Sunday, November 13, 2011


Some handy hints for dealing pleasantly with your cashier:

1. When you're loading things on a belt that runs under a raised platform for anything, make sure the tall stuff will miss it. If you fail to do so, don't glare at the cashier when your two liter bottle of soda falls over.

2. Take a moment as you're loading the belt to realize that if you want things bagged in an organized fashion, it's far more efficient if you organize them a bit going in. Regardless of whether you're ok with your Irish Spring sitting on top of your ground turkey, they're not allowed to do it. Grumbling about having bags with one item in there is sort of counterproductive when you have chemical products scattered down five feet of belt, and one bag will hold approximately six inches worth of stuff on that belt, reasonably. Less, if it's heavy.

3. If you have special requests regarding items, for instance, if you want a price check on something to make sure it costs what you think it costs, put that either at the front or the back. If you stick it in the middle of four million tiny items and tell us about it while it's still in your cart, we will forget, because we have a lot more shit going on than you realize.

4. It's not the cashier's fault. Unless that person dropped your eggs or threw your bananas against the wall a few times before throwing them in the bag, they have no control over what happens to your shit prior to it landing on their belt. If there's a problem in the store, by all means, inform someone, and the cashier may be the only employee you see during your visit, but don't throw blame at them. For the most part, they only leave their register for breaks, and they damn sure aren't spending their breaks running around the rest of the store messing stuff up. In fact, chances are, they're spending their breaks huddled out of the way somewhere trying to convince themselves they need the job more than they need to strangle the next customer that attacks them for something they have no control over.

5. Yes, at our store, we have a system to call the people who handle the front end management electronically, but please remember, there are several cashiers, other customers, and other responsibilities. They will get the message, but they may be running around the store for another customer, or helping another cashier, or doing a dozen things that require their attention, and they will get to your problem as soon as they can. Your issue is important, but we have no way to prioritize these things, it's first come first served. And no, there isn't a code for "this customer is going to punch me, come quick!" Although there should be.

6. If you're at a checkout that doesn't have a belt, please remember that we don't get the go-go Gadget arms until we've been with the company five years. If the counter is five feet long, and your stuff is at the end? We can't reach it. Much as we appreciate your concern for the well being of our muscles, by the middle of a shift, your attempt at assisting us in stretching and limbering up is not going to be as appreciated as you would like it to be.

7. Last, but certainly not least.... When there is limited space on the belt, and you want to get your stuff on there, we totally understand if you want to stack some stuff on top of other stuff. However. If you put long items under or behind other items where we can't get to them, eventually we have three feet of cleared belt, but for one item, which we can't move because there is other stuff on top of it, and we can't reach the rest of your crap either. Leave heavy items in your cart, they give us hand scanners for those. Place long items on top of everything else, not on bottom. Oh, and clothes? If you have five hanging items, and fold them all together on the belt, the chances of our ability to handle them smoothly and efficiently drops to zero. You don't like waiting, we don't like making you wait. If we work together on this and you don't do dumb stuff to make our jobs harder, we'll all have much better success.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

I spent my day at work today shaking hands with any veterans that came through my line. After I clocked out, I was grabbing myself some sodas, and happened to see a white haired gentleman in the aisle wearing a ball cap detailing his service in the Navy.

I stopped, set down my cube of Dew, and straightened just as he began to move on down the aisle. I stopped him by saying, "Sir?"

He turned to me with a puzzled look as I stuck out my hand, and told him "Thank you for your service." He shook my hand and stared wide eyed at me for a moment before murmuring "Thank you," and moving down the aisle.

His right pant leg folded under at the knee.

I hope you all thanked a Vet today.

(And yes, I did my best to show appreciation to my "pet" Vet today, but I was a bit hampered by the fact that I saw him for all of thirty five minutes or so, and now he's off to seek and destroy some tasty, tasty meat. Nevertheless, I'm proud of him.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Menu

So, Darlin' Man and I have decided to eat healthier. Mostly because it's just a good idea.

Thanks to the fact that the basic premise (once you get past the hype) makes the most sense to us, we went Paleo. Or, mostly.

The idea behind the hype basically is to eat the stuff your body can process best. Some of the proponents get into some real fairy tale type stuff, but some of them just break it down into sheer biochemistry.

It's the second bunch we tend to prefer. Stripping naked and chasing rabbits through the underbrush with a stone knife doesn't really appeal to either of us. Plus, practicality sort of demands a certain level of tossing the fantasy out the window.

For instance, we can't come up with almond flour in the local stores. Which, believe me, has been a source of aggravation for me, since I'm trying to come up with healthy stuff that we can keep on hand for grab-and-go breakfasts... which pretty much means baked goods. Since modern cereal grains are "bad" because of the combination of sugars and carbs that have been bred into them, all purpose flour is supposedly a no no. Since I have access to neither a ready source of almond flour nor a food processor or blender to make my own (well, almond meal) I don't have much choice until I can get some ordered off the internet.

Another fun bit is the ban on potatoes. Sure, they're a veg, and meat and veg are pretty much the base of the paleo thing, but they apparently contain the wrong kind of starch to be "good" veg. Since, as a part Irish FarmGirl, who grew up on the lower end of the income spectrum, my recipe reservoir consists mainly of many ways to combine meat and potatoes in pleasing ways this has been something of a challenge to me.

In fact, until I got the recipe books that Darlin' Man kindly ordered, I pretty much hid from the whole concept. Turnips? I had no idea what to do with turnips. Or spaghetti squash. Or eggplant. Well, I still have no idea what to do with eggplant.

I'm figuring out the other stuff though. And while meals for the most part don't seem complete without potatoes, I'm figuring out how to deal with that, too.

On a side note: spaghetti squash does all right piled with spaghetti sauce, but the squash itself is sort of a pain to prepare, since it's hard as a rock to start with, and once cooked is nearly impossible to hold on to to scrape out the insides. I'm sure the technique comes with time but holding steaming hot, collapsing squash in one hand (with tongs) while trying to scrape the "spaghetti" out of the skin with a fork with the other is one of the bigger challenges I've faced in the kitchen.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Smoke Count

So. Due to the loving encouragement (with a minimum of dirty looks, sighs, and grumbling, considering the original plan had me quit and rolling in all the money I had saved by now) of my Darlin' Man, I've gone entirely tobacco free.

Not nicotine free, mind. The electronic cigarette is a wonderful thing and keeps the urge to kill people with dull knives, spoons, vehicles, European style deer head mounts, and/or whatever happens to be at hand, at only a slightly higher level than normal.

Now, I'm not saying there aren't some withdrawal symptoms... mostly psychological (it's not a fucking cigarette goddamnit and I want a cigarette!) but a few physical.

When I tried quitting with patches I had about the same level of the symptoms I have now... problem there was the insomnia coupled with vivid, emotionally upsetting dreams when I did get to sleep. We're talking, wake up bawling because your beloved (and dead) relatives are enumerating your many failures kind of upsetting. Farmmom was with me on that run, and she got vivid dreams too, but she got to dream of cinnamon rolls.

Tell me, how exactly is that fair?

Anywho, I got off cigarettes that way, but the lack of sleep and the dreams made me rush the system, trying to get past the chemically induced nightmares. When I decided to take the patch off, my mouth erupted in canker sores. We're talking seven big ones on my tongue alone, with even more all over the inside of my mouth. I couldn't eat, couldn't drink anything but tea (tannic acid numbs mouth sores) for several days. Doc basically said "that's an interesting presentation of nicotine withdrawals," and told me I had to wait it out.

I bought a pack of cigs when I left the doc's office. I can't afford not to eat with my metabolism.

There's been enough of a drop in my levels this time that while my mouth hasn't erupted in sores, the one spot I managed to bite myself in earlier in the week is refusing to heal. Irritating, but not goal smashing.

Another example is the cognitive twitches... my brain isn't working the way I'm used to it working.

For instance... earlier today I told Farmmom I was going on thirty six hours without a cigarette. Only problem with that is that yesterday I was at forty eight hours. Somehow my brain added twenty four to forty eight and came up thirty six, and I didn't even think about it until I started to write this post.

Aggravating. Everything is slightly slower, I'm taking noticeably more time to assess problems and decide on a course of action. Yesterday I locked my keys in my car... which doesn't seem like a big deal except that thanks to the key being chipped I have precisely one key to my car, and I can't get copies unless I drop big bucks at a dealership. So I'm always very careful to make sure I don't lock the keys in the car. Shortly after that I realized that Ford seems to be concerned with the same thing, since the car won't stay locked if the key is in the ignition. Didn't save me earlier since the keys were sitting on the seat, but it's nice to know now.

Anyway. 72 hours later today. They say after the third day things ease up. Here's hoping, cause I sure miss my brain.