Tales From the Day Jobs: Father’s Day

As should be established through my babblings by now, writing full-time is my ultimate goal, but right now a day job pays the bills. I’ve had a few jobs in my time: fast food, retail, credit union, and currently, a transportation company. I’m one of those people who likes to have a good time no matter what I’m doing. Work is no exception. Thankfully, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a several like minded people. Between my co-workers and the customers, I’ve racked up quite a few entertaining stories, all in the name of surviving the grind.

And because I have no shame, I thought a good Friday feature would be to share a few of those stories from time to time. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

During my last stint in retail I worked as a jewelry sales coordinator. At the time my departement featured a “gift wall”, mostly filled with ceramic statues and jewelry boxes. The items changed depending on the holiday, but my department typically didn’t get anything for Father’s Day. However, an assistant manager asked me to clear a two foot section of my wall to fill with good gift items for Dad.

Since this was a weekend project, I ended up acquiring help from a couple of people from different departments that didn’t have as much going on. Our collaboration resulted in some obvious items: wallets, caps, tackle boxes, flashlights, golf balls-very stereotypical stuff. And then, as a joke on the assistant manager (because he was our favorite assistant to torment), we added boxes of condoms, neatly placed along side everything else.

Struggling to maintain straight faces, we called the manager over to inspect our work. He declared it adequate and that was it. He didn’t notice the condoms.

So the jooke changed. We left the condoms on the gift wall to see who would notice them.

Nobody of authority did. We kept waiting for someone to notice but no one said anything, much to our amusement.

The Monday following the holiday, everything left on the gift wall went back to its proper departments, condoms included.

Happy Father’s Day, indeed.

Five Fun Times with Papa

To close out unofficial Papa Week here a Kiki Writes About, I’m focusing on some of the good times. Papa was the funnest grandpa a couple of girls could have. There was always a good time to be had when Papa was involved. Maybe they weren’t grand or expensive or even a big deal, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

1. Going to the fairs. We went to the county fair and the Decatur Celebration every year. Papa and Grandma would take us and let us ride whatever rides we wanted to and buying us funnel cake and lemon shake-ups. Sometimes Papa would ride some of the rides with us. There might be albums of pictures from out times at the fairs.

2. Playing computer. While most older people shun technology, Papa was ahead of the game as president of the Decatur Computer Club. He got us our first computer (a Commodore 64) and taught us how to use it. Whenever we’d visit his house, we’d all get together in the bedroom to play computer games. Lode Runner, Family Feud, Concentration, Motor Mania, and the Olympics were some of our favorites. He, my sister, and I would crowd around the desk and crack each other up while we played.

3. Cooking. When Papa retired and Grandma moved her dog grooming business into the garage shop at the house, Papa took over the cooking duties. He had shelves full of cookbooks and he’d always have the two of us help him no matter what he was making. Even something as simple as pudding, he’d have his girls help him. I licked a lot of beaters in my childhood.

4. Going to the store. Yes, even something that mundane was fun with Papa. First of all, it was a quaint little corner store down the road from the house. Second of all, a trip to the store before lunch meant that Papa would buy you a Hostess fruit pie that you could eat for dessert. And, of course, it gave Papa an opportunity to show off his granddaughters.

5. Any car ride. Papa had a big old green boat car he called Nelly. It had afghans for seat covers and a woven leather steering wheel cover, all made by Grandma. It didn’t have much of a radio, so Papa would sing while he drove. Old songs, usually Hank Williams. I thought it was kind of cheesy at the time, but now I can’t hear “Hey, Good Lookin'” without thinking of him.

Five Things I Love About Cubs Games

I’ve only been to Wrigley Field a few times in my life so far, but it’s not for lack of love. I love seeing the Cubs play and I love seeing them do it at Wrigley Field and I’m hoping one day that I’ll see them actually win a game so I can hear “Go Cubs Go”.

Since I just went to a game Wednesday, here are five things I love about Cubs games.

1. Batting Practice. Watching the pitchers shag balls in the outfield is always entertaining. I’ve seen more than one grown man throw their glove up in the air at a ball. I’ve also seen some really nice catches.

2. Watching The Bullpen Warm Up. Unless someone is pitching an absolute gem, the bullpen pitchers prepare to enter the game. You look over and there are two, three, four guys walking abound, flapping their arms, and looking absolutely ridiculous. Invisible Nordic Track, Helicopters, and Yay I Get To Pitch are some of the names I’ve given to their warm up moves.

3. Singing The 7th Inning Stretch. Sure, they do this in lots of ballparks, but none of them are quite like Wrigley. It’s not as good since Harry is gone, but some of the guest conductors can be fun.

4. The Stuff You Don’t See On TV. Things happen between innings and during pitching changes that are shown on TV in favor of commercials. That’s a shame because the crowd doing the YMCA, the pitchers goofing off in the bullpen, and the outfielders interacting with the crowd is definitely more entertaining.

5. Helmet Nachos. These things are epic.

I have the helmet to prove it.

Happy April Fool’s Day

Ah, April Fool’s Day. The day to make fools of friends, loved ones, and enemies.

I’m not big on April Fool’s Day. I don’t really have much of a practical joke sense of humor. I also can’t believe anything anyone says that day, which can end up being very awkward if something legitimately significant actually happens. My April Fool’s Days are usually spent on the sidelines, though on occasion I will aid and abet.

My favorite April Fool’s Day joke that I participated in happened back when I wrote for a wrestling website.

Our head honcho came up with the idea to make it look like a parent group against wrestling (very prevelant at the time) had taken over our domain name. He actually laid the groundwork a few days ahead of time, posting an announcement on the site and having all of us writers sell it to our readers. Come April 1st, he switched the site to the joke layout.

The new columns that appeared on the site were written in such a way that they started off very serious and the farther along  you read, the more ridiculous they got. It was really quite good. We ended up getting a lot of traffic and most people who got the joke thought it was hilarious.

However, some people didn’t get the joke and we ended up fielding several emails about it. Of course, we straightened them out. Eventually.

All of us were pretty proud of tha tjoke and we were never able to top it.

It’s been over ten years since I played my small part in that and no aiding and abetting I’ve done since then has paled in comparison. If fact they’re so pale, I can’t even remember them.

Enjoy your fooling.

Save anything serious for tomorrow.

Music: Sunny Girlfriend by The Monkees

I am a huge fan of The Monkees, show and music. It’s been announced that three of the four (as usual) will be going out on tour once again for the 45th anniversary.

To celebrate, how about a song that isn’t “Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m a Believer”, “Daydream Believer”, or “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (not that they aren’t great; just looking for something a little less played).

Recipe: Pickle Wraps

When I announced on Twitter that I was making pickle wraps for my New Year’s Eve celebration, I got quite a few comments asking what they were and a couple of requests for the recipe. I decided posting the recipe would make for a good Friday Funtimes post.

And since I do like to cook, I figured that posting my recipes from time to time would be a good go-to for the Fridays that I’m not feeling particularly fun.

Food is fun.

Pickle Wraps

1 jar of small, whole dill pickles
2 90 calorie packages of Budding’s Beef (any deli thin sliced corned beef will do, really)
1 8oz container of cream cheese (I like the low fat kind)

Use a paper towel to dry off the pickles. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese on one slice of the beef. Set the pickle on the edge of the cream cheesed beef and roll it up. Slice up the pickle into rounds no more than quarter of an inch thick. Serves several people at once or one person over several days (at least that’s my experience).

One word of caution: This recipe is not for everyone. I know it sounds terrible and even some pickle lovers have a hard time trying it. Rarely does it work out well for someone not fond of pickles. In fact, my roommate Carrie swears it’s the most vile thing she’s ever put in her mouth.

I’m going to take her word for that.


Friday Five: Birthday Presents

My birthday is next Wednesday and I, like so many other people, love my birthday. It’s my special day even if I don’t do anything more out of the ordinary than going to McDonald’s for lunch to celebrate it. It’s my day because it’s the anniversary of my birth and therefore, it is automatically a fantastic day.

Also, I like free stuff and birthdays are great for free stuff.

Here are five presents I would love to get for my birthday this year:

1. Tickets to a Cubs game. It’s a sin that I’ve only been to Wrigley twice in my life. Maybe they’d actually win the game so I could hear “Go Cubs Go” in person.

2. Books. I’ve got a whole wishlist of them on Amazon and I am desperately low on new reading material.

3. iTunes gift cards. I love music. I’ve got lists of songs that I’d like to acquire. Some of it recorded after 2001, even.

4. Monkees Present and Changes CDs. Yes, downloadable music is where it’s at, but they’re the last two CDs I need for my collection of original Monkees music (I’m not counting Missing Links vol. 1 and 2; I need those, too, but they’re all outtakes and alternative takes). I’ve got a great collage of the cover art going and I need those two pieces to finish. Also, the music.

5. Donations to The Dempster Family Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a local children’s hospital, or a local humane society or no-kill shelter. One of the biggest bummers to being broke is not being able to contribute as much as I’d like to charities. I think it’d be cool to have people do it for my birthday.

If you read my Christmas list, I bet you were expecting something just as wild and extravagant, huh?

Well, I’m a complex person. Get used to these sorts of surprises.