Haven’t Been an Astronaut. Yet…..

hot dog cart

I am 37 Years old. I believe that the first job that I had was at the age of 11. Maybe younger, but I do not want people to think I exaggerate, so I will go high. But, my exaggery-self, would’ve said 9. And 9, might be more accurate.

I’m not quite sure why I decided to jump into the workforce at such a young age…was it for the extra money? Maybe. Was it for the resume building, ummm…no. I think it was mostly because I liked to work. Back then, it was a fun adventure, so many fun and exciting things to learn and do. It was kinda like playing, so I wanted to do it.

I have taken the last few days and carried around my “Idea Journal” (which, since this blog started, I’ve carried around with me anyways…) but over the past few days I’ve been carefully racking my brain to recall my ENTIRE resume. Not just the 3-4 that I put on my actual resume.

I think I’ve carefully scavenged through my brain (there’s A LOT going on in there, it’s like the movie Twister where the boats and cows and lawn furniture are all spinning around in a cyclone…) and I believe that I’ve been able to recall them all. I’m 96% sure I’ve got them all.

And the final count was sadly, not 35; like I once had mentioned (Damn exaggery-self…) it’s only 33. Which is pretty funny, since I am OBSESSED with the number 33 (Thanks Larry Bird) and have always had lots of weird and amazing things happen in my life around the number 33.

I am going to break this list up into three parts. I have to give a little anecdote about each one and if I do ALL 33, I fear I’ll lose you, my beloved Follower. So, tonight. The First 10. (I’m not 100% sure I’ve been able to recall them in exact order, I’ve done my best though…)

Here we go.

1. Olmec Motor Lodge: This is a nine room lakeside motel that my parents owned and that we grew up at. From a very young age, we worked at Olmec. I can’t tell you how good I am at folding towels, cleaning toilets, bailing out boats, filling soda machines (and stealing the coins, sorry Mum & Dad) and even though it’s “Elizabeth”, “Hospitality” should be my middle name. (If I ever write a book, I think it’ll be called, “Growing Up Olmec: I lived at a Motel”.) I have A LOT of stories about this.

2. Lake Shore Deli: Small deli in my hometown, my Mum and sister worked there as well, so they hired me, around age 12 to make sandwiches and run the old-timey cashier. They were very diligent about the laws, so I had a bell to ring whenever someone wanted to buy beer or ciggs.

3. Wallace’s Video Store: I don’t think it had a name. It eventually moved and became “Tape Escape” but when it was located inside the convenience store in town, I honestly don’t think it had a name. This is what I remember about this job…very large 3-ring binders behind the counter that held the covers to all the pornography tapes. Men would come in, ask to see the binders and tell me what numbers they wanted. Yeah, mull that one over. They were VHS tapes, by the way…look it up, kiddos. The other thing is that they gave everyone free popcorn, so I had to make popcorn all the time and I ate it…All. The. Time.

4. Library Aide. This one is one of the strangest ones. Because I am not now and never have been a “reader”…I bought every single book in Cliff Notes version in High School. I think I did this because I loved the Librarian. She was hilarious and cool and I just wanted to be her. Still do. Heart you, Mrs. Torr. (If you ever read this…)

5. Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant: Very large and pretty famous restaurant in my hometown. I started off bussing tables. I had to wear khaki pants and a maroon Polo shirt. Now, I was already, at this time, an overweight teen, so, let me tell you…pleated khakis with a tucked in shirt that was 3 sizes too small. Good look for me. I once had a boss hand me a knife and a stack of napkins and say, “Someone spilled gravy in the Front Nine (all the rooms had golf-themed names) take this and go scrape it up off the carpet…” Cool. I’m sure that was a pretty site for the patrons. My parents, to this day, remember what I smelled like when I would come home from working a long Saturday at the Turkey Farm…mmmm….I eventually climbed the Turkey Ladder and became a Hostess. I had to give every table a small bowl and say, “Enjoy our famous carrot relish.” That’s about all I remember from Hostessing. I made a lot of cool friends at Hart’s. Learned how to scrape gravy out of a carpet too, if you ever need help with that.

6. Village Greenery: Delivered Flowers. This might be one of the best jobs on the planet. You drive around and give people beautiful flowers. Driving around is fun when you’re somewhat new to driving and guess what, PEOPLE LOVE YOU! You’re like the next best thing to some guy walking up to their door with balloons and an enormous check.

7. Babysitting: I have to say this one, because I did a lot of it…on the side. I had all sorts of families. Well to do families that would pay me an exorbitant amount of money to basically watch movies and eat ice cream with their well-behaved children, to the Mother who paid me 75 cents an hour and write me a check for 2 hours. True story.

8. Millworks Restaurant: This is another restaurant in my hometown. It was a bit fancy. I was only allowed to work breakfast. I think they said that was their rule to only allow people with certain experience to work dinner, but I secretly think it was because they only wanted skinnier people to work dinners, I don’t know.

9. Hot Dog Cart: Yes. You heard me. I worked a hot dog cart. I had to go and pick it up at this guy’s house in my hometown and push it up this pretty large hill and down into town to its parking location and steam hot dogs and buns all day…and sell them. This is what I remember about that job…I had to have my Dad come and help me push it. I was a teenage girl and it was GD made of steel!! Also, on the first day I worked for this guy, he said to me, “You’re only allowed to eat one free hot dog per day.” Like, because I was an overweight person, he was afraid I’d eat him out of business. Thanks. I don’t even like hot dogs!!! That much….

10. Upcountry Pastimes: This was a delightful little retail store in my hometown. They sold things like, kids toys, sweatshirts with cardinals and bears on them, maps of everything and “Guide To” all sorts of things, stuffed bear heads for your wall, CD’s of birds chirping, Koosh balls…that sort of thing. Here, I learned a VERY valuable life lesson. How to Juggle. There was a “Learn How to Juggle” video and juggling balls set that you could buy and they played the video on a loop all summer long. I am, to this day a very intermediate juggler. This was a fun job, with fun people to work for and with; there was only one AWFUL thing. It was located above an Italian Restaurant and almost every night there was a piano player and he played the SAME EXACT SONGS every night. As much as I loved and still love Billy Joel and Elton John, hearing “Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane….” 8 times every night got to be a little wearing…

So, that’s it for this edition of “Holy Shit, I’ve had a lot of jobs…” Stay tuned all this week for the second and third installments.

Sneak Preview: Many more restaurants, Insurance salesperson and Walt Disney World.

I think I should be able to retire by now….right??

Heart you.

-Chick A


Go to Part Two: Jobs 11-17 On My Never-Ending Scroll Of Employment.


One response to “Haven’t Been an Astronaut. Yet…..

  1. I worked at 3 of these with you! Remember the song we made up about hostessing? “I was working as a hostess at a Turkey Farm, just sat a two…” I still can’t sing the song the right way.


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