Thursday, March 25, 2010


Stuff 1: I was reprimanded at the grocery store last night. Apparently I was two minutes late in returning from a break last Saturday. Two minutes. *blink*

Stuff 2: Some college football coach (I think) has switched teams and signed a 10-year contract that starts at $450,000 and increases by $25,000 each year. Does anyone anywhere really need that much money? What do you do with that much money?

Stuff 3: I suspect that McDonald's adds something sinister and addictive to their sweet tea. I can't quit it.

Stuff 4: There are plans afoot that involve the Change My Life plan and Himself. I will report more in May.

Stuff 5: Today I miss my sisters. I wish we were sitting together on a hot summer evening, laughing, drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade, and just enjoying each other's presence.

Stuff 6: I am taking tomorrow afternoon off from my real job and don't have to work at the grocery store all weekend. Except for some phone calls I need to make, I don't have any plans from noon tomorrow through Monday morning - what will I do with all that time? Maybe I'll clean. Stop laughing - it could happen!

Stuff 7: As much as I love sun and heat, today's gloomy, rainy, chilly weather is nice, too.

Stuff 8: I have been blogging for almost 18 months and I still don't know how to do a strikethrough or how to format bullets correctly. The bulletlessness I can live with but the strikethroughs tease me from other blogs.

Stuff 9: I love you people!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grace in Small Things #19

1. Sunshine!

2. The preschool-age little girl who gave me one penny to pay for her mom's groceries.

3. The boss is gone, the second boss is gone, one officemate is gone. Quiet.

4. Homemade coffeecake with a great, crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping.

5. Mary Alice is back from vacation!

6. Open, honest, respectful, loving conversation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's proud I am

What Shall I Say about the Irish?

The utterly impractical, never predictable,
Sometimes irascible, quite inexplicable
Strange blend of shyness, pride and conceit,
And stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.
He's spoiling and ready to argue and fight,
Yet the smile of a child fills his soul with delight.
His eyes are the quickest to well up with tears,
Yet his strength is the strongest to banish your fears.
His hate is as fierce as his devotion is grand,
And there is no middle ground on which he will stand.
He's wild and he's gentle, he's good and he's bad.
He's proud and he's humble, he's happy and sad.
He's in love with the ocean, the earth and the skies,
He's enamoured with beauty wherever it lies.
He's victor and victim, a star and a clod,
But mostly he's Irish—
in love with his God.

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us
May God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn't turn their hearts
May He turn their ankles
So we'll know them by their limping.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clean up on Aisle 7!

So I started my new, part-time second job this week. The amount of training required (by them) to prepare me to scan cans of soup, weigh bunches of bananas, and bag all those groceries is astounding. Mind-boggling.

Quite frankly, it's stupid.

Yes, I need to know the laws about selling alcohol...but do I really need to understand - as a cashier - how alcohol processes through the body? Really?? Of course I need to understand the dangers of hazardous materials and how to use them properly on the job...but do I seriously need to know the nine sections on an MSDS (that's a Material Safety Data Sheet, dontcha know), what is included in each section, and how all manufacturers must provide all of the information but there is no standardized form? (Can you tell that last part bothers the organized part of my brain?) Come on, seriously? Only half of the time I worked this week was spent actually serving customers. I'm all for informed employees but this seems a bit excessive to me.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of my new coworkers. Almost all women (never thought about it, before - how often do you see a man working as a cashier or in any visible job at a store?), they have all been welcoming and fun, supportive and helpful.

I have been unpleasantly, not-really-surprised by how uncomfortable it is to stand for 5 hours with only one 15 minute break. It's the standing-in-one-place thing that is the killer - I worked in the self-check area last night and I found myself carrying the hand baskets over to the stack by the front door just so I could walk a little. I am here to tell you that when you see a store clerk leaning on their counter/lane/register, they are not being lazy - they are in pain! I would not have been able to do this job before my knee surgeries. Wow, was I stiff by the time I left last night!

I haven't encountered any rude or unpleasant customers yet. I know it's just a matter of time. But I have mad charm skillz, so bring it on, crazy people!

I forgot to remove the security cap from a bottle of booze last night - I wonder what that guy did when he got home and couldn't imbibe?

The interactions with customers are fun. When I got home last night, I thought I didn't like being the self-check cashier but the more I think about it, the more I realize I really enjoyed myself last night. Instead of the (partially self-induced) stress of hurrying to scan and bag each order and complete each transaction, I was able to let the customers do that at their own pace and simply solve problems when they popped up. My favorite was when I blew into the coupon slot to push the coupon through the sensor. The preschooler in the cart looked at me with huge eyes and the parents/customers laughed when that fixed everything...magic! Now, if I can convince the management to give me a stool to sit on, things will be hunky dory...

I'm working 4 to 10 this evening. Should be interesting!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Grace in Small Things #18

1. The SUN has been SHINING all day!!!

2. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries with a sprinkling of sugar.

3. An unscheduled weekend ahead. Could be the last one for a while (foreshadowing of #5).

4. A final, necessary conversation with The Tall One that went exactly as I hoped it would. He had been texting or calling me about once a month since our last interaction last fall. Normally he just texted something like "I wish we could talk" or didn't leave a message if he called and I ignored all of his attempts at contact, hoping he would eventually give up. Last month, he left a voicemail saying he wanted to make amends. So I decided to call him last week. I am glad to report that he has been clean for six months. He was hopeful that my call meant I wanted to be friends again. I made it clear that I was only calling to give him the opportunity to say what he wanted to say. He was very disappointed but he apologized for his behavior, I accepted his apology, and we said goodbye. Himself isn't so sure that I have heard the last of The Tall One but I think I have.

5. A part-time second job! I just got the call that I'm hired as a cashier at a local grocery store! Step one of the Change My Life plan is underway!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Uncle Bob - Spread the Word

March 3 is End the R-Word Day.

My Uncle Bob was born with Down's Syndrome. He was the youngest of 6 kids. He thought my dad was the most wonderful man in the world. He was the one person who was ALWAYS happy to see me. He loved music and would listen to country music on his transistor radio for hours, beating time with a Tinker Toy stick on the bottom of an old tennis shoe. Uncle Bob called my middle sister "Queenie". No one knows why. His favorite song was "Happy Birthday" - he loved birthdays, whether they were his own or someone else's. He liked everyone he ever met; he never knew a stranger. People always liked him right back even though he was "weird". He loved professional wrestling and talked about those guys as if he knew them. He loved to sing and dance, and did both badly and with abandon. When he was older, he got a job stuffing frozen entrees into cardboard boxes. He loved it and was so proud to be making his own money.

Uncle Bob lived well into his 50s. When he was born, doctors told my grandparents that he wouldn't see 30. They also said that my grandparents should put him in an institution and forget about him. My grandparents refused - and improved the lives of at least their five other children, 18 grandchildren, and themselves. But I know it didn't end with us.

Uncle Bob had a profound influence on who I am. I am sure that I have no idea of the myriad ways that having him in my world - and being a beloved part of his - affects me to this day. I see him in the face of every disabled person I meet, no matter what their disability or their attitude. I know I have more compassion and understanding than I would have without Uncle Bob.

Thank you for being you, Uncle Bob. I love you.