Friday, February 27, 2009

Work and after work

Ok, where to start. A lot of this happened a few days ago... at work, of course. What else do I ever write about? So, like I said, it’s a few days ago and I’m at work, busy with a purpose, at the coffee bar - or The Trough, as Leah refers to it. As I’m slopping the pigs and cleaning up their considerable refuse, a full fledged Coffee Bar Emergency goes into effect. The little tray that sits under the cappuccino machine is full and needs emptying. This tray has no way to drain, so it just sits there and collects cappuccino backwash until it overflows and floods the local area (referred to forthwith as the coffee trough). Anyway, it’s filled to the brim and overflowing, so I pick it up very carefully so that I can take it over to the sink to safely dump it’s contents (there is no sink next to the coffee trough, which is a major pain in the ass). This is a very tedious process, because any slight movement to the left or right will cause the built up backwash to slosh accordingly. Once it starts sloshing, the process is self-reinforcing, which almost always results in the imminent formation of a tiny tidal wave of backwash. So, it’s important to ‘roll the feet’ in order to keep the sloshing at a minimum (the rolling of the feet is a method by which each foot moves smoothly from heel to toe, as if one’s feet were confined to the inside a hula hoop or bicycle tire. Anyone who has ever marched in high school band will know this method, to which Adela can also attest). I use this technique to great effect as I make my way to to the sink, and no self propagating tidal waves of backwash are created.

Anyway, after I empty the mini backwash trough, I’m wiping up the mess it made when I notice that there are little drips forming on the bottom edge of the coffee trough. I wipe these up deftly and thoroughly, but to my amazement and befuddlement, they remain unwiped. I bend down so I that I can examine them more closely. It only takes me a second to realize that little stalactites of coffee sugar are forming along the bottom edge of the coffee trough. There are several (about a dozen in all) and I run my hand along them, noting their smooth and unyielding surfaces. Amazing! I can imagine anthropologists digging up the site of this 7-Eleven in a few million years and discovering fully formed coffee stalactites, measuring several meters in length. I relate my discovery to Leah and Ben, who agree enthusiastically with my theory. Since that day, I’ve been thinking about writing a dissertation on it so I can get into graduate school.

Later that day, Leah presented me with what can only be described as a ‘rope of receipts’. In effect, it consisted of about 20 receipts which had been spit out consecutively by the receipt printer. They were all still attached at the corners because when they’re spit out, the machine doesn't cut them apart completely (the only reason I can think of for why the brand new receipt printer won't cut completely through each receipt is because whoever invented it must wanted to leave something for the cashier to do). So anyway. Leah then approached me and, to my utter joy, she gently draped this receipt chain around my neck. I proudly connected the two ends, transforming it into a bona fide necklace of 7-Eleven receipts. As several customers stood transfixed, watching with affectionate smiles as this touching scene unfolded, the one closest to us shouted unabashedly: “Hey, you just got lei'd!”

Earlier this week, I had noticed that my right front tire was getting low on air, and per my usual habit of procrastination, I promptly forgot about it. This caused me great worry and distress later when Leah was borrowing my car. I spent what seemed like an eternity imagining that tire popping and causing a horrific wreck, resulting in her severe injury or even death. It was pure torture. I was relieved beyond description when she survived unscathed. So anyway, guess what? The tire finally went completely flat the other day at work. Several people told me about it, so I a used a can of Fix-A-Flat to fix that flat after work. Now the flat’s fixed and I don’t have to worry about Leah dying horribly anymore.

Let’s see, what next... oh yes. Yesterday was an extremely good day, I've been told. As many of you know, I recently completed Ass. Management training at 7-Eleven and am due an imminent raise as a result. Terry, who had been taking his sweet time, apparently had finally gotten around to handing my paperwork over to his boss Buno, as I was duly informed that I would be receiving a raise of one dollar an hour. He qualified this by telling me ‘not to get my hopes up’. Well, I certainly got my hopes up, only to have them dashed by Ryan today. So there I was, hopes all up and everything, and I told Ryan what Terry had told me about my dollar an hour raise. Instead of replying with an envious congratulations, Ryan instead told me that I was getting jiped. He said that his brother-in-law had been making $11.50 an hour when he was an assistant manager, and that his sister had made $14.00 an hour at one point doing the same job. I did a quick mental calculation: at my present rate of $8.70 an hour, a dollar an hour raise would move me up to $9.70 an hour. Not even 10 dollars an hour... wait though, I thought to myself, that doesn’t include the performance review raise which I am also due. I breathed a sigh of relief and then asked Ryan when he thought we could expect that particular raise. He told me that we should be getting it soon; either by the end of February or sometime in early March. I asked him how much I could probably expect, imagining an optimistic 70 cents; the same as my last raise. With a 70 cent raise, stacked on top of a dollar an hour raise, I would be making about $10.50 an hour. Not so bad. So, Ryan then said that his last performance review raise was only about 20 cents. Mother F’er. Ok, so I wouldn’t let it get me down, I'll still be getting a fairly large raise.

I received another tidbit of good news yesterday. NCO, the collection agency which handles my student loans, told me that I would be out of default soon. I called them today and it was explained to me that I would only be owing one more payment, after which I would be finished with the initial phase of my payment program. Apparently, my loan is to be sold to another company, who I will continue payments with after March, at which time my loans will then be officially out of default and taken off of my credit report. This means that if I want to, I could actually apply for loans now and get them in time to start school this fall. I haven’t decided what I want to do, but this is f’ing-A news. Yee Haw!

Oh yeah. Last night, Leah and I decided to get our ears pierced. We went to a place called Ace Tattoos and Piercings and after an interminable wait, during which time I attempted to talk Leah out of it (yeah, I’m a wimp. Oh, and I also have a needle phobia. But hell, I’ve gotten my ears pierced several times before... however, this time was going to be different). She would not be budged, so we both got cartilage piercings at the tops of our left ears. I'd heard before that cartilage piercings were extremely painful, and I watched intently as Leah was getting hers pierced. However, I purposefully didn’t look at the needle as it went in, so I had no idea what kind of needle it was or how big (seeing that might have resulted in me up-chucking a lot of gross 7-Eleven food all over the floor of Aces Tattoos and Piercings). So, the chick who worked there... Dorian, I think... sat Leah down on the couch and drew a spot on her ear where she was going to put the needle through. Leah said that she flinched (I didn’t notice) when she did this, thinking that the tip of the marker was the needle. When the spot for the piercing was approved, Dorian asked Leah if she wanted a countdown. Leah replied in the negative, and then her ear was promptly pierced and a hoop was inserted. Again, I didn’t see her flinch, so my confidence grew. I was next, and as I sat up on the couch, I balled my hands into tight fists on my lap. Dorian went through the same process with me, and I approved the piercing site, just like Leah. I too was asked if I preferred a countdown, but for some reason, having it said to me made me quite nervous. Why would they ask if I wanted a countdown, unless the pain was interminably severe? I imagined a white hot poker being shoved through my cartilage and I stared straight ahead, not blinking, and waited. SHNICK! The needle went through. It hurt, but not that bad. Then the hoop was shoved in. That hurt a little more. Then we were finished. At this point, Dorian asked if I was ok. I replied that I was, and she said she was concerned because I hadn’t blinked during the entire several minutes that I was seated on the piercing couch. Apparently, this is a reaction she is used to, and I’m thinking that it represents extreme petrification with fear in the one at the business end of the needle. So, Leah and I got out of there, giddy with our new ear piercings, and we are now proudly attached at the ears.