Bullet Journal

Why a Bullet Journal was perfect for this Hot Mess Brain

You’d think after reading these entries over the years that there was absolutely no hope for me to get my shit together. I’ve never been an organized person. Not once. Not ever, never. Getting diagnosed with BP II and depression officially helped to sort of understand why I was a constant mess of GET EVERYTHING DONE and NAH, IMMASTAY IN BED FOR THIS WEEK…But to get all of my shit in one shit-stack and take it to a shit store and get it shit-organized? Was it even possible?

Surprise! It is almost impossible.
And that is O.K.

To do perfectly anything in my life is impossible. Admitting to this and being alright with not doing something perfect is a god damn senseless struggle I go through a lot less now at 41 and medicated–but a struggle still. And listen, I don’t make any sense. Neither does being human. So let’s all get together and admit that nobody has their shit together and if they say they do, they are lying liars.

But back to the actual god damn subject of this post: starting a bullet journal back on June 13th 2017 was a very perfect choice for this hot mess that is me, because it makes me a slightly less hot mess. A tepid mess. A cooler, more easily handled without burning yourself mess, if you would.

2017 bujo
First bujo entries.

It’s not easy and it doesn’t look at all like those hip hoppinin’ “bujo,” blogs with aesthetics out the butt and Tombow collections worth more than my monthly grocery bills–my bullet journal is a sprawling pile of laundry that starts mountainous and eventually peters down into something that started being somewhat manageable and working for me, and not against me. And that was hard. (Pssst: still hard.) But what’s that cliched saying? Anything worth doing is difficult something-something-darkside, something-something complete? Yeah!

So here’s why it worked for me, what didn’t and maybe, maaayyybeee it might help you. I don’t know. We’re all floating in our meat-sacks together winging it. So here’s how I’ve been winging it:

How to fail at Bullet Journals:

  • Compare yourself to every bullet journaler out there on instagram and facebook and reddit and their blogs. Don’t. Do not. What they do for their bullet journal is what works for them. You are not them. You are you. So feel free to start looking to get inspired yes, but do not expect to make perfect everything out of the gate.
  • Waiting for the “right,” supplies before starting, or waiting to be able to afford higher end supplies (Tombow, Zebra Midliners, Sakura Microns, a LEUCHTTURM1917. Start with whatever you have.
  • Don’t experiment or expect absolutely perfect layouts every time.
  • Thinking there is a wrong way or a right way to bullet journal.

How to Win at Bullet Journals And Win a Little Bit At Life

  • S.S.S. Start Stupid Simple. Some of you beautiful angels out there are already organized as-fuck kinda people, but the rest of us are disastrous chihuahuas trembling at the dishes in the sink. So we probably get overwhelmed and quickly. Overwhelming yourself with a bullet journal made to try and help organize stuff is a tinsy bit counter productive. So S.S.S it.
  • Maybe your first S.S.S layout will just be the weekdays spread across a page and below them, things you did that day. “Washed face, got out of bed, put dishes in dishwasher,” for example as a simple list. CONGRATS. YOU ARE A BULLET JOURNALER.
  • Do that for a week. Write down everything. Everything, yes. Even that thing you just muttered to yourself, “but, everyone showers, why should I–” LISTEN TO ME YOU BUTTERFLY OF BEAUTIFUL DISASTERS. WRITE. IT. DOWN. I don’t care if it’s, “had good poop,” (Which, if you’ve ever suffered from any sort of chronic bowl disease IS A THING TO CELEBRATE AND WRITE DOWN ANYWAY)–Write. It. Down.
  • Do that for 1 week.
  • Look at your week. Surprising, isn’t it? Surprising how much we do and can get done in a week when you stop dismissing the little things we all do–like showers, tooth brushing, or just getting up at a certain time. It’s time to celebrate. You’ve done a thing, everyday for 7 days.
  • Start to Experiment. SLOWLY. You’re new at this. You don’t yet know what’s going to work for you. The only way you’ll know is by fucking up and trying new things. So DO that. Don’t be afraid of your first bullet journal being filled with a few unfinished pages or layouts that you never touched because you didn’t like and started over–but keep going. Don’t stop. Keep trying new things, and don’t feel guilty about discarding what didn’t work.
  • Use the crayola markers, pencil crayons, your kids’ crayons and pencils, go to Dollar Tree and buy 1$ rulers, a composition notebook, a binder, a one dollar set of pens and pencils–use whatever you have on hand first. Don’t add complications to your bullet journaling when first starting out. You’re supposed to be trying to do something to help relieve stress, not make more.

Writing down your first week will help you see just how much you actually do and give you a real, tangible list of things you can see to work with. Writing everything down for 1 week will also give you a starting point of the things you DO want to keep track of.

Starting your bullet journal with 2929323 trackers and 203232 month pages and 2932932 step counters and 23232 goals when you’re overwhelmed, stressed, have a non-normal brain or chronic illness is going to discourage you very quickly. Because you’ve set yourself up too many expectations all at once. Also, maybe keeping track of what time you woke up, work hours, what you ate, how many steps, how many glasses of water, how many hours slept, how much food, when and where and why–and so on–is too much for you at first.

I want my bullet journal to ease my sorry ass into adulting better. I don’t want to look at it and see all these trackers empty and feel like shit because I “failed,” to do something that was too much energy for me to do.

So–look at your first week. Think about one thing you’d like to improve. Could you work on drinking more water next week? Do you want to try and wake up at a certain time every day next week? Do you want to make sure you take your medications every day, at the same time? Pick one goal for next week and maybe make a tracker for that if you want. Or just add a little box for ticking it off and write whatever you chose for that day.

For the first six months I made the mistake of overwhelming myself. I would add so much bullshit to my weekly spread. I’M GONNA SPRING OUT OF BED FULLY CLOTHES AND SHOWERED AND DRINK COFFEE WITH ONE HAND DO LAUNDRY AND GARDEN AND SWEEP AND VACUUM AND SMELL FLOWERS AND PUNCH NAZIS AND HUG KITTENS AND MOW 50 YARDS AND SOLVE WORLD HUNGER, I’d write, for my Monday mornings. And guess what?

I’d do one or two things and be unable to do the rest, leaving an unfinished list staring at me accusingly. And I would then get discouraged. And then that discouragement would tip off my thinking about what’s the point of keeping a bullet journal if I never do anything? And then that can topple over other thoughts that lead to a shitty spiral that nobody needs.

Bullet journal July weekly spread with detailed flowers and plants.
The most challenging layout I’ve done in years.

This is why I decided to go back to absolute basics for a while. Some weeks or months I simply wrote the hours I had to go to work and anything else I remembered to do that day were added, including just brushing my hair. Anytime I found myself thinking the bullet journal was too much, I dropped any fancy formatting, drawings, doodles, trackers and what have you and went back to my S.S.S theory.

Your bullet journal should reflect who you are and your life. I don’t know of anyone’s life that is absolutely the same every single week or month. Emotions are not a flat-lined chart. Events in life don’t happen to you on a schedule, so drop the expectation that your bullet journal should look amazing and aesthetically perfect and level and nothing out of place while, perhaps, your life around you is a shaking hand holding a marker wrong trying to wing a straight line while dancing in an earthquake.

When I realized that my journal could and should reflect my real life and be honest with myself, reflecting that in my layouts that changed from month to month? That’s when the bullet journal bloomed into something I loved doing, and, something that was actually making a difference, from self-care to laundry doing to waking up everyday on a schedule. That’s when I decided to finally start challenging myself at more detailed layouts as well–but only when I was extremely comfortable with my bullet journal. It took me years of working at it. And I am still doing so–but it’s changed my hot mess self for the better.

Maybe it’ll work for you too.

What’s in a tooth?

When I was 16, I was terrible. Not only was I going through what any teen at that age goes through–hormones, boys, body image issues, self-esteem problems, trying to fit in desperately where I didn’t–I probably had the beginnings of my depression and bipolar II crop up. I didn’t know the word depression. I didn’t and had never heard of bipolar. Anxiety wasn’t a word in my dictionary of angst filled teenage words.

I was fat, I had random giant zits on my face at all times, and I was and still am average looking at best. I didn’t know about makeup enough to change that.

When I was 20, I was a hot fucking mess. I made life choices worse at 20 than I would have at 16.

30 was a time of slow evolution. 30 was a time for me to finally, finally become more of an adult in thinking (at least at certain things) than I ever would. 30 was the time to look back at the teen years and 20’s and go, “What –and I can’t stress this enough–the fuck, me?” and often.

From 30-40 was the decade of relearning and unwinding horrible habits and thoughts that depression had mired into my head. I learned how to love what I had, including my body and my face. These were the lovely years where a wart? skin tag? I don’t fucking know–decided it was going to grow directly onto the end of my nose. And get a little bigger.

That was great. (I’m still struggling to accept that, because insurance won’t cover skin tag removal and my doctor looked at it without any concern what-so-ever. )

But I adapted. I learned. I self-loved. I evolved.

And then roughly 2016 I began to have a sore lump above my right baby canine. I say baby canine, because it was a baby tooth. As it grew worse, I thought it was an abscess. So off to the dentist we went. Turned out, my adult canine had grown sideways into the roof of my mouth and didn’t drop. Until I was almost 40 and then decided to HAI GUISE it up my trying to erupt through some of the thickest skin in your body…The roof of my mouth. The first dentist said, “oral surgeon.” My broke-ass said, “hahahaha haha ha ha ha yeah, I’ll do my best.”

I ended up at a strip mall sort of practice with an over 6 foot tall dentist that looked like he bench lifted elephants and used 40 dollars worth of styling wash in his head and talked like he just graduated from selling used cars in New York. He decided the best way to handle everything was to tear a hole in the roof of my mouth with I assume a very sharp knife and send me home. After he pulled the baby tooth.

So now I had this very obvious, no-way-to-hide gap in my teeth at the front. It’s been a few years and I am still struggling with this new image of me having a space in my face obvious whenever I open my mouth.

I went to the dentist today–August 1st–because I did have an abscess. It was on the lower right hand side, beside the front bottom and between the molars. I don’t know teeth-talk, so that’s as narrowed down as I can get it.

When a dentist first checks your teeth on a routine check up, they usually want to check your gums. Specifically, how healthy your gums are, how deep the pockets are, and if any of the gum has pulled away from your teeth. They use an instrument that looks like a pick, but it’s blunted on both ends. The healthy number for good gums is 3-4.

Maybe five or six of my teeth were 3-4. Most of them ranged from 5-7. Many of them on the left hand side were 9. 9.

I also apparently have an infection that has possibly been raging along in my gums for oh, months. Maybe years.

The dentist tells me they might be able to save the 4 teeth that came away as 9. But the tooth with the abscess has to go.

Possibly 5 teeth may go, 1 for sure. Leaving me with another visible gap right under the loss of my baby canine.

Thing is, going over my tooth care routine? I’ve been doing everything right. I have a water pick. I use mouth wash. I brush with an electric oral b, whenever I am done eating. My dentist tells me my tooth care is perfect.

And yet: here we are.

And I didn’t think, ya’ll, that I was vain but let me tell you some harsh truths: I took it all like a champ at first. But when the dentist left and the lady came in to go over the 3000 dollars worth of suggested dental work be done then left–leaving me in a quiet room? I almost lost it. My eyes watered up, a fist closed around my throat and I felt personal despair. Now, I’m going to be even uglier, I thought. I’m going to be a toothless old hag with nose warts and droopy fucking eyes and fucking hideous.

Written down like this, even I know this is ridiculous. It’s cliched but true: the people who love me, love me for more than what’s in a tooth. Or what isn’t in a tooth. Or whether I fucking have teeth or not. But I sure as shit am struggling right now with my self-esteem that took such a long journey to get to manageable levels.

I’m delicate right now. Balancing on the border between, better to be healthy with no teeth than miserable with rot infested mouth and but I’ll look like the white trash I am that can’t afford to do shit but pull teeth and grow more grotesque as the years go by.

I’m mad too. Mad this country doesn’t have universal health care that understands how insanely important tooth care is to health. I’m mad that it costs so much uninsured, that I could’t even go to get my teeth cleaned for years–which probably would have helped this entire situation. I’m made preventable diseases of gums and the mouth have to be treated with clove oil and garlic oil and turmeric powder and tea bags because the cost of removing a piece of festering bone in your head is more than what most people working minimum wage would take 2 months of spending no money to be able to pay for.

3-400 bucks for a tooth extraction is ridiculous. That’s half our mortgage for a month. That’s food for a month. That’s kid care and bills and what about if you’re on other medications without insurance?

Today apparently it’s my emotional, poorly balanced state of delicacy when it comes to my appearance and old-woman-yells-at-sky levels of rage at the cost of simply living in the United States when you aren’t swimming in dollar bills.

On the flip side, I guess if the worst thing happens, I can enjoy the rest of my life with soup and ice cream, right?

Fuck it is the new can-do.

That bullshit about it never being too late to follow dreams? Yeah. It’s kinda true.

So floating around on the internet in various wording, is a quote that I thought was neat and nifty but didn’t really hit me in the face until early this month (July, 2019 for those of you unsure of when I wrote this. As sometimes I am unsure of when I wrote…anything.)

At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter. At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home dad working odd jobs. Julia Child released her first book at age 49. Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 38. Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 41. Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at age 52.

Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune or a career by 21. Hell, it’s okay if you don’t even know what your dream is.

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it. Never tell yourself you missed your chance. Never tell yourself you aren’t good enough. You can do it. Whatever IT is.

Right, so–some of you may not know this, but I began my illustrious career in the working field between 18-20 working such high profile jobs as: sandwich artist and Janitor as well as the super rewarding job of Hotel House Keeping.

And then I met the love of my life who happened to live in the United States of America which was not, in fact, Canada (hi Shawn) and of course I moved there to be with him. In the most abso-fucking-lutely clueless way possible–with just my Canadian I.D. and so on.

In retrospect that was, in fact, a fucking stupid idea. Not being with my nerd-lover, I mean not preparing in anyway, shape or form because shortly before this happened 9/11 happened and shit changed. A lot of shit. A lot of U.S. Immigration shit was totally done over for reasons. I didn’t take that into account and suddenly I was an immigrant in the U.S.A. with an out of date I.D. and no legal means to anything. No bank account. No insurance. No legal work. And the amount of rigmarole needed to start the process was insane. We had to hire an Immigration lawyer to help us, and one of the first things we were told to do was to send me back to Canada to get everything updated.

I won’t go into the boring, extremely tedious, nerve-wracking time we had with U.S. Immigration. If you’ve been there, you understand it. (Props to the U.S. for making it an anxiety ridden shit-show for everyone regardless of which country they come from.)

I had somehow gone from 24 to being a god damned 39 year old that hadn’t been able to work a single job since 24 because–well–legal reasons. I had gone through the process of green card to naturalization. Wooo, I could work!

…What….What does an almost 40 year old with work experience 15 years plus ago, do?

Start at the bottom, like everyone else. Filling out applications online was a fantastic labyrinth of fuckery, because jobs in the U.S. refuse to allow you to use addresses that aren’t from the U.S. So my job history was often a creative mess to inform potential bosses that Sorry, I come from a far away distant, snowy land. Please job? Give job. Like job!

Obviously I had offers flood in.
I lied there.
I got crickets.

Until I applied at a little store I like to call The Buck Stump (not its real name) as a retail cashier. That was back in July 2018, just at I turned 40.

I think we all know how fun and fulfilling retail jobs are. I do not miss it.

In July of this year (2019) I had a wild plan. What if I applied for at-home SEO Copywriter work? It was brilliant and had all the things I loved, such as:

  • No human interaction unless it’s with a boss of Lead Writer
  • No human interaction
  • No human interaction
  • I make the words go. I’ve been making the words go here, in social media, on Live Journal, on G+ and many, many websites for many, many years. I could make the words go as job?
  • Get paid while wearing my Eeyore Disney pajama bottoms and faded, “Save the Chubby Unicorns!” tank top with disheveled bright pink hair and six cups of coffee fueling me.

That sounded like perfection for me. So I went there. I rallied my husband who helped me handle refreshing myself up on some SEO writing practices, nabbed the fake company 350 content product I was to write for and off I went.

I waited a while and honestly I thought I wasn’t going to get the job. Until one day, tired, exhausted, sweaty and thoroughly done with being yelled at like it was my fault our store was out of bleach–my husband told me as I deflated into the car after retail work:

“Okay, some bad news.”
I reply instantly: “I didn’t get the job.”
“It’s only part-time–”

I squealed for five minutes straight. There’s a video of it on my husband’s phone because a couple of friends who knew how much I was starting to loathe my job (not to mention the anxiety spikes) wanted to see my reaction.

This was the job I had dreamed of for years. Ever since I started on this little ol’ thing called the internet and writing so long ago on an ancient platform called Live Journal. I write. I get paid. Yes–I could probably try writing an actual book, and maybe some day I will. But the problem with writing novels, as any author just starting out will tell you after they set down their ramen noodles on their makeshift thrift store table in a near empty house is–it’s not stable. Unless you’re a New York Times Best Seller I suppose–your paychecks rely on people liking your work. And pitching it. Or self publishing like a boss.

I have no issue with authors. I have issue with being able to continue living in a house, eating food, and paying the ridiculous out of pocket money for the medicine that makes my body and my mind go worky-work. And being a full time author is hard, man, I dunno if I could make it. I’m squishy everywhere.

So what this long-winded airbag wanted to tell you and show you is that the bullshit is true. It really is never too late. I honestly, swear to Godzilla believed it was too late for me and I’d never get a computer/at home/writing gig that could help pay the bills and that I’d be stuck behind a register being screamed at while simultaneously handling sweaty boob money for the rest of my life.

But I didn’t.

All because I said, “Fuck it,” and went for it, even when my inner cave man was yelling negative things. And I got it.

So get it. Grab that Fuck it, what’s the worst that could happen impulse to apply to jobs you think you’d never get. Fuck-it your way down town to start a new life, fuck-it your way online to submit your resume and just try.

Trying 10% is always better than 0%. And you’re never too old for anything. I believe in you. Pull up your girded loins, grab a fuck-it and can-do that shit right in the face.

Fuck it! Getting you places since...whenever?

How to clean when all you want to do is Pterodactyl screech at life.

Living with chronic illness; be it physical or mental takes a ridiculously gross toll on everything in your life. There’s no “quick fix,” to being empty of even the energy to wash your own face in the morning, let alone clean your home like “normal” people do. (Please imagine my hugely sarcastic, eye rolling finger quotes being made in the air as I say normal) Cleaning during depression can be like climbing a mountain naked armed with a pencil and a pack of stickers. Medication is great, but it’s never an end all, be all, cure all. There will be days where your shit will simply not get together, personal hygiene becomes an afterthought, dishes pile in the sink, never or barely rinsed, and you’re pretty sure the clothes on the floor in your room have become sentient. It’s overwhelming to look around you and see your home reflect the state of your mental, emotional and physical shambles—and knowing you should care, and you should do something; but you just can’t drum up enough feeling to do anything than feel miserable and not caring. And then that sends you on a lovely guilt spiral that makes you want to do anything even less. And the cleaning never happens.

So how do you even start cleaning during depression?

Continue reading →

Retail at 40: Fantasizing About Strangling Balloons, a Rant.

I haven’t worked in 15 years. I am grateful to have been so lucky as to get a retail job within the first week of girding my fat, anxious, bi-polar diagnosed loins and handing out resumes the old fashioned way. (Store to store in person.) But, wow. Wow. In the past months of working retail at the Buck Stump* I have learned me a Thing or Two. (*name changed to protect…Well….I dunno who. Me. You. Sanity. The world.)

I have amassed a shockingly large amount of pet peeves that will possibly drive me further toward gibbering in a mu-mu whilst screaming at pigeons in my back yard with one hand full of cheap bourbon and a cat in the other. And you know what I thought? (Gosh Pinkatron, I don’t know what you thought. Tell me! ) I thought, why not blog about it? I mean, this will not be news to anyone else that has worked in retail before. But if you’re 16 years old, or 30, or 60, and trying to get back into the job market…Here’s a handy list of things that you’re going to adore and encounter frequently :

The Ziploc Bag of Change and Despair

There’s no one in line. Ah, I think–I can take a moment and get some things done. Maybe–nope.  Suddenly, there’s a cart full of items and a person standing at the register with a bag of change the size of a human head. The customer makes direct eye contact with me while dumping more than 20 items on the conveyor belt, then upends that plastic baggie of time-sucking-vampiric qualities all over the rubber conveyor belt.  The best is that they continue to stare at me as if to establish dominance and fully expecting me to count it. All of it. And as I start plucking up each piece of change from the Portal of Nowhere, there are now seven people in line, with one item behind this customer who now has to wait half a century for me to ring everything up, bag it, count the change, double check, give change (irrrronnnnyyyy), receipt as well as wait for said person to pick up their items and put them in their carts. (I don’t have to load the cart. Thank ODIN. Roll. Your. Change. PLEASE. I am a broke ass cashier working part time, I understand not having money, I really do…Just…just please…Roll your change!

Cashiers have cooties? I guess?

The amount of people that fling their money down at the furthest point on the entire planet—the end of the conveyor belt—which is older than Legend and Myth and takes forever to bring it and the customer’s items to me? Flabbergasting. Top this off with the fact the conveyor belt is rubber, and everything seems to stick completely flat on it, making me spend at least two minutes scrambling pick up the change and bills to peel them away. People…that wastes your time and mine. I could have had you rung up, bagged, and ready to get to the next person much faster. I promise you: I wash my hands constantly. I wash them before work. I wash them at work. I wash them in the bathroom. I wash them when I’m not in the bathroom. I have an industrial sized container of hand sanitizer I use after handing any bills. I also shower frequently. Everyday, and when going to work, before and after work. I triple promise you that I will not infect you with some sort of retail like disease. Please just put your money in my hand. 

“Yeah, uh, I know I have 200 items in my cart and there are 57 people behind me and you’re the only cashier can I get 21 balloons please.”

I don’t understand this curse laid upon me. It never fails that whenever a co-worker or manager is on break or has to run off somewhere arising from the ramen aisles comes a line to the register so long as to have the end of it shrouded in mists. And of course the first one in that line has a cart so full that the wheels tremble beneath the weight. And of course the first thing out of their mouths when I begin ringing them up, sweat forming from pure anxiety along my upper lip I hear these words: these dreaded, evil, awful, gut wrenching words…“Yeah, and, can I get a million balloons, too?” For a moment when they ask, I go away. Far, far away inside. Where it is safe and there are no balloons ever to be blown up ever again. I have to leave the register and go with them to blow up the balloons. Do they have any balloons already picked out by then, by the way? No. Don’t be silly. That would be too easy. The customer will stand beneath the display and squint, point while hem-hawing. They’ll talk about this one or that one. They’ll ask me for a balloon that isn’t even on the display. I tell them we don’t have it. Sometimes they point out which balloon they want then half way through blowing it up change their mind. Listen, it takes so long to blow up balloons. Picking them out? 5 mins at the least. Filling them? 30-50 seconds each. More than one balloon? Having to juggle them all with one hand, and also blowing more up. Customers then usually seem terribly surprised when I won’t stand there holding their 10 balloons with one hand and then try and ring up their items while bagging them with the other. I AM NOT THAT TALENTED ALSO: NOT AN OCTOPUS. I HAVE TWO HANDS. TWO!

Paying a $2 total with a $100 bill.

This isn’t a bank. This is the Buck Stump*. First, there are few businesses outside of a bank that keep $100’s in the till anymore. Second, there are few businesses that keep that much money in smaller bills in the register anymore. Third, we do not, ever, carry that much in a till. And customers trying to pay with a $100 bill will often try to do so immediately when we open. AKA: We haven’t sold a single thing and all I have are 5’s, ones and some pennies in my damn till.  This drives me batty. And when I tell them, “I’m sorry, I don’t have change for that,” the general reaction is a few seconds of distant staring followed by the slow cloud of a wrinkle betwixt their brows either of confusion or growing outrage. 50% of the time they ask me, “Why not?” or tell me, “But that’s all I have?” as if I can somehow magically poop out a bank branch, endless money as well as a teller for them all right at the register. If I am lucky I’ll have some of the best customers in line behind them (not all of them are horrible, thank goodness) who will chime in with a, “You know there’s a bank right around the corner, right?”

Signs? Labels? What are those?

Aisles are labelled. Everyone of them. Items that aren’t on sale or seasonal are 99.9% of the time always in the same place. Sometimes, we do run out of items. (Pro tip: We do not have any of them in the back.) However, the amount of humans that trudge through the very front door, take one look at me—regardless if I have 5400 people in line or 2, and immediately just ask where 1 item is before even turning their eyeballs toward the aisles. And they’re never: a) new customers who had never been there before or c) people who look genuinely lost or confused. No, these people who continually ask where something is are regulars I see multiple times a week.  They don’t want to look, they don’t want to make an effort to remember and they don’t care. It’s store policy that if there’s no one in line I have to, every time, personally lead them to it. And if I can’t find it I have to look with them. The number of times people have glared at me as if I just called their newborn baby a pile of cat turds when I say, “I’m sorry, I can’t find it either. It is either sold out or we haven’t had it restocked yet,” has been too many to count.

Returning an item without a receipt & and the item wasn’t even from our store.

There are some obvious, recognizable general brands sold at the Buck Stump*. The rest of it is very obvious knock off, no name, or not-from-this-country brands. Also, I am not allowed to take any returns or exchanges without a valid receipt. Dated in this century. This isn’t …Mall-part, the giant super store. I am not sure why customers appear so terribly shocked, appalled and bemused when I tell them I cannot exchange and item without a reciept. (Let’s not talk about the number of customers who get very upset when I inform them that our store does not give cash back, or store credit and it says so on the very receipt they hold as well as on a sign at every register) . I’ve also encountered a plethora of people bringing used opened items that aren’t even sold at our store. Seriously? There is no inner glee so joyous however, when a customer insists on speaking to my manager for a return or exchange without a receipt and having the manager say the exact same thing to them that I already told them.

Garbage, discarded items & food.

Actual footage of how 50% of customers treat & shop in my store.

Empty pop cans in the makeup section. An open and half eaten frozen pot pie in the freezer. A package of raisins in the raisin aisle, open and strewn all over the floor. Orange juice that has had one sip taken out of it and placed back in the fridge. None of these items either purchased at the store, or came from the store but eaten there and not paid for. On one hand I feel like telling these mysterious people if you are actually starving and desperate for food I will buy you those raisins, that juice, that soda. On the other, knowing how humanity works, these are simply people who do not give a single fuck at all and do whatever they want. Yes, we do have cameras. Yes, we do see you eating that package of cookies right on the shelf but after. And people know that it is store policy that if an employee doesn’t catch you and keep eyes on you 100% of the time while you are practically stealing there’s nothing we can do. We’re not going to call the police over a can of no-name coke, but I don’t understand how anyone can think this is acceptable unless absolutely desperate for food or drink.

What have (we) I learned about Retail?

Is it always this bad? Are customers always awful in retail? Will you / I always encounter people behaving like this? No. (Praise His Noodly Appendage.) Retail tends to mirror life in all aspects, you’ll end up having good days and bad. The reality is, is that most of your customers are going to be good people. In fact, my ranting above only highlights the worst examples I have run across since starting my job. Whenever I encounter customers who I consider frustrating or annoying or difficult, I repeat to myself that I don’t know these customers personally. I don’t really know what is going on in their lives that day that make them decide to do what they do, and, at the end of my shift? I can literally leave my retail baggage, as it were, right there at the store. I’ve learned at the ripe old age of 40 (Which isn’t really that old but man, have I days where I feel 80,) that separating work and play or work and home is a vital part of simply surviving. Being able to come home to my cats, my husband, fling my bra and pants off in a fit of joy then sitting down and playing my favorite games or MMORPG’s gives me the energy I need to be able to cope with the next day. And if I need a little extra, some D.I.Y self-care in addition to spoilage lets me wipe the rest of the work mental grime away. Also, it really helps I can let off steam here!

In conclusion, don’t be a dick to the people behind the register or counter. We’re real life humans too.

Nature Girl

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return

2018. I don’t know what to say about you. I have seen a lot of damages you have done, from political to personal. I have changed. I have not changed. I want to change.

This was the year in which I tried to peter pan my way into adult hood. I got a job. I learned more about humanity than I wanted or needed. I learned.

I realized that one of the social media platforms that I enjoyed the most, Google plus, was going away. I was far more prolific on there than I ever was on this WordPress. I shared so much of my journey living with bi-polar II, adjusting to having my mother-in-law live with us, learning to play Dungeons & Dragons at 40 (a thing I have always wanted to do since I heard rumors of it in my tiny Canadian life back in the 90’s) , and learning that love is the answer. To pretty much everything. And, understanding that not everyone wanted or needed that love.

I spent the year bullet journaling up until November 2018, where I created a page for that month but never filled a single thing in. I posted many instagram shots of monthly bullet journal spreads up until October, where in I drifted from it due to the hectic paces of a retail job and also the fact that I have a horrible habit of starting things and never finishing them.

I have grown. And I have shrunk.

And I have learned that laughing until your stomach hurts and loving until your heart breaks is all that matters. I have learned that I really do suck at writing on my own blog–as I started this in 2018, and this paragraph that you are now reading? I am continuing in June, 2019. And so many things have happened still, since the writing of this article. I am still working in retail, and oh the stories I am thinking of telling! I am still married to the most wonderful man in the world, and, I am still trying to bullet journal.

I have so many ideas about this year, too. Share my art (what little I make), share my journey into makeup by perhaps making videos about my learning at 40 years old and being dead-ass broke. Just…sharing more, and honestly about being broken and whole at the same time.

I can’t believe however, 2019 is half way over and I haven’t made good on my personal promise to start posting here again. Why is it so easy to procrastinate or forget?

I don’t know. I think not knowing is generally what life is about. You never know, you just keep (swimming) learning and going on.

So here’s a toast to 2018, and this half-year of 2019, which has been one weird as fuck trip. I hope I can share more with all of you.

New year, who dis?

Protip kid: nobody fucking knows what they’re doing either so they either wing it or hire someone to wing it for them

It is almost a new year and as tradition in this household dictates, it is a time of trying to pick up shit you haven’t done in seventy five thousand years in an attempt to better yourself. Maybe. A little better. Pick up some things. I guess? Anyway, what I mean is, Hello WordPress.

As you may have guessed, there was a hiccup a few months ago. We installed a new theme (that wasn’t Divi) and that theme pretty much turned all of our posts over the entirety of this blog’s internet life as unpublished/drafts….as well as posting 292931232 garbage? sample? posts of Lor Ipsapoop and pictures of women flashing butts in bathing suits.

I have nothing against women or men or gender fluid people in bathing suits, nor their butts. But that isn’t exactly what 2phatgeeks is all about. It’s not always about butts. Sometimes.

So after spending months trying to figure out WTF to do to fix it, given the super internet genius I am very much not, coupled with the announcement late 2018 that Google has decided to shove the middle finger at G+ users right in their eyes, I said fuck it. I’ll use a new theme. And I remembered my first theme love, Elegant Themes and how much I loved them .I thought I’d go by to see how they were doing. Too long; didn’t read: they were doing just fine and I love them and so I got Divi theme plus Divi builder, made this hot mess that is the new 2phatgeeks site and…

Promptly forgot how to write anything interesting. As you can see (and read) currently. I made a lot of drafts. One of them ironically about how to do stuff when you aren’t motivated to do stuff that never got finished. So there’s a great representation I guess of what reading this blog in 2019 will be like.

I’d like to go back to doing long winded articles about the games I end up playing this year, but I also did this thing that adults do–usually a lot sooner in their adult life than 40–and got a part time retail job. Which has been sucking my will to write like any good will sucking vampire would do. So I’m not sure where I will go with 2phatgeeks in 2019. Should I stick to what kinda worked? Which was just showcasing how much of a hyper active 3 year old trapped in a middle aged woman’s body I am? As well as my husband’s responses in dealing with this? Should I write about more truthful things? I don’t know.

Maybe that’s the secret with good blogs that no one is sharing too. Protip kid: nobody fucking knows what they’re doing either so they either wing it or hire someone to wing it for them, I imagine someone saying in a cheesey 1920’s info reel voice.

Either way. Hello there, it’s me again. What are we supposed adults going to be hoping for in 2019? And how have all of you been?

Mr. Dad Worthy

Picture it–(Sicily, 1947)–just kidding, it was probably around 1980-1981. I was roughly three or four years old. I lived in a tiny place in the frozen tundras of Alberta, a province in the great forested wilds of a country named Canada. The town was called Tin Town. Continue reading →