This many Fancy Visitors
- Total visits: 20,598
I have never been to Boston. But I have been there. And I know first hand that it’s a living hell you never want to revisit.
I have been at my sister’s bedside, 48 hours after a bomb exploded at her feet. I have seen the layers of burnt skin. I have seen what happens when the nylon seams of a shirt melt into skin. I have seen what happens to flesh when it is hit by shrapnel. Years later there are still remnants of that bomb in her body.
I have seen my sister’s name in the newspaper under the list of blast victims, with the word “amputated” next to her name.
I have peeled away burnt skin to help relieve her of unbearable itch. I have watched white blood cell counts rise and fall and understood medications I never wanted to know about. I have celebrated victories that only those in the bomb victim world get to enjoy. Like when my sister escaped lung burn because she didn’t inhale enough of the noxious burning gasses to irrevocably damage her lungs. Boy did we party that day.
My sister suffered 70% burns to her body. She lost her left leg below the knee. Her right leg was so badly damaged that the doctors didn’t know if they could save it. She was 16 years old and a waitress at a pizza restaurant. She could have been standing at a marathon finish line.
On Monday, when those two bombs exploded in Boston, my two worlds collided.
Although I have run 7 marathons, I have never run Boston. But I have been there. Running through the finish line. With my husband and baby waiting for me. One year my friend Heather wading through the crowds to find me. And my last NYC Marathon, my Dad and friend Laura waiting near the end in Central Park. I have finished my races with joy, with pain, with sadness and with elation, but never with the fear that I know all too well.
I will never run again without thinking of Boston. Even though I have never been there, it will never leave me. This is too real and too familiar. Because I know the truth. That once the photos have faded from the newspaper headlines, and the coffers of donations have emptied, the victims of that bomb blast will never be able to rid themselves of that day. And although they will piece things back together – body parts and broken hearts – Boston will always be with them.
And it will always be with me.
Right now my youngest son is sitting at the dinner table, being bribed with videos of airplanes in the hopes that he’ll finish eating his dinner. It’s 8:25 pm. 25 minutes past his bedtime. I left dinner about 30 minutes ago in a huff because there was no way I could manage sitting at the table any longer without potentially harming someone with a zucchini. I can’t stand it any more. The begging and pleading. The cajoling. It’s so un-pleasurable for me that I’d actually rather not even eat. As much as I adore the idea of a family table, and we have all eaten almost every meal together since my kids were born, I think that I’m starting to understand the logic of kids eating first. Or me eating in a restaurant. With a glass of wine. And adults. Who don’t whine constantly about the food you’ve cooked for them. I’ve made threats about starving kids in Africa. I’ve pleaded. I’ve been nice. And I’ve been mean. And now I’ve given up. You see, it completely lacks enjoyment to cook for people who are going to complain about everything you make. There’s no pleasure in that. My food tastes of this lack of pleasure. Every bite reflects it. So on Thursday I have a chef coming in for an interview. I’m not joking. Because I figure at least then I’ll still love my kids when they’re thirteen. And nobody will end up in psychotherapy for having a zucchini stuffed up their nose.
sometimes I play the piano…
I recorded this little bit of “Georgia” today because it make me think of my friend Robyn, AKA the Chemo Biyatch, who is our Georgia peach. Click on the pic to hear it.
If you know me, you’re aware that I’m opinionated, caustic, sarcastic but still quite a friendly, happy, all around outgoing gal. But yes, I have an opinion. And a voice. And I’m rather particular. I believe that if I’m paying for something, it should be as expected. And I believe that good customer service is dead. And that many retailers have become entitled, self-indulgent shmucks. And I’m a business owner and work my ass off to make my customers happy. In fact, on the first page of our employee handbook it says under customer complaints: “I’m sorry you had that experience. How can we make it better”. I believe in the cliché that the customer is always right, and I live by it.
However, in the last few weeks I’ve come to realize that by being a vocal, outspoken consumer, several people on the receiving end have decided, quite simply, that I’m a bitch. I’ve been accused of lying, trying to get things for free, and of being a negative person who only writes bad reviews.
This has really sat badly with me and I’ve fretted quite a lot over the feedback. I keep thinking about the fact that I’m a really positive, actually quite nice person who is being construed as negative. And that hurts! It’s wrong! And it makes me mad! But in the end, I have only one charming phrase of response: SCREW YOU. I’m not going to shut up and be bullied by business owners who aren’t prepared to listen to their customers. There are PLENTY who do, and it’s so ironic that the more awful the experience, the more horrid the business owner.
For goodness sake, I have three kids, a husband, a business, several hefty volunteer commitments and a million hobbies. Do you think that I’m going around town trying to get shit for free while I lie about people’s boyfriends leaving snotty tissues on sofas? Yeah, right. So, sorry. I’m not going to shut up. I’m going to carry on being the bitch with a pen. And I am told that the pen is mightier than the sword. Let’s see.
PS: If you’re interested, here are the three reviews where I believe the owner’s responses were inappropriate. Would love to hear what you think!
Rejeuvine Med Spa
Blink Lash Boutique
Goldyn Clothing Boutique
Have you ever noticed that nearly every single restaurant, whether it be Chinese, Indian, Japanese or Mongolian, generally has a kids menu that consists of the following: Chicken Tenders, Hot Dog, Burger, Noodles and Mac & Cheese. Without fail. And since we really like to eat out with our kids, I’m going to occasionally review the places we eat in the hopes that you can benefit from good, and bad places to take your kids…
Rancho Santa Fe doesn’t have much when it comes to much of anything. Our main street consists of an alarming number of Real Estate Agents’ offices (go figure), banks (yep), an exorbitant jewelry store where a lady suggested I might want to upgrade my wedding ring, and an equally expensive antique store that I have never entered. The only vaguely cute store, Plume, just closed its doors, all of the restaurants close at 3pm and in general the weekends feel as dead as the founding residents of the town. So, I was filled with a little trepidation when I heard that The Pantry, home to my favorite Chicken Bulgar salad (see blog mention here) had been taken over.
Turns out my trepidation wasn’t unfounded. Here’s why:
- We were told that the restaurant closed at 3pm and when we left at 3:30pm they were still seating people. We felt hurried, and then a bit cheated, because we’re sensitive little nunus. Why not simply stay open later? There’s clearly a need!
- Kids menu: you guessed it. But why, oh why, batter your chicken tenders with loads of Cayenne pepper? And does your chef not care to taste his batter? Especially after he obviously dropped the salt-cellar into it. Completely inedible. After the manager saw us attempting to scrape off the batter he did offer to remake it, and did give us some complimentary fries after we asked for more.
- Waitress was insipid, a little confused and quite inattentive. Milan spilled his drink. Nobody noticed. We cleaned it up and moved chairs around. Nobody noticed us heaving huge wicker chairs around. That’s ok. We’re strong. She also didn’t notice that the food she had delivered was wrong. So actually, the essential elements of her job were missing. Thank goodness she isn’t a brain surgeon.
- Which brings me to the saddest part: My beloved Chicken Bulgur salad: teaspoon of bulgur and at first came with no chicken. None at all. I know that there are more sad things in the world. But don’t ruin a great salad.
Hopefully The Pantry is just suffering from a change of ownership hiccup. And in the meantime, please could someone open a nice shop of some sort in town? Pretty please? I promise we’ll come and eat chicken tenders nearby.
Today a friend revealed her pregnancy on Facebook. And my first instinct? Utter jealousy. I’m kind of surprised by that. While I’ve often toyed with the idea of having a fourth (diapers again?!?) and once spoke of having five (it was during a fragile stage), I thought that I had happily settled with my brood of three. Apparently not. I’m guessing that there’s not much reality to the thought, especially since I just turned forty, but I do love a good baby, and hey, I’m already over my ideal weight, so what would 35 lbs more do, right? Darian asked Milan if he’d like a brother or sister, and he said, quite immediately, “A brother AND a sister”. I guess I would end up with my five after all.
Actually, she’s a biyatch going through Cancer, starting chemo this Thursday. And she’s blogging about it. Which I think is brilliant. I think it sucks that it took Cancer to get her writing voice out there. But she’s hilarious, witty, sarcastic and she’s damn well making sure that she isn’t going to be Cancer’s biyatch anytime soon. Follow her: http://chemobiyatch.blogspot.com
I went into Rejeuvine Med Spa to get the $60 worth of Botox I get every few months. I left with a $980 bill, with 6 – 9 months of Restylane pumped into my face and a huge bruise on my cheek. In the process I was lied to, my credit card was charged without my authorization and the procedure was performed on me BEFORE I signed a consent for it. I don’t even know if that’s legal! And on top of everything? That stupid line I was trying to get rid of is still there! Happy 40th birthday to me
In Autumn’s defense (she was the person who did the injections) I think she’s a nice lady who is poorly trained in office procedures, and she was certainly remorseful for the bruise on my face and the miscommunication about the price. But America and the other female owner of the spa should really relook how they run their business and how they treat customers. I had told Autumn that I only ever have a little Botox, that I was petrified of the injections and that I was happy to wait until after my 40th birthday the next day if there could be a bruise. She said yes, sometime’s there’s a bruise, but handed me an ice pack, said I’d look fabulous, and came back with a syringe of something. Just for the record, I didn’t even know what it was until I checked the receipt the next morning because I had to Google why I was in so much pain!! She injected one syringe and then said she though it best to do another. The whole time I was imagining that it must cost around the same price as Botox and that I’d be in for around $200 – $300, which even then makes me squirm. And remember that I’m kind of freaking out and she’s having to tell me to breathe slowly because I’m panicking about the needle. When she was done I was horrified that there was a huge bruise on my cheek, and then she told me that I’d feel like she smacked me once the lidocaine wore off (would have been good to know), and that my face would stay like that for 6 – 9 months and no, sorry, it looked like the tiny little line I had wanted gone was going to stay. Oops. Then she asked me some questions from a clipboard, said that I probably bruised because I took fish oil (would have helped to ask me first) and then asked me to sign a piece of paper that turned out to be the consent for the procedure I had JUST HAD! Again, I was upset, but not as horrified as when I went up to the front and was told that I owed $980. I was in absolute disbelief! I said that if I had know that it cost $450 per syringe there is NO WAY I would have agreed to it. Absolutely no way.
America the owner of the place asked me to pay $500 of the $980 bill, and said she would work something out and call me that evening. She said she was going to keep my credit card on file but that she would call me. I even called back a bit later to again express how upset I was and she said to me, “Well you know these things aren’t free. I’m a business owner and I have to cover my costs”. I explained that I understood that, but this was her area of expertise, not mine, and that I had no idea how much a “filler” cost and that it should have been explained to me. Perhaps if I had signed a consent for BEFORE the procedure we could have talked about that. I see it like this. I order a $60 bottle of wine in a restaurant and then and get charged $920 for the next bottle. That’s just not OK, and you have to manage your customer’s expectations! I don’t know what a filler is, and I should have been told upfront that it was not similar in price to Botox. Anyone offering me a procedure that was so grossly different in price had a duty to tell me, and even though I really, really wish I had, no, it’s not only my responsibility to ask.
America never called me back that evening as she said she would. So I didn’t have anyone to tell about the huge amount of pain I was in. That I couldn’t smile, and that at 2am I was in tears because I couldn’t sleep.
Nor did she call me the next day, my birthday. Instead, Autumn called and I said I was really worried about a small pea side lump next to my mouth and the fact that my cheeks felt like ping pong balls. We talked about the fact she never told me the price, and she admitted that it was her fault and she had communicated badly with me, and that she felt really bad. She said that she didn’t deal with the finance side but that I should come in any time the next day and she’d see me immediately. She apologized when I said how much pain I was still in and suggested that I take Motrin.
Woke up the next morning and was so shocked to see that my card had been charged an additional $400! No call from America.
Went in and met with Autumn. She said that the lump was filler from where she tried to get to the tiny line and that it would last for 6 – 9 months. She then offered me a free photo facial, which I declined because I really don’t want to go there ever again. She again stated that she was remiss in not telling me the price first, that she should have had me sign the consent first, and that I would need to speak to the owner about charging my card.
America was not in the office, so I spoke to the other owner whose name I didn’t catch. She told me that America had meant to call me and had said that previous evening that she had forgotten. She didn’t however forget to charge my card $400 without my authorization. I explained that it was illegal for her to do that and her words were “that’s true”. She said that there was “background information” that America would have to tell me. I left the office almost in tears. I do have a recording of the entire conversation with Autumn and the other owner.
To rub salt in my wounds, America’s only call to me after that visit was as follows, “I didn’t call you because you had spoken to Autumn and I didn’t want to disturb you on your birthday. I went ahead and refunded you your $400. The next time you go to a place I suggest you not get stuff done without knowing the price, and I’d like to tell you please do not come back to Rejeuvine”. Wow. Talk about feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut! This lady did everything wrong in her management of this issue, and then insults me like that? I spent my 40th birthday on painkillers, in agony, with a swollen face after having had a procedure done that was not properly explained to me, and she suggest that I never come back! You bet I’ll never be back and I suggest that everyone else do the same!