It was a Hot and Heavy Night

It was a hot and heavy night,
that August in Pensacola
I walked out to my car,
the Hershey’s milk bar becoming
putty in my hand,
my adrenal glands working overtime
while I no longer have to.

The brightness and cold of the store
always gave me a headache.
My hands tingle with the thaw,
and I feel a certain sort of
exhilaration and joy.
The night is heavy with humidity,
but I’m as light as warm air rising
above a cooling cake.

Drug pushers in the back,
candy pushers up front—
that is work life at Walgreens.
No longer do I have to smell the smelly,
nor see the hairy underbelly
of Pensacola society,
jiggling in and out,
or running with scissors,
or whatever else they can stuff in their pants.

No more saying, “Be well,” to every customer,
even if they’re just getting a pack of cigs.
No more walking into the restroom,
finding used pregnancy tests
on the filthy floor,
or profiling Sudafed users,
or just plain winos.

No more working with nutjobs
who punch out the eyes of managers
in pictures hanging in the office hall
with a ballpoint pen.
No more threats on my life
via telephone.
The creep show must go on,
but I no longer have to be there.

I am no longer a Wag hag
sans the Wag swag.
I feel free as an eagle,
for I just quit this drag,
without even having to say a word.

Marriage roles


It’s funny how an article I read days, or even longer ago, will pop back into my mind when it relates to my life in some way, when it has found its place.


My husband and I have what we call a traditional marriage in the modern sense–he is the handyman, and the primary breadwinner; I work part-time, feed the baby (solids and liquids, but he helps with the bottle feeding), bathe her, and read to her (he’s read to her on occasion, but he’s not a reader himself), though we are split on household chores.  He does the deeper, once-a-week type cleaning while I take care of the laundry and dishes.  Because he works more outside the home than I do, I not only believe this is fair, but I am happy and comfortable with this arrangement.

We both like to do the grocery shopping, as we both cook (though not lately, because it’s summer, and because he’s been working more and I work in a restaurant).  This is one of my weakest areas because I hate the dirty dishes that come with the territory, so it is something I want to work on.  I want my daughter to see me cooking, and cooking with whole foods (breadmaking will probably be the one thing I’ll never really get in to).  I don’t bother cooking seafood (because it’s so expensive, and I would cry if I had to throw it away), I don’t know how to grill (grilling is my husband’s thing, baking, with the exception of bread, is mine), and my husband is a better fryer (and all around cook) than I am, so I leave that to him.  He’s good with the grease and the outdoors, I’m good with casseroles and the indoors.

As far as the interior decorating goes, my husband loves my taste, and I have the freedom to decorate our home any way I please.  I can make any room look feminine, without looking too frilly.

Anything concerning outside our four walls, including our car, he takes care of.  He pumps the gas, and is always the driver.  I only drive myself when he isn’t with me.

I pay our online bills, and he takes care of any that have to be paid in person.  I am in charge of printing coupons (clipping is so 1990’s) and keeping up with sales and deals, and he does the negotiating.  I stay abreast of the free 8X10 photograph enlargement offers at Walgreens, and I reminded my husband (whose birthday it was today) to get his free birthday sub at Firehouse.

Neither of us, prior to marrying, discussed our marriage roles, though we both knew that whoever made the most money would be the one working, while the other worked part-time or stayed at home.  If, by the time I finish school, I will be making more money, then there will be not so much a role reversal, but a shift.  Whether or not the man should be the breadwinner is the only thing we’re not traditional about.

Like my friend Mandy, I think it’s important to “know our role”, which can sometimes alter or change.  How we determine what our roles are, I think, come down to whatever is best for the family.  It just makes sense that my husband is the picture-hanger, not because I don’t want to do it, but because he’s better at it.  It makes sense that I’m the one who sings to our baby and teaches her new songs, because I sing better than my husband (who I sit next to on my deaf side in church).  That’s not to say we should allow our weaknesses to remain weaknesses, but for now, this works for us.  Meanwhile, I’ll be trying at least one new recipe a week, if I can just stop forgetting to remember that was a New Year’s resolution.

32 Going on 20

I was thinking the other day, how I see my thirties as a second chance at my twenties.  I feel like I’m doing all the things I should’ve been doing ten years ago, but just didn’t get around to, because I didn’t know then what I know now.  A part of me wishes I had finished college, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do until less than a year ago.  Had I toiled through school and graduated, I probably wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve had, or met the people I did, and I wouldn’t trade all that for a degree in something I wasn’t passionate about.

Not that I’m passionate about Medical Billing and Coding, but it’s a marketable skill for which I have the aptitude for, not to mention it’s a rung on a ladder, rather than a stepstool (i.e. not a dead end).  What I like most about it is that it’s not customer service oriented.  We don’t have to greet customers with some line of baloney the higher-ups cooked up (and don’t have to say, and probably never did, because they didn’t start out at the bottom, because they had a degree, etc.).

I waitress at a fifties-style Greek diner–a position where customer service is tantamount, but I also have the freedom to be myself.  All we have to do is tell them what the specials are, and, at the end, ask if they would like any homemade (I always mention homemade) pie or cheesecake.  I don’t have a script I have to follow.  I tend to give terrible customer service (not intentionally) when I have to be unnatural–I come off as very tense, because not being able to be myself stresses me out.

When I worked at Walgreens, even if the same person came in everyday for a pack of cigarettes, we had to ask them every single time, “Would you care to buy or donate a candy bar to the U.S.O.?”  The manager didn’t worry about cartons of cigarettes being stolen, but she worried about us not upselling fifty cent candy bars.  Retail is rife with common nonsense.

This is why I’m going into a field that fits my introverted and no B.S. personality.  What I will be doing is too important to fool with foolishness such as conversing with people from a script.

Seguing to my opening statement, I am doing, in my thirties, what most people did in their twenties–get married, have children, and getting a formal education.  A part of me wishes, had I known then what I know now, that I had done that last thing first.

I feel like I am trying to squeeze in all the things I should’ve done ten years ago, especially when it comes to my writing.  If nothing else, I should’ve gotten an English degree (I could’ve always went back to school, but at least I would’ve had something).  My uncle once said my dad (his brother) is the only person he’s ever known who went to college to get an education (rather than career advancement).  I am choosing to go back for both, though the more money thing is what tipped the scales towards going back, when for so long, I was convinced I wasn’t smart enough to finish college.  Now I know I just need to apply myself.  I can do this.

Bio clock

The shopping bulimic

I have a very bad habit of returning things I’ve bought (whether from a department store or Walgreens, or even the grocery store)–a condition which I’ve heard referred to as shopping bulimia.  I like that feel-good feeling I get from buying something, only for it to be replaced with uncertainty and then a strong desire to get my money back (if I’m not positive that I like it 100%).

I just ordered a mirror online from Kohl’s to go over my bedroom dresser, only to go into the store, see it and not like it quite as much, despite the clearance price.  I’d already found the perfect mirror at Lamps Plus (which is twice as much, and which I don’t have a charge account for), but I can wait till I save up the money (I’d rather save up for something nicer anyway).  What I save on coupons and free shipping using store credit cards, they get back in interest.

I just returned a couple of things to Walgreens (one item that didn’t work, one I didn’t need) to buy something else; I also returned a jar of sundried tomatoes to Publix that I haven’t gotten around to using in the weeks I’ve had them.

How I wish I could just become a shopping anorexic.  This is one of my struggles, because growing up, I often didn’t have nice things.  However, what I do to get my shopping fix without spending anything is to add items to my Kohl’s or wish list, as I’m not tempted to purchase online like I am when I am in the store and can physically hold the item, thus forming an attachment to it.  No wonder one of my favorite series is the Shopaholic series, by Sophie Kinsella.  (However, I do think Becky Bloomwood needs to get some therapy in the end.  She needs help!)

My main character in a chick-lit novel is going to have this problem, among many other hang-ups.  I’ve never written a chick lit before, but my goal is to write in as many genres as I can, at least until I master one (meaning sell a ton of).  I still have no idea what qualifies as literary fiction, though I have a feeling if some egghead calls it such, it won’t sell well.

Nutritional Standard of Living


So, I’ve decided to go back over my New Year’s resolutions.  I am excelling with the writing business, but not so much with the weight.  Everything else, I’m doing fair to middling (as the saying goes) on.  I realize this is okay, because I am going to reevaluate myself at the end of every month.

I could just focus on one resolution per month, but no.  I’m ready to make the weight thing happen.  Now that I’ll be working at a natural food co-op (several years ago, when I did the bulk of my shopping there, I was seventy pounds lighter), I’ll be surrounded by healthier (or less bad) options.  The free membership and employee discount will make it all that much easier.  I am very much looking forward to starting this lifestyle.

I believe our surroundings play a huge role in many of the choices we make, though I am not using that as an excuse.  When I worked at the drugstore, I was always tantalized by all the new junk food products that would come out (stay away from Girl Scout Samoa candy bars).  The generous employee discount combined with the sale prices made the sweet temptations all that much greater to resist.  Half the battle is not bringing it home; the other half is not working at a place where we were rewarded for pushing candy on people (where “Thank you and be well” had to be said to every customer, even if they were buying a pack of smokes; that would just come across as sarcastic to me).

My job at the drugstore made me sick, not well.  I worked the overnight shift for over a year.  Eighty hours in eight days, then six days off.  I did that right up to my third trimester, until I couldn’t anymore.  I had only refrained from requesting days because I knew once I changed over, I would have to deal with the brass and I’d be more pressured to say “Welcome to Walgreens” to every customer that came in the door and ask every customer we checked out to buy a suggestive sale item or donate one to the USO (even if they came in everyday and everyday, they said no).  Here is a cute little story I wrote about my time there:

The stress of it wasn’t worth what I was getting paid, and “I can do better” became my new mantra.  I knew if I just applied myself, I could bust out of retail jail.  I haven’t yet, but I do see an end to my tenure in this line of work.  I’ll feel more assured once I get back in school, but at least I’ll be working in an environment in which I have a strong interest in the product and/or service, and where the bosses seem easygoing and fair.

I believe I’ll actually learn something worthwhile.  I haven’t learned anything worthwhile in a job so long, if ever.  I want to acquire mad skills.  I want a job in which the description requires me to use my mind and talents, not just be a yes person.  My new boss told me he didn’t like yes people–he said it might get you ahead in the short-term, but not the long term.  He also said he knew we were there because we needed money.  I won’t have to suck up or pretend with him that I want to make a career in the company.  When I start working there, if I stay for more than the money, fine, but right now, I’m there to do a job.  That’s all they expect.  Such a refreshing change from working for a corporation.  I just want to be able to be myself.

I look forward to this new chapter of my life.  I look forward to elevating my nutritional standard of living.  I no longer see this culinary journey I am about to embark on as limiting myself, but rather opening myself up to new things.  I want to be strong and healthy and energetic for me, first and foremost (everything we want, we have to want it for ourselves first), but also for my daughter.  I want to be able to run and jump and play with her in the park.  I want to have the energy to put verve into our other time together, as well.  I want to be able to teach her how to prepare wholesome foods from scratch.  I want to make the stories I read to her come alive.  I want to be all I can be for her.

I went swimming tonight, and got winded quicker.  I’ve been trying outrun (or outswim) my fork (it’s not how much I eat, but what) for months, and one can only swim so much.  It’s like you can only cut back (budget) so much before you realize you just have to make more money.

When I was seventy pounds lighter, I never exercised, but was strict with my diet.  I drank only water, for one thing.  I’m still working my way up on those eight glasses a day.  I’ve realized if you drink other things, it just takes the place of some of the water you drink.  A Mexican Coca Cola and a chocolate something (be it a baked good or candy bar) has been my beer and cigarette for a long time.  I’m not ready to go cold turkey, but I am ready to cut back so much, I get detox headaches.

Oh, well, that’s what coffee is for.