Friday, March 21, 2008

Damselfly Freaks Out

Well it’s about freaking time! The ridiculous brokerage fees that UPS and Fedex have been charging to bring packages across the border from the US to Canada are finally going to be tested in court. Read the press release here. I have been one of those who was ripped off with the extra fees that were undisclosed ahead of time, neither to me nor to my seller who had no clue when she suggested UPS. The cost was $40 above and beyond taxes and duties on an item with a $150 value which is just nuts. And she sent me six of these items — we did a group buy — and because they were too large to consolidate they had to be packaged individually. Each box was charged the $40 extra even though they were all addressed to me and were all part of the same order! Yikes! My first thought was to refuse the shipment but I really wanted the item in question plus I was making a snap decision for 5 others as well with no time to consult them and I didn’t want the return costs to all go back down on the seller who was innocent in this. Needless to say the other people involved were as unhappy as I was but UPS brushed us off by saying this was standard policy to use a customs broker to bring goods across the border. But regular mail (US Postal Service and Canada Post) doesn’t do this! On my end there’s a flat $5 fee to collect any taxes and duty owing which is fair. Not being one of those “burr in the shoe” type people I didn’t pursue it further but you can bet I never tried getting anything sent UPS across the border again. Nosiree-bob! Hope they win both cases. More power to ’em.

But that’s not really what I was freaking out about. Our little Easter Dinner has blown up all out of proportion to how many will actually fit in our house! We have ever-expanding extended family and nearly all live locally. So I starting by inviting the usual suspects a couple of weeks ago – and they asked if they could invite more – and several who live much farther away just happen to be in town this weekend – and so on – until we now have around 36 people. Give or take. I have a small house and one bathroom and no dishwasher. The most we’ve ever had before was just over 20 and it was most definitely crowded. We’re talking nearly twice that number coming on Sunday. This could prove an interesting puzzle. Like how many clowns can you get in a tiny little car. Or how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Or my house will explode! But I really couldn’t turn anyone away, now could I??? This is FAMILY! So I didn’t sleep well last night because I’m trying to think of enough different dishes to make to feed them and which can be cold and prepared tomorrow instead of Sunday. We have a ham. We have a turkey. We have 10lbs of spuds. (Probably not enough but it’s all I can fit in my biggest pot.) We have 2 large Dairy Queen ice cream cakes. (One chocolate and one with the bluebird of happiness on it.) We have paper plates and plastic spoons and paper napkins. (Hang the environment for one day.) We have lots of toilet paper. We don’t have nearly enough chairs but where would we put them if we did? People will be standing like straws in a box! But I’m not panicking. Nope. This will work out. Won’t it? Please? Would it be pushing it to wish for nice weather so some could escape outside?

Today we cleaned the house and went for a refreshing walk. If you don’t hear from me until Monday or Tuesday, you’ll know why. I moved to Australia. Meanwhile, have a Happy Easter! And wish me luck to survive this experience. If I ever come up with such a hare-brained scheme again, smack me with a wet wool skein. Remind me that this family needs to rent a hall if we want to get us all together! I don’t think anyone’s house is big enough anymore. Unfortunately I’m not related to anyone who lives in a mansion.


Anonymous said...

Hi Louisa

36 people - yikes! But that amount will also contain a certain number who can provide a workforce. Maybe some could help with preparation and some could do cleanup? I always like to assign cleanup to the men. Luckily, you have a second stove downstairs. Can you borrow pots? If you set up a buffet people can fill their plates and find wherever they can to settle; some will stand to eat.

You've probably thought of all of this already. Just know I'll be thinking of you.


Dotty said...

Good luck! I'll keep my fingers crossed that the weather will co-operate.

Sharon in Surrey said...

Thank Gawd I'm single, can cook if I want or sleep all day if I want!! I don't envy you! Can you borrow the church basement?? Heh - serve dinner in the house next door . . . or do as my EI neighbors do - rent a tent!