Dead Fish in a Box

The chronicles of a suburban fishpimp trying to keep it rural.

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Location: United States

Friday, December 30, 2005

Say What?

California police officer attacked by pack of angry Chihuahuas

Which reminds me of the old World-Wide Web-fights question: Who would win: A rotweiler, or a rotweiler's weight of chihuahuas?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

La Navidad Non Sequitor

Buenos Dias, amigos! I hope all y’all had a lovely weekend. The Fishpimps celebrated Christmas with a lovely dinner of smoked duck followed by the annual haranguing my father into going to church with us. We used to joke that Mom went to the Presbyterian church, and dad worshiped to Our Lady of Montlake at Husky Stadium. Well, he got a special treat this year when Sonny Sixkiller turned around and barked ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS!’ at us. Apparently, the Sixkiller family did the same thing to him; they were all seated in the pew in front of us.

If you’ve spent any time in Seattle I’m sure you’ve noticed that it tends to lean to the left, politically speaking. It’s something I grew up with and don’t usually notice, but my wife does. She tells me that one of the local radio stations put a holiday promo together with all the DJ’s offering Christmas-alternative salutations to the listeners – things like “Have a Krazy Kwanzaa” and “Happy Hanukah!”, but one guy blurted out “Have a Rad Ramadan”. I’m guessing it wasn’t offered in sincerity, rather as a shot at the establishment (which, btw, isn’t very established in Seattle), because Ramadan was back in September this year (it’s based on the Lunar calendar). I’m all for parody, but if you’re going to poke fun at least get your facts straight. Dork.

In other news, we’re dog-sitting for Mrs. Fishpimp’s boss. It’s fine, we certainly owe him for helping take care of ‘Little T’ every time his mamma runs off in Africa, but I think we might have to change how we account for this from ‘days of care’ to ‘pounds cared for’ – we’ve increased our dog-mass for the week by 600%. Rosie and Zelda are the bossman’s two Bernese Mountain Dogs. People love this breed, but I’m not sure why; they are the biggest, laziest, and most stubborn dogs I’ve ever cared for. Sure they’re sweet, until you have to pull 120 Lbs. of them into the kitchen for the night when they don’t want to leave the living room! It reminds me of that joke ‘where does an 800 Lb. canary sit?? – Anywhere he wants!’ Where does a big-ass Bernese Mountain Dog sleep?...

In the kitchen! I just hope I don’t throw out my back hauling them in there!

Friday, December 23, 2005

One Major Difference

I have gone out on a route truck a few times now and the biggest difference between dead fish and dirty laundry that I've seen is the number of businesses who use the product. In seafood it’s pretty easy to find the targets – open up the phone book to ‘restaurants’ or ‘grocers’ and you’ll find 90% of them. The nice thing here is that a company like this one can serve just about any other company out there. While out on the routes I’ve been to the businesses I expected to see: manufacturing plants, auto repair shops, and restaurants. But I’ve been surprised also: Bio-tech companies, a gas BBQ retailer, and an insurance agency. It’s a relief to me to see the huge opportunity out there; it’s a big world. Seafood, on the other hand, is a very, very small world. It’s incestuous. Everyone knows everyone, and if they’re not buying from the fishhouse, they’re not buying for a reason. These obstacles are very difficult to overcome, if it is even possible to overcome them in the first place. In 2004 I had been doing very well with a small grocery chain when a new buyer came in and gave all the business to another fish company whose quality & service were poorer, and prices higher than mine. When I finally got to sit down with her and get to the root of the issue I found that she didn’t like the fishhouse because of something a rep, who had left the company years ago, had done in 1996! No more of that, no more banging my head against the wall. If it isn’t going to work, I’ll just move on to the next one, love ‘em and leave ‘em. Stick & move, baby. Look out, I'm coming on like a bad cold!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Winter Coat

As the Fishhouse’s Captain Outrage used to say as he bit into an apple fritter “winter is coming. Store Fat!” I figured that I’d lose weight after retiring from the fish wars. How could I not? We were always eating! Here, try this new battered halibut. Try this new coconut prawn. Try this New York steak, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. My wife told me there would be more food at the new place. Her rationale? There were actually women who worked there. I thought she was crazy.

She was right.

I shouldn’t be surprised, she always is. But seriously, the amount of food these women bring at the new place borders on ridiculous; we’ve had 3 holiday parties so far! Who needs three holiday parties? There is candy, cookies, and cake around every corner! I’ve gained freakin’ ten pounds in the month I’ve worked there! People keep dropping sweets on my desk, and then get upset when I politely refuse. I tell you what, when I can’t even button the collar on my shirts anymore it’s become a hostile work environment. I’d call Human Resources, but she’s already mad that I didn’t have one of her chocolate-covered peanut butter balls.

I’ve got no hope.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Carded in Kent

I've been burning the candle at both ends lately - working 10 hours, driving an hour in traffic, and painting for two more when I get home, not to mention what three days in Las Vegas will do to a guy. The bottom line is I done got myself sick. So, I went to the local Safeway to buy some antihistamine.

I'd heard that Washington State is a hotbed for Meth production, but now they’ve got all the cold meds locked up front with the smokes and lottery tickets; I guess this is what the state has come up with to combat the trade. Now, the new office is in Kent, not exactly the swankiest part of town, so it makes sense that they'd ramp up enforcement down here. So I mosey on up to the counter and ask for my favorite brand; they're out. "All's we got is the 12-hour stuff." the clerk says.
"What's up with that?" I ask, noticing that the cold medicine display is 2/3rds empty, "All the meth guys wipe you out?"
"No, it's just that time of the year." She tells me. She's obviously on the inside, I wonder how much they're paying her.
"12-hour is fine"
"I need to see your driver's license"

I got carded to buy freakin' cold medicine! And it's not even the good stuff! Man, what a hassle. I had been thinking about starting up a meth lab in the new house - I have the room now, and with two mortgages I could use the extra cash - but seriously, who needs the drama.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Vegas, Baby!

Vegas, Baby!

It seems to me after two weeks with this new company that I have landed a plum of a job. I’m so jaded from all the bullsh*t at the House of Fish that I find myself expecting the same negative attitudes at the new place. They are not to be found. There is a profound confidence and drive to be the best in everyone I have talked to in the past 10 days. It’s refreshing beyond words. That is not to say they don’t have their problems, but the way they react to them is completely different from what I’ve experienced in the past 5 ½ years.

So the past three days I’ve been in Las Vegas attending the annual sales conference and awards banquet. It was a real hoot. Another big difference between the new place and the Fishhouse is that people still drink at the new place; I can’t tell you how many of my former coworkers had quit drinking. I rarely drank with my former coworkers because so many of them (and many of my clients for that matter) were alcoholics. Not so in the uniform business; they know how to rip it up. My manager got “tore up from the floor up” and demanded that we go to the Hard Rock for sushi. My new GM bought $400 worth of drinks in two nights. The President of the company, at 2 AM, told a coworker of mine “seriously, go get a drink, I can’t even talk to you unless you’ve got a cocktail in your hand!”

Right on.

This is my kind of place. They exemplify “work hard, play hard”. I can’t wait to get selling for this team. I just want to do a good job so I can go back to Vegas next year. Seriously, at the awards banquet, each winner was escorted up to the stage by a showgirl with the big-a** headdress and everything. They’re big time, they don’t mess a round; for example: the featured motivational speaker? Rudy Rueteger – you know, the guy the movie “Rudy” was about. He’s definitely not the smartest guy, but a real example of the power of positive thinking. And I’m about as positive as it gets these days. I have to be, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to reconcile driving from Edmonds to Kent (70 miles round trip) every day while I’m in training.

Of course the comfy company car doesn’t hurt either.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Adventures in Retail-land

The house we bought is a fixer. We knew that going into the deal. This was the first of many days dedicated to fixin’ on the house. I replaced two electrical outlets, swapped out the stem on a leaky faucet, and cleaned a bunch of wax out of the carpet in the master bedroom. Mrs. Fishpimp peeled wallpaper and spackled two bedrooms – there were so many tack holes in the walls that they now look polka-dotted. Madness. It’s going to be fun to try to replicate the existing texture.

I also took on replacing the garage door mounts. The previous owners replaced the original brackets with perforated pipe strap which was way too flimsy to hold anything as substantial as a garage door in place. I ended up attaching the appropriate hardware with an ‘L’ bracket to a piece of 2x6 I zipped up to the joists. Not too sexy, but solid.

When we wrapped all that up we made for PetSmart to exchange a dog bed. We got one for the dog so he could have a place to sleep other than our new couch. Alas, it was too small. We grabbed the next size up off the rack – the sign on the shelf said $15.99 - $3 more than the medium – and there was a pad inside with a tag that said “this pad included!”. We had been planning on just putting a blanket in the basket, but I doubt he’d have minded lying on a nice pillow! But here’s the rub: they had it mis-slotted. It should have been on a different shelf. We figured that out when it rang up at $45. Here’s where it gets goofy – the basket was $16, and the pad was $18, or $34 together as you may have already calculated. When the Mrs. pointed this out to the manager the conversation went something like this:

“Oh, they’re on promo!”
So the promo price is $11 higher than normal retail? Well, we’ll just buy the basket and pillow separately.
“We’re out of the baskets.
Why don’t you just sell them to us at the regular separate retails?
“Um, I can’t do that, it’s a package deal”
Aren’t you a manager?
But you can’t make that happen?
Do you have the number to Petco?

Petco didn’t have the baskets we wanted. In the subsequent rage we broke a cardinal rule of shopping: Don’t go browsing at Costco.

We headed across the parking lot for Chicken Bakes and to get a dog bed (the sister-in-law just got one and it seemed adequate.). Uff da was that ever a costly decision! Nothing like walking into Costco without a list and walking out having spent 10 times what you had projected for! At least we got out of there before we bought the trampoline.

Then back to Home Despot to pick up the supplies I needed to finish the garage door project, total: $0.74. We should have just gone there and called it good. Oh well, at least the dog likes his new bed and I’ve got a new bottle of port to drown my retail-angst in.

Friday, December 02, 2005

New Beginnings

Day Three on the new job and I’ve got a ton to learn. I plowed through a week’s worth of training manuals in a day and a half to get ready for a training conference call this morning. It turns out I probably over did it. At least now I have a plan.

Speaking of conference calls, the first thing I was involved with on Wednesday was a big call with all the offices in the Western region to wrap up the big fall sales contest. Here I am, in front of all the managers and ½ the company on the phone, on my best behavior, in my best suit, my shiniest shoes, and fluffiest tie trying to make the best, most professional first impression I can and someone on the call starts punctuating all the announcements with a fart machine! Lets face it, no matter what the situation, no matter how pompous one wants to appear, farts are funny.

I think this place is going to be pretty fun. Yesterday I ended up throwing the football around with the NW regional VP. I haven’t found any real characters yet to write about, but I’m sure that will change. They’re shipping me off to a conference in Vegas next week so I should have a report to file from there. Stand by.