If It’s Gonna’ Be…I’d Rather It Not Be Up To Me…

There’s an old saying about not defecating where you eat…well, I would never do that, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m about to share…

The problem here is…I live near where I work, not that I do the aforementioned defacating…I could walk to and from work if I had to, and I have…so if an emergency were to say spring up…maybe the store night manager has to leave in a hurry?…who they gonna’ call?…yeah, it was me…and it was after putting in a 9 hour day…I had just gotten home and was settling into my favorite old-man Bahama shorts and t-shirt… maybe even a quick nap since my wife was away at church for the next hour…when the cell phone started ringing…

Normally, I would have just let it ring and go to voice mail…but no, my son, thinking he was doing me a favor, hurried over to pick it up…some day, God as my witness, I’m tossing that kid outta my house…

EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935

And of course it’s someone from the store…and of course he felt that I needed to take the call rather than lay down and nap in peace for an hour…and yes, it was the store and they asked if I could return to work for another fun-filled 5 hours as the night manager…see, here’s the thing, remember I said I could walk to work…well, it turns out I wasn’t even the first choice to fill the role…I wasn’t called until they were left with no choice…maybe I should be grateful for not calling me until everybody else said no…but for some reason I feel like my talents were disrespected by them not calling the easiest, closest alternative?…how screwed up is that ass-backward logic, right?…

The everyday role I have in the store is also shared by 5 other employees…when you have a store open 24/7 and 7 days a week, you need lots of leaders…and if you’ve ever read anything else I’ve ever written, you would know that I’m the token old man…older than any two of them put together…so when an emergency like this pops up… and it really doesn’t, this is the first time ever…but when it does, you can bet that these young whippersnappers are off doing fun things…not laying around in their old man shorts and t-shirts…

To wrap this up, the night went smooth with no problems and I was done by 1 AM…I do have to laugh though…the youngster who is in charge of scheduling said that I can just leave early from one of my shifts this week…I may be getting old, but why the hell would I leave early at a later date and lose the overtime I put in last night?…making the 14 plus hours I worked all at straight time?…sorry kid, I may be old and you may be smarter than me…know all the new math and stuff…but I still remember the value of time and a half vs. straight time…the value of a buck vs. a buck-and-a-half…grow up!…

IMG_0142

I’m Still No Gardener…Part 2…

Last year I showed off my lack of gardening prowess…

I’m No Gardener Either…

I thought maybe I would show you again my lack of horticultural skills…my yard seems to be where weeds go not just to grow, but to thrive…and now after 23+ years in this house, I’m also starting to see that when they built this house, whoever planted the original gardens sucked every bit as much as I do at gardening and landscaping…they failed to take into consideration future growth…and now due to my lack of enthusiasm towards gardening and bushes and trees that were poorly laid out at the start, these overgrown, hard to maintain beds have become…well, overgrown and hard to maintain…

The wife and me have decided it’s time to downsize…maybe move into one of those over-priced active adult communities…in other words, find a neighborhood with other old people who don’t want to do nothing either…except maybe sit on a lounge chair at the neighborhood pool…Yaasss!!…and have someone else do all of the yard work…

So in preparation for that special day when we leave our current cares behind, we’ve had to start fixing this dump up a little…throw crap away, replace and repair stuff, and give it some curb appeal…except my yard didn’t get the “we’re moving” memo and has decided to grow and over-grow stuff I’ve never seen before…that is, the parts of it that are still hanging in there and haven’t choked themselves out from overgrowth and poor bed planning…

So, once again this year, I’ll share a few of the highlights and lowlights from my hot 5B6DD517-F1AE-412E-B809-18FEAB4EC799mess of a yard…like these stumps and whatever is left attempting to grow in this bed…I’m not sure what all of it is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s poison some darn thing or another lurking in there…waiting for me to grab it…on a side note…how about that patio…you really wanna sit there?…

 

And then there are these formerly beautiful boxwoods that lined the front of our 0CFBA1F6-76E8-4168-AB51-C24FFF8BBE05house…I’m well on my way to killing these things now…you know there is no saving them…they have to come out in the name of curb appeal…our future realtor agrees…strongly…so, in the next couple of weeks, out they’ll come…all in favor of planting something new…something smaller…something that will make it easier to clean around each year…not that I’ll care…I wonder what that weed is that’s growing up through the middle of it?…seems to be one of the few things in the yard I haven’t killed off…

Moving on to this poor specimen of a tree…I think it was once some kind of Japanese 62077606-915E-4F00-A151-BF642311BF88something or other…the fact that I don’t know should tell you I probably didn’t deserve to have it in my yard…I just remember it was expensive…obviously…was is the proper description for this pathetic looking specimen …so, tragically, one of these days it will have to suffer the same fate as the aforementioned boxwoods…once again, our realtor would absolutely agree…

23856534-2304-4A2F-A93C-9E5BF8FD01DF Finally, some good news…something that has actually taken root and grown better than even I could have imagined…and apparently multiplied too…these frigging things…they’re like thistle on steroids…they also have this prehistoric need to survive built into them…these things have spikes or needles, whatever…they cut right through my gloves…there’s no pulling these like ordinary thistle…but, out they must come…shame, they’re the only two things not just growing, but thriving on the acre of death I call my yard…hopefully soon enough, my yard will be somebody else’s problem…my realtor would agree…

 

IMG_0142

She’s In the Navy Now…Hooyah?…

So you’re the United States Navy…and you discover that you’ve lost track of one of your newly graduated officers…can’t find her…she showed up at your base on-time as required, but for some reason you’ve lost track of her…so what’s the first thing you do in that situation?…do you call Mark Harmon and the N.C.I.S. gang to help find out what happened?…no, you call her mom and dad to ask if we’ve seen her?…apparently, the Navy has a somewhat  Archaic  system to track their ships and which personnel are on them???…

Are they out of their freaking minds?!!…I’m on edge about my daughter being in the military already…I can’t tell you how much more my anxiety level grew after that call… turns out she was out to sea…on her ship with the rest of her crew on their way to their next destination…where she was supposed to be…did they even think to maybe contact her ship before calling us?…WTF?…

There’s a military acronym for this…it’s called SNAFU…situation normal: all fouled up…actually, I’ve given you the sanitized version…if you’re sitting somewhere reading this, I’m sure you can figure out the other word used to replace fouled…and really, that’s probably what this was, just a paperwork SNAFU…a communication error…but please US NAVY, next time?…if there is a next time?…don’t waste time by calling me or her mom…she has a cell phone…just call her, maybe shoot her a text…and if that doesn’t work, then call Mark Harmon first, not me…oh, and do you think you can get Cote de Pablo to help locate her too?B8A7F674-E270-417F-BF5E-7D4AA9218F8F…she was great, and let’s face it, the show went downhill after she left…

IMG_0142

Is It Finally the Right Time?…

I got home this morning after working an overnight shift at the grocery store, and after powering down a couple of mini-cinnamon buns and a glass of iced-tea, I checked my upcoming work schedule on the website…probably should have checked my sugar…but I saw an item that stuck out immediately…as part of my company’s community outreach, I found that I have been volunteered to work at an upcoming pet adoption show in June…

I love dogs…just about all of them…even the three that bit me when I was delivering packages…while I don’t necessarily love them…wasn’t their fault…well-behaved dogs come from owners who treat them well, and who give them the chance to inter-act with both people and other dogs…in the area I used to deliver to, there were 3 pit bulls…everyone has heard the horror stories about this breed…but these 3 dogs, all owned by separate families and adopted (rescued), were 3 of the sweetest dogs I had on my route…they had responsible owners who treated them well and gave them a chance to inter-act…

I thought that this day of service might also be a chance to adopt a new family pet…our family beagle passed away this winter…

Goodbye Bailey…You’ll Be Forever In Our Hearts…

…and to be honest, I still haven’t gotten over losing him…I’m still living in the house that Bailey owned…we had him for 14 great years…many nights when my wife was traveling and the kids were away at school, it was just me and Bailey…more often now, I think about another dog in the family… would we get another beagle?…something different?…can we afford another mouth to feed in the house?…afford the additional cost of vet visits and kennel costs if we go on vacation?…do I want to invest the time in raising a new dog the right way?…do we really need that Complication in our lives right now?…

We bought Bailey from a pet store when he was a puppy and his mark on our family will be forever…is it time to let him go and allow a new dog to make its mark on our family?…and in our kitchen?…our family room?…the office and the bedrooms?…get back to you on that one…

IMG_0142

“Excuse Me Sir, But I Am Not A Liar”…

Had a strange, somewhat interesting conversation with a customer at the market the other day. This customer was in search of a manager who he thought could somehow enable corporate changes in our policy of who gets carded when purchasing alcohol in our store. He found me instead…which is to say his dream of corporate change was about to head over the falls in a barrel…a cheaply one made at that…

…So this gentleman’s disagreement was that we were lying about WHY we card our customers when purchasing alcohol…I gave him the most obvious answers…the answers he was really entitled to…not good enough for him…he insisted I tell the truth…I promised him I was…not good enough…the real truth, like him, was out there, and he wanted that other truth…tiring of his personal agenda, I pressed him back to tell me why he thought we carded all customers…his answer was both simplistic and obvious…Captain Obvious-like obvious…his answer was liability

It was here that I decided I had enough of this conversation…of course we do it to reduce our liability…what company doesn’t put rules in place to protect themselves from liability?…he then went on a rant about how this country had too many regulations…how the population was too divided against itself…how there were too many hand-outs…our politicians were failing in their duty to us…he was really warming up now…and starting to Infect other customers happy little Saturday morning grocery shopping experience…time to change the subject back to his initial complaint…so I simply asked him if for some reason he had been denied a purchase in our establishment today…his answer was almost ridiculous when you consider all the argument he had put into it…he only drinks once, maybe twice a year…my first thought was that maybe today was one of those days?…a thought I kept to myself by the way…

 After a couple of minutes of back and forth I decided I had to politely end this guys dream…EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935…one technique I’ve developed is to politely ask the customer’s name and shake their hand signaling my intention to move on and end a pretty much no-win circular conversation…but with this guy I felt a couple things needed to be cleared up first…after all I gave this guy a lot of time…so I made sure that he understood that his wish for us to change our carding policy would not happen, not even a little bit…and for some reason…using this interaction to improve my ability to understand other people’s motives…I was interested to know what this customer’s political party affiliation was, if he had one?…his complaints of too many regulations…of a nation divided…his objection to some, not all social programs (hand-outs)…of politicians who fail to do what he thought was right (drain the swamp?)…and his answer didn’t surprise me…

IMG_0142

Finally…I’m Out…Almost…

I got an unexpected gift in the mail this week…another check for $600 from Federal Express as part of their Contractor class action settlement…I guess there were some in the class who never claimed their portion of the money?…

After I signed the check and handed it over to my wife to deposit electronically, two things came to mind…the first you probably already guessed…why the hell did I waste my time signing something that just got deposited electronically?…and that this check officially ended any business relationship with Fred Smith and his management team of  hired thugs, backstabbing thieves, and overpaid lawyers…I only say overpaid because even the lawyers couldn’t defend that ridiculous contractor model FedEx they had…and still have by the way, they just call it something different now…but who knows?…maybe I’m wrong and FedEx was elated to be paying hundreds of millions of dollars to We the Uneducated Rabble who chose to Rebel against their authoritarian rules…yeah, right!…because that’s what soulless dictators enjoy the most…a little rebellion…

Anyway, I took this opportunity to do something else I’ve held off from doing…getting rid of all that FedEx clothing I had to purchase through the years…the shorts and long pants I bagged and sent off to the nearest clothing collection bin…the shirts, which I obviously couldn’t give away or give back…although, I really would have enjoyed sending them back to Fred down there in Memphis, or to his minions in Pittsburgh…but no, these I took delight in ripping them in half making them of no use to anyone…and for me this really signaled that I’m out, for real, that part of my life is now in the past…almost…let me clarify…my days of driving a truck…of working 10+ hour days with no overtime…working 6 days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with no overtime…working with no paid time off of any kind…ARE OVER!

I still have a connection to FredEx…a business arrangement with my former employer who is a FedEx contractor…and it still has a couple of years to go…but as of now…and I can’t say this negatively enough… “Fred Smith, you can kiss my Irish @$$, I’m through with you! I’m a grocer now. Never will I ever write about you and your independent contractor sham of a business model.”…on these pages…for the most part…(however I do reserve the right to re-post my holiday classic FedEx mutants post…)

And to my former employer…don’t sweat it…I didn’t cut up your shirts with your company logo…I’m saving them for you…you know, the ones without all of the salt stains from my sweat…

IMG_0142

The People I Meet…

 

The current job I’m in as a grocer allows me to speak with many people everyday …some I know already, some I’m meeting for the first time…and yes, of course there are some I wish I had never met… “I’m sorry, (insert sir or ma’am here) this is a grocery store and you might have to wait in a checkout line for a few minutes…what makes you think your time is so much more important than anyone else’s?”…not that I would ever say that…

…and of course there are a whole new cast of characters who have entered my so-called life…the nice lady who calls me sport all the time…I’m 58 years old for craps sake, nobody’s called me that since my early twenties…the nice guy who wore his New York football Giants jacket into the store everyday…haven’t seen that jacket since the Eagles won the Super Bowl…and then there was the pharmaceutical industry conspiracy guy who spoke in whispers and who told me he was being black-balled out of the industry by his former employer…he actually took his groceries out to his car and came back into the store to share more of his job history EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935and his thoughts on what’s wrong with this country…this was at 1:30 A.M. and after letting him go on for a couple minutes, I finally had to ask him to leave the store…he was too strange even for me…

…and not to be left out…the folks who stop over from the nearby gym…who love to  Flaunt the results of their winter spent working out in various forms of dress and not so dressed to do their shopping after their workouts…with warmer months coming…and there’s really no way to write this without sounding like a creeper…but, I can only imagine what they’ll be wearing or hardly wearing into the store…

but those are just a few of the people I see…this post is about a young lady who is a imageco-worker that I’ve gotten to know because she works at our Customer Service desk which is also part of the department I work in…she told me one day this week that she was a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and that after work she would be visiting the home of a critically ill child where, thanks to Make-A-Wish, she would get to tell this child that his wish of a trip to Disney World had been fulfilled…

I only share this story because so many times I might hear someone of my generation be critical of “those lazy, little snowflakes”…this person I’ve met shows that just volunteering and giving of your precious time can help make life a little better for those living in life-threatening situations…so next time you’re standing in a check-out line fuming over the few minutes it’s taking from your day…be mad at yourself for picking the wrong line…or you can use that time instead to think about what you might do to make life better for someone who may not be as fortunate as you…

IMG_0142