I’m going to start this by apologizing to my parents, grandparents, and various aunts and uncles who may have had to deal with me refusing to nap when I was a child.  Can I just have all those naps now?

This past week was probably one of the most stressful weeks of my entire life, and I don’t say that lightly because the way my brain is wired means all stress, all the time, and it’s been that way since I was in middle or high school.  Even though I’m medicated for it now, it’s still not perfect by any means.

Today is my first day off since last Monday, which was technically the last day of our brief honeymoon.  The first half of last week was just fine–doin’ my job, gettin’ all that new merchandise out there, pricing and signing, and in general getting a lot of work done.  Then tax-free weekend hit.

Growing up in Michigan, there was no such thing as tax-free weekend for school shopping–then again, sales tax is a lot less complicated up there (flat 6% tax statewide because there’s no local sales tax, no tax on grocery items that you have to prepare for yourself, 10 cent bottle deposit meaning people take bottles back to the store for money instead of leaving them on the roadside, etc.).  The sales tax in the area where I work is 7%, as it is in most of the state–a 4% state sales tax and a 3% local sales tax.  So, naturally, when you could be saving 7% right off the top of your kids’ school clothing purchases, plus stores are offering special coupons and sales, people are going to come out and spend a lot of money on tax-free weekend.

On Friday, the first day of tax-free, I was doing my regular job.  On Saturday, my boss had me on fitting room checks and store recovery duty.  It was…interesting.  I had someone yell at me about how our fitting rooms were so far away (when she was standing literally 20 feet from one).  A woman got mad at me for asking her elementary school-aged son to please stop touching our lingerie mannequin–I was very kind about it, even though the kid was touching the mannequin inappropriately.  Maybe if the lady had seen the fact that her son had his hand down the front of the mannequin’s panties, she would have said something about it to him.  If that was my kid, I would have been really embarrassed.  At one point that afternoon, I was just going to the sales floor to collect 20-30 pounds of discarded clothing from the fitting rooms and running it to the back to sort and re-fold.  I couldn’t even get it back out on the sales floor because the store was so jam-packed.

Oh, but Sunday.  Sunday was worse.  I showed up for work at 7 am when the store doesn’t open until noon, and was supposed to be doing pricing and signing work.  But first, we had to clean the store.  A team of us spent the first two hours of our work day trying to put things back where they belonged, and we barely made a dent in the mess.  So the boss said “well, let’s move on and try to get the signs up for today’s sales”.  I was working with a malfunctioning scanner, meaning it wouldn’t scan and I had to manually input all the little numbers from underneath the barcodes.  It took me three hours to sign half of my section, then I went to lunch.  When I came back, all of my signs had been flipped (turned inside out so the prices weren’t visible).  I hunted down my boss to ask why and he said that “the prices are wrong” when customers were bringing items up to the checkouts.  I spent the remainder of my shift using the faulty scanner to find out that I had, in fact, properly priced a lot of the tables and racks–almost every pricing problem was due to customers picking up one or two items that had been put in the wrong place…in at least one case, one of these “incorrectly priced” items had been placed on a table with a different price point after I had totally torn that table apart and verified that everything on it was supposed to be there (I had sized and refolded literally 100 shirts, and someone had moved a shirt from a different table to that table).

Monday was a similarly discouraging day: still trying to clean the store, still finding tags torn off things and merchandise missing (the store was busy enough that people apparently had a really easy time shoplifting over tax-free weekend).  Yesterday wasn’t terrible at work, but I was half an hour late due to a totally unfixable flat tire, meaning we’ve replaced all four tires on the truck in the last two months, among other things (it’s also gotten a new battery, new brakes, and I can’t even remember what else).  It makes me nervous that our only vehicle has suddenly decided it wants to cost us a lot of money–it’s ten years old, but it’s totally paid off, we take good care of it, and it’s really low-mileage, so here’s hoping it’ll keep going.

I don’t want to jinx it, but after tomorrow and Friday, I have the whole weekend off.  I already told my boss that if “Work” comes up on the caller ID, I’m letting it go straight to voicemail.  I like money, but I need a break!  I’ve been taking Benadryl like it’s candy because I’ve been breaking out in hives almost daily, tossing and turning in bed at night because I’m too exhausted and stressed to sleep, and then having to force myself to get up and go to work in the mornings.

This morning Dallas went out to run some errands and I sat on the couch, in my pajamas, with a cup of coffee.  It was 9 am and it’s been weeks since I’ve had a day off with nothing to do first thing in the morning.  I have to go to the doctor this afternoon (yay), but at least I got to sleep in a little.



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