Thursday, July 24, 2008

I hate to be a whiner but....

OK, I admit it. I had a bad day today and I am very out of sorts. I hate to whine and complain, but, geez, sometimes I hate dealing with the public. Correction: almost all the time I hate dealing with the public.

First, it is important to note that I have a very busy, stressful and demanding job. It's a ten-hour-a-day job with few, if any, breaks. I have to keep my nose to the grindstone, plow ahead and hope to hell I'm still standing at the end of the day. It's interesting work and I really love it, but it requires every ounce of my concentration and attention from about 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (if I'm lucky).

My wonderful husband does not understand that. His jobs have been sales jobs where the salesmen sit around and talk trash all day. My wonderful, dear, beloved husband also does not use computers in any way. That means that when he needs publicity materials for his business, he expects me to create them. Before I took my current job, I enjoyed that. I enjoyed creating fliers, business cards, newspaper adds and even websites for people. I'd love to have the time to toodle around with that kind of thing now, but I don't. Between my career and my writing, I'm full-up. I have no left-over creativity at all. Nada. Zilch. Squat.

DH does not understand that. This week he needed 300 fliers for a newsletter ad.
He expected me to do the ad. I made the flier and printed off the first couple of hundred sheets. To finish the job we needed more paper and another ink cartridge. (New printer was very cheap. It appears the ink cartridges empty out awfully fast. Hmmmmm.) No time to order replacement cartridges online. DH has to turn ad in tomorrow. (We will not raise the question of "why didn't you tell me sooner?" because it's not worth the aggravation.)

On the way home from work, I stopped at my friendly (ahem) neighborhood Wal-Mart. For me shopping at Wal-Mart is confined to three options only: online (where I bought the printer), before 6:00 a.m. and between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. I refuse to set foot in a Wal-Mart store at any other time. The plan was to pick up a ream of paper, the ink and a couple of grocery items and get home in time for a walk. I would print out the last hundred sheets when I returned from my walk.

When humans make plans, God seems to have a hard time resisting the temptation to lay pranks.

Wal-Mart had every Lexmark cartridge but the one I needed. The clerk in the Wal-Mart electronics section was evidently a Best Buy reject. All he could do was mumble something incomprehensible and point to the flip book list of cartridge numbers hanging on a shelf.

I abandoned my cart containing two reams of paper in the middle of the store and headed for Target.
Target never lets me down. Surely it would have the cartridge I needed! I'd probably pay more, but I was running out of prime shopping time and I really didn't care at that point. Amazingly, Target did, indeed, let me down. It only had a few cartridges, none of which was the one I needed.

I had not been to the bathroom since 6:30 a.m. and god knows when the dogs had been out, so I made a quick detour by the house for pit stops all around. Then I decided to try the next closest Wal-Mart. I was seriously pushing the envelope. It was almost 6:00 by the time I got there. I was not familiar with the layout of the store. I thought all Wal-Marts would be laid out the same, but I was wrong. I found the cartridge I needed, thanks to the help of a friendly, cheerful and knowledgeable clerk -- if you can imagine such a thing. I have barely recovered from the shock. I needed a few grocery items so I buzzed through the food area as well. It was a nice, clean, well-organized store. It occurred to me that I might want to consider shopping there from time to time ... upon which God ramped up the experience.

I picked up a few things, but kept my total to under ten items so I could use the express lane. What a fucking joke that concept is!!! Have you noticed how the stores put their slowest and most incompetent clerks on that lane?

Silly me. I stood in line for twenty minutes to buy seven items. The cashier was almost blind and appeared to be somewhat crazy. She reminded me of the homeless people on the streets. She had problems with every single transaction in the line ahead of me. I am not a paragon of patience (she says bursting into peels of giggles). Daughter Dear called while I was standing in line. I rarely answer my cell phone when I am in stores or restaurants because I think it's rude. I answered the call because it's even ruder to trap customers in interminable lines that do not move. DD asked me where I was. I told her I was in Wal-Mart check-out hell. She laughed, and did not even ask what I was talking about. She understood.

The clerk must have heard me because she was very rude to me by the time I got to the checkout. That was fine with me. Be as rude as you want, honey, but check me out and LET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!! Thanks be to God, mine was the only transaction for which she did not have to do a price check or experience some other difficulty in processing. Mercifully, I eventually made it out of the store with my merchandise and without the police after me for murder.

DH called to let me know his plans had changed and he would be home for dinner. That was consistent with everything else in my afternoon. I was not expecting him for dinner and had planned to dine on cold leftover rice out of the pan standing over the sink, my favorite way to eat dinner because it saves time and dishes.) Turns out both DD and DH were going to grace my my life with their presence and both were expecting to dine
en famille. That happens about once every other month. I ordinarily yearn for family dinners. Tonight making a family dinner was not on my agenda.

Fortunately for me, my family has exceedingly low culinary standards, so I got away with a dinner of spaghetti and canned sauce. ... no salad or sides .... served out of the pots from the stove.
Pace, Martha Stewart!

Before and during dinner, I printed off the last hundred or so fliers. By the time we finished supper (the meal did not merit the designation "dinner"), it was dark. There would be no head-clearing walk outside in the fresh air for me today. My walk was confined to the treadmill on the back porch. I finally finished about 20 minutes before DH packed himself off to bed. He gave me a summary of all the TV he had watched during the evening. We watched the end of today's stage of the
Tour de France. Then he bailed on me.

After a four mile walk on the treadmill at 9:00 p.m., I'm pretty chipper and alert. I should go to bed, but I'm not tired. I'm finally relaxed enough to sit down and have a conversation with somebody but everybody in my house is asleep, including the dogs.

Tired or not, I guess I had better follow suit.

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