Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I WORK!



                             
When I graduated HighSchool, I took a year off from college because I really had no plan or vision for my future. I was an above average student and knew how to please those teachers that I was interested in pleasing. My typing teacher was not one of them...haha she disliked me and visa versa, thus me having to look at the keys. I type pretty fast though and spellcheck is my savior! lol. Art and cooking are my passions and still love to write. It is cathartic and relaxing for me. I am the sort of person who stresses out about most things, but mostly finances and how low I feel when I am not contributing to the household and our non existent savings account. I find it degrading to my self worth when people say, "You don't work". I have worked very hard all of my life and I can wallow in the pity party, worrying about what others think about me, do something about which I haven't figured out yet or not let what others think about me get to the bottom of my soul and leave me feeling at rock bottom over and over again. After all, what people think about me really is none of my business!
My first job out of High School was at a discount retail women's clothing store called Loehmann's in East Brunswick, NJ. I loved working in fashion and they promoted me to Comparative Shopper. The retailer was known for having the lowest prices on designer clothing. We had to cut the labels out of the clothing before we sold them. Smart shoppers knew how to read the codes on the tickets though and the salesgirls such as myself got first pick and we left those labels in!  After a year working and still living at home, I applied and was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, but I was not so thrilled about commuting to NYC with my Dad every day and frankly wanted to move out so badly, I could taste it. I wanted to move to California, where my brother, Glenn lived. So I planned a visit to San Francisco for a vacation and I never went back home to live again. During that Summer, a relative who lived in the Bay Area suggested the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in SF. I talked to my parents who so generously paid for my education and we decided it was a good fit for me. I spent the first year of school in SF. I worked as a "floater" for a very upscale department store in the heart of Union Square called I Magnin. I loved that job! It was probably the best job I ever had and I have had quite a few jobs in my 58 years on this planet. The second year of school, I had to move to Los Angeles to finish up my studies. I worked in the fashion industry for a few desk jobs and in the California Mart as a salesperson. I am not a very good salesperson. One must have better sense of self esteem to be able to sell anything to anyone. I am still not very good at it. I have to really believe in the product to do it well, I suppose. 
Los Angeles is where I met my husband. I was living in Glendale at the time, still attending FIDM when we met. He is the one and only reason I stayed in Los Angeles. I never really learned to love LA. The traffic, smog and the pretty fake people have no appeal to me. I didn't make much of my Fashion career and I disappointed my parents for having them spend the money on Fashion School. I felt as though I learned a lot about the business side of fashion and I unequivocally knew that I did not want to work in a buyers office with no windows and back then cigarette smoking was OK in the buildings, so, NO! In retrospect, I would have been better off financially now, if I had gone to University and waded my way through to get a degree. But, one must not live in regret of choices of our past, we move on...sometimes in baby steps, but the only direction is to move forward.
2 years after we were married,  I left the Fashion Industry and followed my heart and first passion in life  and got a job working as the night caterer at a well known stage rental studio in Hollywood. I prepared fruit platters, veggie platters, cheese platters, breakfast quiches, deviled eggs, pasta salads, croissants and prepped for the cafe for the next day. I helped make box lunches and prepared bases for soups. I was basically a sous chef, but all alone at night when the ghosts came out, and I am not kidding. That studio is notorious for it's apparitions. I only saw shadows and felt their presence and once my favorite tune went from low to blasting without my assistance. After about 9 months, I had to look for different hours of work because David and I were like passing ships in the night and I had to change things. In June of 1984, we helped my parents move across the country and I got pregnant! After that trip,I worked with a dear friend for a catering company in LA. That was a purely grueling job.  We worked 16 hour days and I had to be at work at 4am. I had a miscarriage, 2 months into my pregnancy. Tough times for me ensued. The loss of a child is overwhelming at least. It took me a very long time to emotionally heal. We always tried to look at the bright side though. We had no health insurance at the time and suppose it was a blessing in disguise. That never really took with me though and I reflect upon it still.
I worked as the Manager of a pasta store in Beverly Hills. It was a tiny, little roach laden, upscale hole in the wall. That is an oxymoron! I learned a lot about pasta and making salads and how to gain 25 pounds eating the lasagna and the bread! The duck lasagna was my favorite. I was there long enough to pay for David's 30th Birthday gift to England!!!!!! That was the 2nd best vacation we ever had (Our #1 best vacation was 9 nights in Maui for our 25th Wedding Anniversary). We had 2 weeks in London, Bath and Stratford-Upon-Avon. We had a wonderful time together., even if we did get deathly sick. David spent his formative years in London and showed me the town and I loved the fact that I paid for most of that trip. And we made a baby! 
I didn't have a job outside the home when I was pregnant with Sarah. I wanted to take care of myself and the baby and I was lazy and ate a lot.  I gained 65 pounds and weighed 203 when I delivered our first born and a beautiful girl on December 28th, 1985 at 1:28 am. I was 28 years old and found my calling in life and the number 28 has been my lucky number ever since. I always wanted to be a mother and my dream came true! She had a hard time being born. She was a posterior baby and they call it sunny side up because her face was face up and labor lasted 13 hours. That meant a lot of bruising on her poor little head and my back labor just about did me in. Doctor's these days do not let you have a posterior delivery and a C-section is protocol.  My time was spent holding my baby for hours and hours to soothe her pain. My favorite musician, Sting came in handy, but I am not so sure our neighbors were so happy at 2 am with me blasting the stereo. They never did complain though! We lived in a 4 level townhouse back then and I sure got my exercise going up and down the stairs. I went on Weight Watchers and lost 60 pounds and felt wonderful again! Actually, better than ever since I was really watching what I ate. Nursing the baby made me voraciously hungry, all the time, but I still lost the weight. This was a sleep deprived and difficult time of my life, but it was also the happiest time of my life. Then, 2 and half years later, we had our second child, our beautiful Michael. I went into labor and took a nap and when I woke up, the contractions were 3 minutes apart and we rushed off to drop off Sarah with Grandma and Grandpa at midnight, got to the hospital and delivered Michael in 20 minutes! David didn't even get a chance to pace, so afterwards he joked up the nursing station a bit. Michael was born the day before my 31st birthday and on my birthday morning 3 nurses with angelic voices came to my room to sing Happy Birthday to me and I bawled like a baby. I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and then we went home, our little family of 4. Sarah was so innocently adorable when she thought that Michael would be staying at the hospital so we could go and visit him instead of bringing him home. Precious times ensued! I do not equate motherhood with working. I call it a labor of love. Being an at home Mom meant everything to me. I was there to watch my children grow up and I am a proud mother. My children turned out as perfect as one can get and I would not ask for anything more out of life. David was working quite a bit back then. He is a Prop Man in the Film and TV business and he works long hours. I had the kids to myself most of the time, with little help from anyone else and poor David rested when he could. The film business is not as glamourous as it seems. I have seem my husband get absolutely beat up by the business.
  A year later we decided that we needed to move out of the townhouse. It had only 2 bedrooms and little Sarah ended up camping out next to our bed to sleep at night because the baby made too much noise. All the stairs were dangerous too. I watched Sarah tumble down when she was just a baby. I cried harder than she did, I was so upset and scared.
And on moving day I fell down the same flight and broke my ankle. There I was sitting on the landing for 2 hours with ices packs before I could stand up and get out of that house! In retrospect, I wouldn't have rushed getting out of there, but our new home was waiting for us to move in. We had 1/3 of an acre and a huge backyard with a waterfall, gazebo, playhouse and a doughboy pool! Again, if I could go back in time to change some things, I would, but I cannot so, why dwell there? I do that a lot. I think about all of the mistakes I have made and it is detrimental to my health.

I went back to work part time when Michael was enrolled in preschool. I worked for a Parent Education Program and was the Teacher's Aide. I worked with toddlers and loved my job. I would set up activities and crafts so the children could separate from their parents to talk about topics and issues that were current and apropos to their own lives. I was always there to pick my kids up from school in those early years.. When our youngest started Kindergarten, my hours increased and I had 2 jobs, I always volunteering the kids classrooms and even was the Art teacher for a year in 1st grade. That was a volunteering blast! We signed the kids up for AYSO and community basketball teams and were very active as coaches and team parent. I usually stood up to be team Mom and we loved making banners. I was involved in Girl Scouts as well. I was the childcare Mom who watched siblings while meetings went on and then became a leader for 6 years. We were a very active troop and my life was a bit overwhelmed by all that went into it especially when they guys felt left out...because they were and it took me away from my family life. That made me feel pretty guilty at the time. It was not easy being a leader. My feelings got hurt a few times and it was a challenging, but I stuck it out. There was a time when I thought all of the girls disliked me, but that is just a head trip I gave myself. Just a couple did that and they made it clear by screaming "I Hate You" in my face. How does one respond to that? I was silent, good thing, because it really didn't make them very loveable either!
in 1997 I got a job at the kids school. I worked in Special Ed as a one on one aide to a precious little girl. The job emotionally drained me and it was the year that my Dad passed away. That took a great toll on me and I took a leave of absence. I was also a lunch supervisor. That was a dangerous job, but often one of the boys from my special ed class would come to me and sit on my lap. If the teacher had found out about that she would have had a fit! The poor boy had no mother and was learning disabled. I was happy to give him my time and my heart. The teacher was very mean and one of the other aides abused her child right in front of everyone. I didn't report it though and I should have, most definitely. I guess I was not mean enough to work in that room, so they switched me to Kindergarten the next year. I loved that job. Working with the little ones again was very special for me and I certainly got tons of hugs every day. By this time our youngest was culminating out of 5th grade and the next year he would meet up again with his sister in Middle school for 6th grade. During all of this time I earned a certificate as a preschool teacher and I honestly found no luck with a school that suited ME! The very elite school I worked for was teaching math to toddlers and that was not my bag. Children need to just be kids while they can in my idea of a perfect world. I was very disillusioned by all of the illness that I couldn't shake, so I left the occupation all together. I still miss the kids though and thier inquiring minds.
I then found a full time office job and worked from 7:30 am until 3:30 pm. I made sure I would still be home for the kids. I was the Office Manager for a local electronic assembly company. That was different! The woman I worked for was a horrible racist who ran a sweat shop. I was there for 2 years because the pay was so good, but it took it's toll on my son especially. He was entering Middle School and it was a rough time in his life. When he was suspended from school, I managed to have him work in the office at school instead of staying home alone and they loved him because he is a great person who was the scapegoat for the principal at the time. He even admitted it to me and we were in shock!
I finally quit that job when boss lady demoted to to being a clerk because I wouldn't lie to our client. She also wanted me to lie on her taxes for her. I am sure glad that I wrote myself that extra vacation check before I left! HA! That was not a lie. She told me I wasn't going to get my vacation and then she signed the check :) Something happened to me when I worked there, before the bad blood between us. On a late afternoon day, one of our drivers ran through the front door, which he had never done before and was being followed by a gunman. I don't know what I was thinking when everyone ran and ducked, but I went up to the front door and told the guy to go away, and he did! I was so proud of myself for unleashing that from within. It took guts and absolutely no fear from me! That was a moment in my life that I will never forget. I could be dead right now, but I guess I looked pretty mean, lol.
I took a little time off of work and then found another horrible office job. that job re-defined the words "detailed oriented" and after 90 days, I got a call from my husband from England on my break and told me of our new business opportunity!
Our Brother in Law owned a British Greeting Card Company and he wanted us to Rep the line here in the States. David left the Film Business and acquired over 70 accounts and I did all of the paperwork, accounting and ordering. It was a 24-7 job and we really tried very hard to make a go of it. Unfortunately all of this coincided with 911. All of the anthrax scares in the mail and we were trying to sell greeting cards. It was wonderful that we were getting paid to do this and in 2001 we went to NYC for the stationary show at Javitz Center. We had a small, kind of tacky booth that was designed for us. We didn't get many orders and disappointed our Brother in Law. We did see a Giant Rat run between booths though and at one point David was so bored that he layed under the curtained table and shouted out, "Hey, You with the Shoes" to passers by while I tried to keep a straight face! It was so funny, like laughing in church funny. Boy, I needed that. At the end of the day the powers that be decided to change the booth entirely and we still had meager sales and we figured out that we should have been located on a different floor with the newcomers. Here I go again with the shoulda, woulda, coulda stuff. Oh well! I just wish we had a better outcome and I don't really know what we were thinking when we ordered stock. The cards were not different enough to be popular and the only ones that were, were mechanical and had a short shelf life. that made is look a bit weak. David entered back into the film business shortly thereafter when our insurance went into that COBRA situation. It was costing us $800 a month for the family instead of nothing, so his first love was that business anyway. I continued selling to the established accounts until it fizzled out in about 5 years.We had stock on our shelves for many years and then donated most of it to a local church. I still have quite a few cards here. I think they are beautiful!
What should I do next was my conundrum. I took some serious time off of work. I became obese in the meantime from boredom, depression and lack of motivation. My kids made it through high school and when Sarah came home from her first year of BU, she quietly encouraged me to start taking care of myself. She helped me change my life with the help from David and Michael. I was pretty defensive when people told me I needed to lose weight. Of course I know that! It has always bothered me when other tell me what I "should" do especially when I am trying hard to do it. Well, I joined the gym and in one year I lost 75 pounds. Big Woop! I don't think it was such a big deal. I did what needed to be done and I loved every minute of my gym time. My daughter had worked there during her high school years and got me a good deal, so I took it and flew with it. I went from 210+ pounds and a size 16+ to a size 6 and 135 pounds. I made some "friends" and was having a great time and I looked better than ever at age 50! I inspired myself to become a Certified Fitness Trainer. I studied hard for 8 months and got a 97 on my test. My first job was at a tiny studio. I worked for them instead of being independent. It was a good start for me. The boss tried to micro-manage every client and it didn't set well for me at $10 an hour. BAM 3 months I was gone and on my own. I developed 4 steady clients and I was paying half the mortgage! I took some time off when I developed diverticulitis and just when I was going to sign up at my gym as a trainer, my client dumped me. Big advice sermon from me in the near future regarding Never working with a "friend". I then offered my services to the new owner of the cafe at the gym and worked there for 9 months. It was a terribly abusive job and I ended up being completely blindsided (another word for stabbed in the back) by someone who volunteered their time. My pride couldn't take it anymore and I quit. That was 4 years ago. With all of the jobs I have had, I have quit most of them. I dislike thinking of myself as a quitter though. I just have never found the right fit. I continue with my studies as a Fitness Trainer and I will not quit that because it helps me personally. I haven't trained since March 18, 2015 because my hip needs replacing from all of the training and my predisposition to osteoarthritis. I have nursed it back to about 80% and am so much better off than I was a year ago.
I now work on the house, our beautiful native garden, take care of my husband and 2 dogs that are pretty high maintenance and I feel as if I am unhireable due to my disability and my age. I have experienced true age discrimination in the fitness business which was not even a thought when I studied. All I wanted to do was help others reach their goals and to teach them to rely upon themselves, not me, the trainer. I figured out that most people can do it on their own and they are needy of a psychologist instead. I listened to all of their problems and tried to help. Be very careful doling out advice. It will most definitely backfire on you. I never cracked the whip. I was the kinder, gentler trainer and it got me nowhere.
So, my first love is cooking. I have a creative mind and love to make up new recipes, so I started this blog 6 years ago. I am a writer now and I hope to get published someday soon...or maybe as soon as I hit publish on this article will do, If only more people would read it. That is my new Quest in life! the struggle is REAL!


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