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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Must our punctuation ALWAYS be so painful?

WARNING!

This post ranks up there on the gross meter.  Gentlemen, you may want to look away.

Todd...this means you!  :)



Ladies, as if our monthlies were stupid enough...I have a bone to pick with the Always people.  Seriously, it's not enough that we have to live through 5-7 days a month when we bloat, get headaches that would blind an elephant, get cramps that are not unlike actual labor pains, and back aches that would sideline most NBA, NFL, AND MLB players for at least a game.  It's not bad enough we must just live through it...when was the last time YOU took a day off with these symptoms?  When was the last time, at your workplace, when everyone else is talking about their aches and pains and guys will discuss their latest bout of the sniffles that kept them in bed for three days, that you whispered the words "I have cramps" and someone didn't mock you?

Basically, women operate ILL at least one week out of every month from the time they are about 11 until pretty much the day they die.  Or go through menopause, which I'm told isn't much better than actual death.  We do it because we must.  We do it because the world, contrary to what most men think, does not shut down just because we don't feel good. 

We do it, and we ask one tiny, little thing.  We ask that our personal products don't actually add to the pain and suffering.

I'm not talking about the products working at this point...I've ranted about that before.  No, my friends, I'm talking about personal products that simply, and with great glee, add layer upon layer of physical anguish to our already annoyingly painful weeks of punctuation editing.

Today I'm aiming my rant ray at the Always people.  You know, the same genius team that came up with "Have a happy Period" commercials, which ran during prime time on DISNEY which lead my 6 year old daughter to ask me why we were supposed to have a happy period.

Yeah, and as if that's not enough...they ALWAYS wind up adding to the pain.

Case in point:  a number of years ago, some friends and I attended an all day, outside, porta potty facilities only event.  I HATE porta potties.  HATE THEM.  Especially at the aforementioned event...I was in costume.  Let's say the costume was bulky enough that moving about in a porta potty without 1)  tipping the potty over and/or 2)  relieving myself on some portion of the costume was not a chance I wanted to take.

And yes, I was on that magical last day of my monthly...the day when you can't go without protection really, but you really are just done wearing protection.  I figured I'd through on something that ALWAYS protected on such days and I would be protected ALWAYS until I got to a real, inside bathroom at the end of the afternoon.

At some point during the day, and it was a hot sweaty sort of day, given the costume I was in, I wasn't terribly aware of the issue until it was really serious, my protection...let's just say, flipped.

Ladies, you know what I mean.  The adhesive side rolled up and stuck to my skin.  Funny how that same adhesive doesn't ALWAYS stick to the material it's supposed to, but it's ALWAYS lock on like glue to skin.

There wasn't much I was going to do about it until I got out of costume, a few hours later.  Once I was able to examine myself...let's say I wasn't walking terribly comfortably for a couple of days later.

So I swore I would ALWAYS buy a different brand of protection.  And I ALWAYS did, until a month ago when there was a discontinued sale on a product I'd never seen before.  I am ALWAYS intrigued by new advances in the realm of punctuation, so I purchased the item. This item promised more coverage, more protection, less leaks...and CLEANLINESS. 

Sandpaper and a baby wipe.
'Nuff said.
I should ALWAYS remember two things

1)  There's a reason a product gets discontinued.

2)  ALWAYS lies.

Ladies, this particular item had a lining that must have been designed by the Marquis De Sade.  Seriously.  It was hard to tell just how much irritation the product was causing me...because, you know...it's pretty much a traffic accident during those magical days.  All I know is that I'm moderately certain they put adhesive on both sides.  In the three days I used the product it ALWAYS stuck to my skin, giving me a super rash BTW.

Have I learned from my troubles?

Yep.  I am ALWAYS going to use a product that is not ALWAYS going to give me a problem.  Why add injury to injury? 

3rd shift shoppers or Zombie parade?

Good morning!

I should be hitting the hay for one of my last all day sleeps.  But I have to share this little thing with you.

Working third shift, as I have for the past month and will soon no longer be doing (Sunday is my last night)  I have observed a number of things, but the biggest thing being...

Working third shift at a convenience store is not the unlike the opening scenes of "Night of the Living Dead."

Now, those of you who know me know that I have a huge fear of that movie.  In fact, I probably won't be able to do laundry today because every time I think about that movie, I can't go in my basement for a couple days without breaking into panic sweat.

Working the night shift is sort of like the opening scene.  That first zombie is just creepy, and scary.

Add "and in search of some hot gas station sandwiches" and you pretty much have my job.

When I started I'm not sure what I expected, but it was NOT constant parade of people, generally men, and generally guys who visit EVERY NIGHT, steaming in for odds and ends.  It starts about the time the final group of daylight dwellers leaves, their bellies full of microwaved meals, coffee, and donuts that have, literally, been out all day.

Then the fun begins.  One by one they march in.  There's the young stoner who comes in to eat what is not made, and therefore we must make something for him.  While he's emptying the store of the small bags of chips, the little kool aid bottles, and cigarettes.  I'd like to tell him that if he bought the BIG bags of chips, he'd save himself some money...and he wouldn't have to come in every night, but I don't think he and I speak the same language.

MUST HAVE BIG HOT DOGS AND TAQUITOS MADE BY A WOMAN IN A HAIRNET!
The food zombies are funny.  They stagger in...and stop immediately at the heat lamps.  Which are typically empty because we have to throw away everything after a certain amount of time, and zombies are not ruled by human concepts of time...and food waste.  I wish we had a big light over the store so we could flash "ZOMBIE FOOD NOW" when we made some stuff. 

Beverage zombies aren't as funny, but it should be noted that these are the people who buy the big coffees...on their way home to bed.  Their eyes never stop spinning in their heads.

Snack zombies...much like one of the other stoners that comes in, clomp around the store picking up random things, and putting them in the wrong spaces.  These are people who are in the store for about 40 minutes, and wind up leaving without purchasing anything.  But they've left their mark in a trail of misfiled snacks and cheese sticks.

Oh, and these night time shoppers wander in wearing pretty much anything.  I waited on a gent, who was obviously not listening to any of the voices in his drug induced delusion.  His zipper was down...not the worst...however, he was wearing very baggie shorts without a belt, so while his barn door was simply open...the ASS was running free in back.  (How do you NOT feel  a draft?)

It's when the clock strikes 3 AM that the weirdness really kicks into high gear.  That's when the regulars with special orders descend.  And heaven help the new employee who is not up on who the regulars are because there is no chart for these people and their demands...and if you don't have it ready when they show up, they will stand there, at the kitchen door, grunting and salivating until the item is ready.

Donut frosting lady:  A rare mid-night female who demands three cake donuts, super extra chocolate frosting.

Donut guy:  Two danish, three plain cake donuts, without fail.  He's a chatty zombie who is clueless that those around him have work to do.  He's already followed me to the bathroom door...I was mopping, and hoping to escape his "interesting tales" of his day job.

Coffee med guy:  This is a new one.  He wants a pot of specific coffee made on 2:30 for his arrival at 3:30.  I'm not making this up.  He wants coffee that is one hour old, no more, no less.  I cannot tell you how this screws up our schedule for making coffee.

Lottery guy:  I don't mind this guy, he's okay, but he's in the store five minutes after the lottery machines turn on for the day  (3: 30 AM)  and buys roughly $45 worth of lotto tickets and scratch off tickets.  (I would love to say to him...don't bother, no one wins on those anyway.)  Then he buys a newspaper...which is delivered by 2 AM every day....except on Wednesday morning, which apparently everyone knows but me.

"Tim"  I don't know what this man does, but he demands a double cheeseburger every night, made before he arrives  (Which is a variable time of night but we must KNOW) and he WILL NOT WAIT.  (It takes 5 minutes...time he typically spends wandering around the store, but the burger MUST be the first thing he puts on the counter, otherwise, he leaves.  He then purchases three Mountain Dews, a Vita water, a box of donuts, and a big bag of chips.  Yes, he is huge...why do you ask?

Cigarette zombies. They either do not speak English or they speak with a mouthful of peanut butter.  The cigarette they want has seven words in the name/description, none of which is actually what the cigarette is labeled as or is called.  (reference my blog about 5 Things I learned working 3rd shift.)

Pizza zombies:  These folks are different from other food zombies because they don't come in search of a specific thing.  They are drawn to the bright lights of the store...and if there's pizza available, they swarm like...well like zombies to fresh brains.  I'm not kidding you, I made a pizza last night, put the slices on the heat tray and sold the entire thing to six separate people in under a minute.  And that was at 1:30 in the morning.  Seriously, who is up, out, and trolling for pizza slices at 1:30 on a weekday morning?

I'm not sure if these folks are lonely, or just really, really into doing the exact same thing over and over again.  People who MUST do purchase the same thing, must have the same sandwich, must buy a single pack of cigs every night, as opposed to buying a carton once a week.  They are the people who know more about the store than most of the employees, especially when it comes to their special section of the store.  Maybe the company should hire these people.    They're up...they know a ton about the store...and, they're up!    Granted, we'd be out of cake donuts, chocolate frosting, double cheeseburgers, and danish...but it might just be worth it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

You do get that people can see you, right?

Good morning!

I have to share this with you this early because in an hour I leave for church and then I have to arrange my day so that I can sleep at some point because I work tonight.  The good news is that I won't have this schedule much longer.  I did manage to get a new, daytime job, and I'll be starting that soon.

Anyway, last night someone drove their car into the tree in front of our house.  The tree will be all right, and no one was seriously hurt...that we know.  The driver, a woman, staggered off as neighbors gathered.  (While I live on a somewhat busy street, the neighbors themselves are pretty quiet and by 9 PM on a Saturday night, it's very still around here.  So when there's a huge boom and then an endless car horn, people gather.)  One lady chased the woman  (I did not for two reasons:  1)  I was already in my jammies and 2)  Homey don't run...we've covered this.) but when she got close enough to call out to the woman, the woman ran and hid in one of the apartment buildings nearby.

So the cops came, the tow truck came, Skippy and I spent 40 minutes out on the lawn with the rest of the neighborhood, talking about the perils of drinking and driving...and many of the neighbors shared their own tales of drinking and driving, each one ending their story with, "And now I just drink."

As for me...I had a different view on this whole thing, as I typically do.

I think many of us believe our cars are sort of like cloaks of invisibility.  (Yes, a Harry Potter reference.  Everyone in the house is going to the midnight show in two weeks except for me, and I'm just a little bitter about that.)  I know that's the case for me because years ago Jim, a writer friend of mine, happened to pull up behind me at a stoplight.  He told me later that he could tell I was singing along with the radio because he watched my pony tail  (yes, this WAS years ago) bob up and down and my head shake around.  I know I'm probably very entertaining in the car.  I'm always talking or singing, regardless of who might be in the car with me.  I talk to traffic, I talk to myself about plot lines, and I sing...lordy, I sing.  I am a rock star in my car, complete with a rock and roll face (Yes, a "Music and Lyrics" reference) and dance moves.

I realize people can see me...I just do not care.

But I am starting to believe that not everyone realizes people can see them in their cars.  Case in point, the woman last night...probably thought she was invisible right until the moment her Lincoln hit my tree...and then she fled because her cloak had been torn.

Friday, I was innocently buying some M&M's at my favorite Walgreen's.  As I left the store I saw a woman, parked in a the handicapped spot  (no tag or sticker, and she didn't look disabled...I'm just sayin'...)  with her car window OPEN, and she was very actively popping a zit!  As I passed by, I was no more than 10 inches away from her face...had she been successful in the pimple poppage, I could have been splattered. 

This is more than teens making out in dark cars...(and no, I'm not quite ready to share my very humiliating story of a make out session abruptly ended by a policeman's flashlight.)...this is about people doing basic, gross stuff in their cars, operating under the obvious idea that no one can see them!

Jerry Seinfeld once did an episode where his girlfriend saw him picking his nose in the car.  Hilarious, but true.  We've all seen that.

Forget the current hub bub about people texting in cars.  I've seen people brushing their teeth  (and spitting out of their cars...ew.)  I've seen people putting on makeup, reading,  digging around in their back seat while driving  (yes, guy in front of me on I94 between Madison and Milwaukee yesterday afternoon...I saw you.)

That's just cars moving.

In stopped vehicles, I've seen people vomit  (to be fair, I've vomited out of a moving vehicle...but that's a story for another day.) change diapers or clothes on babies, change their own clothes  (you do get that windows, made of glass, are see through, right?  And...on one trip home from the mall, along the interstate near my home, I saw a grown woman standing next to her car dropping a big old #2.  (For those of you outside the US...that means pooping.)  She did nothing to cover up her naked, expelling rear end.  No...it was sort of like she was subscribing to the theory, "If I can't see you, you can't see me."  She had the skirt of her dress hiked up over her head and all the drivers on that fine Saturday morn saw was her size 22 rear end pushing out the remains of her most recent meal.

Yes, but on toilets...not interstates.
What I'm saying here people is that, you know, we live in a world  with other people.  And there's a time and a place for everything.  Everyone poops  (my favorite children's book.)  everybody pops pimples, everybody changes clothes.  Could we maybe, MAYBE just remember that not everybody wants to watch everybody do these things?  That's why there are doors on locker rooms, bathrooms, and dressing rooms.  Doors, not glass windows, like the ones that make up the "walls"of your motor vehicle.

And for the woman who plowed into my tree last night...I hope you are uninjured...your car is a complete mess, so I am a touch concerned about you.   But I truly hope the cops find you and make it so the next time you decide to drink you don't hit something, or someone less stalwart than a 50 year old tree.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Laundry List Friday: 5 Reasons I envy my cats

Good morning!

I gotta be honest, this working 3rd shift is really cutting into my humor time.  And I would be writing something HILARIOUS about my current gainful employment...but other than very nearly shutting down the entire store without meaning to, there isn't much that's funny...yet. 

Meanwhile, Hubby continues to THINK he's not bloggable.  But last night we took a step in refinancing the house and he let down his guard.  More on that another day!

Today, however, is a Laundry List Friday and it's all about my kittens.  I have three.  I didn't want any.  I thought I wanted a dog.  And now I have three kittens who are growing up quickly, and I realize I envy them a lot!

Top:  Belle (Bellatrix LeStrange) the youngest.  Right, Jasper, the oldest.  Left, TacOcaT, the oddest, but we love him!

5) It doesn't matter what I call you, you simply do not take offense.  Nor do you care.  So it's good.

Peaches is constantly yelling at me for calling the cats by my own special nicknames.  Belle, I address as "Stupid."  Jasper is "Buddy."  TacOcaT is "Dog."  (Seriously, if you saw these cats in action, you'd understand.  Belle runs into walls...a lot.  And Taco is the blind one.   TacOcaT, named by Skippy because he had to be odd, is really an awesome cat, but he's more dog than anything.  He always meets us at the door.  He licks our hands endlessly.  He's most vocal, begs for food all the time, and I think I can teach him to fetch.)

Cats don't come when they're called by name, but if I need a cat convention, I simply pick up the laser pointer and click it a couple times.  All three are right there.

4)  They simply do not have any hang ups.

I stress every day about various things, especially those involving bodily functions.  Believe it or not in my real life I'm very shy about things like using the bathrooms in public.  My friend Marie will tell you I will "hold it" all day rather than use a porta potty.  Cats, however, could not care less about privacy, or smell.  Where I'm turning on fans and running water to cover certain noises, and then lighting candles and what not to cover smells, my cats could not care one whit about any of that!

3)  They don't wonder where their next meal is coming from.  They know.  Oh, and they aren't big on things like variety or flavor.

We keep the cat food in a cabinet in the kitchen.  And each cat, Taco, generally, will park it next to that cabinet when the food dish seems a touch low.  Doesn't matter that we feed them the same brown crunchy stuff every day.  They don't care as long as the food dish is full.  (Which gives me an idea for a list "5 reasons Cats are easier to deal with than Teens.")

2)  If it's 1 AM an you can't sleep they WILL cuddle with you.  It's not like they have work or school in the morning.

My three cats are not what you'd call cuddly.  Belle's other nickname is "feral," because she tends to run rather than get a pet from a human.  Even Taco, the most cuddly of the three because he is, after all, mostly a dog, picks and chooses his cuddle times.  But late at night, if you are sitting on the couch, trying to sort things out, one or all of them will sit on you.  Sort of like those death cats you read about, but nicer.  Jasper is especially great for that.  He waits outside my bedroom door every night because, if I'm home, we all know I'm wandering around at 1 AM.

1)  Eat when you want to, sleep when you're tired, someone else cleans up after you, and no one expects you to do anything ever.

Seriously...how do I get this gig?  They are living the perfect life, and I so completely envy them!  Granted, this sort of describe what I imagine life in the old folks' home is going to be like...only they're young!

Now, just for fun, I had to share this little snap with you all!




Skippy and Peaches...about 11 years ago.  I miss those days!


Finally friends...don't forget...I have a NEW BOOK available!  Kindle owners, click here.

Nook owners click here.

Sony ereader owners, and those of you who do not own a reader, but do own a computer, click here.

It's the story that's been with me for nearly 30 years.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

AND NOW for something completely different!

Hello all!

It's not every day I blend my writing life with my life life...(if you read that in my head it makes sense.) however, I am doing a happy dance of joy at the moment, and I must share this with you!

My second novel, Lies in Chance, is now available for purchase on Barnes and Noble's website!  Yes, it is an e-book, so Nook owners you get first dibs!

Kindle owners, you'll have to wait a couple days.  True to form, I didn't read all (any) of the instructions, and wound up trying to publish a book with no author.  And when asked to correct the mistake, I didn't read (didn't even look at) the email from Amazon informing me of the mistake, played with some buttons and tried to again publish without an author name.

For those of you who do not have a reader...(and seriously what is up with that?)  Or if you own a Sony e-reader, as I do, I will be getting the book to a PDF format or to Sony through Smashwords next week.

My friends, thank you all for your continued support!  IF this book does well, and I'm thinking it might, my NEXT publication is going to be a collection of tales from my childhood, much like the ones I write here, but several I'm really not willing to share without payment  (LOL) and that I 'll be publishing just for you fine readers!

Meanwhile...enjoy Lies in Chance!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Laundry List Friday: Top five things I've learned working third shift!

Hello all!

So as most of you know, I made what some would see to be a rather stupid career move recently.  I quit a job that had normal hours, paid holidays, and a good hourly wage for a 3rd shift job at a convenience store.  The trade off, I can tell you, went far deeper than just getting health insurance for myself and the kids.  Someday, when I'm feeling very brave, I'll actually share a laundry list of why I quit the job.

But that's not why I'm here today.  Today I want to share with you, now that I've completed nearly three weeks on 3rd shift, the odd and interesting things I've learned about myself and the night job I now work.

5)  Turns out...I just like staying up late!

I thought I was a night owl.  I've worked third shift before, part time, and it wasn't generally a problem.  However, now that I'm doing it full time, I realize that I'm not a worker at night...I just like lying on the couch watching TV.


4)  Forget trying to work out a sleep schedule...when exactly can I take off my bra?

Okay, ladies in the audience...how many hours in a day do you typically wear your bra?  14, 16, 18?  Right.  Because, what...you take them off at night when you go to bed.

18 hours might have been good enough for Jane Russell, but I'm really in need of something more like a 23.5 hour bra.
See here's the thing I'm struggling with:  I get home, I can't take off the bra, because I'm either going to Gold's  (Yes, believe it or not, I'm still dragging my sleep deprived fanny over there in the mornings) or I'm doing my 30 (ish) minutes on the Wii.  Can't take off the bra then.  So when I go to bed, about 8-9 AM, (and I'm missing the Bob and Brian show  which kills me) I know that when I get up, not only will my children be here, but they will, undoubtedly, have friends along.  Since Skippy typically has his new lady friend over, I really shouldn't be wandering around with bed head and no bra.  And, by the time the house is clear of all the non biologically related children I feed endless streams of pizza to, it's time to go back to work!  So I get the ten minutes for the shower, and that's it?  That's can't be healthy.  Can it?
3)  When they ask if you can stand for 8 hours, they really mean it.

There are two chairs in the store where I work.  I am allowed to use neither.  The only sitting I can do is in the bathroom...during my 4 minutes of break time a night.  I'm supposed to get two 10 minute breaks, but come on, reality is reality.  There's just too much to do.  So there's no sitting.  I think that's been my biggest adjustment.  Simply not sitting.

2)  There are a lot of different kinds of cigarettes...and no one who buys them actually calls them by what they are named.

Before I go into detail here, let me just say that while I'm not a smoker, I do defend smokers' rights to smoke in designated outdoor areas, and in businesses where the business owner wants to allow smoking.

I've bought and sold  lot of things in my day...but as a non smoker, I've not ever really been in touch with a lot of cigarette purchases.  Now, standing behind a cash register, I have a multi layered shelf hanging over my head that is about nine feet long, four feet wide, and has spaces for no less than forty different (?) brands, flavors, lengths, and BOX TYPES of cigarettes.  Think a Camel is a Camel is a Camel?  Nope.    Ya got the Camel blue, the Camel regular, the Camel 100's, the Camel in the special two pack deal, Camels in soft packs, Camels in a box.  (Don't get me started on Marlboros. Last night I counted 17 different types of Marlboros alone.)

See that number 72?  Yeah, that would be the number of different types of that one brand!
Then there's the chewing tobacco, the roll your own, the cigars.  And here's the kicker:  The smokers DO NOT ASK FOR WHAT THEY WANT BY WHAT THEY WANT.   Let's say someone wants a pack of Marlboro Ultra light menthol100's in the soft pack.  I know where those are and if they would ASK FOR THAT, we would be fine.  But no, I've gotten everything from"gimme a pack of Marl ultra mint hundreds."  Well, there's a pack, which to us non smokers has always meant a PACK of cigarettes that James Dean wrapped up in the sleeve of his T-shirt.  But to smokers, a PACK and a BOX are two completely different things and OH MY SWEET LORD DON'T GET THEM WRONG.

The guy who is training me is a smoker.  He's of little help when it comes to this because 1)  He knows all the cigarettes and where they are and 2) He knows all the shorthand.  Oh and 3)  He can understand the customers when they talk, even the ones who come in like the walking dead at 3 in the morning because it's typically the same customers over and over and they come in every night for a pack, or a box, every night.  (again, if you're going to make the trip, why not just by the carton and save yourself the gas and a little money on the cigs?)

1)  THE BED NEVER GETS MADE!

Those of you who read this blog frequently, you know that one of the things I'm fairly insane about is the making of beds.  I cannot leave the house without making my bed and I fight the urge every single day to go into my children's rooms and make the bed.

But when Hubby gets up at 5 and I'm getting home at six and going to bed about 9 and by the time I get up I've got way too much to do to even look at the bed, well, it's not getting made.  And it makes me a little bit crazy to know it.

So there you go.  The top five things I've learned working third shift.  And, as I've said recently:  I am not where I want to be...but I am in a better place than I was!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are big girls wearing jammies to the office? I must've missed that memo!

Hello my friends!

So, coming as a surprise to almost no one, the third shift gig is starting to wear on me a tiny bit.  Don't get me wrong.  The company I work for is a GREAT COMPANY.  The starting pay and benefits are great.  However, due to my own budgetary needs, I need to work 3rd shift, and 1)  I'm not sure I like never knowing what day it is  and 2)  the job is waaaaaaaaaay more physical than this old girl is up for.  (If you're short, beware, everything I have to lift, carry, get, use, and put away is stored up over my head.)

Anyway, I've gotten serious about finding another office job.  You know, one where I get weekends off like normal people, where two days off in a row is not considered a vacation, and where no one is suggesting I drink wine at 6 AM.  (Okay, I'm not completely against that last thing.) 

Let me just say I have NEVER had to wear "business" clothes to work.  Never.  Not ever.  Not once.  When I was a teacher I wore "teacher clothes" which generally consisted of black twill pants and a polo shirt or a sweater or a denim jumper.  (yes, I went through my denim jumper phase.  We all did, so hush.)

Once married, I got a job in an office where "business casual" meant black twill pants and a nice top.  Once I had kids I worked for a cleaning company...in my basement.  When I would emerge to do sales calls, again, black twill pants and a nice top.  (Do we see a pattern here?)

Having worked alone in an office where no customers stepped foot for five years, I'll admit that my work wardrobe deteriorated down to sweats and a t-shirt most days. 

Thusly, when I received a phone call the other day, setting up an interview, the woman told me to "wear business dress."

Had she been speaking Chinese I could not have been more confused.  "Business dress" is not a term I've ever, you know, put in the same sentence as my name. 

Undaunted, I went to Kohl's, armed with those great merchandise cards I got when I returned the two pairs of Gloria pants that about killed me, the two white polo shirts that are, well, white polo shirts, and the Sketchers shape ups that nearly destroyed my feet in one night.  (I didn't have a receipt, so Kohl's gave me merchandise cards.  I love Kohl's!)  Bonus, I brought along Hubby, who brought along his Kohls' card and a 30% off coupon.

I pointed out three perfectly suitable outfits in the "business section" and told Hubby I was now going to find those outfits in the "fluffy girls" department. 

Yeah, right.  Sorry, Vera Wang doesn't design for anything above a very small 14. 

Kohl's Fluffy Girl department isn't great.  I shop there more than any other store because 1)  It's a mile better than just about every other discount big box store and 2) the price is usually right.  But someday I might have enough money to go look at the miles and miles of pretty fluffy clothing at Macy's or Boston Store, or, dare I say it?  Lane Bryant!  (Or, I know you're all saying, I could just lose the darn weight!)

I pulled a couple dresses and a very nice pair of dressy pants and some tops and headed to the trying on room.  (my first mistake.  I hate those stupid little rooms.  It's like getting naked in a closet...a closet that's really over lit and has been used by about 10000 other people who may, or may not have left stuff behind.) 

Yes, I'm only a size 16...not I'm not expecting.  Why do you ask?
First of all, dresses for big girls.  Did I miss something?  Are we big girls now just saying it's okay to wear maternity clothes?  Because I put on two dresses, both of which had "waistbands" that tied right until my boobs, giving the rest of the garment a sort of tent effect over my gut and butt.  The result?  I looked like I was about four sizes bigger...and 8 months along.

So I tried on the pants.  Again, since this is SUMMER, apparently those who work in "business attire" are allowed to wear shorts or something because just finding a full length pair of pants was a challenge.  But I had a nice Dana Buchman top (I'm saying these names like I have any idea who these designers are.  I don't.) so I picked up the corresponding pair of black pants.

The top, for the record, looked great. 

The pants, on the other hand...well, they were essentially pajama pants.

COME ON!

I looked in the Misses department.  There are no jammies there.  Thin women are not supposed to wear pajamas to the office.  Why are designers making fluffy women do so? 

And not only were these pajama pants, they weren't even flattering.  Again...they made me look like I was a foot shorter and four sizes bigger.

I'm not going to lie. I was enraged. Bigger women work in offices, I've seen them.  And they have nice clothes.  Then again, maybe all the big women I've seen are really just a 1x but because of the way the clothes look on them, they look bigger.

Maybe there is no obesity problem in this country...maybe it's just that those of us who aren't a size 6 are forced to wear clothes that amplify our extra size.

See this suit?  Don't I look ready for business?  Smart?  Successful?  Well, big girls, we don't make this outfit in your size!  EVER!
Well, I haven't given up.  I mean, that dress was super comfy and who wouldn't want to wear jammies to work?  (Okay, I had that job...and I quit it. So let's move on.)  But I have NOT GIVEN UP!  I'm not a house, I'm a woman with a little extra bigness. 

Hey, plus sized girls:  NO SUIT FOR YOU!
I went back to the drawing board and...thank goodness for Sag Harbor.  Unfortunate name aside, Sag Harbor actually designs decent clothes for actual women.  Bonus, while they still were selling Capri pants as business attire  (And seriously, maybe I just don't know anything, but I can't see a business person wearing Capris to work) there were some actual, honest to goodness, reach down to the floor PANTS.

So I had a suit top, a top to go on under the suit top, a pair of pants, and an interview bra.  All I needed was...

Oh, what, you've never heard the term, "interview bra?"

Well, my friends, an interview bra is, as it is called, the bra you wear to interviews.  It's maybe not the most comfortable bra you own, but it points the girls in the proper direction.  Who is going to hire someone for a detail oriented job when the interviewee can't even keep track of which way the girls are pointing?  The interview bra doubles as the concert bra, the difference being that one does not wear a t-shirt over the interview bra.  One wears a nice top and then a suit top of some sort.

Moving on...

I had the interview bra, the top, the suit top, and the pants.  All I needed was the black shoes.

I know, those of you who know me know that I have 1)  a ton of shoes and 2) a half ton of black shoes.

But I needed specific INTERVIEW shoes.  Shoes that made me a little taller.  Shoes that didn't howl "I've given up on dress shoes and this black sport type shoes is as good as it's getting."

I found a nice pair of slip ons that had a bit of a heel, didn't seem too "comfortable" and yet didnt' pinch my feet.

Now, the buying part.  None of this was on clearance.  Okay, everything was about 30-40% off, but honestly, if you're buying full price at Kohl's, you aren't trying at all.  Rung up total for this outfit before coupons:  $127.  Then we had the 30% off coupon, and the merchandice cards.

Final total

$2.83.

Yes, you see that correctly.  Hubby whipped out $3 in cash and we were on our way.

And will I be wearing this outfit to every interview?  Yep.  And will I be returning part or all of the outfit if, after about three months, I don't have a new job?

Well, that would be wrong...right?  LOL!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cold water stops the flow...NOT!

Good morning!

In the interest of "Sleeping in" a bit, I'm blogging earlier this am.  Maybe if i sleep past 2 PM I won't feel like the walking dead at 2 AM.  It's an attempt anyway!

WARNING:  Today's topic is VERY female...male readers might just get grossed out.  You've BEEN WARNED!





Today I was driving to Gold's, listening to Bob and Brian read their "Gym class horror stories"  (Seriously, if you haven't listened to these guys read their listeners' horror stories, you are missing out!)  and I was reminded of a few general horrors I lived through, simply because my mother passed on "Wisdom" to me...wisdom that held, in the final analysis, little truth.  I could do a serious Laundry List Friday on things my mother passed on as truth that turned out to be old wives' tales, but not today.  Today I want to talk about the one big myth that came to mind:  Cold water stops the flow.

Those of you who have been a young teen girl, or those of you who are parenting young teen girls have undoubtedly either heard this line, or said it yourself.  I won't embarrass Peaches, who reads this blog from time to time, and use direct conversations we've had.  Instead, I'll focus on the conversations my mother (who never reads this blog) and I have had.

For the young teen girl, using a tampon can be daunting and a little scary.  Certainly ridiculously embarrassing.  I recall my own attempts, at the age of 15, when I desperately wanted to go swimming one summer day, and my monthly punctuation showed up.  Mom was outside the door coaching me  (and this was in the early 80's....long before tampons came in slim teen sizes.  No, the only tampons in the house were the SUPER JUMBO sizes that typically are capable of holding up the Hoover Dam if need be.  Seriously, stick a couple of those puppies in the levy system down in New Orleans and we will NEVER have to fear another hurricane.  Those in the Mississippi flood plain are wasting their time with sand bags.  SUPER tampons are just as good as about a dozen sand bags.)

Wait, where was I?  Oh, yeah, right.

So Mom was on one side of the bathroom door...I was on the other, fumbling around like a blind woman trying to field strip a rifle for the first time.  After several sweaty, uncomfortable moments, I opened the door and announced that I'd accomplished it...I had the tampon placed in the proper place.  (Probably lost my virginity to it, too.) 

Well, my mother, bless her, checked.  I know....I KNOW!  And no, I didn't have it in right.  That's when she uttered these words:

Don't worry.  Go ahead and swim.  The cold water stops the flow.

I was stunned.  Really?  That's all I needed?  Cold water?  BRING IT ON!  I spent the whole summer in the city pool, blissfully believing my mother's wisdom.

Over the years, I've come to realize that maybe this was true for my mother...though how she'd know it I didn't know since I can count on one hand the number of times my mother has been in a swim suit...but it CERTAINLY wasn't true for me.

Without being gross....too late, I know...let me just say if I held to this delightful old wives' tale, that shark from JAWS could follow me for miles.

We're going to need a bigger boat.  The sharks are NOT going to miss this trail!
The idea that the cold water of a pool will suddenly stop a menstrual flow seems...silly.  And I felt equally silly saying it out loud to Peaches a couple years ago.  We now just look at each other and laugh and laugh and laugh.

I'm not sure who came up with the idea, certainly NOT someone who's had a period...and certainly NOT someone who designs tampons.  Maybe deep sea fishermen...hoping that swimming women would attract trophy fish. 

A rumor like this started by men for the advantage of men that also happens to make women look a little silly.  Yep...that sounds about right!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chlorine poisoning is NOT the worst option in this scenario!

Good evening!

I have a couple of days off of 3rd shift.  Yes, it took me all of yesterday for my feet to stop throbbing and yes, I'd almost need three days off to feel like I'm not just wandering around like the dead.  As my mother always said, "This too, shall pass."

I'm hoping it passes tonight.  I had Hubby buy some lottery tickets.  I never do that.  He asked if I was feeling lucky.  Not so much lucky as really, really not excited about working 8 nights in a row.

But I digress.

So lately I've taken to going to Gold's right after I get home in the morning.  This is nice because, even though my feet ache like crazy, there are generally no people in the pool and I can swim and float to my heart's content.

On Friday morn, however, the pool room was FREEZING.  You know how it is, walking into the room where there's pool. The air is typically tropical and heavy.  Such is almost always the case at Gold's pool.  Yes, the water is chilly, but once you're in, the room is so humid it's actually nice to be in the pool.

Friday...not so much.  Ladies, you know that feeling when you get into a swimming pool and you spend quite a lot of time trying to avoid getting your chest into the water because you're not ready for your "lady buttons"  (as we used to call them when Peaches was very young) to get so cold they actually rupture?  Well, most of the time that feeling goes away after that initial dunking.  Not in this case.  Ruptured nipples was a very real possibility. After about ten minutes of flesh freezing swimming, I abandoned all hope and escaped to the hot tub.  

I love the hot tub at Gold's.  I don't know if I've mentioned that recently.  I love hot tubs generally, but I really love the hot tub at Gold's. There's something so nice about sinking into steamy swirling water after a good workout or just because you're FREAKING FREEZING!

So there I am, regaining the feeling in my skin, when a gent joins me.  As we all know, I can't hear without my glasses on, and it's very echoey in the pool room, so I typically do not strike up conversations with strangers in the hot tub.

A few moments later, a Gold's employee walked in, under the guise of tidying up.  He seemed to know the gent in the hot tub.  They chatted over me...something that typically annoys me, but in this case, since I was really only catching every other word, it was okay.

"Cold in here this morning."  Gent says.

"Is it?"  Worker says.

"Yeah.  Cold in here. Normally it's steamy."

"Well,"  says the worker, " I cleaned out the vent yesterday.  It was all gunked up and I had to clean it out so that some fresh air could get in."

(I have to stop and point out that this week here in Waukesha, we've had a delightful stretch of 50 degree and rainy weather.  I love it, but Peaches is furious because the city pools finally opened and it's too cold to swim outdoors.  FRESH AIR?  I'm wearing a wet swim suit and you want fresh 50 degree air flowing around?)

"Still.  it's cold in here."  Says the gent.

"Well, if I don't clear out those vents, then the bad chlorine won't rise up and out, it'll get pushed back down."

Yeah, I did take a swim in Gold's Pool.  Why do you ask?
I'm not sure how the rest of that conversation went because I was busy pondering which would be worse:  Chlorine poisoning, or my nipples actually rupturing from the frigid temps in the pool.

Had they asked my opinion, I guess I would have sided with poisoning.

Not the sleakest swim suit, but at least this swimmer doesn't worry about cold water or chlorine poisoning!

This might be why people don't typically ask my opinion.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting for Wii-venge.

Good afternoon!

Actually, it's good morning for me.  Since switching to third shift I've spent the last couple weeks trying to figure out how to configure my days.  At this point, since it's summer, I'm thinking sleep right away in the AM, then, when the kids roust out of bed (about noon or so) get up and be conscious in case either of them want to, you know, talk to me.  (I know, I'm surprised I got that out with a straight face too!)

So since I am still looking for a good time to get to Gold's  (and I do like that 7 AM crowd.  Motivated, not that social, and not that big.  I can actually find parking!)  I've dusted off the Wii fit for those mornings when, arriving home from work, my feet and body hurt too much to contemplate a trip on the treadmill.  (Who knew I would have so much trouble being on my feet for 8 hours?  In a row?  Okay, who isn't surprised at all?  Yeah, a bigger show of hands that time.)

Since I do stand a lot, and use my hands quite a bit...oh, and get more than 11000 steps in during the course of a shift  (and why haven't I lost about 10 pounds yet?  I'm not eating on these shifts...come on metabolism, KICK IN ALREADY!)  I am pretty sore.  Moving out of my usual work out on Wii Fit  (you know, about 20 shame filled rounds of Ski Jump followed by a couple of super hulas and then a couple advanced step with an Island bike thrown in if I have time) I thought I'd give the yoga a try.

Admittedly, Yoga is something I've always thought was a good idea, and a lot of fun to think about.  In reality however, I can't get past the giggles when I think of pose names.  "Downward facing dog?"  Who isn't laughing at that?  Bonus, I'm really, REALLY not that steady or flexible.  I'm really built more for staying solidly in one place.  (And thanks to my darling daughter Peaches, you can see a picture of me on Face book.  Believe it or not, I thought black was slimming!)

So I fired up the Wii yoga.  Picked a trainer  (the guy) and started with the first exercise...deep breathing.

Stand and breath deeply.

Really?

This is part of a workout?

OH I CAN DO THIS!

But not for 30 minutes I can't, so I decided to try a couple other things.  I like "cobra" mostly because I can lie down.  Some I'm pretty good at, some not so much.

So today, I decided to hit yoga again, and hit it hard because my back really hurt.  I found a pose that looked like it would stretch out my back, and honestly I forget what it was called, but doesn't matter.  I was, shall we say, fairly unmotivated to participate fully.  Actually my feet were really in pain, so I figured I'd like work on that back stretching pose, you know...sitting down on the Wii board.

After 8 hours on my feet, you expect me to do this pose standing up?  I don't think so!
Well, there's no fooling the Wii.  Okay, it might think I'm 24 one day and 62 the next.  It might even give me credit for the free run when really all I did was shake the handheld controller.  (not that I would ever do THAT.  THAT would be wrong...I would NEVER think about something like THAT)  BUT when it comes to yoga poses, apparently the Wii is right on it.

So I sat down on the board and made sure I leaned on either my right or left butt cheek, depending on which side my virtual trainer told me to be standing.  The Wii noted, loudly, right off that my weight was "significantly different than the last time....do I wish to proceed?"

Sure.  With my legs stretched out in front of me, not weighing in on the board, maybe I'll "Burn" more calories.

So I leaned to the right and I leaned to the left and I tried to keep my balance within that yellow circle.

You know what? 

SITTING DOWN I AM A YOGA MASTER!

Yep, I managed, through my complete lack of standing up, to achieve "yoga master" level.

Now I would celebrate this except for two things:

1)  It's probably wrong to cheat...even on the Wii.

I can see you cheating!  And when the Wii body test tells you you're 90 and you've gained 30 pounds...think of me!
2)  I'm sure my Wii will figure it out and tomorrow, just for revenge, it will say my age is 75.

Maybe I'll hide at Gold's until the Wii settles down.  I like the pool.  The pool is a good place to hide out from something electronic.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sooooo pretty!

Good morning!

Actually, for me it's late at night...late late at night. I'm home from work and just caught a look of myself in the mirror...and a blog post is born!

My quest for black pants is over and I feel good in the pants I have.  Now, the I wear shoes are black, industrial, non slip shoes that have absolultely no feminine qualities at all.  The uniform shirt, I thought, was nice, a nice cut.  However, since I'm heavy, the shirt sort of makes me look pregnant.  And I could get over how I looked in all that, were it not for a couple of small things.

Aprons:  I like the apron, it sort of covers up my fake pregnancy in the shirt.  but, when the apron is the most flattering piece of the uniform, we know we have a problem.

Gloves:  Because I handle food quite a bit, I'm required to wear gloves.  Not a real problem because I I'm comfortable with gloves, but as we move along, you'll see that wearing gloves, while something alone is not a big deal, but the overall effect is only enhanced by the gloves.

Hairnet:  Oh yes....a hairnet.  A hairnet, while necessary in the kitchen, is NOT necessary in the rest of the store.  So I can spend the nice ripping the thing off and putting it on everytime I step into the ktichen.  Or I could just leave it on, and make my life simple. 

There are few people who look good in hairnets.  Okay, there are almost no people who look good in hair nets.  Maybe the odd flamenco dancer.  Maybe a Civil War reenactor.  Women with longer hair can wear a hair net without looking completely dehumanized.

For women with short hair, especially heavy women,  wearing a hairnet is just one more big step to looking mannish.  Frankly, with a hair net on, if I left off the eyeliner, I'd look like a much shorter, rounder version of my dad.

HOWEVER this past evening I discovered one more uniform addition that now completes the ensemble.  LAdies and gentlemen I give you....

The oversized reflective vest!

Yes, this is the thing that completes the look for all 3rd shift employees.  Top off the black apron, the mock maternity top, and the hairnet with this shape eliminating neon yellow frockette trimmed in reflective tape.  To quote my favorite commercial spokesperson, "Peggy"....."soooooooo pretty!"

Face it, I'm a beard away from being Peggy.

Ah yes, I'm a dainty, delicate flower of femininity at work.   Add to that my graceful hobble toward the end of each shift as my feet like to remind me that I'm 1)  chunky and 2)  old....and I cut a very delightful, fashionable picture!  Stop on by...see the beauty for yourself!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Well done Gloria Vanderbilt...you just lost a customer!

Good afternoon!

Most of you know that I recently changed jobs and now I'm working third shift.  While working at night and sleeping during the day is a big change for me, it's not even remotely the most annoying thing about this job change.

The company I work for has very specific uniform requirements, one of which is that we all must wear black twill pants.  BLACK.  TWILL.  PANTS.  

I'm not saying that black pants are the easiest piece of clothing to own, but I have a pair of wool, a pair of twill, two pairs of jeans, and a pair of twill Capri's.  I love black pants.  Bonus, in the last year I've sung the praises of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and Capri's...how they fit, how a 16 is a 16  is a 16 and how I can walk in to Kohl's, pick up a pair of Gloria bottoms and walk out without the humiliating trip to the trying on room.

So last weekend, in preparation for the new job, Hubby and I took his Kohl's card  (I don't dare have one) for a workout.  I needed black pants and black shoes and black socks.  I knew, deep in my heart, that the black pants would be the easiest of the three things to find because, yes, Gloria Vanderbilt makes a BLACK.  TWILL. PANT. 

More exciting, the pants were 1)  built with an elastic waistband that would "stretch with ease" according to the label and 2) were on sale.

I tried a pair on and it seemed okay...a bit snug at the wait, but I figured, since the rest of the pant fit me like EVERY OTHER PAIR OF GLORIA VANDERBILT bottoms I've EVER put on, that the waist was something that was going to stretch with a bit of wear.

My first night of work, I didn't have the required uniform shirt, so the new boss told me to get a white polo shirt.

Okay, as a side note:  The white polo shirt is THE WORST SHIRT EVER for a fluffy girl to wear.  Don't get me wrong, I'm preppy to the  core and I love a collared shirt.  But there is something about polo shirts that is just really, really wrong on a bigger girl.  Women's polo shirts are cut like maternity tops, (SHORT maternity tops)and men's are about a mile long.  I loathe having my gut visible, so I chose the men's shirt.

Got to work...no problem...until about 5:00 in the morning when the morning kitchen person came in.  I introduced myself and, instead of saying something normal like "hi...how are you.  Welcome...did you like your first night"  this delightful miss glowered at me and said, "You know you're supposed to have that tucked in."

Alrighty.

By the end of the shift, it was really, really clear that no WAY was I tucking anything into those pants.  The "stretches with ease" waistband was so rough on the inside I was actually rubbed a little raw.  And clearly, there was not enough room for ME in those pants much less a shirt. 

Let me just say again...these pants fit me in every other way perfectly.  just not in the waist.

So, the morning after my first night of work, instead of going to bed like a normal person, I went out on what was to become a major QUEST for Black Twill Pants.  Peaches was very excited to go to the Mall on a Wednesday morning  (She finished 8th grade last week.)  so we went up to the mall where I had no less than four choices of stores that claimed to offer clothing to fluffy women.

The first store, my go to store for pants, CJ Banks, didn't even have PANTS.  I walked in, explained to the equally fluffy clerk what I needed and she made a face and said, "You want full length pants?  Ummmmmm, I don't think we have those right now."

Okay, it's June.  It's not Miami. 

She did manage to find a half rack of nicely priced clearance pants....but of course my size was not to be found.  For grins, I tried on the 16 tall, which was as close as they got to my size.  Sure enough...everything fit...EXCEPT THE WAIST. 

When I say everything fit, I mean everything was super comfortable and actually a little loose...except the waist band.  Imagine your favorite pair of sweat pants...not imagine someone cut off about 4 inches of the waistband and then band the band material of barbed wire.  You get the picture.

Not defeated, I thanked her and went to JC Penney's.  I've shopped there infrequently over the years, but my aunt swears by them, and I know they have a plus size department.

If that's what you could call the four racks of clearance sweaters and a shelf of black Capri jeans. 

Misses at JC Penney's takes up an entire floor.  Plus is four racks and a table.  In a country where 52% of all woman ages 18-49 has said they've purchased plus sized clothing, (I got this number from Reader's Digest Magazine.) why are big retailers IGNORING THE MAJORITY OF WOMEN?  I mean, I expect that of Walmart and Target.  I haven't purchased clothing at those stores in years.  Walmart makes an attempt, but Target is just insulting.  Sort of like Penney's, only Target slaps their four racks of plus next to the maternity clothes.  That's just mean.

My next stop, and at this point I'm a little steamed, was to Lane Bryant.  Now Lane Bryant is a store where I would shop in a heartbeat...if I had serious money.  I like their clothes, but their prices are ridiculous for the normal woman.  Apparently only the wealthy are allowed to be fluffy.  How very Rubens of them.

I found a pair of black twill pants, and I know they would have fit me.  However, I WAS NOT prepared to spend...get ready...$65 on a pair of pants I was going to be wearing to clean bathrooms, and frost donuts.

Furious, I walked the length of the mall to Sears.  At this point I had zero hope.  And I wasn't disappointed.  I actually had to ask a woman where the plus department was...since Sears does such a good job of hiding their...count it with me, one, two, THREE racks of plus behind swimsuits and shoes.  Really?  Oh, but the woman I asked attempted to lure me into buying new windows. 

More valuable than gold, harder to find than plutonium...the comfortable black pant.
At this point I'd been up for more than 24 hours in a row, I was cranky, I was hungry, and I was insulted.  NO, I  WILL NEVER BUY WINDOWS FROM SEARS.

I didn't even bother looking.  Apparently Sears' idea of a plus sized woman is an 80 year old tramp who likes her pants slinky and her tops ripped.

In complete desperation, I went back to Kohl's, the scene of the original crime.  Since I had $30 in Kohl's cash  (from my previous purchase of two uncomfortable pairs of pants and a white shirt I'll never where again) I went back to the Department of Redundancy that is the plus department there (every designer for Kohl's believes a plus woman loves tank tops (we don't) and will only wear pull on pants( while comfortable, we think of these pants and the final stage of giving up.)

I picked up a pair of the offending Gloria pants and held them up to every other style of Gloria pants.  Yep, just as I thought.  The "Waistband that expands with ease" was a full TWO INCHES shorter than the waist bands on her jeans and her Capri's.  And not just shorter...tighter material.  SHAME ON YOU GLORIA VANDERBILT.

After almost an hour of searching...and cussing...I managed to find a pair of pull on pants  (blech) and a pair of Lee pants that seemed decent.  The pull on pants were comfortable and on clearance.  The Lees were very comfortable and NOT on clearance.  But, the Lees were NOT pull on pants and therefore the winner.

Two hours.  Five stores.  $12 later (after the Kohl's cash) I had pants...and a shorter white shirt.  Tucked in and belted I sort of look like a soft sack of potatoes with a belt in the middle.  Lovely.

I wore the outfit for work last night and fortunately I got to wear an apron.  I was comfortable, so I guess that's what matters.  I plan on returning both pairs of Gloria pants (Kohl's is VERY liberal in their return policy, so beware...you might get pants I wore for a couple hours.  Another reason why washing clothes you buy is a MUST) and exchanging them for Lees.  Who knows, I'll probably, after this experience, flip over to Lee jeans as well.  Good Job Gloria, you just lost a customer for life. 

And I buy a lot of pants!

We now know what Hubby does NOT have in his pants.

Good morning! So last weekend Hubby and I joined my parents, brother, and my brother's kids on a trek to Kentucky to see the Crea...