Monthly Archives: November 2014

How to Give Your Man a Heart Attack

FH and I don’t always have the same sleep schedule. There are days that I go to sleep before him and there are days that he goes to sleep before me. Most of the time we end up going to sleep at the same time. Tonight was one of those nights where FH was tired and ready for bed before I was and so he was going to go to sleep and I would stay awake. Simple enough.

Well, I thought it made sense to get changed and ready for bed when he was still awake so that I wouldn’t disturb him when I eventually go up to bed. I sat on the bed and untied my shoes, I removed my earrings and hung them on the earring tree, and I took off my watch and put it on my dresser. Then I hopped back over to the bed, snatched my pajamas off my pillow, and got changed.

Maneuvering around the bedroom on crutches is a bit of a challenge, but I’ve been getting better. I crutched my way over to FH, got my back scratched, and gave a goodnight kiss. Then I shut off the lights and crutched over to the stairs. Now, the technique for going up or down the stairs on crutches is to put both crutches underneath one arm and use the banister for support. I took one step down before moving the right crutch over to the left arm. And I dropped it.

Do you know how loud it is when a crutch falls down the stairs? It’s pretty loud; especially because it hits every stair on the way down while making a thud, thud, thud noise. This happens and then I hear “OH SHIT” from the bedroom followed by him jumping out of bed. I yell back that I’m okay and that it was my crutch that fell down the stairs, not me. This information, I believe, was met with a combination of relief that I wasn’t injured and anger that I had scared the shit out of him.

So, what’s the moral of the story? FH does not take kindly to hearing me fall down the stairs (although it was technically my crutches). According to him, I gave him a heart attack. I guess it is nice to know he cares. Maybe in the future though, I’ll make sure the crutches are both secure under my arm before moving at all. After all, you know what they say about the boy who cried wolf. And hopefully I won’t fall down the stairs, but with my track record, you really never know. Best not to push my luck.

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Working Retail on Black Friday: I Stay Home and So Should You!

It was three years ago. I was working a retail job and had been told I would be working on Black Friday. The store was going to be opening on Thanksgiving at 11pm. Since I was working as one of the admins, I had to get there even earlier to get the cash counted and out in the registers before the madness began. What did this mean for me? Certainly no Thanksgiving dinner with my family. That year, I ate a sandwich from Wawa as my Thanksgiving meal. Just like the pilgrims did.

When I showed up to work, there already was a line circling the building. I looked at these people wondering why they thought standing in line outside a store was more important than celebrating Thanksgiving with their families. I certainly would rather have been anywhere but there. But it was my job, so I ignored the dirty looks I was getting from people that must have assumed I was trying to cut the line and went into the store.

The atmosphere was of somber anticipation in the store. We all knew the next few hours were going to be crazy but no one wanted to be there. The big ‘deal’ that year was a 52” television being sold dirt-cheap and we only had a certain number available. Some employees were instructed to hand out tickets to those looking to score big on Black Friday with the television. Why was it being sold so cheaply? Because it was not a good quality television and made for a great way to bring in the crowds and yet people who didn’t make it to the line in time to get a ticket for the TV were PISSED. All that anticipation, and the poor-quality televisions were gone. That is the secret that stores won’t tell you. Most of the great deals are cheap products that will not last. You spent $5 on a waffle maker? Good for you, it will break the second time you use it. Was it really worth it? Think about how many people had to miss time with their families so you could get a good deal on a crappy product.

As I helped prepare the store for the craze of Black Friday, I felt my heart begin to pound the closer we got to the doors opening. There was a certain amount of excitement being involved in such an anticipated event. Although the excitement wore off very quickly once the mobs pushed their way into the store. It was a mad house. Working retail is almost always loud, but this was deafening. This did put a bit of a mute on the Christmas music that had been playing already for weeks, so silver lining?

Working on Black Friday was awful. I don’t know what was worse when it came to customers. There were those who were stereotypically rude, chatting on their cell phones and getting pissed off that I wasn’t moving fast enough or that I dared stop to check certain items for shrink. Sorry, that was my job. If we could trust customers to not steal, we wouldn’t have to do this. (Side note: I did receive awards during my time in retail for stopping shrink. Woo hoo). Then there were customers that weren’t rude, but instead they had the nerve to say things like, “Oh, they’re making you work on Black Friday? That sucks!” It took all my willpower to not respond with more than a smile and a shrug. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, No, you idiot, you are making me work on Black Friday. People like you that spend hours camping outside the store create the demand for Black Friday workers. YOU are ruining Thanksgiving. Jerk. Then there were a select few that worked at the same store as I did and they came in on Black Friday to torment us. Thanks guys.

Did I mention that I had to work a split shift? I had to come in on Thanksgiving and stay for an eight-hour shift, then go home for a few hours and come back in the afternoon. One of the most awesome things ever, I got home and passed out only to have to wake up again and drive back to the store and deal with the general public. I did fare better than some others. The year before, a guy died on his way home because he fell asleep at the wheel. He took a bunch of those energy shots to get him through his shift and then his body crashed, which caused him to get into a car accident and die. Happy Thanksgiving.

Although working on Black Friday was an awful experience for me, I consider myself lucky. I no longer work in retail and the whole Black Friday craze has gotten even worse since I left. There are some stores that are opening at 6am on Thanksgiving. What is wrong with people? The CEO and everyone else involved with this terrible decision should have to work in the stores on Black Friday so they can understand what they are asking people to do. They should miss celebrating the holiday with their families. Then there are stores that are opening for a few hours on Thanksgiving and then will close for a few hours before opening again on Black Friday. You may think this is more humane, but it isn’t. Most workers will not have a chance to go home in between and they are STILL missing out on Thanksgiving with their families.

To all those people that are looking forward to the great deals on Black Friday, maybe you should stop and think about what you are doing. By shopping on Black Friday at crazy hours that start on Thanksgiving, you are taking away the holiday from all the employees that are there. You are also missing out on at least part of Thanksgiving yourselves. Why has shopping taken over Thanksgiving? Before pointing the fingers at the companies that are opening on Thanksgiving and saying that they are the ones ruining it, keep in mind that without a customer base coming in they wouldn’t be opening their doors that early. The problem starts with the customers. Don’t shop on Black Friday. Stay home; enjoy the time with your family or the day off from work if you have it. Maybe if enough people boycott this madness, Black Friday can go back to being on Friday alone and people can refresh their memories about what the holidays are really about.

The Struggle is Real: Keeping the Counter Clear

I am not a big fan of de-cluttering. Mainly because it is such a big task at my home that it is easier to ignore all the clutter rather than do something about it. I’ve read quite a few articles about managing the clutter and the best techniques for really making a dent in it. But reading the articles is usually where it ends. I will admit it; I am a bit of a packrat and so is FH. So our place gets cluttered and for the most part, no one does anything about it.

The other weekend, I spent the majority of my day cleaning our kitchen. I did the dishes including hand washing the delicate glasses and other items that cannot go in the dishwasher. I cleaned up the counters around the sink and in front of the microwave. Then I cleaned the stove. This was the big task that took the longest. There were many instances over the past few months where something we cooked boiled over or spilled on the stove causing our white stove to be coated with black grease. It was a mess. It was a mess that I was avoiding because I knew it would be a pain to clean. But it had to be done. So I set to work.

Cleaning the stove is quite a process. I had to wipe off the crusted food that was semi-loose and throw that away. Then I got my sponge and tried to use some spray on the grease. This did nothing so I had to use the powder stuff and an SOS pad. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. I left it to soak for around an hour after coating it in the cleaner stuff and then spent probably another two hours scrubbing off all the grease. I went through two dishcloths, one sponge, and one SOS pad along with five bowls of water (I find it easier to fill a bowl with water and keep it next to the stove so I can rinse my sponge off without having to walk across the kitchen every two seconds). Finally the stove was clean and so my next task was to clean the counter around the stove.

We have limited counter space in our kitchen and the counter next to the stove is prime real estate. Sadly, the clutter tends to congregate in this location. It is always covered with stuff and therefore it cannot be used. I went to clean it and realized that most of the stuff on the counter did have a home; it just never got put away. So I spend even more time putting away all the junk that was on the counter. Shot glasses, pieces of mail, empty wine bottles, a few books, various food items, and so on were put in their proper spots. Once all the junk was gone, it was easy to clean the counter. Amazing.

I was pretty proud of the hard work that I put into cleaning up my kitchen. When FH got home from work I showed him everything and explained that from now one, this counter was to remain clear of all junk. He agreed. That was a few weeks ago. Currently, my counter is covered with stuff. Shocking, I know.

To be fair, the stuff on the counter is not all FH’s doing. I share the blame. There are a few wine bottles that I put there after our engagement party. I also left out the olive oil last time I cooked with it. The big issue is we went to the store yesterday and stocked up on a lot of stuff. Most of this stuff is sitting on my counter, waiting for me to figure out where it belongs. Once again, my counter is covered with stuff. Keeping it clear has proved to be a very difficult, seemingly impossible task. I fear the struggle to keep my counter clear will continue for as long as we’re alive. *sigh* This is the problem with two packrats falling in love. There’s so much stuff, it’s bound to pile up.

Adventures in Voting

In the past three years, my voting location has changed three times. I haven’t moved, but they keep changing it. This hasn’t stopped me from voting, but it certainly makes it more of a chore and a pain. I went and voted today as is my right and responsibility as a U.S. citizen. Getting there however, was not easy.

First, I didn’t know where the location was although the street was familiar. I put it in my GPS to be safe and ended up in an apartment complex. I knew this wasn’t right, but this is what my GPS kept telling me. I circle the lot for a second and decide to follow the guy who was also driving in circles. It seemed promising.

So I start following this guy. He was on the older side and just had that “I’m about to vote” vibe coming off. After leaving the parking lot that I was in, I only had to drive down the road a few yards to get to where I actually had to be. Mind you, I could barely tell this is where I was supposed to be. There were three balloons that were shriveled and dangling from a post. There was also a sign. It was an all-white sign with the faintest outline of “Vote Here” written in bubble letters with a black sharpie. That’s it. In my opinion, not enough: there should be no doubt in my mind where I need to go to vote. I’m talking neon-flashing lights.

So about-to-vote guy turns in here and I continue following him. We go down a short drive and there is the tiniest building. The parking lot was pathetic. And I’m supposed to vote here? There were no open spots and there were even a few areas where people had invented parking spaces. I’m driving behind this guy and wondering where the hell I am supposed to park. Part of me wanted to say fuck it and just turn around and go home. But I had come so close, I needed to see it through. Plus I knew if I left with the intention of coming back later that I wouldn’t really come back. Suddenly I see it: an open spot!

With victory in my heart, I prepare to turn into the open spot. Then I realize that while there is an open spot, it was not going to be possible to maneuver into it. See, there were two cars on either side of the spot. And BOTH idiots had parked over the line. So the space was normal-sized to begin with, but then car A determined that those lines were just there to decorate and didn’t have any practical purpose (at least that is my theory), so she parked with her tires just to the right of the line. Then car B comes along and instead of parking next to car A, decides to once again ignore the lines and park in the next spot over but on the left of the line. So there were two cars, each over the line on opposite sides of this spot so that car C (me) could in no feasible way fit into that spot without scratching the others cars. Granted, they deserved it. But car C is not mine so I really need to take care of her.

Just when I started to get REALLY angry, two people walked out of the tiny building and headed towards their cars. The first guy was in an invented spot and so about-to-vote guy opts not to use that spot and instead pulls a K turn to park where the second guy was pulling out. I was considering using that invented spot when a third guy comes out of the building. His invented spot seemed a little better, so I took that one. I park the car and head towards the building.

I open the door and look around. There are multiple doors, none of which are labeled. I turn to the left and look at the three doors. Two of them are bathrooms and one looks like a closet. I establish that this is not right and turn back to the main hall. Mind you, this is a small building and one would think that it wouldn’t be difficult to navigate, but alas I have problems. I hear voices ahead and so that is the direction I go towards next. I open the door and finally I have found where I need to vote.

It takes me all of two minutes to tell them my name, have them find my signature in the booklet, sign next to my name in the booklet, have them find my ticket, and walk over to the machine. I get in the machine and spent maybe another two minutes reading and answering all the additional questions they ask.

All in all, it took at least twice as long to navigate the parking lot as it did to vote. Why do they make it so hard? Why do they keep changing the voting locations? I think it is because they enjoy making me crazy. Although voting in this election may seem unimportant verses a presidential election, I get really frustrated when people blatantly say that they’re not going to vote. It’s your right. It is also your responsibility. But when voting ends up being this difficult, I can almost understand not going out to the polls. It certainly was an adventure, and by adventure I mean a pain in the ass.