The Will of 1 Lone Petunia

The Will of 1 Lone Petunia

Cindy’s Blog

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The Will of 1 Lone Petunia

Sometimes, something hits you that makes an impact. In my case it’s this picture I took Aug.22, 2019 of this petunia growing through the cracks of cobblestone and amongst the filth of Port Credit, Ontario.This is where I live.  Supposedly it’s supposed to be the pride of Mississauga, “The Village by the Lake”, touts itself as “Always on, Always Electric”, with a bustling business and a cultural district.  Well I beg to differ.  The filth on the streets is shameful.  Just ask this Petunia growing amongst garbage.  The poor little thing, it’s so beautiful and vibrant.   The little dirt it has to grow in is between the cracks of the pavement.  It’s amongst cigarette butts, bottle caps, half-eaten food, and it’s only inches away from the spanking brand new garbage containers the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to place there.  Does it help, well look at the pictures, I think not.  I feel like digging it up, like someone else I know who did this to a “plant” that made an impression.

 

Picture This:

Coach of the Boston Bruins and his star defenseman Mike Milbury drove into Boston everyday together for practices and games. They always commented about this lone tall weed growing through the cement by the guardrails in the middle of Highway Route 1. They admired it’s tenacity, will to live, and to thrive under harsh conditions.  They watched it grow and grew fond of it.  One day they saw the public works people cleaning up the highway’s garbage and they knew their weed was doomed.  They believed their weed deserved a better fate. Believe me, this highway is like no other.  The traffic is going very fast, yet it has driveways to get into restaurants and stores directly from it.  No buffer and not for the faint of heart drivers. They risked their lives to save this plant.  Happily, they got it home and Dad planted it in my mother’s well-manicured garden where he thought it would be happy and thrive. However, this story does not have a happy ending.  My mother, not knowing about Dad’s weed, (I think), pulled it out and into the garbage it went.  I remember my Father saying, no matter how strong anything is, it’s no match for Rose.  No truer words said.

 

For those of you who have never heard the song, check out one of my favorite clips from the old TV show 6 Feet Under. (Don’t know what that is in meters, and yes I have sung this song).  It’s relative to many things.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPcrwSEdj7Y

For those of you who wonder about the whole song’s lyrics, here they are:

That I have ever heard

The saddest is the story

Told me by a bird

He had spent about and hour

Chatting with a flower

and here ís the tale the flower told

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

an onion patch, an onion patch

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch

and all I do is cry all day

 

Boo hoo, boo hoo

 

The air ís so strong it takes my breath away

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

oh won’t you come and play with me

 

 

Who put me in this bed?

I’ll bet his face is red

I call him down with every teardrop that I shed

If I only had him here

I’d take him by the ear

And make him share my misery

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

an onion patch, an onion patch

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch

and all I do is cry all day

 

Boo hoo, boo hoo

 

The air ís so strong it takes my breath away

 

(Feee-you!)

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

oh won’t you come and play with me

Coach & player 35 years  later, both survivors in this game of hockey.  For those of you not familiar with Mike Milbury, watch this clip of one of his finer moments playing for Dad’s  Big Bad Bruins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsEXqCXycRA

 

The streets of Port Credit, Ontario.  Where the shop owners have no idea what a “broom” is.

Unfortunately, my mother never saw this poster.

Making hard decisions

Making hard decisions

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Making hard decisions

We all handle stress/emotional strife, whatever you want to call it, differently.  One of the most difficult decisions is when to “put to sleep” (PTS as they term it in a vet office) your pet. I, at a young age and having so many pets learned this harsh reality very young.  Sure animals die, but when they are still alive and suffering, that is when the true test of your love and your unselfishness kicks in.  Many a time my Dad had to say to me, “your pet is suffering, it’s not going to get better, what should we do?” My most memorable childhood pet that I had to make this tough call on was with my beloved parakeet, Dickie.  My Dad always let me feel it was my decision to make. I believe this toughened me up for a lot of choices I’ve had to make throughout life. You learn sometimes, or most of the times, the tougher choice, unfortunately, is usually the correct one.  Life is like that.

 

Fast forward 25 years or so.  I now have to deal with dog owners whose dogs I groom.  Many times I had to have the tough “talk”.   Sometimes it was with sympathy, most times it was tough love.   I groomed many a sick dogs that were lingering far too long.  Was it my position to tell the owners stop being so selfish and put this dog down.  Yes, I believe it was. Some might say this should be the vet’s call, this most likely is said by a vet.  It’s a tough conversation to have with a client, but I always felt obligated for the sake of the suffering dog.   One of my more memorable scenarios was this family that had 2 cock-a-poos. Yes, even in the 80’s they had these purebred expensive mixes. One was healthy, the other was always sick and going downhill fast.  I came to groom both of them one day with my Cherry’s Groomobile.  Both usually came to the door when I knocked.  I was scared to ask where was the other one, so I just assumed it had died.  So I groomed the one thinking I was finished for the day. Then the lady of the house says well you still have Muffin to do.  What? Where is Muffin? She then informed me that poor sick Muffin was now banished to the garage as she was constantly throwing up and had diarrhea all over the house.   She then carries Muffin to the van, who is nothing but skin and bones at this point and covered with vomit and feces.  I bathed her to get her comfortable, then brought her to the front door, walked in, and let her run into the house happy as could be.  I asked the owner to come outside for we had to have a talk. Did I lit into her.  She agreed the dog was suffering, not only from the illness but from the sadness of being banished to the garage away from the family she so loved.  She proceeded to say her daughters just couldn’t bear to bring the dog to the vet.   Really? I said to her, she was the matriarch of the family so she had better put on her mommy pants, explain to her daughters reality of life, and go to the vet and put the dog down.  She agreed.  I later found out she actually brought the dog to the vet that night. Sometimes people need to be brought into reality and told that keeping a sick pet around for longer than it should be is not a sign or measurement on how much you love that pet.  To me it is a sign of selfishness and weakness.  You are putting your sadness as a priority over the suffering of an animal that can’t speak for itself.

 

On another note, grieving over the death of a dog for a very long time is not proportional to how much you love that dog.  Also, many a times I have asked someone why aren’t they getting another dog?  A lot have explained to me, that it takes too much out of them when the dog dies.  So let’s see, since most had rescue dogs, they’d rather not give another dog a great home, cause they get too upset when the dog dies.  Am I missing something? Am I too cold hearted?  Again, I chalk it up to selfishness, and them hoping I am  thinking, “boy, they really must have loved that dog as not to be able to replace it”.  To them I say, “Get over it and move on, and save a life and get a rescue dog”.  Am I being too harsh?  Wouldn’t be the first time I am accused of that one. 

 

Dog Groomers/Tipping/& Attitudes

Dog Groomers/Tipping/& Attitudes

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Dog Groomers/Tipping/& Attitudes

My attempt of expanding my horizons.  It went nowhere.

These are the stars that people have in their eyes when it comes to grooming their pet.  Reality hurts.

Life is funny, or should I say people are funny.  Being a dog groomer you get to see how people treat you, and believe me their true colors come out. But then again, I am sure this is true with a lot of professions. For instance, a lot of my customers also went to the same hairdresser I went to in Mississauga. I learned this while getting my roots done and we bonded over gossiping over bitchy clients. To learn we were talking about the same person really made us chuckle, and confirmed it was them not us. I came to the conclusion that if they were miserable, whiny, and cheap with me, chances are they were the same way with their hairdresser, mechanic, landscaper, shoe repairperson, ect. 

 

Some people don’t understand the concept of tipping, which yes… applies to your dog groomer.  For instance I used to do a beautiful red mini poodle in Oakville for $55 + 7% tax.  She’d give me 3 twenties and waited for that $1.15 change every time.  This always bugged me.  So for her Christmas appointment I had the $1.15 in nickels and dimes in my pocket. I came into her house when I was finished, with my boots on (the horror!) and handed her Muffin, which BTW I did an especially good job that day. She handed me her standard 3 twenties, and waited. (Note: no Christmas tip).  With my wet gloves with the fingers cut out, I reached into my pocket full of dog hair and coins and slapped her change on her Chippendale half-moon hall table and left.  Needless to say she never called me again, which was the game plan.

Professionals have to realize sometimes there is no winning. You have to recognize with some that disaster is right around the corner.  Take for instance Mrs. Pierce of Erin Mills, Ontario.   I asked her repeatedly not to let her kids run around the van while I was grooming her Lhasa Apso, and keep them from slamming the broken front screen door.  It would upset the dog, and it would jump when that door slammed loudly. 

 

Finally I knew she would not discipline her kids, so I finally cut bait and told her please don’t call me anymore.  A year later a woman named Mrs.” Pearce” called about her Lhasa Apso,  same street, so of course I assumed it was her.  I said, “I thought I said I didn’t want to groom your dog anymore?”  She sounded puzzled.  She started to laugh and said, “Oh you must have dealt with the other Mrs. Pierce who lives on this street. I am the nice Mrs. Pearce who spells her name different.”  Well did we have a good laugh and I got all the gossip about the mean Mrs. Pierce. Needless to say she earned her reputation.  So once again, it confirmed it wasn’t me,  but her.

 

My stories are endless about my clients, but most were great.  Many of them used to sit in the van with me and have coffee when I groomed their dog. It was great fun.  The point I am trying to make is that I saw a pattern in the way some people treat service people. For instance there was this one family, well known in Mississauga. (You just have to look at the hospitals and see their name plastered all over the place).  I groomed their schnauzer regularly.  Their nanny would hand me the check already made out for exactly $58.85 then ask if I could cut their Boston Terrier’s nails.  This went on for years.  So I got fed up with them too.  I finally told the nanny to tell her boss next time the Boston’s nails are $10.00 extra.  I never heard from them again.  

 

The point is some people’s ignorance, nastiness, cheapness, whininess evolves.  Years after my career in dog grooming was long over, I had a good friend who lived on a street whose Bichon Frise I used to groom.  I still remember her name and house quite vividly and she still lives there.  She tipped me well, then proceeded to complain about the job I did.  Finally I admitted defeat and told her obviously I’d never be able to satisfy her no matter how much I tried.   I was telling my friend the story, with more gory details, and she said, “Yeah, no one gets along with her on the street”.   So with my theory re-enforced, I still believe I am pretty good at summing up people.

 

So if you are still reading this blog, (which my brother says are too long), in spite of what Mr. Pink says about  tipping, in his this  famous movie scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qV9wVGb38,  you should tip at least your hairdresser & yes, your dog groomer. (Please).  They’ve earned it.

 

EPILOGUE: To read about Cindy’s most “challenging” client please click here:

A learning experience for a young entrepreneur.

A learning experience for a young entrepreneur.

Cindy’s Blog

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A learning experience for a young entrepreneur.

Taken inside my first Groomobile with Baby Blue, and a customer’s schnauzer.

Aahh, the good old days when you didn’t have to dial the area code.

We all hear horror stories about dog groomers. Awful things that happen to pets when at the groomer’s. But you rarely hear from the other side.  So since I’ve been there, as I was a groomer first in a pet store, then I had Canada’s first mobile dog grooming service in the 80”s and early 90’s,  I thought I’d share the story of my all-time worse nastiest  client.  A woman who taught me a lot about life, and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

 

Her name was Mrs. Brooks.  A rich lady who resided in Lorne Park, Ontario, south of the QEW. (An inside joke).  Remember I was young and naïve.  She had an older overweight Airedale.  It couldn’t stand for long so I let it lay down for most of its grooming.  The hydraulic table was low to the ground, less than 3 feet, yet off it slithered accidently.  Because of this minor incident she was suing me for thousands.  She took it to the vet, and walked out with over a $2000 vet bill.  Since it hadn’t been to a vet for a while, it was given all its overdue vaccinations, X-rays, blood work, and low and behold they found out it had Pancreatitis. 

 

Followed by hundreds of dollars’ worth of drugs.  I called this very well-known Vet here in Southern Mississauga, and he said I was correct in that a slight fall off a table would not have caused such a progressive disease that it had.  I then said well be prepared to testify for we may be going to court.  He proceeded to say unless I taught his vet tech to groom dogs he would say no such thing.  Ahh, to learn the ways of the world so young.  She then told me if I didn’t pay up she’d also sue me for the physiological damage her young son had suffered in not being able to have a dog anymore that could run and fetch a ball.  I asked her why she was so eager to go to court with a lawyer and Doctor on her side, and she said they were all family members.  Needless to say I felt defeated. 

 

Being down as I was, my father picked up my vibe and said, in his own way, “what’s up with you?”  I reluctantly told him my predicament.  Once he gets involved, look out.  He called his lawyer, they drew up a letter, saying take $350 and be over it, or basically we were going the distance in court and she would get nothing by the time Dad’s “pitbull” lawyer got done with her and her relatives.  I drove to her house, handed her the check and letter to sign.  Just as she was about to sign it, I opened my big yap and said, “If your dog wasn’t so fat it wouldn’t had hurt itself slithering off the table or have pancreatitis”.  Well she dropped the pen and lit into me. 

 

I knew I had made an error, so I gave it one last shot, and grabbed the letter from her hand, and she flinched.  That showed me she wanted to sign it, but wanted one more go at me.  I then gave it back to her, and as the say on TV, “sign it or we will see you in court”.  She did, I gave her the check, and my parting words to her were, “you know Mrs. Brooks, it’s people like you that make the world a tougher place to live”.  She smirked, and I drove off. 

 

That old battle-ax was an exception to the rule for me having great clients.  99% of them were great people.  I found the ones that were miserable, I later learned were also miserable to their hairdresser, housekeeper, landscaper, ect. there was no pleasing them.  No matter how hard you tried, or how much they tipped you, they were never going to be satisfied. Lesson Learned.

Makes sense to me.

Trying to follow in my Father’s footsteps of tapes/videos that never quite took off.  Oh well, I gave it a shot.

EPILOGUE: For more on Cindy’s philosophies and clients please click here

A Summer Job @ the Zoo, what could go wrong?

A Summer Job @ the Zoo, what could go wrong?

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A Summer Job @ the Zoo, what could go wrong?

We all have memorable summer jobs as a kid. And if you are lucky these jobs will shape and influence you for the rest of your life. I know it has for me. My Dad told me about his summer job at 17 years old working on a section gang that turned him from being a boy to a man. I believe his specific words were, “It put hair on my chest”. He went from being a house painter and hoping it would rain so he wouldn’t have to work, to his father getting him a job on a “section gang”. He believed it would toughen him up, which it did. Needless to say his mother didn’t know about it, til he pointed it out one day to her as they passed a section gang working. She started to cry, and that was the end of his summer job. I saw my teenage son also having a cushy job of sorts, editing videos and such. I knew he needed a physical job to also toughen him up. I wanted him to experience working in the heat and sun and being exhausted when he got home. So I got him a job digging ditches for The Rain Gods, a first class company that installs home water sprinklers and lighting. Needless to say, he went through 3 pairs of top of the line Mark Work Warehouse work boots in one summer. Thank goodness they had a 1-year guarantee, and I keep receipts.

 

One of my more memorable jobs in the 70’s was working at the Rochester, NY’s Seneca Park Zoo. Back in those days zoos really were animal jails. I look back at those days and never gave it a second thought about how sad and miserable these animals must have been. Every day was an event. One misstep and disaster could strike. For instance one day I had the job of testing the water used for the seals. I put the chemical testing kit down beside the pool and didn’t the monkeys come and reach through their bars and steal it. I panicked. Was it poison? Did I just kill the monkeys due to my incompetence? My boss just laughed. Can you imagine if that were today? So many things wrong with that scenario in today’s job descriptions. Yet there I was, within a monkeys reach. Or there was the time I was feeding the cats from the catwalk. I had to hold a 15 lb. piece of meat while lifting the door on a pulley and throw it in the cage. The meat had conditioning oil on it, so it slipped from my grip. The panther jumps up to the 2 ft. by 3 ft. opening and starts clawing at it on the floor of the catwalk to get the meat. Thank goodness I was smart enough not to reach down and try to pick it up, because his claws were out reaching for it. Needless to say I just kicked the huge piece of meat to the cat. My stories are endless of the situations I was put in that were dangerous. I’d rake the pastures of camels, zebras, buffalo (and yes water buffalo) while they were walking around me. When I asked what I should do if they come around bugging me, they just told me to swat them with the rake. Go figure.

 

Complacency could easily set in. I got firsthand experience in that too. The night watchman’s family was good friends with my Dad, as his father was the GM of the Rochester Amerks when my Dad coached them. He often told me how he petted the tiger which seemed very tame. I told him he’d better watch her, for I was the one who fed her, and saw the way she was when feeding time arrived. Sure enough, on the way to work one morning the radio announces that a man was mauled last evening by a tiger. I knew it was Jaye. Somehow the tiger ended up looking bad, but everyone knew it was his fault. They put the tiger down, and no one ever spoke to Jaye again, including me. Cherry’s do have a tendency to blame the victim. (Except for my Mom).

 

I learned two things on that job. One was it’s an art looking busy doing nothing. The other was what my Mom didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. When she asked how my job went that day, I’d just grunt like every other kid. She knew too, what she didn’t know was just as well. Now my Dad was another story. He loved my stories, but always ended it with, “don’t tell your mother”. Good advice, one that I adhered to throughout my adult life. No point in upsetting her, was Dad’s and I philosophy.

Ending of the Animal Jail in Rochester.

For those of you who don’t know what a section gang is.

Coach of the Year in the American Hockey League with the Rochester Amerks.( also in the NHL with the Bruins, just an FYI)

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