Friday, July 24, 2009

Ikea Redhook says no to public breastfeeding

Sarah and Sasha were banished to a washroom after atempting to nurse at Ikea in Redhook. Sarah wrote the following story on a message board:

"On Wednesday I was in Ikea Redhook in the middle of breastfeeding, fully covered, when I was told I had to stop doing "that" and go to the nearby family bathroom. The Ikea employee and security guards were extremely rude to us. I was hustled off to the bathroom and then had to wait because someone else was using it. I was humiliated, my daughter was upset from being interrupted in the middle of her feed. When eventually I gave up and headed for the car to finish feeding, the security guards who had seen the entire event insisted on checking my receipts. I'm putting together a formal complaint to IKEA. I was wondering if
this has happened to anyone else?"

Just another reason why I dont like Ikea right now.

My Ikea experiance part 1

On June 26 we had a minor flood in our kitchen and this prompted us to decide to renovated our kitchen; the kitchen really needed a makeover and we were planning on doing it at some point so why not now. The only concern was cost we needed to keep the full reno at around 10,000. We got to this number after talking with my Realtor Josee Couture (if you live in Toronto and need a Realtor she is great) she basically said with the market value in your area and the condition of our home a kitchen reno would add approximately 10,000 to 15,000 to the value of our home. That said since we are doing all the work ourselves (or I should say my dad is doing the work) all we needed to do is try the keep the materials cost down and everyone knows that Ikea gives the more bang for your bucks in wow factor.

Luckily I am an Interior Designer so I was able to measure design and turn around a preliminary floor plan and elevations for my kitchen in a day; so off we went to Ikea North York on June 28 to purchase my kitchen. I had already chosen at home all the Ikea finishes that I wanted (their website is extremely detailed); they even have a kitchen planning toll online that I would have used instead of drawing my plans by hand other then the fact that the software is not compatible with a MAC. We go to the kitchen section of Ikea and I find someone in a yellow shirt; this is a brief description of our conversation:

Me: I would like to speak to someone to ensure that the kitchen I've designs works and then get some help to make sure I have all the components.
Ikea: Did you plan your kitchen using our kitchen planner?
Me: No, but I am an Interior Designer and I have full plans and elevations of the kitchen.
Ikea: You have to enter your kitchen in our kitchen planner; let me set you up - it should not take you too long. We will also place your name on a list so someone will come to talk to you.
Me: The only reason I did not use your kitchen planner was that it does not work with a MAC
Ikea: Yeah we know you should have just come straight in to the store; here is everything you need to get started.

I would like to point out that the whole family (Geoff, Chrstophe and me) left for Ikea that day around 10am. So I sit down get started various people come around and tell me how the plan looks great; wow you have such a big project, your kitchen it going to look great, and to answer various questions I have. Lunch rolls around we have pasta at the Ikea restaurant (the kitchen planning tool lets me save my kitchen on-line o I could leave freely and come back as I needed). After lunch I come back and finalize my kitchen around 4:30pm it's done I am finally ready to order. You ask why it took so long?
  1. If I could have used the planning tool with my MAC I could have came in with a plan already inputted in their oh so sacred kitchen planning tool
  2. Every time I tried to add a upper cupboards the system would go bonkers
  3. I could not override the pulls to mix and match the styles (we are using long D pulls and want to select the length based on the size of the door or the drawer)
  4. Unless you have a perfectly square room the programme does not seem to like you and gives you a hard to to place cabinets in that will need to be cut to fit your room
  5. Every time I tried to rotate my 3D drawing it would zoom all the way in and I would have to restart looking at the 3D a few times before it worked
  6. Whenever I wanted to speak to someone i had to wait 15 to 30 minutes on average. 15 minutes is acceptable; 30 minutes is a bit long. One time I waited almost 45 minutes. they really need more staff.
So at 4:30ish (it might have been latter then that at this point the time is all a blur - I have been there all day). Janice comes over to help me finally finalize my kitchen. I ask her all the right questions such as.
  1. Will the cabinets fit with the height of my ceiling?
  2. Will my range hood fit with the height of my ceiling?
  3. What pieces will have to be cut to fit - so when everything gets home I know what to do.
  4. Can I actually cut all the pieces we talked about?
  5. What is the return policy
  6. What is the warranty
  7. Is there anything I did not ask or seem to have though about that your expertise as an Ikea Kitchen Planner can add?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Things I have learned about customer service

During the last month, I have been to more hardware stores then any other shopping destinations and I have to say service at hardware stores in Toronto sucks. Here is in order from the worst to the best:

Rona (Warden and Eglinton) - I needed to get 3 items in 3 different departments at Rona, after wondering the aisles for 30 minutes and not finding what I needed, I decided to try to get help. I found the first person available they said "I don't work that department let me page someone." Thirty minutes later I had help. I then asked that person about something in the next department they gave me the same answer and again 30 minutes later I had help; needless to say the same thing happend for the 3rd item I needed. 3 hours later I was at the checkout with a screaming baby in arms that was just about as fed up as I was. If it would not be for the fact that we had about $400 in gift certificates at Rona I would not have entered the store again for the duration of the project.
Home Depot (Gerrard Square) - This is our close large hardware store we end up going here for almost everthing just because it is only a few minutes drive away. The service is hit and miss everyone is always nice but you can't trust what they say more then once we have been mislead on how to use a product. Like the guy who said the concrete board should face label-side out when the labels were randomly placed on smooth and rough sides, and, in fact, the orientation depends on whether or not you're using mortar or adhesive on top.
Home Hardware (Gerrard and Coxwell) - Amazing bunch of guys that work here, they are very knowlegeble and friendly however the store is very small so you can not always get what you want.
Lowes (Warden and Eglinton) - I hate saying this but I am impressed with Lowes, the staff knows what they are talking about, you get service fast, the staff is extra nice. The store is huge so they pretty much always have what we need. I hope this lasts, our Lowes is pretty new.

And that is that on hardware stores. Basically, Rona has lost my business except for when we have gift cards there (I say this because you can cash in Air Miles for Rona gift cards); Home Depot could probably treat us like crap and we would go back just because they are convenient; Home Hardware is my first stop for little things; Lowes has definitely won me over and if I need to price compare I will make the trip.

Where have I gone to

Some of you may have wondered where I have gone; well, the answer is: deep into kitchen renovation. About a month ago now our plumbing gave under the sink leaving a flood in my kitchen and we decided to take this opportunity to renovate instead of just patching up a kitchen that was already in shambles.

My mom and dad are down from NB helping (thank you so much). 3 weeks into the reno, my dad is now working on getting the floor ready for my new cork floor. The walls are up and painted; same goes for the ceiling.

I wish we could have done the full kitchen eco-friendly but cost restriction and timing prohibited us from doing so. However I did consider the enviroment at many points in the kitchen reno; below are some of the decisions that we made that are in part green.

  1. Cork Floor: When cork is harvested the tree is not destroyed and then replanted but rather the bark is trimmed from the tree every 9 years, leaving the tree and the forest undamaged. Its not unusual to have a 200 year old tree still producing cork bark. Cork flooring is actually made from the waste of the cork wine stopper manufacturing process so cork flooring is a recycled product.
  2. Sico Go Prime Duo 100% Acrylic Latex Primer- Sealer and Undercoat: This is a great all purpose primer with less then 78.38g/L of VOC's. I knwo there are some primers out there that have 0g/L VOC however we had some primer left over from a previous project and in our time restraints could not get our hands on anything that had a lower VOC count.
  3. Sico Paint Chamois: This is a 0g/L VOC paint; however the tint does add some VOC, the darker your paint the more VOC in it. Once again I know more eco-friendly options exist but we had all the paint we needed left over from previous projects.
  4. I would have loved to get a LED light fixture for the kitchen but the up front cost is too much for us; instead we got a light fixture that could accomodate a compact florecent bulb. When chosing your light fixture make sure to always double check that a compact fluorescent bulb will fit, they are bigger then their incandescent conterparts.
  5. We are reusing our existing cabinet pulls. We don't have enough to do the full kitchen so the uppers will have the old pulls reused and the lowers are going to have new pulls giving the kitchen a unique fun look.
  6. An Ikea kitchen we chose Ikea for a few reasons first they are inexpensive secondly they do have a good enviromental practice. Ikea is not perfect but they do try harder then many companies out there to find out more check out :
I found a great website with information on non-toxic painting if anyone is interested:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

100,000 on the Hill

Canada needs a good climate change plan. That is were 100 000 on the hill comes:

"100,000 on The Hill is a peaceful demonstration and public plea for strong climate policy. This gathering of Canadians in person and spirit aims to show our government that Canadians support proactive, internationally acceptable climate policy." - 100,000 on the Hill.

Get involved now.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sippy Cups

For those of you wondering what cups we tried with our little monster here goes the reviews:

We started with the Klean Kanteen the problem here was that it looked too much like ours and he wanted a cap that matched ours and one the same size of ours.

Then we tried the Safe Sippy, he still has no clue how to get water out of it.

Then we realized he could drink from a straw so we bought the first BPA free sippy cup with a straw that we saw the Nuby.

But it was made from plastic so when I saw a friend with the Foogo we had to get one and that is Christophe sippy cup today.

Christophe journey in discovering solid foods

One of the questions for my La Leche League Leader application was how and when was Christophe introduced to solid foods - below is the questions and answers...

For the healthy, full-term baby breast milk is the only food necessary until baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.
When and how did you introduce solids and a cup?

We decided as couple to introduce solids to Christophe right around 6 months (I think it was slightly pass that.) his “first” food was sweet potatoes that I prepared myself. I placed “food” in brackets because he did not any and still refuses to eat sweet potatoes. We were determined to make all his food and follow the guidelines that we would introduce one food at a time; however after 2 months of him not eating anything I turn to my mom friends and asked what they were doing and took the advice that seemed to suit me and went with it. So when Christophe was about 7 1/2 months old we decided since there are no major allergies in our family out with rules...

We started giving him little bit of everything we were eating; generally speaking we eat pretty healthy so we figured it was ok. By this time Christophe had already mastered saying no by shaking his head (thanks to my dad - I do not say this with any enthusiasm my father thinks its funny I hate it as we had worked so hard to that point to never use the word no around Christophe) so each time we approached his face with food he would shake it and say no; however sometimes he could be convinced to put food in his mouth himself. So out with the muchy food... We would give him large chunks of soft fruits and veggies (he had not yet mastered the pincer grasp) and small bits of food so he could practice his pincer grasp. We quickly realizes we had a very picky eater on our hands. Christophe (still to this day) will not eat anything that is too soft, too slimy, liquidy, leafy, sticky (that is not to drink), orange, purple, yellow, as a matter a fact any colour that is not red, beige (bread colour), brown, white or green (he likes green that is so weird). - Thank God for my milk I think he might have of malnutrition by now if he still did not nurse 8 to 14 times a day. Oh I forgot he still wont eat anything that he can’t feed himself, I am so happy he is learning to master the fork and spoon these days.

A cup? hum I think we started at the same time as solids - however i really can’t remember. We started by offering water with his meals only, this seemed to encourage him to eat more - some days. (Actually we tried cup feeding him milk when he was less then a month old but he never took to it so we stuck with tub feeding.) Introducing a cup and other liquids was a long process it seemed... he was very interested in liquids to drink but had a hard time with a cup, could not master the sippy cup (I think we tried 2 or 3 different ones) then one day when he was about 14 months or so we were at a restaurant and he was interested in my straw so I let him try it; he mastered it in 3 seconds flat. That day we bought him a sippy cup that had a straw in it and a pack of straws and since then he will try almost anything that comes with a straw. We have to watch ourselves in restaurants because he will steel our drink that are not always “approved for Christophe consumption” and try them. One of my favorite things to make for him is smoothy with all real fruit (no juices) and a bit of soy or cows milk whatever we have on had; this is actually the only way I can get him to eat fruit that is not dried.

What signs of readiness did you look for?

Unlike a lot of parents start because they are told to we made sure of the following:
He could sit unsupported
He could hold his head up
Seems interested in what we are eating
He is at least 6 months old
He seemed to have lost his tongue-thrusting reflex
He increased his nursing sessions

Christophe had not mastered his pincer grasp yet and did not do so until he was around 9 months sometimes I wonder if we had waited till then if we would have a less picky eater.

If you have used bottles, please describe when and how?

Like I mentioned in the past we tube fed for about a month at the beginning - here we used a bottle to hold the milk or formula depending on the feeding. I will go in greater details when I talk about starting breast feeding.

I also tried a bottle once with him that night I mentioned that he would not take to the breast and kept on crying. But like I said he though it was a toy.

We have 4 practically unused premium glass baby bottles (2 in the packages) that I hope will never have to be used by me again.