I have been making my coffee in my espresso machine for most of the last three years, because I don’t have a full size coffee pot. I’m the only coffee drinker in the house now and I rarely drink more than one cup. I like it really strong and really hot so the Krups espresso machine I bought 23 years ago is just fine.
The teenager programmed the new coffee machine to have my coffee ready before 5 a.m. We used the “rich” setting as remember— I like it strong. We also chose 26 ounces.
Well, Supercoffee brewed on rich had me vibrating after a cup and a half. I brought the rest to work. It’s noon and I’m still drinking it.
The “new” Stitch Fix CEO had scheduled a visit to the Bizzy Hizzy. When founder Katrina Lake stepped down from the CEO position last year, Elizabeth Spaulding replaced her.
Elizabeth has been visiting all of the warehouses in the Stitch Fix network and her visit was the first time a CEO had visited the Bizzy Hizzy since our opening six-plus years ago.
The supervisory team at the Bizzy distributed a Google doc for warehouse associates and leaders to attend a question and answer session with Elizabeth. If we submitted what question we would like to ask, the Bizzy People & Culture office would select some of us to represent our warehouse.
I thought to myself, “I was a journalist for 15 years, I can ask a good question.”
I got picked!
In preparation for the CEO’s visit, our managers asked us to wear our Stitch Fix t-shirts. I went one better and also tied my “midnight society” Stitch Fix sweatshirt around my waist. Had to ‘rep’ second shift.
My supervisor and the other members of the Sunday to Wednesday 10-hour shift cohort were excited that I had been chosen, and to my delight, someone else from our cohort was also in the room.
When I arrived for the event, Emily Watts said hello. Emily is the general manager for the Mohnton facility which is Stitch Fix’s manufacturing facility here in Pennsylvania, producing the Mohnton Made clothing line.
My mother-in-law made a career out of garment manufacturing in the Kutztown area, so I’m extra excited to see American made clothing resurface.
Emily was also my store leader at one time at Target #2536. Many of the team members from that store have worked at or currently work at the Bizzy.
When I enter the room I see several small tables, creating the customary U-shape and a head table. There are twelve name plates around the U.
I had no idea this would be so intimate. As we trickle in, I notice one odd thing: there is only one man among us. Everyone else is female. Did the men not read the email? Were they disinterested in the opportunity? Did they ask stupid questions?
Ethnically, age wise, and even ability wise, the room is diverse. There are two of us that I knew had disabilities— myself with my cerebral palsy and my hearing impaired colleague.
Debbie Woloshin and Cherizza Lundy entered the room first, and I had no idea who they were. Debbie plopped down beside me, and filled out her nameplate, while Cherizza did the same on the opposite side of the room in the empty seat there. Elizabeth came in, and seeing no more empty seats in the U, realized that she had to sit at the head table, so the other executives joined her.
I then learned that Cherizza is the head-of-staff and that Debbie is Debbie Woloshin, Stitch Fix’s first ever Chief Marketing Officer. She has an impressive fashion retail resume and such a great vibe. The discussion that resulted lasted almost an hour-and-a-half and I definitely felt like that panel of executives was using the visit to gauge the company’s needs from the bottom up. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think so.
We discussed what could improve the warehouse associates’ experience (growth and development opportunities as simple as peer to peer spreadsheet training and GED programs to more complex items like tuition remission; finding ways to ease childcare and transportation burdens; etc.), future growth of the company (hopes for improving technology, nurturing and expanding the Freestyle and traditional Fix businesses, and future growth of facilities (as existing facilities max out on capacity will we construct mezzanines in existing buildings, open nodes to existing buildings, or move into larger buildings). Certainly none of the discussions came with definitive answers, but you could see that the executive staff was weighing the enthusiasm, concerns and capabilities of the Bizzy Hizzy facility and team.
Well, I don’t think the building had enthusiasm or concerns. And what I also found encouraging was that our team still acted like our team. It didn’t feel like we were putting on airs for the boss.
“…we will do what we can to help and make you feel heard.”
I’ve been with the company now for almost two years, and I still believe that for a warehouse job, it’s a good job. And the company, while a little California ‘crunchy,’ has a good culture. As my original supervisor told me in my interview, “if you leave here upset after a shift, that’s on you. If you have a concern, tell us and we will do what we can to help and make you feel heard.”
Later that night, I sent connection requests to all three women and Cherizza accepted by requested at about 9:30 pm.
I hope all three women had a delightful visit not only to the Bizzy but to the Lehigh Valley in general.
In other odd little updates:
Darrell Lea Australian soft licorice made me very happy. I bought it at CVS, and after my ExtraBucks it was $1.11. I was looking for a candy treat, preferably plant-based that I wouldn’t eat in one sitting. The name sold me. It’s one letter different from my husband’s name. (Yes, I know we’re separated, but we’re not divorced yet so I feel “ex” isn’t right either. And he’s more to me than just the teenager’s father.)
I was extremely stiff yesterday — and when I admitted that to my fitness coach Andrew at Apex Training, he was brutal. Which was mean because I had already worked a full ten-hour shift. We got my heart rate up with ropes, stretched those leg muscles with weights, and did a whole bunch of split squats. I’m not stiff today, and I’m moving a whole lot better.
The teenager tested positive for Covid. Her head “felt funny” and she had post-nasal drip so she feared she might be developing an ear infection. So she went to the doctor. And tested positive for Covid. To combat this news, we ordered pizza from Domino’s and broke out some immune supplement from Target. We got the $20 family deal, which meant we got a pizza for each of us and a two liter of Diet Coke. I chased my immune supplement with a diet and gin. I almost tossed the tablet in the cocktail.
This morning I tossed FURR fosters Jean-Paul Sartre and the random litter (they were named before I got them and have no theme so my naming convention does not apply) onto the sun porch to meet each other and perhaps influence each other. JP needs more socialization with other cats and the Random Litter, as I have christened them, need to learn that they are safe. They should be able to look at JP and realize, “hey, nothing attacked this little moron.” I filmed some videos. They are rather long and boring, but, if you’re patient, you might notice JP stalking our old man tripod Opie and little Dixie/Jenny (her folder was blank so I named her Jennifer Grey so ‘no one could put Baby in the corner,’ and then I saw online that her foster file said her name was Dixie) considering trying the cat door or making friends with my boy Fog.
Yesterday left me thinking a lot about the notion of friendship and emotional support. As I continue to navigate the death of my father, the gestures I see from those around me touch my broken heart in ways I never imagined possible.
And recent events, from how Stitch Fix handled the recent shift change to how they handled my father’s death, shows me that successful businesses— even American ones with an international presence and millions of clients— don’t have to be jerks.
The dog and I were sitting on the sunporch yesterday waiting for one of my crazy cat lady friends to stop by. She wanted copies of my novels to give to her sisters for Christmas (and I need more fans) and she once cared for Mars and Minerva while they were on their pet store tour.
While Bean and I were waiting, an older man pulled up in front of my house and starting rooting around in the hatch/cargo area of his SUV. And he gets out a big bouquet of flowers.
Did someone send me flowers? Who do I know who is fancy enough to send flowers?
They came in a big glass vase with white roses and baby’s breath, and these lovely periwinkle filler flowers that I know I should know the name of because I did take high school horticulture.
I struggle to unfold the card. And I discover it’s from Stitch Fix. So I know I have a warehouse job. I know I fold clothes with everybody else. I am considered an unskilled worker, over educated for my position.
But I feel like Stitch Fix is the first company I’ve worked for to treat everyone of us like we are people, and not just interchangeable bodies in a process.
My warehouse job has paid the same amount of money as my last professional job— and removed so much stress and feelings of inadequacy from my life.
Professional positions or even common retail positions have controlled my life— constantly making it clear that “they” feel it is my privilege to work for them.
When my cat Opie had cancer I went into the computer system and requested to use some of my accrued paid time off so I could be at home after he got his leg amputated. I was working for Target at the time, about 36 hours a week so of course I didn’t qualify for medical benefits or anything because I was “part-time.” I had worked for Target for almost a decade.
They didn’t know it, but I had already accepted a professional position at a local non profit, but because of Opie’s surgery and other home circumstances, I had asked to start on the first day of the next month.
Now, after Christmas a few months prior, a guest had called the store and accused me of a racist act the day prior. This person of color had gathered all of the remaining food from the cafe, set it aside for 20 minutes, and not paid for it. She spent the entire time on the phone. I finally asked her if she was ready to pay for it and she left the store angry. Her husband called the next day. She never went to a supervisor, never said anything to me, just went home.
And the investigation determined that because I talk with my hands, I was angry and threatening with her. Despite witnesses saying the contrary. Despite almost ten years with the company.
So I got written up. This means if I did anything else wrong in the next year they could fire me. This meant I couldn’t apply for any promotions (despite the fact that my supervisor had left and I had been running my department during fourth quarter).
This is why I finally had enough and looked for a new job. And my marriage was in trouble and I needed to make more than $12 an hour.
I mention this because one of my Target friends just got fired for a similar incident where a customer was clearly out of line, and Target took their side. Even though this employee had been with the company since 2009. Just boom— fired.
And do you know what happened when I requested off? My manager denied it. I was too important to take time off.
But not important enough to pay a living wage.
But not important enough to defend when a customer was out of line.
But not important enough to provide medical insurance.
I went back to the computer and gave my two weeks notice. Except the store manager begged me not to go. And we agreed I could have the time off and I would work Saturdays to help train my new supervisor. Who turned out to have no interest in our department, ignored our breaks and wouldn’t listen to anyone but herself.
And when I called her out on it, because my peers wouldn’t do it because they needed the job, the same manager that denied my time off tried to fire me.
It didn’t work, but I never worked another day at Target, so they “got their way.”
And don’t even get me started on my experiences in “professional” employment.
If you have a job where you like going to work and your boss is a human, treasure it. It’s getting rarer.
So, yes, even though Stitch Fix is metrics driven and can be physically taxing, I have felt more like a person in their employment than I have in years.
More to come on the definition of “friend” later. So many generous acts have happened since my father’s death.
Are y’all totally sick of me talking about this yet?
So excited. And terrified. And excited some more. People are so supportive and I am amazed at the kindness of my friends, neighbors, relative strangers and local businesses.
I used to work at Target #2536 in Lower Nazareth. My co-conspirator, I mean fellow event planner, Janel, brought them a solicitation letter at my urging. The person who took it from her said it looked like a great event.
We didn’t hear from them. Until Wednesday.
I answered the phone while at work because Siri read me the number and I recognized it, it was both alien and really familiar. Then the caller introduced themselves.
Which explained why the number looked important.
They had held a collection for us and team members had donated some cat supplies to make a cat basket. And the actual store gave us a $50 gift card. If you know anything about me, you know I can work these store gift cards.
The teenager had gone down to Mary Meuser Memorial Library where the children’s librarian gave her a pile of cat children’s books that I will test-read to her tonight.
We did some shopping with our donated gift cards and now have some of the following for the event:
Fruit cups: mandarin oranges, diced pears, and diced peaches
Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite
rice krispie treats
And that’s in addition to baked goods, veggie crisps from Keystone snacks, the teenager’s homemade Rice Krispie peanut butter candy, coffee cake, zucchini trail mix muffins, cookies, cupcakes, chocolate cake and I heard there will be key lime pie! And pastries from Easton Baking and coffee from Wawa and pretzels from Philly Pretzel Company.
And thanks to Wegmans, Giant and Target, we have supplies to make an auxiliary coffee station. With tea and hot chocolate, too!
The fun starts at 2 p.m.!
We should have 30 Kittens to cuddle and lots of activities and cat items for sale.
AND a photographer to send you photos of you and your family having a good time.
The cat basket and a chocolate pizza from Chocolate Works Lehigh Valley and a $20 gift card for Chocolate Works from my neighbor Sobaka’s Mom will be available for silent auction.
In 45 minutes, I need to leave for work. It’s Thursday and I feel like I haven’t stopped moving all week. I’m behind on my own commitments and starting to feel panicked.
The pop up kitten cafe fundraiser for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab is this Sunday.
Although it has required effort from many people, in the last few days this has become my baby.
In the last 24 hours, we received commitments from Just Born candy and Target #2536 (the same Target where I used to work and that experienced a fatal shooting in the parking lot last weekend).
This brings our list of supporters to:
Many individual bakers
Easton Baking Company
Giant Food Stores
Today the teenager and I will be heading to Keystone Snacks to get the Veggie Chips donation.
So that’s the fundraiser but meanwhile real-life goes on. I haven’t worked on William Prystauk‘s upcoming novel in his Kink Noir series, Bondage, in several days. Our personal cat, kitty cancer survivor Opie has a very goopy, wet eyes. This is very unusual for Opealope so I gave him a couple treatments with a chamomile tea eye wash for cats grown and prepared by our fellow foster, Granola Cat Lady.
Despite all this (and only 5 hours sleep from sharing my bed with the teenager’s dog, F. Bean Barker), I still made it to Apex Training for leg day and some warm-up core work. My body was very stiff after that, not really from the workout but because my period is late and doing things to my body.
Although I have to admit I fell on the way to the gym and broke the screen to my iPhone. After 3.5 years I now get to test my SquareTrade insurance.
The other big news is that the teenager installed a new toilet seat in the upstairs bathroom. The old one had screws so stripped it kept falling off while you were sitting on it. Bad news is: our bathroom is 1950s Flamingo Pink. The new toilet seat is white— the only one they had. I hate white toilet seats on colored bowls but I also hate “falling in.” And now that she’s seen it, the teenager agrees.
I finally tried my Emmi Roth cheddar cheese snacks from Hungryroot which were supposed to be for tuna artichoke melts but I couldn’t bring myself to use such fancy cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich. A colleague and I were talking about snacks & cheese so I brought her some and we tried it at the Bizzy Hizzy.
She loved it so much she googled where to buy it. Apparently it’s only available in Wisconsin and Switzerland. It literally melts in your mouth.
After work I went to Sheetz and ordered a pina colada lemonade with immunity boost with my bonus points. It tasted like candy, too thick to be refreshing but definitely very summery. I added some mango vodka when I got home. (Here’s a video if you want to see me talk to myself in a parking lot at midnight.)
And finally, not sure if I mentioned it on the blog, but I’m another step closer to resolving the great EZ Pass Drama of Summer 2021. Did you ever procrastinate something so long it bit you in the ass?
Yeah, so that’s what happened to me.
So, our Nissan Ultima (oh how I loved that car) died suddenly. My husband and I were still together and only had one car. He replaced the Ultima was a used Nissan Juke— a car he had wanted for a while. We moved everything from the Ultima into the Juke.
I had ordered an EZ Pass when I started work on my master’s in world history at West Chester University and was driving down the turnpike at least once a week.
So I knew that the EZ Pass was connected to my car— the Ultima— but I never really used it. I forgot about it. And then I bought my Jetta because I hated the Juke. Our family didn’t really go anywhere. I worked retail so I never really got time off. I had stopped working on my master’s as money got tight and my marriage continued to fail.
I neither returned nor updated the EZ Pass.
My husband returned the box of random things from the Ultima and I, with other things on my mind, tossed the transponder in my car hoping to remember to update it.
I never did.
At this point, I don’t even remember how to access my EZ Pass account.
This summer, the teenager took her grandmother to Cape May. She pulled up to the first toll booth and the toll collector yelled at her for trying to pay the toll.
Being a dutiful child, she trusted the toll collector who told her she had an EZ Pass.
Two weeks later, we get two violations from NJ EZ Pass. $30 in missed tolls and $55 in administrative fees. My daughter and I send a check, but I also send an email stating that I understand I hadn’t updated the EZ Pass, but my daughter had tried to pay the toll and the toll collector yelled at her.
They cashed the check.
Then a couple weeks after that I get a letter from PA Turnpike EZ Pass stating I had insufficient funds in my account and they were threatening to ticket me. Now, my EZ Pass was on a credit card. That credit card expired one month before my daughter’s trip.
I call the number. Because I don’t know my account pin or my transponder number, I am forced to leave a message and they say they will call me back. That was Monday.
A couple days ago I get another letter from NJ EZ Pass. They claim I didn’t pay one of the two violations. I send another email and send them a screen shot from my banking app of the cashed check.
It’s now Thursday. I go to PA EZ Pass and try to remember all my account info. I easily succeed. I look at the “insufficient funds.” $5.37 cents. They also demand $35 to load my account fully. Even though I haven’t used it in three years.
And you can’t just pay what you owe.
I then go to the “manage vehicles” tab, add the Jetta and delete the Ultima. That took five minutes. Had I done that years ago, I could have avoided the whole drama.
My initial impression, especially when comparing Hungryroot to Hello Fresh, is that Hungryroot is better at providing recipes that are mostly fresh and easy. If Hungryroot tells you a meal is ready in 15 minutes, it’s ready in 15 minutes. If Hello Fresh tells you a meal is ready in 30 minutes, that depends on how well you interpret directions and how fast you chop.
If you want to learn to cook, get Hello Fresh. If you want to throw something together, consider Hungryroot.
So THE SCALLOP TACOS.
First, the recipe is printed on the back of your pack slip and cut out to put in an old fashioned recipe box. That is efficient in my eyes.
For this recipe, there is a bag of corn tortillas, a tray of Peruvian scallops, a plastic container of shredded carrots, kale and red cabbage, and a container of green Chile sauce. That’s it.
Pat scallops dry. Sear. Flip. Cook 3-5 minutes until opaque. Set aside.
Toss a little more oil in pan. Sauté vegetables until cooked. (I added some fresh lemon juice because the teenager resists kale & red cabbage.)
Fry up tortilla.
Put veggies & scallops in tortilla. Add green Chile sauce to taste. I also added avocado and my homemade corn salsa.
Delicious. Simple. Nourishing.
I love the balance of whole and processed foods with Hungryroot.
My Purple Carrot box comes Aug. 24.
“Mom!” the daughter says, “Stop with the meal delivery services!!!”
In other news:
As many of you know I worked at Target 2536 in Lower Nazareth for almost a decade. They had a shooting in the parking lot yesterday afternoon and “we” made the Philadelphia evening news.
ALL employees were safe and hid the people shopping in the store. The front of the building is all glass.
It was a troubling afternoon and those of us who used to work in the store, those who had off, and those who were in the store at the time, were texting and using social media to verify people’s safety and offer support. #targetfam
The last few days have been a blur: the last of mandatory overtime and trying to rest, seeing my dad for the first time in a while, teenager #1 following up on the job offer from our local diner. Throw in the mix some foster kitten errands, some wintry weather, and my annual fasting blood work and I scarcely know what end is up.
Perhaps this winter is a time of licking and healing old wounds so the spring can be a time of good growth.
Right now, I’m sitting in our favorite diner, really a favorite of everyone in the neighborhood, drinking a cup of coffee while my daughter takes a tour in anticipation of getting her working papers and accepting a job as a waitress.
The weather outside is sleet and slush, so it’s also her first day driving in wintry mix. We picked up some kibble at our foster godmother’s house— we’re down to three foster kittens. The roads in her area were slick and the back end of the car did slip but she maintained control. She also says she can hear the difference of the tires on the road when there’s precipitation under them. Her father says her ears are a superpower.
We started the day getting my annual fasting blood work— the prescription for which expires tomorrow so the phlebotomist was a tad confused. In my defense, I was scheduled to get my bloodwork the very day they closed my local Quest Lab. I had been fasting as required and they emailed less than 2 hours before that my appointment had been canceled.
To get today off on a good note, I wore my adult days of the week socks— Taco Tuesday— which I ordered off Target.com. And after my bloodwork I took the teenager to Wendy’s so she could finally taste the breakfast potatoes. Of course, I also got a free hot coffee from Dunkin. I tried the midnight dark roast.
With the teenager and teenager #2 in my home more often than not, they are forcing me to explore new looks.
Zoom has influenced this as I also am trying to look alive and vibrant on camera.
I have started posting “before,” “after” and “product” shots on my Instagram, but let’s call this my “week in review.”
I love sparkle, and my Oryza nude shimmer and contour palette serves as my everyday base eyeshadow. That was the best find so far via Ipsy, I even ordered a second so I don’t run out.
Now keep in mind, my makeup experience was non-existent five years ago.
I start everyday with some Oil of Olay moisturizer with SPF 30, a promise I made to my primary care physician to protect my skin. My brand loyalty is based on sales & coupons. (CVS)
When I start to put on my makeup, I used some re:p (real elemental practice) phytocell moisture serum. I like the way it makes my dry cheeks feel and it smells like oregano or some other garden herb. (Ipsy)
My primer today was IT your skin but better color correcting full coverage cream SPF 50+ broad spectrum UVA & UVB. Thought it would hide my dark circles for my zoom. (Ipsy) This is teenager 2’s go to when she works my make-up.
I actually did my cheeks next — I did a whole lot of bronzer. My tarte bronzer in park avenue princess is another product from Ipsy.
Eyes today are the palest Oryza shimmer color, with a layer of the bronze shimmer color and a spread around some slightly purple glitter from the Starlit Dio kaleidoscope palette I ordered from Target.com.
Lips were my Seraphine botanics lip gloss in Berry & Juice. This lip gloss has the best berry smell.
Yesterday I started with my normal Olay complete, and some of the rep serum, and did my hair with the Brazilian hair cream.
Did my eyes with my normal Oryza shimmer, blush was Will Powder from Ipsy, but lips were from Baby Bat Beauty, there celestial lip gloss I believe.
The heavy duty glitter on my eyes is Baby Bat Beauty Glass Slipper.