Category Archives: design

composition, typography, spot colors, use of a computer, and all things to do with placing different shapes, letters, and messages in aesthetically pleasing ways while maximizing one’s space. “less is more” after all.i believe in this theory strongly.

run, forrest, run. & “a.”

i have a little venting to do about the gym.

i rode horses for sixteen years. going to the barn has always been my gym. fresh air and the smell of leather. not to mention a twelve hundred pound animal between your legs. if you are like me, this is your idea of heaven.

when i lived in new york city, i joined a gym and would do something that would make me sweat about five times a week. i hated it (well, exercise itself feels great, but it’s the process that i hate). i hate gyms. i hate running in circles. i hate treadmills and elliptical trainers even more – they are just glorified hamster wheels in my opinion. how unsatisfying is it to run for twenty minutes solid and arrive nowhere ? there are mirrors everywhere that only remind you of why you are there in the first place. but you also get a glimpse and (usually a strong) smell of all the other people there who are sweating it out. some may be regulars, some may be obsessive, and some may just feel really guilty about the cheeseburger they ate for lunch that day. and is it just me ? or do they seem to play The Food Network all the time at the gym ? the more i think about it, the more i think that i hate the gym just as much as i hate the laundromat.

i know plenty of people who love going to the gym. more power to them. i admire them one hundred percent, seriously. perhaps if i lifted weights and reveled in my own self reflection, i’d like the gym, too. i’ll never forget this tiny gym i joined in new york city on 14th street. i went there about five times a week to stretch, do crunches, and run one or two miles. my two strongest memories are as follows ::

1. the old ladies gathered in the ladies locker room about twice a week. they would sit together, naked, chatting about their lives, their days. they were all well over sixty years old. i never stared at them, but when you are amongst a flock of older ladies in a tiny locker room whilst you are changing, you’ll catch a glimpse of the naked bodies surrounding you. their bodies were old, worn, and sagged. but beautiful. so beautiful. what made them so beautiful was not the bodies themselves, but their complete comfort with themselves. sure, their breasts hung at strange and low angles, they had more fat on their bodies than the average girl would ever consider appropriate, but they just sat around talking to each other as if they were fully clothed, with nothing to hide, no secrets. so, i applaud them. and their self comfort. and lack of low self esteem. those ladies completely rule as far as i’m concerned.

2. a gentleman who must have been around fifty years old – give or take. he always came to the gym dressed in short shorts – black spandex. hugging and “exaggerating” every part of his male form from the waist down. he wore a tight white “wife beater” tank and on his head an american flag bandana. he’d flex his muscles into the mirrors and admire himself. he was never the sort to look at the girls in the gym (which is refreshing, because having those over-confident males stare at you while you are breaking a sweat on the treadmill is entirely disgusting). he would arrive, do his thing, and leave. and i always considered him awesome because of it.

oh, the gym. if you go to a gym and like it, keep going. more power to you. if you are like me, you will cancel your gym membership and begin jogging on the streets for free. the perk being that it is free, the non-perk being that i have a bad back which hates running on pavement and i have apparently even worse ankles that hate the unavoidable hills that this city forces you to climb or descend when going for a run. but i’ve become addicted to running. i haven’t run for forty eight hours because of a terrible blister on my right heel and a cold i just came down with this morning. i want to run so badly right now, but i know that doing so will only cause my ankles further harm. and as for my head cold ? it’s left me so exhausted, i shouldn’t be exerting any energy right now unless it is towards health and a good night of sleep.

running on the streets of san francisco has been so rewarding. i’ve seen more of the city in the past two weeks than i have in the year that i have lived here. and i happen to run at strange times. i will fall to sleep early and rise at 4:30am feeling restless. and run. run down the middle of streets that are usually crowded with cars and people during the “normal” hours of the day, but at 4:30am, they are empty and feel like nothing short of a meditation session. so i wear my pink sneakers. and i feel like Mr. Gump. i just can’t wait to run. maybe i’m running away from something i’m feeling. or maybe i’m running towards something. it really doesn’t matter because all i know is that it feels damn good either way. 

as for “a.” there is a small deli downstairs from my apartment run by a very sweet family. the mother and father are always there and i almost always see their son, who i’ll call “A,” because he’s there doing his homework after school (i usually only get there after work). in the last week, he’s started selling his paintings. he’s about nine years old and does theses fantastic drawings which he prices anywhere from 5 cents to 50 cents. i am now the proud owner of four of them ::

 

i love life. it has a funny way of working itself out.

these drawings make my heart smile and sing so loudly that i’d be surprised if you couldn’t hear it by now.

jessi

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happy anniversary, pig. (a post i hope you read).

it’s been about three weeks since i last posted on here. part of me would like to apologize for my absence, but a larger part of me knows that that would be silly. silly because in the last few weeks i’ve made some significant changes in my life. not as in, i started eating salad instead of cheeseburgers at lunch, but more like saving myself changes. it’s taken up all of my time, which is good. writing on my blog was the least of my worries. it was, quite simply, not a priority. but i do admit that i’ve missed it.

i’m going to begin this post (which i expect to be ridiculously long, be forewarned) with a dialogue from one of my favorite movies, Girl, Interrupted. it’s a beautiful film. it may be a bit trite at times and over dramatized, but it’s a film that has always spoken to me because the main character, Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, is someone i have always felt close to.

Susanna :: “I didn’t try to kill myself. I was just trying to make the shit stop.”

Therapist :: “You swallowed a bottle of advil with a bottle of vodka..”

Susanna :: “I had a headache.”

one year ago yesterday, i arrived in San Francisco. when i moved here, i was broken and lost. i was a complete mess, though my actions and demeanor reflected anything but. my eyes may have told a different story, but no one ever called me on it.

i was drinking more alcohol than i could admit to anyone, much less to myself. i was taking a variety of drugs that would disappoint any parent. i was full of lies and self-loathing. i lied about my substance abuse and my depression and my anxiety. i listened to a lot of sad music and though i’d landed a great job just three weeks after moving here, in my spare time i locked myself in my room to write and paint. and i was really only successful in either when i’d plied myself with a cocktail of substances. just enough to “make the shit stop.” it was hard, near impossible, to be creative when my sober mind wandered to the darkest of dark places.

to some, this may come as a complete surprise (i’m an amazing liar and actress as it turns out). to others, this probably explains a lot.

i was happy to leave Seattle, that much was true. but my decision to move here was complex. for one, i committed a cardinal sin. i broke my own rule : never move or stay anywhere for anyone. it was not my only my reason for relocating, but it was the biggest – though i denied it at the time.

before i’d left seattle, i had experienced two grand mal seizures. i experienced not one, but two, terrible tragedies – having to attend two open casket funerals in the space of one week. they both occurred after my decision to move south, but i think in many ways they were the nail in the coffin (apologies for the pun) that confirmed and prompted my choice to get the hell out of Seattle. it was a place full of sadness and memories i wanted to leave behind and i really couldn’t have left fast enough.

since my arrival in this beautiful city, i’ve had a tumultuous year. drugs and alcohol certainly do not help one who’s making an attempt to “get their shit together.” neither does lying about it – to others or oneself.

my arrival here was both abrupt and sudden, to say the least. back in Seattle, i’d left behind friends, family, horse back riding (which still, to this day, remains an unkept promise to myself to rekindle down here in horse country), my job, my home. life as i once knew it was over. it was gone. i faced that well known blank slate that we all speak so fondly of. i may have been excited, but i was terrified more than anything else. and alone, very alone. and given that hindsight is 20/20, i knew full well that my continued abuse of substances would only gain momentum down here. i knew that because relocating is stressful for anyone. but there was more.

i knew and realized that any sign of an unraveling (particularly with the boy, which happened only three weeks after my move here, but do NOT blame him for any of this), would lead me to less control over myself. i knew it would spur me to further harm myself, which i did. ten fold. i have scars, both physical and emotional, that still bring me to tears. when i moved here, i was holding onto a thread. after my arrival, that thread much closer resembled that of a delicate thread a spider draws when making a web. i was holding onto nothing, essentially . i considered suicide more than once. i wanted to get away from not just the city, but also myself. the drugs and alcohol were merely symptoms of a far deeper distress and internal battle i’d been having with myself for years.

add denial to this and i promise you a full blown recipe for disaster.

i went about my job and my life. i continued to drink and abuse drugs. i fell deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. for the past year, i have felt like Alice. eating one cookie after another, in an attempt to find myself out of this nightmare i’d found myself in. a nightmare that i had created. i could blame my childhood. my parents. my this or my that. but i can’t. and i no longer can blame myself. i am in the process of forgiving myself. i made mistakes. many of them. the last three years have been chaos for me and i did the best that i could, even though my “best” involved nothing but self harm.

so i sit here today, at the same computer. sober. sad. and admitting the fact that i need help. i have needed help for well over ten years, but my pride (and other things i will not mention) had me convinced that i was OKAY and that i could “do it on my own.” nothing could be farther from the truth. i need help and i’m finally getting it. so, if you don’t hear from me in a while – it’s because of that.

for once, i’m going to put myself first. and Year of the Pig Studio can wait. we’ll both be better off because of it.

jessi

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marie antoinette and captain cool.

i recently wrote a post about the fish who live in a tank at the art store where i work.

i just learned the names of the fish that existed before i was first hired there (around nine months ago).

the fish have been named as follows ::

Liberace

Bob Ross

Iggy Pop

Sargent Pepper

Sheena (from a song by The Ramones)

Lady Gaga

Michael Jackson

Larry (for reasons i cannot disclose)

celebrity names, yes – with the exception of Larry. only Liberace and Michael Jackson remain. since my last post about this fish tank, we lost another member of our aquatic family. we lost Larry the snail. my co-worker went to clean the tank one day only to discover that Larry the snail was no longer there. his shell was, but his body was missing. given Liberace’s past behavior, we have hereby assumed that she ate Larry. she must have sucked him up whole, in one bite, like a piece of sushi. had she thrown him from the tank (like we assume she had done with Lady Gaga), Larry would have very likely met the same fate as Lady Gaga. that fate being the sole of my shoe, stepping and slipping and crushing the soul on the floor.

today i am writing about two more celebrity named people i have just recently met. actual people, not fish.

marie antoinette is a lady who cruises around north beach. she may or may not be homeless. she’s told me that she is, but due to the cleanliness of her clothing and the new looking shopping bags that i’ve seen her cart around, i’m unsure. i ran into her tonight on my way home. she recognized me and had even remembered my name – which i had not expected. she’s harmless. she’s kind. she talks a lot, maybe too much. but she’s very sweet and well intentioned. tonight, she was walking towards me. i still have a crutch under one arm and she was wearing a neck brace. she stopped to give me a high five. a “we’re both crippled!” high five. she remembered my name, once again claimed she was homeless, and shoved this poster into my arms. this poster is old. a silk screened poster of a show that Elvis Presley once played here in san francisco. i stared at it long and hard, lifting my jaw from the pavement. “where.. where.. where did you.. uh.. find this ?”

apparently she got it from a friend, who got it from another friend, and so on. i know silk screens. i may not be an expert in antiques, but this poster looks like the real deal, like an original. i asked her over and over again if she was sure she wanted to give it to me. she said that she had no use for it and insisted that i take it. i couldn’t turn it down. she asked for “a couple bucks,” which i gave her, and she moved along. when i got home, i investigated this poster and its origins. and i actually think this thing is from 1969, the date on the poster. awesome ? YES.

and now for Captain Cool. no, it’s not the name of a celebrity, but i think he’s kind of a celebrity here in north beach. i think he may have suffered from throat cancer. or something close. he’s got one of those voice boxes that requires him to press some flesh covered button on his throat to speak. he wears tiny round wire framed black lens sunglasses, a tall top hat, a velvet coat, and tall leather boots that reach the top of his knees. yes, he is just as amazing as he sounds.

several weeks ago i was in Vesuvio on my lunch break. Vesuvio is an incredibly old bar, but the reason i go there on nearly every lunch break is because you are welcome to bring your own lunch (a cheap bagel, in my case) and you don’t need to purchase alcohol. if you’re me, you buy a cheap mug of peppermint tea and spend your hour lunch break drawing or writing. i now know the staff there well enough that i rarely even pay for my tea. i throw a couple bucks down as a tip for my tea and sit in a cozy and comfortably lit booth to write or draw for around fifty minutes. it’s a wonderful way to spend a lunch break.

on one such lunch break, i was seated near Captain Cool. i’d never met him before, but had seen him there on the regular, always sipping on a pint of guiness. (i asked him his name. he said it was Patrick, but that everyone called him Captain Cool. he said there was a story to explain that, but he’d save it for another time.) i was embroidering the image of a budweiser can when he approached me. he leaned towards my table and asked me (with his voice box throat) if i was a seamstress, to which i replied, “no. no. i use embroidery like i use paint. as you can see.. this is not well cross stitched or straight.” to which he replied that he was looking for someone to sew some patches onto some jackets he has. again, i informed him that i am a sloppy seamstress. straight lines are beyond me, with or without a sewing machine.

he stared at my cross-stitching and declared, “but what you have here is perfect. i like those imperfections. that’s exactly what i would want.” so i agreed. i gave him my email address. he said he wouldn’t be needing my services for quite some time, but would be in touch when the time came. that same day, i met a friend at Vesuvio after work. Captain Cool happened to be there, i nodded at him and he nodded back at me. the next thing i know ? the waitress came to me with two shot glasses filled with whiskey. she said, “Captain Cool wanted to buy you this round.”

thanks, Captain Cool. thanks, Marie Antoinette.

you certainly know how to make a girl feel loved.

jessi

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the dalai lama.

did i ever tell you about the time i once ran into the Dalai Lama ?

i’m not kidding.

in two thousand and four, i went to central park with a friend of mine to see the dalai lama speak. we bought fresh doughnuts at seven in the morning, caught the F and then the 6 train uptown, and waited in a line for a few hours. a line that wrapped around the park. we were one of thousands of people waiting to listen to the dalai lama speak. during his speech we were far away. we could see the stage, but he was a mere speck on it. and his accent with so thick that the words of wisdom pouring from his mouth were a little difficult to understand. i remember closing my eyes tightly in an effort to understand him better. i’ve heard that if you loose one sense, your others will grow stronger. by shutting my eyes, i thought that my hearing would improve. it didn’t.

we left central park after he spoke. i wasn’t let down because i did understand a fair amount of what he said, but i was sad that i was unable to hear all of it. it was as if i was standing in front of some oasis in the desert. every drop of water would count for quenching my thirst and keeping me alive. but i was unable to reach most of the water. i think this had less to do with his accent and far more to do with how far away i was standing from the stage, huddled next to a plethora of new yorkers who did not believe in deodorant or simple hygiene. maybe i was an unlikely candidate for this event given what i’ve just written. but i waited in line, i did my best to listen, and i even shed a few tears from the few things i heard him utter.

after the event, me and my friend parted ways. he was bound for grand central station and i was bound for the six train that would take me back to my apartment. on my way to the subway i passed by a hotel that had a gathering of photographers and journalists stationed outside. they were crowding the sidewalk. taking pictures. notepads out ready for scribbling. i politely asked them what they were waiting for and the journalist i asked looked at me with raised eyebrows and disbelief.

well, this is where the Dalai Lama is staying. we’re waiting for him to come out from the hotel.”

ok, ok. this made sense. it was logical. it was the right timing, i suppose. i hadn’t expected the media to gather around him so quickly, but whatever. good for them. get your pictures and ask the questions that will most likely never be answered. i’m going to keep walking to the subway. the idea of seeing him up and close in the flesh was very appealing, but i did not want to be part of that crowd. so i kept on walking past the entrance to his hotel and took a left at the corner, headed for the subway. 

it was at this point that i became distracted by the intersection lights and i remember looking down at my cell phone, responding to a text from a friend.

it was also at this point that i had turned the corner, headed north, that i ran into the Dalai Lama. literally. i made physical contact with him whilst looking across the street and consulting my cell phone. you can’t make this shit up.

he’d been lead out of the hotel by the back entrance to avoid the onslaught of people i had just passed and scoffed at.

his bodyguards pushed me away immediately and with a great deal of gusto (BIG f*cking guys – footballer player size). i’m surprised i didn’t fall backwards actually. i think it was clear to them that my running in to the D.L. was an accident, so they did not push the matter. i simply stood there, with my mouth agape, and watched his holiness step into the back of a black limo that had been waiting for him parked at the curb. the limo drove away and i remained there, curbside, not quite believing what i had just encountered.

i’ve told a handful of people this story. i’m not sure if any of them believed me, but i believe me. it did happen. i ran into the Dalai Lama. and the only thing i had to say to him ?

“i really liked your speech.”

it’s pathetic, i know.  but when you crash into the Dalai Lama without warning after listening to him speak in central park, what the hell else are you going to say ? it was the best thing i could come up with at the time. we made eye contact. he bowed in my direction, as if to say “i bless you, child,” nodded at me, and climbed into the back of the black limo.

but that’s New York. you never know what will happen to you there. which is one of many reasons that i still miss it so much.

jessi

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links (unrelated to sausages)

it’s HIGH time i add some links here. i know far too many talented friends and my not mentioning them is downright criminal ::

(in no particular order)

Devin McGrath // one of my best friends. one of the most talented people you could ever meet. he’s australian. his humor is dry, sharp, and dark. and he’s made me pee my pants on several occasions (true story).

Ignacio Hinojosa // one of my best friends. he’s from Madrid and likes to say things about “your face.” as in, i miss your face. his oil paintings put rembrandt to shame and his illustrations ? words cannot do them justice.

Christina Sheppard // my former new york roommate and also one of my best friends. her favorite colors are lime green and purple. she made up the dance move, “the pizza cutter.” describing her and her work as awesome is a major understatement. [website unavailable].

Amanda Harris // one of my dearest new york friends. she’s from long island, is a crazy talented print maker and illustrator, and has been known to make me laugh so hard that both cake and soup come out of my nose. [website unavailable].

Jackie Fleckenstein // one of my best friends. her talents in drawing and printmaking make me sick. in a good way. she’s dark, sarcastic, and far before charlie sheen coined the term, she = winning.

Ed Chow // one of my closest friends from new york. he’s into robots, kittens, and blood. you can usually find him sporting a pink stripe in his black hair while he’s making graphic illustrations on his computer that make us all turn green with envy.

George Harbeson // engaged to the Christina mentioned above. his conceptual skills are unparalleled. as are his drawing skills. he’s from texas. he likes to wear cowboy boots and he’s one of the most vulgar people i’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Gabe Tick // a close friend from new york. he’s charming, sweet, and uber talented. he has mastered computer programs that make me dizzy just thinking about and his work speaks for itself. he also happens to be one of the goofiest people i’ve ever met.

Maggie Brophy // i think i have only ever seen her wear black. her laugh is contagious. and her drawings are ridiculous. ridiculously stunning. she could probably draw an entirely lifelike portrait with her eyes closed.

Adam Mignanelli // a great friend of mine. he’s hilarious. he’s sweet. and he’s sarcastic as hell. and he can design the pants off of pretty much anyone i know. and lest i forget, he’s a damn fine cook.

Matt Mignanelli // adam’s brother. crazy talented painter who uses one hair brushes, people. i’m not sure where he finds the time or patience to do what he does, but he kicks major ass at it. and, like his brother, is a mean cook.

Jonathan Jay Lee // i call him jon jon. he’s from hong kong. he’s a comic master and one of the kindest people i’ve ever met. and he, like so many of my friends, loves the dark, bloody, and gory side of animation.

that’s the short list. i have so many more, but that’s a start and if you ask me, a damn fine start at that.

jessi

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enter title here

pizza was just ordered.

two large pizzas. one pepperoni. one cheese. we have three guests staying here. all of them from atlanta. which means there are seven us, in total, in our apartment. it’s somewhat loud, completely hilarious, and lovable. i love how many people crash here all the time. some may find it to be a nuisance, but i find it to be great company. we’ve yet to have one disrespectful guest. honestly ? every few weeks i get to meet one to three amazing people for a short period of time who demand nothing from me, know how to party, know when enough is enough, and that’s that. and more often than not, they usually offer up a homemade meal or two.

the only draw back is that, at this time, i can’t hang out with them. i have a show opening this friday the fifteenth of july. this means i need to make a few more pieces. which is all well and dandy. except. except. i don’t really have the time. so, i’m having to make the time. and that means i must lose some sleep. i must paint until my eyes are barely open, a slip of eyeball barely remaining.

i push on. and on. i am doing what i love and therefore i cannot complain. i repeat, i am doing what i love. and will continue to. even if it means i fall head first into my keyboard, absorbing some acrylic paint along the way.

i’m currently watching Fight Club. an amazing film with an amazing soundtrack and an even more amazing message.

so, with that, i will leave you with the image of a cornflower blue tie. “it must be tuesday.”

jessi

 

 

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happy birthday

i haven’t told you the birthday story yet. this story is from the middle of april and explains why, when my my fellow employees and i are experiencing a particularly high level of frustration or chaos we will look at each other and sarcastically exclaim, “happy birthday !”

during the middle of april, the thirteenth to be exact, two of the four people that i work with were going to be out of town for five days. the two people leaving were my manager and assistant manager. they were leaving for arizona for one of the biannual manager retreats that our company holds. this meant that me and my coworker nick were to be in charge of the store. he and i had only so much authoritative power since we were both, at the time, considered to be just clerks. when the managers go away to a retreat it is understood that they will be hard to contact in case of emergency since they are busy 90% of the time and much of that time is spent talking to the big wigs from corporate (who are actually all very cool people) and cell phones are likely to be off or silenced at almost all times. that said, we have seventeen stores nationwide and in the case of an emergency, we have sixteen other stores we could call for help if need be.

now, running an art store is no easy task when the manager or assistant manager is around, but between nick and i we both felt confident that we could handle any curve balls that were thrown our way. and to be honest ? aside from keeping the store running smoothly, the customers happy, and making money – nick and myself just wanted to make sure that the real basics were covered. as in, don’t set the store on fire, try not to get robbed, avoid serious injuries, and pray that no natural disasters hit during the five days that the boss ladies were out of town. it was just five days, how hard could it be to keep our ship from sinking ?

the first day was a wednesday. the store was opened on time, we made some good money, and everything went as it should. i like to consider that particular wednesday, april thirteenth, to be the calm before the storm.

on thursday morning i woke up around 7:30am to start getting ready for work to arrive at around 8:30 so that i could be ready to open the doors by 9:00. it just so happened that that was also nick’s birthday. he was scheduled to come in at 10:30 and i was prepared to get balloons and a card before work from safeway so that he’d have a little fun on his birthday at work.

at 7:45am with a bare right foot, i stepped on a glass pipe. it wasn’t mine, but i guess that doesn’t really matter. all that matters is that i stepped smack in the middle of a twelve inch glass pipe. it promptly snapped when i’d applied my full weight on it. the pipe itself was a dark color, as was the rug that it was sitting on – which was why i didn’t see it in the first place. not to mention the fact that i was a little sleepy eyed and i am also a professional klutz. i run into things all the time, but in my defense this was the first time i’d ever snapped a glass pipe in half with my foot.

when you step on a glass pipe and hear a loud POP! you may think that a serious amount of blood and pain will be involved – and it is – but not if the gash is well plugged. i’d managed to slice open the bottom and side of my foot, so i actually couldn’t really see the damage. i stopped dead in my tracks, looked at the floor, realized it was the pipe i’d stepped on, and promptly sat down on the couch that was directly next to me. i saw no blood and felt little pain, so i figured i was lucky. it was at that point that i twisted my foot just so so that i could get a better look. sure enough, there was a large shard of glass in my foot. without a second thought, i pulled the piece of glass out because really ? who wants to walk around with a piece of glass in their foot ? at the time, i immediately remembered the tale of the little dutch boy who stuck his finger into a dyke when he noticed a leak on his way to school. however, unlike the little dutch boy who kept his finger in the dyke and heroically saved his town from flooding, i removed the shard of glass from my foot and a river of blood began to flow from my foot which was now, by this time, feeling pretty darn sore.

a small pool of blood formed on the carpet and i pulled a small trash can under my foot so that i at least had a receptacle to contain the obscene amount of blood gushing from my foot. it was at this point that i called to the person who was with me (who had heard the POP! and asked if i was ok – to which i had first replied, “yeah, i’m fine”) and told him that he’d better come help me out. he saw the damage, gasped, exclaimed he saw bone (and so did i), and ran to his bathroom to retrieve gauze pads, a cotton bandage, and an ace bandage. i have to admit, if this had happened in my house i wouldn’t have been so prepared. i would have been lucky to find enough to paper towel or toilet paper to absorb all of the blood coming out of my foot.

while he frantically bandaged my foot (and props to him because he was on it like white on rice), i kept saying, “i need to get to work.. i have to open the store by nine..” – come hell or high water i had to make sure the store would be open by 9:00am, despite my current condition. he informed me that i would need stitches. i more or less scoffed at this because i wanted to consider this a flesh wound. there’s no good time to get stitches in your foot, much less when you live in a city that requires a lot of walking. much less a city with painfully steep hills that are a b*tch to climb when your feet are free of stitches. so, i called nick. and then i called him again. i called him five times. no answer.

at this time, nick happened to be staying at my apartment because he was between apartments. i have three roommates so i called one of them. then another. no answer. i called my final roommate, the one i figured the least likely to answer, and as luck would have it – he answered. eureka ! i asked him to wake up nick and give him the phone so that i could deliver the news and ask nick, on the morning of his birthday, to wake early and do what i could not do because i was a cab ride away from the nearest emergency room. and during this rushed phone call i completely failed to wish nick a happy birthday. i still feel guilty about that.

it was at this point that we called our manager to let her know what had happened. it was an injury and therefore fell into the “call the manager” category – manager’s retreat or not. and believe it or not, the store was open by 9:05am. go nick !

the E.R. happened and eight stitches later i rather awkwardly gimped out of the hospital and hailed the first available cab. instead of giving him my work address, i asked him to take me to safeway. i still had birthday balloons to buy, you see. my friends are my heart. i will never miss an opportunity to celebrate them on their birthdays even if i have fresh stitches in my foot. in the cab i called nick to let him know i was on my way. his only request ? “whatever you do – please make sure that i have a TIARA to wear.” done and done. thanks be to god for walgreens and their kid’s section which offered a princess glamour set. tiara and balloons were acquired. i limped to work with these items in my arms and received many stares. not good stares. but more like, “oh that poor crazy person” stares. i’m okay with that. at that point, i think i was crazy-person qualified.

i arrived at work with balloons and tiara in tow. nick was happy to see all of that, but he was a bit preoccupied. you see, the computers had decided to go down for the morning. there were about ten people in line impatiently tapping their feet because the register was not cooperating. because this involved money, we had to place phone call number two to our manager. happy birthday.

after two plus hours on the phone with tech support, the matter was resolved. by this time, a few deliveries had arrived and i’d already spent the better part of the day just ringing people at the register with my foot elevated. any and all deliveries were (and had to be) received by nick because i could barely walk around the store, much less up and down a flight of stairs.

thursday came and went, the silver lining being that since nick had opened the store (instead of closing it) that afforded him to leave earlier than first expected which meant he could begin drinking sooner than expected. and boy oh boy did he earn every cocktail he drank that night.

on friday morning i opened the store by 9:00am, elevating my foot as often as i could before nick arrived at 10:30. since it was his birthday the day before, he’d done a fair bit o’ partying and was a wee bit hungover come friday morning. just after noon a man came downstairs. we receive deliveries on a near daily basis. most of them requiring signatures. when he asked for mine i blindly signed it without too much thought before asking what kind of delivery we had. it was at this point that he informed me he was not delivering any merchandise, but rather a summons. as in, lawsuit. happy birthday.

because our old location was in a basement, we had no wheelchair access. a couple years ago the city of san francisco passed a law that stated that all retail spaces must be wheelchair accessible a.k.a. ada compliant. at the time the law was passed, we asked our building manager if we could install a wheelchair ramp (at our own expense) to an elevator we had in the back of the store. our request was denied and that was that. as i later learned, we were not the first person to be hit with a lawsuit from this particular person. who, by the way, also happened to be a customer. someone who we had, in the past, run baskets of supplies up to in order to accommodate him as best as possible from our underground location. so, with that, we placed our third (and final) phone call to our manager.

on this same friday, at 2:30pm, not one – but three – pallets of canvases and wood panels arrived. at our old location, large deliveries like that would be placed on the sidewalk out front so that we could bring them in over the course of the day. with only two employees working, receiving that many pallets was daunting to say the least. with only one employee capable of walking up and down the stairs and carrying all of those panels and canvases was just, well, absurd.

i am usually a trooper when it comes to things like that. i will work through the pain and get the job done. and although i did manage to do some lifting, i really did not contribute much. i just couldn’t walk. i couldn’t put any weight on my right foot and hopping up and down the stairs was out of the question. not to mention the fact that we had customers and i was the designated cashier (for obvious reasons). so, nick heroically brought in three pallets worth of heavy wood panels and canvases in a three hour window of time. if we gave out gold medals or purple hearts, he’d have one of each. he’s a total champion.

so. upon my bank fiasco that just took place in the last twenty four hours i walked into work this morning greeted by a “happy birthday!” from my fellow employees. and even in the midst of such an event, i have to laugh because at the end of the day i have this theory we have a choice to make when faced with all things bad and out of our control. laugh or cry. and i do believe there is always a time and a place for a good cry, it’s so much easier to laugh. so, to anyone facing a something stressful in their life, happy birthday ! trust me, you are not alone.

jessi

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