Thirty-six years ago I went to visit my mom and newborn sister at the hospital. I was six at the time, but I still remember the excitement and strangeness of seeing my mom in a gown holding a tiny swaddled infant. Despite our differences I love my sister, more today now that I'm a healthier person, in the past I was not so nice to her, I'm ashamed of that behavior, but today I am putting that behind me. Today is my day off and because my manager is awesome I can also sleep in tomorrow. The past two days were some of the best I've ever had at work, I can't put into words what working with people who are energetic, driven, and supportive is like. The other day I said that I felt as if I won the lottery, perhaps this is better as money can buy you a lot of things, but when you're impoverished you know people are hanging around you for the money.
About this time last year I was headed toward a downward slide that would end up with a five day stay at a mental hospital. Yesterday I cut my wrist on a piece of sharp metal that was under some shelving, seeing blood well out of the shallow wound brought back memories of wanting to kill myself even though that desire isn't really a problem for me now although it will flit through my head at odd moments. I've heard people say that you're always a drunk, addict, fill in the blank, maybe that's how being suicidal is, even though my life is very good as far as being out of the house, having a job that I like and excel at, working with cool people, having a car again, enjoying better relationships with family, friends, and having a romantic connection with someone else - it's easy to fall into the old trap of becoming complacent and comparing myself to others - they have nicer clothes, a better body, whatever the comparison is where I end up falling short - I need to stop doing this to myself.
I'm still in the process of decluttering - I was calling it something else earlier, I've since forgotten what, but the terms decluttering and minimalist living are starting to wear on me for some inexplicable reason. Maybe I don't want what I'm doing to be passed off as a fad or I feel as if I have an identity that's separate from other people who try to keep the things they need and jettison the rest. I had a moment where I couldn't donate the throw pillows I had accumulated. It was very difficult for me to bag them up and drop them off at the thrift store, but I reminded myself of something my manager says - it makes me feel good to think about someone who has little or nothing walking into St. Vincent DePaul's and finding something I dropped off. This doesn't really work if I think about how low of a priority a throw pillow would be to someone who really didn't have anything, but it gave me some strength and fortitude when I really needed it.
My brother took me out to lunch today. We ate tacos near the truck, we have two taco trucks in town - they occupy the same parking lot which people usually find strange, funny, or coincidental. I knew it was a mistake to eat the tacos, but I went anyways because my brother said that he would treat and I wanted to sit on the bench outside and enjoy a taco like a person whose digestive system works the way that it should. The other day we marked down our disco bin. That's shop talk for our rack of discounted items. My manager is very frugal, the general manager told her to price things so low that she would buy it if she was shopping which made all of us laugh. In the past I've mentioned how generous she is, as an example she gave me a bug spray that was dented, a bottle of aloe vera that was expired, and a bottle of throat spray that she could have left on the rack for another shopper.
The other day I picked up some organizational items for our department. I spent less than twelve dollars total, I bought a metal filing box for my apartment, a cardboard box that has months of the year as tabs, a cardboard divider with categories for bills, a recipe box with several sets of alphabetical tabs, and what I think might be a bento box with a wonky closure. I used the alphabet tabs to organize coupons for our department and put price tags in the bento box. There are times when we need to pull tags and then put them back out, the most recent example of this was when we had our health fair and two vendors sponsored endcaps for the weekend. Redoing an endcap can be a frustrating experience, fortunately for me my merchandizing training at the shoe store has helped tremendously. I've learned that not everyone has the spatial capacity that I do and being able to attractively group items on a shelf is a gift I happen to have.
My manager and another employee in our department are some of my favorite people to work with, each of us brings something different to the table. I'm impulsive and impetuous which is why I value my friend who is very methodical and takes the time to think things through more thoroughly than I do. The three of us work harmoniously together, the other day our manager gave us the time to go in back and organize the stock that doesn't fit on the sales floor. I never know how things look to other people, but after we were done grouping things together I wondered how we managed to get along with the hodge podge system we had where people dumped items at random. Perfection is unattainable, but the flow is much better than it was previously thanks to the brain of my friend who suggested putting the most popular endcap items right out in front where everyone can see it immediately.
After she said it I realized how obvious her idea was, putting best selling high margin items in front makes more sense than laying things out in store order which is what I had done previously. She's what I would call slow brilliance, she isn't flashy and doesn't act like a know it all so when you see how beautifully things come together you have a better appreciation for her intellect and the fact that she doesn't feel the need to assert herself over others. One of the things I really like about her is how she approaches things differently than I do, but doesn't make me feel as if my way is stupid, wrong, or bad. Sometimes neither of us really know what we're doing, there's some fun in that too although it can be a challenge to put products we weren't expecting to arrive on shelves that are already crammed full of stuff. We make it work and even though we complain about it, we should be grateful for the creative experiences we're forced into.
Having the internet and my computer back is just wonderful. I've been meaning to write, I find I have very little leftover when I come home from work. Meals have been non-existant around here, but at least I bought things for the girls to eat at lunch. Last night I went to bed before 7:00 PM. I woke up at 3:30, laid in bed for a while, and woke up my oldest when I grabbed my phone. I read a great article on time management, that gave me some insight, it was so good I still have it pulled up on my phone, but I'm going to go back to it when I need a break from something else. I haven't heard from the guy I like in a while. I'm reminding myself that he's very busy, that sometimes couples need a break, and that I shouldn't force things that aren't meant to be, today is not so bad, the other day I was very sad and lonely. My apartment is very nice, but it doesn't feel like home.
I drove past the house when I stopped to pick up my mail. It's been painted, the carpeting is gone, but it still has that sense of home. I miss the grass, the mature trees, and the lovingly tended yards I used to take for granted. I can't remember if I wrote about this already, but I'm going to Vegas for work in October. Naturally I'm nervous about the food, the last time I was in Vegas I narrowly escaped a trip to the emergency department for IV fluids. I remember laying on the floor of the airport and someone telling me I had to get up only I couldn't. I don't think I've ever vomited so many times in such a short period of time. The paramedics thought I had the flu, but I told them that's what can happen when someone who has celiac disease is exposed to gluten. Without going into it, your body wants to get rid of things as quickly as possible, your electrolytes get thrown off quickly and you can die from dehydration if you're not careful. Since I've learned that I now stock those prefilled packets that you can mix into a standard bottle of water.
I bought a suitcase for my trip. It's been on my list of things I've wanted for a long time, I saw one at Goodwill, decided it wasn't quite what I wanted, and discovered a newer and better one for two dollars less. Experiences like this make me happy since I feel as if I'm sharpening my patience skill which admittedly has been in need of reinforcement for some time. Change of subject - another exciting thing was the addition of these very powerful enzymes that my boss let me take home after a customer discovered that they were expired. I was dubious that they would be effective, I haven't noticed a tremendous difference in my digestion, but I'm pretty sure that these things are responsible for how amazing my mouth has been feeling. For some time I had tooth pain that was pretty painful at times. I really need to get into the dentist, but since I've been taking these enzymes I haven't really noticed the pain. My teeth are very shiny feeling if that makes any sense. This could be a complete coincidence, but I'm attributing the cleaner mouth to these enzymes since I noticed the improvement right after I started taking them.
Despite working in the vitamin and supplement department I still believe that clean living is the best line of defense against illness and aging, but I have to say that I've changed my mind on some of the products that I wouldn't have purchased on my own. More expensive food based organic vitamins really do work better for me, the forty dollar enzymes work better than the six dollar brand, and like a lot of other areas in life you get what you pay for in my department. There are still economical shopping strategies, but years ago I couldn't have imagined the state of health and energy that I enjoy now. I say this to remind myself that I am better as I often forget that. Lately I've been thinking about how I would live if I didn't get a discount, samples, and freebies. Would I still invest in the products that I have now? Maybe not to the extent that I do currently, but I'm sold on a lot of it that I was iffy on previously.
It's incredible to me that I'm able to work 38 (or so) hours a week at a physically demanding job where I'm on my feet all day. In addition to standing on concrete flooring I also have to lift a lot of heavy boxes, squat, bend, crouch, twist, and keep my cool when customers are complaining that the item that's been out of stock for two days hasn't arrrived yet. While I wouldn't necessarily call my job stressful when comparing it to other jobs, it is fast paced and often hectic. My mind is constantly going when I'm at work. We have a desk in back, but even when I'm back there I'm rarely sitting down. Taking time to pull out the chair is a luxury we don't always have. It's faster and easier to just stand and type whatever emails I need to compose. When you have a lot to do in a short amount of time seconds count and when you're operating on a tight budget so do the pennies.
Every expired product is a hit against our bottom line. Every broken bottle, damaged packaging, or leaking container is a loss for my department and the store in general. I have to know what we paid for things to request a price tag, math errors hurt us, theft, leaving a sale sign out and forgetting to take it down after the price has changed costs us, we're constantly fighting things like the temperature and humidity affecting our cosmetics and other products, stupid things I never considered before like the shelf life of cardboard in a cooler are now high priorities at work. Prioritization, organization, and efficiency are key at work. We might miss a sale if we dawdle while we're unpacking a product that a shopper came into buy. I might be rushed and pressured, but if that comes across while I'm talking to someone, that might cost us a sale. I'm good at what I do, and I'll get better, but I still have much to learn.
People who work there (for the most part) are passionate about what they believe in and are doing. We just hired a guy who works in the meat department who was a sous chef at a fancy restaurant out near where I live. He got into gardening, he raises chickens and sheep so he thought he would try and find a job that would help him get more experience that will help him move along his five and ten year plan. Nobody works there for the money, it's not great. But that store has a culture of it's own and I haven't ever felt as loved, supported, or as free as I do there. The majority of the time my boss lets me run with things. I don't always have the best ideas, I make a lot of mistakes, but I've also made and saved the company thousands of dollars with my organizational strategies and systems. My sixty day review is coming up and I'll be curious to see if that includes a pay increase. I have to think about what I'm going to do if it doesn't. The timing might not be right, I would like a raise, I believe I've earned one, however, timing is everything. Biding my time may be the way to go.
Would love to write more, but am getting tired and need to put away my roast. Praying that this finds you well, I've missed some of you terribly...
P.S. I really want cookies and milk, I stay away from dairy, but maybe I'll run to a grocery store I don't work at and treat myself later.