Saturday, November 26, 2011

Guess what?

My two hundred and twenty second post is coming up soon.

I've decided I'm going to do a video blog to celebrate the awesome triple digit, because that seems way  more exciting than what I normally do.

I don't know. Maybe you guys would find it funny to hear my thoughts as I speak them instead of reading them as I write them. Because you guys totally know I don't plan out what I write. I just type it as I think it and then I edit out the errors.

The thing is...I don't know anything about video blogs. I don' t know what I'll talk about.

Enter you guys.

With suggestions.

You guys suggest what I should blog about, and whichever you guys vote on as the best idea, I'll talk about, but let's not get carried away. There are rules. I'm not going to tell you what they are, you guys will just have to use your best judgement when making suggestions.

Um...that's it. Let the games begin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Most Awesome Customer in the History of Customers Award

Every once in a great while...we have a totally awesome customer.

Customers are awesome for different reasons. Sometimes they're just good people. Sometimes they're really funny. Sometimes they stick up for you when another customer is being a jerkface.

And sometimes...they take requests.

There was a kid in today. Maybe he was nineteen or so. I dunno. I didn't ask. He was playing on the pianos, and he wasn't running through the normal stuff. No Fur Elise or Claire DeLune or Winter Wonderland. He was just...playing whatever he felt like. I thought I even heard Mad World played in there somewhere.

So I called out, "Hey, dude! Do you know the Doug Song?"

"The Doug Song?" he repeated.

"Yeah, from the Hangover!"

He grinned. "I think I can play it!"

And he did. Took him a couple of minutes to find the right key. He was playing it by ear, after all. And then I told Jazz, "Hey! He's playing it! He's playing it!"

And she said, "Well, he should sing it!"

So I called out, "Jazz says you should sing it!"

And you know what he did?

He started singing it.

What do tigers dream something word in here. 

"I really don't know all of the words..."

I laughed. "That's okay! You can just sing the 'Doug' part."


"Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug! Dougy, Dougy, Doug!"

Applause. Raver, Jazz, and I all gave a warm round of applause. I only wish I hadn't left my cell phone in my purse after lunch because I would have dearly loved to record this moment for you guys and share. 

He won The Most Awesome Customer in the History of Customers Award. 

Monday, November 21, 2011


Things have been changing at my job. Remember that efficiency expert they brought in?

She's been hired full time as a co-manager, right next to the owner's son. And she's been changing things. A lot of things. In fact, in the first three months of her reign we lost three employees.

One was my friend, Bones Buddy. He just up and quit one day, no notice. Packed his things, put his house up for sale, and moved back to South Dakota. I...haven't taken it well. Whenever I wear my brown boots or my yellow dress or my hair in pigtails or something and someone compliments me on them, I always remember the compliments he gave me for the very same things. Or when I watch a Bones episode I think of how he would comment on it. I e-mailed him two days after he left, but he didn't respond. I want to e-mail him again, but to what purpose? Maybe he wants to sever all contact.

And then, just a couple of weeks later, she changed the desk. Now, I was only working the desk Saturdays by then, and Origami and Jazz had it during the week. The perk of the job was literally doing whatever you wanted in exchange for being forced to sit in a chair for nine and a half hours a day. 

Efficiency changed that. No computers. No drawing. No painting. No crocheting. No knitting. No sewing. no reading. Absolutely nothing except answering phones, counting customers, directing and greeting people, and whatever menial tasks they can come up with to fill in the hours.

Origami hated having to sit down even with the freedom of doing whatever task she liked best. With no origami, no bracelet making, no artsy stuff...she couldn't take it. After two days of nothing she left for lunch and never came back. Not even for her last check. She had that sent to her through Jazz.

And I told Manager Man that he had better hire someone who could take Saturdays, too, because I couldn't sit at that desk and do nothing for a whole day, either.

The answer was to hire...Space Cadet.

It's not that I don't like her. I do.

But...she doesn't do her job well. I mean, obviously nobody could ever do that job as flawlessly and efficiently as I did. I brought a charm and a courtesy to the job that no one could ever hope to achieve. But every receptionist should be able to figure out how to taking a fucking message, for crying out loud.

Pardon my language, but everybody is frustrated over this. 

Coffin suggested that we "hang the bitch".

I don't understand it. When we are all with customers, when the store is crawling with people, she will sit there and page. And page. And page. And page. And with each page she says it with just a little more attitude.

The protocol has always been simple: page it twice, and if no one answers you take a message. The only time it is acceptable to keep paging and sound irritated while doing it is when you see people standing around, not helping anyone, who can answer the call and just won't do it. Or when the caller insists they want to hold rather than leave a message or call back.

Absolutely no other reason.

And she doesn't even ANSWER the phones half the time!

She's out of her seat so much that we're always having to stop helping people to answer the calls. Sometimes I'm talking to a customer and I'll hear the phone ring six times before I realize she's not at her desk and I have to pick up.

And she's not at her desk! Hello! The point of the desk is SECURITY! 

I think someone just needs to sit her down and explain to her that she has to answer the phones and take messages. Isn't that the definition of a receptionist? 

It isn't that freaking hard. Phone rings. Answer it.

Even when she IS answering the phones she always lets it ring twice. Twice. 


And I'm not the only one annoyed. I've said this. 

But I am NOT going back to do the damn job.

And she's always going to the bathroom. Now, I realize this is the one thing she can't help. I understand that pregnancy messes with your bladder and all that. But everything else? Inexcusable!

We've decided that we have to have Manager Man just...give her a light talking to. Just explaining the message and phone answering protocols. We have a receptionist so we don't have to interrupt sales to answer the phones. That's the whole effing point!

The third employee was one from our South Store who I only ever spoke to on the phone. He was nice, but he got fired. Apparently he threatened to throw a stapler at one of his coworkers. If that's a firing offense, I'm in trouble. I threaten to throw things at Dizzy at least three times a week. 

Aside from that, though, things are changing for the better. We've been remodeling the store for several weeks. The mess is getting annoying, and I hate spending an entire day fixing something only to have to change it again the next day, but it's definitely coming together. I've sustained some injuries. Scratches, bruises, panic attacks. But it will end eventually.

And really the panic attack was all Dizzy's fault because he knows I hate going up ladders and he knows not to make sudden noises or to touch me while I'm up there. And yet every time I have to go up a ladder he comes and grabs my legs and yells, "Don't fall!" which sends me into a state of hysteria.

I never go above the second rung and it's still terrifying. They really just shouldn't make me go up ladders, but it's MY department. Of course, there are lots of jobs that require someone else to go up higher, but nobody wants to do it unless they have to, and of course they can't risk me having a panic attack by making me go up higher than two rungs so when I reach that problem, and it's always inevitable, somebody else finds the time to help just long enough to the the too high job done.

I'm wondering if there is any legal way to fight being sent up the ladder at all. One step is okay. I'm good with that. Doesn't freak me out at all. Two steps? Scary. Three? Absolutely won't do it. Tried that once and somebody dropped a book behind me and I nearly fell to my death and I had to sit in the back for an hour to calm myself down before I was reasonable again.

During all of this remodeling I've realized two things: our store did not utilize space efficiently at all and our customers are absolutely unreasonable.

When we remodeled sheet music all of the old shelves were torn down and the sheet music was stacked in neat, organized columns on the floor. People complained frequently about not being able to find anything, and one woman got so frustrated when we told her it would take us a few minutes to find her book because of the remodel that she actually went to all the stacks of music and knocked them over, one by one, with her walking stick. After that nothing was organized and we just had to put it back into stacks, and never mind what instrument they were for or what genre they fell in. It took us three days to sort it all out when we got the sheet music room full of shelves.

I'm tired. I just want it to be over. And you should see the Christmas decorations they're bringing in this year. It's tacky to decorate until the day after Thanksgiving in the world of retail. (Walmart and Target are tacky about Christmas.) But this year they've decided to decorate the week of Thanksgiving. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

But whatever. It doesn't matter. I'm just glad they finally listened to me and decided to switch the front entrance to the other side of the store. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You have GOT to have these!

At work today I was minding my own business, checking in the Yamaha order, when Dizzy suddenly calls out, "Hey, Princess! Come here!"

"No. I'm busy."

"This is important."

"I'm busy."

B-Money, "No, seriously. Come over here."

Big sigh. Look of irritation. Specialty Withering for good measure.


Dizzy smiled. "So, I want you to find a bakery that delivers and specializes in Vodka Icing. Tomorrow is Jay Jay's birthday."

I rolled my eyes. "Jay Jay doesn't drink vodka anymore. Remember?"

B-Money said, "Oh yeah."

"What? Since when?"

"For like a year, dude. He stopped drinking vodka and he lost all of that weight."

" what does he drink?"

B-Money said, "What everybody drinks. Beer."

I smiled. "I know a recipe for Guinness Cupcakes."

Dizzy: "Oh my God, Princess. You make those and we'll love you forever."


So I came home, six pack of Guinness in hand. I have had this recipe for months, but I never had the opportunity to test it. Here was my big chance.

So I made these damn things. I poured that nasty, thick, smelly-ass beer into the bowl with the ingredients, and I poured the batter into cupcake papers, and I put them in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes.

And then I made the Vanilla Bean Frosting, extra light and fluffy because thick icing tends to overpower cake. And I beat that stuff until it peaked stiffer than...



Then came the test.

Handing off the cupcake to Padawan.

"So...what do you think?"



"That's the best damn cupcake I've had in a long time."


Then I put the icing on them (Padawan does not like any kind of frosting on his cupcakes or cakes) and topped them off with sprinkles. I'd take a picture, but I left my phone at work and I don't know where my camera is. But I can give you guys the recipe!

I'll let you know right now, they aren't sweet like traditional cupcakes. They've got less sugar, and that's what Padawan loves about them. But if you like a touch of sweetness added, the Vanilla Bean Frosting is a perfect combination.

1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout (I used Draught, but if you want thicker batter you can do Extra Stout)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Nestle Cocoa, but use your favorite)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
4. Butter 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.
5. Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioner’s sugar 
4 tablespoons very cold milk
Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.

NOTE: I added an extra splash of clear vanilla to the frosting. It felt like the powdered sugar was overpowering the vanilla flavor.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jerkface has been eclipsed.

I think Kane has decided he's been quiet for far too long. He's up to his usual tricks again.

Starting with the return of my totally awesome Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon earrings that have been missing for almost a year now. And you'll never guess where I found them.

No, they weren't in the dryer.

I found them, of all places, in Padawan's bedside table, buried under swim trunks he hasn't worn in two years. How my earrings got there, I have no idea. That's on his side of the bed, and I don't use it. The only explanation is Kane.

And coincidentally, the day after recovering my favorite earrings, my headphones went missing.

I don't know if I can blame Kane for that one, however, since Padawan did borrow mine because he lost his. And then I found Padawan's, in my dresser this time, and mine were gone. It could be Kane trying to annoy Padawan, who refuses to acknowledge his existence. But then why keep my headphones? I've never pretended that we don't have an obnoxious ghost with a fabulous earring and shirt addiction, and possibly an interest in music since he takes headphones as well.

I've informed Padawan he owes me new headphones. He still hasn't coughed 'em up, which means I listen to my iPod play through its speaker. It doesn't sound nearly as good through one muffled speaker as it does through my totally awesome headphones. Which were pink, just so you know.

But I think Kane isn't satisfied with just us.

Today I sat down at my desk and noticed an unusual addition to my decor. A stone. A shiny black stone that I've never seen before, sitting on my desk.

I picked it up and realized it wasn't a stone. It was some kind of high powered magnet. It did not want to let go of the metal bars that support my super awesome glass desktop.

Padawan has never seen it.

I have never seen it.

So where did it come from?

The mean part of me hopes that Kane robbed the stupid, rude, tacky people who live below us (who have surpassed even my hatred of Jerkface, and you know how much I hate him) and that it was somehow very important to them and that their lives are falling apart without the stupid thing.

The kinder part of me hopes that Kane robbed the stupid, rude, tacky people who live below us and that it only has some strong sentimental value for them and they are dreadfully depressed that it is gone.

Personally, I really hope it's the former.

One fine, windy day our not so beloved neighbor's bike was found knocked over. Padawan assumed the wind pushed it over. And it might have. You know, it was a very, very windy day. Very powerful. Could have been the wind.

Could have been Kane.

Could have been some small, fed up, green eyed, brown haired young woman who was out walking her chihuahua and happened to see his bike parked next to her's, incorrectly yet again. She could have accidentally walked too close to it and bumped it with her hip, knocking it over. Goodness knows it wouldn't have happened if he had the common decency to chain his bike up correctly. And somewhere not near her bike. Really, her bike is much too pretty and respectful to be mingling with his common Wal-Mart bargain brand contraption.

But it was probably Kane.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. 

Did I mention those people are tacky?

I mean, let's not mince words here. They leave their trash sitting outside of their door right when they leave in the morning, when our Office has clearly dictated that trash can only be put outside at six PM and no sooner. Also, it has to stay in the trash can. You can't just toss a trash bag outside your door filled with foul smelling things. And it has to be back inside (the trash can) by seven in the morning. 

But that's not the worst part.

The worst part isn't even their dogs, which has gotten worse. Lately they've taken to letting them bark for hours on end.

I have to tell you this. What makes them the absolute tackiest people I've ever seen is that the other day, when I happened to be out on my balcony minding my own business and not plotting the demise of their tacky snowman Christmas decoration (it's not even Thanksgiving yet!) I happened to see the dog that lives in the yard next to their's start barking at them as they were putting up Christmas lights in their bushes. (It's November!

And they had the nerve to turn around and tell the owner of the dog to, "Shut that dog up or take him inside. Don't you understand you have neighbors?"

Couldn't help myself. 

I started laughing. His audacity astounded me.

And the owner of the dog also saw the irony, because he immediately pointed out it was a bit rich for tacky man to tell him off for his dog barking for a matter of seconds in the middle of the afternoon when their dogs were barking for two hours straight just that very morning. 

Fortunately they were too busy screaming at one another to notice my laughter. But really, the situation was just too ridiculous.

And Padawan actually called in a complaint about the barking when he was trying to watch a movie and couldn't hear a damn thing because from nine thirty until eleven forty five at night those dogs barked unchecked. 

Those people are either the biggest idiots in the entire world, or they are the most selfish people in existence.

You vote. 

That being said...I think I need to go to bed. The clock says ten o'clock, but my body says it feels like eleven. And I still have to take the Choo Choo out for walkies.

And by the way, she was the cutest little pumpkin for Halloween, and she adored going trick or treating with Master Plo Koon. 

Who, by the way, was an Angry Bird for Halloween this year. It was absolutely awesome.

That is all.

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