Friday, October 30, 2009

You're Killing Me

Dear Tree Trimmer Guy Who I Paid With a Personal Check Over 2 Weeks Ago,

Hey man, what gives? Please end my suffering and deposit the fucking check already. Maybe I should thank you for reminding my why I so seldom write checks anymore and that reason would be that it feels like a crap shoot every time. Especially when compared to the immediate gratification and sense of closure I get from paying for things online, with cash or using my debit card.

I cannot imagine why you have allowed so much time to go by and still not yet deposited my check.

Are you trying to prove something?

Are you in a contest with yourself to see how long you can go without needing my money?

Are you trying to drive me insane?

Dude, are you dead? What the hell happened?

Did you lose the check? Hey, that's cool. Not a problem. Nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It happens to the best of us. Please call me and I will gladly cancel the check. In it's place I will pay you in lovely cash that I will happily withdraw from the ATM so that I can have the satisfaction of seeing the $200 drained from my checking account within a matter of seconds instead of obsessively, compulsively checking my fucking balance several times every day like a god damned lunatic to see if you have deposited my check yet.

Banks are located pretty much everywhere around town and every corner of planet earth. I will draw you a map if you need me to. Also I am led to understand that you don't even have to go to a bank. It's true! You can make deposits with ATM machines 24 hours a day and don't even have to get out of your car! It's crazy, but I promise, it's true!

Please don't make me call and ask you about it because by that time I will no longer be able to disguise my hysteria.

You have until Monday. Afternoon. Or maybe Tuesday morning. No later than Wednesday.

I'm serious.

Kindest Regards,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Employment History Part 2 - Talents and Trade Secrets Revealed

In my last post I wrote about my first job out of high school working in the cash office at Gold Circle. I really liked that job and totally lucked out because it didn't require me to sell anything, deal with the public or talk to anyone at all really unless I felt like it. I could pretty much go in, get my shit done and go home. It was part time and I was done by noon most days and that totally rocked.

On the other hand though the job had 2 major drawbacks:

1. It cramped my party lifestyle. I had to be there 6 days a week at 7am and getting up, dressed and forcing myself to be alert enough to concentrate on doing my job that early in the morning at age 18 when most nights I was out partying, drinking and doing god only knows what until scant hours before my shift started was extremely difficult. There were many days when I suffered through that job (or perhaps the job suffered through me) hung over or still drunk.

2. I already mentioned other major drawback to this job in my previous post, my cash office mate Missy, who found a way to suck every atom of joy from the air of the very tiny room we were forced to live in together for 5 hours each day but Sunday. Then again upon further reflection and after re-reading the last sentence of #1 listed above a couple of times over it has occurred to me that perhaps being trapped in a small airless, windowless room with a hung over or possibly still drunk teenage baboon like me may not have been exactly pleasant for her.

3. I know I said there were only going to be 2 drawbacks but upon even further reflection I am now wondering about the validity of #1 in total. I mean if I was going work hung over or possibly still drunk from the previous nights partying or god knows what then that probably negates the job cramping my style doesn't it? Sounds more like neither one had any effect whatsoever on the other. The job didn't seem to stop me from partying and the partying never seemed to prevent me from showing up and doing my job.

4. Fuck it then. The only drawback to my job at Gold Circle was Missy and frankly she may have had a point being nasty to me and giving me a hard time because I was a hung over, smelly drunk so who could blame her really? I mean, that room was pretty small.

I suddenly realize that I have abused my numbered bullet point privileges and at this point I'm rambling so it's time for an anyhoo...

Anyhoo... what I really wanted to tell you about was the job that I had after the cash office which I referred to as "the greatest job in the world". Are you still reading this?

I quit the cash office gig because I was going to start attending college and I needed a job with more flexible hours. I applied at several different retail shops, but the job I had my heart set on and didn't think I had a chance in hell to get because it was ranked pretty high on the coolness scale and I lived in a college town so there was always lots of competition for crappy paying jobs in cool stores was at a smaller but national chain that rhymes with Beer Ton Pimports*. Do you know of it?

It's a much different kind of store now. Back then it was only just morphing into the brand image it has now and many people (like my cousin J and his stoner buddies) thought it was a fancy head shop and sometimes when I told people (like my cousin J and his stoner buddies) that I worked there (oh, yes - in case you hadn't figured it out on your own - I got the coveted job) they would make bong and rolling paper jokes.

Beer Ton Pimports didn't sell bongs or rolling papers or any other smoking accessory except for Italian marble ashtrays and sandalwood incense. No. They sold the most beautiful and wondrous things. They sold rattan furniture made in Thailand, Japanese paper lanterns and jasmine scented potpourri. They sold cut glass Romanian stemware, bamboo fans from China and carved boxes made of teak wood from Brazilian rain forests. They sold English tea pots, Scottish shortbread cookies and itchy cable knit wool "fisherman" sweaters from Ireland.

For a young woman who yearned for travel, and didn't really see much chance of it happening anytime soon, it was a wonderland.

I started off as a cashier, but within a year was promoted to Assistant Store Manager. I love, love, loved that job. I got to be around all that cool stuff and between the shipments of new merchandise that needed to be unloaded from the delivery trucks, displays that needed to be built and the various trials and tribulations associated with working with the public, every day was new and different.

It's the only job I've ever had where I actually left smelling better than when I came in.

It was at this job that I discovered my uncanny ability to solidly and successfully assemble cheap furniture armed with only Taiwanese instructions, an allen wrench and wood glue without ever once bursting into tears. I would often return from having taken a few days off to find heaps of furniture left for me to make sense of by my frustrated and distraught co-workers who had tried in vain to assemble them in my absence. I was (and still am by the way) a furniture assembly goddess.

It was also at this job where I learned that working with the public is not for me. I continued to do it for quite awhile but eventually lost the ability to control my facial expressions enough to hide the disgust I was feeling behind a big shiny grin when confronted with:

  • The woman screaming at me at full volume because I would not allow her to return a dress with filthy yellowed armpit stains and no receipt. She threw a ball point pen at my head.

  • The children allowed to run loose all over the store and smash bath oil beads onto the floor I had just finished mopping while their parents argued over the fabric quality of $12 toss pillows.

  • The wild-eyed man who banged on the door after closing time and tearfully demanded to be let inside. He shouted, "I can see you in there! I just need to buy a papasan!". Allrighty nut bag. Key indicator of nuttiness not so much the wild-eyes, door banging or tears but the word "need" used with "papasan" in the same sentence. Who in the hell has an urgent need for a papasan chair? He was out of his fucking mind and I called the cops.**

Mostly though it was a great job. I worked there for almost 3 years and made a lot of great friends. Here are some of my more fond memories:

  • The morning my co-worker Jay broke all the jars in a spice rack and we used the jar labels instead of our name tags. I immediately snagged Rosemary and Jay grabbed Basil. As the day wore on some of our other co-workers including the store manager got into the act and we had Sage, Paprika, Nutmeg and Thyme all working at the cash wrap stand. I'm not sure why this was so funny. But trust me, it was. Epecially when you'd get one of those eye contact customers that make a point of reading your name tag and using your name when they pay. Thank you Nutmeg!

  • After I moved out of my parents house I didn't need to buy groceries because I was able to live off of the free fortune cookies we gave away at the cash wrap.

  • The time that I had excruciating pains in my abdomen and thought I was having appendicitis. My co-worker had just picked up the phone and started to dial 911 at the point in which I realized it was just some push pins that I had forgotten in my apron pocket stabbing me in the gut every time I leaned into the counter.

  • Being in charge of the clearance book which gave me an inside edge into knowing all the items that were on 75% clearance. You see depending on the sales of an item we didn't always mark everything down as low as we could have. But using that book I was able to legally mark it down as low as possible for store employees. Handy.

  • Our secret employee stash of full price merchandise that we all kept hidden wrapped in a tarp in the rafters over the stockroom. If we fell in love with something but couldn't afford it (and it was small, lightweight and pliable enough to be wrapped in a tarp and stored over hour heads) we would hide it in the stash and hang onto it up there until it hit 75% clearance. Brilliant.

*Perhaps some of you (who have made it this far and are for some reason still reading this post) may be wondering why I felt the need to hide the name of Beer Ton Pimports, but not Gold Circle and that would be because Gold Circle no longer exists as a corporation, but if balance is important to you may refer to Gold Circle as Cold Gircle as you continue to read this post.

**It's possibly the most useless piece of furniture known to humankind (it's a actually a tie between the papasan chair and the wicker bookshelf but for the sake of my post today papasan wins). It doesn't store anything, is flimsy as all hell, it slides all around when you even think about sitting on it and if you do finally find a way to get comfortable sitting in one for any longer than 90 seconds will give you curvature of the spine or at the very least a stiff neck.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Employment History Part 1 - The Cash Office

My young blogger friend Player wrote a post the other day about how much he likes his part time job working the fitting rooms at a big name clothing store. It was an excellent post that started my mind ticking back to some of the jobs that I had as a young person, most of which were also in retail.

I never had a job officially until the summer I graduated from high school. Before then I was kept pretty busy at home taking care of my younger sister, who was only 3 years younger than me, but mentally and physically challenged with Downs Syndrome. When my parents were at work and even when they weren't it was my job to bathe her, feed her, make sure she took all of her medications and generally keep her entertained and out of trouble. They paid me a small allowance for doing this and some other household chores which included cooking dinner every weeknight (my mother cooked on weekends), cleaning both bathrooms and vacuuming all the carpets at least once a week.

I got $20 per week for my labors, half of which I was supposed to use to buy my lunch at school. Is it really necessary for me to tell you that I didn't eat lunch for 4 years? Of course not. I pocketed that cash so that I could use it for whatever a teenage girl could buy with 20 bucks in the early 80's. Turns out quite a lot: records, make-up, movie tickets. Back before I started drinking, smoking and doing drugs life was pretty cheap.

Sometimes I was jealous of my friends that had "normal" teenage types of jobs working in fast food restaurants or bagging groceries at the local supermarket. They made more money and seemed to have a lot more freedom, but I didn't push the job thing with my parents because I realized that my friends with legit jobs also had to put up with such indignities as coming home smelling like a fry-o-lator or schlepping groceries across slushy winter parking lots for 25 cent tips. I had it pretty good.

What felt like mere minutes after high school graduation everything changed however. Suddenly it was expected that I would go out into the world and get a job. My parents started taking my sister to a daycare, hired a housekeeper and stopped paying my allowance.*

It was kind of horrifying.

At 18 I had no idea where to even begin to find a job. I had no idea what exactly I was qualified to do other than cook, clean and take care of my sister. The only thing I knew for certain, after listening to the complaints of my friends was that I didn't want to work in a fast food restaurant or a supermarket. So I spent most of June of 1985 trying to find a job worthy of my superior presence, a glamorous and exciting job that was also conveniently located on the bus line or within walking distance of our house because I didn't have a car. (I ended up getting a car later that summer.)

I wanted a job that didn't require me to lift anything, be seen by anyone, sell anything, get dirty or sweaty, move or speak to other people.

At this point you might think that I'm going to tell you that I was fooling myself and that such a job was not to be found for an 18 year old girl with no previous experience, who wore all black, an eye covering punk hairstyle, pale goth make-up and buried herself in books. My parents were certainly convinced that between my style and picky, priggish attitude that I was sure to fail. Perhaps I was being picky and priggish, that doesn't mean such a job didn't exist (Ha-ha!). Turns out there was such a job available (Ho-ho!) in the cash office of a local chain of department stores called Gold Circle (imagine Kohl's and K-Mart got married).

My new part time job in the cash office paid a whopping $3.75 per hour, which was a whole 20 cents above minimum wage at the time. As a bonus I got a 20% store discount. Ha-ha!

Every morning, Monday thru Saturday, at 7am I was locked into a tiny room containing an enormous walk-in safe, two adding machines, all of the store's cash register tills and another cash office worker. We spent the next 5 hours adding up and balancing all the previous days cash and receipts, refilled the tills with cash for the current business day and then prepared the bank deposits that were picked up promptly at noon by one of those armored car companies.

Every day literally tens or hundreds (during holiday season) of thousands of dollars in cash passed through my hands. It was a lot of responsibility and I like to think that my experience being responsible for taking care of my sister was what sold my manager on hiring me. Also I have an honest face. I do! Besides if there were any doubts about my integrity and ability to be trusted with buttloads of cash I had to go through some extra screening procedures and tests.

Anyhoo... that was my first real job and the only thing I didn't like about it was my cash office partner that I was locked into the room with each day. She was a girl named "Missy" with whom I had absolutely nothing in common. We got along, barely.

Missy, although only a year older than me, had dropped out of high school and was already married and had a one year old son. To be clear, it wasn't so much those facts that made me dislike her, but the fact that she was all superior about it. She was from a very small town where according to her being married and having a baby was the end all, be all of life's existence. She could die happy at 19 because she was married and had a baby. I was all like, big deal you've got a uterus.

I think perhaps because I wasn't totally jealous of her superior status as teenage wife and mother and frankly made no bones about my lack of interest or aspirations in either of those things (at any age), Missy thought that I was the biggest smarty pants asshole weirdo she had ever met and never stopped finding new and creative ways of letting me know how she felt. She certainly didn't like hearing about my taste in music, adventures in night clubbing and opinions about religion, politics or women's rights.

I might have stayed longer in the cash office of Gold Circle were it not for Missy. I was able to put up with her for about a year before I moved on to what I thought at the time was the greatest job in the world... which I will tell you about in my next post.

*I'm quite sure they weren't paying either the housekeeper or the daycare center a paltry $20 a week.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thtop It

Late last week I was having a nosh on some yummy crackers and extra sharp cheddar when I noticed that a couple of my bottom back teeth felt funny. My bite felt wrong. Thinking that I must have gotten some cracker bits all jammed up in there I went to bathroom, grabbed some floss and began to go to town. It only took a second to loosen whatever was stuck but when I popped out the floss something flew out of my mouth and landed with a tiny hard marble-ly sound into the sink.

Normally the crap stuck between my teeth doesn't do that.

Flossing is typically a pretty quiet activity for me.

My first thought was wow that was some tough cracker bit, then soon realized, as I'm sure you have gathered by now because you are probably way smarter than me and have noticed the graphic that the top of my post, that it was a big giant chunk of my tooth. Great. My tooth broke.

I finally was able to get it fixed today. Meanwhile it was no big deal. If anything it was a bit annoying because I was constantly poking and digging at the broken spot with my tongue which made for some pretty attractive facial expressions I'm sure, but that's just proof of my lack of self control. I wasn't in any pain.

Anyhoo... interesting thing I found out about myself today - my dentist has my chart marked that I'm a squirming cryface. It's true, I am. They even numb me when I get my teeth cleaned because I'm such a baby girl, but today because the work was a little more extensive than a cleaning, he had to replace a filling and build up the tooth and then file everything back down again, he numbed me way more than normal. Way more. Like my appointment was at 8am this morning, it's now almost 2:30pm and I am still numb.

Like unable to eat without fear of unknowingly biting my own lips off numb. So numb that I called the dentists office a couple of hours ago to make sure this was normal numb. The receptionist looked at my chart and was like Oh yeah, you might be numb for awhile still, like dinner time. Then she told me that I already had my chart marked to get extra numb and for this procedure he gave me a couple of extra squirts.

It's pretty irritating at this point and I've limited myself to very small bites of soft, soft food until I can be reassured that the food I'm swallowing doesn't include any parts of my own face. Fortunately for me the only truly soft, soft food we had in the house (ignoring oatmeal, of course, bleh) was a little tray of Tiramisu.

Oh yeth - I nearly forgot. A fun thide effect of the extreme numbneth and having no control of my own tongue ith that I'm currently unable to thay my Th'th, which I dithcovered during a brief phone converthation with my friend Thephanie thith morning. Here ith a picture:

Random Find

Disturbing on many levels. It's that kind of day...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

News Round Up

1. Weekend before last MDH and I drove to Indianapolis (I know, I know, we are just too posh and glamorous and need to get over ourselves immediately) where we met with some good friends and saw the traveling King Tut exhibit at the children's museum.

It was the weekend of our wedding anniversary so MDH and I decided to arrive a day early to take in the sights of Indiana's state capital which is how we ended up touring the home of 23rd president Benjamin Harrison (yet another "feather" in our cap of presidential homes visited across America , we are now up to 7 - I know, I know, you're jealous of our James Bond like jet-setting life style filled with danger and erotic intrigue the level of which would bring a blush to the cheeks of the editors of the Penthouse forum). We thoroughly annoyed the poor docent by interrupting his scripted and well practiced room by room guided spiels to frequently and vigorously interrogate the poor old fellow on the origin and subspecies of various displayed items and tchotchkes about which he knew nothing. At the end of the tour Mr. Docent was kind to enough to call over one of the historians to help answer some of our questions.

Mr. Docent insisted that it was no trouble and explained that he actually considered our intense interest refreshing and enjoyed our challenging questions because he is used to corralling busloads of unruly school children who could care less about American history and our 23rd president and don't ask him to answer any question more taxing than the location of the restroom.

MDH and I topped off our busy day of sight seeing with a romantic dinner at St. Elmo's where we gorged ourselves on typical steakhouse fare such as shrimp cocktail, giant cuts of aged beef and a bottle of moderately priced red wine. Afterwards we waddled drunkenly back to our hotel room, bellies full and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening lolling around our hotel suite and stinking the place up with our noxious gasses. So sexy.

Anyhoo... we had a good time in Indianapolis. Thankfully I packed some Tums.

2. The following Monday afternoon after our return from Indianapolis (that would be last week) my dad called me to tell me that on Saturday as my mother was bending over, filling out a form to bid on an item in a silent auction at some affair they were attending at their country club someone at the table where she was bidding moved a box that had been under the table so that the box was now out in the aisle in front of the table and when my mother was finished filling out her bidding form she tripped over the box and fell down and broke her pelvis.

My mommy fell hard and broke her pelvis and was still in the hospital when my dad called to tell me 3 fucking days later. Fucking A man. I'm not sure why they do this, but not contacting me is pretty much included in all of their emergency planning meetings. Granted they live in Florida so I wouldn't have been able to do anything anyway, but still, keeping me, their only living child out of the loop, it's weird right?

So now my mom is in a rehab center learning how to perform exciting tricks like putting on her own underpants and rolling over in bed by herself. She may have to be there for several more weeks.

She refuses to talk to or see anyone but my father and me (with one exception described below) and even I'm not allowed to call her without permission. She arranges for me to call her via my dad who will call me at 11:27 and say "Your mom wants you to call her today at 11:30 and she will talk to you for 20 minutes or so...". It's like mission impossible.

Anyhoo... you may assume that I am concerned about my mother's condition for all the normal reasons that anyone would be, but I am also concerned that the multiple new medications she is taking for pain and anxiety (apparently she has mini-freak outs just before some of her more intensive physical therapy sessions) won't mix well with the Scotch my father has been sneaking in for her on his daily visits.

I am also concerned that my dad, left to fend for himself has thrown his low fat, low sodium, no cholesterol diet right out the window without my mom there to control every bite he puts in his mouth like she normally does.

The situation has gotten further out of hand because you see my father is a handsome and charming old chap who is very popular in the community, especially with some of the ladies, who have wasted no time swooping in to fill my parents refrigerator with their home cooked pot roasts, quiches, lasagnas and various other meat, cheese and egg heavy meals. My dad is far too polite to tell these sweet, concerned creatures that he cannot eat their fatty foods and frankly having all that good stuff conveniently prepared and ready to eat has been too much of a temptation so he's been eating it and now his ulcer has been acting up again.
An elaborate plot?
It wouldn't surprise me one iota to find out that any one of these ladies (not actually pictured above), who I personally have witnessed shamelessly flirting with my dad right in front of me and my mom, planted that box for my mom to trip over in an effort to get my mother out of the picture. There are a lot of lonely widows and divorcees in the neighborhood and my dad would be quite a catch.

My level of importance...
The charity auction where my mom fell and broke her pelvis was organized by a famous golfer who happened to be standing near my mother when she fell and who has been sending my mother flowers and calling her every single day since the accident. My mom is thrilled and I haven't the heart to mention that the famous golfer is probably only trying to butter her up so she won't sue the plaid pants off of him. She takes every call from the famous golfer even though the famous golfer has a tendency to call at the most inconvenient times, like when she is on her bedpan or sleeping or what have you. When I suggested that she simply not take the golfers calls or explain to the golfer that she was sleeping or in the middle of a big shit she acted as though I had lost my mind. How rude not to take a call from the famous golfer. And yet all my phone calls to her have to be by appointment only. At least I know where I stand.

Only 2 items in the News Round Up?
Other than job searching, overeating and watching too much TV that's really all that's been going on around here lately. I'll write again when I have more farting to discuss and issues about my parents I feel like airing publicly.
Kindest Regards,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Didn't Know I Was Too Stupid to Live

Knowing that I haven't worked for nearly a month now and am recovering from what was either the flu or a bad cold you would be right to assume that I've gotten very intimate with our television lately. Intimate enough to know that there is never anything on during the day so I try to avoid the TV altogether before I am reduced to just spinning around the channel guide like a hamster on a wheel until my thumb cramps up and I get disgusted and leave the room to find more productive ways to waste my time elsewhere.

All that channel spinning is how I came across a show called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant". It's a show I've never seen (even though I'm going to rip on it for most of the rest of this post) and was never compelled until recently to find out more about. In the channel guide the title is cut off so all you can see is "I Didn't Know I Was...". You can't see the rest so I assumed it was a series in which people find themselves caught unawares in various situations for example:

I didn't know I was my own uncle

I didn't know I was sitting on an ant hill

I didn't know I was riddled with herpes

You get the gist. Whatever. I understand that there could be any number of situations, diseases and medical conditions you might have contracted without your knowledge, and yet it never occurred to me that being pregnant was one of them.

It was difficult, but somehow I was able to open my mind to the possibility that someone could be so unselfconscious and unaware of their own body that they live in every day and unknowingly be pregnant, carry an infant to full term and then be completely caught off guard when they cough 9 months later and poop out a baby.* It happens. Yet still I assumed that it was pretty rare and that Pregnant, was just one episode in the series called "I Didn't Know I Was".

I have since discovered that this is incorrect and apparently not being aware of your own pregnancy happens all the time or at least often enough that the topic merits it's own complete series and not just one episode. All of this in my mind begs the question - just how stupid are these people? I suppose I should break down and actually watch the show to find the answer.

Anyhoo... this is all coming from a woman who is hyper aware of every little gas bubble and goosebump on her own body. I contemplate the state of my own physical existence almost constantly. So I guess for me the show would be called - One Time When My Period Was Extra Late I Bought a Home Pregnancy Test Even Though I Was On the Pill and Hadn't Had Sex for Nearly a Year.**

So who am I to judge stupid?

* Remember, I haven't actually seen the show so I'm making assumptions about how one goes about delivering the baby of an unknown pregnancy. I realize that babies and poop are not extracted from the same location, but the word "poop" is funny.

** It was a long time ago.