Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friday...not a good day.

How was your Friday? Pretty good? Mine. Not so good. As of this writing, Saturday morning looking forward to an evening shift ( well not really looking forward to it ), the holiday weekend is upon us. Saturday should be a busy one with temperatures approaching 90. But getting back to Friday, It was fairly busy. I was there in charge of the department. Getting this ill trained crew to do things in proper order is a challenge in itself. I had to make sure that things were being done in proper order. You'd think some of these cement heads would know this by now. Anyway my day usually begins with culling all the refrigerated cases for items who have hit their expiration date and so on then it's on to breaking down the daily delivery pallets. So let's cut to the part where I've broken everything down and wheeled it back to my department. Time is passing quickly and I have to keep in mind that all the people have to get their breaks so I shut myself in the deli chest to put things away. It's cold but peaceful with only the sound of the whirring refrigeration fans. Suddenly the door flies open and one of the women working outside says with a wild look on her face says, "ONE DOWN!"
One down? What is she talking about? Are they playing football in the deli? Did she mean 1st down? I go out and see the top of her head as she is down on one knee.
"What do you mean one down? Where's Cat?" (A nickname for one of the young ladies who works here.) She stands and emphatically points to the floor. My vision is blocked by several tables. I go around and see Cat lying on the floor. She the pages the store manager who arrives quickly. He calls the fire department. who arrive pretty quickly as well. Meanwhile, while hoping that Cat is all right, I figure we will probably have to work one person short. At least we have somebody coming in at 12:30. 

Let me fill you in on this 12:30 person. Her father is a vice president in my company. She used to be a department manager in another store (Gee I wonder how she became a department manager at the age of 20?) and decided that she didn't like that. The next day she was transferred to my store. She was no longer a manager but somehow she got the best schedule of everybody including her direct manager and myself. In at 7 out at 3. And unlike any other full time employee she is not required to work a night...until this week because another person is off for a few days. She starts a half hour early (because she can) which really ticks me off. I can say nothing because neither my manager or the store manager will grow a pair and tell her that she is required to work under the same set of rules as anybody else. Most likely because they fear her daddy.

Now back to our story. As Cat is lying on the floor being tended to by the women who yelled "ONE DOWN!" there are 5 people in front of the deli counter. At this point all I could do is try and wait on them. I grab the first customer and cut some cheese for her. I go to weigh it up and discover there are no labels in the machine. I go to the next scale and discover there is no information in it at all. It seems like these fabulous new wireless scales, who's virtues were being extolled by the tech who installed them, have been very unreliable as this is not the first time this has happened. All the scales are empty. In the meantime daddies little girl starts work a half hour early on her own. I can see her little scheme already. Start early, skip your supper break and go home early. It is afterall Memorial day weekend. And the nerve of her manager scheduling her a night particularly on a long holiday weekend. She is there for about a half hour when the incident with Cat happened. She suddenly announces, "I can't deal with this! I need some air!" She goes down to the deli chest and closes herself in. Normally when someone needs air they go outside, not into a big refridgerator. About a minute later she bolts out of the chest and leaves the store never to be seen again. I am trying to deal with the customers, working around three firemen, the store manager and another employee. Meanwhile daddies little girl is nowhere to be found leaving her hoodie and tiara behind. I asked the store manager if he could find out what's going on with her majesty as I may find myself two people down going into a holiday weekend. It turns out she has some issues going on in her life. Well who doesn't? I suspect this is all a load of el toro poo poo. What happened? Were the maid and butler using the tennis courts again? Oh Lordy! No wonder she had the Blues!

Getting back to Cat. It turns out, as I had suspected, she hadn't eaten since noon the day before and didn't go to sleep until 3 in the morning. She ended up sitting down for a bit and having something to eat, She then finished up her shift though at one point later in the afternoon she did break down crying right in the middle of dealing with a customer. I suspect a lot of this emotion had to do with embarrassment. I told her to go sit down for a bit and collect herself though this left me covering both the deli counter and the fish counter because the seafood manager, in a rare display of company unity, decided she was going to lunch. Thanks for all your help. This is after I broke down her delivery because she couldn't leave her counter. Of course she does this quite often without telling us anyway, leaving us to cover her sorry ass. 

Long story short, the evening crew had arrived. It was 4 p.m. I was tired and hungry. I had just worked 8 straight hours, though I did sneek a break in about 2:30 because I was thirsty and just wanted to sit down in my car for a few minutes and just get away. This too was not without incident. As I sat there three sparrows landed on my drivers side mirror. Though this was kind of cute I shut the window three quarters of the way up just in case they decided they wanted to investigate the interior of my car. They soon left. About two minutes later another sparrow lands on the passenger side window. Before I could roll the window up it takes a dump on the mirror and leaves. I could only laugh. It was either that or cry.

So hows your day going?
I have to prepare for work in a couple of hours and then I am off for nine days. Five of which will be spent on Martha's Vineyard. The weather looks pretty good and I can't wait to get the hell out out of that store. One final note. When one of my coworkers paged the store manager she meant to say, (changing names here) "Joe Blow to the deli department a.s.a.p. (as soon as possible). Instead it went over the p.a. as "Joe Blow to the deli department, a sap ."

I'm outta here.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's almost vacation time

I know I know, I have been here sporadically. I hope there is somebody out there. My last blog didn't draw many readers. I guess I don't blame people. I haven't been around at all in the last two weeks or so. An excuse? I've been busy. No really. Between work, unloading myself of clutter that I have gathered over the last almost 50 years. I get the heebee  geebees when I think about the fact that I can  refer back 50 years. Actually I can refer back further than that, but that's when I started to collect comic books. And those very comic books have been occupying a great deal of my time. If you read my last blog (I know you're out there I can hear you breathing) I mentioned that I was plowing through all my books separating ones of little value from the ones that are worth a considerable amount, if I can find someone to sell them to but that's another job for the future.  So far I have looked at about 2200. That's about half of what I own. I have been re bagging all  the good ones. Some have been in clear plastic bags, made specifically for comic books, for 35 years. That's when I first became aware that some people were willing to spend big money for some of these vintage books. As of last year a near mint copy of the Amazing Spider-Man #1 went for $54,000. A near mint copy Fantastic Four #1 went for $80,000. I have both of those unfortunately they are far from near mint condition. Hey I was 10. Still they could bring $1000 to $2000 each. and there are many worth $100 to $200. Anyway with at least another 3000 to plow through and it will be a while before I'm ready to figure out how to unload them. But it is time to get rid of them. This probably will take place sometime next year.

I am also a little burnt out from work. I haven't had a week off since last September. That will change next week. I am headed back to Martha's Vineyard and I don't mind telling you I can't wait. I am fortunate to have such a nice place relatively close by. I can get away without really going too far or having it cost a small fortune.  It's about an hour and a half drive to Cape Cod, then a 45 minute ferry ride to the island and about an 5 or six minute walk to the hotel. All the Memorial Day crowds will be gone (I hope) by the time we get there on Tuesday of next week. I can't wait.

Today I got a new toy. Did I need it? No. I already have six of them. What did I get? A new guitar. It didn't cost all that much as it is not a top of the line Gibson or Fender. Two of the biggest names in the manufacture of guitars. It's not a Gibson, my favorite brand, It's a copy of a Gibson that I would love to have but at about $2,700 it will never happen.
A Gibson ES-335. About $2700.00

                                                                                                                                              My reasonably priced Warwick copy.

I do have a Gibson Les Paul though it's a low rung model that cost $1100.00 new. I bought it used back in 1984 for $300.00. It's still my favorite guitar. I played it in that little video I made last summer. All of this loot that I have spent is thanks to my federal tax return. When I return from my little trip I will have to put the brakes on spending. Boy it's fun though. Hey you do have to try and enjoy life and make yourself happy once in a while. By the way I tried to get both guitar pictures next to each other but just couldn't manage.

OK I'm off to play with my new toy.
Until next time,
I'm outta here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I'm OK, Just taking a break. Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester Ma.

I know I know I haven't been around for a bit. I am still continuing my "spring cleaning". That has taken up much of my time. I also found it therapeutic to get away from my computer. Not to say that I haven't used it. I have but mostly as a resource and to respond to the odd email. Last Sunday was a beautiful day and I did not want to spend it indoors. The weather around here has been fairly dismal though we do need the rain, and we're getting it. Back to last Sunday. We headed out to Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester Ma. Yes that Gloucester of the Gloucester Fisherman  fame. Gloucester is a working town. It's very rustic with a long history. It's really two places. The lower middle class working town and then there's the very wealthy community who's homes line the seashore. My friends parent used to own a cottage about one street away from the beach. I spent a very good part of the 1970's at Good Harbor beach. My favorite beach. The cottage was very deceptive from the front. It appeared to be a one story building but in reality, built on a hill, it could house three separate families and was really 3 floors. The basement was a complete unit with a kitchen and bed rooms. The same with the first and second floor. It was quite remarkable. My friends family would spend their summers there while renting out the other units. I stupidly didn't take a picture of it when I was there last week. What was I thinking or perhaps I just wasn't thinking at all. I did get shots of the beach though. The first and second shots are of either end of the beach. There were people there with their kids or dogs or both just enjoying the beautiful day. You can also see a couple of homes on either end of the beach right on the water. One can only imagine the cost of these places. The  island you see just off shore is called Turtle Island because it looks like a big turtle. It's really just a huge rock. I have never been there. I have many fond memories of that beach and cottage. Oddly enough the cottage, built on the side of a hill only afforded one view of the ocean and that was from the bathroom while one was sitting on the toilet seat. Still not a bad summer place to have. It all ended sadly though as my friend's mother sold the place, much to the regret and ire of her 4 children who, wanted to buy it and keep it in the family. At the time it was all very ugly. I  had never heard of Good Harbor until the 70's. Up until then I had only been to more local beaches. The closest being Revere Beach about 7 miles away. Revere used to be quite the hot spot, with kiddie rides, roller coaster, all kinds of shooting galleries, games, nightclubs and maybe a few hotels. When I used to go there as a child and a teenager and it was in decline then and the Blizzard of'78 finished it off. The ocean broke the sea wall and destroyed most everything. It's all condos and apartment buildings now with a few clubs and bars. Still it was a fun place pretty close to home and it has the distinction of being the first public beach in the U.S. Why it's named after Paul Revere I don't know. Shame on me for not knowing. I will find out though. In the meantime here are a few shots of Good Harbor from Sunday May 6.

Below is a moving version of the above pictures.
 In the meantime I have been, of course, working. I have taken up another task. I have a rather large comic book collection both from childhood and from my mid twenties when I realized that those 10 and 12 cent magazines I  had boxed in the attic were worth money. For the next 10 or so years I bought them again with investing on my mind. I stopped again when a single issue cost 75 cents. It was just getting too expensive. Leap forward about 22 years and I have decided to find out just how well some these mags appreciated. Armed with a new price guide I am tearing, well perhaps tearing is not the right word. I am carefully going the the lot separating the winners from the losers. It's a huge undertaking at least in my little world. I'm not really sure how many I have. I have about half of them with me while the other half is still in that same attic at the old family home. In total there are about 5000 to 6000 books. I would like to dump off all the losers to a local comic shop in bulk for whatever I can get. The rest I will separate into lots of $10 to $100 for single issues and the rest are long runs of individual books such as Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and so on. I want to get the good books professionally graded and re-bagged for sale as a complete group at an auction. This may take a year and will cost some money but when you see prices like Fantastic Four #1 in near mint condition going for $80,000 it makes you wonder. I have that issue not in near mint condition, hey I was 9 when I got it. Still that one 10 cent investment in 1960 could bring anywhere from $2500 to $5000. Not a bad return on a 10 cent investment even with inflation.
I used to joke about this as part of my retirement portfolio. I have gone through about 800 so far. Well when all is said and done iin a year or so.

So that's what's going on at my end, so to speak. I have piles of comics around me. It's a beautiful Sunday, as was last Sunday, but today, as the kids say or maybe used to say, I'm chillin'.
Go Celtics!
I'm outta here.