Friday, July 14, 2006

The rumors of my demise are obviously premature...

I know, I know, people have been asking, "Bolivar, where in the hell have you been? You haven't put in a post since March!"

It has been one hell of a busy time since March. Some days I don't know whether I'm coming or going.

The bottom line is this: WORK, WORK, WORK. I have worked a lot of 6-day weeks and even a couple 7-day weeks since I returned from vacation in the beginning of April. There have been a lot of changes and some new policies and even a new contract with the UFCW (United Food & Commercial Workers), and a lot of my employees are having a hard time getting adjusted to them. We even have a few people who flat-out refuse to go along with these changes, so naturally, this is a problem. I remember going to a meeting in Little Rock where several big-wigs showed up, and they told us that they were going to try to eliminate a lot of the paperwork to spend more time with customers. I swear, I have at least twice as much paperwork now as I did two years ago!

I like a lot of my employees, and from a personal standpoint, I think they are wonderful people. But professionally, the one thing I hear most out of my employees is "I, I, I... me, me, me". There is no way a business can, or will, succeed with a philosophy like that.

Other than having a pretty good vacation, nothing real spectacular happened in April. Most of what I did during my vacation was sit on the couch, drink beer, and watch Jerry Springer. I did spend a couple of days with my grandmother in Jonesboro, and we had a wonderful time. JLo and I got together with friends to see the "Wrestlemania" pay-per-view, and we had a good time there too. I bought a Magic Springs pass that I will finally use tomorrow (more on that later).

As far as May, I had a total of three days off that month. One of those days just happened to be Mother's Day, and JLo and I went to Jonesboro to spend the day with my grandmother and my aunt. This was the first time JLo got to meet anyone in my family, and it went very well. My grandmother told me that JLo said more to her in the first 30 minutes than my ex-wife had in 10 years! I could see a bond being formed between those two. Alas, it was short-lived - more on that later.

I managed to squeeze in another day off in June, making that a total of 4 days. Some big-wigs manage to come to the store during this time - after all, it was contract time. And it seems like whatever I try to do for the company, it's never enough, or it's never good enough for them. So, my attitude is that I am going to work to the best of my ability, and if they choose to fire me, that's fine. With my experience, and my connections, I can guarantee you that I will not be unemployed long. I can also guarantee that in two days, if I do not have a job, I will have at least one interview set up.

Anyway, June moves along uneventfully, until the end of the month. On June 30, I lost my grandmother to heart disease at the age of 81. There will be a future post about her.

That pretty much takes us to the current time. I am looking forward to tomorrow. My sister and her husband and their two boys are coming to Hot Springs, and I will finally use my Magic Springs pass! I know we will have a wonderful time. They will probably leave early, but I plan on staying for the concert. One of my favorite bands is playing - Foreigner! And on 7/22, Kansas is coming to Magic Springs. But the big story here is that on Sept. 3, my sister & I are coming to Magic Springs to see... Rick Springfield! Yes, the good doctor is coming to Magic Springs! OK, let's get one thing straight here: I am not a fan of Rick Springfield, even though I still think that "Jessie's Girl" is a classic pop song. I'm just looking forward to spending some time with my younger sister. She lives only 45 miles away, but she's probably busier than I am, so we don't get to see each other that often. But I am looking forward to Sept. 3. Tal and Sera, care to join us?

OK, let's talk about new music purchases! I bought Neil Young's new CD, "Living With War", and it's pretty good, even though I don't think that he'll ever top "After the Gold Rush", "Rust Never Sleeps", "Ragged Glory", or "Harvest Moon". But that's a tough task for anyone - in my opinion, "Harvest Moon" is the best CD that came out in the 1990's. So far, I think that the best album that has come out this year is Tool's new one, "10,000 Days". That's one band I would love to see live. I am thinking about getting David Gilmour's new one. I know Talmadge has that one - how about some feedback, bro?

As far as concerts, Magic Springs has an OK list this season, but the big talk has been Mr. and Mrs. Faith Hill - oops, I mean Tim McGraw and Faith Hill coming to Alltel Arena in Little Rock. JLo was invited by a friend to attend this concert. I told her to have a good time - try to, anyway. Tickets are $85 a piece - where do I sign up! In all fairness, I did pay $85 a ticket to see Yes in Dallas in 2002. But Yes's worst stuff is better than Tim and Faith's best stuff! I know that Tim and Faith have a lot of fans, and more power to them. But Tim does absolutely nothing for me, and Faith has been on my bad list since she desecrated "Piece of My Heart" back in 1993 (I swore, Janis Joplin was spinning in her grave). Sure, a lot of country music I like - who would have thought that Johnny Cash would have the #1 album this week? And I have no problem with real-life couples singing duets together. But as far as real-life couples that sing country music together, people can keep Tim and Faith - give me George Jones and Tammy Wynette any day. Or give me Johnny and June Carter Cash.

Well, that's about it for this one. Like a said, a post on the loss of my grandmother is forthcoming. Keep on rolling along.

Bolivar "I actually prefer Ashford & Simpson" Shagnasty