Posts Tagged ‘Tameless Hair’

You may not need a recap of three previous parts of ‘Deus Ex Machina’, particularly if you are a binge-reader… I do, just because I’m struggling to balance a short attention span and a long interruption…

Back in February and March, I had gotten myself into serious trouble at Giovanni’s culminating in a ‘Step II disciplinary meeting’, which was essentially a meeting to convince management that I still wanted my job and that I could, if given another chance, ‘straighten up and fly right.’  Difficult.  On one hand, even on bad days, waiting tables is both profitable and interesting.  Given my A.D.D., the constant mental stimulation as a waitress may actually be more important than my tips.  Although as a spendthrift with a fashion addiction, the tips are pretty damn important.  On the other hand, I had been crashing rather than flying because I was completely overwhelmed as a single parent with no support net.  Trying to be a good enough mom for Piper was burning me out and exacerbating my A.D.D, which only left me even more overwhelmed.  So while I desperately wanted another chance, if I had possessed the slightest clue on how to regain control of my life, I already would be doing it… another chance was only another chance to make the same mistakes.

One of the ways I had tried to regain control was interviewing for the job at Thatchtower gallery, but after the interview, Cao Richards had been avoiding me.  The day before my step II, she sought me out (part I) to introduce me to Conner, the man who actually got the job for which I interviewed.  She also let me know (part II) that I actually had a second chance at the same job if I interviewed a second time with Carlton Thatcher.  That night, (part III) I met up with Carlton at a Thai restaurant in the Oregon District, and the interview went well.  I got the job!

Casually dressed to meet my fate…. Firefly BBQ Softball Jersey by Sn@tch Laica Pants from LC's World of Fashion

Casually dressed to meet my fate….
Firefly BBQ Softball Jersey by Sn@tch
Laica Pants from LC’s World of Fashion

I actually felt pretty good, possibly even sassy, as I bundled Piper with me into the Step II meeting.  I still needed and wanted my job at Giovanni’s, of course.  The Thatchtower job is part-time, and the base pay isn’t much more than minimum wage, although whenever Carlton makes a sale, the bonuses trickle down nicely.  In addition, I have very good insurance through Giovanni’s; the restaurant even pays half of my premiums and a quarter of Piper’s.  As a part-time assistant, I wouldn’t qualify for insurance through Thatchtower.  What Thatchtower did have was on-site daycare that they would even let me use when I wasn’t actually on the clock.  I was overwhelmed as a single parent with no support net, but Thatchtower offered me some rudimentary support.  I had been frustrated because I couldn’t see a way to regain control of my life, to break the pattern of one-step-forward-two-steps-back that haunted everything I tried to do since Piper was born.  I just had to tweak my Giovanni’s schedule a little bit- cut out my weekday lunches so I could work at Thatchtower, work three or four nights plus Thursday and Saturday lunch so I could keep the twenty-five hours a week to keep my insurance going, and everything would finally be working out for me.

Sitting at the party table in the corner of the restaurant with Stefano, Jonas, Joe, and Justin before the restaurant opened, I explained that.  I’m sure I bubbled pretty enthusiastically, both because I was excited about the game-changing prospect of decent daycare and because poor filtering between impulses and words is an A.D.D. hallmark.  So I felt a little ambushed when Stefano didn’t share my enthusiasm.

“Let me get this straight.  You’re in Step II because you’re generally late, because you’ve missed shifts, because you’ve manipulated and altered the schedule without permission, and your solution is you want to rewrite the schedule for your convenience.”

The words, “You make that sound like a bad thing,” were already forming on my tongue, and probably wouldn’t have helped the situation, so it’s just as well Stefano continued on relentlessly.

Hair & Headband: Despina from Tameless Hair Bollywood Make-up from Errant

Hair & Headband: Despina from Tameless Hair
Bollywood Make-up from Errant

“Everyone knows dinner shifts are more profitable than lunch shifts.  You’ve been unreliable enough to put your job in jeopardy, and you think I should ‘punish’ you by giving you the best shifts, you think I should take night shifts away from servers who haven’t screwed up so you can have them, you think I should be grateful that you still deign to work one lunch a week when that’s just to keep me paying for your insurance…  Where do you get off, Emily?!?”

I glanced quickly at Joe and Justin.  Justin looked like he shared my opinion that the meeting had grown painfully awkward very quickly, but he also looked like he’d just rather be elsewhere, not like he was going to stick his neck out for me.  Joe and I butt heads a lot, so Joe was actually smiling at my discomfort.  Jackass.  “Steve, I’ve worked here almost five years, and I thought you knew me by now.  I invest a lot of ego in being good at whatever I do, and I’m competitive enough to define ‘good’ as ‘better than my coworkers’.  I bust my ass to make sure that Giovanni’s is the sort of place customers want to come back to, to make sure my tables have the dining experience I would want, and to make serving look easy even when the kitchen is a train wreck and the host stand is a cluster fuck.  Yeah, I do it so that customers want to tip me, but I also do it from sheer bloody-minded, arrogant pride.  I know I’ve been off my A-game since Piper was born.  I want to be just as good a mother as I am a waitress, and I’m not, and I’m burning myself at both ends trying to make things work.  I’m in this inutile meeting- pardon my French, I meant to say fucking- because we both know I’m too valuable an employee to just fire, and you wanted to make sure I knew that if something doesn’t change, you will have do exactly that.  Well, I found a way to change things, because I love my job, and I’m good at it, and I want to make it work, and I thought you’d appreciate that.”

I must have been a sight as I finished.  Red-faced, eyes flashing, so angry I was trembling.  Stefano drew a deep breath, ready to blast back at me with both barrels, only to be interrupted by something neither of us expected.  Jonas clapped a few times, slowly, and said “Bravo, little firecracker.”

Body: GiGi shape by Kids5B Skin: Celine II from LC Fashions

Body: GiGi shape by Kids5B
Skin: Celine II from LC Fashions

Stefano, Justin, and Joe all stared at Jonas with mixtures of stun and confusion on their faces, and I’m sure my expression matched.  “Stefano, we’ve got a good crew.  We’ve got a turnover rate that other restaurants should envy.  Our staff is competent and comfortable and consistent and content, and those are all very good things.”  The stun was clearing from everyone’s faces, but the confusion was only strengthening.  “But for most of our staff, Giovanni’s is just a job.  It’s a better job than most, which is why they stay, but it’s still just a job.  Emily is passionate.  It’s not ego or arrogance, it’s pride and that’s something we need, and something you can’t train into people.”

I’d like to claim it was my sense of maturity that kept me from sticking my tongue out.  Truthfully, I didn’t think of it at the time because I was too busy being scared about what would happen next.  Stefano disagreed with his father’s view of my ethic, and argued that reliability was more important than pride, and I wasn’t reliable anymore.

“Pshaw!” scoffed Jonas.  I thought ‘Pshaw’ was a literary convention, an exclamation only used by writers to represent more generalized impatient disdain, but Jonas actually pshawed his son.  “Machines and tools should be reliable, Stefano.  People can’t be a hundred percent reliable, but proud people are more likely to rise above than to let you down.”  Stefano tried to interrupt to classify me as one of the let-downs, but Jonas overrode him.  “You weren’t here the day Emily went into labor, and I was.  Her water broke in our restroom, she was freaking out, and she was still worrying about taking proper care of her tables.”  I  remember that day well, and I would say it was probably shock not dedication driving my worries about getting table 302’s order in, but this was no time to argue with Jonas.  “Emily will move mountains to give customers the experience she thinks they should have.  Look, Stefano, she doesn’t even realize she’s nodding agreement.”  I stopped, a little self-consciously.  “It would be better if she would move mountains to give customers the experience we think they should have, if she was driven by pride in Giovanni’s rather than pride in herself, if she would be a little quicker to follow instructions and a little slower to question authority.  But she’s right: her pride, her initiative, makes her too valuable an employee to just fire.  If Emily was like most employees in Step II, sniveling for one more chance, I’d say give her the one more chance and then fire her ass.  If she tried to deny she had a problem, or claim that other servers were a bigger problem so we should let her slide, I’d be the first to throw her ass to the curb here and now.”

Ah, yes.  There was the warm, fuzzy Jonas I generally expect.

“But Emily didn’t just show up today, she tried to find a solution to the problem.  She just wants us to work with her so she can continue to work for us.  That’s fair, Stefano.”

Another surprise.  Steve didn’t argue with Jonas.  He just sighed a little.  “Maybe it is fair to work with her, but Emily still wants to move away from shifts I already have trouble finding people to work, particularly while college is in session, and towards shifts where I don’t have enough openings on the floor for the servers who want to work.  I don’t have full time hours to offer her with that kind of availability.  I can work her part-time for a while.  The insurance is based on average hours per week, so it will take time for average to fall below twenty-five hours per week, and then take some more time for the paperwork to notice her average fell and to cut the insurance off.  Sooner or later, though, she will lose her insurance.  Maybe someone will move on or change schedules so we can up her hours again before that happens, but maybe not.  I’m not going to fuck someone else over to give more shifts to Emily, particularly while her dependability is in doubt.  That’s not fair, either.  And two lunch-shifts, one, maybe two dinner-shifts.  That’s under twenty hours, under fifteen hours a lot of weeks- it won’t take long for the insurance to go bye-bye.”

“What about that computer stuff Emily does?” asked Jonas.  “You’re the one talking up why Giovanni’s needs social media, so why not hire our blogging waitress to do social media stuff for us?”

I’ll admit I briefly zoned out of the conversation.  I was startled enough that Jonas knew about my blogging that I jostled Piper and she started to fuss and I had to rock her back to sleep.  Plus I was growing a little sickly pale as I tried to remember exactly what I’ve written previously about Giovanni’s in general and about Jonas and Stefano in particular.  ‘An asshole with some redeeming values’ no longer seemed quite the deft turn of phrase it once did.  When I zoned back in, Steve was saying Giovanni’s still had a very small digital footprint, and that they wouldn’t need enough computer time from me to get me to full time status.

It was Justin who exclaimed ‘Billable hours!”

Jonas verbalized the thought everyone was thinking: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“If you take your car to the mechanic’s, you pay both for parts and for labor.  If you hire an attorney, you pay for the hours that go into working your case.  But you don’t pay for how long your specific job actually took, you pay according to a list of how long general tasks will be assumed to take.  For example, changing brake pads might be assumed to be an hour or an hour and half’s labor.  Most of the time, an experienced mechanic with a full shop can do it in fifteen to thirty minutes.  Occasionally, something is really screwed up and it might take two or three hours.  Regardless, the job takes the hour as far as the bill is concerned.”

“Um. Can I refer us all back to Jonas’s previous question?  I’m still not sure where you’re going, Justin.”

“No, look.  We’ve talked about this is some of the marketing courses I’ve taken.  A salaried, full-time social media marketeer makes fifty or sixty thousand a year.  If Giovanni’s hires a free-lancer, we’ll have to pay him twenty dollars or more an hour.  Emily lacks the marketing degree of the true professional marketeer, so she can’t expect to make as much.  Conversely, she knows our business better than an outsider and she’s going to stay in contact if she’s coming in regularly to serve.  So we have to negotiate a little on a fair rate to pay Emily to be our marketeer anyway.  So why don’t we just say she will officially receive minimum wage, and instead negotiate how many hours she will bill us for.  It won’t make a difference on her pay check if we pay her two and half hours at eight bucks per hour or one hour at twenty bucks, but the extra padding on hours will help her keep her insurance intact.  After a few months, once we see how she’s doing, we can keep going, renegotiate, or call the experiment off.  Worst case scenario, we’ve still postponed the point where Emily’s insurance expires and given us more time to rearrange the schedule.”

And that’s how I ended up gaining a second hat to wear at Giovanni’s, that of ‘social media consultant.’  I basically tweet about our specials twice a day, occasionally post pictures of meals on Instagram and Facebook, help write copy for each month’s ‘Monthly Specials’ insert in the menu, and sometimes send shout-outs to some of our regulars.  If I’m nearby, I’m probably drafted for anything in the restaurant that involves the written word, so there are lots of random little chores in the job as well.  I’m also the only waitress who has permission to be on my phone while I’m waiting tables, which is a cool perk.  (Mind you, most of the waitresses still read and send texts and update their Facebook from the side stand when they think nobody is looking.  But I’m actually supposed to find at least one thing to send out during my shifts…)

…Info about tagged vendors is in my closet

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I mentioned last post that my employment situation has really changed over the past month.  It’s time to start filling in what happened…

The old saying is that it’s always darkest before the dawn.  In a literal sense, that’s bullshit, of course.  Before the dawn, you already have a faint shimmer of encroaching daylight lurking in the east, whereas at, say, 3.00 AM, it’s nothing but night.  In a metaphorical sense, it just means things look worst before things start to improve.  Which is true, if somewhat shallow and obvious, which is why it is cloaked in a figure of speech to sound artificially profound.

It's always darkest before you flip the light switch...

It’s always darkest before you flip the light switch…

My darkest hour was while I was awaiting my Step II disciplinary meeting on March 10th, which is pretty much just as ominous and formal as it sounds.  Giovanni’s is a rather casually run restaurant, and the owners generally prefer a battle plan of ‘We’ll just play it by ear.’; when they go out of their way to follow a procedure, it never bodes well.  I could have just ripped the scab off with a rushed sit-down before or after my shift.  I chose, however, to schedule the meeting for a day off.  Punctuality wasn’t a strong point for me even before I had Piper, and as a sleep-deprived single mom with ADD, I struggle just to be not-that-late, so coming in early for a meeting about my employment fate was not a good plan.  As for meeting post-shift, not only am I usually trying to rush to pick Piper up from whoever’s sitting, but it doesn’t suit the owners’ schedules well either.  I had one other reason for scheduling the meeting on a day off, a manipulative reason on my part.  Jonas Giovanni is kind of a thug, and his Italian temper is a scary thing to behold.  He does, however, have a soft spot for children in general and for Piper in specific.  He was there when she was born, holding my hand when Piper’s father is unknown and my father was unavailable.  I gave Piper her middle name, Jonasina, because Jonas was there.  I wanted the meeting on my day off so I would have to bring Piper along and hopefully put Jonas in a protective mood rather than an angry one.

On my last shift before the meeting, something odd occurred.  I was already on egg shells, dreading the meeting and flustered because I had been late, again, that morning.  Not late enough to get in any additional trouble, but also not helping my case in the upcoming meeting.  Cao Richards came by for lunch, along with two coworkers I recognized and a rather effeminate young man I didn’t recognize.  Ms. Richards, one of my favorite regulars, had strongly encouraged me to apply to be a research assistant for her employer, the Thatchtower Gallery, and conducted the interview herself.  I was supposed to have heard back by mid-February, but instead Ms. Richards had been ducking my calls and avoiding the restaurant for almost a month.  Then out of the blue that Monday she comes in and asks for my section.  That’s already a little awkward, but then she introduces me to Connor, describing him as “our newest research assistant.”

“Oh, it’s very nice to meet you, Connor.”  I’ve stated elsewhere that for servers, hypocrisy isn’t a character flaw but a job skill.  For three weeks, I tried to reach Ms. Richards to find out if I got the job.  I never get through, but instead she brings the man who actually got the job to Giovanni’s.  And requests my section to make sure I have to learn who he is.

Shape: Elvira Shape from Alady Island Skin: Gothic Lolita by Skin Doctors

Shape: Elvira Shape from Alady Island
Skin: Gothic Lolita by Skin Doctors

“I assure you, milady Marik, ’tis I who stand fulfilled by our meeting.”  Oh, my.  Is there such a thing as love at first hearing?  On top of his archaic phrasing, Conner also has the faintest trace of an accent that I simply cannot place.  Imagine an Harvard don being played by Sean Connery and you come close.  His gentle tenor has a hint of ruffle, like a deep plush blanket I just want to wrap around every inch of myself.  My train of thought completely jumps the rails.  Vaguely, I noticed the other two research assistants staring kind of doe-eyed at Conner and realized I probably have the same blankly wistful expression on my face.  I’m pretty sure I blushed as I shook it off, stammered some kind of polite noise, and forced myself to take their drink order.  Only as I’m grabbing two waters and two ice teas at main station does it occur to me that neither Ms. Richards nor I used my last name in the conversation, so why does Conner know it?

I’m busy for the next few minutes, cashing out a couple of tables, taking orders and getting them started in the kitchen, quickly tossing a couple Caesar salads myself so I don’t have to wait for the pantry cook to have time.  Once I’ve dealt with everything urgent, I grab a couple soups for Conner and one of the other assistants.  As I deliver them, I ask Ms. Richards if she has a second to talk.  With a raising of my eyebrows and a slight jerk of my head, I silently add the qualifier “away from Conner, thank you very much.”

Cao smiles, “I have a second, but I don’t think you do.”  She also raises an eyebrow and jerks her head slightly, her non-verbal communication indicating, “There’s a hostess standing behind you, about to give you another table.”  It’s amazing how detailed non-verbal communication between two intelligent women can be.  She also produces her business card with a quick, almost slight-of-hand, gesture.  “You already have the office number, but I wrote my personal cell phone number on the back.  When he learned you already have dealings with some of his gallery clients, Mr. Thatcher asked me to arrange a meeting with you.  I believe he may be considering making another research assistant position available.”

Hair: Ronnie by Tameless Hair Scar: Wicked Scar by Fallen Doll

Hair: Ronnie by Tameless Hair
Scar: Wicked Scar by Fallen Doll

“Which means you and I may yet become comrades in arms,” adds Conner.  I’m torn between irritation that my business is being freely conducted in front of him and the desire to keep Conner talking so I can hear that lovely voice some more.  It’s not often you meet a man who can make a request for his ice tea to be topped off sound sexy.  As I turn away, out hostess flashes two fingers and then four fingers at me.  “I need you to take table twenty-four.”  I nod at her.  “O.K.  I’m on my way.”  Really, with all the non-verbal communication going on, it’s astonishing how loud Giovanni’s gets during the rush…

The rush stays busy, so the rest of my conversation with Cao and her party is limited to what I think of as ‘standard restaurant script’.  “Let me get some refills.”, “Does any one need a box?”, “Did anybody save room for some homemade tiramasu today?” and the like.  There is one interesting moment when I bring the check.  I didn’t bother asking about separate checks before I bring one check and give it to Cao.  It’s the benefit of familiarity.  Although I don’t know whether it is Cao or her expense account being generous, I know that when Cao brings her coworkers to eat, she treats for the table.  The young lady research assistants with her are also used to this; they no longer make even a token attempt to get a separate check or take the tab.  Conner deftly reaches across the table and grabs the bill from Cao’s hand.

“You know my other patron would insist I do the honor,” states Conner, pulling one of those heavyweight black credit cards from a lavender nylon trifold.  Ms. Richards attempts to reclaim the bill, but Conner easily swings the check away from her grabs.

Cao actually sounds a little irritated as she replies, “Carlton and I, however, work with your patron, not for her.  I understand why she wants the privilege, and I hope she earns the right, but it’s only proper I pay this bill.”

“There are many kinds of propriety, madame Richards.”

“But I would hope hospitality is universal.”

Dress: Elvy from Augusta Creations Shoes: Jane (night-colored) by Tesla Jewelry: Heart Bangle by Grumble; Pink Chain Collar by Pekka

Dress: Elvy from Augusta Creations
Shoes: Jane (night-colored) by Tesla
Jewelry: Heart Bangle by Grumble; Pink Chain Collar by Pekka

I took the bill and credit card from Conner.  With my left hand, I also accepted Cao’s card from her.  I then tucked her card into the tip tray and handed Conner’s card back to him, glancing at the name.  “Here you go, Mr. Dreenan.  I don’t want to imply that Ms. Richards has better connections at Giovanni’s than you do, so I’m going to explicitly state it instead.  We know Cao, and Giovanni’s is the sort of place where it is good to be known.”  I dropped a quick smirk at Connor before returning to my formal, I’m-working voice, “I’ll be right back with your card, Ms. Richards.”

Not quite right back, since I loop into the kitchen to call for french onion soup on my way to the computer and refill water at table forty-three on my way back.  I’m busy enough that I again just stay on-script when I drop off the charge slip to be signed, “I just need one copy back with your signature and the other slip is for your records.  Thanks for stopping in today, Cao, and I hope we see you again.” Again, spoken in my I’m-working voice, as I continue on to another table to check off the next task on my to-do list.

When I finally get back to finish clearing the table, Cao has left a note on her charge slip: Don’t forget to call me.  Sooner is better than later.  There was also a small pebble and a note on a twenty dollar bill (which is an over thirty percent tip!) which read, “I’m told this is a good introduction to a waitress.  I would love to be known.  Sincerely, Conner Dreenan.”

The nicest thing about the whole confusing encounter… Well, really, the nicest thing was the sound of Conner Dreenan’s voice.  If you could bottle that sound, you would make a mint.  But the second nicest thing was that trying to figure out what just happened distracted me from what would happen the next day.

…To be continued…

“If you give your employer two dollars worth of work for every dollar he pays you, you will always be too valuable an employee to fire.”  Mr. H., my high school soccer coach, used to say that, and it seemed to work for him.  He occasionally skirted the lines of propriety and took gleeful pleasure in tweaking the administrators’ noses, but no one could deny he poured his heart and his soul into teaching and coaching, so he was generally allowed to get away with it.

I need a chocolate milkshake to drown my sorrows… better make it a double!

I need a chocolate milkshake to drown my sorrows… better make it a double!

I’ve busted my ass for Giovanni’s, and it doesn’t seem to have earned me any protection.  In my post last week, I mentioned I ended up with a Step I disciplinary action through no fault of my own.  Yesterday I ended up with a Step II.  Technically, this one is my fault.  Piper caught a stomach bug somewhere, so she woke me at one-thirty in the morning throwing up contents of her stomach all over herself, her blanket, and her boppie.  Needless to say, I didn’t go to sleep that night, between panicking, cleaning her up, calling the pediatrician’s panic-line, calling my dad to send one of his patrol officers to the apartment with some Pedialyte, and tending to my sick little baby.  Even after Piper’s stomach was empty, she continued to throw up, projectile spitting her stomach acids.  I don’t think I will ever hear any sound quite as heart-wrenching as the gurgling in Piper’s stomach that warned she was about to heave again.  She didn’t even cry, just mewed pitifully with her discomfort as she tried to sleep.  Around eight she was finally able to keep down a tablespoon of Pedialyte.  I was babbling as I tended to her, partly trying to reassure her that everything would be all right, partly trying to talk myself down from my frazzled panic, partly making blind offers of whatever God wanted if he would only help my little girl feel better.  And Piper, as sick and pitiful as she was feeling, gave me a big brave smile, like she knew I needed someone to believe in me and wanted me to know she was my someone.

In a musical dream sequence, I could dance my sorrows away.  Sadly, this is not a musical dream sequence...

In a musical dream sequence, I could dance my sorrows away. Sadly, this is not a musical dream sequence…

Well, I was in no shape to handle a lunch shift at Giovanni’s, and I couldn’t leave Piper when she was sick.  At nine o’clock, I called Taylor, and mercilessly used her guilt over her role in my Step I to shame her into covering my shift.  I then nestled Piper in my bed beside me and crashed restlessly, waking every so often to give her more Pedialyte.  My Step II is because of what that process didn’t involve, or more specifically who I didn’t involve in the process.  Managers, just because they run the restaurant, feel like they should be involved in solving staffing problems.  Go figure.  (I’m more than a little bitter.  If it was a problem involving a customer, such as their steak was miscooked or there was a hair in their lasagna, most of Giovanni’s managers would say, “I’m busy.  Can’t you deal with it?”  So who knew they would be so territorial about their prerogatives once those annoying customer people weren’t a factor?)  Step II means I lose another shift, to ensure the penalty hits me in the pocketbook; I lose certain responsibilities, like checking coworker outs and processing discounts on the computer, until I’ve “re-earned management’s trust”; I have to schedule a sit-down meeting with Stephano and Jonas to discuss why I’m in disciplinary Steps, whether I still value my job, and where I go from here.  Worst of all, since I’m in Step II, any other violation can, at management discretion, place me in Step III, more colloquially known as ‘Don’t let the front door hit you where the Good Lord split you’ or ‘getting shit-canned’.

I'm pretty sure 're-earning management's trust' will involve more than baked goods...

I’m pretty sure ‘re-earning management’s trust’ will involve more than baked goods…

The threat of firing is bad enough at any time, but I’m still hemorrhaging debt from my maternity leave and I get insurance, both mine and Piper’s through work.  Right now I feel like I cannot afford to work, but I can afford to not work even less.  And the whole gallery thing has proven to me that Piper is a liability on job interviews.  I thought, all things considered, that my gallery interview went well.  I really thought I had a genuine shot at the job, both from the initial interview and from things Ms. Richards said when I served her just before Valentine’s Day.  But she also said that Mr. Thatcher would make his decision Monday the 16th, so there would be two weeks to give notice before March 3rd when the position officially opens.  That was over a week ago, and I’ve heard nothing.  I’ve called multiple times to follow-up, and I keep getting either no answer or voice mail, and no return call for the messages I leave.  Most damning, on Thursday, Ms. Richards came in around five like she was going to get supper, saw me busy in my section, and scurried off to the carryout area.  Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I feel like she ducked me because she didn’t want to answer my questions, which is an answer in and of itself.

Sometimes there is a poster that says it all...

Sometimes there is a poster that says it all…

I’m used to being a little arrogant at work: I’m damned good at what I do, and when it was just me, I was certain I could land on my feet, because if I ever got fired, or lost my temper and quit, I  could find another serving job at the drop of a hat.  But now I have Piper depending on me, and I’m terrified of letting her down.  I don’t have any safety margin if something happens at Giovanni’s.  The lack of sleep and the stress of parenting are wearing me down, so my game is slipping at work.  With Step-III-You’re-Out! hanging over my head, I cannot just trust my instincts and attitudes to carry me through, so my game is slipping further.  I think I’m slightly a control freak, and right now there is nothing in my life that I actually get to control.  I really want to hide under my blanket with a bottle of Patron Citronge until the world goes away and finds someone else to pick on.  I won’t, of course, partly because guilt and affection will keep me in the game for Piper, mostly because I know the world will just wait patiently, picking up ever-heavier blunt objects to smack me with, until I emerge.  God help me, however, because the impulse is so there. I think when I’m done with this post, I’m calling my dad and asking if I can keep my booze over at his house until I feel little better about my life…

Oh, and very little credit to assign for today’s fashion look, as I was digging in the deep, back, dusty part of my closet, and picked a short reddish minidress and accessory kit that I cannot remember where it came from.  Probably a freebie/gift, as it is titled in German and I only shop in English.  (Call me crazy, but I don’t like to buy if I don’t actually understand what I’m buying…)  Still, there are a few very familiar brands in some of the details: Sophia Tan skin from WoW Skins, Updated Jeannie Small B-cup shape from Alady Island, Beatrice hair from Tameless Hair.  Likewise, I’ve worn and posted before about the hearts a flutter headband from {le fil casse} and the ‘pure garbage’ piercings from Ellabella.

There are so many reasons why I need to go shopping this afternoon.

A) I need some retail therapy.  On top of my emotional baseline of exhausted and overwhelmed (perfectly normal for moms everywhere, particularly single working moms) I have a healthy overlay of unhealthy rage.  My coworker Taylor, herself a single mom, was supposed to come by and pickup Piper this morning and I would watch her two year-old Dashaun later this week.  Giovanni’s opens at eleven, so the servers are expected in at ten to help with the prep and set-up.  Shortly before ten, I called Giovanni’s to warn them I was running late because Taylor, whose inability to keep a schedule is legendary, hadn’t made it yet.  Imagine my surprise when Taylor answered the phone.  Management had called her that morning before to cover a shift because Mackenzie called in sick.  (She said food-poisoning, I suspect brown-bottle flu.)  Taylor had dumped Dashaun on his grandmother, and completely forgotten to call me.  Working all the numbers in my cell phone contacts, I finally gave in and asked Jeremy to be my emergency baby-sitter.  Great, but by the time I called Jeremy, took Piper out to the ‘burbs, and doubled back to Giovanni’s, I was over an hour late.  Which means even though Joe, Taylor, and Mackenzie created the reason I was late between them, I’m the one who gets a write-up and started in a Step I disciplinary action.  I’m angry enough I’m trembling just recapping this.  Some new pretty clothes are just what I need to feel calmer.

Pretty new clothes, compliments of Grumble, Grumble.

Pretty new clothes, compliments of Grumble, Grumble.

B) I really need retail therapy.  The whole situation with Jeremy (more about that towards the end of this post…) has me in a tailspin.  I’m still into him, and he is apparently also still into me.  Except he has rebounded since I broke things off, and while I’m sure I’ll properly hate his fiancee Valerie once I meet her, it’s unfair to her and to the generally stand-up guy Jeremy is for me to drag him into Piper’s life.  I don’t want to keep calling Jeremy in panics.  Except I don’t really have many options.  How sick is it that I only called Jeremy to babysit after trying my next-door neighbor when I’m ninety percent certain that she’s an escort and an addict?  Trying to unfold that logic has me feeling guilty and inadequate.  Pretty new clothes can solve those feelings, too.

This Hooter purse deserves some close-up love...

This Hooter purse deserves some close-up love…

C) Ms. Cao Richards came in for lunch with two of her coworkers and their three little ones.  She introduced me as ‘Emily, who I’m hoping will be the newest gallery girl’.  She introduced the two gallery girls with her, but distracted as I was this morning, I promptly forgot their names and christened them in my mind as Buffy and Muffy.  On a more positive day, this would have been a wonderful thing.  Besides tipping well, Ms. Richards implied the job is probably mine, with what she said both explicitly and between-the-lines, although the gallery owner, Mr. Thatcher, will not declare his official decision until ten a.m. on Monday the sixteenth.  In my frustrated and irritable state, however, I’m locked in on the gap between ‘probably’ and ‘definitely’, afraid to hope, stressing over the impending disappointment.  Plus, if I do get the job, I don’t have anything sufficiently elegant and classy for the Thursday gala evenings.  So I should definitely go get myself some pretty new clothes…

To paraphrase Nancy Sinatra, these boots were made for shopping...

To paraphrase Nancy Sinatra, these boots were made for shopping…

D) Allie Munro also came by for a bite to eat.  I didn’t wait on her, since she sat at the bar with a chicken caesar salad and a nice pinot grigio while she used her cell phone and tablet to herd staffers for Grumble, Grumble and the Wet Spot.  (How does she have time to run two businesses and look so fabulous when I can barely juggle being a low-level Goomba at Giovanni’s and keeping Piper in formula and clean diapers?  If she wasn’t so nice, I would definitely hate her.)  I didn’t wait on her, but she gave me a tip nonetheless.  Not a gratuity-tip but a piece-of-advice-tip: Thrift Shop 8 is now open, with bargains and sales from dozens of dealers, themed for Love and Hate in honor of Valentine’s Day.  That would be reason enough to go shopping, to see if I can find something both elegant and thrifty, but Allie sweetened the pot, inviting me once more to write up how cool Grumble’s wares look, and take a few selfies to prove my point.  If there is anything better than shopping for pretty new clothes, it is getting paid to shop for pretty new clothes…

Ta-da! A second great Grumble look for Thrift Shop!

Ta-da! A second great Grumble look for Thrift Shop!

OUTFIT #1:

  • Mesh Corset Dress in Teal.  This cute little number is one of Grumble, Grumble’s feature items for Thrift Shop 8.
  • Heartbreaker Crown. This is the rare from the Heartbreaker Headband Gatcha Grumble brought to the thrift shop.  Very cute, although more appropriate for senior prom then an expensive gallery event….
  • Hooter Handbag, Teal Trim.  Another cute, fun item from Thrift Shop 8.  Again, yes to cute, fun, and irresistible, no to gallery-appropriate…
  • Sheer heart stockings & Colorado boots (black): Items from the Grumble, Grumble main store that nicely compliment my dress.
  • Shape: Gigi Teen (Kids5B); Skin: Jenna- Purple Smokey (BeautyCode); Hair: Beatrice (TamelessHair)
Cupid, updated for the 21st century?

Cupid, updated for the 21st century?

OUTFIT #2:

  • Flutter Outfit.  This is one of Grumble’s exclusive items for TS 8.  With the wings and headband, this outfit is very cute and very fun.  Properly re-accessorized, the pink and white minidress may be the gallery event dress I’m looking for…
  • Heart Collar and Bangle Set.  This is the other exclusive TS 8 item.  I love collar style necklaces and bangle style bracelets, and this set is one of each for only 25 L$.  Again, cute and fun.  Definitely the must-have of Grumble’s Kiosk for this event.
  • Red Star Leggings, Snake Bracelet, Fringe Mocassins, Jackie-O Sunglasses: Again, I accessorized the event items with some goodies from the Grumble mainstore.  (The shotgun was not included, but was a fun prop to pose with…)
  • Shape: ‘Girl Teen Avatar Shape’ (Kids5B); Skin: Liz- Green Smokey (BeautyCode); Hair: Ronnie (Tameless Hair)

    Give this gorgeous collar some close up love, also...

    Give this gorgeous collar some close up love, also…

Today is not yet that day.

Everything looks safe and content… but looks are deceiving...

Everything looks safe and content… but looks are deceiving…

I have a lot of excuses I could bring forward.  I’m naturally disorganized, particularly with the decidedly mixed blessing that is my ADD.  I’ve lived with ADD long enough, and for the most part managed it, that I know good sleep patterns and a structured life are the best way to control my scatterbrain episodes.  Since Piper arrived in my life, however, good sleep patterns and healthy structure are both things of the past.  I’m sufficiently sleep deprived that even a more conventional brain would be scattering, but for me, single motherhood is a perfect storm of bad ADD lifestyle choices.  Since I’m sleeping poorly, my physical health, like my mental health, is more brittle than it should be.  I’ve got the latest variety of creeping crud to pass through the region- lots of phlegm in my nose and throat, a general achiness, and a cough that sounds like I’m auditioning to be the newest tuberculosis poster girl.  Which means I’m sleeping even worse, cue sinister music for vicious feedback loop.  I’m also terrified that I’m going to pass this on to little Piper, so I’m stressing over that, even though I know the stress causes the little gerbil wheel in my head to spin ever faster out of my control.  Since I’m trying to keep as much distance as possible from my daughter- and ‘as possible’ is a pitiful amount since I’m primary and generally sole caregiver- she is wailing her pitiful ‘But-I’m-not-being-held’ cry that much more often.  More noise and a heaping serving of guilt add to my litany of woes.  The lack of sleep and sickness are also interfering with my proficiency at work.  When I’m on my A-game, I’m a pretty damn awesome waitress.  Even off my A-game, I still muddle through, since me at eighty percent is as good as most servers at a hundred percent.  I’m down to fifty percent or so, however, so I’m out of patience, making mistakes, and getting shittier tips than I’m used to.  For the sake of my bills, I can compensate for worse tips by working longer shifts and/or extra ones, but that is wearing me down further, and also burning goodwill among the few people I can call in chits for Piper-sitting duty.  Every problem tangles into every other, and I can’t seem to get any traction on any of them.  Sigh.

The cannon was performing its job poorly, so it had to be fired...

The cannon was performing its job poorly, so it had to be fired…

As I mentioned, Piper-sitting duty is an issue.  Yesterday I went to an interview at Thatchtower Gallery.  The job sounds a little out of both my comfort zone and skill set, assisting with the sales and presentation of high-end art, antiquities, and rarities.  However, Cao Richards, the gallery owner’s administrative assistant, is a regular at Giovanni’s, and she aggressively pitched the job to me.  The hours are good for me- office work from ten A.M. to three P.M. on three out of five weekdays- my choice which three- and Gala Exhibit nights from six P.M. until sometime between midnight and two A.M. on Thursday evenings.  The base pay is barely above minimum wage, but the job includes on-site daycare and significant bonuses whenever I contribute to a sale.  On days I work I would be out in time to work a night shift at Giovanni’s, and likewise I could work a Thursday lunch and still have time to get ready for Gala night.  Ms. Richards- she told me to call her Cao, but I still feel like that’s overfamiliarity- even offered to stretch a point if I get the job and let me drop Piper in the Gallery daycare if I’m working a weekday lunch shift at Giovanni’s, as long as I bring her a carryout order when I come to pick Piper back up.  The biggest expense is I will have to dress red-carpet fancy for Gala nights (which is a treat, albeit an expensive one…)

Since I didn’t have a sitter yesterday, I had to bring Piper along with me, and packing up a two month old is never a quick and easy proposition.  I meant to get up at eight for my ten o’clock interview, but since I didn’t fall asleep until sometime after six, I woke up in a panic to Piper screaming at 9:13.  I blearily washed my adderol down with some iced coffee, swapped my shower- usually a key portion of my waking up rituals- for a quick wipe of my armpits and crotch with a damp soapy cloth, rolled on deodorant, spritzed myself with Febreze, and tried to get Piper ready also.  I gave her thrush medicine, prepared two bottles to the just-add-formula stage, and measured two ziplock baggies of formula to just-add.  I shoved a spare fleece PJ, two bibs, some receiving blankets, a couple of toys, pacifier, spare paci, back-up spare paci, a half-dozen disposable diapers, diaper cream, and gas drops into one of my old back packs, and away we went.

All right, little girl, this must be the place where some future may await...

All right, little girl, this must be the place where some future may await…

I think the interview went well, although Ms. Richards warned me I probably won’t hear either way until after Valentine’s day since the job opening begins in March.  Piper slept quietly through the whole interview, stirring slightly when I got her out of her carrier for ‘Auntie Cao’ to meet and hold her, but otherwise was wiped out.  She didn’t even fuss when I put her back in her carrier, and she hates the carrier.  She was so calm I treated myself and took her with me to get some apartment furnishings from Grumble and to get a BBQ sandwich from City Barbecue and a mocha chip milkshake from Graeter’s.  I was surprised by how quiet Piper stayed, and as we drove home, I fantasized that maybe we had turned the corner on sleepless nights and that maybe my life wasn’t so bad after all.  Right now, I’m trying to pin that feeling in my memory like a butterfly in an album, so I can examine and cherish the beauty of ‘contentment’ whenever I wish, because the day tanked sharply when I got home.

This is why I'm a dangerous shopper.  I came looking for some chairs that match, and ended up looking at a neon burlesque sign...

This is why I’m a dangerous shopper. I came looking for some chairs that match, and ended up looking at a neon burlesque sign…

It had been about six hours, so the first thing I intended to do was give Piper her next dose of thrush medicine.  (In layman’s terms, thrush means my daughter has a yeast infection in her mouth.  Yeah, my first reaction was ‘what’s thrush?’ because I didn’t spend a lot of time around babies until I had one of my own, but my second reaction was, ‘ooh, that’s nasty’…)  I went to the counter to the left of the sink where I keep all the medicines in the apartment arranged, and as I looked, I realized I didn’t give Piper her thrush medicine that morning after all.  I gave her my prescription cough syrup instead.  Both bottles come from the same pharmacy and look the same.  I was sleep-deprived and time-crunched, but it doesn’t matter.  When you fuck up, the universe doesn’t pat you on the head, reassure you that it’s o.k. as long as you meant well, and grant you a mulligan.  The one small blessing was that I hadn’t given Piper the full 5 mL dose of Tussionex, but had followed the thrush medicine instructions, putting two mL into her mouth with a syringe, and swearing when she spit most of it out all over her and my outfits.  (Yes, swearing while she spits it up is actually part of the pharmacist’s instructions.  Really.  O.k., maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but that is the process we go through with every dose…)  Of course, even if you figure she only got one mL of cough syrup, given the disparity in body weights, Piper took four or five doses of cough syrup in that one go.  No wonder she was so restful; I drugged my baby!

To loosely quote Rudyard Kipling (read the entire, non-paraphrased poem here!), if you can keep your head when everyone else is losing theirs, you will rule the world and everything in it.  Part of why I regard my ADD as a mixed blessing is because when I’m on top form I can run multiple lines of thought, pick the relevant lines, and push those thoughts harder and faster then anyone.  When I’m in crisis mode, I can shunt the distracting thoughts aside for later, and I live by the old Terry Pratchett quote, “Personal isn’t the same as important.”  The problem is my mind is like a very powerful but poorly regulated engine.  I require a lot of effort and energy to control my unwieldy mind, and once I run out of juice, my mind runs amok, still running multiple lines of thought, but I can no longer control which lines are in focus and which lines are dragging me helter-skelter from what I need to be doing.  Sickness, stress, sleep-deprivation- my mental and emotional tanks were pegged squarely on ‘Empty’, and I shattered completely when I realized what I had done.  I’m not even sure how long I just stood there in my kitchen holding the phone while my mind circled through “I don’t know what to do.”; “I should call someone.”; “I should call X” (where X was some specific person); “Wait- if I call person X, bad consequence Y will happen.”; “So I shouldn’t call X.”; “I don’t know what to do!” over and over, with variations on both X and Y.  I was frantic and panicked enough I even worried my dad would arrest me or call children’s services if I called him.  I would have called Jonas Giovanni, and even cheerfully endured the litany of colorful profanity I assumed would receive and deserve, if I knew his cell number or thought he would have any answers to accompany the anger.  Instead the call I finally made was to Jeremy, the ex boyfriend I haven’t talked to since July 2013, when he left Giovanni’s shortly after I forced him to dump me.  Jeremy didn’t even know I had a daughter until I bawled that I could have killed her.

Dear God, please help me to be the mother my little angel deserves instead of the mother she got...

Dear God, please help me to be the mother my little angel deserves instead of the mother she got…

Jeremy has no urgency in his soul.  That was an infuriating trait in a coworker; no matter how many customers or servers were waiting for him, Jeremy did what he was going to do with the same unhurried, methodical pace.  As a boyfriend, however, he was amazing: always calm and unruffled, never distracted or riled by emotional outbursts.  Instead he leaned on his strong but quiet faith that things will work out, and they generally do, as if the universe would be embarrassed to disappoint him.  He didn’t take time to judge me or panic with me, he just confirmed I was still in the same apartment, told me he was on his way, and helped me work out who I really needed to call.  Unless something changed for the worse, there was no point to calling 9-1-1 almost five hours after I dosed Piper.  On the other hand, I needed to make sure there weren’t any lasting effects to beware, so I had to talk to someone with a medical background.  The pharmacist or Piper’s pediatrician were the obvious choices, and not only should the pediatrician know more about how babies react to medications, but I would need to tell her anyway if Piper risked any medium or long-term consequences from the overdose.  Which apparently she doesn’t.  The nurse told me to keep a close eye on her to make sure she didn’t stop breathing during the afternoon and to wake her up a couple of times to make sure she didn’t forget to eat since she is so tiny, but otherwise I didn’t even need to bring her in for an exam- although I had ran the risk of very bad things with my mistake, if any thing bad was going to happen, it already would have.  Ipso facto, Piper must be fine.

And Jeremy was still amazing.  He sat with me, watching me hold Piper and cry, for half an hour.  We caught up in general terms about our life after we quit being an ‘us’.  He’s an assistant manager now at one of the chain restaurants near the mall, living in suburbia.  He actually regularly attends the same mega-church I sporadically attend, although we wouldn’t have encountered each other since he goes to one of the satellite campuses and I tend to sneak into the back of the main campus after the service has started.  Between his new job and his new location, very few mutual acquaintances remained in both of our social circles, although we still had a slight overlap.  Most amazing was the way that there was none of the bitterness or awkwardness you would expect after an emotional breakup and eighteen months of silence; it was like the last year and a half never happened.  Jeremy even made me promise to stay in touch, and asked if there was any way he could help with Harper, maybe even watch her sometime if I needed a sitter.  I was reminded all over again how much Jeremy loved kids, that I had been the one who steadfastly maintained I wasn’t ready.  (I still don’t feel ready for motherhood.  I’m just more resigned to winging it while I’m unready.)

Hanging out with my sorrow and my melancholy...

Hanging out with my sorrow and my melancholy…

Really the only awkwardness was when Jeremy left.  He invited me to come by his new suburban house, that he was sure Valerie would love to meet me and Piper.  In fact, he would stay longer, but Valerie would be waiting for him.  Cue ominous foreboding as I ask the obvious question, “Oh, who’s Valerie?”

“My fiancee.”

Yeah, someday I may laugh about Piper getting dosed with cough syrup.  Someday I may laugh about reconnecting with Jeremy only to learn someone else is better connected.  Someday I may laugh about the fact all I need to thrive with my ADD is the opposite of what I actually have in my life.  Today, however, is not that day.

A few quick post scripts.  Since I was rather rushed getting ready, I just interviewed in the rather chic but casual ‘Bella Valentine’ outfit from Edelfabrik, doing my hair in the rather casual Heidi look from Tameless Hair and wearing minimal accessories.  I did intend to look at furniture at Grumble- my apartment is woefully under furnished and I generally just make one corner into a backdrop rather than truly live in a livable space- but I got distracted by all the ‘odds and sods’ currently available at the Grumble yard sale.  Grab this taxi and check it out for yourself.  And I think I may hate my firsty.  Usually a rather dark sense of humor, able to squeeze some humor out of any situation, is one of the traits we share in common, one reason why I’m sure I will someday feel better about this story.  It was definitely too soon, however, for firsty to spritely comment, “Well, you haven’t heard Piper cough once since you dosed her!” or to send me the link to this music video

Muah-ha-ha!  (Or however you envision an evil genius laugh should sound…)  I have achieved the self contradictory headline!  By definition, yellow journalism is exploiting and exaggerating news to create sensationalism and attract viewers, but it is also an idiom that is not really in current or common usage anymore.  I used the idiom because this blog is, among other things, my journal of what’s on my mind and because I’m responding to a photo challenge by WordPress to create a gallery of photos that display the theme of ‘Yellow’.  (More details on that, here.)  So my urge for whimsey and obscure allusions was satisfied, the title is a win there- but since the idiom isn’t in common usage, and folks will just scratch their heads and wonder what I’m rambling on about, I’m actually creating confusion and distracting viewers.  Oh, well, at least I amused myself, right?

SNAPSHOT #1:

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.\\ Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.\\ Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung…

To me, the obvious way to create a theme of yellow was to take a set of pictures wearing yellow outfits, preferably in yellow backgrounds.  Checking my directory (the yellow pages, obviously) didn’t reveal that anyone had set up a scenic location to visit and take pictures that they had specifically tagged under the word yellow.  On the other hand, messing with my camera’s wind lights settings allowed me to exaggerate the amount of yellow in any setting.  Thus, when I found this ‘Love’ art piece that included yellow semitransparent blocks on a beach in Coppelia, I cranked the ambient light and the water to yellow and took this picture.  For yellow in my outfit, I’m wearing a loose yellow top that came from Miss Canning, and some unknown source freebie yellow stockings.  Since I still haven’t set up an ongoing ‘I-bought-stuff-here‘ page, I will also make sure I give credit to My Pretty Pixels (Dany hair in ‘crow’), Alady Island (Shape), Angel Rock (India skin), Loka Designs (the rings and bangles on my left hand), and Grumble, Grumble (the bangles on my left hand and the super cute stiletto sneakers).

SNAPSHOT #2:

Yeah, baby!  Move over Austin Powers, and let me show you how to swing...

Yeah, baby! Move over Austin Powers, and let me show you how to swing…

For my second picture, I went looking for a school bus, but got distracted by a dirty inner city playground.  My second yellow outfit was definitely urban and a little dirty as well…  The yellow dress was a hot little number from JStyle, 99L$ for a fat pack of cute minidresses, blue, hot pink, and yellow.  Since I always enjoy wearing tall boots with a short skirt, I’m wearing some yellow/teal cyber boots from Grumble.  I even found yellow accessories: yellow ‘sparkly’ stockings (same freebie box as snapshot 1’s fishnet), yellow heart-framed sunglasses from Egoxentrikax, and the black Wendi hair (from Tameless Hair) included a color-change headband, which I, of course, set to yellow.  As far as non-yellow, I’m also wearing a silver necklace and some mismatched silver bangles from various other Jstyle outfits.

This playground actually looks a lot like the activity center playground near my apartment, except it would need more graffiti and some empty beer cans and/or discarded condoms to really make the resemblance perfect.  I may allow Piper to go to the playground once she turns twenty-two, but even that may be too soon…

SNAPSHOT #3:

All I’m going to say about looking for schools in my directory is that it seems the vast majority of the listed schools are ‘finishing’ schools, although they are more interested in starting something naughty than in finishing anything.  Lots of canes and spankings and ‘extra credit’ opportunities if you know what I mean.  For myself, I’m not opposed, although I’m starting to really think I may need to home school Piper well into middle age.  (Hers, that is!)  Truthfully at this moment in time, I’m taking the short view.  I don’t care what’s going on in the classrooms, as long as they clean up the mess afterwards and I can find the bright yellow school bus I’m looking for…  Later is a problem for later- that’s why they call it ‘LATER’.

Splattered with color… sounds like a good title for something...

Splattered with Color… sounds like a good title for something…

I didn’t find a school bus at the First Step Elementary School in the Antigua region, but I was just happy to find a school that actually appeared to built for children rather than for naughty adults.  Even more importantly, the art classroom provided a great backdrop for another ‘yellow’ picture.  Since I was in an elementary school, I got in touch with my inner child for my outfit.  Egoxentrikax provided a great outfit, the bright yellow ‘Jumper Bob and Mocassins’ for only 10L$. I also grabbed some source unknown black and yellow wings, because I just associate butterfly wings with fairies and fairies with children.  (I do believe, I do, I do!)  My sunglasses were from Grumble.  (And although I slimmed my shape and lightened my skin tone, I remained with Alady Island and Angel Rock as vendors.)

SNAPSHOT #4:

I was going to continue looking for a school bus for my fourth and final snapshot, but I got distracted by a conversation about heaven and hell and went to visit the heaven and hell gothic dance club, where I noticed the stripper pole was bright yellow.  I’ve also been re-reading Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens recently, so I decided to cite their quote: “It is said that the Devil has all the best tunes.  This is broadly true.  But Heaven has the best choreographers.”  So obviously- o.k., maybe not for most people, but in my mind this was obvious- obviously, I needed to create a yellow outfit appropriate for a pole dancing angel.  I’m not sure which fact is scarier.  That I felt the need to create an outfit appropriate for a pole dancing angel, or that it was actually a pretty easy look for me…

Angels whose clothes have gone bye, a luscious treat for sinful eye...

Angels whose clothes have gone bye, a luscious treat for sinful eye…

My minimalist yellow covering was a yellow and black bikini from Dark Salvation and some yellow lace wrap from Bitter Bunny Designs.  I’m a big fan of red boots, (I have more boots than any other foot wear, and more red boots than any other color) so I’m also modeling some sexy new Red and Gold boots from Sari’s Creations.  To get my ‘angel’ on, I’m wearing some source unknown free golden feathered wings, my ‘angelic neko’ ears and tail set from Dahllywood (now closed), and a Halo out of the ‘Cheeky Lil’ Angel’ costume (regretfully, also source unknown).  I also grabbed a celtic sword from the Linden Library, just to be the sort of angel that takes no s**t from anybody.  For hair, I went with another do from Tameless, the Hadley.

Looking again at my gallery of yellow, while I looked for some yellow in my settings, ultimately the thematic success or failure of the pictures rested on my wardrobe.  Proving that while there is no I in ‘team’, you can’t have a ‘theME’ without ME.  It’s a narcissistic view, I suppose, but that’s all right, since I’m cute enough that narcissism looks good on me.  I thought I would close with a song since I haven’t posted a song lately.  Coldplay’s ‘Yellow‘ would be the obvious song choice, except I just don’t particularly care for it.  Ditto for Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘.  Apparently I like Gold better than Yellow, because I want to post ‘The Gold Song‘ by the Bouncing Souls.

I’m feeling rather hollow today, so it seems appropriate to mangle a famous T.S. Elliot quote: “This is the way the year ends, not with a bang but a Grumble.”

In my last post, one of the resolutions I made was, despite the havoc parenthood has wreaked on my schedule, to show more love to my erstwhile sponsor, Grumble, Grumble.  So I threw a quick outfit together, dropped Piper with a sitter, and came down to the main store to see what was going on that most needed some loving spread…

What's better than a cool dress?  The same dress, accessorized!

What’s better than a cool dress? The same dress, accessorized!

I’ve been feeling a bit down recently, I have some gift cards, I recently made a credit card payment so it’s temporarily not maxed… all these things together indicate it’s time for some retail therapy, Grumble style.  Outfit #1 is the Gypsy Flow Dress that premiered for the 100 block event.  I chose to pair it with some slashed leggings, my red Colorado boots, the mustache pearl necklace, a bracelet from the twisted hunt, and some bunny ears from Easter.

Once more, out of the dressing room and into the breech!

Once more, out of the dressing room and into the breech!

I built Outfit #2 around the Retro Blouse from Thrift Shop 3.  My purple capris from a cupcake outfit I bought, and the LOL face tattoo were both from the old Grumble Kids location.  The cupcake bow and some silver tiger-striped thigh high boots completed the look.

She's a bird!  No, she's a plane!  No, she's SUPER-SHOPPER!

She’s a bird! No, she’s a plane! No, she’s SUPER-SHOPPER!

The mesh leggings just looked like the sort of thing you could build a fun outfit around, and sure enough, I built outfit #3.  I recommend the red star leggings I used or the black drops or pink splatter.  I still had a couple of half tees from when I covered the Thrift Shop event, but I had to buy the ‘Go F Your #Selfie’ half tee instead.  (Yes, not just wanted, but had to.  One of the rules of proper retail therapy is that you can’t feel better until you blow your budget.  True statement.)  The little ankle boots I chose for this outfit are a little more ‘dainty’ than my usual boots.  I also wore puppy earrings and a matching necklace and carried a little black clutch, since one thing this outfit doesn’t really have is pocket space…

Pack all your troubles in a new kit bag….

Pack all your troubles in a new kit bag….

By now, I’m feeling much more chipper, (and I’m starting to feel some Piper withdrawal- it’s amazing how addictively relaxing the experience of holding your baby can be), so it’s time to call my therapy a success, but I do have an outfit #4 to show off first.  Before I opted for the clutch in the last outfit/picture, I bought this blue vintage bag.  Then while I was in the dressing room, I decided it was too large a purse for my tight and flying outfit, and would go better with a dress.  This cute flower dress is from one of the last events I covered, Cirque de Seraphim, but as you can see, still for sale if you missed it.  Although shame on you, because it was a very cool event!  To accessorize, I grab a teal spiked headband, some red stilettos, and a snake bracelet.

I made a few other purchases, but it is time to run, so I’ll show them off some other time.  I will make just a few other comments.  I used the same shape- Kids Girl (15-18) from Sour Pickles- in all four pictures in the gallery.  I’m back to just three pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, back in fight and shopping trim.  The hair I’m using is Lilac from Tameless Hair.  It’s a scripted hair, capable of changing both the primary hair color and the color of the forelock streak, and I did so frequently to show it off to full advantage.  My ‘bad girl’ tattoo that I added for the third and fourth pictures is from -UtopiaH-.  Other than those items, everything I’m wearing in all four pictures is from Grumble, Grumble, and most, if not all, is still available for you to purchase.  (After all, I think I would be a great fashion role model for you to emulate.  Less of a life-lessons or morals role model; I know my strengths and my limitations…)

Secondly, in case you didn’t notice my literary cleverness, I didn’t just misquote T.S. Elliot.  Everybody knows the quote I misquoted at the beginning of the post, but not everyone knows that the poem that line is from is ‘The Hollow Men’, so I was also alluding to the poem when I talked about feeling hollow today.  Like many people who are both clever and insecure, I not only need to be clever, I need you to know (and hopefully appreciate) that cleverness.  Traits like that are why I stick to being a fashion role model rather than any of the other kinds.  Pbbt!