I spent approximately four hours on the phone with Amazon and UPS and former neighbours trying to sort out one eensy problem. Seems one of five separate Christmas orders ended up at my old house address. Even though I'd called Amazon a week ago to make sure this didn't happen.
It happened anyway.
Amazon was at fault. They were very nice about it, but they were at fault.
To their credit, they did their best to correct the problem and sent a second order ASAP so that I could have it before Christmas, though no firm promises. But that too was handled incorrectly which meant yet more phone calls, emails, and website surfings later that took a huge chunk out of my day. A day set aside for baking.
Meanwhile, I noticed our radiators were stone cold this morning, but there was no time to hunt down our building super. That's never just a quick phone call. I have to find him and tell him in person, because any question, no matter how minor, involves a series of inept pantomimes on both our parts because he's from Sri Lanka and speaks almost no English or French and I speak no Sinhala. It always ends with both of us throwing up our hands and him nodding his head which translates roughly to, "I have no clue what you are saying to me madam but that was very amusing to me ha-ha."
In the midst of my Amazon kerfuffle, several large men with thick, Eastern European accents (not sure why that matters, but it helps set the scene) followed by my tiny super showed up at the apartment door, and pushed past me swinging buckets and rags to "bleed" my radiators. The rads didn't so much bleed, as spew black oily water all over the floors. Meanwhile my daughter and I grabbed underwear out of the way and tried to keep the dog from bolting.
Once the little buggers were relieved of all their trapped air (the rads, not the heavyset men) things warmed up nicely, the Amazon thing got settled, and it was time to tackle the baking.
Which is when I discovered I was missing a few key ingredients. Which meant a trip to the store on what can only charitably be called The Crappiest Day Of 2012. It's gray, wet, and miserable. A day for curling up with a shortbread cookie and cup of tea by the fire. Except I was out of flour.
Picture me in my earflaps hat and black, down-filled coat, wild-eyed and on high alert, leaping over small lakes of gray slush at every corner, keeping a wary eye on passing motorists who, from the looks of them, were expressing their pent up anger at being on the road by deliberately hitting the puddles and sending them arching over the sidewalks at their prey. Quebec drivers are crazy psycho drivers at the best of times, but this kind of day sends them over the edge. And ice on the road does not slow them down, not one bit. If anything, it's like waving a checkered flag.
I learned timing was crucial, and moved along the sidewalk with stealth, crouching along lines of parked cars wherever possible in the hopes of avoiding a slush bombing.
I ended up on a wild goose chase around the city core looking for graham cracker crumbs (seriously, Quebec? Are they not staples in the rest of the country?? And forget Lyle's Golden syrup.) My pants were so heavy and wet at the bottoms that they dragged a few inches behind me by the time I got home. I had homeless people nodding at me in recognition. I am not kidding.