I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

An awkward moment

Working as a paint desk manager I get to meet a lot of people, many of them are contractors, so it's not unusual to have casual conversations with them regarding paint, and jobs.  I was chatting with one yesterday about cell phones and Otter Cases, and just how safe they are, when suddenly a woman standing about f15 feet away yelled out his name.  Not just his first name, mind you, his first and last.  He looked up as she approached the desk saying, "it's been 25 years at least."  She didn't introduce herself so she must have assumed he knew who she was.  "What are you doing?" she asked, and he said "mostly laying tile."  "My kids are in grade school," she continued, without pausing "I waited to have kids.  Do you have children?" His response?  "No."  "Are you married?" she asked.  "Not exactly," he said.  And then she asked "am I putting you in an awkward position?"

At this point I turned and walked back past the tinting machines because I was feeling the awkwardness of the situation.  I have no idea what he said to her, but when I turned back to the counter, about 15 seconds later, he was going through self-check-out and she was still standing at the paint desk.  The conversation between them couldn't have lasted more then 30 seconds - which is not a long time if they happened to have been friends 25 years ago.  They may have gone to high school together, I don't know.  She was quite heavy, so I suspect the passing of time has weighed upon her.  I do know the second she yelled out his name she seemed more interested in interrogating then in talking.  He never said "hi," or called her by her name, so he may not even have remembered her.  And it was awkward.  I felt sorry for him.  There is this assumption out there that you need to get married and you need to have kids, and if you don't there is something wrong.  This is the feeling I got from her when she asked if she was putting him in an awkward position.  Basically, she was being rude and it's sad to say, but I don't think it really bothered her. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Getting beaned

Today was my day off and, of course, it was crappy, rainy, drizzly outside so I couldn't take the dogs to the park.  Also, I had to wait for the water meter reader guy to come and update my water meter so I didn't start any large tasks since I didn't want to be interrupted.  I did manage to go to the supermarket though... yeah, it's been one of those super exciting days.  I try to always be a very smart shopper, so if you've ever seen me shopping for groceries you've seen me with my phone calculator in my hand.  Yepper, I like to get my money's worth.  Today, for example, there was a sign by some pre-packaged green beans "Save 23 cents a pound."  They were in 12 ounce packages, so I took the total cost and divided it by 12 to get the price per ounce and then multiplied it by 16 to get the price per pound - total cost $3.33 per pound.  I then walked 5 feet to where the bin of green beans you could package yourself - cost there was $2.90 per pound.  That's a 43 cent difference.  And it wasn't just the green beans which had this type of skewed pricing.  Tomatoes had similar pricing and mushrooms?  In one area they were $5.00 for 16 ounces and a few feet away they were also selling at 8 ounces for $1.99.  Yo, do the math.

And it isn't just supermarkets trying to dupe the public.  There was a national commercial advertising a brand of paint at $21.98 per gallon and people came in looking for the paint that was on sale.  Hey, it wasn't on sale.  The commercial didn't say it was on sale.  The paint was advertised at its regular cost, but because people saw it on TV they assumed it was on sale.  There are a lot of retailers out there who list the Suggested Retail Price and then their price, and people think there is a sale going on.  It doesn't make a different if it's produce, or paint, or dog food, the only thing that counts is making a buck.  No matter what you want to buy, be smart, shop wisely, unless, of course, you like getting beaned.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Snakes Alive

I was in the lunch room yesterday and one of our hardware / cashier associates came up to me and asked "What would you do if someone came up to you with a snake around their neck?"  It turned out he had been working on the Outside Garden register and a female customer had come up to make a purchase wearing a Boa Constrictor around her neck.  A lot of people don't like snakes so why someone would go to a home improvement store with one around their neck is beyond me.  When the associate asked the girl not to get too close, she agreed, but her boyfriend evidently more then grunted his disapproval.  Me? I would have asked her if she had a thing for cold-blooded phallic symbols.  Nah, I probably wouldn't have... that might cost me my job.  But one does have to wonder if perhaps these individuals just happened to step out of the room on the day they were handing out brains.

Obviously they weren't thinking about the snake.  Yesterday was cool, the temperature only got up to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit - much too cold for a Boa to be outside.  Yet there they were in Outside Garden, where there is no roof, no heat in the winter and no air conditioning in the summer - jello heads all the way.  And while the associate was unhappy at having to deal with these people, I must admit to feeling sorry for the snake.  Of course, it it had been any warmer she probably wouldn't have had it around her neck, because then it might have started squeezing.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Sum of Us

I had to have a chat with one of my part-time female associates (read counseling session) regarding a recent behavior.   She is in her 50's, as is her boyfriend, another part-time associate, and it seems that a family group found the two of them locking jaws back among the counter tops.  That's right, they were trying to shove their tongues down each other's throat on a Saturday afternoon when the store was busy.   Of course the family complained.  This was not what they were expecting to find nestled in among the sheets of Formica.

My associate likes to think of herself not only as a fountain of wisdom, but also a free spirit - in other words she's a wise ass who could care less what other people think.  Having a serious conversation with her, for the most part, can be rather pointless.  She's right and you're wrong, or you're just being mean, or you're attacking her lifestyle, are just a few of the things she likes to point out to you.  So this time I tried a little bit different tact: a bit of 'sum of us' philosophy.

No matter how we think of ourselves, in the real world we are all really the sum of every one else's opinion.  What other people do think does count, it can't just be ignored.  This doesn't mean we need to change our behavior in order to fit in.  We need to remember their opinion is just as legitimate as ours, because our opinion of them is part of their sum.  Walking around a corner with a four year old and a six year and finding two associates attempting to suck the life force out of each other's mouths was not these parents were expecting to find.  The fact that these two associates were so caught up in this sucking process they failed to notice the customers made the matter worse.  

Of course my associate failed to grasp the 'sum of us,' and became angrily vocal.  "What is wrong with people!" she shouted.  "Don't they know the beauty of love when they see it?'  I bit my tongue and followed the 'sum of us' philosophy.  I did not tell her no on thought it was beautiful, that everybody found their behavior unattractive and vulgar.  I did tell her that from now on the two of them needed to refrain from this behavior while on the clock and future incidents would lead to being written up.  Nor did I tell her that when her boyfriend's manager talked to him, his response was to shrug and say "okay."  Sadly, she will never understand the 'sum of us' philosophy.  She's going to do what she wants to do.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

White Carpet

My schedule today is crap - a mid, meaning I start working at 10:45.  I hate shifts like this. They don't give me enough time to get things done.  On days when I have this type of schedule I don't get to take the girls up to the park.  In fact, tomorrow is going to be a shit day, too.

Anyway, I had off yesterday and got a lot accomplished.  One of things I did was buy a new carpet / rug for the dining room.  This is not that unusual because the girls tend to be hard on that carpet.  For some reason that's where they take their biscuits to eat them, and their bones to chew on.  As a result they get replaced about every six moths.  The one I picked up yesterday is white.  One of the first things a friend said to me was "you have dogs, why in hell would you buy a white carpet?"  My reply just kind of popped out of my mouth before I had a chance to think about it.  I said "why for the photo op of course."  See how pretty they look:

Of course, I have to admit it's not as white now as it was when I bought it, but it was inexpensive.  And of course I did get a lot of nice pictures, and sometimes isn't that what counts?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Relaxation fail

Today is my scheduled 2nd scheduled day off for this week, and as usual, I have spend it doing anything but relaxing.   I say this because, and I know you'll understand, I'm going to go to work tomorrow and someone is going to ask if I had a good day off.  What is a good day off ?  I think it would probably be a day when you didn't have anything needing to be done.  Of course that rarely happens.  Today, for example, I dusted and vacuumed the living room and dining room, did three loads of laundry, took down the summer curtains and put of the winter curtains (their lined) and had a visit from the gas company.  Oh, and I took the dogs for a 45 minute walk up at the park.  And that was just this morning.  Except for the walk with the dogs, none of this was relaxing.

I think the guy from the gas company was here to make sure I wasn't stealing gas.  I came home last week and found a card hanging on my front door.  UGI needed to run a standard check on my natural gas equipment and so I needed to make an appointment.  Today is the day he came, for all of 5 minutes.  Why would they think I'm stealing gas?  Two years ago the furnace which was in the house when I purchased it, died horribly expensive death.  I replaced it with a high efficiency furnace.  The first year my gas bill dropped, of course I'd only had the furnace for a few of the winter months so it was difficult to judge how much I was actually saving.  Last year, the year of the Polar Vortex, I paid $759 to heat 1600 square feet, and that's heat, hot water, and cooking.  Before the new furnace, I used pay about $1500 per year.

Whether this was the reason the gas company needed to pay me a visit I have no way of knowing.  I do know that because my schedule is erratic I needed to schedule this visit on my day off, and by scheduling I mean between 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM.  I have actually scheduled some time off for myself towards the end of October.  By then everything should be winterized.  Of course, by then it will be too cold around here to float around on a lily pad, and walks with the girls my be a big more then chilly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Screaming legs

I got a leg workout in today.  It's been 30 days since the last one, thanks to the crappy schedules I've been getting.  Tomorrow I'm expecting them to be a little sore.  So it goes.  I know there are people out there who would question why I'm doing this to myself at my age (not that I'm that old).  The answer's simple.  When I do get old, I don't want to be feeble.  A day doesn't pass that I don't see someone tottering around,  looking all frail and fragile.  Every time I do I say to myself, "I don't ever want to be like that."  This doesn't mean it's never going to happen, I just want to put it off for as long as possible.  This means I work out with free weights, when ever my schedule permits.  As my friend Shawn once told me "never forget, your legs are the engines of your body."

These are not my legs - mine are hairier

I exercise these engines in others ways: I ride a bike (Cannondale X6) and run on an elliptical (Sole 95).  Of course nothing comes close to lunges (I hate them) and squats (I hate them even more).  And I really hate it when someone says "feel the burn."  No matter how many times I tell myself "that burn" is caused by microscopic fissures tearing open, and even though those fissures will help to grow and strengthen my muscle cells, I still no it's going to hurt in the end.  The one good thing about my leg workouts is that, because I've been doing them for so long, I'm not going to end up with screaming legs tomorrow.  There will be just enough stiffness and discomfort to remind me that I can't let 30 days lapse between workouts, not matter how bad my schedule.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spray Paint Morons

I hate spray paint.  Wait, let me be more precise, I hate dealing with a certain group of people who use spray paint.  These people don't seem to understand there is only so much spray paint in a can; if you're doing a dusting perhaps 12 square feet.  Most of the time, thanks to over spray, you end with around 6 square feet of coverage.  Of course that's if no one has sampled the can.  Believe me, a day doesn't go buy when some moron doesn't fail to grasp the fact that the color of the lid is the color of the paint.  Manufacturers spend a lot of money to insure the color of the cap exactly matches the color of the paint in the can.  Royal Blue is not going to change to baby blue when you spray it.  Still, people don't believe this.  They need to prove it to themselves, so they spray the floors.

In fact, these people will sample that can of spray paint anywhere.

And then, after they've decided they like the color, they will put the can they've just used back on the shelf and grab a new can.  Why would they want to buy one they've just used?

Yesterday I had one of these morons ruin a can of specialty spray paint.  He was a pharmacist, I could tell because of the mortar and pestle on his coat, and he was looking at a can of hammered titanium.  I asked him if I could help him.  He said "nope," and broke the lid off of the can so he could sample.  After covering the side of a paint box he said "I don't like this," and put the can back on the shelf.  It didn't seem to bother him that he'd broken the lid off.  Instead, he grabbed a can Chrome from the shelf and said, "I'll take this," and left.  I took the can of paint up front and marked it down because customers don't by cans of spray paint with broken lids.  As I've been typing this I've realized this guy was not so much of a spray paint moron as he was a spray paint asshole.  I wonder if he's as thoughtless when filling prescriptions? 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Witching Hour

Customers do make me wonder sometimes.  Last evening I had two women, one in her mid-fifties and the other was obviously her mother.  they ordered 2 gallons of Sagey, semi-gloss, not a particular favorite sheen for me, and went about shopping for other things.  When they returned to pick up their paint the daughter commented on our Halloween product placement, particularly the witch.  She stands right across from the paint desk and we've had a number of positive comments about her.  Our witch is a life sized replica of the one and only Wicked Witch of the West, from the Wizard of Oz.  When she's plugged in she says dialogue from the movie.  Kids and adults love her.  Last evening's mother and daughter didn't.  They hated her.  "Witches are a terrible thing," the daughter said with a frown.  "There are witches in Dillsburg."  Dillsburg is a small community about 12 miles away.  My brother is a part-time Methodist minister in one of the churches there.  It's a really nice, little town.  Of course this mother and daughter hated it.  "They've chosen to go to the dark side," the mother added, looking as though she'd just spit out a mouthful of poison.  "Really," I said, choosing the higher road, "here's your paint."

After the mother and daughter had checked out, I mentioned the incident to several people.  Every one I talked to was surprised.  None of them were upset that there might be witches in Dillsburg,  Two of the people I talked to had asked if they fly around on brooms.  In fact, not one person took it seriously.  I think this is a shame, not because I believe in wicked witches, but because this kind of crazy mentality was partially to blame for the Salem Witch Trials.  The fact that they may actually be spreading a lie didn't even occur to them.  In their minds they were justified in telling a perfect stranger what they believed.  They will ruin reputations if they can.  If these women really want to point out evil, they should look in the mirror.    

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Facebook Flap

Evidently there is a big flap going on right now about Facebook's decision to enforce a rule they've had for some time - you need to use your real name for your personal accounts.  I can understand the concern some in the gay and lesbian community might have for this.  I also understand that one of the reasons for this rule is to curtail predatory behavior.  This is a bit of a dilemma. What I do find amusing is drag personas clamoring about how this rule does not seem to apply to all people.  One of the names they throw out is Madonna's.  I looked at Madonna's page and it's identified as a fan site and fan sites are allowed.    What makes this even more amusing is that Madonna is her real name, not a stage name.  She's not really Ruthie Ciccone (sp) from Detroit, she's Madonna Ciccone (sp).

aka Madonna

They've also bandied about Lady Gaga, and her's, too, is a fan page.

Now I'm not saying this isn't a problem for a certain group of people, but there is a bit of a difference between safeguarding your privacy and dealing with an ego inconvenience.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Acquaintance

One of my Facebook friends put out a notification regarding a reunion type event for all the kids who grew up in Avon (the 'a' is pronounced with a short vowel sound, not a long vowel sound) at the Avon playground.  I had to attend an HR meeting at the Lebanon store, about 1/4 mile from Avon about 2 years ago, and being in the area, drove through the town and out to the playground, which is more of a park.  Sadly, except for 1 pavilion, everything I remembered was gone.  Not knowing if she was aware of this, I sent her an email.  First of all, she was aware of the drastic changes to the playground.  Secondly, she was a bit befuddled to hear from me.  You see, even though she and her two sisters lived 8 houses up and on the other side of the street, she doesn't remember me.  This is surprising since almost everybody remembers me.  Of course, as always, there is a logical explanation.

It's a school district thing.  Back then Lebanon, PA,had a population  of  around 26,000 and was its own school district.  Everyone outside the city limits either went to schools in the Northern District or schools in the Southern District, and that line cut through Avon (remember, short vowel).  Unfortunately that line did not cut through the center.  No, it barely grazed the edge.  It did, however, run right down the middle of King Street.  There were 15 houses (4 kids) on the north side of King Street.  We were bused 12.5 miles, through the city of Lebanon, to Ebenezer Elementary School.  Everybody on the south side of King Street, 40 + kids, (picked up at 3 bus stops), was bused 3.5 miles to South Lebanon Elementary. Go figure.  Different schools, different activities; most of those kids hung around together twelve months out of the year.  I tried out of Little League and, of course, had to try out for a team in the Northern School District.  A coach came flat out and told my Dad they couldn't put me on a team because we lived too far away.  Go Figure.  While most kids make friends with the kids in their neighborhood, my were only summer acquaintances.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Since I eat a lot of fresh vegetables, I usually plant them, usually tomatoes, zucchini, and at least one pepper plant.  This year I tried my hand at squash.  I like squash.  It's very versatile.  You can boil it or broil it, bake it, and fry it, if you want.  Because I'd never planted squash before, I only purchased on plant.  This is what I was supposed to harvest:

However, the little plastic name tag must have been wrong, or else the plant just didn't want to grow properly, because this is what I plucked from the vine:

That's right, it's next to a creamer.  Big, huh?  I don't know if it's edible or not.  And if it is, it's like... what?  Two bites?  Every time I look at it I think, 'my, what a cute little pumpkin.'  And, even sadder still, it's the only one.  I had tons of flowers but ended up with only one little, bitty squash.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rachael Ray pounds dog food

I went to my local Giant supermarket this morning for the sole purpose of picking up a couple of items, one of them being dog food.  It takes the girls about two and a half weeks to go through a big bag so that's what I always buy:  The BIG BAG.  Anyway, I had just finished loading the BIG BAG into my cart when something caught my eye.  This is what it was.

That's right, Rachael Ray is pounding dog food.  Hey, and the green bags are on Sale!  $1.00 off!

Now I've never been a big fan of hers, but I do know she started off as a cook and had her own show on The Food Channel (?)  And I vaguely remember hearing something about her having a talk show....of some kind.  Anyway, this just didn't seem to jive right in my head.  I mean, would Bobby Flay pound dog food?  Or Emeril?  And then I started wondering if perhaps Purina sees her as a threat?  Or maybe she just decided one day that she was going to be a dog food queen.