Widgets Magazine

Apr 30, 2012

Loving Each Other

We had an interesting discussion at lunch today. We had just come home from church and my sweetie had whipped up a huge batch of his famous German pancakes. As usual, we shared our various church lessons with the family. One of the main discussions in our class was about how to teach kids to get along. So now I figure it's time to pour my heart out.

Now I'm not a pro at this by any stretch, but before my sweetie and I were married, I made it very clear to him that there were a few things I didn't want in our home. Being completely smitten, I think he would have agreed to anything, but I didn't want to take any chances.

When we were kids, my parents figured the best way to raise a bunch of Super-Over-Achievers was to put them in constant competition with each other. And I suppose it worked to a certain degree...except that I always came out of everything feeling resentful and like I wasn't good enough. Or if I did come out on top, I was boastful and irritating. This didn't exactly lend itself to a harmonious home environment.

So one of my stipulations as a brand-new bride was that we would never encourage our children to be better than their siblings. I wanted them to help and lift and love each other, and if the Super-Over-Achiever happened, great. If not, oh well.

Now I don't even pretend to know all there is to know about motherhood. In fact, the older I get, the more I realize just how clueless I am. But people comment all the time about how well my kids get along with each other and that's because in everything we do, family is most important.

I don't put up with fighting, name-calling or belittling. If the kids get caught fighting, they are immediately sentenced to do a job together. If they can't work together, they are assigned separate but much harder jobs. Usually they settle their differences pretty quickly.

On our recent trip to Vernal, we were horsing around in the pool at the hotel. The Prima Donna thought it might be fun to dunk Sport. He didn't think so...he came up sputtering and bawling. My sweetie thought she ought to be sentenced to a deck chair for ten minutes. No way! That was too easy. I told her she had to haul Sport around the entire pool on her back three times. She grumbled a little at first, but by the second lap they were laughing and playing and having a good time.

My mantra has always been to preserve the relationship at all costs. Sometimes saying "I'm sorry," can be as hard as saying "Hippopotamus," but those words can make all the difference.

I also encourage my kids to serve each other. In the book "Cheaper by the Dozen," they talk about assigning an older child to a younger child to make sure things happen. I am a great delegator! For a while we had specific olders assigned to specific youngers, but now I like to mix it up so they all get a chance to help each other.

I am constantly on the prowl for problems and broken relationships so I can help the kids repair them. I want their siblings to be their best friends.

How do you keep your kids from fighting?





Apr 29, 2012

Scripture Silliness

I think I've told you before that we gather the kids together every night and read scriptures and have prayer as a family before bed. Sometimes it's difficult to get them to settle down and pay attention (even if you have a church pew in your living room!).

So tonight they actually came together pretty quickly and Prima Donna started to read. For some reason, Princess had a bottle of fingernail polish and she decided to paint Baby Doll's toenails bright pink even though she had fallen asleep in my lap. It only took her about three or four verses to transform all those tiny toes, and then she set out to find her next victim.

The Dog Walker was lying on the pew, following along in his own copy, just hoping I would call on him to read. Princess gave me a look and I gave her the nod and she inched her way along the floor until she was sitting next to the Dog Walker's feet. Slowly and carefully she pulled out the brush and got to work.

I looked over at my sweetie and he had noticed the silliness. Both of us were grinning, trying not to attract attention, and above all not to laugh out loud. Soon the other kids caught wind of what was going on, so I quickly called on the Dog Walker to read just to keep him distracted.

By then everyone was silently giggling. I'm pretty sure by then the Dog Walker knew what was up, but he played along. When he finished the chapter, he sat up and gave his toes a horrified look. Then he pretty much screamed like a little girl (sorry Drama Queen, but he's quite the actor), and we were all finally able to let out the laughs we had been holding in.

Yeah...good times...



Apr 28, 2012

Guest Blog - For She's a Jolly, Good Fellow! by Drama Queen

We Twelves are good at sharing!
What a day!  Phew.  I for one, have been running since 5 a.m. which is pretty darn unusual for me.  I like my five o'clocks on the sunset side.  I was at work for a good chunk of the day and while I was, Mum and Daddy packed up for another little Tupperware trip.  Teach had the convocations aspect of her graduation this morning.  I'm pretty sure Gym Rat took care of the little kids...rumor has it he bought a cheeseburger for Curly for breakfast.
Mum's looking to get our house re-appraised so the afternoon was a sea of kid-running and trying to bolster the troops.  They got it together and we got some of the bad things checked off the list.  After dinner the kids disappeared downstairs to watch a movie.  As soon as it was over (literally to the second) I announced that we were all going to go to the Village Inn to celebrate awesomeness in our family: the awesomeness of Teach!  
What's with that face, Crafty?

Except for Princess who went to a sleep-over and Baby Doll who was with Mum and Dad, the lot of us drove over at nearly 10 and ordered up some pie.  On the way home, I started off a round of "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" that lasted nearly the whole ride home - including lovely new lyrics.  
Curly, that's a huge piece of carrot cake!

"For Teach is a Jolly Good Fellow!
Yes, Teach is a Jolly Good Fellow..
So everybody eat some pie!
She's joined the new teacher supply!" 
We love pie!  And Teach!

Apr 27, 2012

One of Those Weeks

You ever have one of those weeks? You know the ones...where you can't even seem to find time to catch your breath? I expect those weeks when something major is going on like Christmas or a wedding and don't get me wrong, I'm not saying graduation isn't a big deal, but other than just showing up, it only took one evening. I've just had one of those random weeks when it seems impossible except that now we are nearing the end of it and I actually survived!

Monday was filled with Crafty's very first Monster Concert, so I had to drop her off at 4:00 at one of the local high schools and then show up again at 7:00 for the concert itself. Elementary band programs in Utah are typically small, so once a year they combine all the kids from all the school and have a concert. This year there were about 188 kids. Crafty has only been playing her clarinet since September so you can imagine how it all went...

Tuesday night was the first round of baseball games with my sweetie coaching Curly's team, I was coaching Scout's team, and Gamer was coaching Bean Dip's team. Games lasted until 6:30 and then we had to run to get to Pack Meeting before 7:00. I had already acquired the parts and assembled 40 catapult kits, made phone calls and distributed fliers earlier in the day. Visited the church and set up tables and chairs. Yeah, we were ready. Oh and I also had three girls with dance class so we had to work that in. After everyone finally got home about 8:30, we ate crockpot pulled pork burritos that I had been cooking all day, settled the kids for the night and then Princess and I headed out for basketball. I dragged in about 11:00, did dishes, laundry, and sent the big kids to bed. Only then did I find a few minutes to write my post.

I'm not making excuses, really, I love my few minutes to write every day, but sometimes it's hard to work it in.

Wednesday morning I took Baby Doll to the doctor for her 18-month checkup. She's fine and growing like a weed! She wasn't too happy with the three shots in her chubby little thighs. That, along with the two teeth she has coming in made her a particularly ornery girl. But with her on my lap, I managed to pull together the fundraiser orders for my girls and enter them into the computer. Sport had baseball practice, Princess had dance, Prima Donna had a Dance Concert for her Dance Team at the middle school that I couldn't possibly miss. The Dog Walker had one of his photos in the art show at the high school so after the concert I dropped Prima Donna at the church for the last few minutes of her young women's group and drove straight to Bingham. I didn't miss the prizes, but he was bummed that he didn't win anyway.




Thursday was Teach's graduation and that ate up most of the day...

Did you ever see that movie called Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell? In one of the scenes there is a moment when she is so totally overwhelmed that she is beyond functioning. But Kurt Russell has no sympathy. He simply picks her up and throws her in the rain barrel. The crazy thing is that it works! She is able to move on with her tasks that need to be done.
Anybody got a rain barrel? I just may need to borrow one.

Apr 26, 2012

Teach

I knew Teach was special from the time she was a little girl. Maybe it was her awesome blue eyes or her sparkly white teeth (she just whitened them again!), but I'm pretty sure it is that huge grin you see on her face. It's a rare day that you see a picture of her without one.

Teach is an amazing friend. In elementary school, she won the Kindness Award every year for her willingness to help her fellow students. As a first grader, it was common for her to be at another kid's desk, explaining the assignment or showing them the proper steps. Even at 6, Teach was a natural born teacher.

I'm pretty sure she knew it too. Other than a very brief period when she wanted to be a Vet, she has always wanted to be a teacher. We tease her a little about her "teacher voice," but I love the fact that I can count on her to turn every situation into a learning environment.

She has always been an amazing student. In Middle School she earned all A grades for all three years. Her high school grades were almost as good (darn Mr. Crump!). She followed her teaching dream into the FACS department and signed herself up as a preschool teacher. She worked for two years in the Bingham preschool and daycare. She was chosen to be a Sterling Scholar in that department and she devoted her service hours for her Girl Scout Gold Award to the preschool as well. Yes, Teach was a teacher through and through.

She graduated from Bingham in 2009 with her associate's degree from SLCC tucked in her back pocket. Three years and not one penny in debt later, Teach is graduating from UVU with her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education.

I'm so proud of her for following her dream! Happy Graduation Day, Teach. Love you to pieces...Mom


Her Teaching Cohort at UVU


The Traditional High School Musical Jump



Apr 25, 2012

Tee Ball

Sport learned to bat on something bigger than a baseball...
I've hardly had time to sit at my computer today! We had our first tee ball games and both teams did very well. My sweetie aka the awesome-ist guy in the world, is coaching Curly's team and I'm coaching Scout's. Sadly, most of our games overlap so I won't get to watch very many of Curly's and my sweetie will miss most of Scout's.

I have to confess that I was dreading it a little, but it really wasn't all that bad. Instead of pitching to the kids, I had them all hit off the tee today and so did the other coach. Because the game moved fast, we didn't have anyone just picking grass.

We played three innings with the inning ending after the last kid gets the chance to hit. Our league doesn't count balls or strikes or even outs! Even if they get out, they run all the bases and the last kid up gets to hit a home-run.

Baby Taco
Scout made some awesome hits, but the most impressive thing she did was when she was playing first base. The ball came off the tee as a slow grounder, right to her. She fielded the ball like a pro and tagged her base. She made the one and only out for the game!



Burrito was pretty unhappy about being assigned short stop in the last inning. He was inconsolable, and not even the threat of losing his treat was enough to bring him around. I'm hoping Teach won't have to work next time so she can take some pictures for you. Curly is so cute in his game shirt and hat! I've never been able to understand why the county leagues can't figure out that very few three-year-olds can wear a size 6 - 8.

Apr 24, 2012

Construction Update

Remember my ceiling problem in my kitchen? I thought you might like a little update.

So my sweetie started digging into the disgusting mess that used to be boards beneath our shower. After he slowly and carefully chipped out a huge square, he repaired the liner pan with this special rubber stuff that looks like the thera-bands I got from my physical therapist last year only bigger. He had to carefully glue everything in place with this horrible stinky glue that sent us all to the great outdoors while we aired out the house.

Then after several more layers and some Gorilla glue and some wood, he sent the Drama Queen to Home Depot for the drywall. It was my assignment to clean up the area with the vacuum and remove the incredibly awesome letters Teach had installed as a gift for me. (I'm hoping she has a little more vinyl so we can replace them after everything is repainted.)


After I got down from the ladder and tossed the crumpled pile of vinyl into the wastebasket, I pulled out the shop vac and started vacuuming the floor. This project had created quite a mess! My sweetie had thought to cover the couch that was down a step in the family room, but since our hardwood floors are in need of refinishing next month, he didn't bother to use a drop-cloth.

I found several little splotches of glue on the floor right below where the light used to be. They were difficult to clean up, until I thought to rub a little Vaseline into them. The trouble is, I didn't quite get all of them, because the next time I crossed the room to turn off the shop vac, my feet tried to stick to the floor.

I took a paper towel and wiped off the sticky mess and assumed problem solved. Then I spread out the drop cloth and moved on to other things.My sweetie spent a couple more hours up on the ladder before he finally quit for the night. Since I had already put up my post, I followed him upstairs.

As I got ready for bed, I suddenly remembered those dirty sticky socks and I grabbed a clean pair. The first sock pulled off easily, but not the second one. It was stuck to my foot in three places!

My sweetie was watching Smokey and the Bandit that is until he heard my whines of frustration. He rolled over to my side of the bed. "What's wrong?" I carefully started picking at the first splotch of glue. "My socks are glued to my feet!" I was remembering that "I Love Lucy" episode where she accidentally glued a fake beard to her face. She had to have a special remover.

After examining my foot, my sweetie recommended acetone, then left me to my own devices.

It took me about 15 minutes to finally scrape off the sock and another 15 to calm down. Other than a small piece of skin, there was no permanent damage except to my psyche...maybe it's because I'm a bit claustrophobic, but I like to be able to take things off whenever I want to...without a chisel.

Apr 22, 2012

Bike Helmets and Safety Slogans

Dog Walker and Curly
Despite the fact that we are in the middle of a huge ugly construction mess at our house, good things are happening! Back in March when my kids were off track, our city and a neighboring city sponsored a contest. They were looking for a catchy slogan that would encourage people to wear helmets when riding bikes, scooters, skates and skateboards. We have always insisted that our kids wear their helmets, so this was one I really wanted them to enter.

I remembered the contest late in the evening on the night before it was due. Then I almost decided that this was one of those times we should just pass. But the kids were off track so I figured it wouldn't hurt to let them stay up a little longer. Despite the late hour (or maybe because of it!) they came up with some pretty clever stuff.
Sport and Scout

I dropped the pictures and slogans off the morning they were due and promptly moved on to other things. Then last week I got a call...

Scout and Sport were both semi-finalists and they wanted to make sure we could come to the Bike Safety Fair on April 21. Of course we would be there! A letter from the school also promised them each a new bike helmet from the police department for their semi-final win.

So yesterday, after we ran our first baseball clinic for the little kids...me in my corner with Scout's team and my sweetie in his corner with Curly's team, we showed up at the fair. Scout and Sport immediately got their new helmets and then headed for the bike course.

It was only a few minutes later that they called everyone to the stage area for the presentation. They even had Fox News there! Scout's name was the first one called and she received an awesome backpack full of fun goodies. There were seventeen semi-finalists and after 15 had been called, Sport's name had still not been read.
Sport's Awesome Slogan!

He was looking pretty uncomfortable until the announcer informed us that there were two names that had not been read. Those two names had come up with the winning slogan! Then he called Sport's name and the name of a girl from a different elementary school. Their slogans were one word off. Sport's version, "Don't Be Insane, Cover Your Brain!" is the official version. The girl's version used the word "protect" instead of "cover."
Baby Doll sure wanted to ride a bike...

Both kids get the benefit of all the first prizes...a pizza party for their classes, exposure from the advertising campaign, including a news story on Fox (although I was going to link it and I can't find it on the internet), and last but not least, a new bike helmet for every member of their immediate family. I don't think they had any idea just how much that was going to cost them...

Apr 20, 2012

The Construction Zone

So like it or not, I find myself in the middle of a construction zone. A few days ago, a huge paint bubble showed up on our kitchen ceiling. After a couple of pokes, water poured out. This was not happy news. We built our house almost 18 years ago with a local builder. It was a huge building boom in Utah. Our particular street had a dozen homes going in at the same time. Contractors were in high demand and so were sub-contractors. The rumor was that we got the substandard plumbing group who spent half their day on the job drinking.

They made a mess of our plumbing! We've had to take down drywall twice in the family room  because the bathtub upstairs had leaky pipes. That is still an on-going problem. Then about 5 years ago the ceiling in the kitchen nearly came down when the shower in our bedroom finally gave way. When we brought in someone to fix it, he said that the plumbers had cut the pan (or liner) that should have been keeping all the water in the shower. It was an awful project! I hate being without the kitchen. We spend so much of our gathering time there.



But here we are again.

My sweetie ripped out the kitchen ceiling and found all sorts of water damage. The Dog Walker moved the kitchen table into the living room where we can all feel like goldfish on display while we eat. And my sweetie uttered those dreadful words, "The damage is worse than I thought...it's going to take a couple of extra days."

It's a good thing I'll be spending all my time at the ball field.

Apr 19, 2012

Tax Relief Tuesday

See the resemblance?
I love a good freebie! Since Tuesday was Tax Day, several local businesses were offering "tax relief" treats. One of them was Panda Express and they gave away a yummy Angus beef entree.

The other freebie we sought out made even the whiny ones happy...an order of curly fries from Arby's. Those of us who were home decided to head over there for lunch. Then, when the school kids got home, Teach took them over for an after school snack. But the Dog Walker was out walking dogs, so he missed the second group. When he got home, I handed him his coupon and told him to head on over in his car and pick up his free order of fries.

Now Arby's is only a couple of miles from our house, so this seemed like a great idea. Then he was supposed to meet up with us so we could ride together to Panda Express. We sent the Drama Queen ahead with her truck full of kids while we waited for the Dog Walker to return. He showed up as expected and hopped in the van. It was only a short distance to Panda Express and since it was mid afternoon, they weren't terribly busy.

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We had to wait a few minutes, but eventually we were back in the van and on our way home. When we stopped in the driveway, the Dog Walker climbed out of the van and headed for his car. When he came back, he was carrying a small bag from Sonic.

"What's that?" I asked casually, thinking maybe he had stopped for one of their $1.19 cheeseburgers. The Sonic was only about a block away from the Arby's. He gave me a "duh" look, "That's my free fries." Now it was my turn to be surprised. "You got free fries from Sonic?" I asked incredulously. He just looked at me. "Of course I did," he replied, "you gave me a free coupon."

"That coupon was for Arby's!" Again I got that blank stare. "What did they say?" I asked. "I just told them I had a free coupon for curly fries so they gave me some," he said. I was getting a little frustrated. "Sonic doesn't even sell curly fries!" I nearly shouted. "Did they ask you for money?"

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Again, the "duh" look, "No. They just gave them to me." He shrugged his shoulders, "I had a free coupon," he replied. Then he hustled up the steps and into the house, calmly munching on a not-so-curly fry.

So if you are a Sonic worker and yesterday you took an Arby's coupon from a large Autistic kid, "Thank you!" It was probably easier to cough up that dollar from your own paycheck than try to explain it to him...you can see how well I did.

Apr 18, 2012

Another Interview

So yesterday I got a phone call from the same nice reporter who interviewed me back in May of 2011 for her Mother's Day piece in the Salt Lake Tribune. She wanted my opinion (can you believe that? me?) about the Ann Romney debate. We chatted for a few minutes on the phone and then I went about my merry way and didn't think much more about it.

That is until I got on the blog this morning and saw a wonderful spike in readership! Then I pulled up an e-copy of the Salt Lake Tribune and saw my name right under a picture of Ann and Mitt Romney. How crazy is that?

So here I am sharing with you...


^_ See!  Right There. :)


If you are coming from the Tribune link, please feel free to poke around a bit. Any guest blogs have been written only by family so they are mostly accurate...I think...

Apr 17, 2012

A Pair of Jeans - part 3

You knew this story couldn't be over yet...

The Bossman and I eventually became friends, sort of. I worked really hard for him and he paid me crap-tastic wages every other week. Because Christmas got in the way, it took me several months before I finally got my pair of jeans. Yeah, they were awesome! But by then my boyfriend was gone, I turned 15, and I was on the prowl. I discovered that I really kind of liked boys...lots of boys!

About February or March, the Bossman hired a couple of girls from the local college to work the night shift with me. I had graduated from counter help to cook, to night manager in just a few short months. I was good at being in charge, but it was a little strange to be bossing these much older girls around. They didn't seem to mind though and other than the nights I had basketball games and Sundays, I worked pretty much every day. That meant my social life revolved around my job.

LDS missionaries
My parents didn't really love me hanging around with these older girls all the time and they were even more upset when the Bossman hired a guy from the college to help us close up every night. He was nice enough, and it wasn't long before he started walking me home, after all, it was late and I was all by myself since I still wasn't old enough to drive.

He was never really my boyfriend since I liked lots of guys, but I thought that maybe he wanted to be. When he hit the ripe old age of 19, he decided to go on a mission for our church. His home when he wasn't at school was on the other side of the Bossman's home and since I still wasn't old enough to drive, attending his farewell was problematic. Then the Bossman did something totally uncharacteristic! He offered to let me stay at his house with his family on Saturday night and then deliver all of us to the church meeting.

I was surprised when my parents agreed to this scheme, but excited too. The Bossman's daughter, Lisa, and I had never been friends, but I figured that for one night I would be safe. And I was. We sent off the missionary and then life went back to normal. (I have tons more to tell you about Taco Time, but I need to finish the story about this guy.)

I wrote to him for the two years he was on his mission and when I was 17, he returned. I wasn't really expecting anything and I was too young to really start thinking about getting serious, but I thought we might have some fun together since I knew he was coming back to school. I attended his homecoming and he sought me out afterwards. I invited him to come to my house a little later in the week so we could get reacquainted without all the people around.

He showed up right on schedule. We had been such good friends before and during his mission that I was a little put off when he was so stiff and formal with me. He had only been at my house for about 15 minutes when he finally confessed that he had prayed about me and I wasn't the "one" so he didn't see any reason to continue our relationship. Then he left.

I was completely shocked! I was dumped before we even got started.

OK, now you have to use your imagination to fast forward about 5 years. My sweetie and I had been married for about 4 years and Bossy was three or four and the Gym Rat was a baby. I ran into this guy. He was working at Fred Meyer in Logan, many miles from my hometown and a lifetime away from the day I had been so swiftly dumped. It's amazing how a little time and perspective can heal old wounds.

I greeted him warmly and we chatted for a few minutes about our lives and families. It was comfortable, like two old friends just catching up. As we were wrapping up our conversation, he issued an invitation to me and my sweetie to drop by his home. I readily agreed, thinking it might be fun to meet his wife.

We showed up at his apartment as promised. It only took about 5 minutes before I discovered the motive behind his friendliness. He and his new wife were selling Amway...
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Some people just never change.

Apr 16, 2012

A Pair of Jeans - part 2

It was Saturday morning in the fall of 1979, my first day at my new job. If you missed the beginning of this story, click here. I was very nervous, but excited and proud to be an actual employee. I arrived a few minutes early and was escorted downstairs to the tiny office. It took me a while to fill out all the paperwork and agree to hard manual labor for the grand sum of $1.50/hour. Even then it was only about half of minimum wage, but it was small-town Utah and I was only 14 so I don't think any of it was legal.
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I signed on the dotted line anyway because if you remember, we were raised to believe that anything was better than nothing and I was handed my first hideous uniform. It was multicolored polyester so the stains wouldn't show. Saturday morning was prep time and typically slow, the perfect time for training.

The boss's wife, Janice, worked the day shift and to say she didn't like me was putting it mildly...but I don't think she really liked anyone...Her partner in crime was their daughter, Lisa, and she didn't like me either. Thankfully, since I was in school, I only had to work with them on Saturdays.

I survived that first day (barely) and I even planned to come back the next week. I gradually got used to the craziness of fast food. Even when it was slow, the Bossman demanded that we work, cleaning and scrubbing and prepping. I was not even allowed to bring my books with me, let alone open them.

After I had been working there for almost two weeks, I got really sick. Like fever, stomachache, throwing up sick. It was a Friday night and I hated to leave them short-handed, but my mother called in for me anyway and I spent the evening in bed.

Did I mention yesterday that one of the reasons I wanted one of those expensive pairs of jeans was to impress my boyfriend? You remember the guy with the awesome blue car that I was only weeks away from nearly crashing for him?

Little did I know that he had picked that particular Friday night to make the 15-minute drive from his hometown (which also happened to be the Bossman's hometown) to mine. He spent the evening cruising main with his guy-friends and at some point they stopped to see me, only they didn't see me, they saw the Bossman. And worse yet, he saw them.

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On Saturday I was feeling much better and I showed up at 5:00 to work my shift. I hung up my jacket, clocked in and got right to work. There was only one table of customers in the front and when they left, I grabbed my rag to clean up their table. That's when the Bossman decided to pounce.

He yelled at me and accused me of calling in sick so I could hang out with my boyfriend. He told me if I didn't want to work I could leave now and never come back. It was one of the worst tongue-lashings I have ever had and that's saying something.

I tried to tell him that I didn't even know my boyfriend was in town, that I was home sick in bed and he was welcome to call my mother, but he wouldn't listen. After about 10 minutes, he went downstairs to his office and left me alone to dry my tears and decide what to do. So far I hadn't earned a single paycheck and in our small town, jobs weren't easy to get. Besides, I hadn't even done anything wong! I guess it was the injustice of it all that made me stay.

Or maybe I'm really just a masochist...

Apr 14, 2012

A New Pair of Jeans

I turned 14 in 1979. It was the end of the 70s and psychedelic clothes, but the beginning of big hair and $50 jeans. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it was huge! Girls were wearing their jeans so tight they had to lay down on the bed to zip them up. There was no such thing as stretch denim then, at least not where I lived.

You know I grew up in small-town Utah. We had very few shops there and only a handful sold clothing (I think the IFA sold the most...). That is until the Pant House opened. Their place was small, one area of our tiny strip mall, but they only carried denim jeans and one rack full of tee-shirts. I would have done anything to own a pair of those fancy jeans! Including apply for my first job from a real and actual business.


Our town had three places that served fast food, Charlie's, The Malt Shop, and Taco Time. Everybody wanted to work at Charlie's, because he was a fun and awesome guy, and because unless people came in, employees didn't really have to work. Those lucky few could even study if it were slow.  The Malt Shop was clear across town nearer my grandparents' house and since I was too young to drive, it was out of the question. That left Taco Time.

Taco Time was only about a block away from my house and relatively new to town. I loved the food there. Every time I had extra baby-sitting money, I would walk over and buy a cherry-Sprite in one of their keepsake glasses. After several years, I had quite a collection!  Unfortunately, the guy who ran the place didn't like me...maybe because I was constantly harassing him about when the newest glass would be available.

But I sure wanted a pair of those awesome jeans, so on a Friday afternoon, I gathered my courage and my loose change (had to buy the latest glass) and headed over. I was nervous and understandably so. This guy had the reputation for making his people work and if they didn't like it? They were out of there quickly! Thanks to Grandma, I knew how to work, but I was still worried.
Mexi-fries are my favorite!

I placed my order and sat down to wait. I could see the manager in the back when his daughter handed me my soda. Usually I just left at that point, but on that day I sat down at one of the little tables instead. It wasn't long before he made his way to the front counter, a white rag in his hand, vigorously attacking every surface. He was a big, barrel-chested man with a funny name...and he scared me.

When he got to the front, he seemed to notice that I was there. "What do you want?" he was never great with the customers. Now I am not a timid girl and I wasn't then either, so I spoke up, "Are you hiring?" He sort of guffawed at me, "Who needs a job?" I lifted my chin and looked him in the eye, "I do."

He eyed me up and down, clearly remembering all the trouble I had given him. Finally he asked, "How old are you?" I was a little worried about this question, but I answered truthfully, "Almost 15." After all, it was November and I would turn the end of January. He must have thought that was OK, because the next thing I knew I was getting a lecture on how to be a proper employee. I don't remember most of it, but the last thing he said was that I could start the next day. Maybe he mentioned wages there somewhere, but if he did, I didn't hear it. All I knew was that I had finally found a job, and I was going to get my pair of pants!

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