Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halloween and Homecoming Pictures as promised.

November 1, 2013

I hope any of you that celebrate Halloween had a happy and safe one.  The weather was not awesome here as it was a bit breezy which only helped the girls dressed up as Dorothy.  Unfortunately, it was also raining off and on.  Therefore, we had a bunch of younger children who braved it for around an hour, but not nearly as many older trick-or-treaters as we usually do.  The costume of choice for a lot of the younger beggars was that of a cowboy.  A renaissance of sorts for the hero of the west.  Our favorite and winner of Beth and Steve's annual best costume prize, was the little dude dressed as Woody from Toy Story.  What put this costume over the top was that Woody's horse, Bullseye, was built into the costume such that it looked like Woody was riding him through the neighborhood.  Classic.

CJ went out this year with his friends.  One of his group of friends has a little sister, so the whole group gets together to walk the route with her.  The teens get to wear costumes and act goofy, while Emmy gets to have an entourage and candy.  CJ and two of the girls dressed in costumes from Dr. Who.  I have not watched this show, but I need to start as our high school marching band routine has been based on the show this year, and it is apparently very popular.  The two girls were Daleks and CJ was the Tardis.  He was a police box.  If you haven't watched the show, it seems like the Tardis is a very important part of, not only time travel, but quintessential to the plot.  We have a Tardis prop for our band show and other school's band members go crazy for it.  I gotta watch the show.  Anyway, I think the costume theme for next year's entourage will be Secret Service Agents.  Good excuse to follow Emmy around again next year.

I will post a  photo of Halloween and the promised pic of Homecoming as well.  Now where did I leave that camera cord and my computer aptitude?

Homecoming 2013.  Do you guys remember being this adorable?  Not me.

And this one was part of the group from Halloween.  GF told CJ  to stop touching her buns.

Friday, October 18, 2013

C'mon Beth, I'm Don Knotts over here.

October 18, 2013

I am still alive, just in case anyone was wondering.  Be careful what you wish for much?  I wanted to be a store manager of a little store so I could run the place the way I wanted to run it.  Well, I am running it.  75-80 hours a week running it.  I wasn't going to complain about it since I realize no one besides Beth actually cares, but since sometimes putting stuff in type eases the inner beast, I will reluctantly share a bit.  As my ego has stated before, I am a worker.  I have met very few adults in my 26 years of retail who I feel put in the effort that I do and care as much about a job well done and teamwork.  Therefore, I always have to remind myself that everywhere I go, there I am.  Trying to be perfect as I run my store is on me and is sometimes the problem  However, if I may gloat for just a second, my numerical results for September were #1 in my district, #2 in my region, and #122 in the company.  7000+ stores in the company.  Does that equal perfection?  Close enough.

However, wherein lies the problem, is that as I work really hard to do my job, external factors have created more work for me.  My assistant got promoted (of all the nerve-doing a good job!), thus creating a 45 hour vacancy in the schedule.  Then, two of my cashiers got sick for four days each, in the same week.  It is really hard to replace 25% of your payroll in one week.  But I did and have lived to type about it.  And stayed married.  Beth has been a trooper as usual.

I don't think my store has the appearance of a short-staffed store. In fact, it looks like Christmas has thrown up in there since that extra truck came this week.  To be fair, I have not done it alone.  The team members who have shown up for work have been awesome.  If you are about to open your own store, please keep this in mind-hire the right people.  If you don't, you will regret it.

So life goes on.  The weather is starting to get crisp here in Ohio.   GF's soccer playoffs have begun.  CJ and I watched as they started the tournament with a 7-0 trouncing of another team last night.  Band season has also begun for CJ.  He is doing awesome and they have scored Superior in the first two events so far.  We are off to Harrison, Ohio this weekend for the next event.  In fact, that is tomorrow and the weather man tells me there is a 60% chance of rain.  Perfect.

Homecoming was last weekend and CJ and GF went.  I will need to post some pictures as they were the best looking couple there.  Sure I did not see any of the other couples, but I would guess my assumption is not that far off.  CJ's tie (tied by dad) was the cherry on top.  The CJ version looked like it had been done by a drunken sailor, so I am taking some of the credit.  Homecoming weekend was the same weekend as their 1 year anniversary.  Remember being excited about your 1 year dating anniversary?  Sweet.  GF got CJ a couple of tee shirts for bands they like-Green Day and Fall Out Boy.  CJ got GF a gift certificate for a massage and an iTunes card. 

CJ had gone for a massage last week when the knots in his calf had gotten so bad that they were making walking painful.  I did not think a 16 year old teenage boy would be interested in getting a massage from a female professional, but he was in.  Beth reminded me that he is able to categorize things as being clinical versus not, and could therefore appreciate it for what it was intended to be.  She fixed him.  I need to be fixed.  No not that way-been there, done that.  A massage for this knotty pine.  Beth, Sweetest Day is tomorrow.  Hint, hint.  Oh, for you.  Uuuuuh.  It will be a surprise.  For both of us.

Light bulbs!  No, I did not just have a brilliant idea, I just remembered that I forgot to buy light bulbs at The Target today.  Drat.  Thanks to none of you for reminding me.

Beth just texted that GF will be stopping by with CJ after school.  I suppose I better go tidy up a bit.  As it turns out, there are also rules governing pants worn by dad when non family members come over.  Talk to you soon.  Ish.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fortunately, GF does not stand for Gigi Festora. See, things are looking up.

August 30, 2013

CJ has not been getting  a lot of sleep lately.  Between school, band, and work he has been a busy boy.  So yesterday when he came home from his day completely spent, I asked him if he was okay.  His reply was that he had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night prior since he was worrying about something.  It turns out that that something was the issues his GF is having.  In addition to all of the same things CJ has been dealing with, GF has been troubled by the less than encouraging feedback she recently got from her soccer coach.   He is not a man to candy-coat things and his opinion of her play in the last game was not covered in sprinkles.

So I stopped worrying about CJ for a few minutes and decided to worry about GF.  I would love to sit down with her and say some things to make her feel better, but since she has been witness to some of the decisions my son has made and probably assumed they were due to my parenting skills, my advice is certainly not something she would seek out.  However, my contention is that his inability to keep a tidy personal space, or his friendship with Rowan, or his unkempt facial hair choices, or even his entertainment preferences ("Hey, let's go see Kick Ass 2"); are not issues to which he first sought out my guidance.

Therefore, I thought I would get the advice out of my head and onto my blog so that it would be out there and available.  Do with it what you wish.

Here is what I, as an elder in the community, have learned about life.  Sometimes it sucks.   There, I'm done.  Just kidding.  Actually, I have decided that there is a reason that sometimes life hands you a challenge.  I firmly believe that each of us has a plan.  It is not a definitive plan right up to the point when you know you are going to die due to the expiration date on your birth certificate, but it is a plan from up high.  I am not going to declare outright that the plan is from God as I am not in tune with your religious inclinations.  Therefore, you can believe the "plan" can be from any of a number of gods or god-like influences:  Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Ozzy Osborne, Hillary Clinton, Yahweh, Alf (you may have to look him up-it is short for Alien Life Form), that little talking dog from Men in Black, Vidal Sassoon (I know how important your hair is to you), or Lady Gaga.

Nonetheless, there is a plan.  Along the way you will make choices involving right and wrong, vanilla or chocolate, and Coke or Pepsi, but these decisions are not going to make or break the plan.  Ultimately, you will be where you need to be.  For you, the sky is the limit.  With your talents, personality, and parents that care about you, your job simply becomes rolling with the challenges you face along the way.  AND learning from them. 

Since I am brand-loyal to Jesus, here is a religious example.  In The Bible, there is a story of how the Apostles (Jesus' friends) were in a boat on a lake when a storm came upon them.  They were frightened for their lives.  Out of the darkness, Jesus came walking up to them on the water.  No jet ski or inflatable alligator.  He invited Peter to walk to Him on the water and he did.   At one point, Peter started to doubt that Jesus would protect him, and he started to sink.  He lost faith.  Jesus then saved him.  The point some people miss from this story is that Jesus did not calm the storm right away or take away the cause of their dilemma, he simply guided them through their troubled waters.  Two of the apostles, Simon and Garfunkel, later wrote a song about the experience.

So take some advice from your elder.  I have been through countless times in my life during which I wondered why I was being handed such a challenge.  They never stop coming.  You have seen some already in your tender years.  Divorce, tough coaches, and bad haircuts have caused you strife. 

No, your hair looks fine, why do you ask?  Oh, I forgot how sensitive the female psyche can be.  I didn't mean a bad haircut, I meant an unfortunate wardrobe choice. 

Ugh.  No I am not referring to the time you wore boots with your shorts and came over to our house.  I thought you looked fine.  And by fine, I mean perfectly appropriate given the event and weather and...oh never mind.

Anyway, my point is, that all of the events that we encounter along the way are meant to shape us for who we are to become.  Survive, learn, grow and move on.  This is how we do it.  ( Now get that song out of your head the rest of the day.)

For all you know, your current coach could be the turning point in your life that helps you either become the next Abby Wambach, or the President of these United States.  My only caution to you is that if you choose to keep my son around for that second choice, I am not sure how good a First Lady he would be.  First Man?  First Gentleman?  First Dude?  Not sure.  His inability to clean up after himself and his drum set in the White House basement could be a problem.

From which you would have to survive, learn, and grow.

Friday, August 9, 2013

How much was that warranty?

August 9, 2013

Today was computer shopping day.  Earlier this week, CJ's computer died.  Beth informed me that he was pretty devastated and was going through the 7 stages of grief.  She had seen anger, sadness, confusion, sneezing, Donner, and denial.  I did my duty as a father and put him through my grief counselling class.  "You could read a book." I suggested.  Wow.  If looks could kill.

So we took the computer to a fix it shop guy who said that one side where the lap top opens around the hinge had come loose, thus creating a strain on the other side where a wire connects.  This wire had come loose creating a short.  Therefore, every time that CJ touched the computer, it turned off.  Not especially helpful if you are trying to use it.  That sounds rather easy to fix though, don't you think?  Well, he could fix it for a mere $250, but he could not guarantee that it would stay fixed.

This led CJ and his friend, Rowen, to scour the Internet site Newegg in an attempt to buy and build the perfect computer.  You can buy the necessary parts there, have them shipped to your house, and then put them together.  If it is anything like buying a bicycle and then assembling it in your living room on Christmas Eve, I am assuming it also involves eggnog and cursing.  The price for this venture, they assured me, was $694.  I thought this was something I could maybe live with.

Oh, by the way dad, we forgot to add in an operating system.   How much?  Another $150.  So an operating system is essential?  It is if you don't want all the other parts to become a large, over-priced paper-weight.  Perfect.  And, the person helping you assemble it is the same friend who cut himself by swinging an axe and missing the log?  Yes.

Okay, let's go to the computer store.

So dude at the computer store takes CJ's parts list and assembles one of his own.  By the time he was finished, this computer was going to cost around $1100, assembled.  Awesome.  We did not make any purchases today.

On the way home, I noticed the license plate on the car in front of me was 694 YDA.  (Please do not use this info for anything illegal!)  I could not help thinking that this plate was a omen.  It was trying to tell me that me agreeing to, or believing in the original computer price of $694, really meant You're a Dumb Aaaaas.  Here, let me check my pockets for an extra $700 much less $400 more.

So we were at home and Beth and CJ went online to bring the price back down into dad's acceptable blood pressure range.  They found a prebuilt Dell for around $700 that would work and we would even get a 10% rewards bonus if we used our Discover card.  Okay, I am back in the game.

About 20 minutes later, the guy called from the computer repair shop.  We had asked him to put the broken lap top back together and then we would pick it up.  He had obliged with the putting back togetherness, and suddenly Peaches and Herb starting singing.  "Reunited and it Feels so Good..."  The computer was working again.  The price, $45.  And several hours of my day off that I will never get back.  CJ, I love you.  The proof is in the pudding...or travel time...or whatever.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What did I ever do to you Montezuma?

August 4, 2013

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted.  I have been working so much that I just don't feel like being on the computer that much.  And any funny in my head is very gone by the time I sit down to type.  You will see the reality of that statement very soon.

I have been working  a lot due to various reasons, but a good reason was that my sister was coming to visit from Georgia with her family.  I worked 13 days in a row to be able to get the time off when they were here and then 5 more right after they left.  Fortunately, it was for a good cause.  It was a very good visit with awesome weather and fun times.  We went to Kings Island Friday, Newport for GameWorks and a walk on the PurplePeople Bridge on Saturday, and a fun-filled family day here at our house Sunday as my brother and his family drove up from Louisville to visit.  It is always good when my brother visits as he has way more health problems than I do.  He was diagnosed as a diabetic when he was in the 8th grade when no one else in our family had ever been one.  Boy was our mother thrilled with that circumstance.  The strange thing about mothers is that they can blame themselves for their child becoming a  diabetic even though there was absolutely nothing she could have done to prevent it.  Now he has a Thyroid condition and Low T.  Dude is falling apart.  I showed my empathy towards him by making several low testosterone jokes.  He was thrilled he told me.  As was his wife, though she did seem to confirm his inabilities in the bedroom. 

Aside: does anyone else miss the days when we cut our grass by having cows graze on it or with one of those push things with the blade going around?  Man, it seems like every time I sit down to relax, my neighbor cuts his grass.  We don't have large yards so I could probably deal with just the cutting more sanely.  However, not only does he use a gas lawn mower, but then a gas-powered trimmer to be followed by a gas-powered blower.  Boy do I  want to break his toys some times.

Anyway, I should be grateful next door neighbor did not feel the need to cut his grass during our family day.  That typically happens.

So family day on Sunday finished up around midnight when whatever stomach bug my brother-in-law had contracted reared its ugly head.  As Beth and I heard him and his body's food evacuation plan starting up, we both did a systems check to see if we also felt ill.  Food poisoning at a family outing is always a joyful end.  However, since it has taken until Friday night for me to catch the bug, I am guessing it was not food poisoning.  Furthermore, with all the potential germs on the money I handle every day, it is not without question that I caught my bug from someone other than my brother-in-law.  Thank goodness I have this weekend off so I can feel better just in time to go back to work. 

The past two weeks have also included band camp for CJ.  During these two weeks they learn their show for the year and, thankfully, have fun doing it.  I got to see it Friday night, and in my fever ridden state, thought it was better than any show they did last year.  I hope I was right and that this year goes better for them than last.  The final night involves initiating the Freshmen by toilet papering their houses.  Thank goodness it does involve beating the crap out of them as it did at some colleges.  Therefore, if you are drving though our neighborhood this weekend, we are not a community of vandals, those houses belong to the incoming freshmen in the band.  I'm sure the parents that have to clean it up are thrilled.

Gotta go.  From the hills of Montezuma......

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th

July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day to all of you.  If you have anyone in your family who is serving our country in the military, or has served, please thank them for me and my family for keeping us safe.  I am so glad they are the troops as I would make the worst troops.

As for Independence Day, Martina McBride sings a song with the same name that is one of my all-time favorites.  If you ever get the chance to hear it, you will find it has very little to do with the freedom of our county.  However, she does a version live not long after 9/11 that is very moving.

There is the link if you want to have a look and have six minutes of free time.

As for the safety of my family, I am very lucky to be alive this morning.  (No, not really)  Last night was the night our local community celebrates the holiday.  It is done with a mile-long race for adults and children and then a shorter fun race for the little kids.  The kids are adorable.  One adult ran the race backwards while his dog ran with him, but forwards.  I am not sure what the significance of this was except to prove that dogs are smarter than humans.  If you know who Bill Cunningham is, he interviewed people at the finish line.  He is a local celeb who achieved fame as a radio DJ and has moved on to have a national television talk show. I haven't seen it since, ironically, it is not shown locally.

Anyway, the race is followed by a parade in which my son's high school marching band participates.  This is his third year marching with the drum line and he has come a long way from the kid who had to have someone lift the quads off of him at the end of the route since he was too tired to do it himself.  He is in such good shape now that he marched and then went to the fireworks afterwards with his GF.  He looked great and they sounded great.

That leads to my concerns for our safety.  I went to bed around 10:00.  As you can tell from the number of times I have posted lately, I have been busy at work.  Don't get me wrong, I love it, but I have been working a lot.  Even when I am at home, I get texted a lot.  I just had my monthly visit from my district manager on Tuesday and it went great.  He was going to take the traveling trophy for the store with the best numbers with him when he left to hand out at the next meeting, but then saw my numbers and knew he should just leave it with me.  I told him I didn't mind bringing it with me so the other managers could at least sit near it for a couple hours. but he didn't think they would be up for me trash-talking.  I guess we will see.

So tired was I.  When I sleep, I sleep like a mom.  I hear everything that is going on whether it be a storm, Beth walking around when she can't sleep, or a baby crying.  Our baby hasn't woken up crying for 14 years or so, but I still listen just in case.  However, last night, Beth got a text from CJ to come pick him up around midnight and went to get him.  Our house is not big enough that a person can enter the house and not be heard.  Except by me last night.  When I woke up at 7:00, I had to wonder if my peeps were here.  I looked to my left and Beth was there.  I was pretty sure that if she was still waiting for a text from CJ at 7am, that she would not be doing so calmly.  So everyone survived the holiday intact.

So I have a couple days off, but our weather isn't going to be great.  Rain in the forecast.

I just got a text that the 8am cashier hasn't shown up.  Here goes the holiday.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Soylent Green is people!

June 15, 2013

Good morning all.  I have to work later today, so I have time to blog this morning.  Yesterday was catch up day at The CVS.  I have hired two new people, which turns out to be quite the adventure with our hiring software.  The two new hires will bring much needed stability to my team.  I finished last week under 60 hours on payroll and am nearing 90 hours to the good for the month.  For you aspiring retail managers out there (God help you), this is not a good thing.  If your sales are down, then you should cut your payroll.  But if your sales are up like mine, and the company gives you X number of hours to use, do not use X-90.  This causes people in the forecaster department to think that if you can accomplish an 8% sales increase on X-90 hours one year, you can do it again the following year.  They do not assume that the missing payroll hours were made up by the salary guy that works there.  Salary guy is tired.

So there is your retail tip for the day.  Your welcome.  So yes, I do currently hold the floating trophy for our district for numerical results for the month of May, but it was not without more effort than it should have taken.  I am hoping that things level of for the rest of June and that July should be an easier month before August gears up for inventory.  Knock on wood, here's hoping.  Gotta keep forecaster person in front of their green screen predicting adequate payroll numbers.  El Nino or not.

Currently, my son CJ is sleeping.  This is significant because he has had an impressive summer thus far.  For example, this week he has gotten up every day at 6am to go running.  Summer in Cincinnati means humidity, so 6am is a much better time to go running than noon.  He runs a couple miles and does a "hill drill" at the high school.  This involves somewhere between 23 and 33 wind sprints up and down a hill at school.  You do them in sets like 35753 or 57975.  Not too easy.  He looks good though.  He is around 6' tall and 144 pounds.  Pretty lean.  I never looked like that since my height topped out at 5'10"  Not a lot of workout DVDs that will help you increase your height.  CJ even turned down pizza last night since it doesn't help you look better.  Good for him.

CJ has also spent a couple days helping the middle school kids put on a Summer on Stage program by providing instructions to the tech team.  At least that is what he thought he would be doing.  However, since no one signed up for the tech team, he has actually been the tech team.  This only involved three days of volunteering, but last night's show would have had no sound or lights had he not helped out.  Good for him.

Later today he has to work at the pool.  A lot of his coworkers were unavailable to work this weekend, so he is working a long day.  We double-checked the minor laws to make sure no minors were getting violated.  That is how long his shift is.  Everything is both hunky and dory, so I am letting him sleep in to be ready for this shift.

CJ has awakened.  He is dressed in workout clothes, so his dedication to the task is admirable.  Sounds like weight-lifting is on the agenda.  Good for him.

Finally, in this "all things CJ" update, he started his driving instruction classes this week.  These are four hour classes that you sit through leading up to the actual road instruction.  Class number one involved four hours of watching people wreck their cars, lie dead in the street, and interviews with their children saying things like, "I don't know why I will never see my parents again."  Kind of a scared straight version of driving instruction.  Sounds like the same videos they showed us 32 years ago.  Perhaps they intend to show them all the After-school Special videos including Cipher in the Snow, and  Soylent Green.  Perhaps not.

Oh, one more thing.  Did you hear the oldest living human died this past week?  He was 117 years old and was the only person left who had lived in three decades.  We have decided to make this our goal.  Who is with us?  CJ has a good chance since he was born in 1996.  For Beth and myself, we would have to live to be 135 and 136 years old.  Our "baby boy" will be 106.  Beth has assumed her health will be good as she declared to me, "I will not be changing your diapers!"  I prefer to assume some machine will be changing my diapers by the year 2100.  I will have to keep my wits about me though so I choose the machine that changes my diapers instead of the one that turns me into food.

Monday, May 27, 2013

For one last night, I was a Young Volcano

May 27, 2013

I know, two posts in the same weekend.  But I remembered that I need to tell you about our concert experience.

About  a month ago, I came home from work and found CJ in the basement.  That was not the surprising part.  However, I was surprised to see that he was forlorn.  Apparently, he sat and watched as the last two tickets were sold to the Fall Out Boy concert he had hoped to attend in Columbus, Ohio.  Sad was he.

This huge desire to go to a concert with his GF was spawned during her road trip with her mom.  They had taken a trip over Spring Break that toured some of the East coast due to GF having a soccer game with her select team.  Exactly where, I cannot recall.  I do remember that her mom turned the trip into a mother-daughter road trip that included some college visits to universities such as Georgetown and ended with a visit to friends of theirs in Pittsburgh.  The end of the trip also included a couple of concert tickets for GF and her mom to see Green Day.  The favorite band of CJ and GF.  Jealous was he?  Green Day green-eyed jealous he was?  You betcha.

So he hashed a plan for he and GF to see a band together.  Their other favorite bands included The Killers and Fall Out Boy.  I am going to assume Fall Out Boy ranks ahead of The Killers for reasons I will explain later.

So there he was, in the basememt, Skyping with GF and watching the last two tickets drip from his concert canteen out onto a desert of sadness.  Since I have rarely seen my son in this state of despair, I decided I needed to hero up and fix this situation.  I promptly proceeded upstairs to my computer and searched for tickets.  CJ had only looked for tickets on the venue's site, so I was able to find them elsewhere-Stub Hub I think.  Then, I did the unthinkable.  I ordered tickets without consulting Beth first. I KNOW!  I am in the future also.  Four of them I ordered for a concert in Columbus (two hours away) on a Friday nite that, rotationally, fell on my weekend to work.  No issues, I thought, we can work it out.  Even if I cannot attend, perhaps GF's mom can go with Beth and the kids.  We get along very well with her and I assume she will be game.  Less thrilling would be to include GF's dad as the driver.  It's not that we do not get along with him, we just don't know him as well as mom.  They are divorced and share custody.  This does not typically create awkward situations except for when I went to pick up CJ at GF's house the other night and went to the wrong house.  Oops.  I am so glad that everyone else thought that was pretty funny.

Anyway, you may have noticed that none of the concert limo services involved Beth as the driver.  She is not wild about driving and a trip such as this did not fit into her driving skill set.

I need to shorten this story, so here is the preconcert Reader's Digest version.  GF's mom was going to be in Chicago that night-not available.  I was able to get Friday night off but was going to have to work 7am-10pm at work on Saturday.  CJ had a full weekend of activities upcoming and GF had a soccer game two hours away on Saturday.  All adults involved in the situation were a bit anxsty that Steve bought tickets.  Children-still way excitied.  Adults-see definition of anxsty.

Determined to make it work, I soldiered on.  We left Cincinnati around 3:30.  We encountered the "everyone leaves work early on Friday" traffic, but made it out of Cincinnati in decent time.  I had picked a resteraunt close to The Lifestyle Community Pavillion for us to eat prior to the 7:00 concert.  We actually made it to the eatery around 5:45, so that was working out.  The meal and the company were excellent.

Now some of you may have noticed, that in the name of the concert's venue, was the word "Pavillion".  It had never dawned on me that this meant "outdoors".  And that a 50% chance of rain was not ideal.  Another potential issue was the fact that all the seats for the concert were general admission.  "Even though my ticket has a seat number on it?"  "Sorry, sir (old dude), but even though there is a ticket number, all our seats are general admission and the only people that will be under cover are the band."  This was told to me over the phone by less than enthused guy at the venue switchboard.

No problem, I hoped.  Oh, and the opening act?  Hollywood Holt.  Excuse me?  I have heard of Fall Out Boy,  but Hollywood Holt?  Or Diamond Dan as Beth calls him.  Oh, a rapper.  Perfect.  My favorite genre of music.

Real long story short...the concert was FANTASTIC!  The weather was in the high 60s and not a drop of rain.  We cut the really long line to get in and got great seats.  Not in the pit.  OMG!  I have never witnessed a concert with a pit before and it was mesmerizing.  Three hours of teenagers bodysurfing from the back of the pit to the front and nobody died.  We split up from the kids, but we could see them the whole time since the place only seats 4000 and is a big grass hill.  They loved the concert and Beth and I did also.  I even recognized three of their songs.  Quite the show.  Diamond Dan only performed for 30 minutes, starting at 8pm, and then there was a 30 minute break before FOB came on to do a 90 minute set.  For those of you keeping time at home, that placed us back in Cincinnati around 1am.  Everyone was a bit tired on Saturday, but we all survived.

Beth has taken away my "credit card on the intenet services", but I am still glad I did it.  I was there for my son's first concert and saw him behave perfectly.  At no point did I have to worry about him trying to sneak anything even though alcohol flowed freely and wafts of weed found there way to those of us at the top of the hill.  I was pretty hungry by the end of the concert for some reason.

So there is the short story of our concert.  Were any of you guys at FOB in Columbus on May 17th?  If so, please remember for next time that it is a non-smoking environment.  Especially in the pit.

And by the way, The Killers were playing a concert in Cincinnati the same night.  At an outdoor venue here.  BUT IT RAINED HERE!  Boo-yah.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I think I'm back to being a human

May 25, 2013

I know many of you have started new jobs before, so you know what it can be like.  You may have also encountered the challenge of starting a new job with something to prove.  Therefore, you know the challenges of what I am going through right now.

I knew that there were many of my peers who were upset that they got passed over for the store manager gig I got.  There are plenty of reasons that they thought they wanted this store, but most of them centered around the numbers it is pulling in.  The previous store manager had done a lot of good things and saw the store through a transition to becoming a 24-hour store, so they knew it would not be a bad store to inherit.

I feel the same way.  It is a great opportunity for me.  Close to home, good volume, good people, excellent chance for bonus.  Considering the pay cut I took to leave Target and join CVS, it has the potential to get me back to par by the end of my first year.  I am blessed.

However, I have worked very hard my first three weeks for two reasons.  First, that is who I am.  Everywhere I go, I take me with me.  Sometimes I leave parts of me behind and reinvent other parts, but my work ethic always tags along.  I am not unhappy about this.  My mother instilled this in me and I feel like I would be letting her down if I changed.

The second reason I have been busting it for three weeks refers back to my "something to prove" intro.  I know there are people out there pulling up my numbers every week hoping to see them dip.  "I knew I should have gotten that store."  "Can you believe they let a new manager go in there and mess things up?"

Does anyone want to be inside my head?  No, I thought not.  Sometimes the voices get really loud.  Needless to say, when you are hearing things like this in your head, you go about your business with something to prove.  And I have.  My numbers are great so far.  Sales are up, payroll is down.  Controllable profit is very good.  The end result:  Steve is burnt out after three weeks.

My best employee followed the old store manager to his new store.  One of my shift managers was in Ghana on vacation when I started and his return was delayed 2 weeks when he contracted malaria.  Even after taking anti-malaria medication.  Is anyone grateful to be living with indoor plumbing right now?  I am spoiled.  Good reminder of how lucky we are.  I am still haunted by the images in the movie, Slumdog Millionaire.  It makes me hate myself for complaining when I have to clean the bathroom at work.  Fortunately, this young man returns to work on Monday.  (And yes, I do know that Ghana is not in India).

I have another employee who works third shift who has been working two full-time jobs.  80 hours a week will make anyone fatigued.  Unfortunately, he has decided over the past few days that showing up to CVS is optional.  Therefore, Steve has had to work all day, come home, go to bed, get woken up by a distress call, and go back to work all night.  Unpleasant.  Do you know anyone who wants to work third shift?  Call me. 

So here I am, Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  I have scheduled myself off until Tuesday and my assistant has promised me he will try to keep the problems to a minimum.  Here's praying that this happens.  And here is also a prayer that each of you have a great holiday weekend as well.

CJ starts his new job today at 4pm.  He working the front desk at the local pool.  Great gig except for the hat they are supposed to wear.  Not especially cool.  The bosses have told the newbies they only have to wear the hat if they see the food inspector show up.  I will not be eating the food at the local swim club.

CJ also got his temporary license yesterday.  In Ohio, this is what you get so you can start to take driving lessons and so you can drive with a licensed driver before you take the actual driving test and get your license.  You have to have your temps for 6 months, so CJ will be getting his license right before Thanksgiving.  He only missed three out of forty on the temps test, so not too bad considering he barely read the book.  And one of the ones he missed was because he thought everyone in the car had to wear a seat belt instead of just those in the front seat.  I like his answer better.

The weather isn't supposed to be too bad this weekend, so we are going to Wang Chung.  I hope it works out for you as well.  (And you remember who Wang Chung is so everybody can have fun tonight).  Beth and CJ are done with school for the summer, so they have already played some Pink Floyd and eaten their pudding. 

Perhaps I do need some thought control.  Gonna go get some coffee.  Have a great weekend.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Quiet! Don't tell Beth!

April 27, 2013

Celebrate good times, come on!  It is Beth's birthday weekend which is an event culminating Beth's birthday month, soon to be followed by Beth's actual birthday on Tuesday.  Party, party, party.  We have partied every day like it was her birthday.

However, as it turns out, other than the surprise birthday I have planned on Tuesday, CJ and I have done very little to make this month a celebration.  Lame is what we are when it comes to party planning.  Sure, Beth has gotten to go to work, do laundry, cut the grass, and fry up the dinner in a pan; you know, fun-filled activities worthy of a birthday celebration, but we never got around to letting her scrub down the kitchen walls. 

Scrubbing down the kitchen walls was an expression Beth's dad used to say as something he would like to do.  When given the choice to go Christmas shopping with Beth's mom or do something else, he would always choose to scrub down the kitchen walls instead of going shopping.  I never understood it, but everyone likes to do different things.

So, on Thursday I attempted to come up with something HUGE for Beth's birthday weekend.  I thought I nailed it and made tentative plans for Sunday.  Church followed by brunch at a restaurant down by the river (not to be confused with a van down by the river), and then a musical over in Northern Kentucky.  Apparently, there is a beautiful theater house over there that plays "off-Broadway" musicals.  This one was called Schoolhouse Rock Live.  It featured the songs from our childhood educational television show with the same name.  Songs like "Just a Bill", "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here", and "Conjunction Junction" still echo through my brain even though I am not sure I actually learned anything more than the song.  Couldn't tell you how a bill becomes a law.  For all I know that poor guy is still sitting there on Capitol Hill.

However, credit card in hand, something stopped me from making the brunch reservations or reserving the tickets.  Minutes later I heard Beth and CJ remember that CJ has an event to go to on Sunday from 4-7 and had picked up some soccer games to referee on Sunday between 1-3.  Whew.  That would have been aggravating to have gone to brunch and a show by myself.  Or to have to find a date on such short notice.  Crisis averted.

So if any of you are in town Tuesday and want to come to the surprise birthday party celebrating the beginning of Beth's 39th year on planet Earth, feel free to stop by.  It is BYOB.  I have arranged for Beth to scrub down the walls in the kitchen and then the rest of us are going to paint it.  Bring Your Own Brush.  I will supply the paint.  Seemed like the right time to do it since the walls were going to be so clean.  I hope the neighbors don't call the Po Po as it could get cray up in here on Tuesday. Woot!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I got the call today, oh boy

April 11, 2013

It has finally happened.  I use the word "finally", but in reality everything has happened just as it should.  I have been promoted to be the store manager for a CVS 10 minutes from my house.  It is a 24 hour store which means I will not have to deal with the large workload with only minimal payroll to spend.  It also means I will not have to work until midnight (like I have to tonight) unless I choose to.  It is a challenging store due to the clientele, the volume, and the fact that it never closes, but I will certainly never get bored there.  I don't do boring very well.  It is also a tremendous honor that the powers that be are trusting me with this store.  New managers do not get put into 24 hour stores as their first assignment.  However, due to my background and the work I have exhibited thus far, I am being given this opportunity.

So, who didn't sleep last night?  Could it be this guy?  Am I worried about living up to this billing?  Maybe a little.  However, I have always had the inner drive to live up to my own expectations, so it really is nothing new.  I have my mother to thank for teaching me that there are two ways to do things-the right way or the wrong way.  I try to choose the right way which means setting the bar high and doing everything in my power to get there.

I did not always handle this inner burden well in the past.  My tenure at Old Navy as store manager did not end well.  I took on all the challenges myself and did not hold my team accountable.  Past coworkers at The target will tell you that during especially challenging times, I was not fun to work with.  However, after a mere 25 years of retail, I have started to figure some things out.  Yes, I am a slow learner.  Gorillas have learned sign language more quickly than I learned how to be a successful store manager.  Therefore, I want to thank any and all of you who have helped me see this over the years.  Obviously Beth is a big part of that, but the team at the last Target I worked at were very instrumental as well.  Thank you.

It was not until I started to make some realizations around my goals, my limitations, and how to build a strong team, that I was truly ready to jump back in this store manager boat.  I think I am more ready to keep it afloat than I have been in the past.  Rough seas should not cause me to go overboard anymore.  Fingers crossed.  Once again, thank you all.

For any of you struggling to find your way, please let me tell you that I am an example that there is a higher plan in place for all of us and we have to let it play out.  Sure, we have to do our part and not coast through life, but we can't force things to happen and think they won't turn into a big ole monkey's paw.  Monkey's paw?  Google
W. W. Jacobs, The Monkey's Paw, and see how this short horror story shaped most of my early retail career.
Over the past year I have made a pointed attempt to follow the higher plan.  It started when I did not get the promotion I wanted at Target and I tried to make sense of it.  As I went through the process, I felt that there was a reason.  Then a recruiter called from CVS Caremark, and the rest is history.  Nothing I have done with CVS has been accomplished by me forcing my way into things.  Examples:
  • I went to a training store 45 minutes from my house even though other newbies were sent somewhere more convenient for them
  • I performed every fill-in task without complaint even though all of them were not pleasant
  • I got passed over at least twice for other stores for various reasons even though my district manager considered me the best choice to run a store at the time
  • I spoke up when my pay was wrong even though it meant possibly losing money
I am here to tell you that I firmly believe this promotion will not be a monkey's paw.  Will there be some tough times ahead?  Absolutely.  Am I ready to handle them all with grace and a good attitude?  God, I hope so.  I think so.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not as good as Kargo Kids, but it'll do

April 2, 2013

I want to thank Lisa Pie for the advice for my caffeine consumption.  You can see it in the previous post's comments if you too are looking for suggestions.

My mother-in-law also made a vitamin suggestion for me the other day.  No, she does not read my blog.  That would involve 21st century electronics and she is not ready.  Beth still goes over and helps her with her cable box on occasion so she can watch old British detective shows.  I think her 8-track of Streisand music is getting a bit worn.  Not a blog reader, I am trying to say.

However, Beth had told her I was having illness issues (allergy/mucus/cough cough/Beth tried to smother me in the bed Thursday night issues), so she ran out and bought me some Turmeric Curcumin.  What a nice gesture, you may be thinking.  Well, here is what the bottle says its uses are:  Immune Health and Brain Health.

Which one of these do you think I noticed first?  Yes, my M-I-L has given me an herbal supplement to help my brain.  Thank you.

Speaking of my lack of brain health, I was able to pull off one April Fool's Day prank yesterday.  CJ was sleeping in, which was helpful.  Beth and I went shopping for food for my brain yesterday, so by 10am I had thought of something.  I called the house hoping to wake CJ.  Cruel?  No, it was 10:00.  Even if he had stayed up until 2am (which he didn't), this would be 8 hours of sleep.  Time to get up.  I had counted on waking him since he would then not have realized the date.  I had to let the phone go to machine the first time, then hang up and call again.  The phone ringing twice meant that the incoming call was important.  A groggy voice answered the second time.  I apologized for waking him, but told him that we had just run into Grandma coming out of Trader Joe's as we were going in.  She had told us that she was going to stop by our house to drop off some money she had meant to give CJ on Easter, and would he be able to come out to the car to retrieve it.  Absolutely, he was willing to get dressed and go wait by the front door for Grandma's money delivery service. 

15 minutes later I texted him (very brave of me) to deliver the real message, APRIL FOOLS!  Pleased was he.  His reply, uncensored, was simply "...ugg" .  He kept it clean though I am thinking he filtered it.  We found out later he was more upset about being gotten by dad than having to get out of bed.  Outsmarted by this guy is rather insulting.  Perhaps I should share my new vitamins.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Starting April with snow and the wisdom of Fergie

April 1, 2013

Happy April.  It is currently snowing outside which is awesome since it is also opening day for baseball.  Perfect.

I spoke with my sister last night since she is way awesome about calling on the holidays.  I asked her why she did not post her guilty pleasure and she pointed out that I already shared her Maniloonie phase with all the blogosphere.  However, she then let it slip that I forgot about her love of all things from both Duran and Duran.  She is correct, better to keep those things private.  Safe with me.

I am trying to come up with an April Fools prank to play on CJ, but so far my brain is not cooperating.  I have only thought of either telling him it was a good thing we went to visit his Great Aunt Rhetta last night as she passed away this morning; OR sending him on a walk to Kroger to purchase some juice whilst giving him our expired credit card.  Neither one of these seems like an especially good idea.  Not enough caffeine yet today.

That brings me to the point of this exercise.  Yes, I did go around the barn to get to the house, but here I am, at the point.

All soda is leaving our house and not returning.  There are 3 cans of Diet Coke, a couple cans of Sprite, and several cans of Dr Pepper left in the kitchen that will not survive our April cleanse.  Beth is starting a diet that is sabotaged by pop, and I need to stop drinking the stuff.  For me, this does not mean giving up caffeine as the world would suffer right along with me.  AND, I still have the belief that were I a little kid today, I would probably be diagnosed with some sort of ADD.  The recommended medications for this involves doctor prescribed caffeine.  It helps me focus.  I would miss it like a child misses its blanket.  Without caffeine, I would quote Fergie even more often.

Therefore, it is either coffee or a vitamin caffeine substitute for me.  I took something called Guarana  (I think) years ago that was supposed to either be a substitute or a cure for the caffeine withdrawal, I can't remember.    If you have any ideas, please share.  However, they cannot involve any of those caffeine boost products like 5 Hour Energy.  I am not going to do that to my heart.  Men in their forties keep having heart attacks around me and I keep telling myself it has something to do with energy drinks and boosters.  Combine that with stress and it is a cardiac event cocktail. 

So I am off to drive Beth to Whole Foods for a juice.  As part of her diet plan, Beth is going on the juice.  I suppose I will be coming to you in May asking for help in getting her off the juice, but for now, here we go.  Or, as Fergie would say, big girls don't cry and look at my humps.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Seriously, I won't tell anyone.

March 25, 2013

It is spring break for Beth and CJ and they are living it up, oh yeah.  The weather here is not especially Spring-like as it is currently snowing and in the low 30s.  Bummer.  No chance for Beth to run around in her bikini and rob banks like that Selena Gomez chick.  CJ has either been in the basement or in the kitchen for 71 of the past 72 hours.  Showered much?  Uh, no.  As my father used to say, don't go in there. 

So any news we may have would depend on what is happening on the television.  That is why I am here today to talk to you about guilty pleasures.  I refuse to reveal the name of the show I watched whose theme was "Guilty Pleasures", as that would totally expose one of mine.  Beth would gleefully tell you, but I will not let her as you would think me to be a gleek.  Therefore, I will not be gleaking that information.

Just in case some of you went all mentalist on me up there, you may know the show I watch.  If so, I think I need to defend myself.  For the record, I do not care who Finn may or may not have gotten pregnant, what boys like other boys, or that Brittany's cat is into Scientology.  I really only care about the singing. 

Thus reveals my guilty pleasure.  I love to hear Lea Michele sing.  I have been know to go on YouTube just to search for videos of her performances.  The same goes for other performers I like such as Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, and some of the contestants auditioning for X Factor or The Voice.   I really enjoy a great female singing voice.  That does not mean that I am biased against male voices.  I do think Darius Rucker could be the singing voice of God in a musical and either Brooks or Dunn (I can never remember which one has the incredible vocals) has caused me to play the song "I Believe" 5 times in a row.

So, what is your guilty pleasure?  If you are not sure how to pick one, pretend you could go on You Tube with no history of what you viewed.  And if someone came in the room, you would have to sign off quickly.  Musically, Glee defined it as liking Wham or being a Fan-ilow.  My sister was a Maniloonie as a teen.  They also sang some ABBA which was my brother's guilty pleasure.  Coincidence, I think so.

However, it does not have to be about music.  It could be those baby pigs dressed in American Girl dresses.  Or American Girl dolls dressed as Teacup piglets. 

This your chance to get a secret off your chest in a forum that is perhaps the last bastion of confidentiality-The Internet.

Finally, if I do not get the chance to blog before Sunday, have a Happy Easter.

And if any of you are March Madness fans, my first round score was 22/32 and second round, 11/16.  I have lost 3 elite eight teams already, but none of my final four.  My champ is Michigan.  Just another validation that I should never take up gambling for a living.

Speaking of which, Beth, her mom, and her brother are going to the new casino on Thursday.  If any of you see her there, please remind her that we have bills to pay and she should know when to stop before she starts.  Thanks.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We don't have The Showtime channel, but I was trying to use a current reference.

March 16, 2013

We will see what happens any second, but I have started countless (two) posts in the past couple weeks only to have the computer do something weird.  This causes cursing, loss of patience, and blog terminus.  Not necessarily in that order.

Beth has worked diligently and even called in Tim McGee to break through some firewalls and get the viruses out of our computer.  It has even gotten to the point of Beth saying that buying a new computer may be the way to go.  What an inexpensive option.  The best moment of the computer intervention came when CJ, the 16 year-old, chastised Beth, the 39 year-old, for clicking on ads on other peoples' blogs.  "Not a good idea", he tried to calmly coach.   "Those people are not your friends."

So here's hoping peace has been restored in this world of bits and bytes.

Tim McGee, you ask?  Then you must be under the age of 38 as watching NCIS becomes a mandatory viewing requirement for those of us over 38.  It is akin to watching Matlock and Murder She Wrote when our parents turned 39.

So the only real news in my life right now is that I am switching stores.  An assistant violated a rather important policy in another store and was terminated.  Not good and I wish him the best.  For me though, it means going to this store to help out for a while.  "A while" meaning "this is permanent until you get your own store."  It works for me for a few reasons.

1.  The store needs help and I can make a difference there.
2.  The store is not open 24 hours and runs on fewer operating hours, so it will be good to see how that half lives.
3.  My drive time will be cut in half.  The money saved in gas alone is kind of like getting a raise.
4.  I have worked at this store several times and there are good employees and customers there.

Therefore, I am looking forward to the move.  I have lost a little sleep trying to figure out how to empty this store's stockroom (it is too full) without stepping on the store manager's toes, but I think it will turn out okay. As long as she does not wear toe-less shoes to work.

As for my family's life, CJ recently had a Jazz Ensemble concert that was really good.  If you are not music savvy, the jazz genre is not just about playing music that style, it is about learning how to improvise.  I can certainly not explain it to you, but I can tell you it is a tremendous learning experience for the young musicians.  It was thoroughly entertaining.

CJ's GF suffered a concussion in gym class on Thursday.  Not sure how that happened, but she is currently dealing with the symptoms.  It also means there are some things she cannot do this weekend:  read, look at screens with movement on them, exercise, receive head slaps from Gibbs.  Or in other words, live the life of a teenager.  Unfortunately, GF has a project due in math class on Monday that would have involved some hours spent on a computer, using a calculator, and thinking.  Sorry, not allowed when you are concussed.

So who has jumped to the rescue?  Is it gallant CJ?  You betcha.  He is going to, selflessly, go to her house today to spend time with her as her aide. It's like he is Nurse Jackie.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Almond Joy has nuts, but coconut is white. Darn.

March 3, 2013

I went to the CVS Minute Clinic yesterday to have a health screening.  It is a requirement of my health insurance carrier unless I would prefer to pay an extra $600 per year.  I would not.  Therefore, Beth went with me and we drove up there.  A health screening is not terribly invasive and simply involves blood pressure, height and weight, and a finger stick allowing them some blood to test cholesterol.  I didn't even cry and she gave me a lollipop.

As Rose, the nurse practitioner, entered my information, she asked if I had gotten a flu shot.  I explained that, even though CVS wants everyone in America to get a flu shot at CVS, I had not gotten one.  Since I switched jobs and started with CVS in September, I had a 90 day period in which I was without insurance.  While CVS probably would have still allowed me a free flu shot, I wasn't sure and decided to risk it rather than pay the $32 dollars.  During this explanation, I think Rose lost interest.  A simple "no" would have sufficed.  I could tell she stopped paying attention when she asked me when I started with CVS.  I reiterated, September.  "Oh, of this year."  said Rose.  "Yes, Rose, I am from the future."  said I. 

This exchange proceeded my finger stick, so I must complement Rose for not retaliating for my use of sarcasm on my poor finger.

Since I know you are all interested in my health, I will let you know that my blood pressure was 110/70 which falls in the normal range.  My body mass index was 22.1 which means she did not ask me to remove my clothing since she said that result meant my body fat and weight were in good shape.  I don't know if the eye test would have revealed the same result.  My bad cholesterol number was good, but my good cholesterol number was too low.  Therefore, I have been given some recommendations to improve this number thus lowering my risk of stroke and/or heart disease.

More exercise, more nuts, fruits and vegetables, and less white foods like pasta, potatoes, and rice.  Since my health is my number one concern, I took to this advice immediately. 

Last night for dinner we went to Chipotle.  I had a veggie bol (with white rice).  For breakfast this morning, I had two scrambled eggs (with a baked potato mixed in).  My lunch plan involves eating some left over food in the fridge which may or may not include elbow macaroni with Alfredo sauce and/or some Tuna Helper.  Rose did suggest more fish as well, so I think Charlie once told me that tuna comes from the sea.

Obviously, I am not off to a good start with my diet changes.  A good portion of my diet involves white foods so I do have some changes to make.  I will be joining the foods of color movement.  Seems rather important.  Keeping me around is on Beth's to do list.  It's not like my father ever had a heart attack when he was in his forties.  He was fifty.  That gives me a couple of years before I am actually at risk, right?

Okay, okay!  More salads less colorless foods.  Being healthy can be stressful.  It leads to stress eating.  I need some chocolate.  But not white chocolate!

Friday, March 1, 2013

AND the word conversate is not in the dictionary! Do not use it!!

March 1, 2013

CJ had his first job interview this yesterday.  He wants to work at the local swim club this summer.  He is not lifeguard certified so he wants to either be the guy who signs you in at the gate or the person who under cooks your frozen pizza at the concession stand.  I thought it would be a good time to prep him for potential interview questions since his interview was being conducted by a real job search company as opposed to dude with a whistle and the white stuff on his nose at the pool.

CJ was able to fill out a good looking application, with the help of his mom, and it included his work as a soccer referee.  It is excellent when a teenager is able to put some experience on their application even if it is babysitting.  However, conducting missions in the World of Warcraft should not be on there.

Therefore, since I thought it possible that the person conducting his interview may ask him real interview questions, I prepped him on the way to the place in the car.  When I had first asked him a typical one, "Why do you want to work at the pool?" he thought I was asking him as his dad.  He told me it was a good way to make money that was close to home and could be a lot of fun.  In his head I am sure he was also thinking that GF belongs to to the pool, but he did not say that out loud.  I then explained that I was asking as an interviewer and wondered (hopefully) that he would then change his answer.  He did.  We discussed that real honesty is not any better than lying.  His next answer included the fondness for working outside, working with people, and hard work that could also be fun.  Not bad.

Here are some other typical basic questions us employers like to ask so you can help your child get ready for interviews this summer.

1.  Why do you want to work here?
2.  What are your strengths?
3.  What are your weaknesses?
4.  What did you like most about your last job?
5.  What did you like least about your last job?
6.  Do you have any questions?

Here are some general dos and don'ts for their answers.

Do smile and show some personality.
Don't be sarcastic.
NEVER use curse words, even if the interviewer does.
Do tell the interviewer what they want to hear as long as is also the truth.
Don't say you have used a forklift before if you have not.
Do spin negatives into positives.  I have not used a register before, but I it am good at handling money and I learn quickly.
Do tailor your strengths to requirements of the job you are interviewing for.
Don't use a weakness that is glaringly bad like not liking to get out of bed in the morning, always late, etc.
Do turn you weakness into a strength.  CJ's was that he gets frustrated too quickly when his referee partner does not take the job seriously.  He is learning to be more of a leader and explain why they need to be professional when they referee.
Don't say you did not like your last job because it was too hard or your boss was an A-hole.
Do say that you did not feel it was preparing you for what you wanted to do later in life, or you wanted to experience new things, etc.

Finally, when it is question time, don't ask about pay if you can help it or how much time you can get off, or if you get free stuff, etc.
Do ask about training or advancement opportunities or dress code or something like that.

We do not know yet if CJ got the job, so perhaps all of my coaching did not help.  However, I have interviewed plenty of teens (and adults) who could have used some of this advise.  I hope it can help.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I am pretty sure he wasn't trying to EMIT anything.

February 26, 2013

Prayers go out to the family of my boss.  His nephew was shot in a drug deal gone bad Sunday night and he died Monday.  He was 17.  Good kid, bad decisions, was how the situation was texted to me. 

I used the opportunity to sit down with CJ and discuss peer pressure and the stuff out there in the world that is messed up.  Fortunately, the basis of information he has from me is that the reason to either do drugs or drink alcohol is to change what your personality normally is.  If you are at a gathering and want to open up some, it can do that.  If you are overstressed and want to calm down, it can do that.  However, taking either of these scenarios too far has consequences.  I am sure plenty of you have seen or been the excessive result, as have I.  I have never done drugs, but I drank plenty in college.  I was the guy overly depressed about those bad relationships gone wrong on Dallas.  I was the guy who friends would tell the next day, "you were so funny last night!"   "Was I funny ha ha, or funny peculiar?  Wait, I don't want to know."

I made questionable morality decisions and had a brush with the law.  I drove when I should not have.  Excessive alcohol changed who I was and did not make me a better person than I was sober.  While I haven't shared all of my mistakes with CJ, I think he got the idea that changing your personality by using a substance and dealing with the consequences of the extremes it may cause, or the loss of your brain's filter, is not something he should be dealing with.  So far, so good.  He likes his personality the way it is.

 Please have that talk with your child if you have not.  And think of the example you may be setting.  The result may be that you do not have to experience the loss of your honor-student teen-age son since he and his friends decided they needed to buy some pot.

In hopefully lighter news, I would submit to you a question.  Here is the background.

I was helping a young man who had a tattoo on his hand.  It spanned the knuckles on the top of his fingers and was the letters T I M E.  Why, do you think, he had this tattooed on his hand?  What reminder was it serving him?  (Since he was having trouble remembering the PIN for his debit card, I had hoped he had that tattooed on his other hand, but he did not.)

Here are three submissions thus far.

1.  I say, he has time on his hands and is just being witty.

2.  A friend says he served time and is using his tattoo as his legal compass reminder that he does not want to go back.

3.  CJ says he wants the person he just punched to know that he got clocked. 

 What do you think?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

You Can Call me Owl

February 16, 2013

It has been two weeks since I last posted.  I know that using our Gregorian calendar you have realized that it seems like January 29th was kind of a month ago, but here is the deal.  I wrote a post on February 2nd that was nothing short of brilliant.  If you had read it, you would have laughed, cried, hugged yourself and then called Pulitzer.  However, with a mere 6 words left to scribe, I lost everything.  Including my patience.  Thusly and therefore, away went that post and nearly our computer.

The main serious point I wanted to make in that post was that if you received an email from me advertising some stay-at-home and make money offer, that was not really from me.  I wish I knew how you could work from home and make millions, but I do not.  Someone hacked our email account and sent it out to the whole address book.  Thank God it was not some virus porn thing.  I cannot imagine how many pieces of hate mail I would have received had you gotten a virus that made some guy pop through your computer screen hollering, "WHERE'S YOUR DAUGHTER!"

For those of you not in my address book, I am guessing you are not considering a connection.  It's okay, I understand.

As for goings on in our world, here are some updates.  We had a wonderful Valentine's Day.  CJ and his girlfriend exchanged very nice gifts.  With the help of his mom, CJ gave her an owl pillow as his GF really likes owls.  I mean, whoooo doesn't.  GF gave him a homemade heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie that was awesome.  He shared it and may have regretted that decisions as I could not stop eating it.  I was looking to see how many bites it took to get to the chocolate chip center.

My coworkers kept asking me what I was getting Beth for Vday and I finally made a sweeping gesture of myself and stated, "she gets to experience this every day."  They assured me that I better show up with some flowers, candy, AND jewelry.  None of them will be getting raises this year.

In other CJ news, he is doing well at school and in his Jazz ensemble.  His PSAT scores have garnered him scores of college recruiting emails.  Most of them reference his legacy, but I do not remember the PSAT being around when my dad was in high school.  So CJ world is good.  His GF is in Vegas baby this weekend playing in a soccer tournament with her select team.  When she takes the PSAT next year, every college in America is going to email this young lady to get her to come to their school as a student athlete.

As for Beth, work has been quite stressful as there has been a scandal going on and it has caused an enormous distraction.  Please make sure you know what is going on with your teenager and their phone.  Privacy rules should not apply.

Finally, for me life is good.  I have not gotten a store yet, but I have heard rumors that something may happen soon.  In the retail world, "soon" is all relative, but I am still well thought of and have not done anything to affect my status.  I even worked a very difficult stretch of days without losing my patience with anyone.  It took a lot of Diet Coke, but I did it.  So before I lose this post, here it is.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Another good thing, at age 50 McDonald's will sell me a senior coffee.

January 29, 2013

For those of you who do not know how it feels to turn 48, it is kinda rough.  No longer can anyone include me in the demographic group, "mid to late forties".  Now, I am just in my late forties.  This winter is kicking my late forties body.  I am tired and sore.  My brain is fatigued.  When you throw in overnight shifts, 6am shifts, and 6 day work weeks, you get tired.  Add in cold temps and I am ready to retire someplace warm.

However, I am using this morning to plan my attitude adjustment.  This begins by being thankful for a couple things:

1.  The pain from the pinch nerve in my shoulder has subsided to a discomfort.  Since it had escalated last week to a pain I would not wish on my enemies, discomfort should be appreciated.

2.  My brother-in-law Greg had his kidney removed yesterday.  He is doing fine.  He had cancer in the kidney and this was the solution.  Thus, I need to realize that my life's issues pale in comparison to his and thank God for helping Greg through the procedure and upcoming recovery.

3.  My sister, Kathy, commented on my blog.  It was like a celebrity drive by.  Sure she still called me an a-hole, but it was said with love.

4.  CJ and his girlfriend are doing well and really seem to enjoy each other's company.  For those of you looking for a relationship, shouldn't that be the number one priority?

5.  I missed out on a store manager opening.  Thankful?  Absolutely.  It was in Middletown, Ohio which would have been an even longer drive than I am making now.  God has different plans for me, so patience must be my virtue.

6.  I have not gotten the flu and neither have Beth or CJ.  I think we are on the back-end of the flu season, so here's hoping we have missed out.  I see a lot of sick, miserable people every day, so not being one of them is a good thing.

7.  We are at the end of January which takes us closer to the end of Winter.  Spring, and the promise it brings, is my favorite time of the year. 

Okay, I am starting to feel better about the rest of this week.  We have some good plans for the weekend and I am off work.  CJ has already asked his girlfriend to the dance on February 9th, so we don't have to bug him about that.  His grades are good and his DDR skills are wicked awesome.  He has been practicing which keeps him in shape and gives him something to do in the end of year talent show.  Remind me to get a video.

In order to accommodate those looking for a little humor, her is a story to wrap things up. 

Beth works with a woman who grew up as an only child and now has three kids of her own.  (No, grammar police, not baby goats, children)  This woman has been accused of trying too hard to raise her pups as three "only children" as opposed to a flock of kittens.  Not following?  Here is an example from last night.  The mother hen called Beth last night because she has heard the criticism and has embraced it as a possibility.  She knew what she was doing last night was an example and wanted to share the humor in it with Beth.  It was dinner time and she was feeding the goslings.  On the stove she had three pots going, each with a different kind of soup since each calf wanted something different for dinner.  For those of you with multiple ponies, is that what you do?  Probably not.  Just imagine if this mom had more than three chicks to feed.  Good Lord!  She'd have to buy more pots.  Or just some pot. 

Have a great week everyone.  I know I am going to.

Friday, January 18, 2013

He did write the songs that made the whole world cry

January 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Sis!!

I am trying to remember if I have ever used my sister's name on this blog, but I am guessing not.  I try not to use any one's real name for fear that the public will want so badly to meet these people that there will be stalking and such.  My sister's life has been chronicled as being way glamorous on this blog, so her identity is to remain hidden.

So I have tried to remember a good story about my sister, but the best I could decide on, was this one.

There was a time when she and I would be home by ourselves while my parents were at work and my brother was off at college or doing something...can't remember.  So she and I were about 13 and 17ish.  I used to go about the house tormenting her with Bob Seger songs while she blasted Barry Manilow.  No, her being a Maniloonie is not the story.  Should be, but not.

One day she caught me by surprise with a well-timed line.  I was belting out the lyrics, "Call me a rebel, call me what you will..."; and she had the nerve to interrupt with, "Okay, you're an asshole."   !!!


Happy Birthday.  I hope your family is spoiling you rotten today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

He might have also downloaded Fireworks.

January 16, 2012

I have a couple of quick hits for you today.  I have a pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder area so I need to get to icing, pain relieving, and resting.  Blogging does not equal resting.  Video games?  Probably not resting either.  If you have a good suggestion for the pain relief part, please let me know.

News alert number one:  CJ had his first kiss.  Since this blog is intended to be an account of his/our lives and can serve as a historical reference some day, I am documenting his private matters for public awareness.  It's like a secret public diary.  Therefore, when he is showing his kids all about his first love and life as a teenager, he can know for certain that January 5, 2013 was the day he downloaded Katy Perry's song, I Kissed a Girl, off of Itunes.  I think he liked it.  Yes, he kissed and told, but I think it is okay in this case. 

They are such an adorable couple and I hope to not see that fateful break-up day anytime soon.  It is perfect-innocent dating.  They are both nice kids who enjoy each other's company and are not looking to become players.  Remember those days for yourself?  For some of us, that was kindergarten.  High school was never like that for me.  Not because I was a player in high school, but because I was way awkward in high school.  Thank goodness my father did not have a blog.

The other bit of "news" is really a cute story from last night at The CVS.  A youngster around nine or ten years old came into the store to buy a couple things for his mom who was in the car with the flu.  He needed mechanical pencils and cole slaw.  I helped him find the pencils but was not able to fill his cole slaw request.  I did find it to be an odd combination, but I have heard far stranger.

I recommended Kroger for cole slaw, he purchased his pencils, and left the store.  Seconds later he came back into the store and requested help in finding...LYSOL.  Aaaaah.  That makes more sense.  Cute.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Big Yellow One is the Sun

January 15, 2013

First things first, Happy Birthday to Beth's dad.  His birthday was yesterday.  He contributed the "C" in CJ.  After CJ was born, he became "harlie".  He died several years ago, but I know Beth was thinking of him a lot yesterday and he was looking down over us.

We celebrated his birthday last night by watching some of the shows we had on DVR.  We watch the typical dramas people our age watch like NCIS, The Mentalist, Beckett (Castle), Glee (what?), and Revenge to name a few.  No shortage of excitement around our house.  We usually top off the fun with one or both of us falling asleep on the couch.  The police are rarely called to our house for a noise complaint.

So last night we watched a couple of shows and it started to get late.  I think it was 8:00.  To be fair, I had gotten up at 4:45 and probably woke Beth up whilst I prepped for work, so we had been awake for a goodly many of hours.  Anyway, I noticed that last night was Beth's turn to fall asleep on the couch first.  She will try to tell you that she knows whodunit on The Mentalist, but she really has no idea that Lisbon shot that evil Volker guy. 

As she dozed I searched for live shows to keep me entertained and awake until at least 9:30.  Tough task.  We do have a television in our bedroom, but I don't like to crawl under those covers until the bed is warmed up.  We accomplish this by having an electric blanket under our mattress pad.  I had turned it on around 6:00 so I figured it would be good and toasty under the covers by 9:30.  Nothing says suck fest much like crawling onto some icy sheets.  We don't leave the electric blanket on all night though, for those of you thinking of trying this, because when we have done that we have dreamt about being the filling in a Hot Pocket.  Lava hot in the middle, I'm saying.  CJ would have discovered us well-done on the underside come morning.

So I watched, and was entertained by Big Bang Theory for 30 minutes.  So far so good.  Then I started on 2 Broke Girls.  I have been amused by this show before, and the one actress has nice legs, so I though it might do the trick; but sometimes the crude humor and bad acting are too hard to overcome.  Last night was one of those nights.  So I turned it off and got up to prep for bed.  Beth woke up and was still a bit dozy.  "Third Rock from the Sun over?", she said.  ?!?!  Yes, 12 years ago.

How weird is the human brain?  Or, how weird is it that our couch is a time-machine and I had no idea?  Beth had traveled back to the late 90s.  I just looked it up and saw that the show ran from 1996-2001.  In reality, I would have guessed the show to have aired in the early 1990s, but it was more "recent" than I thought. Still. I don't think Beth has seen it on television lately.  I don't think it airs on Nick at Night. 

What caused her brain to think of that show I wonder?  I don't think she ever even watched it when it did air.  Wow.

Here are a couple quick updates from 2013.  CJ has started playing in a jazz ensemble two Sundays per month.  Stay tuned for performance dates.  He liked the first rehearsal and is playing drum set. 

I do not have my own store yet and am still driving 45 minutes to work, but I do still like my job.  And there are still plenty of sick people to keep CVS in business.  None of us are sick, so hopefully we can stay that way.  I hope life finds all of you well.  January is half over for those of you looking forward to Spring.  We can do this.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

I have not posted in a while, but today seemed like the right day to get back to it.  However, I have had to wait for Beth to get off the computer this morning as she has been staring at the screen as if she still believes the Mayans are going to push her over the fiscal cliff.  Not sure what is going on, but if I had to guess, she is obsessing over our taxes.  She does that every January...and February...and March...and October.  Every month except July I think. 

I will be going shopping in a bit when CJ gets home from sleeping over at Christian's house.  He was told to be home at 10:30, but has conveniently forgotten it seems since it is now 10:45.  I will be shopping for an employee at work.  Please say a prayer for him as the house he rents burned yesterday leaving him homeless and without his dog.  All he ended up with were the clothes on his back and some slippers.  Unfortunately, he wears size 13 shoes and 34x34 pants so I don't have any old clothes for him here.  Buying him some new clothes seems like the least I could do.  Sucks when bad things happen.

On a lighter note, the reason I cannot lend him pants is that I wear a size 34x30.  He is much taller than I.  I used to be 5'10" but am now 5'9".  Bummer.  However, my boss is even shorter as he goes about 5'6".  I noticed yesterday while we were working on our truck that his box cutter was much larger than mine.  I told him I read somewhere that box cutter size is inversely correlated to manhood size.  He responded by saying that he has heard that box cutter size is directly correlated with the size of someone's raise.  Bummer again.

Another piece of actual good news is that we are now covered for insurance.  One thing to consider when changing jobs is insurance coverage.  My CVS insurance did not go into affect until the first of the month following my 90 day anniversary.  I started September 10th so we have had to wait until today for coverage.  Thank God we had no need for insurance as we waded through the abyss.  Hopefully, we continue to not need to insurance for anything besides dental checkups, flu shots, and Beth's Valium prescription.  She returns to work tomorrow and may need a refill.

Finally, for those of you wondering, things are still going great for CJ.  He had a good Christmas.  He got accessories he needed for his computer (cooling fan, mouse, Itunes card) and successfully executed his first girlfriend gift exchange.  He may not have enjoyed shopping at Ulta with mom for nail polish, but he did enjoy the fact that his girlfriend liked the present.  She also had a sleepover at her friends house last night.  As her dad brought CJ home to our house on the way to taking his daughter to her friend's house, he asked CJ if he was going to the same party.  CJ told him no since boy/girl sleepovers at their age are not typically condoned.  Her dad surprised him by saying that he did not think they were a bad thing.  Huh?  I am wondering if he also thinks that getting their drink on would be an acceptable plan.  Hopefully not. 

For now, I am going to assume that CJ heard him wrong.  CJ certainly knows better than to ask me if he can have his 14 year-old girlfriend over for a sleepover.  Good grief.