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8am Sunday Morning. A child enters the kitchen just as I'm stuffing a left over butter tart into my mouth. When he asks me what I'm eating, I reply "bitaminsh" (vitamins)


My usually flat-ironed auburn hair is curling in the humid air of an East York swimming pool, transforming me from 'weekend-yoga-pants-mum' to 'maniacal-clown-wig-mum.' I'm sitting on the pool deck with all the other swimming lesson parents, half-watching while my son is purportedly learning to swim. This is his third go at level 1 — the main requirement being a demonstrated ability to put one's face in the water, something he has only ever done by accident, including in our own bathtub at home.

Between glances at the pool, I usually dedicate this hour to my phone, scrolling through the 40 or so emails that will have come in since I last checked on Saturday night.

Many of the emails will require asap responses. Some could culminate in a conference call that will be booked right in the middle of Sunday dinner time to maximize the disruption to our personal lives and the annoyance of our families.

As my email loads, I take another look at Tim, who appears to be in deadlocked negotiations with his swim teacher. My son is standing, toes curled around the pool edge, shaking his head emphatically while his teacher is in the pool trying to encourage him in.

As expected, there are a handful of emails marked as urgent. I quickly assess them on the usual scale:

Code Red: Originating from the CEO

CEO emails need to be responded to within 20 minutes of their issue. They're rarely urgent, but if left unreplied to, will begin to multiply like wet gremlins. Like many CEOs, ours seems never to sleep (I imagine him prowling the rooms of his Forest Hill manse, snorting cocaine and blasting the email universe with his ideas as they roll in). He has a limited amount of patience for other peoples' sleep habits. If he doesn't receive a near-immediate response, he'll resend his original email, now topped with a passive-aggressive "???" to a growing list of CCs until someone responds.

Code Orange: Marketing Involvement

Despite being of no immediate consequence, marketing requests need to be treated with urgency because the CMO is the barely-out-of-private-school daughter of the CEO. They came together as a package deal — like Bonnie and Clyde — no, like Thelma and Louise, driving the company like they stole it, speeding crazily toward a cliff-edge and cheering themselves on all the way.

Code Blue: Potential for Brand Destroying PR Nightmare

Is this an issue that could foreseeably end up on the drive-home news? Drop everything.

It just so happens that at the very moment my son performs his first non-accidental face-wetting and looks proudly over at me, I am reading an email that matches ALL THREE of the ranking criteria.



SUBJECT: Um, Serious Problem?

Hi Alice -- there's some kind of situation brewing on Twitter with the "Native Traditions" fall line? Apparently, some product names are problematic? The word appropriation being thrown around? They seem particularly mad about the following products:

Beaded Wampum Room Divider
"Eskimo-kiss" Monogrammed Throw Pillows
Full-Size Standing Chief Coat Rack

Need you across this right away. Can you delete tweets from our feed? Also, let's remove the reviews that are accumulating on those product pages. Completely unfair. Killing online sales.

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