Before I start, I just wanted to let you know that I had the immense pleasure of recording a reading from The Seventh Devil for the Canadian Authors Association Spooktacular Podcast. I’m first up after the intros, and you can listen to it here! And then, if you’re not too affrighted, you can continue on to the weird-ass post below:
Early last week, I got my first pension cheque so I decided to calculate my new income as a pensioner minus my current expenses. When I saw the result on the calculator screen, I had a mild panic attack:
Me: I need to get a job right away!
Ken: You’ll be fine
Me: But my skin won’t be! At this rate, if we’re going to eat during the week, I’ll have to buy the cheap face cream, and everyone knows that’s just throwing away good money! No, I need a job. Print off my resume for me at once!
As you can tell, I was looking for a job with a personal assistant. However, I was also planning a trip to a particular family run antique market that afternoon, one where I’d had a booth over a decade ago, so I thought, “What the hell.” I handed in my resume to the young guy at the counter who turned out to be the son of the owners that I’d known years ago when he was just a little boy. I pointed out the tiny section on the second page of my resume where it mentioned I had a booth in another antique market and had “antique” experience, lest he become confused by all the references to the secret agency and worry that I’d been sent to spy on him.
“Thanks,” he said. “I don’t know if we have any openings right now. My dad might be in touch, probably next week if we need extra people for Christmas.”
“Cool!” I responded, and went off to shop.
A while later, I was driving home when the phone rang. I thought it might be Ken with another porch update (Slight tangent—Ken finally got the balcony railings installed after I had my seventh panic attack about either me or the dog falling to our respective deaths in a freak accident. “Why would you even be OUT there when you know there aren’t any railings?” Ken asked. “I DON’T KNOW, KEN. That’s why it’s called a ‘freak’ accident!”), but the caller said “Hi, it’s Frank. I got your resume. Can you start tomorrow? I’ll need you to train all this week then start a regular schedule of Monday to Wednesday from then on.”
I was speechless for a second—I hadn’t planned on working right away, or that much, or that regularly but what could I say? I’d literally gone in, hat in hand, and asked for a job. And there it was. So we agreed that I’d start on Wednesday. And I was TERRIFIED. I haven’t had a minimum wage customer service job since I was 18, and my new boss (since the sons are taking over the business) is 24 years old. I went in on Wednesday for “training”, which was mostly learning how to use the complicated computer sales system. But hey, I figured out the new WordPress editor so how hard could it be? And I know everyone was super impressed every time I put through a sale without any help and then jumped up and down, whispered ‘Yay!’ and clapped for myself. But aside from the fact that my feet are killing me, having sat in front of a computer all day for the last year and a half, it’s a fun job. Mostly I just walk the aisles asking people if I can carry stuff up to the front for them or open showcases or answer questions. People are very appreciative of these things and regularly apologize for taking up my time, to which I respond, “I literally get paid to do this.” And it’s true. Because there are no other distractions in a 7-hour workday aside from cleaning the bathroom, which yes, I have to do every morning. Thankfully, the men’s bathroom is on a different floor and someone else gets that pleasure. When I was much, much younger, I worked in a doughnut shop to make money for university. It wasn’t a bad job until closing time, when I had to clean the bathrooms. The women’s bathroom was usually pretty decent, but the men’s? You needed a gas mask and full hazmat suit to even go in it. I can’t accurately depict for you how disgusting cleaning a public men’s bathroom can be—suffice it to say the only way to thoroughly clean that one was to use a flamethrower. Every night, I was like, “Is it even worth cleaning it? Wouldn’t it be better to just bulldoze this entire building down and start fresh?” Overall I’m pretty happy with the new jay-oh-bee, especially since, when I finally gave Ken the financial breakdown I’d panicked over, it turns out that my math skills are as bad as ever and I’d made several errors, so I’m not as destitute as I thought I was and I can still afford the finer things in life. Like the good skin cream.
P.S. If you want to know how I got this silver I found so clean and shiny, I used the aluminum foil/baking soda/salt/ vinegar/boiling water recipe and it worked like a charm!