Before I continue my story about choosing a career, I have to tell you that there’s a downside to clearing 17 boxes out of the garage. Pain. Intense, debilitating back pain. But I know the drill: Ibuprofen, ice, heat, repeat. Move as little and as slowly as possible. Then, in a day or two, back to normal life, but with a cleaner garage.

After I dropped out of art school, I returned to my home town and spent several months looking for the perfect job. I was mooching off No.4 Sis, with an occasional handout from Mom. My boyfriend took me to see Rocky. I was so inspired, I went back to see it two more times. With “The Eye of the Tiger” playing in my head, I applied for a waitress job and got it. The world’s second oldest profession was my new career. Farming being the oldest profession, of course.

The biggest drawback of being a full-time waitress (35 hours per week, so they didn’t have to offer benefits) was the food. As in, there’s food all around, but I can’t afford to eat. You see, we didn’t get free food just because we worked in a restaurant. We worked seven hours, got a 20 minute break, and could order a meal or a dessert at 10% off. Oh, did I say no benefits? That was it, our only benefit was 10% off a meal OR a dessert.

Dessert

Dessert

With tips, I made about $300 per month. My rent (I was no longer mooching off Sis) was over $200 per month. Waitressing did not afford me a luxurious lifestyle, but I didn’t expect it to. After all, that was Mom’s career after my parents’ divorce, and, well, let’s just say the trailer park was not my idea of a good neighborhood.

But I was so thin! Sure, I would sometimes black out when I stood up too fast, and I was dizzy a lot, and the blood bank rejected me because I was anemic, but I WAS SO THIN! So many compliments, so much male attention. Ah, those were the days.

I hated that job, but I hung in there for a year, until the whole area was flooded. My income source, my slightly discounted food source, had a river flowing through it, with a nasty undertow to boot.

The county set up assistance for displaced employees. I applied for unemployment, and was told it would be 50% of what I’d been making. Are you kidding? $150? I couldn’t live on that. The county worker just shrugged her shoulders. Not her problem.

Oh yeah, definitely time to look for a new career.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I was telling my nieces about this time period when I couldn’t afford to eat. I told them that’s all changed now, I can afford to eat whatever I want. I waggled my fat underarms at them and said, “That’s prosperity, baby!”. Have I mentioned that they call me “The Inappropriate Auntie”?