Friday, November 23, 2007

Choppy, Choppy Little Pinky

It is black Friday. I just found out today that it means this is when the stores gain the profits to keep them in the "black" and out of the "red." I thought it just ment that if you worked retail... today really... REALLY sucks.

Case in point: I found myself numbling driving to work at my new job, contemplating whether I really needed the $12.50 I would likely earn today and it wasn't even 4:30 in the morning. It was supposed to be a grueling eight and a half hours of explaining why the ad that just came out containing a 20% off coupon featured all of the items in which you could not use the coupon with. Fortuntely, the God's smiled on me and someone called in for their evening shift, allowing me to go home at 7:30am with a heartfelt promise that I would return at 5:00 to close. You can't imagine my joy when that person later called and agreed to go in afterall and I got the rest of the day off!

Now I'm back at home and looking forward to a clean house when it happens. I took a nice slice out of my pinky finger with a bread knife. After knowing me for seven years, when Mike hears the words: "Mike, I'm bleeding," he instinctively prepares for a trip to the hospital. After the whole 5 digit kidney stone experience, however, I decided that I was probably better off to just lose the finger.

Once things were back under control Mike finally asked the question that he asks everytime I end up in a situation like this: "Why can't you be more careful?"
I tried to explain to him my tradition of injuries dated back to well before I knew him but he wasn't buying it. Frankly, I knew it was just a matter of time before something happened, now that I have a nice knife set. I figured it would be much worse. I fully anticipated the day that I would somehow manage to get a carving knife wedged into my cornea. This was nothing. Infact, its almost a tradition. The first time I have hacked at important limbs (are there limbs that aren't important?) was all the way back in the second grade when we were making applesauce and we were actually given knives to cut the apples with. Is it just me, or does this spell disaster no matter how you "slice" it with a group of second graders? Anyway, I was the lucky winner that peeled apart a finger and the rest is a blurry haze of hysteria.

I'm pretty sure that this happens because my mom never let me play with enough sharp objects as a kid. I'm still getting used to them. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Hummer of the Produce Aisle.

Have you ever experienced a densley packed highway at rush hour, where you creep along and sometimes it just seems like the bigger cars are taking more space than they probably deserve? You fight your way through traffic-- which lets face it, is a bloodsport-- to get to the grocery store and then you fight for a space in the same zipcode as the store you wish to visit. WAIT-- before you click away to some internet porn site because you've heard it all before-- I actually have something new to complain about! Sure the stores are just as crowded and personal space is at an all time low and I too am wondering what happened to the days where I could shut my brain off at the door and mindlessly wander about to find the things I need. There's nothing new there. What is fairly new are the Hum-Vs of shopping carts. Have you ever been trying to manuever through the produce section of the grocery store just to be blind-sided by a soccer mom pushing a cart big enough to hold all of the groceries a family of 6 could want and need AND two kids in a makeshift plastic, colorful vehicle. They now have little shopping dune buggies that can fit a family of 9 and they take up 2/3 of the aisle.

I know some people may be reading this and wondering what the crap I am talking about. Don't worry, I have been searching the vast void of the internet to find a picture-- but while I was looking, I found an article that someone else had written about this very same situation. So, lets take a look at what this mommy has to say and we'll see if we can get to the bottom of the problem here. Hmmm?

A grocery store is a mom's biggest nightmare. I would really like to know who designed the check-out aisles vs. the grocery carts. Some stores offer carts that seat more than one child. Great! You think, untill checkout time....

We are all aware that the evil candy companies strategically place candy at the check out. Right within a child's grasp. But why in the heck do they design carts that are too wide to fit down the check-out aisle? There you are, a screaming 5 month old, tantrum throwing 3 year old, cart full of groceries, and a skinny aisle that is impossible to navigate through.

Okay now. This woman is elated that there are stores out there that feature grocery carts that seat more than one kid... but she's furious that she now can't fit her super cart down the aisles. Exactly how many kids do you expect to stack in there and still be able to manuever through the store? I also think that there is a slight chance that grocery stores place impulse purchase items near the registers that have nothing to do with kids, shopping carts, or housewives. Maybe I just really have no idea, but I have from time to time seen well behaved kids? I mean, if you can train dogs, can't you train kids?

Anyway, the point is that these monster shopping carts are a menace to everyone around. Combine this with the motorized carts for the elderly or just plain overweight individuals and your average consumer doesn't stand a chance.

Below is a picture of a shopping cart cover. No wonder kids today grow up as weak, pathetic, puffballs.

Here's another one. Suck it all in:


As is this:

and this:

And do you know that some of these monstrositys come with LCD TVs in them?

Now, I am not a parent and therefore have no idea what its really like... but if your kid isn't entertained for every single waking moment of his or her life will they just spontaneously explode or something? What happens when this same kid who can't not grab candy and throw cigarettes all over doesn't want to leave his Cart O' Joy?

And what about seatbelts? How long will we have to wait before housewives get into head on collisions? Do these things need insurance? Hey, I'm just waiting for the first lawsuit. I'm taking bets right now as to whether it comes before or after some disaster with the "roller shoes."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Biggest Loser

I recently found myself in an uncomfortable second floor office at the local Linen's 'N' Things. I really hope that if I ever find myself there again, its because I have been shoplifting.

As I heard the words: "Here we do it all. We don't have a janitorial staff-- per se... so associates may work on registers, but they may plunge toilets," my attention shifted from the fact that my toenails were still neon orange colored from Halloween, to the fact that I had voluntarily applied for this a job in which I could have the distinct honor of turd wrestling....

Well, I did waste the time out of my day to go to the interview... I felt I may as well swallow the disdain and the cynicism deep into the shallow end of my intestinal track where maybe, before the day is done, one of the associates can plunge it out of a toilet.
As I answered the mundane text book questions they ask you at all jobs that require little to no brain power, yet the patience of a pack mule, I had to force myself to tear my eyes from the wall or floor or ceiling to focus them on the face of my soon-to-be mentor. A mental image of him walking from the bathroom with a newspaper tucked under his arm and me headed in after him in my red LNT apron, wielding a plunger danced in my head.

"Now Jennifer, sell yourself to me. Tell me in your own words why I should hire you."

Brain says:
"Well, sir. You should hire me because I'm just stupid enough to apply for a job where I may get to plunge toilets for minimum wage. I would much prefer to unclog crap from toilets here at Linen's 'N' Things than at Rudy's Barbecue where I would be making three dollars more an hour. But hey, where's the the class in shoveling pork? Aside from my low sense of self-worth, I am skilled at avoiding your customers on the floor by blending in with my surroundings. As a short person, I can duck behind items and weave my way in and out of aisles without being noticed so that I never have to talk to a single person during my whole shift! I am a fast and accurate cashier, though, I would hate to be unavailable should a mountain of feces need tackling in the men's room. I can spell my own name and tie my own shoes and don't let that expensive Bachelor's degree fool you-- I can fold towels in three different styles for showcasing excellence. Finally, though I am clearly going to dread coming to work for you, I will make up little games in my head to pass the time and my 20 hours a week will just fly by. I am also prepared for you to completely abuse my part time status by working me on the worst possible days such as weekends and holidays."

Mouth says:
"Well, sir, I am a fast learner and experienced with your customer base as well as your merchandise. I have been trained to run a register as a cashier as well as a Front End Supervisor who handles the training of the other front end staff, the book work, and the cash deposits. I have worked in receiving and damages as well as on the floor and I am certain that I would adapt quickly to your policies. I have open availability including weekends and holidays, I am well-mannered and punctual, and apparently I'll work for seven dollars an hour.

Oops that last sentence was supposed to go into column A.

So. Get this. They take my name and social security number and tell me that barring any unforeseen criminal background incidents, they would like to start me on Friday.

As I walked to my car, I tried not to bust out into a hip hop dance at the idea of comparing vegetable peelers for old ladies, explaining what the expiration date on the coupons mean, and of course-- plunging shit. But before we can truly celebrate this momentous detour backwards in my life, I get a phone call saying that they would like me to come in for a second interview?


Let me paraphrase this for you.
Seven dollar an hour job... poopy toilets.... Bachelor's degree.

They need to interview me... again? Really? Am I not going to fit in with the 14 year old pregnant girl, the manager whose belly hangs out of her button down shirt and the male cheerleader fluffing the bed linens? Do you have serious doubts as to my ability to up sell blender attachments?
As much as this is a painful moment in my life, I don't feel like I'm too good to work a job like this... I don't feel like it's beneath me... I do feel like I am plenty qualified, Bachelor's degree or not. I'm not taking this job because I can't get a job in my field, I just turned one down... (yes, I turned down a job making several multiples above the $7/hr mark so that I could prove myself to some guy who goes home and watches reruns of the Jeff Foxworthy show.) In fact, I don't even need this job. I have a loving husband who has begged me NOT to work during this time. But I'm in the middle of a certification program that requires all my focus and I just wanted to be doing a little bit, just a small fraction of earning power to bring to the table until it is done. I wasn't excited about it... who would be... but this is ridiculous. I do have enough self-esteem to tell them exactly where to put the plunger.

So, to recap: I am currently the biggest loser. I will plunge for less than a ten spot.

Here's to all of your success and gainful employment.

The Soup Has Eyes

For me, the dilemma with taking classes has always been that I have to readjust eating schedules. If I'm not confined to one space for several hours at a time, it doesn't really matter... and I know that it seems like I give this way too much thought, but hear me out.

Occasionally, I can get extremely light headed and weak without warning if I have gone for more than four hours without food and my blood sugar gets too low. I'm sure this would send up red flags to any other person, but to me, it really just means that I need to be able to drink a Coke at a moment's notice.

When you're in class for the better part of a day, its not that easy. So I always try to make sure that I eat something before I get there. Never being one to get up early or leave myself any extra seconds, the options for today were to run by McDonald's or Whataburger (I just can't bring myself to go there...) or try to find something near the school that will slap something slightly more healthful on a plate for me.

Today's culinary adventure took me to a little Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. I went there knowing that if there was nothing on the menu that I recognized could be safely eaten before a four hour class, I could always fall back on a nice plate of California rolls and Sashimi. Feeling adventurous, I decided to give the Cham Pong soup a try.

The description was that of a spicy noodle soup. Mmmm.

So imagine my surprise when they placed before me a GIANT bowl (preceded by a variety of appetizers that I tried but had no clue what they were) of tentacles. It was loaded with all kinds of seafood that I have never in my life had the opportunity to try. I'm not sure if I feel bad about that either.

So, I poked around, realizing that I had infact ordered a spicy deep sea treasure trove of food for the brave. With a flick of the chopstick a crayfish popped forward and looked directly at me as if he was ready to challenge me to a game of Texas Hold 'Em. Are you supposed to eat food that still has eyes?
There were tentacles with little suckers on them and even clams.

Long story short... I'm starting to see what all those vegetarians are all about.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thank you for calling Best Buy.

Usually all bark and no bite, today I made the big step from thinker of evil thoughts to doer of evil deeds. Mike and I were walking around Best Buy looking at all the TVs. Not that we were going to buy one, but now that he works at Sony and gets a pretty steep discount, we thought we'd take a look and see what was out there. There aren't many nights that Mike is free to go out and do anything, so we were pretty excited to be going anywhere.

As we browsed through all the different sizes and screens and options in the world of television on steroids, there was a phone ringing. It must have rang literally fifty times before Mike turned to me and snapped: "What the hell? Is that your phone? Where is it coming from... why won't someone answer it? Why won't it STOP!!!"

You see, Mike is usually the calm and cool headed one in the relationship. So after ring 20 when visions of beating down the ringing phone with an axe starting running through my head, I just figured it was because I have a bit of a temper and I didn't say anything about it. Seeing that this relentless ringing was driving Mike to his breaking point as well, I felt a lot better, somehow.

By this time we had made our way to the back wall and were just about to wander over to the camera aisle when I passed the little work desk that is clearly for employees only.

Behold the ringing phone.

I glanced quickly left and right and without hesitation picked the phone up and replaced it back onto the receiver.

Ahhhh, no more ringing.

Mike of course, saw what I was doing and escaped the scene of the crime. I figure I did the world a favor. And at least I didn't bash it with an axe.

Midas Turns 3

In two days my baby boy will be three years old. I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday he was a fat, little, puffball whose back end would raise up into the air when he ate out of his little food bowl. It had to have been just yesterday that I would take him to class with me and he would amuse everyone with his carpet humping antics before retreating to his pile of crunchy leaves for a game of tag with himself.

So this Saturday he will turn the big O-3. In people years that makes him old enough to drink! After close to three years of living with us, he probably deserves one. He has been resident to five different homes since becoming a member of our family and what a trooper he's been about it because they were not all so dog friendly.

First, in the Tuscany Apartments of Sarasota, he began his time with us on the third floor of a three bedroom apartment. His vet, worried about his back knees being weak, suggested that we give him lots of excercise. So, he swam several nights a week in our bathtub, followed by a maniacle jaunt through the apartment, soaking everything in sight. He loved to race around the square courtyard and have us chase him until he realized he had outgrown our running abilities and had to be confined to a leash. So much for chasing the turkey vultures. At least in this apartment Midas could always fall back on his favorite hobby. Discovering peanuts. We're still not sure where they came from or how he found them, but he would randomly bring us peanuts when we lived here...

Our next apartment was a one bedroom in Lake Mary. Midas had his own grassy area here where he didn't have to worry about cars or strangers. He could go outside and play or poop or dig holes. Whatever his little heart wanted. We had great walks here. There were lots of great paths to take and he never.... NEVER got tired. By now he wasn't a fat, puffball anymore. He was a muscular, little athlete and he lived for Saturday and Sunday mornings when we would take him to the "dog park." It was a good life here in Lake Mary. This is also where he was living when his little diva sister, Maya, stolled into his life. But he loved her from the start-- letting her out of her safe and secure puppy cage while we were at work, I often came home to them both smiling at me from the top of the stairs. He was always the goody two shoes of the pair, telling Maya that she was going to get in trouble for ripping open that trash bag. He refrained from Maya's trash buffet but stored a chicken wing away in his toy basket for use later. I'll never forget sitting on the couch when Midas came and dropped a chicken wing into my lap.

The next domicile was a three bedroom delight in Maitland, shared with Aunt Lissy. Since this AC challenged hell hole was located on the third floor, going outside was a bit of a hassle, especially given the lack of green grass. So putting our heads together, we brilliantly came up with a wooden plot of balcony grass for the purpose of turning twice and shitting. The dynamic duo of Midas and Maya was formed. They are officially the best of buddies. Maya has learned all sorts of bad habbits from Midas such as barking when someone enters or leaves a room and swatting a little paw at you should you dare eat in front of her.

Same complex, new apartment. On our own again, we had a two bedroom with a view. A view of the parking lot. For the 9 months we lived here, Midas and Maya barked at every single passerby in a 2 mile radius thanks to the sliding glass door that faced a sidewalk and many parked cars. Before we left, Midas met a black pug named Ebony. He is considering getting another sister who looks just like her. The great thing about this place was the circular area of grass behind the pool. It was great for a good run and sometimes when no one was looking he would go for a little swim. But don't tell anyone-- we wouldn't want to upset the trolls that ride around in the golf-carts.

So here we are in Texas now. As I write this, he is sharing a bed and a nap with his beautiful sister Maya-- who snores like a mack truck. Halloween is over and his costume was great. They are now dreaming of their favorite holiday, Turkey day, which lingers right around the corner. In two more days he will turn three... and yet he is still my little puppy.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Life After Halloween

So Halloween came and went. It was a good year for family... unlike last years gay streaker at the blood and gorefest that was the pinnacle of Halloween celebrations. There were no strange women with armpit hair and I didn't see a single random naked guy. That's okay. We had our spot staked out at Mike's parents house where we roasted marshmallows and had burgers right there in the driveway. We listened to spooky music and awaited the trick-or-treaters...

But what happened to Halloween? Not only were there so few trick-or-treaters that we had more than half our candy left, but the trick or treaters that came were lazy bums for the most part. About half the kids didn't even bother to dress up at all! Parents didn't walk their kids around the block, they drove them from house to house (approximately ten steps) in their cars. No one said trick or treat... or thank you... what the crap?! Have I seriously gotten that old and crusty that this bothers me?

I feel bad for those kids, though. Sure, they went and got free candy from suckers and didn't have to do an ounce of work for it, but when I was a kid, my mom made our costumes and they didn't look like those cheap, crappy store bought ones. They were awesome. Time was spent. Details were added. We spent time each year figuring out just what we wanted to be (except the one year that I just HAD to go as Punky Brewster for a second time.) This wasn't all in my head, either. I look back at pictures of my friends and I at Halloween and we looked damn good. My mom made my sister a cowgirl outfit that was exquisite! AND each year we would go out and WALK from house to house in our neighborhoods with a group of friends and a parent or two. No cars. No wagons unless you were really young. We said "trick or treat" and "thank you." And (incase I wasn't already sounding like an old fart) to top it all off, we did it in freezing cold weather and our parents never complained because we LIVED for Halloween and we loved every minute of it.

Kids now'a'days SUCK.

I don't think I saw one home-made or creative costume this year. I saw about a dozen spider man suits, and kids in jerseys with helmets. Ooooh. Good one. I was really dissappointed.

But... it is what it is. Now that Halloween is past, I guess its time for me to sink back into a gym routine. Not that we had any candy, just that I am at a new gym now. I actually checked out four gyms before deciding on 24 hour fitness. The guy at the counter assured me that despite the fact that they only have a two lane pool-- its never full. We'll just see about that.

I have to say, it is intimidating somehow to go to the new gym. Not to mention, I am not off to the best start. I had a free session with a personal trainer, and I slept through it. Niiiiice. Who does that. Oh, I do.

So I haven't had the guts to actually show my face there yet. As if alarm bells and sirens will go off as soon as I swipe my card. I realllly need to get going. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe. I'm actually more sure that I'm going to get lunch at the Vietnamese place by Mike's work than I am that I'll actually go to the gym. How sad. Its not for lack of wanting to get back into a workout. Its for lack of... common sense and confidence.

In other news, for those keeping track. I got the job at the marketing department in San Marcos. I'm trying to decide whether or not to take it. My reasoning is that if I take this time and concentrate on finishing my webmaster certification, I can get a job making much more money. Not only that but San Marcos is going to be over an hour commute each way until we move out of the duplex and that will not be for awhile. Oh the decisions I must make. Starting with egg rolls or spring rolls at the Vietnamese place tomorrow. Egg rolls orrrrr spring rolls.....

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