Thursday, August 28, 2014

# Throw Back Thursday....Late August makes me want to go back to college and learn new things......

It's the last week of August and The University of Vermont is calling to me..... Come back and learn more..... And how I would love to jump on a plane and go back.  The excitement of meeting new friends, and learning new things.  The photo above is of me in my sophomore year of college.  All ready to go out and learn about farm animals.
I loved all the years I spent at UVM.  I loved taking animal science courses and had a dream of working in a Veterinary office.  Looking back I wonder how I never got to my intended goal.  I guess bills, and marriage, and children took over.  I would still someday like to work in a Veterinary office.  I would love to help care for animals.  But I know the truth, no matter where you work, if you deal with the general public you will have complaints, and angry people to deal with.  And so at this time in my life I'm content with where I'm at.  But the dream is still there.
So here's to all the new college students.  Enjoy these years of your life.  Enjoy studying the things you love, and making friends and living with out huge responsibilities.  College it's wonderful, enjoy it.  Because there are many who looking back would love to be in your shoes for a little while longer......

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ancestral Ponderings......The thought of having 16 children in the 1800's is daunting......

As I work on family history, I often find families that I am amazed by.  One recent family had 16 children.  When my husband and I first got married we talked about how many children we would like to have had.  The thought of having 5 or 6 children at first sounded fun.  And yet we are happy to have been blessed with two, and two is probably the amount we can afford, and can handle in this day and age.

And yet here is the man and woman who met and over the years had 16 children.(The photo above is of the wife and one of the daughters)  In the census records I  find that they lived in a four room house.  I can not imagine living in a four room house with 16 children. When we moved out to Utah, we lived in a small apartment.  To me it was cozy at first, but the four of us by the time we moved needed space.  I can't imagine what these children must have felt like always having to share a room with someone.  I now see how spoiled my children are.
   I can not imagine cooking for that many people.  I have a hard time cooking for four people. My children are always complaining about the frozen dinner I've prepared.  And I assume that much of what they ate they probably grew also.  Grocery stores filled with semi homemade items were not around back in their days.
  I wonder about the daily chores and think how did this woman take care of such a large family.  I'm sure the older children had to have helped out and probably got jobs at young ages too.  I would love to see more than census records, and a few photo's.  I'd love to hear stories of what family life was for this big family.  Did the children dream of the day they got to move out and be on their own, or did they have a close relationship?  Did the older children dread the fact another baby was on the way or were they excited to learn of the new addition?
It is fun to wonder about those from the past.  Perhaps someday I'll meet these souls on the other side and here their stories.  But for now I just have to be happy with pondering on what life for them might have been like.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Retail Reality: A Case of Mistaken Identity

A Case of Mistaken Identity.
In my many years of retail I've noticed that people tend think that those working in retail are the lowest, stupidest beings on this planet.  It seems to me that when a person walks into a store they automatically assume the people working there are way below them.  This first came to my attention while working in the banking industry.
     We had this elderly gentleman who would come in and tell every teller and new account associate his whole college background.  How he had a degree from some prestigious college, had started his own business and was just that much better than all that worked in our little bank branch.  Those who kissed his feet and acted like they cared got all his attention and treats every Christmas.  We actually had one new account associate who was really good at kissing up to this man.  It made me sick.
     The truth of it is that most people working in retail are actually pretty well educated, and are just trying to add a little extra to their monthly income because of a horrible economy.  Most people are two job workers. They have their forty hour a week job, and then they have their night time retail "help me survive" a little better job.  The people I used to work with were accountants, school teachers, retired managers from other companies, bank managers,and social workers.  Many are also women who used to be stay at home mom's who now want to get back into the working world. Yes there may be a few associates that are not the smartest, brightest people in the world, but does that mean that anyone has the right to make them fun of them, or treat them unkindly?
    It is funny how customers also try to tell certain associates that they are two smart to work retail.  In one store I worked in the customers were always trying to get our resident Psychologist to leave and work for them.  You are too smart to be working here.  They constantly had to tell customers that it was their choice to work at the store, they were just getting added income as they built up their own business.
   Why did I initially work in retail....I needed a job that was flexible, where I could work nights and I could ask for days off when my kids had concerts and school programs.  Most office jobs don't let you have that flexibility.  As long as I knew two weeks in advance about something I could have a day off.  The flexibility and the people I worked with made it worth it.  Even though many nights I felt like I had a big "L" stamped on my face "LOSER".... Yes somehow people just assume that if you are in retail they have to explain things to you slowly... I     am      returning   this    item    ...... ( well duh, you are at the return center......)
   Any ways if you happen to shop at night, realize that many night workers in retail, are actually someone who is working two jobs. Have some compassion for them, treat them kindly and be glad that you are not in their shoes. Many work two jobs because their first job hasn't given them a raise in 5 or 6 years.  You never know you could be the next person desperate to make an extra dollar to support your family and find yourself in the "Crazy world of Retail...."
If you have to work two jobs to support your family what jobs do you have?  Have you ever felt like customers treat you like a second class citizen?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

# Throw Back Thursday....August...Back to School....No longer a day of stress and agony.....

Back to school week for me since having children in school, has been one of grief and stress until moving to Utah.  Look at these two little ones off to school, who could predict that my son would be bullied from Kindergarten till 8th grade.  First days of school were not the only nervous days, each day that followed would hold stress for me.
It wasn't just the first day of school that we had sad faces.  In fact there was a year where I had to hold my child at the bus stop to keep him from running away.  He would tell  me how he was going to get off at school and walk home, or when I wasn't looking he would decide to jump on the train and ride to the city. How I wished to keep him home and protect him, but you have to go to school.
 Third Grade that was the good year.  That was the year of the teacher who understood, the teacher who saw the brilliant child, the one who challenged him and saw his potential.  That was the happy year, until unfortunately for us the teacher got pregnant and left.  The one great advocate gone, and all went back to the same.....
6th grade thing got a little better, changing schools, changing classes so you don't have the same people and students around.  Life got better.  My son also became the one who helped those others who were being picked on.  He grew thicker skin, he stood up for himself, and even though he got in trouble on the bus, he didn't let the bully pick on him anymore.  The bus drive though he had to tell the principal was so pleased to see the new more confident child.  Yes all the adults knew who was the victim, and yet this was before the victim was more protected.  We knew how to cope, we talked about the day, did you have friends to sit with?  Did you get picked on, how did you deal with it.  What are your feelings.  When we moved to Utah and  we would give our friends kids rides home they wondered over these conversations, but to us it was just the normal end of school day check up.
This year as we paid fee's and prepared for school, there was this confident young man before me.  I'm excited for school he said.  Would you go back and change the past and bullying I asked?  No, I'd keep it all the way it was.  Why?  Because it made me who I am.  And I'm proud to be myself.  I can be myself and not worry about what others think.  I can be creative and not care that others don't understand.  Do you have friends in your classes?  Yes.  I have lots of friends and it's wonderful.  I just thank God for this talented young man, and for sending us somewhere where he is accepted and cared for. 
Both my Artist and Athlete are doing so well here in Utah.  Perhaps the east coast schools are so much better academically, but they never challenged my son any ways..  Here at least I don't hold my breath all day wondering what type of day he had.  They both are in honors classes both have lots of friends.  A parent can't ask for more than that. So glad for children who get up and go to school happy.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Retail Reality: A Case of Caffeine....

As I sit comfortably at home, far from the world of retail.... enjoying my new less stressful job, I think back on those I have worked with and the fact that retail sales workers and caffeine go hand in hand.
When I worked in banking the caffeine of choice was coffee.  We had coffee breaks with yummy deserts and coffee at home after the day was done.   My first job in banking I actually worked with my mom.  It was fun to go home and sit and drink coffee with her, until I realized that it caused my sleepless nights.  That was when I stopped.
In my more recent retail experiences I've watched the drinking habits of fellow employees, and found soda is the new caffeine of choice.
It also seems to me that the higher up you are the more you consume.  The top supervisors tend to have cases stored away in their office, while the hourly worker just puts their extra change in the vending machine each break.  It is a sad site to see when that vending machine does not give out the desired caffeine fix.  And worse yet is when it takes your money and nothing is given out at all.
My Soda of choice was Pepsi, but I have finally kicked the habit.  It is hard when working strange shifts to give up caffeine.  It seems that you need that extra energy. In retail you don't usually have the same shift each day.  Often I would work a morning shift one day and a night shift the next, it can really cause your sleep cycle issues.
  I know there were times when I must have looked so tired and pathetic from my constant struggle to give up soda, that those around me pitched in to buy me a Pepsi.  My first year of working in a large retail store was the worst diet wise.  My main food source was the chip vending machine and the soda vending machine.  After breaking this awful cycle of soda and chips I actually feel so much better.
And what do the top supervisors drink?  You got it.  The super energy drinks, plus coffee.  The stress of the top supervisors is not something I would ever want.  And why I am so glad for my new job as a genealogist assistant.  I now work in a quiet environment putting together the puzzle of someones family tree. No more running from one end of the store to the next solving problems.  No more trying to figure out how to keep a store clean when the customers out number you 20 to 1.  Now I have a quiet peaceful desk job!  But every now and then I think of the crazy days of retail and miss them.  Just a little.....  And every now and then I miss my case of caffeine. 
Sorry I couldn't find any caffeine related comics.  Perhaps I could get my son to draw one someday. 
Please share your favorite retail caffeine story :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

# Throw Back Thursday.....Floatin' down the River........This one is form my Mom!

Every summer when we lived in New Jersey, we traveled the long 7 hour drive to Vermont, to then drive another hour or two to Maine.  To camp by the river.  And what better way to spend a hot summer day than to float down the river.
If only life was as easy as a week of camping, and floating down the river.
My parents lucky them still get to do this. And we really miss it!
Ah Summer in New England....

It's got to be Heaven on Earth.
We are in hopes of getting there next year!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

# Throw Back Thursday....Summer was always Pools to me

When I was young I spent my summers at my grandparents house swimming in their big in ground pool.  My brothers and I had a great time running down the hill and jumping into the deep end.  As August rolled around and it got cooler out we spent less and less time in the pool, but still loved every minute we had swimming.  In New Jersey we were blessed to live by the local kiddie pool.  The above photo is of my daughter with one of the multiple sets of goggles we had.  My job was to tighten and loosen goggles all day long.
Oh how I miss those lazy pool days.  We would be the first family to arrive at 10 am., leaving at noon for lunch and then returning for crafts and more swimming in the afternoon.  The kids had their first swim lessons here, and it was just a great way to cool off on hot humid days.
The pool was so close to our house that we just walked back and forth each day.  We called it "The Long Walk to the Pool."  Each year counting the steps to get to the pool.  Each year a little taller and a little more confident in our swimming abilities.  At some point the goggles and flotation devices were left behind.
And then the beloved crafts.....became boring...
Sun bathing and games became the new cool.......
My kids for those 10 years of time were little fish in the summer who grew into mermaids and sharks.  And it was wonderful, and now in the busy whirl wind of 40 hour work weeks and teenage craziness, I often ponder the beauty of the kiddie pool days.  How thankful I am for those lazy stay at home summer days, how I wish I could step back in time and just soak up that sun once more, the fixing of the goggles would be such an easy task that would not cause me any annoyance at all.  Because I'd live in that moment more fully and realize little children grow up too fast.  And I'd hold them that much tighter.  Though I do have to say, I enjoy my teens they are wonderful and I wouldn't trade these moments either.  Because I have wonderful children. And wonderful pool time memories.  That is one thing I miss, days at the pool.