Sunday, December 31, 2017

Passing the Torch and Dimming the Lights on the Way Out

Or to put it another way: All good things…

You've probably noticed that I haven't said much lately. The blog has been quiet for a good, long time now. There are reasons as to why and I'm about to get into them. So sit down and buckle up. It's gonna get bumpy here.

When I started this blog, it was meant to be a place where I vented, where I could bitch and moan and whine and complain about the random acts of idiocy I encountered on a daily basis at my place of employment, which was Wal-Mart. That's the reason I chose the name, really. I dealt with so many idiots and what rhymes with idiot? Not a lot, except maybe Wal-Mart and the various idiots who happen to be managers at Wal-Mart.

Yeah, about that. Those were the reasons I started blogging and those reasons are gone. Back in August of 2014, Wal-Mart terminated me. I was the first of five (or was it six…?) cashiers who were fired. It was the usual housecleaning crap, when you get right down to it. It was the usual crap from the usual crappy people. What should I have expected, really? Wal-Mart does this shit constantly. They don't like having professional cashiers or professional anything else, for that matter. Because that costs the Waltons money.

Yes, I know: I should have made a post that very day. I didn't because I was in crisis mode. I had no job and there was no way in hell that Prime and I could live on one paycheck, so I had to find something, anything. A week later, I was a cashier again, hired by a mall Target. I thought all my problems were over.

They weren't. I was actually a seasonal hire and I was out the door on the first of January, 2015. I was not fucking happy.

Again, I should have said something, should have tapped out a quickie post here on my blog but again, I was in crisis mode. I had to get something and something fast. It took three weeks, but I got hired at a mall Subway. Yes, it was in the same mall as the fucking Target. Yes, it was an absolute shit job. Holy fucking shit, was it a shit job: I was making fifty cents over the minimum wage, my hours were shit and I was one of the few people in that place that actually did any fucking work. Did I get any real appreciation? Only by our district manager and that was few and far between. Most of the time, I was told to work faster and harder.

I was about to hit midlife. There is no way in hell I am going to speed up. As you age, you slow the fuck down. But I fucking digress over here.

Yes, that was where I was working during BotCon 2015. I don't know how, but I was able to swing getting that time off and damn, was I ever glad, even if it was unpaid. I kept that job until September of that year. This time, I left of my own accord; the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin was finally getting a Costco. Ground was broken in June of that year. I kept a watch on the Costco website, waiting for any jobs to be posted for that upcoming warehouse. In July, the applications for employment for the Fox Valley Costco went live and I applied.

A week later, they called. I scheduled an interview. I went to the temporary office and gave my first interview, which was followed by a second. Then, I was called back to the office area where I gave my third and final interview. The assistant manager--his name was Bobby--hired me on the spot. I went from making shit ass wages at a shit ass job to being paid $11.50 an hour.

I've been there for two years now. I have every intention of staying there, although I wasn't certain I would when the warehouse first opened. I was in the Food Court, which was damn hard. The turnover rate in there was insane. There were some other hiccups as well--decently-sized ones, honestly--but now I'm in a place and in a position that I actually enjoy. I don't dread going to work every day. Hell, most of the time, I'm smiling as I walk in the doors! I make a damn good wage, management can't shit me out the door when they damn well feel like it, the breakroom is filled with people talking about good things or making jokes or other things like that. We even have a TV in there and sometimes, I'm able to catch a movie, some Star Trek, part of a Brewers game, or whatever before I clock in for the day. When people say that the culture at Costco is different, they are not kidding.

So yeah, like I said, the main reason I started this blog is gone. If I have to deal with any real stupidity, it's from scheduling eff-ups and those aren't so awful. Management can usually straighten them out and me, I laugh 'em off. Like I've said, different culture. My stress level--when it comes to my employment--has dropped to near nothing. I don't have migraines anymore. GERD seems to be a thing of the past. Most surprisingly, I can tolerate children now; they don't piss me off like they did at Wal-Mart. Costco doesn't have a dedicated toy section or impulse buys at the front lanes; there aren't as many kids throwing tantrums or having meltdowns because they can't get a toy, or M&Ms or whatever. Now, I'm far more inclined to crack a joke with them while I'm drawing a smiley face on their mother's receipt. And if one is crying? I try to make them smile.

Total sea change. Wal-Mart pitching me out on my ass was the best thing they've ever done for me. For that, I say: 

Go fuck yourself, Wal-Mart.

No, I am not bitter. Far from it. They did me a giant favor, when you get right down to it. But I have heard how shitty things are getting--even more than when I was employed there--at my store and throughout the damned company. The home delivery shit that they were trying earlier? Yes, they were forcing associates who had clocked out to take those packages. As for compensation, management wouldn't say. More and more associates are being forced into the "Customer First" scheduling, which means they'll only get around 20 hours a week, if they are lucky. The attendance policy is utter garbage. Then there's the new, absolutely creepy idea of having Wal-Mart make deliveries to your home and PUT EVERYTHING AWAY. Yeah, that is totally not asking for someone to get robbed or assaulted. If you're a cashier and you want to change your job code, like you're coded to work the tobacco bullpen or you drop from full time to part time, you have to go through a shit-ton of CBLs, called "Pathways", that teach you things you already know. There's 18 or so hours of this crap and you have 90 days to get it all done or you will be written up or terminated.

My old store no longer has the original manager; he's now stinking up the New London Wal-Mart. According to him, this was part of his retirement but no one believes him. Why? Well, it took three days and the fucking District Manager, along with a shitload of other higher ups, to get his ass out the door. Something tells me there's more to the goddamn story but ten to one, I'll never hear it. (Not that I fucking care and I think the fact that we have an Aldi in town now that is kicking ass and taking names had something to do with it but still…!)

**EDIT** So finally, I did find out why my former manager ended up at New London. I ran into a former coworker and he let me in on everything. It seems that he and the AP associate at my old store had been terminating associates without properly vetting it through the home office in Bentonville. When Bentonville caught on, they were not happy. That was when the slag hit the fan and the manager was given two choices: take early retirement and stink up the New London store or try and fight this and get fired.

Needless to say, he took option number one. Seems the AP associate was given a similar pair of choices. He's now at the Darboy store. I have no idea if he's still Asset Protection or not. Ten to one, he isn't. But those two are no longer at my old store and I will never have to see either one of those fuckwits ever again. But I fucking digress here.

I'm so glad that I am out of that fetid shithole. Fuck them and fuck the Waltons.

Now, my employment might have changed for the better but other things took a very quick turn south. It all started because of a friend of mine. His name was Puffy and we met through Dairycon and BotCon. He was a friend of Shawn and Stogie, was also a Wal-Mart employee and an all around nice guy.

One day, he wasn't feeling the greatest, so he went to see his doctor. The diagnosis he got? Stage four pancreatic cancer. The doctor looked him dead in the face and told him to get his estate in order, he would not survive this. This was in June of 2015.

He died in September of 2015, about three months after the diagnosis. Prime and I have some of his toys; Prime has some of his Rodimus figures and I have a few Bumblebees.

For Prime, this was a wakeup call of massive proportions. We now have a family-practice doctor and we're doing yearly visits. On my first visit in January of last year, I had a mammogram.

There were spots in the left breast that needed to be examined. Calcifications were found, which meant a stereotactic biopsy. The results? It wasn't cancer yet but if the cells divided, it would be. So on March 1st, 2016, a small part of my left breast was removed. The surgery went well and I had a micro-vacation from work. I've also got a small scar, in case you were wondering.

My specialist and I are doing active surveillance on this. I'm on tamoxifen, to block the estrogen in my breasts and I've already had two MRIs and two ultrasounds. There's a small spot in the right breast that bears watching but it shows no signs of growth as of right now, so I'm okay.

Yes, I know: I should have said something, made a quickie post. Trust me when I say, I was not in my right mind to do anything of that sort. Hell, I damn near went offline for a month and a half before the surgery. I just couldn't deal. With hardly anything. I barely made any posts on my favorite Pokemon forums, could barely concentrate on anything. I mostly kept listening to podcasts--the sound of human voices would keep me calm--and watched YouTube videos or clicked on GPX+. I just shut down mentally. Being told that a body part wants you dead does that to you. Again I digress.

So here I am now, with the original purpose to this blog gone and my life taking more turns than a rollercoaster. Yes, things get stupid but it's a very different stupid. Yes, we're being led by a fucking Ferengi who doesn't know his fucking lobes from a hole in the goddamn ground and will probably get us nuked in a fucking war. Yes, I still have to deal with idiots but they are different idiots. Yes, work can suck some days--like the day I found out I didn't get the full time position I wanted--but it's nothing like Wal-Mart. Sure, I could turn this into "Weasel Bitches about Her Stupid Defective Boobs: Film at 11" but that would get boring fast. So I had to make a decision.

I'm handing this blog over to Prime. He's going to do something with it. As to what, neither one of us know. But he'll be taking over. I won't be contributing anymore. If I do, it will be very rare and very brief. So consider this my final post.

No, this wasn't the easiest decision to make. I loved this blog. I loved bitching and complaining about the stupid shit that happened to me. I loved talking about the geeky things and complaining about politics and everything else. I loved making posts about BotCon and Dairycon and all that. I had a voice and it was fun trying it out. It was time well wasted, if you will.

Like I said, this was a hard decision. But I feel that it's the right one. The original purpose for this blog has long since disappeared. That garbage pile job is history, fading into the background of my subconscious like a nightmare. The few times I've walked into that store, I feel like a gaijin. I don't recognize most of the people who work there, at least one has gone back to the Oshkosh store and several have switched to overnights because it's a lot less stressful. One is seeking a transfer to another store, closer to her home. Out of the dozens of cashiers I knew, only two or three still remain. I can recognize one or two of the CSMs and one of them has been busted back down to cashier through no fault of her own, but she richly deserved it. (She's the one who asked a cashier "What do you want me to do about it?" when a Lawn and Garden Associate nearly let a customer have an entire cart of items that had been paid for and left by the original owner and the same CSM who forced me to take $18 worth of coupons for free luncheon meat on cheese. Like I said, it's not right, it's not fair but this was completely justified and I am damn glad to hear it happened.)

It also doesn't help that Blogger isn't easy on my eyes. I get eyestrain just trying to read the font on this blog, bad enough to give me a headache. My new glasses help but it's still a bit rough. The eyes are aging, just like the rest of me. I'm not getting a slagging bit younger, you know.

For those of you who read my posts, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed them. It was fun knowing that I had an audience. Hell, this entire experience--with some minor exceptions--was a blast. I'm glad I got to share it with you. I can only wish you well in whatever endeavor you may attempt. Maybe if we're lucky, our paths will cross again. But until then, this has been yours truly,

--the Weasel, signing off.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

More than Toys

I've just returned from another BotCon. It was a blast, to put it mildly and I'm still smiling--albeit a smidge sadly--remembering all that I've done. However, the one thing I didn't do was buy a lot of toys, which seems a little strange. After all, this is a Transformers convention; shouldn't toy-buying be at the top of the "to do" list?

In my case, it's not about the toys.

In the years I've gone to the convention, it's become less about the toys I may buy and more about the people I see. I've made friends at BotCon, life-long friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin. Sure, I buy some toys while I'm there--the moment I see a Bumblebee I'm reaching for my wallet--but I'm there because of my friends. That, to me, is the heart and soul of the convention.

I'll post a proper report in the next few days. We had wi-fi trouble at our hotel which is why I couldn't blog. But rest assured, I will post my report as soon as I can. As for now, I'm counting down the days until the next BotCon.

To my Transfan friends: It's been a blast. I can't wait to see you next year.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Not Long

My suitcase is packed. My new shoes are laced and ready. And we have less than a week until we pack the car.

BotCon, here I come.

--Weasel, "Yep, I seriously need this."

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Josh Duggar's Quiverfull of Hypocrisy

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about Josh Duggar, the oldest of the Duggar's brood of nineteen kids plus. He's the guy that had a job as an executive director with the Family Research Council, had helped lobby for 12 week abortion bans and was seen as a poster boy for "family values".

He's also a serial molester.

Now, the Duggar family and its allies are rather quickly trying to do spin control; they've been quick to say that what dear sweet Josh has done was just a mistake and that things are okay now. He sinned but let's just forgive and forget and put all that nasty stuff behind us. Because, you know, we wouldn't want to ruin the poor boy's life, now would we?

I have so many problems with this.

First off, his family has been known to lobby against gays and transgendered people; the family matriarch recorded a robocall that claimed if transgendered people were allowed to use a public restroom, it would put children in danger.

Yet she harbored a molester in her own home. She even forgave him. So much for "thinking of the children".

The family and its allies have claimed that this was just a sin. Jesus forgave Josh, so why can't we. There's only one massive problem with that: if this is just a sin, then it's no worse than taking a penny off the counter of a local restaurant. No harm, no foul, Jesus will forgive.

But that makes every sin equal. Stealing a penny is like rape, which is like murder and all can be washed clean. And yes, I have a massive problem with that. It smacks of this little Onion article which is supposed to be satire. I won't quote it, as it really deserves reading but I think it covers everything pretty well. But then there's the whole forgiveness thing. Why can't we just forgive and forget?

Because in this case, forgiveness is simply silencing the victims. And that needs to stop right now

--Weasel, back and bitterer than ever

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dear Mr. Hoskins,

I am sorry I could never tell you just how much your role in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? meant to me, how much joy it brought to a lonely 13 year old girl who was stuck in a bad situation, how much hope and joy it brought to that girl and how she treasured that movie. I never had the chance to say it to you, never had the chance to let you know what that movie--and the role you played in it--meant to me.

That movie was an escape for me, a way of coping with things I didn't understand. It helped me through some rough spots and gave me hope when I had none. The idea that cartoon characters existed and were just as real as you and me…. as stupid as it sounds, it gave me something to hang on to. I didn't know why I needed that; I just knew that I did. It wouldn't be until many years later that the silly, empty need I had would make sense.

That chance--the one chance to tell you thanks--is gone now. Fate decided to step in and take it away. It isn't fair, as I know these words and their meaning can never reach you. There is no way to cross that gap, no way of unwinding the clock. All I can say now is thank you. From the depth of my heart and soul, thank you. You will be sorely missed and never forgotten.

The world seems a colder, dimmer place without you.