FFF #101

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

Last week I posted on Tuesday so posting on Monday this time is an improvement, eh? Maybe I’ll eventually get back to posting on Fridays

1. Tax info completed – I worked through the week to get our 2017 files sorted and all our tax information recorded. I handed it all over to our tax preparer yesterday. In the past working on taxes was, well, taxing, and very stressful for me. This year was much less stressful, and I am grateful for that blessing.

2. Celebrating a record – or maybe not– Thursday the Edmonton area set a weather record: 167 consecutive days where the temperature did not stay above 0C for a full day. And the year to date warmest temperature in 2018 was in January. And it snowed a couple of inches yesterday. And we still have piles of snow in the yard. Hmmm. A few 10-degree C days should make it seem more spring-like. One can hope!

3. A tale of two coffee companies – My husband likes Tim Hortons’ coffee. I can’t drink coffee or black tea, but Starbucks creates the matcha beverages I enjoy. Our friends and family know our brand preferences and we are frequently blessed with gift cards for the two companies.

I usually register our gift cards to garner rewards, keep track of balances, transfer money online from one card to another, reload a card when it’s close to zero funds, and have a record in case a card is lost or stolen.

Recently we had problems with both coffee giants.

I had mistakenly reloaded two registered Tim’s card which had been previously tossed out once the card balances hit zero. In the past I would log in and, in a minute or less, could transfer funds from the registered card we had thrown away to the current card my husband carried.

I see you all shaking your heads. Yes, this little problem has happened before. You’d think communication between the one who uses the card and the one who reloads the card for him would be flawless after 38 years of marriage. It’s more a matter of the ‘throw away the useless stuff’ minimalist thinking vs the ‘this still can be used by someone’ collector and recycler thinking. Don’t worry. We’re still working on a harmonious compromise.

However, Tim Hortons has recently suspended the online feature which allows the customer of registered cards to transfer funds from one card to another, and I had to contact customer service to ask them to do it. I first sent an e-mail asking them to take care of this for me. Yes, it was my mistake initially, but could they please make the transfer for me? After one week I received a reply. I needed to call the customer service number for assistance.

So, I called. The customer service rep was very courteous and took down my information, informing me it would take 3 to 5 business days to take care of the transfer. She gave me a ticket number for my request. I could call back if the transaction did not show up online by the end of 5 business days. After 5 days no changes were made so I called back. Very courteously another CS rep apologized and told me she would resubmit the request but that it would take another 3 to 5 days to complete my request. This went on for over a month. Each time I spoke with a different courteous and very apologetic rep. They were sorry, they were unable to take care of the problem themselves, they would try and mark it as urgent, they were unable to call me back about the problem, and the issue was out of their hands. And each time was told to call back in 3 -5 business days. After a few calls one of the balances was transferred but not the other. Finally, this week, and after multiple calls, the money was all transferred.  A transfer which used to take less than a minute had taken over a month to complete.

Starbucks has recently changed their ‘recipe’ for the matcha frappuccino I enjoy. My husband will occasionally offer to pick up the treat for me on his way home from work but asks me to mobile order so he can grab it quickly. For a yet unknown reason when the recipe changed I was no longer able to mobile order the frap. It was still available but not through mobile ordering. I asked at my local SB and, unable to fix the problem themselves, they gave me the customer service number to call. A very courteous rep took my information and wrote up my concern. She apologized for the trouble and told me a district rep would call me within 48 hours to let me know why I was unable to mobile order my beverage. She then told me she had loaded $15 on my card because of my troubles.

Sure enough, a day later the rep called and told me that the mobile ordering for my drink worked fine in the States but until my call, SB did not realize we could not mobile order the frap anywhere in Canada, and that was a problem they wanted to fix. She contacted app guys in the tech department and would call me back when they did their thing. In the meantime, one of the managers at our local store has been calling HQ for updates and letting me know the progress of my request. Though it’s not fixed yet, SB has been going out of their way to keep me posted while working to resolve the problem.

My staunch TH hubby is now wavering. He could not believe how long it took to complete the simple transaction and how long our funds were unavailable to us one we requested the transfer. More frequently the coffee or tea he orders have not been what he receives. TH has recently fallen out of favor with many Canadians for other reasons, but our recent experiences have him singing the praises of SB, something I never thought I’d hear.

4. Blessings in the lives of my kids – This past week two of my daughters had some recognition for hard work and jobs well done. We are so happy for their success!

5. Anticipation – I am eager to receive my first two iron infusions this week. Though I have been warned it will take up to three months to feel normal again, I’m hoping at least to begin feeling better soon. And hopefully to avoid some of the side effects some people experience!

Friday’s Fave Five #5

1.  The lost is found.  A few years ago my husband and I had the privilege of going on the Journeys of Paul study tour in Turkey, Greece and Italy.  As a visual learner I often had fuzzy mental images of the places I read about in Scripture.  The tour helped clarify geography, travel, culture and climate which has enriched my reading significantly.

While in Istanbul we experienced the Grand Bazaar.  Noisy masses of humanity bobbed and flowed past fishmongers, jewelers, spice merchants, and purveyors of carpets, textiles, and exotic foods.  We were beckoned and urged into shop after shop where merchants hawked their wares and did their best to convince us to buy from them.

The expected bargaining and haggling over prices surprisingly intimidated me, but my unflappable husband was a pro at it.  We walked away with some lovely jewelry and with two bolster covers emblazoned with the symbol of an admired Turkish sultan.  The color and muted pattern perfectly complemented our living room furniture.

This past July our son and his family were here on their summer break from teaching in China so a number of things had been   Bolster from Turkeymoved around to accommodate them.  While they were here we did a massive ‘clean out and purge’ of all closets and cupboards.  My tidy youngest daughter was helping me purge and would exuberantly hold things up and say, “Mom, do you REALLY need to keep this?” and joyfully chuck it into the recycle bag.

After the Chinese branch of the family moved on, and my daughter left for college, I noticed one of the bolsters was missing.  I looked everywhere I could think of and had my house helpers look in places I could not access.  Nothing.  I guessed that the bolster had accidentally flown the coop in the great summer purge.  Sigh.  At least we still had one left.

While preparing for my niece to come visit last week, my daughter found the bolster wedged in a spot between the wall and the corner of the bunk bed in the room the grandchildren stay in each summer.  I don’t know how everyone who looked for it had missed it, but here it was, the lost now found!  I had a better understanding of the biblical lost and found passages after this missing bolster resurfaced.  Thank you Lord for joy in the little things.

2.  An appointment date!  After a long wait, I finally have an appointment with the Hip and Knee clinic on March 21.  The medical system in Canada can be slow so I am grateful for this next step in the process.  I won’t likely be running any marathons in the future but it would be lovely to walk again without a cane.

3.  God is loving and merciful   I am particularly grateful for God’s love and mercy.  In times of sadness, when our own failures or those of others near us cause us to pause and take stock, it is a particular blessing to remember that He will never leave us or forsake us and that there is forgiveness with our loving Father.

4.  More good experiences  This week we ate out once and had take out once (thanks to our niece!)   I have had such violent reactions to foods lately I was a bit skeptical about eating food from new places.  But both of them turned out great, with no bad reactions!  I have learned to ask lots of questions and let people know what my ‘allergies’ are.  So glad to find some more ‘safe’ places to eat.

5.  Rrrroll up the Rrrrim to Win Every February Canadians look forward to Tim Horton’s Rrrrroll up the Rrrrrim to Win contest. The contest is a fun pause in midst of winter weather and reminds us that spring is (hopefully) just around the corner.  It’s so much fun to roll up the rim of your cup and find ‘WIN COFFEE’ or ‘WIN DONUT.’ Of course there are grander prizes to be won but so far no one I know has won a big prize.  Some years we win a lot of ‘PLEASE PLAY AGAIN.’  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the contest and each cup has two parts of the rim to roll up!???????????????????????????????