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Sep. 25th, 2016

Food poisoning? Food poisoning????? Are you sure you don't mean "It's my senior year and there's a big home game and this was the best bullshit excuse I could come up with in my current hungover state"?  Oh, Chels.  *sigh*

Oh, these kids are going to be the death of me, I swear.

AND Big Boss was comped tickets to the game (box seats, no less.  I admire her chutzpah:  she escewed wearing team colors in favor of our Free Tea Day tshirt to "get in a little free advertising."  THIS is why we get along so well), so I was left with Goodtime Charlie, Manager Tightpants, and his entourage of fangirls.  On a major game day.  Hooray.

I ended up opening, because we were already down a person (S hurt her leg, and evidently it was bad enough that it actually involved real medical attention, not self diagnosis).  I forgot that Saturday buses run on a different schedule, so I ended up at work 45 minutes early (after checking the online schedule and screaming obscenities and tearing around the house like a thing possessed when I realized I only had 14 minutes to get dressed, out the door, and to the bus stop).  The morning was nice, so I settled at one of the tables outside with my tea and my paper journal.  There was a light breeze, and I was enjoying observing various families (it was Family Weekend, too) cheerfully dragging their tired/hungover/depressed because they were going to be sober all weekend progeny to stand on line for breakfast at Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe (it's a Chapel Hill institution, and almost impossible to get into on big event weekends.  Unless you want to wait an hour or more) and being snarky in my notebook.

This is *not* an invitation to strike up a conversation, Mr. Random Stranger.  Jeebus, why do men seem to think they need to rescue a woman who is perfectly content with her own company?  Did you think I was bored, being alone with my thoughts?  Or is it that much of a threat to your fragile masculinity?

[Apparently, yes.  Yes, it is.  I have had it about up to HERE with cis-male privilege and ego fragility and the whole, erm, package this week, but that's a WHOLE 'nother post.  My FB friends got a sneak preview, but there is so, soooo much more]

I decided that, gee golly, maybe I should go clock in anyway.  So I went inside, took a corner table, and enjoyed my last few moments of peace before the chaos.  And chaos it was.

I am proud of myself, though.  The Unfortunately Named Coworker (now to just be known as J 2.0, because she's not worth that many letters) came in at ten--why does Jeebus hate me so?!?!?--and asked what I needed finished before we opened.

Oh.  Oh, oh, oh.  Not a smart question, child.  When I trained her how to open, she informed me "I don't do ice. It's cold and it's heavy."

[Ummm...if you are physically capable of helping Manager Tightpants put up the freezer, you can haul some gorram ice]

Heh.  Heheheheheh.  Now, normally, ice is my work thing (I get called The Ice Queen or Elsa all the time).  But...uh uh.  It's time for yours truly to set the tone, especially when I am dealing with the two most ineffectual managers in the world who are more than happy to let me do their job for them.

"Well, I need ice mostly."  I get The Face.  "After that, if you could bag and tag the cookies, that would be really helpful."

Which means staying in back near Manager Tightpants, which she makes every excuse to do anyway. She practically skipped off to get ice.  He shot me a look, and I just smiled and shrugged.  You hired her, dude.  You're not enforcing the "FoH STAYS there unless specifically asked" rule and not exactly discouraging her.  Sorry if she's more aggressive and not as cute as J 1.0, but not my problem.  Deal with it.

Besides, I fucking HATE bagging cookies.

I decided if I was going to be stuck with people who wanted to hang out in back all day, they were going to fucking WORK.  I delegated, y'all, which is not my strong suit.  And delegated with an iron fist.  And a sweet smile and Southern accent.

"Oh, if y'all are going back there, could you do X, Y, and Z?  That would really help.  Thanks."

At one point, Goodtime Charlie said "You are really stepping it up today.  I think we could all go watch the game and  you could run this place."  It took everything in my power to keep from saying "Y'all already are and I already AM." (I swear, I have NEVER worked somewhere where management sets up a laptop in back to stream the game.  College towns are a very different animal)

I mean, honestly.  I ended up assigning who was on register and who was running food (not that that worked so well, but I can tell you that I was the only one who had hands in MY register).  It was on the schedule, but who reads that?  I was not shy about yelling "I need a runner!" when there was food in the window and I had a line fifteen deep (it's more professional than "Get out front and do your fucking job!" which was what was going through my head).  We aren't allowed to even THINK about starting sidework until 1pm, so when J 2.0 took the dishes back at 12:35, I told Manager Tightpants I was going to put out the sidework list so we could "work as a team and no one person gets stuck with the bulk of the work while everyone else leaves on time."

Translation:  I am not going to get screwed as usual when you clowns are the MODs and I MISS MY BUS.  If you miss a Saturday bus, you have an hour wait.  And while I COULD walk home, I generally prefer not to when it is 91F and I've been up since 4:30.

You want to do dishes?  You get to do dishes.  Soooooo many dishes.  She was supposed to leave at 2.  She was still there when I left, and  I left at 3:38.

I am such a bitch.

Because Chels called, out, I was prepared to stay until 5 and cover the end of her shift.  Goodtime Charlie approached me and said "I know you came in early, but I was wondering..."

He couldn't even finish the sentence.  Jojo (PLEASE PEOPLE!  Quit hiring people whose names start with the same letter!  It makes blogging impossible!) skedaddled over and said  "Oh, I'll stay.  My girl has been here all day and I didn't some in until eleven.  I mean, unless you want the hours..."  And, yes, she's another Manager Tightpants groupie.  She's also very openly bi, and manages to make me (ME!!!) a tad uncomfortable.  She's the Queen of TMI.

I also think I might be on her (as she calls it) "Threesome Wishlist."  She's done everything but say it outright.

And, ya know, if J 2.0 had already gone, I would have stayed.  But, frankly, this week has been stressful.  I have a spousebeast who has been walking around under a cloud of negativity; I don't need a couple extra hours of that at work and THEN go home to more of the same.

I thought Goodtime Charlie was going to cry.  Sorry, Charlie.

Oy.

On the up side, because I actually DID MY JOB, I not only walked away with twice as much in credit card tips as I made for the hours I worked, I was handed $16 in tips (which means I don't have to share).  And when I finally got to pull my drawer, I made sure I got my free meal for working over six hours.  Frequently, I just want out of there so bad, I'll just skip it.  This time, however, I approached Paco (his real name.  He's one of a network of brothers, sisters, cousins that Kent and I have worked with over the years here) and asked if he could make me a chicken salad sandwich with no tomato.  THEN I pulled my drawer.  By the time he was done, I was done.  And I handed the slip to Manager Tightpants and said "Oh, here is my drawer and here is my comp meal" and swanned right the fuck out of there.

And straight to CVS, where I plunked down half of those tips for a  huge bottle of cheap chardonnay.

I swear, one of these years I am going to write about something other than work.  

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good:  apparently, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  I'm opening all week next week, with Wednesday off.

The bad:  we're having to be careful about labor, which means I may have to start looking for another job.  Hopefully, Sutton's is still hiring.  I could probably pick up a few early morning/late afternoon shifts, and it would be cool to be a part of Chapel Hill history.

The ugly:  I forgot who predicted it, but Ms. No Call, No Show is back.  Damnit!  And her attitude is as bad as ever, if not worse.  I swear, I think Manager Tightpants can't function without someone with that name fawning all over him.  Oy.

The only difference between her and the Bully is that she tried to pull me into her Big Boss hating drama, and I squashed THAT like a late summer NC cockroach.

"I just don't see why the managers get to park in the alley and *I* have to park in the parking deck.  That sucks and isn't fair.  She's just a bitch."

Me:  Since I ride the bus, I really don't have a dog in this hunt.  But the managers have to go on catering deliveries, so that make sense.  Having to have you move your car takes you off the floor...which, face it honey, you don't spend all that much time on, anyway.  And please quit using that word to refer to other women.  It creates a hostile work environment."

Oh, it is ON.

Being six inches taller than she is didn't suck, either.  I don't think my posture has been that good in YEARS.  And having the Mom voice and librarian glasses?  + 5 at least.

This is NOT happening in my store again.  I realize I've been complicit in the past by being silent when the other FoH women badmouth Big Boss (okay, the spousebeast also made several pointed comments which have really stuck with me about my role in this).  I didn't want to be a tattletale.

It just now occurred to me that I don't need backup.  I can handle it on my own.  What's the worst that can happen?  Looks like you can't get fired.

In lighter news, since I got sprung early and PEOPLE CAN"T CHECK DATES, I got to hippity hop down Franklin St. and pass out 4 slices of carrot cake to the street folk (and before y'all ask, I wrap them individually and include a fork.  I can't give money a lot of days, because people are stingy as fuck with cash tips, but I can give whatever food the staff doesn't claim).  The rain let up for a while, and the breeze was nice and reminded me that soon I can stop wearing shorts to work (I own one pair of khaki shorts--two if I borrow Kent's--and about a half dozen pair of khaki pants.  Thank you, food service career!).  AND I had a nice, non-creepy flirtation with a guy at the bus stop.

[I swear, it's the braids, y'all.  Every time I wear my hair in two braids, I have the most interesting bus stop encounters.  And not the kind that make me want to run or call the cops or come home and immediately take a shower]

We ended up taking the same bus and sitting together.  It was fun.  It was light.  And did I mention he was my crush type?  *ahem*

But I don't wanna adult today!

It's rainy and bleh outside (which is actually my favorite weather for staying inside, actually).  I was off yesterday, but laid out with hot flashes and a wicked headache, so I feel like a deserve a do-over.  I was going to go out for coffee and get groceries with a friend, damnit!  I was going to be social AND get stuff done!  Grrrr...

Doesn't help that I am working 12-5 (and tomorrow.  And Friday...), which is my least favorite shift.  I did let Big Boss know Monday that I'd appreciate keeping 12-5s to a minimum if at all possible, because with the way the buses run, I have to get to work 45 minutes to an hour early or 15 minutes late.  And we all know me.  Late is not an option.

[Besides, I am now the senior FoH person (well, technically Chels is, but she only works 5-10 hours a week and is more than happy to let me have the crown).  Doesn't that mean a little bit?  Of course, I didn't SAY that, but....]

At least I've got supper in the crockpot (the last of the scarily huge chicken breasts, can of fire roasted tomatoes and chiles, a little cumin, sliced onions, and I am not even sure how much garlic.  And we've got a ton of tortillas that Kent's work got rid of because they were expired for about 20 minutes.  He had to unload a case each of flour and corn, so he gave them to the staff and took some for us.  Woo-hoo!).  And tonight is the start of the new season of Survivor, which is always a bit of an event around here.

But not too much of an event, because Kent has to be up at 4:30.  Bleh.

And may I just say how annoyed I am that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been moved to 10pm?  There is no way I can do that on a weeknight.  I was asleep on the sofa halfway through.  Grrr.  I liked what I saw, though.  (And I can safely say that Kent's early Sunday excesses as Scribbles Snavely are now to be met with "Who are you?  Hemingway?"  And he knows it.  He just groaned, sipped his beer, and said "I guess I'm going to be hearing THAT a lot.")

It doesn't help that my shows restart right when football is winding up (Thursday nights around here are BRUTAL.  I *refuse* to flip between football and RuPaul's Drag Race/Project Runway.  Nope, nope, nope.  I'm a Gemini, but that's a bit much even for me).  I can cheerfully read through most games, but I get annoyed when I miss something I want to actually watch.  Unless it's the Steelers, I really don't care.

This system seems to be working well, since the Bristol Vixens are currently leading Midgard in total points.  And completely CRUSHED that misogynistic bastard from last year this past week.  I normally don't trash talk, but I DID feel compelled to put up on the news ticker "Vixens owner 'The Girl' spends Monday night with a hot toddy and a good book, goes to sleep early, and wakes up to read about another stunning blow to the Midgard patriarchy.  Think I'll polish my nails now and bask in that second victory glow.  It's good for the complexion.  Some of y'all might want to try it."

I'm blaming the hot flashes on that.  ;)

Okay.  Time to suit up and go feed to nonexistent masses.  NO ONE is coming out in this weather.  If anything, it's going to be all Tarheel Takeout and web orders all day.  Which is its own special kind of hell.  There's a HUGE learning curve, and it really is easy to send someone out with the wrong food...ESPECIALLY when you're new.  I honestly think that's the hardest part of FoH.  We also get people who want to pay for ONE ITEM seperately, another who wants to do half cash/half credit (not that hard, but there are several hoops you have to jump through), someone wants to add something, someone wants to delete something and not pay for it (uh...not happening), and and and...

You get the picture.  Hell, some of these orders are still stressful for me (there's one douchebro I see coming in and start looking for the nearest exit strategy.  "Well, if I don't pay for this seperately, it costs me like, ten dollars of my per diem.  oh, and I want to add a cookie and a drink."  You order food from here at LEAST three times a week, dude.  FIGURE IT THE FUCK OUT.)

*ahem*  Time to put on my happy face.  Wish me luck and happy Wednesday, y'all!

okay, so you CAN get fired!

Don't panic.  Wasn't me.

Ms. No Call, No Show got canned.  I find it highly amusing that she had the same name and attitude as The Bully, who also got fired.  Can we please quit hiring people with that name?

I know that sounds mean, but...jeez, her attitude.  She was one of those people who could bring everyone down just by walking in the room.  Not a good thing when you're working with the public.  And I have a very low tolerance for people who bad mouth Big Boss behind her back (especially when body shaming insults are involved).

Another bad apple, chucked out of the barrel.  Yay!

And life at work gets slightly more tolerable.  :)

Sep. 15th, 2016

Kent bought our tickets for last night's concert on one of those "sell your unwanted tickets" sites.  He just wanted seats (he's getting cranky and doesn't want to do lawn seats.  He also refuses to couch surf when traveling.  That 13 year age difference REALLY shows at times).

Holy crap, y'all.  We didn't realize we'd scored VIP seats.  For less than fifty bucks a pop. The seats were all cushy.  We were slightly above the floor, so you could actually see without standing. There were people coming around and asking us if they could get us something from the concession stands so we didn't have to stand in line

Kent and I kept looking at each other like "How did we pull this off?"

This also explains how we ended up with overpriced fruity cocktails in guitar shaped novelty glasses.  We had a carpe diem night.  Which means I *really* need to start racking up those tips the next couple of weeks.

The concerts were AMAZING.  Cheap Trick still kind of creeps me out (that quasi-spoken word bridge in "The Dream Police" makes my skin crawl), but they were on point.  Not aging well, but they sound good.

Joan Jett.  Oh my gods, Joan Jett.  I wish she'd done something from Pure and Simple (I really, really, REALLY wanted her to do "Spinster" or "Go Home"), but I really can't complain.  The woman is such a badass.  I've only seen her at feminist rallies before (so, so cool), but to have the full on concert experience was AMAZING.  She even performed "Crimson and Clover," which is one of my favorite covers ever.

We checked out the merch tent, and I really, really wanted the old school Joan Jett and the Blackhearts tshirt, but Kent wanted one that had the tour dates on the back.  I get it, because he's weird about dates and keeping track of things (I need to write up a detailed account of how the Rock and Roll Dice and the index cards work sometime).  But sometimes you want what you want, ya know?  However, we get one shirt per show--the benefits of being the same size--so I said okay.  Still a cool shirt.

My only complaint about Heart is that they didn't do "Dog and Butterfly."  I imagine they're sick of it by now, but I was really hoping.  :(  Instead, they did "Two" in what struck me as the place where "Dog and Butterfly" would have made sense on the set list (the spousebeast agreed).  It was truly beautiful, and really resonated with me, especially after TinFoil Hat Boy's nasty comments about how Kent and I live in our own little bubble (the lyrics are here: http://genius.com/Heart-two-lyrics).

And, oh, to be sitting under a nearly full moon, watching those two women perform and sip a ridiculously overpriced strawberry daquiri...my inner 15 year old nascent witch was so, so, soooooo very happy.

After the concert, I had to make one last bathroom stop (oh, and let me just say that Walnut Creek Ampitheater's bathrooms are some of the NASTIEST I've ever been in.  And I've used portapotties at the antique car show in Hershey, PA).  I culdn't find Kent when I came out, which causeed momentary panic.  Then he walked up to me with a Cheshire Cat grin...and handed me the shirt I'd wanted.  I got weepy (have I mentioned it's shark week?).

"You have been working your ass off.  Why shouldn't you have everything you want?"

The ride home was an adventure.  We hired Carol for the night.  He drives a taxi during the day, and runs what is probably an illegal hack service for select clients at night.  He routinely is the driver when Kent goes to work at oh gods thirty or when I call a taxi to schlep me and the groceries home.  We've struck up a friendship based on a love of rock and roll, so he offered to drive us there and back for a hundred bucks.  Given going cab rates from Chapel Hill to Raleigh and back, it was a steal (like, below half price).

I've never spent more than ten minutes or so in the car with him.  While he is infinitely safer than Santa Pete, he's...weird.  I get cursing out other drivers.  But cussing out drivers in different voices (Donald Duck?  And a wickedly accurate Christopher Walken, among others) is...special.  And riding with someone doing that while you're taking back roads?

But we lived and made it home safely.  And I am currently rocking my new shirt and pirate pjs pants...because *I* was smart enough to take today off.

Unlike some people.  Who is probably hating life right about now, poor guy.

Let's get this party started!

Woo-hoo!  I'm off until noon on Friday!  The Heart/Joan Jett/Cheap Trick concert is tomorrow!

Today, we were deader than my sex life in high school, so Big Boss sprung me early.  She laughed at me because she didn't even didn't even get to finish: "Hey, since we're so slow, do you...?" before I started pulling my drawer.

Hey, it's like a mini-vacation, and one I sorely need.  Why not start it a little early?  Lord knows I'll be able to make up that hour and a half somewhere along the line, because we had ANOTHER no call, no show.  Now, this doesn't mean she'll definitely be fired (like it would have in every other job I've ever had), but I won't cry if she is.  I'm getting sick of working with people who develop bad attitudes when they're expected to, ya know...WORK.

I had a feeling something like this would happen when the notes from the latest managers meeting came out and we were expected to read it AND sign that we'd read it (normally, it's just posted on the employee board, so it's easy to feign ignorance). It's basically a list of things we can work on, reminders of company policy, yadda yadda yadda.  It's a snoozfest, but I love how pointed it is.  Okay, and how 9/10s of it never applies to me (although I AM going to have to start paying for the fruit puree in my morning tea.  Bummer.  And I KNOW that one was just for me.  *ahem*).  I don't smoke cigarettes.  I don't own a cell phone.  I arrive obnoxiously early for my shift and will clock in if needed.  And I don't eat food I haven't paid for while on the clock.

Some people were quite displeased.  Especially with the whole "your cell phone must be locked in your locker unless you are on a break"  and "smoke breaks will be given at the discretion of the MOD."

I bet we'll lose a couple more over this, because you can't pretend you didn't read it.

And I need to remember to start carrying 50 cents with me on the days I open, because I *really* need my peach iced tea some mornings.

It felt SO GOOD to come home and NOT set out uniforms for tomorrow, to make sure the alarm was OFF, to not have to make sure the coffee maker was set up for the spousebeast.  I have this beautiful dream of sleeping in...which means I'll be lucky if I make it past seven.  Seven thirty if the spousebeast is extra snuggly (with cramps like this, it's convenient to have your own human heating pad).

And that's assuming he won't be up at five.  Which he very well may be.

Oh, and I have gotten a new nickname, it seems.  Most of the street folk have started calling me McAlister based on where I work (which I love, because that's my godfather's last name.  He ADORES that).  There's one guy who has called me Hollywood for years, because he says I have "that west coast strut."

[I remember the day, and I WAS feeling good.  I stopped and told him I was actually born in California, just a little further south, and the name stuck]

Ran into Gary today on my way home.  I had a piece of expired carrot cake on me, and asked if he wanted it.

He was CLEARLY feeling no pain.  And he kissed my hand and said "How dare I refuse such a gift from the Rose of Franklin Street?"  And danced off with his cake.

This place is fucking Newford.  And I am STILL trying to figure out what kind of fey Gary is.  He's been Kent's friend for years.  The first Time I met him, he peered at me and said "You like the Beatles, I bet" and opened his ubiquitous backpack and pulled out a "Let It Be" tshirt that he'd picked up at PTA Thrift and gave it to me.  The next  time, he'd bought scissors at Walgreens and decided he didn't need all three pair, so he gave me one (they're my coupon clipping scissors).  I know some people just see him as smelly and usually half whacked out of his mind, but to me he's just my magical friend Gary.

The longer I live here, and especially the longer I work on Franklin Street, the more I try to pinpoint who is fey and what type they are.  Okay, I clearly read too much Charles de Lint and Seanan McGuire, but it is an interesting mental exercise.  And a great "waiting for the bus" activity.  When I'm not bitching about work to my paper journal, I do brief character sketches.

I'm kind of stalled on The Jillie Project right now.  Is it advisable to undertake another writing project before I finish THAT one (says the woman with two current active crochet projects and Goddess only knows how many UFOs and WIPs of all stripes languishing)?  I'm kind of in love with doing a series of stories about the people I meet going to and from work.

And Franklin Street is iconic enough (locally), I bet I could snow UNC's press into publishing it.

Hmmmmm....

Okay, the spousebeast just walked in the door.  Let's REALLY get this party started!

Yay! He's back!

And he had a good time, thank the gods.

This year was the first year Kent come back from draft weekend with more money than he left with.  *boggle*  He won the poker tourney AND the gumbo cook off.  Go, spousebeast!

My "bags of dicks" totally backfired.  The guys thought they were fucking hilarious. I am now the second most favored partner of the draft weekend dudes (the woman who is a chef at the Biltmore who packed bags of various kinds of breakfast burritos is number one, and deservedly so).  So much for pissing them all off.

Whilst left to my own devices, I did such profligate things as a) binge watch Law & Order and the Food Network, b) read four books, c) buy five boxes of granola bars (they were on sale 5 for $10!  And they're my favorite!) and d) start a new crochet project when I haven't finished my current one!  *gasp*

Oh, yeah...and I got called into the office by Big Boss and got an unexpected, unscheduled 25 cent raise.  Go, me!  *happy dance*

I got to train a new hire this morning.  WHY do they do this to me on Mondays?  Seems nice enough, but I give her a week, maybe ten days.

Hopefully I'll be wrong.  But our turnover rate is pretty ridiculous.

Oh, relating back to my previous entry, IAN HUNTER IS COMING TO CAT'S CRADLE IN OCTOBER!!!!!!!  Kent was off today and spending his poker winnings.  We've been discussing the stunning lack of Mott the Hoople in the Rock and Roll Dice cd collection, so he decided his prize was a cd from CD Alley (All the Young Dudes).

Needless to say, we're going to the show, come hell or high water.

Happy Monday, y'all!  What did I miss while I was computerless?

So many concerts, so little time...

Good news:  I got next Tuesday and Wednesday off!  When we request time off, we have to specify why (which I think is a huge invasion of privacy, but it gives me an opportunity to be...er...creative).

So Big Boss said "You've got the time off.  But what is the 'major life altering event,' if I may ask?"

She agreed that Heart/Joan Jett and the Blackhearts/Cheap Trick MORE than qualifies.

I've since found out that, not only is Abbey Road LIVE! playing this Friday, Southern Culture on the Skids is playing the Cradle NEXT Friday.  GAH!  Since I'm taking two days off next week, there's no way I can afford to do either.  :(  Why does all the cool stuff have to happen at once?

Today was much quieter, aside from having to deal with new menu boards and a new POS.  I spent a good chunk of the day reassuring regulars that the world wasn't ending.  And trying to figure out why we now have to hit six buttons to ring something up where it used to only be one.

Kent's making gumbo and the house smells AMAZING.  I think there are few better smells in this world than a properly made roux.

I still think his talents are wasted on those chuckleheads.  However, he is cleaning a LOT of stuff out of the freezer.  And I'm getting rid of some unwanted zucchini.

(I swear, I thought I was going to make it through the summer without having that perniscious squash thrust upon me.  Nope.  So I insisted Kent find a recipe that called for it.)

After the stress of earlier this week and last week, there is something so relaxing about listening to Waylon and Johnny while the spousebeast works his magic in the kitchen.

Okay, gotta go finish my bags of dicks.  (For the new people, I'm sending bags of candy penises to the guys at draft weekend.  Their favorite insult is "eat a bag of dicks."  Well, wish granted.  Not only am the Yarn Fairy, I'm....well, never mind.  ;)  )
I was watching The Waltons.

I remembered how Granma used to call me "John Girl" and say how I was going to be a famous writer.  And get to marry Richard Thomas. I've been unusally inspired with The Jillie Project and wanted to read some of it to her.

I picked up the phone, dialed in that familiar number...and died inside.  That noise.  That fucking noise that there is no phone there any more.  That there is no one there any more.  No house.  No grandparents.  Nothing.

Someone please tell me this pain goes away.  The slow, dull ache I carry with me is bearable and not that unusual.  The flash grenade of pain that sears white hot and leaves me sobbing on the floor, clutching my chest and wishing I could just go be with her....I don't know how much longer I can deal with this.

I know she wouldn't want me to be this way, but I can't seem to stop it.

scenes from the life

[Cuddled up on the sofa with the spousebeast, watching the Today show]

Me:  While I appreciate that you're taking the extra time to make fun of Matt Lauer with me, didn't you have to go in early to put in the truck order?

Spousebeast:  Oh, I figured out how to do it online while you were asleep.

Me:  So you had me get up at SEVEN AM ON MY DAY OFF FOR NO REASON!?!?!?

Spousebeast:  Ummmm....like you haven't been up and eating Doritos since before 4.

(I hate it when he's right)

*****

[Checking out with my favorite cashier at Harris Teeter]

Martha:  Okra?  Your guy is making gumbo again?

Me:  Yup.  He's bringing it to his fantasy football boys weekend.

Martha:  No shrimp?

Me:  The way they've treated me lately?  They don't deserve shrimp.

Martha:  Ooooh!  Burn!  I think we've got a special on potted meat.  Or cat food.  Send it up with seafood flavored cat food.

 (I <3 Martha)

*****

[Riding home on the NS.  Reach my stop and run into the spousebeast boarding on his way to work]

Spousebeast:  Hey, sexy lady.  Wanna hook up later?

Me:  I think you know where I live.

Cue slightly overenthusiastic kiss, a pat on my butt as I walk past...and  bus full of college students who are squeeged out beyond belief'.  Eeeew!  Old people PDA!


****

And I came home to find that my copy of 'Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine' by Ann Hood (I LOVED that book.  I hope it holds up to my memory of it) AND my copy of Sudie Rakusin's new silver journal, complete with a thank you note and an invitation to drop by her studio to get it signed and have a cup of tea if I'd like had arrived i the mail.

Not a bad day off so far.
One of the commodes in the women's restroom is borked beyond repair and in need of a plumber.  I'm betting someone flushed a tampon.  That leaves the one that I have to MacGyver with a paperclip every fifth flush or so.  *sigh*

We also ran out of Diet Coke AND Diet Dr. Pepper.  And wheat wraps for the chicken ceasar wrap.

Yeah,  today was kind of ugly.  Thank the gods I'm off tomorrow.  The only thing on my schedule is a grocery run to get the rest of the ingredients for the gumbo the spousebeast is taking to Fantasy Football draft weekend.  And figure out what I want to eat while he's gone, because I REFUSE to exist on cold cereal and food from work for three and a half days.

At least that's what I'm telling myself now.  If this week continues the way it has started, I may be eating Spaghettios straight out of the can for breakfast.

I'm also going to be computer-less while he's gone.  I did it last year and actually rather liked it.  I think a social media break (okay, let's be honest.  A Facebook break.  LJ is actually rather calm for me.  I have great friends.  <3  ) will be good.  I mean to do it regularly, but the computer has to actually leave the house for me to stick to it.

I was going to take myself out to dinner Friday night because payday.  Big Boss asked if I REALLY wanted to have dinner...on Franklin St...on a Friday night....during rush week.

Smart boss is smart.  So I think I'll take that money and buy myself a book instead.  There are a number that I've been wanting to read (because, ya know, there are SO FEW books around here).  Maybe I'll make that recipe for black bean burgers I've been wanting to try, and cuddle up with a glass of wine and a new read.

In the interest a full disclosure, I was a sorority girl back in the day.  Actually, I am bi-sororal (if that ain't a word, I'm declaring it one).  I quit one before I could be kicked out, and was subsequently adopted by another.

I was one of six in Delta Omicron Pi.  One of eight in Pi Sigma Kappa.  Obviously, we were not nationals.  We were smack dab in the Middle of Nowhere, VA, nine miles from the nearest town.

This was a very, very different place than is UNC.

Today.  Was.  Hell.

Apparently, it was some sort of visit all the sorority houses thing day...thing.  Hoardes of young women--looking terrifyingly identical--roaming Franklin St. in packs.

And they all apparently decided they could use our bathroom.  Without buying anything.  When we clearly have a sign that states bathrooms are only for customers.  (Okay, and if I'm working, for street folk.  Management kinda looks the other way for that)

So we're getting packs of ten, fifteen or more at a time, trooping in, using the bathroom, and leaving.  A few had the audacity to ask for a free water cup.

I'm annoyed.  EVERYONE'S annoyed (we're at 68.72% labor, but have had to clean the bathroom five times).  I finally see a group coming, head them off, and chirp "So, are y'all dining in today?"

"No, we're just here to use the bathroom."

"I guess you missed the sign, but our bathrooms are for customers only."

*snap, pop*  [WHAT IS IT WITH THE FUCKING GUM THIS YEAR!?!?!?] *shrug*  "They said we could come here."

"I'm sorry.  I wasn't informed of such a thing.  Which manager did you talk to?"

*sneer*  "THEY said we could."

"Unless someone purchases something, y'all are going to have to leave.  NOW."

She called me a name that I will not repeat.  I hope her folks never find out that that mouth they obviously invested so much money in uses that kind of language.

"Technically, miss, you are trespassing.  I can call the cops now, if you like.  Oh, and I am sure that [regular who is a bigwig at UNC and member of the sorority she was representing] would LOVE to hear how you are representing yourself and your sisterhood."

I get called the name again.

I call to the back "Hey, Manager Tightpants!  Can you get [redacted]'s number for me?  There are some ladies here that I think she'd like to have a little chat with."

Foom.  Scattered them like peroxided, entitled cockroaches.

Chels hugged my shoulders.  "You're my hero."  (She's a senior at UNC, and the girls who come in are flat out mean to her.  But she's working her way through school and, yes, I'm living in a John Hughes film.  Only now I'm Iona instead of Andie)

I popped in back to ask Manager Tightpants if I'd overstepped my bounds.

And there he is, with the other two BoH guys, watching football on someone's laptop.

"Huh?  Oh, yeah.  .just keep doing what you're doing.:

"I think I might have been a little rude."

"Yeah.  That's okay.  They aren't buying anything, so they don't get customer satisfaction surveys.  I don't care."

USS Clusterfuck, y'all.  I think I was actually de facto captain today.

By the end of the day, I DID have to stand at the register for two solid hours because we had the line that would not end.  However, I was handed a number of cash tips (ALL MINE!).  And apparently the old guys are really digging my "Laura Ingalls Wilder" braids and want to give me money.

(I had a serious episode of depression when I was unemployed.  That, combined with perimenopause, meant my hair got SERIOUSLY thin.  I'm just now able to do anything other than put it in a ponytail and hope for the best)

After I finally got to pull my drawer, I grabbed my stuff and bolted to the bodega.  I have cash!  And they sell this kind of glorified Boone's Farm that is trying to pass itself off as "moonshine."

The peach stuff is actually not bad.  Or I might just need to ease the pain that badly.  Whatever.

Fransisco eyes the jar.  "I figured today would be bad.  But come to the back.  I have something for you."

He's not wearing a clown costume and it's not SC, so I figure I'm mostly safe.  I mean, that stuff only happens on Law & Order, right?

He got a sampler of the new Samuel Adams limited edition beers.  "You're not driving, right?"

The Sam Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA  is a lovely thing..  Even better when given to you in a syrofoam cup "to sip on the walk home."

So I check out the Little Free Library, drop off a couple of books, grab another Roald Dahl for Kent (he didn't read them as a kid.  I find that sad), and head down the hill.

*beep.  Beep, beep, BEEP!*

I just do the one finger salute and keep walking.

The car pulls up next to me and slows.  "Gee, and here I thought you'd like a ride."

One of the Tarheel Takeout guys.  I hestitate.  "I REALLY appreciate it.  But there's beer in this cup. I really can't."

"So don't wave at any cops.  Get in."

Day.  Totally.  Redeemed.

And I came home to find that the candy dicks (I thought they were gummie ones, but whatever) I'm sending with Kent to his Fantasy Football thingie had arrived.

I'd say today was 50/50 for winning.

Okay, THAT was unexpected

I finally had a moment where I thought "No, I am not a total fuckup.  I might be doing something good with my life."

There was an article in UNC's newspaper about the little free libraries around town.  I love them, because I read things I never would have otherwise, and pass on books to the community.

I was reading the article to Kent while he was washing dishes.  And I choked when I got to this line:

"During the winter, an anonymous 'yarn fairy' even left knitted scarves with the books"

(I always attach a note to use or share, and sign it The Yarn Fairy)

That's me.  That's ME!  Holy shit, this means my scarves (crocheted, damnit!) found homes.  I knew some had, but to read that....

See Alicia.  See Alicia start crocheting like a fiend.

I feel like I just got my fucking superhero name.
Talked to Santa Pete yesterday.  He *usually* calls on Friday, but he's been feeling a bit under the weather lately.  I've not been in the mood for company (actually, all I'm in the mood for lately is sleep and staring mindlessly off into space) and I figured he'd call when he called.  Heck, there's always the possibility that his Friday night supper club ended up extending into Saturday morning, then a long afternoon of chess and questionable internet searches with The Hippie--which, thankfully, The Hippie learned can only be done on HIS computer, because I was getting tired of having to fix Pete's computer and discover what two aging, horny hippies look at on the internet in the process.  I'm not a prude, but there are some things you just DON'T WANT TO KNOW about your friends.

Anyway, no.  Not the case.  The doc found more squamous cell carcinoma on his arm, which meant more surgery.  Time has a funny way of collapsing on me, so I want to say this is the third time in a year this has happened.  Maybe 18 months?  Regardless, too many, too close together.

I'm so, so worried.  But I'm also coming to some realizations.

So he's home, and loopy, and on pain meds, and depressed.  He's home, which is--IMHO--less ideal than him being in the hospital.  He's a bit of a spoiled brat, and if his surroundings aren't meticulous, he gets pissed because he doesn't have a maid or a wife (yes, really.  He says it that way). Given the way the buses run and my current schedule, the earliest I can get out to see him is Saturday after work.  And I will damn sure bring him food and tidy up a bit, but he has let it be known he finds my housekeeping skills a bit sub-par.

I love Pete, but he is demanding.  And he doesn't even realize he's doing it.  I'm just working on not feeling guilty.  There's only so much I can do and so many hours in the day, and work is beating me up pretty bad.  I'm not sure what we're doing wrong that we've had TWO(!!!!) people quit after a single shift, but I was on duty for both and...the shifts weren't that bad.  There was the usual mind boggling moments--no, we can't cater a lunch for 45 IN AN HOUR.  Ummmm...a salad and a Diet Coke?  Yeah, we can "cater" that, but it will be a $15 delivery fee...across the street--but no major sports teams, no conference groups, no busloads of tourists   *shrugs*  But the more people who quit, the more hours I get...but I am starting to run a bit ragged.  Some days, this means I'm doing everyone's sidework (which ain't just rolling silverware).  Or staying three hours after.  Or, or, or....

Today was a mess.  Big Boss is off helping do training at another store, so I'm left with Manager Tightpants and Good Time Charlie.  Goddess help me.

I've just got to make it through until 3pm Saturday. I can do this...
First of all, captainsblog and christina_maria, thank you both so much!  After a long week, I got notification of the account extensions and just cried.  Y'all are so sweet.  I promise to pay it forward.

I stayed up after that damned 4:30 alarm (could somene PLEASE give the spousebeast a job that doesn't require 3 days of getting up at ohgodsthirty AND paying $50 a week in cabs?  Pretty please?) so I could be in line early for the UMC rummage sale.  It was nice to just be by myself.  I usually go with Kent and the Kinsey-monster, so we have to have a PLAN.  And places to meet up..  And  an AGENDA.

I love my boys, but I hate that.  I'm not much for shopping (unless it involves groceries), but when I do, I want to stroll.  And think.  And stuff.  Thinking and stuff is important.

I got $22.50 in foldy-tips yesterday, so I set that as my limit.  (Ya know, people can just keep calling out.  D and I have GOT this.  We may be the most obnoxious work girlfriends ever, but we get shit done.  I think we actually make more tips because we AREN'T pretty, pert, perfect people.  We actually like the job and the people.  D is so warm and so friendly and people literally HAND HER MONEY.  It's amazing.  I can't figure out why all of the weirdos love me, but I'll take it)

Without The AGENDA, I did soooo much better.  And I found little treasures I wouldn't have otherwise.  I normally don't get to go through the "Women's accessories" room.  Today, I said what the fuck and took a peek.

She was waiting for me.

Granma used to collect Avon bottles.  I was always annoyed that the one for my birth year was blue (it should be PINK, DAMNIT!!!).  She always dabbed a little behind my ears for big events (first Confession, first Communion, first date--with the warning "If tries holding your hand  as an excuse to put it on your thigh, make him regret that he didn't know you're a good girl."  I think that was her way of telling to nut punch if I was uncomfortable.  While we didn't talk about what my father and his friends did to me, at least I was taught agency after the fact.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.  And jeebus did that go off on a tanget).

Anyway, back to why I just spent two bucks on a mostly empty perfume bottle.

She was sitting there on a mostly empty table and I could SWEAR I heard Granma say "Hey, Lee-she.  Look at that."  In a  room full of chattering people.

I don't know how many of y'all have been to BIG church rummage sales, but they are a contact sport.  I went diving in.

I got that bottle.  It still smells like "Cotillion."  I put it on the altar with the last picture of me and Granma.

Now I need one of those chess piece bottles that Grandpa always wore.  If he didn't have time to shower before church (he'd frequently try to work in a job early on Sunday), he'd slap on some cologne and say "It's just between me and the Lord, Franny.  I think He'll be okay."

Yes, my grandparents were the Walton grandparents.

Anyway, (jeez, did that ever go weird). I also seriously scored in the kitchenwares department.  Sadly, no Corningware baking dishes, but I DID walk away with a new copper jello mold!  I still have yet to find the Holy Grail (the Zodiac one), but I can check the pineapple one off my list now.  I also FINALLY own a proper roasting pan.  Kent and I have been using a full-sized hotel pan, which is brilliant for a turkey, but kind of overkill when you're roasting a 4 pound chicken.

I also got two cute cannisters with daisies on them that I remember from my childhood (I store all of my drygoods in repurposed spaghetti sauce or moonshine jars.  I kind of want to upgrade.  At 25 cents a piece, that's an upgrade I can afford), a mini spice rack with a rooster painted on it (and I had to explain AGAIN why roosters are good luck in a kitchen.  I swear, are Danes the least superstitious people EVER?), and a two piece lamb cake pan.

That was another blast from the past.  We always had lamb cake on Easter.    I wish I had Great-grandma Kraysyk's recipe.  All I remember is that it required a million bazillion egg yolks...and that's how I learned how to separate eggs.  Standing on a stool next to her (which I loved, because at 4'10", it made us the same height.  And she'd let me wear one of her fancy aprons.  I was ALL that. and she trusted me to do something oh so important.  Catch me, rocking the calico and rickrack, cracking eggs and seperating them like a superstar).

I saw that pan and had to have it.  Hell, I don't even bake all that much (okay, practically never.  Which is also why I bought tart pans.  I have good intentions.  Really, I do).  But I teared up when I saw it.  It had to go home with me.

This was one strange, emotionally fraught excursion.  Way to spend your day off, Al!

But I got some seriously cool stuff, and home feels more like home now, if that makes any sense.

Damnit!

Since I lost my paid account, I don't have my Wonder Woman "Oh, HELL no!" icon.  Just imagine that up there.

I went into work wearing my WW necklace from Donnamarie (the woman is magic.  She send random surprises to her friends from time to time, and this arrived at just the right time.  I've been wearing it quite a bit today)  and my WW undies.  I credit her mojo with the fact that when I was approached and asked if I could stay until 5 today, I just said "No."

No explanation.  No apology.  Just a simple answer.  Of course, I mentioned laterto the other FoH people that I was regretting not bringing a shirt to change into because I was meeting the spousebeast for drinks and to check out the pop-up farmer's market on Franklin St. (within earshot of Manager Tightpants).  But "no" should be sufficient.

Clearly, I need more WW undies.  ;)

The farmer's market was tiny (about ten vendors), but we bough focaccia from Loaf (in Durham) and Rowdy Gentleman goat cheese (washed rind with an inner layer of vegetable ash) from Prodigal Farm.  That may have been the Best.  Dinner.  Ever.  Kent had a bit of hard salami with it, and I binged on my last two plums.  Very nice.

I can't believe that I am starting to find cheese other than brie that I actually *like*.  Only took 43 years.

While wandering the market, we ran into The Potato Girls.  They're a mom and three little girls (an 18 month old and 4ish year old twins) who come into the store at least once a week.  The order is always the same: a chicken stuffed spud, a kids spud, sides of tomatoes, olives, and pickle spears.  Two extra plates (now THREE! because the baby wants her own plate).  Diet coke for mom.  Lemonade or water for the kids, depending on how they've been behaving.

They are the sweetest little family, and the kids dress so CUTE:  tutus, tshirts, stripey mismatched socks.  Hell, I want to dress like that NOW.

I was talking beer with one of the vendors and heard "Mama!  It's our friend!  AND SHE'S NOT AT WORK!!!!"  And then I had Zelda attached to my leg.

Of all of the day for Kent to wear his hair down (yum!) and decide to steal my "Don't fuck with me.  I'm a pirate"  shirt.  I introduced everyone to my husband, and Vivi (the other twin) took one look at the skull and crossbones and said "You're married to a PIRATE!"

I am SO GLAD they can't read.  At least I hope they can't.  Mom just grinned at me and looked like she was trying hard not to laugh.

After the farmer's market, I wanted to buy some wine to go with dinner. Kent went home so the cheese wouldn't melt, and I ran over to Walgreens.  I ran into Lance again, and he had GOOD news.  Once he recovers from the next (last!) surgery, Cosmic Cantina says he's got a job there.  The look of joy on his face was glorious.  He loved working there, and only left for greener pastures.

And we'll be working about a block and a half apart.  He'll be re-joining the Franklin St. food service tribe.

I can't stop smiling.
So, even days that are filled to the brim with fuckwittery can have silver linings.

And there was much fuckwittery to be had.  Big Boss has GOT to quit leaving me in charge of The Lost Boys.  Someone may get maimed, and it ain't gonna be me.

(I mean, aside from the constant threat of falling plastic forks)

We were busy.  It was beyond a clusterfuck.  We had THREE managers on the clock (!!!!) and no one seemed to know what the fuck they were doing.  AND we had the Alpha male.

(Thank the gods we also had Danielle.  She's an actual grown up and has 20+ years in the Biz.  We could have sent everyone on an extended smoke break and done much better)

The Alpha Male walked out mid-shift.  Huzzah!!!!  Couldn't hang with the big girls, I guess.

Dani and I got rid of his toxic attitude AND scored an extra $10 a piece in the tips he left behind.  Not bad.

Aug. 23rd, 2016

I swear this job is trying to kill me.

We'll ignore the long hours, the overprivileged brats, and BIG Big Boss hovering over my shoulder (apparently, since I'm up for a MAJOR raise, he wants to "see what [my] job performance is like."  Well, it's a damn sight better when you aren't right behind me while I'm ringing up customers).  Nope....I was almost taken out by a box of plastic forks falling off a shelf yesterday.

Like I need another head injury.

Jeebus.

I swear, I am so stressed out that all I want to do is binge shop on amazon or fuck like a slightly rabid rabbit.    And Kent's starting to look a little peaked.

I can make it through the next four days.  I can.  Then I finally have two days in a row off.

This check is going to be amazing.  If I survive.
So I discovered yesterday that the guy who wear interesting shirts (his dad played ukelele--I'm sure I spelled that wrong--at tourist traps in Hawaii  back in the day, and he inherited ALL THE SHIRTS.  I am so charming him out of the one with pink flamingos and palm trees) who comes in all the time lives 5 doors down from me AND plays Munchkin!

"I thought that was you the other day, but you were walking like you just wanted to get you and your beer home.  Now I'll just say howdy, neighbor!"

He works at Morehead and brought me THE COOLEST shirt yesterday.  It has the state outline with "SciNCe is cool"

Okay, I may have a bit of a crush.  And I may or may not have invited him over so I can kick his AND the spousebeast's ass at Munchkin.

Speaking of men who complicate my life, I ran into Lance yesterday at the bus stop.  It's been months, and I figured he'd finally made good with his threat to go off the grid.  I won't lie...I've missed him more than is probably good for me.  I thought he had just faded out of my life.

Nope.  He fell off a roof on a contracting job to make extra money.  He's in a wheelchair.  It might be permanent.

We're food service workers.  We bash our bodies around.  That's what we do.  He can't get a job if he's in a wheelchair and this is in his blood.

I helped him on the bus, was rude to a couple of students ("You've wanted to do that all, day, haven't you?"), and settled in next to him.

And that's when it came.  "I'm sorry you were worried  I just didn't want you to see me like this.  I can't even make it up your steps.  I just...I'm sorry."

I didn't cry.  How, I'm not sure.  I just said "Then CALL.  We'll sit on the fucking lawn if we have to."

In a season of so much loss in my life, having Lance back is a relief.

I can't use the L word yet.  But my heart is healed in places I didn't know were broken.
Busy day at work today.  Gods help us all, the Greeks are back in town (full disclosure:  I was in not one, but two sororities in college--long story--but these were local, unaffliated one-offs at a rural Methodist college the size a postage stamp.  Very, VERY different scene).  We had a full staff today (!!!!), so it was hectic, but at least I wasn't the only cashier.

Things settled down, and it was just me and Unfortunately Named New Hire (she asked why everyone acts a little weird/startled/shellshocked when she introduces herself, so she was given a Cliffs Notes version of working with The Bully. She picked a nickname to go by instead.  I'm actually rather digging the whole nickname thing FoH.  It's a cozy, teambuilding thing and...Jeebus Hopscotching Cadillac, did I just use that word!?!?).  She took a register and here comes the reek of old money in a bow tie (their desendants reek of AXE body spray, but that's another story).  I'm trying to wrangle a family of six kids, two clearly exhausted parents, and two (two!!!!) sets of grandparents taking the first family member to college and walk them through the menu, but I'm keeping an ear out to see if my coworker has any trouble.

She's flawless.  Charming.  Does everything so perfectly I want to weep with relief.  I may actually get to go to the bathroom more than once a shift now!  Then she hands him his credit card slip and says "Can you sign this, please?"

[We all say that.  There are variations, of course.  My favorite is when the parent goes to the bathroom and I present a flummoxed teen with the slip and say "Would you please forge your parent's signature for me?"]

Bow tie says "Well, that depends.  By asking me if I can, you are asking me if I am able to write.  I am.  Will I?  Of course."

She looks embarrassed and mumbles.  He laughs--LAUGHS!--and says "I'm sorry, sugar.  I don't know why I'm being such an asshole today.  But, you know..language is important."

I CANNOT just say "excuse me"  and walk away from my family (though, in retrospect, I should have just said "Pardon me, I'll take the rest of your order at your table while you enjoy your drinks. Have some cookies and chips on the house while you wait."  (And I beat the shit out of an old guy in a bowtie)

When I was able to get away and check in on her, she just shrugged and said, "It's no big thing.  But have you ever noticed it's always the guys in bowties?  They ought to be outlawed.  I think they're too tight, so the blood doesn't go to the brain or their johnson.  It all goes  straight to the asshole."

We laughed.  But I could see her hurt.

She's a younger WOC.  And he felt like it was okay to talk to her like that.

He probably would have done the same thing to me, given his lofty perch.  But I have age and my skin on my side, and could have smarted back.  This being The South, he might have seen it as me being sassy and laughed (and probably made a lewd comment.  But, again, that's another story).

Even in the class trenches, I still have privilege.  And that is a sick, disgusting thing.