Sunday, September 18, 2011


Well lots of stuff has been happening around the old homestead.

I finished up my "orientation" to my job and moved on to the actual cashiering part.  Oh my gosh there is so much to remember, so many steps to making the process flow smoothly.  Codes to remember for fruits and veggies, procedures to follow for dealing with food stamps and wic, processes to go through for filling and selling phone cards, checks are used differently now... i was so surprised.  Anyways I have been on the registers for 4 days now, 2 days by myself.  I am still having to ask for help from the nearby cashiers but its happening less and less.  Had my first unhappy customer today and I just gritted my teeth, smiled and wished her a "pleasant day" all the while wishing her to the deepest parts of Hades.  One wicked weird thing happened... im still a bit in shock over it.  When my family moved here to Maine back in 1975 or 1976, the first girl I met was named Wanda.  We became very good friends during Junior and Senior High.  We lost touch after I went to college, I invited her and her mom to my wedding but they were unable to attend.  Over the years I have attempted to find her.  I even joined that classmates site just to see if she was registered there, as well as the Facebook group for our class.  I haven't been able to find her in any phone book or by asking ppl who live in our old hometown.  Today I was working the register and a couple came up.  I check them through when the woman said Regina?  I looked at her and smiled, lots of ppl say the cashiers name so I didn't think anything of it.  She looked at me and said " Do you remember me?" I looked again and saw my best friend from when we were children.  "Wanda?" I said... I was so surprised.  Come to find out she lives not 15 mins from me.  Unfortunately she doesn't use Facebook and I didn't catch her married name.  Hopefully she will come to the store again.  How amazing is life at times.

Another thing that happened this week was an unfortunate run in with a case of water... in trying to help a customer I hurt my back and its had an impact on the week for sure.

And the last huge thing that happened was that my husband was laid off on Wednesday.  All the management team was notified that there would be another round of lay offs in September.  He has spent the last two weeks helping to choose who would stay and who would go among the hourly employees.  I would see him come home all tired and just discouraged.  He hated helping to make those decisions but it had to be done.  On Tuesday some important customers came in and he dressed up for his meetings with them, but when I asked him about it that night, he said he hadn't gotten to meet with them at all.  Then bright and early the next day he was informed that they had to cut several people from management and he was unfortunately one of the ones to have to go.  *sigh* I am just flabbergasted at this... he had been told that his job was safe... he has taken not only a pay cut to help keep the company up and running but never got his initial raise that was promised to him in his employment contract from 3 years ago.  Because his job is being lost to Canada, he and the other employees are considered displaced employees and they have additional benefits under state or federal guidelines... but that doesn't help right now.  I am really discouraged and just plain tired.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When you come to the end of your rope, 
tie a knot and hang on.  
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Job!!

I started my new job today.  I 'm training to be a Walmart cashier. When we were introducing ourselves to other employees they would ask the group of us what positions we were going to be in.  They would nod and nod when someone said backend... assembler... but when the other woman and I said Cashier (or in her case Customer service desk) they would almost cheer.  One of them looked at me sadly and said... it will be ok.  Im totally not sure how to take that.  At one point I heard two people talking about how they were wicked short on cashiers... that they needed to hire 6 new ones and then some left.  I am a bit nervous but I know it will be ok. I am definitely not going into this blind... I had a choice between being a cashier and working the jewelry counter... and I think i got the better end of the deal.  *smiles* I have worked a register at a fast food restaurant, a bookstore, a clothing store and a department store... sure payment methods may have changed a bit over time but customers haven't.  You will always get the happy ones, the stressed ones... the angry ones and its important to take each one individually.  Dont let one unhappy customer ruin your whole day and make it a priority to send each customer off with a smile if you can.  Its like a game I play... can i make that person smile before they walk out the door.    

Anyways... this week is all about learning store policies, getting to know where things are and training via the computer.  Then for the two weeks following that, I will be training with my sponsor, that is a person who does the job I am training for and who will teach me what they know.  After that I will start settling into my schedule (while I am with my sponsor I will be working their shifts with them).

I am tired tonight...but its a good tired.  =D

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Thankful thursday on Saturday

Its been a crazy week in the Smart household.  =)

On Sunday Irene hit and we lost power until Tuesday.  It is the longest we have been without power here in this house and for that we are very fortunate.  There are still people who are waiting to have their service restored.  Living out in the country means we are on a well... and the electricity powers the pump that brings water into the house.  A situation that many many people are familiar with, but it was eye opening for me when we moved here 2+ years ago.  I will never forget, shortly after we moved here we were pulling into the driveway and our landlord was by the barn and said in a very matter of fact way... "we have been without power for 4 hours or so now.  If you need water for the commode you can get it at the lake" and he pointed down the road.  I had no clue what he was talking about until we got inside the house and realized without electricity we had no water... and no ability to flush the toilet.   I think it hit me wicked hard at that moment how very different our lives were going to be in this new home.  Hahaha.  Since that time we have had bats in the house, a snake that likes to come visit the sun room.  Beavers swimming feet from us at the lake... deer behind the house, stopping and waiting for turkeys and all their babies to cross the road lol.  Very different from living in perhaps Maines second largest city, coffee shoppes at every corner... a library with 3 branches and a grocery store within 5 mins.  Anyway... we got our power back Tuesday afternoon and we were so very happy.

Maddy started high school the next day.  She is now a freshman... its so hard to comprehend... my baby is in high school.  It definitely didn't hit me as hard when the eldest was a freshman.  Wednesday the school was open to only Freshmen and Seniors... the upper class-men were there to help the younger students acclimate.  Then Thursday and Friday all the students were there and Maddy is loving it so far.  She adores her English teacher, the woman has a System of a Down poster on the wall that Maddy thinks is wicked cool.  They are reading the Odyssey next and when Maddy raised her hand and asked... "What if you have already read it"  The teacher was very excited, even more so when Maddy shared at the end of class when they were doing a "lets get to know each other" exercise that she loved Shakespeare.  My daughter is going to love her English class.  They did an experiment in her earth systems class already and she was so excited about that... and very disappointed that some of the kids in another class were being idiots as she put it.  When handed a globe and asked to pick out a country and give a fact Maddy said " This is Australia... here (she pointed) is the great barrier reef and blah blah blah something about sharks." ( Maddy loves sharks and has since she was maybe 7 years old)  Another student pointed to Canada and said " this is Canada... Justin Bieber comes from there." and another said " this is Florida, its hot there."  She is already being driven insane and we got a lecture in the car  about idiot students.  *sigh*

Then on Thursday I went in for an interview for a job, but after waiting almost an hour they asked if they could reschedule it due to the computers being down.  That evening the husband had a phone interview with a new company that does things just up his alley.  The interview was over an hour long and afterwards I could see how very excited he was about the possibilities.  Its a company here in Maine that does some similar things to his current company, but they will be able to use his test engineering background.  The problem is that this company is almost an hour from the house and we are locked in to this house for another year or so.  Maddy has just started  high school... I dont want to rip her out of it... but on the other hand the husband seems so very intrigued by this new company... and the current company is getting ready to go through another set of layoffs.  His job is safe for the current time but during the last round of layoffs another manager that had been there longer then Paul got demoted with a paycut in order to keep her job.  We have already been through a layoff (before we moved to this area) and it took him 6 months to find this position.  If the current job hadnt shown up we would have had to move out of state which I wouldnt have minded but would have torn him up.  =(  Next step is a visit to the facility including meetings with HR, owners, and other engineers.   I just want him to have a job where he is challenged and where he absolutely enjoys his work.  I would also like to have health insurance again... its been sometime since we had that.  This new job has a fantastic benefits package which would be lovely.

Friday I had my interview (and boy was that nerve wracking) and they offered me a job as cashier, but only if I passed the pre-job screening and a background check.  Later on in the afternoon they called (which I missed because I didn't have my phone with me) and said everything looked good and I needed to call and set up a time for orientation. 

This weekend the kids (Eileen and Shaun) want to come visit us on Sunday, we also need to get down to visit Paul's parents, borrow the truck from them (until we can get another vehicle) and the landlords want to do their yearly walk through and get a list of things that need to be worked on.  Busy busy busy.

So... back to the thankful thing...

I am thankful for..

~ opportunities that are coming our way.
~ cool english teachers who inspire my 14 year old.
~the fact that my daughter will never conform to fit other kids ... but in fact will continue to march to the beat of her own drum.
~ the lake at the end of the path that allowed me to get water each day we were without power so we could flush the commode ... hahaha.
~backgammon =)