Friday, June 30, 2006

My privacy complaint - Xentel's response

Dear Ms. Mealey:

Thank-you for contacting us about your concerns with Xentel's do not call system. Xentel has operated its own do not call registry since 1988, recognizing that some Canadians do not want us to call them for our non-profit clients. [With harassment three times a day, who can blame them?] What you have described is of great concern to us and we are investigating the specifics to determine what has to change to ensure no one else has a similar experience.

I am assured by our do not call system manager that we have placed your telephone number on Xentel's do not call list. It will be purged from all calling lists Xentel creates for the next three years.
[I guess it doesn't matter since I'm moving, but what if I wasn't? After three years, I would get called again?]

Again, thank-you for contacting us about this.

Len Wolstenholme
for Xentel DM Incorporated

My privacy complaint - update

I must mention that I received three calls yesterday from this accursed company, XENTEL. One at 10AM for Rameses Shriners. One around 12:30 for the Toronto Police Association. Another at 1:49 for the Rameses Shriners. The last call I received after sending my e-mail, and I pretty much lost it with the rep. Guy got off the phone with me pretty quickly.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Privacy violation - my e-mail


I have requested at least twenty times or more within the last two years to be put on your "do not call" lists for the five organizations for whom I am solicited through your call centres. The calls stop for a week or two, and then begin again.

It has reached the point that I cut off the representative right at the beginning of the call and reiterate that I have made this request. Some have been understanding ("I'm sorry, I'll speak with my supervisor right away") and some have been less so ("Well, what did we ever do to you?" - Yes, I have actually had a rep say this to me). I am -thisclose- to simply screaming, "STOP CALLING ME!" when I pick up the phone and then immediately hanging up. Sadly, the calls continue.

Once, within the last three months I believe, I had a discussion about this 'do not call' service with a female representative who was calling. I explained, as I often do, that it is nothing personal against her, I know she's just doing her job, etc, but that I was truly sick and tired of receiving these calls and that I want them to stop. I rattled off the few organizations I remembered offhand, and she proceeded to explain to me - off the record (!) - that my information would never be truly removed from the system, since it was in a country-wide database that just cycled from call centre to call centre. But she dutifully noted my request not to be called for the five organizations that are in my 'profile', but said this request would only last for a few months.

I believe I got another call again within three weeks.

I am called on a regular basis, sometimes several times a day from different call centres, be asked to make a donation for one of the following organizations:

- Rameses Shriners
- Toronto Police Association, for whatever event they happen to be hosting
- Canadian Council for the Blind
- Battle of the Bands
- another event/organization whose name escapes me

I work in a call centre too. But when a customer makes a request to not be contacted - either by phone, mail or otherwise - we honor that request. It may take a few weeks to cycle out their information, but it gets done. If they call us again later because they've been contacted again, we apologize and make restitution as the situation demands.

I simply request a written statement from your organization, indicating the steps you have taken to either remove my contact information from your database (and please don't give me a 'random dialler' excuse; it's not random if it's always the same five organizations that call me) or to indicate a permanent 'DO NOT CALL' note on my 'profile'. If anything, the fact that I haven't donated any money to any of those organizations in over two years should strongly indicate my disinterest. I simply choose to donate to other causes with whom I feel more connected. I am tired of this harassment and I want it to stop.

I look forward to your reponse.

Nadine (with all my other info)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

House hunting : v. - 1. to look to purchase a permanent lodging. 2. tramp through the forest with a spear to wrangle a big hairy house.

My husband-to-be and I will be moving to Ottawa later this year. We are considering, seriously, purchasing a house. If we can't find one in our budget, we will, of course, rent until we find find one that does. But in two weeks, we will be going on a house-hunting expedition.

Who came up with the term "house hunting", anyway? It almost brings to mind straggly-haired barbarians dressed in furs and carrying spears, tramping through the forest seeking to wrangle a big, hairy, scared house and subjugating it so they can camp in it (until they find a bigger or better house).

I prefer to think of it as "house-seeking". The implication is that it's almost a quest, and that you're looking for a match; a partner, if you will. I mean, you're going to be spending a fair amount of your time with your house. It's definitely worth it to seek something with which you're comfortable. It's a very personal relationship, that of you and your house.

You must ask yourself important philosopical questions while seeking. Do I like the feel of the space? Could I do the things I normally do here (cook, entertain, walk around naked without curtains, whatever), i.e. be myself? Will I have to drastically change what I own to fit the space, or worse, drastically change the space to fit what I own?

Then there's the traditional house-related questions, like 'how old is the house' and 'when was the roof last shingled' and 'does it have southern exposure', blah, blah, blah. But those are all facts that can be verified within a few minutes of speaking with the realtor. Finding out how you feel with the house takes more time. You're like strangers at first, and you have to make friends, get to know each other, learn each other's foibles... and eventually become part of the family.

I know there's lots of work involved in any case: there's the obvious painting of rooms--which is still very exciting for me because I have always lived in houses or apartments where painting wasn't permitted, and I have a trillion ideas about what colors I might pick--the possible buying of appliances, and moving your meager apartmentful of belongings into two or more floors of space and saying, "Geez, we need more stuff." But that's half the fun!

So I'm getting excited, and honestly a little bit scared, at the prospect of actually finding and buying a house, one in which we can Begin Our Life Together (never mind that we've been living together for over three years already), with our family a little bit closer than it is in Toronto. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Une grande visite de mon petit frère

I'm so excited! My baby brother (who's 21), whom I haven't seen in about a year and a half, will be here, in my apartment, tonight!!! He's moving to Alberta to be with his girlfriend, and he's driving down with her sister, across most of Canada, to do so. He's stopping here in the big T-Dot (as one of my friends - you know who you are *wink* - likes to call it) for the night. From what I gather, they'll push on to Thunder Bay for tomorrow night, Regina the next night, I guess Edmonton or Calgary Saturday, and arrive in Cold Lake on Sunday. Funny, I thought there was another day in there somewhere. Or two. Huh.

So, naturally, my fiancé and I have been cleaning like demons since last night. I couldn't sleep and I woke up early, I'm so excited. I pretty much just have to vacuum and get some groceries.

This is gonna be great!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006


The big surprise was complimentary dance classes at a studio not far from our old apartment. It was very warm there (no AC, just fans), but nice and open.

Unfortunately, the instructor was kind of a bitch.

I must begin by saying that my fiancé hates to dance. Could happily live his entire life without dancing, ever. So for him to set this up for me is surely a testament to his love, right?

And an instructor who is worth her salt should surely recognize that, in a man who blushes and gets sweaty palms at the very mention of the word "dance" in the context of him enacting said verb, is probably already very nervous and doesn't need to be told, "If you don't do what I tell you, I will make your life a living hell", should she not?

Have I mentioned that it is costing us less per hour for our wedding photographer than it would cost for one 45-minute class from this studio? Being at the mercy of the hands and feet of this abrasive woman for the minimum 8 classes she suggested would not only a complete act of financial drainage, but also of deep-seated masochism.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Waiting for a surprise

My fiancé has been bugging me for days, asking me if I'm working June 17th. I told him repeatedly, I don't know, the schedule's not posted yet. When I asked why, I'd get the ever-maddening, "No reason."

So this morning I called my girl at work and asked if the schedule was posted yet (which I was about to say had damn well better be posted because it starts Monday). She happily told me that I have all next weekend off.

From: Nadine Mealey
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 12:08 PM
To: Fiancé
Subject: June 17
I have the whole weekend off. Can you give me a hint?


-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Nadine
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 2:02 PM
To: Fiancé
Subject: FW: June 17

And can you buy me a steak and stuff?
(This is related to the dinner party we're going to tonight.)

From: Fiancé
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 3:51 PM
To: Nadine
Subject: FW: June 17

The hint is that you won't want to be weighed down by a steak. You'll like it very much, though, don't worry.
(This is him not realizing the two statements are not related.)

So of course, I start to ask him if he's taking me out of town. Out to dinner? On a helicopter ride, hence the need to shed excess baggage or food? Airplane lessons? All I can think about now is sky-related events.

Curiouser and curioser...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bike butt

My darling fiancé bought me a bike yesterday. And a matching helmet. And a lock. And a kickstand. And new brakes, but we'll be taking them back. The brakes on the bike have been adjusted so that I can actually reach them.

My butt hurts. A friend of mine says I need to re-develop Bikers Butt. I haven't riden a bike on a regular basis in over ten years. You never forget how to ride a bike, but oh, how you easily forget about the pain in your ass when you get on one again after all the snow melts.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

They say that...

...people who can get through making wedding invitations together will be together forever. Well, it'll be a near thing, I think.

We've, ahem, debated about the color of the invitation backing. We weighed the wording of one invitation over another, and whether we should make room at the bottom for a rubber stamp imprint.We argued about how to figure out how wide the border of the dark blue rice paper should be so that it was consistent all around. (Okay, I flipped out when my calculations wouldn't work and then yelled at him and tore up the paper I was using to calculate. And yet, we somehow arrived at the same answers. Huh.)