31 October 2009

The perils of paint

Today, I have learned that it is not smart to man the painting booth if you have a big, important formal concert with your choir the next day. 

I hope I am in the back row because it will not be impressive to be in the front row dressed all in black and holding a formal black folder with hands and arms speckled with red and green and blue (and black) paint.  Oops. :}

Have you ever done something like that because you just weren't thinking it through far enough?

30 October 2009

Yet another one sails away

Well, that tears it.  My new friend at work had enough and left.  What a huge, stupid waste.  She was worth at least two of my incompetent sales manager.  There is very little justice in a world where I'm stuck with the stupid sales manager and have to lose a great co-worker because our management is . . .  Yeah, you've heard it before.  Sorry.

But I can't resist this great example of my sales manager's greatness.  Because of this sudden situation, I was asked to come in and work on my day off, and, because I desperately need the hours/money, I came in early in the morning after a late night leading a small group for church.  Then, that morning, I picked up another sick co-worker's shift for that night, but I could only work from 6-10 (so I could get some rest before coming in early the next morning for my next shift).  As I was leaving at 10:15, my sales manager got extremely snippy with me for having to leave before 10:30 .  Yes, she got mad at me after I came in and saved her bacon twice in the same day on my day off outside of my regular availability.  She is a real winner.

I'm looking for a new hopefully less crappy retail job along with my regular job hunting. 

Morale is just so shot right now at our store, and sales, which were up, are dropping.  It's sad because it doesn't have to be and shouldn't be this way.  I wish there were something I could do to make it better, but I really have tried everything I can.

I was thinking about good companies and how they value their employees.  Maybe I'm still kind of an idealist, but I thought companies wanted to hire good employees and use their strengths as individuals and team members to help the company prosper.  My RetailEstablishment never read these books, I guess.  They would rather try to force everyone into the same (bent) mold and break them. 

We're all breaking. 

It's rough to watch.  I have so much to give, and they don't want it.  It's . . . frustrating not to be able to use any of your skills, talents, personality, etc. in a way that helps people.  It's worse when you can't just quit, when you're too damaged already to be sure you'll ever be able to find another job.  Being so invested in one place used to make me sort of stubbornly determined to do my best to help things change for the better, but when you have resistance and an endless landslide of dumb policies coming from your district manager to your store and thus know that the "open-door" policy is a quick way to get fired, it just grinds you down.

At least I'm proud I've hung on for over 6 years.  :)  Find your sunshine where you can, I guess.

Do you have any suggestions for retail jobs that would be good for a cripple?

23 October 2009

The weather outside is frightful

Today, it snowed that huge, gloppy, fake-looking styrofoam-snow-globe snow.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .  Even if it's before Halloween. 

When I was walking to my car after work, the snow splutted onto my hood and coat with the exact same noise spit makes when someone spits on you.  (Yes, I speak from personal experience.)  I wonder if there'll be a blizzard on Halloween this year. 

My latest energy bill said it was 8 degrees colder this past month than it usually is.

So, how's your weather?  Outlandishly cold/warm?  Surprising?  Normal?

22 October 2009

Enough sleepless nights . . .

I'm reading No More Sleepless Nights at the moment.  I'm trying to be fair by reading all the parts, even the ones that don't seem to apply to me as much.  I mean, it may be obvious that my insomnia is caused by chronic pain, but I think it's spiraled into some sort of vicious circle fueled by stress and emotional difficulties that come from dealing with chronic pain, the government, and unaccustomed helplessness.  It's interesting.

I'm not sure it's designed to deal with people who've been having trouble as long as I have, though.  I mean, by now my memory is so shot that when I sit down to write up the various details you're supposed to at the end of the day, I don't remember anything.   Maybe the more I try, the more I'll be able to remember specifics?  We'll see.

Regardless, there aren't any quick fixes.  I already don't drink, smoke, or ingest much caffeine.  Well, I do love a challenge.  At least, I used to . . .

20 October 2009

Sweater Migration '09

Just finished the annual process of sweater migration.  It may seem a bit early to you, but I wish I'd been able to do it two weeks ago.  All my layers are resettled, heavier ones to the bottom of the cabinets where I can reach them more easily.  The thermometer will probably only go downhill from here. 

It rained today again, the dark, drizzly, low-slung-clouds-sulking rain, and it bothered me for a bit until I saw the leaves on the sidewalk and remembered that rain and cold October days are how leaf shadows are born.  I do love leaf shadows.  I'm willing to put up with a little rain for their sakes.

What do you love about early autumn?

19 October 2009

spring in autumn

A couple of days ago, we had a lovely spring day, which was odd since it was October.  It's been a freakishly cold year (not that I'm complaining). 

It's weird to try to describe it, but you know how there will be those days in early spring where the temperature isn't that much warmer, but the sun is shining, and it's just been so stupidly cold for so long that even five degrees feels cheerfully warm in comparison?  It's also the way the wind smells/tastes . . .

Even if I can't describe it, I did enjoy it.  :)

18 October 2009

The adventures of MR HAPPY FACE in Retail

I did threaten to post some of my lovely MR HAPPY FACE art.  Ta-daaaah!

Please, don't be the person on the right.  This person makes MR HAPPY FACE cry (on the inside).

17 October 2009

16 October 2009

Tire pressure and sinus pressure

I have discovered another way I am like my car: sometimes we don't do well when the weather changes. 

Last year when fall and winter fought, and the temperature dropped, a warning light burned bright in my car, and the same thing happened this time.  The pressure in my tires was off, so I went to a gas station and tried to fix it.  I learned several valuable lessons from this experience.

  • There is a 75% chance that when I am unscrewing the air valve cap,  I will drop the air valve cap into the tire.
  • It is easy to pop part of the hubcap cover off to retrieve the cap.
  • It is easy to pop the hubcap cover back on if you know the trick (which does not involve kicking).  (I learned this one after cracking one hubcap cover with the help of a nice guy who was also at the gas station and noticed my cluelessness.  I hold him blameless.)
  • You can't tell if any air is actually going into your tire; you just have to believe.
  • Even if enough air goes in, you won't know until you drive your car for 15 minutes, according to the nice guy from the tire shop that was, in fact, still open.
  • There are nice people who will let you into the tire shop (the nice guy at the gas station pointed you toward) even though it is 5 minutes until closing, and they will stop vacuuming and come outside to check your tire pressure and fill the tire that is still low even though the freezing cold wind is blowing.  And then they will not charge you because you are obviously too pathetic, and, for once, you won't mind.

15 October 2009

About singing

"Singing well is one of the greatest pleasures a human being can experience."

- my choir director

14 October 2009

Another reason I am a bit iffy about government involvement in health care

I have allergies.  Lots of allergies.  I am basically allergic to the environment and much of the animal kingdom. (I am, for example, very allergic to koalas.) 

I was increasingly miserable until Claritin D came along.  Then I was less miserable, though I was more tired (but NOT drowsy because Claritin does not make you drowsy).  I had fewer disastrous sinus infection-bronchitis-pneumonia episodes, and that was nice.

Then meth came along. 

I didn't even know what it was because I live under a rock, but all of a sudden, it was a huge hassle for me to get my Claritin D.  I had to sign stuff and go to the pharmacy twice a month, and I couldn't actually get the correct number of pills for a month (28-31) because the government in its infinite, apparently allergy-free wisdom decided that a known and documented allergy sufferer like me can only get 2.4 grams per month "over-the-counter." That is about 20 pills, which, if you didn't notice, is 10 too few on average.

I can get a prescription, but it has to be renewed every six months instead of every year, and it takes about 20 minutes for this complicated prescription to be filled at my pharmacy.

I still don't really know what meth is, except that it is a Very Bad Drug, but if you use is, I kind of dislike you, and if you make it, I hate you and wish you had to take on the allergies of all the people you've made miserable because of your illegal, destructive, stupid activities.  And the people who invented meth?  I hate you most in this situation; may double my allergies afflict you.

Anyway, back to the government.  They will, of course, claim that their 2.4 gram limit has lowered meth use or something, but that's probably not true.  People made stupid destructive drugs before and will continue to innovate new ways to hurt people for "recreation" in the future.  In this case, I feel like the government's illegal restriction just stupidly made people like me suffer needlessly.

Your government at work in health care: all politics and theories of government aside, it makes me a bit nervous for some reason . . .

Have you come across any ridiculous government regulation of health care related examples in your own journey?  Do share.

12 October 2009

On to the next strategy . . .

I had fallen into a sort of cycle of pain, more of a spiral, like the one water makes as it's draining.  I'm trying to break it, so I'm doing things a little differently this time. 

I'm near the bottom of the cycle, so that means almost constant pain, but it usually results in my starting to favor my left arm even more, which results in more pain to my right arm and back, etc.  This time, I'm not babying the left arm.  I'm forcing it to remain on the steering wheel or the handle of the grocery cart when I would usually let it hang.

The result is not the miraculous one I was dreaming about.  I'm still in pain, and I'm still unconsciously favoring it (I can tell because the tendons in my right arm are outlined in fire, and I keep thinking someone's stabbing me in the back [wouldn't be a total shock at my RetailEstablishment]).

Maybe I'll treat it "normally" for another couple of days, but I'm not sure if I can.  Strike that idea from the list.

Anyone have any suggestions for strategies of how to outsmart my neurological problems?

11 October 2009

10 October 2009

Concert Prep

Concert tomorrow morning!  Yay!  We sing this concert in the little cathedral where we perform our Christmas concert in early December.  It has a really lovely acoustic that's perfect for the lighter voices of our young choir. 

I'm thinking about Christmas small group music, so I'm wondering, what are your favorite obscure Christmas carols that would sound stunning a cappella filling a little cathedral?

09 October 2009

Thank you, God.

It's Homecoming Weekend, so some alumni got together at a local pub.  I hardly had a problem with the smell of alcohol at all; I didn't get anxious about being around it at all.  I talked and listened to stories without feeling like I was going to throw up.  Yay, me! 

When I got home, two young men dressed in suits were walking slowly through the parking lot, and I got a tad nervous.  I sped up, so I wouldn't cross their paths, and then so did they, which freaked me out completely, so I sped up more and did my special only-open-the-doors-enough-to-get-through-and-then-let-them-shut-and-lock move, hoping they were there to pick someone up and would have to wait to get in, giving me time to flee up to my apartment.

No such luck.  They sped up more but still had to reopen the door with their key cards.  I could tell they were suddenly in a worrisome hurry, and I started bracing for a confrontation.  I should have taken the stairs, no matter how much my feet hurt, but I knew I didn't want a chase up a stairwell, so I waited for the elevator.  I don't know if he was drunk or high, but one of the guys got way to close to me and started mashing the single elevator button, apparently so addled he didn't realize the reason the button stopped glowing was because the elevator had arrived.  I wondered if I should let them get on, pretend to tie my shoe, wait for the door to close, and sprint/limp up the stairs, hoping they weren't getting out on my floor.

Then a marvelous thing happened.  The other guy with Mr. Under-the-Influence (UtI) actually pulled Mr. UtI further away from me.  When the elevator opened, he sort of manhandled Mr. UtI into the elevator and effectively trapped him on the other side of the elevator until I got off and limped as quickly as possible to my apartment where I locked the door with great enthusiasm. 

It was like a sheepdog herding sheep. 

I never saw any of this directly because I was Not Making Eye Contact with all my might, but I was impressed by what I saw out of the corner of my eye.

To the guy who shielded me from his drunk friend tonight: my thanks.

To the bartender who mocked my my sadness that his bar did not serve hot chocolate or root beer: just saying.

08 October 2009

The Benefits of a Master's Degree

Let it never be said that $50,000 of debt is worth nothing.  Today, I got $60 knocked off my car insurance for having a Master's Degree.

Any other perks you've encountered for graduate degree holders?

07 October 2009

Yeah, the moon again

Tonight's moon is on
the other side of full,
a bit smooshed on
the upper right side,
like a rakishly collapsed
puff pastry.  The sky
isn't fully dark yet.  It's
that luminous velvet
blue, and the moon
seems so bright
it hurts my eyes.


I hope not to have to post this too much, but I've been having trouble with my tendonitis and an illness affecting my voice at the same time.  This renders me unable to type or write & dictate my posts.  That explains the absence of posts, I hope.  I'm working on it and hope to have more posts ready ahead of time for whenever it happens again.


04 October 2009

Driving East

Why is it that sometimes when I'm driving east toward home, the moon just seems to keep getting smaller and further away?

02 October 2009

Farewell, fair co-workers; may you be going to a better place

Well, it's started.  Employees are leaving because of the stunningly stupid new policies at my RetailEstablishment.  I really wish I hadn't been right in calling that . . .  It would be nice to work a whole holiday season with well-trained, experienced co-workers.  We all have our impossible dreams.

Actually, on a more inquiring note, a co-worker and I were discussing the new focus on pushy sales tactics.  This particular employee is a born salesman.  He's very good at persuasion and sincerity.  (He's a high school speech and debate coach in his spare time.)  The way he sees it, if you go into a store, you should be prepared for the employees to sell at you.  I see a certain amount of merit in that idea.  However, there's a downside that goes unexpressed that says, "and if you aren't prepared for that don't come to our store."

But I thought we were desperate for business?  How is it good for business to harass a good percentage of your regular, paying customers out of the store?

Being both shy and independent, when I go into a store, I do so to find what I'm looking for and then leave.  I wish to do so in as much peace and quiet as I can because I do not like shopping, and I don't need the stress of added human interaction in the form of fending off sales people offering things I don't want or need.  I am a person on a mission, and if I need help with my mission, I want to be able to find assistance in a clearly designated spot.  That would be my ideal shopping experience. 

I am being asked to do unto others what would make me leave the store.  Wait, not asked, told to do so and told that I will be fired if I don't. I just don't get retail.  I guess someone somewhere is crunching numbers and deciding that the easily swayed yutzes who can be convinced to buy what we want them to are better for business that the steady, faithful customers who spend more money regularly to begin with.  As one of said steady, faithful customers, I feel a bit put out by this.  :)

If you enter a retail establishment, do you prefer someone to pounce on you as soon as you enter, asking you if you need help or suggesting something to you, or do you want to go in, look around, and find help somewhere if you need it?  I'm really curious because the split seems to be almost clearly down male-female lines on this issue, and I'm fascinated by that.

01 October 2009

Driving in October

Well, it's October.  I am afraid to drive in October.  The last two years in a row, I've had a car accident in October.  I wish I could hibernate the whole month.  So if you can spare a prayer, please pray that I won't be involved in any more car accidents . . .