Pop Goes the Soda

As I have mentioned, Rush has pretty much begun. One of the important things is that we all report to work at 8am every day to get the store ready for business. I am not usually awake and fully functioning by 8am, so I need a little kick in the pants.

I generally can wait until I get to work to drink my one Diet Coke I am allowed to have a day in order to prevent additional kidney problems. I never keep soda in the house because I will be tempted to drink more than my single soda. But because of the crazy schedule I decided to buy a 12 pack so that I can have my soda on the way into work. I had a bunch of things in my hand on the way back from the supermarket today and I was talking on my phone. I got to the top of my three flights of stairs and was searching for my keys when I lost my grip on the fridge pack of soda and I watched as they tumbled down the stairs in slow motion and about halfway down the three flights cans started to burst and spray soda in every direction. Streams of brown carbonated liquid were flying out in every direction coating the walls and floor. This was quite possibly the funniest and messiest scene that has ever occurred in the stairway of our condo.

It was such a huge mess that it took almost an entire roll of Bounty paper towels to clean up! Ah, the joys of RUSH have begun with a bang, or at least a burst.

Row Row Row My Boat

I am really sad that summer is over, this past weekend was definitely the last weekend I had of the so called summer. So, I went with a few friends to make the best of the weekend, and we went out to Rockport to Kayak out to Thacher Island. We woke up really early on Sunday morning but by the time we all got together we were on the road by 10. We arrived in Rockport around 11 and found the kayak place, although finding a restroom was a bit more difficult.

We were out on the Kayak by 11:30, it was a great kayaking day, it was warm and partly sunny. We took a nice leisurely pace out past the straights and into the Atlantic, the ocean was nice and calm, we pointed our boats towards the two lighthouses on the island and enjoyed the day. It is very peaceful when you are out in the middle of the ocean, especially out off of Rockport, we are the only six people within sight. The last time I had gone kayaking off of the cape, it was packed, and the island you kayaked too was packed because there was a ferry that brought fat people with their coolers to the island. When we got to Thacher Island there were two people leaving and we were the only kayaks on the dock.

We pulled our boats up the dock and and walk around the island, there are two lighthouses on the island, and one of them is open for you to go in and go up to the top. It is abandoned but still in very good condition. We walked up the stairs to the top where you get amazing 360 degree views on the Atlantic, the island, and Cape Ann. It is as beautiful as nature can be. We also went out on the deck surrounding the lighthouse and took some pictures. It was a great sight and a great late summer adventure. We wander around the island a bit more and see the sights, we were on Thacher Island for over an hour and we only run across two other people (the caretaker and a friend).

Now the only problem with kayaking to an island is that you need to kayak back to where you came from. The current and wind was with us on the way back but the water was a bit choppier and there were a few more motor boats on the water so we had the fun of paddling through the wakes. We decided about one mile from the straights to race all the way into the bay and see who could win. We paddled our asses off and me and my kayak buddy A won but by the time we got there we were exhausted. The two of us have the worst form and the least experienced so we were exhausted. But the important thing is we won the race!

I just started kayaking this year with Dill when we were on the Cape and I am glad that I did because it is tons of fun. I can't wait until the spring and summer next year when I will hopefully have more time to kayak and enjoy. This will be another one of my favorite spring/summer activities.


This summer I have been having some work done on my mouth, I have bad teeth, and i hate the dentist and this combination has lead to some cavities and other things that need to be done, so since July i think I have had 8 dental appointments, and i still have, let me see-

1) Deep cleaning, scaling
2) Stitches removed from my gums following the scaling
3) One more cavity to be filled
4) Mold to be made for a whitening tray
5) Post whitening getting a chipped tooth filled

I am sure that after all of this I will have to go in for followups and eventually another basic cleaning in January, and once every three months after that. Now that i found a great dentist, who understands that i am horribly afraid of the dentist, and is very kind to me I really need to go because i never want to have to go through all of this again.

While the dentists have been great, i still have pain and soreness from all the procedures and I have been able to eat properly for weeks, plus talking at work following all of the procedures has been rough. it will be great to not have bleeding gums and sensitivity in my wisdom teeth, and a brighter, whiter smile will also be very nice. Ah yes, and probably starting in January i am going to try Invisaligns so that I can have straight teeth, my teeth all moved when my wisdom teeth came in, and if i spent 3 years in braces in high school i really think I should have straight white perfect teeth. I am so jealous of my sister who has and always has had perfect teeth with very little work ever needed, not even braces.


Yeah, i am sure I have mentioned RUSH before, it is when all of the students arrive back on campus, and wreak havoc on my life. OK, so they don't mean to make me crazy it is just a side effect of the students and their parents all mobbing one place at the same time.

The students started arriving this week, we are in the final preparation stages and while we are ready for the students physically, we are still preparing mentally for the onslaught. The sales in the store have been incredibly strong this summer, we have had some great tourist traffic, but now there is a huge switch in the business. Now the transactions take place on the lower level, it doesn't matter how pretty the floor looks, what matters is that all the stock is on the floor, we can't sell books and supplies out of the back stockroom.

The customer for RUSH is very different. They are stressed, they are starting classes, and they are shocked at the price of textbooks. We try to cushion the blow by providing used books and also a membership program that gets them a rebate at the end of the year, we also hold sales on other items in the store during RUSH week. This is because we have the potential to have a new customer for four years if they have a positive experience in the store on their first visit.

With so much going on it is amazing that any of us keep our sanity, we have two to three weeks of insanity and we all work very long hours and are busting out butts to get all of the work done, we even have a single day where we do $250,000 on 12 registers, this is one crazy day. Much like Christmas it is all hands on deck for the next few weeks and I bet I will have some interesting retail stories.

I Am Slow

My reading has really slowed down this summer, I think part of it is because it is really hard to read on a hot train, and also because unlike the winter there are so many other things you can do in Boston. Anyhow... I just finished reading The Know It All, its a book about a man who reads the encyclopedia from A-Z but it is much more than that, and obviously it is very interesting to see what he focuses on and what he learns.

The concept of the book seemed really interesting at first and a few former employees recommended it, so I decided to buy it. After reading it I realize what they were talking about; this book is unique, informative, and extremely funny. The author does a great job of intertwining random encyclopedia facts and entries with events in his own life. The stories in his real life are comical and interesting. He does everything from join Mensa and attend a crossword convention to being interviewed on Crossfire and going on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'.

The random facts were my favorite part of the book, he picks some of the strangest entries but ties them into the book flawlessly. Overall, this book was a quick and very enjoyable read with a unique setup and concept.

Oh yes, and I also love his last paragraph, it ties the book up so well, and it makes you think about what you have read. I am of to my next challenge, but it will not be reading the encyclopedia from A-Z!

Apparently I Should Live in London

S is away for the next two weeks, he is in Europe, which is worse than NYC because I can't talk to him on the phone everyday, this makes me very sad, but in his first post from London he mentioned that I should live there, I guess all things are short, which would work quite well for me, check it out...


No Seriously, That Is Just Stupid

I have been really good lately (since the outburst in NYC) at controlling my anger. So much so that both S and C are really proud of me. But today on my way home from work I slipped back a little bit, I was sorry for doing it but it needed to be done.

I left work today and went downstairs to the train, i put my pass in the machine and went in, I reached into my bag to grab my book and immediately realized that I had left my book on my desk at work, so I leave the station, and go back up to my office and grab my book, in about five minutes I am back down at the station and put my pass in the machine again. I walk forward but the gate doesn't open... WTF... I try again and look at the screen, which says "Pass Already Used" well yeah it has been but it is an unlimited weekly pass. I go to the attendant, the same attendant I see every day leaving work. I explain the situation and he tell me I have to wait 20 minutes, like seriously WHY? He told me there is no way for me to prove that it is my pass and it could have been passed to me.

No ass, I told you what happened and I see you every day. I am not lying please just let me in because I just want to go home. He tell me there is nothing he can do and that I have to wait at least 20 minutes. Well why does my unlimited weekly pass now suddenly have limits? He then recommends that I go purchase another weekly pass if I don't want to wait, UMMMM NO! I am not going to spend another $15 on a weekly pass, and I make him and half of the station aware of this. He then moves on to pretty much calling a poor tourist stupid because she can't figure out how to buy a pass on the new asinine machines, so much so that she looks at him and says, "Hey asshole, you know I can read right." At least I wasn't the only guy pissed off with this guy.

As he is distracted with this woman, a train approaches and I take my chance to mix into the crowd and jump onto the train behind another pass user. I don't feel guilty... and I hate the T.

The Sinister Staffer

I added a new link to the blog roll because I ran across it on Waiter Rant, and I thought it was very funny. She works for a staffing agency, and it reminded me of all the awful interviews I have had, like the ones I describe in "The Not So Artful Interview" and all of the crazy people who apply for jobs like the ones I describe in "Mobey On My Pocket." Take a look at the Sinister Staffer link in the blog roll and enjoy!

First Days Back...

The first day back to work always sucks, I have had three first days back so far this summer because of the trip to Indiana and my two vacations this summer. I did really well last week when it came to staying away from my store, I didn't go in once, and I didn't call. This is probably why today was one of the worst days back I have had in a long time. I had no idea what I was walking back into this morning, and my boss wasn't even there today to give me a hand.

There wasn't one major thing that made the day hard, it was just a number of things that were going on. I walked in this morning to three new employees sitting in my office waiting to be trained. Training is really hard as on a day when you are expecting it, OK well maybe not hard but it is time consuming. Paperwork alone takes at least an hour if you read the employee handbook with them. Then of course you need to give them a tour of the store, introduce them to people, get them a locker and a register sign on, get them acquainted with the rules and systems, show them how to ring on the register, etc. So I spent a majority of my morning working on the unexpected training. Of course the training was interrupted by numerous phone calls and on conference call that I needed to participate in because my boss was out today.

Once I finally completed my portion of the training and brought the new employees to there departments in the store, it was close to 1:30 and I needed to complete their paperwork and redo the schedule so that the employees knew when they needed to come into work this week. This took about one hour and then I needed to do the sales reports for last week. By this time I needed to run my 3:00 departmental meeting, this always takes about an hour.

So by 4:00 I had still not had a chance to read my email, or check my voicemail. I had to check in on the store and oh so many other things a manager needs to do on the first day back. I left at 6:15 this evening and I was exhausted. Tomorrow is going to be like my First Day Back Take 2. I wish I was still on vacation!

RIP Sparky

My Aunt's dog Sparky had to be put down today. He was 13. I still remember when they brought the little fur ball home 13 years ago. He was a Shih Tzu and I really thought that they should have named him Shihs-Kabob, cute huh! Instead they named him Sparky and he was the first dog I remember in the extended family, I now have my God-Dog Cody, and my own two cats. But back then it was just Sparky and he quickly became a part of the family.

As the years passed and people moved on and off to college, he really became my grandmother's dog, she was the one person who would stay home all day with him and they kept each other company. Unfortunately, he was having heart problems and the decision was made to put Sparky down today, he was having trouble getting around and presumably in pain.

I know that I was close to tears when Bob was sick, and crying when I had the choice of surgery of putting him down. Animals are part of the family and are in your heart. When they get sick it is like a member of the family is sick. I know that Sparky is in a happy place now in Doggie Heaven and I wish the best to the rest of my family who has to deal with the loss.

MFA- Hopper Exhibit

Yesterday I went to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Hopper Exhibit. I have been wanting to see the exhibit since it started a few months ago, but I have not had the chance. The exhibit ends in a couple weeks so I took the chance yesterday to go and I loved every minute of it. I am not an art specialist and I am not sure of the terms that people use to describe art, but I do know what I like. I have always found architecture beautiful, and even the simplest buildings are impressive in some way.

I like Hopper because his focus was always the geometric buildings and the simplest scenes, his most well known painting "Nighthawks" is iconic and yet it depicts a very simple scene.

There is a lot written about this painting, about the loneliness of big city living, about freedom and being trapped, about existentialism, and the overall human condition. Is this cafe welcoming, (note there is no entrance) what is the relationship between these people. You get to explore all of this at the exhibit as you examine this iconic painting hanging two feet in front of you on a gallery wall in Boston. This is what really amazes me about exhibits at the MFA, the paintings are actually there.

There was a wide collection of amazingly realistic paintings of all different landscapes, from the lighthouses in Maine, to a street in Truro and Provincetown two beautiful towns on the cape in Massachusetts. As well as many scenes from his native New York City. My favorite painting was "Early Sunday Morning."

This is a painting that depicts something that is rarely seen in a big city. It is calm but it also continues on forever. There is no sign of the chaos of the city, yet somehow you expect people to start streaming into the painting and the day to begin.

I was glad I got to enjoy my day yesterday at the museum, it was definitely one of the highlights of my vacation so far, and if you are in Boston between now and August 19, I highly recommend going to see this exhibition.

Plummeting To My Death

I am on vacation this week and during my August vacation I usually do things around the house and around Boston. This weekend I went to the pool and the beach because it was really warm and nice, today it is kind of cool and cloudy but that's fine because I am currently waiting for the Comcast man to arrive and hook up phone service.

I noticed last week that it is cheaper to have Phone, Cable, and Internet for $99.00 a year then the $134 that I was paying for the two services. So, today I wait for the phone service to be hooked up, and i will have a house phone for a year until the package price increases.

Now one of the things that I enjoy doing on my August vacation is to go out on my back deck and read for a bit. Usually, I read while doing laundry, or after I get back from the gym or something else in the city. Well this year if I were to go read my book out on my back deck I would plummet to my death. (See its not like I am going sky-diving). No, I will plummet to my death because the back deck has been torn down to be replaced, but it was supposed to be finished weeks ago, and still if I walk out of my back door I will fall to the first floor decking, which is the only thing completed.

If the deck was taking longer because of a problem with the structure, while I would be frustrated, I would still understand. However, the deck is taking forever because the contractor has not been here in days. He is generally coming once a week. If he had told this up front then we would have probably gone with a different contractor, or at least been prepared for this. It drives me nuts because today is actually a perfect day to be sitting out on my back deck and reading a book while i am waiting for the Comcast man who is supposed to be here between 11 and 1. It is now 12:30, I wonder if he will actually be on time or if I will be waiting around for him to arrive too.

ETA: The cable man was late by like two hours but i do have a house phone as part of a cheaper package, and the deck man arrived yesterday around 1, it started raining at 2:20 so he left, he didn't finish much so I will still plummet to my death.