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.