blawwgery tales from the retail trenches

Things To Remember

  1. Working 11a – 4p means LEARN HOW TO EAT BREAKFAST YOU FREAK.
  2. Never underestimate the power of a sharp razor in a box cutter.
  3. The last box you pick to unpack for the day will always be the one filled with t-shirts. Hundreds of t-shirts. Note: there will be no room for these shirts. Anywhere.
  4. Take your break. Your full break. Sit down. Those 10 minutes off your feet make all the difference at the end of the shift.
Picture of Bill Murray on the field in tears after THE CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

see, i’ve already waited too long / and all my hope is gone

Being on the job hunt twice (!!) this year created a bit of a crisis of confidence. Layoffs aren’t supposed to be about you.

It’s like a high school breakup, albeit with bigger stakes.

“Is there something I could have done?”
“How can I move on?”

So you crank The Smiths…

…and you try to stay positive…

[via GIPHY]

…and you think about your options.


Look other places?

Flee the country?

Go out on your own?



Bellevue definitely has its pros and cons. We’re downtown, so we’re within walking distance of everything. We pay – dearly – for this convenience. We’ve lived here over a year, and I can count the number of times we’ve left Bellevue for Seattle/Shoreline on one hand. I have no desire or inclination to go anywhere around here. (Okay, hanging out with SJ was a lot of fun. A++ WOULD PAY ALL THE TOLLS TO SEE HER AND HER FAM AGAIN)

Pathetic? Probably.

Do I care? Not really.

With that said, there’s several opportunities for great employment out here, provided you have the connections or the background (or both) to get past the recruiter-bots and automatic screeners. I wish I had more connections out here. It’s not like San Diego, where I had a network started. I’m still trying to thaw from the Freeze up here.

Look other places?

I miss San Diego. I miss the ocean. I feel unmoored, adrift, cold. We’re fortunate in that our leasing company also has several properties in San Diego – which means we could move with two weeks’ notice. Unfortunately, if you’re not in the area, it’s hard to get on a recruiter’s shortlist. I totally get it – everyone wants to move to America’s Finest City – but it makes me regret leaving in the first place.

I hate regretting ANYTHING. Ugh.


Flee the country?

Logistical nightmare. Enticing fantasy.

Moving on.

Go out on your own?


The most intriguing, and terrifying, option of them all.


Since 2007, I’ve done a lot of freelancing – primarily teaching for various colleges and universities, with a healthy dose of course development thrown in to keep things interesting. I work on websites (but, honestly, who doesn’t?). I support my friend in his writing and speaking engagements (with several projects in development), and have a couple of local clients I’m working with for their site redesigns (no links for now; I’ll show them off soon).

Eventually, I want to go full stack and embrace my programming dark side. I started this when I was first laid off; suspended the program when I took the startup job because there weren’t enough hours in the day. The only thing preventing me from starting again is the $$$ involved. This shit isn’t cheap, yo.

Actually, I see two main issues: time and money.

I have time. I’m working three part-time jobs (SIDEBAR: IF THIS IS THE ‘GIG ECONOMY’ LET ME TELL YOU IT’S HIGHLY OVERRATED) which gives me time to build my portfolio and skills.

This will also take money…and not just the money to start a program again (I can’t afford a code school right now; dare to dream). I don’t have a lot of money.

Let me be clear: that’s completely my fault.

I’ve spent too much, built too much debt, dug a hole I’ll be lucky to pull myself from before I shuffle off this mortal coil. That’s on me – my stupidity, my impulsiveness, my (previous) inability to budget, my determination to get a degree that added almost six figures to an already-voluminous mountain of debt. I can’t make others responsible for my stupidity – even though I’ve diligently chipped away at this stone, it never seems to get any smaller.

I’m not asking for pity or absolution – I merely present these facts to provide a bit of transparency. That’s all.

I pay my debts. My parents didn’t raise me to abandon my obligations. It just limits my options. Makes the math a lot harder. Makes me unwilling (or incapable?) of accepting money from others for this dream. I mean, I’ve already fucked up so much this far….

I need to suck it up. Make some calls. Arrange repayment options. Watch my credit rating plummet faster than the last drop on the Tower of Terror. Find a cheaper place to live (which probably means leaving Bellevue, and forgetting my goal of getting back to SD sometime in the next decade). Pick up a different part-time job to replace the one I’ll lose if I move from Bellevue. Go on the Marketplace for insurance and hope they’ll subsidize. Keep deferring my loans. Take as many classes as I can. Build a portfolio. Build a client base.

Build a company.


I guess I have my answer?

blawwgery tales from the retail trenches

Day One


See that box? Pull a piece of clothing from the box. Tap – boop! – tap. Check the price. Make new tags for sale items. Hang the piece you just checked. Face that label! Do it again. Again. Again. Again. Box empty? Here’s another one. Fill the rack. Shove the rack to the sale area; try to avoid the set pieces in the store. Hang new items between their older brothers and sisters already clustered on the shelf.

Take a break. Drink tea. Rest your feet. Three hours to go.

Pull stock from the back to fill holes. Hang the items while pulling to save a couple of minutes out front. Roll those clothes – don’t take out that pesky display! Tap – boop! – tap. Do it again.

Learn to fold shirts with a board. Realize you’ve folded your shirts almost the same way for years, only without a board. Spend an hour folding t-shirts. Make mental notes on what shirts to come back and purchase once there’s a little bit of fun money back in the equation.

Walk out after shift end, feet aching. Smiling. You did something new today, and you did a good job.

Now do it again.


blawwgery music tales from the retail trenches

Beginnings from Endings

September 13, 2016.

I’m prepping for a demo – the Big Day for my startup. I’m preparing to show the leadership team the site and materials the Engineering team’s built in preparation for launching our beta. It’s 5:30 am.

My phone buzzes with a missed text. It’s my dad.

Just wanted to let you know that your grandmother went to the hospital

and I knew

I’d never see my grandma alive again.


September 25, 2016.

First Monday back on the job post-funeral. I’ve received a couple of messages from my boss via Slack while I’ve been in Joliet, so I know there’s an announcement today. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve got a bad feeling.

My Solo Sense is spot-on. Again.

Our runway is short. We’re restructuring. I’m sorry.

Severance. Agreements. Signatures. Hugs.



October 31, 2016.

Today, I start a job doing something I’ve never done before: part-time stockroom associate for a large clothing retailer. I’ve never worked retail before. I’m still hunting for full-time work, but I’m starting to wonder if I can find a way to take the plunge and go out on my own. For now, I intend to revive the blog and use it as a place to document this adventure.

We may end up homeless; we may end up in a completely different corner of the States (or of the world – who knows?). I may get a dream job tomorrow. Who knows?

I refuse to knuckle under and let my fear prevent me from thriving. I will learn from this. I will grow from this.

I will. I will. I will.


Attrition Game F1

Attrition Game: Indian Grand Prix

Not much to say this week. Let’s get right to it, then….

PLAYERS: (number out/first out if provided)

RESULT: Four out (Button’s still showing in pit, not as STOP or RETIRED) means @dmidwestredneck, @Dger, @racingpoke, and @photomandab win! Congratulations!

Attrition Game F1

Attrition Game: Japan Grand Prix

Fact: most of the time, when I start to write this post, it’s after the start of the race. On evenings like tonight, it’s difficult to focus on writing. I used to spend a good chunk of pre-race working on the Attrition Game, but I’ve found I prefer to spend time running my mouth on Twitter and watching coverage instead.

Both Korea and Japan have really cemented the differences between watching races in the Midwest and watching on the West Coast. In Fulton, Korea and Japan come on around 1 am – meaning there’s more than enough time to get a nap before the race. Living in California, this race starts at 11 pm – still just early enough to make it difficult to sneak in a nap before the race. I’m tired, but as I’m writing this I’m watching Mercedes wheel in one of their cars – with nine laps of 53 elapsed.

How can I be tired? This is shaping up to be a crazy race!

On to the Attrition Game.

PLAYERS: (number out/first out if provided)

RESULT: Sleepy Hansman means short wrap-up. Three retirements means …

… congratulations, @dmidwestredneck, @wcraghead, @photomandab, and @katstaker!

Attrition Game F1

Attrition Game: Korean Grand Prix

The Korean Grand Prix is on at a reasonable time for the West Coast (but I’ll admit it – I still took a nap before the race). The rarely-used track provides little traction for the skittish cars, and the lateness in the season means drivers push hard to claw as many points away from Vettel as humanly possible.

PLAYERS: (number out/first out if provided)

RESULT: Five out (with Di Resta out first, to boot) means we had several winners….congratulations, @TrillF1, @DougBryan1, @graemefowler, @brclark7, and @_MrHS_ on your correct guess! Bonus points to @TrillF1 for also getting Di Resta right – you’re on a roll tonight!

Attrition Game F1

Attrition Game: Italian Grand Prix

This weekend’s Attrition Game brought to you by my memories of writing last year’s Idler article. Strange how the brain works.

(I still have the draft of the McLaren counterpoint in my drafts folder.)

I miss writing.

Someday. Soon.

In the meantime, we have an Attrition Game to play.

PLAYERS: (number out/first out if provided)

RESULT: Three out (with a last lap retirement thrown in for fun) means @Dger and @VMRVictoria win today! Congratulations!

Attrition Game F1

Attrition Game: SPA! SPA! SPA!

If I had to pick just one (non-US) track to catch a race, I’d have to pick Spa. I don’t care if that means I’d have to pack my rain boots and a poncho. I’d do it. In a heartbeat.

PLAYERS: (number out/first out if provided)

RESULT: Three out means @photomandab wins! Congratulations!

Attrition Game F1

Attrition Game: Hungarian Grand Prix

Last race before the August break – let’s hope it’s a good one.

PLAYERS: (number out/first out if provided)

RESULT: Sutil broke first, followed by Guiterrez and Bottas…and for a very long time it looked like we’d finish with three retirements. @JohnNeese then dared to mention his potential win….AND ROSBERG’S ENGINE EXPLODED. Di Resta pulled in at the very end, bringing the final count to five.

Great race; great result for Kimi.

Congratulations to @RacingPoke, @WeeklyWargamer, and @Dger!