Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ten full days of awful...

~"Time doth flit: oh shit."~Dorothy Parker


I have always considered myself a strong person.  I can't really say if this is because of my upbringing, life experiences-whatever. This is just how I have always seen myself. So far, there really hasn't been anything that I couldn't shoulder. I don't know if that is just plain luck-or sheer obstinance.. but there you go.  I am woman-hear me roar and all that..It's funny,I take so much pride in my strength that just the thought of being weak-or worse, being seen as weak makes me cringe!  

  There have been times when I have had to muster my strength..times when I have not felt particularly strong...when I have wanted to throw in the towel-change my name..move to a different time zone...Parenthood can do that to you. Raising children is definitely not for the faint of heart. Yet, here I am with four great kids who continue to grow and change and do all kinds of wonderful things. I had thought that I was at the top of my game..that nothing could faze me. I have potty trained..and short order cooked-fixed plumbing...nursed chickens back from the brink of death-and all of this in one afternoon!  I thought that I was indestructible!....Until I got a job..

  I haven't been gainfully employed in a steady sense for fourteen years. We had been very lucky because Omar did well enough for me to stay home with the kids. However, the last two years were very difficult financially for us-and although we are definitely in an upswing....I thought that a part time job would help. We also want the kids to be a little more independent. So..I found myself a little job. A no responsibility other than being pleasant, counting change and bagging purchases kind of job. Something that I could do while the kids were at school...something that allowed me to be home at night. While at the same time-gave the kids a little bit more responsibility in making their own lunches, taking care of homework..etc. etc. That kind of job. I'd care while I was there-and then go home.  No worries. HA!

Interviewer-"So...if you want this position, you have to be available from 2/27 to 3/5 in order to help set up the new store.."
Me-"Sure, no problem."
Interviewer-It is considered a temporary job.  If after that ten days,if the company believes you are a good worker,,they will hire you permanently."
Me-"Well, I'm a hard worker-that's for sure!"
Interviewer-"Great! Be at the store on 2/27 at 7:45..."
Me-"Great-thanks so much."

  I am fifty years old.  There is no denying that.  I don't hide my age-and in fact, am rather proud that I have made it thus far, I'm fit-and healthy-FOR MY AGE. can imagine my dismay when....

  I showed up on the right day and at the right was twenty two degrees below zero. I got out of my van and walked towards the huddled group of very cold people and cheerfully proclaimed "Hi-I'm Kathleen." One of the huddled said a weak "hi"...the rest just stared at me-rather sullenly- truth be told..."Well", I thought "it is cold...I'm sure that people will be happier once we get inside"..Only,  they weren't. 

 We were corralled over an ice mound that was blocking the entry into an enormous totally EMPTY building. An enormous empty UNHEATED building...where we were told that "This will be the hardest of the ten days...we have to unload this truck...we don't have hand carts..or a snow shovel..or ice melt...or even mats to prevent you from slipping on the ice as you carry these incredibly heavy and bulky pieces of equipment over this ice burg into the store....oh-and watch out-the floor can be slippery." 

I tried to stay optimistic as I stood there in my coat, jeans, nice sweater and clogs. "Well" I thought "They did ask on the application if I could lift fifty pounds" *sigh* "I just didn't think that they meant carrying fifty pounds while ice skating- consecutively for ten days. But I did it. I also didn't think that "setting up the store" meant literally building all of the massively heavy shelving units...hanging shelves on all of those units...and unloading over five thousand boxes of merchandise(again, no hand trucks) to load said shelves with...But I did it. Well..I did it as best as my fifty year old body would let me. Which in the eyes of all of the twenty somethings I was working with...seemed...weak. I was actually frowned upon-ME! frowned upon..seen as inept...incapable...and perhaps a tad bit irreverent.  Come on! If every single box you happened to be opening contained either enemas, douches or suppositories-wouldn't you find it funny? They say "No man is an island"..but I'll tell you...that afternoon, I was an archipelago of feminine hygiene and hemorrhoid treatment products! I thought it was a riot.  I was alone in my feelings...It was awful...ten full days of awful.

  But I made it...I carried the load..skated the ice..built the shelves..stocked the suppositories!  I had proven to the company and my fellow employees that I was tenacious-I could hang on! That I...I had what it took- to be a cashier.

 Today was my first day off since that fateful February morning. I spent it running errands and catching up on all the other things that I usually do,  the kids are slowly adjusting to me not always being home...I am hoping that things get smoother for them....and me. Change takes time..especially when your fifty. I may even get some of those serious twenty somethings to laugh...eventually. Until then-if you need any feminine hygiene supplies or hemorrhoid accessories..just give me a shout...


Bright Side of Life said...

Oh my hat, I hope they paid you well for all your hard work!

Bright Side of Life said...

Oh my hat, I hope they paid you well for all your hard work!

denise said...

If it makes you feel any better- my clutzy 38 year old self would have definitely slipped and taken myself out of commission on the very first day. And those damn 20 somethings always look at me like I'm a crazy old lady too. I blame it all on the cellphones. I am not a dork-they just have no clue how to chat and it's hard for them to "get" humor that doesn't come illustrated with a gif of a cat or Tina Fey.

Jean said...

I always love what they DON'T say on the job description. Well done for surviving! It can only get easier....can't it???
btw, sounds like your new boss could use a few of his own suppositoies XXX

jazzygal said...

I can't believe they expected you all to do that in such awful, and very unsafe conditions!!

But well done you!! You did it!! See, being in your fifties IS the new forties! And once again you made me laugh. I think the hardest part of your new job will be making those younger wans laugh!!xx

Stephanie Allen Crist said...

Wow! You are definitely strong, both physically and inherently, to make it through that.

It's funny that I come across this post at this time and I'm going to tell you why. :)

We don't have a dishwasher, but my mom does. And since I'm now too busy to wash the dishes by hand, we load up our dirty dishes in a bin and haul them over to my mom's house. She washes them in her dishwasher and then we haul them back in a clean basket. When this all started, I was the one to load, haul, and unload the bin into the dishwasher. Then I would load the basket, haul it back, and unload it.

Now, I can't.

This evening I had my step-son haul the bin for me. I loaded it. My mom will unload it.

But it struck me as I was opening doors for my step-son that I used to be able to carry two or three of my kids at a time. Once I even carried all four just to prove I could. Now, here I was, needing him to carry for me, because it was heavy enough to be painful for me--and it's not even 50 lbs.

In my head, I know that having acquired a disability changes things. That my definitions of myself need to change, too.

But it's funny. I used to take pride in knowing that, if we had a fire or some such emergency, I could haul all of my kids.

Now I take pride in knowing that my kids respect and appreciate my limitations without seeing me as being "limited" or "less than" I was.