Tag: holidays

Almost tired of the holiday

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I suppose there’s a term for holiday burnout.  Perhaps that’s the term right there.  When you get to the point that you really, really want it to be all over with.  A little peace and quiet, and no one wishing you Merry Christmas, or expecting you to be happy all the blessed time because of the holiday.

Certainly (I think at least) it’s worse for those of us in retail.  When you have to be ‘on’ all the time, smiling and helpful to people who may be having a bad day and they (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) take it out on you, because they can’t get something that they’ve been wanting, planning for etc.  So, sometimes you have to bear the brunt of their ire, shrug it off and plaster a smile on your puss for the next person.  After a couple of months of that (think Thanksgiving and Christmas) one can get a little frazzled.

Then of course there’s the music.  Stores play over their sound systems music that people over the years have termed ‘Elevator Music’, it’s Muzak, but more increasingly it’s not just instrumentals, but what might be called ‘contemporary music’, ie it’s somewhat current, but it’s subdued, to keep the din of the shopping experience somewhat muted.  So you don’t have a silent store, but there’s something to mask the sounds of what goes on in a typical store, from chattering of the patrons, to other sounds that are normally heard in any brick and mortar retail establishment.  Of course, when you work in such a place, since the music is fairly predictable, eventually you know what song is coming next because you’ve heard it tens of thousands of times.  The music companies aren’t really all that unpredictable with their playlists, only every now and again do they change things up, and with some of them, they have contracts with companies that individual stores can ‘choose’ what playlists they can have piped into the stores, but the contracts generally are for several years in length.  So what you get is what you get all the time.  Try listening to the same playlist for a couple of years straight, 8 hours at a clip.  Try it, I dare you.

The day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas music begins in earnest.  At least in my store.  One solid month of Christmas music.  Old ballads, newer versions, but of course after you’ve heard ‘Santa Baby’ by fourteen different artists in different arrangements, you start to go a little nutty.  Frosty the Snowman, or Jingle Bells are nice songs, but when you hear them played 3 or 4 times in the same hour, you start to wonder if you’re going to make it through the season.  I have to admit, after 30 plus years in retail, I wonder sometimes if I’m going to manage the rest of my time in the same type of job when the wonder and merriment of the season is being sucked out of me.

Sadly, it’s become more and more apparent that I’ll be glad when Christmas is over.  January can’t come soon enough!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings.  Thanks for reading.

Baking up a storm (or not)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I may have mentioned this before, but I worked in a semi-commercial bakery for 12 years.  Though a lot of the work was from frozen ‘puck’ dough that was pre-formed, on occasion I was called upon to decorate cakes, and make things like angel food cake from scratch (50 lbs at a time).

Consequently, when it comes to making things for myself, I at least know how to go about it.  Too, I have the necessary tools, since my mother-in-law ran a dining room out of her home through the 1960s.  (When an Interstate was created and opened nearby, their business for the most part dried up [they owned/operated a motel] and closed said dining room)  I inherited a large part of her equipment, including a vintage Kitchen-Aid mixer.   Not one of the more modern varieties that has the hinged head, this is a beast, and it still has the Hobart label attached to it.  I don’t think I could kill it if I tried.  I expect it will outlive me, and the next 2-3 generations that make use of it.

I drag it out when I have large-scale baking to do.  Like for my slave.  She loves macadamia nut cookies (with white chocolate chips), and I found a great recipe for them.  Now, granted macadamia nuts are hideously expensive ($18/lb fyi) but being able to do a little baking for her, and hearing how much she appreciates the gesture as well as my expertise is thanks enough.  Giddy sounds over the phone (or in person, since the last time I baked them for her, I brought them with me when I hooked up with her in PA back in June) or just getting a message that says ‘I opened the last box!’ tells me all that I need to know.

Holiday baking can be a bear sometimes.  But on occasion, it can be all worth it.  Just have to know your audience, I suppose.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Reading Time: < 1 minute

May the Fourth be with you, always.
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To confuse things a bit, the wife and I are going to see the new Avengers movie, Infinity War.  I’ve heard from a co-worker it’s pretty good.  We’re going to be seeing it in 3D, which should be a trip.  Since the wife is hearing impaired, she needs to see the movie in closed captioning, so we have to get to the theater early in order to get all our ducks in a row before it starts.

Will let you know how it goes! (If you care)