[brain fog]

I can’t think of a title.

Tomorrow is inventory.

I am tired. I am brain fogged.

Tomorrow is inventory. I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I’ll try to stick with the positive ones.

One of the ASMs has been moving stuff around in the stockroom. Toys has already been put in the trailer (“might as well go ahead and do it now instead of here in a couple of weeks.” he says.), office supplies now lives where toys usually lives. Today, I saw him moving small appliances around.

The stock room is emptier than I have seen it in ages. And not just because last year was the “great overhaul” of how tasks are supposed to be done (who’s supposed to run stuff, how the DMs are supposed to do things) as well as not just because last year was utter shit with the beginning stages of Covid19 and losing approximately half our staff.

There’s a new program for how our overstocked merchandise is supposed to be, and it’s slowly helping us keep a better run on what we actually have in the store. Great for us, great for customers, great for people who check the website. There’s still a few things that are wrong (…lots of things, but it’s getting better), like today: the system said I had 0 of these newborn boots and I had 3.

For us, we’ve spent the last week getting help from employees from other stores (mostly because of inventory coming up) and it has been a godsend. I have not seen my area this clean or empty in ages. (honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this empty). Actual overstock is on the shelves or on the racks, there’s a pallet with part of a shelf on it because we really don’t know where to put it. The top shelves are completely empty, overstock cases are on the second-to-top shelf, clearly labeled.

Sure, our shelves are packed currently, but it’s actual overstock and we can walk down the aisles. The aisles aren’t stuffed with pallets. I don’t have to listen to “oh we’ll get to it later” over and over again like it isn’t a big deal.

It won’t last, but oh man was it glorious to see

So.

We’ve been having a lot of storms–it’s hurricane season where we live so it’s not like this is out of the norm. A few days ago, one of the storms caused the power to go out at the house while we were at work. Didn’t think anything of it.

The best we can figure is that caused the outside hvac unit to freak out and we didn’t really notice until later when it started getting pretty warm in the house (Jamie noticed because he is heat sensitive). Troubleshooted the best we could, did everything we’ve done before to get it to kick back and nothing.

Thankfully, we know someone who knows how to work on these things without killing the unit or electrocuting themselves (they are licensed). And, even better, they are only going to charge us for parts. But, for the most part, I just hope he can stop by and at least look at the system and see what needs to be done instead of photos back and forth and phone calls.

Stash buster?

It started out with trying to just whip stitch the holes in the dog beds so they wouldn’t get any larger. Then it went to simply placing one on top of the other so there’s still a raised bed, but now it’s one and not two.

Then I got faux leather because it was on clearance, leather needles (the packet said leather needles so I thought I’d give it a go), and a fresh roll of 100% cotton thread. I have beeswax at the house, so stealing one of the many little rectangles from Jamie’s beard oil stash wouldn’t be a problem.

Then a dog puked on the beds, then the faux leather got moved elsewhere, and then the bag with the needles and thread went poof.

The dogs did not have a kuranda style bed for about two weeks before I went “I wonder if I could just buy belt webbing and weave one. I watched a video ages ago of a guy doing it.” I looked up the video, still amazed at how fast this guy could work, and watched a couple more from other people making beds with this weave technique.

I think the whole thing is fascinating.

Then I wonder: could I use some of my stash to make a dog bed? I mean, I have the frame for the bed, and I have all this yarn. I know it’ll take time.

So it begins

I started one way, realized it wouldn’t be a good idea, unwrapped the 10 minutes of work, and wrapped it a different way with different yarn. There went 90% of a ball of yarn.

I started weaving. Two hours in and I got maybe 4 inches done. It’s a long process.

I realize this is going to take forever, but now I’m committed. At this stage I don’t know if I hate it or not.

Eventually I run out of the little orange ball of yarn and go into the tote I brought up to be the “dig through this tote for supplies” yarn tote. I grabbed a weird ball of knit jersey yarn that should make it where I’ve stopped and around the piece of plastic used to hold the bars and the bottom support together. It works. It looks weird but it works

Such weird yarn

I have flipped the bed around to work on it. I pull out a ball of pink yarn, the yarn is ridiculously thin. I pull it out and try another one.

My intention was to have just the Jersey knit be the break in between the two balls of yarn, but by this point I had spent hours on this thing and was just wanting to stop.

There is a small stretch of pink yarn, so I’ve used maybe 1/8 of the ball I have. I switch to my thicker grey/purple yarn to finish up.

It is getting tighter, I am getting messier. I give up, I start adding two strings to the weave instead of the one.

Done with this

I am done. I am not cleaning it up or fixing where the bottom squeezes in tighter with itself. It is done, I give up, I am done with this idea.

I feed the dogs, take them out, put two of them up so I can get Bug to try the bed. Bug is pleased. I put the bed into their room and am delighted that it has not busted.

Very happy dog

I have a very happy dog who has climbed up on the bed and is now refusing to move.

I begin to formulate plans for the next one.

Overall, I used up 2 balls of yarn, 90% of one, about 1/8 of one, and about 1/4 of another. My knuckles hurt, among other things. But, my dog is happy and that’s what matters.

I can use this idea as a stash buster, but with more time and ability to tell myself “an hour tops” instead of losing hours of my day to this at a time.

weirding out coworkers

Yesterday? Day before? something had come up while I was in the backroom and wound up telling one of my coworkers some oddball facts about the company we work for:

Mainly: we are the reason why there are EPA rules for where you can set pallets of fertilizer (and I think mulch) to keep from contaminating waterways and local drainage systems. We are either the first, or one of the first, companies to work on creating more/better sustainable farming for coffee–and I don’t blame them. People drink a lot of coffee.

Coworker went “Huh. I like this company a little more now. Thanks.” and walked away.

A coworker is mad because they found a box of Halloween socks and claimed “It’s too early for that!”

No, no it’s not. We’re nearing the end of July. We’ve got Halloween/fall bandanas out, we’ve got those weird wrappy flannel shawl things out (I want one), little bits of Halloween are showing up. Pallets of general fall stuff keeps coming in. Here in about 3 weeks we’ll start getting a mixed bag of Halloween candy and Christmas trees.

We are just under 30 days until our inventory and the backroom is a disaster. Customers are complaining about how no one is working up front (it’s true. no one is scheduled to be there when we open to the public and no one is there to get money for tills. or, if they are, they don’t show up for 30+ minutes) or they’re finding expired items.

I went to talk to someone about paperwork and a coworker dropped off a bag of cat food. They said the customer handed it to them and went “This expired in 2020.” (people don’t rotate) Kind of sad when we can hardly keep dry cat and dog food on the shelves as it is.

It’s going to be one hell of a season this year. I’ve been cussed out by a customer because we don’t have “kid backpacks” out despite walking them to where we currently have backpacks. But hey, if you don’t think Scooby Doo is an “any age” backpack, then I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve had customers mad because we don’t have the print-outs for school supply lists.

Our area is sending kids back to school for this upcoming year, and it’s starting earlier than normal. We’re already anticipating people going a little extra crazy when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas (I just hope we don’t wind up as another clip on youtube again). People are going to be angry over the food availability–I don’t know if we’ll be getting the massive amounts of turkeys like we normally do. People are already mad over toys, so I don’t want to know how bad it’ll be when the holidays get closer.

Last week, we started the Back to School setup. Summer stuff goes on sale and we have to wait until we have room to put fall clothes out.

And backpacks. So many backpacks.

We have Reebok backpacks, one of which is labeled as “basecamp” and…I don’t think you could make it to a base camp with this backpack. But, I am a lazy day hiker whose longest hikes are a few hours start to finish and are all local (apple orchard falls, devils marbleyard, etc)

This also means that little tiny pieces of Halloween merch is coming out. For us, it is currently Jojo hair bows and bandanas.

There’s also two pallets of general fall merchandise in the back, which we can’t get out until there’s room (Halloween pillows, pumpkin stuff, etc). One of my coworkers was whining about how much they hate Halloween.

Yeah, sure, it sucks when Halloween comes because by the time Halloween arrives, half the back room is full of Christmas stuff and half the store is Christmas, but that’s how we roll. We’ll get more Christmas music than anything and that’s like a needle to the brain, but it’s where the company makes most of their money, so…deal with it?

relatively healthy

So…

Last week, I was fine. Perfectly fine, perfectly expecting to go on like normal. Then I woke up a few hours after going to sleep, put my feet on the floor, and puked everywhere.

I haven’t done that shit since I was a kid.

Afterwards, I wound up having the worst migraine/headache of my life. Worse than the time the ER doctor thought I had meningitis (to which he said I didn’t have it because I got up to go pee. I don’t care how sick I get. I will not pee myself if I can roll myself off the bed and fucking crawl to a toilet).

I wound up not being able to keep anything down without getting violently ill for two days, and by the time I was able to get up and try to start eating something bland, it was my scheduled day off and I messaged the doctor through the website form because fuck calling people. I was able to get an appointment for the following day (Friday).

The best guess I had for the worst migraine ever, was that maybe I’d had an excess buildup of new medication (because people seem to not notice the fact that I am a tiny fucking person). I lasted about 3 days of “one pill twice a day” for the new medication (depakote, for my headaches with “added benefit” of: hey, it’s also an anti-seizure medication) before puking my toenails up. The doctor thought I had covid19, so after getting blood drawn to make sure my liver wasn’t failing, it was off to the testing site to get jabbed up the nose.

On the plus side, it wasn’t a wooden q-tip so long that it was stabbing me in the brain, I got a plastic q-tip a little bit shorter stabbing me in the sinus cavity. And, it was hard for both me and the stabber because I could barely move my neck.

Jamie thought that I had done it from being stuck in bed for two days.

After being stabbed, I had to go get prescriptions. Muscle relaxer for the neck, anti-nausea stuff to help with the illness. And…more fucking time off because if the doctor thinks you’ve got covid, you’re not allowed at work until you get the test result back.

Sunday, I finally got the phone call. I am negative, so my guess is it was an excess of medication or possibly some regular flu (I looked it up, apparently if you’ve got chronic headaches, it makes everything way worse). The best we could think of, Jamie and myself, was just pulling a muscle, which means that the muscle relaxer should help.

I looked up some stuff and it looks like a very specific bit of neck muscle got pulled which means that the pain goes up into my ear and down past my elbow. Looking up more stuff showed that if you’ve got tendonitis, it’ll probably grow worse. I have that in my elbow thanks to almost breaking my elbow by accident almost two years ago. And for the last few months, my shoulder has been crunchy and that probably doesn’t help much.

So, for the past week, I’ve been having to sleep on my back and I hate sleeping on my back. It’s gotten to where Jamie has had to spend time waking me up because I’ve woken him up snoring and even then it takes him a few minutes because I’m just not waking up at all. He’s thrilled I’m actually getting sleep, but I am not thrilled over the maneuvering I have to go through to be able to sleep. But, the extreme shoulder pain has gone from “the doctor has to test for meningitis” to “I can’t sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time without wanting to die” to “I am dead asleep for at least two hours at a time and I can’t roll over, where is the sock ball I have for my neck to keep from scrunching up.”

Also, on the plus side. Got the blood test results back, and despite a little bit of dehydration and malnutrition–gee, I wonder why. I couldn’t eat for 2 or 3 days and could barely take a sip of even ginger ale for 2 days. I am still healthy despite the whole “chronic pain, chronic headache” business.

My grandmother is under the assumption that my mom “gave” me MS, which I find kind of fucked up

The dizziness is still here. It’s probably from dehydration (no matter how much you try to get back to some semblance of normal, it’ll still take more than a couple of days) and the medication. I’ve got muscle relaxers for my neck and the depakote, which the pill bottle says “may cause dizziness.”

And, on top of that, I think I’ve suddenly developed a potato allergy. Every single time in the last week and a half I have eaten potatoes, I have gotten violently ill. Is it from headaches? Flu? Actual allergy?

I hope I haven’t. I love potatoes in all kinds of forms and varieties. I will be very sad if I cannot have potatoes.

I do, however, definitely have extra sun sensitivity. I’d already had a bit of sun sensitivity anyway (because I am a delicate southern flower lol) and if I get too hot, do stuff outside and it’s too hot, etc, I will wind up just going inside and sleeping for hours.

I think I gave myself a sunburn on my face, despite sunblock and hat, but I won’t really be able to tell for a little bit longer. It’s just that slightly pokey, itchy stage right now.

I was only outside doing stuff for about 20-30 minutes, and even then I was trying to stay in the shade and taking water breaks because a) I know me and 2) I am aware of the “extra sensitivity” thing caused by the depakote (I looked it up because it is summer and I’ve got yardwork to do). I wound up texting Jamie that I’d take a short nap, went to sleep, and woke up about the time that he came home about 4 hours later.

is there really downtime

A few weeks ago, I was trying to explain to mom about whether or not we actually get some sort of downtime at work and I realized that I should write it down as well.

So! Let’s start with right now.

Right now we are at the beginning of July. For us, this is: we are at the cusp of July 4th (Fourth of July).

July 4 is: socks, shirts, leggings, tanks, skirts, swimwear. All in various shades and variations of Red, White, And Blue while wondering if someone is going to set the “fireworks” display on fire or if the fireworks tent in the parking lot is going to get robbed. And we’re dodging phone calls about “poppers” (which ones? the ones you throw on the ground and go “bang” or those weird plastic fidget things) and giving reminders that yes, indeed, you do have to be 18 with an ID to purchase the “legally allowed” fireworks.

But, we’re also getting fall items in and backpacks. The backroom is slowly being stuffed with Back To School items (ranging from clothing to play-doh–I shit you not).

Summer stuff gets moved, items get put on sale, and on July 5 we are starting the set up for Back To School.

Granted, I love back to school time. Why? Pens! Notebooks! Art supplies!

So.

We go from Back to School to Halloween. We get Halloween items about August. Thanksgiving is mostly overlooked unless you’re meat department (which is thousands of pounds of turkey and ham. pallets and pallets of turkeys and people are so fucking specific on what size of turkey they want)

Thanksgiving is overlooked for Christmas. And Christmas is everywhere. Not only does the toy department start vomitting up ads about Halloween, there’s decorations where lawn care usually sits, faux fireplaces and KFC-scented logs up in hardware. Dog costumes, human costumes, shirts, leggings, dresses, socks, cutlery (everything)

Christmas has a brief note for New Years Eve, which is basically rings and a small display of plastic squeakers, hats, and cups.

January is Return Season–everyone who realizes that the shit they recieved sucks or they realized they got bills to pay.

For me, January rolls into February, which is ring season and ridiculous heart-shaped items. This is also about the same time we start getting swimsuits. All the swimsuits February is more important than March, unless Easter falls in March.

We get about maybe two weeks of not dealing with much more than normal merch in March save for a couple of boxes of St Patricks Day items (mostly shirts) But, shortly we get bombarded with Easter stuff.

Easter melts into summer gear, where we’re constantly bombarded with questions of whether or not we have pools (we don’t), do we have window a/c units (probably not). And then we’re right back into Fourth of July.

It’s never ending.

At some point during the year, we have Black Friday sales and the yearly inventory.

Working in the deli department, it’s not as…intense? structured?

Deli has a few simple known intense timeframes:

New Years Eve (January), Superbowl (February?), Graduation (May through June), Thanksgiving, Christmas. Plus various parties, funerals, meetings, etc.

I don’t know if it’s just me not being used to it, but that doesn’t make much sense since I used to be a front-end supervisor and every day seemed like an intense slog of frustration.

I’m hoping that I can wrap my brain around getting back to doing “regular” things, like writing or doodling, instead of just sitting here watching various youtube videos or listening to audiobooks.

Brief

– the fair officially starts tomorrow. Joy.

– I found a box of what I assumed was claims that was shoved in the back. No. Half of it was merchandise to go out into the sales floor. 4 packs of scarf/winter sets on clearance.

– all the clearing out of the back room was for nothing. Boxes all over the floor, no room to move, grills all up in the way.

– back to school reset starts next week and then it’s just down hill from there.

– dyed Jamie’s hair. It looks amazing.

– learned the manic panic bleach kit is a lot more bleach than expected and was able to dye even Jamie’s hair blonde. Might get me a couple packs for myself and go to town.

– managers from other stores are supposed to be stopping by for some sort of “training” thing.

– hopefully I’ll remember to update with a “this is how the year goes for me” when it comes to work (going from holiday to holiday or whatever)

– 7 weeks til inventory

– Jamie and his dad fixed up the fence. Yay. One thing down, many more to go.

I don’t know what it is. Every time that I try to think of a title, I just go blank and then just stare out into space.

I want to write.

I have ideas to even just update with things that are going on and have notes to myself of story ideas to tinker with. And…nothing.

I don’t know if it’s exhaustion, work, or what. I’m hoping that soon (ha) it’ll stop.

I told my mom the other day that I wished I had the energy I had even just a couple of years ago. Get up, take care of pets, go to work, get home, take care of pets, get some work done–be it writing, doing dishes, laundry, mow the lawn, anything. Now, I get up, take care of pets, go to work, get home, take care of dogs, go to sleep.

We are 7 weeks out until our yearly inventory. The backroom is a disaster.

Sometime this week, various people from other stores will be coming in to do some sort of apparel thing. My guess is it’s part of the whole new scanning program, so some of our racks are looking terrible and we can’t change it to the way we had it because it’s “not how it’s supposed to be done.”

The local fair starts on 06/30. Fireworks start today (06/26) so I’ll be getting little to no sleep for the next week or so.

Back to School starts set-up next week, which starts the long-haul of the rest of the year (back to school goes into halloween goes into christmas)

I’ve got to take apart the kurunda beds and make new fabric thingies for them. So, of course, one of the dogs got sick on them so now they’re stuck outside until I can pull them apart, measure, and start sewing them together. I bought 100% cotton thread and leather needles to help. I have an awl somewhere in this house that is still in its package.

Renfri has figured out how to get up under the back porch, which means that she’s more like Firefly than anything. I made the comment that Ren is the reincarnation of Fly.

Cricket’s got crusty eyelids–poor dog has eye allergies every summer like I do, poor thing.

Mom dug out the TENS machine she’d gotten for dad, who got shocked by it and refused to use it ever since, and has given it to me. It’s to try out for the neck/shoulder pain, so I tried it for the first time a little bit ago on a fairly low setting and worked my way up a bit. It’s helped with the headache.

So, of course, I shocked myself moving one of the pads. It was like getting zapped with an electric fence or an open wire from an outlet.

I’ve jotted down a few notes for story ideas. I’ve bought some fabric even though I know I shouldn’t because almost everything is packed up to be moved around.

I haven’t even thought of doing any sort of self-imposed deadline. I don’t know when I will. I know I should work on getting stuff together and make up a new story collection. Currently, I am…blank. Brain fogged.

I want to paint and the closest I’ve gotten to is “I wanna paint” and continue sitting there.

Hopefully, hopefully, I can work myself back into creative mode.

Well wtf then

I don’t know if it’s hotter/more humid this year than it was this time last year, but I am a bit disappointed in myself.

Jamie’s dad had come down last week and trimmed a tree I’d been meaning to trim a bit because I’d noticed that it was starting to block vision for cars and I really don’t want to be responsible for anything. He left the limbs and such behind the tree at the side of the yard.

Instead of dragging the limbs around the house on the road, I decided to chuck them over the fence so I could drag them through the back yard. The wooden gate in the fence got nailed shut over the winter because the fence needs to be replaced and it just doesn’t want to shut any longer (and not having an easily-escapable spot for the dogs is more important than having easy access to the front yard).

It did wind up being a multi-step process:
– chuck limbs over fence, cutting those that needed to be cut
– feel like I’m dying, go have snacks
– pull some limbs to the driveway, realize it’d be easier to pull some about halfway through backyard
– make small piles of limbs so they’re facing the same way and work on dragging stuff
– cut down all those weird growing things whose berries will poison the dogs before berries start
– realize there are cut limbs on the other side of the house
– stare down, look over at the pile of limbs from a couple weeks ago
– go “fuck this” and go back inside after shutting gate

I have a pile of brush almost up to my shoulders and I let the dogs out, sat on the damp back porch and even Ren was like “fuck this,” and we all went back inside after they all did a quick pee.

And I couldn’t help but think of the customer I overheard (why, why do people put their phone on speaker and talk at their phone from an arm’s length away while they wander around). While stocking, I’d heard them say “They said it was supposed to be hot down here. I guess it only gets hot in July?”

What.

And (back to yesterday), I go inside and realize that I am done for the day and it isn’t even 10am. Core temp is raised but I’m still sweating, so I’ve stopped at the right time because I have turned into a weakling or something. When did this happen? Humidity was god awful yesterday, but I don’t know when this started bothering me to the point where it mimics the whole “I’ve been doing yardwork in 90+ degree weather and now I’ve “gotten too much sun” and now I’m going to go to sleep to recover for the next four hours.”

anyway

We found out early in the week when our store inventory is (because of course we’re doing inventory this year) and…it’s sooner than what I’d heard. On the one hand: yay, we can ask for time off at the time frame that we had heard it was going to be. On the other hand: omg, it’s a month earlier than what we heard and I am fucked. My area still has…at least 15 pallets of backlogged freight. It’s looking better, yes, but we’re still working on redoing stuff in the back and there’s only so much we can do.

I expect overtime in my future and I’m honestly not looking forward to it.

I already feel blank enough as it is and I want to try to get back to writing and all I feel like I’m getting is a couple of notes to myself, and just getting through the day and remembering to take care of the pets.

Thinking on dogs

Well, mostly dog.

Bug is 13. Bug is the last pit mix of the original pit mixes for us. She’s starting to slow down and, honestly, I’m not ready for it.

She’s having a hard time going up and down stairs, so my basement buddy has turned into Renfri, who mostly spends most of her time snuffling around and spazzing out. She’s starting to have a hard time in the mornings, going up and down the two steps that is the back porch. And recently, she’s gotten to the “I’mma flop on the grass and not move for anything.”

I’m not ready for this.

On a slightly lighter note, Kevin Sonney mentioned reading KB Spangler’s Open Letter about goldendoodles. I have read it and I have to laugh because it’s so true.

And it made me think on Bug. My tank. My constantly shedding, smelly goober.

Bug, the dog who should’ve died when she was 2 or 3. The dog who stumped the emergency vet, our vet, and Virginia Tech.

The dog who ate 90% of a tote of Peeps in various stages of going stale in various colours and flavors. The dog who successfully ate one of Jamie’s logger boots, grommets and all, down to the rubber sole. The dog who, on one very memorable occasion, ate an entire 100-count pack of tealight candles–metal and all–, a decorative candle, and a brand new wax melt.

Bug, the same dog who has survived eating grapes, raisins, dried cranberries, various chocolates, half of a peanut butter jar, granola bars, beans, and various other dot-for-dogs stuff.

But if she eats lamb, she’ll probably die.

I’m not ready for my tank of a dog to slow down.

Cricket is acting like she’s slowing down, but I also know that border collies are different from pits. She’s starting to get little flakes of grey in her muzzle, so soon we won’t be able to tell where the white patch is from where she got nicked as a puppy. But then she’ll spend twenty minutes playing Bite Your Face with Ren and then I’m not so sure on how she feels.