Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Still processing the news.

Beverly's Fabrics in San Diego is closing.
We tried to make it as long as possible but the business was down too far. We just weren't able to keep going.
It's been sliding for three years and now it's come down to closing the store.
This is going to shock hundreds of people. Other than JoAnns and Yardage Town, there aren't any other larger fabric stores in San Diego. We were the last of the 'small store' big store companies.
It's going to put at least 12 or 15 people out of a job. Me included. Not that I was making a whole lot but that has been my stable part time job for almost 19 years. I got that job 2 years after I started at the nursery.
My boss called me while I was at work and since my phone has decided to be cranky I couldn't hear the voicemail she left and when I tried to call the store I got a busy signal.
Finally she called back and I was able to answer it.
She wanted to give me the news in person rather than coming to work and seeing the big sign in the window.
Well it wouldn't have been that since I'm on the mailing list for coupons I got an email tonight when I got home, Store Closing 20% off everything.
I wasn't this broken up about leaving the nursery because the business was still there and I was leaving.
This is different. This is a real business and people that I have worked with and cared about for almost 20 years that are now going to not be there every week.
There won't be a Beverly's in San Diego. At all.
I have never had a store close while I worked there.
There are suspicions that part of our slow business was due to a former employee that was spreading a rumor that we were closed two years ago. Business was slowing before that but we had hoped to stay afloat until the lease ran out next year.
I'll be getting the details tomorrow but right now I'm trying not to totally fall apart.
As a company they've been closing stores all over California, I have a feeling in five years they'll only be in the Bay Area if they are afloat at all still.
Business is that bad for fabric stores like ours.
I'm sad for a lot of reasons but I'm sorry for all the customers that would come in just because we were nice. We had what they wanted or just to wander around and look at all the stuff we had. The customers that came to the classes, that relied on our knowledge and advice...

I'll not be telling Home Depot about it though. I think I want those two days off for a while. Let unemployment take up the slack unless it would get me more money by picking up extra hours there.
And no, I won't be looking for another job at a craft or fabric store. There's nothing out there really.
Here's hoping that in two or three months things will look better but not counting on it.

::cue final scene of Babylon 5 shutting down::

Friday, May 4, 2018

I miss Katie.

I guess the upside is that Trista is quiet, stays in her room most of the time and.... still has a good paying job?
We went shopping at Target and in the past it was a fun experience with Katie. Making jokes about various items, people or other things. Trista doesn't like crowds and having to navigate around people frustrates her. So no shopping trips with her in the future unless it's necessary groceries. 
It's been about a month and so far, I guess I could be thankful.
She makes way more money than I do but apparently has 'a lot of debts' so technically it sounds like she's in the same income level as me. 
Sigh...

On some actual good news though, Amber got a call from Ava and rather hesitantly asked if it would be okay if she could come out and live with her here in San Diego.
Amber's answer was of course 'Duh! yah!;. But she then launched into a discussion of her reasons, how things were going, all the who's, why's and whatevers that prompted Ava to ask. 
Ava has admitted to all involved parties that she has realized that she is bi, of course we are all very supportive and that makes no whit of a difference for us. It does make a difference to the small town people that she is surrounded by in New Mexico.
She has friends of course, but some of the adults a a little less friendly now, not to mention she will be starting high school so it's a perfect time to change locations as well.
Amber asked if Ava had talked to Dan and Lisabet (dad and stepmom) and she said no. It basically came down to Ava asking, then Dan, Lisabet and Amber having a conference call about it, Amber had already figured out how to budget for medical coverage, what school, and all the sundry details needed. She was prepared to have the best possible situation ready for Ava.
Currently Amber and her boyfriend Wellman share a two bedroom with another roommate, who after their difficulty of trying to find a new place of their own offered to move out so they could have that place to themselves. Totally unprompted. 
By about mid-June, there will be a spare bedroom for Ava to move into. We still have some spare furniture in storage, dresser, bed, a desk and a bookshelf.  Amber will be driving out to pick up the kids for the summer beginning of June and then Ava will be coming back with Amber when they go back to drop the boys back in New Mexico.
Long story but not many people would appreciate how excited and happy this makes me.

Devon as far as I know is still alive and loving Alaska.
Kiri is working two jobs to support her three boys and a place to live in Virginia. Actually got a facetime call from her the other day! Total shock and suprise, she was just getting off work at one of her jobs cleaning offices so we were messaging about something. She said something that also took me by surprise that all of her boys want to talk to (see?) Grandma Pat! I only have met the oldest Michale, the other two only know me from references I suspect. Makes me happy really, I hope sometime soon I'll be able to see them one way or another.

As for me, I am surviving. Getting into the swing of work, it's satisfying that when I show up there's at least a few people that are truly happy to see me. I managed to badger two people and got three of the necessary hoses fixed. Slowly incorporating my higher standards to a lower standard situation.
I also got on the scale the other day and sadly...I just hit 200. This is so not good, it's scary. I noticed my pants weren't fitting as well and my feet were getting really sore by the end of a four hour shift. That's the reason.
So, looked up some simple exercises that don't take a lot of effort or any special equipment and discovered a beautiful local canyon park with walking trails.
I am scheduled off at least two or three days a week over the next three weeks so will have time to go do some walking and maybe some jogging.
Cutting back on the Coke and haven't had much in the way of candy at all. 
Tempted to look into one of the local community gardens and see how much it costs to rent a plot. Gardening is a great workout right? Now that I have a car I can transport things and stuff.

Well that's the update for now. All the news that's fit to tell. More updates as they happen....

Sunday, April 1, 2018

New experiences all around

Katie is mostly moved out this weekend.
This is the first time I have not shared a home with anyone. I have either had a family, just my kids or a roommate my entire life. This is an odd feeling of being alone.  No worries, new roommate will be moving in next weekend but I will have seven days with the place to myself. Not even Crook her cat to keep me company.
Not sure if I feel like crying or not.
After all these years I've turned into a social type person. I like having company even if I don't interact with them I know they are there. Katie insists that I will eventually get a pet, either cat or dog soon but financially I can't afford it yet.
Gonna miss that furry troublemaker Crook. Gonna miss having Katie around too and again she insists we can still meet up for dinner or something. I know my schedule, it might happen maybe once a month if that. We'll have to keep in contact due to the wedding prep but other than that... no wandering through Ikea making comments about furniture. The off comment while driving in the car that turns into a hilarious laugh and joke session lasting a good half hour.
My schedule is so erratic at the new job I  have to double check it every day to see when I'm supposed to be there the next day.
I am looking for something with steadier hours full time but in my line of work it's few and far between.
Other than that, same old thing different day.
Work is challenging and rewarding in turn like any other job. I am dispensing my plan knowledge when needed and floundering when asked where someone can find a certain part to install the gas line for their new stove.
Yes, wandering through the store you are an automatic target with an orange apron and both the customers and the company expect you to be just as helpful and knowledgable about everything you are asked.
Right.
I didn't sign up for that. I know plants. I know how to take care of them, plant them, what their problems can be...
Not finding an e-227 1/4" valve for a 1/2" gas line.

I am doing my best to give the best customer service and make sure every customer feels the same attention. I get tired of walking across the huge (even though we're one of the smallest in California) store just to find something and walk allll the way back to the garden center.
Getting called for a question about patio furniture that I know little about as far as where something is.
Getting asked to take care of a box that's overhanging the very top rafters because it's a hazard instead of the person calling for someone who is qualified on the proper equipment to take care of it.
Because it's part of  the 'Garden/Seasonal' department.
The other employees and some customers now look for my signature purple hat.
Going to have to find something less noticeable I think.

New roommate is Trista. I've met her twice and I think she'll be okay.

Oh and if not for the windfall of getting a car none of this would be happening now.
That one event catalyst made it possible for me to be independent and not depend on Katie giving me rides to work on the weekends.
Made it possible for me to now drive down to storage and start hauling my stuff home and drop the $250 rental on storage, thus saving me money every month.

Katie is back for another load, need to go help take stuff to the car.

That is all for now, don't have the time for finding a finishing quote.

Never Surrender Dreams.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

So, almost a month in, a lot has happened.

Beginning of March, there was apparently a glitch in their schedule system and it gave me an entire week off. I figured if it was a mistake they would have caught it and called me or something. Nope. I was getting a badge holder from the supply room and it was right across from the managerial office. The manager AND the HR lady were there and said hi how's it going. I told them and they both riveted their eyes on me and said 'What? That isn't supposed to happen!' HR lady apologized profusely about it and the manager said they can't keep track of all 200 employees so next time bring it to their attention.
Okay then.
My schedule other than that is all over the board. Not liking that as I have to check it almost every day to catch any changes.
Car is still running good, so relieved to have a car finally and it's sturdy and reliable. Don't have to worry about an oil change for about 2000 miles yet. Gas prices of course are up again so I'm careful with my driving and where I go to conserve gas.
Oh, my rolling cheap desk chair finally broke one of the wheel housings. No way to salvage it and so was on a hunt for a new chair just like it since I knew they ran about $25. Looked online...checked some places, commiserated with Katie about it and then realized there was a Staples right down the road and they likely would have it. Go driving down there, went immediately to that section but didn't see anything less than $80. Walked up to the front where the manager was dealing with a customer and showed him a picture of what I wanted, he directed another employee to help me so we go back there. I could tell the guy was new and didn't know the stock that well...been there done that. I looked up and on a top shelf was a model that looked a bit like what I wanted. Pointed it out, he said well we have that one here, (no arms is one of the features I was looking for) I told him no, that is not on the floor and so he looked and went to find a ladder, found another employee that moved the big ladder and brought it down. I told him I just needed to know how much it was because my budget was about $25.
He scanned it when we got to the front and said, 'Well we can do better than that, how about $8?"
Ummm saywhat?
"It's on clearance, so $8 plus tax." I couldn't get my wallet out fast enough and carried it to the car.  Leather/vinyl seat, bigger seat and back... basically an upgrade to what I had for less than $10.  SCORE!

Katie has found a suitable roommate replacement that almost literally walked in the door of her work. She's a new coworker and let her know she was looking for a place that was closer to work. Well guess what... taadaaa! Her name is Trisha and I think we'll get along nicely, no nasty habits (Katie says she smokes the clove cigarettes but is trying to cut back),and has a wish to learn 'crafty stuff'. Also she has no car, so is taking the bus and now it will be my turn to help out someone who may need a ride occasionally. Just recently Katie says Trisha found a new job that is MUCH closer to where we live and better pay etc. so she will be much better off.
So yay! And ... sadness. Katie is planning on moving out by the end of this month. Sniff. Gonna miss that girl.
Now on to some other stuff. Amber was officially diagnosed with hyperthyroid. I always suspected she had some sort of issue due to how skinny she was and never gained any weight. Recently in the past year and a half or so she's been shakey. As in her whole body was shivering like she was cold or nervous or something and she started having a higher heart rate and that's when she decided to go see the doctor. Her blood pressure and her heart rate were higher than they should be. She's on anti-thyroid medication and something else to lower her heart rate and bp. The doctor had her go in for a sonogram of her neck to see just what her thyroid was doing and luckily she had the money for all of this. She's too late for getting Covered CA but if the diagnosis is pushed as being life threatening she might be able to get in on it before she has to have surgery. She says the meds make her feel drowsy and loopy which is to be expected, she's been running on a high metabolism for years I suspect. It'll take a few weeks for her system to equalize with the meds so can hope that she'll get better.
So... kind of a relief to discover what was going on and a small amount of worry if she has to have surgery to remove some or all of her thyroid.

Haven't heard from Devon in a while. I assume he's doing okay since he's still posting on facebook. I even reposted a picture of 'I will always be your mom' sort of thing that sometimes we just want a call or a message that says 'I'm okay'. He liked the post and didn't even think to actually do what it said. Sigh.
Love that boy but....
So that's my life up to now. It actually rained down here for a little while, we're getting some cloudy weather and all that.
Oh I actually sold a necklace and earring set this morning and shipped it off since I had the day off.
Oh EDD notified me end of last week that they set up a phone interview since I had marked I wasn't looking for work due to getting another part time job. Well it happened to be when I was at work. So I rescheduled it and the next available was the following Friday. When I would be at work. Calling them did no good so I just let it ride. I got the phone call while I was busy, listened to the message, called back and I got an answering machine. Explained the situation and said if they had any other issues to call and leave a message as I am now working 7 days a week part time at two jobs.  Next thing I know, the following Monday, EDD sent me the previous payment and the current one. I have dutifully and truthfully answered all the income questions every time so it's not like I lied and said I'm out of work still.
The bad thing is, I forgot to transfer the money over to my main account and the landlady then deposited both last month and this months check! BOING! I bounced the $700 check for this month. She's very understanding though and I told her I would be getting paid this Friday and clear it up.
I  haven't bounced a check in YEARS! So, deep breath and moving forward.
I think that's a long enough post for now. Sorry for that, happens when I don't do it every week.
Hope everyone else is doing okay.

A lot of emotional stress that people go through, some people figure out a way to handle it. They have a strong enough support system to keep going and keep moving forward. And some people, they feel like they don't have that outlet. Terrell Owens
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/terrell_owens_429902?src=t_keep_moving_forward
 "When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter say thank you and grow." - Unknown. (random quote site, no author given)
A lot of emotional stress that people go through, some people figure out a way to handle it. They have a strong enough support system to keep going and keep moving forward. And some people, they feel like they don't have that outlet. Terrell Owens
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/terrell_owens_429902?src=t_keep_moving_forward

Friday, February 16, 2018

First 'full week of work'.

Monday and Tuesday were deadly boring other than catching that bat. Today I actually finished all the videos and was assigned another 'mentor coach' that worked in that department. But he was going to be transferring to customer service desk in a few weeks.
This made me feel so good! I got to actually talk to customers about plants and product! What I didn't know I found someone who did.
If you've ever been in a Home Depot you've seen them with those handheld phone things? Well that's called a FIRST phone. Everything you could possibly need to access is on that for employees.
I didn't get one yet.
I had one but made the mistake of answering it when it rang. That's a whole other situation for later.
I was introduced to one of the supervisors in that department, 'Bob' yes he was a Bob and when I was introduced he said, 'Oh! You're the Bat Patty!' 
I'm apparently famous now among the supervisors.
So yeah, saw how the department was set up, helped people and as you know you're helping one and another shows up and have to stop what you're doing.... but it was good. I also got to water some of the plants. Realized quickly that I didn't have gloves. Gonna need those definitely, they have a dispensing area sort of? In the break room for gloves, knives, and two other things I don't remember. So you just go there and grab what you need and then bring them back when you're done. Going to bring my own though and see if they're okay.
Also need a new hat that's appropriate, shoes are fine though. They actually don't require steel toed or heavy duty shoes, everyone runs around in sneakers or whatever.
It really felt good to get in contact with customers and explain products and plants. Most of the time I was on my own unfortunately, but hope that someone saw what I was doing and passed it along.
It was rather eerie at a few points when customers were almost textbook what I had seen in a couple of the videos. (Oddly enough an irate customer was talking to one of the supervisors about an employee they were NOT happy with and it was straight out of the video I had just watched a few hours earlier. Talked with a customer who was looking for a product that we didn't carry and I had to refer him to.... pause... Walter Andersens. He already knew what I was going to say and goes there frequently for shopping because he's in several plant groups.
But, overall felt good about being busy, feet were tired at the end of only a 5 hour shift but that's to be expected.
Whew! I was leaving and one of the ladies from the back office I think was walking out I heaved a tired sigh and she said 'tell me about it', I told her it was my first day out on the floor in garden and how I actually felt I was a real employee now.

Tired but it's a good tired
Whenever you're in one of the stores and don't see an orange apron anywhere, I totally understand feeling lost. Have some patience and when in doubt head to the customer service desk and tell them where you need help, they'll call someone over. It's a big building and this is the beginning of spring hiring, so some of us are tied up with customers.
Oh yeah.
I GOT A CAR!!
I told the lady I was buying it from (Wanda a coworker at Beverly's) that I was bringing a checkbook so she brought the pink slip. Drove it around the parking lot and into traffic a bit, she told me the little nuances, tires, oil change and wipers had been done very recently. Forgot to ask about the brakes. 2001 Honda CR-V SE. They bought it used in 2005 and it's in great condition. Ignition switch is a bit dicey sometimes but the heating and air conditioner work and it runs good. I'm happy with it.

YAY!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Orange is my primary color now.

I am officially an employee of The Home Depot.
It is a completely new experience for me. The whole corporate mentality, the constant repetition of  their core values, I can see people working for Disney might get this sort of indoctrination.
Don't get me wrong, this my be the better thing to happen for me.
I had orientation for 4 hours on Saturday (2/10) with about a dozen other people. Met the General manager of the store, the HR lady, one of the assistant managers... they were all in there pitching the welcome wagon. Videos were watched, they supplied donuts and tangerines which I think I was the only one that took advantage of them. 8am and I think I was the only one with a spark of energy in that group. I was one of the oldest ones too!
My schedule for the next three weeks is M/T/F 10-4 and two of those weeks will be training.
Video/computer training.
For five and a half hours a day.
Everyone is friendly and helpful, they are really eager to welcome new employees to the company and it truly is different than my previous job. I can't remember having this much attention and acceptance ever at the nursery. Different people I'm sure but it's a mental attitude too.
So today was the video/online training. Dozens of videos about safety, core values, taking orders, even two videos on how to water plants in the garden section!
Oh and there was a video about why they were non-union and how to handle union solicitors.
But the highlight.. the truly spectacular point was ... I caught a bat.
The room for the training/meetings is about 40x20 with tables in the middle in a long rectangle. I'm in the far upper corner doing my training, it's around 3 in the afternoon, and I hear all the voices behind me. ALL the department heads and the upper management are having a meeting because inventory was coming up. So I turned up the volume a little on my headset and continue my video watching.
I hear a commotion behind me and some shadow passed overhead. I thought, oh geez a bird got in here! The heck? I turned around and two of the women are ducking and I look up and discover it's a small BAT!!! A BAT!
Holy Crap! How the hell did this thing get in the room! There's only two doors and they lead to a hallway, one end is a closed external door and the other is open to the rest of the store.
I pause the video and take off the headset, tell everyone to calm down but some are trying to stop it holding up a folder and stuff. I'm just like 'come on bubbus... poor thing' it flew around then landed against one of the walls and gripped a poster that was there. I holler that we need a net and one of the leads runs out to the POOL section to get a net. SMH. Of course as soon as I moved toward it, it took off. I suddenly realize this is a BAT! Teeth! Possible other stuff and take off my light jacket.  A couple of rounds around the room and we finally downed the poor thing on a table against the wall. Little thing has a short tail and is smaller than the palm of my hand, a bit bigger for the wingspan. I carefully pick it up in the hood of my jacket and it's got its mouth open panting poor thing. One of the leads comes over and wants to get a picture of it. Need to find her tomorrow and ask her to send me the picture. One of the managers actually got video.
I take it to the exit door which one of the leads is holding open and I release it behind some dumpsters where it promptly flew off.
Wow.
A bat.
I go back inside and the guy returns with a net.
I have no idea where it came from, could have been in the ceiling and something spooked it, not sure if it came through the door.
A bat.
Oh at one point after I had captured it I said, 'Aren't you glad you hired me?'
I'm being watched by the ENTIRE management crew!
I went back to my corner and continued watching the video.
Wow.
I will have to do some research to find out what species it was. I saw a separated tail so that says a 'free tail bat' which I think there's only a Mexican variety locally.
ANyway... I'm pooped.
That was sooo exciting!
Oh I will be getting a look at my prospective car this week on Thursday. Hoping my tax money hits the bank within a week or two and then will likely update with pictures then.
Oh, Katie has picked out a dress, it was only the third one she tried on and it looks stunning on her!
More details on that later too, I'm really whooped gee it's after midnight and I've been awake since 6. Rain woke me up.

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt


Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Second Interview" update

It was actually the next step in hiring process. In house drug test where she gave me a stick to put in my mouth for ten minutes, fill out my background check information and fill out my availability schedule. That was it.
Drug test, no worries there. Didn't even have anything with poppy seeds recently. Background check, a little bit of a hiccup since one of the questions was had I been at my current address for ten years. I had to put no then they wanted my last address. I couldn't remember my freaking address number! She said it was okay but down yes instead and when/if it came back I could give her the right address. Availability was another small hiccup. I put down 8am-8pm Friday, Monday and Tuesday, Wed/Thursday were out and I had told her that already. Also the bus doesn't run on weekends but I told her I could get rides and by the end of February I should have a car. She told me to put down no weekends until March 1 and after that it was a must. I told her that was not an issue.
So, I believe she said that orientation would be on Feb 6 (a Tuesday) and a likely start date would be Feb 10. But..that's a Saturday so we'll see what happens. I didn't realize what days of the week they were until just now. She'll be sending an email for the time I'm supposed to be there.
I got there way early so I could get a badly needed haircut at the Fantastic Sams that was right in the same shopping center. I got that done and had enough time to meander through their garden center. The plant section alone was about the size of the section I was in charge of at the nursery. More plants per foot but still, way smaller than I thought and will see what they want me to do. There is a separate cashier for that section but I'm going to be customer service. Said so on my file she left on the desk.
She had to use the restroom and had left my file right there. On the cover were her notes I suppose from the first interview and Dept 09 is cashier which she had crossed out and put Dept 28 YES. Also that I had been at Walter Andersen's 19 years.
Here's hoping that three months down the road they'll want to make me full time. Also by the time August rolls around I am going to have to find a new place or new roommate. Sigh. That decision is going to completely depend on work of course. I HATE moving. (I've said that before haven't I?)
With a car it's easier but I don't want to start a new job and then six months later tell them I'm moving out of the area. So I'm stuck in San Diego for at least another year. Did I Say 'stuck'? It's great here, the weather is good, just expensive to afford to live here. When my interviewer lady asked why I was applying at Home Depot I gave her the expected answer, 'my go to place for hardware' 'I like how the employees are supported' and also that if I have to move they are all over the country and I have a good chance of getting a job transfer to another location. She nodded in agreement there so I was right on the money with that.
It will all play out however it does and as usual I'll roll with the punches and come up on my feet.
(As of this writing 1/27 still no W2 from the nursery. I checked with a friend that is still there, they haven't seen them either. They have four days.)

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt