Jobs I’ve Had, The Early Years – The Loud, The Scary, and The Embarrassing

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photo courtesy of Wikipedia

My first real job did not involve singing in front of people. But it had some of the same features. I worked at a Roy Rogers Restaurant. If you’re not familiar with the chain, it’s like an Arby’s except western style. They had great roast beef sandwiches and their Double R Bar sandwich was amazing. At least I thought it was when I was 16.

I don’t know how they make their employees dress now, but in the 70s I was dressed as a cowgirl. Cute enough uniform, but when you add the other requirements of the chain, it became downright embarrassing.

I ran the register and when someone came up to order, I’d have to say, “Howdy partner, can I take your order please?”

If that wasn’t bad enough, when they’d leave, I was forced to say, “Happy trails.”

I always thought of Roy Rogers as a sweet, caring cowboy. I guess this practice revealed his dark side. He would never have put Trigger through such humiliation.

Friends would come into the restaurant just to hear me say those words. That’s how you know who your real friends are – they’ll go out of their way just to mock you! I didn’t mind too much. At least there was no horse manure to clean up. That job didn’t last long.

I discovered I could make more money babysitting, so that’s what I did until I graduated from high school. Then I worked at various secretarial jobs including one on Andrews Air Force Base. At some point in this story, Bob and I got married and a year later moved to Florida where I worked for the Social Security Administration as a data review technician until I had my first child.

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Teletype Machine – Photo credit: quora.com

That job was more like an editing job. I examined all the forms and made sure they were filled out correctly and then I would sit at a teletype machine and input the data. It was a loud room. As I typed, yellow punched tape would roll out of the machine. At the end of the day, I’d call the main office in Baltimore and send the tapes through. I quit just as computers were being brought in to replace those noisy machines. It’s a wonder I didn’t lose my hearing.

Image result for fuller brush company free images

Photo Credit: americacomesalive.com

After two children had come along, I decided it would be nice if I could work from home and make a little extra cash. Somehow or another, I heard about Fuller Brush and became a door-to-door salesperson. I had a territory and on Saturdays Bob would stay with the kids and I would go knocking on strangers’ doors.

This was a little off-putting at times, but I sold a lot of brooms, brushes, and degreaser. I discovered that at times an unanswered door could be better than an answered one, because those opened doors could present opportunities that didn’t involve selling Fuller brushes.

The opened door of a small house which looked like it could use a lot of TLC was one such opportunity. Two small children answered the door. They must have been 3 or 4 years old. They opened the door and just stood there. I asked if their mommy was home. They nodded. I could see into the house. It was dark for a Saturday morning. All the shades were drawn but I could make out a figure of a person way on the other side of the house. It was as if she was sitting at the end of a long, dark tunnel with just a hint of light behind her.

She barely made a sound but I could see her raise her hand from the chair and beckon me to come in. I froze for a minute. It was like something out of a movie. Finally, she uttered the words, “Can you help me?”

This was way before cell phone days so I was on my own to stay or go. I’m not sure why, except it must have been the peace of God coming over me, but I entered the house. I gingerly walked over to her and she whispered that she was having trouble breathing. She could barely move and wanted to go to the hospital but couldn’t afford an ambulance and her husband could not be reached at work.

I used her phone to call my husband. I filled him in, loaded her kids and her into the car and took off for my house for Bob to watch the kids.  At the hospital they were concerned that she may have had a heart attack, but she was given a diagnosis of pleurisy.

Through this difficult day, she and I discovered that we were both Christians. Long story short, we spent several hours together at the hospital. By the end of the day she and her kids were back in their home with her husband.

How about you? When you think back on the jobs you’ve had, have you had any unusual encounters with people? Feel free to share in the comments.

 

This is Post #27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

A Letter of Apology to My Adult Children

Time to write a letter

Over the last few weeks, I have heard a few rumblings from my kids about my current rate of blog postings. I explained, in case they missed it, that I am doing a challenge. Here are some of the comments, which have fueled me to write a letter to my kids.

“Mom, once a week was fine. I am happy to read your WEEKLY blog posts. Weekly. Around Day 6, I knew I was in trouble. How long will this thing go on?”

“You’re killing me!”

“My in-basket is overflowing.”

“You’re thinking about blogging about (fill in the blank). I can see it in your eyes.”

“You’re obsessed.”

Alright, that last one was my husband, but you get the point. So, here goes:

 

Dear Kids,

I know this past month has been difficult for you. How challenging it must be for you when every day there is something to read that your mother wrote. Your mother – the one who loved you before you were born. The one who carried you for nine long months, six of which involved a lot of puking. The one who helped you with your homework and drove you all over town. The one who watches your children so you can go out with your spouse. Sigh.

I am sorry for the pain and suffering which this Ultimate Blog Challenge has caused you and I want you to know that I understand. You want to support me, yet you feel overwhelmed.

There is also the matter of the monthly test about my blog content which I require you to take. I know there’s a lot of pressure to do well, so for this month, and this month only, I will make your test multiple choice instead of essay. I will also give you an extra week to turn it in to me for your grade.

Happy Reading!

Love,

Mom

 

And, to my regular readers who have been with me for a while, thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate you.

 

This is Post #23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

There are Nine Sides to Every Story

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Enneagram – Photo Credit: 1001freedownloads.com

I was on Facebook the other day and my friend, Chris, asked for comments about the Disney Parks based on enneagram. There were 56 comments, including mine which was: “What is an enneagram?”

There were quite a few responses to that, too, making me feel a little like a dinosaur, but then I remembered that I was older than everyone who answered and decided I didn’t care. I did want to know what everyone was so excited about though, so I looked it up.

You probably already know, but in case you don’t, it’s a personality test that uses a nine-sided figure in a particular system of analysis to represent the spectrum of possible personality types. In other words, “Mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa.” That cleared it up.

Then I thought to myself, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

That thought was quickly followed by my remembering that I am doing a 30-day blog challenge, so I looked for a free test and hoped for a blog post.

The answers to so many of the questions sounded like both would equally apply to me or neither would apply. I felt like I was getting my eyes examined – does this look clearer? – how about this? I thought I’d go out of my mind. I found myself wanting to get off that crazy train, but I played along for your sake, dear reader.

I would like to tell you exactly what the results of the test were. I’d like to tell you that it opened up my mind to the kind of person that I am. I’d also like to tell you that I should have gone with my first instinct.

I haven’t really cared what classification I am personality-wise for a few decades. It’s one of the benefits of getting older. These kinds of tests have been around since before the internet, but now it’s so easy to take one and account for your actions by your type. For me, taking it was annoying. I’ll tell you why. In my answer there may be a hint for you enneagrammers as to what motivates, or inspires, or drives me to be the way that I am.

The perfectionist in me couldn’t handle it when both answers equally applied and I was still forced to choose only one. We’re talking about degrees of difference that were so small even my eye doctor would struggle.

So, I‘ve decided that I’ll be content with myself and my unconscious patterns. I’ll also try to enjoy the fact that we can be friends even if I don’t know what number I am with all its wind and wings. My results revealed three numbers that were identical. At that revelation, I yelled at my computer, turned it off, and took a nap.

It’s great that we don’t look at life through the same lens. That way we can tease each other, I mean learn from each other.

 

This is Post #13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Whole 30 for Writing – Where you want to gain not lose

Every day is Blogging Day in April

I’ve been asked if I take the weekend off from blogging. In light of the current challenge, which I have dubbed the only Whole 30 (crazed writing, not crazed weight loss) I will ever do, I understand the question.

My kids will get particular enjoyment out of the question as they know I’ll take a day off with great ease. The real question is – take a day off from what? But I’ll cover that in future posts.

I know writing is what we’re focusing on here, but it’s only part of the – what’s that math thingy I’m trying to think of, oh yeah – equation. (Again, I’ll check in with my engineer later to make sure of this.)

I was geared up for this blogging challenge. I had several drafts in the works and ideas were flowing, which I greatly believe was God giving me the green light on this. Half of my April will involve having family in from out-of-town, so sneaking away to write may become a challenge, especially when my grandchildren from North Carolina arrive, but I’m also confident that where grandchildren are, blogging ideas flow.

Days 1 – 7 were relatively easy. Finding something like LEGO Jesus was the kind of thing that primes my writer’s pump. But my MO has been to finalize the day before I post. Yesterday was Sunday and I discovered I should have used Saturday better. After church Bob and I went to an usher’s meeting/game afternoon. Again, if you ask me to play a game, my writing will not even enter my mind. We were the last to leave, too, putting us home at 5:30, just in time for Bob to fix dinner.

I’m on a crazy diet right now, so if Bob doesn’t cook, he doesn’t eat anything interesting. He does this out of love for me and support for my weight loss endeavor. Thankfully, he likes to cook.

By the time dinner was over and I did the last of the dishes, I realized that due to circumstances, I hadn’t had any time with Bob for the last two days, so I took the night off from blogging. I even resisted using my devices except for a facetime with our granddaughter, Layna, who turned 7 on the 7th and was pretty pumped about her golden birthday.

Because I am driven to perfection regarding this Whole 30, it was surprising and delightful to me when I realized that I was okay with a quiet night with my husband instead of leaving him to himself while I wrote. And then this morning, our blog-meister Paul asked about taking a day off, so now you know the rest of my story. Sometimes you just have to let it go. When I return to my normal schedule of a once-a-week post, I won’t typically write on Sunday. But I have no hard and fast rules. If inspiration hits me, I’ll pull away and at least jot down a few notes, night or day.

I hope you had a restful Sunday and thanks for reading, especially during my Whole 30!

 

This is Post #8 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Things My Husband Shouldn’t Say to Me

Sunday was a beautiful day – the perfect day for my husband to take a well-deserved rest by the pool. (We live in Florida.) I was happy watching him soak up the sun while reading a book. Well, I was happy until he came in. Let me recount our conversation for you.

Bob looking in the mirror at his chest after spending two hours by the pool – “Oh, I guess I did get a little sun out there today.”

Me, realizing I have to go to the dermatologist on Tuesday for my semi-annual humiliation, I mean skin check – “You are a little red. You need to be careful.”

Bob – “Don’t worry. It’ll be brown in a day. I think it’s already turning brown.”

Me throwing my hands up in frustration – “Brag, brag, brag! Do you know how long it would take me to go from red to brown? Hum? Or to get anything that resembles a tan? No, of course you don’t. Nobody knows! It’s like the mystery of how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie roll center of a Tootsie pop.”

End scene.

Say, “bees!”

Just so you know, today I did go to the dermatologist and it was a very good day for this pasty-white girl. A good day means 21 freezes of pre-skin-cancer areas and 1 small biopsy. Boom!

This is what I looked like afterwards. Warning, no make-up. Now you, Bob, and my dermatologist are the only ones who get to see me like this. Feel privileged and always use a good sunscreen of 50 SPF or above. If they had that when I was a kid maybe I wouldn’t come out of the dermatologist’s office every six months looking like I was attacked by a swarm of bees.

 

 

 

 

This is Post #3 of the April Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Don’t Give Me That Look

I am a responsible adult. That means that I get the oil changed in my car regularly. Though regularly may be up for interpretation, I shoot for every 5,000 miles. My car turned over 50,000 miles and even with my mathematical limitations, I knew it was time.

As I type this, I’m taken back to the time, lo those many years ago, when I first drove by myself to get my oil changed at a quick-service center. Driving over a large hole with a person waiting in said hole was a little nerve-wracking. The guy waving me in like I was driving a 747 seemed unaffected by the potential disaster that my car careening into that hole would cause. To his credit, his confidence in me was not misplaced.  I tried to act nonchalant, but it was a proud moment. Just another day.

But this time when I pulled up I encountered someone who had hand signals of his own making. First he did the come straight ahead signal with both hands extended and fingers moving toward his palms. Then he waved me a little to the right. Then briefly back to the first signal. Then he did this thing that was like he was imitating a butterfly with his hands fluttering towards each other and then away. I, of course, stopped. I figured he must be messing with the guy down in the pit or chasing a mosquito. He then yelled for me to pull forward.

When he reached my window, I told him I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted me to do. To that he replied, “First time, huh.”

Because he was going to be fooling around under my car’s hood, I decided to let that one go. I turned off my engine and pulled out my phone. That was a mistake. He said he needed my mileage. I looked at my dark dashboard. I wondered if I turned my car on if I would rip the hands off of the guy under my car.

You know how you can turn your key to the left for battery power? Of course you do. You’re no idiot. The problem for me is that I have a push-button ignition and in the 4.5 years that I’ve owned this car I’ve turned on battery power maybe once. And that was by accident.

So then I had to look at this joker and tell him I didn’t know how to find that information for him without starting my car. He gave me a look like this was my second strike. I was beginning to feel self-conscious so I blurted out, “This really is my car.”

He then very nicely told me what to do. I gave him the exact mileage and he walked away while I tried to figure out how to turn off the battery power without, once again, starting my car and then abruptly turning it off, all the while wondering if I could really hurt somebody (and I’m not talking about the guy who waved me in). I decided that it didn’t matter if it was on. If my battery went dead, somebody there would give me a jump.

The story has a happy ending. Nobody was hurt during my routine oil change. I didn’t fall in the hole. My battery didn’t fail me. I didn’t smack the young man who asked me for my mileage. Plus, when I got home I checked in with my engineer to see if my anxiety about turning my car on was justified. He said I could have hurt somebody if his hand was in the wrong place and I turned on the car. I think he was pretty proud of me for not causing any injuries that day. So proud that he said next time he’d be happy to get my oil changed for me.

 

From Treasure to Trash to Treasure

After our smelly yet productive garage sale last week (read about that here), I was very proud of myself for loading all the leftover treasures into the back of my car for Goodwill and the used book store. We also filled our garbage cans with the enormously heavy metal boxes and things too piddly to give away. I only brought two things back into the house – small glass candle holders. Success!

It felt good to lighten our load and pare down. I barely even thought about the acrylic Tupperware dishes in the back of my car. Dishes which I loved but never used. Dishes that just might have a purpose which I hadn’t thought of yet. Unbreakable yet pretty dishes that my grandkids could use by the pool…

No! Be strong, Bonnie!

Anyway, the day after I posted my blog, I received a text from my daughter-in-law, Julie. I think she and Dad had a kindred spirit regarding how you never know when you’ll need something or could re-purpose it. You know where I’m going here.

Yes, that’s proof that Julie reads my blog. That makes three for three in the daughter-in-law department. I have the best daughters-in-law!

Also, by now you’ve likely guessed that she had a request – “Any chance your trashcan still holds the musty film reels? I have some ideas on how to re-purpose them (as long as they can be aired out).”

Snatched from the jaws of the garbage crusher.

I have a rapport with the trash collectors and want to keep them happy, so Bob and I divided up the heavy metal boxes between different garbage cans and only put two of them to the curb for the first pick-up day. I didn’t want anybody throwing their back out. So that meant that there was still one smelly box in our garbage.

I’m sure my dad was smiling down at me as I dug through the can to retrieve it for Julie. You win again, Dad! One more thing that didn’t quite make it to the curb!

 

One Man’s Treasure is Enough to Knock Me Over

The year was 1953 and my dad didn’t go to Alaska.

As you may remember, in September 2017, we quickly moved my mom and dad into our home. The decision was made on a Monday and the move took place on Friday, just two days before Hurricane Irma hit.

In our haste, we couldn’t go through everything. There wasn’t time or energy for that. My dad micromanaged the move, so that meant lots of stuff that we wanted to throw away was kept, including every slide, movie and photograph he ever took. These couldn’t be left in their home because of the threat of Irma. We’d have to go through them later.

Later came this past weekend. We joined in with the neighborhood garage sale in order to get rid of a large glass patio table and chairs. It was the perfect time. They do the advertising and we put our stuff out. I figured I might as well go through the rest of the house to clear out some things that have gone unused since we moved 3.5 years ago.

That didn’t take long and it felt good to lighten the load, but then Mom asked if I wanted to go through her closet.

Dun, dun, dun!!!

My parents have two very different philosophies of stuff. Mom is a pitcher and Dad is a keeper. Many a time he would go to the curb to retrieve something that Mom deemed useless. Mom is always ready to thin out the stuff. She’s a great example for me, but going through all that stuff…

I hadn’t really looked in there since Dad died and we sold their home. There were pictures and slides and movies. Oh my! I gathered my courage and went in. On the floor were three metal boxes. I don’t even remember seeing them before! I tried to lift one and nearly threw my back out. I scooted it and peered inside, and oh boy did it smell bad. This was a job for Bob.

Bob is great in so many ways, not the least of them being his sense of smell is not as keen as mine. But he did notice a musky odor, so he knew my super-sniffer must have been going nuts.

There were three of these things. This is the small one – it held nine movie reels. I thoughtlessly threw away the other two before taking pictures. They each held a dozen reels and probably would have been of value to a collector with a poor sense of smell.

The first label I came across said Alaska 1953. As I looked over the collection, I was surprised that Dad had not forced us kids, I mean offered for us to watch these. He was infamous for showing us stuff we didn’t want to see whenever it was time for home-movie night. Home-movie night was not limited to movies. In those days, slides were all the rage. We wanted to see pictures of ourselves when we were little and cute, and he wanted to see Hawaii, something I came to appreciate in my adult life.

Dad had hundreds of carousels of slides, but those from business trips to Hawaii were always on the top of the stack. Landscape after landscape after landscape – mostly in living black and white.

But I digress. I asked my mom, “Did Dad go to Alaska in 1953?”

“Oh, no,” she replied. “All of those movies belonged to your great Uncle Hayward. I don’t think we ever looked at them.”

Uncle Hayward died in 1978 at the age of 79, which leads me to believe those movies traveled from Arizona where they lived, to Maryland and then probably to Florida where they have been stored in their fancy, smelly humidors for over forty years. That’s right – the cans which I pitched were labeled as humidors. I don’t think they were meant to hold up for over six decades though – at least that’s what I gathered from the smell of deteriorating film and musty metal, which was akin to the smell of aged Tupperware with leftover cabbage in it.

All in all, it was a successful weekend. We sold our table so we didn’t have to figure out how to haul it away. We got rid of a lot of things from Mom’s closet and found a few gems, too. Like this pair of movie projectors, which you see Bob examining here. One is for the movies which we threw away. I think someone could make a lamp out of it and it probably has some value, which will be determined.

Notice the projector in the foreground. You do find some interesting things among your parents’ possessions.

Plus, best of all. I threw out all the slides of Hawaii and found some cute ones of me and my siblings. If I can ever figure how to digitize them, I’ll be sure to share them!

 

 

Time to Make the Simple Complicated

Employees must wash hands!

Last post I shared about hand soap. The logical progression is to share about drying one’s hands. Evidently, this is a skill that needs honing, as the entire population, or at least those who work at or frequent Starbucks, are assumed to be doing it wrong.

When I see someone leave a public restroom without washing their hands, I throw up in my mouth a little. Usually my “ahem” is treated with disdain, but I just smile and aim my head slightly towards the sink while thinking, “Come on! We live in a society!”

Anyway, if you do take the time to wash, thank you. But in today’s world, it looks like you need directions for proper drying. The photo below was posted in a Starbucks bathroom on the air hand-dryer.

If you look closely at the signage on the hand dryer, which is plain to instruct both the reader and non-reader, #5 instructs you to use a towel. And, #6 tells you to turn off water with paper towels. There are no towels, paper or otherwise, in the bathroom. We were supposed to use the super noisy, hygienic drying device on the wall to blow the water off of our hands. You know, the one the sign is posted on.

Starbucks, has gone mad! It’s the effort to spell (or picture) everything out for everyone that has brought us to this point. I can imagine people looking around the bathroom for a towel. Someone needs to rescue them.

You may be asking, why did I bother reading the sign. Do I need instructions on hand drying? The answers are:

#1 I don’t have a lot of time for reading over the holidays, so what better place to grab a few sentences than the bathroom in Starbucks.

#2 No.

Somebody who doesn’t want to get sued must have put that sign on the hand dryer. Somebody who isn’t too bright, I might add.

To sum up:

  1. Wash your hands after using the bathroom and several times throughout the day.
  2. Dry your hands with a paper towel if possible, or
  3. if you’re in Starbucks, wear jeans or some other thick garment just in case the air hand-dryer is weak and you require back-up hand-drying means.

It shouldn’t be this complicated!

Have a Merry Christmas and a clean and dry New Year!

Pumpkin Spice Peer Pressure

I took a five-minute walk through Whole Foods and was quickly reminded that it’s that time of year again – Fall in Florida. You might think I would wait outside on a lovely fall day, but it was 93 degrees outside. September was going out with a sizzle. Summer down here lasts easily until after Halloween, so if it weren’t for the plethora of pumpkin product placements, it may have slipped my notice that the season had changed.

A few short years ago, I came to realize that not everyone is pleased as punch over pumpkins. I have a friend who is not just overwhelmed, but annoyed at the things that those poor pumpkins are going through when all they really want to be is pie. Granted, she is in the minority, but she has a voice and she demands to be heard. And isn’t that what we’re all about in today’s world?

I thought about her as I wandered through the store; even I was overwhelmed by pumpkin. Every time I turned around, I was face-to-face with another pumpkin product. I love pumpkin, but at that point, I began to question everything about fall.

What about leaves? Isn’t fall foliage what it’s all about? And apples. Shouldn’t we be buying freshly pressed apple cider? Shouldn’t I be putting raked leaf essence in my coffee instead of pumpkin spice? Have I joined the ranks of pumpkin people without a second thought?

When I returned home I lit my pumpkin spice candle and thought deeply about this. I decided I might as well get my fall decorations out as I was thinking. They included 5 pumpkin spiced candles, a room spray, and various assorted pumpkin and leaf decorations.

It made me cry real tears when I realized that I hadn’t known when to stop. I hadn’t taken into account people like my friend who suffer from PSOD (pumpkin spice overload disorder). Plus, I also had ignored my own eye-irritant disorder, which is triggered by strong candle fragrances such as the ones I unleashed in my own house. Yes, the tears were real.

I’ll have to go on Amazon and see if they have any pumpkin spice lubricant eye drops. I’ll bet they’re out there!