WARNING: Short little video at the end of the Saturday summary, which shows a tiny, tiny snake that really looks just like an earthworm! But might still give some the heebie-jeebies.
Well, it is finally over. No more Christmas Tree Shop. I will miss it, sincerely… but now I am free to finish the last three commissions, to work on scrapbooking pages, to read, to game! 😃 To binge Prehistoric Planet and The Mandalorian, and to finish 3,000 Leagues In Search Of Mother. 🤓 For a while, free to kinda do anything –I won’t seek another job until after my Alaska and Orlando vacations. 🚢🎈
But for the rest of this week, I worked a lot, determined to give my last week at CTS my all. ✌ I must have cried like three times, twice on the last day. I wondered why at the time… I’ve only been there three months.
It’s true that I grew very fond of the team, above all, and the work was pleasant. But I think that I may still be reeling from the recent drastic actions to altogether remove myself from my online home and community of almost twelve years. 😔 CTS closing is a small ending in my life, but that other, far more significant ending is still in the background of my mind and my heart. Perhaps my brain connected the grief of both.
Anyhow, let me tell you all about this week. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting!
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! 💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
On Monday I worked on commissions and housework for most of the day. I also played a little WoW. I finished the last official commission for Snow. Just three to go!
I’ve still been going back and forth in my mind regarding Instagram. I know it’s pointless to have it and yet do not feel quite ready to delete it. Maybe once I adjust to being without FA. I found myself trying to browse the site still (FurAffinity, I mean) so I blocked it on Cold Turkey Blocker.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
This day started off badly. I overslept. Barely made it to work on time, and was cranky and tired. When I got to work, the discount was even lower:
This meant people behaved even worse. They always do when the price goes down, for some reason. The store was even more condensed and empty…
There’s not much of a store left at this point, really.
Lunch was the usual salad, but I had a Petit Pot for dessert, which felt special.
On this day I finally finished most of my leftover purchases. Here’s a cute rat card I got for scrapbooking:
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Last workday before my day off –at least it was a short one! After I got back, I showered, changed into my deer kigurumi, and had Kid Cuisine for lunch. Can’t beat that!
I’d run out of coffee the day prior, so I had a caffeine-withdrawal headache until the late afternoon when Amazon delivered it. 😖 I coped by napping until it arrived.
We had pizza for dinner and in general, it was a nice relaxing evening. I went to bed excited about my day-off plans.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
This was a special, and very wonderful day. I recently got paid. While my prior paycheck went entirely to my mom’s fund, I had different plans for this one. Since I do not intend to work again until September, I needed to make sure all of my bills are covered until then. I paid the ones I could pre-pay and set money aside for all the others from now through December.
I also bought a couple of gifts, and set aside spending money for the cruise and for the Orlando trip. Finally, I had a “me” day, just a day in which I allowed myself to dress cute, go out, have breakfast, enjoy my own company, and spend a little money on myself without regrets or guilt. Ok, maybe just a little guilt. 😅
I took a selfie before heading out; I hadn’t done this in a while.
My first stop was Target, where I found (and bought) this amazing Smurf and Snail hoodie!
I have been wanting to change my pillowcases for a long time but never saw any I liked enough. But this time I found two!
They are a bit wrinkled, but here are my favorite sides. I threw them in the wash which should smooth the wrinkles out.
I also found Bluey bowls to match my plates, cutlery, placemat and cup!
This is something that I didn’t buy, but seeing it filled me with nostalgia:
When I was very little, this is what TMNT toys used to look like. I never really liked them; they looked angry and… veiny? Lol. I remember being upset because I liked the cartoon and wished they looked friendly like they did in the show.
A little boy in my neighborhood had some of these toys, and seeing it now I very vividly remember holding it in my hand, moving its limbs, and just how it felt against my skin; its weight, all of its sharp edges, the shell, etc. So it was nice seeing it again, and remember.
I took a photo of some bright, weedy grass because it had many different shades of yellow and green, and was so pretty. Wildflowers were popping out of it here and there.
Then I made it to the mall! I passed by the quirky dino rider thingies. This time I took photos of different ones. One looked kinda like an axolotl but also somewhat like Toothless… only pink. My favorite was the parasaurolophus, hands down!
Then I went to “Cutie”, a store that is very fun to browse but I almost never buy anything there. They sell toys that were sold on close-out at other stores in the mall, only super overpriced, and a LOT of Aliexpress junk as well as fake Sanrio stuff sold for the price of the real thing. With that said, it’s a super cool store to just have fun in, and they have this giant raptor statue!
This guy looked so friendly:
I took a photo of this particular toy because it looks so much like the sort of weird, made-in-China hodgepodge I would get at markets when I was a little girl. Just look it over carefully and keep reading; it gets consistently more hilarious.
Finally, it was time to go to Build-A-Bear! This guy was greeting (er… guarding?) the entrance. I get that he’s supposed to be waving, but he also kinda looks like he’s gonna deck you one…
I really scored with my BAB finds this time! Put together three whole outfits:
Freckles was the main reason I went to Build-A-Bear. He needed clothes, and now he has a proper outfit! Although I think he needs a hat, still:
He doesn’t look very happy, but that’s okay. Freckles is hard to please. Hard, get it. Because he has a wooden face.
Cool dress at Hot Topic!
Loungefly backpacks are a work of art. So unaffordable though… I only own one (and a tiny bag). It’s rare I even take photos of them but I love this one:
Here’s a decoration at a Toys “R” Us display:
Looks like a Christmas decoration that got left behind, but it’s still cute.
My dream Cranky keeps taunting me everywhere I go… 😞 I want him so badly. There are a bunch of Cranky models, I only want the one that comes in this very specific box. It is the “Brendham Docks” model by Fisher-Price and has a woodgrain band to the right of the box. This one, specifically.
Unfortunately, he’s really expensive and I can never bring myself to blow an entire special day’s budget on him. I’ve had him on my wishlist for so long now, updating it as different versions of him come out. He never goes on sale, at least not this new version. Someday…!
See, the problem with other Crankys is that either they aren’t compatible with regular track, or their faces are wrong. Cranky HAS to look cranky. It’s Cranky after all! And this line has made the best facial expressions by far.
Anyway, here are a couple of cute plushies I saw:
One of my favorite finds of this outing was this Child’s Play shirt and lounge pants. They were sold separately, I just really loved the pants so I looked for a shirt that would be a good set:
I think it’s a pretty perfect match!
In the afternoon, I repotted my Norfolk Island pine. It’s in a massive pot now. Here’s hoping it shoots up nice and strong!
I also managed to make time to install my new lights: purple lights over the bookcases, shamrock lights in the bed, and heart lights by the window:
I was SO delighted with my Chucky loungewear!!
Then it was time for wine and WoW. I kinda wasted my time since I tried a couple of dungeons but it is obvious I cannot solo them yet. Oh well.
An otherwise happy and relaxing evening for all of us took a bit of a downturn as Kotoko, who hadn’t been quite right since the morning, refused to eat and acted more and more unlike herself, clearly uncomfortable and not purring at all the way she usually does. We are hoping it’s a blip… she’s been doing so well. But we also know that she could go at any point, given her condition.
🌈 Friday 🌈
In the morning, Kotoko came to look out the window which meant climbing from the floor onto my lap and then the table. I also heard her open her food bowl but I’m unsure if she ate very much. She wasn’t interested in fresh wet food, but she did take some treats from me and actually purr while eating them.
Throughout the week, my relief at deleting FA has only increased. I did, however, notice that not every old friend wants to stay in touch with me, even though I haven’t had anyone explicitly come out and say it, in a couple of cases it was pretty obvious. I’m not gonna lie, it does sting a little, but the reasons are precisely the same reasons why I am leaving the community as a whole. There is a certain attitude towards certain things that I personally find toxic and preposterous, and this puts me at odds with a lot of people.
But it is each person’s prerogative to stay in touch or not. They probably feel the same way about me. On the one hand, it reinforces my decision: I read the room accurately when I chose to leave. On the other hand, it feels sucky to be right.
I know this is pretty rambly, so I will quote what someone else said elsewhere: come the day that FA’s grace period regarding their updated AUP ends, a lot of people are in for a painful wake-up call. This includes many people that consider their work to be “totally SFW and non-k!nk”.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t exactly want to see people upset. But I’m not gonna shed tears when they, too, begin getting takedowns and bans. We warned them, after all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Here’s a Random Raikes bunny I ordered. Couldn’t resist his “I’m trippin’ balls” face. I’ll name him Romaine.
That’s the eBay photo; I’ll show him off again once I’ve dressed him in a proper outfit and all that.
The workday was good. Kotoko appeared to be feeling a little better when I got home. I gave her more meds, had lunch, and then, a snack:
Then it was time for housework… lots and lots of housework. When I was done, I sat down to work on art until bedtime, with a break for dinner.
I switched my pillowcases with the new clean ones. They’re still a bit wrinkly, but I love them! It’s only two but I do love both sides of the Jurassic World one:
🌈 Saturday 🌈
For most intents and purposes, this was the last day at CTS. We told all customers today was the last day, and it was the last day on which I would see several coworkers.
This photo is of how the store looked when I came in. If you compare it with a photo taken just about four hours later, the difference is quite stark.
I got this unexpected message when I logged in to my register…
A silly joke by a customer:
For lunch I had an egg salad sandwich and one of the jelly donut holes I found in the break room.
I shared it with Bargain:
Bargain and I partook in some “strong apple juice”. It’s just something that happened throughout the day on the down-low, though “strong apple juice” wasn’t everyone’s comfort drink. We didn’t go nuts of course, but it was a nice little thrill on this last difficult day…
Here’s a pupper photoset. This guy was a bit shy, which you can tell in the photos, but also friendly, and did little jumps at me and licked my hands all over. He wanted to be friends, but was also somewhat reserved. His name was Loki.
I took a few selfies with some of my favorite coworkers (mind you this is not all of them):
In the first photo is Sandra, whom I originally spoke to the day on the day I first applied to work at CTS. She was the first one I ever met. Sandra is no-nonsense but very kind and very hardworking; you can tell she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, yet she still was very patient with me all the time that I was there.
In the second photo is Carolina, or just Caro. She is a very sweet person with a warm and caring demeanor, who has an incredibly contagious and loud laugh, which you could hear from the other end of the store, even over loud music. Invariably it would cause customers I’d be ringing up at the register to raise amused eyebrows and to comment that “it sounds like someone is having fun over there”. Hearing her laugh was always a highlight, and on the first few days after we found out about the store closing, it would make me tear up thinking I’d no longer get to hear it every day.
In the last photo is Lucy. Lucy is kind of the “star manager” of the store, the one customers always ask for, and whom everyone else (other employees as well as other managers) invariably speak highly of. She trained me, and thanks to her, I gained a lot of self-confidence in areas that ended up bettering my life outside of work. I learned a lot from her and I really will miss her terribly.
There are other people I like a lot with whom I didn’t get to take photos (yet)… I either didn’t have a chance or felt too shy to ask. Some I would have a chance later in the week –my boss, Lazaro, being one of them. He is one of the best bosses I ever had, with a very strong but caring, honest and hardworking personality. I always really wanted to please him, but I also annoyed him a lot. 😅
Here’s the other photo I was talking about. It’s less than four hours later, yet you can see how much emptier the store appears. You can see Caro and Sandra posing for me in the middle (this photo, like the other one, was taken from the upstairs office):
In the last few days at the store, even this TV gave up…
A photo from my register when it was close to my time to leave, around 6:30 pm. Hardly anything left by this point.
Christopher came into the store a few minutes before 7:00 pm and chit-chatted with my coworkers as I said my goodbyes to those I wouldn’t see again. I was really glad about this, so he could meet the people I’d come to care a lot about, if only for a little while.
I took a photo of this punch-out, because even though I’d punch in and out on Sunday, this day felt really momentous and I didn’t want to risk my Sunday schedule perhaps being changed or canceled and then I didn’t take one last photo. After all, this was still the “last” day (technically) so this punch-out felt more significant.
Christopher took me to The Pub for dinner:
Our partner was with our other friends on this afternoon, discussing arrangements for their wedding, and going out and having some fun with them, so Christopher and I had a rare night out by ourselves. 🥰 It felt special. We also walked around Target a little just for fun, holding hands, and he showed me that he’d bought me these ugly but adorable Raikes beavers from eBay that I really wanted. He’s been spoiling me a LOT lately.
Actually, both he and our partner have been spoiling me so much. Since March and until now, I have been extremely difficult to be around as I try to adjust to schedule changes that simply do not work for me and my delicate-ass psyche. At times I even inferred extremely hyperbolic stuff like basically not wanting to be alive (and at the time, it felt like I meant it) because I was basically in an extended mental breakdown.
To be honest, I hardly know how they dealt with it. Particularly as it’s reaching the end, I realize that the last few months were, for them, a constant battle to accommodate to my desires, whether by ordering what I wanted to eat, giving me attention/petting me when I demanded it and then leaving me alone when I wanted that instead, taking me out to eat, buying me stuff to cheer me up, giving me rides to and from work, listening to SO much bitching and crying, being on the brunt of random explosive fits of rage, and more.
I know most of all for them, my next job *has* to be something I can handle better, without falling apart. I cannot do this to them again and I am lucky that it didn’t damage two of the most important relationships in my life. Here’s hoping I’ve learned a thing or two and can do better next time.
WARNING REMINDER: Short video below which shows the tiniest snake!
In the evening Christopher and I found a tiny wee earthworm-like snake in the movie room. Well, Rosie did. It turned out to be a Brahminy Blindsnake, also known as a Flowerpot Snake. They are non-native, but very common to Florida, and completely harmless.
Some fun facts I learned:
“During the hot summer months in Florida, we receive numerous reports from people finding small, shiny black, thread-like snakes on the floors inside their houses, especially the bathrooms.”
“Blindsnakes eat termites and the eggs and pupae of ants. Therefore, if you are seeing several of these snakes inside, it is possible that you have ants or termites living in or near your house as well.”From FloridaMuseum.ufl.edu
Indeed, we have plenty of ants and termites. Our tenting should occur within the month. We placed the little lady safely outside.
Another fun fact about these snakes is that all are female, and a genetic clone of their mothers.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
The week comes to an end… and so does my time at CTS. I started this day doing all the chores I could. I wanted to come home to relax and draw when the workday was done. After doing all I could, I went to work. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of what we would be doing, but when I got there at noon, the store was still serving customers:
I said hello and went upstairs to put my lunch away. I noticed no one was hiding the comfort drinks anymore…
We no longer had the official store music going on, everyone was playing whatever they wanted, sitting on the desks at the registers, no one cared much about anything, but we were still unfailingly serviceable to any customer that came in.
Customers were very few. After all, there was very little left at the store…
While we waited for stuff to sell and some of my coworkers did some cleaning here and there, I took another picture and a bit of video of the empty store:
It was super eerie and echoey (though I removed the sound, as it was loud and annoying):
Ultimately, while we had a few customers buy something here and there, a single couple would buy all that was left, to resell it. They came with a cute doggy friend:
And with that, we were done. Closed forever. All the stores across the country that are also closing were supposed to close today. We managed to be the first store to do so. My coworkers then began to take all the signs down. They shut the doors. And well, I finally kind of lost it a little, and did some proper “ugly crying”.
But then, food arrived! For lunch, we all pitched in for pizza (Christopher pitched in for my part). Normally I take my photos of Bargain on the down-low, but today I really didn’t care:
We had a very pleasant meal all of us together. Afterwards, I took some more pics as we disassembled stuff…
That last pic is where the carts used to be stored.
Then we went upstairs to continue the clean-up and I got to take a selfie with another favorite coworker of mine, Letti:
Letti bought a bunch of these cute St. Patrick’s Day decorations and gave one to each of us. She wrote a very sweet note and her contact info on the back of mine. Letti and I both grew on each other while I worked there, even though we both have strong personalities. I’m really happy that I met her.
The calendar from the upstairs office…
Before I left, we all took a picture together. Well, some people left before this could be arranged, but as it turned out, I still managed to get all of my most favorite people in there –at least, the ones that worked today, and that I worked with the most. There are definitely people I still wish had been in the photo, though:
We actually got two really good shots. They are different, so I wanted to share them both –and, appropriately, this is my last CTS-related photo ever:
I am so, so glad I got to work here. In spite of me not dealing well with the closer-to-full-time hours near the end, it’s still a really happy memory that I won’t forget. I hope you enjoyed my sharing of the experience with you on the blog.
Once we were home, Christopher asked me to go check the closet. I did, and he’d hidden a surprise for me there!
He’d bought it secretly after dropping me off! I was really touched, it was such a sweet and unexpected gesture. 🥰
I did lots of chores, and then sat down to dinner:
At some point in the evening, I found that Rosie had gotten cozy with Chucky. I’m not sure that’s such a great idea. He doesn’t have the best track record with cats.
At the very end, people called dibs on store stuff that was being thrown away or not being sent back. The Ty display would be trashed, so I removed this plastic heart logo from it, as a memento, and later stuck it to my bed:
And that is it for this week! Next week I hope to finish all the due commissions. Not sure if I’ll make it –they are all complicated pieces. But once I do, then I am actually going to resume my for-fun endeavors and my book progress.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week! As a reminder, if you haven’t yet –you’re welcome to join my Telegram chat. I am quite active there! Just read the rules before participating. See ya there!