Tag Archives: Christmas Tree Shops

Week 22 Summary: Everybody Loves A Bargain (But Not A Toothache) ๐Ÿฆท๐Ÿ’ข

Happy Sunday, everyone. Well… it is not as happy for me. I’ve been pretty depressed on and off, my period is underway, and this week I experienced a serious dental emergency. I am tired and in pain, and as a result, this post may be less coherent than normal, or some captions may be very brief. There are still cute things below –toy photos, doggies, World Of Warcraft stuff. So it’s not all whining. Let’s get to it.

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

To begin with, as I said in the last weekly summary, my mood would improve. With that said, on Monday I went in to work in a terrible state of mind, just as negative as Sunday had been.

My boss was there when I went in: he hadn’t been there when I was unwell over the weekend. He was friendly and immediately asked what happened to me, showing concern for me, not the missed hours. I explained what happened, and, having an opportunity to talk privately, I mentioned the unpleasant experience with the other manager, and that I felt this was unfair, as I’ve generally been a solid, reliable employee.

He reminded me that only he is my boss, no one else. He even told me that he would help me recover some of the lost hours, and later updated the schedule to reflect this.

Also, my original instinct of texting him when these things happened would have been correct. I didn’t do it because it was his day off, I was afraid to bother him and indeed was told not to. But he texted the manager chat the moment I left early on Sunday, wondering whatever happened to me. He said next time, I shouldn’t be afraid to text him even if he is off.

All of these things were very reassuring. Knowing that, depending on where he ends up, I might have a job where he goes next (since he’s generally a district and/or store manager at other chains) feels good too.

I don’t know if he spoke to the manager that scolded me when I left, but that manager was SUPER nice to me the rest of that day. So that improved my mood. The other thing that improved it was a bit sad, but it helped anyway.

Another manager, a very nice lady who tends to be a bit spicy (just, you know, strong moods) and has a really good heart, was looking very down on this day and not like herself at all. It was honestly worrisome, so when I saw her alone, I asked what was wrong, and suddenly I was seeing myself in her. She kept saying stuff like “I don’t want to be here, I hate this, I want to leave, I don’t even want to greet the customers anymore.”

This is a manager that worked hard to make this store a wonderful and welcoming place. Like other managers that have been here since the start, she is rightly indignant and heartbroken by the situation. We’ve all been affected by the way the customers are taking to treating our beloved store like absolute trash, their entitlement, and the constant undoing of anything that we worked to make pretty. It’s so discouraging.

This, and the longer hours, are surely why I have been so unhappy. But hearing it from someone else helped me to realize how much the process of the store shutting down is affecting me. I hated to see my manager sad, especially because she often cheers others up with her joking and singing, and high-energy ways. But in a weird way, it helped me so much to understand my recent depression. The rest of that day I did all I could to help her out and keep her cheerful. Others were doing that, too.

The day was very, very busy. Other than the last couple of hours, it really flew by. Two cute dogs visited:

The owner of the wookie-like dog (who was a really funny character) ended up not buying the chair cushion that his dog lay and sat on. Sigh…

When I got back home, Christopher was making manicotti. It was a delicious dinner, he worked very hard. After dinner, I went upstairs and was surprised to find ALL of our elves sitting on my desk!

I guess they were worried about me. I’ll try to be better at holding it together.

Have some random photos of Elliot being deeply uncomfortable:

I was excited to finally open my Amazon package with the Humongous Entertainment Classic Collection for the Switch. Looking forward to playing it.

When I went to bed I forgot my glasses. Christopher later sent me a picture of Ribbon wearing them:

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Because I’m still depressed, I decided to go a route that proved helpful before. I went back to Azeroth. I decided to try Horde again. This time it feels better. Maybe it’s because I feel so out of place everywhere now, like an outcast, and because so many things I used to believe in, along with my childhood definitions of “good and evil” and “right and wrong” have changed so much, Horde actually feels like a better emotional fit for me at this point in my life.

I made a goblin hunter with the name Sepia, a name I used to have in this server, then lost, and now managed to snag again.

Much like communities and places I used to love when I was a young adult, I will always miss my Alliance haunts and the feeling that life, and morals, are simple, black-and-white deals, easily judged and categorized. But as I move forward from simplistic thinking (and judgmental, holier-than-thou spaces) in real life, I’m looking forward to exploring the side of the so-called “monstrous races” in-game.

And hey, Dragonflight has SNAILS. I might be able to coax our partner or my husband into getting me the expansion.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Because I’ve been feeling so down, I am making an extra effort to make my lunches cute and happy experiences, even if the food is plain.

In the evening, we went to a restaurant, Unit B Eatery + Spirits in Pembroke Gardens. I hadn’t taken a selfie in a while:

This was Paisley’s first outing!

Unit B had a really nice atmosphere/decor, but being a weekday, it was very empty:

My guys…

I had bao buns and empanadas. Both were great!

Before bed, I completed another commission:

Just six to go!

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Work was pleasant enough. I decided to buy a little Ty dragon since it was 30% off.

Then I began to get ideas. Firstly, I named him Bargain, since our company’s motto is “everybody loves a bargain”. I asked my manager to make me a little nameplate for him:

More on that later. Here’s today’s pup:

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Before leaving for work, I used one of our reusable patterned bags to make Bargain a little apron that matches ours. Then I gave him the nameplate that my manager printed out for him. He looked pretty spiffy:

Then we had a quick breakfast together and it was off to work.

I wasn’t sure if I ever took a photo of the store from above, so while I was clocking in, I got one:

Time for our existential crisis, Bargain! My coworkers were pretty tickled by him.

Bargain held the marker in between sales. The marker was for highlighting the “all sales final” in the receipts.

Bargain surrounded by everyone’s favorite, go-backs. We have a lot of those these days.

Then it was lunchtime. I was in a really good mood.

I was still in a great mood when I got home. I hugged my guys, had dinner, and afterward poured some wine and got right to playing Diablo II with our partner. It was a very, very enjoyable evening. We even beat Diablo! The boss, not the game, of course. We still have a way to go to beat the game.

But when I went to bed, a dull ache in my upper right teeth began to bother me. It quickly became intense, and as a result, I slept very poorly.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

After such a bad night, Saturday morning I woke up exhausted and in pain, but feeling like I could still make it to work, so I went. In the morning, before work, I completed another commission:

Just five to go!

It was not a good workday. My pain grew gradually more intense throughout the day. When I got there, I found that three people had called out, so I was glad I went. The first truck came to get all of the merchandise that is being sent to other stores. One of my managers cried when the truck left.

I saw a dog that captured my mood for this day very well:

In the evening, I was absolutely falling apart. Christopher went to the drugstore to get me things that might help, but nothing really did. I didn’t sleep very much this night. In spite of being well-familiarized with astronomical levels of dental torture, this was on a different scale. I repeatedly used Gus Fring’s death as a suitable comparison for how the entire right side of my head felt:

I did not have a fever, but the pain was all over my jaw, my eye, my ear. It was all-encompassing and totally absorbing.

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

When I woke up on Sunday morning, it was immediately evident that work was not going to happen that day. I immediately called out for the next two days, and left a voicemail with my dentist, begging them to move my Tuesday appointment to Monday. I had to call twice because, during my first voicemail, the pain was bad enough that I literally forgot my own phone number, and couldn’t finish my message.

After the food poisoning incident, I really felt awful about calling out… but there was nothing I could do.

Christopher went to the store again, and got me fresh Orajel and cooling patches for my face:

I spent the entire day distracting myself with Warcraft. Playing Warcraft alone ( I am not a big fan of questing with others) saved my sanity, as it did in other bad periods of my life. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the day otherwise. Sometimes I had to just stop and stare at nothing because the pain didn’t even let me play, but most of the time it helped a lot.

I fiddled a bit more with my goblin hunter:

And was absolutely tickled by this Logo reference:

I also thoroughly enjoyed the dinosaurs in this area, which, being an Alliance player for most of my life, is new to me. Major Dinotopia vibes.

As the evening progressed, something odd happened. My pain began to subside. While I was still sore, the throbbing went from “worst of my life” to “nonexistent” in the space of about an hour. From what I could gather, this meant a worsening of the emergency, as the infection has now likely killed my nerve. I likely need treatment ASAP to prevent further damage to my jaw and other teeth.

I will be posting updates regarding this dental misadventure on my Telegram channel throughout the week. You’re welcome to drop by! There’s an attached chat as well. Beyond that, the next update will be next Sunday as usual. See you then!

Week 21 Summary: An Emptying Store And A Visit To Mom ๐Ÿง‰๐Ÿฅฐ

Wow. I blinked and this week was over and done! It actually started pretty well, but my mood tanked massively by the end, for a variety of reasons.

I visited my mom this week which was really nice. Other than that, our store is slowly being emptied, and customers are getting more and more horrid.

I spent part of the week working on an entirely new system of blocks. I’m concerned about my retail therapy this year, and it’s not even June (well, almost) so I feel that I still have a chance to resume my “no more toy, book, or game purchases” this year. We’ll see how it goes –I’ll go into more depth about this renewed attempt in the summary

Anyhow, let me tell you about this week!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Monday was uneventful. At work, I had a salad for lunch and enjoyed it much more than I expected.

There was another cute dog to take a photo of today:

In the evening I played Diablo with our partner and then cuddled in bed with Kotoko.

It was a calm beginning to a week that would be full of up-and-downs.

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Tuesday I was able to draw a little. Here’s the art I completed on this day:

Just seven pieces to go!

Now I’ve got some doll-related stuff to share! Kalinka’s custom-made clothes arrived. I further customized them by adding this E.T. patch! The pink of the letters was a perfect match:

She looks so incredibly cute. I am thrilled!

Here she is with little sister Natasha. Both turned out adorable:

I had the person who made this outfit make bloomers for Camila too, because she had no undies. Incidentally, I hadn’t taken a really good photo of Camila’s outfit, so here it is:

And a bit of impropriety as she holds up her dress to show off her yellow bloomers and polka-dot stockings. ๐Ÿ˜ There’s definitely a clownish vibe to her outfit, but I love it!

Finally, little Fiorella has been put back together. She is dry, combed, with a lovely new ribbon, and very happy!

I got to visit my mom this Tuesday! As always she had an amazing snack spread in the evening. Even though we had to have some difficult discussions about stuff in the future (mostly regarding the most sustainable way to go about her retirement and future housing) we still had a wonderful time.

There was a wonderful storm raging outside, and the thunder made Sweeney clingy and afraid. He was a lovebug for the rest of my visit!

Then it was sleepytime with Femur. I was exhausted.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

I had a lovely day with my mom. She made torta fritas! We had that, and mate. I loved it.

Femur did too!

We watched the movie Missing, which was great. In the late afternoon, I got picked up by our partner and went home.

There, I found that the My Twinn dolly that was going to be named Emily was not in good condition in spite of the great photos, and would have to be returned. The seller sent her with a broken neck, not something I can ignore on a My TWINN doll sold for over $100. Oh well.

I still have a few more toys coming, but Iโ€™ve decided to create new blocks on my computer just like I did when I got out of control with Charlie Bears a couple of years back. At the time, this completely solved that specific issue.

So I’m going a little nuts and blocking even Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Target, and Walmart, along with basically every online toy store I could have any interest in. These are “permanent” blocks; they do not “time out” at any point, so if I need to order something for the house I would do it from Christopher’s account, and he would know.

Let me end this day with this wonderful bear graham cookie. He even has a bandana! These cookies come in Lunchables only and are much yummier than Teddy Grahams. I wish I could find them on their own!

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Waking up on Thursday morning was a struggle. I napped for an hour on the couch but it did not help my energy levels at all. Usually, it does. Maybe it didn’t help that a purring blob had melted on top of me.

But off to work it was. The day started out great. Our boss bought us ice cream and I just went through the aisles eating it and trying not to skip too much.

Somehow I got ice cream on my glasses, mouth, and hands. But it was worth it.

A bit later we got the worst kind of family/customers in the store. It happened shortly after I was done with my ice cream treat, and these were the events that took place:

  • I saw the family gather near one of the containers I mentioned in a previous post, which we call โ€œcagesโ€ and are huge containers made of solid metal mesh, inside of which I could easily fit around five of myself. Here’s a photo for context (not our location):

The mother of the family was alternating between cooing at the cage, taking photos of it, and saying playful things like “Where did [name] go? Have you seen her?”

Her child had climbed into the “cage” (which was full to the brim of decorated Christmas stockings) and hidden herself among the merchandise. The family eventually walked away, and shortly thereafter I saw the child emerge: not a toddler, but a grown-ass eight or nine-year-old girl. As she climbed out, many stockings fell on the floor. She did not bother picking them up. She carelessly walked on them with her dirty sneakers, just as she had done over many of the ones in the cage. This henceforth will be “Older Child”.

  • Next, the family’s “Younger Child”, a girl maybe four years old, began to climb our tallest rolling ladder. The ladder had a chain that said “Employees Only”, and the parents noticed, but found the activity amusing. This ladder is dangerous, even for us, so I quickly got the manager who swiftly pulled Younger Child down (playfully) and rolled the ladder away.
  • Older Child then began pulling large baskets off tables and shelves onto the floor. The parents walked past, unbothered by this.
  • Father then decided to test some bath maths. He did this by putting them on the dirty floor, taking off his flip-flops, and standing on them with his dirty-ass bare feet. After making his decision, he left his discards on the floor.
  • I would later find an entire large bag of Easter grass destroyed inside a “cage” nearby. While I didn’t witness this firsthand, I will make an educated guess and blame Younger Child, as it happened in the same space of time and the store was mostly empty.
  • At some point, one of the children passed by a display of shell-shaped mini-lights and turned all of them on, leaving the batteries to be drained (I caught it in time).
  • As they moved on to the register, Younger Child decided to climb a glass table and play with its heavy patio umbrella. This time I said something. The potential injury to the child was too great. I asked the mother to please look after the little girl. She called to her but seemed mostly unconcerned.

HORRIBLE. FUCKING. PEOPLE!!! ๐Ÿ˜ก Zero consideration for others, or for property that isn’t theirs! I hope they step on multiple rakes and LEGO pieces. I hope they get gum in their hair. I hope a car zooms through a puddle next to them when they are walking down the sidewalk and covers them in muddy nasty water!! Ugh.

But I do hope their children don’t get hurt due to the parents’ total neglect of their safety. It’s not the kids’ fault (though I believe an older child should know better than to walk over store merchandise or climb into displays, no excuse).

That aside… the back is getting more and more empty and echoey… it’s sad and eerie all at the same time.

Then it was lunchtime! I put cilantro in my salad which made it AMAZING.

I also had a special panda “emotion” cookie from the Japanese candy box. This one was angy:

Overall this was a good workday. I went home happy.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Early in the morning, I deep-cleaned the snail tank. I think the mite issue might be resolved… again.

Look at this guy. He looks like he dropped his ice cream cone.

I’ve been getting a lot of crap at home for buying too many toys recently, so I decided to make use of this sign I found at work:

When I got to work on this day, I found that the witch had been assembled. Kinda neat.

Lunch was not as exciting as the day before but still good.

The wonderful thing about this evening was dinner: our partner worked for hours and hours to make the most wonderful ramen! Well, it was wonderful at the time.

You know, the thing about eggs –they don’t go bad right past the date. As long as they pass the float test, you can still eat them. But I wouldn’t recommend soft-boiling somewhat old eggs, even if they pass the test. You should hardboil them.

I was the only one to add eggs to my ramen and did not hardboil them. Not even close. This very purposeful decision would not end well for me the next day.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

It seemed that Saturday was going great! I was in a wonderful mood. It was a short workday, and I was happy about that, too.

Then… at 6:20 pm, everything took a DRASTIC turn. I got a horrible stomach ache, the kind that makes you sweat cold and leaves you nauseous. I was sure after a (probably unpleasant and fulminating) trip to the toilet I’d be right as rain, but this excursion failed to be “fruitful” and my pain only got worse. So in spite of only having about 30 minutes left on the clock, I had to leave work early.

The next few hours at home were not great. It took a while for things to go out of my system (it eventually did, spectacularly –thankfully I did not throw up). We had good friends visiting, which was a welcome distraction. I had some rice and Gatorade afterward to recover.

There’s not much else to say about Saturday. It kind of sucked after this happened. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

CW: BAD BRAIN STUFF. I went through a bit of a thing at the end of this week that included some of the worst types of negative thoughts. Please do not read below if that could potentially upset you.

Before I tell you about Sunday, I want you to know that I was okay the next day, physically and emotionally. I ended the day well, and good things happened. My mood had normalized by Monday evening and I am okay again. Normally I finish the weekly summary on Mondays, but postdate them to the prior Sunday, and that is the case for this post as well.

I give this preamble because Sunday was a bad, BAD day for me, most of all emotionally.

I’ve never done well at having a full-time job. Many of my fellow artists can relate to the horrible feeling of spending most of their waking hours doing something that isn’t creating for an extended period of time. It puts me in a deeply toxic headspace and sends me into regular bouts of depression. Even if I’m told “no one likes to work” I think it doesn’t really measure up to how bad these feelings can get for me.

Right now, for a few more weeks, I am on full-time hours. On part-time hours I can more or less deal. But on full-time, I’m unable to properly look after the house and my family. The house is dirty, I can’t clean the litter boxes every day, I haven’t cooked for the guys in a week, and haven’t been able to do the grocery shopping. I am moody in the evenings and I dread waking up in the mornings.

The state of things at work hasn’t helped. I am not the only one dreading going in. But between the frustration of unfinished chores, my growing desire to visit my mom-in-law at her home (something I haven’t done since March because I work weekends), feeling generally unwell, having so many small joys gone by the wayside (I haven’t been able to exercise, game, write, scrapbook, or anything else that is just “for me” in a while) and a maddening desire to draw above all else, a feeling that so many hours and days of not drawing amount to a wasted existence for me, I went into a small bout of intense depression.

And it was really bad. It was “fantasizing about having a seizure so I wouldn’t have to go to work” bad. It was “I am so unhappy that I wish I just wouldn’t wake up the next morning” bad. While I am a person who tends to work in hyperbolics whenever emotions are high, I generally make an exception for anything ridiculous such as wishing for my health to be affected or wishing to not be alive.

But no matter how nonsensical or entitled our feelings can be, no matter how aware we are of the need to put things into perspective, we can’t really help our feelings. We feel what we feel. For me, the awareness of these things only serves to make me feel guilty about my misery, but it certainly doesn’t help it go away.

So all these feelings were swirling in my head on Sunday and I was in some level of turmoil. I’d been unsure as to whether even go in to work, not just because I really REALLY didn’t want to, but because I still felt physically unwell. I still had a remnant of stomach pain and the fear of it becoming fulminating again. But I also felt like I really was able to work, so I should go, and I did. I had never called out and did not want a first time.

Well, I had a bit of an argument with Christopher right as he dropped me off. Then I realized I’d left my phone at home –this after being told that both he and our partner would likely be at a BBQ and I’d have to take an Uber home. This was further exacerbated by my being unable to remember either of their phone numbers while at work (eventually I did remember his). My mild malaise seemed to get so much worse, and I was so emotionally fucked and on the verge of tears, that the neverending day ahead of me (another six hours still) suddenly became absolutely unmanageable.

Any pretense of trying to make it through dissipated when Christopher unexpectedly showed up with my phone and offered to wait for me in the car while I talked to my manager if I wanted to go home. This lifeline was far too tempting when I was still about to completely lose my marbles, so I took it.

My manager reassured me that plenty of employees were on the floor, and they would manage just fine. I should go if I needed to. But when I was leaving and asked another manager to look at my bag (something all employees have to do before they go) I basically got a dressing-down: I shouldn’t have come in at all, I should have called out, other employees actually want the hours. Even though I told him I was leaving because I was feeling too queasy to stay, he kept holding me back, shaming me for leaving, until he finally looked at my bag and I could walk away.

This really upset me, for two reasons: the first is that this guy is one of the managers but he is not my boss. The second is that other than this blip (a half hour early the day before and leaving on this particular day) I’ve been a pretty stellar employee. I’ve been used as a good example for others and repeatedly overheard how fast I am, both with projects on the floor and especially at the register, and about the good way I have with customers.

I don’t complain about any jobs and do them with a smile. I had not called out until this weekend or had any issues whatsoever. I worked weekends without complaint in spite of the unhappiness it caused me. So, especially after another manager had given me the okay to go, and even encouraged me to do so, this was very upsetting –not that I betrayed those feelings at the time.

But I left in a terrible mood, even crying a bit in the car. I kept thinking about my commission “Years of Plenty”, and feeling like I would do anything to go back to that happy time (but I won’t take commissions again: I truly feel like the clientele is no longer there). I felt so hopeless.

And all of the feelings I mentioned at the start of this specific day’s summary intensified by 1000%, even though I went home.

I did some chores but otherwise felt unable to concentrate on anything that could bring me joy, so I did something stupid again: I remade my Tumblr account. Guess how well that went?

I wanted to try Tumblr again for two reasons. One is that, elsewhere, my community is disappearing. The websites I used to interact with my peers are being abandoned or collapsing. I know a few of my friends returned to Tumblr and said it’s not like it used to be. But I refused to believe it, dug in my heels, and said I would never ever return to Tumblr.

Well, over time I began to wonder if I was being unreasonable. A friend of mine who used to get death threats there went back and seems happy there. So I thought maybe I should try again. I created a page and loved how it looked. I began to look up the names of some friends so I could follow them, and that’s when things began to go downhill.

In no time I found call-outs and “bewares” full of fabrications and misinformation about people I love. Some of them were squeaky-clean type friends, the sort you could only “cancel” if you made up total lies. It didn’t matter that I found 2-3 posts debunking those lies because the people who made the call-outs don’t care. They just want to hurt others. These people would like hurting me, too, and I know they would, the moment any of my art got even a little traction.

So I deleted it all, only about three hours of effort, but gone nonetheless.

Then, after work, I felt upset that I let fear of a few potential inconsequential bullies rule over me, and I remade it all over again (faster this time).

And then I saw more, including death threats to my friends, and deleted it… again. And I didn’t remake it a third time.

I think Tumblr is actually worse now than when I was there years ago. The level of bullying there is so scary to me. If I had to be there I would be constantly stressed, I don’t know how anyone does it. Well… I tried.

Though I would end this day feeling depressed and defeated, things would pick up the next day. I guess you’ll see that in the next weekly summary. Sorry to end this one here, it’s just how the day ended, but it would improve and I’ll be sure to tell you about it by next Sunday.

Until then –have a great week, everyone!

Week 20 Summary: A Demoralizing, Funny, And Bizarre Experience ๐Ÿ™ƒ

This week I went back to my job at Christmas Tree Shops, which, as I’ve mentioned, is closing down (my location is, anyway) meaning that in a few weeks, we will all be out of a job. But I came back here because the job at the market/bakery was awful.

CTS was/is the first true corporate job that I actually stayed at. I don’t count Citel since they didn’t need me after all, and it was an office job that lasted barely a week or two. In addition to that, CTS is my first experience working at a big box store that is being liquidated and closing. As the title of this post mentions, this experience can at times wear you down and demoralize you. Other times, it’s really funny. And it is very bittersweet.

I am glad that I am in such a privileged position to get to do it without panicking about what my next job will be. I can just take it all in, and have fun with it, which gives me a lot of material to blog about. ๐Ÿ˜

This post also has more doll stuff and more art. Let’s get to it!

SIDE NOTE: Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ’˜โœจ๐Ÿ’•

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

On this day I went back to CTS. The vibe was certainly… weird. At times, people joke and laugh. At times, it feels very sad. Overall, everyone is stressed out of their minds. The sales are bad right now (for customers): mostly 10% off, with our 20% off coupons gone. This means that the prices are technically more expensive than before we were closing. But perception is everything, and people come in droves, spending hundreds at a time, and in one case, over a thousand dollars. It’s very tiring right now.

Seeing all the signs from my spot at the register really gave me a sinking feeling.

Literally every transaction involves the customer saying a form of these things:

“I’m so upset that you’re closing! I’m so disappointed! How long have you known? How long will the sale last? Why can’t I use coupons? When will the discounts get better? Which day are you closing? You guys didn’t do enough advertising/your name is confusing/I didn’t know you were here. How many stores are closing? Why are they closing? If you’re closing, why am I still getting coupons/emails?”

So with every customer, I repeat the same song and dance:

“I am disappointed too. I also love the store. I am sad about losing my job and my coworker companions. We found out the same day as everyone else, including customers. You can’t use coupons or return items because everything in here no longer belongs to CTS but to the liquidator. We don’t know exactly how many more weeks we will be open, just an approximate. You’re right, corporate didn’t advertise enough. We, the employees, did everything we could. Yes, the name is confusing. It’s not like we could change it. The fact that you didn’t know you were here is part of the reason why we are closing. Only ten stores are closing. We are the only Florida store that is closing. We are the only Florida employees not close enough to get reassigned elsewhere. They are closing stores because they filed for bankruptcy protection and we are a low-performing store.”

Repeat ad nauseaum.

If all the above, in a paragraph with no breaks, reads as tiresome, exhausting, drone-like… imagine saying this to every customer for hours and hours. There isn’t a SINGLE transaction or phone call to the store that doesn’t involve some form of the above. No one stops to think that we have heard it all a million times that day.

One lady who called to inquire about the closing decided to have a 15-minute chat with me, an aimless conversation about all of the above. I couldn’t get rid of her. I heard about five iterations of “When God closes a door, He opens a window” on Monday, and by the last, I wanted to tear my hair out. Two people decided to let me know that they were not, as they put it, “happy campers”.

It is not cute. It is not helpful.

Still, one thought was in my mind all day long: “This is so much better than that other job.” One’s team is everything, and our team is fantastic. My coworkers are already talking of following our manager elsewhere if possible… while that probably won’t happen, it’s a testament to how good of a vibe we had.

I often heard some of the assistant managers complain about this or that decision taken by our store manager. People would often gripe; sometimes I heard about little tiffs with raised voices between the assistant managers and him, but I think he is well-loved by most. In spite of saying these things, many of the assistant managers would happily follow him to the next store and so would I. He’s a great boss, and the assistant managers are SO good, positive, the kind of people that just make you want to do your best. So I’m going to do my best until the bitter end.

Christopher let me grab a $20 rug from the store to cover my very stained carpet that simply cannot be cleaned properly anymore. It looks pretty good!

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Tuesday was a very exhausting day. My coworkers and managers had warned me: it is going to get SO much worse. On Monday, I was unsure of what they meant. By late Tuesday I had a better idea.

As the same questions and comments from customers repeat in a never-ending cycle, our partner had some ideas of how I should respond to the “You’re closing the store? Why??” questions:

“We’re closing because Christmas is canceled.”

“We’re closing because an atheist family bought the company and they hate Christmas.”

“What do you mean we’re closing?! No one told me this! Oh my God, am I losing my job?”

“How did you find out that we’re closing? *looks around in a conspiratory manner* It’s supposed to be a secret. Who told you?”

Unfortunately, I don’t have the balls to give any of these responses. ๐Ÿ˜…

I saw a cute doggy on this day:

I wasn’t sure I would ever get the chance to see Christmas trees for sale at Christmas Tree Shops, but lo and behold!

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Since Tuesday, our partner has been very, very sick. It’s just a head cold (he has no fever and did two COVID tests) but, it’s quite bad. So I’m trying my best to take care of him, even though there really isn’t much I can do.

On this day I completed a gift for Seven, in gratitude for a great kindness recently shown to me by her when I closed commissions. Of course, it also includes Snow and Ember. I finished it in an old-fashioned style:

For dinner, I made salmon and rice:

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Another day of the same. On Thursday, I had a customer turn around as she was leaving and ask me, “Do you have another job lined up?” When I responded that I didn’t, she laughed in my face and left. I didn’t even know how to react! Wow. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Then later in the day, we found these bowls filled to the brim with water. These were in a “cage”, also called a “dump bin” in retail. It’s a massive container that can fit four or five of me, and a LOT of merchandise. Anyway, apparently there was a leak in the roof and these filled with rainwater, which a customer noticed. It was pretty funny.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Day off! I took care of the snails and the house, worked on art, relaxed, made the guys a nice dinner, and played with my dolls a bit. Yesterday I listed a bunch of old items hoping to make money to buy the other My Twinn doll that I’d missed out on. But then I realized that eBay holds the money for a while now, after a sale. There was no way I would have it in time. So Christopher let me borrow some funds to get her. She is very beautiful. I’m going to call her Emily.

Much like with my upcoming Zanini Zambelli Italian doll, this is a case in which I have no desire to change the doll’s outfit. It is truly gorgeous as-is.

On this day I finally took Samantha out of her box and dressed her up. She looks so beautiful in her new clothes!

In the afternoon I noticed that Buddy moved again, this time to a high shelf. I wonder how long his unseasonal visit will last?

In the evening, we played LEGO. I had wine and a little snack and felt very happy.

I also finished building this Creator 3-In-1 Medieval Castle. It was a pretty neat build!

For dinner, I made fajitas over rice with cilantro and avocado. It was delicious!

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Saturday morning was dark and stormy. Elliot didn’t want to be outside because of the thunder, so he stayed near me.

Our partner indulged me in getting another toy, a bizarre and adorable Monchhichi clone –a bear. I think I’ll call him Calisson. These are the Etsy photos, he’ll take a while to arrive yet:

I’ve been getting a lot of toys this year, which, if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know to coincide with me being Not Okay โ„ข. And I have NOT been okay. The job stuff is stressful, sure. But it’s the community stuff that has me on a downward spiral and has for months.

Just as I did in my childhood, when I feel isolated and lonely, I seek refuge in toys –their cuddliness, their cute faces. They’re friends that will never go away, or suddenly have terrible hidden pasts, or decide to replace me or not like me anymore. Toys are safe and always have been. They never mock me, I can’t accidentally hurt their feelings and lose their friendship.

So, as self-indulgent and unwise as I know my purchases appear (and they are, make no mistake) I can tell you they’re my current coping mechanism because I don’t really know what else to do with my feelings. Please try not to judge me too harshly. ๐Ÿ˜…

I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but my snails got mites again. ๐Ÿ˜ž You might remember how expensive, difficult, and upsetting an experience that was the first time around. I’ve been very aggressive in treating it, so hopefully they’ll be okay. Here’s a photo of some snails kissing.

Muah.

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

Though this was a workday, in the morning I found some time to de-stuff Fiorella and throw her body and clothes in the wash.

I also washed her hair twice and conditioned it…

Then set it all out to dry. Her thigh has a little tear, but it’s easily fixed.

I will stuff her with brand-new stuffing, fix the tear, and comb her hair. I made her a necklace, and I got her a brand new big ribbon to match the one on her clothes. She’ll look so cute when I’m done with her!

While Fiorella dried in the warm sun, I moved some stuff around in my studio. I missed seeing my Monchhichis, so I put them where I can see them better. These three are Melon-Pan, Minoru, and Ponzu:

This was my first time getting a really nice photo of Ponzu:

Before work, I had leftover roasted cauliflower and black olive pizza for lunch, topped with cilantro:

Work went fast. It was busy. People continue to be a bit obnoxious about the store closing. But, I saw another pupper!

What a happy guy. Speaking of happy guys, here are some littler ones I saw in the parking lot while waiting for Christopher to pick me up after work:

Mama wasn’t happy about me getting too close and herded them all away. Sorry, Mama Duck.

The evening was wonderful! We met our friends for dinner at Shooters Waterfront. I got some nice photos…

I had a couple of coffee drinks that unexpectedly knocked me on my ass, and a wonderful plate of risotto, shrimp, and scallops. We shared a couple of cheese plates. It was SO good.

Here’s a photo of two of our best friends. They are getting married really soon! ๐Ÿฅฐ

After dinner, my drunk, stumbling ass bullied everyone into a short walk at the beach at 11:00 pm. So off we went, and I asked to go back and be carried after taking like, ten steps. No one carried me.

Anyway, I got some beautiful photos!

We also came across this. Just stuck there in the sand, facing the sea. There was some dribbling around it as if a dog peed on it. Maybe someone had dribbled something over it on purpose as part of a ritual. This was in pitch-black darkness, I wonder what it meant?

On the drive back, I saw the Hard Rock guitar showing off an unusually pretty light display, so I got some video:

Anyway, that’s it for this week! Next week I’ll be visiting my mom, and getting more doll clothes in the mail. It’ll be quite busy at work… Hopefully, I’ll continue to find time to blog and keep you all posted. Have a great week, everyone!