I returned to work today. It was my first shift since my sweet baby Cammie died. I’d already been scheduled off for Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday I was supposed to work 10-7. I called out when I realized she was too sick to make it. She died sometime between 9:40 and 10:00 am. I was on the phone with a vet’s office to try to get her in and put down. I wailed when I saw her completely dilated pupils that did not react to light. That’s an image I cannot void from my mind.
It was difficult ringing up pet food but, the cat items really brought up some emotions. I managed to keep it together. There was one time I thought I might lose it. A lady was getting seven bags of Temptations cat treats. They were one of Cammie’s favorites.
I just miss her so much. On the way home tonight I had to stop at my usual Publix in Winter Springs. I called my roommate from my car before I went inside the store to see if there was anything we needed at home. She said, “No,” and I almost asked her, “Will you please check on Cammie for me?” At the last second I remembered there was no need for that.
Once at home I began to ascend the stairs and I thought, I want to see my kitty. It’s going to take time to change some habits. I miss her soft fur and her gorgeous green eyes. I used to joke that she got them from me. That would have been a trick of nature. She means as much to me as a human child means to his or her parents.
It was a weird day at work. I had the WIC transaction from Hell. WIC is a food supplemental program. The acronym stands for, Women, Infants and Children. It’s similar to SNAP, what used to be called, food stamps. It is for low income mothers, parents or guardians of children and infants. It’s very tailored to the needs of the child. Some kids can get any grade of milk. Some can get only 2%, 1% or skim milk or soy, almond, etc. WIC usually covers infant formulas, again, tailored to the infant. WIC will also cover fresh or canned fruits and veggies. People get a lot of canned beans. All this info is stored on the magnetic strip on the WIC card. So, it tells the cash registers what is covered and what is not. It’s very confusing sometimes because often it’s not clear what food items are eligible. Or, they lose track of what benefits were recently used. Some parents get to be pros at deciphering what exactly is eligible.
I had a lady who was not such a pro. She took about 15 minutes to serve. That’s a long time. I can ring an entire cart of groceries in about four minutes. She had a lot of stuff that was not eligible and I kept having to void off stuff so her WIC card would cover everything. I felt bad for her cause she did all her cart unloading while having an armful of baby and she was by herself. Some mothers are gifted at this kind of multitasking. If that were me, I’d probably drop the kid on accident. Many of the items I voided off were perishable. Three different times I had to get an available co-worker’s attention to return cold items to the fridge or freezer. The customer kept apologizing to me and the people behind her. I try to remember that I never know what personal crap customers might be navigating. I try to only get annoyed or judgemental when the customer is behaving like an entitled ass. We do get a few of those. Luckily, Oviedo is a nice area populated by some good people.
Today there was something about the number 86. It turned up in many sales totals I got today. Its mirror image, 68, was everywhere too. I kept thinking it was interesting because, “86,” in restaurant parlance means, “out of,” or “not available.” In all the restaurant jobs-over 20 years worth-I’ve had (most of them as a server) the first thing you would familiarize yourself with was the 86 list. It was never fun taking an order only have to return to the table to inform the guest that, “Um, the kitchen just said we are out of that. I’ m so sorry.” That always sucked. Timing is everything in the restaurant business. Having to get a revised order can eat up a lot of time.
My question was, “What is The Universe trying to tell me I’m out of?” “Money?” “Patience?” “Time?” I hoped the answer was, “Poverty.”