Today I woke up at four however instead of doing something productive I went back to sleep. Normally I work later in the day but this morning I had to be in at nine. The other day I was telling my sister how I had better days when I woke up earlier and started getting things done. I'd be interested to see how today would have turned out had I gone for a walk instead of going back to sleep. The drive in was not too bad as traffic was fairly light. I arrived at work early and found six small sticky notes that my boss had left for me.

Monday morning I had seen a small collection of notes on her desk. Some of the notes my boss left me this morning pertained to the notes I had seen earlier. Our printer broke down on Monday and since it stopped working completely I wasn't able to finish printing the new e-mails. I did take some time to read what was in the e-mail list. Out of the ten or so e-mails we had received only two of them were important. Both were easily accomplished simple tasks, one was price changes that would take place the next day and the other was an RTV memo that applied to only one shoe we have in stock.

Seeing that list of notes from my boss this morning really did not sit well with me. I feel like my boss should have spoken to me on Monday about the things she left in one of her notes. She wants me to keep the air on at all times and the music should be no lower than 15 on the volume scale. What bugs me is that this is something she hasn't discussed with me before however she underlined this twice and wrote that this has been addressed before which is untrue. Another note said that I was supposed to write down and sign off on everything I did today.

Later on my boss called and told me to send a text message to her letting her know everything I did today. June was a crappy month for sales but today I had a pretty good day. Tomorrow my district manager is coming. My coworker asked what she should say if our district manager asked her how things were going. I told her I wouldn't say anything if I was her because our boss is new, we're not and our district manager is not the type of person who wants to hear about employees who are not performing well whining about changes in management.

Hopefully my district manager will not call on my day off. If she does I have to think about what I want to say, even if she doesn't I've decided that my new manager is not a good manager for the following reasons: First and probably most importantly she does not seem able to prioritize. Secondly she needs to learn how to stay cool instead of flying off the handle and yelling at people when she's upset. Thirdly she's defensive and whenever people are defensive I wonder what's behind that.

Good managers apologize when they screw things up so in my mind if you make excuses you are not good management material. In my opinion my new store manager lacks the leadership, charisma and vision to take the store we have to the next level. I doubt that she can maintain the level we were at previously but the assistant manager we have now is a power seller and I tend not to be but so far for the year I'm the top sales person at our branch which means my numbers overall are better even if my total sales volume is lower than some of the people in management.

For a long time I was angry about the situation at work. Then I started thinking about it and I decided that if I was the district manager I would focus on training people that I thought had people skills because that's something you can't teach. I think that the company I work for hires decent people however it does itself a great disservice in not training people that shoes, socks and orthotics work as a system.

Since there is no formal training program new people are either afraid of selling orthotics or worse they try to sell them and since they don't know what they're doing customers return them and complain to management. In the time it takes for people to grasp the concepts we have lost/angered/frustrated customers and in the meantime employees are upset/frustrated/bitter/losing commission money. My former boss told my new boss what he paid taxes on last year and I think she doesn't get that he knew how to sell and my guess is even if she does know she'll never be at the level he was.

Today was a good sales day for me. One customer picked things up and bought them but most of the rest of my customers were people that I sold things to. My first customer was traveling to Peru. She left with two pairs of sandals that I think will serve her well. My second customer didn't buy anything but I think she'll come back for a pair of sandals we didn't have in stock. My favorite customer of the day left with almost three hundred dollars worth of merchandise. She told me she's never spent that much on shoes before. She's a runner, she has a long trim foot and she thanked me at least three times before she left.

Another customer I worked with bought a pair of sandals with straps that adjust because she's recovering from foot surgery. She has rheumatoid arthritis so one foot is still damaged while the other is swollen and healing. She's making a list of things she thinks people need to know before they have the kind of surgery she did. She told me that she had been to at least a dozen other shoe stores and ours was the first one where she was able to find anything that would work.

While I was working with her I mentioned that my former boss had benefited from a particular pair of shoes. Rheumatoid arthritis is very painful, good supportive shoes can relieve joint stress, they can balance your body out and reduce foot pain even if they can't address the underlying inflammation. People like the women I met today are the good parts of my job which is what I want to remember instead of focusing on the negative.

Today I met some neat women. I was able to help them or at least point them in a direction they could go and that does offset some of the crap I get from upper management. I guess the thing that frustrates me is I feel like I work hard and I'm being treated like a little kid whose room is generally clean yet gets yelled at because they forgot to pick up some toys they left in the living room. While I could go on about work I want to switch gears and talk about my children and how my job affects them and their lives.

First of all I have to say that working makes me a better parent because when I stayed at home I had no money of my own which heightened my problems with anxiety. Periodically my children frustrate me. I want them to be perfect, they obviously aren't and my children probably can relate to the parent who yells at them for leaving toys out because I do get upset when I come home and I can tell what they've done and eaten because everything is out waiting for me to clean it up.

Tonight I came home and the house was silent because everyone was sleeping. Yesterday I took the girls shopping for some back to school clothes. Instead of jeans we came home with shorts for my oldest daughter, a skirt for my youngest and Capri pants for both of them. Everything I bought was a good fit. I think the girls will get a lot of use out of what they got and part of the reason that I work is so I can take the girls shopping and buy them some things they don't actually need from time to time.

Growing up my parents never had money to buy us all the clothes we wanted and I'm sure some of the reason I buy my girls the things I do is maybe in my head getting them a frivolous thing or two helps make up for some of the times when I wanted things I couldn't get. There are things I refuse to buy. I won't buy anything that I feel is of an inferior quality, I don't buy them shoes that don't meet my standards and I try not to buy them toys but my oldest daughter has a hard body to work with so when I find well made clothes that she likes and are within my budget I get them for her because I know what shopping for her is like.

The other day I took the girls swimming. I had a bad headache, eventually it went away but it was tough to drag myself to the pool and tougher still to drive past Culver's when it would have been so easy to stop for custard. I took the girls out to eat last week when my husband was out of town and every once in a while treats like that are okay but this past week I spent quite a bit of money buying groceries so I told the girls they could eat when we got home. Unfortunately they didn't get supper until almost seven o'clock which is a lot later than they normally eat.

I made them pancakes and smoothies for breakfast and we had tacos for a late lunch so I didn't feel too bad about the time but time has a way of getting away from me when I'm hanging out with the girls. That was less of a problem when I was home all the time. Now I feel like I have to pack everything into one day which I'm sure is one of the reasons that the girls were asleep by the time I got home. Working late and having irregular hours is hard on my family because they can't count on me being home on time. Sometimes I come home crabby and I don't want to be taking things out on them but I'm only human and I snap and yell because I'm frustrated or crabby.

Lately I've been trying to take small steps towards some goals I've set for myself. Mostly these are behavior modification tools. There are things I like about myself, my new plan focuses on making my strengths stronger while minimizing some of my weaknesses. One major step I took was enrolling in the company 401(k) plan. We're a privately held company and there is no reason I couldn't have gotten into the plan earlier except you have to wait a year and then wait for an open enrollment period. Had I known I would be waiting that long for health insurance and retirement benefits I probably wouldn't have accepted the job, that was one of the things I conveniently wasn't told when I was hired but whatever.

What I am grateful for is the knowledge base I've acquired while working there. Being able to work with people and having people ask for me or sit and wait for me to finish working with someone else does more for me personally than seeing my name on top of a sales roster. My new manager complains frequently that she hasn't been trained yet several times when I've tried to work with her she's blown me off. In terms of my feet they have come a long way since I first started. At work we have a scanning system that maps the bottom of your foot. A year ago my right foot was carrying significantly more weight and pressure than my left foot. Today my feet are perfectly balanced which probably means little to you but what it means to me is that now things like jogging for short periods of time are possible when previously it hurt to walk.

My new training program hasn't gone the way I anticipated it would. When I saw that the girls were sleeping I decided to try and make up the walk I missed this morning. Formerly I saw exercise as a means to an end. More and more lately I'm starting to find that the more I exercise the more I learn about my body and the better able I am to work with it instead of against it. Most likely insecurity goes along with being a middle aged woman with a couple of pounds to lose but I'm miles ahead of some of the girls I see at the mall in terms of understanding that the bodies they have aren't going to last if they don't start changing their exercise and eating habits.

The other day people were talking about hair color in the catbox. People in my family are blonde snobs so I feel slightly fraudulent referring to myself as blonde even though my hair isn't quite dark enough to be called light brown. I guess what bothers me there is people have this idea that blondes fill some of their preconceived notions and maybe stereotypes are unavoidable but it kind of bugs me that people think you should be blonde and busty or if you are blonde you should rank higher on the attractiveness scale.

This worries me because I have two daughters who will probably be blonde for a while. As a parent I think about men and what I know about them. I can already tell what body types my children will have just as I know what kind of feet they've gotten from their parents. Naturally I want good things for my girls. I realize I can't conceal the way the world works from them, parents can't protect their children from the outside world and maybe parents are at fault for some of the things their children are going to grow up with. For the most part I worry less about my oldest daughter who is stubborn, headstrong and outspoken and more about my youngest who is sweet, sensitive and introverted.

The other day I was looking at old pictures and it is really amazing to me that the skinny little babies with bad rashes and terrible ear infections grew into the wonderful children I have today. As a parent I make a lot of mistakes. Hopefully some day my children will be able to forgive me for all the ways I failed them as a parent and maybe they'll be able to see that I did know one of two things that made their childhood good in some small way. Right now they're both sleeping. Tomorrow we have appointments at the audiologist. That's going to be a big bill for me to pay but if it means that my girls can go swimming and their ears aren't going to hurt afterward then I guess I'll have to remind myself that this is part of the reason I go to work even when I would much rather be hanging out with them.

Update - Audiologist visit will have to be canceled as my oldest daughter has a temp of 102.1. Hopefully she will feel better soon.

Last night, with my right fist, I punched myself as hard as I could in the face. It landed just under my right eye; I was careful to avoid my nose, just because I hate the taste. Clearly, it was a ridiculous and childish thing to do. My lease is nearly up, however, and I'd sooner have the money to hire movers than repair drywall.

Because I'm a privileged individual, and am allowed to live my life exactly how I choose, I would also enjoy being berated by everyone I know about my red & puffy eye - but I don't actually come into contact with anyone, so essentially, I am robbed of that pleasure.

In junior high, I used my scissors to cut slits on the tip of fingers until they dripped with blood. Basically, instead of using a marker, I figured that my own blood would prove more of a statement to the project. We were drawing American flags, after all. My teacher nodded disapprovingly, however, and demanded I use the red markers instead.

Last weekend, I was waiting for my friend in the lobby of a hotel in Austin. One of my favorite things to do is play the pianos, as if I'm a busker. The weighted keys, the real acoustic vibrations, being able to glide across the scales without worrying about complaints. With an unencumbered mind, and perhaps a glass of scotch, something comes over me and I'm channeling everyone from J.S. to Thelonius; abendqextrous rolling segues between schizophrenic grooves a-la Cecil Taylor and devil-may-care Jerry Lee Lewis rock and roll. Sometimes I feel like I'm disconnected from the 'normal world' so that I can be a sort of conduit for the vagabond spirits of music: after all, music is the voice of God, so why shouldn't his angels be musicians? I have taught myself to play many other instruments, but I don't love any of them as much as a piano. Furthermore, although I never notice anything while I am playing, there is always a small congregation of people listening to me and smiling. I don't normally like attention, but that's no big thing. In fact, I kind of like it.

Later, I was at the piano again, but alone. When nobody is watching, sometimes I do the contrived, and play the opening bars to Imagine. It's hard for me to get it spot-on, because my right thumb is a bit angular and crooked. As such, I cannot help but play two keys as opposed to one. When my dad broke my thumb that day, he thought I was getting out of my chair to physically confront him during an argument, so he shoved me back into my seat. I've only ever hit one person in my life, and that's because that guy was hitting my best friend at a party. Regardless, my hand was in the way, and my thumb bent about 45 degrees to the southwest. He refused to take me to the doctor and I don't have medical insurance. So, I just have to work around that for the rest of my life, but I'm still pretty worried about arthritis. Good thing I don't need my right thumb to play any other instruments! lol.

I hurt myself on the outside to take my mind away from how much I hurt inside. I hurt myself to keep me from hurting other people, because sometimes I just want others to suffer like I do. Just never ask me what my problems are, because they don't actually exist. Well, actually, no worries: nobody has asked yet and I'm almost 30. It's 6 p.m. and I haven't gotten out of bed. It might rain.

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