Well, today has just been a bizarre day. Our closer is out sick, so another closer who was on days took the closing, bumping me to a day shift to cover her morning. We usually have a truck come Friday mornings before the store opens, but it was late today. Like, really late. Around four hours late. I guess it got stuck in the loading dock of the first store it went to for the day, and they had to unload everything off of it into that store, and then transfer it all into a new truck somehow to be delivered to other stores. So instead of running around unloading boxes off of skids like I love to do, I was on cash for most of my shift.
I finally got my schedule straightened around for next week, though. Kind of….. Well, one co-worker isn’t able to work days anymore and was on days all week. I was closing most of the week and was able to switch a bunch of shifts with him so he could have my nights and I can have his days. This finally cleared up some time in my schedule to get in to see my doctor, the one week I can’t have an exam. Go figure, eh?
The rest of the day so far has just been peachy keen. The bras and cat ears I ordered on clearance arrived, and everything fits perfectly. The always adorable Bowser Kitten is nicely curled up on the bed, which is not sporting some snazzy grey flannel sheets. I’m almost done the second season of Bob’s Burgers. And I made a big pot of soup yesterday, and am going to slice up some beef really thin in a bit. I’m going to marinate that beef for about an hour in whatever random stuff I decide on last minute. Then I’ll sear it, add a bit to some hot soup with an egg on top, and use the rest for some fancy-ass sandwiches for myself and the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. He always seems to like when I do random stuff like that in the kitchen. I have no clue what I’m really doing, but things turn out pretty damn good most of the time. It’s just one of those random things that I’m really good at sometimes: grabbing random stuff from the kitchen and somehow turning it into a delightfully edible meal. I make a mean casserole, some pretty good marinades, and have yet to mess up a chicken dinner.
Earlier this week I gave you a list of things I’m just plain no good at. Once again, this is inspired by YouTube Queen Jenna Marbles, who did a video about just random things that she’s always been awesome at. She recommended making a list of things that you’re really freaking good at and taping it to your wall or sticking it to your fridge. Everyone has those days where everything sucks, and you hate the world, and you just want to smash everyone you meet in the face with a shovel. Days like that it’s nice to have a reminder that not everything sucks, that there’s a tonne of things out there that you’re good at and that add value to your life.
So here is my list of things I’m actually pretty damn good at.
1. Halloween Makeup
Yes, I know this is a pretty random thing. But around Halloween, I upped my festive game and started painting my face up a bit to go with my ever-growing collection of tiny festive hats. I did green witchy eyes for Witch-tastical Wine Wednesday, a pirate hat and some smokey eye for Thursday and Friday, full-on cat face for Cat Saturday, a stitched-together doll look for Sunday, some red eyes for Devil’s Night on the Monday, and Chucky from the Child’s Play series (from Bride of Chucky forward, where he’s all stitched back together) on Halloween itself. I did all of this with just regular makeup, with a few last minute eyeshadows from the dollar store. No Halloween makeup, no makeup kits, nothing fancy. Just some eyeshadow, lipsticks, and eyeliners to work with. People ranted and raved about the makeup job I did most of those days, for some reason.
For most of my looks, I just looked at a bunch of pictures on Pinterest. Last year, when I did the spooky doll with giant eyes (where you draw your lower lid farther down on your cheek and throw fake eyelashes there), I watched a bunch of YouTube tutorials to figure out parts of it. It really wasn’t that hard for me to get the hang of. A few other people I know saw the job I’d done and tried to do the same thing, but just couldn’t get it right. Apparently taking eyeliners and some cheap eyeshadow and turning myself into a patchwork doll is a real skill of mine. Which leads me to my next point…..
2. Helping People Find Good Things About Them
One of my favourite regulars came the day before Halloween to say hi and check out my makeup for the day. Her, the work BFF and I were chitchatting about my makeup and how I did it, and she just blurts out, “I wish I could do that! I’m not good at anything!” Well, a few more minutes of chatter and I found out that not only can this woman knit and crochet, but she’s done a whole freaking lot of it in her time. I let her know that I have been trying to learn both of those skills for years, and could never get the hang of them. She left with a smile on her face, laughing about how she was more creative and “fancy” than the “tiny hat girl”.
I just genuinely like to point out things that people are good at somehow. I compare people to fictional characters to point out common awesome traits, flat out compliment people for random things I notice and make sure to tell the people closest to me what I like about them as often as possible.
3. Excel Spreadsheets
So I took a class in Microsoft Office more than a decade ago when I was in college. Most of it was pretty basic, but Excel was really kicking our asses for some reason. I could grasp the whole “enter numbers into a spreadsheet” thing that we needed to do to pass the class. It was all the other things it can do that were messing me up. Like I could throw in formulas, and make charts and graphs, and colour-code things, and all sorts of fancy-ass stuff. It was too much for my little brain to handle at the time.
Fast forward to university. One of the professors I’m working for asks me to do a little data entry for her. Somehow this newer version of Excel suddenly makes every tiny thing a billion times easier for me. I inputted her data, ran her numbers, made a few charts and graphs to show a few things, and even made everything look super pretty. When I graduated, I took some Microsoft classes at a local computer centre. I got my advanced certificate in Microsoft Excel, which I later found out is equivalent to a Microsoft Level 3 certification. In other words, I learned like everything there is to learn about Excel.
Sometimes just for fun, I play with Excel. It’s one of the nerdier things I like to do in my spare time. Lately, I’ve tried using OpenOffice software too, and am trying to get used to the difference between that and Microsoft. I don’t know why I just really like spreadsheets.
4. Multi-tasking Relaxing
This drives the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend crazy sometimes. I can curl up on the couch with a snack, a puzzle book, a reference book, my phone, my tablet, a notebook, a pen, and still watch some Gordon Ramsay without missing an insult. To top it off, I can do this all with a drink in my hand and find it relaxing.
I just have a lot of little things that I find relaxing. I love to read. I love to play games on my phone or on the tablet. I love Buzzfeed quizzes, and Chive albums about cats, and cryptograms. I love being able to write things down off the top of my head to work with later. All of these things, in some way, relax me. So why limit myself to just one thing at a time? If I find it relaxing to do a cryptogram, and then play some Homescape, then make a few notes for the blog, then that’s how I’ll relax. I call it Multi-tasking Relaxing.
My grandpa taught me how to do these when I was a kid. Every day there’s a crypto-quote in our daily newspaper, and he’d do it. These puzzles are where you replace all of one letter with another letter, for all the letters. I know, that’s a horrible explanation. Like the name “TheFailedGrownUp” becomes “SrpXctvpbOzmqyHg”. Every letter is replaced by another, and you can see that both ‘e’s became ‘p’s in the cipher.
This is the type of puzzle that the Zodiac Killer used to write to the San Fransisco Chronical and to the SFPD. He used symbols in place of letters though, sometimes using more than one symbol for each letter. His finally cryptic letter has never fully been deciphered. I’m nowhere near his level of these, but I’m still pretty good. In fact, somewhere in my parents’ basement is the medal I won from a cryptogram competition in 7th grade.
Yes, I have a cryptogram medal and love to make spreadsheets. Shut up.
6. Watching Security Camera Footage
Ok, I think I’m good at it because I just love catching shoplifters.Well, that and the fact that when I use the security cameras, it almost feels like I’m really putting my Criminology degree to work. When some of my coworkers get suspicious of someone acting all weird in the store or hanging out in the areas of the store all the pros go to in order to stash things in their bags or clothes, they call me into the office to track these people down real fast. I can track down people in seconds, follow their movement through the store, backtrack on their prior movement, and even bookmark data and write up all the reports for the police.
For me, it’s fun. I love standing there at the screen, clicking from view to view, controlling the time bar. I’ve caught people shoving things in their backpacks, their purses, their shopping bags, their coats, and even their pants. My dream at this point is to catch someone in the act and get on the PA system of the store:
Attention shoppers. Please be reminded that shopping carts and baskets are provided for your convenience. Please you these and not your reusable bags. Please do not shove product down your pants, like the gentleman in the whiskey aisle is doing right now.
Also, could the gentleman in the blue jeans, red hoodie, and black ball cap please remove the four bottles of whiskey from his pants and place them on the floor in the corner where he is currently standing in the back corner in the whiskey aisle. An associate will be by with Clorox wipes and rubber gloves to disinfect all bottles and bring them to the back to check for any contamination. Thank you.
We have a few regular shoplifters, some of whom we even know by name at this point. I would love to catch one of them like this someday!
7. Holiday Spirit
So you know I have a small collection of things to wear on my head for Halloween. It’s my way around the store’s dress code. My manager loves it and loves the fact that customers are so into it too. People come in just to check out what I have on for the day sometimes.
I do this for all holidays if I can, but especially for Halloween and Christmas. No, I’m not one of those people who turn on the Christmas music before the kids are even done trick-or-treating; you’re thinking of my mother. The woman has something like 14 indoor Christmas Trees, a big one on the porch, and every type of decoration imaginable. And this is after my parents’ basement flooded, ruining 7 or 8 giant bins of decorations. I’m not that hardcore. In fact, I don’t start decorating until the end of November. Every year for my mother’s birthday near the end of November, we go on a Christmas Homes Tour out in the county with my sister, aunt, and cousin. We look at homes all done up with fancy decorations, stop at a really cute church for fresh baked goods and to see no less than 40 nativity scenes on display, move on to a winery for samples and cookies, and end the day at the coolest random store full of random things. I do some Christmas shopping, we buy a lot more wine, and then I come home to the always waiting Bowser Kitten and Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend for the night.
The very next day, Christmas season starts for me. We pull out the tree, throw on Christmas shirts and Santa hats, do some arts and crafts, and watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Hell, I can recite the movie for you if you haven’t seen it before. I have more cranium accessories for the season, and can’t wait to pull them out. I even got some leftover Halloween hats to transform into Christmas hats!
In my little pile of Things Technically Allowable by The Corporate Dress Code, I also have a St. Patrick’s Day hat (which makes me look like a fat Magenta from Rocky Horror Picture Show), a broken Easter egg headband (I will rebuild it, stronger and better), and maybe half a dozen pairs of cat ears for those in between times when there isn’t a holiday coming up but it’s Saturday and you want to celebrate Cat Saturday. Basically, I go all-out.
It’s not just headgear either. I watch the movies and TV specials for the season. I get little gift bags for my co-worker’s younger kids. I pile on all the cheer I possibly can into each and every holiday. Some would say I use the excuse of holiday cheer to hide the fact that on the inside I’m a dark and empty pit of despair who sees no reason to get up in the morning most days. But what do they know?
8. Entertaining Myself
If I could stay at home and just daydream all day, I’d be perfectly happy. Standing at my till, at work, I dance around and sing to myself. I can doodle hours away if I need to. Give me a few free hours of nothing, no matter how little there is around me to do, and I’ll find a way to keep myself amused.
I have spent an entire slow night at work, after all the facing is done and I’m left on cash alone while the shift leader works on paperwork or orders or whatever goes on in the office at night, just standing around running imagined scenarios through my mind. I create worlds, and characters, and entire stories. I imagine my life if I had done even one tiny thing differently. There is no limit to what my mind will do to keep me entertained when there is nothing else possibly left to do.
Well, that’s a very short list of some of the things I’m good at. Other quick things I’m good at include: learning drink recipes, differentiating between chip brands while blindfolded, making lists, playing fetch with the somewhat puppy-like Bowser Kitten, walking, making schedules, and collecting beauty products. Is there anything you’re particularly good at? Go write it down! Make a list, keep it ready for when you need a pick me up! True, when a day has fully gone to shit the idea of being good at solving cryptograms alone can’t help me. But seeing that on a list with a bunch of other random stuff, knowing that there are things I can do that others around me can’t, is a huge ego boost when I need it most.