The Customer is Always Right

Contrary to my toilet paper post from a few days ago, I thought I should share my experience from yesterday. You know, yin and yang. Keeping balance in the world.

I will start from the beginning so I keep the chronological order.

Being retired means no more alarm clock (have you ever wondered why it’s “alarm” clock?? Think about that for a moment!) but yesterday I had a full day and needed it to start early. Rudy set the alarm for 6:30 pm. We were both alarmed (oh, and Molly too) when it screeched but I got up and started the process. Rudy jumped right in and did the dog duties. Nice. Those extra minutes meant I could have a pre-trip coffee.

Molly and I jump in the car. It’s already warm out at 7:30 am. A pleasant surprise. Off we go.

First stop in Rockwood. Molly is spending the day at the spa. She needs a summer shave down now that summer is here. Kelly, the groomer, greets us and Molly is happy to see her. It’s a quick exchange and I’m off again. It’s now 9:15 am.

I arrive in Stratford at 10:15 am. Mom and dad are ready to go but we have a few minutes to chat. I like to review the itinerary a few times so they have time to compute. There’s usually a few questions. Without distractions and in their safe place (home) I can even stretch the itinerary for a few days and cover what’s coming down the road. They hate surprises but given the elderly brain they are still surprised if they somehow forget the rundown. Writing it is best.

We have an 11 am appointment for dentures. It seems my dad has been keeping it a secret that his teeth are loose and often slip off. It was my sister (aka eagle eyes) who’s been bugging my dad about his resting bitch face. He finally fessed up under pressure. She’s an interrogator; something like Robert DeNiro in “Meet the Fockers”. The place is almost across from my parents condo. My sister chose it simply because it was the first clinic of those she googled that answered the phone. The clinic is in a retrofitted house. We get mom settled on the covered front porch and dad and I go in. Chris, the denture dude, greets us and gives us an info sheet to complete. Since dad has cataracts his vision for reading is not so great. I do the paperwork asking dad some of the questions. How old are your current dentures? 30 years. Hmmm ok. I have no way to confirm so we go with it. Chris pops back in and takes the paper. He ushers dad into his inspection room. Tells dad to take a seat in the captains chair; dad loves that and wishes he was wearing his “the captains always right” cap. Chris notices that dad has a very strong bite. Yup. It’s worse than his bark for sure! Within about 5 min,Chris determines what dad needs. A refit of current dentures. The ones he has are still good but the gums have changed. $1500 all in. Perfect. Let’s do it. Chris tells dad he can leave his teeth immediately and pick them up later same day. Dad (who apparently was tuned in for the itinerary talk) says it will have to be tomorrow. They set it up and I ask about payment. Chris says not to worry it can be done next day. Wow. We walk out into the sunshine to collect mom. She wonders why we were so fast (no doubt churning all of the negative scenarios possible in her brain) dad tells her happily that all is good. Off we go.

It’s now 11:30 am and our first itinerary item is done. That was easy and painless. We start a drive into town to find a place for lunch. My folks are very routine oriented. But I like to switch it up. We take a winding tour of downtown which is quite lively due to the theatre matinees on Wednesday’s. I suggest Downie Street Burgers. I’ve heard of this place but never been. It’s in an older building that used to house Family Sub which was a Stratford staple landmark and frequently visited by late night partners and hangover sufferers. Mom suggests we find something to take home. Dad quashes that notion immediately. I get a super parking spot (there’s always a spot up front for a winner) and we head in to the resto. It’s a nicely decked out place with tin ceiling tiles and quirky chandeliers. We get seated and our young waitress brings the menus. She suggests the special which is 2 burger platters and two adult beverages for $40. Perfect. Since I’m driving mom and dad can have the drinks and dad and I can have the burgers. Our waitress smiles and says “no problem, we can make that work”. There’s a couple of other minor tweaks (dad doesn’t like cheese on his burger) as dad orders the bacon cheese burger. Again. We can make that work. I love it. We have a great lunch. The burgers are delicious. Moms salad doesn’t have enough dressing so she adds some ketchup. Whatever. I point out the realtors office across the road. Dad is interested to see that’s where Julie works. Next door is Stanfields law office; she did mom and dads wills a few years ago. I point it out. We don’t have a lawyer. Yes. She did your wills. That was Waterloo street. Yes! She moved. Why would she move? I don’t remember doing wills. Yes. You’re all set not to worry. Oh. Ok. I want another beer. Ok. I can’t finish my salad. Can I take it for Molly?

After lunch dad checks his watch. What time is the doctors appointment? It’s at 2 pm. Great! We have time for a game of cards.

Back at the condo dad gets the cards out while mom shuffles around asking who wants coffee or a sandwich. No mom. We are full. You’ll want one later. No mom. It’s 33C outside. Dad deals and tells mom to relax. Right.

The card game is a bust for dad. I clean his clock. He insists we start another game while moms voice gets more shrill telling us it’s time to go. If we were anywhere else I might agree but they could walk in minutes to the doctors office. Dad plays on to the last possible second.

Are you ready to go? Wait. I have to pee. Do you have your hat? I don’t want my hat. It’s blazing hot sun out there. No. Ok. We get to the doctors office and dad checks in. There’s a new receptionist and I’m elated! I feel semi responsible for the last ones demise. She was a nightmare. The new one is smiling (good) she’s not on the phone (good) she asks us to have a seat. Twenty minutes later I approach her. Can you confirm our appointment was for 2 pm? Yes. We are running a bit late. Hmmm. Pet peeve. Doctors who take liberties with others schedules! Not cool. Dad comments that we could have finished our game. A few moments later we are called in. Dad gets weighed and measured by the nurse as part of the pre-op check up. (He’s having cataract surgery next week) When the Doctor comes in he apologies for lateness; there was an unexpected death. No sympathy from me. I’m dealing with seniors on a schedule. We are good to go. It’s now almost 3 pm.

Back in the car en route to our final destination. Car repair shop where dads car has been for the past 4 days. Dad is an amputee without his wheels. We take a scenic country drive to Waterloo. Dads car is parked out front ready to go. He practically jumps from my car before we park with his spare key in hand. Mom trailing behind. No hat. Uli, the proprietor, lets me know that dads car needs more work but he’s not recommending to do it. Once these cars (2008 BMW X3) start to deteriorate its game over. Ok. Good to know. Thanks. He follows me to the parking lot where he hands dad the key and speaks in German. He greets mom and speaks to her as well. She likes that.

Well that’s a wrap folks. We hug and kiss and part ways. I have to rescue Molly.

The drive to Rockwood is pleasant. It’s now after 4pm and I think about what a long day Molly has had. When I pull into the groomers there’s another car leaving. It’s like daycare pick up. Kelly is waiting inside. She tells me how wonderful Molly is. (Did my chest puff out? Am I beaming?). When I respond Molly hears my voice and starts to whine. It’s a grateful happy whine. She’s not been abandoned.

Kelly brings her out. Pure joy on her newly shaved face. She’s howling and jumping and excited. Kelly laughs. Molly hops in the car and we head home.

Great day.

(Photo credits for Downie Street Burger go to Trip Advisor)

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