I called out sick from work at Ho(t)me(n) Depot today. First time ever I've done that. What has laid me low?
Last night, I worked at another area Ho(t)me(n) Depot helping them out with their inventory. The shift was scheduled to run from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Anyone who has ever worked retail can tell you that inventory is always a huge fustercluck, and last night was no exception. I had huge difficulty the entire time finding Someone In Charge who could tell me what to do. Too, I wasn't given an orange apron to wear, so the entire time I had people who worked for this other area store coming up to me and asking if they could help me find anything.
I started off the shift working in Gardens, and there my troubles began. My assignment was to clear the aisles of grass seed that had to go up into the overhead above the racks of merchandise. I plunged into it with gusto. Pretty quickly, hauling fifty pound boxes of grass seed up a ladder and working them into the already crowded bays had me feeling twinges in my back.
That should have been sufficient warning. I'm Forty-Three for God's sake! I can't do stuff like that anymore! That's what teenagers are for.
Heedless, I pressed on.
After everything was nice and tidy in Gardens I found my way over to the Moulding aisle and joined in a sort of spree of counting lengths of moulding. I would grab the ten, twelve, fourteen, and sixteen foot lengths of casement or toe kick or crown mouliding or whatever out of the racks, sort it, tape them together into bundles of five to make them easy to count, and put them back in the racks.
Other than continuing complaints from my back, things were going fine until I got The Mother Of All Splinters. After that, I was bleeding for a time. I made a mental note that if I'm ever contacted by the police and asked to explain how traces of blood containing my DNA were found at the scene of a murder à la CSI, I'd be sure to ask exactly where the blood was found, and if it was on any decorative moulding around doors and windows, I've got an explanation.
Satisfied with my work in the moulding aisle, I stepped out for dinner. Upon my return, I found my way to my home turf, Kitchen & Baths. There, I was charged with organizing the faucet aisle, which was a total mess. Nothing was where it was supposed to be, stuff was on the shelves without price tags, a disaster. I spent an hour making it all Perfect, much of that involved crawling around on my hands and knees digging ancient and forgotten faucets out of the shelves.
Then came the bad time, when the No One In Charge phenomenon really kicked in. I was basically just wandering around, pitching in where I could. At ten o'clock, after I counted all the spray bottles of weed killer in a display to confirm the count done by the outside firm that does our inventory, I realized that someone else from Ho(t)me(n) Depot had already counted these spray bottles of weed killer to confirm the count.
I looked around, and it seemed that except for me, the store was deserted.
And so I left.
Now, even before I started, I had a headache. I took a couple of Tylenol, but they didn't seem to have much of an effect. I figured a good night's sleep would set me right.
I woke up from a deep sleep at Two in the morning with my head pounding. It was excruciating. Blinding. I couldn't make it stop. I was sure that it could only be a brain tumor or something. I climbed out of bed and went reeling to find some more Tylenol or something... anything to quell my pounding head.
After about an hour, it must have abated because I was able to get back to sleep.
And then the alarm went off, getting me up to go to work.
My back is killing me, the site of the splinter on my right hand is swollen and tender, and my headache is still there, although it feels like it's wrapped up in gauze, just waiting for the Tylenol to wear off so it can again wreck me.
While walking Faithful Companion, I considered the situation, mumbling "On the one hand... But on the other hand..." as we strolled up Tollgate Road on this beautiful Spring morning.
No no no. No work for me today. I need to stay home and take care of myself. If I'm feeling better a bit later, I'll go in then.
So I called my Ho(t)me(n) Depot and asked for the manager on duty. When I gave him the news, he replied with an "uh oh" and commented that I was the second person in the department to do that today.
Now that sounds impossible to me. There is no one else in the department who was scheduled to work.
But it worked perfectly. Now, I'm racked with guilt, haunted by the thought that I've Left People Down.
So we'll see. I'll take a nice long hot shower, get a good breakfast, get some stuff accomplished here around the house, and then see about heading in to work.
Damn my Work Ethic anyway!
Way Hot Man is coming up for dinner and to plunder my ass tonight, there's tons of stuff to do here at home, and it looks like sitting on the porch of Starbucks in Doylestown enjoying a cigar and a latte in the Spring sunshine this afternoon would be a sublime experience.
But nooOOOoooOOOOooo. I'm burbling over with misplaced--what? sympathy? consideration?--for a national chain of home improvement retail stores.
Chances are that I'll be there running around on those hard concrete floors, grasping my head with both hands like somebody in a SciFi movie trying to fight the effects of a Mind Control Device being used on him when my headache comes back, and putting more stress on my back.
At least I have a day off tomorrow.