The Writer Returns…

I’ve been away from this blog for nearly three-weeks. It would be pretty dumb to simply state that things have happened while I was away, so I’m going to avoid doing that.

Before I dive into a summary of what’s happened while I was absent, I would like to take a moment to discuss the blog’s format. At the beginning of this summer, I wanted to return to the original spirit of this blog by writing at least one post everyday for the entire summer. And while that was a great idea at the start, its become quite apparent that I will not be able to keep up with that goal. Life is too busy, stressful, and boring at the moment to maintain that format. Despite giving up on that goal, I would like to begin updating this blog regularly again. I plan to post on this blog at least two-times per week; this will keep new content coming in, and it’s a reasonable workload to maintain. Hopefully I’ll keep up my part of the bargain by remembering to post on here.

Now that I’ve gotten the boring format stuff out of the way, let’s dive into what happened while I was away…

Since my last post, I’ve gotten another job, took a week off from work to spend time with some close friends, and I ran over a cone with a truck at a job interview. In other words, I’ve been busy.

I recently was hired for a merchandising job at a large retail merchandising company. This position pays more than my current job, but I won’t be getting as many hours. With that being said, I do not plan to quit my current job; I plan to work at both jobs. I don’t start working at this job for another week, but I’m extremely excited to start. I’m excited to start earning more money, and I’m looking forward to the new experience that will come with this job.

Despite picking up a second job, my parents continue to harass me about getting a different job that will pay more money in some sort of seasonal field, like forest-firefighting. What my mother fails to recognize is that many of these high-paying seasonal jobs require previous experience in that field, and/or a trade-based skill that requires years of experience or some sort of vocational schooling.

My attempts to explain the difficulties involved with obtaining one of these jobs to my mother is a waste of time, and it only leads to arguments and nasty comments. I honestly wish there was a simple way to explain to my mom that quitting two jobs that will provide me steady, livable, year-round income in favor of a seasonal job (that may or may not be high-paying) simply does not make sense. If you want to keep a fire burning over a long period of time, you don’t just buy a gallon of gasoline and some lighter fluid and hope for the best; following the same logic, I’m not going to throw away two jobs with steady income in favor of one temporary, high-paying job. It just doesn’t make sense.

In addition to disappointing my parents by not picking up some high-paying job out of thin air, I took a week off from work to spend time with a few friends. Kelci took a week off to visit Ryan and me in Bozeman, and Sara also came up for the week. It was nice to spend time with them, and we had a really awesome week. I’ll definitely feel the pinch on my next paycheck,  but I don’t care; spending time with my closest friends is worth a little starvation (haha).

Oh, and I had an interview for a shitty satellite company job last week. It was a trainwreck. I had trouble finding the place and ended up being nearly ten-minutes late. The guy who interviewed me was a complete asshole, and he had the most horrendous unibrow I’ve ever seen. The interview started with a confined-spaces driving test, and involved driving a pickup truck in an S-formation around some cones. You had to drive forward through the S-curve without backing up, and then drive in reverse through the S-curve without driving forward. Simple, right?

I got through the forward-driving part of the test just fine; I totally nailed a cone on the driving in a reverse portion of the test because I swung too wide on the second turn.

Yes, I freely admit that I fucked up that test. However, I think it’s stupid that you aren’t allowed to drive forward to adjust your position, as this is a constraint that doesn’t apply in the real-world.

Also, I need to get more experience backing up a pickup truck, because I’m too used to driving my nimble compact-car.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll write another post soon (hopefully!). Later.

– Will

“Sounds like somebody has a case of the Mondays!”

Today was weird. Really weird.

Imagine what it’s like to wake up to the sounds of hammering, saw-buzzing, and lumber being tossed around. If you can’t quite grasp how that would feel, let’s just say that it’s somewhat disconcerting. Additionally, I realized that I woke up a couple of hours later than I wanted. It wasn’t a very fun way to wake up.

Anyway, the reason for all of the loud construction noises is that the stairs in my house are being fixed. About a year ago, we had most of the flooring in our house switched from carpet to hardwood. After about a year and a half of issues with the flooring (including having to replace one entire set of wood flooring with a different type due to a factory issue), this might be the last time that the flooring will have to be worked on. I’m happy to see an end to this flooring nightmare, but I hate it when strange people are in the house. It makes doing everyday things an awkward affair, as you’re constantly aware of the fact that someone else is in the house, working, and that you might be interrupting their work every time you need to go up or down the stairs.

It’s just weird… I can’t wait for this guy to finish his work and get out of my life forever.

Anyway, so I got up, showered, and got dressed, trying to avoid having to talk to this guy as much as I could. It’s not like the guy is mean or anything– I just don’t want to have to explain why I’m waking up at 10 o’clock in the morning on a Monday. I then retreat to the confines of my bedroom and aimlessly surf the web until noon, when the guy working on the stairs leaves for lunch. I wait for him to leave, grab my backpack, and get the hell out of the house.

Soon after exiting the confines of the manor, I realize that I’m starving. I hadn’t eaten breakfast because I woke up so late, and I didn’t grab anything to eat on my way out. I stop and pick up lunch from a drive-thru, and then spend the next hour driving aimlessly around the entire city.

And I literally drove around theentire city– from the west end to downtown, from downtown  to the Heights, and then back to the west end. I wasn’t intentionally driving around aimlessly; I was trying to find a place to stop so I could finish eating my lunch. I ended up just finishing my lunch during the drive. After making it back to the west end, I stopped at a local cafe and started to get the few tasks I had for the day completed. I ordered a double-shot mocha frapé, set up my laptop, and scoured the local job listings. A lot of places in town are hiring, so finding a summer job shouldn’t be too difficult. However, I’m not certain what my availability will be like for the entire summer, so I can’t apply for anything right now. After bookmarking a few possible jobs, I quickly run through my usual internet haunts (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and G-mail), and then exit the cafe. A cheery group of baristas shout a chorus of thank yous as I walk out the door.

I then head to the grocery store to pick up some essentials that needed to be stocked up on at the house. Shopping alone at a large grocery store is an awkward affair, especially if you’re shopping on a Monday during the early afternoon. I felt like everyone was giving me awkward glances as I pushed the cart around the store (it doesn’t help that I look like I should still be in high school). Also, the store was filled with a ton of slow old people who kept getting in my way. This got incredibly annoying  quickly, so I ended up ditching the shopping cart in the main aisle a few times so I could weave through the mass of geriatrics without slowing down. After I finally got everything on my list, I pushed the damned cart to the nearest checkout, and then got the hell out of there.

Lesson of the day? The grocery store sucks. Don’t go there alone, and don’t go there during the middle of the day. You’ll regret it with every ounce of your being.

Today was pretty uneventful, but during my aimless drive around Billings, I found a number of good places to stop for a photo shoot. Who knows– maybe I’ll get a chance to go on a shoot tomorrow.

It’s late. I’ll see you tomorrow.

– Will

The Next Time You Buy Socks…

The next time you find yourself buying socks from a major retailer, notice the way the socks are arranged. Notice the little tags behind the socks. See how the socks are neatly organized with each style of sock placed in a specific area. Count how many hooks are sticking out from the shelf in front of you. Count the socks too, if you’re so inclined. Then take a step back.

Somebody went to all the effort to put every single sock on those hooks. Someone put all of those hooks on that shelf. Somebody placed each of those tags behind the socks on the hook, and they also printed out the little pieces of paper for those tags. They also placed each individual sock in its correct location, carefully noting where each style goes. They followed a planogram to place each sock where it belongs, and they spent serious time placing every single hook, sock, and sticker on that stupid shelf. Remember that the next time you go sock shopping and feel tempted to completely destroy the sock section.

I had to complete another sock POG today. Actually, I completed two and a half sock POGs today. I finished the planogram I started last time, then I shifted an old one to a new section, and then I started and finished a new one. I was supposed to complete four sock planograms today in six hours. I was originally scheduled to complete five POGs in two hours, but because I never finished them the last time, I had to play catch up. Corporate expectations for associates to complete all of these tasks are insane. Each planogram takes at least an hour to complete, and that’s if the associate working on the task is uninterrupted  in their work and they don’t have any equipment issues (the handheld “workstation” dies, the printer battery dies, the handheld won’t connect to the store’s network, the printer runs out of paper, the planogram is messed up, etc.).

I guess I don’t really care about all that right now. I’m 200+ miles away from work, I have tomorrow off from work, and in three days I’m going on a five-day vacation. They only have two more days to torture me before I leave.

…assuming that they approved my vacation request…

I really hope they did. I put my request in more than two weeks in advance (two weeks advance notice is the minimum requirement for requesting time off) and I’ve been looking forward to this trip for about a month now. My cousins are also excited for me to visit them.

And yet, I’m already in Butte. I had to drive in today for the funeral tomorrow, and then we’re driving home tomorrow. A few days later, I’m driving back. That’s a lot of time on the road in a very short period of time. I should have a nice trucker’s gut by the time my vacation is over. 😛 Right now, I’m sitting on my grandpa’s couch, listening to my dad and my grandpa talk. I should probably rejoin the conversation.

Keep reading, commenting, and spreading the word! 😀

– Will