When my overly detailed and novel-sized memoirs are finished, you’ll be the first to know, until then here’s a somewhat quick jump through my past.
ASL? .. anyone remember the infamous aim chat ice breaker? Well I guess that’s where I’ll start… (Age, sex, living stats).
I was just another ignorant tween (age 11-12), fresh out of Pop Warner Cheerleading, who started putting the Nintendo GameBoy down and jumped on the AOL bandwagon to create a screen name, fooshizzel732. After 6 months of underage web chat, my horrified mother found out I had been lying about my age and obviously talking to ‘strangers’. I was punished and the computer’s phone jacks for dial-up were hidden from me for months until I honestly forgot about how I could get so caught up with making Dollz on Paint program or getting lost in the addictive instant messenger. It wasn’t for another year or so, when my father and I became obsessed with online games like Tomb Raider and my personal favorite Roller Coaster Tycoon, that I regained my passion for the virtual world again.
MALL RAT DAYS
Back to reality, at 14, I received my working papers, but no one would hire me. I joined the freshman cheerleading squad instead and lost a a few friends who didn’t realize I was ever into that stuff. I was the only cheerleader that already smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and regularly smoked maurijuana. I guess I rubbed off as a bit of a punk ass mall rat since those Pop Warner days. But by that time I already found a job in the mall, and pretty much stopped hanging out at the mall every Friday and Saturday night. Those acquaintances were replaced with real friends, friends who had their own money too and friends who actually called you and would meet up whenever, not just at the mall.
My first job was at Charley’s Grilled Subs, best cheese steak franchise in the mall’s food court around! I was hired in 2005, the month I turned 15, I will never forget my first paycheck, I made $6.15 an hour and cried with pride earning my first $100. Like all first jobs, they get old quick and if you knew me back in the day… well let’s just say I had a hell of a mouth and still barely have a filter. Cut to the chase, new old man gets hired, I was working the grill, again I was a 15 year old lil white girl and here comes in this 6’5” heavy set black man. MF elbowed me twice while making steaks for customers, mind you we are supposed to be “sharing” a grill and cooking in front of everyone in the food court. Well, I can tell you that was the first time I truly lost my shit in a public/somewhat professional setting. Deuces.
The Girl Next Door
Within the next week I had another job, working at the corner store/Deli right outside my neighborhood, Bonhamtown Deli. I stayed there until Budd the owner sold the business to another family a few years later. And yes it was an Indian family, but Paul’s a great guy, still owns/runs the store himself and even bought a house in my mom’s neighborhood where I grew up for his young family. Plus, I’ll never forget hours training him how to use the register, lottery machine and fryer/grill. If only he was willing to continue to paying me under the table, I probably would of stayed longer.
Flowershop from Hell
While working the deli, we had a usual lottery customer, an older lady named Judy. She would always come in with sweat pants and a grandma t-shirt, I thought she was just retired, turns out she owned a Flowershop down the street in Metuchen. One day, she asked if I had a car and needed extra money, “umm duhh!” But my god was I naive of what she was really asking for.
Within the first 5 minutes I walked in, I remember locking eyes with a young gentleman name Brian, what a sweet but verbally abused boy, my eyes widened with worry, he winked back, I could feel him shrugging off their blows like a child to his mom. Judy and her husband ran that place like a sweatshop, I was hired for extra help on the weekends, specifically delivering flowers to churches, funeral homes, and once in a blue moon go to a banquet hall, holding onto hundreds of balloon strings while Judy’s husband would blow up each balloon by helium tank. I still have flashbacks of picking up the dropped stems from roses are she made her pieces, throwing bits on the floor and screaming at us kids in Nazi voices to hurry up and sweep their mess up. I eventually grew tired and realized I was only there to help her cause I felt bad, but by then I felt like even more shit, the $7 an hour I made under the table was just put right back into my car for gas anyway so, Bye Felicia!
Senior Game Advisor
Post high school graduation, an exciting opportunity came up between friends. Gamestop was hiring and it was a mutual friend managing it at the time. Fast forward 2 incredible years full of weekend Rockband sessions and nightly Call of Duty campaigns, I get terminated all because I followed my store manager outside and smoked a cigarette. At least I was fired with the store manager and best believe she took me with her.
New BFF hired me at her next endeavor, FYE. Very similar business platform, games/CDs/DVDs/subscriptions. I don’t remember much besides it being temporary. The travel time was 3 times longer to get to this mall and for the $7.50 an hour, it wasn’t adding up. I remember she found a better job for a hotel and eventually left, when the new manager took over, I remember straight up telling them, its too far and if I couldn’t transfer, I might as well just quit. Plus I had a lot of bullshit going on at that time personally.
College turned Technical School
Did i forget to mention by age 17 I was moved out of my mother house and into an apartment with my high school sweetheart. At the time, his mother had recently passed away and his father left him and his younger brother who was my age to fend for themselves. I refused to just stand by and watch them struggle. I did start community college that fall, September 2008, as a full time student with a full time job but after 3 months of sleep deprivation and living off ramen, and unfortunately not having reliable roommates to contribute, I knew I would have to do it all on my own.
By the end of the first semester I gave up on school, it was nothing like high school where I was an honor roll student with photographic memory and never felt challenged. But college classes, they would expect you to just do everything on your own? Seriously? Who has that type of discipline? I did not have the patience or time, at least I thought..
I worked hard, did whatever I could to make ends meet, cut coupons, shopped in Goodwill, dented cans at Shoprite, you name it. All to have the relationship eventually blow up in my face. After a fight, i stayed at my moms house, returning the next morning, the security chain was on, when I opened the door, you could clearly see a blonde chick naked sleeping in my bed through the doorway. Yes, I definitely count that as another huge “losing my shit” moment.
Thank gawd that happened though, I used everything I had left in me to focus on what I wanted, which was a career. To not struggle financially. I realized, I was only struggling because of the situations I was putting myself in. Time to dig myself out of that hole.
I was tricked into signing up for Sanford-Brown Institute of Iselin’s Medical Billing and Coding Certification program where as we all know now, was a huge waste and scam of money. Best part was, within my first week of the 10 month program, I had already been hired at an eye doctor to be his assistant, answer phones and submit insurance claims. Now thinking about it, I wish I was smart enough to pull out of that program that same week and saved my money, fucking $13,000 i just finished paying off Jan 2017.
Social Media & Optical lab mgr
The eye doctor was more like a leprechaun sized jew with the complexion of Santa’s rosey red cheeks who would poke fun and call out to me an his “amazon” girl (I stand 5’9”.. not that tall, but compared to his 5’1” stature, hmmm). He was mean, like flower shop Judy mean, I was making $12 an hour after my first year and became his apprentice in making eyeglasses. After my first 50 pairs, my hands would cramp and placing those damn tiny screws into metal frame became such a tedious chore, I ended up selling more ‘Buddy Holly’ style frames just so I could easily pop the lenses in better. The doctor had me set up his first Facebook page and I was the only one who was able “how to figure it out” LOL, I was 20 years old, in 2010. 2 years came and went and I wanted out. I was so sick of the patients acting like it was always life or death and retail aspect of it all. I called my BFF 😉
BFF was a front desk supervisor for a swanky hotel nearby, I wanted in and didn’t care if I had to start at the bottom. She hooked me up and set me up on her front desk at either $9 or 10 an hour. Everything was awesome, until one night some Indian guy walked into the Lexington’s lobby. He looked me straight in the eye, “I am going to buy this hotel, I will see you again soon.” He had this cocky ass smirk on his face, took a look around the lobby and walked back out to his car and left. WTH! Yet another blessing in disguise.
The day before the new owners took over, we all had a ‘last supper’ picture. It was decided among all long term employees that they were going to follow to GM and walk out that night and never return, able to collect unemployment and be on with their lives. But it wasn’t that easy for me. I knew I wouldn’t qualify for unemployment yet based on my earning there and recent separation of other employment. I decided to stay and support the new owners. Even though I knew I only wanted to stay temporarily, I was met with the most peculiar sense of respect when I was the only front of house employee to show up the next day. The owners could sense I was smarter than I looked and I could show them I knew the “jist” of operations already in place so they were more then generous and offered a promotion to Director of Sales and Marketing. I helped the owners settle into their new property and began searching better opportunities of my own.
I was desperately looking to expand my wallet, still no kids or love life, I was in search of the highest paying job I could find. And leave it to a staffing agency to hook me up. I was assigned to a warehouse in Edison. I was the only white girl in there. At most 4 mixed females worked for the actual company in the dispatch office, but the rest were temps. I made $18 an hour but was guaranteed 16 hour shifts each day, 6 days a week if I wanted and anything over 8 hours in one day was considered time and a half. At 22, I thought I was fucking rich, smoked all my damn money away lol (spent too much on pot, to clarify!). All until i met John, my future PITA. For 3 months we would text and go out to lunch everyday at work, he was a forklift driver and I worked on the other side of the warehouse in a different department. We eventually started hanging out more often. To anyone who has never worked in a warehouse, please understand it is not easy or clean work, from loading trucks to labeling and re-handling merchandise, there was not one day I didn’t go home without rings of black dust crusted around my ankles or having to blow your nose for the first 15 minutes you leave to get all the soot out. Blah! I started looking for opportunities back in hotels, figured in the long run, I’d probably be happier with a nice desk and office.
My 23rd birthday was celebrated the same week I was offered a General Manager position for the Palace Hotel, connected to an Indian Cuisine Wedding Banquet Hall. I was thrilled, never felt so empowered to make a difference in the world. For the first time, my job wasn’t just a job. I was needed and I felt at home. I felt a lot of emotions over my first few months. Then it hit me with a sack of bricks one morning. Just another day in paradise, strolling into the lobby and the smell of coffee that usually welcomed me every morning, calling my name, was instead suffocating me. I could feel the heat from the pot hovering over the back of my neck, my palms became weak and I just remember running as fast as I could to the bathroom.
Morning sickness?! FML! John and I grew strong in preparation and the next few months flew by without issue, until I started to show at 7 months! My owners were thrilled, expecting me to be barely half way through the pregnancy, but it was news to me and them when I found out my placenta previa put my pregnancy into a high-risk category. I was to be placed on bed rest by my 8 months mark, set a date by the end of May 2014 to have a C-section (no other options given). Well, let’s just say my owners, men of course, were not so happy about having to find a temporary replacement. They joked about their wives needing barely 3 or 4 weeks off before returning, I planned on taking my full allowed maternity leave. Again, another blessing in disguise, I had a contract already set in place regarding my employment. And once they realized, I had dept. of labor on speed dial and education of my rights, honey, you know they paid me off. I was blessed enough to stay home for almost a year after having my son. I had a new title, Mother and my what a fun job it is.
I love you Jayce Loki, to the moon and back.
…To Be continued…
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**Daily Blog starting May 5, 2018!!!!