Sunday, November 28, 2010

I survived Black Friday...

We spent Thanksgiving at Gramps up in the mountains, where the lack of phone signals and internet connection gave way to many hours of reading, games of cards and dice and catchphrase, and made everyone spend 110% of the time together as a family. The women got down to cooking ( read: me washing up) and the men tried to fix Uncle Lance's truck which broke down halfway up the mountains.

For the Thanksgiving feast, we had 2 deep fried turkeys!, ham, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, deviled eggs, pickle wraps, cranberry salad (that looked like ice cream), veggies with mom's spinach dip and J's blue cheese dip, J's roasted peppers with capers and anchovies (*yummeh*), crackers and more cheese, chicken-lip-dip (or however you spell it) and chocolate fudge cake. At least that's all I ate, I don't know if there were other dishes I missed because I was so stuffed by the first hour...

I had to go in to work 3rd shift on Thanksgiving, so after the feast, i tried my darnest to go to sleep, even though I wanted to stay up to watch football. I might as well have, because of tossing and turning for about 2 and a half hours in bed, I stopped trying to fall asleep and got up to watch the Saints play the Cowboys.

Got into work at 1030pm, and got myself mentally prepared for Black Friday sales... The first hour went by reeealllly slow, but as we approached midnight, more and more people streamed into Walmart, the noise level went up 5 notches, and the store went abuzz with crazy activity as the clock struck twelve. In past years, as I'd learnt, Black Friday sales only started at 5am. This year, however, the management decided to do the sales in two parts, so as to better handle the crowds. The first sale started at 12midnight for smaller items like bedding and DVDs and Wii games etc. The electronics went up for sale at 5am. As a result, I didn't think it was all that crazy! I had actually imagined it to be worse. Everybody asked me afterwards how working on Black Friday was, and were very surprised I answered, "Pretty manageable!"

My shift ended at 830am in the morning, and I was ready to go home and plonk right into bed. I slept in till late afternoon and awoke pretty fresh and cheery. And because I had gotten my first paycheck (*yay!*) the day before, I took the family out for some Japanese!

It had been a wonderful first Thanksgiving, and I hope you all had a great one too!

Now, I'm waiting for Christmas holidays to come around!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 Reasons to be Thankful this Thanksgiving

orange flowers
Via Design Sponge

1. My family and friends are well and healthy.

2. I have a loving husband who drives me to and from work, and prepares lunches for me to take.
One day it was lasagne, and another it was stuffed peppers. Yummeh!

3. I have a job and I am getting better at it with each day.

And just the other day I got the sweetest compliment from a customer who actually bothered to call back to let the management know how much she enjoyed checking out at my line. And with every customer i serve I get the sense of satisfaction that I was fast and efficient in my transaction, and that I was probably the politest thing they encountered that day.
One kid peeped over the plastic bag dispenser and exclaimed, "Wow mom, she's fast!"

4. People (family, friends and strangers alike) have been very patient and kind to me.

I have gotten many calls and messages from people regarding jobs they seen or heard about, in hopes that I may find one soon-- I got the Walmart job through J's aunt's sister. Also, every time i make a mistake at the cash register, customers never got mad, instead they go, "oh honey, you're doing fine". Many people also drop a line of encouragement or two before they leave.

5. If you're patient enough, good things will come.

I landed a second interview with the children's museum -- Discovery Place Kids. I didn't get through the first round, but a week ago they called me in for a second interview because they needed more people. Even though I haven't officially got the job because I'm in the process of doing a background check (who knows how long these darn things take??!!) I'm pretty sure by December I will be working there, on a more regular schedule.

And then there's the occasional babysitting stint for the family that I met.

And to date I've gotten 3 more responses to my babysitting ads. It's like when it rains, it pours. I had to reject them all though, until i know for sure what my museum schedule is like.

pumpkin pie
Via Moms Buzz

6. My first proper Thanksgiving this year, complete with pecan pie and deep fried turkey. Can't wait.

7. Christmas is around the corner!

I was told to make a list or get christmas money. I was going to go for the money, but after i heard what the amount was, I knew I would be too embarrassed to accept. So i painstakingly drew up a list of items that were well under the amount. I'll still get what I want, but people won't have to spend too much on me!

8. J is starting school soon in January and luckily the school fees are quite affordable.

9. I have a roof over my head and the only bill I'm paying is my phone bill.

10. I've had a blessed life thus far!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I ♥ clever machines!

Look ma! No hands!

60 decorative stitches with the step of my foot pedal!!!


And a button hole to boot!


I tried out my machine on my day off the other day just to check out the swanky computerized system. With a touch of a button I can reverse stitch, needle up/down, choose between 60 different decorative stitches and make neat button holes!!! I could also auto sew without the use of a foot pedal, but I'm too used to the old-fashioned foot pedal to give it up. Gives me something to do with my feet anyway. 

So to date, I am 100% completely satisfied with my purchase. I can't wait for my next day off to mess around with it. I have Christmas gift ideas in my head and I need to get around to making them before it gets too late! And machine embroidery is in my top 10 coolest things since sliced bread!

Monday, November 15, 2010

First Frantic Week at Work!

So I started my work at Walmart last Tuesday for a full day orientation from 12 - 9pm. And then they scheduled me for a 2 day training on the computer (they call it the CBLs computer-based learning) where I was to familiarize myself with the policies, health and safety regulations, cashier transactions and duties and so on. A total of 30 modules to be completed over two 8-hour days. 

I was, as what my mother would say, quite geh-kiang, which means I tried to be too smart, thereby completing my training in 1 and a half days. So by Thursday afternoon, I was out there at the cash registers. Now, when I studied the ways to ring up different transactions (cash, debit, credit, shopping card etc) the computer modules taught cashiers using the OLD cash registers. These old registers only had buttons and the yellowed screen that shows you your total. Unfortunately, when I got out there on Thursday, they sent me to the new system of cash registers - the swanky new computerized system, complete with touch screen computers.

Needless to say, I was stumped. 

Luckily, they put me on training with a more experienced cashier, Charlotte, a nice little old lady. She stood by me for the first hour, teaching me how to use the new system. However, at certain busy times, she would have to open up the next counter, just to keep the lines moving (yes, i was THAT slow). So at times, I was left to cope by myself. And in times of trouble, I would look over helplessly in her direction and she had to come running over to rescue me.  To make things worse, my counter was also the cigarettes and tobacco counter. Now, I thought I had seen it all, but the varieties stocked on the shelves behind me confounded me. The Marlboros don't just come in Reds, Menthols, Menthol Lights, Lights. They also come in 72s, 100s, ultra etc etc. Every time a customer comes up to buy some ciggies, I was like "Whaaaat?" And there's also tobacco in a tin, in a roll... The only fun bit about selling cigarettes is that I get to CARD customers. And because I am hopeless at guesstimating their ages, I card just about anyone who is not white on their heads. As a result, I get very pleased and amused customers. 

By the end of Thursday, I had gotten the hang of the new system and was actually looking forward to working the next day. It had been a steep learning curve, but interacting with so many people and punching out numbers with a flourish is quite fun!

Then on Friday, I went back to work with Charlotte at the cigarettes counter. The first half of the day went by without too much of a hitch, but after lunch, guess what? They put me at the old cash registers!!! AND I COMPLETELY FORGOT WHAT I HAD LEARNT!!! So for the rest of the day, I was really glad to get customers who use cash or debit cards (because those two were the EASIEST transactions to complete). There are some special transactions that completely bowls me over. The food stamps for example. There are so many steps to completing a food stamp, WIC, CVB transaction I almost cried whenever a customer placed them in my hands. And then there are coupons and vouchers to check, the produce SKU #s to key in and weigh, and a million plastic bags to pack. I beam the widest at customers who use their own recyclable grocery bags. 

So Friday was a disaster too.

On Saturday morning, I decided to take the initiative to take the first hour to go back on the computers and copy out the steps for the different transactions on the old system. I am now quite familiar with the new computer system (also because they're quite idiot proof to use) so all i needed to do was to get used to the old ones. By the end of Sunday, I had emerged more confident and doubly nice to my customers. Oh and in my last hour on Sunday, the supervisor pulled me out to help out at the apparel section, stocking the shelves and rearranging old stock. That was extremely therapeutic, standing there, folding clothes, neatening up topples, arranging clothes according to colours and size. I work best when I get to do things alone and at my own pace. And organizing and rearranging! The perfect job for someone as anal as I am.

So my work week came to a close on a high note. But I was completely wiped out. I had worked 6 days in a row, 9 hours everyday. I thought I was supposed to be a PART TIMER!!

And tomorrow I'm gonna meet the mom who wants me to babysit. I've already met her once and the family seems to like me very much, so tomorrow I'm going to get to know the little girl better and to discuss further details. That is a story for another time. Right now, it's time to relax and enjoy my weekly dose of Monday Night Football!! Wheeeeee!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Of Wildflowers and Road Kills...


I went for an interview today at Walmart's. Got called up for a cashier position (yipee!) even though it's a part time thing. It beats sitting around at home doing nothing. I suppose I landed the job because I went for the drug test and all. I mean I just went through one round of background checks and tests and they all came out good, I don't suppose it'll be any different this time around. I hope i get sane hours.

And then, because I got my learner's permit ID card thingy, i can now apply for a library card!!! So we drove over to the public library and this excited little bunny here pored through shelves and shelves of crafting books and fairy tales. Picked up a patchwork book because that's one project I can start on without a sewing machine, and I only need the most basic sewing equipment (scraps of fabric, needles and thread) to begin!

Also wanted to take a break from all that job hunting so picked out a book of Grimms' fairy tales to daydream a little and some Greek mythology to reminisce about TSD times. So excited about my library card!!!

As we were approaching our driveway, our car ran over something brown and furry lying in the middle of the road. The J-man thought it was a baby coyote so after we parked our car in the garage, we raced back up the hill to see what it was. But not before I picked a few wildflowers along the way!

It wasn't a baby coyote, it was a poor bunny rabbit!! *sob* The blood on the ground was still red, but rigor mortis had set in so the rabbit was stiff, its head smashed out of shape and its hind legs broken. I know that only because J picked it up and laid it by the side of the road, on the grass. I laid a few of my flowers on the poor rabbit and quietly apologized on behalf of the ass who knocked it over.

That made the total count of road kill up to THREE today. And we were only out for a couple of hours! We also saw a dead fox and deer on the interstate. Ay...poor sods.

In an effort to turn this into a cheery post once more, here is a picture of one furry (and ALIVE!) creature in our backyard...

Presenting the sneaky Squirrely!

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