Sunday, November 29, 2009

Survival Tactics

I’ve just finished my third day at the new job stocking groceries. I mostly take a cart full of items to an isle, spend 45 minutes seeing if any of those items are needed and take a cart ¾ full of times back. It’s not such a bad gig.

Except for the customers.

I had noticed on my first day that everyone I worked with walked very fast. No matter what we were doing, we walked at a brisk pace. After being stopped three times after I had clocked out for break, I understood why. We are running from the customers. If you walk fast enough and look preoccupied, they can’t catch you or think that you just didn’t notice them asking for help.

I unfortunately generally look bewildered and since I don’t know where I’m going most of the time, see no reason to hurry to get there. The customers sense my weakness, and thus often pounce on me.

I wonder if there are speed walking classes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The care package

My family hasn’t sent me many care packages since I moved away from home. I received several after my lung collapsed a few years ago, and I know my mom and sister have each sent me a few here and there through the years, but its not a common occurrence.

Most of the things I think I would want, like fresh cooked zucchini bread, I can make on my own. And the things I don’t make—like turkey stuffing from scratch and Laotian sticky rice, are too strange to ask for

So I’m still a bit puzzled by care packages.

Brian’s family has always sent plenty of care packages. Not just his mom, but his grandmother as well. Grandma Metzger sent Brian a care package for his birthday this year. Two jars of home made jelly. Candy. Home made bars of some sort of deliciousness. Crackers. A small ham (only 2 pounds). Sliced cheese. 4 sticks of butter.

I’m thinking asking for sticky rice is not so odd after all.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A thing to be thankful for

After the insanity of my unexpected training day on Wednesday, I remembered that I was supposed to pick up some pop tarts for Brian before coming home. Grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving isn’t the best idea, but I figured I’d be brave and provide for my starving partner.

While I was standing in line, the older gentleman behind me asked if I had already gotten my cooking done for the next day. I told him that at the rate the lane was moving, we’d end up eating the pop tarts. He laughed and asked if I was a student. I told him no, but my fiancĂ© is. He asked me, “Is he a good man?”

“Yeah. He really is.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An unexpected first day

On Tuesday, I got my call back from Kroger letting me know I had passed my drug test. I was told to come in on Wednesday at 11 for my “hiring session.” Great, I thought. I’ll have a job for after Thanksgiving, and still will have plenty of time to cook today after the ‘session.’ I was wrong.

I went in and spent 15 minutes signing forms. Things were going as planned, until she set me up with a computer so I could complete the online training sessions. There were at least 15 sessions, between 25 minutes and 60 minutes long. I was told by the manager not to worry, that the sessions really only took half as much time as listed. She was wrong.

Each session was essentially like watching a glorified powerpoint presentation, except I couldn’t control the speed at which the information flowed. A bullet point would pop up, and I would read it. And read it again. And spin around in my chair. And then the next bullet point would pop up.

I learned all about in store safety, how to operate a price gun, how to operate a fork lift, how to prevent theft (which really just gave me tips on how to shoplift), more about how to promote safety, how to create a work schedule for my department and how to use work schedules to train new workers (impressive, given that I haven’t even been trained yet).

At the end of each training session, I was tested on the material. For information on safety and fork lift usage, I had to get a score of 70% per section. For information on proper dress and team spirit, I had to get a score of 100%.

At one point when I found myself listening to the in store musical stylings of Justin Timberlake and watching an hour long cartoon about a floating talking star and a guest services clerk, I thought I was loosing my mind.

Finally at 6:00 I left. I am $52.50 richer (not including taxes and union dues) and theoretically able to operate a forklift and assist a coworker in removing sulfuric acid from their eyes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Job Hunt

So the job hunt has not gone well. I had a promising prospect with the United Way here, but it’s been over a month of decision making on their part, when originally they had planned on telling me in a week.

And while I continue applying, it’s been a very long time with no income. So this week, I broke down, swallowed my master’s degree and applied at the grocery store. I try not to be a snob about jobs, and kept telling myself that there is no shame in making a living, but it wasn’t a good day.

I knew that when I interviewed they would ask why I wanted to work there. It’s a common interview question and I always try to come up with a good answer ahead of time. For the grocery store, all I could come up with was the fact that I want money. It’s an honest answer, but I’m not sure the good folks at Kroger Co. would appreciate it.

On Thursday, I went to my interview and of course was asked why I wanted to work there. I told them it was because I want to get married soon and I need an income right away to do that. I struck gold. The woman interviewing me is still paying off her daughter’s wedding from two years ago.

I wasn’t hired on the spot, because first they have to receive my drug test results. Ahhh the workplace.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Possible Impending Doom

I haven’t blogged lately because not much has been happening. I’m still job hunting, Brian is busy studying. Most days I spend my time knitting, watching bad TV (wifeswap!) working out, cooking and cleaning. Saturdays we spend time together, Sundays I go to church then clean up the apartment. Mondays we go out for drinks with the students from Brian’s program, Wednesdays I watch Glee with some friends, and Fridays we go to Bio Bev.

This week at Bio Bev, I suddenly noticed a lump on the underside of my calf, just above my ankle. When I looked more closely, I realized it wasn’t just a lump, it was a huge bruise! And all weekend long, the bruise continued to grow (the lump part did not, just the funny colors). Usually my bruises look terrible right away and fade quickly. This one spread from the size of a silver dollar on Friday to the size of a tea cup today, with gross colors changing all the time. It also leaves lines of color each day where my socks sit.

I have decided the bruise is
A. Ankle cancer
B. The hanta virus
C. The bubonic plague
D. A voodoo curse

I am completely serious.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday stinky love

Today is My Heather’s birthday. She is a person I love with all my heart and I am happy to have the privilege of us being bffs. And since I liked it so much when my sister did it, I’m going to tell you 10 reasons she is awesome:

1. She is the best smelling person I have ever met. If you know her, try smelling her sometime soon, you’ll like it.
2. She decided to go to school in Madison, which made me go to school in Madison, which was one of the best decisions of my life
3. She often starts to entertain herself when left alone. Once while I was driving with her somewhere and ignoring conversation in order to concentrate, she started putting on a little play with the items in my purse.
4. When we were in college, we invented a game called “tears or snot.” You can play by crying on your best friend’s shoulder and then deciding whether the wet parts are from tears, or snot.
5. She told me that we would not hang out the first month of my freshman year, so I would be sure to make friends outside of her, because she wanted me to grow as a person
6. My second night in college, she broke our no-contact rule to bring me to an awesome party.
7. She surprises me. For example, most people thought it was very odd when I spent a week carrying around a giant plastic Buddha and taking pictures of it every where. Heather thought it was a good idea to take him to Target. And to Victoria’s Secret (as long as he stayed in the shopping bag).
8. She calls me every year on my birthday to tell me she’s happy I was born. (She should expect a phone call today, because I’m happy she was born).
9. She has seen Dead Man on Campus and The Pest at least 10 times. Minimum.
10. She went with me as a Ninja for Halloween two years ago. It’s been my favorite costume ever since. We spent the entire evening defending each other and yelling “Ninjas Fight in Pairs”

Happy Birthday Stinks!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Scariest Day of the Year.

I had a very un-scary Halloween. Brian and I watched the gory, but not scary Sweeney Todd and then attended a party thrown by one of the third year students. The number of dogs (in and out of costume) and babies at one point exceeded the number of students. Brian and I had very awesome last minute Ninja costumes (my brother in law is right, you should always have a sword for last minute emergencies), that were fun, but not scary.

The big scares came today. The first while I was relaxing in the living room this afternoon. I had the strange feeling that I was being watched, and saw out of the corner of my eye—a face pressed against the window. It was the 10 year old neighbor boy, and he stayed there until his grandparents called him after about 5 minutes. Creepies.

Later, Brian and I were rough housing next to the stairs. I was about to put a stop to it, hearing my mom say that we would fall down the stairs and die, when I lost my grip on Brian’s hand. In slow motion, I watched him he reeled backwards, and all I could think was how far it was and how hard the stairs were. Turns out, it wasn’t just my vision in slow motion, it was really happening that way, because out of my line of sight, he had a firm grip on the railing and was never in any danger of falling at all. Boo.

Final summation: October 31, not scary. November 1, scary.