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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Tomorrow is Moving Day!

So far only one hitch in my plans to take Towanda and I on our first mobile adventure. I mentioned that I rented a storage unit here at the park to stash some extra stuff while I sorted out my life over the Summer, right?

Awana and I decided that since I had to leave before the Big Sort, we would have the storage shed moved up near her and we could share it. We told the Manager of our plans and discussed possible locations. I discussed it with the Assistant Manager. In total at least four conversations were had about said storage unit and when and where it would be moved before I pulled out.

This morning I got a call from the Manager at 9:00 AM. She informed me that someone else had spoken for the storage shed and it would not be moved up to Awana’s. WTF? Srsly?

Not only did she seriously fuck me over the price of my final two weeks (charging me a full month’s rent for the storage unit, no less!) now I have to do something with the crap (formally Good Stuff) filling the shed with less than 24 hours before I have to be pulling up stakes to get over to the Valley and my new/old job.

I did not need this irritation, but there ya go. If it’s the only thing that goes wrong I will count my blessings.

Thank all that’s holy for Awana – she volunteered to stash some of my stuff under her trailer and even helped me sort and purge (I hauled a full car-load of stuff to the Goodwill truck) and hauled the totes up to her place.  She even helped me control my temper when I was ready to march down to the office and slap some sense into that stupid bitch who “runs” this place.

“Now, Sofia, don’t get all fussed – I still have to live here,” she very reasonably said.

She’s right and I was only mildly sarcastic when I paid my final bill and listened to the story about how “Barry committed the shed to someone else when you moved. Some time last month he promised Mr. So-and-So…We had a ‘come to Jesus talk’ and I straightened him out.” She was all smiles as she told that big ol’ lie! Straightening out the situation would have involved the storage shed being moved up by Awana as.we.originally.agreed.

I am happy to be away from the shoddy management practices going on here, but sad to leave my friends. I’ve promised everyone that I will be back to visit very soon.

Still packing up Towanda and now it’s time to put the Big Computer to bed for shipping. It ain’t easy to get everything packed and I hope there isn’t too much breakage, but what is done will be done. I’ve done my best to secure all of the breakables and the most valuable stuff will go in my car, so at least I will arrive with clean underwear and a working computer, if nothing else 🙂

I’ll have to find a free wireless connection over the weekend and will post if I can.

Wish me luck! Tooooowwaaaaaaannnnnddddaaaa!

 

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Serendipity

I’ve talked before about how I’m looking for a banjo to complete my musical instrument collection. I’ve put the word out among friends that if they find one for cheap to let me know.

Saturday I had breakfast with Awana and Elise to discuss our Fiber Endeavors at a cute little cafe that serves leaf tea the way it was intended to be served – in a pot.

We finished and headed over to the Antique Mall where we have a booth to set things up and discuss selling and packaging strategies. I was short on time – still had to visit the dog park before work, so I felt rushed and distracted.

We discussed many things, among which was my desire for a banjo – both of them think it’s a bit odd, but stranger things have come out of my mouth since they’ve known me 🙂

As we were getting ready to leave, I stopped by my favorite booth to see if the owner had any new stringed instruments for sale. What did my eyes espy but an old cardboard case with a very unique shape.

SANY3246

Inside was this –

SANY3247I picked her up and took a look to see what might be broken. She has only four of her five strings, but otherwise seems whole. She’s a Harmony Reso-Tone, made in the USA, an open back model with a fake skin head. A bit of rust here and there and the wood parts are painted where I would rather have them varnished, but the price was right. She has been played A Lot. Someone loved her and filled her with good energy and hopefully some good tunes.*

SANY3248I plucked the strings a bit, and she seemed to be in tune, with a sweet, quiet tone, just what I had envisioned in my banjo-picking dreams. What? Like you don’t have musical dreams too – c’mon, fess up!

Awana agreed that she sounded good and that sealed the deal in my mind. Of course I bought her. Of course I took a little detour to the local music store to pick up new strings and picks before hitting the dog park. Not that I have time to actually get her cleaned up, strung up and tuned, but I can dream! It will be a good reward for a couple hard weeks.

I will call her Pearl and we will rock the hell out of some traditional American tunes. Just as soon as I figure out how to play.

There was also a little 1/4 cello for sale in the same booth that I can’t get off my mind…

* Some people believe that a stringed instrument absorbs the songs that are played on it and some of the spirit of those who have played it and loved it. It has been said that an old instrument remembers the songs that were played on it the most and that a new player finds those songs easier to play right from the first attempt, as if the instrument remembers how it goes. I don’t know what to think about that, but I’ve heard stranger things that were true…

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Music

 

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Sharp as a box of ball peen hammers…

I am woefully behind with my comment answering and blog reading because work at The Shop has been crazy-busy and work with the engineers has been insanely busy. I am tired and losing my sense of humor. Don’t do anything interesting while I’m away, ‘k?

As we all know, I will be leaving the ice cream shop. My last day will be Monday which also happens to be a major American Holiday – Memorial Day. For those who don’t know, it’s a three day weekend and many Americans go on vacation. If the sun shines, they all want ice cream. If we get very lucky, the four days at the end of May carry the month finance-wise, so we all pitch in and work our asses off so vacationers eat their fill of ice cream and fudge and pay our wages. It’s a fact of Retail Life that I have accepted.

Dave is in a bind to replace me. I don’t quite understand where all the unemployed people are – talk around town is that “no one” can find a job and “everyone” is looking for more hours. You would think that we could have our pick of replacements. I mean, it’s a clean job (no toxic materials to work with, no fish to clean, no hazardous weather conditions) and you get to eat chocolate and ice cream any time you want. Perfect if Retail is what you’re looking for. It ain’t Rocket Science, fer cryin’ out loud!

What we get are flakes, idiots, the very young (and dumb) and people who aren’t even remotely suited to retail. Sigh.

The latest is Rachel. She is young. She is ignorant. She has a major problem with blurting out inappropriate things to the customers. She asks inappropriate questions of her co-workers. I spent three hours with her on her first day and wanted to stab myself in the eye with a spoon before she finally swanned out the door.

Srsly. This girl has some kind of major disorder. The issue is, is this disorder real or self-imposed.

Haley (the sweetest girl you could hope to work with) wanted to scream after three hours with her. She had a list of grievances as long as her arm that had to do with Rachel’s outbursts and ignorance.

Enter Mom. Dave scheduled me to work with her on Friday. Fine. I had a plan. Dave and I had a talk before anyone else arrived. I told him that she needed to be schooled and Haley is not up to the task. Dave felt that Rachel would not respond well to a male authority figure. Her (former) home life sounds like a nightmare, just from what little I’ve heard about. Her uncle basically rescued her and brought her here from Washington.

Anyway. Dave agreed to let me have free rein, I told Haley to ignore anything she might see or hear while her shift overlapped with Rachel and I went to work.

Thank you so much, Mom, for your excellent training! With your speech just before I started the job at The Inn (do you remember?) fresh in my mind, Rachel’s training began.

First thing, I made it clear that she is to keep her mouth shut and listen to what I’m saying. Then she had to look me in the eye while I was talking and while she was responding. I was very specific about what she could and could not say to the customers – it should be Common Sense, but this girl has NO boundaries. At all. Nothing is too personal to share with someone when you’re scooping their ice cream. Srsly?

Next we dealt with her hair, which was hanging in her face, and why we wear what we wear in food service. She really had no idea. Or she’s a great actress. How does a person get to be almost 19 years old without noticing these things? She says that she’s had “a few” jobs, all of them in food service or retail, and she doesn’t know these basic things? WTF?

I quickly sussed that she responds well to my putting my hands on her hands and guiding her with feel. That sounds strange, but she wants to mash, squash, slam, and just generally be brutal with her hand motions, which breaks a lot of expensive cones and will eventually lead to her cutting off a finger with a sharp knife. What’s the name of people who respond best to touch of all their senses?

Turns out the girl ain’t dumb. She can add, she can reason, she can remember, she is amazing at comparing this thing with that thing and making them equal.

She has a problem with being told to complete step A, then B, then C, and finish with D. She wants to jump ahead, but we can deal with that.

No one has schooled this girl in Public Manners, neatness, or pride in her work. She is more eager to please than a Labrador pup who has just learned to fetch a ball, but someone has beaten her down so far that she can’t help but wiggle and pee on herself (figuratively speaking.) Training her started to look like a training session with Sabu.

Tomorrow will tell if she retained anything from Friday. If she didn’t, or if the mouth diarrhea comes back, I may just give her a smack-down to save my sanity.

I ain’t cut out for this sort of thing, but I find I kinda like the challenge…

 

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Sometimes a rabbit is more than just a rabbit

I had a very vivid dream last night. In color. It was horrific on the one hand, but very enlightening.

I was with Mom and we were in a large kitchen getting ready to cook Snowball for dinner. Snowball was not dead. I had shaved off all her hair and she was pretty pitiful looking. I basted her and put her in a roasting pot and into the oven she went.

After five hours, we took the pan out of the oven, but the rabbit was still not dead. She was wet and cowering in the bottom of the pan, silent but trembling, but still very much alive.

“You’re going to have to finish it off,” Mom declared. “It’s the only way it will ever be cooked.”

I started crying. “I know, but I didn’t want to be the one who had to do it. I feel like such a failure.”

“You have to do it or it will never be over,” she told me.

I grabbed Snowball’s head, gave a savage sideways yank and broke her neck. It was easy. I heard the snap and felt her go limp. I was relieved that it was over.

I awoke in that moment with the very clear message that the rabbit was the remains of my relationship with M and that I would have to be the one to break the neck of his illusions that we have anything left to save. Short, sweet, brutal. There’s no other way.

He sent an e-mail yesterday saying that the rabbits are almost out of food. I wrote back (very business-like) that I would bring food on Thursday. I don’t know if he will be there or not.

I hope I have the words to tell him that I’m done. That our relationship is over for good and he needs to let me go. If our next conversation goes anything like the last no mention will be made about how I feel – it will be about him and I don’t even need to be present while he drones on and on.

One thing sticks in my mind about the last time we talked – he told me that he doesn’t even remember most of the things I say he did to hurt me. I am red with rage over that one. How fucking convenient for him! If he “can’t remember” and I can’t forget, who is the bitch keeping anger alive? I totally come off as the villain in that story, don’t I? I can hear his Pity Party to everyone he knows about how I am so stuck in the past that I can’t forgive him for things that he’s not even sure happened. And on and on.

I can’t afford to care what lies he will spread about me, if he hasn’t already started his Smear Campaign. I have a life to live and it does not involve Narcs and their bullshit!

Asshole.

 
 

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Oh, no he didn’t!

This afternoon the shop was empty when a man walked in with his 7-year-old daughter.

“Is your bathroom this way?” he asks, pointing.

“Yep,” I replied.

“Watch her while I go in there,” he says.

Instantly I am irritated because nowhere on my forehead does it say, “babysitter.”

“Why? Is she going to start breaking things?” I archly ask.

“You never know with that one…” he says as he rounds the corner.

Uh-huh. This ought to be good. The kid was fine, if a bit talkative.

He spent the next ten minutes in the bathroom while I seethed with resentment that a total stranger would command me to watch his evil spawn. Those days are long over for me, folks, and I will not be volunteering for nanny duty. Especially as a “favor.” Take note now and don’t even ask.

When he came back out (no, I didn’t hear water running, so I’m guessing he didn’t wash his hands) they ordered ice cream. As I was scooping up their order, I could smell the unmistakable smell of Man Poop. Oh, fuck. Wafting around the whole store. Gag.

He paid for the ice cream and tossed the nickel change into my tip jar and off they went. No Thank You, just walked.

Much as I dreaded it, I had to check the bathroom to make sure it wasn’t as dirty as it smelled. OMG is the only response to the stench in there. No, he didn’t turn on the fan. Gack!

Thankfully we have an Industrial Strength exhaust fan in there or the shop would have had to close until it aired out. Yes, it was that bad. At least he managed to hit the hole and I didn’t have to hose anything down. That would have ruined my day.

Why is it that men can’t turn on the fan after using the restroom? The switch is right there next to the light, which they seem to have no trouble operating. It seems like such a simple thing to do.

Also, why is it that people come into my shop to leave their horrible stench? It happens often enough that I wonder if people schedule these putrid trips so that they don’t have to smell themselves at home. I mean, really?

At least turn on the fucking fan!

And tip the woman who has to clean up after your rude ass.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Working Retail, You're kidding

 

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This is scary!

After the post the other day, I’ve been thinking a lot about my reactions to M and what I should be doing about it. I’ve been away from him for long enough that I should be in a better place.

I follow many blogs, including Baggage Reclaim, and today Natalie put up a post that hits me directly between the eyes – Sometimes a discussion doesn’t cut it.

Yep. That’s it in a nutshell. I especially like her list of what “discussion” (instead of flushing) means”

Discussing says:

  • I’ve personalized your actions and so I want to discuss this so I can find out what I did wrong.
  • Let’s negotiate.
  • I wanna fix you.
  • I’m used to toxic atmospheres. You pulling this rinky-dink bullshit on me feels like home. We now need to have this discussion so I can go through my drama cycle, get some validation and lather , rinse, repeat.
  • I want you to explain this to me and make me feel better about it so that I can go back to deluding myself about you.
  • I’m still in this.
  • I’m not going to take decisive action.
  • I’m teeeeeeeeelllllllllling you…. I’m not going…. You’re the best thing I’ve ever known…. And you, and you, and you, you’re gonna love meeeeeeeee.

OMG. It’s  like she’s reading my mind or something. I’ve printed this list out so I can review it whenever I have to deal with M, just a friendly reminder that I should not be talking to him at all, my hand moving towards the flusher…

 

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Why can’t I just say no?

M called me on the phone this afternoon. Like an idiot, I picked up. Still haven’t told him that I’m moving and had it in mind to slip it into the conversation. Naturally, the whole conversation was about him and I didn’t have a chance.

Just one little tidbit from Saturday: he has been complaining about money for years, how he never has enough and needs me to give him more. So we’re sitting in my car at the bus stop* and he starts and says, “I should make sure I have some money before I get on the bus!” whips out his wallet and fans it open to show a bunch of bills. “I have a wallet full of twenties, so I guess I’m set!” he says with a grin. WTF? Infer what you will. I went from asleep to pissed off in about half a second. Wheeeeeew…letting it go…

Anyway. So he calls this afternoon. His friends in Olympia sold him B’s car. She got a new one and they gave him a good deal.** He made it back alive and had a favor to ask. Would I be the legal owner of the car? You see, he can’t own more than one car or he won’t qualify for the disability claim*** he has been working so hard to get. He wants me to put the registration in my name and add the car to my insurance policy until he can sell his truck. IF he can sell his truck. Lots of open-ended mumbling.

Here’s where I should have just said, “no,” and stuck to my guns, but I did it once before when we were still living together and it was no big deal.

Obviously the situation is a bit different now and I have many reasons for not doing it. For one thing, I would have to put my actual address on the registration and I have not updated that info with the DMV. The registration would have to travel with the car and I don’t want him to have it. And who would pay for the insurance? And what happens when I move out of town? Would the insurance company have a problem if there was an accident and he was “borrowing” my car in another county? All of these things were running through my mind as I was trying to come up with an excuse to justify my “no.”

Gah! These knee-jerk, make-it-work-if-you-can reactions are making me crazy! His reaction to my hesitation was predictable: the reasoning voice telling me that it was totally legal and nothing bad would happen, asking why I had reservations, what is the problem (increasing volume, hard edge to his voice) aren’t we friends? Don’t I trust him? and on and on for about five minutes.

I said over and over that it just didn’t feel right, that there was an alarm bell going off in my head that told me it was a bad idea, and he kept pushing. Finally he backed off and said he had something else to ask.

Srsly? He is expecting money from selling some boat hardware that will be coming from New Zealand. Would I give him my PayPal info and deal with the money and give it to him? You see, he can’t show any income and is worried that if any cash goes into his checking account it will be detected and he won’t get his disability claim.

Sigh. I said that the best thing to do would be to set up his own PayPal account and get a debit card and use that to spend the cash if he didn’t want to make deposits to his checking account.

I mean, really? Not exactly laundering money, is it? But close, right?

Oh, he was not happy about that at all. By the end of the conversation he’s fake crying and I feel like puking from the stress of continued “no”s. He got nothing, so it’s a victory, but damn! What an exercise!

Received this e-mail a couple of hours later:

I’m sorry about the turn our conversation took today. It’s obvious you are working on being reasonable and congenial with me despite our problems. I want you to know I’m very grateful for that effort.

There is no one I trust more than you to attempt any dual ownership agreement on a vehicle. Once I got over the disappointment, it’s obvious why you wouldn’t want to do it – the whole thing is predicated on the possibility that nothing bad will ever happen, which is a long-shot gamble. I went ahead and insured and registered it in my name and will see how things work out. It may happen that I sell the truck and problem solved.

Much love, 

He called again later but I sent it to voicemail. Imagine my surprise when the message was an apology. He said that I was right to deny him and he’s sorry to put me in such a position, that it’s his problem and he was wrong to lay it on me. The first message cut off (there’s a limit on the length of voicemails with my carrier?) so he had to call again to finish his apology.

It’s exhausting.

* Lest you think I actually did him a favor for nothing, I want to set the record straight and say that I did it because it meant that I knew he would be out of the house and I could go get some stuff without having to deal with him and his continued requests for sex. I ain’t stupid 🙂

** I know, right? He can’t pay the property taxes or his boat moorage fee, but 6 months later he can buy a used car? And he has no job or legal income? And he had the nerve to lecture me when I came up with the money by working seven days a week? Right. Asshole.

*** I’ll say it again – dude is pretty fucked up physically from a couple of nasty accidents and I really have no problem with him getting disability payments. It’s not much money, so it’s not like he’ll be living large if he gets it. I do not, however, want to be involved in any illegalities related to getting that claim approved.

 

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