Oh, Christmas

Can we chat for a few minutes? Just between you and me…

You know that blu-ray player Target’s going to have on sale on Thanksgiving? You don’t? OK, so you know how Target is going to be open on the evening of Thanksgiving? Yeah, no shit. The actual evening – not just midnight on Black Friday, like the rest of retail hell. No, the Big Bosses of Target, who most certainly will not be working any time near Thanksgiving, have decided to make the poor bastards who don’t earn enough to pay rent and buy groceries come in on Thanksgiving to work. First off, don’t kid yourselves; no one is getting time-and-a-half, or holiday pay, or any kind of bonus. Their “bonus” is not being fired. The poor shmucks whose shins you’re battering so you can get that lead-infested thingummy made in China for a 10% discount are required to be there, whether they wanted to or not. According to these big-brained, overpaid jack-wagons, this decision (which will not affect them in the least. ever) is so they can help provide you and I, the consumers, with Super Duper Bargains for the holidays. Yeah, I’d like to talk about this a little.

I worked retail for about a decade. Yep – my entire 20’s was spent wearing a name-tag and pretending to be friendly. Luckily most of this work was done in bookstores, which tend to be a little less frenzied than other places, if for no other reason than we catered to people who read. Other than a hot Harry Potter midnight release party – entirely voluntary and actually quite festive – we didn’t go in for those “door buster” wake up at 2 in the morning shenanigans. The Holidays were always rough. We got a lot of customers who were shopping for someone else – many non-readers, in other words – and in general it was more stressful. Over a decade later I can remember my least favorite customer. She came up to the counter in her WalMart smock, railing against us for ruining her whole family’s Christmas. I am not exaggerating. That’s what she said, at roughly the same volume as a 767 taking off. I should have been allowed to wear hearing protection. “I WANT EVERYONE IN THE STORE TO KNOW YOU RUINED! MY! CHRISTMAS!!1eleventy!e089!”

I must be a pretty powerful grinch. This is how we ruined her family’s celebration of the Birth of Christ: she ordered a book full of cheat codes for some video game. She came in to pick up said book, despite the fact that we hadn’t called to let her know that it had been received. Instead, she lied and said we did call, just like the Baby Jesus would want. When all computer checks showed that the book had not been received, she decided to scream at the top of her lungs and lie some more. Desirous of getting the fuck away from her bugfuck insanity, I went and checked all possible shelves, from the hold shelves, to the video game shelves, to the “to be called” shelves in the back. A fortuitous shipment received literally the moment I went into the back room deposited a box of special orders. I opened the box and found her cheat codes book. I scanned it in to “receive” it and then went calmly back to the register. In a clear tone entirely devoid of yelling and yet capable of being heard many aisles away (thank you, theatrical training) I mentioned that she had been mistaken, she had never been called, and in fact the book had only just then been received. I wished her a Merry Christmas. And then I fumed.

How Dare another member of the Brotherhood of Oppressed Retail Workers pull that lying, hysterical bullshit? If her family’s Christmas was literally ruined because little Bobby would be forced to figure out how to play an expensive video game all by himself, didn’t she deserve it for raising such an ignorant brood? Christmas – which I am reliably informed by hysterical “christians” – has some kind of war going on against it, even as we speak. Is that war being waged by the retail workers who may possibly keep you from spending money? After all, isn’t the True Meaning of Christmas about abusing anyone who can’t fight back, and then spending money you don’t have on crap no one actually needs?

So this ever-expanding retail holiday fuckery. Let’s get back to that.   And let’s say this year’s big ticket is a $40 blu-ray player. Setting aside for a moment the “do you really want to spend money on a transitional piece of technology and then have to re-buy your entire DVD collection” because actually I work in this industry and it’s in my best interest that you do indeed re-buy all your stuff, let’s think about this $40 blu-ray player. You are aware that this isn’t the blu-ray player you’ve been looking at, hoping you could afford. It doesn’t have those bells and whistles that the a-little-too-expensive model you’ve been coveting has. Not only is it missing some of the fancy blu-ray technology, but most likely it’s from some manufacturer you’ve never heard of. And if it is a manufacturer you’ve heard of, it will be poorly made – like the WalMart versions of national brands that are cheaper because Sony (for instance) is producing a shitty, cheap model just for WalMart. If you saw this blu-ray player for $50 without all the manufactured hype you’d probably wrinkle your nose and move on. This Black Friday bluray player is actually blu-ray player-shaped, and will kind of sort of play blu-ray discs, albeit with a much higher failure rate than other, slightly more expensive players, and there’s a pretty good chance that within the next six months it will totally crap out, enabling you to maybe save a little more money to buy the one you were looking for in the first place.

Look, if you need a blu-ray player – or a flat-screen, or a 1000 piece bucket of legos, or a life-size barbie dollhouse – if you really need this plastic stuff that’s made in China, that will wind up in a landfill before the decade is out, well, that’s between you and your God. I need some stupid shit too – my amazon wishlist reminds me every day that the KitchenAid Standmixer, the iPod, the Bissell Spot-Bot, and the non-stick madeleine pan are just waiting to be purchased so they can make my life ever-so-much-more perfect. Lord knows I’m not sitting her with my tofurkey and nut-loaf whilst I upcycle goodwill sweaters into pot-holders for everyone on my Christmas list. But if you need those things… THEY WILL BE CHEAPER ON THE INTERNET!!! WHERE YOU CAN SHOP AT ANY TIME, IN YOUR UNDERWEAR!!! Even in the event that Target’s cut-rate, piece of shit blu-ray player is, Oh, I don’t know, $20 more expensive online (where you can read the reviews of people who note that it destroys 50% of the blu-rays they put in it, and that it is now a rather expensive cup-holder), isn’t it worth $20 to you not to have to stand in the cold, not to justify keeping low-paid impoverished grunt-workers at work at 2am? Isn’t it worth $20 to spend a little more time with your family, or your pets, or even  playing drunken yahtzee with friends? How much is it worth to not contribute materially to the amorphous free-floating anxiety and anger that have taken over the holiday? Think of the aggravation of standing in lines, fighting over crap, yelling, being bitched at for taking that Last Thing that will RUIN THAT PERSON’S CHRISTMAS. Isn’t that worth $20 to you? If I gave you $20, would you stop making it profitable (to upper management) for these companies to crap all over the employees – and us (seriously, this stuff is some awful-shoddy crap) by staying home during the wee hours of Thanksgiving? I’m not saying don’t shop. I’m just saying let there be one or two days a year where you’re not contributing to that layer of evil hiding out behind he ozone. Because at this point, I’m willing to say that if you show up at a store on Thanksgiving for anything that is not insulin or baby formula then you are just as bad as the people who buy dogs from Pet Stores knowing that they came from puppy mills. It’s just a matter of where exactly you fit on the continuum from Ignorant to Evil.


this too shall pass

Well, Ardala’s 75% better during the day, and only about 25% better at night.


  • She’s eating – if not as much as usual, at least pretty damned enthusiastically.
  • She’s started her little “attention seeking” rounds and drive-by lickings.
  • She had a zoomie the other day and I caught her almost playing scary-blanket-monster.
  • She’s generally restful and non-whiny.
  • She’s bright-eyed and waggy again.
  • She’s pooped for three days in a row now! (only once, but considering how much she’s eating, we feel that’s good)


Nighttime is still a bit of a nightmare. About every other day she’s gone into some sort of pacing/crying fugue state and cannot be distracted out of it. This keeps us up. Right now I am taking over evening duties because I find it slightly easier to sleep through her BS, and also because I’m not driving and my job doesn’t require all my brain-power this month.

I’m worried that she may now be full of anxiety, (oh lord) but we have a check-up vet appointment this afternoon to rule out greater pain issues. Maybe the doc can have us change her dosing schedule so her nightly 1am trigger is avoided. Otherwise, I have no idea how long I’m going to go on 45% sleep.

Believe me, I’d love to write something more scintillating than The Adventures of an Arthritic Dog, but I have a bit of a difficulty multi-tasking in my brain. I swear to god, when she finally sleeps through the night, I’m going to drink whatever liquor in our pantry is the hardest until I pass out.



I fail as a stoic

You know she is getting better. It’s just hard to tell at 3 in the morning, when she’s woken you up again with her whimpering, her pacing, her panting. When she won’t take food in the morning and you have to shove a narcotic down her throat by force. It colors your whole day and every free moment you have you can hear the whining, the anxiety. But remember this; you come home and she is bright eyed and bushy-tailed, happy to take chicken, her treat roll, whatever. She makes a game of it now. When she goes on a walk sometimes it’s closer to her old, leisurely pace and she’s started noticing other dogs again. And she sleeps and rests more easily. The pacing and whining less frequent, less intense. Until 3 am of course.

But in the morning and at work when you’re fretting about expenses and carefully mentally totaling the appalling calculus of Quality of Life and Cost of Treatment remember the eating, the resting, the smiling and the wagging. And keep praying to St. Francis while using the words of Dame Julian of Norwich as a mantra.

All shall be well, and all shall be well,  and all manner of thing shall be well.

unintentional blog

I was just trying to do the right thing; that thing being recommending a book I love on another author’s wordpress blog. I thought I had a comment account, but I guess not. This is not a Great Introductory Post, with Profound Sentiments and thought-provoking balderdash. Because I’m completely exhausted from spending several nights getting about 3 non-consecutive hours of sleep due to a dog in extreme amounts of pain. The floor is strewn with dried kibbles, treats, chicken pieces, beds, blankets – all in the name of keeping my dog, Ardala, in a state as close to comfort as possible. These efforts haven’t been entirely successful. Half the house smells like dog pee, the other half is… well, I have no idea how she decides where and when to pee. She was always so very housebroken until the last two weeks. It is in fact only in the last six months that we learned she had arthritis, the last week that we learned there was nerve damage from some sacral-something arthritis thingy, and yesterday that we learned the name for that was Spondylosis, and her case was pretty severe. We’re trying to get her to eat so her stomach can buffer the Metacam and some fairly heavy-duty narcotic whose name escapes me right now. I came home last night to a roommate with red-rimmed eyes, who has a Masters in Information Science and a knack for finding the Worst Case Scenario using rudimentary internet searching tools.

So really, It’s amazing I can spell at all, my perspicacity long having fled, taking with it all my higher-reasoning functions. I’m hoping I’ll see an improvement on the dog ere long, and will then joyously post all manner of White Whines, impertinent cultural observations and general pointless frippery. Until then, I will try and help Ardala recover and outsource my own food needs.

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