Fat Cat

I put Tipsy on a diet. She is my female cat and I felt she was getting too fat. She doesn't like the special diet food, but she has no choice if she wants to survive. Like my mother says its not like she can drive to McDonald's and order a Double Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries. She can't cheat on her diet even though I have caught her trying. A couple days ago I saw her trying to pull food out o the pot of food I was cooking when I had turned my back, and today she tried to lure a big dumb bird to the window with some odd kitty cackling noise.

Bob doesn't seem to mind the diet, but she just looks at me with disapproving eyes, if she only understood that it was for her own good. Oh well, I guess I can't reason with the cat, especially a fat one who is bitchy because she is on a diet.

Water Country, Water Country, Water Country... Have Some Fun

Yes, that is one of the most annoying jingles on Boston Television, right after "Bernie and Phyl's, Quality, Comfort and Price... That's Nice." Now why am I commenting on this jingle, well it's because on Sunday I went to Water Country in New Hampshire for DJ R's Birthday.

So Sunday morning I got up early and met up with the group at Dunkin Donuts on Mass Ave, we needed to grab some food. As soon as i walked in, before I even had any caffeine I ran into Bible Lady who graced all of us with how she was about to eat the bible, and how she missed me at my old store. I was not in the mood so i stood by the door and held it opened for her, hoping she would get the hint. She eventually did and we were able to grab breakfast and get on our way.

I was not sure how a group of fifteen 25-35 year olds would do in a water park that was meant for 8-15 year olds, and figured that this could be an interesting time. I love roller coasters and rides, but I had never been to a full fledged water park. We got there at 10:30, changed, and went to to the first water slide. This was a nice easy trip on a tube made for five people down a splishy splashy tan slide that didn't even get a scream out of me. The water was a bit cold though! While waiting in line for the next ride one member of the group whose self control is always limited, got pissed and yelled out the F word in the middle of a group of children. This is one of the things I was afraid of but the parents didn't turn on us at that moment which was a relief because I was expecting to be run out of the park with flaming torches by the end of the day.

We continued riding the rides until we decided to break for lunch and then get back in line for Geronimo. This was the only slide that was scary, all of the others I was able to get through without a problem. Geronimo, however, is about 15 stories straight up, you lay on your back with your ankles crossed and you arms crossed over your chest and the attendant pushes you down the slide. At one point you are in complete free fall, and no part of your body is touching the slide. You are all the way down in a matter of five seconds but it is still a scary five seconds and even I yelled an obscenity my first time down, it was fun though so i did it three more times during the course of the afternoon. I think five of the fifteen people opted out of this ride, and the rest of us did it a few times, some got right on while others had to think about it for a few minutes.

The Wave Pool was the final stop of the day, and it was also very fun, the weird thing is that the waves in a wave pool go from side to side they don't come in from in front of you instead they come from the left and the right. As someone who loves to swim in the ocean, I found this very hard to get used to and swimming in these waves with tons of little children in tubes was also a difficult task. Once you got into the swing of things and out past the six foot mark where most parents did not allow their kids it became a lot of fun and also some really good exercise, I am glad that I am a good swimmer, I can see how people can drown here.

Overall, I do have to say that Water Country, Water Country, Water Country, is a place where kids of all ages can have some fun! The day ended and we didn't even drown one another!

Indianapolis, Indiana

I had a business trip this week, usually I get to go to fun places like NYC, or Baltimore, or Chicago. This time I had to go help open up a series of stores in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are taking over the management of a few stores in the area, and are working on preparing them for back to school Rush which starts in three weeks. I spent a majority of my week leading the employees in the textbook department and running reports and shelf tags. The current employees are not used to the new system and because of the transition.

I always love business trips, I love working with new people, I enjoy my dinners in the hotel restaurant sitting at the bar with my book, and most importantly I love to walk into a new store and kick some ass. This store was a bit different, they have been transitioning for 10 weeks now, and a number of different managers, I was on the team with J from Delaware and S from Ohio State, they got to the store on Monday and I didn't arrive until Tuesday. They were amazing, and did exactly what I do when I get into a store to help out, they made a game plan and attacked. It was great to walk into a well oiled operation, but I quickly noticed that if J, S, or myself did not take control then nothing would get accomplished. So, I took over the floor operations on the text book floor. I soon met M, who was going to be the person taking over the store. M was going to be great for the store, except that she needed to take some control. There is just so much to do. We worked 16 hour days from Tuesday through Friday and got tons of stuff done. J was amazing, she is one of those rare female managers that can be direct and do what needs to be done, and also be a ton of fun. We got along great and spent a good bunch of the time we had off either in the gym or at the hotel bar.

As usual however, this business trip was not all fun and games, when I got there on Tuesday, I called the hotel to make sure things were all set because I knew that I would be checking in late. However, when I got to the hotel, they had no room for me. On Thursday morning I didn't receive a wake up call from the hotel, and overslept my 6am meeting time. Ah yes, and the two hour flight to Boston somehow turned into 4 plus hours on the plane. So it was the usual trip for me.

Indianapolis is an interesting place, it is a supposed city, but there is no traffic, and at about 9:00pm there is nobody on the street. I went for a walk one night in downtown and I didn't run into anybody, the bars and restaurants were all empty it was all very very odd. Anyway, I am trying to combine a week's worth of stuff all into one post and I am not being very successful, so I am going to end this post and hope that my next post is slightly more successful...

31 of 36 Hours

Only one book can bring about the mayhem that occurred this past weekend, and I have to say even though I was exhausted, I loved every single minute of the madness.

I guess the best way to go over this night is to go through a bit of a timeline. We have been taking reservations for this book for close to nine months and planning a party for about six months. The final two weeks were chaos with shopping and planning and reservations for the book coming in at a frightening clip.

On Friday I got to work at 7:30 to open the store for the regular business day, which was anything but regular. Early on in the day customers started pouring in wanted to reserve the book and get information on the party. All the while we were trying to iron out the final details, finish proofreading and finalizing the information sheet and making copies.

At 6:30 when the store closes for the regular business day I run over to the hotel and check in and I am back in the store in five minutes. By closing time we had close to 400 reservations. From 6:30- 9:00pm, the trade manager and myself work to transform the store into Harry Potter Party Central. We planned a trivia contest and scavenger hunt, we prepared crafts for the children of all ages including wand making and coloring. We also had a bookseller reading the first book, and the creative attendees could write their own ending to the series.

By 9:00 the rest of the general book staff reported back to the store to help put the finishing touches on the party and put out the food and refreshments. At 9:45 all of the remaining booksellers came in and we had a quick meeting and then opened the doors to the customers waiting at the door. We were expecting a couple hundred people since K Square is not the biggest and most accessible location in Boston. As the night proceeded and people were participating in the all of the activities it became obvious that we underestimated the total turnout. The energy was contagious as the book release drew closer. By 11:30 we had well over 400 people in the store and started lining people up in two lines to get the book. People with reservations went in one line and walk in book buyers went in the other. With 10 minutes to go we revealed the books from under a few tablecloths to a cheer from the crowd. With five minutes left we mad announcements leading up to 12:01 and at midnight the crowd started a countdown right until the official release. At this time we had over 500 people in the store.

In less than an hour we sold almost 300 books to delighted fans, and the best part was that every customer was smiling and a delight. They were all thrilled to be at a party and getting some of the first copies of the book.

At approximately 2:30 am the store was almost back to normal and we were ready to open the following day, the only thing was my trade manager couldn't find his keys. I finally got to the hotel at 3:00 in the morning and needed a bite to eat. I was sleeping by 4 and had to be back by 8 to open the store. When the alarm went off i was in no mood to move and get out of bed but I was so happy that I decided to get the hotel room.

I was back in the store by 8:15 and by the time we were ready to open the doors at 10 we had people waiting to purchase the books. This trend continued all day as we sold another 250 copies of the book through out the day.

We sold over 500 copies of the book and I worked 31 out of 36 hours. It was quite the experience.

Neither Here Nor There

I have to say I really love Bill Bryson, and while I still have to say that my favorite Bryson book is I'm A Stranger Here Myself, I really did love Neither Here Nor There and it really made me want to go take a tour of Europe. When I recommend Bryson books at my store I always describe where they got me in trouble for laughing out loud... I'm A Stranger Here Myself was soda out of my nose funny, and A Walk in the Woods was get in trouble during Jury Duty funny. Neither Here Nor There was laughing on the T funny (and getting weird looks). I think that the best part about Bill Bryson's books are that they are not only funny but they transport you to the place he is writing about. While reading In A Sunburned Country I wanted to travel to Australia to see for myself all of the places he was describing with such vivid details.

A Week That Ends in Friday the 13th

What a week it was this week at my store. I was back from vacation on Monday and I was not happy with the way my store looked. It is always hard to return and see things that don't meet your expectations. It wasn't really any body's fault it was just a lack of direction because of the store manager's were on vacation last week.

I got in early on Monday and walked the floor and wrote down the things that needed urgent care. I compiled a list and then looked for all of the things that I was expecting in my box from the other managers. There was one piece of paper in my box, i was getting quite frustrated at this point. I decided that I would follow up with each manager one on one and then discuss my expectations of them as a group at our Wednesday manager's meeting. Hopefully, by this point I would have the expected paperwork.

Once the day got started I realized that this week was not going to be an easy one. We had a number of sick calls one employee had broken her foot, one had a migraine, and one ended up having to leave because her roommate was in the hospital (sadly this roommate passed away later this week). The schedule was going to be a mess this week, especially since I had another employee on vacation, and began training one on Monday as well. By the end of the week the schedule had not gotten better as a matter of fact it was worse as one manager had a medical emergency and one employee failed to show up.

Now while the schedule was a mess, and getting things accomplished was almost impossible we were still able to get the basics completed early in the week and get caught up with meetings and paperwork, and by the end of the week, even with very few people we were able to make some progress on the lower level. We actually got a number of displays up in the dorm section and cleaned out a majority of the conference room.

Now that I got through the frustration of returning to work, and survived the first week back I feel I need to discuss a couple of the difficult customers that have arrived in my store straight from the loony bin this week:

1) Snapple Lady- This woman comes in and buys two Snapple's a day, she has actually be coming in for a while now and she was always a bit nuts but this week she had a break and has completely lost her mind. On Tuesday she came up to me and asked if I was the store manager then she proceeded to yell at me in the middle of the store about how I am part of a conspiracy to make her fat because I am putting chocolate at every register, and she has no place to put her bag so she needs to buy chocolate. I am not sure I understand her reasoning and why she needs to buy the chocolate. But a conspiracy, I mean come on its retail lady, we make money on impulse buys, just because you are too darn stupid to realize what we are doing is not my problem.

2) Critical Sweatshirt Woman- Today was the critical sweatshirt woman, who works at the university. She asked for some help selecting a sweatshirt for a guy and every time I showed her a sweatshirt there was something wrong with it. This one is too frumpy, too thick, too blue, too grey, she didn't like the sleeves on one, and the imprint on the other. She wanted this one in a different color with a different font on the front. OK, well lady this is a college bookstore, we carry items that are approved by the university, and there are only so many arms in a college bookstores clothing department. She did end up buying a sweatshirt however, just not one that I recommended.

I had so many other ones today it was ridiculous but I guess I wouldn't have anything to write about if the Snapple lady and the bible lady didn't exist!


I have always said that my brain is full of useless song lyrics, if only there was some use for all of these useless song lyrics. Well, now there is, and I am frighteningly good at the new show on NBC called "The Singing Bee"

The main idea behind this show is you have to sing the remaining part of the song properly after the band stops (or at least the next line). The person who can do this properly out of a group of six can win $50,000. It is like the easiest way to win money on television, as a matter of fact I have been training my entire life for this show.

I need to go online and find out how I get on and I am going to set records!

Back to the Grind

After a week of vacation on the cape where the biggest issue was whether I should go to the pool or beach, or should I wear flip flops tonight, I need to go back to work tomorrow morning. I had such a nice 9 days off from work, I wish I were independently wealthy and never had to work.

I did fun things like hang out with friends, lay by the pool and get a tan, make some new friends, kayak to the lighthouse, go out and have some drinks, relax, go to the movies, etc etc. Now tomorrow I have to deal with things like payroll, and meetings, and conference calls.

Which sounds better to you?

The Opposite First Date

A few months ago I posted about a really bad first date. A long drive with very little talking, and pool playing etc. Well a couple of weeks ago i went on the opposite of this miserable first date, I actually went on an amazing first date with a great guy. This is a hard post to write because i don't want to jinx anything that i may have with this person.

I met J over three years ago when Arg was his roommate and even though we didn't really hit it off at that time i do remember that i thought he was cute. We have run into each other over the past few years but never really talked. A couple of weeks ago we bumped into each other and sparks went off. It was definitely a weird experience but something felt right. At the end of the night he asked if he could take me out to dinner, I agreed and was looking forward to the dinner.

The following day he called around lunch time to confirm our date and then actually came to my store to take me to lunch as well because I was having a rough day at the store. It was nice to get out of the store for a bit and we got to know each other a bit more and enjoyed each others company. We made plans to meet at 8:00 that evening at his place in the South End so that he could take me to Stella (one of his favorite restaurants).

We got to the restaurant and the hostess was able to take us within fifteen minutes even though there was a two hour wait and we got a great table in the back by the window where we could people watch and enjoy the evening. He ordered an amazing bottle of white wine to start with and we shared that while we decided on our meals. The entire time the conversation was free flowing and we were both laughing and having a great time. We ordered dinner and finished off the bottle of wine. We never stop talking (at least until the fantastic food arrived), and even mumbled a few words as we devoured our amazing entrees. The check arrived and he was a gentleman and wouldn't let me pay for anything no matter how much I insisted.

After dinner we walked down to Union because in the course of conversation at dinner I mentioned they had the best Pomegranate Martinis I have ever had. We stopped in for a martini and continued talking about things we got into an animated conversation about television and I found out that he loves American Idol and 24 as much as I do, although I think season 1 of 24 is the best and he thinks season 2 is the best. We talked about vacations and how he loves planes and loves to golf (OK he lost a point there). We talked at Union for over an hour and it felt like just a few minutes. We even made a few friends at the bar.

We ended the date walking down the street, sitting on a park bench under the stars, talking for a little bit more and then a simple kiss goodnight. I am not joking when I say that this was almost a perfect first date, and we have had other amazing dates since. And even the simple things like him helping me pack for vacation last week have been so much fun. I hope that things work out but there is no pressure and only time will tell...