Monday, November 30, 2009

Smoke Two Joints...

November has been an interesting month.

I got the job in my home town that I was stressed about.  Turned out not to be a good fit, so I left.

I was lucky in that the other opportunity was still on the table that I wanted.  I started there today, and if anything, the opportunity has increased.   Nothing has been promised that I would call set in stone, but the language tells me it won't be long for a major promotion.   Good things really do come to those who wait, I guess.

So I am back working in San Francisco, a city I love and find endlessly entertaining.  I mean, where else in the world would you see three people walking down the street smoking joints and just have the police wave at them?

The job is going to be great.  I really enjoy the new crew, and the opportunity to grow is beyond belief.   I don't want to go into too much detail because of all the proprietary information, and I certainly do not want to offend my new crew, but I will post stories as they happen.  Working in San Francisco, you can count on several in the not so distant future.

This will be a bit of a busy time for BossLady and me, as we are moving to our own place after staying with family for the last 4 months.  I probably won't post again until mid to late December.   But I WILL be back.  

Of course, this year I am having to do something I never do.  Shop for Xmas.  It's big in her family.  I never did much beyond getting Mom a card and maybe something for BossLady.  Otherwise, to me, it was just a forced day off.  Blech.   Now it's shop for her, her parents, her grandmother, and sixteen dozen other people I've never met.   

Fun and games.

Thanksgiving was interesting, spending it with several people I have never met, but am apparently related to now.   And even more fun, some of them work retail as well, and know the store I am going to.

This is going to be interesting to say the least.

Anyhow, I will be back.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009


BossLady and I have had a bit of a go lately.  

We have been staying with family in the Bay Area since the move and while I found work.   Family is great and we could not have made it without their help, but it's time to move on.

Back when BossLady took her photo gig, we drove up and went apartment hunting with little luck.  It's very frustrating when they all want money NOW and we were just getting ideas.   So we backed off and decided to wait till I landed something.

Today we signed our papers for our new place.

We are both excited to have our own place again.   We appreciate all the family has done, but we need to have "our" space back.  We miss it.

The only problem... We have to wait a month till we actually move in.

This could be a good thing, as I have to get going on the new job and the dust will settle a bit for us.  And we can start planning our move without feeling rushed.

BossLady is happy, too.  She will be in her hometown.  I will be close to mine, though I have lived in this city before.   And she will be close to her family, which is something she has not had in 5 years.  And best of all in her mind, I have to get her a new kitten, which we decided we will rescue from the local shelter.

The place is in a nice location, close to BART and a golf course as well as tennis courts and a lake.

Ah... the joys of moving...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Today I start the new job.

I got the one I wanted, which is awesome.

Even better, it's in my home town.

Today is paperwork, and then we are going full bore to get the place open and just rockin'.

Stories should follow soon about the customers and just what it's like to open something from the ground up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

... pation is Killing Me!

Had the interview.

Talked with who interviewed me before.   That was good.

Talked to his "boss".   I have no read on him, so not sure how it went.

I was told I would hear by tomorrow.

Wife has me out at the driving range hitting golf balls then going apartment hunting all day to keep my mind off of things.

I don't feel good about this.


Waiting has never been my strong suit.

I have my final interview for a job that I really want today (in less than an hour, actually) and I am going nuts. I'd bite all my fingernails off, if I had any left. Heck, I'd gnaw 'em off the cat if that were possible... But I also feel that this is just a formality, and that all will go well. Which is why I am excited and anticipating this interview. I want to work again so bad I can almost taste it.

A habit of mine when I am working (or just excited for something) is to be early. Very early. As in I-got-here-last-week early. People laugh at me and tease me about it, and I even make fun of myself for it.

But I have never been late to work. Ever.

Of course, this means when I go to things like a football game or baseball game, I tend to show up before the players. Which can be fun, if you are into people watching. And depending on where you live, you can get quite a show.

BossLady and I have been fortunate in that we have lived in places where we encounter a lot of different people. In Los Angeles/Orange County, all you had to do was drive to the beach or take a walk in a tourist trap area, and voila! Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, just hop on BART. Hell, just walk in San Francisco.

BossLady and I would go to Disneyland when we were in Southern California and comment (quietly) to ourselves about people. Sometimes, we were crude, mean spirited and just outright inhumane with what we said (though we never spoke it above a whisper in each other's ear... we truly are not mean... we just make each other laugh this way and we do judge each individual on their own merits). Other times, we would make up fantasy lives for these people, or even make like we are some fashion critic couple touring the place.

Face it, LA is prime people watching turf.

People are a large part of why I love working retail. You meet all kinds of people, good and bad. Some are funny, others sick. But they are the reason the world goes 'round.

So here's hoping things go great in the next hour....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Remember Me?

Hi, Remember Me?
Been a while since I posted, and a lot has happened.

First, I lost my job in Southern California. Yeah, I know, get in line with about 13% of the country. So most of my time has been spent pounding pavement and scouring the job boards to find a new spot. And by this Friday (more likely Thursday), that problem will be solved.

Heck, I have had two separate phone interviews while typing this today!

Only took me six months to deal with.

Back in February, I committed a form of pseudo-suicide. I bought Snowboard gear for BossLady and myself and took her to Big Bear Resort in Southern California to learn how to snowboard (suicide because I know me... If I can get hurt doing something, bank on it happening. And it did. Concussion, and messed up rotator cuff in my left shoulder, and the world's UGLIEST bruise on my ass). By default, I learned, too.

The lessons at Bear Mountain were great, and we met and became friends with a really great guy, JC. Originally we did a group lesson that he taught, then arranged for a private lesson later in the day. Best money we ever spent. JC made us learn in the best way. He told us what we got right and how to improve where we were not doing so hot without making us feel stupid. We left that first day feeling incredible, but driving in the blizzard down the mountain with a concussion was a blast.

A few weeks later, we went back and just rode. We found JC, and got another day of lessons. Now, no one is going to confuse us with Shaun White, but we did improve. And with JC there, we were laughing the entire day.

BossLady and I made a third trip just before the end of the season, and while we didn't do the lesson, we did manage to see JC and his significant other (and she is a very fun person, too!). BossLady and I had fun, and then invited JC and C to our wedding (which they managed to make to the reception!).

Now we can't wait for it to snow in Tahoe at Squaw Valley. Or Mammoth. But we do plan on going to SoCal to board at Bear Mountain as well. It wouldn't be winter without JC.

BossLady took a job in Northern California, so we packed up from our Irvine home and headed back to our roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. Made the job search fun, but that's okay. Once we got back to the Bay, we realized how much we missed it. I miss SoCal, but this is home.

I also had to deal with the loss of a very important person in my life. My grandmother, who put me through college and made a lot of the things possible for me that I did growing up, passed away in August at the age of 98. She is a legend among my family, and no one who ever met her has failed to be amazed by her. She was incredibly active in her life right up to the last two years when she started losing her hearing and sight. It's been three months since she passed, but I still visit the family house she helped build (literally) and expect to see her in her favorite chair talking to her friends on the phone or playing with the cat. She will always be missed.

I also did something insanely stupid but really overdue. I got married to the BossLady. We got married back in May with a few close friends (and we wanted to invite others, but they vanished on us... SLICK... that means you) and family around on a cliff overlooking Laguna Beach. I don't remember too much about the location other than the MOST beautiful woman in the world showing up in white and strangers walking by and stopping to wish us the best. Incredible.

Best move I have ever made.

Anyhow, I hope to get back to posting more often again, and not just about retail. The fun never ends, and I hope to share it with people again.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Skip To M'Lou

Some really smart and nice people let their kids do some really stupid stuff inside stores, and are amazed by the idiotic things that happen to them.

Today was a great example.

I had this rather nice family come into my store.  Very pleasant people.  Mom was trying to get her two daughters supplied for dance class.  She was asking some very detailed and pointed questions with the clear intent to get her kids into the right product for them.  Kudos, Mom.  Dad was kind off in oblivion, with a Just-Get-This-Over-With stare and comments.  The two kids were overloaded with sugar.  It's just not fair to have that kind of energy around someone who is still half asleep...

Anyhow, this family was trying on shoes.  One daughter would try on the tap shoes, and the other would run around the store like she was at in the running for the Kentucky Derby, (and winning by 3 furlongs...).   Then they would trade off.  Dad was muttering for them to slow down and behave, but his heart clearly wasn't in it.

Now the problem is where they were before they came to my store.  The previous store sold them two light-up jump ropes.   All was good till Mom decided to let the girls play with them inside my store!

You see the problem with this?

Suddenly my quaint little shoe store became Gold's Gym for the superjuvenile set.   Displays are going flying, people complaining, girls slugging each other with lit up ropes like some sort of sick 80's fetish...   It just was not a pretty site.

And Mom is sitting in the aisle wondering why people are going apeshit!


I have three employees that speak Farsi (a Persian language).  Farsi supposedly is one of the toughest languages to learn, but that isn't stopping my girls from trying to teach me.  So far, I have mastered one word ("Hello"), and I am slowly picking up a couple of others.  

I really think the girls are doing this to me so they can make fun of the way I talk.  It's giving them quite a laugh.

Now it's really a good thing for me to learn this, since my store has a high percentage of Persian speaking customers.   (I am also learning Spanish for the other dominant language in my area, with a bit more success!) 

Naturally, if I am involved, something is going to go horribly wrong, with some sort of hideous result.   Today, it happened.

I was working alone in the store when two Persian ladies came in.  One was about my age, and the other was born sometime about the time the dinosaurs got wiped out (I mean, she was a walking fossil, completely hunched over and barely moving!).   I said hello to them as they entered, as per our policy (and just trying to be nice... I know, I know... it's not me).   The younger lady said hello in unaccented English.  The biddy turned to me and with all her effort, barely squawks out "salam" (IE hello).  I turned to her and replied "salam".   Her eyes got HUGE (think dinner plates the size of Texas) and just kept craning her neck at me as she walked past.  

I think she wet herself.

It was all I could do to not laugh at her response.

The younger lady told me as she left that the biddy was shocked that anyone like me (IE straight white boy) would even try to speak her language.   She truly did not know how to react!

Who says old people aren't fun?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dream a New Dream

This may get a bit random, a bit wordy and a lot introspective.  If you don't want to deal with it, don't read.

I finally replaced my computer that died in December, so I should be posting more soon.  Today's post is probably going to have very little to do with retail since I am on vacation this week.  Sorry.   

I turned 38 yesterday.   I am incredibly shocked I have lived this long.  When I was in high school, I always believed that I would never live past 30.   So you can imagine me laying awake the night of my 30th birthday, waiting in terror for the lightning bolt that was going to take me out.   At the time, I don't recall if I was relieved it didn't happen, or disappointed.  Now I am glad it didn't.  But it still scares me every year on the night before my birthday.  I mean, what if I was off in my count?   The night before I turn 40 is going to be a real nail biter, that's certain.

The last few days have brought me into contact with some people I figured I would never hear from again, or if I did, it would be at high school or college reunions.   A couple of them have just sent messages online, others have taken the time to chat.  I am grateful for both.   And I look forward to hearing from more people.  Hopefully, they will see I have grown (I hope I have), and I hope they see their influence on me over time.  I may not have talked to them over the years for various reasons, but there really hasn't been a time when I wasn't thinking of them.

The people who have found me (or been crazy enough to let me contact them) have been amazing.   

I ran found my old speech/debate coach from high school, a man I highly respect.  He took the time to have faith and work with someone with very little talent and gave that person the belief that anything is possible.   Thank you, Mickey Martin (Bet you forgot how we tormented your Mickey tie all those years ago!).

My college roommate and I traded emails for the first time in 15 years.   Kegger appears to be doing great.  Still bleeds SMC Blue and Red, which is as it should be.   I don't know that he ever had a bad day at SMC.   And I bet he still has some great college stories for his friends and family.   Of course, he figures large in several of my best memories from SMC, but those are for another time.

Another friend took the time to get me into contact with other friends.  Her road through life seems to mirror mine.   Some rough times, some really great times, and finally coming to terms with everything and just enjoying each day while trying to better herself.  Talking to her really made me think about everything I went through in high school, and that I had to come to terms with things.   Point Blank, she set the example.  Thank you.

I was shocked to learn that people from both the high schools I attended are close to where I live.  I would love to sit down over coffee with them and just talk.  I can tell they have some amazing stories to tell, and I would love to listen.   

Another friend was found for the second time.   The Bishop and I reconnected some ten years ago via my ex in Kansas City.  She had told me I would love her boss's husband.  Turns out he and I went to high school together and were involved in drama at the same time.   When she and I split, I lost contact with the Bishop and his wife.  Last night, I got to talk to both of them.   I plan on not losing contact with these people this time!

I sat around last night looking on Facebook at some of the profiles of people I remember from high school and college.  Married, Doctor's degrees, families... it just makes me understand that I grew up around a ton of really remarkable people.  I have been lucky.

I don't think my road has been anything special.  I really do think I am like a lot of people.  I had my problems, but I had my highs as well.   My lows include a couple of suicide attempts, some failed engagements, a dream destroyed while out running, loss of some really great friends, a bought with alcohol, and just overall abusing myself.  I don't see myself as anything special, just another person.   No matter what image I portray, it's how I have always thought of myself.  Nothing special, and truth be told, probably a little less than most.

For years I was told (and diagnosed) with depression.  One "family" member even played amateur psychologist and told me to work out the issues with my father (imagine his surprise when my real doctor told him HE was the issue, not my father, and that I had actually done a really nice job dealing with that mess!).   About 4 years ago, after a stint in a mental hospital for a suicide attempt, a doctor realized that my problem wasn't depression.  I suffer from an anxiety disorder that causes depression and SERIOUS panic attacks.   Since that revelation, I have been depression free (aside from the normal ups and downs of everyday life).   That doctor saved my life.

I had three engagements blow up in my face.  The first was just a mess after I graduated college.  To this day, I think I was just being used to get back at her old boyfriend.  I don't talk to her anymore (haven't since 1994), so I will never know.  Not sure I really care, either.   The next was with me for 4 years.  We lived together, had everything planned.  Then she decided she wanted to be alone.  I later discovered she was seeing someone from her work.  End of that.   The third I caught with a friend in a compromising position.   Trust became a bit difficult for me at that point.  Still is, but my current fiancee is working on it.   

I have been a physical wreck in my mind.  Five knee operations since 1992, an elbow operation a couple of years ago, and now the doctors are telling me that there is a chance they will have to operate on my shoulder to clean it up (but they are trying to prevent that).   I have put on too much weight, which I am hoping to lose this year, but I don't expect miracles.  I just hope to improve myself.

The highs have been great as well.  I did some skydiving.  I have travelled most of this country.  I have met and made friends all over the world.  I have been living my sports dream of seeing games (NFL, MLB and NHL) in as many cities as I can.  I am engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world, even if we drive each other crazy.  Somehow, it just wouldn't be right if we didn't drive each other bunny nuts.

My dreams out of high school were to go into the Marines, complete with a stint at the Naval Academy.   That didn't happen when I blew my knee out.   Backup plans were to get a degree in Performing Arts and possibly act or direct, and eventually get a law degree.  I got the first degree and I worked as a Tech Director of a Dance company for two years.  I lived the acting side of it doing regional work for a couple of years before realizing the job I had taken to pay the bills was what I truly enjoyed.  I now work a job that many think is below me, but that's their perception and problem.  I love retail.  I love the people.  I love the insanity.   

The most important thing I have done in my life is to come to terms with myself.   I am who I am.   Deal with it.  I have finally learned how to do just that.

I hope that some of the classmates, old work acquaintances and friends will see this and get in touch.  I offer no apologies for the past, nor do I want any for actions from them.  Those actions made us who we are.  I will not deny the past.  I will learn from it daily.

I will say one thing... thanks to all of you.  For the highs and lows.  And for what may come.

Dreams come and go.  So when one fails, dream a new dream.