Archive for the ‘target’ Tag

Actual Thanksgiving Post   Leave a comment

James and I spent Thanksgiving with his aunt Lynette and her family: husband Jeff, kids Paul and Alicia, and granddaughter Aiyana. We showed up only about twenty minutes before dinner was served, so we sort of got right into the whole feasting thing right away. Unfortunately, Alicia wasn’t feeling well and was upstairs for most of the night.

Before we ate, we did the usual what-are-you-thankful-for thing. Jeff went first. I was sitting on Jeff’s right, and therefore assumed that I would go last. In my family, we pass everything to the left: dishes, responsibilities, etc. However, in this family, they pass to the right. So instead of having four people recite their gratitude before me, I was thrown on the spot before I could come up with a list, much less compose it into something nice. I sort of sputtered out something about how I was glad the economy was recovering, realized that sounded cold and political, and decided by saying that I was grateful for how supportive and understand James is while I’ve been getting on my own two feet, financially speaking. James in turn said that he was grateful for the opportunities he’s had at work this year (getting into the management training program), and that he was glad he finally got to have me around all the time. Apparently James’ family had been experiencing a lot of health issues this year; they were grateful to still have each other, and were hopeful for a better next year.

We asked Aiyana what she was grateful for. She stared at us over the apple she had started eating. We laughed.

Conversation flowed pretty well. James was pretty quiet, but he perked up after he drank some water. Obviously we all overate. I had made the decision this year to only have one piece of turkey, since I always regret having a second (I got the drumstick! They gave me the second drumstick to take home!) I had planned to, instead, have two helpings of all the side dishes I liked.

After dinner, James passed out on the couch. I stayed out of the way while Lynette and Jeff cleaned up. I sat with James on the couch and started drawing in my sketchbook. James put his arm around me and straight-up fell asleep, so that I couldn’t move. Eventually James woke up, and we headed out with leftover turkey and the cheesecake James had made, thanking Lynette and Jeff profusely for dinner.

When we got home, it was time for Christmas. James turned on his Pandora Christmas station: the first song of the Christmas season was Bing Crosby’s “Let it Snow”. All was well.

black friday is here

YES WE KNOW TARGET.

Posted November 28, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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Stellapecunia and the start of carrot soup   Leave a comment

So the Starbucks at the Harris Teeter still hasn’t opened yet. They haven’t even broken ground. I’m going in every few days to a different Starbucks over in Durham. When I was given the store location, the store manager said, “But don’t worry. It’s near the border of Durham. It’s closer to Chapel Hill.”

I replied that I was new to the area and didn’t really know the geography of the area.

“It’s not in the Durham you’ve heard about,” he said. “It’s near the border. It’s practically Chapel Hill.”

I hadn’t heard anything about Durham at all. Apparently my confusion reached my face, because he said, “You don’t have to be nervous. It’s not really Durham at all.”

I hadn’t been nervous until he had said something.

I’ve only been once to this Starbucks at Harris Teeter. I worked an opening shift. The morning was extraordinarily slow — they usually get rushes of eight people at a time, but this time, there was just one rush, of four people. People came in ones and twos and there were long stretches of no one at all. We got to stand around and shoot the breeze a lot. The lead barista, Steve, has announced that he will completely retrain me in my espresso-machine-operating skills. I was trained to squirt the syrups into the cup, start the espresso, and then steam milk. Apparently he starts with the milk. I’m not sure what the difference is, but if that is the Harris Teeter way then I suppose I will learn it.

I don’t really mind taking my time with this training. They haven’t even broken ground yet on my Starbucks. A lot of my coworkers are getting assigned as cashiers just to get their hours. I suppose I should be more worried, about, like, my money, and stuff, but it still hasn’t really fizzled into my conscience that I make money to pay bills. Besides, I have a bit more time off, so I get to rest and focus on other things.

Like make new recipes! I’ve spent some time reading through various recipes on carrot curry soup, so I think I’ll head to the grocery store to get some ingredients. Last time I just made up a soup recipe after doing some consultation it worked out alright, so I’ll do it this way:

4 cups chicken broth
1 bag carrots (grated? baby? I’ll decide later!)
1 cup milk or sour cream or coconut milk or something
1 tbsp curry powder
Seasonings (I’ve seen ginger, cinnamon, and garlic all suggested)

I also felt sick this morning, and it just got worse and worse as the morning progressed, so I took an early lunch and stopped by Target to buy lunch and pain meds. I chatted it up with all my former coworkers, like Levy, Hunter, and Matt. Cheryl stopped me as I was leaving. She shops at the Harris Teeter where I’ll be working, and had talked with Angel, the hiring manager, about the Starbucks. She had found out from Angel that I’ll be working at the Starbucks there.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to tell anyone at Target that,” I said. “It seemed inappropriate to say, ‘Hey, Starbucks, I’m going to a different Starbucks.'”

“I’m glad you finished out your two weeks,” Cheryl said. Referencing a comment I had made about Ashley dropping Petsmart like a ton of bricks, she said, “We’ve had a lot of people just quit with no notice, and we had to scramble to cover their shifts, which you can’t really do, because no one here is trained in Starbucks.” She said it showed a lot of my character, and I got embarrassed and tried push the conversation on a different path. She said stuff like that a few more times, but I think her statements had more to do with her frustrations over the past several months. Lots of people have been quitting the Starbucks at Target; Manny, the lead, openly loathes his job, and Cheryl can tell his higher-ups all she wants about her frustrations with the job, but nothing gets done. I wasn’t the first person to quit Starbucks after just a short while, but at least I had the courtesy to treat my coworkers like human beings. I got the sense that Cheryl had talked to Angel because Cheryl wanted to get hired by Harris Teeter. Like me, she wants to try the same job with a different company.

People are more complicated than they appear on the surface. Manny appears to be a chill boss during the interview process; he avoids doing work. Cheryl openly rants about employee performance; she cares about your work and wants you to do better, and also she’s frustrated and needs to get it out.

Posted October 23, 2014 by agentksilver in Food, Personal

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Middle of October 2014   2 comments

I realized something about myself tonight. When required to answer something I have been trained in, I stumble over words.

Customer: Hey, are you able to give me cash back?
Kelsey: Yes, you can get the…the things when you do the thing, with the swiping, the cashing, with the debit card. You have to have a debit card to get the thing. The cash.

But when I improvise…

Kelsey: Oh, I like the teddy bear mask. Very scary. Is it for Halloween?
Customer: No, I just want it wear it every day.
Kelsey: I respect that.
Customer: *laughs hysterically*

Or alternatively:

Kelsey: I see you got skeleton-themed paper plates and towels. Are you preparing for the Skeleton War?
Customer: No, I’ve never heard of that.
Kelsey: On Halloween, the skeletons are going to rise up and make war on us all. It’s all over the internet.
Customer: I didn’t know. We’ll be completely unprepared.
Kelsey: Oh, don’t worry! Now that you know, you’ll be able to prepare.
Customer: Good.
Kelsey: Although, since we all have skeletons inside us, will we not be fighting ourselves?
Customer: That got deep.
Supervisor: That got creepy.

Anyway, when I made my last post, I expected to update later that day with a most important post about how I spent my weekend. Alas, my weekend was so much fun and so exhausting that I ended up passing out instead of writing the blog entry. I am now going to fix that.

Kelsey and Lacey’s Excellent Adventure

Lacey came down to visit me for the weekend! Not only was it the first time I saw family in like two months (how did I go that long??? I’m not used to that!) but also it was the first time I had time off in like ever.

She drove down on Friday night for the long Columbus Day Indigenous People’s Day weekend. I made lettuce wraps and she, James, and I played Robo Rally. I chose Robo Rally because it’s the least board-game-like board game we own. You navigate a bunch of robots around a map, as they crash into things (such as other robots) and get caught on conveyor belts and shoot at things and it’s a lot of fun, 10/10 would recommend. Lacey loved it.

The next day, we knew I had to close Petsmart in the evening, and I really wanted to go to a corn maze, so we chose a corn maze just down the road from Food Lion to go to. It really amazes me about North Carolina; we’re in the middle of suburbia, and you turn down a road you always turn down, and then you go like two minutes farther and suddenly you’re in farm country? Or maybe there’s a large working farm smack in the middle of suburbia? Like there’s apartments right across the street from a working farm?

Most of the activities were for families with little kids. There was a moon bounce, farm equipment to climb on, pony rides, a fenced-in area with a few things for kids to climb on but mostly a place for them to run around and scream. There were activities for older kids — a strongman game, a mechanical bull, a trail ride. Lacey and I started with the corn maze, because that had been the main attraction for me.

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They had given us a map and shown us where the entrance was on the map. We hewed very closely to the map, and so getting through the maze was a breeze. We were supposed to find ten checkpoints. That was not so easy.

After an hour, we had found seven checkpoints and decided to call it quits. The sun was hot in the sky. The ground was muddy. We had both dressed in long, dark jeans for some insane reason. We knew where the exit was. So we left and sat in the shaded eating area and drank water and checked facebook and chatted for a bit.

We decided to do the trail ride next, although they were in the middle of a trail ride, so we decided to do the strongman game in the meantime. You guys know what a strongman game is. I’m not going to explain it.

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Lacey was able to get “Minor Blast” while I couldn’t get past “Fizzle Out”. I fumed at my lack of strength. Lacey explained how my swinging technique was wrong, and I tried again, this time scoring “Low Power.” And that was great! But it was time to get on our high horse and ride.

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Uh oh, she’s figured out I’m taking pictures.

They gave the horse that I wanted to a little boy, I guess because that particular horse was calm and easy. Why couldn’t I get the calm and easy horse? Instead, I got a generic brown horse who had decided that he was sick of walking the same loop around the property every day. Didn’t anyone ever bother to ask the horse what he wanted to do? He was the one actually doing the walking, and what he wanted to do was eat some delicious, delicious grass.

Yes, while I was feeling trepidatious because the last time I rode a horse I nearly fell off, the horse was just feeling hungry and bored. We started walking, and the horse immediately veered to the left to get some grass next to the entrance. Fortunately, I guided the horse roughly back to the group. I muttered to the horse, “Don’t you want to be with the other horses? Aren’t you a herd animal?” He chose not to reply.

For a moment we walked on the trail and all was peaceful and well. The sun warmed my skin. I gained an appreciation for all those comments about riders being “saddle-sore” in all those fantasy books. I didn’t hurt, but my skin was being rubbed, and I could see it getting worse if you rode for several hours. I also thought it was pretty cool, you know, sitting on something and having it go without you pressing on an accelerator or something.

The trail was a big loop around a big grassy field. The horse went for the grass. But he was smart; he acted like he wanted to stay on the road, but just not next to those other horses. But slowly, we started angling more and more onto the grass and less and less onto the gravel. Then he stopped. He straight up stopped, and bent down, and started eating grass.

“No,” I said. “No, horse. No.” I tried kicking his belly, but the horse continued to munch away. I weakly flicked the reins. I wondered whose idea it had been to let me operate a horse. I looked around. Lacey was riding next to the ride leader, laughing, making friends like she’s so good at doing. Behind them was the little boy on the pretty horse. I couldn’t see anyone else. The horse pulled at a particularly tough piece of grassing, rocking me from side to side.

From behind me, someone said, “Pull hard on the reins. Show him who’s boss.”

“Won’t that hurt?” I asked.

“Not if you only do it briefly. He won’t want you to do it again.”

I trusted his expert advice and yanked on the reins. Then I yanked again. And a third time. Finally, the horse’s head went up, and he walked along, chewing. Then he swallowed, and stopped, bent down, and started plucking at the grass again.

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Here are some random pictures that I took on the farm. That is the King of All Goats in case you are wondering.

Lacey and I picked out our pumpkins and headed home. We watched Nightmare Before Christmas before I had to leave for work. She was out with some Raleigh friends of hers when I got home.

The next day, we went to downtown Raleigh. I had never been to downtown Raleigh before. It was a cold and misty day, completely the opposite of the day before; I had wore cloth shoes even though it was clearly going to rain any second. We were going for the Raleigh Museum of History, but we stumbled upon the Food Truck Rodeo, which I had completely forgotten about even though it had been advertised pretty much everywhere in the Raleigh area constantly, including on our toilet paper probably.

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I like how few food trucks are featured in these images, despite them literally lining the streets.

Lacey bought a shirt and a cupcake. I bought some crab rangoon and veggie rolls, some cupcakes, and a whoopie pie. Then we headed to the museum.

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Now admittedly I have been spoiled rotten by growing up near DC. I compare all museums to the Smithsonian Institution. Those are huge, grand Neo-Classical buildings. The Raleigh Museum of History was small compared to that. Not super small — not Bath Historical Society small — but small. There was only one gallery on the bottom floor, along with a theater and a gift shop. Upstairs, there were four more galleries. The one on the bottom was a rundown of North Carolinian history from the indigenous inhabitants to the 1990s. The section on pirates was smaller than I would have preferred, just a small exhibit with a model ship, Blackbeard’s flag, and a few signs about Blackbeard. The section on the Civil War was large, as you would expect in a former Confederate state, I guess. Lacey and I found each other in there, and we discussed women in the Civil War for a bit before wandering off separately again. I sat down and watched a video on the hostile takeover of Wilmington. I was sort of shaken by the whole thing and had trouble concentrating for the rest of the tour. I was surprised by how strong my reaction was. It felt sort of like that moment when I learned that Napoleon Bonaparte sold the Louisiana Territory to Thomas Jefferson. History suddenly felt real to me. It suddenly had real-world consequences. Oddly enough, I feel uncomfortable researching modern-day history, precisely because it is so close to me. Wilmington was very much that to me, and yet I found myself wanting to know more.

Then we went home and played board games with James and his friends. We played Robo Rally again (it’s very zany with seven players), and introduced Lacey to Resistance. It’s difficult enough playing that game, but Lacey was playing against six veteran Resistance players, and the final round came down to her. The spies kicked our asses.

After we cleaned up from board game night, Lacey and I watched Princess and the Frog, determined that the lack of direction and ill-thought-out characters (particularly the female characters) meant that we didn’t like the movie.

On Monday, we carved pumpkins:

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Combined Starbucks and smokey barbecue:

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And visited a lumber yard, and basically had a very North Carolina sort of day. We watched Brave (we both enjoyed that film more — Pixar just really knows how to write well-rounded characters, you know?) and then played Arabian Nights (in just a few rounds, Lacey’s character was a depressed talking ape on the run from the law). Then Lacey had to go home. I started missing her about two minutes after she left.

Ah well. December then.

This post has a lot to catch up on, bear with me here   1 comment

So last Friday I had probably the closest thing to a mental breakdown that I’ve had in a long time. I had gotten Saturday off, the day off for the first time in a long time, and even better, James had the same day off! Except that both my jobs asked me to come in and cover shifts for people. And then I cried, and then I cried some more, and I couldn’t stop crying, and then I couldn’t stop screaming, and then I realized that I was screaming because I didn’t have anyone to tell that I had Feelings. I tend to get over Feelings as soon as I tell people that I have Feelings. In case anyone is still wondering, that is why I vagueposted “I really need someone to talk to.” Thankfully, I was able to talk to people eventually (thank you, Leandra and Lacey), and when James got home that night I kind of sobbed into his chest for about two hours.

Still, it was close enough to a mental breakdown that it took me the better part of a week to get over the Feelings. This would have been a terrible week for me to make major life decisions.

Recuperation was slow. I nearly started crying again when I started talking to one of my managers. I was dealing with a bearded dragon with an infection foot; someone had had the bright idea of prescribing oral medication to a beardie. As she waggled a mealworm in front of his face, trying to get him to open his mouth, we started talking about Sinbad, who was chillaxing in his cage under the hospital aquarium. She referred to him as “the retard” and said that Alex had suggesting euthanizing him, and that she was in favor of it.

I panicked. I didn’t say anything, but I plotted. And yesterday, I was finally able to take Sinbad home. His bone disorder has rendered him “unadoptable”, so I got him for absolutely free.

sinbad

He’s not here to stay. James has made his position very clear. He likes Sinbad just fine. Sinbad is a charmer. His silly walks, his horrible attempts at climbing, and his little bit of beardie sass all combine to make a wonderful, unique beardie. It’s not that James dislikes Sinbad. No, we just have no room for Sinbad. Right now, Sinbad is in a makeshift tank: the old frog aquarium with some leftover tiles and Slinky’s heat lamp (Slinky is starting to brumate, so he doesn’t need the light as often as he normally does). We’ve shoved the tank in the corner by the dining room table, because we just don’t have anywhere else to put him.

sinbad

So on Monday or Tuesday, I’m going to hand him over to a reptile rescue. I just have to decide which one. Right now we’re giving Sinbad some space; he definitely has Relocation Stress, refusing to eat crickets. I’ll try again tomorrow. The important thing is, he has a chance at a real life now, instead of hiding in a too-tiny tank in the back of a Petsmart, surrounded by sick guinea pigs and anorexic geckos.

Other pleasant developments were chatting with a woman about Italy while I made an iced coffee for her. She wanted the largest size available. I told her the largest size was a Venti, and then corrected myself: for iced beverages, the largest size available was a Trenta. She laughed and shook her head and said that they really were “trying to force the Italy thing, weren’t they?” and I said yes, totally and rattled off a few more instances of fake Italian that Starbucks uses, and suddenly were were discussing Prosciutto and I told her about the Piramide in Rome.

pyramid in rome
source

I DIDN’T MAKE IT UP. THERE IS A LEGIT ROMAN PYRAMID IN ROME BECAUSE OF A RANDOM EGYPTIAN CULT DURING AUGUSTUS CAESAR’S TIME MEANT THAT SOME RANDOM PERSON SPENT MONEY IMPORTING A ROMAN PYRAMID AND NOW ROME CAN’T GET RID OF IT AND FINALLY SOMEONE OTHER RICH PERSON DECIDED TO RESTORE IT AND ALSO THEY NAMED A METRO STOP AFTER IT BECAUSE WHY WOULDN’T YOU IT’S THE ONLY OTHER THING AROUND BESIDES THE PROTESTANT CEMETERY AND A MEXICAN RESTAURANT.

I also get along fine with the girls at Starbucks. I have to suck in my breath and just take it whenever Manny, Cheryl, or Matt is around, but Makala, Alicia, and Shandy are totally awesome and I love working with them. It makes me happy that not all of my feelings about Target are negative.

And also, tomorrow Lacey is coming to visit!

whatever man

A wide variety of topics   Leave a comment

First of all, there’s a new Animator vs. Animation!

Second of all, tonight is the night I give my notice at Target. I had to re-take my drug test at Harris Teeter (clerical error — funny story, kinda) and I told the hiring manager that I hadn’t given my two weeks yet because I was waiting on the results of the drug test. She told me that if I was confident that I’m going to pass the test, then I should go ahead and give my notice. So I will. I feel nervous.

Third of all, whenever I work at Petsmart I keep thinking of all the pets I could have. I keep thinking, I know how to take care of animals. I bet I could make a really good cat owner, and that cat would be so happy! Or today I spent a lot of time planning out a non-filtered betta tank. I’d use a 2.5 gallon aquarium, and the only hardware would be a heater and an air pump (so the water isn’t still all the time). I found some silk plants that are $1.99/piece. The total cost would be about $60, all told. I would probably take out about a half-gallon every day so the ammonia doesn’t build up.

Of course, with $60, I could pay off some of my student loans, or buy a copy of the Sims, or something more useful than having yet another animal that doesn’t interact with me all that much anyway. A lot of adulthood seems to be wanting something but knowing that you shouldn’t, so you don’t, but openly admitting that you want it anyway.

via dumbing of age
source

Also I held a friendly snake at Petsmart, so it was a good day all around   Leave a comment

I did a naughty thing tonight.

While Makala was taking her lunch, I decided that, hey, no one was watching, so…so I went ahead and made myself a drink. A small drink. I justified it by telling myself that Manny had told me to try more drinks and pastries, so I could recommend them to customers.

My original plan had been to make a Cinnamon Dolce Latte, which sounds heavenly. But I realized that, under my justification, I had to have something that customers tended to drink. And lately, lots of customers have been drinking Caramel Macchiatos. So I resigned myself to that. I made it with decaf, because honey I am getting up at 6:30 in the morning for a stocking shift and I am not staying up all night.

Caramel Macchiatos are pretty simple — a few pumps of vanilla, steamed milk, pour the espresso shots on top, and then do the famous caramel cross-hatching. I receive many compliments on my caramel cross-hatches. They are beautiful. Manny even complimented them once. It is only one of two compliments that I have ever gotten from him (the other is that I did a good job remembering how much water goes into each dehydrated syrup).

I slipped into the back and took a sip of my creation. I took a sip. I suddenly realized that I am actually really good at my job. The milk was steamed evenly (I hadn’t even tried!). The espresso was bitter, and I had to make myself get through that portion, but towards the bottom, the caramel had mixed with the vanilla and was actually pretty good.

I’m getting better about chatting with customers. Right now the best conversations come from commenting on their shirts. One guy was wearing his Chipotle uniform, so I asked him about working at Chipotle (he loves it). A couple were wearing Dragon Age 2 shirts, so we chatted about gaming for a bit. I gave a brief review of The Handmaid’s Tale (although I was confused and called it “the Midwife’s Tale”) which was perhaps inappropriate given the subject matter, but I focused mainly on the part in the beginning where the Handmaid recounts the beginning of the revolution, where she realizes that her credit card doesn’t work.

I was running around like crazy towards the end of my shift and I suddenly asked Makala, “Does decaf still have caffiene in it? Just less?”

Makala said, “Yeah, it’s just a reduced amount.”

Oops.

Posted October 2, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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On being a useless intellectual   1 comment

makala thinks I'm smart

Later that same day, I started singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” while fixing a mocha frappaccino, because that song has been stuck in my head for about seven days now. I then explained to Makala that the song was stuck in my head. Makala responded by singing Christmas carols. She sang,

Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
And bring some out here

Then said, “What the hell is figgy pudding? It sounds disgusting.”

I then went through a basic gist of how people celebrated Christmas in pre-1820s Western society (long story short: get drunk, sing Christmas Carols, break into rich people’s houses and demand food and drink, because Christmas was the one time of year when poor people could do that — topsy turvy!) and how those traditions funneled into modern-day society (we switched from giving stuff to poor people to giving stuff to children, because children were regarded as little better back in those days basically).

Makala listened to all of this, and then said, “Why do you even know this??”

A few minutes later Steve the Security Guy walked by and, in the midst of the conversation, bragged about how he knew everything. Makala declared that he couldn’t, because I know everything and she could prove it. Steve wandered away after a customer asked us questions about our anniversary roast.

And today, one of the cashiers came by to refill her water cup. She complained that the store was too hot, and wished that it were more like the outside. I then explained about how most stores work to keep the inside conditioners as consistent as possible, thereby blocking out any way for customers to be able to tell time. Temperature regulation, no clocks, blocking view of the windows — all to keep customers from noticing how much time has passed. The more customers linger, the more they’ll buy.

The cashier listened intently, then said, “How do you even know all that??”

“She knows everything,” Makala said. “She’s like an encyclopedia.”

Posted September 26, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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