The cobblers children have no shoes…or rather the Furniture salesperson and her worn out sofa…reluctant to replace.

I work in a furniture store…surrounded by beautiful sofas, love seats and sectionals.  Leather and fabric recliners abound…and yet…I still have a hole-y and worn out 15 year old sofa that I sleep on most nights…

(I should have gotten this beauty when I could..it was so awesome)

I know in my head I need to replace it and yet…like old shoes.,..it fits so well. Worn in, in places that fit the contours of my body…The dog loves it. Too much so…I have patches that gave birth to patches on this couch…and yet….

 

When it was new…I wasn’t sure I even liked it or that it fit in the room…but like the pieces back then It was over sized, over stuffed and affordable…and it replaced a piece that was about 10 yrs old and lived through 3 moves, my then dog Sophie and Fiesta and Freedom cats….It had history and I was reluctant to replace it….but I did.

The current worn out sofa has lived through the passing of one dog and now enduring the chewing of a rescue dog living the life of luxury…as well as kittens with claws….which began the demise of said worn out sofa.

Maybe I am being overcritical but I can’t seem to find a suitable and affordable replacement.  I sit on the ones and work and imagine it in my home and something is missing.  I look on line at our competitors to see if any of their sofas would work…and something is missing.

I can not seem to find the right one…I feel like Goldilocks and the three bears and the beds…

Today as I walked through the house it came to me why I am so reluctant to replace. With each replacement I am ending a chapter and beginning a new one…and I am just not completely ready to start a new chapter with a new sofa. So…I think I will go get some more patches and live with this worn out one for a little longer…some things are harder to replace than others….

It may not  be pretty…and it isn’t …but it is comfortable

It might not be what I wanted…but it’s what it is.

I am now almost a year into the newest phase of my life …retail sales. Funny thing, that is exactly how I started ….

My family owned a pharmacy in Glen Cove.  I learned how to “work ” in that store.  How to behave with customers.  How to treat coworkers.  How to behave as an employer and as an employee. I got my work ethics from working in that store. Which to this day means not calling in sick or being late to work…people depend on your dependability.

(sure do wish I still had that hair)

Now that I am back in sales, I look at my job through 2 sets of eyes.  First set is as a store owner ( no I don’t own this store) and second as an employee.  It makes me look at the bigger picture as well as the daily picture in front of me (the customer).

It has not been an easy 10 months.  I still can’t support myself on solely my commission…and that has become frustrating…and truth be told…it aint easy being on my feet all day on a hard floor traipsing back and forth showing customers this and that. But I am still here and still able to wake up every day and have somewhere to go and make some money.

I have made new friends at work.  We are a very diverse group of people and that in of itself is on the one hand very cool and on the other hand challenging…so many personalities…so many divergent cultures…and yet most days we get along pretty well and usually are respectful to each other.

But…let me tell you about the ugly side of sales…and a side I do not proscribe to or condone. Sales people can be vicious and negative…they will try to psyche you out to ruin your mojo…INTENTIONALLY….I truly have never worked with sales people who exhibited this kind of behavior before and it is  really despicable. They will steal your customers, your good mood and steal a sale if they can …and have no issues with this. I for one like to sleep at night…so I make sure I treat people well, don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to me (customers and sales) and be as kind and patient I can with all the people I face during the day….

Last month was my best month ever…sales and commission….I look forward to continued growth…personally and professionally.

Is this the last career I will have …who knows…at least I am working…and steadily…and for that I am grateful.

 

Hey I did get new glasses as a result of this job…..

 

 

Work in Progress – Still

Recently, I had been asked by a friend to contribute to a site she is creating.  We decided to call my contribution a WIP : Work in progress.

Why…because aren’t we all a WIP.  Next week I turn 58 and having been downsized I am faced with reinventing myself…still a WIP.

Reinventing oneself is hard to do at any age. I have already done it when I moved to Georgia in my 40’s,  only knowing 1 person and without prospect of a job. I’ve been here 15 years and have had 2 different careers so far.  So….not impossible. Just gets a little more difficult as we get older.

I have learned over the years what I do not want to do…but have yet to figure out what I do want to do and how to get there. I do like working with people and finding solutions to their needs. I do like to help people and do things that make a difference in someone’s life. I do like managing projects from start to finish and managing accounts. And most of my jobs included many of this.  Some of my jobs were taken out of necessity…the mortgage company does like to be paid.  Some were taken out of curiosity and some were taken thinking the grass was greener on the other side.

In the meantime until I figure it all out. I have been keeping myself busy, I started to draw and paint and am taking an art course which is soon to end. So I put it out there in the universe that I want to create a meetup like situation to continue the process of art.  It won’t get me back to work.  It won’t make me rich (I am not a prodigy…I am not that good..yet ) but it is keeping me busy. It gets me out of the house and I get to meet some really nice people.

I really like painting and I really like watercolors…which of all the paint mediums to me, is the most challenging.  Colors run into each other and bleed…Watercolor paint moves in all directions, sort of like life and all the bits of us running into each other…bleeding, blending and clashing.

The challenge of life,  like painting is figuring out how to make it all work and create a fine piece of work. Below is a new WIP. I am really proud of this one.

Yay…it’s snowing………………..yay

The last winter before I moved to Georgia, I was living in a Co-op in Great Neck, NY on Long Island.  Parking was a premium so I was parking my car on the street.  A ritual for me in the winter was to take Sophie dog for a walk early so I could clear my car off from the night’s previous snow fall.  Sophie dog loved the snow so any opportunity to play in snow that hadn’t been peed or pooped on was taken.  We got ourselves booted up, scarfed and gloved and parkered up and went down the front steps toward where I parked my car..dog leash in one hand, shovel in another.Scan_Pic0030

We rounded the corner and walked to where my car was…something seemed amiss… there were trees down…and then I saw it..my car…with a giant tree laying across the roof and the hood and part of the side of the car…My car..that I just bought a couple of years ago..crumpled and covered with tree branches and snow and ice. I turned to Sophie who was playing in the snow behind me and said…”well Soph…I guess Mama’s not going to work today”  And back home we went to call Geico and work and police and City of Great Neck

Everything got taken care of pretty easily but it also made me think about living in New York.  My Mom had passed, My Dad had moved to Florida and while I had a few friends in NY, they were either married or engaged.  I didn’t have my best friends close by. I felt very alone.  My brother and his family lived in Massachusetts. I needed a change. Life had been a challenge for me for a few years and I thought maybe I need to change my environment. I wasn’t working at the time and felt like it’s a now or never kind of thing…. I knew ONE person who lived in Georgia and he lived in Smyrna. Over the course of a few months I visited a few times to see if I would like it. Of course when I went down there it was awesome weather and lots of fun things to do and great places to explore.  My friend knew where to go and what to do and he was a handyman kind of guy so his house was fun,  Yeah I could live down here. So after telling my Dad and friends I was moving …I did. I had originally intended on renting out my place in case I wanted to come back.  But I got an offer I couldn’t refuse and sold my Co-op..This was it…I packed up my place and the moving company came and my life’s possessions were heading to Georgia.   David, my friend from Smyrna came up to NY and with Sophie Dog as our co-pilot we headed South.

I had a rental house already lined up and Sophie Dog and I were ready for our new adventure…and it has been, In the almost 15 years since I moved down here I can count on one hand the times it’s snowed….the times it’s snowed so much that commerce and traffic stopped dead.  People up North and in the Midwest laugh at Southerners who freak out over an inch or 2 or 3 of snow. The truth is…that we are not equipped for it. From the texture of our roads,  to the availability of snow plows and salt,  to our cars,  to the fact that people born in the South do not know how to drive in this kind of weather.

I grew up in NY and went to school upstate NY,  I knew how to drive in snow and ice..I even knew how to do all this while going up and down hills.  I learned not to break. I learned to use my gears. Drive in low. And drive just fast enough to gain traction,. I also know to drive with a bag of sand or kitty litter, for traction if i get stuck.  Most Southerners don’t have enough experience driving in snow. It’s not their fault..It just doesn’t snow bad enough or often enough to get that experience.  Actually I don’t know if people in general know that driving in low gives you more control thus less chances of skidding or getting stuck trying to go up a hill

.molly and meThis is Molly dog and me in NY during happier times.

Last year we had a terrible storm. Apparently all of Georgia was on the road at the same time trying to get home….The streets weren’t salted or plowed so very quickly the roads turned into a sheets of ice…trucks were crashing into other trucks..the cars around me all shimmying and skidding and me?  I was driving a straight line slow and steady. Took me over 8 hours to get home, which normally is a 20 minute drive.  I did great getting up the hills leading to my street,  while cars around me were sliding sideways down the hills. I managed to get to my house but my driveway was a no go. It is very steep and I couldn’t get a running start…I just got stuck…So i parked my car in front of my house and dragged myself up the grassy side to my front door.  Duncan Dog was going to have to go potty close to the house. There was no way I was going to try to get down that hill to walk him.  He didn’t like the snow, so he was happy to comply.  It is so funny he is the same breed as Sophie dog yet while she loved the snow, he hates it.  Go figure. I didn’t have a shovel and I had nothing to break the ice with.  I was stuck for a couple of days. I was able to work remotely so at least i wasn’t bored.  But it reminded me of why I left NY.  I like the snow ..as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me and as long as I don’t have to deal with it.

576Before it got covered and smothered with Ice and SnowOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A few months ago I was sitting in front of my computer and saw some of my snow pictures from last year and thought..hmm maybe I need to buy a snow shovel and while I am at it see if there is such a thing as pet friendly Ice melt. My logical thinking was if i was prepared for snow ..I wouldn’t need it.  Just like taking an umbrella and it doesn’t rain.  So I just came back from walking Duncan dog and looked at my shovel and thought…maybe I will get a chance to use it this year.  As I am writing this and looking out my window..I see the snow has stopped,  so maybe It wont get so bad. Maybe I wont need the shovel this time. The porch however,  is getting icy,,,so I know I’ll get to use the ice melt. So not all was wasted…Duncan is snug in his chair and I am snug in mine.

duncan snug in his chair

Job hunting, a messy house and 4 animals…there is hope

Back in August of 2014 I was downsized.  I had left a job I worked at for almost 9 years to work for a company I was told was fabulous to work for and that it was going places.  Yes it went places…but not in the direction I had hoped.  So now I have been forced back into the job market at the age of 57. I could say that would be a good thing because maybe now I can find the job of my dreams and finally do what I have always wanted to do…But that wouldn’t be true…I havent a clue what I want to do.

Looking for work at this age has been daunting,  to say the least. So many web sites …so many ways to get yourself noticed. I could say that my  job hunting has been effective and successful.   But that wouldn’t be true,  While I have had a few interviews,  I am apparently too qualified, too unqualified or just not what they are looking for.  All this after completing several rounds of interviews and assessment tests.  I know what is true,,,I am 57.

I could say I am job hunting all day so I can’t possibly take the time to clean or do laundry or clean litter boxes etc.  but then that wouldn’t be true either.  I’d like to say that I had hoped that during this time off I would have taken this opportunity to clean and organize my house…especially my kitchen and back rooms. That I would finally clear up the small bedroom and make it into my office again and that my office was turned back into the guest room it used to be…I would love to say that was the case….but 5 months later..I have barely managed to clean out my office and clean the kitchen. I do manage to get the garbage out on Thursdays and manage to clean the litter boxes most of the time,  I even manage to shower …what..the animals don’t care.  I hear my mom in my head saying..take a shower get dressed and go find a job.

Mom always said..wait till you have your own house…you will learn to keep it because its yours.  Wish I could say that was true.  Sorry mom..once a messy girl …always a messy girl.  I could blame a dog and 3 cats..but that wouldn’t be fair to the animals because they can only mess up where they can go…I am to blame…completely and utterly to blame.

What I have learned these past few months is that losing your job is very isolating at this age.  Most of my friends work or live to far away stop by for a cup of coffee and some encouragement. TV during the day sucks…Since I am job hunting I wont indulge streaming while looking for a job. I have learned that the wind in my sail is depends on the weather outside.  If the sun is out I seem to be more energized than when it is dreary…much like today.

I’d like to say that I took this time to work on recipes and started to put together a cookbook. I would like to say that I found a business partner and am finally able to start that business I still dream of starting,  But that wouldnt be true. All are still dreams and wishes and someday will happen.

317      482      sugar cookies

I have however, started this blog, worked on a website, looked for new courses to amp up my resume, bought a new computer and telephone, so that I can find temporary work , working remotely.  All this time has not been wasted. Duncan Dog ( my rescue from Nov 2013)  and I have gotten to know each other better .  He has learned how to get along better with me and the cats..while still a work in progress I have hopes….paw steps…

IMG-20130520-00982IMG-20130318-00702duncan cookie face

What is true..what i do know…is that I have hope.  I wake up every morning eternally hopeful that this will be the day! The day for cleaning, for a job and for whatever else I want, I just have to start the day hopeful.

Have you had any Amyburgers today?

A long time ago when I went to camp,  my father would send me letters asking if I had any Amyburgers…That is what he called me.  I have lots of letters from back then,  addressed to me at camp Amyburger Halpern.  For some reason I saved those letters.  We had a loving relationship back then.  It was a lovely simpler time.

dad and me                                       madmen summer camp

He owned a Pharmacy with his business partner Charlie.  I have sweet memories of making bows in the back of the store for the Christmas holiday gifts.  When I was old enough, I walked from school to the store and played in his office, did my homework or helped Esther,  the secretary,  file.  As a High Schooler I worked in the store legitimately…in the office or out front.  I loved working in the gift and cosmetic departments.  I mean,  who wouldn’t.

As a child I would dance on his feet and he would sweep me across the dance floor at a Bar Mitzvah or family wedding.  We didn’t dance much later on.  But once in a while we had an opportunity .  I saw this picture today while looking through some others and wanted to share. Maybe 15 yrs ago…He was still Dad…Sort of…

dad and me dancing

Why am I reminiscing today? Today Dad would have been 89 years old.  He passed last June 2014 at the age of 88.  A man with Alzheimer’s, and yet he still remembered who I was.  I would call him every week, 2 or so more times and each time when I’d call, I would say… Hi dad…and he would still answer … Hey Aim..how are you?  Hearing those few words comforted me…forget that five minutes into a conversation he would either forget who he was talking to or get fixated on something in his room and the conversation came to a screeching halt.  But I did have those first 5 minutes and they were glorious.  I always had a story ready to tell him to get him engaged…get him laughing…get him feeling happy.  That was my job.

Over the years I baked for Dad’s birthday. He didn’t need another robe or tie or book…But I knew he enjoyed my baking…So I would get busy in the kitchen a few days before his birthday and start baking.  One year I made his mother’s recipe for Mandelbreit..another year it was my Great Aunts recipe for rugelach…and then sometimes if it was a cold winter , I would make him Rainbow cookies…all were his favorite and all were easily shipped. I knew that he would enjoy them and that they would help remind him of happier times.  The smell, the taste all were sweet reminders for him.  He may not remember who sent it or who used to make it but he did remember the cookies. That is all that I cared about.  I knew he enjoyed them. That was all that mattered.

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Today I woke up and realized that this would be his first birthday without a phone call. .It would be the first birthday he didn’t get a card. The first birthday I didn’t bake for him.  What consoles me is this will be his first birthday in 22 years he will get to celebrate with my Mom somewhere in time…Happy Birthday…. Dad..I love you and miss you. Say hi to Mom for me.


mom and dad wedding

Why Bread and Butter Cafe

Having been born in the 1950’s I was subject to many rituals and customs of my mother. Some of them I still continue to this day and others I have archived to a dusty box in the closet. Back in the day when people invited you to their house for dinner or lunch or anything special you then had to reciprocate by way of bringing something. When I was a little girl my mom called that a bread and butter gift.

It was a big deal to bring the appropriate gift. It could be a baked good, a casserole or an actual gift. My mom did not cook so much back then so it was not going to be a homemade item. No cookies, no cakes, no casseroles. We were lucky back then that she didn’t poison us with her cooking..but then… that story is for another time.

So back to the gift. Let’s digress for a moment… My family was part owners of a local Pharmacy in our lovely little town on Long Island. Bell and Halpern. Dad passed away this past June and just this past week Mr. Bell passed on. But to this day…when people hear the name Bell and Halpern, memories flood back to all. It was the store to find the perfect Bread and Butter gift back then…as a matter of fact..it was The store to go to, to find any gift…we had a great store…China, Glassware, jewelry, watches, wallets, luggage, appliances, TV and stereos and radios, books, fragrance and cosmetics. We used to laugh it was the Bloomingdales of Pharmacies..all it lacked was apparel.

Again back to the bread and butter gift. It didn’t need to be expensive or big…but it did need to be thoughtful…and thats what I am hoping this blog will be. I am bringing to your house a little gift of myself to thank you for having me over. Here have a piece of cake.

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