St Patrick’s Parade

This past Saturday was our St Patrick’s parade event…thing.  Streets had already been starting to be “shut down” since the night before, our local bus system was on a set delay for the entire day, and a few events were planned. The 5k and 10k races, the parade, and the “two” festivals (regular festival where kids are allowed until 5 and the regular festival where booze is involved and going on until 8). We had Jamie’s mom drop us off at the main branch of Member One, because it was the easiest spot for her to be able to turn around and not get lost.

While it’s not that hard to get lost in Roanoke, for some people it is. It’s nothing but circles within circles overlapping a circle/gridlock motif with hidden one-way streets and dead ends.

We walked from the bank branch to Angels of Asissi’s building (with a side-stop of that weird walkway bridge thing where on one end is a life-sized statue of MLK, Jr) and waited a bit for them to officially open for volunteers and their new Walk-In program, which a couple were doing with their new dog (Doogie Howser. I should’ve gotten a photo of him, he was adorable!). We headed in and were surprised to find we were the first ones to show up so we hung out, I played with Buttercup-the-puppy while Jamie loved on cats. We hung out while the dogs who were going were being harnassed up and people showed up.

Eventually most of the people showed up, and most of us walked to the starting area of the parade. People were starting to slowly trickle around to set up on the parade route, chairs were just sitting empty (because people are dicks) and it got to the point where we were wondering if we had gone the wrong way. But, the starting-area was a little farther than I thought it was, and we were able to eventually find the Angels truck as well as the dogs.

It was madness. People were just everywhere, floats and trucks were parked on either side of the street and in any parking area they could find. People were walking their dogs and not paying attention (because some of the Angels dogs, while really well behaved, do not appreciate having dogs run up to their faces). The guy who was walking Jase (big dog, super sweet), ended up having to sit on the ground and cling to Jase away from everyone because people weren’t paying attention and being ignorant dog owners.

At one point, one woman was walking this dog who was covered in stickers (and on a flexi lead, christ) and not paying any attention whatsoever. She let the dog get into one of our adoptee dogs’ face, and he turned and barked while the woman who has been working with him and walking him started yelling “No!” and “Hey!”, this dumb bitch just kept standing there so her little dog could be annoying. If I could talk, I would’ve said something, but finally the dumbass walked away and the woman who was trying to get the adoptee dog relaxed started saying really loudly “Are you kidding me?! Watch your dog, stupid!” Jamie and I agreed with her that someone should kick the woman to get her to pay attention.

After what seemed like an eternity, we were told to line up and wait. When we get started, the Shriners decided they were going to start up their firetrucks and set off the sound. Gee, thanks guys. They did it around dogs and, of course, some of them jumped. Hell, some of the people jumped. It was a dick move on their part.

During the parade, the kids who had showed up after we had gotten to the “hold area” were tossing candy around and handing out pamphlets. People were cheering Angels on, which is really great and I am very glad that they show support for a local no-kill shelter. People were taking photos, one woman got in Jamie’s face and asked him a question while recording on her phone. The Salem Red Sox people were running around like insects and not paying any attention to where they were going. They ran into us, we had to dodge around them, they almost stepped on a few kids, and the people who had the toddler and his radio-flyer wagon kept stopping so they’d wind up with us instead of around their float.

There was a ton of people, there were announcers on a dais (it was weird), and when we were nearing the end of the parade route, people were walking with everyone in the parade so they could go to other areas in Downtown. People were cutting through or pushing up against the marchers and it was kind of maddening. One or two people darting through or saying sorry/excuse me is one thing, but it was gobs of people.

At one point, I had told Jamie that people go all-out and more crazy with costumes/whatnot than they do with Halloween. The St. Patrick’s parade is Roanoke’s own little halloween get-together.

And then we stopped. There was no police officer or sign to state this was the end of the parade route. The Red Sox truck just stopped and the driver cut the engine. Our being in the parade is over and we walk up the street to our right, where there are 5 cars trying to get out of a parkinglot (because apparently they think they’re going somewhere!) There are still groups behind us and we walk up and realize…the next part of the parade is going on.

This is a long fucking parade.

I have no idea where Furever Friends (or is it forever home? It’s something like that) were in the parade, no idea where Star City Greyhounds were placed (so we completely missed seeing Rob and Lee walking Goose, Fiddler, and Dizzy D), nor do I have any idea where the RVSPCA guys are. And I have absolutely no idea if there were any other shelters in the parade.

We turn around, I get Jamie to let some of the dog walkers know that there is no way we can get through a little farther up (because one of the dogs was in a stroller and the walker was having trouble with it), so we all cut through a carpark and Jamie and I manage to get across the street before one of the groups comes through. Jamie ends up having to pull me through the throng of people because it was so crowded, if he let go that was it.

We managed to get away, and walked back to Angels to drop off our signs (as well as the hat Jamie had and the clover headband I grabbed) and sat down for a few minutes. Then we headed back down because we were going to Make a Day out of it.

It was a terrible idea.

The parade was still going on, there was literally a wall of people around (and goats! there were two goats just watching the parade. For Roanoke, this isn’t weird. At any event, like parade or whatever, you will probably find a goat or two). We get to the “beer tent” area (a giant roped off block surrounding Corned Beef & Co), we hand over our IDs, get braceleted, and turn to find: there are 4 options of liquor (fireball whiskey, jager, irish sour something, and something) and 6 options of beer (heiniken, budweiser, corona, milwaulke, and two other things), all $6 and all none I will touch. Ok, if you put Fireball whiskey into some coke, I’ll drink that (but on my terms because I’m not a big fan of Fireball).

There are people everywhere, there are fucking rude ass people who are mostly drinking everywhere, and we just tried to get the hell out of there. Managed to get our of the “beer tent” area and agreed to attempt to look for somewhere to eat, but every. single. place. was packed. There were places where lines were out the door, one or two places had signs up saying how long the wait was and I was just like “fuck that, not worth it.”

We found the other area of “festivities” that was a giant viking bounce-house (if it wasn’t surrounded by people and I was in a better mood, I would’ve dragged Jamie with me and whined until I got my way because, dude, bounce house!) and the “beer tent” there was a little tent with a sign that said: “Beer ticket, $5 each.”

We agreed to get the hell out of there as more people thronged through. I was at the point where I would punch someone for just being there because it was too many people and we left downtown. We started walking away and Jamie called his mom to ask if she could pick us up  when we got to a better area for her and after a while, we got picked up and dropped off at the house.

We walked somewhere between 5 and 7 miles (guestimating) and agreed to go somewhere where it would be a lot less crowded because people would be at the parade/festival. We ended up at the Valley View Buffalo Wild Wings, which in a way was a bad idea because it’s loud as hell in there. It was really busy, we weirded out the poor waitress (she did awesome service! She was constantly on the go trying to make sure all of her tables were doing well, having what they needed, etc) because Jamie was my translator. I learned that I should always ask for a “small” if I get beer from them again (Guiness! Woo! and then I saw they carry Boston Lager. Damn. I’ll get that next time). We picked different things this time, Jamie got a sick-headache (the no-food, loud-atmosphere, and walking through the parade as well as aggrevation at stupid people at the parade kind of hit right after he got his drink). But we had a nice time

 

I found out later that the WWII veterans, who are always in the parade, boycotted it this year. This year, the organizers told them that they’d have to pay the $10 march fee just like everyone else and, frankly, that’s fucked up. I don’t care if you charge group A or group B a $10 march-fee because, technically, it is a type of business, but these are WWII veterans. You don’t charge them, you shouldn’t charge them, and you should ask them to march because they fought for your dumb ass. They had friends who died during that, and hell, chances are they probably got shoved into another confrontation after that war.

Charge the JROTC and the ROTC guys. They’re kids, they don’t know the horrors of war or of looking in the face of “the enemy” and killing them (hell, I don’t either). But, you don’t charge a group of veterans. I don’t care if they just came back from the Middle East (or the base in Germany or Japan), you thank them for their service, you shake their hand, and you don’t deny them being able to march in a freaken parade by being a douchecanoe and demanding money.

Sure, $10 is $10, but it’s the principle. But, the parade organizers, in my opinion, basically told veterans that they have no respect for them nor their services. And that is fucked up.

(I also found out some cool stuff about other parades that were not ours. Sam Adams (Woo!!) pulled out of the Boston parade as well as the mayor over the parade organizers refusal to let open LGBTQ people march. And, the mayor, chamber-of-whatever people, as well as Heiniken and Guiness (Woo! Guiness!) pulled out of the NYC parade for basically the same thing because apparently parade organizers were idiots this year. And it’s cool. No one was forced to change anything, people were being polite about it and explaining their views. This is how change happens)

Is it spring yet?

I am starting to get tired our weather. One day it’s 20 degrees and doing the famed “Wintry Mix”! and the next day it’s 65, all 1/2-inches of “snow” has melted. The following day is a blistering 29 degrees and windy as fuck while the next day is 70.

While the area we live in is technically “bowl” shaped, I’d really prefer to have weeks where we work on getting warmer and warmer and not have weeks where I don’t know if I should wear my boots and an extra jacket. (ok, in all seriousness, I’ll wear my boots until they fall off of me…which is sooner than expected since some of the seaming popped the other night. but they are going to be 10 years old in June). This is March. I don’t want to wake up one morning and to find snow on the ground and then wake up the next morning and feel like I could walk around in my bondage shorts.

But, on the plus side: Just barely over a month and we get to transplant all of the veggies outside into the re-tilled garden area! I am very excited.

The pumpkins decided to damn the germination period (3 weeks) and go for 6 days because we are awesome and the cheap-o germination stand we built has been a success! Quite a few of the plants had to be re-potted, so our bunny room is extra warm (which is good for the bunny as well) and smells of wet dirt (because Jamie re-potted everything in there I think), and we bought a few more seeds. Jamie wanted to try watermellon (and if memory serves correctly, we are going to be buried in creepers. thank whatever god out there that I was very adamant about not planting zucchini). They cayenne peppers seem to be pouting and being slow to germinate, which is fine. The catgrass has gone insane (and we are growing some for Fred’s cat Mr Jingles)

Jamie also found a good website to buy some herbs and other oddities, so when we get the chance, I get to buy me some feverfew (I love me some feverfew). I have another seed website bookmarked because some of the beans looked interested (I do blame Ursula Vernon for that one*)

This weekend or so, we’ll be going to buy (or build) fencing to keep the monkeys out of where the garden is going to be. The downside to this is that we’ve got to find something taller than the basic little white picket fence that’s about a foot tall and is around the outside A/C unit because Hobbes likes to leap over that fence so he can snuffle about and try to eat whatever bug is back there. And we need to keep the monkey-butts out of the future-garden area.

And: hopefully this year will be the spring/summer where we finish the “fire pit” area. We are also still planning to rip up the little fence between our house and our neighbor’s so we can replace it (possibly with the little white picket fence thing like we have around the outside A/C unit). We also need to fix the end of the driveway thanks to our latest snowpocalypse (and stupid City snow plows), which ate away part of the driveway. The neighbor (not the one with the fence) will be starting up the yearly calling-and-harrassing some City employee to “clean the culvert” and “dig it out” because it is not our responsibility. If it were, that shit would be a concrete ditch by now.

Now, to enjoy the weather, pop in headphones (and put on pants, I don’t want to put on real pants) and clean the backyard)

 

* My hope is that I will not turn into an avid gardener like Ursula Vernon because her posts (and mentions on KUEC) are kind of scary when she goes off on tangents about mulch and the large number of beds she has. But she does try very hard to grow just things in general (with an attitude of “let’s see if this sprouts!) and has a specific type of plant that she tries to grow (it’s native gardening or something?).  I love her work, she cracks me up.

hopefully a success

Jamie and I have decided to attempt to do a garden this year. The trouble is the monkeys and how we are going to keep them out of the area that Jamie has tilled (and have it be unlike the last time we tilled an area of the backyard, had another frost come, and had Firefly dig up anything that we attempted to put in. the area is still rather uneven in places, but the dogs don’t seem to notice). He’s going to be tilling the area for a second time this weekend so we can get things a bit smoother.

While that’s going on, Jamie had originally just bought two lights and were going to string them up from the ceiling in the Purple Room (aka: the bunny room; formerly: the cat room), but then we both remembered that it is our house and therefore would not be safe to put lights up using nothing more than those little screw-in hooks. So, we went to Lowes (ok, Jamie went back to Lowes and at that point I was awake enough to go along), bought a cheap-o plastic shelving, another fixture and another set of lights, and created our own little germination area. Jamie pointed out that the $50 that was spent altogether was still cheaper than the indoor germination pods that were being sold.

Apparently we’re doing something right.

It’s been about a week and a half to two weeks. The cucumbers and turnips sprouted first, then the kale and tomatoes. We’re fully expecting to see sprouts from the pumpkin seeds by Saturday (they were “planted” this past Sunday) because all of the plants have seemed to have gone: fuck this, let’s get growing! So, hopefully by the time we can actually plant things outside (which, the farmer’s almanac states should be April 14th), we won’t be run over by hordes of pots (and Odwalla boxes) that are threatening to explode greenery everywhere.

We’ll also be putting up fencing (because of Firefly)  around the area where the little garden is going to be and, paws crossed, this year will be the year when we rip up the ancient “fence” divider that is between our yard and our neighbor’s yard (we both agree it needs to go, they can’t afford it and every time we make plans to do it, something happens) and replace it with a nice fence. This will give me a chance to continue the Fight Against The Poison Ivy and That Damned Vine because I, of course, will be the one ripping out the fence and putting it in. Because, frankly, I really do not want to sit in a doctor’s office so Jamie can have his shot-and-pill combo this early in the year (he’s allergic to, well, practically anything that grows. but, he’s very allergic to the poison ivy, poison oak, sumac, virginia creeper, etc).

If we are successful, we will have:: The Veggiepocalypse(!) as well as Attack of the Killer Pumpkins(!). If all goes well, Halloween will be very fun this year (and I will require a new dremel, some wooden spikes, and possibly some little tealight candles among other things)

trying to get my mind off it

(note:: I’m rambly, I’m trying to keep my mind off of what happened this morning, so deal.)

Uggs has decided to go batshit crazy. Running and sliding into the cubes, chasing toys, etc. It’s awesome.

——

Let’s see…

Today:

I had numerous people get pissed off because they thought I was fucking around, being rude, or whatever. Quite a number of them saw my sign but chose to ignore it and quite a few did the “I’m going to shove All The Things in front of your sign then get pissy when you don’t answer.”

I had a few people demand I answer them.

I had a guy read my sign and the following happened::

Guy: Hey, she’s a squirrell, she can’t talk.
Son: You can’t talk
Me: *shakes head and smiles*
Guy: If she talks, she’ll turn into a cucumber.
Son: Seriously, you can’t talk?

The guy then offered me $100 to talk and his son was like “I bet you a million dollars you’d talk.” lol

I also had a kid run up to my register after I’d gotten back asking if I was open, I nodded and assumed she was with the adults who were right behind her (one of whom she hit). She hopped closer to the scanner and put her hand on the counter and just stood there. The guy behind her just gave me this really dirty look like “are you kidding me?”

And then the little snot’s parents showed up. The mother just went “why didn’t you let those people ahead of you?” but did nothing to apologize for the kid’s behaviour. I smiled and waved to the parents as the little snot shoved her basketball in my face, and attempted to ignore the father’s shitty behaviour. After I rang out their Two Whole Items(!), the father gave me this really nasty DIAF look because I smiled and handed him his receipt.

The couple, whom the kid had gotten in front of and did the above, never said a word. They also had time to read my sign and decided to ignore it. The guy decided instead to throw the 8-pack of paper towels at my face and have a super shitty attitude. The chick decided to ignore everything completely.

Yep, y’all have a nice night and I hope your bags bust.

While I was away from the register and putting returns in their bins, I got to witness the following:

A guy had come to return two of those night-light pillow pet things, he did not have his receipt. The girl doing returns refused to process the return (our store has a policy of: if it is over $25 and you do not have your reciept, we will not refund you in any way). The guy demanded to speak with A Manager.

Our front-end supervisor shows up (because that’s how we work; if things get worse, it goes to whomever is assistant manager at the time, if there is one available) and the employee informs him of what’s up. The guy cuts her off and explains that these two items were Birthday Presents given to his kids (on Specific Date) and that “that girl” refuses to refund him. They were *Birthday Presents*! He deserves a refund!

The supervisor asks politely if he has the reciept. He says of course he doesn’t! They were *Birthday Presents*! For His Kids! The supervisor explains that it is our store policy that if you do not have a receipt, we offer store credit for items up to $25; anything above $25 we do not do any sort of refunds for.

The guy demands to know where this policy is. The supervisor calmly explains that it is not posted, the particular piece of policy that is needed is open-ended so the store manager can make the limit that s/he wants and that each store has a different monetary limit (is true, some stores are $15, some stores are $50 or $100, it all depends on the store manager). The guy cuts off the supervisor: “Oh, so you’re not the manager?! I’m not speaking to the manager?! I want to speak to The Manager!”

The supervisor calmly explains that she has left for the day and the guy demands why (yes, because our store manager is here 24/7 because work is more important that sleep and her family). I can easily see the supervisor just stopping the conversation, apologizing and telling this guy that he is being rude and refuses to continue with the discussion further before walking off, however: he does not. He explains that our store manager is usually here during the morning/day and leaves around 5-6 pm, and that currently he is the only one who is here.

So, this guy demands her number. Our supervisor goes “Ok, just a moment.” and writes down the store number (as per policy), the guy looks at it and goes “what is this?!” The supervisor explains that it is the number, says yes it is the store number but all he has to do is call it and ask for our store manager (he’s written her name down) and the guy is livid. He demands *her* number, not the *store* number. He fully expects to have a private number that goes directly to a voicemail just for the store manager and then starts demanding her personal number. The supervisor refuses politely and states that he does not have access to her personal number.

The guy then demands the number for corporate before going off about how “if he knew” about this “stupid” policy, he wouldn’t have “wasted the gas” and “spent all this time” waiting in line and coming to the store. Really? You could’ve called and asked, moron.

The supervisor asks if there’s anything else he can do. The guy snottily goes “You haven’t helped me at all, how could you do anything else?” The supervisor starts to leave and goes “Ok, you have a wonderful night sir.” and if I could’ve laughed I would.

One of my coworkers said if I don’t start talking soon, she’s going to teach me some ASL. I told her I’m learning a tiny bit, but hey, I’m all for any tips/tricks. She said that when her daughter was sick and in the hospital, they spoke via ASL because her daughter had tubes down her throat (she had learned as a kid due to something or other, she didn’t say and I didn’t ask, and her husband had checked out all the ASL books he could so he could talk to her while she was in the hospital! that’s so awesome). Her husband, a while later, said that if I don’t start talking soon, he’s going to kidnap me and take me to see his doctor. I told him no, I don’t have the money and he said, that’s fine, I’ll pay for it. I kept “saying” no and shaking my head (I don’t want anyone to do that) and while I appreciate the offer, I don’t want to have anyone feel like they have to do anything like that for me.

They’re a wonderful couple and I love them to death. They’ve always been so sweet to me, but I don’t want anyone to feel like they need to do something like that.

Also:

Moms came through my line today and had a package of Sour Watermellon Peeps. I know they (Just Born, Inc) like to bring out something new in time for Easter and I thought it was just going to be the Hollow Chocolate Egg (with Peep Inside!!), but apparently the watermellon thing as well. Moms said they were really good and ripped open the package after I rang her up so she could give me two (she asked me if I wanted to try it and I shrugged, I wasn’t expecting it).

I tried one of the peeps when I didn’t have anyone to ring out and…it was really weird. It was Peeps, then sour, then jolly rancher, then Sour Watermellon Jolly Rancher Peeps. I made a face just in time for one of my coworkers to turn around and see me. She cracked up to so much she fell over one of the counters and said that it was revenge for me making fun of how she reacted to one of the Cold-Eez zinc lozenges

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This morning::

I love our vets. They are amazing and wonderful and I will take anyone down who says anything against them. BJ demanded a hug from both Jamie and myself. We also got a hug from one of the front-end ladies (she also said she’d been thinking about us all week)

Our vet gave Izzers anti-anxiety/relax medication for a dog twice her size. She freaked out and didn’t relax. She sat and looked around, ready to go home. The vet went back to get more and gave her anti-anxiety medication for a dog three times her size. She got a few snores in and got the last laugh by peeing on the vet. 

I didn’t realize how anxious/nervous/etc she was until that moment. But, she’s finally relaxed, she’s resting peacefully. I miss my Izzy-butt.