My children and I usually make it up to the pond at the local Welcome Center to see the geese each year while they're here, but we haven't been yet this year. I had my Gracie and Kelley with me on a trip to McDonald's for one of their large sweet teas (can you say "addicted"?), and since the Welcome Center is right across the street, we zipped over there to find the geese swimming on the pond.
I have fond memories, and pictures, of the children and TJ here as a toddler. There is a picture I have of him sitting on the picnic table, so I thought to get one of Gracie sitting on one of the tables also.
This afternoon Jessica received a package in the mail to make up for some drama in a swap I let her participate in. You see, the original swap was a Teddy Bear swap over at Swap-bot, and while I wasn't interested in joining it myself, Jessica saw it and asked to join it. So I joined it, helped her put her package together and mailed it out to her partner who happened to be the coordinator of the swap.
The package she received from another partner (because we're not sending to the same person who is sending to us), disappointed her greatly. And while I generally ask my children to be thankful for whatever they receive, the look on her face when she received the "teddy bear" from the other partner was pretty sad for a momma to see on her baby's face. I suppose because the swap said "Teddy Bear" we, rightfully or wrongfully, formed expectations. I viewed a cuddly soft teddy bear, and she probably did, too.
Now the "teddy bear" she received was not quite what either of us expected. (the little "bow" has come undone while here at my home. It was "tied" when it first arrived, but I cannot figure out to tie it back. It appears it was glued into a bow as I see some glue under the ribbon.) First, one of the legs had become unattached in transit. And receiving this type of bear really just didn't feel right. The tag even warned that it was "not a toy", but decor. And it seems to have developed dark spots all over it, the spots being in the same place on both arms and both legs and scattered over the tummy.
I looked at the partner's profile and read that the partner didn't like "Country-style" and she was also complaining on her profile about being new to Swap-bot, but she was finding that others were sending her their hand-me-downs. This made me chuckle at the irony because here we received a "country-style" bear and it looked like her hand-me-down, or her just passing on what didn't appeal to her. Now I have no problem with people passing on what they don't really care for because we all have our own styles. But in this case, it just didn't feel right. Maybe because my daughter was involved.
I sat for a few hours dwelling on the dilema I was in. Do I say anything? What to say? Technically, the fact that the bear was maimed, whether her fault or not, was a point against her in the swap. Now I'm relatively sure she did not send the bear one-legged, but after testing the other limbs on the bear, and finding them pretty solid and not able to be pulled off, I feel that it must have been obvious that this leg was on the brink of falling off when she put it in the bag, if a simple trip in a polybag through the mail could pull it apart.
Well, I opted to just let the sender know what had happened, that the bear was one legged when it arrived, and also told her tactfully that I noticed that her profile indicated that she didn't like "country-style" and her complaint that others were sending her their hand-me-downs. I asked her if this bear was something she would like to receive? I did mention that the fur on this bear was matted like it'd been in the wash, not saying she had washed it, just describing it as a fact of its appearance, probably still having the idea of a soft furry teddy bear in mind. Perhaps I shouldn't have said anything, because Mount St. Helen erupted in her reply. Basically she said she was deeply offended at my email, and that she loved the bear and wanted it back if I didn't want it. She went on to say that she meant scrapbooking items when she said "Country-style". It was a LOOONNNGGGG bent-out-of-shape diatribe on why she thought I mishandled the situation by messaging her. I guess she didn't want to know we were disappointed.
Her reply was strong enough that I was mortified that I might have offended her so greatly, so I went back to her profile to re-read it to see if I could have misunderstood, but lo and behold, her profile was changed! A lot of the words she used about not liking "country-style" was gone and now she did have it vaguely referring to scrapbooking stickers or something. And the whole paragraph about being new to Swap-bot and feeling that she was getting people's hand-me-downs was gone. Hmmmm....
The more I thought about it, and believe me, I've thought about it alot, I think I didn't misunderstand her original profile. I think perhaps she got caught doing exactly what she was bothered by others doing, and she protested LOUDLY to distract from the real issue.
Did I mention that she likes Bearington and Boyd bears, according to her profile? Have you seen those? Those are sweet fluffy teddy bears. I wouldn't have expected the name brand bear in this swap, but the furry, cuddly characteristics of the bear is like what I thought a "teddy bear" would look like. I actually saw one at our 2nd hand store, a Boyd bear, and bought it for less than $2! (I also bought a bear for Jessica that she had been eyeing for a long time to replace the Teddy Bear swap bear, and she loved the lion, too!) I actually got the Boyd bear (not pictured here yet) thinking of sending it to her, along with this other bear that she sent to me that she claims she absolutely adores...but I'm still thinking on that. I just want this all to end on a more pleasant note.
I never did respond to her first reply to my one message to her, and she sent me two more emails after that, the tone getting worse and worse, threatening and hostile. I just want to be done with it.
I did notify the coordinator of the situation from the time I sent her a copy of the message I sent to my partner, along with the 3 messages from my partner in response. She's just as flabberghasted as I am that it has become what it has become. She felt like sending my daughter something to lessen her disappointment, and though I told her I did not tell her all of the drama that had unfolded for her to send anything, I let her do it because I understand the spontaneous desire to do things for someone else.
So today an adorable red-bowed pig holding a big red heart arrived to Jessica. She was so delighted when she saw it. It is cute! I caught her sitting on the front porch with her new friend writing a letter to Sherrie thanking her for it...