In which we’re official-official

thumbsupI am pleased to announce that I made it through yesterday without bloodshed or threat of jail.  The day wasn’t entirely without aggravation, as the muckety-mucks didn’t show up until about three hours after we were expecting them, leading to lots of sitting around and occasionally bellyaching about how Jesus, I just cannot clean anything else, enough of this nonsense.  When they finally did arrive, though, it was with basically nothing but praise for how the store looked, and my regional manager actually pulled me aside and said that he knew good and damn well just how much of the look of the place was due to my efforts.  It is entirely possible that this was just a little of him knowing I was pissed and blowing a bit of smoke up my ass, but dammit by that point I deserved some ass-smoke and I’m glad he took the time to do it.  There was one genuinely entertaining moment (at least for me) when two people who were with the group but hadn’t shown up with them at first got to the store, and what with everything else going on I didn’t notice them right away, and by the time I did notice them the national sales director was on his way over to them and saying hello.

Greeting guests right away is kind of a big deal in this business, as you can imagine, so that caused a bit of a heart attack.  I mean, yeah, I’ve got a foot out the door and all that, and this ultimately isn’t a big deal, but I still really don’t like looking like an asshole, and one of these guys deciding he needs to greet a guest for us is still kinda not good.

Anyway, long story short, I realized that they weren’t guests at the same time that they realized I thought they were guests, and at the very same time they realized what I must be thinking, and everybody had a big slightly embarrassed laugh about it.  And eventually I went the hell home where I belonged.

You’re probably thinking right now that the headline on the post doesn’t make a ton of sense.  True.  The other thing that happened yesterday is that I got a notification from NewJob that I have finally been approved by everyone who needs to approve me– and some of these folks must have been on vacation for the last few weeks– and I am real and I have a salary and everything, and while the number next to the salary isn’t surprising, it is definitely very pleasant.

Actually, that’s not quite true– I’m surprised that it’s the right number, if we’re being honest.  I was fully expecting to have to fight with somebody or at least send a pointed email to get someone to put my salary back to wherever it was when I left last time.  And I didn’t!  So contracts are signed and everything.  I think, ridiculously, the school board still has to sign off on me, but that’s a formality.  It’s “Hey, here’s this list, we cool?” and  they don’t read the list and go “Yeah, we cool,” and it’s done.

So.  This is happening.

Ten shifts left, guys.  I’m gonna play Bloodborne and finish a short story today and tomorrow, I think.  Let’s do this.

Please stand by

middle-finger-poster-flag-6185-pSo, remember last week, when I pointed out that you can vacuum an entire furniture store in three hours?  Not quite entirely accurate.  It was half of a furniture store, strictly speaking.  To do the other half requires more like six hours, as there’s a shitload more stuff to navigate around and the fucking phone won’t stop ringing and absolutely everything is twenty-five times more complicated than it needs to be– the question “Is the chest that I ordered in the store?” literally took two of us two hours to answer at one point– and by the end of the day you still aren’t done and it would have been maybe nice if your co-worker had listened to you when you said you’d like to get started with the back of the store while he was still there and able to fend off phones and customers while you were cleaning.

Also it requires a fifty-foot extension cord, as there are not remotely enough outlets on the other side of the store.

The president of our company will be in the store tomorrow, along with several other notables.  In the course of the last six days I have personally glass-cleaned, dusted, cleaned, vacuumed and re-price-tagged literally nearly every square foot of the store.  I am not exaggerating or lying when I say I am personally responsible for a good 80% of the cleaning that has happened in the last week, with one other person being responsible for most of the rest. And the job is still not done, with maybe four hours of open time before the Lord High Muckety-Mucks arrive at noon tomorrow, because I just flat ran out of fucking time and there was too much shit to do.

If I hear one word– one single fucking syllable— of criticism about how the store looks, from anyone, ranging from the president of the company to the store manager to one of my co-workers, most of whom did not lift a single finger to help …

Well, there’s gonna be some fuckin’ drama, goddammit.  I’ve got one foot out the door, eleven shifts and a week of vacation left as I sit here in my recliner at home typing this, and I have absolutely no reason to not speak my Gatdamb mind if it comes to that.

Pray for me.  Or, hell, pray for the poor bastards who set me off if it comes to that.   I don’t much care which.

Tales by the Blue Light

My friend James Wylder and some of his people have started a podcast, so I’m handing the front page over to him for a minute.  Check it out!  

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Do you like stories? Miss having them read to you? I might be able to help.

Tales by the Blue Light is my new Podcast, a mix between “the Twilight Zone” and an old fasioned variety show, every episode brings you a brand new Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy short story, as well as skits, and some other fun stuff.

We’ve been performing and recording the show live for a year and a half at the Blue Box Cafe in Elgin Illinois (and at a special performance at Indy Pop Con) but we haven’t put the show out as a podcast yet…till now! Our first episode is up to listen to everywhere, with fresh ones coming out every Tuesday till we catch up to the live performances.

I can’t wait for you guys to hear some of the great stories we’ve featured. “McMansion Hell”, “The Legend of Miz”, and “Prescription” for instance were all audience hits I can’t wait to bring to even more people. Plus, you’ll get to see our other featured segments, like our Radio Play, Interview, and everyone’s favorite sketch: “Monster Hunter Monthly” where Magpie Jones gives advice on surviving encounters with things that go bump in the night.

And it’s all free (though we do have a Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/jameswylder if you feel like supporting us) so go take a listen! These episodes are only going to get better as you go through our year and a half of learning how to make this show, so hop on now, and tell your pals!

-James Wylder

iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tales-by-the-blue-light/id1403816049?mt=2

Stitcher:
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/robert-southgate/tales-by-the-blue-light

In which I melt down

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It has been an exquisitely crappy day.

From more or less the moment I woke up today, when I figured out nearly immediately upon waking up that our wireless connection wasn’t working, I have been thwarted in goddamn near every single thing I have tried to do today.  It’s been the kind of day where I start swearing uncontrollably into my phone and hitting the star key over and over again because Comcast uses a fucking voice recognition computer for their “help” line and there are no options that remotely match what I need. It is the kind of day where I begin one conversation with a customer service agent by telling her in my most polite available tone of voice (which is, despite my best efforts, still not very polite) that I am aware that none of my problems are her fault and I’m going to try and avoid coming off as a complete asshole but that I am this close to losing my shit altogether with her company.  It is the kind of day where I begin another conversation with another customer service agent for a different company by asking her what the main ingredient in tomato soup is, because I am completely exhausted by dealing with non-human-being agents and need her to literally prove that she is flesh and blood before I try and talk to her, and yes, ma’am, I am completely serious, I want the answer to my question please.

It is the kind of day where I take my son to McDonald’s for lunch, my son who is at home with me today because his day care is taking a field trip to a place where his allergies prevent him from going, my son who does not remotely deserve the surly, angry, stressed-out, swearing mess of a father that he has—it is the kind of day where I take my son to McDonald’s and McDonald’s is out of ketchup.  Because of fucking course McDonald’s is out of ketchup, why would lunch be any different from anything else that’s happened today?

It is the kind of day where a former student who I have remained in near-constant touch with for the five years since she left my classroom– a student who I have referred to as “my daughter” in conversation with others before because our actual relationship is a trifle too complicated to explain—the kind of day where that student is having a Very Bad Day, and I find that I simply do not have the mental energy or emotional capacity to help her, and treat her with a coldness she does not deserve or need.

It is the kind of day where I find out that the brightest student I’ve ever had in my classroom, a student I have not kept in constant contact with, who has just graduated from high school, is moving in with his girlfriend and not into a college dorm room because he cannot afford college and has no one in his family to help him navigate through it.

It is a miracle that I’m ending the day by typing this into this Word document on my desktop—because my internet doesn’t work, and my phone is out of data, and I need to stay offline as much as possible so I’m writing it offline—and not ending it in jail.  Because the fact that I made it through the day without assaulting anyone is frankly bordering on miraculous.

It is the kind of day where none of these problems are problems at all, because the monsters who we have allowed to take over our government are drugging children that they have kidnapped and are keeping them in concentration camps.  Concentration camps run by for-profit prison companies, on American soil.

And right now I have no idea how the fuck to cope with any of it at all.

First Day of Vacation: I Went to Work edition

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I was looking for a .gif of the “Get me a G-O-B” scene, but this’ll do.

Last week was an exceptionally shitty week to be a furniture salesman– easily the worst single week in my entire two-year tenure, in fact, and is is nearly unimaginable that June will not end up as my worst single month as a furniture salesman as well.  So when a previous customer called last week and said that she was out of town but wanted to make an appointment to come in and spend a few thousand dollars, I happily scheduled her for 10:00 this morning and came in anyway.  While I was there, I caught a customer from yesterday who had had to postpone his purchase because of a freeze on his credit accounts– meaning that I had, in a single hour, on a day when I was not supposed to be at work, more total sales than in the seventeen days prior to that hour.

So, yeah.  Come into work on my day off, but make hundreds of dollars in commissions during that hour I came in?  No problem.

Then I returned something to Best Buy, came home, played video games, mowed the lawn, played more video games, got some important emails, responded to those emails, finished my renewal for my teachers’ license (which will expire in 2028, a year that is so far away I cannot comprehend it), played more video games, got some light cleaning done around the house, ate dinner, and now I’m writing thishere blog post.

My big plan for tomorrow?  Breakfast is gonna be sausage grits and a fried egg.  Ask me how excited I am about my breakfast tomorrow.

I am so excited about my breakfast tomorrow.

The remainder of the day will be split between more video games– can you tell I caved and bought Dark Souls Remastered once I realized I’d have a solid week where I didn’t have to go to work?– and the Composition of Fiction.

Not bad for my first day off.