Monday, March 19, 2012

Jobs: Part 1


So I had my review at work this week.  It went well, but that’s not the story.  The story is that I’ve been working for the same company for fifteen years now.  I started there the day after I graduated college.

Now, before you say, “How boring,” let me explain.  It’s not like I have done the same exact thing over the last fifteen years.  I have had a wide variety of responsibilities at my current place of work and I even worked in four different buildings over the years.  But it got me thinking about two things: have any of my friends had the same job this long?

I can think of two people I know in my circle of friends who work have the same employer now as when they started their working careers.  Wait, make that three.  One, who doesn’t really like her job, one who works for the Military-Industrial complex, and one guy who I’m pretty sure is looking for a new job.

Why don’t people stay at the same jobs for a long time now?
Then I started to think about all of the jobs I’ve had in my life.  Now, granted, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked elsewhere and I’ve had the same boss for the last fifteen years, but I did get a variety of works experience when I was younger. 

Being a Newsie!

I was a badass on this big boy. 
I started by delivering newspapers.  My brother was a carrier for the Countryside Reminder, a weekly paper made up mostly of advertising.  He’d be on his bike and I’d be pedaling behind him on my Big Wheel (insert big wheel picture).  I was four years old.  Sadly, the Countryside Reminder ended its print run, and my brother lost his route.  As I got older, I had my own route, delivering the Weekly Advertiser, a paper I’m pretty sure every recipient immediately tossed in the garbage.   I had 120 townhouses to deliver to every Thursday before five p.m. at a rate of four cents a paper.  I earned a solid four dollars and eighty cents a week, paid bi-weekly.  It felt great to deposit nearly ten bucks in my passbook savings account every other Saturday morning.  Later on, I split a Daily Herald route with a friend.  Two days a week he’d do it alone, two days a week, I’d do it alone, and three days, the big paper days (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) we’d both do it.  That worked well until the paper wanted its deliveries to happen before six a.m., effectively squeezing out any kids from the route.  Besides filling in for someone occasionally, I was done with the newspaper business.

In junior high I spent a lot of time doing the easiest job I ever had: babysitting.  Come play with your kids, eat your food, watch TV and get paid to do it.  Now, mind you, the kids I was babysitting were not babies or infants, but five, six and seven years old.  It was so easy.   They would tire out by eight o’clock and I’d get to watch whatever I wanted on TV and talk to my friends on the phone.  My favorite family had a stockpile of microwave popcorn and Sunny Delight always in the fridge.  On a good night, I could make ten or twelve dollars.  Sadly, that is what baby sitters earn an hour these days.  Baby sitting ended for me when high school rolled around and, well, I wanted to go out with my friends on the weekends.
I never read this book

One summer I spend time working for a temp agency.  I had some great jobs there.  I worked moving furniture at a tent sale for a furniture rental company.  It wasn’t too bad, until the last night, when a huge storm rolled in overnight and the parking lot where the tent was set up flooded.  We came in the next morning and had to clean up the mess while loading these wet couches and arm chairs into trailers so they could move on to the next sale.  Great times.

Other jobs that summer included working at a warehouse stacking box displays for shipment to Borders and Barnes and Noble.  I never hated Tom Clancy until seeing the cover of "Debt of Honor."  I touched at least  five  thousand copies of that book in a single day.  Plus, if we set the display up incorrectly, we had to start over.  I was also one of the few English speakers at this job.  I learned lots of Spanish curse words.

Worst Job

Imagine this filled with rolls of paper instead of the Ark of the Covenant
I once worked in a paper warehouse sweeping.  That’s all I did.  From three o’clock to seven o’clock I manned a giant push broom, like they use to clean up a gymnasium floor, and swept the warehouse, starting on one end, weaving up and down the aisles and slowly working my way to the other end.  It took the entire week to do the whole warehouse.  The next week, it started all over again.  Oh my god, was it boring. Remember the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark when the ark is stored away in the never ending warehouse?  That’s what this was like.  I wasn’t allowed to use headphones because the operators were out on bobcats, stacking rolls of paper, loading and unloading trucks.  What kept me going is they promised me I’d get to run the washer, a ride on sweeper they used once a month to wash the floor, the next time they needed a wash.  A few days later I came in and one of the operators was on the washer.  That was my last day there.

Look for Jobs Part 2: Coming soon...

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What did they say?

When you are a kid, you are always learning language, how to use words, what words to use when.  I stare in amazement at my kids as the struggle to find the right word. Sometimes, they come up with their own words  As a kid, I had some of my own words, including “butch car,”and "aach."

My kids are no different.  One of the most interesting aspects of being a parent is trying to figure out what they are trying to say when they come up with new words and prhases.  Some are simple.  I know when my daughter asks for bonilla, she is looking for a bowl of her favorite ice cream flavor, vanilla.  Below, I present for you words and phrases my children use, their definition and a sentence including their usage.  And, no , this is totally not a rip off of Bill Cosby’s Kids say the darndest things.  But, hey, pudding pops for everyone!

Word/Phrase: On this day
Meaning: Today.
Example:  Daddy, on this day do you have to go to work or are you staying home.

Word/Phrase: On that day
Meaning: Any day that is not today, either in the past or in the future. 
Example: Mommy, on that day, is Mimi coming to visit us?  Or Mommy, on that day, when I was a baby, we went swimming in a pool.

Word/Phrase: On the next day
Meaning: Tomorrow
Example: On the next day can we watch Yo Gabba Gabba?

Word/Phrase: Sorry
Meaning: A word used to end a disciplinary action by the person saying, regardless of whether the action is actually completed by the person giving the disciplinary action.
Example: Me (to my daughter):We do not hit people.  You wouldn’t like getting hit, would you?
My daughter (to me) Sorry, daddy.  (My daughter then runs out of the room laughing.)

Word/Phrase: Butch car
Meaning: any car of late sixties / early seventies vintage that is red and has a black convertible top, most likely to be a Pontiac GTO.
Example: Why do the Henderson’s keep their butch car in the garage under all of those boxes?

Word/Phrase: Bitamins
Meaning: These things, overwhelming in the shape of Flintstones characters, that are full of vitamins and given to children daily.
Example: My Daughter(to me): Daddy, I want my bitamin.  Me: You had it already today. My Daughter: I want another bitamin.

Word/Phrase: Batmanmobile
Meaning: Batman’s car.  Not to be confused with the batmobile, which is Bat’s car.
Example: Daddy, look a Lego batmanmobile.

Word/Phrase: Womancat
Meaning: One of Batman’s arch villains. 
Example: Womancat is often chased by the batmanmobile.

Word/Phrase: Bonzani 
Meaning: A vehicle that runs on an ice rink between periods smoothing out the ice. 
Example: Dad, I want to drive the bonzani. 

Word: Mike 
Meaning: what my daughter calls me sometimes instead of Daddy.  Jesus, not even three and she is mocking me by calling me by my first name.  At least she isn’t calling me Mikey or Michael.

There's more but I'll save those for another post.  Hopefully this will help you all understand my children if they are ever speaking to you.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

To My Friends Who Got Married and Had Children Before I Did

Dear Friends who had Children before me,

Let me start off by apologizing to you.  It’s not that I expect for us to remain friends forever, or that we’d hang out and do dumb things like we did in high school and college years after we’d finished school.  I know we wouldn’t be going to trivia night at BW-3 on Wednesday for the rest of our lives.  I should have known when you got married and stayed in the suburbs, or moved to the suburbs in some cases, that we were on a different schedule, that we had different paths.  I still valued you as a friend, but it was hard to hang out.  I lived and worked in the city and you lived and worked in the suburbs.  And you went to bed early.  I mean really early, on every night of the week.  What’s up with that?  Seriously, at nine o’clock one Tuesday night you shooed me off the phone because it was bed time.  I was just sitting down to dinner.  So I stopped calling so much.  So did you.  And that was okay.  Until THEY came along and it was over.

Not that I was ever against children or having them.  I always figured I’d have some kids of my own but I was sure not ready when I was twenty-five to be in charge of any living thing.   If you don’t believe me, ask my cat from those years (which you can’t do because a) he’s dead, and b) he’d bite your face off because he was a little bastard).  I mean, if there were ever groceries in my refrigerator, they were probably old.  And there was that summer that every weekend I’d jump on my bike and go ride seventy miles each day.  You couldn’t do that.  You had kids.

And you couldn’t talk about anything but your kids.  If we were talking about the Cubs, you’d talk about the pink Cubs onesie your wife’s aunt had bought for you daughter.  If I talked about anything that was on TV past eight o’clock, you looked at me like I was on the moon.  If I let you talk, I heard incessant stories about what Joey or Amber or Caitlyn, Or Kaitlin, or Catylyn had for dinner, or how much she weighed, or how many words she knew.  In fact, you could talk about nothing but your children.  Ever.  And I listened, I just didn’t understand it.  So we stopped talking.  You had another kid.  I had another drink.

Then a few years later I got married and my son was born.  Two years later my daughter came along.  My life changed, I stayed home more, went to bed earlier (not at nine o’clock much) and there was no sleeping in on weekends.  Then, one day, it hit me.  I was at work, talking to a single co-worker who was  twenty four.  And I was telling a story about my son’s preschool play, and how he likes to sing the words to Foo Fighters songs and this guy was giving me a blank stare, like I was from the moon.  And it hit me.

I had become just like you, like anyone who has children.  I was incapable of talking about anything but my children.  And I understood why.

It’s not that I don’t have other interests, or like to read, or see movies or watch the Blackhawks anymore.  But when you have children, especially young children, they ARE your entire life.  You talk about them because that is all you do.  Okay, some people still work but who wants to talk about work.  So you talk about your kids, the things they do, how they used to say “Dummy,” every time they saw a picture of George Bush, or that their favorite show is Yo Gabba Gabba.  In fact, that’s pretty much the only show you get to watch.  And you go to Disney on Ice and read “Goodnight Moon” and “The Little Red Caboose,” which I can recite from memory.  You’d love to talk about other things, but your children are you entire world.  They are your everything.  They absorb every minute of your life, some are wonderful, some are hard, some, especially anytime the get sick in the middle of the night and throw up all over and you are on the third load of laundry and its four am and there is not a clean sheet anywhere in the house, at five am your alarm is going to go off and you are going to have to figure out how to drag your ass through a ten hour work day then come home and do it all over again, are exhausting. 

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So, I’m sorry, friends of mine who had children before I did.  Thanks for inviting me to birthday parties, even though I snuck out as soon as I could since I was the only single person there.  I still want to be friends, and now we can trade stories about our children.

What?  Your first born is fifteen now?  In high school?  Learning how to drive.  Wow that was fast.  Mine are still newborns.  No wait, almost five and almost three.

Where does the time go?

 Thanks for reading.