April 6th, 2014

#4186: I forgot the anniversary again.

The Fungus had its eighth anniversary on Thursday, and I was too busy talking turkey to remember this Important and Popular Fact.

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Work Saturday was exactly as hellacious as I'd expected it to be. I don't know what sinister force it is that keeps me from getting to sleep when I have to get up early in the morning, but I got perhaps two and a half hours' worth of sleep when I had to be at work at 7 AM for a store-wide team meeting, and then be back at the store at 2:30 for the closing shift. I was able to get a little nap between morning and afternoon shifts, but it was not nearly enough sleep. To make matters worse I was the only Geek present from 4 PM onward, and I was so busy it seemed like I would never have a moment to sit down or take a leak.

However, I dealt with the last client at 8:30, and then was able to move on to closing activities. I was out of there by 9:15, and once I'd gotten home, changed, and ate the last of the cornbread from Thu's dinner, I went to bed.

Wife woke me up when she got home from work, but that was at least 1.5 more hours of sleep. Whee!

* * *

Finally having had enough of the chairs in the computer room, Mrs. Fungus bought a couple of new chairs. Ikea, $60 each, but they'll do handsomely until we can afford better.

My chair was a disaster. The chair I bought in 2011 turned out not to be a very good investment, since it was made pretty badly. Besides the side bolster breaking, the pneumatic piston collapsed, the base cracked, and the padding had given out--I paid about $100 for a $130 chair and it wasn't worth even the sale price, not with longevity like that.

Mrs. Fungus' chair was in no better shape. It's older than she is, creaks whenever it moves, and in general had seen its day.

It took me perhaps 20 minutes to assemble both chairs, and now we're sitting in chairs that don't creak, squeak, squeal, or threaten spontaneous disassembly.

The nice thing is, they include both an allen wrench and a standard screwdriver bit in the correct allen size, so if you have a power screwdriver or something you don't have to ruin your wrists with the allen wrench. That saved me a lot of time; I used my power driver to run the screws in, then gave 'em a final torque with the allen wrench.

The clever bit: when I opened up the first one, I was briefly dismayed to see that all we had was the seat, the pedestal, the piston, the hardware, and the back, nothing else...until my fatigue-fogged brain figured out that the sheet was telling me that the rest of the hardware was inside the seat back. Right on top of everything in the box is a sheet of paper showing you that you unzip the upholstery on the back of the seat, and out comes the wheels, the parts for the base, and the arms. That impressed the hell out of me: not only do they save on packing materials, but the actual box is smaller and you can fit more of them in a given volume.

Of course the new chair is going to take some getting used to, but I'm not complaining. My wife--as always--had an excellent idea.

* * *

One week from today is Palm Sunday, and in two weeks it'll be Easter. On the plus side?

We just finished our first week of 2014 where it didn't snow. Finally. It took us until the fourteenth week of the year to have one where there was no snow anytime during the week. March 30-April 5, no snow.

I stepped out of work tonight and heard peepers, and while driving home heard them in the usual place, which was very nice.

* * *

I heard, at the meeting today, that some employees of our store have had the catalytic convertors stolen from their cars.


Now, I know why people do that; you can get about $30 for a catalytic convertor (or more) from a scrapyard. It only takes a few minutes with a $5 tool to get it off most vehicles and it doesn't take much in the way of brains, either.

That explains why nothing is ever said to anyone about parking close to the store; I've noticed that many employees park much closer to the building than is typical for retail employees. Under most circumstances retail employees are required to park a certain distance from the building, but if people have had their vehicles vandalized by morons out for a quick buck--

So now I get to worry about going out to the Jeep some evening and VAROOOM. I would hate that, because cats don't grow on trees. I could substitute a straight pipe for a few months, but in August of this year I'll have to get 'er smogged again, and the truck will (probably) fail without a cat.

The practice of doing shift swaps informally has been ended. I was kind of wondering how long that would be allowed to continue, just because it plays Hob with management's ability to schedule people and track their work performance. On the one hand I'm glad of it; on the other I realize that it'll be that much harder for me to pick up extra shifts now. On the gripping hand, if I keep having to cover the entire precinct by myself for 5-6 hours at a time I'm not going to want to pick up more shifts--that shit's exhausting, particularly when you can't stop standing/moving/thinking/talking for even two minutes because there's a huge line of clients waiting to talk to you.

I know: "Labor laws! They have to give you a 15-minute break after four hours!" And I'm part-time, and usually not scheduled on for more than 7 hours per shift, and the laws get a lot more flexible when you're not working five full 8-hour shifts a week. And it's the shittiest economy since 1930 and I'm not in any position to be picky.

And I like my job, anyway. Besides, I'm not the kind of person who spends his shift looking forward to the next break period.

I do, however, like to be able to slow down for a few minutes and sit after running at full speed for several hours. That's the hard part to manage in this situation and this environment, and it's not like it's anyone's fault. Certainly there is no evil mastermind looking at people in my work group and saying, "Okay, how can we really squeeze them?" We have a certain amount of work that needs to be done, and we're only budgeted a certain number of hours to get it done; we have to make do with what we have, and sometimes that means we have to work harder than we'd like to.

* * *

Apropos of really nothing in particular I'm reminded of the guy who showed up at the store one afternoon, telling me that he wanted to check on the status of his application. I tried telling him that it was all handled by district HR, not at the store level, but he insisted on telling me about his certifications and other qualifications, and explained to me that he wanted to fix computers and not work the counter.

Gee, I thought, don't we all?

He came off as arrogant, almost condescending, which didn't help; he wasn't willing to listen to what I had to say, and spoke right over me when he'd decided he'd heard enough. Why on Earth he thought that would help him is beyond me. It's like, Dude, you don't know me from Adam. For all you know, I'm the guy with the power to hire and fire, and even if I were and was desperate for a qualified tech YOU WOULD NOT BE HIM based solely on the way you approached this conversation. A guy like that is going to piss people off, and if you piss off customers that does not go over very well at the district level. I certainly wouldn't want to be in the position of having to clean up some self-entitled prick's messes all the damned time.

* * *

Anyway, it's almost 4:30 AM and I need to be at work in nine hours, so...yeah. *sigh*


It's a nice sunny spring day outside! Instead of going to Best Buy and demanding that I spend two hours helping you set up a Skype account (and getting pissy when I try to do anything else at the same time because there are five other people waiting for help and I'm trying to keep the line from running right out the f-ing door).

Manager, afterwards: "You can ask the folks in back for help, you know." Sure. But two months or six weeks later someone is complaining about me not being able to handle my job, and I get attitude from people when I do ask for help. There's a definite air of why do I have to go out there and help you? that I always get whenever I go in back, even when it's to fetch the other person who is scheduled to be working the counter.

The real pisser was Friday night, when the guy that was supposed to start his shift at 5 sauntered in just after 5 not ready for work, took about 20 minutes to put on his shirt and tie, and then disappeared for about another forty minutes, to come back at 6 with a box of wings from Hooters. (But of course he punched in as soon as he got there.) That kind of horseshit drives me buggy, especially because I'd been running at full speed from the time I got there at 3, hadn't even had time to sit down, and had been forced to make time to take a leak by telling a client, "Look, I'll be right back," and high-tailing it for the can, which is kind of a no-no--but what am I supposed to do, piss my pants?

Today was made worse by the fact that the schedule had changed. The schedule is printed and posted, but subject to change, so we're supposed to check the on-line schedule periodically as it takes precedence. The person scheduled to be in this morning (on paper) was not scheduled to be in (on computer) and realized this about the time I got there, so she took off a little while after I arrived, leaving me with no help at all up front. That was fine until about 4-ish, when the shit started hitting the fan, and Mr. Skype showed up, leaving me with a nice big line of people, most of whom were exceedlingly patient and very nice about it. I was finally done with clients about 7 PM, so I could actually start doing the closing tasks: sweeping, cleaning, taking care of the shipping, writing a closing e-mail to the team, and so on.

...but something snapped and I said to myself, Fuck it. I realized that couldn't do the shipping because we're out of the appropriate size boxes, as usual, and most of the stuff needs to go out via UPS. (I am not going to pack a 7" tablet in a box meant for a desktop computer. NO. And it won't fit in a cell phone box. So....) There was one thing that went via a company truck and I didn't bother with it. I didn't do any of it; I finished doing the password reset I'd started at three fucking forty five PM and ran my closed tickets through POS, but otherwise I didn't do any closing tasks. And when the closing manager said, "You guys can leave," I took it to mean I could leave, too (although I was just finishing the password reset, so I stayed a bit longer).

Anyone who doesn't like it can piss up a rope. If so-and-so can go get Hooters on company time--

* * *

Today, though, I realized something that bordered on epiphany: I can plug one of the earpieces for the walkie-talkies into the headphone jack on my phone and have it pipe good music into one ear. The plug for the headset has a 1/8" plug for the earpiece and a smaller one (3/32"?) for the mic, and the spacing is just wide enough that I can plug the 1/8" into my phone's headphone jack and leave the mic plug disconnected and hanging off the side.

* * *

In the IT WORKS EVERY TIME IT'S TRIED file we have violent crime rates in Chicago dropping precipitously since private ownership of firearms was legalized there, over the whining of liberal Democrats everywhere.

Okay? "the Chicago Police Department announced that the city experienced its lowest murder rate since 1958"... "6 fewer murders than the same time frame in 2013 — a 9 percent drop — and 55 fewer murders than 2012....", "90 fewer shootings and 119 fewer shooting victims compared to last year", "222 fewer shootings and 292 fewer shooting victims compared to the first quarter in 2012", "all crime is down 25 percent from 2013," and "police say they have confiscated over 1,300 illegal guns in the last three months."

GUN CONTROL IS FAIL. Suck it, you anti-freedom whiny bitches.

* * *

Borepatch embeds George Carlin, and with good reason.

* * *

John Wright comments on a kick-ass commercial for an electric Cadillac that has liberals thongs in a wad.

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My task now is to get a nap before Mrs. Fungus gets home and we watch the season opener of Game of Thrones. Whee!