Real, Actual, Literal Closing Time

I’m thirty-eight years old, and I’ve never been laid off from a job.

But this morning my manager called me with some bad news: the company is closing our store next month. We have less than four weeks left of business and one week of cleanup/shipping.

I am heartbroken over this. Have I told you lately how much I love my job?

I love my job.

Sure, during the holiday season, the hours are long and the pay isn’t competitive, but I’m used to working places where the hours are long and the pay isn’t competitive. Like food service and healthcare.

Sure, during most of the rest of the year, business is slow and I can occasionally get bored to tears. But where is that not true at least once in a while?

There’s a laundry list of bad things about the company I work for, but most of those don’t affect me that much–the real reason I didn’t go into management. On the other hand, I was thinking that maybe it was time that I did, and whenever our current assistant manager had enough and hit the road I might take the assessment test again and maybe I might pass it this time.

No chance for that now, because the only reason I was willing to do that was my manager. He’s seriously theĀ  best manager I’ve ever had. He appreciates me. He’s considerate. He does his job. He’s a nice, friendly guy.

And as much as it sucks for me that we’re closing, it’s a minor inconvenience in the grand scale of things. I’m more concerned for my awesome manager. He’s been treated like crap by this company for the past eight years and he’s stayed around to take it, and now they’re kicking him to the curb without even a so long, and thanks for all the fish. He might not even get paid for his accrued vacation time; he hasn’t received an answer on that one yet.

Sucks.

All I can do now is cross my fingers that they’ve finally closed enough stores in our district for it to be broken up and absorbed by the surrounding districts, and our poor-excuse-for-a-human-being district manager will also be out of a job.

Because we know that it was ultimately his decision to close our store instead of the one a few miles away that’s doing worse on sales and service and loss prevention and pretty much anything and everything that really counts in retail. Because he likes that manager better than he likes my manager. Because she’s been sucking up for the past two months and we got no recognition for being the only store to make our sales goal three days before Christmas.

It’s bullshit, and we’re all pretty upset about it.

And while I’m lucky enough to not be left scrambling for a job to pay my bills when our tarps are locked for the last time, I’m still stuck with a major life decision to make.

What do I do now? Do I start an actual career? Do I go out on the limb of entrepreneurship? I don’t know. I just don’t know. But I have a little bit of time to think about it.

Then again, I could simply do what I excel at: take the next part time job that falls in my lap, and roll with the punches.

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I’m really gonna miss this wreck.


Pressure

burning grinding aching pain
like sand in my eyes
or all my lashes turned inwards
tears dripping off my face
eyes puffing, impaired vision
the ugly crying
the donkey brays

sometimes I hate myself


A Lovely Saturday Evening

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Everyone left today. It was glorious. My husband went to work and my mother took a nap and it was just me and the cats, who were snoozing merrily. So I sat at the dining room table all by myself, and I practiced calligraphy and listened to ambient music for an hour.

And then I made meatloaf and the broccoli and cheese sauce that I forgot to make on Thanksgiving. It was delicious.


I Can’t Forget

I first heard of Leonard Cohen on Nirvana’s album, In Utero, in 1993. There was a single line in Pennyroyal Tea: Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld, so I can sigh eternally. I didn’t know what that meant, and it wasn’t like I could google it then. It remained a mystery for a couple of years, until his songs on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack blew me away.

I bought the Natural Born Killers soundtrack.

I bought Leonard Cohen’s album I’m Your Man.

And I bought his big blue book, Stranger Music.

That book was my constant companion for a solid eight years. It still rested contentedly on my shelf, until I pulled it out an hour ago, to run my fingers down its spine, greeting an old friend. I flipped to the Taco Bell receiptĀ  faded to near-illegibility that still marks the page of Owning Everything, and I read the poem that I know so well once more, and I cried. I flipped forward to the Wal-Mart receipt for kitty litter from 2000 to read You Do Not Have to Love Me, and my heart broke anew.

Leonard Cohen was a magic man. He was like Shakespeare to me; everyone should know him and be forced to read him and listen and perform him in high school until at least someone of them loved him like I do.

But he wasn’t like Shakespeare; he was alive. A living breathing, force of nature, like the wind and the tides. And now he isn’t.

I remember when Frank Sinatra died in 1998, and one of the nurses that I worked with wore a black armband for a week. No one else was that worked up about it; it seemed an affectation.

But now I understand.

I understand.

Rest in peace, Leonard Cohen.

 


On Behalf of My Fellow Americans

Dear rest of the world,

Sorry so many of us are stupid.

Love, April


Almost There

I am now officially less than 5k away from winning NaNoWriMo. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I did it in a week. Will have done it? Whatever. My word count is at 45,179 and I haven’t written less than 5k a day yet, so unless something untoward happens, god forbid, I think I’ve got it in the bag.

I have a lot more story to tell after 50k, so I’ll be continuing, but this year has been a push to get there just to see how fast I can do it when I have a solid idea and a page of notes. It’s been an experience, I’ll say that.

Wait a second. Am I seriously writing a NaNo wrap up post on November freaking 6??

Yes. Yes I am.

One week. Holy crap.

So hopefully, on Tuesday we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming around these here parts since I won’t feel that I’m taking anything away from pouring my entire heart and soul into finishing a rough draft ASAP.