I just tried to hang up a blouse. Six separate times. On two different hangers. The thing was absolutely determined NOT to be hung. Tears were nearly shed.

This little interaction between me and the blouse is the perfect summation of my day.

Having closed the store (at midnight) last night, I planned to let myself sleep until 9 this morning. At nine, I pressed the tiny button on my phone to snooze. At 9:05, I did the same. By 9:30, I was pressing the button without even regaining consciousness. This went on until 10:30 this morning. Folks, please keep in mind I work in retail and am closing the store three nights in a row. I don’t want to sleep until 10:30, even keeping in mind that I get home around 12:45 (or 1:20 am, like this morning), but my body makes me. I can’t change this biological imperative. I must sleep. So my morning is totally shot.

Once I was finally up and going, I started a chore on my lengthy list and then got distracted and began another chore. As this happened multiple times, I accomplished almost nothing.

Then, off to work – and early, too, because the store was busy and an associate called in sick. Our District Manager, the slightly intimidating man that he is, was already there evaluating our store’s level of awesomeness. One bright spot was that I arrived at the store at the same exact moment as a former boss and rather-important-fellow at the corporate office and it had been ages since I last saw him. I can’t tell you what a treat it was to get to visit with him as we worked in the store. Apparently I have Cam Newton to thank for bringing Rather-Important-Fellow to visit the Auburn store. Thanks, Cam. If I could, I’d lift you on my shoulders, too.

There was nothing wrong with the next few hours. Nothing too frustrating. I was coping all right, considering the usual stresses of managing others.

Then someone just had to return an Extremely-Valuable-Piece-of-Technology that required multiple flaming hoops to be jumped through. By me. Before the store closed. And of course, concurrently, traffic at the store picked up due to a book signing. Never will I complain about a book signing that goes well. It’s a lovely thing.

I will, however, complain that I didn’t get a chance to do my hoop jumping until around 10:45pm. And because of a technical malfunction with some of our equipment, I had to literally climb walls in order to jump through more hoops to jump through the ORIGINAL flaming hoops. Honestly, I’m losing track of the hoops. There were a lot. Most of them burning. Acrobatics were required.

Okay so I had a male associate do most of the actual wall-climbing. But I had done a little climbing before I finally decided that was a danger to myself and my surroundings and called in some assistance.

Anyway, it took me an hour to wade through the paper-trail-CYA bureaucracy involved in returning said Extremely-Valuable-Piece-of-Technology, at which point it was half an hour before the store was to close and I had to cash out FIVE registers.

Five.

Usually by half an hour to close, I have three registers to cash out, count the deposit, and then all of the end-of-day paperwork involved in retail daily closings. If I’m really fast, I can get one register done before closing and the other two counted after close, count the deposit and do my paperwork and be done by about 45 minutes after we lock the doors.

It should come as no surprise that I started cashing out registers at 11:30 and we didn’t leave the parking lot until 1:15. A. M.

There were several moments where I had to remind myself to breathe. I had to stop to relieve myself when I thought my bladder was going to explode. I had to get some ice water when I felt a little woozy. I had to encourage my associates to greater heights while still getting these bothersome details sorted out.

But when I got home tonight, I just about fell apart when the damn shirt wouldn’t stay on the damn hanger. It’s like it all just hit me in that moment that my job can be really frustrating. And I work incredibly long hours. Just today, I worked 10 hours. On my feet, climbing walls, jumping through hoops, trekking from the front of the store to the office then back again, answering associate questions. Helping customers. Scheduling breaks. Cramming a sandwich down my throat. Chatting with an author. Bolstering the attitudes of my sometimes discouraged co-workers. Cleaning spills. Straightening shelves. Reading reports.

Who has the time to breathe with all that going on? Good thing it’s involuntary, or I’d be long dead.

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  • When your call for a repair requires speaking to a computer, who takes your request to reconnect the telephone wires to your house as connection problem that could be fixed by restarting your modem.
  • When your call to the repair/service branch of the company is dropped after they’ve obtained a good call back number, and they don’t call you back. Even when the call drop was on their end.
  • When your second call to the repair/service branch of the company leaves you on hold for half of your lunch break and you have to clock-in while still listening to bad hold music.
  • When you are forced to hang up after letting the Customer Service Rep know that you are at work and have limited time and he promises to call back on the good call back number when he has the date for your repair work to be done, and an hour later you are still waiting to hear back.
  • When your new co-workers see you on hold after lunch and get excited because they get to see “Angry Liz” for the first time.
  • When you call back to check on the status of your repair request and no one knows what you are talking about and half of the offices in the company are already closed so nothing can be done about it.
  • When you’d rather order pizza than call them one more time.
  • When you spend an hour on hold waiting before work the following morning only to find out you’ll have a technician at your house four days from today, between the hours of ten and six.
  • When they show up at four, two days late. (which is just a guess at this point, based on the level of customer service I’ve been provided so far)

I’d say that depending how far down this list you get, you are totally justified in having words with your ISP. Angry words. Words of righteous indignation. Words that get your bill cut in half. Words that make your Customer Service Representative feel so sorry for you, they quit their jobs on the spot.

I was ready to have some of these words about halfway through the list, but I made it to the end without threatening to yank my service and switch to someone else. I wonder at myself for just taking this abuse when I pay dearly every month for their service. Don’t I deserve to be treated better? Just because they have squillions of customers to take care of doesn’t mean each and every one doesn’t deserve a timely call back if a call back is promised! Doesn’t each customer deserve prompt restoration of service if they are PAYING for that service during the time it isn’t active? Yes and yes. Will I be the one to stand up for customer rights? Uh, unless they happen upon my blog, probably not.

* UPDATE! I sent a strongly worded email to my ISP!  If I had known this was a possibility, I never would have suggested I wasn’t willing to have words with them. Written words! Heck Yeah!

** NOTE! This is my 150th post! For having been at this for a year and a half, that doesn’t seem very impressive. Still! I wanted to announce it!

I do a fair amount of driving for my job so I’ve gotten to be something of an expert at finding the best deals on gasoline.

What’s a little trickier to avoid is the gas pump that pumps gas so incredibly slowly that you spend approximately 15 minutes pumping 15 gallons of gas. And I’ve found at least half a dozen of these sorts of gas pumps in the past month. What’s with these slow pumps? Are they old? Do the owners know they go slowly and therefore take five cents off of the cost of each gallon? That correlation between cheap and slow would explain the high percentage of slow pumps I’ve been encountering lately.

For illustrative purposes, this is what it feels like to be standing at one of these slow pumps:

Credit card swiped, approved and returned to your pocket, you lift the nozzle and insert into your vehicle. You pull up on the handle and wait. Hmmm. Is anything actually coming out of the nozzle? You check the display screen to see that you’ve pumped .034 gallons in the five seconds it’s taken you to perform these actions. You squeeze a little harder on the handle, hoping to get a little more flow. 0.092 gallons. It strikes you as odd that you can actually see clearly each of the numbers one through nine appear in the thousandths column of the display. It’s only been twenty seconds but your hand is beginning to feel a bit tired so you search for the metal bar on the handle that would give your hand a break. Gone. Broken. Never been there. Seriously, this is becoming more than annoying. If you’d just know before you started pumping… And then your opportunity comes to give someone else the advice you would have been grateful for when someone pulls up on the other side of your pump. But you don’t say anything. Never talk to strangers, right? They do their credit card thing and start pumping and though you never would have thought it possible, things are moving even more slowly than before. Honestly, you hope that your compatriot on the other side of your pump isn’t as stubborn as you are and gives things up rather quickly. You’re now up to 3.073 gallons. You notice that there are painters spraying a new color on the top of the convenience store attached to this gas station. You question the color choice – you rather liked the green they’re painting over with an unfortunate brown color. You watch as they work their way from one side of the roof all the way to the other. Check the display: 8.917 gallons. Makin’ progress. It turns out your compatriot is just as stubborn as you, or else just as desperate for cheap gas as you are. He sighs audibly. You sigh in return. Good thing you’re just on your way home and not on your way to an appointment, because this is the sort of thing that would normally get you super frustrated. You switch hands on the handle because you’ve got another seven gallons to go before your tank is full. After removing your right hand from the handle, you realize it is temporarily stuck in the gripped position. What a nice feeling. Under normal circumstances, you’d probably start swearing under your breath at this point.  But the extended exposure to the gasoline fumes has left you in a very zen-like state. You’ll get done. Eventually.

And I’m not talking about the kind of driving one does on the road. 

I’m talking about what it means to be driven. Career wise. I really wish I had a real drive to succeed in my job… I think it would make things a lot easier. Like there wouldn’t be a question as to whether or not I’ll make the calls I need to make today or tomorrow…or ever. They’d probably already be made. And I’d somehow naturally have ten appointments a week and make gajillions of dollars every month. I once talked about “faking it” but I don’t believe it’s possible to give more than a certain level of effort if one doesn’t truly love the work. And I can think of only two things I’ve never actually done before but I believe will bring me joy: parenting and editing. And I can think of only two jobs I’ve actually had (well… perhaps the second isn’t exactly a job, since I haven’t made a cent on it) that brought me joy: coaching a swim team and writing a novel. Three of the four of those potential occupations make little to no money – certainly not enough to live on comfortably. One of them requires I live in a geographic region I can’t afford to live in at this point in my life, and even if I could afford it, I’m a little bound by the restrictions of where Hubby is currently in school.

SO I guess this explains my lack of drive. I’m not driven to do this work because I’ve got at least four things I’d rather be doing. And it feels like I can’t do those things yet. Why become an unbelievably successful book sales rep when it isn’t what I really want to end up doing?

Maybe I’m just whining but I can’t possibly be the only person out there who basically knows what they want to be when they grow up but are now grown ups doing something totally different because of circumstances. Right? Surely someone can commiserate with that! Can I get an ‘AMEN!’???

I recently learned a new abbreviation for which I am overly fond. FML. I’m going to leave the “F” part to your imagination. The “M” stands for my. The “L” stands for life. F my life.

I’m totally feelin’ it right now. It seems like whenever I let myself get excited about something, it crumbles right before my eyes. I interviewed for a clerical position last week. Picture my excitement about this job in this way: The job is one I never would have imagined myself wanting – we’ll call it a pimento. I don’t mind pimentos. I can handle pimento or two on it’s own. A little slimy, nothing I’d eat alone unless I was down to my last dollar and that’s all that was left in the pantry. Okay, so I’m getting close to that situation, but I’m not quite there yet, so what else could have gotten me excited about a meal of pimentos? Well, add a little cheese to the equation in the form of Funky Friend. Now we’re cookin’. It would be lovely to see Funky every day, as she works for the same company. I’m sufficiently interested in the meal at this point. Add some mayo and my mouth is almost watering. I don’t have to travel? Count me in. A dash of Worcestershire sauce with a steady pay check. Now that’s a meal. I guess you could say I was getting pretty excited about digging in.

Any idea where I’m about to go with this?  They offered the position to someone else. Why? Because as of last week, my permanent address was in a different city.    F. M. L.
Someone spread my perfect pimento cheese on a piece of rye bread. And I hate rye bread.

I really need for something to work out, folks. It’s just time for some good karma to roll my way. I’m a nice person, thoughtful and sweet. I don’t say mean things to people, I don’t yell, I don’t torture animals, I don’t deal drugs or steal lollipops from little kids. I’m trying to be as responsible as I can given my certain set of somewhat abnormal circumstances. Why does everything always seem to fall apart? I’m not asking for everything to fall into place without any effort on my part… quite the contrary. I am willing to go the extra mile. I’m willing to work in one city and maintain a home and marriage in another. Why can’t a potential employer look at that as a sign of willingness to go that extra mile for a job, instead of a liability? Come on, people! Give me a chance to show what I can do!!

FML, dudes, FML.

With a new selling season gearing up, I’ve been receiving a TON of boxes. And I’m probably not that far off if you were to weigh them all together… there’s at least 2000 lbs of catalogs and books in the entryway of my home… ugh. And then another 2000 back in my office waiting to be taken to the recycler or given away to accounts… ugh ugh ugh. So much annoying manual labor goes along with this job. It’s unfortunate to the highest degree.

I haven’t opened but two of the at least 30 boxes in my entryway because I’ve got to process the unused catalogs in my office first. Since I have apparently lost my cell phone (UGH), I suppose I’ve got some time to spare…. so off to work I go… and I guess I’d whistle while I worked if I’d ever learned how!