Thursday, April 28, 2016

the face of happy

Alexander accepted a job ... his first real one ... in a nearby major city. He is over-the-moon thrilled.

He'll be starting his career as a commercial real estate analyst at one of the nation's top companies. 

I am proud of him. He's become, since graduating, resourceful, focused, and resilient. He got this job all on his own. 

I am already a little sad. He'll be moving in just two weeks and this time he doesn't have a specific plan on returning. It's a lot more real than college.

I will miss our nightly dinners. I love coming home and having Alexander there to greet me. Well, okay, he never really greets me. At best, he looks up from his computer and mumbles How was your day without looking up. But still. He's there.

But I am more happy than not. Seeing your child experience real joy is of course the best feeling of all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

that thing ya gotta do

I remember my internist saying to me, "If you do it and they find something, they remove it and you're fine. If you don't do it and there's something to be found, you die." And so I do it.

My first was in 2003.

My second was six years later.

And now, my third, is scheduled for tomorrow.

A few days ago I pick up my prescription. It's called, Prepopik.  The pharmacist hands it to me, smiles and says, "Your doctor must really like you." When I ask what he means he explains, "This one's pretty easy."

Day Before

I wake up craving coffee knowing I can't have any (all dairy is out). And no solid foods are allowed, meaning muffins are excluded.  I go to a BAFTA Board meeting and am home by 10, starving.  I head over to buy my nourishment for the day (all water not shown).

It all looks so unappetizing. And, by the way, non-red jello is not so easy to find. 

Evening Before

Last time I remember gagging on lots of horrid-tasting drinks. This time, I only have to down 5 ounces of some tart-tasting (only partially disgusting) powdery stuff mixed with water. At 5:00 I take it, followed over the next few hours by 40 ounces of clear liquid (mostly water).

I eat almost nothing all day —  one fruit bar (lunch) and chicken stock for dinner.  It tastes odd. I later discover there's a difference between chicken stock (made more from bones) and chicken broth (made more from meat).

But overall, the prepping is pretty easy. It's the limited diet that's hard.

Morning Of

At 5:30 I get up and take another 5 ounces of the powdery drink followed by 24 ounces of clear liquid. Not much happens and now I'm worried.

What if I get there and they send me home?  That's my worst nightmare. 

The rules require someone to pick me up when I'm ready to leave the facility, around 1:30.

At 9:30 my phone rings. I need to be out the door in about an hour. "Hi." It's Alexander who's in Philadelphia with some friends. I know before he says a word what he's going to say.

"Look, I'm really really sorry but I can't make it home in time to pick you up. Can you find someone else?"  Grrrrrrrrrr.

I call my good friend Gail, last minute, who lives in the neighborhood of the facility. My only reluctance in calling her is that I know she'll say yes, and go overboard in helping me.

Afternoon Of

I check in. Sign a million forms. Change into a little blue outfit. Get wheeled into the room. Say hi to my doctor. And meet the anesthesiologist. I love going under. I'm out in under five seconds. But then I wake up about five minutes before my doctor's finished. I feel nothing. But still. I'm just glad this isn't open heart surgery.

My doctor tells me every thing is fine.

Gail is waiting for me when I'm ready to leave. She's already called up twice to see if I need any help. I don't.

I come downstairs and she's waiting for me, adorned in subtle purple eye shadow in celebration of Prince, and carrying a bottle of Evian for me. Since Gail lives only a few blocks from the facility, I had made her promise that she'd just walk me out. But of course Gail breaks that promise. "Absolutely not. I am taking you home."  She then insists on taking a cab uptown with me, paying for it, walking me to the door of my apartment (not my apartment building), then taking a cab back home.  Her generosity and kindness overwhelm me.  I am so lucky to have her as my friend.

Late afternoon

Looking forward to a nice dinner. Seeing Alexander who'll now be home around 8. And not having to do this for another ten years.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

terrible, horrible, no good, very bad people

I've worked in many corporate jobs over the years.

I've experienced all different kinds of people. 

And never, in all my years of working, have I ever been subjected to such rude and mean co-workers as I am now.

I don't know if it's the cut throat nature of an all commissioned-based earning structure. Or if it's the fact that getting a job in retail requires few qualifications. But the way I've been treated by two of my colleagues would never happen in a corporate environment. They would be fired.

First, there's Associate A (also written about in December At best, she totally ignores me. At worst, she scolds me for unjust reasons. 

It's been this way from my first day last November. And I have no clue as to why.  A few weeks after starting I even said to her, "Look, we work together. I don't understand why you're so dismissive of me." "I'm like that with everyone," she responded, though she's not.  

Recently AA  has dinner at Nobu. I ask her how it was. "Fine," is her one-word response. 

I compliment her on a new pair of shoes. She doesn't even bother acknowledging me.

Yesterday I hold the elevator for her. She walks in, doesn't say a word, and acts as if I'm not there. No one else is in the elevator with us. We both get off on the same floor (to go to the cafeteria). She walks out the door first and keeps going, as if I don't exist. 

She reprimands me for letting my customer leave a dressing room to look for some things in a nearby department. We are busy and AA wants the dressing room for her customer. 

And today, we are both opening the registers; there are two; we each open one. I get bags from the back room to refill the ones under my register. I end up with extra and ask her if she needs any. She answers, "I don't know." And I say, "Then look," as that simply involves opening the cabinet directly in front of where she is standing. "I just got in," she barks, and does nothing. 

Then there's Charlie (another made up name and also written about on December 4, 2015). I have a question on the register. I know I'm good at selling. At picking the right clothes for customers. And at making great suggestions. I am not good at the register. For some reason, it intimidates me. So I have a question today as I'm ringing someone up. I ask Charlie for help, as he's standing next to me and helping no one.  "Lyn, you should know how do this by now. All you do is enter this code," he impatiently responds.  He walks away and the customer looks at me and says, "That was awfully rude." After she leaves, I approach Charlie.

"Why are you so mean to me today?"  (Earlier in the day he had made another nasty comment.)

"Because you should know how to do this. It's really bothersome. And not to use semantics (sic) but others feel the same way."  

"Still, you should never say anything like that in front of a customer."

"Yes, your customer already said something to me."

"So, Charlie, if something comes up again and I don't know what to do, what do you suggest?"

"Just don't ask me; I find it too annoying." (And this is someone I finally thought I had developed an acceptable working relationship with).

I love the fact that my customer (whom I met just today) said something.

And it's good that my other colleagues and manager are nice. 

But still. It's hard for me to ignore these two mean and petty people.  It just adds one more big thing to an already difficult job.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

missing passover

I mostly work Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Generally, that's not a problem. I can do my socializing during the week. But unfortunately, this year the first two nights of Passover fall on a Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, my mom, Jean, Jim and Jack come down to NY for Passover. Night one is being observed at Jill's, Abbey's sister. Everyone is there except Michael who lives in LA, Sally who is teaching in Spain, and me. I'm selling clothes at Saks.

I miss the traditions of the Passover seder. Even if it's the very abbreviated version we do. In fact, my mom later tells me that the Haggadah's are open and closed quickly, and only six-month old Chloe shows any real interest in reading it.

Alexander is relieved that Jack is there to read the four questions. But since Jack doesn't know Hebrew, the task is given to Chloe whom I hear does an outstanding job.

Elijah doesn't show up again — not at Jill's, and not on Saturday at Valerie and Abbey's club, where again, I'm absent.

But perhaps next year, Elijah and I will be present. Or at least one of us will be.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

good-night sweet Prince

I am running around the floor at Saks when I notice my colleagues. They're Looking at their phones and saying things like, "I can't believe it." "That's awful." "So tragic."

That's how I learn Prince has died. And I feel (somewhat inexplicably) sad. 

Later in the day a DJ comes in and sets up on our floor; she plays only Prince songs. I am immediately thrown back to the summer of '84. I am living in Boston. Working at Gillette. Becoming best friends with M. And dating David.

David's parents and mine were friends. We grew up in the same town, though David was three years younger. But when we meet that summer, it is like meeting for the first time. In truth, it may have been. I honestly can't remember.  

David is unfiltered. I find that appealing though others may take offense. David is kind, fun, adventurous and generous.  We spend a summer hanging out at his Back Bay apartment, cruising around Falmouth on his boat (his family also has a home on the Cape), eating good dinners at various restaurants on the Cape and in Boston, and listening to Prince.

1984 is the summer Purple Rain hits the theaters. I remember playing the album over and over. Darlin' Nikki becomes my favorite song. There is something raw and sexy in the beat, the lyrics, and in Prince's voice.  I love listening to it, and do, over and over.

Beyond that one summer, I can't say I ever became a big Prince fan, although his 2007 Super Bowl half-time show in the rain is one of the best ever.

Prince was a musical genius. He influenced many. His ideas were not always mainstream, but his music was.

Monday, April 18, 2016

where is everyone?

Customer Thank-You Week (now through April 25th). It's supposed to be a big deal (pun intended).

25% off just about everything at Saks. Some things are discounted even more.

"This is usually bigger than even the holidays."  That's what I'm told so I add two days to my three-day a week schedule.

I worry about my feet.  I still don't have a good spring option to the Mephisto Fiorella boots I've been living in for the past five months.

I ask two questions hoping for answers different from the ones I get.

To a stylish colleague: "Do you think I can wear these through the summer?  I like the look of little booties with  skirts and bare legs."  "Are you kidding? That'd look awful!"

To my boss, Billy.  "I know we're not allowed to wear sneakers, but since fashion sneakers are trending, I think we should be able to wear them." "No, it could alienate our more conservative customers."

I order three pair of shoes from Zappos;  try them all and return them all.

So I move into my Mephisto Prudy sandals from last summer and go to work. It's over 70 degrees today.

It's the first day of our Friends and Family equivalent. But the crowds are missing. It's just an average day. Nothing special at all.  No big crowds fighting over the gorgeous navy suede jacket that's 40% off.  No long lines of people waiting for the dressing rooms. No people with piles of clothes in their arms waiting for me to ring them up.

At the end of the day, my feet are fine. That's the best I can say for my unscheduled work Monday.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

a stranger's embrace

My last manicure/pedicure was sometime in January.  I've been liking my new low-maintenance nails. No risk of chipping. No worries about peeling off labels that might damage my nails. And no 45-minutes spent each week waiting for polish to dry.

But warmer weather is coming, and with it, sandals. And since a manicure is only an incremental $5 with a  pedicure, I might as well get both.

I like my toes painted, though I'm still not sure about my very short finger nails. I'd sort of gotten used to, and actually liked, the natural look.

On my way home, a young woman, big smile on her face, comes toward me, arms outstretched. "How are you?" she asks in a warm, I've-so-missed-you kind of way. She's dressed in workout gear, and seems genuinely happy to see me. 

I have no idea who she is. 

She is about to hug me and I'm smiling, standing there, ready to feel her embrace, with zero clue as to who she is. I do a quick mental search of people I know who live nearby. No one comes to mind. But I smile and play along.

Then she says, "Jane, how've you been? It's been ages!"

I'm filled with a relief. It's not a face I've forgotten; it's one I've never known.