Just a stone’s throw.

I have not had a chance to write here in the past few days due to a medical complication. I managed to survive but it was not an easy ride. On this past Monday I was at work when I felt a slight pain at my side and the need to rush to the restroom. I sprinted (gently) to the room only to have the pain increase. I did my business and left feeling only slightly better. As I walked out of the room I was hit with some of the worse ( at this time) pain I had ever felt in my life.

I have had a kidney stone in the past. It was not a pleasant experience and I did not expect to repeat the performance. My colleges at work were extremely helpful and watched over me for about an hour until I could pull myself up off the floor. I was curled in the fetal position as I whimpered in pain. A completely helpless feeling.

I hate that.

I was driven home and crawled into bed on a heating pad. I was feeling better and could move around. I took it easy the rest of the day. And then the night came.

And also the pain.

I spent most of the night on the floor pleading with God asking for help. My cries of pain and agony woke my dearest wife. She sat helpless to help me as there was nothing she could do as this stone of great pain ripped through my body. When you have a kidney stone, you just try to find a position that relieves the pain some. Anything will help.

Hour upon hour passed until the dawn broke. Still the pain lasted. I sat on a heating pad for most of the day and drank as much water as I could. Pain came and went throughout the day but the evening came brought some relief. I had not seen the stone but I had hoped it passed. I ate some dinner (first real food I had eating besides a few small snacks). I felt well enough to hop on a video game and play with some friends. I had not been playing with them too long when once again I was struck with pain that overwhelmed the body.

Sweat and tears ran down my body. The agony had doubled and now there is no relief in sight. The hardest part is the fact there is no end. It is just constant pain. If it came in waves or if you could get a break (like I did during the daytime) I could have handled it much better. I have a pretty high pain tolerance but this broke me. I could not find relief. As a fever took hold of me, I stepped into the shower to cool my body and to help hydrate myself. Cool water washed over me, cooling me. it brought the pain down some. Some was the best I got.

Hour upon hour of straight agony is too much for anyone. I would not wish this upon my worse enemy. My body could not keep up with the pain. I threw everything I had eaten up in. Nausea washed over me. My stomach twisted with the rest of my body. No medication would stay down. Water that was drank would come up an hour later. I pushed and pushed trying, willing, pleading for the stone to move. Only one thing met me after each try.

More pain. More twisting.

Morning broke as I managed to grab about 20 min of restless sleep. After 12 straight hours of pain you would have hoped I would have passed out. I came to the realization that I would not be able to pass this without help. My wife and I went and dropped my daughters off with a friend. We then rushed to the ER. Agony was still my bedfellow as I was admitted. They gave me some heavy duty narcotics which, unfortunately, did not seem as heavy duty as they made them out to be.

And then the tests and scans came.

More meds and waiting followed.

After about 6 hours of being there, the doctor told me that I had mostly passed the stone and I was in the last stages of the process. She prescribed more meds for pain and to help push things along.

About an hour later I was the parent to a brand new kidney stone. I will never be able to truly put into words how painful and helpless it was. I did manage one picture (with a pony of course) that I will share. I hope you all have had a better time than I have this week. I will now go rest a body that is sore with muscles that should not be sore.

Hug a pony my friends. I now await my hospital bills…..

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The last day.

My computer has been out of commission the last week or so. I have finally gotten back up and running and lo and behold, I am back to share my stores with you, dear reader!

It was my last day in retail. That in and of itself was a shock and change. I was busy most of the day handing off keys and getting the new manager set up with what he needed. I ended up saying goodbye to my staff and customers.

This was all made tougher as they decided to move my Assistant Manager to another store as well.

My staff was exceptionally kind to me. I was given several gifts (all ponies!!) and I was touched beyond words. Seeing the kindness that was given to me by someone, anyone else is always a shock for me. I honestly had trouble accepting it. I couldn’t say anything to them of course as I would never want to offend or upset anyone. Its just the thought of someone giving me something that I didn’t earn ( or felt I earned).

I was just being myself.

The day grew rougher as it seemed every person I had gotten to know as a regular at my store came. I call to mind two instances that broke me.

The first was a husband and wife who were not on the young side (or as they put it, “We are as old as dirt and then some!”). They were some of the few that did not make it in but I felt I needed to call them. The wife had been going through chemo for months and is still one of the most spunky, strong, and enduring person I have had the privilege knowing. Her husband was the Ying to her Yang. They would walk in the door and I would say the same thing each time.

“Here comes trouble.”

And there never was. They brightened every day I saw them and I will always remember them.

And then came the final customer of the day, and my career there.

To provide background on this transaction I will explain. I had a mom and daughter who would come in to shop with me. They had been shopping with me since the time I had moved to be a store manager. The daughter had a few mental disabilities but it didn’t stop her from being nice to everyone. The mom worked hard to make sure they had everything. I knew what games they played and what they would want before they stepped out of the car.

When I had first met them, the daughter was upset because she had seen quite a few people come through the store already. I took the time to explain who I was and let her know that I would be taking care of her and her mom. She got to know me and my family and never forgot to ask how my girls were doing.

Now some people saw her as a burden or a bother in the store (none of whom lasted long at my store). I made sure to take a bit of extra time with them so they were completely happy when they left my store.

Now back to the last day.

I was about to call this pair of favorites as I could not leave without saying goodbye. I was in my back room explaining to the new manger who they were and the special requirements they might need. I happened to look out of the corner of my eye to my security camera and saw them enter. I took a deep breath and asked the manager to follow me as I wanted to hand them off to him as it would help the transition.

The daughter saw me and lit up (as always) cheerfully calling out my name. I greeted her warmly and answered her questions about how I was doing and how my girls were doing. I said they were well but they were busy. She asked why and I told her that it was because it was my last day and I was having to move for family reasons.

She broke down crying in the middle of my store.

The other manager had to step away in an effort not to cry as well. She asked me why, and I explained it to her as best I could. She gave me a big hug, still crying. I told her she would be OK and that I was leaving a few people she knew. She told me that it wasn’t the same. I said that I knew but that she was going to be OK. She took me to her mom, still tears in her eyes and told her. Her mom was in shock. Slowly the daughter explained it to her and the mom understood. I took that moment to introduce them to the new store manager. He did a great job introducing himself and making a personal effort to let them know he was there for him. The daughter, then was drying her tears, comment on some of the pins on his lanyard. This was a sign for me that she was now thatching herself to him.

My heart almost broke in all this. I even for a moment questioned myself leaving, still knowing I had too. I rang them out for my last transaction. I then went to back room to collect myself.

This for me was why I did customer service. This is part of who I am. I have tried to show kindness and love to everyone.

And it hurts sometimes. If done right.

And that is OK.

I soon handed over my keys, clocked out, and said the last goodbyes to who was left. I will never forget my time in retail. I honestly believe that everyone should work a holiday in it to understand just how to treat other people. Life lessons that carry over to everything else.

Here’s to my staff and customers. I will never forget you.

Hug a pony my friends.

I want to thank Shop girl at http://shopgirlanonymous.com/ for all that you have done. It has been amazing working in retail at the same time as you. Sharing stories was always a favorite for me. If you hadn’t yet check out an amazing blog that I plan on still reading.

The weekender

Just a quick update for the weekend.

I want to thank everyone who has been sending me pony links. I have been going through each one and I drool over them every time. I have actually been working with a 3d modeling program to try and 3d print my own pony. The results are better than what I had first anticipated but I have a ways to go.

I have been sick over the past few days (even taking a day off of work *gasp) and have been trying to recover. My body seems adamant to kill me so I have to put up the usual fight.

I do hope to have some big news soon but until it gets confirmed you will just have to wait along side me.

Until next time, hug a pony my friends.

Pig time.

I have always had bad days. I go about my day and can fake being nice with the best of them. In my mind however, I have 9 different conversations, and am holding so many balls that I am juggling I impress myself with holding it together. The problem is what thoughts I have.

They mostly negative.

And mostly about me.

I have always been my own worst enemy. I have a tendency to look at the more realistic side of a situation but these leads to the more negative outlooks on situations. This leads me to think the worse. It gets worse when I am stressed.

And let me tell you, I have been stressed.

I am on my seventh day working with 2 more to go. I have been putting together a job fair for work for the past month. I have had to put together a meeting for my whole staff. I have had to attend 2 full day meetings. My vehicles are barley holding it seems. My daughter’s have been sick. I have been sick. I have had some unexpected expenses which has overdrawn my bank account twice in the last week (both fortunately I have taken care of).

And I have been dreaming.

You have to realise that I don’t dream. When I was younger, I would have terrible night terrors that would haunt me. My imagination is a thing of legend, let me tell you, and not being able to control it was a needless to say difficult. I got into the habit and trained and prayed to the point that I would not dream.

Now most people tell me I must not remember these dreams but I still had them. I know that might be the case for some but I can tell you, I rarely ever dream. When I do it sticks out in my brain like a splinter. It eats at me. It rubs me raw.

And last night I dreamt.

It one of my warning signs I am hitting a stress limit.

After work today my mind was toast. My wife took me and told me all the good things in my life. I wouldn’t listen.

She had reason to worry.

The other day, I lost myself. I hit a limit that made my mind shut down. I hardly moved for almost 4 hours.

I didn’t speak the entire time.

People passed around me and tried to talk to me but my body could not respond. I felt trapped in my mind. My thoughts clawing to get out. I couldn’t  do it. My dear wife ended up forcing me to sit down to gather myself. Friends were called and I was put on watch.

I feel so guilty.

I feel the burden of being burden to others.

I should be able to take care of myself, I am a grown man.

But I couldn’t.

Instead, I wallowed in my depression.

Like a pig in mud.

Ponies my friends. I hug them. May they help me sleep.

Sabbatical

I want thank everyone for the kind words and their thoughts and prayers. This past week has been extremely hard on my family. The outpouring of comfort and help is amazing and I was moved to tears.

I would like to also thank my dear readers here as well. You have kept reading and commenting in my absence and I have not been ignoring you. The path I have been on has been very dark for me. I plan on sharing when I, hopefully, get through it all.

Akon was a blast and the panel was extremely enjoyable. I know you had as much fun as I did. I plan on more posts on that later.

As I continue to battle nightmares, Depression, and more, I will keep on constant in mind.

Hug a pony my friends.

image

The “Big” one.

So. I have teased this long enough. I said I had an announcement a bit ago and I have been dragging it out. I have lead many of you, dear readers, along this merry journey. I have gone back and forth about telling you anything. I am doing it right.

And I am still doing so, for my own amusement.

OK, enough is enough. I have have decided to go back to school.

OK, settle down with knives and pitchforks, I know it wasn’t the earth-shattering news you wanted but this is a big step for me. This is especially hard for me as I will be still working a full-time job (more so being salary in retail [YAY mandatory 44+ hour weeks!]).  I will still be a father of two very active little girls. I will still have to help a wife who is starting to take off in her side job, after being a stay-at-home mom, by selling awesome nail wraps (which are really awesome, so awesome I will plug them here http://www.gale.jamberrynails.net/ [LOVE YOU SWEETIE]).

This was a choice that I had made a few weeks ago. I have had enough of retail at the store level and I want to get out. This makes me sad as I really enjoy helping people. I read a beautiful blog post a friend on WordPress pointed out (Hi, http://shopgirlanonymous.com/) . You can find it here https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/82926123/86/ .  It talks about those exceptional customers that make your day. People who bring a smile to your face. Making customers for life because YOU helped them find that perfect item that just made their son/daughter/parent/friends day.

I know I have had more than a few.

Encouraging the little boy of his enjoyment in little pastel colored ponies.

My wonderful husband and wife couple who comes in every week. They came to see me for the first few months at my store. I was a new face at the store and they encouraged me when I saw them. We got to know each other, she had battled cancer, he was retired helping her. They are good people. We laughed and joked at new things, old things, and everything in between. I almost lost it when He came in one week and I asked where his wife was. He calmly explained how she was back at the hospital, the cancer had come back. A few weeks later they both came walking back into my store, she had lost about 30 lbs, he was helping her. I was close to tears when she saw and stopped me. She told me to dry my eyes and that she wasn’t dead yet and If was going to cry on her, I would be useless to her. She made a few VERY off colored jokes about death and had such an amazing attitude about it, anyone would feel better.

There are moments like these that make customer service beyond worthwhile. I treasure each and every one of these. But, I feel a change is needed. For every one of these there are ten more of some rabid customer who is practically foaming at the mouth to sue you over not having the right color item that no one has ever made.

It makes me sad.

And So, I will continue to pursue this education. I think it will help me further my career path and want to expand my horizons. I ask for your help and encouragement in this endeavor. I will be walking that path with a plush pony in my pocket. Thank you all.

Hug a pony my friends. Spread some cheer.