Thursday, November 17, 2005

Happy Holidays . . .

So, I've taken a seasonal job at Kohl's so we will have some Christmas cash. Now, most people don't give much thought to the workings behind a powerhouse department store chain like Kohl's, but let me tell you they take their business very seriously, especially in the area of customer service. I went to a three hour orientation, then two days of 6 hour training, including watching several videos and taking two tests on the computer. Kohl's believes in a "Yes We Can" policy, and gives the Associates (that's what they call the worker bees there) the power to do quite a bit, including honoring a sale price on the customer's word rather than checking, giving some extra discounts up to 50%, no more than two customers in line at once (Christmas time being the exception but they set up a queue line), etc. I have been quite impressed. Except for the fact that the training CD and booklet I used to train on the register told me to do some things that were incorrect and not how they do them (being anal retentive as I am, that really bugged me a lot). But, all in all, everyone I've met has been extremely nice, and I think it will be fun, though the first night I worked a shift at the register, my feet were hurting so bad (partly because I wore some shoes that were a little tight). But I saw several people I knew come through my line, and I think I did a pretty darn good job for someone who hasn't done retail in 20+ years. I just hope I can keep up the pace along with building my massage business and working 16 hours a week at my office doing insurance stuff.

I've been stressing a lot in the past week or so, to the point I have a knot in my trapezius muscle (the one between your neck and shoulder), and at one point yesterday I just had to step outside and take a few deep breaths. And worse than that, yesterday I actually got teary-eyed when I heard the Christmas Shoes song (which I normally hate), on the radio. You know I'm on the edge when that happens since I'm just not a weeper. Though Christmas music can put me there quicker than any - it's just that so many Christmas songs have powerful memories attached to them - both bitter and sweet. Jay says, and he's right of course, he's always right, darn him - that my problem is that I've lived my entire life in a very structured way and all of my coping skills are aligned with that paradigm, and now my life is very unstructured, meaning that each day has a little bit different schedule, and I just don't have a set of coping skills for that kind of lifestyle, and consequently I am stressed and anxious about being able to get everything fit in somewhere, and juggling a lot of smaller tasks and time frames. Sometimes I'm not sure what the schedule is going to be until that day, and believe me, if you know me, you know I am a person who likes to put things on my calendar WAY in advance if I can. Jay and Andy call me The Scheduler, and they are only partly kidding me. These days, I work 4 hours a morning, four mornings a week, plus whatever Kohls gives me which will never be consistent, plus whenver I can schedule massages here and there, plus making time to pick up Andy every day, plus finding time to clean the house, do the laundry, pay the bills, run errands, market my massage practice, and schedule various social things, not to mention it's the holiday season so there's decorating the house, Christmas shopping, two birthdays and Thanksgiving in November, etc., etc. I honestly have no idea how I got everything done when I was working full time, but I think that what happens is that when you know you just have this many hours in the evening plus the weekend, you are more diligent about making sure you get everything done at certain times, etc.

So, bottom line, I've been a very tense person lately. It's been a really weird year - first working at MISD, then going to school half days and having free afternoons, then doing my internship all day, then being completely unemployed for two months or more, then slowly getting hours to work and stuff. When I had too much free time I didn't manage it well, and was griping about needing more stuff to do. And now, well, you get my drift . . . there must be a happy medium somewhere. I also have gained several pounds in the last six months, enough to put me up another size. Very depressing. My own fault. Too much time sitting in front of the computer or TV, and eating and snacking late and poorly, and no exercise at all. It's getting serious as far as clothes fitting. I have begun trying to walk several times a week, not only for weight loss but stress control, but I am having a hard time fitting that in too. I need to walk in the afternoon, because it's dark in the morning and at night and I don't walk in the dark. Lindsay and I are talking about trying to walk together and pushing Sam in the jogging stroller, but we'll see how hard that is to schedule. I find it way too easy to postpone. And then I try to find something to wear and everything's too tight and I look at this belly and just loathe the way I look. Geez, I sound like someone on Oprah or Dr. Phil. This entry has turned into my therapy entry I guess. Started out to be about Kohl's didn't it?

To end on a happier note, I love, love, love Christmas music, and I found out yesterday that KLTY, the station I rarely listen to anymore, is already playing it all the time. Christmas music can lift my mood like nothing else. I love the holidays, even when we are too busy. I love the food, the music, the decorations, visting with family and friends, all that stuff. I have incredibly fond memories of watching all those sappy Christmas variety specials on TV when I was a kid - never missed the Andy Williams one or A Charlie Brown Christmas, which I have seen every single Christmas since 1965 when it first showed on TV, and watch several times each season now since we have the video. Yep, I love Christmas, and not for the presents, but all the other stuff, the things that call forth the sweet memories like a genie from a lamp. Happy holidays!!!!

1 comment:

hampton said...

aww, poor gail. sounds like you need a massage, haha. hey actually i was going to see if you had free time on thanksgiving weekend if i could book you. but i know that this weekend (it's so soon, can you believe it?!?!) will be crazy busy, so if it's better for you we can wait until i'm here after christmas. saturday is fine with me for dinner, i'm looking forward to it. can i bring anything to help out?

the first house IS amazing! i really really like it a lot. of course i haven't seen any of them in person, but still. they are out again as we type looking at more houses. they are just so picky, it's unreal. his job is in insurance. reinsurance, to be specific. they insure insurance companies so that when we have big disasters (ie: katrina) reinsurance insures their business so that the they still have a buisness after they pay all of the claims. i had to re-read that like 3 times to make sure it made sense, it's a bit of a tounge twister. anyway, yes, joel seems to make an ungodly amount of money. i saw a letter opened today from an animal charity of some sort, thanking joel for his $5000 donation towards helping animals lost and sick from hurricane katrina. very generous, but DUDE! if you want to donate 5 grand to charity, how about the "lindsay hampton get out of debt and go to cosmetology school" fund?!?!?! it's insane. christine ordered eliza new clothes from and they came yesterday... i'd say between 2 and 3 hundred dollars worth of stuff right there. it's cute stuff, but she's a baby and she's going to grow out of it in ten minutes and spill stuff all on it and ruin it if she doesn't grow out of it first. have these people never heard of old navy?! it's a little mind blowing.

i'm glad you are enjoying working at kohl's. retail can be really stressful, especially at christmas time. people get so nutty with their shopping. sometimes i miss working at barnes and noble though. even during the holidays, i always thought, if i'm working retail, i'm glad it's here and not somewhere else. you're right about feet hurting though! 8 hours can do a number on ya. towards the end of my time with b&n i found a way to get around that, i always wore my vans slip ons. they are tennis shoes technically, which are not allowed, but they don't lace up so no one ever said anything. and the ones i got (the green ones that you thought looked like suede when i was in town last) were a limited edition shoe in the guys dept, so the smallest size they had is actually about a 1/2 size too big for me. haha perfect for long days behind a cash register.

i'm with jay, too. you have always been a very structured person and that's got to be weird feeling so out of control of your daily schedule and stuff like that. but you'll adjust in time. bend or break, right? my dad has had a little trouble building up his business too. it just takes time, but i think maybe he took on a little too much too soon, trying to open up his own storefront before he really built up his clientele. it's stressing him out too.

haha this comment kind of got away from me, i probably should have just sent an email! oh well. anyway, i love you and i will see you soon!
<3 hampton