I'm really hard on things.
Shoes. I'm hard on shoes.
It would probably help if I owned more than three pairs of footwear. One pair of sandals for summer, one pair of slippers for winter in the house, one pair of steel-toed boots for...everywhere else. There'll be another pair coming in April, steel-toed shoes this time. Walmart sells its employees a pair a year at cost. Last April, trying to be thrifty, I got the cheapest pair of steel-toed shoes we carry. By October they were falling apart. We spent money we really didn't have getting these boots (also at Walmart, full price this time)...and they have to last another three months. They should. I hope.
The thing is, I have extremely expensive orthotics in my shoes. My arches are so high it caused bemused comment at the podiatrist: without those orthotics, walking becomes rather painful rather quickly. With them, all footwear feels the same: comfortable. But swapping them out is a royal pain in the butt, and so I have black steel-toed boots for winter and black steel-toed work shoes that triple as dress shoes (for the once in a purple moon occasion I need dress shoes) and casual shoes in the summer. Steel toes: absolute Walmart requirement, for some reason I can't fathom. I'm not and will never be power-trained (you think I'm hard on shoes? Watch how much I destroy if you hand me the keys to a powerjack or a stacker!) Sobeys and FreshCo didn't require steel toes. Walmart does. At least there's that pair at cost every year.
But before the steel toes, I'd been wearing Doc Martens, on the grounds they'd last me eight months instead of three or four. I'm hard on shoes.
Pens. I'm really hard on pens. Or maybe they're hard on me. I have had dozens, SCORES, of pens explode in my pockets, or in my hands. Probably averages out to one every two weeks that does that. It's annoying as all hell.
If they're not exploding, they're running dry on me. That's a constant: I can rarely keep a pen writing longer than two or three shifts. The only time I've kept a pen going for a remarkable period of time, it was a hero pen. I mean that quite literally: this pen was heroic. Here is its story, from the first year of the Breadbin.
And headphones. I am extremely hard on headphones. To wit: the pair we bought four days ago is already pooched.
I like headphones, not those in-ear scrapey metallic 'bud' things so common today. I hate the feeling of those things in my ear, and they hate being in my ear, because they're always falling out. Give me a good pair of wireless headphones--wireless because the wire is the thing that I'm really frigging hard on--and I'm golden.
I HAVE a good pair of wireless headphones. Not a luxury pair, but far from a bottom-of-the-barrel pair. Eva bought them for me back when money was, for my night shifts at Sobeys. Pop 'em on, fire up the tunes, and I'm a machine for the rest of the night: a machine that occasionally whistles and often breaks out into song (sometimes in French) and (sssh!) every once in a while, when nobody's looking, some high-steppin' dance moves. (You DON'T want to see that. Trust me. I look like a rusted-out C-3PO when I dance.)
Walmart's a little more strict on the headphones. At Sobeys it was just me and my skids of product, alone in my solitary aisle. There was absolutely zero danger of anyone intruding on me and my music, either in person or by page. Here, there are people ferrying pallets hither and yon, and a zamboni cruising around washing floors, not to mention pages every other minute (seriously, managers, we'd get more work done if we weren't always having to stop working and run to a phone to check in!) But, you know? They leave Joe and I alone. It took about six months, but I finally got them to stop pestering me. I did this by...just doing my work. By knowing that at five in the morning, it was time to "zone" (face) my aisles. By not having to be reminded to face a certain part of those aisles, because I face it all. I do it every night, you don't have to tell me...and now they don't.
So they're a bit lenient on the headphones with us, too. As long as it's quiet, it's okay.
Well, quiet isn't ideal. I want to crank up my tunes until my ears bleed. Classical, country, heavy metal: it doesn't matter what it is. What matters is that I have about fourteen full shifts worth of music before I have to hear the same song twice. Contrast that with the music provided: if I hear Adele crooning "Hello" again...I mean, it must have been a thousand times...arrrrggh....
But quiet is better than Adele, which I did like the first thousand times I heard it, and oh my god infinitely better than this, which I hated before I'd heard a full line of it. And it's on every night, too.
And then there's the walk home. It's too cold and icy to cycle right now. Call me a wuss, but my limit is about -15, windchill included, and the roads have to be bare and dry, which they aren't. So unless I can bum a ride, I'm on shank's mare. Music helps. Music helps everything.
Headphones. I have this nice pair of wireless headphones. They've been unusable for more than a year now...since just before our cruise, if I remember right. Reason: The charging cord has done gone and vanished.
At first I just tucked the headphones away and waited for the charging cord to reappear. Things lost usually do, in this house, sooner or later. I looked everywhere, of course (well, apparently not) and nada. There was a vacancy of charging cords. A void. As far as charging cords were concerned, there was nought. Zilch. Zero. Sweet Fanny Adams.
The one place I checked most obsessively was my computer desk drawer, because that was where it ought to have been. I must have checked a thousand times (oh, hello again, Adele).
So I've been subsisting on crap headphones: three pairs in the past fifteen months, one of which Eva superglued back together to extend its life. When it died, we got the super cheapies from work, nine bucks with my discount...and they lasted four days.
Amazon.com has a 15' charging cable for my model of headphones for ten bucks. Amazon.ca...doesn't. That ten bucks U.S. is likely to turn into thirty Canuckbucks once the exchange and tariffs are factored in. Sigh. Looks like I'm going to have to make buds with earbuds.
Eva searched the internet in vain for another place she could buy a charging cable for a Sony MDR-10RBT. Then she sauntered over to my desk--I was playing a pinball game on Steam--opened its drawer and plucked out the missing charging cord. I don't think she even looked in there, she just reached.
Well, fuck me pink, as an erstwhile colleague of mine used to say.
That cable wasn't in there until she reached for it.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I'm hard on stories, too.