My Individual Work Performance

LizzieLou | employment history,inappropriate,nablopomo | Friday, November 2nd, 2018

As I’m working at home this morning, and sitting through my mandatory online training in Prevention of Sexual Harassment, I made a side note to let my wife know that all of the following are indeed welcome in this particular office: touching, hugging, jokes, comments, innuendoes, suggestive looks, gestures, and photos.

With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

LizzieLou | employment history,nablopomo | Saturday, November 29th, 2008

After my first year away at school, I went back to Cape Cod to work again for the summer. My 5&10 friends (BF and the Looneygirl) were now working at a schmancy hotel as maids. I decided to work there too, and live with them there in the dorms for the workers – bellmen, waitstaff, foodservice, deskfolk and us… housekeeping staff. Also known by the less politically correct term of “chamber maids.” A usual day started early: the yanking on of ill-fitting and ass-ugly dress uniforms, communal breakfast, then to the laundry for our assignments. Our first task was to dust the sun room off the lobby. En masse we strode humbly into the main hotel building and dusted an acre of wicker furniture. Pure tedium. Then we returned to the laundry and gathered up our buckets of toxic cleaning sprays, rags, clean towels and fresh linens. When the rooms were done, we were free until after dinner, when we had to return to do turn-downs: refreshing the towels, drawing the curtains, turning on the lights, turning down the beds and leaving chocolates on the pillows.

The real tale here however is not the daily grind. It’s the occasional freaks who came to stay at the hotel, the weirdness of the hotel itself, and the debauched behavior of those that worked there.

Freaks… One of the oddest was a single middle aged woman in one of the cottages. She would never let the maid in while she was there and she was occasionally heard to be shouting and wailing. When we were finally able to get in the room, we discovered that she had stabbed and shredded all of her pillows. What to do? Well, seeing as this was a schwanky place and the lady was paying a shitload of money to stay there, we replaced her pillows. A couple days passed and we were able to return and she had stabbed her pillows to death once again. She caused quite a buzz for a week, but we never did find out what her problem was. Displaced homicidal tendencies or feather allergy? No idea. There was also a salacious rumor about Ben Vereen’s nocturnal activity when he was a guest one time, but I don’t want to be sued by his estate so I’ll have to stay mum.

Weirdness… One of the original cabins was referred to as the Amityville cabin. It is shaped a little like the evil house from the movie with the same pair of quarter-round windows on the upper floor. The general belief amongst the staff was that it was haunted. Maids told spooky stories about feeling cold spots, and feeling like they were not alone. One time Looneygirl was assigned to clean the cabin and made me go with her. At that time in my life I was pretty woo-woo and agreed that there was a presence there. I hope the next check-in didn’t mind the shitty vacuuming job, but we had to finish quickly before becoming possessed and murderous.

Debauchery… I can’t say too much about this here because my sister reads this blog. But there was the one time the turn-downs took about 3 hours, because the maids were under the influence and “one of them” spent 20 minutes chasing a bunny around the putting green to see if it would eat a fancy, shell-shaped chocolate. And of course there was the embezzlement of several pounds of fancy, shell-shaped chocolates which, when dipped in a jar of peanut butter, made an excellent midnight snack after a party. They also made a nice gift for Gram when she would come pick me up for church on Sundays.

A Sun Dial in the Shade

LizzieLou | employment history,nablopomo | Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The first real job I had, real as in having my earnings reported to the IRS, was at a five-and-dime store in Cape Cod. My gram lived near there, about seven miles away as the teen-bike-rides, and I stayed with her in the summers of ’86 and ’87. It was sort of a weird thing to do, to go so far away to work for the summer, and I don’t know why I even thought of it. Although one of my cousins was around a little that summer with her parents, I didn’t know anybody. It was one of those life decisions that I made and have no idea what the thought processes were behind it. In retrospect, things seemed to just have happened. Summer came, and away I went.

In ’86 I missed my BFF from high school. I read Beaches and cried. I met a dude one evening when I had ridden my bike down to the beach who talked to me about sunsets and art and I had a revelation that wow, man, it was like talking to myself it was so cool and mystical. I kinda dated a kid named Mike. We smooched a lot. My new friend who lived on the Cape was going out with his friend, who drove a convertable, so our fates were sealed. Oh yeah, wait – I was going to write about working.

The 5&10 was a low rectangle on the top of the main street, actually named “Main Street.” It was always one of my family’s favorite places to go when we were vacationing there. The store was crowded with mechandise, some which may have been there since it opened in the 60’s. It sold greeting cards, housewares, tools, toys, beach items, craft supplies, candy, cigarettes and a boatload of tourist tchotkes. This being my first retail experience, I was surprised at how much things got marked-up. Especially the tourist things. Stupid knick knacks, little wooden lobster traps, coasters, and geegaws would arrive in big boxes from whoknowswhere. I sat on the loading dock, unpacked the boxes, and wrote “CAPE COD” on them with a Sharpie(tm). Hello 1000% mark-up. I was paid in cash at the end of each week. Little manilla minimum wage envelopes of dough. But I was frugal then, and pizza was cheaper, so I did make some money. 
My new friend and I worked there together with another girl our age (who was a little bit of lunatic), two older ladies, a middle aged and slightly pervy manager, and the old guy who owned the place. He always had a smoldering Benson&Hedges hanging from his mouth. His wife would come in regularly to the store and take things. I remember being told by a coworker that if she ever came in and complained that she didn’t feel well I should get her a banana because she had low potassium or something. It never happened.

In ’87 I didn’t miss anyone from high school and couldn’t wait to get back to stay with my gram for another summer. My friends and I were happy to be working together again. There were shenanigans, a lot note writing and goofing off, illicit candy eating, etc. Sadly, the looney girl got fired because of said shenanigans and goofing and went to work for the competition – a clean, well lighted place – down the other end of Main Street. A young lad was hired in her place. He must have been 16, but he seemed about 12 and we treated him that way gave him horrible nick-names. The owner had retired over the previous year and left the running of the store to his daughter who was much more of a hard ass. (With good cause I guess because that pervy manager from the year before had done some questionnable things with their money or something before running off.)

Of course the whole point of going to the Cape for the summer was not about working at all. It was all about driving around with my friend in her dad’s stationwagon, listening to Metallica, having kinda-boyfriends, and whooping out the windows to our friends… a lot of late-night whooping. Amazingly we always made it to work the next morning and never needed a banana.

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Broken

LizzieLou | accident prone,employment history,nablopomo | Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

My first paying jobs were babysitting gigs. The first baby I sat for was my sister, but I don’t think I got to collect on those. I did a pretty good job, except for this one time later on. I got home from school and started drinking all the leftover wine and eating all the leftover cake from my Dad’s 50th birthday party the weekend before. I welcomed my sister home from kindergarten, got her a snack, and watched a little Thundercats. Then I drunk-dialed my friend I loved to tell her how much I loved her. Then I passed out. Then I threw up. Then I was in the basement trying to wash out my clothes. Then the garage door opened. My dad came home. I passed out again and he’s mocked me about it ever since.

Before I became delinquent I spent a summer being the daytime sitter for a kid down the street. He was only a few years younger than I was, but I guess his mother thought I was a better option than leaving him alone, and cheaper than a real nanny. It was bit like having a younger brother. We spent most days playing; of course we had to play crap he wanted to play. This included playing GI Joes, golf on the front lawn, realtor-and-buyer (a company his mother worked for), and number of law enforcement games. (He is now a real police detective.) We watched a lot of television, and made a point of stopping whatever we were doing to watch Inspector Gadget. We ate a lot of those plastic sleeves of frozen fruit-flavored goo. Once, against my better judgment, we attempted to make taffy. This resulted in rock-hard and glass-sharp sugar burned on the bottom of his mother’s cookware. It kept cutting me as I tried to chisel it out. She couldn’t have been too pleased about that. Some days we would rollerskate, until I attempted to skate down a very small grass covered slope and sprained my wrist.

The best part of this gig was that they had an in-ground pool with a deep-end and a diving board. I had some lifeguard training with the Girl Scouts. The kid was a good swimmer, so I was really able to have a good time in the pool. I used to like to push-up hard from the bottom of the pool and burst through the surface like Superman flying, until I burst up under the diving board and met it with the bridge of my nose. Broken? Maybe. It bulged up, but I pushed it back down, twice, and iced it. Good as new.

When I was in high school I started doing regular evening gigs for a family from church. They had a baby girl (who is now a conservative co-ed in Florida) and a very skitchy Siamese cat that I believed to be possessed by the Devil. When the kid wasn’t screaming herself purple it was a pretty easy job. Even after her younger brother (who is now a rednecky soldier dude) came on the scene it was pretty peachy. A little feeding, a little changing, and off to bed. I could spend the rest of the time eating snacks (a small amount from all the multiple offerings of chips and cookies, as to not be a piggo and eat a large and noticeable amount from just one item) and watching Cable TV. That was the best! Movies with boobies!

While there were perks, it wasn’t a job without occasional excitement. There was the time one of the kids convinced me that her parents let her chew gum, and then she started choking. There was that Xmas when the mother drove me home, totally drunk and hiccuping. Then there was the time I had one kid in the high chair and the other one had an accident in her rubber pull-on pants. I quickly brought her into the bathroom and ran upstairs for a clean pair, not wanting to leave either kid alone for more than half a minute. While running back down the carpeted stairs I slipped and landed badly, messing up my ligaments in my ankle, and spent the rest of the evening crawling around and the first half of the summer on crutches.

(Yay. Crutches. They used to be fun.)


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