So You Want To Take A Taxi

Here in Toronto there are several taxi companies. They range from having as little as only a few cars in one area to nearly two thousand throughout the city. Some companies operate on the street level only relying only on people waving them down and others have an advanced computer system set up to process calls from all over and send a car out over the radio. I know you’re sitting there wondering where this is all going so let me say this post is in proper phone etiquette when ordering a car to make your life easier as well as a few hints for saving yourself time and frustration in the car.

1. Know where you are. No, really please do. You’re probably in a hurry if you’re ordering a cab so make sure you can give the correct information so there are no confusions between the company and yourself. It only frustrates you and delays you when a car goes to the wrong pick up address. Telling them you’re at a bar downtown gets you nowhere.

2. Be helpful. We know you’re in a hurry but if we’re asking you a question its because we need the answer. I promise we’re not wasting your time or doing it to annoy you. Its actually important to us, so take a calming breath and just answer the questions we NEED to ask.

3. Be patient. There are only several thousand taxi cars in Toronto and a couple million people. It will be busy sometimes. Also, calling for a taxi might seem like the smartest idea you’ve had all day but you’re not the only person who feels that way in bad weather conditions.

4. Taxis have car numbers. That number on the side of the door you see? There’s a reason that driver has it. Its for identification purposes. That number is only used by that car no matter which company they driver for. Its how if you lose a purse, phone or anything really in the car we can try to trace it for you. The larger the company the more drivers work for them. For example Beck taxi has at any given time between 1600 and 2100 cars. Most of those cars have at least 2 drivers. Mathematically that means there’s a minimum of 3200 drivers working for Beck. No, they do not know who you’re talking about when you say Bob was your drivers name. Just check the car number on the door; its easier and more reliable.

4. House parties and bars or clubs. Since its the holiday season I’m going to say drinking and driving is a terrible idea and taxi companies are always the safer alternative. That being said it is the holiday and they will be busy. Plan ahead. If you know you’ll need a car at a prearranged time you can usually book it in advance. They will show up. If you’re on your way home from a very busy area of the city like the entertainment district remember thst lots of other people will be too and just because you’re nice a d won’t steal another’s cab a stranger might attempt to get yours. Names! Your parents gave you one for a reason, use it. It might seem funny or clever to say ‘Batman’ but if you’ve been drinking how likely are you to remember that phony name you gave them.

5. Call takers and drivers are people too. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it; blowing up and freaking out on the csr in store or on the phone when something is wrong. The person on the receiving end expects a certain amount of flack but name calling and cursing don’t help you or make them want to help you anymore than the bare minimum. People are not psychic no matter what some say. CSR’s don’t know what you’re thinking or what you mean as you chatter on about the ‘grey window skyscraper with the statue out front’. I know when you’re upset that you can’t always help tone of voice and word choice but try to be a little more aware; we’re not out to get you or purposefully ruin your day.

6. Mini vans are not moving trucks. Seriously. They’re not. Sure a mini van can hold quite a bit more than a car but there’s a reason the moving industry is as big as it is. They move people lives for them and that includes all the large pieces of furniture we value or need. A taxi moves people and a few extra pieces for a temporary time. We can’t move your living or bedroom for you. Ikea and all those other large furniture stores have delivery services for that purpose. We’ll help you in any way we can but we can’t do this.

7. Pets are ok. I don’t personally believe in pets as an accessory but I do believe in taking care of your animal and sometimes in order to get to the vets office you need to use a taxi. All we ask is that you let us know when you have a non homosapian companion tagging along. Not for monetary purposes but for allergy purposes. Its cruel and inconsiderate to expect someone with allergies to suffer unnecessarily when we can offer a someone who won’t sneeze nonstop or go into anaphylactic shock whole driving a car.

Lets say you’ve now gotten a taxi and something is wrong, I can help with that too.

1. Dirty/Smelly car. Of course get out if its too much but feel free to open a window if you’re willing to muscle through. We also encourage you to let us know. People sitting at the office headquarters can’t tell there’s a problem until we’ve been told and then we’ll do whatever we can to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Just call us with that number on the door and we’ll fix it.

2. Rude/Insulting driver. I would like to believe this doesn’t happen but in reality it can and does. Let us know! A company that relies on its customer service never likes hearing about a bad situation but we can deal with it and improve on it when we know improvement is needed.

Working for a taxi company means I’ve dealt with all of these situations and more. Some make me shake my head, some leave me peeved (whether at the driver, myself or the situation; I’ve done it all) and some make me laugh out loud. I’ll give a few examples.

I had been at the company for about a year and a driver called me freaking out. Why you ask? So did I. It turns out he had picked up a customer from tha airport and they had had a cat carrier with them. I know what you’re probably thinking and you’d be wrong. They did not forget the carrier. They forgot their 1.5 foot long baby alligator. Yes, alligator. It had somehow managed to get out of the carrier and was lying on the floor in the back of the poor mans car. We had no name or contact information for the customer and they’d been dropped off at a public place. All I could do was give him the animal control number and hope it turned out ok.

Remember that just because I work for a taxi company doesn’t mean I don’t have a need for them. Friends and I had gone out one night and did the responsible thing taking a taxi home since we were quite inebriated. We were chattering on and enjoying a lively conversation with thw driver when he reaches back and offers us some gum and candy. We’re drunk and everything our parents taught us about stangers and candy didn’t even register. We all popped a bit in our mouths and a few moments later he handed us a folded piece of paper.

Have you ever heard about the urban legend where someone finds out they’ve been given an STD or other illness on a piece of paper from a near stranger. I have and the second when I grabbed the paper was hugely sobering. Happily, all that was on the paper was a newspaper article about the driver and how he’d been on the Rosie O’Donnell show because he always gives away free gum and candy.

Of course I have negative experiences but its the holidays and I don’t feel like heaping negativity out into the universe at the moment so you’re getting some of my more interesting examples. I hop you enjoyed them and that my points are helpful to you if you choose to use a cab this holiday season or any time.


A Long And Rough Week

The past few days have been very busy as well as pretty awful for me. I started working again after a year off for maternity leave and sick leave due to complications with the pregnancy. I won’t lie and say I love my job (it would be a lie) but I do like the people I see and talk to as well as the constant challenge of it, but it’s still rough to go from being at home or out and about with Little Miss to having to work and be away from her.

Just as I was getting adjusted to this new schedule I started to feel off. I got a migraine for the first time since I was pregnant and then this past Sunday evening I started to cramp and spot. By Monday morning the cramping was so intense I would fall to the floor in the midst of a cramp, the spotting became very heavy bleeding and I couldn’t keep anything down. This was the start of three days in and out of the hospital or doctors offices for a miscarriage.

No, we didn’t know we were pregnant. It wasn’t planned and at the moment I have to say I’m glad we didn’t know. It was hard enough to have to go through the miscarriage when I didn’t know and deal with all the side effects and unexpected emotions. I couldn’t imagine how much harder it would have been had I known. We weren’t trying but if I had known I would have been thrilled, excited and expectant like most women are only to be devastated when things went wrong.

The miscarriage is in the end stages now and you’d all of that is busy enough but Saturday morning C woke me up because our roof is now leaking into the living room light fixture and its expected to rain most of the rest of the weekend. Yay! (That’s a very sarcastic yay in case you wondered). A crew won’t be able to come until Monday (maybe) to deal with the problem. At this rate I’m worried what the coming week holds for my family and I.

On a positive note though Little Miss now is walking and has been for about 2 weeks. She doesn’t walk all the time but can putter most of the way across the living room or wherever she happens to be completely unassisted including not using the furniture for support.

Naughty Things I Did Growing Up And Hope To Never Experience

Do you remember the kids show ‘Rugrats’? There was the little girl Angelica who was usually up to no good and trying to het the other babies in trouble. My parents to this day swear the creater of the show had met me at some point and modelled Angelica after my younger self. I really was troublesome and hope very much that Little Miss isn’t like that has she gets older.

Naughty Things I Did Growing Up

1. I don’t remember this my Dad recalls in vivid detail how I was always into things and then when Cam-Bam hit about 2.5 yrs suddenly I was the good child and he was the one causing my parents grief. One day Dad told me he was walking by our bedroom and heard me talking to my brother so he stopped to listen, shocking himself. I was telling my baby brother how to pull down the curtains over the windows by jumping off the top bunk of my bunkbed but he had to wait until I wasn’t in the room so everyone knew he did it. I was that evil and only 4.5 myself. Thank goodness I grew out of it because not only was I training my brother to be bad so I could get him in trouble it was dangerous. Dad told me he came bursting into the room shouting ‘Don’t!’ and grabbing my brother off the bed.

2. I loved Barbies. Loved them. I still have all my old barbies at my Dad’s in storage hoping Little Miss will want to play when she’s older. When I was somewhere between 4 and 5 I remember a big Christmas party in the apartment complex my family lived at. there was a Sants, presents, food games and prizes for the winners. The prize for musical chairs was a Christmas Barbie and let me say I WANTED her. I wanted her so badly I tried to steal her. I was under the table cloth with my stolen booty preparing to open it and got caught. I remember jumping enough to bonk my head on the table when I was caught and the woman scolding me saying ‘Oh no honey, you have to play the games to get that,’ and then she started musical chairs and let me play. You’d think I learnt a valuable lesson or something here and you’d be wrong. I WON THE GAME AND GOT THE BARBIE. I didn’t cheat either, I was a trouble maker and a bit of a klepto but not a cheater.

3. I ran away… twice. The first time it I was about 4 or 5 again and Cam-Bam and I had decided our parents were terrible people for not giving us McDonald’s for dinner. That night so we were going to run away to McDonald’s ourselves. We lived on the 21st floor of our building, it was the middle of the night and it was the middle of winter. We somehow managed to get to the elevator and into it. We were too short to reach any of the buttons and were stuck in the elevator until it started to move down. It went all the way to the ground floor and the doors opened to let another rider on, who happened to be a neighbour on our floor. Busted and yet saved. he took us home and from that day on there was a big heavy chair blocking the door at night. The next time was from school. I was in grade 3 (do the math) and a friend from class asked if I wanted to go skating. Of course I said yes. It’s doesn’t sound like a big deal but remember this was in downtown Toronto and it also happened to be the coldest day of that winter. My friend Christine and I walked the 12 blocks to my building where I left a note for my parents and then walked back towards the lake to her apartment. I was in daycare at the time and they knew immediately something was wrong. The daycare was attached to the school and I hadn’t come in in the 10 minutes kids had as a group to walk to the area and check in. While I was warm and safe at Christines house where her sister was starting to get suspecious; my mom, the school and the police were notified I was missing. Not too long after that Christines sister realized what must have happened and knew to call my Mom. My mom was not the one to pick me up. Both parents have told me the reason my Dad came and got me was because my Mom called Dad and told me he had to do it because ‘If I go I just might kill,’ was what she told him. Obviously, I’m not dead but I did get grounded for a month from friends, tv and the phone. The only thing I got to do outside of my room was my weekend swimming lessons and soft ball (which I hated anyways so it was like a punishment as well).

There are more, probably several more but these are definitely the top 3 bad things I can remember being the biggest deals in terms of badness. Now days I am huge rule follower. I can have my moments of rebellion and I am willing to see the hundreds of shades of gray in everyday life and society. I’m always early. I never take things without paying or asking and I hate being the cause of someone’s hurts. I know most kids start to act out as their parents marriages start to implode but for myself it straightened me out I became more well behaved at home and less of a worry for my parents..  I truly hope that Little Miss is care free and curious but I really hope that the moments where I want to pull my hair out aren’t for anything as bad as these. I know when I ran away it was was for a silly childs reason and because they have no real thought to the long term results of a choice, but I can’t imagine how terrifying that would have been for my parents. The Barbie thing again wasn’t out of any real meanness but a childs innate selfishness. I saw, I liked, I wanted. Hopefully when this happens with Little Miss I’ll be able to actually teach her that we can’t always get what we want instead of her still getting it in the end with no real effort or repercussions. Even the brother incident wasn’t really maliciousness, just jealousy of the baby stealing my thunder (which I’ve still never fully forgiven lol). I wanted Cam-Bam to get into trouble so he wouldn’t be the favourite. Jealousy is natural and not something anyone can avoid forever but hopefully when it strikes as Little Miss ages she won’t go to the somewhat extreme levels I did to get some attention. There’s nothing wrong with attention as long as it’s for positive things and I hope she learns that with less error than it took me.

Meet Lloyd

This is Lloyd. Lloyd is Little Miss’s favourite thing. He is her security blanky of sorts I guess you could say. Lloyd goes everywhere with us.

How did Lloyd get his name? Oddly enough his name comes from Coronation Street. Yes, Coronation Street. C’s family hail from England on one side and he is First Gen Canadian. Most of his family excluding his grandmother have no accent from their time in England but a large portion of them watch Coronation Street and at least 50% of the time at famiyl get togethers the show and its currant story lines will be talked about. C even records all of the previous weeks episodes so he can blow through them at his leisure throughout the week.

Up until this summer Coronation Street would air here in Canada behind England. When we first moved in together it was about a 9-10 month delay in when it aired there vs. here. Whenever C would annoy me or we were bickering I would go online and find out the story lines coming up and tell them to him before he saw them just to annoy him. Petty(ish) and silly I know but hey it’s better than fights, smacks or various other means that people use to bother one another. One day I decided that since Canadian networks were catching up story line wise to the UK telling C them ahead of time wasn’t enough and I started naming Little Miss’s teddies after characters from the show.

There are 6 of Lloyd. 6, that’s right. The original came in a 3 pack and Little Miss loves them so much we got an extra 3 just in case. I highly recommend picking up extras of a babies favourite teddy/blanky for so many reasons. I never have to go looking for Lloyd. There’s one in the babies bed, one in our bed and one in the stroller at the moment and well as one she’s hidden in a hidey hole not yet discovered by us, one in the dirty laundry due to baby barf and a clean one on her dresser. When we go out one goes with us and because we have so many extras if we ever were to lose one luckily there’s a replacement waiting at home. I know it seems crazy and possibly expensive but for us it all worked out. The original 3 pack was a gift and even then only about $30 and the replacements since they are last years model were on clearance. We ended up getting them for about $7 each after you add both costs together and divided by 6.  I know we can’t choose which bears or blankets become babies favourite but if you can see a preferance early on stock up!


Patient Zero and Chipping Teeth

So this is post number 2 today and it’s been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. Why? Well, the morning after I last posted Little Miss became Patient Zero in a mini outbreak of yuck involving family and friends.

Literally no one I knew has been sick in the last week and Little Miss wakes up with the ‘I’m gonna Yuck All Over Mommy And Daddy From BOTH Ends’ kind of sick. It was awesome… NOT. Finally she starts to feel better and I get sick. It was so bad for me I actually had to call C and ask him to come home because I was feeling so gross I didn’t want to risk trying to run to the toilet while the baby was up somewhere above floor level. It got to the point I cleared out a chunk of her room of everything but toys and teddies and then lay on the floor by her blocking all routes of escape. I just lay on the floor keeping her corralled and letting her use me as a jungle gym, it was the easiest way to keep her happy and me  flat on my back (mostly).

Lo and behold I got better and that Saturday was Little Miss’s cousins birthday party. An hour before we had to leave poor C got the yucks. He didn’t even make to the bathroom (EWWW). C was so sick he stayed home and Little Miss and I made the trip to the party ourselves leaving Daddy to fend for himself. The next day Little Miss and I went out to lunch with my Mom and Chaz. Patient Zero struck again when Chaz got sick and I can’t say for sure it was Little Miss who caused it but I know her cousin ended up with a case of the yucks as well last week. Poor everyone. It was not fun, it was messy and it was very inconvient for everyone who got sick or had to deal with it.

On top of getting sick Little Miss also managed to chip her front teeth. One of them is no concern but the other she took off a noticeable line across the whole tooth. She was holding onto the coffee table and dance/bouncing along to music when she bopped her head down at the wrong time and both C and I heard the click and then the shriek. Tomorrow I am taking her to our dentiest office to see if they think she needs to see a Pediactric Dentist since our office doesn’t really see babies (they take patients staring at 3 yrs) and Little Miss has already seen them once before making her their youngest official client already. I know most people might think I’m worrying overmuch about nothing but since Chan-Man had to have oral surgery when he was 4 for his teeth I think I’d rather be told I’m being paranoid than not do anything until it’s too late. We’ll see I guess.