opting to move the furniture spring and fall to her liking. I would use the physicality of moving furniture to work out problems in my head...sometimes to the complaints that the sunlight on the relocated TV blocked out the Yankee game. Feng shui be damned.
While most of my friends were winding down their professional careers in the past decade, mine was in complete turmoil. Ten years ago, while Sock Monkey Boss hid in her office, I was RIF’ed from my 12 year event manager job at Wrinkle City, which had just filed for bankruptcy protection. I moved three bedrooms of furniture around when that happened. Wingman’s death and losing an entire floor of furniture in Superstorm Sandy gave me free reign to restore, paint, buy new stuff and move it some more. My only consistency was my part-time to later full-time retail job.
Until that ended three years ago.
Six weeks after we closed the mall doors forever, I found what I assumed would be my last job. And I used a very unconventional way to get it-I baked a basket of cookies with houses branded with the company name and logo, enclosed my resume and a letter why they should hire me, and delivered it. Ten days later I was hired. It was a clerical position at a high end construction company, a bit challenging for this three finger typist. Inputting invoices was boring at best, but I taught myself what SYP, MDF and OSB was in new home construction. I kept up the contractor’s certificate of insurance (COI) book-making sure they had the proper general liability and worker’s compensation limits. And my all-time favorite part of the job: managing the many Port-o-Johns used on the sites. I titled myself “The Princess of Poop” whenever there was a problem, like summer smells, high wind fall-overs and even stolen hand sanitizer during the pandemic.
I really liked our carpenters. Young, talented guys who made magic happen with wood, I had deep respect for the production manager who kept all the plates in the air, and the two project managers who moved between all the jobs fielding complaints from over-privileged clients who changed their minds on every site visit. The two women estimators had the daunting task of pricing out crazy things like bowling alleys and two-story fish tanks. The bookkeeper not only kept the work books, but the owner’s commercial and personal books as well. And I liked the subs-the mason who I saw at church, the Eyore electrician, the down to earth demo guy and especially the plumber who made the funniest jokes about dealing with, well, shit.
But the owner didn’t especially like me and that was frustrating at best. He criticized how I answered the phone, what I said, how loud I spoke. He said that I was too free spending his money, but complained when I placed a supply order for a cheaper brand of toilet paper. At one of his snotty comments, I told him that I never let my husband speak to me the way he did, and his reply was “I’m not your husband, I’m your boss.” Thank God for small miracles, and touché.
During the month I moved and the townhouse was in complete chaos, my boss passed out at his desk. While 911 was called, the production manager and I ran to help. I remembered the boys’ Boy Scout first aid training “If the head is pale, raise the tail” so we got him down on the floor, but not before I slapped him in the face a few times trying to rouse him. I took a CPR class a couple of weeks later and learned you never hit anyone-especially in the face. Oops, my bad. But since he wouldn’t reimburse me for the class, I’m glad I got in the smacks, because unpacking 20 storage boxes wasn’t nearly as satisfying as moving furniture.
I wasn’t his personal assistant but I was required “to do duties as assigned.” I scheduled his oil changes and truck detailing, returned his Amazon packages to Kohl’s, and even made his doctor’s appointments. Or tried to.
Right after Christmas, a train got stuck at the station, preventing me from getting to work without making a rather long detour. I called to say I’d be late, and when I arrived 15 minutes later, got an email from him that I’d be written up if it happened again. Like I could move the train myself or prevent it from happening! I knew he’d put it on my upcoming review, giving him a reason not to give me a raise for the third year in a row.
I was antsy. I had the boys paint the entire townhouse. I bought a new sofa. I hired movers (actually my demo guy) to put the china closet down in the den. I moved all the living room and dining room furniture around. I changed internet providers.
And I quit my job.
I’ve spent the time since quitting painting all the trim in the house and changing every ugly brass door handle and bathroom accessory to brushed nickel. I’ve photographed a bunch of clothes that I know I will never wear again and listed them on a clothing resale site. I babysit my grandkids on Fridays and took my mom tulip picking. And I took a part time job working for a young woman I use to co-manage with, where I make more an hour, pick my hours, get a clothing allowance and free coffee from the owners once a month.
For the time being, I'm in a good place mentally and physically, and so is the furniture. But if I start getting that urge to make the laundry room into a bar, you can bet there’s some serious shit going to happen.
And if so, I know a great funny plumber.