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. You...you 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 Amazon.com and a movie that had a fun cover.