Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Day, after the Night, I decided to be the Nice Girl

This time of year I am always reminded of the night that changed the way I treat people forever. This night in particular, my behavior and my reactionary ways were so uncalled for, from that next morning forward was life- changing.
To understand the story completely you have to understand the female psyche, and what happens when you get a group of us hen's together. Typically, we get dressed up to the nines, and historically we end up talking about everyone else that is out that evening. It is true that girls get dressed up partially for other girls. Sure, it's to feel good and have a good time too. But we're all out there, checking your dress, branding your handbag, and naming your shoes. And believe me, the bigger the train wreck the lengthier the conversation.
But it's also true that when your throwing someone under the bus, it's because somewhere along the way your own wheels have come off.
It was the Night before Thanksgiving, and amongst the tavern league owners, this is known as the Super Bowl of nights to go out. I had been voted to host Thanksgiving Dinner the following day for family and friends. It was decided before going out that evening, that we would keep it a fairly early evening, and visit a friends bar. The evening started out fairly harmless, and I was with my ex and a few more guy friends. Before we knew it, it was midnight, and I thought it was time to call it a night. Unless you and your partner are on the same page about when to leave a particular event, having 1 person ready to leave and 1 person still raging is the Absolute Worst situation to be in.
Pretty soon into this exchange, I was the bad guy. I was the party-pooper and I was the one not having any fun. The more I looked at the clock, the faster the drinks were being poured. Trying to be the voice of reason was a futile effort, in preparation for a 50 minute drive home. Pretty soon my date and friends started to chat up a table of ladies nearby. Because I had been cheated on, lied to, and mislead, I went on full defense mode. I became that crazy 20-something old girl in the bar fighting with her boyfriend. I was the train wreck.
I approached the bar after I noticed my date had presumably ordered a round of shots for all his friends, and the table full of new female friends. There they were, lined up on the bar, glass gleaming in the neon light. All 20 of them. I glanced at my date to confirm he ordered them. With one fell swoop of my right hand, all 20 gleaming glasses went flying across the bar shattering glass and liquor everywhere.
After that night, I made the conscious decision to never again be That girl. I reached a point of maturity to have the self confidence to not speak poorly of others and actually make eye contact and a smile to unknowns. I would never again be with a man that I didn't trust around other women. I made the decision to not engage in the catty banter that ensues on a night out with the girls. And keeping the company I do now of sharp ladies, we have better things to talk about.
And if we don't? Well then you can find me with my friend Jack, at the bar.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Few of my Favourite Things #OOTD

Retail is Detail

Interestingly enough, I didn't choose to be in retail, it chose me. I've
known exactly what I've wanted to do "When I grow up" since I was 4. I wanted to make clothes, have a store, and spend little time with the public.
But it was decided during one of those "college counselor" moments that maybe we should tap into that Re-arrange my bedroom every other month, yearly paint and re- decorate, including curtains, and "accessories" Activity that had also started about age 4.
 I participated in a series of internships for retailers, where I was given a set up of products and had to install within the perimeters of the store. They kept noticing that what I put together, was almost always gone within days. I was asked to come into buyers meetings and give my opinion on what they were hawking. This was for a major department store, that at the time, still did 75% of their own buying! Today this is unheard of, and there in my 19 year old shoes, I was being asked for my input. That was very powerful for the formerly bullied14 year old. It was also empowering to me that I could change people's buying decisions about the leftovers that had been getting dusty on the shelves. I was overwhelmed that the same stuff, re- styled and moved by me, was sold out by the weekend.
Life went on like this for a good number of years with a steadfast growing company that was expanding at almost 100 stores a year. I worked amongst some of my fondest friends and some of the savviest business partners. We had a ton of fun, furnished our homes and Made money! Many of these people I still talk to on a weekly basis, and we trade stories about unloading semi trucks in 10 inches of snow, or hauling sofas over our heads.
Eventually somehow, the management of the merchandise, turned into managing people. A few years ago I was hired on to take care of a real mess. A 5- store, 30 million dollar mess. When I got there, the stores were run by Friends of friends. Neighbors, nieces, Auntees and Uncles, The guy that needed a job on the street. There wasn't a community, a work ethic, or much of any order. But these stores were bringing in Sales. Lots of Sales. So this was an opportunity, but a huge problem to handle first. Many of the employees were not gender specific, and almost all of them were stealing. Stealing in their coffee cups, in the sides of their boots under their clothes, and down their pants. Bag and purse checks always came up empty. They had all taught each other how to steal. One by one, I got rid of them. The Human Resource department didn't care how I was cleaning house, they just wanted to know it was being done. Little did I know, I was eliminating a major theft ring that employed much of the city. I was starting to spend the majority of my weeks at the Courthouse, fighting Unemployment Courts, or Felony Shoplifting claims. Death threats, and a few new tires later, I was asked to leave the business. Now that the stores were, relatively normal, they found someone they could pay less than 1/2 of what I was making, to do, sort of, the same thing.
And how are the stores now? 6 strong and 50 million annually.
Today I'm once again in an amazing community, with people I care for and trust. I have reminded myself to slow down and think of the good of people. We celebrate the holidays, ask about weekends off, and make plans to do pot- luck dinners. I know their children's and pets names, and get excited when they stop in on days off.
This is what keeps me here. This is what makes the Friday nights and Sunday afternoons worth it. Being with people, that want to come to work and have a good time. People that want to come and speak with others and promote what makes them feel good. People that also get excited as I when they see something they moved, sell out.
 So when it comes to Retail, these are the Details, that I enjoy most.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Sales Pitch

When you begin dating someone, there is The Sales Pitch. Weather you are selling love or trying to buy companionship, there is Always The Pitch. Intentional or not,  some of these Pitches are more calculated than a used car negotiation.
1 of 2 Pitches are proposed:
1."I am an Amazing person", I have my life all together. I own home(s), car(s), lake houses. I'm your "go anywhere" do anything kind of person. "I don't do drama", I am friends with all my ex's. I own my own business...and on and on.(and they will tell you All of this on the first date) You get the idea. your first question should be: "Why are you single"? Cue: Canned responses, "I'm really busy with my business", "I'm Choosy" or my personal favorite: "I can't commit" (I.e.. I like to screw around)
This Pitcher is a Really good date. You'll have a great time, travel a lot and have amazing dinners. but that's it. It will only last as long as it takes his phone to ring with someone else on the other end when your on a date. Amazing single people over 30 are single for a reason. And you'll find their dysfunction soon enough. If the amazing Pitchers find themselves in a relationship, usually the pitch will not have much follow though and you'll both be left feeling like there was a swing and a miss.
2. "I'm an A**hole. Don't date me Pitch. Believe it or not this is a fairly familiar pitch. These are the non- callers. The Show Up at your doorstop out- of- the blue Pitchers. The Mr. Big of sportsmen. Just when you think your over him, there he shows up and makes you wonder if the chase is really worth it. And for the moments you chase, it Really Is worth it. Don't Date me usually drives a motorcycle and doesn't have the steadiest record of employment. At times he will definitely make you feel like he's doing you a favor by carving out his schedule for time with you. Make no mistake though, Don't Date Me's will let you know what your in for from the beginning.
I definitely found myself in the category of   #2 Pitchers when I met P. I gave him every reason Not to date me, and definitely gave him a run for his money. For the first year and a 1/2 I dated him I was also seeing someone else. And Yes, they both knew. It didn't make it any easier, but P knew, if he was buying my Pitch, it was going to be a Final Sale, no refunds. In the end, I think he got more than he bargained for!
The hardest part about The Pitch is, The Pitch is what Sold you! The Pitch is what made you pay attention or take another chance. And inevitably, the Pitch is what you fall for."You always Used to" are 4 of the most resentful words ever spoken. How do you move past "You always used to"?
My Advice?:
Find yourself a good Short Stop. He's consistent and trustworthy. He's not usually the Fan favorite, or the one- season wonder. He's also not the over- paid draft pick either.
But  he'll never come up short and won't ever stop loving you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Bully & The Bra

From time to time at work, the girl's and I like to wax poetic about some particularly gruesome details of our female adolescence. If there is on time in my life I would Never, Ever consider going back to it was age 12-15. There are literally no photos of me, except the annual yearbook photo out there. My grandma was sending me diet pills in the mail, I had no idea how to handle Aunt Flo, and let's not even talk about the hair. The only thing that saved me? Gymnastics. From age 12-21 I competed and coached in the most life saving of sports.
It started in 6th grade. My family and I had gone on a few vacations and I was getting ready to go into middle school. I had a pretty cream angora sweater that I wore with a pink oxford underneath it. The oxford had patch pockets and they were noticeable underneath the sweater. Seam Emmerich started the rumor that I stuffed my bra and everyone in the school knew it. Truth was, I didn't even wear a bra at that time!! The entire year I had visions of flashing the 6th grade class at the graduation ceremony, to prove not only did I Not stuff my bra, I didn't even wear one. Thankfully, this never happened.
Then there was Paul Dabey. Everyday on the school bus he found some way to ruin my day. He started rumors that my best friend I were lesbians?? (I didn't even know what that was!) He would get in my face and yell at me. He threw the one and only brush I found to make my 8th grade permed hair "Work", out the window. And he threw my entire book bag on top the bus, on the highway one afternoon. That very day, I mustered everything I had in my 14 years of life, and yelled in his face and didn't stop until he got up and ran off the bus at his stop. I never heard from him again. A few years ago I saw him. There was Paul Dabey, working in a sandwich shop, wearing a uniform, complete with a paper hat. Karma's a bitch, isn't it Paul...
And for my ex. According to him I looked like a 13 year old boy and he took all liberties to make me aware of that. If I would have stayed with him, I would be 20 extra pounds on top and given that old bra a real run for it's money. In the end, I was the one that called it. I was the one that said, "I'm not doing this anymore" I'm moving, and your not coming".
Now there's campaigns, walks, and vigils for anti- bullying movements. I'm going to go out on a very long limb here, and offer up, that the bullying I personally went through, absolutely made me the person that I am today. I needed to go through that. I also needed the parents I had, and their support to do things that not everyone else was doing. I needed to know when I had failed, and Not given a trophy just for showing up. I needed to get my ass kicked once in awhile to stay humble, and hungry.
If it wasn't for Paul Dabey. I would have never stood up for myself. If it wasn't for Sean Emmerich, I never would have stepped into that gym and given my body the workout for a lifetime. And if It wasn't for my last relationship, and the courage I developed to leave and find someone that gives me everything I need, And want, I'd still be battling the bully, and the bra.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Play Ball!

A very large portion of my childhood was spent playing with the boy that lived across the street. Carter Aune was one year older than me and that was the smallest age gap between me and the other neighborhood kids. My closest sister was 6 years older and my other sister was 8 years older. Carter's house was the first place that I ran to in the morning, and the last place I left at dusk. His house was magical: They bought Dorito's and Velveeta sliced cheese!
Carter made our play time conditional. Him and his Dad were extremely pre- occupied by sports of all kind. No matter what the season, there was something to watch, something to listen to or something to bracket. My earliest memory of playing at the Aune's home was sitting in their t.v. room. Carter had a massive magnetic board with NFL team names and coordinating helmets. I loved all the plastic shiny helmets and loved mixing them up. Depending on the day, and weather or not he wanted to play with a girl, Carter would make me match up the team names with the coordinating helmets. If they were all correct, Game On. If not? Game Over.
This was back in The Day. The Rams were in Los Angeles, The Browns were in Cleveland, but I liked to call them the Campbell's Soups because their helmets were the color of Tomato soup. There were no Carolina Panthers and Nashville had no NFL team. Football was all about the Dallas Cowboys and every little girl wanted to be a DCC.(Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleader). Houston had the Oilers and there were no Texans. Everyone knew the Super Bowl shuffle dance, and we all collected the Wheaties boxes. I didn't even think about the Green Bay Packers until many years later when my sisters best friend had a ,, ehm,, "Relationship" with a very famous quarterback.
My love for football developed when I went to college. I cared less and less about the NFL and started to follow college ball intensely. I lived in a city with a Division 3 team, and because the State didn't have an NFL team, the loyalty was overwhelming. The Grizzlies won their Division Championship 2 years in a row, this was a Very big deal. The players were just as famous, or infamous as NFL rookies. I started to pick players and teams before anyone gave them a second thought. I called Auburn, before anyone knew Alabama had a team. I rooted for the Longhorns when everyone else was watching Notre Dame. And just a few years ago I called Kansas despite the belligerent Badger fans surrounding me!
It's been so many years since that T.V. room with Carter. It's been 3 states, multiple team baseball hats, and 1 husband later. Many times that P and I will be watching the game, I will call the play before he's even seen what happened. So when I see people Pinning cute signs for their Home that read, "I love you more than Saturday Football", I get it, I really get it..
And am Ready to Play Ball