Friday, January 26, 2007

I Am Officially at a Crossroads

Everything had been moving right along, pretty much in place, when the impossible happened yesterday.

My store manager announced his resignation.

My now-former boss had been in pretty bad health for at least the last six months. He saw a doctor back in December, and the tests officially came back about two weeks ago. He has high EVERYTHING. High cholesterol (sp?), high blood pressure, very high risk for a heart attack. On top of all of this, his grandmother just passed away. When he came to work yesterday, he called the district manager and told him that he would take the early retirement package. I came to work about 10:30 yesterday morning (I wasn't scheduled until noon, but I got called in), he pulled myself and all department heads upstairs, and he made the announcement.

I was in a total state of shock. I still haven't fully recovered from it. I wonder if he made the right decision. I wonder if he could have taken a leave of absence - maybe a month, maybe two months - to get it together.

All I know, right now, is that I will not have a day off for at least the next two weeks. So much for my New Years' Resolution.

I am putting my hat in for the Morrilton position. I will probably put my name in the hat for the store I am currently in. Hopefully, something will pan out from all of this.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why Am I So Restless?

Good question!!

Here it is, about 6:15 in the morning. I've been awake since 5:30 a.m. I had the CD alarm clock set to wake me up to the sounds of track 1 of "Led Zeppelin III" (that would be "Immigrant Song", folks), but I have been tossing and turning all night long. I could not get comfortable to save my life. I could not turn off my body to get some sleep. I think I may have some reasons why:

1. JLo made Mexican food last night. She made tortillas from scratch, and I had some chicken burritos as well as some chips & rotel, as well as a couple of beers. I love JLo's cooking - she can really cook - but Mexican food, for all that I love, does a number on my stomach. I took two Tums at about 1:30 in the morning, but I still couldn't get rid of the pain. And I really haven't got time for the pain (apologies to Carly Simon).

2. My store has a sanitation audit this coming Friday. We're looking pretty good, but I want my store to be dead-letter perfect come Friday morning. The audit was supposed to be Thursday, but my district manager postponed it for one day. I was afraid that I would have to work on Friday (I'm supposed to be off), but my boss told me to continue to work my schedule as planned. That's one good thing. But I will have a full plate ahead of me these next two days.

3. A store manager position has come open in Morrilton, Arkansas. I'm seriously thinking about putting my name in the hat for that store. I need to do some further research before putting my name in the hat for that job. I am also hearing rumors that the store manager in Batesville will soon be retiring, and that the store manager in Newport may be re-located to the Batesville store. If the store manager position for Newport becomes open, I will definitely put my name in the hat for that job. I lived in Newport for 5 years and still know a lot of the people that live in that town. That store has definite potential, mainly because they have no real competition, and also because the Wal-Mart that is in Newport is NOT A SUPERCENTER!!

Alas, if I put my name in the hat, and my name gets called, there is a serious problem that I will have to consider: what will happen between JLo and I? Will she be keen enough to leave her parents to be with me? Will the distance between us have some serious repercussions? Everyone that has known me for a long time knows that I don't do long-distance relationships. I have had a terrible history of long distance relationships. They just never seem to work with me. Some of the greatest ladies I have been with, from Candy in Wisconsin to Janet in Hoxie (Talmadge, I'm sure you remember her) to Dana in Conway - all long distance, all ended the same way. The distance thing again.

I know that, for quite a while, Talmadge and Seraphim had a long distance relationship. They have now been married six glorious years (Happy Anniversary, by the way!). And they are just as crazy about each other now as they were the first time I saw them together (I think it was in 1999 - I've known Talmadge for almost 21 years now - do you think our friendship can buy liquor now? Legally?).

I guess that if I really want to be with JLo, I will have to do whatever it takes. Even if it means long trips on off-days.

But I guess that the main reason I am so restless is that I am already having Spring Fever, even though it is nearing the end of January. There is this feeling I get from time to time that I want to completely change myself and my surroundings. But to What?? Sometimes I get this feeling that I want to sell my house, sell everything but the music (gotta have my music), pack it all up and just... go. Where would I go? Sometimes I have this feeling that I want to leave and leave no forwarding address (well, except for the Gleck clan and to Nettiemac). Completely start over.

Unfortunately, there are such matters as a house payment, a car payment, bills, and a debt to pay off, so I can't leave the Real World just yet.

Before I end this post, I must send a shout out to my father's second cousin, a man by the name of Bill Ritter. He just recently became governor of Colorado, and my father is supposed to send me pictures of the inauguration and of the ball. Congrats, Gov. Ritter!! Can we get you to run against Hillary? Just kidding!

Until next time - take care.

--Bolivar "Sleeping don't come very easy in a straight white vest" Shagnasty

Monday, January 22, 2007

Out 2006, In 2007 (or, Out of the Blue and Into the Black)

Hello, my fellow compadres!! It has been a while since I put a post in, and I had been thinking about where to begin. Since this is a first post of a new year, I thought about recapping 2006 and going into 2007.

Basically, all I did in 2006 was work. There were some fun times, though. On Valentine's Day, my divorce became finalized. I have not spoken to my ex-wife since my grandmother passed away in June. My ex told her sister, who then told me at the visitation, that my ex would have been at the visitation if it weren't for the distance. I really hope my ex realized that, around my family, she is not a welcome party. At the end of March, my ex and her sister came to the house to get the rest of her stuff that would not fit in the SUV. My ex's new husband was a no-show, supposedly because he is afraid of me and what I would do. I probably would have laughed at him, even maybe took pity on him, but he didn't show and I think we're all better off.

I took my first weeks' vacation in April, and all I did was hang around the house and got some much needed R & R. I bought a season pass for Magic Springs, but didn't get a chance to use it until July. It was the first chance to use the (relatively) new Crystal Falls water park, and it was a lot of fun. I saw three concerts at Magic Springs this past year: Foreigner, Kansas, and Rick Springfield, and they all were pretty cool.

I took my second weeks' vacation at the end of July to the beginning of August, and I went to Texas after spending a couple of days with JLo (more about her later). Had a wonderful birthday with my cousins Chris & Lisa, their spouses, and their kids. Went on to Wichita Falls to visit another cousin and my aunt & uncle. My other cousin Ang has such a big heart, and my uncle J is a cut-up of the first order who never ceases to make me laugh when I am down. My aunt, though, had no problem letting me know how much of a failure I am in her eyes, and she proceeded to put down my own mother, who has been gone since 1996. My aunt needs to realize that, if you don't know the facts, why is your mouth open? Why comment on something you obviously know nothing about? My aunt and I have not spoken since then.

Then I went to see my father, and the first question he asks is have I gotten re-married yet. He tells me that I should leave Arkansas & come to Texas, hook up with Princess A and get married and all that. I have nothing against the Princess - she is a really sweet young lady - but she and I have absolutely nothing in common, and I do not mean that in a bad way. We are two totally different people. But marriage? I made that mistake once. You know the old saying: "First time - shame on them. Second time - shame on me." Anyway, in conversations I have with my father and my stepmother, the first thing they ask me is if I have gotten re-married. Needless to say, I don't speak to them too much.

I took my last two weeks vacation together in the last two weeks of September. This was something I had wanted to do for about 5 years now - take two weeks together. This was one of the best vacations I had ever taken. It started on Friday, September 15, when my sister and my two nephews came up for a football game. We all had a great time. On the 16th, Spacely and I went to the Little Feat concert (see "How I Survived the Feat Fest"), and on the 19th, I left for Florida to see another cousin, K.K., her husband and their two girls. On the 21st, we went to Carabella Beach, about an hour from Tallahassee, and got so sunburnt - Oh, my God, that was terrible!! But it was so fun!! I discovered "Vinyl Fever" in Tallahassee & bought some cool CDs by Loudon Wainwright, Robert Wyatt, Peter Gabriel, & the Smithereens, just to name a few. On the 22nd, I left for Savannah, Georgia, to visit the Glecks. Nettiemac came down later, and we all had a good time, even though we didn't do a damn thing aside from watching movies & chatting with each other (one thing I learned: when Nettiemac starts rolling, I pity the fool that gets her stopped! Oh man, she could talk all day!) On Monday the 25th, I went to downtown Savannah, and went on the Riverfront to buy some souveniers for friends. I also went to a couple of music places & bought some jazz stuff (the Complete Miles Davis on Prestige - so cool!). I also bought the long OOP CD Moby Grape "Vintage" compilation. On the 26th, I headed back for Hot Springs, and on the 29th, I went to Fayetteville to visit yet another cousin, Amber Lynn. All we did was hang out and have a good time. I got home late on Sunday, October 1, and returned to work on the 3rd. It was a most excellent vacation, and to K.K.'s husband: I will let you know when I will return so we can do some deep sea fishing. That would be so cool. To Nettiemac and the Glecks: karaoke next time. To Amber Lynn & K.K.: thanks for letting me into your home and for being so hospitable. You both are cousins by blood, but friends by choice. God bless you both.

October rolls around, and unfortunately, so did my 20-year class reunion. It was the weekend of the 13th & 14th, but because I had inventory on the 16th, I could not make it. Plans are already being made for the 25-year reunion. Hopefully I will be able to attend. I did discover a band that I became very interested in: Dream Theater. I remember hearing "Pull Me Under" and "Take the Time" on the radio back in 1992-93, but did not know much about them. I bought a CD at Hastings called "Scenes From a Memory", from 1999, for $3.99. What a killer CD! Since then, I have bought several Dream Theater CDs, and I love them all. If you are not familiar with Dream Theater, envision heavy metal meets Yes, and you'll get a good idea of what they sound like. Really cool band.

Being in the retail business, you can just about imagine the Holidays being treacherous, and 2006 was no exception. It was flat-out crazy. I went from Dec. 17 to Jan. 5 without a day off. Even on Christmas Day, I had to go to the store for about 30 minutes to check refridgeration, among other things. But there were some good times mixed in: I celebrated my $1500 a year raise by buying a couple of new boxed sets from the Bee Gees and the complete solo works of Robert Plant. I went to Alltel Arena in Little Rock for the first time when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra played on Dec. 21. JLo and I had a lot of fun that evening - it was the best light show I had ever seen, and musically, it ranks in my top 5 as one of the best concerts I have ever seen. I bought JLo a car CD player for Christmas, and I had a really good Christmas this year, which was surprising, considering that I had no idea as to what I would be doing for Christmas.

Which brings us to 2007. My New Years' Resolution is: "Less Kroger, more Bolivar". Unfortunately, that hasn't panned out too well yet, although I did take a 4-day weekend after the first of the year and went to Jonesboro for a couple of days, and spent an afternoon in Memphis. But I did get a lot of rest during that time, which is what I sorely needed.

Another resolution - more entries on this blog!! Just because I can not vent about my ex-wife anymore doesn't mean that I don't have anything interesting!

Oh, by the way, talk about karma coming around... On the first Sunday of December, I was driving down Central when I noticed that the lights were out and no cars on the Fazolis parking lot (my ex-wife is the manager of Fazolis, in case you have forgotten). I assumed they closed early because of the Christmas party, so I didn't think too much about that. Two days later, JLo and I were driving down Central when we noticed that there were no lights on and the Fazolis parking lot was empty. I thought that this was real strange. Anyway, we went on to Radio Shack to do some browsing, and then we left heading for Rockie's Pizza. We got next to the Fazolis building when I told JLo that I gotta see this. JLo said sure. When we pulled in the restaurant, the window had the following message: "PERMANENTLY CLOSED. We thank you for your patronage." I about freaked out when I saw that. I called Talmadge & told him the news. The word I hear is that my ex-wife is now unemployed, and she and her new husband are struggling severely to make ends meet. Oh well - too bad, so sad. I have told her before that she had the world and everything that went with it when she was with me, and instead, she ended up settling. She settled for second-best. More power to her, I guess.

Until next time - take care.

--Bolivar "God, I will be 39 this year" Shagnasty