Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fan Yang - the Bubble Man at the Discovery Science Center

Our local children's discovery center offered a show all about bubbles (yes, the kind you play in the back yard) staring Fan Yang. Who is Fan Yang you ask (it was the same questions I asked as m wife drove me and my three year old down to the show)? Apparently he holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest bubble, the most bubbles within a bubble -9 total - and 7 other records. And you thought back yard bubbles were just a way to kill time with the little one...

He is on tour in "The Science of Bubbles", a show that doesn't talk about the science of bubbles at all, but instead offers an amazing display of the bubbles but set to music and bigger bubble makers than you can purchase at Target. Half fun and entertaining and half corny/something out of "Saturday Night Live," the show is a hit with young kids who loved jumping up and down to pop the bubbles. It was only about $7 per ticket and the show lasts about 45 minutes. If you child loves bubbles like mine does, it might be worth checking out. Just watch out for deluge of bubbles at the end!

Gymboree only cares about the bottom line

When our son was born - our first born - we heard about how great our local Gymboree classes were not only for our baby, but for us. We attended the first class and were pleased to see how much fun our child had and how much fun we had meeting and sharing milestones with other moms. We signed up not just for one class, but for the "core pass" which allows you to attend any play class within your child's age range, have unlimited access to open gym and even signed up for a second class - a music class. You might say it was the "Cadillac" plan of Gymboree. We attended religiously, even inviting some of the teachers to our child's birthday party. Then, when our son turned two, new management took over and we noticed an immediate difference. So much so, that even the teachers we loved - and who had loved our kids - were miserable.

Many of the teachers moved on, but we kept going because we really liked having an additional outlet and place to spend time with our child aside from the park, the neighbor's house, the sports class, etc. Yes, we attended AND PAID for classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, gym on Friday and class on Saturday - until last month - nearly three years after we began attending Gymboree. Figuring our son was ready to move on, we told the management that we would be ending our time at Gymboree, but that we had 9 make- up classes we wanted to complete. Make-up classes are allowed if you've paid your fees. Well, assuming we could make up the 9 classes - which WE PAID FOR - we continued attending. Well, after the first class, my husband was very rudely told that he is no longer eligible to attend classes. He explained our situation and the person at the desk said they'd take it up with management. We received a call from the same person from the front desk saying that we couldn't use our make up classes because we didn't pay for an additional month. We were furious!! After three years of paying for their Cadillac of offerings - and knowing that make-ups are a policy - that now they were telling us, sorry, you can't attend. My husband was furious and said he was going to attend another class since we paid for them. He took my three year old to music class the next week. Nothing happened - until we got home. We received a rude email from the management - yes, and email, not a personal call - WE HAVE YET TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGEMENT FROM THE SOUTH PASADENA LOCATION BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS HAVE THE FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST CALL US INSTEAD - the email said we are not allowed to attend because we did not complete the 9 make ups before we ended our "membership." No mention of the fact that we reminded them of this from the very beginning.
Needless to say, we are no longer recommending people attend the South Pasadena or Monrovia locations of Gymboree. We believe in the the classes and what the company offers, but recommend other locations - or, if you do attend South Pasadena, just note that they are in it for the money as they "claim" to be in it for you and your baby.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

L.A. Earthquake 4.4 Magnitude

My toddler didn't sleep very well last night. He woke up at midnight, then at 1am so I went in there and comforted him back to sleep. After that, I went back to bed but was rudely awakened at 4:04am by some shaking of the house. The Pico Rivera earthquake scared me and it sounded like a slow rumble which gradually got louder and then subsided. It felt like about 5 seconds but really scared me. I got up and went to my toddlers' room to check on him, but then it stopped (he didn't even wake up). It took me a while to go back to sleep because it reminded me of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
Flash back to 1994, Sunday night at some apartment complex off the USC campus. That is where I was living at the time with 4 other roommates. We were partying that night because Monday was Martin Luther King day and we didn't have classes. I think I passed out that night around 1am and then woke up at 4:30am to the Northridge earthquake. We were on the third floor of the building and it literally felt like someone was shaking the entire building. It lasted a long time and the tremors lasted for a couple days. Books were falling of the shelf and lamps were falling, quite an experience especially after having one too many beers.
A few days later we went to Northridge to visit a friend of mines' house and the surrounding areas. The damage was unbelievable. 3 story parking structures crumbled down to rubble. Apartment complexes that collapsed and nothing visible of the first floor. A very shocking site.

I think the moral of the story is to beware of earthquakes at 4 in the morning...