Category: family

On the (Teenage) Job Hunt

Had to make sure to put the “Teenage” in the title, as I am still happily employed, and I’d like to remain that way as long as possible. However, Tomas is 16 and definitely unemployed at this point. That’s something he’s looking to rectify. At this point, though, I’ll admit I’m no longer sure how that all works as a teenager. It’s been a long time.

Originally, we thought we had everything lined up just right. He had worked at the pool teaching swimming lessons last year, and the plan was to build on that experience this year. Yes, there were some anticipated problems: we were going on too many vacations. Between Fiddle Camp, church camp, camping camp, Disney World, and more, the options for him to actually be able to work seemed few and far between.

Well, all those camps are gone now. (I just finished canceling all the Disney reservations, since it’s not open until July 15.) That means Tomas will have plenty of time, but . . . the pool is closed, so it’s not like he can work there. We talked for a while about finding “the right job,” but in the end, he came to the conclusion the “right” job is pretty much “any job” at the moment. Minimum wage in Maine is $12/hour, which is fantastic for a 16 year-old. So he’s checking out fast food and retail. Apparently these days the applications for those are all done online. (And there I was thinking we’d have to drive him around to pick up paper applications. I’m so old.)

We debated for a bit about how “safe” it is to be heading out to the front lines of fast food right now. Honestly, I think it’s much easier for a teen than an adult. If he gets sick and can’t work, it’s not like he’s in desperate need of the paycheck. He’s working for convenience, not for necessity. My first job was at the Golden Arches, and from experience, I think the company will be making a good effort to keep things clean and disease free. The bigger concern would be the customers, and for that, mainly the angry customers. (And I’ve had more than my share of experience with those.)

No idea which job he’ll get, if any, but I definitely believe having a job like that prepares you well for the workforce later in life. There’s something you learn firsthand when you realize you’re working for someone else, and whatever they say is pretty much the way things need to be done. Yes, you can always quit, but if you want that $12/hour . . .

It’s a different dynamic than you get “working” for your parents doing jobs around the house, or working at school on various assignments. Feedback is more immediate, and it’s harder to just procrastinate things. I think it’ll be good for him, if he can get the job.

Anyone local have any advice for a teen on the job hunt?

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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.

Happy Birthday, Gretel

What’s this? Another birthday post, after I’ve already written about birthdays and anniversaries three times this month? Allow me to explain. While I’ve written many times about the other birthdays on my blog, I know for a fact that I have never once written about my sister’s. Why not? Because . . . I don’t typically barge into other people’s social media space to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Not my typical MO. I almost never wish people on Facebook happy birthday, even. I probably should, since I know I appreciate the birthday wishes, but it seems too expected, somehow. I have never liked doing the expected. (Which sounds funny, seeing as how so much of my life seems very conform-y. What can I say? I like to conform in my own way, and part of that is not conforming in certain areas.)

So why am I making an exception today? Because I have Permission. You see, Gretel’s husband reached out to her siblings to see if they’d send her a birthday message in this socially distant time. A good prod, since I rarely reach out to anyone specifically just to reach out. I’m all over Facebook, I figure. It’s a constant reach out by yours truly, and all you have to do is reach back. Sending an email or text message just to Gretel felt very un-Bryce-y, so I asked if I could write a blog post, instead.

He thought that was a great idea, which shows he’s either too trusting or just that confident I’d have nothing but good things to say about my sister.

“What are you going to write about?” Denisa asked me last night when I told her the topic of today’s post.

“I don’t know,” I said. “That’s part of the fun about blogging. I’ll sit down, put my fingers on the keyboard, and see what comes out.”

I won’t tell you how old my sister is, but I will tell you she’s enough younger than I am for me to have opined on the subject of her actual birth. While I don’t remember saying it, it’s a matter of accepted family lore that after seeing what life was like before Gretel and after Gretel, I consistently said she was a “frubblemaker,” and that we were better off without her. (So I had difficulty with “trouble.” You try saying that word when you’re under five.)

For the first while, I remember being frustrated by her. She was always trying to do whatever I was trying to do, and since what I really wanted to do was hang out with people who were older than I was, that got in the way of my plans. (I’ve said before on the blog that often what frustrates us most about other people is the things they do that mirror what we do, that we’re potentially not that happy about ourselves. Gretel was trying to hang out with the older crowd, just as I was . . .)

There are certainly a fair number of stories I could share about my sister. Some of them I’ve sworn not to share, and I certainly wouldn’t share them on my blog, but she knows what they are, and I’m pretty sure that if she’s reading this, then she considers it a pretty nice birthday gift that I’m staying quiet about those stories, even given such a lovely platform. But I will share a few things:

  • Gretel is responsible for an inordinately large amount of the way my life has turned out, because she’s the one who suggested I apply for a job at BYU’s library. The Periodicals Department, to be specific. She’d gotten work there when she got to BYU, and when I returned from my mission, she suggested it as a great place to work. They paid a bunch ($8.25/hour, people!), and it wasn’t too hard, and there were lots of nice people there. “Not too hard” and “paid a bunch” was all it took for me to give it a go, and I worked there with her for quite some time. I don’t know where I would have ended up if I hadn’t taken that first job. Probably curing cancer, so maybe we should all blame Gretel for that. Way to go, Gretel. 🙂
  • She was also there on my first date with Denisa. I’d set her up with a friend from the Jerusalem Center, and the four of us went to the Tabernacle up in SLC for a choir concert.
  • Growing up the children of divorced parents, we ping-ponged back and forth across the country, often twice a year. I remember many airports and airplanes with Gretel over the years. You learned the tricks of the trade doing that multiple times. My favorite lifehack back then was asking the flight attendants for a pack of cards. They’d just give you one for free! We had many, many Delta decks . . .
  • She was also always up for watching me play video games. I know that sounds both silly and boring, but she sat there and watched me play multiple Final Fantasy games over the years, and I can’t say for sure if she ever played any of them herself.
  • That said, I also watched many different Miss America pageants over the years with her, and she even had to put up with me continually making fun of the contestants. (I’d give them nicknames as they appeared, based on whatever popped into my head at the moment. Then I’d express horror when ‘Twinkletoes’ won the whole thing.)
  • She was always a softy for animals. Almond, our cat for my entire life growing up, once climbed a tree so tall he wasn’t sure how he was going to get down. We were convinced he was going to starve to death. Wait long enough, and make a cat hungry enough, however . . . (Almond lived for another . . . 10 years after that? Give or take.)
  • I didn’t spend a ton of time with Gretel in grade school, as I was too far ahead of her for us to be in the same school. But I spent a fair bit with her in college, working at the library and taking multiple classes together. (She was also an English major.) She also took basket weaving with Denisa multiple times.

In all seriousness, I have no idea what it’s like having me for a sibling. I’m definitely not the sort you see in the movies. I rarely talk to my brothers or sisters. I was never the sort to sit down and share all my deepest fears and fondest dreams. For a person who won’t shut up online, I can be pretty contrarian in person at times, choosing only to speak up with I think it’s worth it and I have something to say that might make a difference. I think that might be frustrating to someone who wishes her brother was a bit more in touch.

That said, Gretel’s done a great job putting up with me over the years. I don’t see her very often at all (once every couple of years), since she’s in Utah and I am definitely not. She’s got a bevvy of kids now, so I imagine “socially distant” applies more to her adult interactions rather than how much she’s around kids right now, but I hope she does something fun to celebrate the day.

Happy birthday, Gretel! Have you tried convincing your children they should just watch your oldest play Final Fantasy for the next few months? I mean, there are like 15 of them out by now. You’d probably be good to go through at least the next couple of years, and think of all the reading practice they’d get!

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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.

Nineteen Years

Tomorrow Denisa and I will celebrate our nineteenth anniversary. Seeing as how I’ve been writing this blog pretty regularly since around 2007, that means I’ve already written about our anniversary multiple times. Shall we see what I had to say about it? Why not.

I didn’t mention it for the first few years of the blog. That was back in the days that I didn’t share practically everything online. My blog posts were much shorter back then too. But in 2011, I wrote up a piece that discussed how Denisa and I eloped. (Pro tip: eloping is awesome, and I encourage everyone to do it.) In 2012 I was back to my sparse blogging style, just noting that I mowed the lawn and built a degu house. 2013 was slightly longer, with a few more thoughts on marriage in general, and in 2014 I talked more about how Denisa and I first met and started dating. I didn’t post about the anniversary again until 2016, in a bundled post about Tomas’s birthday (his twelfth, still a poignant memory) and my fifteenth anniversary. 2017 was a revisit to the early dating days, and in 2018 I wrote some deep thoughts on marriage in general and ours in specific. 2019 was a followup on that.

So there you go. Eight separate posts on marriage. That ought to keep you reading for quite some time, if you’re looking for something to do today. To me, what’s most interesting is seeing how the background of each of those pieces changed. How it went from just a small family, to other children appearing in mentions in the background, to having those children move into the foreground as time progressed. Life changes in increments. It’s a series of small day to day alterations, interrupted now and then by huge life altering events. But even after those events have happened, life goes back to those series of small changes.

Here’s hoping in a year from now, we’re looking back on this social distancing time as a distant memory. That life as we knew it has returned (more or less) to normal. How are Denisa and I celebrating this year?

Something tells me we’re going to be staying home . . .

Happy anniversary, Denisa!

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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.

Sixteen at Last!

When I was growing up, my sixteenth birthday was a Pretty Big Deal. I remember looking forward to it (like, I assume, most of you) for a long time. The family rule in our house was that you couldn’t date until you were 16, so there was that to look forward to, coupled with the possibility of driving. (Though I was in no rush on the driving front. My brother got in a serious car accident when I was around 15. I saw what that did to an automobile, so I wasn’t jumping at the gun to get behind a steering wheel myself.) I had a big party with a bunch of friends. It was a good time.

Fast forward 25 years, and my son is turning 16 today. How is he celebrating? Well, he can’t go see his friends, so no party. There’s not even the chance of driving school, so no car is in the works. How do you socially distant dating?

So how is he celebrating? At the moment, he’s working on an English assignment that’s due soon, so . . . I don’t think it’s an incredibly wonderful birthday for him. I feel bad that his experience is being overshadowed by all this sickness and drama in the world, though at the same time, I’m grateful that our family continues to deal with it without major impact. We don’t go out much, but Denisa and I are still employed and we’re all healthy.

How does a freshly-made 16 year old spend his time (when he’s not working on English projects)? Tomas is a big fan of video games (Overwatch and Animal Crossing are two current favorites, I believe), reading, and he used to be very active with after school activities, back in the day. We’ve been working our way through Stranger Things in the evenings. No job yet, though he’s worked as a part time swim instructor in the past. This summer was looking packed with camps and trips, so it wasn’t looking like he’d be able to work. Now it just looks like no camps, no trips, and . . . no jobs.

What a time we live in . . .

Anyway, if you see Tomas lurking around online somewhere today, make sure to wish him a happy birthday. When this is all over, we should have one giant bash just to celebrate.

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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.

Happy Birthday, MC!!

It’s April, which means we’re coming up to Peak Birthday season in my house. Daniela starts things off in February, Denisa continues the streak in March, and then MC and Tomas have the one-two April knock out. (I’m the weird one who was born in September . . .)

MC had been looking forward to this birthday for quite some time, mainly because the way the school calendar fell, this one she’d be able to celebrate with her friends during the school day. (Our school has spring break around this time each year, and it usually means MC is on vacation for her birthday. That sounds like a great thing to me, but things look different to a six (or seven) year old.) Of course, instead of this being her most social birthday ever, it’s her least social. Go figure.

She was pretty down about that back when the school closed down, but these days it’s a distant memory for her, I think. (I’m certainly not going to remind her.) She seems to be doing really well with social distancing. Denisa has her Zooming in with friends periodically, she’s now working on Khan Academy for math, has blazed through all the books we have in the house, and is becoming quite the interior decorator on Animal Crossing. These days she loves playing Temple Run and Chuzzles, watching Disney movies, and putting together crafts of any and all sizes. She will happily sit in one spot and entertain herself for hours at a time with almost no supervision.

We’ll be celebrating by having a chocolate cake this evening and eating vegan mac and cheese. (Both by request of MC.) I’d tell you to wish her a happy birthday if you see her, but since that’s not likely, just wish it here, and I’ll pass along the message.

Happy birthday, MC!

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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.

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