summer is here and I ADORE summer in Australia (except when it gets too hot, in which case I bitch and moan at a loud volume that "It's hhooooottttt!" as if everyone else did not notice the melting blacktop either.)

So - welcome to summer and therefore Slurpee blogging, everyone. What's the flavour at your corner store?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So I think by now we've established that GGME (Grumpiest Garden Man on Earth) does not read my blog. If he did, he totally would have learned the concept of customer service and the importance of just being plain old nice. I've found that sometimes the smallest amount of effort on my part can translate into a lot of repeat business - not to mention I'm racking up some karma points along the way.

One of the issues I have with bad service, or rude people in general - is that I often cannot resist the urge to call them on it. "Oh, are you having a bad day? Because you seem a little annoyed..." can be a GREAT way to remind someone that YOU are the reason they have a job. I've actually blogged about this before - that the easiest way to annoy someone who is being an ass is to be sickeningly sweet in return.

So back to GGME. GGME is so named because in the 5 days he's been here, he has not said hello when he arrives, goodbye when he leaves, or thank you (for the drinks and food I put out every day.) He never lets me know what is happening on the job and basically just pointedly ignores us all day. I have no idea why this is, since we've gone out of our way to be friendly and nice. He also accidentally disconnected the telephone wire from the house (hence earlier blogging issues) and failed to mention it to us at all. We only realised it when I went to make a phone call and found it wasn't working. DH later found the phone wire coiled up and neatly duct-taped to the pole across the road.

On Friday he finished work for the day and left (in silent indignation). There was still a bunch of turf to be laid, so we assumed he would be back on Monday. He didn't show up. I left a message and called and he did not reply. How does he know if I didn't organise time off work to be here? How can you just not turn up and not say anything?

Today (Tuesday) the turf arrived and so did he. I commented in passing to his off-sider that I was surprised they did not come yesterday... to which the offsider replied he was told on SATURDAY that the turf would not be ready until today so he doesn't know why we weren't called, either. *sigh* I got home this afternoon to find that most of the work is done - but there are big patches of turf which are not complete. I'm guessing this is because they ran out of turf and need more... but still, it's guessing because I have no note, no message, no phone call. For all intents and purposes he could have buggered off entirely, because all his stuff is gone.

At this stage, I hold all the cards (all $5,250 of them, to be exact.) I'm not paying this guy until the job is completely finished, to my standard. At the same time, I really feel the urge to say something to this guy about his customer service (note, he didn't reply to my email asking for his preferred method of payment, either.) It really irks me that he's been so unpleasant to deal with - and on that basis I'm unlikely to recommend him, even if his work is good. But I have this really horrible .. itch .. to basically wait until he finishes the job and then let him have it.

So - say something? Don't say something? What? I WANT to but I'm not sure it would achieve anything other than a feeling of self-satisfaction on my part. What say you?