drive to work
Though there may be things in my life that I don’t feel like writing about because I know I won’t want to look back on them, by me ignoring my blog completely I’m giving up on any chance to look back on the good. So, I am going to make more of an effort to put down what stands out from my days, even if they are a bit repetitive for the time being; having two jobs that can keep me busy from 730am to 1030pm some days or both give me two days off in the same week for much-needed rest and me time.
This morning started with a body-burning pilates living-room session. Some people might like to warm up their muscles and cool them in the shower, but I prefer to steam up via candle flames, which provide enough light in the early morning and is easier on my eyes prior to the sun coming through the windows and my ears as I don’t have to listen to the vent fan scream at me. I can continue to exist in a state of peace as I transition from dreamland to reality, something I seem to be doing more of lately.
I get a message from my boss at Advance Auto asking me to call her because she’s having trouble scheduling me for the week. I have the option, online, to ask for time off, days off, or change my availability. I’ve tried all three now and have to be aware of how long those changes last as the latter left me not able to work until 2099 or something weird. I deleted the requests and sent them via text after our call to clear that up.
A bit of back story here to catch you up. I recently changed job fields, again. In November, I applied for a few jobs and two responded, so I went to interviews. The one at Advance Auto went well, as I showed up early and the other guy didn’t show at all. Dollar Tree on the other hand hired me on the spot just for being there, which is reminiscent of everyone getting a gold star, but I took it. I also accepted the raise to an assistant manager that I got after speaking with the district manager on day two of my training.
Between the two, I average about 50 hours a week and have already seen a high turnover rate at both jobs. Dollar Tree has one assistant manager leaving so she can finish her schooling in San Francisco, had a cashier walk out in the middle of her shift, and had another cashier that called out all the time and finally decided to quit. Advance Auto had a girl who just couldn’t show up on time, a guy who ghosted a company after finishing his training, and another guy who found something better for him.
Here I was worried that missing an hour or calling out for a shift might cost me my job, but these people are giving me security as I start to look around at what else is out there. I got a phone interview with Chuze Fitness, looking to hire me for the front desk position, if someone leaves and I just looked at their assistant manager position and it would be a few dollars more, which means I could work less and still build towards Caleb’s retirement in under two years, which will be a big change for us in many ways.
I had a customer the other day suggest I look at a job with the city that updates their postings every two weeks as I might find something as well. As much as I might feel that I owe these companies loyalty, they will continue to profit without me, so I can give them honest work while I’m there and until I find somewhere else to spend my precious time, preferably traveling, but working in the meantime. I hadn’t thought of the opportunities that being a retail assistant manager might bring, but I will start to look.
The Advance Auto store that I got hired to work at isn’t quite ready for customers yet. I got to help set the shelves and apply item labels, but now we wait on inspectors to check the work of some shady contractors who didn’t care whether the job got done right the first or third time before they brought someone else in to finish. My boss gets to oversee these guys all day and sends her employees to other stores in the area to spend their shifts.
I’m becoming a bit of a legend with wiper blades as I was able to find the right adapter and replace them when a few of the guys and one from Pep Boys next door were having trouble. I was also sent down the street to check on a Mercedes, accidentally took a blade off the wrong car (same make and model though), and had to pick up a special set from WorldPac and deliver it back. I am by no means the all-knowing car parts seller now and still ask for help when I don’t know where something is.
What I don’t know to ask for help with I will be shown along the way when someone notices I’m not doing it right or could be doing it better. I enjoy the team spirit and camaraderie that I feel at Advance Auto as I learn more about my co-workers’ personal lives and share laughs with them that fill the store with the sound of my joy, something a few of them enjoy causing. “Laughing — a momentary anesthesia of the heart — because emotions have greater inertia and persistence than thoughts.”
Advance Auto uniform
Dollar Tree is less personable among employees because there can be an overwhelmingly long line sometimes, to the point where a customer got upset and threw his basket down. Others leave frozen foods out and drinks half full for us to throw away when we find them. The intentional mess that is a constant helps others hide the torn packaging of their stolen prize. Under the new store manager, we are working hard to clean the place up, and though it’s an uphill battle, some of our customers have noticed.
Ok, so then I research fancy resorts on different discount apps to see which one gives the better deal, but then realize that I don’t stay at resorts unless it’s my birthday or our anniversary. Advance Auto requires me to take an hour-long lunch, while Dollar Tree only allows me thirty minutes, which I think is sufficient. One day Caleb was able to spend the hour with me and we walked the perimeter of the shopping plaza.
Today, I will walk into Barnes and Noble. I’m not there to buy anything, but I will pick up a few titles, give them a sniff, and read their back cover. There are so many topics to read about and I’m grateful that I’ll never run out of options, unless of course all the libraries were to suffer the same fate as the one in Los Angeles in 1986, where firefighters feared a flashover, but they were still able to save so much, unlike other historic collections over hundreds of years that have met with dictators.
I still had some time left and wandered into PetSmart, which I always thought was Pets Mart, but I had mixed emotions going in there with no companion excitedly trying to get to all the balls and a large tire with a rope that we should have taught him to swing from, but that’s in the past now. What’s left are all these caged animals that I want to buy and set free — the small snake, the pygmy bearded dragons, the parakeets, fuzzy rodents, and tanks of fish — but that would only encourage the store to buy more.
I do appreciate the hour to spend walking, talking, reading, shopping, or researching whatever has my interest at the moment; though I also like getting through the workday and being able to be out of uniform when doing those same things. I’ve been working so much while Caleb has been in Singapore but him being home for the holidays and having eight days off, while I only had one, was tougher on us than perhaps we thought it would be.
pygmy bearded dragon
But that’s why we thought about this when I changed jobs anyway. We wanted me to find something that would help us work towards retirement, Caleb wants me to be in a field that I have a degree in, and I want something that gets me out of the house and lets me socialize for a while, as needed, which is a lot more than I realized. I do think it’s having the desired effect though as I start to get back to the things that matter most to me and make time for them throughout the day.
This isn’t about not wanting to do these things, but having the mental energy and positive attitude required to pursue them. I’m thankful to have my time off back and not have to worry about useless things, which is why I won’t ever be a manager and take on all those responsibilities. I’m ok with doing my time and clocking out. It’s crazy how one day can turn into one year and tiny habits disappear that created who you are. I’m thankful to the people who have stuck by me, even though I can be difficult.
So, after lunch, I tried to do some annually mandated compliance training but got sent on a tire pick-up and drop-off, then spent some time on the phone with Deborah, again, this time with her explaining why she wasn’t coming in today to pick up Torque ceramic car wax spray, but that she would try to be less lazy and slow tomorrow. Good luck to her and whichever vehicle is getting the fancy treatment at $40 per bottle. My next trip would consist of four stops, all within miles of each other.
I got hired as a driver and retail parts pro and enjoy what both bring to my work day. One allows me to talk with people and learn more about them and the vehicles they use and possibly help them fix a problem or continue a project or take a trip or return home safely. The other allows me solitude under surveillance to take in the scenery and let my thoughts wander and to take these calmer driving practices into my vehicle.
The night shift arrives and the drivers can leave for the day. Caleb is getting settled into his exit row seat for his long-haul flight return from Singapore, where he spent just a week this time. I’ll get home and some of tonight’s ingredients consist of hot kimchi and frozen mango (because they’re more consistent and precut). I’ve bought frozen avocados for the same reason, but the chunks are bigger and the center doesn’t always thaw by the time I’m ready to eat, so it’s a surprise.
just another day for a tire shop
I’m currently still reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean, hence the reference earlier. Upon starting this book I realized that I’ve watched a movie adaptation of one of her previous works and think I would enjoy reading more from this author. I have to thank the life of Chas Lummis, who in living gloriously almost a century ago has kindly reminded me of how wonderful my life can be if I’d take the time to notice and make memories every chance I get.
P.S. I’ve had my tires aligned before but have never seen the process. Today, I got a peek at how it’s done. I’m fascinated by how much I don’t know and am thrilled that I’m willing to learn and watch others perform their best skills and continue to hone mine.