Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Update from The Ark (Friday, 11/07): Demolition crew at our house Thursday from 1pm to 10pm. Downstairs bathroom (immediately below the flooded upstairs bathroom) was completely gutted to down to the wall studs. Upstairs carpeting torn out on the landing, office, RockStar's room, and part of master bedroom. Carpeting for the entire upstairs will have to be replaced. Drywall gutted next to and behind the refrigerator (walls abut downstairs bathroom). Drywall gutted in garage (walls abut downstairs bathroom). Furnace & hotwater heater will have to be professionally removed and the platform they rest on rebuilt. Entire affected areas powerwashed and disinfected. Six noisy blowers and two huge dehumidifiers left running all night. Damages will total around $15,000. That was one expensive clogged toilet, RockStar.

Will This Teenager Live to See Adulthood?
RockStar is working my last nerve, I tell ya. No knitting news tonight as I have a semi-urgent plumbing emergency to deal with as soon as I get home. Said incident involves a clogged toilet, stuck (open) water valve, gallons of water running out of the bathroom into the hall and 2 bedrooms, down through the walls, and into the garage. Stanley Steemer and their water extraction thingy to the rescue at 5pm. The only reason the 2nd level of my house isn't collapsed onto the 1st floor is the mad ShopVac'ing of gallons of water, done at 9pm last night. This isn't RockStar's first plumbing offense, but it's certainly going to be the most expensive. He's been warned several times about his poor treatment of the house plumbing. Reparations to besieged parental units will be factored in at some future date. Probably in the form of fewer musical lessons or some other impact-ful item.

So to amuse you until I can return to Pure Knitting Content, I present several of the jobs I've held prior to graduating from college:

Strange Jobs I've Held #1
My first real job, after the obligatory babysitting, was as a waitress in a truckstop diner in a very rural part of Oregon. I was 15 years old. I served breakfast, lunch and dinner to flannel-shirt and Levi's-clad loggers either on their way to or out of the Oregon woods. Not exactly a dainty bunch. But they were always polite to me, and left very nice tips. One of the younger loggers even asked me out, sort of. I returned to bus their table after they'd left, and the cute young one left his phone number, written in mustard from a squirt bottle, across his plate. No, I didn't call him! I'm not that kind of girl, thank you very much. But it's a fun story.

Strange Jobs I've Held #2
After my divorce, I had a pile of credit card bills to pay off. My sister was working an outside sales job for a temporary staffing agency, and clued me in on a part-time evening job at the Oregon Health Sciences Center (a teaching hospital in Portland). The job, according to her, was super easy: walk around the hospital with a little steel cart and stock various nursing stations with nursy stuff like cotton balls and tongue depressors.

I reported for work the next night, and hooked up with 1 little cynical guy and 1 huge guy who spoke in monosyllables. Cynical Guy took one look and me and laughed. At this point, I started to get worried. "C'mon," he said, "If we get all our work done, we get to leave early." We take an elevator deep into the bowels of the hospital. Cynical Guy points to a rolling steel cart at least a foot taller than me that weighed (what felt like) 200 lbs. It was also nearly unmaneuverable. "Grab a cart," he says, "and follow me."

So Monosyllabic Guy and I grab carts and follow Cynical Guy and his cart down the hall to the service elevator. I can barely push this friggin' monstrosity of a cart, and inwardly I'm cursing my sister for getting me into this mess. "Just get through tonight, and quit tomorrow," I told myself. We go up to one of the upper floors of the hospital, and wrestle the carts out into the hallway. "Follow me," says Mr. Cynical, "and don't bump into any of the equipment in the halls. They're worth big bucks and they'll have our asses if we break any of them." He and Monosyllable Guy speedwalk their steel carts down the hall, nimbly maneuvering the carts around the delicate equipment. Great. Now I have to worry about running a 200-lb steel trolley into a heart monitor or dialysis machine.

We trundle down the hall to a Surgical Unit. Cynical Guy goes in and starts heaving sealed plastic bags out into the hallway. The bags contain blood- and fluid-streaked discarded surgical clothing. They also have prominent biohazard stickers all over them. We toss the bags into bins on the steel carts and speedwalk to the next collection point. And that was my "super easy" temporary job, courtesy of my sis. During a much-too-short break on an outdoor loading dock, Cynical Guy gives me a once-over and asks if I'm going to make it through the next 3 hours. "No problem," I say. I'll be damned if this twerp is going to get the best of me.

Near the end of the shift, as we're wrapping up collections at the last surgical area, this chick goes tripping past us with a dainty steel cart full of nice, light supplies like, oh, tongue depressors and cotton balls. She's smiling, and tosses a cheery, "Good evening!" to our steel biohazard train. I'm totally pitted out with sweat, out of breath, and my hair is straggling in my face. I watch Little Miss Tongue Depressor tip-tap her way down the hall, and vow to kill have a word with my sister when I get home.

Maybe next time I'll tell you about the other temporary job my sis got me applying fake nails at the Oregon State Fair.

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