#amwriting, #MenToo, #MeToo, Adoption, Amazon Kindle, Best Selling List, Book Promotion, Book Sales, Goodreads, Leave a Review, Reviews, Self Help/Healing, Self-Publishing, Sexual Abuse, Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo

Kindle Giveaway Promotion, July 1-5, 2020

Reinbeck Studio, Creative Space

If you’re a reader that enjoys #nonfiction #memoir, Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey from Victim to Survivor offers a unique perspective on how #childhood #trauama and #family #dysfunction follows a child into adulthood.

The history of abuse in my family didn’t start with me; I made sure that it ends with me. No child should ever have to experience such heartbreak and trauma.

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Customer Service, Just the Facts, Speaking from Experience, Work

The Life-Cycle of Retail Returns

Have you ever wondered what happens to the items that get returned? Does it go back on the shelf? Does it get sent back to the vendor? Does it get donated? Does it get thrown out?

It depends on what the item is and how the vendor wants us to process their merchandise. What I hope to accomplish by sharing this information, is that you the consumer will make better choices in the future because you may be surprised to learn about how many perfectly new in box items get thrown out.

First, let’s start with food items. All food items that leave the store and get returned get thrown out. It’s not just the expired, moldy, stale items or the items that have been opened and you didn’t care for it after one bite. It’s also the food items that you buy in excess of for parties, BBQs, family dinners that are perfectly fine, unopened, or simply bought the wrong kind. That all goes right in the garbage. Do you really need that $3 for the pack of hot dog buns that bad? You know that you can freeze them, right? You could offer them to a friend, a neighbor, or donate it to your local food pantry.

While there is a lot of perfectly good food being wasted, it’s not as bad as all of the infant and baby products. All strollers, car seats, cribs, bassinettes, high chairs, beds, walkers, formula, baby food, diapers, pretty much anything that an infant or toddler would use or consume is an automatic garbage item. Yes, even if it is brand new in the box that has never been opened. Why? Liability.

What if the item I bought was not the right color, the item on the box looked teal, but when I opened it, the color is more of a powder blue. It’s new, never been assembled. It gets thrown out.

What if the item is the wrong size? They grow so fast and are in the next size up in diapers. Diapers, Pull-Ups, Little Swimmers all get thrown out.

What if I ordered the changing table online and I received one at my baby shower before my order arrived? The answer is still the same, it will get thrown out.

We know those baby products aren’t cheap, the store will still give you a refund. We just can’t put that merchandise back on the shelf.

When you’re putting together a Gift Registry for a baby shower, make sure that your friends and family know the importance of clearing any items they purchase off of the list to avoid duplicate items. If you are creating multiple Gift Registries at different locations Babies R’ Us, Target, Wal-mart, Sears make sure that you are not including a crib from each store, unless you do need more than one.

Thanks to social media, many areas have set up Buy/Sell/Trade pages to allow local residents the option to make personal sales with each other. If you find that you have a duplicate item that is brand new in the box and you don’t want it to get thrown out, why not list it for sale to recoup your money. Thus allowing another family the opportunity to make use of a perfectly good item that would have gone right in the garbage.

Food and baby items are the biggest contributors to unnecessary waste. Please consider an alternative before returning these unopened, perfectly good items to the retailer.

 

 

Covid-19, Health Care, Speaking from Experience, Women's Health

#StayHome Health Log

Welcome back blog readers,

At the start of this pandemic, last month (Canada it was early/mid-March 2020) I started to log my temperature and any symptoms just to keep an eye on things.

Since Sunday, March 15 I’ve had a slight pressure in my upper chest, no pain, no discomfort, no issues breathing.  Just a slight pressure for the last month.

I’ve recorded my temperature, to which I tend to register on the lower end of  “normal”, so on the rare occasions where I have spiked a fever, my temperature is typically reading 99F+.

Sunday, March 22nd, Temperature 97.9F

Sunday, March 29th, Temperature 98.0F
Still no other symptoms, just a slight pressure in my upper chest to which I have chalked up as anxiety as I have chosen to continue to work.

Thursday, April 16, the slight pressure in my upper chest is now accompanied by a slight heaviness in my lungs that is more noticeable upon inhaling. Still no pain/discomfort, no real issue breathing or getting enough air/circulation, no persistent cough. Feels like the beginning of an upper respiratory infection (unconfirmed diagnosis, just my thoughts).

Friday, April 17, same as yesterday, temperature 97F

Sunday, April 19, temperature 97.6F same pressure, the same level of heaviness, feeling tired and achy I decided to call in for my shift just to be safe. I could be dealing with a mild case of Walking Pneumonia (unconfirmed, it feels familiar from when I had it back in 2015) minus the sporadic coughing fits.

Monday, April 20, temperature 97.3F no changes to how I feel. Achiness/stiffness could be a combination of things. I normally have a chiropractic adjustment every 3 weeks, my last appointment was March 12th with a follow up on April 2nd that was canceled due to the Government closing things down. I have called in for Tuesday and Wednesday because I don’t know what I’m dealing with and I’m allowing myself a chance to rest and see if things get better or worse before deciding to go back to work.

I hate calling in, I know that many people are calling in and the store is extremely short-staffed. Am I dealing with a very mild case of COVID-19? Am I dealing with a very mild case of pneumonia? Am I dealing with an upper respiratory infection? The government of Ontario and the health experts have all stated that anyone that doesn’t feel 100% should stay home.

Has my level of anxiety increased since this pandemic started?, YES. I went from working 18 hours/week to 30+ hours/week. My position at work has changed from working in the Bakery to being trained (working in close proximity) to the associate training me in Claims and in the Cash Office. Since I’m being shuffled from one department (to train) to another department, I’m an associate without a permanent position.

If COVID-19 wasn’t a concern, I probably would just suck it up and continue to work my shifts. I don’t like feeling as if I’m letting my team down. I also know that I have to do what is best for me, do the right thing, and stay home.

I’ll keep updating this post with any new developments~ Tuesday, April 21.

***** UPDATE***** Wednesday April 22*****

I decided to call telehealth figuring that while I’m not displaying the more common COVID symptoms, what I do have maybe the less frequent symptoms and it was best to seek advice from a health professional.

Besides, it’s part of the due diligence.

Telehealth was so concerned that they suggested that not only should I get tested for COVID, but I should call an ambulance. Anytime there is a concern with breathing, the online assessment assumes it’s the worst-case scenario. I voiced my concern that an ambulance was a little much considering that I live within walking distance to the local hospital and the slight pressure in my chest is just that, slight.
I said I would call the hospital to get further instructions for the testing.

The local hospital doesn’t test for COVID, they suggested that I call Ottawa Public Health to find the closest test clinic. Public Health didn’t confirm my address and wanted to send me to downtown Ottawa to get tested. I raised the concern and questioned if there wasn’t a closer clinic. To which there is, but they didn’t have the information handy.
I asked a friend that had recently been tested to find out where she went. That should have been my first inquiry.

I drove out to Winchester where the COVID testing is taking place, I was in/out in under 10 minutes. No long wait times and the swab was very similar to having a swab for Strep Throat, not a swab through the nasal cavity.

Results will be ready in 24-48 hours and I will get confirmation whether it’s positive or negative.

The paperwork that I was given from the testing facility states (suggests) that if the test is Negative that I can return to work 24 hours after symptom resolution.

If the test is Positive: Self Isolate for 14 days- Return to work after 2 negative swabs, at least 24 hours apart (assuming you feel fine, no symptoms).

I’ve already called my employer, left a message with HR to let them know that I will be calling in for the rest of this week (Thursday/Friday) I’m off Saturday/Sunday. By then I should have the results to know how to proceed, assuming there are no changes.

Temperature: 97.8F

Oxygen Level, Checked at the COVID test clinic, 95% (taken while I was wearing a facemask).

That’s the news, for now, ~ Wednesday, April 22, 2020  *******

***** Friday, April 24, 2020******

Today’s news is that my COVID-19 results have come back NEGATIVE! So that’s a relief. I have further instruction to Complete my 14-day self-isolation (since the date of the test) which means I’ll be out of work until May 6th.

I’m still fighting off something (respiratory) so it’s probably best that I do take the time to rest, hydrate and see if I can’t get rid of whatever this is.

 

******* Update Sunday, May 3, 2020 *******

The slight pressure that had been present since mid-March is no longer there. It’s been gone for a few days now along with any other symptoms. I’m back to feeling 100% and intend to return to work on Thursday, May 7th as planned.

Here are the latest update/policy changes from the big-box retailer (my employer).

  • Safety- Associate temperature and wellness checks will continue in the Distribution Centers, our drivers and we’ll begin to roll out this program in the retail stores. We are encouraging customers to limit entry to only ONE adult per family. We are also distributing (voluntary) PPE (masks/gloves) to associates and we strongly encourage you to wear them while at work.
  • Offering New Services- Groceries by phone (not available in all locations)
  • Priority Pharmacy Access- Customers picking up a prescription no longer have to wait in line. They can call the pharmacy outside and get further instructions before meeting the associate at the front of the store.
  • Priority Store Access- Hospital Workers and First Responders will be given priority access starting Monday, May 4th as another way to Thank them.
  • Groceries to Hospital Staff- We’ve partnered up with eleven hospitals so their staff can have groceries delivered right to the hospital and we’re working to expand this program.

Online Grocery Orders continue to be in high demand. We are filling tens of thousands of orders each day, which means the wait time may be longer.  More stores are adding additional time slots and offering delivery. We appreciate your patience as we work through this high demand.   *** end of memo ***

 

Here are my thoughts and tips if you choose to visit any public store:

Wear a facemask, whether it’s store-bought, homemade, a simple bandana, or a scarf. Wear some form of protection. While our employer is offering PPE, keep in mind that there are 50+ associates each day sharing resources that are in high demand and don’t come in as often as we expect (backorder).

Please follow the arrows on the floor, Please go down the aisle in the right direction. Please wait your turn before proceeding down the aisle. I know that that Meat and Dairy aisles are the busiest and often the most congested. You have associates standing to one side with carts because they are either restocking and have to get it completed within 20 minutes (temperature-sensitive food items) or the associates are doing their best to fill online grocery orders (also time-sensitive). Just follow the flow and treat those aisles as you would a One-Way street. You don’t have to wait for the associate to move, they should be parked off to the side, so go around them when you have the space to do so. Customers going through the aisles in the opposite direction are the ones making matters worse and holding everybody up.

Have a LIST and know what you’re looking for. That is the key to getting you and other customers in & out as efficiently as possible. Start at the furthest point from the registers and work you’re way to the front.

Don’t harass the cashiers about any quantity limits or new policies, they have ZERO control and are only doing what they are asked to do for their safety as well as yours. Yes, these are hard times, they are inconvenient for everybody. Some may be new hires and are still learning, so give them a break if they aren’t as “fast” as the next cashier, or if they make a mistake while ringing up your order.

While you’re shopping you see your friend or neighbor and want to catch up. I understand your excitement, you haven’t seen them in weeks. DON’T take up space in the aisles with the marked arrows. Meet up with them in a lower traffic area, like shoes, infants, men’s wear. Don’t block the high traffic aisles where you see associates moving through with their carts or continue to move through with skids from the back of the store. Pull off to the side (between displays) or meet up in the parking lot.

Anyway, that’s the news for now.

Stay Safe 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Covid-19, Speaking from Experience, The World We Live In

Covid-19- We’re in this together

Welcome back blog readers,

Scientists and Medical Health Professionals/Experts that have studied and researched infectious diseases and viruses are sharing their advice and tips on how to protect ourselves and each other.

I’m taking advice from, the experts who are at the top of their field. Not social media, not religious groups and certainly not those who feel that this pandemic doesn’t apply to them. COVID-19 applies to all of us.

There is not a single country that is prepared for a pandemic that is a new strain that doesn’t have a cure or vaccine at this time. This virus is spreading rapidly, so fast that hospitals and testing facilities can’t meet the demand.

I have read several comments on social media, people are worried and concerned. I’d say that’s a healthy and normal reaction to this situation. Within reason of course. This is unknown territory for everyone.

There are not enough hospital beds, doctors, nurses, test kits, ventilators for every person. The testing facilities are backlogged and processing as many tests as quickly/accurately as they can. It’s not that your doctor or your local hospital doesn’t want to test you, they either don’t have the test available or perhaps they are screening those that ARE showing symptoms or those that know they have been in contact with someone that had tested positive. The tests may also be reserved for those working the front line to ensure the quality and safety of the patients they are caring for.

Yes, I understand, we all want peace of mind. Until adequate tests are made available, it’s best to assume that we are all carriers because there is no way to confirm every single person at this time.

That is why social distancing is so important. Assume everyone you encounter is infected, they are thinking the same about you; try not to take it personally. Do your best to stay at least 6 feet/3 meters away from them. Cough/sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue and dispose of it properly, then wash your hands properly. Most importantly, STAY HOME.

While many businesses, schools, gatherings, events, and non-essential services are closed; the post office, grocery stores, and essential services are still open, for now. To ensure they remain open, we all need to eat and restock, it is essential that we all self-isolate and only go out when it is absolutely necessary.

I know, pandemics are such a drag, right. This one comes along and tries to ruin Spring Break and other really cool plans that we had booked months ago. All we want to do is enjoy life, spend time with our friends and have a good time. We don’t feel sick and we’re so bored being confined to our homes.

Here’s an idea! How about you watch the movies Outbreak and Contagion to visually grasp why you should STAY HOME!!!!!!!! While you’re at it, stop coming into the stores and coughing on produce for your own shits and giggles. Stop coming into the stores because you’re bored and want something to do. These stupid internet challenges have got to stop. Nobody is going to think that you’re cool because you’ve filmed yourself licking a toilet seat or threatened to cough on an elderly lady.

These are my thoughts and opinions, nothing more. I encourage you to think for yourself, do your own research and hope that you act with integrity.

As to no bombard social media with any more COVID-19 related posts, I will edit/update this one should I feel the need to vent about it in the future.

**** Edit/Update**** Sunday, April 12th

Last night I stumbled across a post on our community page (Facebook). One member of the community shared his opinion that the Big Box (non-local) retail stores should open 24/7 in order to accommodate the customer needs. In his opinion, doing so would alleviate the long lines outside as many stores are limiting the number of people that can be inside at one time (including associates). It is also his opinion that having the stores open 24/7 would create more jobs (during this crisis) and more workers mean less stress overall.
In theory, (without the worldwide pandemic) this might be a good idea for retail stores that serve a larger population, like Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, NY City.

Here is my opinion on this matter (as retail associate) in a small-town community.
1. Under normal circumstances, our small-town community doesn’t have the demand for 24/7 retail shopping. In fact, most stores in the shopping plaza are closed by 8pm or earlier on Sunday. Our store typically closed at 10pm but has changed to close at 8pm temporarily to allow the staff more time to clean/sanitize and stock without customers in the store.

2. Trust me when I say we are hiring. New associates have started but all positions have not been filled. So while people are demanding that stores open 24/7, we can’t even fill the regular positions, nevermind the hypothetical overnight positions that need to be created in order for customers to shop. Yes, there is already an overnight crew that works 11pm-7am for the sole purpose of stocking and receiving any shipments that come in during that time. They also work very hard to clean/sanitize before the store opens at 7am.

3. Allowing the stores to be open 24/7 would create more jobs, however, these temporary jobs are just that, temporary. Those filling the overnight position (hypothetically) would be laid off once the pandemic is over as those positions would no longer be needed once the store returns to their regular hours. As I mentioned previously, people are too scared to even fill the regular day shifts, nevermind the overnight shifts.

4. If home office and the CDC and WHO thought the best idea would be to allow more time to shop, they would not have suggested us to STAY HOME and only shop for ESSENTIALS. Stores would not have reduced their hours in the first place. While I understand the logic, it’s not the safest plan of action for EVERYONE.
This logic only serves the customers and offers them the convenience of shopping anytime because shopping now has become a nuisance.

There are many customers that are grateful to those of us making the sacrifice to show up to work. They only shop for essentials, they wait patiently in line outside and again to check out, they come in one at a time and wear a mask, they follow the signs in the aisles that show them which way to go and where to wait. To those customers, THANK YOU!

There are customers that still can’t/won’t follow the signs and move through the aisle in the wrong direction, they don’t wear a mask, they bring their whole family (single parent not included) into the store, they are not buying essentials, they are browsing taking their sweet time touching everything, blocking the aisles and chit-chatting with no regard to anyone around them because the world clearly revolves around them. To those customers, STAY HOME and start taking this seriously.

You will be the reason store close to the public and you will force the rest of us to shop online/pick up only. Many people have a hard time planning ahead, portioning/rationing their food to last one week, never mind two weeks. When this happens we will have no choice but to plan ahead, create meal plans, portion control, make large meals to freeze for later and stretch out the limited resources from paycheck to paycheck.

Stop taking things for granted, stop making demands (hiring more staff when you yourself are unwilling to apply for those jobs). Stop being so selfish and try thinking about more than just yourself. Right now there is no one that is immune; if you aren’t COVID+ you are likely asymptomatic ( a carrier that is infecting others) That is why it is so important to wear a mask in public.

Have you stopped to consider that your selfishness might be the cause an outbreak happens in the retail stores? You infected an associate, that infects other associates, the stores can’t fill positions as it is and the store is forced to close for 2 weeks? No online pick-up, CLOSED FOR 2 WEEKS. Let that sink in.

 

 

Customer Service, Educate Yourself, Health Care, Speaking from Experience, The World We Live In

How I’m surviving through Covid-19

Before I get into this post, I will preface by stating that at this moment (Saturday, March 21, 2020) I have not been tested or screened in any manner to confirm whether or not I actually have contracted this virus. Nor am I feeling ill to prompt me to seek testing.

Due to the fact that I work in retail/grocery, I am now considered an “Essential Worker” and my responsibility to show up as scheduled has not changed. If anything, I am picking up more shifts.

Our store, as I suspect with many businesses that are still open, are understaffed. That’s not a complaint, just the fact considering many parents can’t work while their kids are home. Some are home taking care of their family members that are at a higher risk due to their health concerns and some are probably home, self-isolating for their own concerns.

For me, my life hasn’t changed dramatically since last Thursday when the panic in my area (just outside of Ottawa) set in. I’m an introvert by nature, I go to work in town, I don’t leave the 2-mile radius often.

Am I concerned about contracting this virus? I’m realistic in assuming that it’s very likely that I will get it, but I feel that I’m healthy enough to recover from it. My husband works from home and we are stocked with enough food and OTC meds to get by should we have to self-quarantine.

The act of disinfecting the kitchen/bathroom counters, knobs, handles, and switches have been an additional chore that I have incorporated into my morning routine.

On social media, I’ve been encouraging the public to help us (retail workers) practice Social Distancing. Help Us Help You. We understand that you have to restock, you have errands to run, the kids are home and they’re getting cabin fever. This is not the time for a family outing to the store. Please allow ONE family member to do the shopping if you can help it.

Obviously, we are aware that some customers need assistance, some customers are single parents and have no choice but to bring their child(ren) into the store. We get it, no judgment, we are not policing the situation.

I had to clarify my statement when I suggested that one family member should do the shopping while leaving their family in the car. The comment was meant in the scenario that both parents or a responsible adult could remain in the vehicle with the child(ren). But people misinterpret and thought I was suggesting that a single parent leave their toddler in a car seat unattended in the parking lot… I didn’t think that I had to spell it out, but clearly, I do.

For the most part, residents in this area are practicing social distancing. I see others are not. Both parents and their 3 kids in the store running through the aisles, NOT social distancing. A group of teenagers wandering the store because it’s something to do, NOT social distancing. Four college bros shopping together, NOT social distancing. A resident that just came back from Florida, coughing claims they were “tested” at the airport, NOT social distancing or self quarantining for that matter.
Being screened at the airport (temperature is taken) is NOT the same as being tested for coronavirus.

Again, I get it. You’ve been away and just now returning home from abroad, you need food and to restock. Ask your community to help. Social media pages are set up in this area for that purpose. There are healthy people offering to assist with running errands and picking up groceries to drop them off at your door. Let them.

I know that social media is being flooded with all sorts of information, some helpful, some misleading and only creating more panic. Choose to get your information from the source, not some third party and certainly not through memes.

While I do have plenty to say, I will refrain. Lately, my opinions encourage others to treat me as their virtual punching bag.

I’ll leave you with this…
We are in this together, doing the best that we can. While most people will recover from Covid-19, many are at a huge disadvantage. If you have already started the self-isolation process, Thank You. If you have not because you feel it doesn’t apply to you, You are part of the problem. That last bit doesn’t apply to all of the essential workers that are being asked to put themselves at risk.
Stay calm and wash your hands 🙂

WHO:https://www.who.int/

CDC:https://www.cdc.gov/