What’s Wrong With A Dozen?

Dear Woolworths and Children’s Cupcake Manufacturers,

My husband mentioned this the other day and I am inclined to agree with him – what is it with the mixes that only make 10 cupcakes? Are you both too cheap to let us make 12? This number makes more sense to me. I mean when you get out your cupcake tray to make it easier to get the little suckers in and out of the oven, you don’t have a tray of 10. You have trays of 6 or trays of 12. I’ve never seen one with 10. I’d say that baking just makes you lean more towards the dozen but a baker’s dozen is actually 13. That’s still more than 10.

I find it hard to believe that in a mix of cake ingredients where you only need the purchaser to supply an egg, some butter and some water that you are unable to make a mix that will facilitate an extra 2 cupcakes without the need for another whole egg. Its not about the extra patty cake papers either because there are always extras of those in the packet anyway. And the current provision for icing could definitely stretch another 2 but no. You have the dumb number of 10.

Why would you only want to make 10? Recipes don’t make “10” serves. Recipes make 4, 6 and 8 serves and you double recipes where required to make more but who wants only 10 cupcakes when you could make 12? If you have 2 kids, you could divide that number in 2 but with 3 kids, you’d be stuffed. To divide evenly at that point, you have 1 left over and most families have 2 parents so again, dumb number. 4 or 5 kids (with or without token leftovers for parents) “might” work but if you have that many kids, they’re going to be energetic and boisterous together and 2 measly cupcakes are going to do squat. And if you have 1 kid, theres no way you are letting them have the whole batch of refined sugar there and you’re still doling it out to 1 kid and possibly 2 parents so someone still loses.

I tell you, 10 cupcakes is a cop out number. Plus, those suckers are not the large light and fluffy cupcakes that mums used to make for birthdays. Those mixes only just scrape the number they are morally and legally obliged to provide as per the packet advertising and not a skerrick more. The only way you sucker people into buying the product in the first place is Disney brand recognition. My 3-year-old is in love with Cinderella and Frozen and as perhaps overly indulgent parents, we have purchased them for her. Only when they are on sale of course because perhaps they don’t sell as well as other products since everyone else knows that they are an overpriced and under catered option for your table!

So I guess more fool us for getting suckered in on more than one occasion. Perhaps next time though, we will just walk a little faster down that aisle and whenever we have the urge to do some baking, we will come home and really be wild by, you know, reading a recipe book. One that is going to give us a mixture for more than 10 cupcakes. Just saying.

Hungrily yours,
A sweet tooth

Allied Pickfords

Dear Allied Pickfords,

Man, is my husband pissed at you! But can you really blame him?

As a relationship, it started out so well. You sent someone out to quote and they arrived on time. A great beginning. We got several other quotes and some of the sales reps were tardy. Then we were happy to accept your quote. We arranged for your guys to come and pack our house on a Tuesday, pack your truck on a Wednesday and unpack at our new residence on a Thursday. Simples. Or it should have been.

The packers, I have to say, were awesome. I mean I was not quite prepared (washing was still out in baskets, washing up was not yet finished and well, our house was never actually going to be tidy, was it??). They also put up with the fact that AH Beard had to pull out a king mattress and bring another one into the house when it was being stacked high with boxes. I did get the feeling that they were a little peeved at me for that one but even so, they packed everything they said they would. They ran out of boxes part way though and had to get more but they packed what they said they would.

Then the next day, a new crew turned up. These guys were all set to “smash it” like the previous crew had the day before. In the end though, I think the only thing they got near to smashing was my husband’s self-control. Why the hell did it take you eleven hours to pack a three bedroom house and one car garage into a truck? Your guys arrived at 8am but you didn’t leave until after 7pm! And this was after the following:

  • you told us you couldn’t fit all our stuff in the truck and would need to get a second load to us over the next couple of weeks
  • you called the national sales manager back from sick leave to come and assess the situation
  • the national sales manager ordered the back of the truck be unpacked and re-packed a crap load tighter to try and fit everything in – which you still didn’t quite manage
  • you walked through the property with us to confirm what needed to be taken and you failed to include things you should have in your load

You’d think after that, the unload would have gone a little smoother wouldn’t you? After all, you had some disgruntled clients who just wanted their stuff. My husband even thought he was being generous by saying don’t bust a gut to get down here from Sydney by 9:00am. Take your time. He didn’t mean take the entire morning! It started with the phone calls…We’re just filling up the truck before we get there (apparently in Goulburn). Then you couldn’t find the property. Then you did and you opened the back and you stopped for smoko. Just a word to the wise, at 11:30am when your clients are cooling their heels in the driveway waiting to get a hold of their stuff that they can now see, sitting in your cab and eating McDonalds does not go down well.

Then it took you bloody forever to unload the damn thing. You put boxes on the gravel driveway and picked them up, complete with gravel underneath which you wheeled into my house and deposited on the floor. You managed somewhere along the way to break the beer fridge. You cracked some of the glass in my framed prints. You also managed to rip a canvas tent pole bag that has survived 30 years of repeated camping, to shreds. You were still unpacking the truck 7 hours after you started. I had to get you to move the truck out so that I could go and pick up my daughter for dinner because she had been left with my parents for over 10 hours. You guys advertise with the tagline: “The Careful Movers”. Careful my arse!

And to add insult to injury, when my husband complained, not unduly, you suggested that this situation was our fault. Like maybe your guys had to move more than was originally quoted. Because sure, we asked you to come out and look at our possessions and then went and bought more stuff. To be perfectly blunt, we actually got rid of more than we said we would and ended up having you pack slightly less than you originally quoted on relocating.

So all in all, it was not a positive experience. We will never be using your company again. We will not recommend you. We will actively discourage anyone we know from hiring you. We found you unprofessional, unhelpful and unable to deliver the service we were offered. I will concede that we were underquoted but to be perfectly honest, that is not our problem, its yours. You couldn’t deliver on what you did quote on and this is terribly unfortunate. I love that we made the move we did but you were far and away the worst part of the transition experience and that’s saying a lot.

Your regretful customer who will never be a repeat customer.

Added several months later…
PS. Dudes, we moved in August and immediately sought recompense for the fact that you couldn’t deliver the service you were supposed to. This issue was finally sorted in December! Talk about bad service…

16th December 2014

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Dear World,

December 16th 2014  was one of those days where several things were truly brought home:

  1. The day when a crazed gunman is holding a bunch of people hostage and the police ask you to lock down your office block is not the day to forget your lunch. There is no skipping out to the shops. You can’t just run up the block to grab a bite to eat. You’re not really going anywhere.
  2. In the midst of terror and fear and the repercussions of a truly f’d up individual, Australians can sing songs about happiness and a beautiful day. Not out of disrespect but because the sun was shining and one stupid dickhead can’t take that away from us.
  3. Certain individuals and media establishments are just drama whores. And I’m sorry, Australia did not just lose her innocence. Martin Bryant was an f’d up individual too and the casualties were worse. I’m just saying.
  4. National pride and solidarity are some things we are bloody good at. #illridewithyou was practical and symbolic and quite frankly, brilliant. There is a reason why so many people like Australians.
  5. Me. I don’t make light of those who were caught in the crossfire or experienced loss. I am both thankful and grateful though that at the end of the day, I did come home safely.

Yours,

A Martin Place Office Resident

Counting Sheep

Koala (1 of 1)Dear Sleep,

If you were a person, you would be an asshole. You are like a dodgy car salesman who talks you into buying something that doesn’t really fit your purpose knowing full well that your purchase is going to crap out on you on the way home anyway. You are like the corrupt CEO that cuts corners in production and turns out an inferior product just to make a buck.

If you were my employee, you would be fired. You are like the PA that looks great on paper but turns up to the office and spends the majority of her day gasbagging on the phone to her friends, doing her nails and checking Facebook. You are like the phone carrier that doesn’t invest in infrastructure to adequately service its clients and ultimately leaves you disconnected.

If you were online, you would be defriended, delinked, delisted, deleted and otherwise removed from any connection that you might share with me. You are like a troll with nothing appropriate, considerate or valuable to say. You come with spam and malware that leave me exhausted and unable to operate at full capacity. Your degenerate cousin, Fitfulness, is not welcome in my house and those other louses you associate with, Nightmares and Lucid Dreams, can go and get stuffed.

Or do I have this ass backwards?!?

Do you sub-contract to Sickness and Health? Are you only allowed to operate with their permission? Are you like the poor cousin to Worry and Stress with the firm position of last in the pecking order, subject to their benevolence? Are you just trying to do the very best job that you possibly can under some recurring and ultimately restrictive circumstances??

When my toddler tosses and turns and cries out in pain is it because you are losing the tug-of-war with Illness? Are you trying to give her rest to repair herself? When my husband seemingly tries to run a marathon in what should be a restful state, is it because that cow, Angst, is throwing her weight around? Were you trying to give him peace? I only ask because I have been missing you this week…A lot.

Your number one girl, Blissful Slumber, who I thought was my friend has been notably absent. And in my resulting fatigued state, I am oscillating between what the hell did I ever do to you – I wish I could kick you to kingdom come and please, please come back, you are sorely missed – I will do just about anything. As I slowly drift further into Loopy, I am really hoping that a) you are not in fact a malevolent bastard, b) if you are currently on holidays, you will be back soon and the moron temporarily in charge will be sent to Siberia or c) you win lotto and can afford some heavy artillery to start whipping a few more butts…you know, tell all those undesirables to BACK OFF!

If its not too much to ask, everyone in my house could use a whole night’s sleep because it would make everything SO much easier. Don’t leave me hanging here…

Respectfully yours,

Someone Sleep Deprived

* Photo taken on a recent trip to the Zoo – at least some of God’s creatures get regular rest…

All in a dog’s work

Reuben (1 of 1)

Dear Reuben,

You are pretty damn brilliant at following the four paws on the floor rule of this house. So congratulations. I am never concerned that you are going to randomly jump up on any of the other inhabitants of this house or indeed any guests that you might deign to allow into the house. I think there are a few other points that we should have a little chat about though…

Number One
You are not now, nor have you ever been (or will be) a lap dog. I’m not quite sure how this apparent confusion has come about. You are not welcome to reverse into my lap and plonk 50kgs of Dane butt on me any time you choose. How would you like it if I did that to you?

Number Two
I am not a stool. I am not a seat. My shoulder is in fact not as strong as you seem to think it is. Do you see where I am going with this? I don’t take kindly to you just depositing yourself willy nilly on my person. You have ample beds around the place and you are also, you know, a DOG. You have four working legs and I am not a human easy chair assisting you to lower yourself to an appropriate place to rest.

Number Three
Doorways are not for standing in like a statue. They’re just not.

Number Four
If I am walking forwards, standing directly in my path will not endear you to me. When I change my path, moving so that you will still be standing directly in my path is not my idea of a fun game. You do not need to fulfil the position of Mobile Live Obstacle Course…

Number Five
When I am hanging washing on the line and my arms and hands are not able to swiftly shift to protect my vital organs at a moment’s notice, it is not playtime. Ramming a solid rubber chew toy into my torso will do you absolutely NO favours if you persist.

So I know that’s a lot to remember, and you probably feel as though you are not getting enough love at the moment but maybe if you work on even a couple of those points, we might be able to come to some sort of compromise. Yes?

Yours,

The Old Lady You Let Live In Your House

Train Tetris

Train View

Dear Lady On The Train,

This is just a guess but you have never played Tetris, have you? I am just supposing this because you seem particularly un-adept at being a functional and considerate passenger on public transport. Now this could be that you were either a) still half asleep (it was morning) or b) being rude on purpose (which I am really hoping you weren’t because that’s just lame) but it could also be that c) you just suck at Train Tetris.

The latter of course is a bit unfortunate because it’s actually not that hard. I mean there we were, three passengers seated along a three person seat (see Train View One). Convenient and comfortable for all until the passenger by the window (thats “Ps”) needed to get off. I was in the middle (“Me”) so that kind of meant that you had to get up first. Which you did. You even moved a step back so that the next person could move into the aisle. But then you stopped.

Now here is where the not so tricky but apparently challenging for you part was.  I did not want to get off the train. I wanted to sit back down but the person after me wanted to move out of the carriage. So with you stuck like a grumpy gnome smack bang in the middle of the aisle at the end of the seat, I couldn’t move in the opposite direction of the nearest exit allowing the passenger behind me easy passage. When I moved aside in the only other direction available so that the window seat passenger could exit the row however, I was now effectively blocking them from getting off the train.

Had you displayed even the slightest inkling of awareness or forethought and moved a step further back when you first moved into the aisle or even when you noticed the predicament you left us in (assuming of course that you are not a complete idiot), it would have been appreciated. As it was, the window seat passenger was left to squeeze past me whilst you remained unmolested by other passengers (in that way forced proximity seems to engender in public transport) and happy as a pig in mud.

I am currently enjoying the very un-grown up attitude of hoping that when you least expect it, a fellow passenger squeezes past you and sticks their butt in your face on the way through.

Cordially yours,

A Slightly More Mindful Passenger

Bus Blues

sculpture-3

Dear Old Man On The Bus,

You reminded me today of one of the reasons that I love my husband. Not by anything you said to be sure, for we have never actually spoken. On any of the occasions where our paths have crossed. But by something that you did today, or rather didn’t do as the case may be, you ultimately gave me pause to recall one of my husband’s strengths.

See, this morning I got on a busy bus. Not a crowded bus as the vehicle wasn’t full to bursting. It wasn’t practically overflowing with individuals squished together like sardines in a tin but there were no free rows. There were also no single places available unless you count the fact that you were sitting smack bang in the middle of a two-seater bench seat. By yourself. Which I did.

So rather than spend the rest of the journey on my feet as possibly the only standing passenger, I chose to take what I’m sure most would legitimately consider as the last free spot. I approached the seat in question whilst looking directly at you, removed my handbag from my shoulder, turned around and sat down. On a quarter of the space actually feeding into the aisle. Because you didn’t budge an inch.

Now I was brought up with sufficient old fashioned values which dictate that I should respect my elders. So I didn’t make a fuss. I didn’t tell you to move and I didn’t try to shove you further across the seat either. On the other hand, I was born close enough to generation “Y” that I feel I have the right to question those who could be considered my betters. And pass judgement. And I thought you were rude. Despite the fact that I am younger than you, I am still a lady. Where were your manners? You didn’t need to give up your seat, just move the hell over.

I then spent the rest of the day deep in the throes of my righteous indignation. You had done me wrong. You ought to be ashamed. You needed an attitude adjustment or at the very least a little civic awareness. I pretty much told my husband as much when I got home too. At which point he suggested that old age brings more with it than just grey hair.

Maybe it is an effort for you to merely get on the bus each morning let alone interact with anyone else. Maybe you don’t find it as easy to cope with the day to day as you might have done in your youth. Maybe you really didn’t see me today, or anyone else for that matter. Maybe I shouldn’t judge prematurely unless I actually know all the facts.

Which, Old Man On The Bus, is one of the reasons that I love my husband. He humanises me. He brings me down to Earth. He helps me see clearly and he makes me behave better…But I still get to be peeved that I had my butt hanging halfway off the seat for the ride into town. That was uncomfortable.

The Girl On The Bus

* Photo taken at this year’s Sculptures By The Sea