August 8th, 2007

Charlie Brown

Swimming Pool Memories

Weekend America on NPR has been running a series on swimming pool stories. Seems slightly silly to me, but I listened to a few of the stories and one of them made me a little sad, but was followed by one that made me so insanely happy. The first was a story of a black family who were verbally accosted by a white boy about “their kind” not being allowed. They still went in, since there wasn’t legal segregation anymore, but, they didn’t take their eyes off each other the entire time they were in the pool. Any enjoyment that the day had held for them was marred by that one little boy and his ignorance.

The second story was of a young white boy who had befriended a black boy. They got along well and everything was hunky dory with them. Then, one day, the black boy cut his hand on the fence. The white boy was absolutely amazed that his blood was red. That their blood was the exact same color and that they were really alike in so many more ways than they were different. That’s the story that almost made me cry. To think and realize that people are just the same inside, it’s only slight variations on the outside that make us different, and to realize that before you reach the years where you start to make certain statements that you feel you must stick by for the rest of your life. It makes me glad that one little boy sacrificed a little bit of blood to change this other boy into someone who understood that underneath it all, we are just blood, muscle and sinew.

I got to thinking about some of my swimming pool memories. There were the summers that I hung out with my cousin because she lived in a townhouse community with a pool. We rode our bikes all over that community and tried to decide which of the three pools was the best one. I don’t know if we ever really came to a decision, we just were more excited to be swimming almost every day that summer. I looked about 16 years old, even though I was only about 14 at the time, but you needed to be at least 16 in order to not have a parent present. My aunt said that she would tell them that I was 16 so she didn’t have to go with us every time we wanted to go swimming. I loved staying at my aunt’s house. They had air conditioning and a swimming pool. What more could you want at 14?

But, the happiest swimming pool memory I have is going to the community pool in Clewiston, FL. I dreaded trips to see my maternal grandmother. She was an alcoholic and I was sent on these trips because my little cousin Brandi wanted to see her grandma. My mom and her sister couldn’t take time off work to stay with us for a week while we visited. So, I was packed along to keep an eye on Brandi and make sure to hustle her out of the room when Grandma got a little too drunk. That’s quite a burden for an 8 year old, but you make do with what you have.

So, one day Grandma decided that she was going to take us to the pool. After having her half bottle of whiskey that morning, she packed us into the car with our towels and sunblock and flip flops and took us to the pool. The drive over was uneventful, thank goodness given her condition, and Brandi and I got to swim around for about four or five hours that day. I was just learning how to float and was really excited when I finally got the hang of it after about an hour. I kept trying to teach Brandi how to float, and to this day, I don’t think she’s able to. Sad.

I floated in that pool for hours that day. I could hear muffled shouts of play and joy from the other kids. Brandi yelling at me to watch her do a handstand or a cannonball. There was someone there with a radio, and I could barely hear it. Just the muffled noises and the sound of my own heartbeat. I kept my eyes closed through most of it, after all, this is Florida sunshine we are talking about. Second only to Arizona sunshine (so far that I have noticed) in terms of burning your retinas if you dare take off your sunglasses in a reflective area, say a solar panel farm or a field of mirrors. Or a parking lot. Whatever.

I was just there. Just me and the water and the muffled noises. No burden of care of my cousin. No judging Grandma’s sobriety. No wondering if I was going to have to figure out how to make dinner, or if Grandma would be able to find the energy and the break from her bottle long enough to get my cousin fed. Nothing. The freedom of that day was worth the sunburn on the tips of my toes, on my face and the palms of my hands. That pain was worth those four hours of absolute freedom.

That is my happiest pool memory.

Do you have one?
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Charlie Brown

(no subject)

Other life updates for you, my loyal skimmers.

Yes, I called you skimmers. I do that to some of your posts every now and again, skim on through, “Anything juicy or life threatening or national security risks I need to know about? No, ok. No time for LJ today, but I don’t want to have to go back 60 posts to see if something really monumental is happening.” Plus, I figure, if you REALLY were excited, you’d use larger font sizes or something. J

I’ve been dabbling in some marketing ideas for the store and/or the company. There has been some progress made in the ideas from the president of the company, and I think they could be positive things, but since we rely so heavily upon word of mouth advertising, I came up with a few other things that we could implement that could possibly increase sales, hopefully by 5-10%. Of course, I lack the ability to actually test these percentage outcomes, but doesn’t it make me look smarter to throw percentages in there?

I spoke with A, my main boss, about making Miss the assistant manager. This seemed to give him pause. I began discussing my reasons behind making such a suggestion to him, especially given that the store isn’t too so hot. But, *that* dear friends, is the biggest reason why we should throw an AM in there.

You are crazy! I can hear you saying it, but hear me out. Yes, the store would then be supporting two salaries, but that’s two salaries that mean more overtime given. Ah, the old we’ll abuse you line. But of course, welcome to capitalism. We now own your ass for a set fee every two weeks. Congratulations, you’re a sucker.

The thing is, she’s willing to work the hours. And if I can have her *in* the store more than 38 scheduled hours per week (I keep it to no more than 38 in case there are stay late days so that she doesn’t go into overtime) that means that *I* can go OUT of the store and get more aggressive in marketing to apartment complexes, hotels, local businesses and getting things out of these people in trade for gifts/incentives to the employees. I could have her go out and do this, but well, she isn’t really face forward material, I guess you could say. Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t physically deformed in some hideous bell ringer way, but there is a demeanor aspect of her personality that doesn’t really mesh with schmoozing. Uncouth might be a good word. Rough around the edges. You get the idea.

Not that I’m a charm school graduate or anything, but I think I have a better idea and understanding of how to relate to people and gauge their moods and whether or not they are willing to listen to any line I am about to give them. I daresay, I think I’m charming. Not to toot my own horn or anything.

Ok, I really just wanted to say toot. Toot toot.

Toot.

And there are other reasons. She is more willing/able/eager to follow up with employees in disciplinary type things. She is the one who has written up two people in the last month. Not me. I don’t like confrontation. At all. I had to get pep talked up by one of my drivers to confront/write up Mr. Charisma with this tip claiming and mileage padding nonsense.

Oh, yeah, he came into the store to give back his keys. He looked a little shocked to see me behind the counter and not Miss. I think he chose Tuesday because he figured I wouldn’t be in since I am usually at my weekly meeting with corporate. It’s usually Miss running the show on Tuesday mornings. Alas, she needed the day off and C was threatening hari kari and claiming sickness. *shakes head* Poor guy. I should have shaken his hand, though. To show there were no hard feelings, even though I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire. But, I didn’t. Instead I reveled in the look of fear on his face. Dipshit.

Maybe he was put in my path to get me to be better able to speak up about things. Since his resignation, I started working on the marketing plan and am now asking for an AM and will be issuing raises fairly shortly. There are quite a few employees right now who deserve to make a bit more per hour. They are working hard and trying their best. I also told A that I was making my new day driver “secret supervisor” like Lynn was. This way he can take the deposits and he’ll be eligible for the inspection bonuses, since he does help clean and what not. And that puts him at the top of the food chain of drivers in terms of wages. T came up to me the other day and asked if he could be head driver.

“No, there is no head driver.”
“But, what about day driver?”
“He’s not the head driver, he’s the secret supervisor. This is so he can take the deposit every day so that *I* don’t have to do it and since Miss doesn’t have a car and C isn’t old enough to leave the store while on the clock.”
“Why didn’t you give that to me?”
“I offered you the chance to do nothing but day shifts and you said no. This is your loss. I would have offered you the same opportunity, but you declined. I only make an offer once. You lost out.”
“That sucks.”
“For you, yes.”

See what happens kids? Don’t hesitate and use the fact that you have no a/c in your car to miss the chance to move up in the world! J

Anyways, A and D are going to come chat with me about Miss being an AM and day driver getting this raise/promotion and all that other good stuff. I look forward to this chat. I’m going to be presenting them with my marketing ideas and ask that they also send them along to Ute, or give me her email address and I’ll send them along to her. I think that they could work and will help get our sales back up on top of the game. I also think that this little shake up in management will help move things along. The manager of the Ina store stepped down for a different job, but has recently asked to come back, even as a driver, as that job turned out to be a crock of shit. Good times. So, the manager from the I-10 store is moving to Ina and they hired outside for the I-10 store. Maybe she can move things back in a positive direction. Unfortunately for her, there is a new In-N-Out moving in across the street. Of course, I would turn this around in my favor. Send people out to the long line that is inevitable and hand out menus. Instead of waiting in line here, come across the street and have your food in about ten minutes or so. The burgers will be there in another few weeks, come have your pizza now. J

It’s a thought. I guess I’m trying to stay positive on this for now. Although I’m still a little miffed that there is another chick. Like I said before, I *liked* being the only woman manager. Ah well, maybe we can team up and be all superwomen or some shit. Or not. I don’t know if I really have the time for that nonsense.

I’m rambling, so I’ll end this here. Later!
Charlie Brown

Oh man, more pizza drama

Seriously, the hits just keep on coming.

C came in today to work her shift, having not killed herself made her available for continuing to be in my employ. *rolls eyes*

"So, um, when I called you crying, what did I say?"
"You said that you wouldn't be able to work anymore of your shifts because you were going to kill yourself."
"Oh. Heh."
"Which gave me some worry, which is why I sounded a little concerned when I left you that message. But, I'm glad you didn't kill yourself over T. That would have been stupid."
"Yeah, that would have. He said he only kissed her."
"Oh. Who? I'm confused."

I'll drop the conversation and just give you the update on this little love rhombus. Ok, there is K, who is the doormat that T says he only kissed. That flies in the face of what I heard on Monday night. E, the girl that he was caught "sleeping next to, no really only sleeping" when his tires mysteriously went flat, is the girl that he slept with Monday night. Or Sunday. I don't remember now. And then there is C, who is standing by her word that they haven't slept together. Miss hears different from T. Is your mind reeling yet? Yeah.

So, I asked her, again, if it was over...finally. No. *bangs head on pizza oven* WHY DEAR GOD WHY?
"Because, I want to wait until he likes me so much that is when I am going to screw him over."
"Um, honey, he's never gonna like you that much. Because you are always there for him. He will continue to treat you like shit because he knows you will stick around and take it and when he needs something, you'll coming running like everything is ok."
She flinched a little when I said that. Then told me that she felt guilty if she didn't help someone if she could help them.
"That's called being a doormat. You need to stop. Why do you think I left Florida?"
"To stop being a doormat."
"Exactly."

I tell ya, the kids today. Anyways, corporate kept calling me again today. Why always during the lunch rush? Why?

Trained another new guy, took about four more applications and had to explain, once again, that I don't want to talk to these applicants. I probably am not going to hire them, I can't hire every person who walks in off the street. My labor would be ridiculous if I did that. :)

Another tip, for you would be job hunters out there, and please, share this information. Don't ask to talk to the manager to turn in your application. I'm probably busy. Very busy. Just hand the application to the person at the counter and tell them something important. When I applied at the store I'm at now, I said to the guy, "I know it's not on there, but I was a delivery driver a few years ago, so I'm pretty good at taking food to people. I'm available anytime!"

My application wound up over at the 4th ave location and the rest is history. Oh, and don't call a restaurant between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Just don't. We're busy. 2:30 is a good time to call to check on the status of your application. The manager has had a chance to catch a minute of rest after a hectic lunch rush and is now pulling the rest of the shift together to get things done. Although, honestly, it's more effective to come in and ask on the status of your application. Seeing that pitiful face begging for a job. Oh, and don't come in all sloppy. Run a comb through your hair, tuck your shirt in and wear slacks for crying out loud. Or, dress jeans. I will be acceptable of that. :) But, don't come in looking like you are ready to go to the club to pick people up and get jiggy with it or whatever.

See how old I am? I said "get jiggy with it". Not "wit" it, but "with" it. That also shows how out of it I am.

Sorry, I'm being silly. Now that I know I can update from work, maybe I can bring you more in depth posts, like swimming pool memories instead of love trapezoidal stories of major pizza drama.
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