Friday, June 18, 2010

Bad, Blogger! No Cookie for you!

So it's official. I am just awful at keeping up with this thing. You'd think that since I set the pace that I'd have no problem, but alas, I do. Much has happened since the last time I wrote. I have some awesome online dating stories to share, but quite honestly I just don't have the energy for that today because aside from the fact that I had a two and a half hour job interview and dinner with my grandmother (who suffers from dementia) I've had a 3 year old crawling around me for a while and I'm completely drained!

So, by way of conciliation, I present you with a head scratcher:
Exhibit A: a precious, angel, tea light holder. This is something we sell at the gift store I work it. They're quite popular around the holidays and Mother's Day.

The company that makes the angel is even nice enough to provide you with the tealight. Comes already in the holder when you open up the box. Isn't that convenient?! Not to mention thoughtful!

Then, one day I found a lonely tea light had been knocked to the floor. I went to go replace it in the angel and I noticed something. I took a picture so I could show you too!

I think it's fairly clear, but in case you can't read it, it says, "For decorative use only. Material may be flammable and is not intended for use of tea light."

If you're anything like me this little warning label took you by surprise. Sure, you see silly warning labels on McDonald's coffee cups warning you that your hot coffee might be hot, irons that tell you not to iron your clothes while you're in them and hairdryers that think you're dumb enough to try drying your hair while still in the shower, but this is different. All of those warning labels just assume that you're an idiot. Yeah, it's insulting, but these United States of ours is crazy over lawsuits and I understand that companies have to protect themselves from these sorts of things.

This warning label smacks of mischief. No, I take that back. Unscrewing the top of the salt shaker is mischievous. This is more...insidious. Sure, the company is warning you from danger. "Don't put this thing to close to flame. It could go up on ya!" while at the same time providing you with something to set on fire. I asked a fellow co-worker for an opinion on this one. I figured that my brain might be too befuddled to make sense of it. She suggested that perhaps this tea light holder, that isn't meant to be put near heat, might be meant for the LED type of tea light. OK, I'd buy that maybe that's what they intend, but then why give you the wrong kind of tea light? Do they feel bad that they're denying you the satisfaction that only a real flame can bring and so they offer you this candle in the hopes that you will use it with some other type of candle holder? Perhaps the type that isn't flammable?

Or, does this company secretly want to see your house, all your worldly possessions and perhaps the family pet, go up in smoke? They wouldn't get blamed for it. After all, they warned you...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

So I was over at my friend's house for dinner the other night when she shows me a picture that my "nephew" made in school. It had caused a bit of confusion for his teacher, who had the caption dictated to her. Here's the picture:

So in case you can't read it, it says, "My favorite, favorite, favorite place to go is Disney World and we stay in a hotel. We take an airplane and it makes potatoes grow in my ears."

Go ahead, read that last sentence again. It either left you confused or laughing. Maybe both. I laughed, of course, but I also knew exactly what he was talking about.

As an adult, have you ever thought about the things we say to children?? Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy aside we tell them all sorts of crap. Most of them outright, though pretty funny, lies. For example: the stork. I mean, seriously! A stork brings babies to us?! Think about that for a second. Isn't it just a little bit horrifying? Would you trust any animal to transport an infant by itself, never mind a bird?!

My own absolutely wonderful mother, whom I adore, told me some whoppers. For instance, she broke me of lying when I was little by telling me my tongue turns black when I lie. Also, the gypsies lived behind Toys R Us and if I acted up while we were in the store it would be oh so easy for her to drop me off with them so I could join them in their nomadic lives. I was an angel as a child, so these crazy stories are apparently effective.

It isn't just parents that tell tales though. This leads me back to my nephew. He was only 2 the first time he went to Disney and he was sitting next to my mom on the flight. During take off he covered his ears and started whining. Mom asked him if he was ok and he told her "I can't like these potatoes in my ears." I thought it was funny, obviously, but I instantly understood what he meant. When I was little and I had to go to the doctor's office for a check up I very distinctly remember being weirded out by the otoscope. Noticing my trepidation he told me that was what he used to look in my ears. "For what?" I asked. "To see what you have growing in there. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes...."

So when the air pressure in the cabin caused my nephews ears to hurt, he assumed it was because he had grown potatoes in there. Just like the doctor had been looking for. Remember this story the next time you talk to a young child. You never can tell what will stick with them. I still won't venture behind that Toys R Us...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Alright, it's been a ridiculously long time since I've posted but it was the holidays, cut me some slack. Holidays in retail are never fun, but let me tell you, I'd have to say this was the least stressful holiday season I've had in a very long time. I attribute a lot of it to NOT working in a mall. Malls are just....awful.

That being said....Happy New Year! I for one am very happy that 2010 is here because 2009 was really terrible for me. Not that I think an arbitrary day on the calendar is a magical fix-all, but it's as good a time as any to make a change and start from a clean slate. I don't really do "resolutions" per se, but I think it's always a good idea to have some goals. So let's talk for a minute about goals for 2010.

2010 Goals:

1) Get a full time job (preferably one with benefits because no insurance is no fun)
2) Exercise. I'm such a lazy bum these days, and quite honestly I wouldn't mind if I felt comfortable in a bikini again.
3) Pay off the debt I incurred while living with the ex. This goal is highly dependent on achieving #1.
4) Build up my savings account. Again, both Goals #1 and #3 would have to be satisfied for this to be accomplished.
5) Meet and marry Alexander Skarsgard. Unrealistic? Sure, but they say if you shoot for the moon if you miss you still land among the stars. I'm hoping if I shoot for an international model/actor who has been named "Sweden's Sexiest Man" 9 times then I might end up with a halfway decent guy in the end.

What about you? What do you hope to accomplish in the New Year?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Has It Really Been 10 Years?!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend! Mine was actually pretty great. Thanksgiving itself was wonderful. I was surrounded by people I adore and the food couldn't have any better. That even includes my Chocolate Caramel Tarts! I ended up cheated and buying some caramel sauce at the grocery store, which made me sad, but only until I tried it! I think my dessert was a hit! I also successfully baked two braided loaves of bread. Also a hit, and might I add, fantastic for leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches!

I did have to work on Black Friday which wasn't a big deal since I didn't even have to go in until 4:00 PM! Even then my store was only slightly busier than normal and we were pretty much dead about an hour before closing. It was the easiest black Friday I have ever worked. I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing for my store, but I found it to be a refreshing change of pace. I'm sure a lot of my free time that night could be attributed to the fact that I wasn't located in a mall, for which I am eternally grateful.

On Saturday was the dreaded 10 year High School Reunion. I guess our class officers aren't so much into the whole reunion deal, since it wasn't hosted by them. Nope, our reunion was put on by a student council member and all the invites were sent out through Facebook. Turns out that wasn't the most reliable method since several people that I know (who belong to our class' Facebook group) never got the invite. Fortunately for me, one of my friends was in town for Thanksgiving and just happened to run into another classmate at Dunkin Donuts at 4 am on Black Friday and informed him of the little shindig. It was great seeing you, Jay!

The reunion wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Because of budget constraints it was held at the local Jillian's, which turned out to be a great choice since everyone feels more comfortable when they're in jeans, and it would seem like a pool table is an excellent way to avoid long, awkward pauses. All in all I would have to say that the people I was cool with back then were just as awesome as I remembered, and the a-holes were still a-holes. No big deal. There were a few people there that said they were classmates that I swear I had never seen before in my life but mostly everyone looked just like they had expect either skinnier or fatter. One poor girl, I'd say in an attempt to deny the fact that we're all just this side of 30, decided to wear leggings without the prerequisite long shirt/sweater. Let's just say that no one, except for 12 year olds and supermodels, can pull off that look. That's not the impression you want to make on people you haven't seen in 10 years.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caramel Pipe Dreams

I am flummoxed. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty damn good at baking. Pastry and I have an understanding, a common bond, and a deep and abiding love. This recipe has beaten me though and I feel...betrayed. Let's begin at the beginning.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we'll be having a small gathering. Since I can't cook to save my life, my dad and I usually share the responsibility of prepping dessert. I had seen this recipe for these fabulous little sugar cookie tarts with caramel whipped cream drizzled with chocolate and immediately thought "You will be mine." Let me start by saying that I have never made caramel before in my life. My first attempt resulted in my melting a plastic stirring spoon and burning the caramel. If you think about it, caramel is just burnt sugar anyway, but there's a very specific level of burnt. Trust me, if you go too far it's really disgusting. You have to pay very close attention to your caramel because it can go from perfect to ruined in a matter of seconds.

On my second attempt I knew to look for the warming signs and, I'm happy to say, I hit the nail on the head. Per the recipe, I threw the caramel into the fridge for 10 min to cool while I whipped the cream after which I was to fold the cooled caramel into the whipped cream. This lead to many problems. Turns out that 10 min in the fridge (just what the recipe called for) had turned my caramel into a tasty little brick. So I threw it into the microwave to to soften it up. When I got it to a point where is was somewhat malleable I started to fold it into the whipped cream and my caramel whipped cream dreams came crashing down around me. Not only, did the warmth of the caramel turn my beautiful, fluffy whipped cream into soup, but the caramel turned back into a hard lump when it hit the cold cream. So there I was, looking down a sort of turd shaped brown lump floating in what looked like milk that had gone sour and I bit my lip to hold back the tears of frustration. Then I took the whole big mess and flushed it down the toilet.

I wish I had pictures to show you, but considering that tomorrow is the undisputed pig-out day of the year maybe it's better that there wasn't a camera within reach. Caramel poop in rancid milk does nothing for the appetite. And on that note I'd like to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Retail Round-Up

So for all of you who haven't had the pleasure of working in retail, let me in on some of the pro's and con's. Just a few little gems. Let's start with the Pro's. Yes, Pro's. Go ahead and laugh, I can't hear you anyway. Jerk.

Pro's: Customers are, for the most part, fleeting. You don't have to kiss their asses like in a corporate environment and worry about sending them Christmas cards and stuff. Even when you do get that really annoying customer, they'll be gone soon. On to the next!

Flexible schedule: This one is actually kind of a mixed bag. It totally sucks never being able to count on having a weekend off and the holiday season can make even the most Fa la la la -iest of us Grinch-out. But on the plus side, making Dr and dentist appointments is easy and getting your holiday shopping done on a Tuesday morning when all the rest of you 9 to 5 schmucks are at work is a dream. I mean think of it - you get a parking space, wait behind maybe one person in line and get back home before lunchtime! Gives me time to deck the halls.

Con's: Customers. Sure, I said they're fleeting, but man are they a pain in the rump when they're in your presence. I submit for your approval: Orange T-Shirt Joan. A few years ago I worked at a clothing store where OTJ frequents. She doesn't yell, she doesn't complain but she will... talk. She will take two orange t-shirts, the same size and color, and try each of them on numerous times. Each time she will ask all staff and available customers how it looks. She also repeats herself.
"How does it look?"
"It looks good"
"Yeah. How does it look? I mean, does it look good?"
"Yep. Looks good"
"I don't know. Do you think it looks good?"
That's not even an exaggeration. That's a verbatim conversation. And it will continue for at least 3 hours. I know, because when you have a customer like her you keep a close eye on the clock. 3 hours is getting of easy.

I saw her again tonight. At least now I know that every store gets the same treatment. Thankfully, there's nothing in my current store that she can try on, but don't worry, she found plenty of things to repeast herself on. Also she came back an hour later to return a product that she'd broken. Then, after I sent her on her merry way, she came back and bought something else. Somewhere between the counter and the door she saw something shiny and managed to break something else before she left the store for good. I actually had to call my old store to tell them of my horrors. They laughed at me. It's ok though. I would do the same if our situations were reversed. In fact, I plan on it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cute, but Crazy

I am the proud owner of a Boston Terrier/Beagle mix. Some people call them Boggles, but I have trouble using those cutesy "designer breed" names, especially when it happens to also be a favorite childhood game of mine. Besides, it seems pretentious. Like I scoured the earth for some animal specifically bred to have a name that makes me sound like a douche bag when I say it. For the record, he's a rescue dog. He just happens to be absolutely adorable. His name is Brooks, and he's every bit as crazy as he is cute.

Look at all the cuteness!

Perhaps it's because he's had a few bumps to the head (he has no sense of his surroundings and has run full tilt into walls and fallen off furniture) but he's kind of paranoid. Whenever my ex would be gone for the night Brooks would keep me up all night growling at perceived (and imaginary) threats. This summer he got stung by a yellow jacket in the groin (poor thing just wanted to pee on the mailbox and ended up stepping on a nest). Granted, that would be a traumatic experience for anyone, but since that day my little guy has become slightly obsessive about his junk. He might just be walking down the hall when all of a sudden he'll stop and sniff at his little boy parts. Once he's convinced that there isn't anything going on down there that should be happening he'll continue on his merry way. This happens numerous times a day, and is more frequent when he's outside and windy.

That being said, two nights in a row this week he has woken from a dead sleep on the couch and run like a bat out of hell to find shelter (once under the dining room table, once under the computer desk). The first time he did it, no one was in the room I just assumed that, with his lack of understanding of "edges", he had fallen off the couch in his sleep and scared the crap out of himself. Then it happened again the next night, but this time with witnesses. There he was, just napping on the couch when he suddenly jumped up and bolted under a desk, shaking like a little brindle leaf.

So what's the deal with my dog already. The TV was on, but that's never bothered him before. It's not like there was a doorbell on the tube and even if there had been he just gets up and checks the doors. So I've narrowed it down to two theories:

Theory 1) My dog has horrible nightmares. This actually wouldn't surprise me. He dreams all the time and they often include lots of running, kicking, muffled barks, growls and howls.

Theory 2) Poltergeists. Some unseen force is freaking the crap out of my dog because they're bored, dead, jerks.

I'm open to other ideas, but these are the only ones I can think of right now.