Category: family

The Fast Food Family Tradition Continues

I blogged a few months ago about how Tomas was on the job hunt, but keen-eyed readers will have noted I never actually had a “he found a job!” post. We didn’t really anticipate the fallout of a whole ton of jobs drying out all at the same time. After all, Tomas started looking for a job at the same time millions of jobs went away across the country. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that actually finding a job turned out to be more difficult than it was when I was looking for a job in the early 90s.

That isn’t to say he was unemployed. He did pick up work picking strawberries when they were in season, and that kept him hopping for a while, but other than that, it’s been slow going. And when June switched into July, and July got pretty long in the tooth as well, we figured the days of getting another job were past us.

Then, out of the blue, the Dutch Treat called him up and asked him for an interview. With college ramping back up, they were losing some workers for the summer, and they wanted to know if he was up for filling in. One royal blue t-shirt later, and he officially joined the ranks of the employed.

Minimum wage in Maine is $12/hr, so he’s making more than workers start off in around 45 of the other states. (Looking over the minimum wages in each state is pretty depressing. $7.25/hour for Utah? Can that be right? Real estate prices have gone bonkers in that state. You’d have thought they’d be trying to keep the wages at least somewhat in line with cost of living. Hopefully most jobs are more than minimum wage there?)

In any case, if you’d like some soft serve creamy-licious treats or some fried food in the next couple of months, you can head on over to the building that looks like a windmill. Yesterday was his first day. 14 hours this week, and we’ll see how many in the future. He got practice on the register, taking order, making burgers, and (the hardest thing I ever had to do in McDonald’s) working the soft serve ice cream dispenser. (Seriously. You try getting a perfect swirl on one of those things. Mine always fell over, and the customers were definitely not happy . . .)

We may not eat fast food very often, but apparently we like to work in the industry when we’re teens. (Okay, so two out of five family members worked there. Not quite a tradition, but you have to start somewhere.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

And So It Begins: Ceding the Tech Support Crown to the Next Generation

For as long as I can remember, whenever there was a tech problem in a household I was a part of, I was the go to person to solve it. I’ve always enjoyed rooting around in the innards of wires, and I’ve taught myself all sorts of things, from how to build my own computer (I’ve built two now) to how to design web pages to how to set up a home theater system. It just went without saying that when the time came that something electric broke down, it would be up to me to get it back working again.

I’m still able to do that, but the last bit, I’ve found myself taking a back seat more and more to Tomas. Why? A few reasons.

First, troubleshooting electronics can be a really long, arduous process. You know what you want the things to do, but you can’t for the life of you figure out why they aren’t doing that thing. To tinkerers like myself, that means you end up delving into online forums and guides to try and make yourself as expert in the area as you can, hoping in the process that you’ll come across the appropriate solution. That takes a lot of time and patience, and I don’t often have time (or patience) for some of these issues. If there weren’t another person in the house who enjoyed this sort of thing, that would be one thing, but . . .

The second reason is Tomas really excels at the same sort of process it takes to troubleshoot. He’s good at searching online for answers and putting the results of those searches into practice. Better yet, it’s something he enjoys doing. All those years of tinkering around with technology ended up indirectly getting me the job I have today. Why? Because in addition to having a library science degree, I had tech experience, and the first job I took at UMF was for the position of IT Librarian. Having a tech support background (and being able to prove it during the interview process) gave me a real leg up. So I think it’s definitely worth it to help foster the same attitude in my kids if possible.

Of course, this isn’t without concerns. I do wonder if I won’t find myself technologically frustrated in a few years when Tomas is no longer in the house and I’m back to doing these things on my lonesome. Is this how it begins? Ten years from now, am I going to be staring at my computer in horror when it starts displaying everything in Swahili, not knowing what keystroke I made to turn it to Swahili mode, let alone how to turn it off?

Probably not. Because if there’s one thing I’ll remain good at, it’s the ability to find information online. That’s comfortably in the “Librarian” wheelhouse, and so that’s an area I’ll still be working on keeping up to strength. The biggest part of successfully handing technology issues (I’ve found) is a willingness to troubleshoot, and the ability to get over the fear that you might break something. I remember the first time I installed RAM in a computer. I was convinced I was going to crush the motherboard, and I was really surprised just how hard I had to end up pushing to get it to seat finally. (Of course, the other trick is knowing when to wave the flag and take it to an expert. Because I definitely have broken things over the years . . .)

But for now, I’m enjoying being able to outsource tech problems as they arise, shifting into a consulting role instead. Suggesting ways to fix something, or providing insight into new approaches.

After all, who else is going to tell me how to use my super-duper genius phone when I’m eighty?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

The Groundhogs Strike Back

I wrote a few weeks ago about the installation of a fence around Denisa’s garden: an effort to fight back the marauding groundhog we have on our property. And for the first while, all seemed to be well. The groundhog stayed on his side of the fence, and the vegetables stayed on their side of the fence, and all was right with the world.

Except the groundhog is a cunning beast, full of wile and trickery. And that groundhog in question wasn’t a “him.” He was a “her.” Something she proved by revealing her master plan: two smaller copies of herself.

Everyone thought the groundhoglets were cute at first. They scampered around the property, staring at us when we came outside, totally unconcerned by the presence of humans. They like to go to the compost pile and eat whatever we’ve tossed out. One human’s cucumber scraps is another groundhog’s dinner.

Today, however, the true machinations at work were fully revealed. A baby groundhog scurried through the too-small–for-an-adult-groundhog-but-big-enough-for-a-baby-groundhog holes in the fence and hit pay dirt. Denisa came upon the scene of the vegetable heist, catching the hoglet in the act. Upon seeing the jig was up, it lost its cool for a bit before remembering that yes, it can fit through the holes in the fence. With that key piece of information back in its memory banks, it fled off into the blackberry bushes.

What will be the next part of this drama? Who knows. We’ve found several other groundhog burrows around the property, and we’re beginning to wonder if we haven’t been hemmed in by groundhogs. Perhaps it’s part of an enormous scheme to take over my house completely. Do we just have three groundhogs, or are there actually more of them? How many groundhogs can one and a half acres of property support? And do they have any further weapons in their arsenal?

Stay tuned, folks. I have a feeling this groundhog hole is only going to get deeper . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Last Day of School: 2020 Edition

Yes, it’s the last day of school today, about two or three weeks before it would normally come around, and yet somehow feeling like it’s about two and a half months after the last day of school actually happened this year. In fact, MC didn’t really believe me today when I told her that school was officially over after today.

So what will a post-school quarantine life look like in comparison with what we’ve experienced already? Honestly, I’m not all that sure. Typically the kids’ summers are full of camps and activities. This year? None of that is happening. We need to have some sort of structure. Tomas has applied for jobs (no word back on that yet). Other than that . . . We’ve always got those 150 movies to watch, I guess.

Up until this year, I’ve always used one event as my measuring stick for “stuck at home with nothing to do.” It was the ice storm of 1994, where we got about an inch of ice. The whole area ran out of salt for the roads, and we had no school for quite some time. I think I always told people we only had around 10 days of school the entire month of January. It was the winter I learned how to juggle, because why not?

So up until COVID-19, that was always my tried and true story to break out whenever the kids had school canceled for a particularly long stretch. I was a sophomore in high school, and I still remember it all very well.

Tomas is a sophomore in high school. So now he’s got a permanent “you think that’s bad?” story to tell anyone he might have to about canceled school. (Him along with all the youth of the world right now, pretty much.) Daniela’s in sixth grade. I’m sure she’ll remember this well. MC in first grade? It’s pretty hard not to remember this. I still have some recollections of first grade, and none of them involved a pandemic.

So this experience is changing who our children are. It’s definitely affecting an entire generation. I wonder what things will be like in a year or two once this is behind us, but I also wonder how it’s changing the future, when the current generation grows up and becomes more and more in charge of things.

So that’s where my mind is at the moment. I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Groundhog Defense

No matter how many times I’ve tried to tell Denisa that the fates have decided we shouldn’t have a garden, she doesn’t seem to want to listen. I mean, the blackberry bushes keep trying to take over the spot she’s used since we moved here. We have a whole colony of groundhogs hellbent on eating anything that even sounds like a vegetable. We haven’t gotten much in the way of rain this season so far (more hard frosts than hard rains, really). And the fates even conspired to make this thing called a “grocery store,” where you can go and buy all the vegetables you want. No need to even lift up a shovel, and you *definitely* don’t need to roto-till anything. And even if you’re more into the whole organic thing, there’s always the wonderful arrangement where you can buy vegetables from other people who grow them for you.

What a world we live in!

But instead of doing any of that, she wants a garden. It boils down to something about “enjoying watching plants grow,” which doesn’t make any sense at all, seeing as how I subscribe to a ton of digital streaming services, which I’ve always found to be way more entertaining than watching plants. But in the end, what else am I supposed to do? If she wants a garden, she should have a garden. I’ve just made it very clear that I personally plan to have very little to do with the upkeep of said plant factory.

That said, every now and I recognize the importance of supporting my spouse in endeavors that might not be the ones I would choose to participate in, should the option be available to me. And when she’s been working on a garden for thirteen years and bemoaned the groundhog menace that has continued to eat any and all things that aren’t potatoes (they don’t like potatoes), then even I can see the need to do what I can to help.

A fence had to be built.

But before you can build a fence, you must buy a fence. That’s something that takes a good deal more time than you’d normally expect, speaking now from experience. There are a lot of different kinds of fences, for one thing, and you have to make up your mind about so many small details. What size do you want the fence to be? What will it be made out of? How big should it be? Do we need boiling oil added to the ramparts, or do you think the groundhogs will go gently into that good night?

After an hour or two online, we ordered the fence. Green vinyl coated wire, two feet tall. 100 feet long. It being the pandemic, it took some time for the stuff to arrive. When it did, it took even more time for me to decide I actually wasn’t going to be getting out of this fence building, no matter how much I wished it might spontaneously build itself.

When you have a task in front of you that you’re not crazy about doing, the knee-jerk reaction is to want to do it as quickly as possible. How hard did this have to be, after all? Pound some stakes into the ground, hook the fence to the stakes, and then dust your hands off and walk away. That’s what I wanted it to be like, at least. But Denisa had thought this through. She had analyzed the tactics of her enemy, and she knew groundhogs were big on digging holes in the ground. (It’s right there in their name, I know, but maybe we had lazy groundhogs.)

Instead of just pounding some stakes into the ground, a trench needed to be dug. We’re not talking a moat or anything, but this was quickly turning into Not an Easy Project. Especially when you consider that Maine fields are filled with so many rocks, you wonder if the groundhogs didn’t put them there on purpose. (Seriously. I would make a terrible groundhog. I’d start to dig a hole, find a rock, and give up.) To make matters worse, mosquitoes and black flies were out in force, and they look upon a Bryce as a rare delicacy. Something to be devoured as quickly as possible whenever he makes a rare outdoor appearance.

In the end, the fence was made. I’m not going to say it was made without me losing my temper, but I think the end result seems fairly groundhog averse. If the critter decides to dig down very far, he’s going to find a pretty easy go of it, but I’m just hoping for the best. (Just like I’m hoping he doesn’t figure out he can climb that fence with no real difficulty. It seems a tactical error, basing your entire defense system around a hope that your enemy is chronically stupid . . .)

There are less than a handful of people in the world I would build a groundhog fence for without being paid a ridiculous amount of money. Now having actually built one, I think that number is down to about one. Anyone else wants one built, and I’ll happily chip in some money toward a GoFundMe or something. So it’s high praise indeed when I say that I hope this fence is permanent, but that if it ever needs fixing, I love my wife enough to say I’m still open to going out to repair it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

%d bloggers like this: