northstory notes – Sept 6, 2013

flag & smurfette

I started this section as a conscious way of trying to find the good in every week, because every single week we all go through more chaos and complaining than we need to.

For example, let’s say someone cuts you off in traffic and now you’re late for work. You walk into the office running late in a downpour and someone shuts a door in your face while your hands are full of coffee and papers and you’re standing there soaked from the rain. Then the coffee that you tried to take a quick sip out of as soon as you sat down spills on your desk and your presentation files that you need for your 10 am meeting are ruined. Your mood falls apart from there.

Well what if someone had let you go first into a lane on the highway and you wouldn’t have been late for work? Or they had held the door open for you when you were walking in with a coffee and an umbrella? What if your coworker had bought you a coffee and it was waiting for you at the desk and you would have never reached for the one you got that caused your presentation files to get ruined?

Little things usually add up to the biggest things. We never however realize them and their snowball effect until after.

During our long, not so perfect family vacation drive we experienced some random acts of kindness, that most people wouldn’t even have thought would have had an impact on our mood. We were to them just another customer and just another family on vacation.

We pulled off into a McDonald’s somewhere in Kentucky off the I-75 because we had to use the washroom and I thought hey now is a great time to grab a coffee. While I was in the lineup ordering a coffee, my younger daughter noticed that they were offering Smurfs with the Happy Meals. So I thought what the hell, let’s get two Smurf toys as little treats for the road.

Seeing as she’s a 2 year old girl naturally she wanted the Smurfette doll, none of which were around in the front counters. Well, the really amazing elderly McDonald’s employee, who may or may not have been someone’s Grandma, refused to let me just buy a regular boy Smurf. She checked almost every prepared box of empty Happy Meal boxes on the sides of the counters and when she couldn’t find a Smurfette doll in them, she asked if one of the other employees could go back to the stock room and see if he could find two “girl Smurf” dolls because – and I quote –  “We can’t have this young lady leaving here without her girl Smurf doll because that just wouldn’t be the right thing to do”.

I love and I mean LOVE Southern Hospitality. I can’t even take how in awe I am of it.

So the other employee came back with two Smurfette dolls much to the crazy excitement of my daughter who eagerly then brought it to the truck to surprise her sister. That Smurfette doll gave us a whole bunch of extra McHappy Hours in the truck all the way to Atlanta. It was was also where I discovered that in the US when you order a regular coffee, they do not put the cream and sugar in it for you. Just so you know, in Canada when you do that, that means your coffee is getting the cream and sugar in it.

The next day when we got to the Florida border, we went to the Welcome Center again off I-75 and without even blinking an Army vet who is there everyday with his display to collect money for Veterans, saw my girls and instantly gave them their first US Flag each to welcome them to the States.

my kids

Both of these items are not groundbreaking. They don’t seem like a huge deal in the grand scheme of the Universe. But unless you were in the truck with us, you can’t even begin to understand how happy both of these small gestures made my kids. And how much it helped with their morale and behaviour in the drive that would never end which in turn helped us. When you are so tired and exhausted, a little simple gesture of someone going out of their way to help can change your day.

So to the amazing McDonald’s employees (whose names I wish I had gotten) and to the Army vet who gave us the flags, Thank You.

In this week’s northstory notes:

Let’s all collectively sigh over the awesomeness that is Stacey’s new Eames office chair.

Sara who writes at the amazing blog Saige Wisdom just quit her job to follow her dream of becoming…

If you didn’t think I could love the IKEA HUSET doll furniture, you need and I repeat need to see this hack and presentation of it.

What’s your favourite item in your home? This is Danielle’s.

Do you have a word in another language for which there is no English word translation for? Kate discovered these at an emotional time in her life.

Virginia has a playhouse for her kids that I want to move into.

And the next time we travel I am going to let Gilit take my kids on a road trip because this is what she did to survive hers.

If you’ll excuse me, Fall has arrived and I really behind in apple picking and Fall crafts. And to quote my older daughter who started Full Day school aka Grade 1 this week “Mommy, we don’t do arts and crafts at school like we did last year anymore. Why? I don’t like it. I wish we could have an arts and crafts school.”

And that my friends is my now officially my new weekend job.


  • Reply
    Alex - Hydrangea Girl
    September 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

    There’s a grocery store chain here in Ireland called Tesco, and their slogan is ‘every little helps’.

    It’s amazing what an ounce of thought can do to a person, and in your case, a family. Seemingly insignificant acts that could completely change someones day or vacation. RAK FTW.

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      It’s true. Every Little Bit Helps. I try to think of this every single time I open a door and want to rush through it.

  • Reply
    September 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    thank you for including me in your noteworthy list… it was a lovely surprise and helped ease the sting of my 4 year old screaming, “F%#K!” when she stepped on a staple today.
    #parentingfail. I’m a HUGE believer in karma/paying it forward/filling invisible buckets, etc. so OF COURSE I got all misty reading about smurfette dolls and mini-American flags.
    I cannot wait to meet you at BlogPodium!! let’s share a table (and a drink). xo

    • Reply
      Lynne Knowlton (@lynneknowlton)
      September 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Did I hear the word BlogPodium ? Cool ! We have one more at the table 🙂 This is going to be a blast !
      Lynne xx

      • Reply
        September 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        Yes BlogPodium is going to be awesome! I wonder if we can sneak in wine. I’m joking. Not really.

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      OY! A staple? Poor thing. At least yours isn’t busy picking the scabs of her knees from tripping on sidewalks in flip flops while walking (klutyz genes courtesy of me).

      Filling invisible buckets. I LOVE THAT and I have never heard that expression. Yes let’s share a table! Have you met Lynne? Above me and below your comment? Wait til you meet her and beg to go move into her home.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Hey! I made it into your notes! To be fair we had a helluva lot less to drive but I appreciate your (extremely misguided and sweet) faith in me! On the other hand, your girls are gorgeous and my boy does love to flirt with older ladies so that should occupy a good hour or so

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      It’s not misguided at all! They are great travel tips for families with kids. Unlike me. Who has 2 kids who look at you like I’m not buying into this coloring book thing b/c you said Soon 10x already and soon means long.

  • Reply
    Danielle from Storypiece
    September 9, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Sweet friend… thank you for including me in this lovely list. It was a day maker for sure!

    PS. I totally thought of you when I read Gilit’s post. 🙂

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Always! And that sewing machine and the stash of presents inside was so cool to see.

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