Thursday, June 30, 2011

I can just feel the iron hand in the velvet glove...

I'm taking a poll from you guys.

Situation: Your boss sends out a company wide e-mail stating that the company is paying for special training for all employees in their fields on certain days. Breakfast will be provided. Everyone has set days to show up and you have to be there at 7:45 in the morning. Then you discover that the day he assigned you to come in at that ungodly hour is none other than your day off. He adds, "If there is any problem with this date, please let me know so we can figure something out."

My response: Boss, I realize that you've gone through a lot of trouble to pay for and arrange this training opportunity, but that happens to be my day off. In addition to that fact, I walk to work. Having to walk in the heat to work just to turn around and come back an hour later is unnecessary exertion, and it's dangerous given my medical history. My only options would be to have somebody else get up extra early to pick me up, or to walk myself. Manager Man says there is a second day available on the following Monday. That would be far less conflicting.

Boss's Answer: Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate everyone. I suppose you'll either have to have someone bring you, walk, or we'll have someone train you later. 

My question: how am I supposed to interpret this?

A) If I don't show up, I am lazy and deliberately unwilling to learn and improve.
B) If I do show up, they'll expect me to jump whenever they tell me to do so.
C) If I don't show up, I am ungrateful.
D) If I do show up, I am a good employee.

Now, assuming that you guys all vote in favor of my showing up...

Do I...

A) Roll out of bed and show up to training in pajamas without showering or even bothering to brush my hair.
B) Take a shower, throw on shorts and a t-shirt, and try to look like I care a little.
C) Get dressed for work as I normally would for an hour of bullshit.
D) Just decide to stay in bed.

Any other thoughts on either?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

There's probably a moral to this story.

In honor of my new followers (who I can't put names to because my followers widget is not working for some reason) I've decided to bring back an old favorite that I love telling and rereading over and over again because, even though it horrifies me, I still know it's funny. I originally posted this one back in the beginning of October when only Candice was following me.

It is no secret that I detest bugs in general, and that I fear them. Some people would call my fear irrational, but I think they're just being unfair. I think everyone secretly hates bugs. Some people would just rather not look silly by acting afraid of them. Well, I don't care how silly I look. Bugs should stay the hell away from me.

When I was eighteen, I was home from TSU and staying in my room at my grandparents' house. While I had been away at college they had rearranged my bedroom, moving my bed in front of the windows. I hate sleeping by windows. I'm afraid someone will trying to pull me out of it while I'm sleeping and kill me or something. (It's not funny: it happened to my aunt.) However, I wasn't strong enough to move the bed back myself. I weighed one hundred and two pounds and had absolutely no muscle to speak of, so for months I slept with the constant terror of being attacked in my sleep.

In February I started seeing a guy I'd met through my best friend, and I started spending two or three days a week with him. As it warmed up into spring, my grandparents started turning off the heater and opening the windows to air out the house. When I wasn't home, they opened my windows, too. I hated it, of course, and they didn't do it on the days I was home, but when I wasn't there they did it anyway.

I don't like my windows open because I don't like hearing the crickets at night. It's like they're mocking me and trying to psych me out. And it works. Which is why I like doors and windows closed at all times. One day I came home to find my windows open, and I closed them immediately. What I didn't realize was that the damage had already been done.

By that time, the guy I was seeing had officially become my boyfriend, and we talked on the phone every night before bed, even if it was just for a few minutes. (I believe you call this the honeymoon phase of new relationships.) At midnight, I told him I was tired and needed sleep.

He said, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite." He always said that, and I thought it was kind of silly, but in an adorable way.

My reply was always, "Well, if they do, I'll bite them back."

When I settled down under the covers, I drifted off to sleep. I was out for a couple of hours when I woke up because I felt someone running their hand over my stomach under my tank top. My first thought was it was my boyfriend, but with a jolt of fear I remembered that I was at home and in bed alone. And as I realized this I felt the mysterious hand creep down my boxers and onto my inner thigh.

I was terrified. You can't imagine the agony of thoughts racing through my mind. I sat up as slowly as I could, trying to keep myself from screaming. I pushed back the covers and the moonlight from the open blinds fell on my pale leg. And a long, dark shape emerged from my boxers and slithered to mid-thigh.

That awful movie Slither popped into my head. You know, the one where the alien infects everyone with the slithery creepy snake things that go into their mouths and take control of them.

And I thought, "Oh my god, there's a snake in my bed and it's on me."

Somehow, I managed to keep myself from moving. Though unlikely, I thought it was probably a poisonous snake and if I moved it would bite me and I would die a horrible, painful death writhing in agony.

So I sat there perfectly still with my hands clenched so tightly my fingernails cut into my palms, waiting for my chance to escape. And after a few minutes in which I was sure I was going to die anyway and nobody would ever know how I'd died, the snake slipped off of my leg and onto the sheets between my knees. I could see it's outline against the dark red sheets, and I slid carefully backwards until there was enough room for me to get off of the bed and back up.

And as I was backing away from the bed, my braided hair moved against my neck and I thought there was another one on me. And I lost all of my self-control and started screaming bloody murder as I ripped my clothes off. And as all of the lights in the house came on, I tore across my room, still making that awful, bloodcurdling screech, and tried to open my bedroom door. Which was locked, and in my hysterical state I couldn't figure out how to unlock it, and my mother was banging on the door trying to get in as I was screaming on the other side trying to get out.

Finally, my sister's boyfriend, who had been staying the night, kicked in my bedroom door and I ran screaming past everybody, in nothing but my bikini underwear and completely topless, into the bathroom across the hall and slammed the door, locked it, and stuffed towels under the crack to keep more snakes from getting in.

Well, my family went into my room and turned on the light, expecting to find a rapist or something in there. Apparently, they found nothing. So they all tried to get me to come out of the bathroom to tell them what the hell had happened. By that time, my grandparents had made it down from their bedroom at the other end of the house, and they were all terrified that something had happened and the culprit had gotten away.

Eventually, I managed to say something to the effect of, "There's a snake in my bed! Kill it!"

And so they all went back to hunt up the snake. But they couldn't find anything. And after thirty minutes of me having hysterics in the bathroom, I finally calmed down enough to unlock the bathroom door and wrap a towel around myself and come out. I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror as I was leaving. I was so white even my lips had no color, my eyes were wide and horror stricken. My whole body was shaking.

"Chanel, you had a bad dream. We promise, there's nothing in there. We checked."

My grandfather didn't sound angry. He was struggling to hide a smile, and I suddenly thought maybe I'd had one of my dreams that carried over to reality when I woke up. It wasn't the first time I'd woken my family up with my screams only to discover it had been a dream. So I apologized and went back into my room, feeling a little foolish for scaring the living hell out of everybody.

But as I was putting my boxers and tank top back on, I caught a slight movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, and there on the wall behind my bed was the longest, fattest South African Centipede I'd ever had the misfortune of seeing in my life. And I knew that IT had crawled into bed with me, probably attracted to my body heat, and that it had probably come in my window during the day while I wasn't home, and that the bed bugs could have bitten me.

Look at just looks deadly.

And it only took half a second for me to start screaming bloody murder again, and sure enough my family came running back and I pointed at the monstrosity on the wall and ran off, screaming I wasn't going back in until it was dead.

Well, those things are highly poisonous, and nobody wanted to brave going in there to try to kill it. And I was convinced that if it didn't die it was going to come after me and try to kill me in my sleep again ( which I had managed to convince myself was its plan the entire time: it wanted nothing more than  to kill me in my sleep) and it wouldn't rest until it succeeded.

I stuffed towels under the crack of my bedroom door so it couldn't escape, and I wrote a note and taped it to the door. "Danger: Ninja Assassin Centipede Captured and Being Held Within. Do Not Enter."

And nobody went into my bedroom for two weeks. I didn't even go in for clothes. I just borrowed my younger sisters' things because we wore the same size. I told my boyfriend about it the next day, an dhe laughed and said I was supposed to bite the bed bugs, not let them take over my room. I didn't find it funny, however, and we agreed not to talk about it.

After two weeks I felt convinced that the monster had either died or managed to escape, so I went back into my room. I found its dead, shriveled body in the middle of my carpet, looking tortured and miserable. I sprayed it with insect killer to make sure it wasn't just faking it, and then had my sister's boyfriend take it away.

But that day I went back in I had my bed moved to the other side of the room, and I put signs on my windows demanding that they never be opened again. And I never, never went to bed again without searching my room for hidden assassins.

And that night added another logical reason for me to hate creepy crawlies. And I just have to wonder...why is it always me? Things like this NEVER happen to my sisters, and it's unfair.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

No, the pretty one DOES NOT want to hold a damned guitar.

I'm still trying to find a balance for the job change and the hours and blogging. It's not so bad on weekends because there are far fewer posts to catch up on, but trying to catch up from Monday and Tuesday on a Wednesday is going to be the trial of my life.

I recently had a plea for more stories. 

Which stories? Childhood stories? Work stories? Daily life stories?

No idea.

But I do have a work story from yesterday that Padawan found amusing. (I found it irritating.)

You all know by now that I work in a music store. I'm sure some of you have already gone through the trouble of finding out which music store I work at, but I'm still not saying which one or exactly where or why. Anyway, it is very common for people to call and ask to take pictures, to have field trips, to have birthday parties, to film, to whatever in our store. Frankly, it's annoying when they get told yes.

Like this one time some people did a music video in here. On a Saturday. During Band Season. Needless to say they were loud, obnoxious, and in the way. So I always cross my fingers and hope they will get a resounding no when they ask to do things. And when they want to do it on Saturdays, that's generally what they hear. 


I mean, I'm not the biggest fan of the word when it's applied to me. (In fact, I generally disregard it when I hear it and either do what I want anyway, or nag and pester until the "no" becomes a "yes" in my favor.)

But these people wanted to come in and film whatever for God knows what on Friday, and so Manager Man and B-Money gave the okay for it on Thursday. Fridays aren't busy this time of year. It's Fridays during football and marching season that are unreasonably busy. But Fridays in summer? Not so much. 

I hate cameras in the store. I hate having my picture taken, I hate being interviewed, I fucking hate being in panoramic shots of the store. This face does not belong on any pictures other than ones involving friends, family, and good times. (Or pictures I take of myself.) When people come in to film, I make myself scarce until they're gone (unless they're just doing it all day, in which case I'm shit out of luck for hiding but I can try to stay out of their way.)

Yesterday the camera was just following the one guy around mostly. They did ask B-Money if they could "get a few shots of the pretty one holding a guitar," but B-Money told them point blank that "Chanel doesn't like being on camera. You can ask, but I doubt she says yes." A look in my direction, an emphatic shake of my head, and they moved on.

I avoided them like plague for the first two hours. I even forgot their existence entirely because they were quiet, respectful, and stayed out of the way. But then a man was asking the new receptionist about a quarter sized guitar, and she didn't know the answer so she turned to me.

"Is this a real guitar?"

"Yes, that's a real guitar. It's quarter sized for children so they can play properly and comfortably."

"So this is a real guitar? You play it like a normal one?"

"Yes, it's a real guitar. Those are real bridge pins, real steel strings, real tuning pegs. The frets are the same, the notes are the same. It's just a smaller scale." Then I turned to my right and the camera was right in my face.

God damn it. 

I'm pretty fucking sure that I made it damn clear I didn't want to be on camera. I fucking said no, thank you very much.  I immediately looked down, turned around, and walked away. 

Good. Fucking. Grief. Does nobody respect the privacy of the individual anymore? I fucking said I didn't want anything to do with the camera. Doesn't that count for something?

I've never been so annoyed with a filming crew that came into the store. I stomped off to the back where I organized percussion and snare kits for the better part of an hour before someone came and told me they were had vacated the premises. They better edit that out or so help me....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things are changing.

So, I've been relatively busy as of late. Manager Man hired a new receptionist to work Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. Also, the occasional Saturday. This puts me behind the counter more, which is why I've been blogging less. I'll figure out a schedule for this, but I think having three posts a week is going to be about the best I can do. The blogosphere will just be quieter without my generally annoyed voice filling it. Or I suppose I could spend my entire Saturday writing posts and scheduling them to appear.

The only hard part in all of this is that I always have twelve or thirteen pages to catch up on at the end of the weekdays.

We will see how the whole scheduling thing will work out.

In the meantime...

Good. Lord.

My yoga instructor is a sadist! A sadist, I tell you!

"Today, I want you to think about your favorite pose. After the next inhale, I want you to get into your favorite pose, and make it your best pose ever!"

That part was fun.

But, you know, for ever action there's an equal and opposite reaction. We got to do our favorite two poses, then she made us pick our least favorite.

I hate downward facing dog pose. She calls it a "resting pose", but I feel like I'm dying every single time we do it. My skinny stick arms are just not designed to support the full weight of my body, especially when my legs are pushing in the opposite direction so there's the force of my legs on my arms as well.

So I had to hold that pose. And hold it. And hold it. And finally my arms gave out and I fell into child's pose for a few breaths. Then I sent to my second least favorite pose: pigeon. It's not comfortable. It's not really even easy. It stretches and it makes your feet fall asleep and you have to contort and bend forward. But it's significantly less painful than downward dog.

I'm pretty sure my gluts are going to be killing me tomorrow. And my arms? They don't want to move, thank you very much. I sincerely doubt I'll be playing any flutes tomorrow at work. My arms won't be able to lift them properly.

On the bright side, I actually did manage to "lose myself" in corpse pose today. I was so drained I just lost all ability to process thought and I was just watching the back of my eyelids. It's the first time I've ever really let go of odd thoughts during yoga. When the bell chimed I came back to everything and realized I'd forgotten I was laying on my mat in yoga. Took me a second to adjust.

Still. Definitely the most painful class yet. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Passive Aggression In Action

I know I've been gone for a while I have a really good explanation for my sudden disappearance, but I don't want to talk about that quite yet.

I want to talk about yesterday, which was all sorts of just messed up, starting with the fact that I was behind the counter instead of at my desk, where I fully expected to be blogging happily all day.

Not that I don't love working the counter. Not only do I make more money that way, but it keeps me occupied. And I'm good with people in person. It doesn't take much effort for me to calm down an irritated customer. It might be the smile. It might be the eyes. It might be the young, innocent face combined with the high, innocent voice that on the phone often gets mistaken for that of a twelve year old. (B-Midi and I have discussed this and we've decided that the reason so many people get frustrated with me on the phone is because I sound so young and they think I have no authority to tell them "no" when they want something unreasonable.)  Either way, I'm generally very good when it comes to customers.

Well, yesterday I had the unfortunate luck of being stuck with a customer who just didn't want to be calmed down. Oh, she came in calm enough, just wanting to return her trumpet because her kid wasn't going to be in band anymore. Rental returns take two minutes at the most when they're up to date on their payments and they've brought back the mouthpieces.

She filled out the paperwork (filling out past the part that I told her to stop at, but they always do) and I pulled out the mouthpiece to inspect it so I could write down the make and model. This was when we hit our first snag.

"Oh, that's our mouthpiece," she said, and she reached forward to take it from me.

"No, it's part of your rental. You didn't buy it, so you have to return it with the rental."

"No, I remember I bought a bunch of accessories when I rented the trumpet."

"You purchased a book, a maintenance kit, and valve oil, but if you had purchased the mouthpiece you would have paid a lot more. I can tell you for sure that it's our mouthpiece when I look up your account number. If it has an 'M' on the end, it means the mouthpiece is ours."

"Okay." She crossed her arms of her chest and stuck one foot out, looking like she fully expected things would end her way. Although why she really wanted the mouthpiece anyway is beyond me. It's not like she could possibly have a use for it without the trumpet.

Sure enough, the account number ended in "M" and I showed her.

"Well, that's ridiculous. I remember paying all of this money for it."

"I can reprint your receipt and have a copy of your original contract faxed over. You signed under the section saying you understood the mouthpiece was ours, and if you returned the rental you had to return the mouthpiece. If you really want the mouthpiece, you can buy it today and keep it." 

I said this very calmly, very kindly. It's not like I don't deal with this all of the time. A lot of people assume they purchased the mouthpiece even after we take the time to specifically explain that it's ours and they sign saying they understand. People just forget. 

"It's not necessary. I wouldn't know what to do with it anyway."

We continued through the paperwork, I noted that she had no past due balance, she signed, and then said, "My next payment isn't due until the twentieth, I think. Do I get a refund for the three days I won't be using the instrument?"

I had just looked at her account, and her payments were automatically drafted on the sixteenth of every month, not the twentieth. So I told her that it had been drafted yesterday and she was paid up until the seventeenth of July, and that all she had to do to get her prorated rent back would be to call the south store and talk to someone in Band Accounting.

"That's ridiculous! Why did you guys charge me? I would have brought it in yesterday, but I couldn't!"

"Your payments are always taken out on the sixteenth." Poker face.

"Yes, but I'm only a day too late and you're going to charge me a full month for one day? And why charge me for that one day? I want my whole payment back!" 

First of all, I had just told her that she could call our south store and they would issue her a prorated refund for the days she didn't have the instrument. We weren't going to keep her money for a whole month she didn't have the instrument. Second, she was making a big deal about having to pay for a day she had it when she had just told me she wanted a mere three days prorated back to her. She was just being a bitch at this point.

"If you didn't want the payment to be drafted, you should have brought it back yesterday. There's really..."

But then B-Midi cut me off, and I was thankful. "Ma'am, how were we supposed to know you would be bringing it back the day after the payment was due? We can't read your mind. We only know that you authorized us to take payments on the 16th of every month, and you didn't bring it back yesterday so we did exactly the same as we do every month."

"Well, I want a refund."

"She just told you who to call to get it refunded. They'll either credit it back to your card within three business days, or they'll mail you a check."

"I want you to fix it now.

I already knew what I was going to do at this point. I pulled out a piece of paper, wrote down the number for the south store, and wrote the name of the person I wanted her to talk to. Note that I said the person I wanted her to talk to, and the not necessarily the one she needed. 

Meanwhile, B-Midi was saying, "Ma'am, we don't handle your payments here. It's done through our south store. I can't just take money out of our register and hand it to you. Our drawer would be short without a transaction to refund it through."

"Well I want to talk to someone in your billing office then."

"We don't have billing here. It's all at our south store."

That's when I slipped the piece of paper with the number and name forward. "You have to call this number right here and ask for Randy. He's who you need to talk to in order to get this taken care of today." I smiled. B-Midi shot me a quick, amused look. The woman had out her cell phone, already dialing the number, saying she wanted this taken care of now.

There's a reason for the look we shared. There are three people to talk to in Band Accounting at our South Store. Glory, Moll, and Randy.

If someone is super sweet and extremely understanding, I tell them to call Glory. She's the sweetest, most gentle souled woman in the world, and working with her is always quick, easy, and generally ends happily. If it doesn't, nobody ever gets angry or has a hard time.

For someone who is mildly irritated with me but not altogether offensive, I tell them to call Moll. She is tough, but fair. She won't mince her words to protect feelings, and if something is impossible, she doesn't take the time to sugar coat it. She's not exactly friendly, but she's never rude. She's all business.

And then there's the name I hand out to only the worst of the worst customers, to the ones who have irritated me beyond forgiveness. Randy. The coldest, rudest, most condescending man I've ever met in my entire life. The few times I've had to call him with questions, I've hung up feeling cold and small and stupid. There is no nice trigger in Randy. When he's not irritated, he's a jerk. When you piss him off, he's a straight up asshole in the most severe, anal retentive way.

We generally don't suggest Randy unless someone really deserves it.

I wasn't disappointed as she stood in front of me, arguing with Randy on the other end of the phone. Finally, she hung up and said, in a beaten, ashamed voice, "He said as soon as you fax over the paperwork he can issue the refund."

"I already faxed it."

"Thank you. I'm...sorry for this. I'm just frustrated." And then she turned and left with her tail between her legs.

This is exactly why you don't go around giving people a hard time for no reason when they're just doing their job and trying to help you. It's the same everywhere: people in service industries can send you on paths that are relatively pleasant, mildly irritating, or downright miserable. All it takes is a little patience, understanding, and a basic ability to reason and you're guaranteed to have a painless, pleasant experience. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Disconnected Thoughts

I can't decide if yoga is the greatest idea I've ever had, or the clearest indication that I am something of a masochist deep down.  It always leaves me feeling good at the end of class, and the next morning I get out of bed in physical agony as my muscles protest their use. I generally walk around like an old woman for the first half hour after I wake. My leg muscles are just that stiff.

I am working right now, but I'm not clocked in. None of us are. In the infinite wisdom of the head hancho, the assistant managers were not given the password to the management computer when the new system was installed yesterday. Unfortunately, the store manager doesn't work on Fridays, and we have to use his computer to clock in. When we called for the password, Manager Man just told the assistant manager to keep track of everyone's hours.

This leads us to two conclusions: Manager Man doesn't know his own new password, or Manager Man is not going to give the assistant managers the password so that we can never clock ourselves in again. This will make it amazingly easy to cheat us on our hours, which is illegal. But that didn't stop them from taking an hour of Dizzy's time away when he didn't get to take a lunch one day because he was literally so busy he didn't get the chance to slow down until almost six o'clock. By that time it was stupid to just stick around so the logical thing would have been to let him leave an hour early. But Manager Man wouldn't let him, then deducted an hour from the middle of the day. When Dizzy saw it in his hours, he argued that it was illegal, and only after threatening to report the company to Texas Work Force (or something like that) did he get his hour back. You have to watch your hours carefully here. They will round down any time they get the chance to save a little money.

Clueless has started taking a class for drunk drivers. Not because she thinks she has a problem, and certainly not because she thinks she did anything wrong. She's doing it because her lawyer told her the judge would probably lighten her sentence if she signed up for it.

I think that any judge is going to look at her first DWI, her jail sentence, and then see her second DWI was four months after she was released from jail. I think that any sane judge would see that she clearly lied when she said she understood the gravity of her mistake, that she learned a lesson and wouldn't do it again. I think that the judge is also going to see that this time she was so drunk she didn't even realize the car in front of her was stopped at a red light, that she was so drunk she didn't make any attempt to stop and wound up rear ending someone.I think any judge who gives her less than the maximum is an idiot. She will do this again, and then she's going to prison for ten years and no amount of "I'm sorry" is going to make it better.

My coworker is getting married on July 10th and Padawan and I are actually going to the wedding. I'm going to get a new dress, and Padawan will wear a button down shirt and nice jeans. He will not, he insists, wear slacks. Which my coworker insists is fine. She's getting married in a multi-layered, multi colored floor length tutu and a green leather corset, so it's obviously not a formal affair.

My mother's boyfriend has murdered my cat, Fizban. Or, as I always called him, Fizzy Pop Pop. (I named him Fizban after the Kinder God in the Dragon Lance series, but Fizzy Pop Pop was his nickname. He answered to both.) I gave him to my mom when he was a kitten because I couldn't keep him and his mother, and my mother adored him. Even as a kitten he was a very handsome little thing. He grew into a beautiful cat. 

Anyway, my mom left Fizban with her boyfriend for two weeks while she went to Houston to look for a job. (I've already informed her that she can expect no visits from me as I do not like obnoxious, smelly, heavily polluted cities full of crime and angry drivers. She argued that Houston wasn't like that where she'll be living. However, pollution is pollution.) When she came back the landlord said Fizban was dead. He'd been outside the whole time she was gone (because her boyfriend is a dick like that) and he was throwing up blood and then just...dead. 

Her boyfriend insists he was snake bitten. I'm not entirely certain, but I'm pretty sure there aren't any snakes out there that are venomous in a way that makes you throw up blood and guts. No snake bite I've ever heard of can do that. However, we had a dog die a few years ago that had the same symptoms. He, too, was left alone with her boyfriend for a week. The Vet said he was poisoned. I'm starting to think her boyfriend poisons animals.

I just did a restring for a boy on a classical guitar. His guitar strings were in a sad state of existence. I restrung it for him, and the smile on his face was worth way more than the labor cost I just made with twenty minutes of my time. 

I think it upset Dizzy that I did it, but we paged twice and nobody came to help. He said he yelled to send them around to his side of the counter, but nobody heard him. All the boy wanted was to know about strings. Did his need to be changed? (Holy Merlin, yes they did.) What kind of strings did they need? (Normal tension  silver wound and nylon.) Did we have ball ends? (Yes, but they don't make the right sound.) He thought he could do it himself...but could I restring it? (Yes, I could.) How much did it cost? (Fifteen dollars for traditional classical strings, twelve dollars for ball ends, plus the price of the strings.) Why were traditional classical more to put on? (Because they take twice as long to put on.)

He was very pleased with his finished product, so it was well worth it.

I got a tip for a restring I did yesterday for a young man and his grandfather. It was just an acoustic restring, nothing fancy like a classical restring, so it was only seventeen dollars for labor and strings. I got a three dollar dip out of it, though, so it was nice.  It was my first tip ever. We're not allowed to ask for tips, of course, and we don't tell people we accept tips. But when we get them we keep them. A lot of time our customers tip us with food. Generally it's pizza, sometimes Girl Scout cookies. The best time ever was when we got brisket from Rudy's. 

Sometimes it's great to work in music.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lurking beneath the surface...

Dear God, what is that? We're going to die! We're going to die!

Doesn't this look like something out of a horror film? People just swimming and surfing along on a beach, minding their own business, and a wave suddenly rears up...filled with the most diabolical looking tentacles I've ever seen.

I'm not even sure what is portrayed in this picture: seaweed or underwater trees or maybe there's a coral reef a few hundred feet out that is magnified by the water, making the arms look bigger and a lot closer than they actually are in reality. 

Whatever the hell that stuff is, it's pretty creepy and terrifying to look at, and it's urged me to add another reason that I do not like beaches.

Reason number 7: there are many tentacled monstrosities lurking just beneath the surface of the water waiting to either scare the hell out of you, or drag you to the sandy depths of the ocean to be devoured like so much meat. Either way, I'm not getting in that water for love or money or the promise of a lifetime supply of chocolate. 

Not no way, not no how.

Am I being unreasonable? 

Did you even see that picture? 

Of course I'm not being unreasonable! That's the monster from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or some other book where there are giant sea monsters. I bet that's what the Lach Ness Monster really looks like. Between the tentacled horror, the sharks, the sand, the salt water, and everything else that was on my list that I can't remember right now, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that I am not going to be a fan of beaches ever. Oh, did I mention the sun, as well? Well, the sun.

And it's not that I don't like the sun. Like I've said before, I'm a big fan of being warm because I'm always cold. The sun helps to warm me up. When I'm home I like to turn off all of the lights and open the blinds and curtains to let the sun stream in and light everything up, then I like to lay on the chair by the window and soak up the rays because it warm and pleasant and comforting.

I just don't like the sun when I'm standing directly in it, because it might feel nice and warm, but it only take fifteen minutes of sun exposure for my skin to burn. It's not that I'm allergic to the sunlight. I just have pale, delicate skin that isn't made to be out in direct sunlight with no protection. Beaches mean lots of direct sunlight, and 100 SPF without Vitamin A isn't easy to come by, and it's only got a four hour life span for my delicate skin. Between that and the sand, and then the evils of the water itself (still thinking about that picture) I'm just...not beach material, but you can tell that by looking at me. It's painfully obvious to my beach babe sister that I do not spend much time outside while the sun is up.

Relly made a point last week of saying, "I'd rather get skin cancer than be pale. Pale skin is ugly."

"So, I'm ugly."

"No, sister, pale skin looks beautiful on you. I just think it would look ugly on me."

I swear, the tone she used it is the same tone you'd use to assure an overweight friend that she is not fat by any stretch of the imagination. 

She invited me out to the lake yesterday to hang with her and the Double L nephews, but unfortunately for her, I don't like lakes either. Lake Placid anyone? Or how about Blood Surf?  Croc even? And while I certainly know most people don't react like that to bad horror movies, I am not most people. I also have a logical reason to fear alligators in our lake. There actually was an alligator farm out on Lake Travis sometime back in the eighties that had a rather unfortunate accident when six of the alligators somehow played jailbreak and won their freedom. Animal Control and Wildlife Rescue swear up and down they rounded up all of the escapees. But...maybe they didn't really catch all six and they figured the last one would die and then it had babies. Or maybe seven escaped and they didn't realize it.

Either way, I don't like lakes any more than I like beaches. Lakes have rocks instead of sand, which is less annoying in the gets everywhere factor, but is just as annoying in the you-have-to-wear-water-shoes-or-be-in-pain kind of way. Those are you choices: wear water shoes and look like a dork, or go barefoot and walk over rocks and sharp pebble until you get to the water, at which point you'll have to stick your feet in the muddy, sticky, foot-sucking bottom. Which is actually less pleasant than sand. Sand under your feet in water feels nice. Not so with sticky, yucky, goopy mud.

"Well, we can go to the pool if you don't want to go to the lake," she offered.

Yeah. Swimming pools. We know my illogical fear of sharks appearing in the middle of the water while I'm swimming. Also, I don't like chlorine, and I don't want it on my hair. I certainly don't want it on my skin. And I don't like crowds, which is something you tend to find at public pools. No incentive there.

Let's not get this confused though: I am not afraid of the water itself. I'm perfectly fine in the water. I can go up to my knees if I feel so inclined. I can go in to my waist if the water is clear enough for me to see through. My fear if of what's in the water.  I can swim. I can float on my back. I don't mind deep water if I know for a fact that there's nothing in there, and I'm pretty OK until the idea of a shark appearing pops into my head.

I should really see a shrink about this...

But then again...I'm not to the point where I'm afraid to sit on a toilet seat in case a shark swims up the pipe and decides to bite my ass, so I'm not as bad off as other people. 

Edit: I now have another reason to hate beaches. Severe Jellyfish infestations. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bye, bye, Birdie.

I am a sucker for weak, defenseless animals. See a cat playing with a live mouse in a and save it. Find a kitten in some bushes by the side of the road...take it to work and pawn it off on a coworker. Come upon a fledgling floundering helplessly on my balcony...take it in for a night, feed it and look after it, then return it to the closest nest and watch until the parents return. Which they did.

It drives Padawan nuts. You never know what poor lost soul I'll bring home. Last night he walked in the door and found me trying to feed little bits of meat to Iago  in the kitchen. 

"Where did you get that?"

"I found him! He was all alone and it was getting dark and I was afraid he'd get eaten!"

"We can't keep him, Chanel."

"I know that! I called a wildlife rehabilitation center and left a message. They can pick him up tomorrow."

When he suggested we just leave it outside in the grass last night and leave it up to Darwinism, I started crying that it was just wrong to leave it there, that it would probably die and get eaten by Ghost, or it would hop into the road and get run over by someone. We agreed to keep him on the balcony overnight to keep him safe.

I hope I find a baby squirrel one day. I'd like to take care of one, just to see how it works.

I did take pictures of Iago, but I left my camera and memory card at home so I'll put a picture up later today so you guys can see how freaking cute he was. 

Oh, I named him Iago because he had a big mouth and kept peeping until the sun went down and then started again as soon as it came up. Cute little thing, but very needy. At least baby birds appear to sleep through the whole night. Must make it easier on the parents.

Interesting thing: I went out about forty five minutes after I left the bird out by the nest this morning and left Choo Choo inside of the apartment because I wasn't going to be gone long. Padawan came home while I was outside and opened the door. 

I was sitting in the grass not within sight of the stairs that lead to our apartment, watching the birds with Iago, when I saw something small and blond shoot past my eye. I turned to look and there was Choo Choo, no leash, no collar, no halter, tearing up grass as she bounded to me. I didn't think she was going to stop, but she ran right up to me and jumped on my legs and started whining and yelping like I'd left her forever! I was confused and looked around. Sure enough, a minute later Padawan came running up, looking horrified and then relieved.

"What the hell happened, Padawan?"

"I just opened the door and she shot out like a cannon ball! There was no warning!"

"Didn't you try calling her name?"

"Of course I tried. She ignored me and just ran down the stairs! I thought she ran away!"

*sigh* "How did she know where I was?" I mused, scratching her ears.

"Lucky guess?"

I guess I should be relieved. I won't have to worry about her ever trying to run away. Her one object in life it to find and stay with me, wherever I go.

EDIT: Pictures!

My camera wouldn't focus for some reason. But this is my little Iago!

Friday, June 3, 2011

You want a war? You'll get one!

Padawan sent me an e-mail from work.

That is my character, which he took the liberty of renaming, gallivanting around the game world saying stupid things like that while dancing idiotically! My character!

Never mind that I have had her for almost two years now and I haven't used her for over fourteen months. She's still an extension of myself, and I will not allow her to be publicly humiliated for the amusement of a blonde pixie man like the one standing next to her!

This is inexcusable!

I demand justice. What kind of justice, I do not yet know. Maybe I don't even want justice. Maybe I want revenge, which everyone knows is a dish best served cold. Now that he's gone and messed with my character, I'm going to go and pixify all of his so they look like the dumbest, most flamboyantly homosexual characters that ever existed in a game! And I will make them dance! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Best of Booth and Brennan

Yesterday I went through all of the Bones seasons and watched some of my favorite episodes with my most favoritest (yes, I know it's not a real word) Booth and Brennan moments.

Two Bodies in the Lab 

I'm hot blooded! Hot blooded! 

The Mummy in the Maze 

Halloween costumes! 

The Wannabe in the Weeds 

The Pain in the Heart 
Just because she's glad he's really alive doesn't mean she's not going to beat the snot out of him.

There's also a particular scene in this episode when Bones barges into Booth's bathroom while he's taking a bath and reams him for not calling her to tell her he wasn't dead. Of course, it really wasn't his fault she didn't know. He put her name on the list of people to tell, but Sweets was being all sneaky, sneaky for an experiment and said not to tell her.

Double Trouble in the Panhandle, which is, for the record, my favorite Bones episode to date, hands down, absolutely no contest. 

Natasha and Boris, prepared to give a good show!

The two of them are so cute in this act, it's unbeatable in the history of Booth and Brennan Moments.

I even got Padawan to watch a couple of episodes with me and he liked them, although he said that the circus act "was almost too silly" to be believable. But it's my favorite ever episode because of their circus act! 

Anyway, I would have watched more but I started feeling sick around the last episode and wound up going to be early and missing yoga. Not that going to be early helped because my head started hurting so bad I couldn't sleep until Padawan got me a pillow to cover my eyes and ears to block out the minuscule amounts of ambient lighting from the street lamps and that helped enough to get to sleep, but when I woke up this morning my head was throbbing so fiercely I took a shower in the dark and contemplated staying in there all day.

But I didn't. I came to work, and I am now thoroughly regretting that adult decision because my head finally stopped throbbing enough that I could take off my sunglasses, and then some kid started banging on a drum set, making me reel with physical pain as the sound slammed my head so hard I thought I was going to be sick. My head is just too sensitive for children beating the hell out of drums with Ralph Hardimon drumsticks. For those of you who don't know what those are, they are the really thick, heavy duty, I will hit you so hard the whole stadium will feel it when I strike, monstrosity of sticks that we don't like people using in the store because they are loud and obnoxious and tend to leave marks when they strike a head. (A drum head, I mean, not a human head. Although I'd like to see the mark it leaves on a human head...)

I think I'm not going to want lunch today. 

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