A Fit of OCD

My office is organized

My files are organized

I expect my employees to be organized

When I see something out of place in my store I immediately walk over and fix it

My condo on the other hand is not that organized and I am always behind on laundry and I have lived here for close to three years and I still have boxes that are not unpacked. These are all things that I should be doing instead of squandering weekends. However, tonight around 10:00pm I turned into a tornado of cleaning as a fit of OCD hit me in full force. Now this fit of OCD was obviously triggered by the fact that my parents are coming over tomorrow, but usually when they are coming i shove things into my three small closets until they are about to overflow, and it is dangerous to open the doors.

Tonight at 10 I ran a load of laundry down to the basement and then proceeded to sort the remaining six loads. I also pulled two more loads that I could do tonight. As I was doing this I also noticed that I had a bunch of clothing from my "fat stage" that I really needed to donate to charity, so I sorted these out into another bin. This lead me to going into my closets and pull out more clothing that I didn't wear and put these into the charity bin. I also sorted through some of the stuff I had set aside in the basement and threw some stuff out in the trash bin tonight.

By this time my first load of laundry was done drying so I folded and put away that first load while the second load of laundry was drying and the third load was in the wash. I also washed all of my dishes and cleaned out the dresser in my guest room. Ah, yes and I also cleaned the litter boxes. I put a collection of luggage up on the top shelf of my pantry and finished sorted the rest of my laundry neatly into my baskets in my pantry.

Now my second load of laundry is dry, so I fold it and put it away, I also go through the chest at the foot of my bed and add some sweaters to my pile of things going to charity. I brought down the garbage and moved some stuff from my closets to the basement. I am now waiting for my third load of laundry to try and I will fold that and put it away.

I made some progress, I now only have one box of stuff that is not unpacked and things are much more organized then they were before. I guess I should have OCD fits more often, I don't see anything wrong with them.

Results Night 1

Ok, so as many of you know I am addicted to American Idol and tonight was the first results show of the season and America never ceases to amaze me. Two of the worst, possibly three, singers survived the first cut.

Antonella Barba is quite possibly one of the worst contestants in six years and she has no redeeming qualities. She can't sing at all, yet somehow she made it to the next round. America, I mean really what are you thinking. I really hope she literally falls flat on her face next week on stage.

Sunjaya Malakar probably has a good voice but he is very awkward and didn't do a great job singing this week. I definitely think that he should have gone home.

Sundance Head sang a song that I hate and he sang it poorly. America should have said goodbye tonight.

Hopefully America picks better next week!

9 Pages Left

I have been reading Strange Pilgrims, stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This collection of stories have been very entertaining, however, I am a very big GGM fan ever since I spent a semester in college reading One Hundred Years of Solitude (in Spanish). I have also read Chronicle of a Death Foretold (in English and Spanish) and Love in the Time of Cholera. Strange Pilgrims included a few fantastically written short stories that reflect the true magical realism style of GGM, some of the best stories were Bon Voyage, Mr. President, I Sell My Dreams, I Only Came to Use the Phone, Maria dos Prazeres, and The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow. All of these stories follow Latin Americans in Europe and they all convey a sense of melancholy as they try to fit in to a culture that is not there own.

The problem was that after reading a few pages at lunch I noticed that I only had nine pages of the last story left to read and I had a thirty minute train ride home. Uh oh, what was I supposed to do when I finished my book on the train. I have about 8 books left on my shelf at home from my shopping spree back in December so I don't want to buy another book at the store, but I also don't want to run out of reading material on the train, then I would have to look at the wackos around me on the train, (like the two guys sharing the 40 last night). So I read slowly but I was still finished reading by the Back Bay stop, with a few stops still ahead of me. I was slightly distraught. But I did finish and I enjoyed the book, and I learned a very important lesson. Even though I am a slow reader as I approach the end of a book I need to make sure I have a backup in my bag just in case I have the unfortunate occurance of finishing with part of the ride remaining.

Now, what book should I start tomorrow, I want to read a piece of non-fiction since I have been mixing up the fiction and non-fiction, I have narrowed it down to:

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Salt by Mark Kurlansky
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

I have wanted to read all three of these books for quite some time I am going to have to think about it.

Do You Ever...

... wake up in the middle of the night and wonder about things?

I do all the time and sometimes its happy things and other times its sad. Sometimes its silly stuff like work and other times I am feeling philosophical and its about the meaning of life. Tonight I was just thinking about happiness, its a pretty general concept but as a whole it seems to elude people. I wondered about when I was the happiest and if I am happy now. Sure certain things make me happy and I have good friends that make me smile, but am I happy?

I think this whole line of thinking was brought on when an older gentleman I used to work with passed away unexpectedly. He was a sweet guy, holding down two jobs, serving on medical and school boards and overall just trying to be a great man. Sure, he had his shortcomings, and he wasn't awesome at his job but he was always trying, and even if he wasn't he could always get your Red Sox or even Rolling Stones tickets.

He passed away last week alone in his apartment and he has no family in the area. The university is working on services but they aren't sure when his body will be released, and this just makes me wonder if he was truly happy or was he just living his life. People around the square will all remember him wandering around in his shorts (from that school across the river) and asking about all the neighborhood information. He would ask you about your family and what you were doing. He wished me the best of luck when I left in December and you always got the feeling that he really cared about the people around him.

I just hope that he was happy in his last moments, he deserves to be.

Favorite "News" Story

So my favorite news story of the weekend is that Britney Spears has totally lost her mind and she has shaved her head. I started every conversation today with "Britney is bald!" I only have one thing to say about this...

"Britney, here is your cone"


Bob is wearing a cone on his head for 14 days to prevent him from getting at his sutures, he is having a really hard time getting around the condo. Most of the time he is secluded in one room but I sometimes lock his sister in the room and let him wander. He tries to get around but bounces into walls and doors, its hard how would you like to have a cone tied around your neck.

I was thinking about this when I decided that this should be my punishment for stupid customers this week, here is how I think this would work...

Can I buy books here, no we just call ourselves a bookstore and you sir can not buy books here now come here while I strap this cone around your neck.

Excuse me I tried to rip this security tag off of this shirt and it got ink all over me and the shirt can I exchange it without a receipt, come here ma'am let me strap this cone around your neck and you can walk around my store for 14 days with it on.

Can you show me what books I need for my class, I don't have a course number or any idea what my professors name is, I am sorry sir I have no idea of knowing what books you need but I can supply you with this lovely cone to strap around your neck.

I can just picture my store full of idiot customers banging into each other because they have cones strapped around the heads and can't navigate, that will teach them to ask stupid questions (and yes there is such a thing as a stupid question). I wonder if I could expand my plan to the real world outside of my store.

Hey idiot who hit me while yapping on his cell phone at the gym, here is your cone.

Coupon lady at the supermarket, here is your cone ma'am.

Ass who cut me off in the ice storm last Wednesday, get out of your car so I can strap this cone around your neck.

Ah yes, this is the best idea I have ever had!

Mountains Beyond Mountains

I am just finishing up Mountains Beyond Mountains, it took me a while to get through the entire book but I was very impressed with the writing. I wasn't sure what to expect from the book when I picked it up other then the fact that many people have purchased this book since it came out while I was working in New Haven. It is part of every bookstores paperback favorites table as well. The reason the book took me so long to read was because it is a very in depth story of Dr. Paul Farmer and his efforts to cure diseases throughout the world. This included some very in depth medical terms and information, but that did not detract from how much I enjoyed the book.

This book is a brilliant biography of Dr. Paul Farmer. It is exhilarating to read the selfless commitment of one man to change the suffering that millions of people in third world countries are experiencing. Farmer's accomplishments created the Partners in Health organization that in turn stimulated the World Health Organization to wake up to the disasters that are occuring in third world countries. He was successful at eventually supplying much needed medicines, cash, buildings and personnel to begin to make a change in the world health care. Kidder's gift as a writer lies not only in his detailed and well researched biography of a modern saint, but also in his ability to allow us to get to know the very human creature named Paul Farmer.

It is a touching story that demands our attention on many levels. Tracy Kidder's sharing of Dr. Paul Farmer's life is a poignant reminder that the individual CAN make a difference!

Guess Who is Blocked Again?

Yes, Bob "Cash" is blocked again and his Dad (and my Dad) are not very happy!

Bob had to go back to the animal hospital tonight, I knew exactly what it was because when I came in the house there was blood on the floor and a screaming kitty, it wasn't quite as bad as last week but it is going to cost more money than last week.

They recommended the surgery and I should have him back by next Monday, which is a really long time and I know his sister is going to be loving the time she has away from him. The surgery is really invasive and involves removing a piece of his anatomy (don't ask). I am going to have to learn to only eat Ramen for the next 8 months because I will barely have enough money to pay my mortgage (and for that matter I don't know if my parents will either). Because I can't afford the surgery fully so my wonderful parents are going to help me out.

Oh poor Bob, I feel bad for you, but you are in good hands and soon you will be back to driving me and your sister crazy.

February 12 is the LAST DAY for Text returns, no really it's the LAST DAY

Today was February 12, and it was the last day for text book returns at my store. Textbooks are a hard business and many people are involved in a single sale, there are also restrictions that are put upon stores from publishers and lots of online and brick and mortar competition. Because of all of this we have a very strict return policy, many students don't think it is fair but we do our best to accommodate people as well as make them aware of the return policies at every point in the sale. We have signs up everywhere in the store, every receipt has the last day of returns posted on it, we attach a big brightly colored piece of paper with the return policy on it to each and every receipt, and we train every single cashier to tell the customer when the last day for returns is.

I think we do an excellent job providing customers with all of the information, yet on the last day for returns so many customers come in and play dumb. What do you mean today is the last day? But I lost my receipt that doesn't matter does it? Yes it is the last day and guess what you need a receipt to make a return, how do I know you bought this book that is available in any hundreds of places at my store without a receipt, and excuse me for being cynical but how do I know you didn't steal it from my shelves.

So today I had the joy of being the one at the top who had to say no to all of the people who had great excuses for not being able to follow the policy, here are some things people said to me,

1) My roommate threw away my reciept
2) Nobody told me that today was the last day can I bring in my books tomorrow
3) My mom died
4) My dad died
5) I threw away my receipt (and my dog ate my homework)
6) I wrote all over this book but now I don't need it
7) My friend gave me her book but I don't need it can I return it for full price
8) Blah, blah, blah

By the end of the day it all sounded the same and hundreds of people were able to follow the policy so I am not sure why you think you are special. I had to say no to everybody that didn't follow the policy, I know it makes me seem like a hard ass but once I make one exception I have to make 100.

Here is a hint, if the last day for returns is February 12 and you need your receipt then the last day for returns is the 12 and you need your receipt.

What is Wrong With People

I know I say this all the time but I really want to know, "What is wrong with people!?!"

1) I closed the store at 6:30 tonight as usual, as usual we turned off the lights in front, put the bright orange crash bar on the door and dropped the gate. About 10 minutes later as we were closing out the last register and I hear somebody pulling on the door. I almost understand pulling on the door once but this guy wouldn't stop, it didn't look like we were opened at all, even if you pulled the door off of the hinges how were you planning on getting in through the gate.

2) I try to explain book buyback to a customer over the phone the other day and I am giving him all of the information I can provide without seeing the books and knowing if we are still buying these particular books. The customer then becomes inexplicably pissed off and says "Well, F You, if you are not going to give me the information I need then you are useless to me." Then he hangs up, the thing is I was trying to give him the information he needed and I was being really pleasant about it even though I had a line of people right in front of me.

3) Another main part of my job this week was to work in the textbook department and help people find the books they were looking for. I spent a majority of my days in the textbook aisles asking people if they needed help, or if they had found everything they were looking for. Most people were very positive, but I had one customer look at me and indignantly say, "Do I look like I need help?" I wanted to say, "Yes you look like you need help, but not the help I can really provide so here is the phone number to my therapist you freak." But instead, I said, "I am sorry sir, I am just doing my job, please find me if you need anything."

These are only a few of the interesting interactions I have had this past week that make me say, "What is wrong with people, because really, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!

Pleasant Surprise

So, I am a little behind on my posts but I have been making notes about things I want to post about, one of the things that I wanted to mention last week is how I think i have found a new author that I really like (and one I would never expect)! Back in November I picked up a copy of The Road by Cormac McCarthy on a recommendation from a fellow manager at another store. I loved it but to a certain extent I thought it was a fluke. However, during my shopping spree back in December I purchased another Cormac McCarthy book called No Country for Old Men.

A few weeks back I decided I would take a chance and read it and I fell in love with his writing. The main character in this book, Llewelyn Moss, started out hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, when he finds men shot dead, with heroin in their truck, and more than $2 million in cash. He makes the decision to take the money. Only after two more men are murdered does a victim's burning car lead the sheriff to the crime scene, and he soon realizes how desperately Moss and his young wife need protection. One side hires an ex-Special Forces officer to defend their interests against a mesmerizing freelancer, while on either side are men accustomed to spectacular violence and mayhem. The pursuit stretches up and down and across the border, each participant seemingly determined to answer what one asks another: how does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?"

This story would have fallen apart if McCarthy wasn't such an amazing writer. He weaves each one of the character's stories together by following them for a few pages. The action and mayhem is no stop and the violence is shocking. You feel as if you have been transported to another world. I think I am going to have to go pick up another book by Cormac McCarthy after I finish the stack on my bookshelf.

I am reading Mountains Beyond Mountains now, and L is batting 1.000 with the picks she made for me in December. It is really good.

Ojos Asi y Comiendo Mierda

Ok, so last week I was at the gym and I wanted to get in a quick run before I had to go somewhere, I am not sure where I was going but I know I had about 45 minutes to run. I get to the gym and its not too busy so I choose an elliptical that has a couple open on each side. I get through about 25 minutes without anybody even entering my space. But with 15 minutes left to go a man with a folder a pen and a cell phone get on the machine next to mine. SHIT!

I knew this was going to be bad, but I had no idea what would happen five minutes into his workout. I was at 32 minutes and a remix of Shakira's Ojos Asi came on to my I-pod to push me through my last 8 minutes of the workout. His phone rings, he looks up from his folder and decides to answer it, and stops running, OK I think maybe he will get off his machine but no, he starts yelling into his phone, and his screams are drowning out Shakira! I have mentioned it before, I hate when people go to the gym and don't work out, there is no need to bring your cell phone to the floor, especially when you are doing your cardio, if you can talk on your cell then you are not working out hard enough.

I am getting pissed off with his yelling when he begins to flail his arms and hits me in my arm. I stop, get off my machine, and start to yell at this guy but decide to just tell him that he should walk away if he needs to be on the phone. I was pissed, I mean really what is wrong with people. It is one thing to yap on your phone at the gym but to be so annoying is really ridiculous. He apparently sees nothing wrong with his actions and I walk away furious. Ruined my workout i was so pissed.

By the way comiendo mierda= eating shit= talking crap!

Bob and Tipsy

Three years ago I lived in New Haven and one snowy day in February two little sick kittens found there way to my back door. I am still not sure what happened to there mom but they where cold and sick so i took them in and fed them and tried to warm them up. Because it was snowing heavily I wasn't able to get them to the doctors right away so I did the best I could. I brought them to the shelter the next day with every intention of leaving them to get healthy and be adopted by a loving family who actually liked cats (or at least a crazy cat lady). The problem was the shelter would not take in sick cats, they would just take care of them. I felt really bad and couldn't leave these two sick fur balls at the shelter. So, I took them to the doctor thinking that two cold sick kittens couldn't cost that much money to nurse to health and then I would bring them back to the shelter for adoption. I refused to name them one was boy the other was girl, because I didn't want to get attached!

Three weeks later and about $2,500 poorer I decided that I had two cats. I figured I had put enough money into these two that I should either have had them gold plated or I should keep them around. Now his name was easy, I have a teddy bear named Bob, my first male child will be named Bob, my dog would be named Bob, therefore my cat was named Bob! Now, what to name the female kitten, well she was the one who had the really bad upper respiratory infection so when she was really little she would walk a few steps and fall over, much like she was drunk, so I decided to call her Tipsy (I thought it was better than drunk girl)!

They have developed there own personalities and own different quirks over the past three years, Tipsy uses the toilet to pee, Bob uses his paws to eat. Bob love pizza and broccoli, Tipsy loves the little red beef pieces in egg rolls. Bob is rambunctious and very social and Tipsy is quiet and lazy and shys away from most people except me. Bob also always lays on his back and moans when he is feeling sick.

When I came home on Monday after a long day of work I walked in to Bob laying on his back and screaming bloody murder. It was not a good noise and I immediately knew something was seriously wrong. My paternal instinct immediately kicked in and I wrapped him in a towel ran him downstairs and put him in his carrier, I ran to my car and drove directly to the animal hospital (Angell provides amazing service). They look at him quickly and brought him back to run some tests, they found that he had a blocked urethra and was in a lot of pain and they needed to perform some surgery immediately in order to unblock him. I was a nervous wreck as they took him to the back and began the procedures, and the worst part is he had to remain secluded from the outside environment so I couldn't see him. Tipsy was thrilled that she finally got a good night sleep without her brother bugging her but I was very nervous and didn't sleep well at all.

Bob came home last night and he is doing a bit better, still not 100% and he needs to make medicine twice a day, now that is a nightmare.

Anyway, after this emergency surgery I think that Bob's middle name will be Cash!