Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hello new year

It's been awhile (cue Staind). The last two weeks for me, like most Americans, has been a whirlwind of business. As we ease into writing "08" on deposit slips instead of the totally out of fashion "07," I thought it prudent to take a moment and reflect on the last two weeks.

I survived Christmas - barely. Most people use this type of over dramatization to characterize a slew of activities they consider "busy." Unless you work retail, you cannot conceive what a busy season really means. Stretches of work that last 12 hours in 12 day consecutive chunks with 30 second interactions with someone whose entire Christmas hinges on having some As Seen on TV product (some push-up bar was the hot item of the season with the always popular Ove Glove coming a close second) creating ridiculous amounts of misplaced tension are what people refer to when they say the commercialization of Christmas has gone too far. Blame retailers all you want, fine people, but when you point the finger, just remember four more are pointing right back at you.

The low point may have come yesterday, seemingly safe from the Christmas rush. An elderly lady asked me if we had any more Christmas tree disposal bags. My brilliant post-Christmas reconstruction side panel of this item has sold out two days ago, and sadly I had no more to offer this woman. She responded, "There are a lot of fast people in this store. are slow and useless."

For whatever reason, this kind-hearted comment triggered a recollection of having seen one last Christmas tree removal bag that was sitting in the back room waiting to be disposed of because the packaging was so damaged that it was unsellable. Figuring that this nice woman needed the product so badly she was willing to insult the best gray smock wearing assistant manager Golden Valley has ever seen, I brought it to the front where I caught her just moments before checking out.

The customer was completely baffled as to why she would want THAT. Whatever, fine, I left. The lady, a regular, proceeded to tell my front cashier that we have too many fat people working this store and she doesn't like it.

If there's two things I'm not, it's slow and fat. Devastating on my self-esteem.

Anyway, enough of Walgreens, let's talk about the goodies of Christmas. One of the reasons you have suffered through my absence is the writer's strike. While not directly a part of the guild or union or whatever the hell is on strike, I figure that as a writer for Wolfden V, I deserve better compensation. As such, I hope to reap the benefits of the new deal between writers and producers, which by my calculations should occur sometime in 2101. But if Letterman can return, so can I. Inspired by his beard, I type for you this fine Thursday morn.

I do so on a nice new laptop. With my electronics death touch having worn down my previous laptop (only one of two mouse buttons worked, only one of two USB ports worked and that if jiggled in just the precise manner, the "n" button was repeatedly falling off, the internal fan worked overtime if I so much as thought about watching an on-line video, and this is to say nothing of the complete hard drive crash a few months back), I simply needed a replacement. I have it and it uses Windows Vista. The learning curve has been sharp at times, overrated at others. It only took a week to open Microsoft Word, which is nothing really. (XP! Where are you??).

The family visited for Christmas which was fantastic. My parents came in from California and my sister from Dallas. Since I worked every day they were here except for one, I took to starting work at 4am so at get out at a decent hour. I love them all dearly, but for my poor worn down body, it's nice to get back on a regular schedule. While here, though, we did have the opportunity to take in the Minnesota Science Museum, which on any other day would warrant its own post. However, now a week later the best recollection I have is of that awesome tornado thingy on the first floor. Cool, you know.

Unknown to me until about a week before it occurred, the University of Phoenix offers its students a two week break from classes during the Christmas season. The last task we were asked to complete for MBA 530 prior to our respite was to write a week four recap, touching on topics and ideas we learned, liked, or otherwise summarizing the material in the last seven days. Mine, for point of reference, touched on themes of leadership, strategic implementation, budgeting techniques, and communication. On the other hand, some students used it for free-for-all:

"I to am going to leave my summary now. It has been a crazy week trying to get all of my work done which I have not yet completed. My wifes dad is in the hospital in Oklahoma with heart failure so having to make a trip up there soon so she can see him. So I am hoping that I am able to complete my assignment at some point before monday night. The material is pretty much the same that it has been the first three weeks for this class just different scenario with the same company. I have found the UOP likes to be repetitive with the material that is used. Anyhow hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Years."


I would wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year, but I seem to have missed that boat. Plus, it would be unoriginal and forgotten about in mere moments. Instead, I wish you all a delicious lunch and as an attractive of a haircut as the one I am about to receive.

Photo from and a movie that had a fun cover.


JR said...

Easily the highlight of the story: a woman referring to Drew Wolf as fat. DREW WOLF. Who weighs 98 pounds, soaking wet. Maybe 102.

I have a holiday story as well, though I wish to emphasize that your stories are way, way better and possibly the highlight of my (life?) day.

I went to Time Warner yesterday to replace the cable box they gave me, which only worked when it felt like it. The people in line were furious the the wait was so long, even though I'm sure I waited only 10 minutes (and those behind me were complaining after 7 or 8). That's kind of par for the course at the cable store. Their ire was particularly focused on a man who seemed to be having a major problem and taking forever -- while I agree that it sucks to have a problem requiring long explanation and discussion, it hardly makes him a bad person for unsuspectingly taking up YOUR time.

Anyway, I got my box switched and proceeded down the escalator. As I got on the stairs, I realized I had left my remote control in the store. My first thought was: if I turn around now, I only have four or five steps to climb, and I can get to the top. My second thought: I want to do this quickly, so the bitches that were waiting in line behind me don't think I'm swooping in and cutting in front of them.

I began to run up the stairs. I made it to the top, then tripped, gashed my knee on the corner of a developing escalator stair, and severely bumped the cable box that was in my bag.

The guy standing there asked if I was okay, and I sheepishly said something about how it was my own fault and I'm an idiot and "I think I forgot my wallet up there" (I didn't want to make a remote control my primary motivation for doing something so stupid).

By the time I reached the bottom of the escalator, I realized two things. 1. The remote control was, in fact, in my bag the whole time and 2. My knee was bleeding everywhere, and probably damaged.

I nonetheless climbed back up the escalator to save face, then walked around the mall some more so that I did not encounter this man who had witnessed one of my least-proud moments.

The swelling has subsided, and I am able to move around, but I'm in a lot of pain after I've been sitting for a while. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just a deep bruise. There is an outside chance I chipped my patella, but I doubt it. The cable box, though dinged, still works to my delight. If it had not worked, I probably would have just canceled my cable instead of gone back.

dani said...

Museum highlight - joy to the world on the musical staircase.

CHCgirl said...

I agree with JR. You must have REALLY eaten alot of Christmas cookies, fudge, brownies, peppermint bark, etc to have even the most wacky woman to call you fat. Perhaps she needs glasses?

lonewolf said...

JR's post would absolutely qualify for a University of Phoenix weekly summary. A+.