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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Never a Dull Day...

I always joke that I have so much hope in humanity until i go to work and deal with the general public. That actually held true today. There are a few things i just can't understand, such as how people think they can bully someone into getting what they want for free, and feel perfectly entitled to do just that.  I realize its a bad time out there in the economy right now, but really enough is sometimes enough. Some days, all i want customers to understand is that we are a business and not the local soup kitchen. Hopefully you all get that instead of just thinking i'm insensitive. Anyway, enough of my ramblings and on with today's jilly adventure....

Today was going normal enough. I guess that should have been my first clue that something interesting was lurking around the corner. You see, normal isn't really my style. The day moved slowly...too slow for my taste. So i sent everyone home and then promptly got kicked in the tail.  Apparently everyone in my delivery area decided that 10 pm was prime dinner time. I must have missed that memo...probably floating around somewhere in my office. A few minutes before close the phone rang. Some students ordered $57 in food. 6 pizzas, 3 orders of wings...paying cash. Now i've been in this business for a long time. An order that big for some students this late at night to that school and paying cash...it reeked of scam to me.  I instructed my people to hold off making the order until i could do a call back to confirm the order. I called the number they gave us and was immediately sent to voicemail. I left a message and began cleaning up the store while i waited. After 10 minutes and no call back, i decided to try again. This time i got them on the phone, they confirmed and i made the order.  I thought no more of it until about 30 minutes later.  The phone rang and i answered explaining we were closed.  It was the students.  The girl on the phone claimed that they just received her order and all of the pizzas were ruined like they had been dropped upside down and she would like her money back. No problem, our policy is to remake or refund...and my oven had been off for 25 minutes so refund it is. I thought it interesting that all of the pizzas were ruined so i asked her to send pictures to my cell phone of the pizzas so i could show the driver and question him about his handling of the pizzas. I told her that once she did that i would call the driver and have him turn around to return her money. 5 minutes went by without receiving the pictures. Finally she called back and said she sent the pictures to me. I told her i didn't receive them. She didn't address that at all, and instead said:

Her: So i was thinking...we deserve 6 new pizzas.
Me: Okay, so you'd like a remake instead of a refund?
Her: No, i still want my money back. But i'm unsatisfied and your job is to make me happy. So i also want 6 new pizzas. That would make me satisfied.
Me: (realizing something is off here) So how many of the pizzas were ruined?
Her: Well, two. But because we were inconvenienced i want all 6.
Me: (dang my temper). Okay, first of all I explained you could get either a remake or a refund. I want to help you, but you do not have the right to call me up in a threatening tone and make ridiculous demands that i cannot and will not do.
Her: Excuse me? In case you forgot, i'm the customer. And the customer is always right.
Me: I will give you the money back for the pizzas that were ruined, but not all of it.
Her: (She begins yelling and everyone in the background...around 15 people...is cursing at me now)
Me: Ma'am, if we are going to work this out I need you to stop yelling and listen to what i am saying (I always say this to a yelling customer, and it almost never works. I use this as a precursor to hanging up on them, because once they are yelling and out of control like that, no progress is ever made. just fyi.)
Me: Ma'am, i need the yelling to stop or i will have to hang up the phone
(She hangs up so i don't have to)
(She calls back)
Her: I decided i'll just take all the money back. I'm willing to drop the 6 pizzas.
Me: Well, like i said, I can give you the money for the ruined pizzas. But the chicken was fine and so were 4 of the other pizzas
Her: You act like you don't trust me. I just spent 57 dollars for some food, why would i try to play you?
Me: Because you just spent 57 dollars and you are a student.
Her: Well i want my money back. all of it.
Me: I tell you what. Since we are having a disconnect here, i'm going to give you the franchise office number and someone will call you tomorrow about getting your money back
Her: No i want it tonight. I'm coming up there.
Me: Well ma'am, we won't be here. We're getting ready to leave for the night.
(She hangs up)

It's really a shame a typed up version of a conversation cannot portray tone properly. That was the key in this conversation for me. I knew what she was trying to do. Trust me, i've done this long enough. I was sitting in the office, finishing up some end of the day stuff when i hear some banging at the door and one of my drivers say "Jill, call 911."  I peak my head around the corner and sure enough, a guy was trying to pull the locked door open and shouting "you better open this *&^%* door!!!". Um....no thanks. I saw the three girls behind him and new we had our lovely student group here to get their money. I picked up the phone and called the police. While i described the situation to the dispatcher, they kept yanking on the door so hard i thought it was going to come off the hinges. And they kept pointing at me and yelling for me to open the door "or else." Imagine their dismay when two cop cars rolled in.  The officer came in and i explained what was going on. He said they had the pizzas with them. I told him i would be willing to reimburse them for the ruined ones, which i had explained to them on the phone. I told him what they had demanded, and he said "well, that's ridiculous! no business can just give stuff away like that!" EXACTLY!!! Ah, i love it when the police take my side. (its happened twice this week).  Anyway, he brought that one girl in, we talked, i offered a partial refund and she accepted. I noticed how quiet she was. Where did the bully go? I took the time to nicely explain to her why i was only offering a partial refund and where this whole situation went wrong. She looked at the floor the whole time and simply said "well if you would have just told me that"........? really? I only told her that how many times?  I gave her the money and had the police remove them from the property. The officer came back and said to me..."Listen, i deal with the public just as much as you. Don't people just baffle you? Some people you just can't get through to..." Amen, sir. Just another interesting day in the books. And that's part of the reason i love my job...its always different. Not that i like all that drama. I remember when i was in utah a guy was upset about a pizza and threw a bottle at me so hard it dented the wall behind me...really dented it. He had aimed for my face but luckily i ducked and it missed. I remember watching the slow-mo replay from the cameras and one of the drivers saying "nice reflexes!" I guess i owe it to playing all those sports growing up. I just can't imagine why people get so upset about pizza that they are willing to do things worthy of being thrown in jail? I mean come one people, its just some dough, tomato sauce and cheese. Is that really worth it?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Community

I've spent a lot of time feeling lonely. And by lonely i don't just mean single. I mean that i haven't felt like i really "fit" anywhere in a while.  I think the last time i really felt like i was a part of something was when i lived in Maryland. I really loved my ward there and felt like i was an integral member to that ward family.  But since then, i have mainly felt like an outsider just passing through....at school in Salt Lake City, in my single's ward there, in my ward now after i moved home and even sometimes at work. I suspect that mainly it is because i've been so "busy".  This whole past year felt like a whirlwind resembling the likes of a category 5 rolling across Florida. Its been fast and intense.  But lately that has begun to change. A few months ago i was starting to feel antsy, that feeling i get when i'm about to be struck by my next nomadic escapade. It reminded me of a talk i once heard a few years ago given by Wendy Watson Nelson. She said, speaking of feeling antsy, "It may mean that your spirit is restless because you need to do either something different or more than you are presently doing." But the strike never came...not in the way it usually does. Instead I noticed that i started to feel more at home again here in Winston. I felt that urge to be a part of my ward, to get to know people there. Yesterday, as i was driving home from a meeting at church, i had the overwhelming feeling that i was right where i was supposed to be...in my job, in my calling at church...and it felt so good it literally brought a smile to my face. Today i was further reminded of that as I walked in to Walgreens down the street from my apartment to pick up a few things. I was almost immediately greeted by name from a regular customer of mine at work who was standing in the checkout line. A few isles over i saw someone i knew from church. And because i often pop in there after work (gotta love places open 24 hours!), the guy behind the counter saw me in line and said "hey! haven't seen you in a few days. how's it going?" While i know this makes me sound like i must go to Walgreens every day, i promise i only go in there like twice a week. The real moral of the story is this....i felt such a strong sense of community. For a fleeting moment, i felt a wave of nostalgia for the small Everwood-esque town i never lived in (do any of you remember that show?).  It just feels good to feel like a part of something for the first time in a long time...without all that nosy neighboring and small town drama...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Mean...For Reals?

So I just happened to be hopping my way through cyberspace and came upon something that, quite frankly, is somewhat disturbing. And i want your opinion...so let's play pretend for a moment, shall we? Okay, close your eyes for a second (or maybe don't...that might hinder the whole reading thing we got going on here). Pretend that money is literally no object. No money attachment whatsoever. Now tell me....what is the absolute most you would pay for a pizza? $100? $200? How about $4200? Yes, you read that right...4200 DOLLARS. Well it happened my friends. Homedude right here, Domenico Crolla, created a pizza that sold for just that.

It comes topped with cognac-marinated lobster, champagne soaked caviar, and get this....edible flakes of 24-carat gold. I kid you not. I mean, i won't lie I make a dang good pie...but flakes of gold? And all i can think about is the absurdity of it when we have people out of work, starving children, etc. But i guess as long as some rich guy is happy....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tender Mercies

July has it in for me. The whole month. As of today, i have officially disowned July as my birthday month. Because no month that is attached to such a wonderful occasion as a person's entry into this world would ever do this to me. In fact, these last few weeks have been nothing but an experiment in the elasticity of my sanity.  But i guess when your month starts out with waking up to a strange man standing in your apartment, it doesn't exactly bode well. That sanity i just spoke of....it almost failed me today. completely.  Luckily i was saved at the last second...but i'll get to that later. You see, last night my walk-in cooler at work went out again. The 4th time in 3 weeks. And so last night found me, yet again, moving all of the food out of it, stuffing it into the makeline and coke cooler and shipping the rest of it off in shifts to another store. To say that i am annoyed at this process is an understatement. I left work at 2 something and had to be back at 9 a.m. I knew i had the whole cooler thing to deal with so i was already counting on it being an interesting day.  After a 4 hour nap, i woke up to find a voicemail from my opening driver explaining that he was sick and couldn't make it in. Nice. I tried to call a few drivers but to no avail...dread for the day was already starting to build up at this point.  Luckily one of my drivers answered and agreed to come in early to cover, which made me feel a little better. (the driver that had called in did call back to make sure i had gotten his message, and upon hearing the stress in my voice came in anyway despite not feeling well.) This feeling was short lived, however, because as i backed out of my driveway (i made sure i looked...the hedge makes it very hard to see) i suddenly heard a giant thud against my car. looking frantically around and seeing nothing, i glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a bicycle wheel scrunched against my rear windshield. Panic set in as i thought the worst...what if i had hit a child? Already starting to cry, i threw my car in park, jumped out and ran to the back of my car. There i found a grown man, my neighbor, on the ground. His wife (who had been reading on their porch and heard the noise) was already sprinting across their yard towards us. Another neighbor working out in his yard was also running across the road. As i began to apologize and ask the man if he was hurt, all three of them began yelling at me.."are you crazy? don't you know how to look when you *&%$# back up? You just hit a cyclist. What the *&^%$ were you thinking?" Completely shaken up by what had happened, i tried to blink through the tears and tirades and focus on the man i had hit. I again asked him if he was hurt. He replied he was fine, jumped up, said some nasty words to me and rode on towards his house. I asked his wife if we should call someone and she said "no, we know where you live. We'll find you if we need to." The neighbor across the street apparently didn't feel done yelling at me despite my tears, apologies and explaining that i didn't see him when i had looked (he had come quickly around the corner on the sidewalk near my driveway after i had looked that direction and proceeded to back up...not to excuse myself, i'm just sayin...) I yelled back that i understood the situation and did not need his input to make me feel any worse. He glared at me then went back to his yard. I stood there for a moment, crying, mouth agape at what had so quickly occurred and called my mom (because, you know, moms have that way of making everything better). My first thought was that the people were going to try to sue me, since they didn't hang around to have any type of conversation about what happened. So I went to their door and knocked. nothing. i rang the bell. nothing. Then I called the police on myself. The officer showed up, i told him what happened, did the whole info swap thing and then he went to their door. Of course they answered for him. After about 10 minutes he came back out and told me the man had said his bike was fine. His ankle was a little jacked up and already wrapped and had ice on it, but he refused medical services when the officer asked him. The officer told me that they seemed surprised i had called the police, but that i had done the right thing. He explained that because i had filed the report, I was now protected if they later tried to sue me for medical bills because they refused help and fled the scene first. I felt better, mainly because Mr. Officer here was incredibly cute (hey, it made my mood a little better) and nice. And the neighbor across the street came back to apologize to me for yelling. He said that clearly i was upset and his yelling didn't help anything. No sir, i assure you it did not. We shook hands and i was on my way to work. I won't lie...i cried all the way to my store. I was late, my store was outta whack because of the walk-in...yeah those first several hours were rough. Finally i had gotten more calm. In the afternoon, the repair guys came and fixed my walk-in, so i began trying to get all the food back into there, started trying to coordinate drivers to go pickup the food that was at the other store (several trips...ugh), etc. And of course, right then the food truck pulled up to deliver my next shipment. I was not ready. At the same time, we started getting very busy. and then up came the stress level again and I started to lose it this time. I wonder what it would look like to walk into a food place and see the person running the store sobbing while they make pizzas and answer phones. Because that was what was going down at my store today. All the stress of this past month had finally hit its pinnacle. I thought i was going to break...or walk out. And was about to that point where i could not take any more for one more second when my cell phone rang. I looked at it and saw it was my brother Joseph. Because Joseph doesn't call me that often due to his busy schedule, i wanted to answer despite being busy. When i said hello, however, instead of my brother's voice i heard the sweet sweet voice of his 2 1/2 year old daughter Claire. "I love you Jill, I miss you Jill" Then she sang (without even knowing about my mood) "if you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay. Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away."  At this point, i was weeping. I want you all to know...Claire never calls me. Its been over a year since i've seen her and she only remembers me by pictures. Even when i talk to Joseph and he tries to get her on the phone, she rarely gets on to talk to me. And here she was, giving me the most precious gift of her sweet voice and song at exactly the moment i needed it. After she was done, she handed the phone back to her dad. We talked a few minutes about some beach stuff (only 3 more weeks!!!!) and then he told me, "sorry to bother you, but Claire insisted we call you right now." And in that moment i knew....I was receiving a tender mercy from the Lord. I know we all believe different things, but let me tell you this. I think the Lord knew what i needed in that moment. And that little girl was the answer. For whatever reason, she knew she needed to call her Aunt Jill. And i could not be more grateful.  My mood picked up considerably after that. Then my friend Stefanie stopped by to order pizza and give me a much needed hug. At the end of the shift, a GM (and friend) from another store stopped in to kidnap me. I had vented to her earlier in the day, and she felt i needed a drink. (don't worry, it was sans alcohol). It was nice to just sit and relax and enjoy my virgin strawberry daiquiri with someone that cared enough about my day and my sanity to take me out. As stressful as this month has been for me, there have been those tender mercies along the way just like those today to give me strength and remind me that God is mindful of me. And that I am loved.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Body Lovin'

Yep, its me again...at 4 a.m. How ya doin. Probably sleeping, yeah? Maybe i'll give that a shot someday. I hear it does wonders. My best friend said something to me tonight that i can't get out of my head. She had asked me about a career goal of mine. I had responded that yes, it was still a goal. I asked her why she thought of that (as it came up very randomly) to which she said..."I just think it is your destiny."  I joked with her "destiny, huh?" yada yada yada and then she said. "yes, you were destined for greatness." boom. serious boom.  I can't shake that statement.  Now i want to be clear, when i think of greatness i don't necessarily think of fame or fortune. But I do think that achieving greatness is having a positive and great impact on your world. Your world may be just your family, or at work, or those in your geographical region. It might literally be the whole world as we know it. This series of thoughts led me to remember a portion of a mantra i had created during a life coaching session once, something that spoke to me: "I inspire my world." Because that is what i want. I want to inspire others to pursue happiness and achieve greatness, whatever that means for them.  But i also realize i have to start with myself. Tonight as I was reading about learning to be at peace with my body as it is right now and the empowerment that can come from that to propel myself forward, i wondered what that would possibly feel like. There have been only snapshot moments in time where i have felt okay and accepting of my body in its various sizes and stages. (After having several children, my sister once joked that looking through her closet was like taking a trip through "the various sizes of Laura." I have that same experience when looking through mine, only without the whole bearing children thing on my resumé as a worthy excuse). But do you know what i can remember easily? All the moments where i felt horrified by my body. You know how you do all those group get-to-know-you games and there is always that question: What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?  Well I always replied i didn't have one. I generally attributed that to the fact that i had a father who delighted in trying to embarrass his children. Kinda makes the skin tough to those kind of things. The truth? I definitely have one. And nobody knows about it (except for the people that were actually there).  But i'm going to share it with you, because it was a pivotal moment for me in developing a more in-depth hatred for my body and my "situation".  And in order to begin accepting and finding peace with my body, i need to find peace with this story which means sharing it with all of you. When i was about 19, i went to the fair with a group of close friends.  We were having a good time, riding rides and doing whatever it is you do at the fair.  At one point, there was this one ride we all wanted to get on. It looked exciting, and being the ride lover that i am, i couldn't wait.  On this ride you had your individual little seat (actually you were standing) and a bar came across your shoulders and locked you into place so you wouldn't go flying into davidson county when you started being whipped around here, there and everywhere. As people got into their places, the ride-tender (i feel the word carnie is derogatory) came around and started latching everyone's body-hold-into-placers. And then he got to me. And he couldn't get it to latch. I was even sucking in. Still, no dice. And so, right there with everybody looking on (the ride was situated so that everyone was standing in a circle facing each other), he told me i had to exit the ride. I was too big. Single most humiliating moment of my life. One i almost never dwell on, and for good reason. I guess for most people, this would be the moment that would give them the motivation to lose weight. For me, it gave me the fuel to further victimize myself and go into emotional hiding. As i write this story, i can feel the embarrassment and hurt all over again. I can cry the tears that i didn't allow myself to cry then in front of my friends. And you know something? I now can say this: so what. Goodbye story i never told anyone. You no longer have any hold over me. I officially strip you of your power to pull me into a steaming pile of victim mud. I'm on a path to personal greatness here, dang it. Please step aside.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Food for Thought

I'm becoming increasingly annoyed at my urges to write. Mainly because they tend to happen at 5 a.m.  I think its because it is the only time in my life when its quiet enough for me to really think clearly.  But all that aside, it is time i fess up about something. And i apologize if my intimacy here makes you uncomfortable. But for a long time i have felt called to talk about my experiences in this area. Whether it is to help me or someone else, here goes: I have a huge, huge issue with food.  Call it an addiction, an eating disorder, whatever you will....i have it.  There, I said it. Out loud. For people other than my family or close friends to hear. While i'm sure nobody is all that surprised by this news, I have a reason for writing about this other than gaining your pity.  You see, I believe that when you allow yourself to speak something that is true about you, you become willing to own it. And when you own it, and release it for others to see, you take its power to control you away.  Because now there is no mystery to it.  As i've written previously, i have researched and decided to take on a predominately raw lifestyle. But as i plotted and planned, gathered recipes, read blogs and books, even bought lots of food (that subsequently went bad in my fridge), i just couldn't get started. And i didn't understand why. I mean, I have motivation...health, weight, sleep issues, no energy, weight...and i have knowledge. I even have experience. I know i can do this, and i know i want to. The problem, i realized, is this...that there is a problem to begin with. This is no news flash to me, but i guess i thought that my issues would disappear if my symptoms disappeared. (see the above list...health, weight, blah blah blah).  backwards, huh? I remember over the last decade or so and my struggles with my relationship to food and my body image and i think...how can i possibly expect to achieve anything if i don't get down to the root cause? Because i've done the revamp my food intake thing, i've done the lose 80 pounds in a year thing...and what happened? Nothing changed. I was still just as obsessed with food. I recall my sister saying to me sometime within the past year or two, "When you are heavy and feel unhealthy, you obsess about whether or not you are dying. Then when you lose weight and get healthy, you obsess about getting healthier." She knows me, its true.  And because i didn't focus on my relationship to the food or my relationship to my body it all just came back anyway. And then came the guilt, then came the depression (which i tend to dabble in anyway), then came the "i have to change my diet again" mentality, which becomes followed by the "last supper" mentality (eating all of your favorite foods because you know that surely this will be the last time you get to have them, for tomorrow you start eating better). Its all really sickening, isn't it? Why are we so incredibly consumed by food anyway? All it is meant for, really, is to sustain life. That's it. Unfortunately for me, and most of you (because i know some of you are reading this thing and nodding your heads), food has become an experience. And therein lies one of my problems. I'm a foodie. I literally derive pleasure from eating food, going to new restaurants, watching people cook food, etc. This brings up another issue: I am a chaotic and emotional unconscious eater (wrap your head around that, would ya?).  I get very busy, forget to eat, become ravenously hungry, binge, forget to eat, cycle continues. Or i feel tired or slightly sad or stressed so i grab for all things chocolate. And it drives me crazy to not be doing something while i eat. For instance, my favorite thing to do while eating is to read. I suppose this came about during my early years reading the cereal box while eating breakfast (IF i could wrestle it from my sister, that is). But if i have nothing to read, i like to watch tv. If i'm driving, i cannot listen to music, I have to listen to talk radio. I like to be intellectually stimulated while i eat. don't worry, i know i'm weird. But actually its very common for unconscious eaters. Its that whole start-eating-the-box of-candy-during-the-movie-and-suddenly-your-fingers-are-scraping-the-bottom-and-you-are-surprised-you-are-done type of thing. Get the picture? Basically i've discovered that i need to heal my relationship with food first if i have any hope of getting rid of any of the symptoms. And while i feel like that is going to take time that i don't have because i wanted to get this whole raw thing on the road, i have to remind myself that it is okay. Because time is really all i have anyway compared to the rest of my life. And won't it be so worth it? Some of you may be wondering how i'm going to do this. Several people that i know personally, and some i know just through friends, have used the book "Intuitive Eating" to help them deal with food addiction and eating disorders. I began reading it yesterday. Quick overview: it talks about letting go of any diet mentality (as rampant as it is in our society) and learning to listen to your body. I have decided to write about my process as i read this book and start letting go of my issues with food for all of you to read. After all, if i share it then it loses power over me, right?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bobby Todd

To say this has been an interesting week is an understatement. Severely.  And while this week included working literally 24 hours straight non-stop physical labor (except for a 7 am run to get breakfast) in order to be ready for an important inspection at my store (got a good score, by the way, and i have yet to recover from that loooong shift), I instead want to share today's story with you.  You see, i walked into work only to find that my walk-in cooler was broken...again...for the 3rd time in 2 weeks. A. Noy. Ing. ugh. So, we get to work getting all of my food out of it before it goes bad...stuffing it into the makeline and coke cooler and sending all my dough to another store to keep cool. In the midst of this i also had only about 30 minutes left to get my food order in. We get it all taken care of but i was already cranky. Can you really blame me? It just has not been a good 2 weeks after all.  I have cooler problems, one of my full time drivers out for a death in the family, my assistant on vacation, my other assistant being loaned to cover another store where that manager is on vacation, a body that is very very sore and tired still from all of that heavy duty cleaning, etc.  So yeah, i'm cranky. get over it.  I get a call from the hair salon across the parking lot. They wanted a pizza. I told them the price...the special we currently have running. He says okay, i go on my way.  About 2 minutes later the phone rings and its the hair salon again. This time its the dad of the guy who runs the hair salon. He says:
Guy: I get a discount from your store, why is it so much?
Me: Oh, i'm sorry. I was not aware that you get a discount
Guy: Well you must be new
Me: Um....nope. Been the GM here for over a year now.
Guy: Well, don't you know who i am? (in a very condescending tone btw)
Me: Am i supposed to?
*side note: I don't really respond well to people talking down to me. Sometimes i handle it well, but most of the time it flares my temper...especially on days like today. Its something i need to work on, i know.*
Guy: I'm Bobby Todd
Me: And that makes a difference to me how? other than you ordering pizza every once in a blue moon?

Anyway, i went ahead and gave him the discount. Partly because i knew i was being slightly rude to him, and mainly because i couldn't wait for him to come pick it up so i could ask this very question..."If i give you a discount here, do i get a discount over there?"  Because if he said no, it would be the end of 50% off for him as he knows it. I'm not trying to sound harsh, its just business. I do have discount agreements with people, but i get something in return...like 50% off Arby's or 50% off oil changes. That's how it works. One customer i give 50% off to every third order of hers because she orders 3 times a week. Stuff like that. Sooo, guy walks in, i tell him the total, he pays me, yada yada yada. Then i popped the question:

Me: So does this mean i get a discount on getting my hair cut?
Guy: Um...(makes some joke that was totally irrelevant)
Me: Haha. Seriously though, since i'm giving you a discount here i get one there, right?
Guy: (again makes some comment totally unrelated to the conversation)
Me: Why are you skirting the issue?
Guy: I'm just playing with you
Me: i'm actually being serious. So basically you are telling me no?
Guy: Well, we run a small business and we can't really afford...
Me: So basically i'm giving you a discount at no benefit to me. You don't even order regularly.
*by this time one of my drivers has gotten closer to listen to what's going on*
Guy: Are you trying to hustle me?
Me: No sir, I'm just merely stating the absurdity of it. What entitles you to a discount at my store? I'm a business, i need to make money to continue to be a business. If i'm not making money on you, i need a good reason. And you are refusing to give me one
Guy: Are you threatening me? Are you saying if I don't give you a discount at my salon that you won't give me a discount here?
Me: That's exactly what i'm saying. I'm a business person.
Guy: I know you are sweetheart, that part is certain.
*side note: this whole conversation is taking place without yelling. Just thought i'd throw that in. Also, the way he said sweetheart got under my skin.*
Me: Don't call me sweetheart, you aren't my grandpa (did i mention he was really old? and looked like a mischievous version of Santa? Don't judge me...i'm not a bad person)

As i walked away from him, he said to my driver "she won't be hear in 6 weeks. Guarantee it."
I won't lie, this was the final straw for me. I had had enough with Mr. Bobby Todd and the way he was speaking to me. I'm not proud of the way i behaved, but i promise there is a moral to this story, so stay with me.

I turned on my heel and ran out the door (he was already halfway across the parking lot by now) and shouted as loudly as i could "I WILL be here in 6 weeks sir, you can count on that!"  He spun around and said "are you a prophet? are you prophesying?"  I almost laughed here...mainly because in my world its such a crazy old man thing to say. By my world i mean my dad or his dad...they would totally say something like this. (dad, just for the record, i'm not calling you old.)

At this point i yelled something back about no i was not prophesying, i was just promising...blah blah blah. By this time i was fuming. pacing around the store. And then i begin to feel embarrassed....embarrassed because i had allowed my temper to the better of me. I expressed this to one of my drivers and he told me that i shouldn't be embarrassed. He had heard the old man and said he had pushed me and kept egging me on. But still, that doesn't excuse me from acting that way. Is that how Christ would have me act? Did He lose his temper when he was being tempted, spit on, called a liar, etc? No He did not. If one of my goals is to become more Christlike, i certainly failed today. I decided that after a cooling period, i would go over there and smooth things over. As i looked up, however, i saw Mr. Bobby Todd walking toward the store. My first thought was, oh no...he's coming in for round two. As he opened the door, he smiled at me, and i smiled back...hoping for the best. As he walked in I noticed there were tears in his eyes. He apologized to me, saying that he was out of line, that sometimes he gets rolling and goes too far. "My son always says i do that..go too far," he said.  And then he said something that pierced me to my core. "I was sitting over there eating and i remembered that you are a daughter of God. And my job on earth is to love you. If i can't love you, then i am nothing in God's eyes."  I told him i was sorry too, that i was having a bad week and did not intend to be so irritable with him, because it was not his fault. I also told him i so much appreciated his respect for what God thought of him, and the humility to act on it. I told him that i appreciated it because i too have a close relationship with my Heavenly Father, and i know i did not act accordingly. Needless to say, i too was now teary eyed, and as we shook hands...two friends now in the Lord, my boss walked in to see this exchange. After Mr. Todd left, my boss said..." are you crying? who's he? what's going on?" I told him the whole story and he said "so now you are in here crying with a man that you were yelling at 20 minutes ago?" yep. Because that's how i roll. He said he shouldn't be surprised...and i guess he shouldn't. I do tend to have weird conversations with perfect strangers. But that's part of what makes me who i am. I will say, the thing that touched me most was how fast the man allowed himself to be humbled and maybe even chastised by the Lord for his actions. I don't know him, but i could tell in that moment that he was a man of God. And oh how greatly i respect that. I learned something from him today. I learned, or rather remembered, that I want to be closer to God. Closer to the point that i don't react that way in the first place. Closer so that i may remember more easily that everyone i come in contact with is a child of God, and deserves to be treated as such. And i learned that while my boss and my employees thought i was crazy for standing there crying with a stranger with whom i had been arguing only moments before, i didn't really care. Because i got it...what i needed in that moment. And i know that Mr. Todd did too.

I learned a few hours later from one of my drivers that apparently Bobby Todd is very well known in the hair community in Winston-Salem. I just kind of laughed. I guess that's why he said "don't you know who i am?".  I do plan to go over there tomorrow and just do a follow up conversation with him tomorrow...just to let him know he can still get his discount...because for some reason i feel connected to him now after that powerful moment we shared. That and i want his customers to come buy pizza from me after they get their hair cut....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Let Me Clear My Throat...

I kept thinking today about how I wish I was one of those people who smiled all the way through any adversity. Or never spoke an unkind word about anyone. Or never needed to vent about anything. But you want to know my problem? I'm far too flawed for all of that...yet. Problem numero dos = i'm an out-loud processor. I just have to talk about things in order for them to make sense to me so that i can deal with them. For example, i'm in the midst of another hidradenitis flare and it is kickin' my tail. And i wish i could suffer the flu feelings and fatigue and pain in silence. But i just can't. I'm not looking for pity, i just want someone to get it. And i feel even worse when i realize that there are people that i know personally who suffer far worse things...and are pleasant about it. I admire them so much. I wanna be them when i grow up. But i'm just not there yet. In fact, i'm a big baby. I can withstand quite a bit, but do trust that i'm going to talk about it. That need to "talk about it" has been getting me in trouble lately.  I've been learning some hard lessons at work about who I can trust and who can't wait to stab me in the back. I try so hard not to take it personally...but I can't help it. You see, I have a love problem. Meaning, I love everyone i work with. Everyone. Even the ones i don't like. And that love problem extends outside of work encompassing my whole life. I feel like i work as hard as i possibly can. And i feel like i'm more than fair to all of my employees. But i guess sometimes it's not enough. Because people are human with flaws of their own and will always do what they deem necessary for what they think is their own survival. Still, i have felt my feelings of trust and belief in people shattered over the last several weeks and it leaves me wondering what it's all for. Surely there is a lesson here somewhere. And while i know that part of that lesson is that i can't really trust anyone in the business world, i refuse to give up on people. Because where would that leave me?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Birthday To Meeeee"eeeeeeek!"

I can't even take credit for that title. Thank you Stefanie! Haha. Today was my birthday. So, naturally, it was a weird day.  My birthday always seems to be that way. I guess it's fairly fitting, since i seem to be a target of weird happenings in my life anyway, beginning with my first days on earth. Today started out normal enough despite that whole not sleeping thing, which has really become quite normal by now. I met my parents for lunch, went into work.  About 2:30pm and i was already exhausted. One of my fantastic drivers offered to stay later than scheduled so that i could go home for an hour and catch a quick nap since i was supposed to close.  I went home, crawled into bed...i had a good solid half hour for the power nap. I finally drifted off and was asleep for approximately 10 minutes when i was jolted awake by the sound of my door opening. Yes you heard that right. I want to be clear about something....i live alone. And i ALWAYS lock my front door, even in the middle of the day. Anyway, back to the jolting awake thing. I had been sleeping hard...you know, that exhaustion/hungry for sleep feeling where you go right slam bam into a deeeeep sleep and wake up all discombobulated? Well that's what i was feeling while i was trying to get my bearings and determine what exactly i had heard...and then i heard footsteps. I sat up in my bed (more like shot up) and there was a man standing there. I'm not making this up. I shouted something, but have no idea what, and watched as the man turned and high-tailed it out my front door, saying something that may have been an apology. I jumped out of bed, still very very confused at what was actually happening and very scared and started for the front door. i looked out the window and there he stood...on my porch waiting for me to come out. I opened the door a crack and asked who he was.  He explained he was the maintenance man from the property management company i rent from. He apologized and said he had knocked first, but when i didn't answer he let himself in. I kind of let him have it, i won't lie, to which he replied "well i just wanted to let you know your neighbor was having some water drip down his walls so we need to drill some holes outside your window because its coming from your window unit. We're gonna do it from outside, we just didn't want to startle you with the sudden drilling." And you think walking into my apartment unannounced was the answer to not startling me? really? To which i replied "so then why the crap wereyou in my apartment? what if i had been in the shower? what if i had had a gun for protection? why didn't you just call me to let me know what's going on?"  He stuttered out some other apology and then went on his way to go drill his holes. I. Was. Livid. Not to mention, now my head was reeling from being awakened from a deep sleep AND i was now having a full blown panic attack. I quickly called the aforementioned neighbor, who also happens to work for me, and now i'm crying and trying to make sense of it all.  I told him what happened, to which he replied "He did WHAT?!?!?" yeah...exactly. He told me he could be home in 4 minutes...and when i heard him roll up i also heard him get out of his car and start giving the maintenance men what for about scaring me like that. It's kind of nice to know you have a neighbor that watches out for you. By this time it was time for me to go back to work, having had no nap and a panic attack to boot. I went down, quickly spoke to my neighbor who was still fuming on my behalf, and headed out.  I was torn between calling the property manager or showing up to their office in person.  I ultimately decided i could be meaner over the phone. And i needed to be mean. Because they deserved it. I also remembered the woman at the front desk is this sweet lady that i could never yell at in person.  I'm not afraid to admit it, i hid behind the safety of the phone. It was for the greater good, i assure you. I called and let loose my fury over the situation, how scared i was, how i was now having a panic attack, and just how inappropriate and unacceptable this whole thing was. I mean sure, i could understand him coming in if I had been the one to call in the maintenance order and expected them to come sometime this week. But i had NO idea they were coming. No call to say "hey, by the way, your neighbor complained of leaking water coming from upstairs so we may be by to check it, just in case we need to come into your apartment." Is that really too much to ask? And all this time, what i'm still wondering is this...if he didn't need to fix it from inside my apartment, why oh why was he in there? It not like i live in a complex or anything...its an old detached garage with one apartment downstairs (my neighbor) and one upstairs (mine). They obviously knew my neighbor wasn't home, so gee..could that lone car in the driveway possibly belong to the tenant upstairs? Wow, her car is here but she didn't answer the door when i knocked...its probably for a reason. Maybe i should just call her and tell her whats going on. I mean, how hard is that thought process? The lady at the office kept apologizing and said "oh, do you work nights? are you a day sleeper?" to which i replied "yes, but does it matter?"  She then said "well, i guess we'll put you on the 'always call first' list then." yes, you do that lady. Because if this ever happens again it won't be pretty. I still can't get over the situation and how he thought it was okay to just walk in with no forewarning at all. Nobody wants to wake up to find a strange man standing in their bedroom doorway. Nobody. Especially me (if only all of you knew how incredibly paranoid i am about my personal safety.)  Don't worry though, my birthday wasn't completely a wash.  About 10 minutes after i got to work, my neighbor came in looking all serious and said "you gotta come see this, you won't believe it." I thought he had done something bad to his car because of the way he was acting, but when i got out there he popped open his trunk and shouted (happily) "would you just look at that?". I looked in his trunk and saw this...(from Dewey's...yum!)

He also gave me a card, a big hug, and told me that he was glad to have me as a neighbor, boss and friend. I think he knew i needed something special after the fright i had...and it was. Totally made my day (and my crew didn't mind either...after all, i can't eat all that by myself!) For those who don't get the "would you just look at that?" reference, its a phrase we say at work all the time derived from this video.  This is just one of the characters this guy does while his buddy films it from afar. hilarious. Anyway, know what else made my day? A visit from my friend Stefanie! She brought me balloons, a watermelon (in support of my decision to start a raw lifestyle) and some pizza hut coupons. Silly Stef. She also hung around for quite awhile (which i loved) and kept me company while i was stuck at work. I'm so grateful for my loving family and AWESOME friends!