Tag Archives: Minoru

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!

Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a little while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! ๐Ÿ’˜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.


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!

Christmas โ€™22 ๐ŸŽ„โœจย ย [Advent Day 10 + LEGOLAND]

Hello everyone! Today was a very long awaited day. The first day of our Orlando trip! First off we are heading to some antique stores in Winter Haven, then lunch, then LEGOLAND, followed my a LEGOLAND restaurant dinner at the Shipwreck restaurant! As a cherry on top, we are staying at the LEGOLAND hotel in a Kingdom themed room. And tomorrow, we are heading to Orlando for even more fun!

First things first –Advent Calendars! Today’s Jurassic World Advent Calendar surprise was another velociraptor:

On the LEGO City Advent Calendar for today there was this cool punk chick. Her name is Raze:

๐ŸŽ„ Winter Haven ๐ŸŽ„

I normally begin my December entries with my discovery of Buddy and Sarah. But this time I include them as part of the trip summary: I found them buckled in, in the car! I was so surprised and happy that they would join us on our very special Christmas vacation!

Christopher was out in no time. He fell asleep with a smile on his face. He naps a lot in the car recently so I make a point of bringing an extra neck pillow and blanket for him. I think he likes it.

We went to Sherman’s Antiques and to Treasure House Antiques & Collectibles. Sherman’s Antiques was huge and had more antique and vintage dolls than I have ever seen and will probably ever see in one place. With that said, I don’t think they really want to sell them. They are all easily 6 to 10 feet high up out of reach. They don’t want them touched or ruined, which I understand, but they are so far away, you can’t even really decide if you want to see any of them up close.

I also imagine that stored like this, dusting them often is not possible, so they will suffer dust damage. All the items that I had an awareness of pricing wise were at the higher end of eBay prices, other than the Thomas Dam trolls. Of course I am only talking about items I am familiar with. Anyway, didn’t buy anything there.

By contrast, Treasure House Antiques was indeed a colorful treasure trove. The owners were incredibly friendly and accomodating, gave us a deal without even asking. We got lost in there, it was a real Tardis of a house, a magical place. Our partner bought Christopher some laserdiscs and this pouty Raikes bear for me:

I love these things in all their hideous adorableness. This guy in particular, whom I’ve named Freckles, is even harder to photograph without looking creepy. His wooden pout is very adorable in person, though, at least to me. I love him very much indeed.

After that, we went to brunch. Winter Haven felt small and old timey and had prettily decorated Christmas storefront windows. Here’s a photo from the restaurant where we ate:

Then it was back on the road –off to LEGOLAND!

๐ŸŽ„ LEGOLAND: The Hotel ๐ŸŽ„

On the outside, the hotel looked as amazing as the pictures made it out to be. I was giddy, running around snapping photos:

In the lobby area there was a LEGO Christmas tree:

Oh yeah –I carried my Bebichhichi, Minoru, on this trip. Here he is outside the hotel, and next to one of the ornaments:

Heading up to the room was an experience on its own. I’ll just let you watch the video:

The frog below was inside our room, telling you the steps to a treasure hunt! Once you figured it out, the lock could be opened. Inside there were two minifigs, a LEGO magazine and two boxes of apple juice. The other photos show more interesting things in the hotel’s areas.

Some bigger minifigs decorating the lobby:

Imagine my delight once we got to our room and somehow Buddy and Sarah had made their way there! They sat on the TV in the kid’s area, where I slept (our partner and my husband shared the big bed):

The lovely surprises continued, I was thrilled to see this realistic snail on the room carpet!

Something that bummed me out was the damage everywhere. Over half the LEGO decorating the room had been broken or damaged by little hands. In general, I felt that the rooms and park looked like the company does not have enough time or money or interest in maintaining much of it. But it was still a magical experience.

๐ŸŽ„ LEGOLAND: The Park ๐ŸŽ„

After we got checked in, it was time to see the park! Here are some photos of the entrance:

Got a pic of Christopher and I too:

This one was inside the park, near the very sparse and boring Friends area. This display was super cool, though!

There was also an absolutely humongous and amazing display of LEGO buildings. No matter what, this is simply impressive. My nitpicks would be: so many things sunbleached, a few things broken, and a pet peeve of mine: no minifigs (it wasn’t minifig scale).

There were lots of LEGO people though, which I suppose is more impressive, but what can I say. I love me some minifigs! Anyway, here’s the rest of this massive city:

One of my favorite sculptures was this trike!

The area of the dinosaur coaster had a bunch of cute LEGO dinos around:

The guys went on this coaster. They said it was REALLY rough (it was a wooden coaster).

Here’s a couple of pics of the LEGO movie area. I loved seeing Emmet around.

If there’s something I am reminded of by going to a park that very much targets an audience under 10, is that I don’t want kids. But it was still a lot of fun! Actually most kids I saw everywhere were well behaved. I just feel anxious about kids the way cats are anxious about kids. They’re loud and move too fast. Lol.

๐ŸŽ„ Shipwreck Restaurant ๐ŸŽ„

On to the restaurant! It was an all-you-can-eat deal. Many cute decorations everywhere. This one was my favorite! The pirate fell asleep with his teddy:

We were given pirate bandanas and eyepatches, coloring pages, and crayons!

The food was pretty good. We had BBQ. It was a fun experience.

I didn’t take photos of this, but after dinner we went to a cool place called Artcade. You paid by the hour and they had pinball machines, air hockey, giant jenga and a bunch of other things. We spent a very fun hour at this place. It was dark and empty and the atmosphere was so great.

๐ŸŽ„ Bedtime ๐ŸŽ„

I really looked forward to sleeping here and it was a highlight of my experience. Just look at this!

I had a Kirsten American Girl book to read, minifigs to build, my Jurassic World blankie and Raggedy Andy, Minoru (not pictured) and Freckles for company. I felt so small and happy.

The guys and I watched a bit of a Ninjago movie together in bed before I moved on to my little bed with my pals.

๐ŸŽ„ Souvenirs ๐ŸŽ„

We didn’t buy any LEGO sets, but I got three minifigs: the two from the hotel and one that our partner got for me:

Here’s the two that were in the treasure chest. I got the robot twice, that was a bit of a bummer! But I gave them different tools:

I also got these two magnets. The boy is for our fridge and the girl is a little gift for my mom:

The guys teased me a lot as though they were about to get me the Medieval Blacksmith set, but then didn’t, which was… odd, and maybe a little mean. But I got so many treats, I could hardly make a fuss. I think it was a test to see if I would be good and not throw a tantrum about it. ๐Ÿ˜’ I stared sadly at the box really hard, but it didn’t work. I hope I can get it before it’s retired.

Anyway, you know me. I always want something. ๐Ÿ˜ Tomorrow is Orlando time, and I can’t wait!

Bunk Bed Is All Done! ๐ŸŒˆโœจ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

My studio bunk bed is all done! Some choice stuffie friends have been placed on the top now that there is a mattress there. It’s basically a stuffie corral. ๐Ÿ˜

Of course it’s also been thoroughly decorated, and I chose Bizcocho and Maplenut to hang on the edge. Everyone seems happy and comfy on the new sheet:

It looks especially lovely in the dark with all the pretty fairy lights on:

So, yeah… it took months to get this from IKEA but I am quite pleased!