Jul 3, 2014

Musings from an Airplane

I'm sitting on an airplane on my way to Florida. I didn't have to ask anyone's permission. I didn't have to take time off. I was just able to go. And when I got an email alert saying that I should change my travel plans to a day earlier to avoid bad weather, I could do that without thinking twice. I started to think about a quote from the HBO Series Six Feet Under. Nate said, “I work at a job which was also supposed to be temporary, until I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life, which apparently is nothing.” Throughout my 20’s and even early 30’s, I felt like that quote summed up my career situation because I had a constant feeling of being lost. It wasn’t until I lost my job in April that I started to really figure out what it is I want to do with my life.

There are so many things we do because “we should.” We follow certain paths, because that’s the way it’s always been done and it’s what is expected of us (broadly speaking). For a lot of people the journey from school into adulthood means landing that coveted 9-5 job when you end up sitting under fluorescent lights 40 hours a week, in most cases more, collecting a paycheck, and your life passes you by. But hey, at least you had stability.

I can’t count how many times over the past decade I would sit at my desk feeling lost and empty thinking that there had to be more than this. There had to be more than getting up, sitting in traffic, spending my entire day at a desk, doing a job I never liked because I couldn’t figure out something else—was too scared to figure out something else—and then I’d have a few hours in the evening to myself. There was yearning, it was deep, and it seemed unfixable.

I felt trapped, but I think the worst part was, I didn’t know how to fix it. Each year I got older and felt further away from ever figuring out what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. Because I had grown up, and I was starting to feel like I missed it. So I justified it. This job that made me miserable let me travel; it gave me health insurance; it gave me a comfortable living situation. And though I managed to get everywhere from Hong Kong to Honolulu, and loved every second of every experience, I was still missing something. I was traveling the world searching for…something. 

But then things started to change. I remember clearly sitting at a friend’s kitchen table this past March feeling like I was being pushed out of my life. Nothing felt like it fit anymore and I felt that something big was coming. I just didn’t know what. Things were changing at work, as they generally did that time of year, my boyfriend was about to leave the country for three months, and my yoga teacher training would be coming to an end soon. I was nervous but interested to see what the end result of my gut feeling would be.

When I lost my job shortly thereafter, I thought about it and laughed. I knew things were going to change, but that’s certainly not the way I thought things were going to happen. My favorite reaction to telling someone I had gotten laid off was, “Congratulations!” I hadn’t been happy at my job for a long time. I didn’t realize how unhappy I was until it was gone. Everyone kept saying, “Now you can do what you really love.” But I was terrified because as far as I knew, I didn’t know what it was that I loved. Eventually the magic started to happen.

It took a long time to get past the strange emotions that came with unemployment. It took even longer to settle in to the new transitional period of my life. The more I started to think about what my options were, the most I started to remember how free I used to be feel in my early 20’s, before corporate life, when I still had dreams about being a professional photographer—when I still had passion for creativity and self expression. I wanted that passion back, that freedom, that sense of actually owning my life and time.

I realized that I love writing—and that I always have. I used to write long stories, short stories, songs and poems as a child. I also realized that I could earn money doing what I love. Maybe not enough yet to really pay the bills, but I’ve had a handful of freelance jobs since that fateful day in April, and not one second of it has felt like work. That’s the dream right? My perspective on so much of my life has so drastically changed over the past 60 days. I’m more in touch with myself than I have been in over a decade. I’m happier. I’m calmer. And hey, I’m a little poorer, but I’m figuring it out.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have this time to explore pieces of myself that have been dormant for way too long, for the friends that have supported me from day one through every emotion—good and bad, for happiness and for opportunity.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe I will end up back in a corporate job to make ends meet. But at least this time around it would be with a clear head and direction. For the moment I’m excited to have the opportunity to try the alternative. I’m excited to remember that getting a “real job” doesn’t have to mean feeling my soul die a little each day in a tiny cube in business garb at a job I can’t stand. It’s okay to want different things. It’s okay to wear jeans. It’s okay to work in my underwear at my kitchen table. It’s okay to be different, and it’s okay to be me.

I’ve missed me. I’m glad I’m on my way back.  

Jul 2, 2014

The Post Office

Yes, it's a great book by Charles Bukowski, but that's not what this story is about. It's a short tale of a girl and her overnight mail, in a land far, far away called Hoboken, New Jersey. It's a tale of one of those "things that make you go hmmm..." (Anyone remember that song? Anyone?) 

Anyway, I had to overnight a letter for Sir Richard. So I did this. The post lady asked if I wanted a signature required; I told her I did not. As far as post office visits go, this one was pretty painless. It's still incredibly confusing trying to figure out exactly which Express envelope to use, but hey, no trip to the post office is without some sort of issue. (For all of you Express mailers, the hard envelope is $3 more than the soft envelope, though there is no indication anywhere of this difference.)

I tracked the letter yesterday to make sure it had gotten to Rich's landlord on time. Lo and behold—not so much. They didn't leave it because no one was there to sign. Even though that's the opposite of the situation we all had agreed to. I called customer service this morning and the gentleman on the phone let me know that this situation was ridiculous. His word, not mine. Actually, he was way more upset about the situation than I. He gave me the number of the local post office. 

Next phone call. The post master tells me, yep, it was their bad and it would be delivered today. I asked about a refund since it wasn't so much overnight delivery, she said to go to my local office. And so I ventured on down to my post office. 

There was no line when I entered. 

"It can't be this easy," I thought. Alas, it wouldn't be. 

I tell the post lady my story.

"You have to go around the corner to the customer service window," she said. 

Ok. Sure. So I walk around the corner to the only window. Its blinds are drawn, which in and of itself, made me pause for a moment. Above the window was a sign that read, "Passports." Every piece of additional signage around the window also gave information on passport requirements. 

"Clearly, I'm in the wrong place," I thought, logic leading me to believe this was where passport things took place. So I meander back over the first window. Now there's a line. So I wait and get the same post lady as the first time.

"There's no one over there," I told her.

"Did you ring the bell?" 

"At the passport window? Is that what we're talking about?" I asked, still a bit perplexed at the blind situation. What's going on back there that they don't want us to see?


I meander on back over to the passport/secret customer service window and ring the bell. Up go the blinds and I meet the next post lady. I tell her my story. She said she'd look into it and walked away. At the same time, a man popped out a side door, looks at me, says, "Hi!"

"Hello!" He seemed excited, so I returned his enthusiasm.

"Are you being helped?"


"Are you the girl with the Express mail?"

How did he know? Where did he come from? What's happening? I went with, "Yes."

Enter the post master. Master of all things postal. He swings around to the secret customer service window and tells me that he has to make sure the item was deliverable.

"Paramus already said it was their fault. They had a new carrier and apparently he was confused," I told him.

"Oh they said that?" He was surprised. "I have to check with them."

There's now a line behind me and two postal people working on whether or not the letter should have been delivered. I continue to text a friend and laugh at how my phone refuses to use the word "dull" and will only send the word "full." The post lady comes back with a form and sends me in search of a table with a functional pen to fill out said form. A mail carrier actually laughed when he saw me trying to find a pen.

"Good luck!" he laughed and left the building. 

Eventually I find that the third table has a pen and all of the required bits to make it work. I fill out said form and head back to the window. The post lady tells me she can no longer help me; I have to wait for the post master. Alrighty. I wait. 

After a few minutes the post lady motions me back over. At this point, I question our relationship. She tells me to stay, then go, but wait, come back. My emotions are not to be toyed with post lady! She takes my form and tells me to follow her around back to the front window. And so, I head back to the first line.

The first lady rings her bell to let me know she's open. I tell her that I'm meeting the other lady up here. She sends me back to the line. When the secret customer service lady emerges, she tells me to go back to the first lady, who just sent me back to the line.

I stand there for a few minutes as four people behind the window consult on the paper I had handed over. When the post lady comes back she asks if I have change for a $20.

"What? Can't I just get the credit put back on the card I charged it with?" I asked, once again misplacing logic. 

"No. So you don't have change?"


But then she took out exact change and paid me my refund in cash. Well, hell.

All's well that ends well, I suppose. Happy mailings. 

May 27, 2014

The Many Changing (and Unexpected) Emotions of Unemployment

I used to joke about losing my job and how it’d be better than being stuck in an office all day long. There had to be more. I didn’t work in the healthiest environment, so surely anything would be better than that, right? I’d have unemployment and severance so I would be fine. I really had myself convinced that my type-A, need-to-be-doing-something-at-all-times personality would relish the time off. More than that, that I would be able to take the time off, sit back, and enjoy the summer. Well, here are the things I’ve found after one month of “freedom.”
  • I really do need to be doing something at all times. Within the first two weeks of losing my job, I had landed a part-time temp job, and started learning how to build websites. Granted, I was using template sites, but my knowledge of HTML, CSS, layout, and website things in general went from zero to 60. It’s the moments when I am still that… 
  • I am terrified. There are a couple of emotions that rise to the top and I can’t really distinguish which is the most overpowering. But fear is a big one. Yes, I have always been good with money and have savings. That is a great thing. But what I don’t know is how long I will need to sustain myself without a steady income. How long will I need to pull from savings to pay rent? How long will it take me to find work? Will I find work? I’ve always been a planner and having so much up in the air is downright terrifying. 
  • There are many ways to earn a living and they don't all involve sitting in an office. I've had some fun experiences in the past few weeks which have really been eye-opening. I may love the stability of working 9-5, but it's not the only way to be. I am still trying to figure out if I have the stomach for inconsistency. (If you know me you're thinking, probably not Jen, probably not.)
  • Stress can cause cold sores. I guess this is common knowledge for a lot of people, but I have never in my life had a cold sore. When my doctor friend responded to my text of, “What the fuck is on my face?” with, “Looks like herpes,” I was half ready to jump through the phone and ask my boyfriend what the hell?! But she explained that no, no, it’s just a cold sore. Super. With no health insurance, that little beauty took a solid 15 days to go away. I have friends who say they get them all the time. Dear God. 
  • The government stole my severance. Well, it pretty much got taxed like a bonus since it was paid in one lump sum. So about 45% of that money I never saw, which really doesn’t leave a lot. I finally understand all the stories you hear about people saying, “Eight years of my life and this is how I am treated? This is what I get?” It’s hard to see a value put on your time. Especially when that value is not a lot. 
  • I am sad. No, I didn’t love sitting in traffic for upwards of four hours a day and then spending the bulk of my life underneath fluorescence. But it allowed me to bring something to the table. This emotion took awhile to hit me, but not working has left me feeling lost, confused, and of very little value. What am I adding? The ego has kicked in big time and it is not a happy camper. This is probably the worst of the unexpected outcomes.
  • Unemployment can suspend your money for weeks at a time. When I am stressed or upset, I don’t process information well. That led to me filling out my unemployment forms wrong. Which led to them sending me a letter saying they’re not sure I will qualify and they will talk to me about it in three weeks. In the meantime they’d be holding all my benefits. And the part-time job I had, well that project is over. All of that is awesome when you have to pay $400 a month in insurance premiums. Which leads me to… 
  • The Affordable Care Act is not affordable. Not in New Jersey anyway. I still can’t wrap my head around how $400 is considered affordable when living on unemployment and supporting yourself completely alone. Granted, the month of May when I was in between work insurance and my own has been a stress ball until itself, so I am glad to be covered, but without money coming in, it’s hard to see how I can continue to pay for rent, food, and insurance. 
  • There is happiness, but it’s definitely hiding under the layers of stress, fear, and panic. The prospect of defining my own future is exciting. And there are moments when it seems like the world is exactly as it should be and things are awesome. But there are also moments when I have no reason what so ever to put on pants. I guess that’d be a plus in some people’s books. 
  • It’s a roller coaster. I’m a woman so I know what it is to be moody. But the past few weeks I’ve been amazed at the breadth of emotions I’ve had and the frequency at which I cycle through them. I’m beyond grateful for my friends who listen, talk me down, and just overall deal with, and help, me through this time. And that definitely goes on the plus list… 
  • I have some amazing friends. It really is through the hard times in life that you find who is really going to stand by your side and help you. I’m honestly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life right now. I just want to hug them all—all of the time. 
  • I am going to be super fit. The last time I had this much time to go to the gym and yoga was when I was 22, not working, and living in California. At least then I had someone paying rent. My diet may have gotten worse because, let’s face it, crap food is way more affordable than health food, but I am working out everyday, most days twice. 
So basically, pick any one of the emotions above and I could be feeling them at any given moment, sometimes two at a time. It’s exhausting. I try to breathe and meditate and tell myself that I need to enjoy this time off, this time to myself, because it won’t be like this forever. In the meantime, I’ve launched a yoga project, have attended webinars, went to a yoga talk, attended free yoga events, built several websites, designed business cards, written articles, but today, for instance, I’m having a hard time putting on pants.

May 20, 2014

To Stress or Not to Stress—Is That Really the Question?

Lately, when I get stressed, I think of this story one of my yoga teacher told me about the effects of stress on the bodies of mice. An experiment was done in which one set of mice were given everything they needed to survive and the other group of mice wasn’t. They were put into stressful situations, that I guess would be a mouse’s parallel to losing a job, a car breaking down, or wondering if they’d be able to afford their rent and grocery bills. Whatever that is in mouse-terms.

After the mice went to mouse heaven, autopsies were performed and the stressed out mice’s organs had turned black. I think about this when I feel a knot in my stomach. Is that my stomach turning black?

After going through more than my fair share of life changes in the past couple of months, changes I didn’t choose, I do wonder what effect all of the stress is having on my body. The cold sore on my face is one quite obvious example of how stress can present itself physically. So I wonder if I am doing enough for myself to manage my life stressors? I think I could always do more, but I definitely have a good base.

So what do I do? How do I get through it? Well, it’s times like these that I really get to see how my yoga practice is affecting my life and mind. Now, I remember to breathe. Before yoga, stress would lead to shallow breathing, which after a while, would lead to a panic attack. Now, I know that while this present moment may not be the greatest—hell, it might be downright awful—I remember that not all moments will be like this one. And all I have to handle is what is happening right now. Before yoga, my mind would leap into a downward spiral of what-ifs and why-is-this-happening-to-me moments. I’d feel like a victim instead of someone who has the right to choose how she reacts to situations.

Don’t get me wrong: my car nearly caught fire this morning, and I definitely shed my share of tears. I felt myself beginning to fall into the old pattern of spiraling. But then I remembered yoga sutra 2.33, translated as, “When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite (positive) ones should be thought of. This is pratipaksha bhavana.” 

So I take a breath, and I start there. I needed to move my car before tomorrow’s street cleaning or a I get a ticket. So I became thankful that I tried to move it today and not tomorrow before rushing off to my temp job. I wouldn’t have been able to get things done quick enough in the morning to manage the car situation and still get to work. I was thankful that I tried to move it early so that my brothers could drive to my town and fix it for me (which they did at a fraction of the cost a shop would have charged me). Had I tried to move it tonight, I wouldn’t have access to as much help.

I feel a world of gratitude for my brothers right now, which is a way better feeling than being mad about my car. And that’s a choice. It’s one that I don’t know I could have made before immersing myself in yoga and self-study. And I’m hoping it’s one step closer to not ending up like those poor little stressed mice.

Apr 2, 2014

Is THIS Why People Label Their Lunch?

I always laugh when I see lunch in the office fridge labeled with the owner's name. I mean, if someone's going to steal your lunch, I feel like knowing whose lunch they are taking would give them even more pleasure. I've had my lunch stolen and I don't think that having my name on it would have made a difference. But it occurred to me today that labeling lunch may be for the owner's sake more than the rest of the office. 

Here's the thing—I have a terrible memory. Last week when I went to get ice out of the freezer for the soda I shouldn't be drinking, I noticed a Jimmy Dean breakfast bowl and paused wondering, "Is that mine?" I quickly let it go realizing that other people probably like and purchase these things just like me. But today I came back from running errands and went to throw a Jimmy Dean breakfast bowl in the freezer, saw the other was still there, and realized it's a very real possibility that it's mine and I just forgot that I had it in there. Had I labeled it, I would know.

So now what? Do I leave a note? "Fellow office mates, I cannot remember if this is mine or not, so kindly write back if it's yours." Do I give it another week and if it's still there eat it and hope it was mine in the first place? Do I eat it and leave a note that I have eaten it because I thought it was mine but if it wasn't I am sorry and let me know I'll give you $2? Do I try to forget about its existence in those moments I am super hungry in my office at an odd time? See, this all could have been avoided if I had just labeled my lunch, or if I didn't work in an office in the first place. But seems the former is the much more viable option at the moment. (Clearly though, I did not learn my lesson because I didn't label the new one I just threw in there either.) 

This is likely why I will never create world peace. I'm too busy trying to remember if I bought myself food. Well, that and the laziness. To eat or not to eat? THAT is the question.

Mar 23, 2014

Stay Present. Staying Sane. (A Repost from Tumblr.)

I started a Tumblr. account a few months ago because someone said I just had to. He was so adamant I figured I'd look into it. I decided I'd use it for shorter blog posts and mostly yoga musings. Shorter posts, okay, but longer posts, well this site has been my brain dump for a lot of years, so I feel that this particular post so live here. So here's a post from about a month ago that actually ties in nicely to the dharma talk post I just put up. Or maybe I just talk about the same things. Either way...here you go:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ― Laozi

Yoga philosophy talks a lot about staying the present moment. It’s part of yoga’s basic purpose - to stop the fluctuations of the mind (yoga chitta vritti nirodha). It’s a fact that this is pretty hard to do, but like many lessons in life, they are only truly learned when experienced. You can tell me all you want that I should stay present, that living in the past or the future is not going to do anything to help my mental state now, but last night, for the first time, I really truly felt this. (Not to say I am going to be any better at it, but the universe painted a nice picture for me.)
Battling an epic week of the ever-fun PMS, last night I sat across from a man that I am in love with, in tears. There was no rationalizing away the emotions, my hormone-soaked brain was going to do as it pleased. But when I woke up this morning, I realized that the two things I was upset about were not happening right now. I was anxious about something that happened in the past and sad about something looming in the distance. (So, opposite of Laozi’s quote, but same-same in the end.) If I had just stopped at looked at my present situation, I would have seen everything was good in that moment. 
We can’t control what the future holds. We can try to affect it, be the best people we can, and hope for the best, but that’s different than attaching yourself to a certain outcome. Life is going to hand you what it hands you and it’s how you deal with it that makes who you are. And hey, not every present moment is good. So it’s not to say that if you can manage to live in the moment you are always going to be a perfectly happy person. Sometimes the present is hard. But it’s where you are and it’s what you have. The past is gone. That doesn’t mean it’s forgotten, but it’s not meant to be clung to either. 
Hormones aside, I could have saved myself a bit of heartache last night. But the best part about life is that we get to try again each day. :)

My First Dharma Talk

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the ideas of non-attachment and non-possessiveness. They talk about how suffering comes from clinging to possessions, people, or even a thoughts; how you’d like something in the future to turn out, or reliving how something in the past did turn out. These things, people, and emotions can start to define who we think we are. And when life changes and circumstances change, as they always do, it’s this attachment that causes us to feel like we’ve lost something, that we’ve lost a part of ourselves, or that we are somehow less than we were before. And we suffer.

A lot of depression is said to come from looking to the past and anxiety from anticipation of the future, which is exactly why the right now is so important. What we should try to do—which is difficult at best—is to let go of expectations, of the idea that if we get the next iPhone or a new outfit that we will be happier, or that someone else can make us feel complete. Sure, you might feel a sense of excitement after a shopping spree, but as time goes by you find that those things that at one time made you so happy just don’t anymore.

Non-attachment does not mean to stop caring but it does mean to not depend on someone or something external as a necessary condition for our own happiness and contentment. But the great thing about that is that everything you actually need to be happy is inside of you. I read a great quote that sums all this up succinctly, “Detachment is not that you should own nothing. It’s that nothing should own you.”

So take a moment and think about something that is owning you at the moment. Your job? A relationship? A new car? A fight with a friend? As you in inhale think, “let,” and as you exhale think, “go.” Let. Go.

Mar 20, 2014

It's Just...I Mean...Really?...I Can't.

It's been awhile since I've done a Jen-rants-like-a-lunatic-post, so yea, we're due. Here's the thing. I have a lot going on in my life right now. Like big life change type of things. Not like, I need a pedicure and I hope I get to yoga later. I'm sure (hopefullly sooner than later) it will all sort itself out and I will go skipping into the sunset yelling, "Weeeee! Life is just dandy!" and then I'll do a dropback into a backbend because that would just be pretty freaking awesome. But that's not now. Now is me having a near meltdown in a Verizon store.

But what did Verizon do? Let's go back to...yesterday. Yesterday I decided I no longer wanted my work phone and personal phone to peaceably coexist together. So I requested my phone number back from my company. Easy. But they informed me that I would need to pay full price for a phone since it's the same contract and I'm not due for an upgrade until July. Le boo. I called Verizon this morning and they told me that's not the case, it's considered a new contract and I could get the new contract pricing. Yay!

At lunch time I trucked on over (well I Honda'd on over) to the Verizon store where they informed me that the lady on the phone was mistaken, I would have to pay full retail price. This after he assured me that there's no way a company would so easily hand over a phone number. Well Negative Nancy, or well, Josh, was wrong about that one. But not about the price thing. He checks with the manager who says the same thing. I figured I would just get a new phone number which is a big pain in the butt, but hey, sometimes change is good. Let go of the past, right? But first I called Verizon back to see if they could help. And then did. Yay!

Back into the store I went and Josh (I don't even know if that's his name but go with me here) says, "Just because they added something in the notes doesn't mean I can do anything." Why so negative Josh? Why? But alas, my upgrade date was changed and all was right with the world again. Then I had to spend twenty minutes on the phone with another gentleman who was helping Josh transfer over my number because he stuck. 

"Do you want insurance?" he asked.

Ok done. Onto phone selection. I wanted the iPhone 4s 16gb because it'd be cheap. And I like cheap. Josh tells me no bueno, not available. After some mulling it over, "I just said, eh screw it, let's do the 5s." Josh then informs me about the Verizon Edge program. Except, 90 percent of the details he gave me weren't even a little bit true. His fantasy version sounded fantastic, so I went with it. Now I've got a new phone...hooray! 

On the drive back to work, I realize both of my phones are working, which is, weird at best. So when I got back to the office I called Verizon to find out why. The first thing the guy says to me is, "You've got insurance, great!" 

"Hold up there - I specifically said I did NOT want insurance."
"Oh, well I'll take it off. It will go into effect next month, so you'll just pay the first month."
"But why would I do that? Why would I pay for something I specifically said I didn't want?"
"Oh, ok, I'll give you a $10 credit then."

After being transferred twice, the nice lady on the other end knew exactly what was wrong—they never told me to shut down the first phone when they set up the second. Easy fix. Great. I asked her to confirm the insurance had been removed. It hadn't. I explained my previous conversation and she agreed, "That makes no sense, I will just delete it." Great. 

Fast forward to getting home from work and me sitting down to make the new iPhone just like the old iPhone (part of the reason I stuck with iPhone, easy peasy). While I waited, I started thinking, "Hmmm...I'm paying $17 a month for Verizon Edge. Sure I can upgrade after a year but I will have paid $204. If I keep it for two years that's $408." (You like that quick math?) That's when I started to realize that for someone like me who would just as soon still have her old Nokia and be playing snake, Verizon Edge is fucked. 

I once again call the 800 number and explain that Josh didn't so much base any of his information in reality and I'd just rather pay the $200 and be done with it. Sure, she said. But I'd have to go back to the store and return the phone and start over. Ugh. So I walk on over to the store near home and tell them the situation. What do I encounter? Another Negative Nancy. But we'll call him Joey, because he's got that thick New York accent and he's just probably a Joey. Or Anthony. Tony, sorry. Joey Tony tells me this is a big hassle, it's going to take him like two hours to complete this. Straightfaced I said, "Ok."

This is when manager steps in and tries to explain to me all of the reasons Edge is great. And look, I get it. I know people who upgrade wheneverthefuckpossible. Or pay out of pocket because they just NEED the newest phone. As I previously mentioned...not me. So this "discussion" I will call it, went on for about ten minutes. Now I'm just so frustrated I am near tears and just softly asking him to make it stop, I just want a regular contract.

After he agrees, he continues to try to sell me insurance. The woman behind the counter started the process and informed me I'd have to pay a restocking fee. How about...no? Yea, no. So she figured out a way I wouldn't have to after I asked why, why, can two Verizon employees not tell me the same story? Why? She continued working. But here's where they got me. Here's where I felt like I was absolutely going to lose my mind. After an entire day of dealing with misinformation, miscommunication and some bad math on my part, the manager says to me, "Do you have an iPad? Because we are having a really  great sale on iPads right now."

Seriously? You're seriously trying to sell me an iPad after I tell you the day I've had with Verizon, after you argue with me about cancelling Edge because Joey Tony doesn't want to I don't know, do his job and help me out, try to charge ME fees for the happy Edge story Verizon gave me, then you're going to try to sell me an iPad. What. The. Fuck. 

The lady behind the counter got it all sorted it out. I paid for the phone. And one last time manager reminded me I had thirty days to buy insurance. (BTW Joey Tony, it only took 20 minutes to get everything sorted. Not two hours.) I headed out and thought, if there's a god, I will NOT drop my phone in the toilet tomorrow and have to go back to Verizon.