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Black “Friday”


It’s that time of year again, a time for family, being together, being thankful for what you have, and eating like it’s your last meal. Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be anyway, unless a member of your family happens to work in retail, then it’s a time for stress, no sleep, 16 hour work-days, and of course Black Friday, or I suppose we should start calling it Black Thursday. 

Stores are opening earlier than ever this year, with nearly all of them opening on Thanksgiving day, giving employees absolutely no time with their families. Employees are expected to work until 3 or 4 in the morning the day before the holiday to setup for the spectacle, then are expected to arrive as early as 3 or 4 pm on Thanksgiving day to prep for the sales. This leaves 12 hours, with a 10 hour shift before and a 16 to 18 hour shift after. I suppose companies see this 12 hours as plenty of time off for the holiday, since all employees are in fact robots and do not need to sleep. 

I admit I do have a biased opinion here since my wife is one of those employees who works retail, who I have seen less and less each year for holidays as these opening times become more and more obscene. Biased or not, I cannot under any circumstances see how it is more important for people to be able to shop on Thanksgiving day than it is to allow these employees to be home with their families. I cannot justify it, nor can I accept that it is a reasonable thing to do, I just can’t.

Being an adult who has watched this deterioration of values over the last several years I have a bit of understanding in that these companies all feel they “have to” open this early to be competitive. I can understand that, but the ones who can’t, the ones who suffer the most, the ones who can’t understand why mommy isn’t there, are the children. How do you explain to a child that mommy can’t be home because some executive wants an extra quarter of a percentage point on his stock this year?

I have drafted up a letter that I will be sending off to the corporate offices this year asking this very question, asking them to explain to my son what I can’t find the words for.


To whom it may concern,

I was very saddened by your recent press announcement for your 2013 Thanksgiving day hours, as this means yet another holiday where my wife will not be home with our family. I understand that you feel you “need” to be open during the holiday because as you put it “That’s what customers want”, but you do so at a great cost. Your stores, along with so many others are slowly chipping away at the values for sacred time left in our society. The toll you are taking on families is devastating, and takes what should be a happy time of celebration and togetherness and twists it into a time of dread and sadness. Your employees are left to bear this burden, along with their families. Some of us can bear the weight better than others, but our children, they don’t understand.

I would like you to explain to my son why his mother can’t be home with us for the holiday. Explain to him why it is so important for the store to be open on Thanksgiving when we teach him that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, and to spend together with family. Tell me how to explain that a slightly larger market share for the company is worth him not seeing his mother. Tell me what to say when he asks “Why?”. Help me explain to him that all the mommies and daddies need to work so a few people can have a little more money, and when he offers up his piggy bank to those people and asks “Can mommy stay home now?”, what do I say then?

I don’t expect anyone to reply to this, or even read it all the way through, but if by some chance someone does, please think about what you’re doing. Think about the damage you are causing to families in the name of a little extra profit. Is it worth it? Is it really?


Concerned for our children.


I will be mailing, or emailing, this letter to every address I can get a hold of in the hopes that someone, somewhere will read it, and it will sink in with them. Please feel free to copy, modify, and send as well.

We created this beast by supporting these stores through the years, lining up outside the buildings year after year, even as they push these times earlier and earlier. We did this. We encouraged and allowed this to happen. We have to fight to undo it. I would love to tell everyone to completely boycott all of the stores that are open on Thanksgiving day to send a message, but I know that isn’t realistic. I would like to ask everyone though to take a good hard look at these stores and ask yourself, “Is it really worth saving $20 to destroy this holiday?”. If at all possible, please do not shop on Thanksgiving. I’m not saying don’t shop the stores that are open on Thanksgiving, just wait, don’t go until after midnight, spend the time with your family, help send a message, please.

I have one last favor to ask, if you do go out, on either day, please be kind to the employees at these stores. Remember, they had to give up their holiday, their family time so you can shop. They didn’t choose to be open this early, their corporate offices chose that. It is not the individual stores fault, the local store didn’t make the decision, it was made by someone who never steps foot outside of a corporate office, someone who makes more in a year than I will make in a lifetime, someone who most certainly will not be working on Thanksgiving day. The employees at your local stores are gaining nothing by being open so early, they don’t profit from it. Many of those employees are heartbroken by being there instead of with their family, so please, be nice to them. Thank you.





Life has been extremely busy in recent months between work, school, home, and occasionally sleeping. Because of my schedule I haven’t had much time to post, but I wanted to share a few pictures I took they other day while playing outside with my wife and son. My son was throwing leaves around the yard when the idea for these pictures came to me, to me they represent the changes of fall. Do they say anything to you? I hope you all enjoy them.




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Dreams of a future yet to be.


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

If you’ve ever been to a job interview, or an annual review, or even to your high school guidance counselor you’ve likely been asked this question, and if you’re anything like me the answer is never as simple and straightforward as the questioner makes it seem. They expect you to give an answer along the lines of “I see myself in a corner office as a high ranking manager of the company” or something like that. They want you to show that you have ambition and drive and are motivated to progress forward in your corporate career, climbing that proverbial ladder one rung at a time. I tend to give a blank stare for a moment while I visualize my future, then try to think fast and give whatever answer I feel this particular boss is searching for to stroke their ego and make them feel good about themselves so they will give me my 3-4% raise for the year.

In reality what I see in my mind is a crisp, clear, almost too vivid image of the future I hope to one day see. I can see in exact detail the house I want to live in, the property, my wife and son playing in the backyard. I can see the archery range along one side of the tree line, and the deck that overlooks the property. I can see the workshop in the side yard complete with kiln, forge, wood shop and electronics in their own corners of the building. I see the recording studio stocked with instruments, the painting room for my wife that takes the place of the corner office complete with 2 walls of glass to provide an ample view of the scenery as inspiration. I see the kitchen we have always talked about, with room for more than one person at a time, something I can’t say for our current kitchen. I picture the library, with 20 foot ceilings and stocked shelves going all the way up. I can even see the leather chairs, with their slightly cracked cushions from wear of a family who spends countless evenings reading together.

I can see all this as clearly as if it were a memory of this morning’s walk around the house, yet this is not the answer the bosses want to hear. Nowhere in my vision is a career. Nowhere is me spending my days working my heart out for them. So I do as we all do when talk to our bosses, I lie. I tell them about the things I want to do for the company, where I want my professional career to be. I put on a good show and inflate that ego to as near its breaking point as I dare.

Truth is this is the vision that has been in my mind for years, and every time a career works its way into my vision it’s only there as an explanation of how I can afford this. Along the years I have had so many ideas of things I could do to make enough money that I would never have to rely on working for someone else again. Ideas like things I could invent and sell or a program or app I could write that would take off and become the next Instagram that I could sell to Facebook for 6 billion dollars. The only thing that has made an appearance over and over again since I was a child is writing.

Every couple of years I think about writing, about turning it into a job, something I love doing that could earn me money. After all, isn’t that the dream, to make a living doing what we love? Writing has so many appealing aspects to me that it’s easy for me to rationalize why I am drawn to it. It can be done in the comfort of my own home, allowing me more time with my family. There is potential for good income in writing, I know I will never be the next Stephen King, or George R.R. Martin, but I like to think that someday I would be able to afford the things I see in my dreams, to be able to afford to tell my wife that she doesn’t need to work anymore. That she doesn’t have to spend another shift being treated in ways that make her feel lower than dirt. To tell her she never needs to spend another holiday season working so many hours that she all but disappears from our lives for months.

I don’t know if my dream will ever be anything more than a dream, but it’s something to hold onto, to hope for. Writing is something I can see myself doing in my future, sitting my leather chair and writing, watching my wife paint, the thought brings a smile to my face even now.

Now if only I could finish a story, any story, and share it with someone to find out if there is even a glimmer of hope that someday people might spend their hard earned money on something that I wrote. By the time I’m more than a few pages into a story I always start tearing myself down and criticize myself to the point that I put the pen and paper away and don’t touch them again for years. It scares me to share my work with anyone, because if I do, and they confirm that my “skill” is really not anything worth mentioning that my dream may slip away from me forever.

I truly hope that my new community here in the blogosphere will keep me writing, keep me improving, keep me going so maybe someday before another 10 years passes I will get to see at least a little bit of my dream.

How about you? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

photo credit: lululemon athletica

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus



This is my first time with the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s topic challenge is Focus. These pictures were taken by me a few years back, before I had my own DSLR and shared one with my wife, a Nikon D40. These pictures were taken at a local cemetery that is one of our favorite photography locations. The first picture focuses on the angel in the foreground, and the second on the angel in the background.ImageImage

10 tweets that will make book lovers go WTF?

Thanks to geekybooksnob for the morning sigh of sadness. 🙂

Geeky Book Snob

The following tweets are real.  I’ve removed their identities so that hordes of book lovers won’t unleash hell-fire upon them.

hate reading 11

It shows – you forgot the g.

hate to read tweet 7

Then he’s like, the best dad ever.

hate to read tweet 3

You F#%$$% read it!

hate reading tweet 1

Wait, you have to go camping to read?

hate to read 6


hate to read 5

And about 40 book fairies just died.

hate to read 10

Please, don’t ever let this person hold any type of authority in this world. 

hate reading 12

A book demon! Get the hell out of there!

hate to read tweet 4

I think this is hilarious too.  I am going to find your address so I can mail you novels as well and be part of the hilarity.

hate to read tweet 9

You’re so lucky.

And thought I would throw in one more…..

hate to read 8

Respect to you too sister.

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