Monday, May 29, 2006

Adventures in Retail: The Saga Begins

I've been trained on the cash register, taken the store tour and watched all the training videos. Now I'm out on the floor as associate #435. I worked Thursday night and survived my first weekend. Saturday was very busy but Sunday was rather quiet. The weather on Sunday was gorgeous. I'm sure most people were probably out enjoying the day.

Surprisingly, I found that many of the customers were friendly and patient. I hope I projected those characteristics back to them. I did overhear two people I had helped tell the big manager what a wonderful sales clerk she had. Alrighty. On the other hand, it's my co-workers who leave much to be desired. One in particular, who was supposed to act as my "buddy" and help me out on the floor. Sure she helped, when she'd bother to be around. L is the stupidest, most self absorbed person I've ever met. Of course she thinks nothing of talking incessantly about herself, herself and herself. She's around twenty years old and has an eighteen month old baby girl. I'd think she'd might occasionally bore me to death talking about her daughter -- but no. She hardly ever mentions the poor little thing.

On morning Sunday L and I were scheduled to open. I knew I'd have to get the cash bags and open the registers, even though I'd never done it before on my own. I didn't figure I'd have to be there for a whole 45 minutes on my own. I did run into a small problem that I didn't know how to deal with so had to call for a manager. K, the store assistant GM who hired me showed up. She helped me on the registers until L showed up at 11:45. I did cover a bit for L (which I really shouldn't have). We were both originally scheduled to start the shift at noon but our supervisor changed it on Saturday. (The supervisor forgot that the store was opening early on Sunday when she made out the original schedule.) I told K that maybe L had forgotten the shift start time had been moved up an hour, or maybe our supervisor neglected to tell L.

Then, once L was on the floor with me I was subjected to hearing all the details of her breakup with her boyfriend (who by the way IS not the same guy who fathered her baby). Apparently his friends were talking trash about her, and he wouldn't defend her. Incidentally, he also hits her. I got the impression thought that the punch fests might have been permissible if he would just stick up for her. Either way, she dumped him. There might be a bright side to this. The boyfriend also works in the store, so L is considering quitting to avoid constantly running into him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I opened two new credit applications over the weekend (that's two extra dollars in the old paycheck for each). They were also handing out candy bars for each application. I left mine in my locker for those evening shifts I have to go to directly from the software company to the mall.

I did have today off so I was able to catch up on house cleaning and laundry. I got out to buy some flowers for the flower boxes and a decent hanging plant for the porch despite that most of plants were fairly picked over by this afternoon. I'm hoping to put the flowers in the box tomorrow night. I wrote up the Relay press release. Those will have to wait until the ACS office approves it before I can send them out later this week.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hello I Must Be Going

I would have had more time to write tonight if I hadn't gone to the lake for a walk after work. It's a gorgeous day, and I haven't been able to get out to the lake for about a month. I noticed all the trees have leaves on them and there are boats in the marina now!

I met with the head of my department yesterday. Dr. H encouraged me to apply for the master's program. I'm going to wait until the end of next year and see where I am. He told me not to worry about money. He'd help find aid for me and all but assured me of a Graduate Assistantship. It would be great to have school paid for but where the funds for food and shelter would come from is the big question. There's always loans and hubby says if that's what I really want to do, he'll sell some stock.

Wish I could write a bit more to tell you how my adventures in retail is going. Classroom training is over. Tomorrow they put me on the floor. Should be interesting. I'll try to post again over the weekend.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My Last Weekend

I think this is the last weekend I can call my own for some time to come. I started my adventures in retail Thursday night. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to go back again until Monday night. Apparently they don't want to let you loose on the selling floor until you've mastered the cash register. Cash register! I had enough problems with the combination lock on my locker! Tomorrow should be interesting, especially seeing that I'm going straight from eight hours at the software company right to the mall.

With most of my future weekends spoken for I used this one to finish up some household chores. I did finish painting the porch floor. It looks great. Hubby can start getting it ready for the summer next weekend. I also cleaned and straightened up my studio. It's still a mess but it's a less dusty mess. I just finished putting away my winter clothes -- at least the really heavy stuff that I'm not still wearing. I was standing the my attic freezing my butt off while taking my shorts out of storage. I know didn't make much sense, but it's supposed to get very warm next week. I'll be too busy then to do anything, and yes they want me in for forty hours at the software company.

I have to ask D for extended lunch on Tuesday. I have to meet with my department head at school. Nothing serious, he was responsible for hooking me up with D and this job. He wanted to know how it was going. I also think I should touch base with him on how my studies are progressing. He e-mailed me a few weeks ago to ask if I were interested in a GA position. If I didn't have the software firm gig, I might have gone for it. I would have had to commit to the degree program; I'm only working on an advanced certificate right now. At this point, I'm still not sure I want to continue on for a full degree. It's good to know though that if I keep up my grades that possibility could be there.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Five Things That Zippchik Hates

This entry was inspired by recent posts by Deathlok, although I doubt this will be half as entertaining as his were.

5. Grimjack hates Verizon. I hate Time Warner Cable. Several years ago they shuffled our cable line-up. We stopped getting the program guide, the channel that broadcasts what's on and when. So I called customer service, they told me that they had moved it to a new tier and now I'd have to pay more for it. Pay, for the program guide? WTF? But the friendly customer service rep told me it would only cost a dollar more a month than what I was currently paying. So stupidly I agreed. The next month I get my bill, and it had gone up THREE dollars!!! That bi-atch had lied to me!!!! And I love their promotion where you sign up for Road Runner and get the first six months for $29. Then they jack up your monthly rate to $55. If they can give you cable for $29 a month for six months why can't they just give it to you at $29 all the time? Well of course they can, but they're friggin greedy bastards!

4. The New York Yankees. Don't people just get tired of these overpaid arrogant jerks winning all the time? And don't get me started on George Steinbrenner, the Grinch Who Stole Baseball.

3. Fox News. It's not fair. It's not balanced. It's just a mouthpiece for Bush's failed administration. If it weren't for Fox News, Bill O'Reilly would probably be selling used cars in Topeka.

2. SUVs. They're big, ugly, and bad for the environment. They might make their owners feel safer but for those of us who can't fork over better than a year's salary for a vehicle, they are a safety hazard. I've yet to perfect my X-Ray vision so I can't even see around the damn things on the road or in parking lots. SUVs also hog resources. If there's anything positive about these rising gas prices it's fact that the SUV owners are going to pay and pay and pay. Also check out

1. Cancer. Cancer sucks no matter how you look at it. No one wants to get it, but it seems like everyone's lives have been affected by it in some way. If you've been fortunate not to have been diagnosed yourself, chances are you have a relative, friend, neighbor or co-worker who has. Cancer killed both of my parents. So here's where I lead up to my little pitch. This year I will be participating in the Relay for Life. For more information please visit I'm on the Lockheed Martin All Sports Team and if you hate cancer as much as I do please feel free to sponsor me. (BTW, I don't work for Lockheed Martin, I just like the people on that team so I'm helping them out.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Year Without DayGlo

I'm working three days this week and doing a bang up job. It's been mostly coding not much design work. It's a bit frustrating because most of the site is in Active Server Pages; I don't know jack about coding asp. Today I was back in my HTML tables world so it wasn't too bad. I just put on the headphones and listened to hidebound all afternoon. Speaking of tunes, I finally figured out how to access D's music server. He's got a ton of 80s tunes. I was totally shocked to see he had a copy of Pet Shop Boys' "Absolutely Fabulous!" I've been looking for that song for a year! It has a lot of sentimental memories connected to my Day Glo friends attached to it.

I can't believe it's been a whole year since DayGlo Radio went down. Deathlok recently posted a blog in tribute to the site several weeks ago. It really was more than an internet radio station, it was also a tremendous online community. Those of us who really cared to keep in touch, in my opinion, have done a pretty good job, especially when you consider how geographically dispersed we are. Still it's not the same. Unfortunately, as the cliche goes, "all good things come to an end." I'm hoping if we all stick together and keep working at it, that at least the friendships we've made through DayGlo won't end.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Too Many Irons in the Fire?

A few months ago, I had no jobs now I may have three. I told you that the hours at the software company were spotty. I wasn't expecting to work at all this week, but D called me today and asked me to work the rest of the week. He also said they really want to put me on a regular schedule, which would definitely help with the possible upcoming gig at Penneys. Yesterday I contacted an ad agency I did a fill-in emergency job for last fall. They offered me a part-time job this past winter about the same time the software company did. I turned them down at the time because, I really wanted to work at the software company, and the agency was further away from home. I called MB at the agency to see if they had anything, not really expecting much. He e-mailed me this morning, telling me that he might have something for me next week. I'm hoping I can juggle all of this. Although if something had to give, the retail job would be the first to go. It pays half what the design jobs do.

At least I got the nice part of the week off. Yesterday and today the weather was gorgeous. Yesterday I went shopping for the house: porch floor paint, patchmaster for the lawn, shower curtains, drinking glasses, and cedar blocks for winter clothes storage. Then I headed out to the lake for a walk; it was just perfect. Today was the same but even warmer.

I would have gone to the lake again today, but my husband strongly suggested I check out the Adelaide Alsop Robineau exhibit at the Everson. The show closes on May 21 so I knew if I didn't go now, I'd probably miss it. It was a tremendous show. Robineau is best known for her painstakingly incised porcelain pieces, such as "Apotheosis of the Toiler" (shown) also referred to as The Scarab Vase. I found her glazes were truly remarkable. There was a vase with an electric turquoise glaze that seemed to radiate. If she had excelled in either the incising OR the glazes, she would have been regarded as a great ceramist, but to have mastered BOTH just blows me away. As Elbert Hubbard, the founder of the Roycroft Community once said, "The love you liberate in your work is the only love you keep." I really felt the love at the Robineau exhibition.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Congratulations, Gabriella!

My seven year old niece made her First Holy Communion today almost 37 years to the day that I made mine. The weather was cold, clammy and rainy just like on my First Communion Day. She looked so beautiful and all the kidlets in her class were adorable, too. After church the gang went over for brunch at a local trattoria, Cafe Asti. I had the grilled Eggplant but too much cake and a mocha latte for dessert. I probably won't have to make dinner tonight. It's four hours later and I'm still stuffed.

I threw my shower curtain in the washing machine. It had survived a washing last fall, but today the washer decided to eat it. I guess we'll just use the liner until I get a chance to go to Bead Bath & Beyond or Target next week.

Speaking of retail, Friday, I took a job working in the children's department at JC Penneys. This position has "DEEP DARK STEAMY HELL" written all over it. Unfortunately we really need the money,nw that my unemployment benefits have run out. I'm going to try to stick it out until I go back to school. Maybe I'll be working more hours at the software company by then. If not, there should be more retail jobs opening up after school starts again. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wash Out

It's been a busy, busy week for me as you could tell from my lack of postings here. I worked at the office all week and delivered my final report to my professor yesterday morning. We had free tickets to last night's Syracuse SkyChiefs game. I went with my husband. We sat with the usual suspects. It was my first game of the season; it was BP's first game since Saturday. He'd been sick. Yesterday was also BP's birthday. It seemed that it was going to be a perfect evening for the game versus Pawtucket Red Sox. Then during the third inning it started to sprinkle. The rain got heavier and kept on falling. Play was suspended in the bottom of the third inning. We hung out with our friends until around 9pm then left. Hubby had to be into work at 6am this morning, so no late night for us. Play never resumed anyway. It's going to be a nice night, although cooler tonight. Unfortunately hubby has a meeting, and I really should stay home to get some Relay for Life stuff taken care of.

Here's an update on my part-time design. I've been able to get a few of the geek-a-trons to talk to me. The younger guys, have been pretty friendly, though. G bought us all lunch from Dinosaur Barbe-que on Monday. I worked four days and accomplished, I think, some fairly impressive stuff: a new design concept for a new job portal site, some spiffy apps icons, a e-newletter layout, a new power point template for company presentations and a resign for the home page. The problem is my schedule is so spotty. I'm not scheduled to work next week at all. G's going to try to give me more hours to work from home, but I'm still afraid that we're still not going to be able to make it on this. I'll have to see what I can do about checking some old leads and drumming up more freelance business.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Yes, I deleted my blog. Don't ask me how I did it. I was trying to set up a new blog on this account and deleted out BOTH of them!!! D'oh. Well don't worry, there's a back up on Not that I'm conceited enough to think that you would want to go back and relive the "zippychik experience." But at least for my own use it's still there. This is another case of when really stupid things happen to really careless people.

I am in the process of starting a technology blog but I've defintely decided that I'm sending the blogs up on 2 different accounts!