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.