Slightly disappointing

Apparently, Earth Hour 2008 was a success. People around the world turned off their lights, landmark buildings went dark, etc. Yet it left me slightly disappointed. I guess I was expecting too much of the event. Vancouver was participating, and although I heard about it for the first time last Tuesday, it has been in every paper and on every radio show since then (and probably on TV too, I couldn’t tell, I still don’t watch TV). But at 8 pm, when we looked outside, we saw… nothing.

Well, actually, we saw lots. Lots of lights. I live in a densely populated area of the downtown core, and I can see hundreds or more likely thousands of apartment windows from my living room. At 8 pm, we turned off our lights. Yet I didn’t see any major change in the landscape. People near or far had their lights on. Of course, I wasn’t expecting everyone to turn off their lights. But I though enough people would participate so that I would see a change outside. Nope.

Worse, there is so much light pollution here that we didn’t even need our candles. With all the lights out, we could still see enough to keep doing our spring cleaning (we just rearranged our living room and papers that needed sorting were scattered all over). By the window, you could even read without the candles. Good luck to those who were talking about watching the stars. Not a chance in hell.

I can’t help but find it sad. I though people were starting to realize that global warming is a pressing issue and that we need to do something about it now. I guess I’m still naive…

The Sherpani Saga

Several posts back, I explained how we hesitated for a long time over which baby carrier to purchase. We finally bought a Sherpani baby carrier online. We thought we were done with our troubles… Little did we know that it was only the beginning of a long, very long saga!

We ordered our carrier from Mountain Baby, a retailer from Nelson, BC. It arrived quickly and in good shape, but unfortunately, after only a one-hour walk, the inside lining of the carrier was already ripping. Needless to say we were extremely disappointed.

Zak and Elliot in the carrierRipping liner of the carrier

We emailed Sherpani and Mountain Baby, and although the first never even acknowledged reception of our email, Mountain Baby did and assured us that we would be able to get a replacement carrier. Only downside was, we would have to pay to ship the defective carrier back to the distributor. Apparently “that’s how the warranty works”.

It took a while for Mountain Baby to sort things out with the Sherpani distributor in Canada, but we finally received a new carrier in the mail, this time black because they were out of the red one. Again, we thought we were in business, but no! The carrier was defective! The sun shade was sown crooked and totally unusable, and the carrier itself felt wrong when we put it on. It was lopsided. Grrrr!

Comparing the two sun shadesDefective sun shade

This time, we decided to deal directly with Mountain Baby. We asked them to pay for us to return the new, black carrier. We decided that we would rather keep the red one, as it is usable (and rather comfortable) even though it is ripping. Mountain Baby’s representative apologized profusely for not verifying the sun shade before shipping the carrier and accepted to pay for the return shipping. They assured us that they have never had that kind of problem before, that Sherpani carrier are usually flawless. They also offered to send us a brand new, 2008 carrier when they came out. They have now received them and should be shipping us one shortly.

We are hoping that this time the new backpack will have no defect. We like the fit and the comfort of the pack, we like the way Elliot fits in it, it seems extremely safe, but boy! Someone need better quality control! We were already unsure when awaiting a second carrier, because the rip simply seems due to a flimsy fabric and we were skeptical that a new one would be better. Now we are scared that the third (!!!) carrier we try may have some other issue with it. And what if it is some harder-to-detect flaw that appears only after a while?

The moral of the story is, although we are extremely satisfied with the customer service we received from Mountain Baby and I would recommend buying from them to any online shopper, we are disappointed with Sherpani and the quality of their manufacturing. I guess that’s what you can expect with products made in China…

To be continued.

What’s up with the weather?

Now, I’m not one to complain about the weather. I barely notice the rain in Vancouver: when everyone is whining that it’s horrible outside, I put on good clothing, roll down the rain cover on our stroller and go for a walk with my ever happy dog. I enjoy the creepiness of the fog, I love snow and I usually take warm spells in stride. But today is something else, something so out of the ordinary that I had to talk about it.

It’s snowing. No big deal for Quebeckers, although even in the East when it snows on March 29 people tend to complain and long for warmer weather. But I’m not in Quebec. I’m in Vancouver. It barely EVER snows here. We had two snow events this year. The snow stuck for only one of those, and even then, only for 24 hours. Now this week, we had hail, a thunderstorm, snow and then today more hail. So much hail, as a matter of fact, that it covered the ground in about 10 minutes. Now, a few hours later, it is turning to rain and it will soon have melted from the roads, but there is still about two inches of the white stuff on the roofs.

Stroller in the hailTraffic in the snow

In Vancouver, spring usually starts some time in February. The daffodils have been out for a while. The cherry trees are in bloom.

Palm tree in the snowBlooming tree in the snow

Crazy I say, crazy. If only people could stop saying: “Where is that global warming they’re talking about?” This IS global warming. Total fucked up weather. Happy earth hour tonight…

Earth Hour 2008

On this Saturday, March 29 at 8 pm, millions of people will turn of their lights for an hour to take a stand against global warming. This initiative, created by the World Wildlife Fund, started in Sidney, Australia last year. They were hoping for a 5% decrease in energy consumption during that hour. The saving was more than 10%. This year, more than 150 cities are participating in Canada alone! Many buildings and landmarks will go dark during that hour, including the CN Tower. Businesses as well as simple citizens around the world are registering at earthhour.org their pledge to turn off their lights for an hour.

I’m in. Are you?

Kudos to Single Parents…

It is the end of March, the end of the fiscal year for the federal government. A very busy period for us at the office, but this year I don’t care because I’m still on mat leave. My husband’s employer, however, has a federal department for client, and they are swamped right now, trying to finish some work before the end of the month. It is 8:30 pm and my husband is not back from work yet. I had to put our son to bed a long time ago so he didn’t see him, just like yesterday. I’m lucky that they see each other in the morning!

Well, I’m lucky, too, that this happens only a few weeks a year. Zak is usually back for supper and although he sometimes has to work overtime, it is not a regular occurrence. On most days, he’s here to play with Elliot while I’m cooking dinner, then we put our son to bed together. In the evening, we share tasks like dishes, laundry or taking the dog for a walk. Doing it all by myself is tiring and it makes me appreciate once again how lucky I am to have someone to do the parenting with. Someone I love, someone who shares my laughters and my tears, someone who listens to me describe the little things that happen during the day.

So to all the single parents out there: I feel your pain. You, who do this day in, day out, are amazing and deserve our admiration. Oh, and a break, too. Wish I could help!

My Turn

Now that my son is doing a lot better, it’s me who’s getting the sniffles, a sore throat and a cloudy brain. Not surprising: for the past 5 days, Elliot has been spreading snot all over his hands, his eyes, his cheeks, his hair, my shoulders, my chest, my face…

But how do you take care of a baby who is full of energy, but wants you to hold him a lot because he’s not completely healed and still coughs regularly, when all you can think of is how nice it would be to climb into bed and curl up into a ball? Let me know if you know. In the meantime, I’ll do my best. Lucky for me, at least, last night Elliot went back to his previous routine of waking up only once at night, which allowed me to sleep a little bit more than I had in the past week.

Now if only he would sleep for more than a 20 minutes stretch during the day! Then maybe, just maybe, I could have a nap, too…

What a Week!

What a week it has been! After going to the doctor’s with Elliot on Tuesday, we thought the worse was behind us. He did sleep pretty well that night, although he threw up a feeding in a coughing fit, but then he drank again and kept his milk, so we didn’t worry. He had a low fever at night, but it subsided after some Tylenol and he had a pretty good day on Wednesday, followed by a pretty good night. His nose was runny, he was still coughing and he was quite cranky, but we got some well needed rest at night and we managed quite well.

Then Thursday morning I went out, as Elliot was happy again. Then in the afternoon he threw up every single thing he ate in coughing fit after coughing fit. He hadn’t kept anything down since the morning and I started being worried about dehydration. Fortunately, the medical clinic we go to has a doctor on call 24/7, so I got in touch with her and she told me what to do to prevent dehydration: give him water or milk, but only a few sips at a time, every 10 to 15 minutes, and keep him upright as much as possible. Of course, it was bed time…

Hence our second sleepless night. Zak and I took turns sitting with Elliot on the rocking chair with him sleeping propped up on us. He had a fever again that night, but he kept enough liquid to stay sufficiently hydrated. Friday, Zak stayed home for the second time of the week to help me cope with the situation since we had only had about 4 or 5 hours of sleep each. Poor baby! His nose was so stuffed up that he had trouble drinking from the breast and seemed to like the sippy cup better. Since we were still concerned about him staying hydrated, we gave him water and expressed milk from the cup.

In the afternoon, though, we realized that Elliot had not been at the breast the whole day. Try as we might, he kept refusing it. We managed to get him to have a few sips, but nothing more. Then bed time came and the routine won: he drank from the breast as usual, and again twice during the night. But Saturday morning, he stubbornly refused the breast again. Him who had never accepted to drink from a bottle would even take that over the breast! I spent the whole day worrying about that nursing strike, but then at night he took the breast again as if nothing had happened.

Today he drank at the breast a few times. He still refused it right away or after just a few sip several times, but he took it more than just at bed time, so I’m hoping the worse is behind us. His nose has cleared up quite a bit now, and although he’s still coughing, it’s not quite as bad. We discovered that he had a second tooth out, which means that he had two good reasons to be cranky. Oh, and after lunch he had quite the rash on his face, so we’re wondering if he has developed an allergy to squash. Talk about everything happening at the same time! But hopefully the rash was nothing, the teething pain will subside and the cold symptoms will disappear as fast as they came.

Ah! L’espoir il est vrai nous soulage et nous berce un temps notre ennui…