Posted by: tlnemethy | January 2, 2017

Holiday Greens

This weekend was the first weekend in a long time I haven’t spent working. You might be able to tell purely because I haven’t posted in quite some time and you were pretty much done even hoping for a notification in your inbox about this site. I apologize for that. Juggling hasn’t been working out for me lately. But because things are dying down a bit lately I figured I’d fill you in on just one little bit of my not so distant past.

Christmas.

img_20161213_134617582In the florist shop there are holidays and then there is the holiday season. Thanksgiving for example is a bunch of work all slowly leading up to the culmination of one day. Same thing with Mother’s Day. You would think that, following that pattern,  christmas would also be a big ramp up with a mildly jarring day but doable. I’m here to tell you that Christmas arrangements take up a solid month. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. No slow, gradual increase in arrangement sales. It is a cacophony of arranging. The big time of arranging, not piddly little vased things but delicately crafted centerpieces.

First off, we work in evergreens during the month of December. Evergreens, in case you don’t know, are prickly and sappy, and come in branches that involve way more work to arrange with than leatherleaf for example. Ever damn centerpiece that gets ordered takes close to half an hour to green up. We have to get a floral foam and soak it in water and shape it to the plastic design tray and tape it in and stab candles through it and only then can we begin to actually green it. This is the fun part. I say fun in the same sense that torture can be mildly enjoyable. Have you ever had bamboo shoots rammed underneath your finger nails?  Well, I would imagine cedar feels just the same, and once it happens it has a way of finding your vulnerabilities again and again.

I thought I could just avoid cedar, but then that gives me fir. Where cedar is brutal, fir seems to be actually malicious. Fir feels like a porcupine in stick form, that you’re brushing against the grain. Hold it gingerly with just your fingertips and you’ll be fine, but as soon as you need to poke it into foam you’re done. Skewered. A kebob. No one in the shop had undamaged hands  this month. But at least we went home smelling of a Christmas tree farm. I particularly loved my lumberjacky sap coated arms and shaking needles out of my hair. It’s better than glitter I guess.

 

Posted by: tlnemethy | August 20, 2016

Shop Elders

I work, on average, with women I would consider old. Granted, I’m lumping everyone into the category of older than me is old. I mean, the youngest part timer at the shop is in her late forties, so not that old, but a motherly type of age difference between us. There is of course, Doris, who I believe is in her late 70’s or early 80’s. While I was interviewing with the manager, Doris came up behind me and touched my mohawk and whispered how much she liked it. That was the start of an unexpected friendship.

She insists on calling everyone kiddo, even people who are very much adult, so this isn’t just a label reserved for the millennial of moi. She’s very hip to today, she’s down with the youthful outlook on things though in ways she’s also very ancient. On one especially slow day she had me manually input all her phone contacts from one flip phone to a new flip phone. She is barred from answering the phones in the shop, not because she isn’t pleasant, but purely because she cannot use the computer to input anything into the system. On a day we were slammed I witnessed her handwriting a customer’s information and credit card number down for someone to input once they became available. This sounds like a plan  except for the sheer quantity of information we require. Also, if you get a credit card number wrong the computer will tell you, but if you write it down wrong there’s no warning and then you have to call back the customer to get it right. I should also say that she’s blind in one eye and a bit hard of hearing so the details of that order were not exactly right. That might’ve been the day she got banned from phones, honestly.

Anyways, Doris was really the one who taught me how to arrange flowers. She had a knack for it and since we worked so closely for weeks on end, I got a bunch of stories out of that whip of an old bird (ranging from her cross-country motorcycle travels and sweet talking cops to vagina poison ivy). She’s a complete hoot to work with, the only problems I ever had with her were technology related and minor at that. I once tried to teach her how to look arrangement recipes up on the computer and told her to click something, pointing at the link simultaneously. Instead of moving the cursor over to the link she took her finger and tapped the screen like it was an iPad or something. I think I started crying with laughter. She also repeatedly asked me for a “tablet” one day and I just blankly looked at her until she described what she meant. Apparently a tablet is a notepad. Personally, I think that word comes from the good old biblical days in which schoolchildren carved on stone tablets instead of writing on paper notepads. I took that opportunity to razz her age. She was not overly amused, but played along.

I’m not sure if I was just cooped up without workplace interaction with older people or what, but they sure are a funnier bunch of nutjobs than I would’ve expected. Funnier and yet still unbelievably familiar. I feel like a baby bird being nurtured by them all at once. I mean, Doris makes it a point to feed me multiple times a day even when I protest. Whether she’s feeding me half her corned beef sandwich or lobbing chocolates at me from across the room, she seems to be always on the lookout for new foods to force into my hands . Why bother protesting at this point?

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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