Friday, October 30, 2009

The Little Shop Of Horrors

This afternoon, after a successful shopping trip, I went to get my hair cut. When I first started going to this place, it was insanely convenient, because it was directly across the hall from my apartment. Two apartments later, I still return, because the Russian lady does a pretty swell job, and is funny and nice, and the place is cheap. But sometimes, I get the Lebanese woman, and she's a little more annoying, a whole lot louder, does a slightly worse job, and charges a little more. Weak!

So today I arrived, and there were two young Indian brothers in the chairs, with their father watching every snip. The pile of hair on the floor at the end of it all was insanity, and quite frankly, both boys still had too much hair on their heads. After the family left, it was just me and the two cutters. But lets rewind.

While waiting for my turn, I got to thinking... I am a grown man. This hair cutting place is in an apartment building. It hasn't seen a renovation since at least 1991. Every time I go there, the Lebanese woman spends copious amounts of time chatting to her family on the phone, to the point that I know the names of her family members. I know their jobs. I know where they live and what they're doing.

Now, I do like the Russian lady, but I'm never guaranteed to get her cutting my hair. And its cheap, but I'm sure a trim can't cost that much money anywhere. And today, the Lebanese woman was wearing a hat. First of all, a hair stylist wearing a hat is a terrible sign. Its even worse than one who shaves their head. Still, its not even just bad that she was wearing a hat. Where did she GET that hat, you ask? Well, I'm not a costume designer, but its pretty safe to say that she stole it after beating up Blossom.

Poor, poor Blossom.

Eventually, the family left, and suddenly there were two empty chairs. The Russian walked away into the other room, and I was nervous. But then the phone rang, and the Lebanese woman had a LENGTHY conversation with her son about getting a new muffler put on the car. By the time she had gotten him off the phone, the husband was calling about receiving a new job offer, but it is out of town. Oh the dilemmas!

Thankfully, the Russian came back and I hopped in her chair. We started off with the quick rundown of what I wanted [including a beard trim, because I have decided I'm worth such luxury] and then talk about school, etc. etc. And then, the two ladies broke into some sort of racist comedy routine. Now, I think they covered every ethnicity, and it was really more observations of what they've encountered from clients, but still! Come on! And then, we heard every detail that I'd missed from the conversation about the husband's potential new job. And then, after asking the Russian how her recent trip to Russia was, I got a list of all the places the she has been. Like, every country, every city, and every truck stop town along the way.

It was a really bizarre hair cutting experience, and I've been left wondering if I should upgrade to a classier establishment. I've also never had my hair cut by a male before, and think that would be a nifty experience. But I do look good when the Russian does it...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Job I Love

The store I work at has been without a general manager for the past few months, so it has become a huge disaster, and has been failing on all five categories of the customer experience survey... until I returned.

A lot of my shifts have been working in the fitting rooms, which I freaking LOVE doing, and many people dislike [that works well for me getting what I want]. And it just so happens that a I've been back to the store for 1.5 weeks, and the past week's survey had customers rating their fitting room experiences positively. Now, I'm not saying that I'm the ONLY reason that we've finally got one category back on the good side of things, but well, it was failing before me, and thriving after me. Just sayin'.

So why do I love the fitting rooms? Its all about the people, yo! If I'm shopping, I hate store employees who come up to me asking if I need anything... therefore, if I'm working on the sales floor, I don't want to bother customers with information about the latest sale on yoga pants. I certainly don't want the sweeping and bathroom cleaning job, and I've already put in my cashier time at No Frills. Stocking shelves is fine, but the amount of identical womens' shirts with only slight variations to differentiate them drives me nuts.

Working in the fitting rooms, I know that people are prepared to talk to me. They come to me. I get to greet my visitors. I get to show them to their rooms. I get to offer my help. I get to help them decide if they look good or not [I do NOT think they should buy something if it doesn't look great!] And I'm pretty awesome at organizing and folding. Unlike most of my coworkers, I can talk and fold at the same time, and my folds are spectacular.

In the past week, I had the pleasure of the following:
-Watching a wee small child joyfully trying on Halloween costumes with her dad. And I could tell he was a good dad.
-Joking around with a guy while his brother tried on clothes. We tricked him into trying on a girl's shirt. Good times.
-Stopping a guy from stealing an entire backpack full of clothes. Screw you, bud.
-Telling a middle-aged woman that she looked great in those size 2 jeans, after she told me she'd recently lost 65 lbs. She seemed so unsure, but hopefully I helped her realize that she can truly pull them off just like she once did.

And so many more awesome experiences with people trying on clothes. Who knew something so simple [and sometimes so fast-paced] could be such a positive experience!?

Tomorrow, we finally get a new general manager. I'll need to pull him aside and have a little chat about keeping me firmly planted in the fitting rooms. I don't think he'll regret it. He needs something constant and successful in his quest to bring the store back to some level of normalcy!

The Flashbacks: 2005 pt. 6/7

November. My favourite month. And 2005 had a lot to offer!

I was lucky enough to catch the 5th last Belvedere concert EVER, at Babylon. I also ran into my cousin Jordan there, who is the person who introduced me to them in the first place. During the show, some loser picked a fight with him and Jordan kicked his ass. Good times.

I spent my birthday in Renfrew, but when I got back to rez, my floormates had decorated my room. That was nice. I felt good.

On Remembrance Day, I went to the ceremony downtown, then wandered around taking some pictures, including this one of the Peace Tower in a puddle, which I love.

That night, Lindsay and Jacey came from Kingston to spend the weekend, and to celebrate my birthday [which was the week before]. That night, we dressed up and went to the casino, because we thought it would be fun to be all classy, and it totally was. Also, Adam wanted to dress up to be in a picture with us, so he did.

The next night, we joined Danielle, Monica and Anne...

...to take in the Planet Smashers [and Wide Load] concert in the uOttawa parking lot. It was a little chilly and a lot of fun, and I gladly saw them again this past August in Montreal with Blink 182.

The view from my room in rez was so beautiful. I took pictures way too often.

In early December, I spent a night in the common room baking Christmas cookies with Jess M. and Emilie. It was great fun!

Anne joined us later as well. She was quite high on life that night!

The next day, Anne sobered up and we took Steph with us to the Santa Claus Parade. It was great, although the children beside us got most of the candy. Jerks.

Finally, after Lars was gone home after his exams, I had some time to kill before mine finished, so Pam visited from Montreal for a day or two. Yay!

Next week is what you've all been waiting for... the end of the 2005 posts!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Train House

For lunch, I ate the last of my Thanksgiving leftovers. I kind of forgot about them. They were still delicious. They also reminded me that I'm lazy, and I still never got those pictures on here. Well folks, your wait is over!

Upon arriving in town on Saturday, I took the driver's seat of Momma's new car. It is a lot smaller than her old one. Very peppy. And very small. I needed to see what horror they had inflicted on the town water tower. White paint. Awful. Where's the blue? Where's the fun? Where's the beef? [NOTE: We later went to lunch at Wendy's. 5 points for tying it all together.]

On the horrors of Renfrew tour, I also got to witness for myself the hole in my life where the Renfrew Mall used to be. The sad part is that I knew it was going to be torn down some day, so I wanted to get in there and take some pictures of the place. Oh well. Bye bye mall... you rocked. Stupid Wal*Mart.

That night, I had people over to Momma's for drinking and board game fun. And it WAS fun. Then we headed out for a good old fashioned Renfrew-style pub crawl [we even went to Bobsledz for my first time! It was mediocre!] I We have now is the point on the post where I make an executive decision to not post the 28 pictures I took at the bars that night. Just imagine a whole bunch of pictures of me standing beside 1-3 of my friends or family members that I hadn't seen in a long time, and was therefore happy to see and NEEDED to be photographed with. If you truly want to see, I can send the pics to you. Just ask!

In chronological order, the people are as follows: Stephanie, Jenny, Lindsay, Alison, Alexi, Haley [some New Zealand chick], Darryl, Rebecca F., Kristin, Rebecca D., Eric, Bounsavanh, Natalie, Genevieve, Other Natalie, Jessica, Vanessa, Jacey, Nick, Ryan and Brandon. This of course does not include all the people in the blurry pics I deleted, and all the people who I didn't manage to photograph. Oh my.

After the bar, Athena was sad. She also violated the cardinal post-bar Subway rule. She hoarded a table for non-eating purposes, ruining the flow of eat and get out, which is timed perfectly for all tables to be full at all times, and everyone had a place to sit and eat. Stupid Athena!

Sunday involved Thanksgiving dinner with mom's extended family at my aunt Frances' house. It was delightful.

Monday morning, we woke up early and drove to Foymount to go to the Sierra Designs factory store so Alison could get a new winter coat. We then made several stops along the way home, because we were having fun and wanted to pack in lots of fun things. On the drive, we probably listened to "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas about 50 times. No lies. What fun it was! And the singing!

We stopped in at Whispering Pines trailer park to see the pretty leaves [not on the pines, obviously] and to take this BEAUTIFUL photo of our BEAUTIFUL family. See those smiles? That's right... they're genuine!

We all took a turn on the swings. Even Momma, who was all 'lets hurry and not make any stops and get home'. hehe

And we played on this climby thing.

And we had this random 'dance party' on this 'stage'.

Then on the way home, we drove by this amazing house which required turning back. We thought it may be mini putt, or a crazy store or something. What it was, was an old train station that then became a bar that then became an antique store than then became a house. A house for a clearly eccentric old couple. A couple who was entertaining Thanksgiving guests. But they were used to people stopping, so it was ok. Oh, and the husband had expressed interest in turning it into a mini putt place, so we were almost right. Weirdos.

We took a wee little drive through Eganville.

Then when we got back to town, we needed even more ways to prolong the trip home, now that we were just moments away. We stopped at Kingburger for milkshakes, which we took down to the swinging bridge. Alison and Momma did a dance routine.

Darryl and I just DRANK! MAZEL TOV!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Flashbacks: 2005 pt. 5/7

Oh, how timely. Its October 2009, and this post comes from October 2005. Anyone who doesn't care what I was doing exactly four years ago can go to hell. But please stay and read first. Everyone loves pictures!

Oh look, its Natalie and one of the twins at the Douglas Hotel. This one is possibly Nathan, since he's her boyfriend, but you never know.

And here's Kyle and Genevieve [my super special birthday buddy!].

And me with Laura. We were all there [along with many more people in a larger room] to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary. It was great fun, until I left for a party at Jodie's which was way into full swing when I arrived. Traci was already off to bed. All the pictures from that event are blurry.

Oh, and here's Andrew pushing Jennifer away. I guess it was foreshadowing.

Here's me not having any male friends at Tim Horton's the next day.

Sheena was rockin' it that night.

As per Renfrew tradition, when you are done at Tim Horton's, you head across town to then hang out at the OTHER Tim Horton's. At least Rebecca and Lindsay wanted to come with me.

I took a picture of Jessie working, but its such a hideous picture that I wont show it here. But this is her after work is all done.

Tell me... is Lindsay more embarrassing while showing off her pit stains?

Or when she's got cellphone antennae?

Eventually, Thanksgiving weekend had to end, and I was back to Ottawa. I'm pretty sure my neighbour Sumaiyah spent several days trapped within her own mess.

Occasionally during first year, I hung out with Steve and his roommates in Brooks rez. We had poker nights, and he cooked us food. Mmm, perogies.

One night, Elyse and Joe came to visit. [Sorry to Elyse if this picture offends her]. It looks like my arm is super long and reaching all the way to Joe. Classic!

Jessi, one of my floormates, was on hand for that night's festivities [it seemed like no one else was] so we baked not one, but TWO pans of banana bread! Mmm.

On Halloween weekend, Monica dropped by to show off her costume, which consisted of cow ears. Even my No Frills employee costume was better than ears! lol

But, in a crazy turn of events, I had TWO costumes that year, on two separate days, rather than my usual zero costumes. Gabby, Jess D. and I dressed as science students in order to join in the Halloween walk to get candy from the Prime Minister and the Governor General. It wasn't really worth the lengthy walk candy-wise, but we had fun. It should be noted that while me dressing as a science student was a costume, the other two dressing as they normally would a couple times per week was not.

Next week, we get one step closer to the end of this lengthy, lengthy year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Fun-Treal

Thursday morning, I was forced to wake up ridiculously early for the third time in a week. 22 minutes later, I got out of bed, and slowly got ready to leave. Of course, Darryl was ready quickly. I'm really slow. If I had only spent 21 extra minutes in bed, we wouldn't have missed the bus. We picked a new route, and still made it to the Greyhound station with a little time to spare. I got sat in the seat in front of Darryl, and we were off to Montreal!

We spent the afternoon shopping on Ste. Catherine, then headed over to the Delta hotel where we got a sweet deal by using Hotwire.com which I completely endorse.

We napped.

We strolled on down to Bofinger which is the greatest restaurant ever, and I can't seem to go to Montreal without eating there, since the promised Ottawa location still hasn't happened. After a brisket burger with mac and cheese, we hiked down to the east end of the street to the wee little Le Savoy @ Metropolis. Two lame-o boys played acoustic guitars and thought there were the coolest thing in the world.

Then Jay Brannan came out and was his TOTALLY AWESOME self. If you ever have the chance, you should go see him. He's a great singer/songwriter, cute, and funny. And he's not that popular, so he's willing to talk to you and take pictures with you after.

Like this one!

Sadly, Jay didn't invite us to become his new best friends in the whole wide world [although he DID like my hat!] so we trekked back to the west side and hung out at Second Cup before calling it a night. We wanted to see a movie, but apparently Montreal's theatres close before Ottawa's, which is bizarre.

Friday morning, we slept in, took our sweet time [see: I took my sweet time] getting ready, and just made the noon check-out time.

We ate brunch at Eggspectation, which is a place I'd probably never eat at in Ottawa, but things are better in Montreal. I had a delicious omelet... I even enjoyed the avocado that was on it! Sadly, my brain wasn't in French mode, so reading the large menu was a bit difficult and I just made Darryl read everything to me haha.

Next, we went to the Contemporary Art Museum, which was a total letdown. Enough said. Then we walked all the way to the gay village which was a total letdown. Enough said. Then, we took the metro out to the Olympic Park, which was only a partial letdown.

The funicular was closed for maintenance or something, so we couldn't go up, which was the whole reason I took Darryl there, since everyone loves an elevator and a view. Instead, we had a private tour of Olympic Stadium. That place is in rough shape! But we learned.

We left the Olympic Park to go back downtown to meet Pam. She took us on a wild goose chase to a sub restaurant named Dagwood's which was friggin' delicious. Key lime cookies? Hell yes! Eventually we got back on the bus, and my BlackBerry's dying battery lasted just long enough for me to listen to Jay Brannan songs all the way back to Ottawa. It was a good pre-weekend.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Go Backs

Working at Old Navy, when there were items that customers took to the dressing rooms, but decided not to buy, they were hung on a rack. When the rack was full, someone would drag it around the store, putting everything back on the shelves they came from. See: go backs.

[10 points if you see where this is going.]

When I left Old Navy abruptly, my manager told me that if things didn't work out with my job at Patty Boland's, to come back and talk to her.

[2 points if you see where this is going now.]

When I walked into Old Navy today, I was fairly nervous. Almost three months later, who wants to go crawling back to their old job? Its a bit embarrassing. Obviously I was relieved when the manager saw me and said "PLEASE tell me you're coming back to work for me."

That's all we needed. She shouted her excitement from the rooftops. They offered me hours. Lots of them. [Hopefully it will stay that way]. I was even still in the system, receiving blank schedules every week for three months via email, so a few clicks later, I was back in the system. I worked my 'first' shift tonight.

After securing my new old Old Navy job, I headed home to call Patty Boland's. At this point, all they deserved from me was a phone call. I got the head bouncer on the phone, told him to tell my douche bag of a boss that I quit, and after his stunned response, that was it.

No longer will I have to deal with a boss who treats me like crap and tries to screw me with my schedule. No longer will I work at a job where I never have a chance to get a night off because there's no one to replace me. No longer will I miss out on every social event, on spending time with my friends and Darryl, on getting regular sleep.

Sure, I'll miss the free food and booze, and the many coworkers that I did enjoy. But that's a small price to pay for not dealing with a boss who made me VERY unhappy. And that's hard to do to me.

The manager at Old Navy told me she knew I'd return someday. I told her I knew I would too. I knew it the day I left. I liked working there, and I'm excited to be back.

As for Patty Boland's? The kitchen is already understaffed, and there's no one to fill in as dishwasher. And I don't care. The kitchen manager put himself in a vulnerable position by forcing people to quit, or firing people left and right, and he still treated the remaining staff like crap. More people will leave.

During the 80 days I worked there, an employee left every 4 days. I give my replacement two months.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Flashbacks: 2005 pt. 4/7

I think my high school graduation is the final appearance of crappy scanned pictures. Eventually, even Momma got a digital camera.

Pre-ceremony, we have Kayla [the moron who took a group photo of a chair at prom], Lindsay, Rebecca N. and Jacey.

And me with Jessica and Ashley A.

And look! Its Rebecca! It was totally hot that day, being June and all, and I wanted to wear shorts but my mom wouldn't let me. Other people were totally wearing them. But I did get away with my awesome yellow and red Vans shoes, which matched my Las Vegas belt buckle.

Thankfully the ceremony only lasted like 3 hours at hotness. No one tripped across the stage. Hugs all around. Off to the lower cafeteria for snacks and Pepsi and whatnot. In this picture, we have MegH, Me, Keller, Mando, Josh and Jackson. I'm pretty sure that in this picture, at this point in time, no one is really friends with more than one other person in the picture HAHA ... well I guess other than Mando.

I don't know why this happened, but I like it.

Me with Ashley, who kind of looks like crap compared to her usual self. See that strand of hair? Completely out of place. HAH

Then, my digital camera broke, after just 6 months, so I sent it to Futureshop to get it fixed under the warranty. That was June, and they said two weeks. In Setember, I moved to Ottawa for university, and called them being all WHERE THE HELL IS MY CAMERA? And they said I had to come in and get a new one. Thanks for telling me that forever ago. Never buy an HP camera.

Anyway, early in the rez days, we played a 17 hour Monopoly game, which I totally eventually won.

This was my neighbour, Candice.

And my roommate Lars! Oh boy, did we ever not get along well most of the time! Just think of the angry blogs I could have written about this boy!

Jess D. and Adam lived on my floor, on the Science kids end. Losers. hehe

My half of the room was pretty sweet, complete with high bed and sectioned off desk area, so people couldn't get too close to me HAH. You could also crawl under the bed. Everyone loves a good fort.

I went on many late night adventures with Nicole and Lars in the early days. Especially to explore school construction zones haha. [NOTE: this is in an elevator, not a construction zone].

Anne and I took a gander at our favourite of the 5 big scary people, who are sadly gone now. Possibly because people were always covering the shirtless jungle guy with food. I'll never forget that the plaque said this girl was Candace Wood.

This girl, Anna, lived on my floor. As you can tell, her life was a MySpace profile. She called herself Ania, and claimed that she was baptized by the pope.

This is Lucy. She was pretty cool. But she lived all the way on the other side of the floor. So far away! lol

And here I am with Jess, when we cleaned her disgusting messy room, pretending to be on Trading Spaces, which made little sense, since she was keeping the same space and doing most of her own cleaning. I helped her clean every month or so, since she was a disaster. Her roommate Trista wasn't there that night, so we played with her stuff. It was great fun.

Next week? All that October 2005 had to offer!