Thursday, September 26, 2013

People Amaze Me (And Not Necessarily In A Good Way)

People sometimes just plain amaze me. No. Really, they do. I've worked in customer service for most of my working career and dealing with the people can be quite interesting. Or aggravating. It depends on the situation.

Last weekend I was doing my weekend Pet Nutritional Consultant gig. Saturday was actually quite busy even though we had a massive rain storm move through. Seriously,  it was like monsoon season that day. No one was really expecting the torrential downpours that kept happening all day long. But people kept coming as there is a local rescue group that does pet adoptions in the store I go to as well as the Humane Society. I talked to several people regarding pet food, helped lots of people find products they were looking for and answered lots of questions having nothing to do with pet food. Thank God I worked in pet retail and veterinary offices off and on for years. Comes in handy. I gave away coupons to a few new customers and also a few repeat offenders to keep my customer base happy. The happiest ones are the ones who receive the $10 off the large bags. Lot of "thank you's" happen over that one.

Sunday was its usual slow day; I only spoke to a few people and most of them had no intention getting pet food in any capacity. I gave away maybe three coupons and one of those was a cheat - it was Mom who came into buy cat food for me with a $10 off coupon. Bad, I know. But I figure I only buy cat food about every 6 months as I buy the 16lb bag and keep it in an airtight container for my one cat. Much cheaper that way. So, really, one coupon that I hadn't given out yet that day.

And the reason why I hadn't given one out that day is because I actually encountered people who brushed me off when I offered them a coupon.

I will let that sink for a moment.

People actually brushed me off when I approached them with coupons. Seriously. How sad is that?! People acted like I was bothering them, offering them a few bucks off their pet food. It. Was. Amazing. I felt like a schmuck for offering them coupons. One couple that accepted a coupon had absolutely no enthusiasm for getting $10 off their large bag of food. None. Whatsoever. Blew me away. 

I'm pretty sure I didn't look menacing or rude or anything. And I don't think my tone was bad.

"Hi there, would you like a $10 off coupon for the bag of food in your cart?" or "Hi, how about a coupon for $2 off the small bag of food for your cat?" or "I have a coupon for buy one get one free on those cans you have there."

I would have hugged someone who gave me $10 off a $45 dollar bag of food. And these people acted like I was a thorn in their side. Sheesh.

I am now in my second week at my new full-time job - which I am still getting used to this idea that I spend an actual 40 hours a week at. In the office there is a total of 5 of us gals - the Office Manager, and three other gals. Each of us has our own duties, but over time cross training allows others to be able to assist if and when they can. Right now I'm just learning the basics and I feel like a dunce. But that's what comes with a new job in an industry that I've never worked in. Also, what's nice is that I'm no longer the only newbie; T started on Monday. It's nice to not be alone.

Anyway, one of the gals, B, sits at a desk that is directly behind mine (which I despise having someone sit directly behind me). T sits to the left and behind me and L sits to the left of T. The OM has her own office (lucky her). OM and L have been very nice with my pestering them with questions and trying to remember "journals" and "schedules" and account numbers and rules and how to do things. It's a lot to take in. 

I have yet to ask B any questions. Not because I don't think she can answer any of them, but because I don't know what to make of her yet. She has yet to say a single word to me. Not a single one. She talks to OM and L, but not much if anything to T (at least not yet). I'm pretty sure it's a personality thing, so I'm not taking it personally. 

The other day some papers fell off B's desk - meaning they fell right behind my chair. I spun around and picked them up for her and put them back on her desk. Not even a thank you. She didn't even look at me. Seriously. Later, she sneezed and I said, "Bless you" and nothing. (Although, L and T also said "bless you" and she didn't say anything to them either). No thank you, excuse me, nothing. I was slightly offended by the lack of words coming out of her mouth for those, especially with the paper pick up. But I'm letting it roll off my shoulder.

She doesn't visit with anyone a lot, but still asks L how her weekend was. And maybe the OM. But not myself or T. Like I said, I'm pretty sure it's a personality thing.

The good thing is that last Friday as I was getting ready to leave, OM told me that I was doing well, asking good questions and she appreciated me keeping myself busy and helping L with "busy work" (like filing, faxing, etc.). Hopefully she'll still feel that way by the end of this week. ;)

And starting Friday, I will be doing dealer trades by myself (had a bit of a panic moment). L has been teaching me, but there are  a lot of steps and it's easy to mess up. I've only done a few with L looking over my shoulder, but starting Friday she'll be out of town til next week. I can ask my OM for assistance. Can't ask B as she's never done the dealer trades. Hopefully I don't royally fuck up any dealer trades and I am hoping that the sales guys don't do a lot of them over the weekend. But I've been doing the deposit all on my own this week and haven't completely screwed that up (yet). Learning the dealer trades and learning how to work on clearing my cash sales "schedule" (reconcile anything outstanding). 

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What's one thing that's still the same about you as when you were young?

Well, I'm still a picky eater. I will say that I'm much better than I was when I was a kid, though. Life has found a way to get me to eat more than I used to.

2. What's more important-history or science? Why?

Hmm. Both are very important. History is important because if we don't study it and learn from it, we can be doomed to repeat the same mistakes. History shows us how the world has changed, how the species of our world have changed and adapted and evolved. How we as humans have evolved and learned.

Science is also important (and also a part of history) because without science, we can't learn about how everything works and why. We can't improve our livelihoods (like increasing our lifespans, medicine's, etc.). 

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?

Refried beans. Best way to go. lol

4. What's something people come to your town to do?

Visit Shasta and/or Whiskeytown Lake, see Shasta Dam, Shasta Caverns, etc. Lots to see and do. We usually refrain from telling folks that's it's so hot around here in the Summer that the Devil himself wouldn't dream of visiting.

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.

When I worked at the vet lab. Snooze.

 6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

Hmm. The Oscars.

7. What's one piece of advice you'd give a writer?

If it's what you love, don't give up.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Just wanted to send a thank you to all those from last week's Hodgepodge for the condolences regarding my Papa Dennis. I appreciate it. We are all doing okay, we have our moments of course, but we're doing okay. The important thing is that he is no longer suffering and that Heaven has a new angel to watch over us.  

The weather has been nice and cool here the last few days. I'm absolutely loving it. I've missed my hoodies. And my slippers. Almost time for them to make a full-time appearance.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When did you last sing happy birthday to someone? When were you last sung to? Does that embarrass you or do you enjoy being the center of attention on your special day?

I would say my parents, whose birthdays were at the end of March and beginning of April. My family always sings me Happy Birthday. I hope no one says anything if we're at a restaurant because I hate having the waiters/waitresses making such a racket. But inevitably, someone does and I wind up blushing like it's nobody's business.
2.  Name a famous or 'infamous' person (living or deceased) who shares your birth day and month. Is that someone you'd like to meet in person if it were possible?

John Williams, composer of movie scores for Superman, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Jurassic Park. Also, James Dean, Lana Turner, Jack Lemmon, Gary Coleman, John Grisham, Jules Vern and General Sherman.
3. Someone hands you a box tied up in a lovely bow...what are you hoping to find inside?

Well, now that will depend on the size of the box. lol
4. What can you guarantee about yourself?

My loyalty.
5. Talking art and beautiful cities here...'The Last Supper' in the Santa Maria della Grazie Abbey in Milan Italy or 'The Mona Lisa' in The Louvre, Paris...which would you most like to see up close and in person?  Why?

Now why would you make me choose between the two? That's just mean. No, I will go to both places and see both of them. One day.
6. Your favorite dessert?

Choices, choices, choices. Popcorn and M&M's.
7. This coming weekend marks the official start of autumn (in the Northern hemisphere)...what is something you do to get ready for fall? What is one thing you're looking forward to on your fall calendar? Spring or fall-which do you prefer?

I start breaking out the sweaters and wait for it to cool off. Here in Redding, it can stay pretty dang warm til October sometimes. Seriously, our summer is too hot for the Devil himself. I love the fall weather - the cool crisp air. But I also enjoy spring because by then I'm tired of the cold and am ready for the warmth!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Had a sad day - finally got the phone call this morning that Papa D passed away during the night. We've been waiting for the call for the last week or so, knowing it was only a matter of time. Mom had to call me at work and let me know because one of my cousins posted something about it on FB, and she didn't want me to find out that way. Fortunately for me I hadn't been on FB this morning because its only the second day of my new job. I found out on my lunch break, so I went off by myself for a bit and cried and gathered myself and went in and informed my boss, asking for a day when I found out when we would have a family gathering at the ranch. Papa D's request was to be cremated and his ashes spread out over his ranch, no services, just a family gathering. Simple. Just they way he was.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crazy Life Update

A week after the Clover Fire, it was finally contained. In its wake it destroyed 8,000 acres, 68 homes, and about a 120 structures, and took the life of one man who stayed to protect his home. As quickly as it moved in those first few hours, it could have been a lot worse. Now it's time to rebuild.

Last week I played phone tag with the HR gal for my new job regarding my drug test. Two weeks ago I went to a walk-in clinic of their choice to pee in a cup for a required pre-employment drug screen. Last week the HR gal called and asked if I went as she hadn't received any results. I told her I had (even had the receipt to prove it). She called the clinic to inquire about it and it turns out UPS, who picks up shipments from that clinic, lost part of the shipment they picked up. Just so happens that my cup was in that lost shipment. A couple days later, they found it, tested and it discovered I was marijuana free. (Geeeee, what a surprise).

Today (Monday), I showed up for my first day of my new job. I spent nearly two hours doing my orientation online. It consisted of reading all the required paperwork, just online, watching a few videos, and filling other paperwork out like my direct deposit (very important as I want my money). Then I spent the rest of the day in with my boss and she did a lot of talking and a bit of showing me what they do.

By the afternoon, my head was reeling from all the information being thrown at me and actually started hurting a little. Around 4pm, I felt my eyes start to glaze over a little. Hopefully tomorrow I will actually get to do a little more, but I can't do too much until I get computer access. But it looks like I will keep busy when I actually know what I'm doing. Plus I have my own desk (and I can't wait until our office gets remodeled because then we girls will all get new desks. They bought "temporary" (aka cheap) desks and they are tiny and slightly uncomfortable in the leg area) that I can make my own.

While on my lunch, Boyfriend and I were texting and he said a saw a little house on Craigslist for rent and he wanted to go take a peek at it. We met up afternoon and drove over to it. It's probably about 10 miles from my parents house in an older, but cute, neighborhood. It's a one bedroom house, about 1000 sq ft., has a nice little fenced yard and the rent isn't too bad.

I know my blogging hasn't been overly regular lately. Partly due to lack of something to write about, partly due to slight lack of blogging mojo, and partly due to the fact that there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in each day. And life isn't about to get any easier. I have my new full-time job, the weekend job as a Pet Nutritional Consultant, and I will be writing quite a bit more for my grandparent's publication. Papa D isn't doing very well these days, and in fact, has been "day to day" for over a week now. It's been really hard on all of us (it's my Mom's Dad). K isn't partial to the writing part of the magazine, she puts it together on the computer, but Papa D has always done the writing. When I emailed her my column a week ago, I told her that I would do event write-ups and could also write other stories to help fill space to help her out as she's trying to not only do the magazine, but taking care of Papa D. We're not sure how long K will keep the magazine going - they recently sold all their cattle and will be leasing the ranch out to another ranching couple.

Life is going to be crazy for awhile. Think it'll keep me out of trouble?

I didn't think so, either. But it's worth a shot.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday was on fire. Literally.

Monday, 9am: Started work for rental returns. Just like any other normal day.

Noon: Got off work, met Boyfriend at his Grandma's to take the boat out on Whiskeytown Lake. Was on the lake shortly thereafter. 

1:00pm: Noticed a new fire on the outskirts of town on the way out there, so turned the radio on.

1:30pm: Listened to boat radio to get news updates on fire. Learned it had started off Clear Creek and Cloverdale Roads. Called Granny to let her know to put the news on. Cloverdale, while a long road, is a road that leads to Happy Valley, which is where we live. Called Mom and Dad as they were on the lake as well, and let them know about the fire. Igo school being evacuated to Old Shasta.

 From Whiskeytown Lake

2:00pm: Fire now called the Clover Fire. Up to 1,500 acres burned with absolutely no containment. Learned the evacuation area, part of it was about 1 mile east of our house. Called Mom and Dad who had gone home. No power in all of Happy Valley - PG&E turned it off for safety reasons. Road closures being listed.

2:30pm: On our way home, drop the boat off at work, and raced back home. Let me just say that traffic never moves slower than when you are in a hurry. SOOO aggravating. My stress level went through the roof listening to the radio. Road closures listed: Clear Creek Rd at HWY 273, Canyon Rd at 273, Olinda Rd at 273, Gas Point Rd. Canyon and Olinda are two roads leading home. Radio starts listing veterinary offices offering 3 nights free board for evacuation animals and people with acreage offering their properties to horses and livestock evacuees. 

 On S. Bonneyview Rd. heading home. We are approx. 10 miles from home.

On Hawthorne Ave. We are about 1.5 miles from home.

3:30pm: Fortunately found that Canyon was open and took it like normal. Smoke looks close. Too close. Can see the throbbing orange of the fire. Evacuation area hasn't changed. Parents have truck pulled up to 5th wheel just in case and have water running. Have also pulled important things and put them all on kitchen counter for easy grabbing. Have Granny packed to leave for G's house in case of evacuation.

From our front yard. Not long after this, the smoke blocked out the sun. Couldn't get any closer, road blocks at the evacuation area.

4:30pm: Hear that fire is burning South, wind pushing it South-Southwest. Boyfriend and I pack up for the night to spend it at his Grandma's in Redding, where she has a/c. Not to mention we both had to be at work in town at 7am. Tell Mom to text/call if anything changes.

5:30pm: Neck starts to ache and realize just how stressed I was for the afternoon. Grab dinner. Start responding to Facebook messages and posts regarding Clover Fire. Let family and friends know we're okay and thank them for their offers of assistance if needed and share details learned. Fire burned nearly 7,000 acres. In 4 hours.

6:00-7:00pm: Mom texts me to call Nana and K and let them know we're okay as the phones at house are down. Call Nana and she says, "We have a spare chair if anyone needs to crash." She lives in a one bedroom apartment - but those recliners of hers are pretty cozy . . . Call K and say, "I don't know if you heard about the fire down here . . . " She said she had, had been watching it on the news and was worried about us because all the roads to Happy Valley were listed as "hard closures". Told her all the details that I knew (thank God for Q97 Country Station) and she updated me on Papa D's condition.

7:00pm to 9:00pm: Continued talking to people on Facebook and texting Mom. Power came back on in the evening, PG&E turning on certain areas. No new real updates on the fire.

Tuesday, 6am: Fire well over 7,000 acres. Three firefighters and one civilian injured. 30 homes burned. 50 structures burned. 40% contained. Pictures of fire are released. Not much has changed all day. Firefighters seem to be holding it.

Thank God for firefighters. Without them, this would have been so much worse. Thank you guys for putting your lives on the line to save as much as possible. Also, I know our sudden fire isn't as bad as what has been burning around Yosemite, and I hope that they can contain that in under the two weeks they think it will take. But this is the second massive fire in Happy Valley - we had one in '99 that ravaged it, burning more than double the homes and structures. It's brought a lot of flashbacks and some people lost their home for the second time. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A little late to the party

This morning, as I was playing on my tablet, I was notified about a new email. I recognized the name on the email, though I hadn't heard anything from this person in about two months.

You may recall that a couple of months ago I told y'all about a couple of jobs I had applied for. Both of them were for similar job positions, just different companies. It was for the pet food rep job that I currently do on weekends in local pet stores. Now, originally I had applied to both figuring I had to get hired for at least one of them, considering my history with the animal industry. I heard from both companies - one with an email asking my availability for a phone interview, the other left a message on the machine at the house which no one could decipher and later found an email in my inbox asking about availability for a phone interview. For the first company, I sent an reply email giving my availability for a phone interview. I did the same for the second company, also apologizing for having missed their phone call earlier but I had been at my part-time job and that I looked forward to speaking with them.

I heard back from the first company right away, and a day and time was fixed upon for a phone interview.

I never heard back from the second company. And after a week, I sent a second email with the same message.

The first company called me for a phone interview, and I eventually took a position with them as a pet food rep on weekends.

Again, I never heard back from the second company.

Until . . . today. Today, I received this email:

Dear Candidate,

I will be conducting interviews via Skype next week. Please reply back to this message and let me know if you are able to participate in the interview process via Skype.

Interviews will probably be Thursday of next week. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Jane Doe

Two months I never heard back from this woman. Two months. I actually laughed when I saw the email because I knew it was for an interview. It's mostly laughable, really. And only a little aggravating. I politely sent a reply:

Hi Jane Doe,

Thank you for the offer for an interview, however a month and a half ago I accepted a position with one of your company's competitors.

Thank you again for the opportunity.


What I wanted to say was more like:
Dear Jane Doe,

Because you never got back to me for two months, I chose to take a position with one of your competitors because they actually kept in contact with me and acted like they wanted to hire someone for the open position that I applied for two months ago. Ya snooze ya lose.


But I thought it best to send the polite version. You know, take the high road, be the better person, yadda yadda yadda.

At least we all had a good chuckle this morning.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Aaaaaannnnnddddd Drum Roll Please

After ten horrifying months, it's over. Just like that. The stress that I have felt in my shoulders is suddenly lessened a little. The anxiety that has built up in that time frame is gone. I no longer feel the need to cry all the time out of frustration, anger, resentment, and hatred.

Because, folks, after ten excruciating months, I have a found myself a full-time job!!!

It's all been quite the blur this week. Now, of course, this new job is pending on a background check and all that jazz, so as long as they don't find out about that "thing", I should be okay. (just kidding. there is no "thing". really. no really. I'm not that exciting.) 

I applied for a job on Monday. It's with an auto dealer in town, in their accounting department. I kinda figured I wouldn't get it simply because Math and I are mortal enemies since birth and have yet to find common ground. Unless that common ground is 2+2=4, because that's all I've got. Anywho, I applied, thinking they won't call because they totally didn't call me when I applied for a reception/office person a few months ago. But hell, I'm glutton for punishment, so I thought I'd apply for no reason. Again.

Wednesday, I get home around 5:30pm from work and Mom tells me I have a message on the machine. I discovered that it was a gal from this auto dealer who wanted to schedule me for an interview. What the . . . ?! Thursday morning, I was up a little before 8am and called the gal a few minutes after (didn't want to seem too eager). She asked me when I as available for an interview and I said, "I'm off work today and tomorrow afternoon." She scheduled me for 1pm that day (Thursday) and sent me a link to complete an assessment test (grrrr).

I immediately got started on the assessment test, which only frustrated me to the point of nearly killing my parents computer. Boyfriend kept asking (through a closed door), "are you okay in there?" Evidently all the cursing and shouting I was doing made him think there was something wrong. Hmm. After completing the most aggravating test on the planet, I got ready for my interview. Boyfriend and I decided to go to the dollar movies after my interview, which I believed would only last about a half hour. So he drove me to the interview and was going to just hang out in town until I texted him.

Boy was I wrong. I wound up in my interview for an hour and a half. The gal and I kept getting off track, and having to trace our steps back to the questions. So, obviously, I would say that I dazzled her with my charming personality. Poor Boyfriend.

After the longest interview ever, Boyfriend and I went and saw The Heat. And we enjoyed it.

Once we got home, Mom told me I had another message on the machine. I figured it was either a rejection or maybe someone from some other place I had recently applied to.

It was neither.

It was a job offer.

A freaking job OFFER!!!!!

While listening to the message, my jaw dropped and I lost all feeling in my body. Boyfriend picked me up and hugged me and Mom (after doing a happy dance in her recliner) came into the kitchen to give me a big ol' Mama Bear hug. Where I promptly started crying. Tears of joy. All the while Boyfriend was saying, "I knew it. I knew it. I knew it by the way they called you for an interview so quickly after you applied. And by how long your interview was today. I knew it."

I have never had that - a job interview and a job offer in the same day. Not even 4 hours apart.

Holy freaking cow, Batman!

I went in Friday after work to accept the job offer and go over the dress code (business casual which means I have to go shopping. and I'm still broke.), my start date (Sept. 16th), and that I should be hearing from X Personnel person regarding my orientation on my first day, and for me to input my addresses for the past 7 years for the background check. FYI, I move to fucking much. I can't remember all those addresses and apartment numbers. Picturing the apartments I lived in won't help in regards to the background check.

When Boyfriend got home that night, he started talking about apartments that he looked at.

My first paycheck is a month away.

Shit just got real.