Monday, October 31, 2011

How things work out.

Interesting day; mundane post. Apologies up front.

Today: I worked, I met up with Parker & Kial for lunch and had a lovely time, I worked out, I napped, I led a meeting, I came home, and I blogged. Er, am blogging. Whatever. Epiphanies were also had, and choices may be in motion.

Read on:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We will be victorious.

I had a real long talk with my manager yesterday. It was good--overdue but grown up. It left me feeling the need to change how I act and treat myself. Shit's gonna get serious, bitches. Or so I hope.

So, after the conversation, I was kinda pissed at myself. Possibly--hopefully--a good kinda pissed. And I think I came away having learned some important shit. I hope I can keep these lessons present in mind as they're as relevant as they are significant.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wake up for the morning commute.

So I've been working this parttime gig at Macy's. Visual merchandising--from 8 to 1, which means I have to get up pretty goddamn early.
I did pretty well today; I'm just about used to this sleep schedule. I was outta bed around 6:30, maaan....nuts. The rest of the week was a bit mixed: some days I ran late (only hadda get a ride from mom once) other days roughly on time. Today I was running early and so that was heartening.
I really like working here so far--and not entirely because I'm getting paid more and have a moderately substantial number of hours. the work is good, even paced, and I feel appreciated.
I do really well with that. I like getting some positive feedback overall; it doesn't need to be fawning or worshipful. Like my manager has tested me sayingthey things like "thank you for the hard work" or "you did well on the garlands, im grateful for your help".
But we can discuss why I like that so much later. Right now I'm almost to the mall.
Anyway, so I worked my one shift at AE for the week last night. It was really frustrating. I mean, I feel I still did fairly well but....  :-\
Maybe it didn't help that I was offered a legit better paying job at Macy's. Maybe it's just the apparently increased stresslevels/chaos in my AE. Maybe it's having worked there so long, slaving away at barely above minimum wage. Maybe it's being 24 and feeling stuck living in my parents' basement--dreaming of moving out but not making anywhere near enough at AE to even consider it. Whatever it is, I'm feeling so frustrated and can't stand it because I love my store and coworkers.
The job I was offered at Macy's likely won't work out as the guy needs someone, like, last week and I've still got another 2 weeks doing visual. But still.
It reminded me that I do have options. Either looking for a different job or 'bargaining' with my AE managers. No ultimata mind you, but leveling with them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Totally worth it.

I was just tweeting how utterly necessary it was to go outta my way trying to fix something I didn't even need.

@palmerpink: So I've been trying to McGyver my laptop's AC adapter back to life without actually whipping out my pocket knife on a moving bus. #smartkid
@palmerpink: All of this so I can blog from the bus--which I could as easily have done from this phone. #smartkid
@palmerpink: I have at least figured out what the problem was. Now all I need is some electrician's tape and a pocket knife--oh. #smartkid

Seriously, there I was trying every gadget on my pocket knife but the fork & spoon to pop open the adapter to see if a wire had come unsoldered. Only to remember once I'd popped it open that the problem was with the wire at the other end of the adapter. Le sigh.

I tend to go through these adapters every few months. I'm bot sure if I'm especially abusive or they're especially defective, but I've gotten used to hawking up 10bucks every couple months for a cheapo replacement online.

But no more.

I figured--it already wont work anymore, so worst case I foul it up worse and still end up replacing it anyways. Not that big a risk when you think about it, really.

As I suspected, something pretty straightforward was amiss. A wire in the power cord going into the adapter had become worn/fatigued/twisted and begun to snap in its sheath. All I gotta do is cut that part of the cable and stripping the wires and threadin'em back together and taping it all up to create....ghetto adapter!

But I still hafta wait until I'm home to do any of this. Sigh.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Decisions.

Back in NYC. As lovely as ever, if a bit more confusing, but then that's mostly my own doing.

See, I could catch a bus home tonight OR I could stay at my friend's place and catch a bus tomorrow. Seems simple--but naturally I cannot allow that to be!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More productive.

I feel less accomplished than I kinda expected to feel. Some of the chores weren't as doable as we'd hoped, and I spent less time writing/thinking than I'd hoped.

But oddly I'm not exactly disappointed by it. It's nice just being here (how Hallmark....). But, seriously, I think I managed to get in some good relaxation time, and even if I haven't reached any ULTIMATE CONCLUSIONS on the things that've been on my mind, I've managed at least a bit of thinking I doubt I'd otherwise have found time/space for.

I also got to spend some precious quality time with my grandmother; Lord, I love that lady :) It's nice to spend some time with her, one on one, and know she's doing well, yeh?

Yeh :)

Anyway, I'm strangely tired-ish again; I may rest some more. Fml, man; nothing's gonna get done. But I may actually be okay with that....

Friday, October 21, 2011

The lake that never leaves.

I've been wanting to write a poem about this place--this lake, our house here--for the longest time. I thought of this title for it yesterday, when I arrived up the driveway and stood near the house and breathed the air, thinking, "Oh, this lake that never leaves".

Because that's something I love most about it. Of all the moves and changes and (alleged) growing up over the years, this lake, this house, has always been right here. My mother and I realized that one perfect morning on the dock, at that mysterious hour before the wind picks up and the lake is flawlessly smooth. She pointed out how for both of us it's the only thing that's been constant in our lives; we've both come here yearly since we were born. A respite we can rely on; an anchoring place.

I was getting worried that I wouldn't make it up here this year. I kept being detained by work or miscommunications with family. But I got here, and I am so happy I did. It's just about freezing right now and I couldn't be happier. Weird, eh? It's still beautiful even with all the deciduous leaves gone and most plants dead for the season. It's so quiet, so peaceful. The air is still fresh, the wind off the lake cool and heavy.

I don't think I've mentioned that when I die, I want to be buried here. There's a graveyard nearish the lake, along the west of it; that's where I want to be interred. I've also got most of the rest of my funeral planned, but that's irrelevant. This is where I want to rest in death as well as life.

That's probably kind of creepy. Oh well. The point is, it's beautiful here, and such a significant part of my life; I'm grateful to have a place like this to go to, to rely on, to rest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm on a bus, mother fucker.

And don't you ever forget it.

I actually like buses. Buses and trains. I know a lot of people who abhore buses of all kinds--from Metrobus to Greyhound. But I ain't like them fools.

Buses are cheap and generally convenient. Like how this ticket only cost me $17. Like how this bus has wifi and power outlets--and its seats aren't that bad, really. Nicer than most carseats.

("No smoking or drinking of any alcoholic beverages...." my bus driver has just asked me. Two things I could poke fun at here. First of all--I can't ever remeber jonesing for a beer or bourbon on a bus even when I was drinking. Second--"smoking...any alcoholic beverages..." Since when could you smoke booze!? Why wasn't I informed of this!? hoorah, syntactic ambiguity!)

So, yeah; for a mere 17 bucks and 4.5ish hours' time, I'll be in NYC. Love it. Especially the part where I'll have a good 2 and a half hours to kill in Manhattan before catching my second bus. Let's hope I don't end up too bored :)

Between the trees, among the leaves.

So tomorrow I head up to Connecticut for the rest of the week. I'll be doing a good deal of chores--closing down the lakehouse for the season, painting and mending, and so forth--but I look forward to the time spent among the trees and the leaves, the wind and the cold.

(Mind you, it's not normally that cold when I visit, but I've never been up there this late in fall...and it's in the mountains...like, the highest mountain or something...it's in a cute town, though....)


Anyway, I love this place. My family's had a lakehouse up there since the 1930s; it's got this stolid, stonelike quality to it. Immovable. Of course it's really made of wood, and being 80 years old needs a bit of work now and then. Which is my excuse for going up this weekend, to do some work to fix it up a bit and close it down for the season.

I'm excited. A bit of time to go clear my head and look at some nature and think, if I must, or write, if I can. Honestly, just spending time there is more than enough reward as far as I'm concerned. But right now--I could definitely use some me-time.

Work's continued to be stressful and herky-jerky. I still don't know if I want to stay and continue working there or leave, or when I'd leave if I did decide to.... I'm still trying to figure out my writing, what I want to do with it, how, all that. There's a lot on my mind; sometimes recently it's been getting to me.

But the lake. Oh, the lake and its trees. I'll freeze my ass off and work a bunch during most of the 3 days I get to spend there or whatever, but, frankly, I'll be happy.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A brand new old me.

I used to be that guy who knew the news. Really, really knew what was up in the world.

Like, every day I'd read the Washington Post, The New York Times, stuff from the Guardian, and various news/analysissy blogs. I was a Journalism hopeful at the time, so these things were basically mandated reading. (I was also eagerly avoidant, then, and so this was a wonderfully purposeful means of killing time.)After I failed that journalism class, that habit fell by the wayside.

But I've always missed it. Partly, that wonderful feeling of being knowledgeable; partly, also, that ability to explain important things/current events to other people. I felt I had a grasp on the world around me, which for a out-and-out space cadet like me is something kinda mind boggling.

I'm not sure why I never quite picked up the habit/news-bug again. I think I always thought it'd be such a time commitment (indeed, reading even just the A sections or frontpages of all dem papers can get a bit intense...) or maybe I simply forgot to.

Yesterday, I spent maybe 30 minutes, or a bit more, following some links from my twitter feed to some articles--and almost instantly tasted some of that old, familiar in-the-know-ness. It felt so good; I've been only vaguely, occasionally aware of the goings on recently I haven't been following, that have gone on developing and happening beyond my awareness. Even following up just a bit on only a few of them, as I did yesterday morning, felt so awesome.


I don't know if I'll get back to my old level of insane news-fever, but I do think I've found an easier way to keep current.

It used to be I had the front page RSS feeds for all those news publications in my feed reader, and I'd scroll through it on my laptop and read the ones that interested me. Using a feed reader actually isn't all that bad a method--you always know you're following sources you trust, that you've personally selected.

But for now I think I'll settle with the news feed widget I put on my phone yesterday. It brings in top stories in various categories from virtually all the same sources--and even a few others I don't mind reading terribly, either--and does so simply.


I hope that spending even 10 or 15 minutes a day browsing what's up will be enough to keep me on top of my smarts/satisfied. That's not too hard, right? Soon enough, I'll be all impressive & knowledgeable all over again, just like I used to be; soon enough, I'll be explaining what's going on with OWS or in Congress or in whatever completely overblown and ridiculous scandal is big.

I suppose I might want to look closer at why that feeling is so alluring, so satisfying. Knowing what's going on and having people come to me like some news analyst. Perhaps it's a need to impress or have someone(s) rely on me; maybe it's even a desire to feel somehow superior.

Frankly, though, at this point I just don't want to get left behind by the goings on of the world anymore. I think I'll just focus on that for now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Strangelove and brainlove.

Yesterday's post kinda sucked. One of those meandering tl;dr things I churn out every now & then and instantly regret. Oh yeah, I just did that: I made a totally unnecessary link to urban dictionary so you could understand me better (cuz I'm just cute & obnoxious like that).

Today I'm thinking a lot on sex, literature, twitterfinds, brains, and um...newsness? I'm hoping to keep this post short (unlike yesterday's) and mostly coherent (also unlike yesterday's). At the least, to the point. We'll see how that works out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Frustration.

My store had its holiday floorset this past weekend; the last 2 nights/days were a hellish, chaotic mass of stress and physical exertion. It was probably my 10th floorset, at least, but this time I couldn't help getting extremely frustrated and surly towards the end.

I love my store and can't deny having contemplated some kinda management role from the very beginning. I like coordinating people, and recently I've wanted to hold people accountable for things like tasking pace. But as exciting as that could be, I'm not so sure it's what I want anymore.


Naturally, it can be a long process to become a manager, but I'm aiming to get the seasonal shift lead position at my store this holiday season. Essentially it's a temporary key holder position meant to help with the extended hours and rise in traffic. It can also lead to further management positions.

While this is a perfectly exciting possibility, it will be stressful. Hopefully I can figure out how to keep that stress from turning to frustration and thus surliness. Stress itself isn't the problem, especially when handled well; it's when I let it get to me, get under my skin and sour my mood.


I feel like I've become more aware of some of my store's underlying problems (or at least the more superficial trouble they cause). I feel I've even begun noticing patterns. But I don't feel like there's much of anything I can do to 'save the store'--and yet feel somehow like I have to.

Like, we have issues with payroll. Serious issues. Like, we get called by home office and yelled at. A lot of things probably contribute to being over hours, but one thing I could point out is a lack of accountability and time management.

I feel like nobody's enforcing efficient use of our payroll hours. We're a tiny store that gets, like, little enough payroll to work with as it is without it getting wasted. Too often, associates just fritter away time or don't multitask enough or simply go too damn slow, and it eats up payroll because nobody calls them out on it or does anything (it seems) about it.

Then there's the failures of coordination. I feel like there's a lack of planning and good decision making in certain areas, and that it's killing us as a store. It doesn't help that we're understaffed half the time but when my manager gets sucked into something and loses track of everything else or when she starts driving us like she drives herself (as far as I can tell, she doesn't sleep, eat, take breaks, or otherwise behave like an ordinary human/organism) or when she demands specifically unnecessary levels of perfection, it kills our hours, our ability to actually get this shit done, and even our overall enthusiasm.


I feel so married to my store, see. So when I see it not only struggle and not only continue to struggle but struggle in ways that feel so unnecessary and resolvable/manageable, it really pisses me off. The savior part of me wants to fix it and make it all better, but I feel helpless. And that's what pisses me off.

I've been gritting my teeth through writing most of this post--it has me on edge just thinking about it. I keep waiting for the store to figure itself out or someone to say something, but it's just not happening. Fact of the matter is, it isn't even really my concern. I make it my concern by wanting to please my manager and worrying about manager-things instead of my own job. However this store and its management don't make it easy to maintain those kind of boundaries.

This past weekend was especially rough because I saw and experienced all of the things that piss me off at this store and, I feel, saw them more objectively. And by the end of it I was so over it; I turned surly and grumpy.


I don't want to give up. I don't want to miss an opportunity for growth, experience, responsibility, and all that. I don't want to let my store or my manager down. I feel like I'm running around in circles/into brick walls, and that I could be putting my time and energy and focus and shit into something more (read: actually) productive.

And it's a funny thing, this resistant urge to stay. Why do I feel so obligated to stay? So goddamn much is demanded of me and I will push myself to the point of exhaustion to do it because...? I'm not sure.

But I think that's a lot of what made this last floorset so angering: it seemed so damn pointless. So unnecessary. We're making ourselves crazy and running ourselves ragged over a job that only pays us minimum wage for it.

I don't know I want this anymore. It's been fun and invaluable experience, but couldn't I find a better, more exciting, more fulfilling job? Hell, maybe even one that pays better.

Last night, I put my foot down. She said we'd do what we could, clean up some, and leave the rest to get worked on tomorrow (ie, today); that we'd be out by 10. 11:15 rolls around and we've got the all the big things she'd listed taken care of and closed down the store. We're tired, frustrated, and grumpy. But suddenly we're launching ourselves into the ratsnest of clearance in the stockroom.

Enough was enough. I could understand needing to stay extra to help wrap things up; an extra hour and a quarter's pushing it, but ok it may be pissing me off but I'll play nice. But then adding on an extra hour or two or more's worth of shit last minute?

No. I was going home. I didn't make any big fuss out of it, I didn't even fuss at all. I just asked if I could go now; they said I could--they said it with that subtle implication that I would be judged somewhat less dedicated, less good an employee, of course; that little twinge that usually guilts me into staying and slaving myself harder, longer.

But I stood firm, and left for the night.


It felt good. Relieving. I looked at what they were undertaking, and chose not to take it on. I was still frustrated, but I was learning to let it go. We'll see how long that lasts.


Sigh.

I'm going outta town the rest of the week. I definitely need at least this much: time away from this infuriating mess. Maybe that'll help me sort it all out. Meanwhile, I need to work on setting boundaries and sticking to them. Something I've always been bad at. But I honestly think it's the only hope I have for staying sane.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oh well, in a bit.

I had wanted to post about my work-related frustrations, but that'll have to wait. I have to head into work in a few. Still muchly frustrated, fear not.

Meanwhile, I finally typed and posted a draft of the poem I'm working on. You should really check it out; I'd muchly like the feedback.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Homeward and onward.

This was a wonderful trip. At leaat a full day too short for my liking, but rewarding and wonderful all the same.

I had worried at parts that I would disappoint somebody. Like Mani by not really sitting down and catching up, or the friends I was meeting up with being indecisive or overpaced & underplanned, or Parker by leaving him behind with Mani yesterday.

But it actually turned out pretty alright. Parker had a blast palling about with Mani and his friends, and hanging out with one of my friends ended coincidingly with when my other friend wanted to hang.

And everyone, it seems, came away happy. Parker got experience parts of New York he didn't back when his family used to live here. Mani got to enjoy (? :-P) hosting a pair of nutballs for the weekend. I got caught up with two really awesome guys I could totally see working closely with or otherwise keeping in much better touch with.

Revisiting this old town, the memories it holds; taking some ownership and reliving a sliver of the life I used to lead here (the better slivers, of course); was more than just a bit thrilling, too.

But I'm going home now, and I'm feeling pretty upbeat. Between the goodconversation stimulating conversation, the memories old and new, and time spent musing, I feel so motivated and even ready to 'kick ass and take names'.

I'm really excited to head home, though. I'm excited to write and draft and finish projects. I'm looking forward to keeping up with these friends and collaborating and brainstorming and everything.

One thing that's strikes me oddly is how little envy or anger I feel. Normally I might be all kindsa caught up with how much closer everyone else is in the pursuit of their dreams. But if this trip's reminded me of anything, it's that what's passed is passed, and life moves on. So, instead, I feel ready to move forward with my own life, to learn and to grow and change. To start building the rest of my life in my own world, in my own home--right here in DC, the strange lovely little town I love and've chosen to call my home.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On the road.

<p>So I'm partway on my way to NYC for the weekend. It's been a while since I had a real, solid visit though my last two--bookending a trip to Connecticut--were lovely and marvelous.</p>
<p>This feels kind of last-minute; I'm still not sure what all we'll be doing when we get up there. It still feels like only last week when Parker reminded me, "You know our New York trip is next week, right?" Oh, wait, I guess it <i>was</i> 'just last week'.</p>
<p>I like the way this (mini)roadtrip feels. I guess I'm just so used to the way my parents freak out and micromanage and overpack and yell at eachother (something they otherwise never really do...). I seemed to almost inherit some of that anxiety as the weekend approached--mostly out of worry for how/when/what we'd be doing.</p>
<p>But then I let go somewhat, somehow. Like, I'd call my friends to check in and coordinate, and while they'd be (understandably, I suppose) "When are you getting here?!" "What do you wanna do!?", I somehow just felt, "It's cool, man, we'll figure it out fine.". </p>
<p>And I think it will be :-)</p>

<p><i>I started writing this in the car ride up to NYC Saturday. I forgot to finish it then, but feels it's still worth posting even as we head out of the city and start heading home.</i>

Friday, October 7, 2011

I have fleas.

The love of a cat can be difficult to understand exactly. Mine, for example, likes to bring me dead mice, birds, squirrels, and even bats from time to time. Others just like to snuggle and purr (he does that, too, of course). A few weeks ago, as an act of ultimate kitteh luffs, he brought me fleas.

I love Marcel, really I do. But I tried really hard to hate him for this. (The problem is he's too damned cute & sweet to hate....) All the same, whether I love or hate the damnable fuzzhead, he got my bed infested with fleas. And possibly my bedroom. And maybe even the entire basement Parker & I live in. Sigh.


So it's been a bit weird since I figured out the flea problem. Changing sheets every night, vacuuming tons, setting up a dehumidifier to control the fleas some. I honestly haven't personally found any more on my bed, but who knows....

I'm paranoid with formication--everywhere I go, I'm convinced there's fleas on me. Anytime some hair on my forearm shifts, I'm convinced it's a flea. Every random itch I can't shake, same thing.

To be fair, two of the times I felt those sensations turned out to be actual fleas--that's how I found out there were fleas in my bed in the first place. It's still kind of driving me crazy though.


Anyway, right now I'm upstairs blogging on the TV computer instead of down in the basement. I just laid down some flea-deathing carpet powder in the basement so I had to vacate entirely.

That shit was crazy. It kinda smelled nice. But then it got all airborne as I "scratched it deep into the carpet fibers where the eggs and larva are" with a stiff broom. Then it turned on me, and it tried to kill me, too. Not cool, man. It gave me a mean cough. I'll probably be dead by morning, no worries.

So I'm up here while I wait for the Halabja massacre downstairs to settle out. (oh yeah, I went there.) I'll probably wait until I come home later to actually vacuum it.