28 April 2006

let the festivities begin!

It's Birthmas weekend! Today I woke up at 7:00 a.m., independent of an alarm, and not requiring coffee to function (but still poured myself a cup of yesterday's finest, because who am I kidding?). No one is arriving today, thanks in part to my quick-thinking and knowing how to appease my mother (I promised her low-fat muffins and a nice early start to the day if she waited until Saturday to arrive. She'll be here at 8:00 tomorrow. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make).

Today is my preparatory cleaning day. As I've mentioned before, I don't anticipate guests where cleaning is concerned. So I've got fixtures to chip toothpaste spittle off of, old bottles to toss, carpets to vacuum, walls to wash (but I'll draw the line there, because, again, who am I kidding?), plus dishes and laundry and clearing spare rooms of book sale overflow (we have yet to acquire bookshelves, so we've got mounds of old paperbacks flowing out of milk crates in every room of the apartment. Makes for good browsing?) I'm almost looking forward to cleaning. Something about turning it into a big event, where I can open windows, and burn a CD "soundtrack" of sorts, makes it exciting. Tonight, after Jeremy gets home, we're going to do some gift shopping. Every person spends $10 in stocking gifts on the others, and then buys Jeremy a birthday present...that way it's not too pricey, and no one has more presents than the birthday boy. I also need to make a cake - I have a borderline-sacrilegious design in mind (that I cleared with Jeremy's mom in advance, just in case)...it'll read "Happy Birthday Jesus and Jeremy!" and they'll be sitting around a cake, blowing out candles together. I'm thinking yellow or marble cake, with cream cheese frosting (the tastiest easy option where food coloring is concerned).

What else? Camper Man has a gun. But he also has a sane, well-dressed, nice-seeming brother, who shed some light on the situation. His existence made the gun thing way less scary. In case anyone cared (which is hard to gauge), he's apparently saving up money to buy the house he grew up in, and decided that until he had enough, he would live in his camper. The house is - you guessed it! - in Jay (which, and I feel bad saying it, all seems too sane to be true). So in the meantime, he's stalking the plaza, pissing on the seats of McDonalds, etc. On Tuesday, two of the regular kids (aged 12/13) were coming in (they hang out with whoever is working, because, according to one of their mothers, Movie Gallery is the alternative to "trouble". So they come in, we let them re-shelf movies, and give them a free soda in exchange) as Camper Man was going into Wah Garden, the Chinese food establishment one door to the left. He pulled one of the kids aside as the other entered the store. He had told the kid not to come into Movie Gallery, because the boy who had just gone in was going to steal. The kid came in and told us what had just transpired, and I was pissed. If Camper Man had come in after that, Bad Fannie would've ripped him a new one. You don't DO that! He doesn't know the kid he labeled as a thief! He's a sweeping judgement kind of guy. I've had a few crazy interactions with him...but he's stopped coming in for the most part. That guy better have mental problems, or else he's the hugest, creepiest asshole on the planet.

Well, I suppose I should start my day. Jeremy will be getting up soon. I'll make my cleaning CD while he showers, then jump into my day. If you don't hear from me by the end of the weekend, then the stress killed me. Don't send flowers - just make a donation in my name to the charity of your choice. Or buy yourself some nice shoes.

13 April 2006

smarter, fitter, cleaner (almost.)

Twice in the past two weeks, first by an old man and second by a five-year-old boy, I've been told I should finish college. In neither instance were we discussing college, or even my personal history. I don't tend to engage customers - especially the pre-school aged ones - with my schooling history. Weird, right? How do kids that young even know what college is?

Work's been pretty good. I work lots of day shifts now, which is a nice change. More tasks! Mondays are my favorite day of the week these days...I spend most of the day shifting the wall while Tami helps customers, then we order lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon sitting around.

As the weather gets nicer, the shifts feel longer. The difference between last week and this week, customer-wise, has been shocking. From 1-6 yesterday I saw, at most, nine customers. This doesn't include people who drop off a movie and leave, because they tend to ignore my pleasantries. I quickly run out of things to do. And since Camper Man started parking across the street in the deserted Jay Family Restaurant parking lot, with the vehicle facing Jay Plaza (and since we also learned that as of late he's become quite the picture taker), I don't like going outside. So I've taken to entertaining myself indoors. Earlier in the week I walked laps through the aisles. A different kind of walk each pass. Some hip-intensive crazy walks, some speed, some slow, some ?, and yesterday I turned the center lane into a catwalk of sorts. I went to the back of the store and faced forward. From there I would jog to the $5 bins (not too far from the counter), and then backwards jog back to the back of the store. I felt and looked retarded, but also invigorated and refreshed. Since I've yet to start jogging outside (between the surprise mini snow storm and my gross cold, nature's been throwing symbolic wrenches into my plans, perhaps telling me that I should not run?), these spurts of cardiovascular activity are the next best thing...not to mention that an hour of aerobic ass-making nets me $6. And it passes the time. Win-win-win!

It's either a sign of age, general maturity, or speaks to the quality of their programming, but The History Channel has been airing a ten-part series called "10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America", and it's fantastic. Ten hour-long documentaries, each featuring a particular country-shaping event, airing two per night (culminating tonight with days nine and ten). I'm riveted! Either I didn't give a crap about history before, or maybe the History Channel weaves a web better than any of my history teachers ever did, but I feel...I don't even know. Smarter. More involved. Like I want to know more. I've been turned onto the Science Channel in the last year, too. I recently failed an attempt at Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" - every time I sat down to a new installment, I immediately fell asleep. Not that the cosmos aren't fascinating, just that Carl Sagan's a calm and sleepy kind of guy.

Easter is this Sunday. I have no plans. Next weekend I go to Portland for Michelle's birthday, and the weekend after that is Birthmas. As of yet, I'm not stressing out, because last time I spoke to my mother we had a pretty good conversation. I have plenty of cleaning to do in the meantime. I made sure to get Friday of that week off, so I could bleach and spray every surface of our home. Why I don't keep up with this stuff, I will never know. Where's the excitement in being prepared for guests, right?