Customer service silos

The bus

My lad started high school this year which means he catches the bus to and from so I got him a Metrocard to use on the bus.

Not even one school term in he lost his wallet and I had to replace the Metrocard and his student ID card. I didn’t replace the small amount of cash and docked some pocket money for my out of pocket costs.

I’d registered the Metrocard so that it automatically tops up when the balance gets low. It beats buying tickets every week. When you’ve registered your card you can see what usage its had one to two days after the event. You can also report it lost or stolen and cancel so nobody else can use it. I left his for a couple of days just incase it turned up like the missing PE uniform did (embarrassingly it was in a bag in his room).

His wallet did not turn up and as someone had used his Metrocard on the other side of town I figured it wasn’t going to appear in our house or his bag.

I rang up to cancel it and asked how I could transfer the remaining balance on the card to a new one and was told I would have to go to their service centre in the city or the main train station – inconvenient to do either when you don’t work in the city.

Luckily I have a day off a fortnight so at my inconvenience I went into town to organise his new card.

Last Friday night I heard a couple of mums talking about having to do the same thing and I remembered I was going to provide feedback about this. I duly filled in an online feedback form and to their credit they replied within a few hours saying that provided I gave them certain details the replacement card could be done over the phone.

I replied with a thanks, and another suggestion to pass this information onto service centre staff.

I’m taking bets on when I’ll have to replace the card again. At least I won’t have to go into the city to do it.

One day at a time

Love autumn and I love my walk around the lake on a near-daily basis

I love autumn. I love the obvious changing of seasons. I love how the tree leaves change colour and how the weather is noticeably cooling down even though the warmer weather sometimes makes an appearance.

The days are getting shorter and my walking the dog in the mornings is mostly done while dark, the sun just thinking about appearing as I’m getting home. It’s still not cool enough to wear a jacket outside yet, but I know that’s on its way and I look forward to cranking up the slow combustion wood heater.

I hope this season brings along change for me as well. I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately partly due to missing out on a job that I feel should have been mine but isn’t. Dealing with a moody teenage boy isn’t helping me cruise through day-to-day life either. I don’t know what’s worse, having a three-year old or a 13-year old. There are similarities. He would live on junk food if he could. He turns his nose up at 95% of my cooking. He has little tantrums. However, there are up-sides. I don’t have to be on hand as much to tend to his daily needs like I used to.

One minute he can be quite hateful and the next he makes me laugh and we have fun together. I drove him and two other Scouts to camp yesterday evening. I’d had a shitful time with him prior to going to the hall to pack up the last bits and pieces and was dreading the drive but it turned out to be fun. The boys were all excited about going away and they chatted non-stop about school, about teachers, about friends. Despite the warning from my son not to embarrass him, or talk, I didn’t embarrass him but I was allowed to talk a bit. Although I nearly spilled the beans about what him and a female friend used to get up to when they were three. I stopped along the way and bought us all a flavoured milk drink – a road-trip necessity, especially as I had to drive home after dropping them off, and it won me some browny points.

When I said goodbye he gave me two extended hugs so I know that despite his teenage-ness, he still loves me.

So, I take one day at a time and I’m enjoying the peace and quiet this weekend.

We survived his first week of high school

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He’s stressed because his routine has changed significantly from going to primary school practically across the road to having to catch a bus to his high school. He’s stressed because he’s gone from being the oldest to the youngest kid in his school. He’s stressed because high school’s completely different and he’s going from the very familiar to the pretty unfamiliar.

You can help by running around after him and doing everything for him on his first morning while he sits on the couch barking orders and saying that it’s his first day of high school. It doesn’t matter that he woke you up at 6am when he got up to get ready. At least you didn’t have to nag him to get up and get ready this time and you hope this enthusiasm will last.

When you come home from work he’ll be relaxing in front of the xbox playing a game. He might reluctantly tell you a bit about his first day of school with a glimmer of excitement when he tells you that his home group is ace. He piles a heap of forms in front of you to sign and strolls back to play xbox even though you’ve told him that he has to ask to play it during a school week. Never mind – it’s his first day of school so you let it slide.

You fill out the forms and when he makes an appearance to ask how you filled in one of them, he doesn’t like the answer you give. You sit there and get yelled at when he tells you that you did the wrong thing. After all, it’s his first day of high school.

You ask him reasonably to do his jobs like feed the dog, take out the recycling and have a shower and he yells at you for not supporting and understanding him. Apparently you’d neglected to say to him that morning that you hoped he had a good day. Your mouth drops open in surprise. After all, he wouldn’t be at this particular high school without your continued support but there is no reasoning with him – he’s an adolescent, and it’s his first day of high school.

For the first three days you wonder where this devil child came from. He’s often been stubborn before but this is a whole new thing that shakes you a bit. Is this what the next five years are going to be like you wonder?

You go to work each day while you wonder how he’s going at school. He’s supposed to call after he gets home from school but doesn’t always remember. He might send a vague text that makes no sense so you call to make sure he’s okay.

After three days of this you realise that this is his way of dealing with stress and that he’s really been doing a pretty good job. He’s been getting up every morning and getting ready without you having to remind him. You try and think of how he’s feeling and realise that perhaps you could have been a bit more understanding.

You stop off at a book shop on the way home and buy a book that he’s indicated he’d like to read. You get home and commend him on how well he’s done at his first week of high school and apologise for not being more understanding. He apologises for his behaviour too.

This shifts the mood in the house and the devil child becomes angelic and lovely.

You know you need to make the absolute most of this while it lasts.

Brighton sculptures 2015

 

What’s been happening?

Christmas tree

You know when you keep putting something off and then it gets embarrassing because you’ve put it off for so long? Well that’s me and any updates here. I want to make it a habit to write a lot more regularly and I’ll put it out there now, that it’s my new year’s resolution for 2015. I don’t normally make them but usually when I publicly say something I feel that it commits me to do it.

So what’s been happening?

I have been a bit busy updating this website with pictures of our last safari suit event. I’ve still more to go.

I’ve been busy guiding a boy through the last few weeks of his primary school life.

Year 7 graduation

He graduated from year 7. It was an emotional week with the graduation on the Monday night. He had his high school visit the next morning and consequently is really excited to start high school next year. I’m so glad he’s so ready to go as he was a bit nervous and ho-hum about it all. He met his class-mates and some other boys he knows are going to be in the same year as well. And look, he’s now taller than me.

Of course, I’ve been at work. I work a nine-day fortnight so pretty much full-time and that can be taxing. Himself plays baseball which entails two nights of training per week and game day on a Sunday. Usually when he’s training I walk some laps around the oval with one or two of the other mums so at least I get some exercise in. Oh, and being part of a sporting club also involves volunteering for other things so I’ve done bar duty and canteen duty, and that’s on top of being a scorer every second game. Baseball scoring is full-on and while this is my second year doing it I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Oh, and he’s also in Scouts which for me means being on the committee and helping out at whichever bottle drives I can which has only been two this year I think. He loves it though and is now a patrol leader which he has embraced.

It doesn’t all revolve around him. I mentioned the safari suit event above which was heaps of fun. I also got along to see Nick Cave a few weeks ago at the Festival Theatre. I normally see him at Thebarton so a sit-down show was a point of difference but we had fantastic seats near the front.

Nick Cave at the Festival Theatre

He gets better and better every time I see him and I’ve seen him quite a few times now.

The rest of the year involves a bit more work and some relaxation which I’m really looking forward to. If I don’t get back here before the end of the year have a great Christmas and New Year all.

 

Things I love about him (13)

Ahem, you there on the trampoline!

I love that he loves our dog. After all the main reason I got another dog after Monty died was because of JJ. When we first met Phoenix he went straight to JJ. He wouldn’t go near me at first. I love that he enjoys playing with him and I think the feeling’s mutual don’t you? Look at the smiles on both of them.

And I love that the trampoline I bought for JJ ten years ago still gets used. Don’t see many of these ones around any more.

See all the things  I love about him.

Things I love about him (12)

On our way to the game.

I used to add snippets here of the things I love about him (my son) but I haven’t done it since 2006. He was five then. He’s 13 now.

When people ask me how he is I usually sigh and say, ‘he’s a teenager’. Sure, there’s attitude, but there are good things too.

The other day we had to move the dining table back into the kitchen and we were having a hard time getting it through the door. I knew there was a way because it originally got into the kitchen and out again. I was just about to give up when JJ said let’s try this.

His way worked and we soon had the table back into the room.

PS: the photo above was one of many I took, but the only one where he was sticking his finger up.

Life’s too short

The lake

Yesterday was an awful day in Adelaide. An eight year old girl was tragically killed when she was flung from a show ride. I don’t know the full story but maybe she was too small for the ride. Whatever the story is, it’s a horrible outcome for her, her family, friends, and everyone else who was affected.

JJ’s school has a day off for the Show and I took a day off too. I asked if he wanted to go but he wasn’t interested. Because he’s 13 now he probably won’t want to go with me again, but will go with his mates in the years to come I imagine.

Instead of going to the Show we spent some time putting rubbish in a rubbish skip. I had the skip to get rid of my old kitchen cupboards. Yes, after 15 years of living in my house I’m finally getting a new kitchen.

The old oven that takes twice as long to cook anything than it should is out. I’m getting a dishwasher. I’ve got soft closing drawers and I’ve got cupboard doors that close with ease and don’t have to be closed in a certain way to get them to close because they’re uneven. My house is quite old and the walls and floors are very uneven. Fortunately I know an excellent cabinet maker who’s done a sterling job. Hopefully in another week everything will be done and dusted – literally. Removing tiles creates quite a bit of dust! Not that I removed them. I paid a couple of friends to do the demolition. Totally worth it.

Last night I forced myself to go out to a party an acquaintance had. I wasn’t sure who’d be there but I went along anyway and I’m glad I did as there were a few people I hadn’t seen for a while. One of them asked me if I’d been on holidays this year. I answered in the negative and said that I’m doing my kitchen up instead. As we chatted and talked about mutual friends and 50th birthday parties that are happening thick and fast it confirmed that I’m getting older and I really can’t take life for granted and I need to do things.

It’s hard to be totally free to do these magical things because of being a mum to a new teen and a reactive dog, holding down a job, and running a house, but it’s in the back of my mind that the teen will grow up, the reactive dog will calm down and I need to be thinking about other things to occupy myself when this happens. One thing that’s occupying me at the moment is my new phone. I managed to get selected to review a phone provided by Telstra as part of their Mobile Insider program. I’m reviewing an LG G3. The photo above was taken with my new phone, which I think I’ll keep.

Getting out and about and doing things aside from my day-to-day reality is partly why I forced myself to go out last night. I could have easily stayed in by the fire and the latest episode of Big Brother but I switched off, put on my latest op-shop purchase and off I went.

Life’s too short.