Thursday, August 30, 2007

This one doesn't really have a title...

My dad likes to have his little projects to do. He likes to put stuff together and make things with his hands. At the moment, his pet project is finishing the basement as fast as humanly possible. So when my dad calls me down into the basement to "give him a hand" I knew I wouldn't be smelling the upstairs air for a while.

I stand at the top of the stairs, gathering my courage. At last, I take a deep breath and walk down the stairs, not knowing what sort of help my father wanted, but having a pretty good idea that there was manual labor involved.

Sure enough, I get down there and the first thing he says is, "Hey help me lift this wall." Lift the wall?? And why didn't he ask Josh (my brother, who is way taller and stronger than I am) to do this? Well, whatever. "Eh...okay." I say. Turns out, it was just about eight or nine 2x4s all screwed together to form a "wall" of sorts. So I help him lift it, hefting my side while he lifts his. After the wall is up, he says, "Okay, hang on while I get some more screws."

Yeah, okay. No problem. Take your time. I'm only holding up a wall with my bare hands. No big deal. So then it starts to slip. "" I can hear him behind me, trying to find those screws, oblivious to my peril. "Dad..." slipping...slipping..."Dad!"
"What? Whoa, Johanna, the wall is slipping!" Doy.

So he finally finds the screws and secures the "wall" so it's no longer falling on top of me. I step back to admire the fruits of my labor and catch my breath, hoping the "helping" was over. so dad starts to measure this and that and make little marks on the wood with his little flat orange pencil, muttering things about "whack that off" and "put another one there" and "give this one a little room" and using little words like "we" and "us" and "lets" and stuff like that, making me wonder if I was supposed to stay, but feeling kind of useless and kind of wanting to go back upstairs where I wasn't going to have to heft any more walls, but not sure weather or not he wanted me to stay and help, or keep him company or what. (Whoa! that's gotta break some kind of run-on-sentence record).

So I cough a little, reminding him that I was still there, and that I wasn’t doing anything. If he wanted me to help, fine. If not, I wasn’t planning to stick around. I had places to be, things to do. And those places and things didn’t, in any way, shape or form, involve even the word “strenuous”. Dad doesn’t seem to notice me. “Uh, dad? Can I go upstairs?” I ask, still unsure if he needed me for some other bizarre chore.

“Hmm. What? Oh, sure.” He says, without so much as glancing in my direction. Apparently I wasn’t needed too much after all. So I left him to his work then and retreated back into the safety of the upstairs. Maybe he did want me to stay, for all I know. Misery loves company. But who ever said company loves misery? :P

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Game Quest

After a long day, I've been known to enjoy the occasional video game. when I was younger it was a Gameboy, but I've since graduated on to bigger and better things: Nintendo 64. until earlier today, the only game we've owned (that I'll even pick up a controller to play) is James Bond. I can't explain my sudden urge to shoot something with a Cougar Magnum, but when I do have such an urge, James Bond has always fulfilled it. :)
but today, very, very randomly, the Cougar Magnum didn't work. I wanted a better game than the James Bond game, which had probably been made sometime in the early 90s. I thought back to that one time a friend of ours had brought over an upgraded version of the James Bond game my family now owned. Perfect Dark was the name of it.

And suddenly...I wanted it. I wanted that game. I remembered the Farsight gun, one that let you see (and shoot) through walls. yeah, that one was pretty cool. now I really wanted that game! but where could I find it? I was the last person I would've asked about where to find a Nintendo game. but lucky for me I have brothers.

I found Jim laying on the pull out bed that serves for his bedroom while he waits for his bedroom to be finished, sawing logs like a lumberjack, arm hanging over the bed like a gorilla. Sure, he's been at work all night, but it was pushing three in the afternoon. he has slept long enough.
I poke him. "Jim." he says something unintelligible and rolls over. I poke him again. harder. "Jim!"
he bolts upright. "Wha?!" he looks around, clearly unsure where he is and how he got to be in this strange place. I ask him where to find a place that sells video games and stuff, and he tells me where. some place kinda far away, but for some strange, strange reason, I wanted that game. a lot. so I figure what the heck. then I realize Mom is away with her car. Jim lends me his. nice brother.

And so, with my older brother's car, my little brother (who's actually taller than me) in the passenger seat (because he had nothing better to do), and the Greatest Hits of Kansas playing on the speakers, my quest for the legendary Nintendo game began.

About twenty minutes and about three missed turns later, we pulled into the parking lot of Gamers store and went inside. this is the actual conversation between myself and my brother that ensued.
"Okay, there's a guy who works here. let's ask him where it is." -Me
"No, I want to find it myself. we don't need to ask." -Josh
"But you could just ask and save all the trouble--" -Me
"No. we'll find it ourselves." -Josh
so about twenty minutes goes by with Josh looking for the game and me standing around looking lost, Josh decides that asking if they have it would be a splendid idea and why didn't I think of it. so he asks the guy behind the counter, and, lo and behold, they don't have it. "Okay," he says. "C'mon, Jo, let's go home."

What? foolish boy, giving up so easily. No, I wanted that game, and I wanted it now. So I ask they guy behind the counter if there's another Gamers in Lincoln, and find out the only other Gamers is at 27th and Superior. so I have him call the place to make sure they have it since 27th and Superior is like clear across town, and he calls, and they have it, thank you for coming.

And so, the quest for the elusive game continued as I drove across town all the way to North Lincoln, and this time, as Josh sat behind the wheel of my ipod (not the car, thank goodness), we sang to White and Nerdy, by Weird Al. this next part is also a chunk of actual conversation that took place as we were stopped at a stoplight, I am the first in line in the lane farthest to the right.

"Look, there's the Gamers!" -Josh
"Oh, man! I'm in the wrong lane. I need to turn left right up there." --Me
"You can get in front of these people when the light turns green." --Josh
"I'm not going to floor it and then cross three lanes of traffic. I'll just turn right up there, turn around, and cross the street at that stoplight." -Me
"No, that'll take too long! just get in front of these people!" --Josh
*light turns green*
Aw, what the heck. the crossing of all three lanes was surprisingly easy, more so than I expected it to be, and soon we were pulling up into yet another Gamers store parking lot. the purchasing of the game I had been seeking was delightfully quick and no strings attached, and we were soon back in the car headed home. and I had had enough Weird Al to last me a week, so I was back in control of the ipod and, much to Josh's disgust, listening to Elvis Presley's "I can't help falling in love with you".

Half an hour later, we pulled into the driveway and plugged in the new game. and so, after several hours of driving and a lot of frustration, I had my game. forget Cougar Magnums! now I had K7 Avengers, Farsights, and Devastators. Hooray!

Sadly, because I only like to play video games on occasion, I will probably only play Perfect Dark about once a week or so. so I don't know why it was so important to me to get it today. but it was. oh well. I don't pretend to understand myself.

Monday, August 20, 2007

So Anyways...

So I'm in a writing mood right now, and poetry isn't coming to me. so I guess this is my secondary default. *looks around* so uh...what to talk about. oh, I got it! now, I know this isn't going to be all that interesting or exciting or beneficial to mankind in any way, but I've decided to write about my typical workday. would that be too horribly boring?? oh well. I write stuff mostly for my own entertainment anyway. I just post it on the internet so people who share my same love of nonsense can enjoy it. :P

*Note: please feel free to yawn openly or abruptly close out this tab at any time*

Anyway. about work. I know I've already mentioned my work several times in previous posts, but I'll try to talk about different stuff this go-around. I currently work in a grocery store. HyVee to be exact. so before work I have to put on this costume--er, excuse me--uniform, consisting of a white blouse and black pants, which are far too hot to wear in the summer when the heat index is 103. so I go into work, passing other fellow employees on my way upstairs to "clock in". we exchange the customary form of greeting, which is usually a simple "hey" or some other one-syllable word with the same enthusiasm as one would say, "Hey, Mac, what're you in for?"

The "clock in" usually takes about ten minutes, depending on how early you arrived. because you have to clock in on the exact minute, there are most always about five to ten people all standing around waiting for said exact minute to arrive. this time usually consists of everyone standing against the wall and checking their cell phones for missed calls, being sure to avoid eye-contact, because otherwise we might have to say something more than "hey" to that person, and who wants to do that?

After the clock in phase is complete, all the employees who have just clocked in will file down the stairs and into the store like a line of zombies on their way to the electric chair. once in the open store, the employees will go their separate ways, each to his own station. farewell, brethren.

My station is at the cash register. my job is to be (or at least pretend to be) happy, respectful, social, and scan the people's groceries. ALL TOGETHER NOW! *yawn*. no kidding. this is what I hear all day at work, "beep...beep...beep...beep...beep...beep..." the constant beeping could drive a soul insane! in fact, if it weren't for the courtesy clerks (the people who sack the groceries), I'm sure most of us would. the courtesy clerks are always full of jokes to tell once your lane is clear of people, keeping you down to earth and in a relatively reasonable mood. I'm not sure if the courtesy clerks were coached during their training to tell jokes to their cashier during down time, but I bet that would be a good idea.

One of the best things about working the cash register is The Phone. The Phone sits next to the cash register, and if you pick it up and press a certain code, known only to HyVee employees (and probably lots of other people) you can talk in that voice you always hear over the speakers when you shop for foodstuff! It's fun to use, although really the only reason for a cashier to use it is if you need a manager, and that only happens when there is a problem, complaint, or something bad happens. can be fun, but usually when you're using The Phone, you're not in a very good mood and you don't notice that you're having fun.

Nothing is worse when you're on register duty, then if the store is quiet. I mean, when there are 3,000 people in the store and they're all checking out at once and all you can hear is the Zzzwee...Zzzwee...Zzzwee of carts full of stuff it's not great fun either, but at least, after all the 3,000 people are gone, it's usually about 2 hours after you looked at the clock last and you are pleasantly surprised how fast the time has gone. if nothing is happening...time goes by...very...very...s-l-o-w-l-y.

All in all, work isn't too bad. in fact, it's pretty fun most of the time. the people are decent (usually), the coworkers are friendly (usually), the courtesy clerks make me laugh (usually), and I get paid (usually). not too shabby, not too shabby.

And with that, I will end this session of Jo's Nonsense. Tune in next time, when she will talk about something else totally random and meaningless!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Oh So Strange Addiction...Of Sorts

So, most everybody that I know does (or should!) drink that sweet, dark, life giving drink sometimes referred to as coffee. a lot of those people claim to be addicted to it, even. I have yet to decide if I would say the same. Yes, I drink coffee. I drink a lot of coffee. I drink coffee all. the. time. if there's coffee in the pot, I'll drink it. if there's not coffee in the pot, I'll make some. strange part is, I drink it because I WANT it, not because I HAVE to to get my caffeine fix. another strange part? I don't get caffeine headaches. some days I don't drink coffee because I just don't have time. I get through the day just fine. that's why I'm not sure if I would call myself "addicted". I drink it a LOT, because I like it and want it, but if I don't drink it for one day (heaven forbid) I'm none the worse for wear (I never really figured out what that meant, but I think it fits nicely right there).

Dang it. now I want coffee and it's after 2:00 a.m. why am I up after 2:00 a.m. writing on my blog??? the world may never know. I know I sure don't. so now the question remains: should I just make myself a small pot of coffee, drink it, then stay up until 4 reading Ivanhoe? or should I just go to bed right now like a good little girl? Meh. I'll probably go to bed. tomorrow is a new day, so I'll just go to sleep and dream of coffee. hopefully. man, now would be a perfect time to have one of those inventions from the Jetsons, where you can have whatever dream you want. you know, the "Good night, Elroy. what would you like to dream tonight?" invention. wouldn't that be nice? oh well. enough rambling. G'night.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Customer Profiles

Working in a grocery store, I see many different people come through my line through the duration of the day. it's amazing how many different varieties of people I see. the other day, it struck me how many different types of shoppers there are, and how much I would like to write about them! so this post goes out to all of you who fall into one of these categories!

The first category that comes to mind, is the Old Man of Apathy and She. he is usually an older man, from late 40s to late 70s or so. he comes in often, buying a fair amount of groceries, usually. and he always says the word "she" a lot. "I think this is what she wants..." or "I think this is the brand she likes..." or "I think this was everything she needed..." I call him the Old Man of Apathy and She, because he usually doesn't care if what he's getting isn't what "she" wanted anyways. he knows that no matter how long he stairs at two brands of flour, he's eventually going to have to pick one at random anyway, so he doesn't waste his time with wondering if he's getting the right stuff. oh, and one more thing about this guy, he always, always wants his receipt.

Number two on our list today (gosh, this sounds like a menu or something) is our Lady of Pennies and Receipts. Ladies of Pennies and Receipts can be any age at all, although I've found that they're usually found in older ladies. I call them this, because their signature line is, "Oh, I think I've got a penny." so you stand there, holding whatever money she's already handed you, glancing about to make sure nobody is getting angry that the lady cannot find the penny she's sure she has. she looks in her change purse, and if she can't find it there, she'll check her pockets, and then, if she still can't find it, she'll check somewhere else because she's positive, just positive, that she has a penny. oftentimes, she'll pull out a wad of change and say, "Oh, I've got the whole 66 cents!" or whatever the amount happens to be. she will then proceed in dumping the change onto the counter for you to count out, causing the customers (who have formed quite a line by now) to let out an audible and collective groan. the Lady of Pennies and Receipts also wants her receipt every time without fail. she folds it carefully into a nice little square, and places is into her purse with the utmost care.

Number three is the Child of Friends and Toothaches. these are children, usually ranging in the age group of 10 to 15 years old. they come in in twos, more often than not, or at least not alone. these children are the ones who have just come into some sort of inheritance (usually taking the form of allowance money). these kids can't handle having money. they just have to spend it NOW. so they go to their friendly neighborhood grocery store because they have money, and they want food. this food is normally pop (or soda for you city folk), candy (nerds, gummy worms, m%ms, snickers bars, ecc), or doughnuts. so you total up the candy, pop, whatever it is, and tell them how much they owe, and they dump a wad of change onto the counter that rolls in all different directions. every time without fail. Why can parents not pay their kids allowance with paper money? whatever.

Number four on the charts is Child of Sweaty Bills and Duty. this kid, who is never older than 10, is the one who comes through your line with no candy, no pop or anything that tastes good to a child. he's the one who places a jug of milk and a bag of celery on the counter. he is the one who runs errands for his mom, who is either waiting out in the car or wanting at home for the ingredient she needed to finish the perfect recipe for Aunt Matilda's wedding. so little Tommy goes to the store for his mother, like a good little slave, and gets the milk and celery. and for payment, there's always going to be a sweaty wrinkled old twenty dollar bill for you to unravel and attempt to flatten. Tommy usually never wants his receipt.

Number five is the Girl of Drinks and Phones. She is most always a teenage girl, probably around 15. she comes in, grabs some sort of energy drink (Rockstar, Full Throttle, Red Bull, ecc) or sometimes a diet pepsi. she talks on her cell phone the entire time, never quite looking you in the eye, and only paying you enough attention to give up her money and receive her change. she'll be having a conversation that goes something like this: "So then we went to the mall and I looked for those shoes, you know, the green snake skin ones? anyway, we looked and we didnt find them so we went and bought some clothes and --oh my gosh--we found the cutest brown dress you have ever seen..." this goes on for the entire time she is in sight. the Girl of Drinks and Phones never wants to "find a penny" or anything like that, and always, always refuses a receipt.

Number six, we have the Girl of Gossip and Baking. this one always comes in for some sort of baking item, like flour, brown sugar, eggs, ecc. she usually doesn't know where the heck the stuff is, either, so she asks, and you tell her, and she comes back, lays the stuff on the counter. at this point, her next move is incredibly foreseeable. she turns and looks at the tabloids. then she starts talking to you, like you would actually care about anything in any tabloid and you haven't already seen those magazines three dozen times. "Oh wow...did you see that Brad and Angela had another big fight? man, I can't wait until they get back together! they were the cutest couple! oh, and did you know Lynsey is back in rehab? that girl needs some major help if you ask me. oh my gosh! Brittany was arrested for driving drunk!" and on and on it goes. the Girl of Gossip and Baking is always very friendly and never wants a receipt.

And last on our list today, number seven, we have the Mom of Children and Coupons. this is a woman who has like, 10 kids all running everywhere at once and buys about three carts full of stuff. she can be heard all throughout the store saying things like: "Billy! stop chewing on Susan's hair this minute! Robby, please hold Sarah's hand so she doesn't go anywhere. Marvin! where do you think you're going young man? Kelly, please give Carly's doll back so she will stop crying." and so on. the Mom of Children and Coupons usually comes to the checkout with pop tarts, frozen dinners, fresh produce, packaged meat, cleaning supplies, bread of different varieties, canned soup, ice cream, and usually each of the kids gets a treat (usually a small box of candy or something) for being good for mommy in the store, although she knows they weren't really all that good at all. when it comes time to pay, you can usually count on a small heap of coupons being thrust at you, which takes about 10 minutes to ring through and saves her about $2.00 total. as you are ringing the coupons through, she will write out her check, while the vermin squabble for the candy they want badly but know they didn't deserve.

So that's just a normal day on the job for me. a bit more exciting than you expected from a lowly cashier, eh? I didn't even scratch the surface of different types of customers, though. there's still the Men of Sweat and Beer, the Cops of Doughnuts and Coffee, the Fathers of Barbecues and Ice, and the Klutzes of Oops and Sorry. But those are for another day. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My Sunglasses Dilemma

For the most part, I think I do a good job of taking care of my stuff. no, it doesn't last forever, but I shop at Wal Mart so it's not supposed to, and I'm okay with that. but my sunglasses (I know, random) never last, even if I buy a good, expensive pair (expensive is supposed to be good, right?) they always break within the first month I own them. some peoples' sunglasses (and cats, for that matter) have 9 lives...but throughout the years I've found out that mine have -2 lives. my sunglasses don't like to live. in fact, every pair I've ever owned has taken the first opportunity available to commit suicide. I don't know why sunglasses hate me. I've never done anything to them except keep them in my excessively-large purse with several other heavy items that I try to tell myself I cannot leave the house without that could (just maybe) cause them minimal harm. other than that, there is no reason why every pair of sunglasses I've ever touched have broken soon after their purchase.

Recently, (after another sunglasses suicide) I bought another pair. a good one. from a prestigious and trustworthy store. okay, JC Pennies. whatever. they looked durable enough and felt nice and all that. there was nothing wrong with them. I had 'em for a while and I was just starting to think "Hey, maybe these are a pair that will stay in one piece for a while!"

At the same time, I came into a sunglasses inheritance. my sister had had a pair of aviators that I had envied for a while, when she brought them to me and said they were broken, but if I wanted I could have them. I looked at the sunglasses. they were fine, except the frame was a little bent, which was easily fixed. but it was too late for her, she had given them to me. so in the end, I had two good pairs of sunglasses which I rotated out on a steady basis to try and keep them happy.

Well, the aviators gave up the ghost a few days ago, when both of the lenses popped out at the same time and I found the frame horribly mangled and bent out of shape. well, I still had the other pair. so I go to get them, and find that both the arms (or whatever they're called) are kind of loose or broken or something, AND they're molting. I didnt know sunglasses had skin...until it started falling off. talk about gross. how do these things happen?

So I got another pair. they're okay. they feel a little funny and make my face look a little boxy, but I can life with that. they havent died yet. but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Missed Thunderstorm

The weather is a wonderful thing. it makes or breaks my day. it's always a surprise, complements of the daily weather man who gets paid to be consistently wrong. Thunderstorms are the best kind of weather. a good thunderstorm can make my day in a flash (hardy har). so it's a sad, sad day when I cannot enjoy a thunderstorm when it happens.

Yesterday was a sad, sad day. I was at work, which was enough of a bummer all by itself to make it a sad day. but to make it a sad, sad need an extra dose of "bummer". and my happy little Raincloud of Doom was all too glad to bestow it upon me in the harshest of ways.

I was at work, as previously mentioned, doing me best to stay awake, sane, happy, helpful, respectful, and somehow look like I had a clue what I was doing. I pretty much felt the opposite already, but then people started coming into the store with little dark polka dots all over there clothes, which could only mean two things: either the fashion sense of the entire city had just gone down the tubes, or it was raining.


It was bad enough being stuck inside at all while trying to please three hundred people at once, but to be stuck inside while it was raining was hard to handle. But I was able to get over it, after a long internal battle and some pretty severe inward grumbling.

then I heard a low rumble. No! this was too much. a little rain, I could handle. a thunderstorm? Oh please, no. Thunderstorms only come around every now and again, especially during this time of the year. and even during storm season, it seems like thunderstorms and pretty much anything cool avoids me like bubonic plague.

Store customers were coming in, holding newspapers, purses, and pretty much whatever they were holding at the time above their heads in a feeble effort to stay dry. one such lady, not seeing that I was on the brink of a mental meltdown, approached me and said, "Hey, have you seen the storm outside?"

I looked at her and said, "Um, no. I'm in here, stupid." well, maybe that's what I wanted to say, but I think what actually came out of my mouth was more of a, "Why, no, my dear lady. Is it a pretty sight?" she muttered something incoherent and walked off. whatever.

So it's nearing the end of my shift, and I was so, so excited to be done and go outside and enjoy the remains of my mangled Tuesday and the rest of the thunderstorm, when somebody comes in and says casually, "It's not raining anymore and the sun is out." I ask you, why do these people make it a point to go out of there way to tell me something that will shred whatever was left of my happiness? Some things will always be a why people rant and rave when they don't get a 10 cent coupon...c'mon people, it's a dime. you find them in the street every day. get over it!