Posted by: tlnemethy | July 25, 2016

The driving force of toilets

I’d been working my new florist gig for a few weeks when the john broke. Of course, we were also dealing with a swell in business. To put it linearly, a high influx of customers->high arrangement output = many people working at the shop at once to accommodate it all.

When many people work in a tiny box, many people use the tiny bathroom. This gets really difficult when you add into the equation the digestive failures on everyone working there, plus a malfunctioning commode. We started out innocently enough and just filled ten gallon buckets with water to aid the flushing potential. Its like the toilet was just getting sick of our shit, pardon the pun.

Weeks passed with the toilet remaining a sporadic asshole. I began praying not to need it while at work because it occasionally regurgitated toilet paper and pure embarrassment, among other things. I stopped drinking water and somehow made it my mission to only need to poop when i had been sent on a shop mission (AKA walmart journey). This was after, of course, I had to meekly walk next door and ask the nail salon if I could christen theirs. Never again.

It seemed like it was not high priority on the bossman’s list to fix and I was getting frustrated, so one day we bought our own toilet on the company card and I was nominated most likely to succeed at plumbing maintenance and installation.

First off, the bathroom is carpeted. Second, the carpet was soaking wet from weeks of “mysterious leaking.” Third, I was game.

I had to go back to my place to get my toolbox because of course we don’t have many ye olde shoppe tools. I brought back my crap work clothes and grit my teeth when my knees soaked through on the carpet, even after putting down some of our stockpile cardboard. No dice. I watched a YouTube tutorial on my phone and ripped that broken sucker out of the ground with my bare hands and a voracious desire to poop.


That, my friends, is a poop-chute.


Surprisingly, it was extremely simple. I shut off the water, ripped off the tank, unbolted the bottom, unscrewed the water hose, and carried it all out to the dumpster. I’m grossed out to say the toilet water that I couldn’t scoop out dripped onto my shoe on the way to the grave. Maybe as a last act of defiance. A vomit of putrid resignation.

Luckily it was a really hot day, like reallllllly hot.IMG_20160524_145259546 There’s a wax ring that seals the bottom to the floor and it needs to be melty to go on so I left the brand new wax ring on the bed of a truck for a bit while I cleaned up the previous wax ring.



My first fix in the flower shop. Not pretty.

There was a small kerfuffle as I shimmied the new toilet into the tiny bathroom and thought briefly that it was just a hair too big. I mean I measured it multiple times, but it just didn’t look right. In the end though, it fit and was only not flush with the wall by a hair.


I consider it a success for my first foray into modern plumbing (well, besides the sink in the front of the shop). It was also just really nice to do something different for a day.



Posted by: tlnemethy | July 4, 2016

The Floral Florist

The scent of hydrangeas, the sometimes sweetly humid breeze, the beautiful bright colors. These are some of the things that you might think of when you think of a florist’s. These things definitely do play a role in the charm. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working at a florist shop and I’m still green enough (no pun intended) that I can still readily notice just how charming everything is.IMG_20160704_213453(1)

Sometimes the cardboard boxes we get rose shipments in, boxes that have supposedly traveled all the way from Ecuador, smell like wet dog. It took me a full day of the occasional sniff to equate it to that. Sometimes I look at the lily pistol smears on my fingers and know that I’ve got an organgey-brown pollen mustache from accidentally touching my face, sometimes you just know those things. Sometimes you get a cardboard cut, similar to a paper cut except you wish you were dead, and you still think back to the fact that you’re actually using your damn hands to make something tangible instead of an abstract accomplishment like in an office. Sometimes has been turning more and more into an often times.

All these sometimes add up to an experience that rivals very few in the workforce.

Posted by: tlnemethy | June 26, 2016

Layoffs to Lilies

First off, I recently had my last day as a technical writer. I got cut from the flock in a massive layoff. Second off, it was the best day ever. Here’s why:

For years I had alternated between excruciating boredom/lack of work and an up-to-your-eyeballs-in-hellfire work schedule. I’d say the split was roughly 70:30 but my elation for getting outta dodge might be skewing things a bit. Who really knows.

Anyways, for anyone who is currently worried about my work status don’t you fret. I have already started working a new and very different gig. Drumroll please, I’m now a… FLORIST. Which is weird purely because I am the John Snow of flowers (I know nothing).

I went in to my interview after having googled a bunch of the most commonly used flowers in florist shops. Thankfully I’d done that at the very least. I guess I was pretty collected in the interview because I knew nothing about the subject and was quite honest about it, well for the most part. There’s something really freeing in not needing to prove anything to yourself. See if I was maybe a botany major or something like that it might’ve been nerve-wracking to go into my own field requesting a job. There’s an expected knowledge base you know. If I got nervous and blanked on what a lily looked like that would be insurmountable with that degree. Because I knew nothing, I could own that and very casually admit that I might not be as well versed in flowers as some other people, but that I had other skills to bring to the table.

I thought I had a decent grasp on flora (at least vegetables). I remembered years spent half-listening to family members talk about geraniums and lilacs, orchids and peace lilies. Hopefully some of it sank in, even though I can’t remember ever being too interested in connecting those names to actual plants.

At the end of my interview, the manager shuffled my paperwork and then turned absent mindedly to look in the glass coolers lining the walls. That must’ve sparked something in her because she then started pointing out various flowers around the room and asking me what they were. In that moment, even though I recognized the flowers by sight, I could not for the life of me remember what they were called. I was bumbling.

She pointed at a big round ball of a flower, a puff ball flower made up of tiny little white blooms. I knew it. But what was it? I think it’s normally blue. I’ve seen it in blue. My mouth might’ve been slightly agape. I had to give up after the grace period for thought was over.

Hydrangea. It was a hydrangea. Yet we moved on.

One of my first arrangements.


Down and down the rows we went with me guessing correctly maybe 10% of the time and the rest mostly filled with my pathetic blank expression tinged with panic. My resume said no experience with flowers. WHY ARE YOU TESTING ME?! I’m failing really bad. We hit all the somewhat unusual of the normal florist flowers and then she turned to the flowers that about 97% of the earth’s population can identify. Like it’s almost expected. She gestured at them and said, “I’m sure you know daisies and mums…” I wholeheartedly nodded though my brain was so frazzled that I definitely wouldn’t have bet on it. “Oh of course, piece of cake.”

What a lie.

But let me tell you, I’m much better with flowers now. Constant dedication to not be embarrassed in front of a customer will sometimes get you just the motivation you needed.

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