Hey Sunshine, I’m having a really rough time mentally right now. Started at my new store Monday morning. It’s twice as far to walk there, and it’s a tiny cramped store. Some of the other people transferred there came from a slightly bigger store, so they know how things get done around there. I’m completely lost though. Instead of pallets and forklifts, we have a conveyor belt into the basement and have to hand-bomb everything. There’s no cardboard baler, so apparently, we have to walk armloads of cardboard to the recycling a dozen times a day. Everything is different there, and I’m having a really hard time adjusting.

To top things off, the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend brought home a tiny kitten named Sketch McCaffrey. The very solitary Bowser Kitten was very much not pleased. I’ve had to spend my days trying to follow the two of them around and force them to interact, or else Bowser Kitten just stands on counters hissing and growling at everyone. He was even mad at me!

I’ve had a lot of major changes happen in a very short amount of time, and none of them were changes I have been working towards. I still haven’t found a second job, which means I still can’t look for a house or apartment just yet. The goals I set for myself seem to be going nowhere, while the universe just keeps throwing giant steaming turds my way.

Having a hard time getting out of bed every day, and not just because my knee is so damn swollen from suddenly walking twice as far to work and going from 4 hours a week to almost 40. Been crying in the shower a lot. Not eating much. I just….. don’t know……. anymore.

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Updates

Wow, I really forgot how much I hate having random roommates. The creepy roommate left for 8 weeks to go visit his family and came back very early this morning. I’ve been hiding out in the bedroom all morning with my homemade granola, trying to avoid him before I’m sufficiently caffeinated to deal with the world.

I have to talk to random people all day at work, where I’m awake and chipper and full of flavoured water and bubblegum. I don’t want to have to do the same thing here, not even showered, with someone who thinks that every time we pass each other in the hallway we absolutely need to have a long and awkward conversation.

I guess that’s par lately, though. I’ve kind of avoided coming on here the last few weeks because……… well, everything just sucks. And when everything sucks, my brain goes blank. I can’t even write erotic friend fiction anymore, much to the disappointment of my coworkers.

Right after Easter, our hours were cut at the store. Not just “well, guess I can learn to survive on 25 hours instead of 30 hours” cut. I mean “well, that 37 hour week was nice. What the hell am I going to do with myself when I only have 4 hours next week” slashing.

For the entire month of April, I was lucky to get scheduled for more than 4 hours a week. The boss pulled me aside, went over the scheduling and budget with me, and swore things would get at least a little better. Just not any time soon. So, I had to start looking for a second job.

Had a few interviews, got a bunch of rejections. Then I signed up with a placement agency that seemed super promising. They recruit for a place I’m dying to work for and said they always have openings there. They promised they’d send me every listing for there as it came in. That was weeks ago, and I haven’t seen anything since.

I’ve spent days going over cover letter tips because those damn things are the bane of my existence. I’ve got at least half a dozen different versions of my resume ready to tailor, and have a small collection of application packages from various local businesses. Basically, when I’m not at work I’m at home looking for work.

That doesn’t seem to matter, though. The second week of April the boss called me on one of my many days off. The transfer notices came out for our district, and I’m being transferred to our downtown location.

Now, there’s a little group of us who have worked together for years. When they built our new location, we did the move from the old one together. We’re like a little family, the five of us. So as soon as I got off the phone, I went into our online group chat to tell them the bad news. Turns out, all five of us are being separated. Four of us got transferred to different stores, with one staying behind. We have been a collective emotional wreck since that day.

This group of us is family. We’re all super protective of each other, and of the other people at our store. When the big scary customer guy came threatening me and stabbing at me with his pen, it was my work family that came to my rescue and got him out of the store.  We’ve gone to each other’s kids’ birthday parties and weddings. We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, cats, and Sundays together sitting poolside with too many drinks. MamaBear’s two sons are my favourite little gentlemen, while PapaBear’s kids are the cutest little balls of awkwardness and hyperactivity. Sugar and I (she calls me Cinnamon because of my red hair) have been leaving chocolate bars in each other’s lockers for years now. And the WorkBFF, well if I get into why she’s awesome I’m going to start crying again.

There have been a lot of tears shed, and a lot of group hugs. Our last day at this store is Saturday, and it is going to be one sloppy day. The WorkBFF and I are closing together that night, and don’t think we can make it through the shift without crying a few times. Every time we close the store together, she drops me off after work. The last few times, I’ve managed to contain my tears until I’ve gotten out of the car in my driveway.

Throughout all of this, things at home have been ridiculously strained. The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend has been anything but amazingly awesome. I’ve caught him hiding alcohol from me a dozen times in the last weeks, and caught him shopping at other liquor stores to hide his purchases from me. He’s been back on the hard liquor with a vengeance, and his drinking is just spiralling.

We had planned on doing so much together while our roommate was gone. Instead, we spent more time sleeping in separate rooms than together because of the fights about his drinking. His drinking puts a huge strain on our relationship, and his lack of caring makes it worse.

At night, I fluctuate between two types of dreams now. In one, AAB gets drunk and angry with me. I know he would never hit me in real life, but he does in my dreams. He hits me, or pushes me, or tries to hurt Bowser. Whatever he does, I wind up getting hurt badly while he just rages on.

In the other dreams, he’s gone. I’ve left him and started over in a new apartment alone. I have a cute little bar cart, Bowser has a sibling, I have plants growing on the window sill. I’m happy. Even though I’m working all the time and super stressed in the dreams, I’m still happy to be alone.

I don’t think it’s possible to leave him, though. He’s pointed out dozens of times that regardless of how much he’s drinking, he’s still much better than he was when we met. The only thing that would ever drive him to drink like that again would be if I left him. If I left him he would drink himself out of a job, and a home, and wind up on the streets. If I leave, then that will drive him to drink even more, and it will be my fault that his life is destroyed. I can’t do that to someone, and couldn’t live with myself knowing I’m responsible for someone else’s alcoholism.

I’ve spent the last 4 weeks in a constant state of panicked haze. Nothing seems real, nothing seems safe. I’m constantly waiting for something more to go wrong. Every time I drive with AAB I panic, wondering how much he drank so far that day. I’m constantly worried that he’s going to hurt himself or someone else while he’s driving, or while he’s at work.  And he gets so mean and demanding when he drinks, too. The other night he announced that we’re getting a kitten, he’s picking it out, and the sometimes scratchy Bowser Kitten needs to get declawed because he’s a vicious beast of an animal who will kill anything smaller than him.

This was also the day after he out-catted Bowser Kitten in the Battle of the Bathroom Centipede. Bowser was too gentle with it, and it almost escaped. Oh, that vicious little beast, eh?

I’ve been trying to write more to take my mind off of everything, but nothing is coming of it. At least, nothing I can throw on here. I have dozens of half-finished pieces sitting on my desktop, and a few more scribbled in notebooks. I don’t know, maybe I need a new blog. Or multiple blogs for multiple genres. Or maybe just stop altogether.

I don’t know, my brain isn’t clear enough for rational thought anymore. I think it’s time for my lunchtime cry now.

Crazy Going Slowly Am I…….

Sometimes life is just one crushing blow after another, until you just wish Flanders was dead.

~Homer J Simpson

Well Sunshine, it has been a damn rollercoaster the last few weeks!

After my last post, I had a few interviews with the Company I Never Wanted to Work For, Ever. The first one over the phone went really well. I did some online tests after that, filled out a job seeker profile for them on their website, and went in for a second interview.

When the interview ends with the person shaking your hand and saying, “Well, this was fun”, you know things did not go well.

After that, I somehow managed to get in with the job agency that handles the account for the somewhere I’ve been wanting to work for years. I had a fantastic interview with them, and they emailed me some computer testing to do from home. Just to qualify to work where I want to, I needed to have a typing speed of 40wpm and be able to pass three different components of Microsoft Word and Excel testing with 80% (basic skills), 60% (intermediate), and 40% (advanced).

I spent two days reteaching myself Word and Excel beyond the basics I use almost daily. Pretty sure it paid off, though.

Test Results

The agency said it could take a little while before postings came in, and I prepared to settle in and wait. This place I want to work at would be perfect since my house is right between it and my current job. I could leave on, do a quick-change, and head off to the other when I needed to. Almost sounds too good to be true. Things were finally starting to look up for me………

So of course, everything got messed up again.

Monday afternoon the boss called. Every now and then corporate likes to transfer people to different stores in the area. Usually, my store would have maybe two people leave and two new ones come in. This time around five of us are leaving, and I’m one of them. At the end of the month, I start at the store downtown. Actually, of the five of us who are closest at the store, four of us got transferred out. And all to different locations, too.

Of my little group, my little work family, most of us had not planned to stay at that store forever. We knew at some point one of us would have to leave, or one of us would get a job somewhere else. They tore us all apart at once, though, and it’s a huge shock to us all. Phone calls were made, group chat came back to life, many tears were shed and much wine was drunk.

Oh, there was so much wine. Thank you Chili, for making such delicious and affordable liquid feelings!

Frontera Cab Sauv

This is what my feelings taste like. Delicious sadness…….

I don’t know if it was the shock of us all being pretty much ripped away from each other, hearing the sounds of my coworkers crying over the phone, or the massive amount of wine I drank after getting the news that put me over the edge. All I know is my heart is fluttery and my insides are vibrating again.

All I want to do is curl up in a ball right now and sleep. But my eyes don’t stay shut and my brain doesn’t turn off. I woke up four times last night, with the final time being almost an hour before the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend’s alarm went off at 6:30am. I’ve been scrubbing, cleaning, job hunting, and researching for hours already, and it’s barely 10am.  Hell, I cleaned the damn oven before my first cup of coffee!

So bear with me while I try to figure out what the hell is going on with my life. I’m going to be working on job applications and cover letters for the next while. Hopefully, I can get my heart to stop pounding long enough to get a post or two out on here.

When Life Gives You Lemons……

Things around here have just been crazy lately, Sunshine.

For starters, I’m looking for another job. Yes, I know, I say this a lot. But this time I really need to find something. It seems the Men in Grey Suits (as my manager refers to them) up in our corporate office found a ground-breaking new way to save money this year. If you don’t schedule people to work, then there’s no one there to pay!

Seriously.

Hours at work are like the teenage couple who decides to have sex for the first time in that creepy old cabin everyone says is haunted: they were totally slashed. My schedule was cut from around 30-ish hours a week to just 4 hours. I can’t live on 4 hours a week. 4 hours a week doesn’t even pay the rent, let alone all my other bills and expenses. So, I’ve been pounding the pavement on the Internet SuperHighway (damn, that makes me sound like my father) and passing out applications like they’re free TidePod samples.

Of course, I still had work all last week. Saturday was my last day of our fiscal year, and my last day until this upcoming Saturday. We were already short-staffed all week, even before the new schedules started this week. We were all stressed and on-edge, trying to get everything done that we could while still supporting each other through this. Two of us hit hardest in the new schedule have been there coming up on four years, while another is a single mother with more than five years there. We spent a lot of our down time passing around job search info, volunteering to be each other’s references, and going over resumes.

Oh, and did I mention all of that fun fun fun family time over the Easter weekend? The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend couldn’t handle it all. We went to see my parents for a Good Friday fish fry, and he had to back out of Easter Sunday dinner. He dropped me off at my parents’ place and then came home to relax and clean.

On top of all of this, I decided that while I’m stressed and my anxiety is super high from job hunting, I should tear apart our bedroom and super clean everything. It sounds good in theory, but I can only do so much when I’m constantly running to the bathroom to throw up because anxiety does weird things to my body. I can barely eat, I’m throwing up or pooping all the time, now I’m telling random people on the internet about my anxious bathroom habits, and somehow I won’t lose a pound after a week or two of this. My body is in panic mode and is holding on to every single calorie it can.

So, hopefully, I’ll have a little more time for writing in the next few weeks. I have a few things in my drafts I was working on before all of the madness started. I’ll be putting my research aside for the next little while to devote more time to find ways to pay my rent in the upcoming weeks. Who knows, I may even try my hand again at writing professionally. It’s only been like 16 years since I last got paid to write something.

“You’re Lucky I’m Not Beating You”

It was yet another fun-filled night with the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. Everything had started innocently enough earlier in the day. I did my taxes online, and he was wondering if I could do his this weekend for him. Of course, I agreed to, but said I had some ‘non-monetary fees’ he had to agree to first: for two whole weeks, Monday to Friday, no hard liquor and no drinking during the day or before work.

Now, for most people, this would be a very simple thing. But a year ago, AAB was doing all those things to the extreme. He was drinking heavily during working hours, drinking as soon as he woke up in the morning, and continuing on until he went to bed at night. He was beyond broke, spending every last dime on alcohol. But a year ago, he went to go “dry out” and to start getting his life together. He swore to me that there would be no more morning booze, no more day drinking during work hours, and no more hard liquor. Every night after work, he would buy two or three beers or coolers from the store I work at, and he was fine. Over time, a few of the rules were bent a little bit. Every Saturday when he’s done work for the week he picks up a 26 of whiskey. And when he has a really really rough day at work, he will very occasionally pick up a half-mickey of whiskey for the evening.

In January, I caught him with a cooler at 6:30am while he was getting ready for work. He swore that it was a one-time thing until I caught him again a few days later. He swore that he only started doing that when I was working my 6am shift for the holidays since he was up so early with me every day. Then I caught him going to other liquor stores, trying to hide what he was buying from me so that I wouldn’t know he was buying whiskey. He was once again hiding booze around the house, trying to drink behind my back. I would go to pull the Tide-scented Bowser Kitten out of his laundry basket, only to have a half-empty mickey of whiskey fall out at my feet. What I thought was more than 8 months of him doing so well with his quasi-sobriety was crumbling before my eyes.

So when I saw the opportunity present itself, I made my two-week proposal to him. He kept saying that he needed to get back on track, and he wanted to dry out a bit. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for him to do so. Instead, he told me he couldn’t do it. He’s fine giving up the hard liquor during the week, and not drinking during work hours. But he refused to agree not to drink in the morning because apparently he’s been doing that since he went to dry-out a year ago. He’s been doing this for a year, all the while he’s been swearing to me that he wasn’t doing it. He was lying to my face for an entire year.

And that’s where the fight began. He argued that it really isn’t a big deal that he’s been doing this because he’s been functioning just fine every day. I have no right to be mad at him for lying to me about it because he was only lying to me to protect me from his drinking. I tried to tell him that I was embarrassed and pissed off because I had spent the last year believing in him and trusting him, only to find out I was a fool and he was doing this behind my back. That’s where the real gems started flowing from his mouth.

“Hun, that’s why I lied. I hide things from you, so you won’t be embarrassed about me hiding things from you”

 

“You’re only upset because you’re a woman. Women take things to heart. Guys say shit, and then they’re jsut over it and can be buds. You’re just too girly.”

 

“I didn’t mean [insert mean personal comment] when I said it. I just say shit like that because I know it hurts you. I don’t mean it, I just want to hurt you.”

He went on like that the entire time we were cooking dinner, and well into eating dinner. He picked on my self-esteem, my work schedule, my job, and even my eyesight at one point. Every time I tried to make a point or ask a question, he would talk over me. He would raise his voice over me again and again, and then flip out when I raised my voice to try and be heard. I told him time and time again that the drinking itself wasn’t the issue right now. I understand that he is an alcoholic, and we agreed to a maintenance program as opposed to complete abstinence. If one small cooler in the morning is what he needs, either physically or psychologically, then that’s something we can work around. It was the constant lying and the smug way he rubbed it in my face that he had gotten away with it for so long that was the real issue.

Now, as I always say, I am by no means a perfect person or a perfect girlfriend. I’m sure there are things I said wrong, or things I should have said that I didn’t. I shouldn’t have raised my voice as often as I did, especially since I was doing so out of sheer frustration. And I shouldn’t have let him get to me so badly. But he said one thing that, no matter what I said or did wrong last night, he had no right to say.

“Look, it’s just a drink. Why are we fighting? I mean, you’re lucky I’m not beating or slapping you around. Just let it go, consider yourself lucky.”

He looked me in the eye and said the words “you’re lucky I’m not beating you”. Seriously, he said that, meant that, and honestly thought I should be happy with his lies because things could always be worse.

And I didn’t just stand up and leave him right then and there.

I feel horrible today. I feel like the biggest hypocrite in the world. I have spent years telling friends that if a man ever talks to you that way, you leave his ass. It doesn’t matter if you love him, he obviously doesn’t love you. But here I am, sitting at my desk in our shared bedroom, where I’m going to have to sleep next to him tonight because I’m not strong enough to leave him.

Right now I don’t know what I’m going to do. I know he would never actually hit me. He’s never thrown a real punch in his life, and we both know that I’m strong enough to more than defend myself against him. When we first started dating he wanted me to slap him for some reason; he thought it would be funny. When I refused, he slapped me across the face. I slapped him back, and then lifted him up over my shoulders and walked him to the door. I told him then that he was being drunk and stupid, so I wasn’t making him leave. But if he ever raised a hand to me again, I would have no problem dumping his ass on the porch and locking him out. And now here I am, doing absolutely nothing about last night.

I know it was somewhat the booze talking. We have these fights all the time though, and they’re just getting worse. He seems to think this is normal, that after every fight things will just go back to normal. He thinks he can say and do whatever he wants, and in the end, we’ll just be together no matter what.

After last night, though, I don’t know how much of this I can take.

The Tale of the Couple That Damn Near Broke Me

Financial panic. I had a few weeks here with almost no hours before they started slowly increasing. Now I’m obsessively doing things to try and better myself. I’m making my game plan to scrub this house down completely, now that my knees will bend properly after my fall. I’m writing more, and going through the giant stacks of research I have piled around the bedroom. I’m going through all my usual job search sites, looking for something to help me afford to pay my bills and pay off my debt. I cut back on my drinking quite a bit too. I’d usually have 2 or 3 glasses of wine a night to help me relax. With the exception of a glass of wine Thursday night after my fall, and a bit of sparkling wine in my juice last night with dinner, I didn’t drink since last weekend. I switched over to fruit juices mixed with club soda. It’s helped me get up early each day feeling awake and refreshed, instead of going back to sleep for another 2 hours.

I’m trying to put myself out there in a bunch of different ways. Usually, this makes me feel really great like a giant weight is being slowly lifted from my shoulders. But my anxiety is getting in the way of that feeling this time. It seems like the smallest thing can make that feeling go away. I’m trying my best to push through it, but working in customer service makes it pretty damn hard. The nasty customers are starting to get to me.  I had a couple of Saturday night that just made me slam my head into the counter. Seriously, I dropped my head onto the counter when they left, and the customer in line behind them just said, “Take your time. That was rough.” And they had only seen my interactions with them during the sale, not the part that happened before that!

So, here is the story of a couple who damn near broke me. As usual, in order to comply with my company’s social media policy, certain details have been changed to protect the identities of those involved, and so that you can’t figure out exactly where I work. I guess they think the 7 of you out there reading this are going to incite a riot in my store to try and protect me from nasty customers or something. So anyway….

The Tale of the Couple That Damn Near Broke Me

Saturday night started out like a regular night. I was working my favourite register by the door, chatting away with customers and checking ID’s. I had the usual mix of pleasant people, happy to be getting supplies for their weekend of relaxing, and moody young folk upset that I need to see their ID before letting them buy certain things. I’m a very bubbly but strict cashier, so I’m used to people trying to give me a hard time. I can brush it off a good 99% of the time.

Then that 1% walked up to my counter. They had a cooler bag with them, and inside was two very large bottle of pre-mixed drinks that we sell. Both bottles were a little more than half-way full, so neither of them was sealed. Store policy is that no one can return an opened product unless there is something wrong with it, and they’re willing to make a product complaint. We take down all of their information and send the product off to be tested to see if there was something seriously wrong with it. Usually, if we get something back for a complaint, then other stores in our chain are getting the same thing returned to them. We get a notice from HQ telling us to pull the product while they investigate.

So Mr. and Mrs. Wankerpants come up to my counter, put their cooler bag down, and ‘Karen’ launches into her story.

“We were away on vacation a while back and bought this bottle here. We put it in the fridge when we got home, and then we saw the same product in a different location. So we bought it there, too. They don’t look the same, so we opened them and each had a glass of each one. It didn’t make us sick or anything, and it tasted fine. But we want out money back for these. There’s obviously something wrong with one of them.”

Now I’m not allowed to just give people back their money. There’s a certain process to everything. So I offered to run to the office, just a few feet away, and grab my manager so they could talk to him. No returns at all can get processed without a manager or shift leader’s say-so.

Well, Karen wasn’t having any of that!

“Well, wait! Look, you can see right here that the bottles are totally the same. The labels are identical even! These are supposed to be the same drink! But this one (holds up the first one they bought) is almost white, it’s so damn light! Look how blue this other one is! This looks like all the others on the shelves! There has to be something wrong here. Just give me our money back and we’ll forget the whole thing.”

Every time I tried to leave my till to go get my manager, Karen would start yammering on again about the colour difference, and how they bought it in a different town. It took at least three more tries before I was able to convince her that I was just grabbing the manager so he could enter a ‘return code’ into the register so I could return their things.

My manager isn’t an idiot. He and I both know that if you think there’s something wrong with the ginormous bottle of blue freeze you just bought, you don’t drink a good liter of it before returning it. He tried to explain to the couple that we couldn’t take the bottle unless they did a product complaint, which means we would have to enter all of their contact info into our computer. It’s a safety thing, in case your food or drink somehow really was poison, so we can contact you and let you know. But the Wankerpants couple was having none of that.  Karen kept trying to shut us down every time we opened our mouths.

“We don’t want to cause a huge fuss here. We’ll just take our money back. No need to send this away or anything, we don’t want to cause you all that trouble.”

We tried to tell her, yet again, that in order to return the bottle we needed to send it away for testing. If there’s a serious problem with one bottle, then there could be a problem with a whole batch of this stuff. We needed to make sure that there’s nothing in that bottle that can seriously harm your health.

“Well, there’s just no need for that! I mean, we each had a little glass and we’re both fine! This can’t be poison or dangerous, it’s just a little off. We’ll just take our money back and leave.”

We tried a different approach. There was a scandal a few years back where someone out there somehow was getting into juice bottles without breaking the seal on them. They could extract all the juice, and then refill the bottle with water. Then they would return them to the store, where they would be put back on the shelf. Eventually, someone would buy the bottle, open it up, and find water where there should be OJ. With people out there capable of that, we can’t just take back a bottle without sending it off to be tested. Then we’d be able to find the tiny traces of tampering that method leaves behind to prove what happened.

“Oh, I’m sure no one did that to our bottle! I mean, it didn’t look tampered with when we bought it! Just give us our money and we’ll leave.”

Ok, one last try. At this point, the boss flat out tells Karen and her hubby that he’s not returning her items because they are open. That means that anyone, at any time, could’ve put anything in that bottle and then brought it in to return it. He used our version of the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech: “We’ve been burned enough times by people trying to scam us that it ruins things for good honest people like yourself”.

What he didn’t tell them was that there is no way in hell that only one bottle of this stuff could be tainted like that without someone tampering with it. The colour difference was ridiculously obvious, and this is a very popular product for some reason. Even in our little store, we have a few dozen bottles of this in stock at all times, even more in the summer when people freeze it into slushies to drink on their patios. Someone (a stock person, the cashier who served them, someone unloading the truck) would’ve noticed this one bottle that looked nothing like any of the others. It would’ve been pulled from the stock and sent away for testing. And then we would’ve gotten the recall notices to pull all stock until testing was done, just to be safe.

And how do we know that there weren’t more bottles like this? Because if an entire batch of this stuff went out like this, we would’ve heard from HQ immediately after it had been unloaded at the first store. There would’ve been a mass recall, which would’ve made the news. We all would’ve heard about it. That means that this one individual bottle is the only one of its kind. And since it was bought from a store while they were on vacation in a town that is home to our flagship store (ie., the very last store that would ever let something like this out of their store because they’re just that strict about everything), then it must have been altered after it left the store.

In short, Mr. and Mrs. Wankerpants were trying to pull a fast one on us and didn’t expect anyone with a brain to be working retail.  Mr. Wankerpants caught on that they weren’t getting any money out of us, and finally opened his mouth.

“Come on hun, let’s just get our shopping done. This isn’t Costco, where they actually care about their customers.”

They wandered off into the store, little cooler bag all sealed up in their shopping cart. Security had to watch them to make sure they didn’t try to slip anything else into that stupid bag. Every now and then they’d wander past my till and Karen would practically yell out, “You’re right dear. At [K-Mart/Freshco/Target/WalMart/some other big store] they know how to treat their customers, not like here!”. Seriously, she must have said it like 7 times. They wandered around the store for what felt like forever, only to come back up to my register with Perrier and hotdogs. $43 worth of Perrier and hotdogs, to be exact.

I kept my customer service face on, smiling while I rang everything through. I asked for their points card and gave them their total. So, Karen pulls out a roll of loonies and a bag full of change. I took her roll of loonies and opened the ends to make sure it really was full of loonies, just like we’re trained to do.

“Oh look, Gerald, now we’re counterfeiting money too! I guess we really branched out from being common bootleggers like these idiots think.”

Right then and there, I had enough. I knew I couldn’t snap back at her, so I just dumped out all the change onto my counter. Then I counted out her damn $43 in the slowest, longest way possible. Why take a quarter when I can take five nickles? Oops, I think I miscounted those loonies, I’d better start from the beginning. I just dragged it out as long as possible.

Finally, I was through with them. I packed up their things, told them to have a nice day, and turned to greet my next customer. That’s when Karen had to get in one last barb at me.

“You know dear, I really don’t think customer service is your thing. You don’t really care about the customers. Maybe you should try going back to school, getting an education. Do you think you could find a school that would take someone like you?” Then she smirked at me and walked out the door.

And that’s when my head hit the counter. Luckily the next customer in line was someone I know, who also works retail in our little plaza, and who is in the same boat as me.

Look here Karen, I have an education! I’ve got two university degrees (BA[H] Criminology, BA Psychology), a college certificate (Certificate of Office Administration), and computer training (Microsoft Level III equivalency in both Word and Excel, with Intermediate level training in PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, and OneNote). I’m drowning in student loan and credit card debt, all so I could find myself a job where the Karens of the world wouldn’t be able to talk down to me like that. As it turns out, everyone has their Karens and everyone had the same idea. There are so many grads out there, with not enough jobs that we trained for to go around, that a whole tonne of us wind up working the very jobs our Karens think are beneath her. After hearing for years and years that without an education I’d wind up working retail, the very same people are telling me to be grateful I work in retail, and maybe I just need more education.

This just set off all kinds of things in my head. I was doing so well all week, and this one bitch set it all back. I feel like I’m just wasting my life right now like I’ll never amount to anything. If I didn’t have all of this debt, I would love to just keep the job I have forever. I love my coworkers and my friends from work. They’re like a second family to me. But I spent so much time and money trying to achieve certain things, and I just never did. And now I just feel like nothing.

I know, I can’t let one customer get me down, especially someone like the Wankerpants couple. They just struck a nerve that’s been exposed for too long.

Self-Care Weekend, Embracing My Inner Sloth

Right now there is a little black fuzzy face staring up at me from under the desk with giant kitten eyes that just scream “cuddle me”, but tiny razor-sharp claws that scream “touch me and your PJ pants become booty shorts”. He’s upset that the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend had to get up early today and head into work, and I’m sitting here in my favourite blanket drinking coffee, which means I’ll be getting ready for work soon too.

I somehow managed to get this past Sunday off, and Monday was a holiday so we both had a day off. Yes, somehow we had a full, entire weekend to ourselves. That never happens to us! Sundays are the only day I am pretty much guaranteed a decent shift at work, so I very rarely get them off. And even though AAB takes the occasional Monday off, I’m usually closing up the store and doing what feels like 37 things at once at home before work. I honestly can’t remember the last time we just randomly had an actual full, unplanned weekend off where we had no responsibilities to attend to, no family events, no huge tasks to complete, and no feeling a panic setting in while we realize all the things that we didn’t do.

This weekend, our to-do list was minimal, at best:

  1. Clean out Bowser’s litter box real good, like AAB does every Sunday so that Bowser has a nice clean place to poop.
  2. Take out the garbage.
  3. Make sure we get anything we need from the grocery store and liquor store before they close.
  4. Hydrate at some point.
  5. Watch Olympics.

Seriously, that was all we had scheduled for the entire weekend!

Ok, so AAB’s mom and aunt announced they were coming over on Sunday, which threw a slight wrench in our “go to the really cute grocery store I love, eat fresh spring rolls in front of the tv, and read a bunch” plan we had somewhat worked out in our heads.  But they were coming over because AAB’s mom bought a small freezer for him for his birthday, which meant a brand new giant box for AAB to turn into a small castle for the regally fuzzy Bowser Kitten.

The rest of Sunday was pretty damn breezy. AAB didn’t go to university, and we live in a student neighbourhood near y old university, so he said he’s always felt a little out of place.  So, I gave him the full “random Sunday night in the middle of the semester” university experience. After setting up our freezer and making a quick trip to the Multifoods for my mushroom meat and random Japanese snack foods, we came home for a quick dinner. While I ate my tempura shrimp, spring rolls, and ramen, AAB made himself tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. After throwing his dishes in the sink, he promptly pulled a blanket up over his head and fell asleep on the couch next to me. It was not even 7pm yet on a Sunday night.

I let him nap for close to two hours while I moved over to the other couch to stretch out. I grabbed my books, the wireless mouse for the TV, and a giant glass of wine. I did a little research for the writing project I’m working on (which is what’s been keeping me from updating my blog the last week or so), curled up with the super cuddly Bowser Kitten under a pile of blankets, watched a little figure skating, and then threw on some old 90’s SNL episodes.

After he finally woke up and crawled off the couch, he grabbed himself a snack and his book and crawled right back onto it. We sprawled out on our respective couches, vowing we were going to get some actual read (and in my case, writing) done when we really just sat there watching the masterful Chris Farley crash through tables and choke on polish sausage. We distracted each other with YouTube videos ranging from pipe fitting tutorials to the 1998 Bourne and Kraatz Riverdance on-ice competition performance. We goofed off, munching on snack foods and watching whatever we could click on first on YouTube for hours. We jumped between random videos, Olympic highlights, and reading each other exerpts from the Bathroom Readers we had in our laps.

Suddenly, it was 4am. We were starting to crash a bit, drunk and full of popcorn. Instead of reaching for the energy drinks I had stashed in the fridge for the weekend, I suggested making a 7-11 run for provisions. So there we were at 4:30am, me with ripped up jeans over my baggy flannel PJ pants, him goofy from tiredness, stumbling around near campus in search of caffeine and snacks. Despite my lactose intolerance, I wound up getting an ice cream cone to go with my giant coffee and container of fried chicken. AAB got himself a much smaller coffee but still went for a bunch of fried chicken.

We chugged our coffees and curled up on our respective couches, snuggled deep in piles of blankets and throw pillows. I was the first to fall asleep a little before 7am, while AAB stayed up just long enough to watch the sun start to come up. We dozed on our couches for maybe 4 hours before waking up for much-needed water. And after that…… we really didn’t do all the much. AAB had gathered up the garbage and cleaned the litter box the night before, all we had left to clean was our dishes. I made a giant plate of Chinese dumplings and leftover tempura shrimp to snack on and moved my lazy butt over to AAB’s couch while he sat in the office for a change of scenery. Basically, I snacked and napped all day in front of the TV. I embraced my inner sloth, letting myself be all adorable and fuzzy with a stupid grin on my face. I napped, Bowser napped, AAB napped. We ate random junk, he baked chicken for his lunches, I made more noodles and dumplings, and we napped more. Then we stayed up extra late to watch the ice dancing final dances.

By the time we rolled into bed after 11pm on Monday night, we were both goofy from a weird form of exhaustion. We didn’t really do anything all day. At the most, AAB took a cab to the grocery store to buy himself some chicken, and I stood at the stove for an hour cooking and cleaning. We didn’t get done any of the things we had somewhat planned for the day, took multiple naps, lazed around all day, and still, we were exhausted. Maybe it was the fact that we both only got maybe 4 hours of drunken sleep the night before and were both hungover as hell. Regardless, somehow AAB forgot that Rod Stewart and Sting are not the same person, I forgot how to brush my teeth, and we both collapsed into bed for a few hours before he had to be up for work at 6am.

Usually, I feel super guilty for not doing anything for even a morning. We both needed this weekend though. I don’t remember having this much fun with AAB in a very long time. We were both just relaxed, my anxiety was almost non-existent, and he didn’t snap at me once the entire weekend.

In the end, this weekend just re-energized me. I was in quasi-sloth mode yesterday but was wide awake at 6am instead of going back to bed after AAB left for work. Even though I have today off, I’ve been up since 6:30am and have worked through a large chunk of my giant to-do list. The adorably sleepy Bowser Kitten is so confused, he had to take an extra nap today just to deal with me so far! I’ve cleaned, written, gathered my research, cooked, and it’s not even noon yet! After a quick shower, I’m off to go do my laundry, and then finish cleaning up the house yet again!

Sometimes we all need time to just embrace our inner sloth.