The Bank Was Robbed And I Was There

We were yards from each other

The Bank Was Robbed And I Was There

The Bank Was Robbed and I was There

The bank was robbed and I was there...

It was a Tuesday afternoon like all other Tuesday afternoons. I'd finished my writing and was preparing a bank deposit. The phone rang. It was my girlfriend, Marilyn. You might know her, she's the one who taught me how to make a 5-minute chocolate cake in a mug. Today, she had lots of news and we talked much longer than usual. I left to do my banking later than I planned and I told Marilyn afterwards that it was her fault that the bank robber and I arrived at the bank at just about the same time.

Thank goodness I'm a senior because at my Toronto Dominion Bank branch I never have to stand in line. Today I made my way to a side counter and sat on the 'senior' chair waiting to be served. The bank robber was not a senior and therefore had to stand in line. And, if it weren't for our age discrepancy, we probably would have stood close or next to each other. Lucky for him, that didn't happen. I always chat with the people around me. I might have brought up the subject of the weather. Did he think it was going to rain? Was his basement flooded during the storm the week before? Did he have a favorite teller? Poor bank robber, I would have talked his ear off while in his head he was going over the last minute details of the heist which would be going down in the next five minutes.

A teller approached the 'senior counter' and asked how he could help me. I explained that I needed to transfer funds from my U.S. account to my Canadian account and wondered what the exchange rate would be. He looked a little nervous and I wondered why he kept glancing over my shoulder. But I was focused on exchange rates and didn't take too much notice. I vaguely remember hearing a police siren very close by but the bank is on a main thoroughfare so I thought little of it.

The complete transaction with my teller took me about eight minutes. All the while I noticed that while it was business as usual for the other tellers, the supervisors seemed to be moving around very quickly. I checked my watch. Right. It's just about closing time, I thought. There's always a last minute rush for them to get everything done in time. My own young teller was polite enough but why did he keep looking over my shoulder? There seemed to be a bit of confusion coming from the front of the bank but there was a pillar blocking my view.

It was only when I turned to leave that I saw the policemen, the security guards, lots of bank customers milling around and the bank manager at the front door. No one was allowed to leave the building. An announcement was made for everyone to line up and show the designated police officer some form of I.D., and to let them know if we saw anything or anyone that was suspicious. People were gathering outside the bank eager to see what was going on.

Soon it was my turn to speak to the officer.

I didn't see a thing. It was all done so quietly, I said. You'd never know that the bank was being robbed just yards away from where I was standing.'

That's the way it usually happens, Ma'am,'he replied.

And then I was allowed to leave. I noticed a simple sign already posted on the front door. "Due to an emergency the bank is closed.'

When I got home, I immediately called my daughter, Erica Ehm (who is also my boss; the person I write this yummymummyclub column for)

You'll never guess what happened, I cried, milking the situation to its fullest. The bank was robbed and I was there!

Erica listened as I explained in detail how I could have been standing next to the robber, how he could have held me hostage, how he might have used me as a human shield, etc., etc., etc.

Know what she said? That's fantastic, Mommy. Start writing. This will make a terrific blog post.


Grandma is a Back-to-School Expert

10 very practical ways your mom can help you

Grandma is a Back-to-School Expert

As the end of summer holidays approaches you can feel the excitement (and anxiety) growing. Fall is almost here which means back to school for all the kiddies. Everybody is looking forward to the new daily schedule (for a while, anyway). It's becoming busy, busy, busy again and often moms are overwhelmed with fulfilling everybody's needs. It might be preparing the little ones for their first day in kindergarten, shopping for new shoes for the bigger kids or helping the older guys search for stuff for their dorm rooms. You are swamped. Right, Mom?
Enter 'Fairy Godmother Grandma.' She knows what she's doing. She got her kids through school, didn't she? Here are 10 ways Gran can help lighten your load at back-to-school time. Make use of her. She's practical, she knows how to offer emotional support; she'll love it and so will you and the kids!
1. Back-to-school shopping
True, Mom knows what's best for her children so we'll leave the real 'heavy lifting' to the parent. However, there are all those extra little supplies that the kids would love to have but the family budget can't be stretched any further. Grandma might like to take care of those. It's great bonding time for her and the kids, and a trip to the dollar store will be a sweet treat for both of them. I just bought my granddaughter magnets that look like wads of used chewing gum for her locker (ewww...). That little purchase has helped build her back to school excitement. She can't wait to show them to her friends.
2. Grandchild starting a new school this term?
Enter Grandma with her point-and-shoot camera. With young student in tow, visit the school and share your camera with them. Together, take photos of the things you notice about the building. Explore the outside of the school. See if the doors open. Talk about how heavy the doors look and what they are made of. Check to see if there is a playground. You can even shoot a tiny video with the child explaining what they like or don't like (clues for further chats) about the school, etc. These photographs will make great memories and will certainly help the student acclimatize to their new hall of learning.
3. Grandkids love stories
They always want to know if their parents did their homework or got into trouble at school. Grandma can use this as a wonderful opportunity to get back at her grown children by talking about any mischief they were involved in. Of course, she'll only use these as parables for 'good behaviour' and the things not to do (chuckle). P.S. If you have one of your old report cards share it. Guaranteed it will interest them and stimulate conversation about 'the good old days.'
4. Offer a back to school gift 
It's a sweet way to calm any last minute jitters. Create a small gift-wrapped package with an accompanying note that says, 'Do not open until the day before the first day of school.' In it Grandma can offer some sort of fun grooming product. For the guys it might be hair gel or 'manly' shampoo. For the girls it can be hair clips or lip gloss.

5. In return request a gift from each grandchild 
Ask each student to sign a note promising Grandma a gift of some artwork that they will create during this new school year. Tell them you will frame it and show them where you will hang their creation. I don't care how old the young person is, I know they will think about it and fulfill their promise.

6. Encourage your grandkids to text you 
Practice with them before school starts. Let them know that if there is a problem during and after school and their parents can't be reached you will be there for them either by phone or via cyberspace.
7. Older grandkids moving out and going off to college? 
Ask them to pop by and see if they can use any of Gran's mismatched dishes, cooking utensils, old linens, lamps, etc to decorate their student digs. They love retro stuff and grandma won't need to hold yet another lawn sale.
8. Take over for mom and dad 
In our very busy world parents of school-age kids are swamped with demands on their time. Grandma can help lighten their load by taking over for her son or daughter if they don't have the time to fulfill their 'class monitor' duties. Grandma always gets a Gold Star for that one.
9. Offer to help with initial school projects
Let your son and daughter know that you are perfectly happy to help your grandchildren with extra school projects if needed. I have a wonderful personal memory of helping my grade-four grandson with posters for his student election campaign. We had so much fun together and we high-fived each other when he won.
10. Free online courses for every Grandma
There's a wonderful website called, Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/) where anyone can take the best courses from prominent professors in prominent universities, online, and free of charge. There's everything from Social Psychology to SongWriting to Everything You Want to Know About Climate Change. It's an incredible site and a perfect opportunity for Gran to learn more about this great big world we live in.
Happy Back to School Everybody! 

You can learn even more ways to get organized and transition from summer to school on our Back-To-School 2014 page.


My Daughter Wrecked My Car!

It was the phone call every parent dreads

My Daughter Wrecked My Car!

My Daughter Wrecked My Car!

Gurl-able is a word I should have coined back in the Eighties because that was the day my daughter Leslie (almost) totaled my little sky blue sports car. Now you're probably thinking gurl-able is a negative term. You're wrong! For me, it's a celebratory word implying a coming of age. It's my description of any female who demonstrates she is well able to take care of herself in our often unsettling day-to-day world. Gurl. Able. Get it?

The story goes like this. Back then I was a single mom who had returned to university to study film and television. I was at home writing yet another term paper to complete the semester. My teenage daughter asked if she could borrow the car for the afternoon. I agreed; I had confidence in her driving and thanks to my academic workload I wasn't going anywhere that weekend.

Well into my assignment, I got the phone call that every parent dreads. Here is a re-enactment of our conversation as best as I can remember it.

Leslie: (crying) Mommy, I was just  in an accident with a guy. It wasn't my fault but your car is really smashed.

Me: (terror stricken) Are you OK?

Leslie: (still crying) I'm fine but I messed up your car.

Me: (relieved) I don't care about the car. I care about you and that you're OK.

Leslie: (crying) I'm fine. The police are here.

Me: What about the guy? Is he OK?

Leslie: Yes, he's fine. And he's talking to the police. He says it's not his fault.

At this point in the conversation (mean as it may have seemed to my daughter) I knew what I had to say.

Me: I want you to listen to me. Is the guy crying? Is he calling his mom?

Leslie: (crying) No.

Me: Then you dry your tears. Compose yourself and you go out there and explain your side of the story to the policeman. Call me when you get everything straightened out. I know you can do it.

To her credit, she stopped crying. She went out, talked to the officer, made her point and then (with some help from me) made arrangements for getting the car to the garage for repairs.

Believe me when I say It was hard not to take over and make things right for my daughter but I held back. I didn't rescue Leslie and it was a wonderful empowering gift for her. It was also a lovely life lesson for both us. That day I celebrated the fact that my young daughter was gurl-able. So what if she almost 'totaled' the car? She wasn't hurt. She was resilient and she showed me that under duress she was a female that could take good care of herself. Phew!

P.S. Fast forward to today. Lots of years have gone by and I've happily added grandmother to the assortment of hats I wear. My daughter Leslie's daughter is now eleven years old and already I see signs of this young woman's 'gurl-ability.' I shouldn't be surprised. She has a wonderful role model in her mom.

(My granddaughter at 6 years old already competing for her next belt in Karate)


How are you teaching your daughters to be GURL-ABLE? I'd love to hear. Really!