Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peace Amongst the Nemos

Wondering how would it be to breathe in deep. I guess I need to be careful when I ask for a drink (just might get what I ask for). And I know just what You'd say to me, that's why I don't ask you. What would I ask you? I'm like a bullheaded boy these days crying my toy's gone...You're shiny and new -- "Close of Autumn", Caedmon's Call from "Caedmon's Call"

Sometimes the Magic can be a little much. Well, let's rephrase that... for the guests, it should always be Magical... for those of us that provide the Magic, it can be a little much.

But today was a good day. I didn't even have to use my AK... ooh wah ooh... (hmm... unsure how many of you out there can recall that's an Ice Cube lyric, so I'll move on)

Today started out as a not-quite-as-good day. Today started out as a hectic day, in fact. I arrived later than usual, after two solid days of work. I arrived 30 minutes later than I should have and faced an already mounting sort of issues. The types of issues that, when faced singularly, are not much to worry about, but when tossed together in a big pile, can seem a bit overwhelming.

Lots to do, lots to do, starting mostly with a change over. Halloween stuff moves to the back of the store, new toys and Christmas merchandise begin to fill the front of the store. Two weeks before Halloween, we gotta get rid of the costumes...

SIDEBAR RANT... And just for the record, please, for the love, don't get mad at me when, 10 days before the actual day of Halloween, we don't have any more Peter Pan Costumes in stock. Seriously. They've been out on the floor since mid-August. You've had over 2 months to come in and purchase... yes, they didn't go on sale for a long, long time. But you know what? I'd bet you'd pay that extra $12 for the right size of the Buzz costume now, wouldn't ya? I'm sorry we don't have anymore. We had billions. You were just playing the odds that the right size would still be here late in the game, on the cheap, and you lost. Oh, where can you find them? Um, how about Just sayin'....

...and the costumes are on sale, but Snow White was just released on DVD, so we have an entire selection of apparel and toys featuring the first princess, and the newest princess, Tiana, is coming out on December 11th, via The Princess & the Frog, which is supposed to be feeee-nominal, so we have a wall of her, and don't forget Tinkerbell!

And I need to fill the Cars wall because we've sold through so many Maters already and, wait, there's the phone, yes ma'am we do have Minnie Costumes in red and pink and what size? Okay, I'll check on that for you, no I'm sorry we don't have any 4T, they only come to 2T in pink, but we do have a 2/3 in the red and sure we can hold it for you, and let me look on my sheet, and I've got to re-ticket some of these costumes with the white ticket gun, it should be in the closet and its not in the closet, this is bad and yes sir we are hiring, here is an application for you (thinking the oily truckers cap plus the gruff, nonchalant way you asked for an application to add to the 30 you have in your left hand might just ensure that not only will you not get a job with us, you probably won't get an interview) and just fill it out and come back later and oh, the phone rings again, no ma'am, Spongebob is not Disney, no ma'am, I'm not sure where to find it in the mall, but Toys R Us is across Highway 31, and that white ticket should be in the closet, its always in the closet, and welcome to Disney yes ma'am, we do have Jasmine costumes, and yes, they are on sale but don't have prices posted yet because all of our costumes are on sale but not all are ringing up correctly so you will have to check back and yes sir, we do sell tickets, okay a 6 Day Base Ticket (thinking who would want a Base ticket? for 3 days maybe, but I couldn't do 6 without a park hopper) and that will be $266.47 and oh no, the ticket activation system is not working properly, ma'am I'm so sorry you'll have to come back later and where the heck did that white ticket gun go, this is bizarre and somewhat frustrating and that Rosetta costume that you picked up from the rack with the 9 other Rosetta costumes is actually $29.99 right now, just like it says on the sign directly above the 9 Rosetta costumes and yes I know we have other costumes for $19.99 but if you'll look ma'am you'll see that those costumes are not only clearly marked but they aren't even near the also clearly-marked-with-a-different-price Rosetta costumes so no they aren't the same price and its okay that you don't want it, but did you really have to just stick on the $19.99 rack and walk away when the $29.99 rack that you got it off of was about four more steps away and no ma'am we don't have any more Captain Hook costumes besides what is right there on the wall in the 2/3 size and sure, I'll check on some Nemo Costumes in the back and...


I slowly walked backstage. Head spinning, wondering how I was going to get it even done. Too much stuff to do, inhibited by the fact I'm an assistant and I'm allowed 40 hours per week and that's all. I pull out the small step ladder and place it directly under Pooh and Nemo. They are toddler costumes, hanging from a chain that hangs down from the ceiling and someone wants a 12 Mos size.

I unfold the ladder and step to the top. I reach, stretch, pull a little, plant my foot on a nearby shelf making sure I don't fall, and get the 12 month size I need. And then I stop for a few seconds.

"God... we don't spend nearly enough time together. Really. I mean, not that we spend a day or two here, or an hour or two together and I need more, I mean, we really don't spend enough time together. This is a silly request... just help me today. I've got too much to do. In the grand scheme of things, it will all get done, I'm sure, but help me figure this out. That's all."

I stood for another few seconds, took another breath, and as I stepped down the ladder onto the tile, it was... well, it was a peace that surpassed all understanding. I certainly don't understand it. It was if a big rock with the label "TUESDAY" on it was resting on my back, and somehow, a gracious, powerful and somewhat loving Hand just flicked it off.

Things started to click. I would say "somehow" but I know the "how". The costumes started ringing up correctly. The ticket activation system kicked in, and when she called back, I took care of her ticket and got it to her. We didn't get a ton of shipment in today, which means I could concentrate on other things. I managed a couple of fixtures before I left. I scheduled a couple of interviews for the end of the week--sadly, Trucker Hat Guy didn't make the cut.

And that's the thing, ain't it? Its so simple, its just as easy as a "Hey God... little help here", ain't it? Doesn't mean it will all be perfect... heck, when I left, I still had a ton of stuff to do (and have to do tomorrow) and people were still irritated at me when I told them that we don't have any more Peter Pan bow & arrow sets...

"Well, can you order them online?"
"I am sure you can find them online, if they are available, ma'am, but we don't have the capabilities to order them from our store. You'll have to go on yourself."
"Well, can you get it shipped here, and let me pick it up here?"
"No ma'am, you'll have to have it shipped to your home, we cannot get it here for you to pick up."
"Well, I can't believe you don't have any more boys accessories."
"Actually, ma'am, we do have more in the back, but we are holding onto them because you're obnoxious and we won't sell them to you..."

...but all in all, the outlook was different. Just that quick nudge to Him, not even a full out prayer, just an acknowledgement of dependence and need and want was enough to have a sweeping feeling of contentment and grace and... yep, peace. A peace that truly surpasses all understanding, so sez Philippians 4:7, so we live out. I don't understand it, never will.

Reminds me of my favorite Caedmon's Call song, "Close of Autumn", one of those "this song changed my life" kind of songs, when it says: When I'm cold and alone, all I want is my freedom, sudden gust of gravity. I stop wailing and kicking just to let this water cover me, cover me, only if I rest my arms, rest my mind, You'll overcome me, swell up around me. With my fighting so vain, my vanity so fought, I'm rolling over. And in just the same way, the streams become swollen, swollen with cold up over the ground. When my heart draws close to the close of Autumn where your love (your love) abounds.

I was going to finish up the trip review to the Happiest Place on Earth, but I ended up having a day like today, and thought I'd share the Happiest Place in the Mall.

And my greatest fear... was that you'd leave me here... a long time back my feet could touch the bottom...

Now where is that stupid white-ticket gun?


  1. David...just before reading this post, I had the very same experience. I woke up knowing that I have the weight of my store on my shoulders in a climate where people are not spending money.

    I prayed almost the exact prayer you did. I'm feeling humbled by being in the hands of a God who will love me even though I don't let Him sometimes.

    It's almost like when I hug and kiss my little girl because I love her so much but she tugs and wiggles her way out of my arms because she's too independent and wants to be down doing her own thing.

    Thanks for the reminder...God is good.

  2. During that one paragraph I had to start reading faster because I found myself literally not breathing while I read it. Then "whew" and I could breathe. I am certain this is how you felt this day, and I hope that this will not continue to happen during the holiday season.

    And for the record, we bought our costume (and all accesories thank you) the first week of September. My husband was baffled, wondering why in the world I did this 7 weeks before Halloween. He does not understand this. I get it from 2 perspectives 1) I used to work in retail and know how this ordeal works. and 2) There is nothing worse than a child who HAS to have a certain costume and no place on EARTH has one left and you can't sew your way out of a paper bag.

    Sadly, we are no longer interested in being a Princess, but instead my daughter will be dressing as some "Orange Spice" character off the Wal-Mart racks. I however, still want to be Tinkerbell so if you have a size...oh never mind, it's not worth posting my size on your blog :)

    Happy Halloween!!

  3. Orange Spice? Is that like, a newer, fruit oriented version of The Spice Girls? For kids? I'll bet Pineapple Spice is great, and I know that Pumpkin Spice is popular... at least at Starbucks...


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