It all began last Saturday. Walking home from work, I found an unopened roll of Sweet Tarts on the ground. Believe it or not, that was among the more expected and “normal” things to happen…

On Sunday of last week I got a text from my friend Cassidy asking if I wanted to hang out. We’ve been talking online for several years, but we had never met until that night. We didn’t do much of anything – I simply accompanied her while she shopped for various things, including a strapless bra. Then we hung out and talked for a little while and that was that. She’s been pretty clear that she doesn’t want a relationship, as she just got out of one. I’ve made it pretty clear that I just don’t do well in friends-with-benefits type relationships, and that if we were to have sex I would probably end up falling for her. So chances are nothing will ever come of this except friendship, but I’m perfectly fine with that. She’s a really fun girl, and keeps me laughing. I figure I need more friends like that.

On Monday I went to the doctor and got the results back from my lab work the previous week. I fully expected to take several large steps backward, as I’ve spent most of the winter months being extremely inactive. Not to mention the fact that I was dating Katie, and we tended to eat dinner out a lot. So I figured that inactivity plus greasy fatty food meant my levels would be much worse than last time. To my surprise, I improved on almost everything. My overall cholesterol went up a little, but so did my “good” cholesterol. My weight, triglycerides, sodium, and blood sugar went down; my protein went up. Every category was in the “normal” range except for creatinine. I Googled what a low level of creatinine might mean, and it turns out that it basically means that my kidneys are filtering better than they need to be. I guess all of that cranberry juice has paid off!

On Tuesday I got the biggest blow I’ve had in a while. About halfway through the workday, the owner’s boyfriend came in and called me into the back room. He presented me with a typed up memorandum full of her complaints about my performance. The vast majority of them were complete bullshit (I supposedly do nothing, which she obviously sees during the 1.5 hours a week she’s actually in the store with me,) some of them were true, but logically shouldn’t be held against me (I don’t do any dishes – because I never actually use any dishes, I bring everything from home and take it back with me when I leave,) and some were true, but apply to everyone else who has ever worked there (I use the internet for personal reasons, etc.) The memorandum said that I would be put on a three-month probation and my hours would be cut to approximately twenty a week. I was given the choice to accept these terms or quit. I chose to accept them, but I’m looking at all of my options, and once something better opens up I’ll take it.

Almost immediately after that little meeting I went down to the Employment Security Commission. They told me that as soon as my hours drop below 24 a week I will qualify for partial benefits. In addition to that, my reduced income will mean I’ll probably qualify for a decent amount of food stamps. So my pride might take a little hit, but I most likely won’t have to worry about money anytime soon.

Over the next few days I turned in a bunch of applications, spruced up my resume, had an interview, signed up for classes, and signed a contract with the Zapow gallery. The interview was with a marketing firm, and I’m pretty positive it was a scam, so I’m not holding my breath waiting for a callback. I applied to Earthbound Trading Company, which is looking for managers, and ALDI, a union-run company that pays pretty close to living wage. However, they are evidently a “clean-shaven” company, so I’d have to ditch the facial hair. I’m sure some would consider me crazy, but I have no intention of changing my appearance for a job that will most certainly not be my end game. In what might possibly be an end game, I spoke with the veterinarian at the new animal hospital that opened up down the street. I told her I had one class left, and she said to go ahead and fax in a resume because they were looking to expand very soon. My plan is to keep checking other animal hospitals in the area, and maybe one of them will want to hire me. Fingers crossed, but I would love to get out of retail and work with animals rather than people.

On Wednesday I went out with a girl named MacKenzie. She comes into the art supply store, and actually won one of my prints in our Customer Appreciation Day raffle a while back. We started talking and she showed me some of her artwork. I asked her if she had a website, and she told me to just add her on Facebook. We chatted one night and I decided to ask her out. She also says she doesn’t want a relationship, but she seemed totally into the idea of going out. We met up downtown and eventually made it to The Southern for drinks and food. Then we walked around for several hours talking, and then went to The Vault for more drinks. She’s really a fascinating person – extremely intelligent, a talented artist, good taste in almost everything, a really sweet personality, and model-looking gorgeous. The downside is she’s planning on moving back to California soon, so we might not be able to hang out too much. But while she’s still around I’d definitely like to continue seeing her and get to know her better. Hopefully she feels the same way…

So, back to the gallery contract part, on Friday I met with Lauren and inked a contract. There’s a four-month commitment, and after the initial rental fee is paid they take the fee out of whatever you sell that month. I’m trying to put together my space – my month doesn’t technically start until May 1, but since the space was already available she said I could have the rest of April free. This could change, but I think I’ll have one piece from my Politics As Usual series, two or three from Musings Of A Predator Drone, one from Iconology, and a rack of prints. I’m hoping to get my newer stuff photographed soon and then upgrade my website and organize it by series. I just ordered new business cards, and since this is my third order they gave me a VIP discount. I got a few wall racks for prints, did some new hi-res scans, and tomorrow will drop them off at the print shop. Now all I have to do is hope that I sell enough to make this all worthwhile. I’m thinking my stuff will go over well in Zapow, so who knows, maybe I’ll make a decent amount of money on this.

And finally, this week of insanity ended with one of my favorite days of the year – Record Store Day. I woke up bright and early to head to Harvest Records. I got there around 9:30, but there were probably 50 people in line ahead of me. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and not much breathing room, but I did manage to snag some really cool stuff. I got the limited edition green vinyl rerelease of Aloha’s Here Comes Everyone, the rerelease of the second Orange Juice album, a limited edition Codeine live album, and a used copy of  “Fools Gold” by The Stone Roses on gold vinyl. There was an Elliott Smith 7″ that was gone before I got to that section, and a few of the other things I wanted were entirely too expensive, but all in all I think I did quite well. There were also a lot of freebies, including a Yeasayer single, some CD samplers, a bunch of stickers and buttons, and a Beatles tote bag. After rounding up a bunch of goodies I went home and took a short nap, then headed to work.  I haven’t been able to stop listening to that Aloha album, I forgot how ridiculously good they were. So yeah, yay for new music!

Sunday and Monday of this week were pretty uneventful, aside from a little depressed breakdown last night. Other than that I’ve just been spending a lot of time painting, cleaning, grocery shopping, chatting, watching TV, and trying to figure out my future. In the event life had gotten a little boring, things have definitely been turned upside down.