A Brief History of My Labor

Putting up hay - Library of Congress
At work, I often talk about other jobs I've had over the years. At some point, someone asked me to name every job I've ever had. So here goes.

Some of these I didn't get paid in cash for - sometimes it was work study for college, or a trade where my work was loaned out so my employer could get something in return.  I didn't include volunteer work -- EMT is not listed.

Some of these jobs I worked concurrently - for example, all through college I had at least three jobs at any one time. After graduation I was working for one newspaper and two radio stations at the same time. I only got paid for one of the radio gigs, my services for the other radio station was a "trade" for free advertising for the newspaper.

I started working at 12 years old in my mother's restaurant -- peeling potatoes and mixing waffle and pancake batter and bucking hay bales in the summer. Working every weekend for my mom probably kept me out of a lot of trouble growing up -- but it is also the reason I never got into hunting or fishing.

My dad always emphasized the importance of "gainful employment" when I was a kid. My family is full of workers - dad worked his way through college -- and is still working at 78. For years everyone in my family had at least a second job on the side.

So I've worked hard to have a job -- some sort of job -- ever since. The only year I've ever been without work was when I laid myself off from the top Tidepool job and went to nursing school full time.

Nursing school was worth it. Out of all these jobs, I've really only had union representation in the healthcare jobs of the last ten years. Not surprisingly, those are the jobs that have not only paid the best, but had the best benefits by a mile.

Here's my list in no particular order:
  1. Hay loader
  2. general farm labor (pulling fence posts, building fences, cattle droving)
  3. dishwasher
  4. bus boy
  5. cook
  6. restaurant night manager
  7. zebra/llama (animal) feeder
  8. radio station receptionist
  9. radio DJ
  10. radio news reporter
  11. radio jingle creator
  12. taco bender (Taco Time)
  13. weatherization training manual writer
  14. counseling psychology department receptionist
  15. classified Adverrtising secretary
  16. news reporter (crime, politics, education, science, environment)
  17. columnist -- for several newspapers
  18. newspaper photographer (in the days of film and darkrooms)
  19. editorial editor
  20. editor in chief Tidepool News Service
  21. book reviewer
  22. blogger (before the term was coined.)
  23. radio pundit (politics and environment) 
  24. delivery truck driver
  25. Football gameday program distribution manager
  26. Day in the Life educational program director
  27. tractor and handyman for cherry orchard
  28. cherry sorter / brine line 
  29. night warden in adventure hostel - Ireland
  30. rescue boat operator for windsurfing students - Ireland
  31. boat salvage (Alaska)
  32. salmon headbutcher  (Alaska) 
  33. Crisis Prevention  and Intervention instructor
  34. CPR instructor
  35. apartment manager / maintenance 
  36. internet help desk (Mac) 
  37. CNA
  38. Emergency Room Technician
  39. Licensed Practical Nurse
  40. Registered nurse - Charge, Oncology, Emergency room.

Small Town Girls

Last night the girls and I looked up the top songs from the year and week they were born -- I didn't recognize any of the songs or artists.
Meanwhile, 30 years ago today, this song was released. It is still part of the soundtrack to my life. 

By the time we got around to having kids, I'd met and married another small town girl. In fact, one of our first conversations was comparing who went to the smaller high school. I graduated in a class of 18 kids, she had a few more, but not many. 

We had bought an old farm house in the small town where she grew up. The party-pop and hip hop that was topping Billboard in 2001 didn't have any relation to the lives we were living when Lindsay was born. That's not the soundtrack to our lives. 

This still is.

As they get older...

It occurred to me the other day that as our children get older, they are exposed to more risk and you have less control -- which makes you worry more. (Especially if you are an ER Nurse and think in worst case scenarios.) 

At the same time, when they accomplish great things -- when they get back up and dust themselves off -- you are even more proud at what they've done.

a boat passing

hidden currents
churning, water
neverstill yearning to
yearning to,
yearning to,
curling to
cuuuuuuurl water