That’s The Entrepreneurial Spirit

As some of you may be aware, I’m retiring from the secret agency at the end of September which, by my count (not that I’m counting) is eight work days away. And while I love my job, I’m still happy to be finally entering my golden years. But the problem is, I’m incredibly worried that I’ll be bored. Yes, I know I have some books to write, and there’s the antique booth to keep stocked, and weekly submissions from the literary magazine that I volunteer with to read, but there are still a lot of hours in the day, and if you know me at all, you know I HATE being bored. I recently signed up to a couple of online job sites, looking for something fun and part-time, you know, but all they send me are either things that will be as, if not more, demanding than my current position, or sound boring AF. And they keep asking “Are you qualified for this position?” like how the hell should I know, and why are you sending me jobs where speaking Italian is a prerequisite? Today’s crop included a lot of jobs involving math, and isn’t their faith in my numeracy skills adorable?

Ken: So the guy at the tree nursery said he’d sell the Lions Club 50 trees for 1000 dollars.
Me: That’s a good deal, like…$20 a tree. Hey, I just did math in my head! I’m really good at math!
Ken: Yes. Yes, you are, honey.
Me (pulls out phone): Where’s that ad for the part-time accountant?

Also, there was a faculty position to teach Introduction To Neuropsychology, but I think to take a job like that, you need to know what neuropsychology is aside from ‘weird brain stuff’. There WAS an intriguing post for ‘Collections Specialist’ and I was thrilled for a minute because, as you know, I collect a LOT of things, but it’s actually just a euphemism for shaking down people over the phone to get them to pay their debts, and I’ve never seen the word ‘delinquent’ used so much in one ad. Ultimately, I think I need to give up on these sites, because I never know what the jobs are, and I spent a lot of time the other day coming up with various configurations of meats, cheeses, and condiments to demonstrate my creativity, only to discover that “Sub Stack Developer” was not quite what I imagined it to be.

But I’m not a quitter, so I’ve decided to use my entrepreneurial spirit and come up with my own jobs, positions that are a LOT more fun than “Mobile Truck and Coach Technician” or “Procurement Operations Specialist” (which is code for professional kidnapper, obviously):

1) Travel Advisor

This is not the same thing as a travel agent. No, what I’ll be doing is using my extensive experience as Queen of Worst Case Scenarios to help people who are thinking of travelling:

Client: So I’d like to go hiking.
Me: Terrible idea.
Client: But I really want to go.
Me: Fine. Don’t stand on the edge of any cliffs.
Client: Ooh, good thinking.
Me: And don’t clamber around on rocks. Your ankle could get caught in between two of them, and then you’d have to chew your leg off. Also, get some bear spray.
Client: Excellent advising. Here is fifty dollars.

2) Boredom Specialist

Me: I see that you are the Synergy Group, Boring Division. I’m here to help you spice things up.
Guy working on my street: That’s not what that means.
Me: So your division isn’t boring?
Guy: Well, yes. It IS boring, but–
Me: Then you definitely need my help. I suggest a clown costume, the bigger and redder the nose the better. Also, two words—glitter cannon.
Guy: Lady, leave me alone. I need to do boring.
Me: Fine. Be boring. But don’t say I didn’t try. And on that note, you owe me fifty bucks.

3) Pet Detective

I actually saw that job title come up the other day, and I was super excited at the idea of combining two of my favourite things–solving mysteries and pets. And this was even better because it was solving mysteries ABOUT pets. The position involved ‘striking up conversations and sharing stories with fellow pet owners about their animals’ and it sounded EXACTLY like what a good detective would do:

Me (striking up conversation): Hello. Might I ask you a couple of questions?
Pet Owner: Why certainly.
Me: (holds up photograph): Have you seen this cat anywhere? Her name is Miss Whiskers McGee. She was last seen in the company of your bulldog.
Bulldog (running): You’ll never take me alive!
Pet Owner: Bowzer! What have you done?!

And I had just gone through the closet and found one of Ken’s old fedoras and a trenchcoat when Ken pointed out that the job was with the Blue Buffalo Pet Food Company and that ‘Pet Detective’ was a glorified pet food salesperson and I was like “How in the name of Nancy Drew is that doing detective work?!” But then the other day, our neighbour’s cat escaped from their breezeway and they asked us to help find her. We didn’t–she was hiding in their basement ceiling–but if it happens again, I’m definitely wearing the fedora and trenchcoat. In the meantime, though, the search for something interesting and fun continues. I’ll keep you posted.

Alternatively Speaking

On Friday night, Kate and I were watching a show called What If, the premise of which is that Marvel has pretty much exhausted the ubiquitous iterations of its universe and in order to keep generating income, has resorted to a fantasy-like series that asks things like, “What if the dude from Black Panther was the dude from Guardians of the Galaxy instead?” or “What if Groot was a raccoon and instead of saying ‘I am Groot’, all he said was ‘I am Raccoon”?

Me: I have one. What about “What if Spiderman was bit by a badger instead, and then he would be Badgerman?
Kate: That’s ridiculous.
Me: No it’s not—think about it. Badgers can climb and they’re lightning quick. I bet they could catch thieves better than a spider could. Ooh, it says on google that their favourite food is earthworms. Badgerman, Badgerman, catches thieves just like worms, look out! Here comes the Badgerman.
Kate: Is his wife named Honey?
Me: Obviously, KATE.

And here’s another one: what if Batman and Robin were a couple?

Robin: Where are you going?
Batman: The bat signal is all lit up and whatnot.
Robin: Always with the damn bat signal. What about me?!
Batman: Here’s fifty dollars. Go buy yourself something pretty and I’ll take you out for dinner after I kill Superman.
Robin (under his breath): Like that’s going to happen.

Or…what if Aquaman couldn’t breathe underwater?

Aquaman: Help! (gurgles) Help!

It was a very short episode. But why have I been so bored that I’m inventing alternative superhero universes? Because Ken just got a new job. But wait, I hear you ask. Didn’t he just retire? Isn’t he supposed to be devoting all his energy to rebuilding the side porch? And the answer to both those questions would be yes. However, the other night he came skipping into the kitchen, very pleased with himself, because the local hot air balloon company—yes, THE LOCAL HOT AIR BALLOON COMPANY—had seen his application for ‘ground crew’ and he had a trial run the next morning at 6 am.

Me: Ok, but promise me you won’t get your foot tangled in the rope and then get dragged halfway across the countryside dangling in the air before falling into a pond.
Ken: I think maybe you saw that in a movie. But there are other people to untangle me if that happens.
Me: IF? You mean WHEN!

So the next morning, he left for his new job, and I lay in bed stressing that he might float away, or that the other balloon guys might be mean to him, or that he would get lost taking one of his ‘shortcuts’, or any number of other worst case scenarios. Of course, none of that happened, and he came home excited because the owner had given him the balloon handbook and now he was an official member of the crew, which meant twice a day, weather permitting, he helps set up the balloon, chases it in the crew van, then packs it away. And while he’s enjoying his new-found employment, I’m feeling the pressure to get a cool new job too when I retire in 3 weeks, especially since I reached out to James Gunn about my idea for a Suicide Squad sequel featuring my superhero Heavy Metal, and he has yet to respond. Alternatively, maybe something where I get to drive a forklift…


LinkedIn: I Am Good At All The Jobs

I’ve been on LinkedIn for about five years now. If you don’t know what LinkedIn is, it’s like Facebook for people who don’t want to read about your vacation, see pictures of your kids, or look at memes about how hot it is. Yes. It’s hot. We are all aware. Anyway, the purpose of LinkedIn is to let you network with other “professionals”, post interesting “professional” articles, and read about “professional”-type things. Frankly, it’s boring AF for someone like me, who only dabbles in “professionalism” and would actually prefer to read about your vacation or see pictures of your kids than read about how I can “benefit from a global logistical hub connecting people, goods and markets through sky and sea”. But please stop telling me how hot it is, especially since my air conditioning is currently broken. Every time I hear someone on Facebook say, “Oh my god, it’s so hot!”, I am reminded of the fact that in approximately 16 weeks, you will all be saying, “Oh my god, it’s so cold!” It’s weather. That’s what it does.

A few weeks ago, though, I was looking through my account and found a button I could activate that would tell people I was ‘on the market’, i.e. looking for a job. I’m not actually looking for a job, since I already have a couple, but still, I thought, “I’m retiring soon. What’s the harm in seeing what’s on offer?” It’s the same logic as being in a happy marriage, but looking over your friend’s shoulder while she’s swiping left and right on Tinder—it’s fun to see what’s out there, even if you’re not really interested at the moment. So I signed up (for Job Alerts, NOT Tinder). But now, at least three times a day, I get a LinkedIn Job Alert that shows me over 100 jobs for which I might, apparently, be a ‘top applicant’. And also, apparently, LinkedIn has no idea what I do, or what my current skill sets are because I don’t even know what some of these jobs entail. But what if I applied for one and actually got it?…

1) Supervisor, Tool Room

Me: Good morning, staff. I am your new Supervisor, Tool Room.
Staff (muttering—they’re a cynical bunch apparently): Yeah, good morning, whatevs.
Me: So, first things first. Please put your tools on the table so that I can supervise them. I’ve devised this clever sign-out system, so if you need a tool, I’ve also created a Word doc explaining how you fill in the requisition form. There will be a quiz tomorrow. Have a good day.
Staff: What the f*ck? Give us back our hammers!

2) Warehouse Support

Me: You are an excellent warehouse. Don’t feel bad because you aren’t always as creative as the other warehouses. Creativity comes in many forms. We just have to find the right…idiom for you.
Warehouse: I just really want to get better at abstraction. I mean, my realistic canvasses are quite well-received, but I want to branch out—you know, show the other warehouses that there’s more to me than just landscapes.
Me: You will. Trust me.

3) Team Leader, Change Implementation

Me: Good morning, staff. I’m your new Team Leader. My job is to implement change.
Staff (enthusiastically—these guys are much more receptive): OK, cool, whatevs.
Me: As of today, you are no longer “Waterloo-Wellington Agricorp Limited, Finance and Procurement Division”. You are now “Frosty Queen”. Let’s hear it for frozen milk products!
Staff: But we make farm equipment.
Me: Change is hard.

4) Security Shift Supervisor

Me: Good morning team. I understand that you are the Security Shift. I like it. That’s an awesome nickname. So which one of you is Deadpool, because I just LOVE how you combine humour with kick-ass action.
Staff (confused—not the sharpest tools in the shed): Deadpool? What are you talking about?
Me: Oh. Is this more of a Suicide Squad type deal? OK. Which one of you is Harley Quinn?
Girl (slowly raises hand).
Me: Cool. I didn’t recognize you out of costume.
Girl: Uh, no. There’s no ‘Harley Quinn’ here.
Me: Then which universe IS this?! I get them so confused, especially since Marvel AND DC are both putting teasers after the credits. OK, “Security Shift”—show me your superpowers. And do it quick—I hear there’s trouble down at the Frosty Queen.

5) Bilingual French Financial Services Funding Specialist

Me (terrible French accent): Doo yoo wahnt sum mun-ayyy?
French Person: Je ne comprend pas!
Me: Mun-ayyy! Le cash! Do you actually SPEAK French or are you just messing with me?
French Person: Vous etes une idiote.
Me: Aww. That’s sweet. But you forgot the accent circonflexe on ‘etes’. (My written French is MUCH better than my spoken French).

6) Advanced Case Manager, Insurance Products

Me: So a shark attacked your boat and it sunk?
Customer: Aye. We’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Me: Unfortunately, you’re only insured for the replacement cost. Also, shark attacks are an act of God.
Customer (scratches nails down the blackboard that I somehow have in my fancy insurance office): Argh. You suck.
Me: I’m sorry, Mr. Quinn. I CAN, however, provide some funds for the purchase of extra scuba tanks and a rifle.
Customer: I can’t see how that would be helpful, but whatevs.

7) Broadband Specialist

Me: I hear the internet is slow. Where do we keep the extra wire-y type things?
Staff: In the warehouse. Be careful when you go in—it has self-esteem issues.

As you can see, I would be amazing at so many of the jobs that LinkedIn is offering me. Luckily for me, and the rest of the working world, I already have a job. At least for the next three months—if you need me after that, you know where I am.

It’s All Uphill From Here

On Thursday, I was in the middle of a meeting. While I was listening intently as one does, I shook my shoulders slightly to loosen them up. I realized in that moment that my shoulders weren’t the only thing that was loose because I had forgotten, after almost 40 years of getting dressed in a specific order, to put on a bra. I was shocked but also strangely comfortable. Luckily, I was wearing a flowy top and we’re currently in the middle of a heat wave so it wasn’t apparent to anyone else but me. At least I hope it wasn’t. But still, it was a little confounding that for the first time in living memory, I had unintentionally forgotten to don a foundation garment:

Me (shimmying): I just realized that I forgot to put a bra on this morning.
Ken: Nice. But seriously? It’s not even the weekend.
Me: I know. So weird. I’ve never been so footloose and fancy-free at work.
Ken: See? You announce your retirement and the standards immediately begin to slip.

And yes, it occurred to me that my wardrobe mishap may be a subconscious result of my intention to retire from the secret agency at the end of September, an intention that I made public last week. I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but Ken’s retiring at the end of June, and we have a lot of plans. I have writing to do, he has photographs of trees and clouds to take, and we both have the antique business to maintain. (Just kidding about Ken’s photos—he’s an amazing photographer but he DOES take a lot of tree pictures–see the one below titled Sunrise). If you want to see more examples of his awesome photos, search for him on iStock—his last name isn’t hyphenated and it starts with the W part). Then there’s travelling—eventually. Our anniversary cruise, the one we couldn’t take last year, also got cancelled this year, so here’s hoping for the fall, or at least January.

Sunrise

And then to double down on my subconscious reaction to retirement, on Thursday night I dreamed that I went to a retirement workshop, but it was about FUNERAL PLANNING. I was seated between a really young boy and a very grumpy older woman, and we were given categories to make decisions about like “Materials” and “Location”. I distinctly remember examining a brochure and thinking ‘I’ve never been a fan of dark wood but this Mahogany looks pretty sweet.’ Then the woman next to me said, “For Location, make sure you specify high ground, and watch out for salt levels. High salt content causes you to decompose faster.” When I woke up, I researched this and it’s patently untrue. According to Google, bodies decompose faster in fresh water than salt water, although I get the high ground thing. I don’t want my beautiful mahogany casket to turn into a boat. Plus, since Ken will be building me a mausoleum, I want a room with a view. But all of this is beside the point, which is ‘Why the hell am I equating retirement with death?!’ I mean obviously, the bra thing is a metaphor for freedom but choosing a coffin? Then again, I’ve heard that the Death card in a tarot deck isn’t really an indicator that you’re going to shuffle off the mortal coil, but more about moving from one state of being to the other. So I guess if that’s true, I’m fully invested in the transition from work life to a life of leisure. And on Monday morning, I will stare into my bra drawer, pick out the prettiest one and sigh.

Here also is a picture of the cemetery at the top of a hill that I mentioned in the video I posted last Wednesday. I got a couple of requests so here you go. I bet there’s room up there for a mausoleum…

Schrodinger’s Pants

On Friday morning, I was having a bit of a sleep in, because I’d taken the day off. Ken still had to work, but he’s retiring at the end of June and likes lording it over me a little with his plans to spend the summer building sheds while I’m slaving at the computer. He came out of our walk-in closet wearing a shirt and boxer shorts.

Ken: Should I wear light or dark coloured pants with this shirt?
Me: You work from home. Why are you even wearing pants?
Ken: I always do. But on my last day of work, I won’t. I’ll have my retirement party, then at the end, I’ll get up, disappear into the West and everyone will say, “Hey, he’s not wearing any pants.”
Me: That’s the best retirement gift you can give THEM— Schrodinger’s Pants. All they know is that at any given moment over the last year of your career, you were simultaneously half-dressed and fully-dressed.
Ken: I’m an enigma.

And speaking of enigmas, I saw this online on Friday afternoon.

The first three words I saw were Ranch Dressing, Poison, and Crabs and now I’m a little freaked out because a) I made Ken go to the corner store on Wednesday TO GET ME RANCH DRESSING so what’s next—I have a severe shellfish allergy so is anaphylaxis on the menu this weekend? Also b) if you look at all the words carefully, the majority of them are quite violent and the whole exercise just went from fun to mildly threatening:

Chainsaw
Danger
Sword
Clown
Shim
Poison
Nordebeaste
Crush
Pills
Secret
Quicksand
Demon
Rat
Apologies (which I assume is sarcastic)

The post was introduced with the sentence “It’s that time again” and the following emojis: a laughing face, a face gritting its teeth, a skull, and a demon. So did a serial killer design this list? And then there was this comment below the word jumble: “Chainsaw, unicorn, and music…a perfect trio!” and I will leave you to picture that person’s week all on your own.

In other news, I haven’t provided a quilt update for a couple of weeks because I’ve temporarily given up. I was halfway through row 9 when my 1936 Singer machine literally fell apart, so I borrowed my mother-in-law’s sewing machine and apparently it was built by NASA and I need to learn astrophysics to use it. “Why don’t you read the User Manual?” I hear you ask. Because it’s a generic User Manual for several different models and not a single instruction or picture is for the model I have. So now all I can do is wait for Ken to retire and learn to use it so he can sew more clothes for his marionette, and then he can make Youtube videos that I can follow. And when he does, he may or may not be wearing pants.