Walk this way

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Remember how I had interviewed for that dog walking job back in September? And how I was sure that I got the job? But then I didn't?
 
I looked around for something else and ended up finding a part-time job at a neighborhood card store. I had been working there for about three weeks when I got a call from dog walker guy saying that the person he hired (instead of hiring me!) was quitting and was I still interested? Hmmm....I had already started working at the store but it wasn't many hours so I decided to do both and see how things went.
 
The first week I trained with the exiting dog walker, Trevor, who curiously enough, I remembered as the guy who was waiting to be seen back in September as I was leaving my interview. "Training" basically consisted of me driving around with Trevor and watching him put in security codes, unlock doors and pick up poop. Oh, and talk. A lot. There's not much else to do while you're walking a dog and waiting for it to do its business.
 
It turned out that young Trevor was uber bright and was working on a dissertation to complete his doctoral degree in clinical psychology. I worried that his training would allow him to see into the depths of my psychological issues so I encouraged him to talk. I pretended to be interested in what he was saying,  nodding intently at references to great philosophers that I had never heard of.
 
I came to the conclusion that Trevor was ill suited to be walking dogs. Not because of his intelligence level and multi-degreed educational background but because he didn't really seem to like dogs. He mentioned his wife's cat and I thought it was odd that he didn't say "our cat". Geez, he didn't like cats, either. Oh well, I'm sure that psychology thing will work out for him.
 
The hardest thing the first few weeks was just learning the route. Unlike what you see on TV, you aren't walking multiple dogs at once. You walk one, get in your car and drive to the next location, walk that dog and so on. The route isn't big with only 5 dogs  and a few add ons here and there but Mr. Owner assured me that dogs were always being added to the route. Okay, no biggie, it's a pleasant way to get some exercise and make some money.
 
When you get paid, that is.
 
I was told that I would be paid every Friday for the prior week. Week one, Friday came and no paycheck in the mail.
 
Ring, Ring "Hi, Mr. Dog Walking company owner, I didn't get a paycheck today."
 
"OH! I forgot to pay you. I'm sorry."
 
Week two. No paycheck on Friday. Again.
 
"Hi, Mr. Dog Walking company owner, no paycheck again."
 
"Hmmm....not sure why. Let me know if you get it tomorrow. You shouldn't get it any later than tomorrow."
 
I think we all know what happened here. No check Saturday. No check Sunday. No check Monday. TUESDAY, I get the check.
 
Week three. No paycheck on Friday. Again.
 
"Hi, Mr. Dog Walking company owner, no paycheck again."
 
"Hmmmm....maybe it's late because of the holiday." He claimed that he uses a payroll service and that he has it set up to be delivered to me by Friday.
 
I'm sorry, but no reputable payroll company is going to screw this up, holiday or not.
 
This continued for another 4 weeks with the check always arriving on Tuesday until I was told that there was a direct deposit option.
 
"Then you'll be paid on Friday for sure!"
 
Okay, so I sign up for direct deposit and the first check I get is short $100. The total isn't much money to begin with, so $100 is huge.
 
"Yeah, so it's me again. This time the check is wrong."
 
Idiot didn't open the entire spreadsheet to look at my hours.
 
"No worries," he says.
 
"Well, no worries for you. I'm the one who didn't get paid." Ass wipe.
 
I have managed people long enough to know that you can make them work in shitty conditions with shitty co-workers they hate, working shitty hours and they will be fine. The only thing you can't fuck with is someone's money. That's where everyone draws the line.
 
Maybe I wouldn't be so annoyed if he had shown any concern over the state of my paycheck, or lack thereof. I work for him as an independent contractor so I get a percentage of what the client pays him directly. And I know they're paying him on time because some of them leave checks for me to pick up weekly.
 
It was a fun job but it's all becoming more trouble than it's worth so I've been looking for something else. At first, I felt guilty because I love the dogs and I love the clients but, honestly, I'm sure they could care less who walks their dogs as long as it gets done.
 
I even considered starting my own dog walking business but, who am I kidding? You know I would be ready to quit after the first 90 degree day! I figured I would probably only last until the summer with this anyway. You can't blame a girl for trying.
 
One thing I have to say, though, is that I have a greater appreciation for mail carriers. I'm out there in all kinds of weather so now I know what they go through. This was the first year I gave my mail carrier cash to say thanks!
 
Here are some of the beauties I walk.
 
This is Nico. His owner rescued him from the streets of Nicaragua. How cool is that?
 
Three legged Lucy with two different color eyes. There's something new chewed up every day I pick her up to go walk.
 
Sweet Mugsy. He is the biggest scaredy cat.
 
Silly Grady. He has the most beautiful coat I have ever seen.
 
 
 

You are what you choose

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I sat down a little while ago to write a lighthearted post about something or other that's going on with me. And then an alert popped up on my phone that authorities had apprehended a local  man responsible for killing a 5-year old girl and wounding her mother. I clicked on the alert and saw that the named suspect shared a last name with a girl that I used to know and wondered if there was any connection.

The article stated that he had an extensive criminal record that included charges for domestic violence, felonious assault, unlawful restraint, telephone harassment, kidnapping and aggravated burglary. He had already served 4 years behind bars and was released in 2012. It said that he had a Facebook page but that it had been removed.

I still searched for the accused killer's name on Facebook and found an active page. The website must have been mistaken. This page had no privacy settings activated which meant I could read every post and see every photo.

Name: Geoffrey

Age: 33

Status: In a relationship

Works at: None of your damned business

He likes cars, money, tattoos, Boxer dogs and hanging with his friends. He has three children, two girls and a boy. Photos show little ones who love their Daddy, friends having a good time and a girlfriend that worships him. His page is populated with the stuff of life that you would find on the pages of any of my friends or myself.

But this man has a laundry list of convictions and is accused of murdering a little 5-year old girl.
 
A little girl not unlike one of  his own. A little girl that plays with dolls, sticks her fingers in the birthday cake and gives her Daddy kisses.

How the hell does this happen? We all have a history of "stuff", whether it's abuse or neglect or whatever. How is it that some of us rise above it and some of us keep falling down?

His page was laden with those captioned photos that you see on Facebook all the time. Some are silly animal pics with quotes, some were a little more off color and there were a surprising number of inspirational ones about changing his life and acknowledging  the mistakes of his past.

The comments on his photos revealed that he wasn't seeing his children but that he missed them and hoped to see them soon. But this was the same man who (allegedly) killed a 5-year old girl by shooting her in the head. It's incredibly tragic all the way around.

Interestingly, I just clicked on his Facebook page and it's gone. The photos of his cars, dogs, kids and memories of laughter with friends. All gone.

What an eerie window into his future.

Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel.


"You want me to do what??"

Original Post Date, June 11, 2009


I was watching this educational video posted by JB over at It's Gonna Take More Than a Hamburger to Make Me Happy, and it got me thinking about a personal grooming experience from my past.

The year was 1988, the summer I turned 22. Of course, at the forefront of my mind was how I looked (kind of like it is now) and I always tried to find the latest, greatest beauty products. We women of Armenian descent are hairy. We pluck and bleach and shave and then shave again at the end of the day. And we don't have baby fine, blonde hair. We have coarse, dark hair.



The hottest thing on the market that year was a hand held hair removal device called an Epilady. It consisted of intertwined coils that rotated at a high speed and RIPPED your hair out by the root.

It has to go down in marketing history as one of the cleverest campaigns out there. How else could you convince grown women to shell out over $75 for a weapon that would leave you wincing in pain but "hair free for days!" $75 for that luxury? I'll give ya a hundred! Finally, something to ease my hair removal woes.

I didn't mind shaving my legs or even my underarms but my biggest pet peeve was my bikini line. I never seemed to be able to get a nice, smooth shave and I didn't like waxing, either. Epilady to the rescue!

I remember hurrying home to try out my new deluxe, gold model Epilady. You had to be sure your skin was dry and that you pulled it taut as you glided it over the area you were concentrating on.




"Wow," I thought to myself, "this isn't as painful as I thought it would be."

I ran my fingers over the section I had completed and I was really impressed with the results. And then it happened.

Now, keep in mind, the year was 1988. Women were just starting to trim down there as bikinis got smaller. I can still remember getting ready to go out on a Friday night when my friend Debbie implored her cousin, Carla, who was changing her clothes to "trim that, for God's sake." It was the 80's. We didn't look like prepubescent teens. We looked more like what this guy is wearing on his head.



So there I was, buzzing along, pulling hair out by the roots, getting a smooth bikini line. I listened to the hum of my Epilady.

HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

HUUU

You got it. Those rotating coils grabbed a hold of my errant Armenian bush and held on for dear life.

What the hell was I going to do? I tried sending my dog for help but Lassie he wasn't. He did come back with a squeaky toy that proved helpful as something to bite down on to ease the pain and muffle my screams.

I managed to make my way into another room, my Epilady dangling precariously between my legs. I found some sewing shears in the kitchen drawer and carefully snip snipped to release myself from its grip. I think I spent the rest of the night with a bag of frozen peas in my lap.

Thank God it's not the 80's anymore.

Who's a freeze baby?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Okay, so I wasn't going to post about the weather because you could just turn on the news and hear about it.
 
 
Polar vortex, smowmageddon, blah....blah...blah...
 
Well, then I woke up at 4am on Tuesday morning and I had no power. I'm not even sure why I woke up, but I looked over at the nightstand clock with the red lighted numbers and it was off. And the funny thing is, I haven't even plugged in for at least a month but for some reason, I decided to plug it in on Monday before I went to bed.
 
I thought maybe the plug had become loose so I turned on the lamp to check.
 
Nuthin'.
 
Oh shit, no power.
 
I pulled back the covers and it felt colder than usual so I grabbed my phone, turned it on to light my way and stepped out into the hallway to check the thermostat. It was 65 which wasn't too bad since I turn it down to 70 when I go to bed anyway. I honestly wasn't too concerned because I was sure it would be back on soon. I guess I must have had a temporary lapse of memory and forgot about the 18 hour power outage back in October.
 
I fell asleep for a little while and woke up to my neighbor texting me. "We have no power." Way ahead of ya, buddy.
 
One hour turned into two as I watched the temperature continue to fall. I texted my dog walking clients that I couldn't get my car out of my garage because of the power outage and I wasn't sure if it would be back on in time but that I would keep them posted. Honestly, I was hoping that it wouldn't be back on because with the wind chill, the temperature was -35 degrees.


 
A temperature that low is a danger to both us and our pets but if they wanted their dog walked, I would walk them to the front tree and back.
 
The night before I had gotten an automated call from the city that I live in stating that the community center would be open as a "warming center" the next day but I disregarded it, thinking I wouldn't be needing it. Whenever I hear the term "warming center", I think to myself, "Those are open in the inner city for homeless people." Then the temperature in the house dropped to 42 degrees and I could literally see my breath.
 
Okay, maybe we should head to the warming center.
 
I called the community center from my almost dead cell phone and they informed me that they had no heat so I called the next city over. They said they were open but when I asked if I could bring my dogs, they said they discouraged it but that I could bring them if they were in kennels. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen so I called my neighbor to see if he wanted to go to the community center to charge our phones. The funny thing is, we had both just gotten portable phone chargers for occasions just like this but both out chargers were dead. Duh.
 
I felt terrible leaving my babies home alone but I knew that I wasn't going to be gone long and I bundled them all up before I left. Even Vinny let me put a sweater around him!





We were thrilled to find that the power was on when we came back home but it was a loooong 12 hours.

Note to self: Buy a generator!

Sunday start over

Sunday, January 5, 2014

HELLOOOOO!!!!!
 
I know. I know....
 
I've been bad. I've neglected everyone. I haven't written a blog post and I haven't read any in almost a month. If it's any consolation, I've been an equal opportunity neglector, if that's even a word. I only saw one friend during the holidays and spent 15 minutes with another when I dropped off her children's presents on Christmas Eve.
 
There's so much to talk about and I've made notes along the way so I don't forget any of the details for you. I was ready to jump back in until around Christmas when I got sick. SUPER sick, like I was when I left my job at the hospital in the spring. The last of it is still hanging on but at least I'm able to sleep for 7 hours straight without feeling like I'm coughing up a lung.
 
I hope you all had wonderful holidays spent with family and friends and I'll be stopping by all your blogs to catch up during the winter blast that we're getting in the next few days!


 

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