Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Career Interview

Tonight right before bed Brandon asked me to fill out this "interview" for one of his classes. I decided to answer with honesty and candor. I look forward to feedback...

Career Interview
The Career Interview involves interviewing someone about their work! People generally love to talk about the work that they do and usually this is a fun experience for everyone.
We recommend that you try to talk with someone that does the work that you want to do – you can try googling people in the profession and calling them (you do not need to meet with them in person).  When calling, let them know that you are a high school student who is interested in doing the work that they do and if they would mind taking a few minutes to answer your questions.

Otherwise, feel free to interview an adult family member or friend – you can always interview a school staff member!

When doing the interview, remember that it is important to be well-organized and professional. The person you interview is taking time out of his or her busy day to help you. Listen carefully to what the person says; you may be surprised by what you learn!

Please use the Interview Question sheet provided below to help you with the interview (or at least be able to fill in the answers to these questions from your notes).


Person’s name:  Kim Bieske

1. What are your main tasks or responsibilities at work?
    I’m part of a three-person team who unloads freight trucks at a Lowe’s Home Improvement store.  I stand at the end of a line of rollers and as products roll down the line I grab them and place them onto the department-designated pallets.  Once the pallets are stacked approximately 4-6 feet high, I then take a pallet jack and haul the pallets to their respective departments. Sometimes the total weight of a pallet can exceed a couple thousand pounds, in which case I either have a coworker push from behind as I pull, or I walk exceedingly slow and stop as needed to catch my breath and try not to die.  

2. What kind of education, training, or other preparation do you need to get into your career? (e.g. college degree, technical training, high school diploma, apprenticeship, on-the-job training)
    Before I could begin working as an unloader, I was required to complete computer-based training such as how to safely clean up a hazmat spill, and what to do if an active shooter is in the building (you run and/or hide, is what you do (for the shooter, not for the hazmat cleanup)).  Other than that, my OCD tendencies have prepared me to be one of the best pallet stackers in the company. Actually, it was my years playing Tetris as a child that were probably the best preparation for said pallet stacking, as I can look at just about any shaped package and know exactly where it will fit in any given situation, even with my eyes closed.

3. How did you get into this career? (When you were young, did you want to do anything else? Did you have other types of jobs before this one?)
    I was originally hired at Lowe’s as a cashier, but after nearly a year of dealing with verbally abusive customers which resulted in panic attacks that left me crying in a bathroom stall,  I practically begged to be placed behind the scenes where I would have minimal contact with mean customers. I didn’t always want to be a Lowe’s freight unloader. In fact, when I was little all I wanted was to be a mom, but as I’ve clearly raised brilliant children who will soon make viable adults in today’s society, my job as a mom is nearly finished and I felt that it was time I really tried something challenging.   
4. What personal characteristics are required for someone to be successful in your career? (e.g. being organized or creative, writing or speaking clearly, being strong, or good with your hands)
    Being a freight unloader requires massive amounts of Hulk strength, of which I am well equipped (until it comes to pulling appliances down from being stacked, then I stand by and let the men feel manly and heave them down themselves).  It is imperative that proper lifting be used when picking up heavy items. The extensive amount of bruising I have on my arms, thighs, and shins is not an indication of my proper lifting capabilities, I am just clumsy.
5. Have any recent changes affected your job? What changes to your career can you foresee in the future? (e.g. changes in technology, economic changes)
    We used to be a four-man team, but one man left our department to work in the electrical department.   Thus the three-man team came to be, except when one exceptionally irresponsible coworker frequently takes advantage of time off and leaves us with a two-man team for days on end, which in turn creates animosity, aggression, and irreparable exhaustion.  Also as a result of the changes in manpower which has resulted in extra work for those two of us who actually show up with consistency, I am nearly unable to walk and I have a large purple bunion blooming on the inner knuckle of each foot.
6. What do you like most about your job and the career you have chosen? (In what way(s) is it better than other types of jobs/careers?)
    At the end of the day after a hot shower and my required foot rub from my fiance (his requirement, not mine), it pleases me to pour my poor broken body into bed knowing I worked myself so hard I can barely function.  It’s better than other jobs because I literally eat all throughout my shift and burn the calories as I go.

7. What do you dislike most about your job and the career you have chosen? (What are the toughest parts, compared to other jobs/careers?)
    I dislike when other employees pretend that the work we do is no big deal, but whenever anyone is asked to lend a hand because the two-man team is running on fumes and has nearly passed out, everyone scatters like cockroaches because they know it’s going to hurt.  A lot.
8. What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into this career?

When you are finished, please drop this document into your locker in Empower or show your AE teacher so you can receive credit for this required activity!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Condom Chair

The bright warm light of the late-afternoon winter sun shone brightly into the living room as my fourteen-year-old son, Brandon, walked in through the front door.  He quickly stopped in his tracks and attempted to assess the situation presented before him.  I was sitting on my haunches on the hardwood floor, hands sheathed in clear, disposable vinyl gloves, with one of them stuffed into a double layer of plastic grocery bags as if I was ready to pick up a steaming pile of dog shit.  In front of me was a small gamer's chair, the kind with no arms or legs and is slightly curved, and sits directly on the floor.  It was folded over so the secret pocket I had discovered on the bottom was facing up.  A few shiny gold wrappers lay in a pile next to me on the floor.

Brandon remained fixed in his spot in front of the door, his confusion mounting.

"You don't want to know," I said shaking my head.  I wished I hadn't known either.

It was a chair I had found earlier at a thrift store after having visited nine stores looking for what I called a "banana chair," the kind that were popular when I was a kid in the '80s.  Apparently they stayed in the '80s because all I could find was that one chair, and as I stated above, it was of the gamer variety with speakers and knobs and functions that would be useless to me.  Since it was the only one I could find within a 20-mile radius, I decided I'd give it a cursory cleaning, cover it with a throw and call it good.

After it was home and sitting on the floor of the living room, I began to look over my purchase, which is when I discovered the somewhat-hidden zippered pocket on the bottom.  I flipped the chair over for easier access, unzipped the pocket, quickly peeked inside and noticed a bunch of garbage that looked like candy wrappers.  In the moments that would follow I would make the worst decision of my entire adult life, one I would regret immediately, one that still makes me retch a little when the memory surfaces.  I instinctively reached in and grabbed a handful of the garbage (with my bare hand, no less), and as soon as I pulled it out some horrified sound escaped my mouth and I threw it all onto the floor.  I had pulled out a handful of empty condom wrappers.

"GAAAHHHHH!!" I exclaimed as the reality of what I had just done quickly settled in.  My seventeen-year-old daughter, Amanda, was sitting on the couch nearby.  "Jesus Christ it wasn't just garbage, they're condom wrappers.  Kill me now," I pleaded with her.

Had I not wanted that kind of a chair for a very specific reason, and had it not been the only one of its kind that I could find in all of creation, I would have thrown it into the dumpster immediately.  I ran into the kitchen, put on a pair of disposable vinyl gloves, and went back to the chair.  I had to clean it up.  All of it.  I didn't want to, but I had to, so I braced myself.  This time, with gloved hands, I gently grasped the opening of the pocket and took a better look inside to see what I was really up against, begging every god that ever existed that I wouldn't find what I knew would be in there.

I saw more wrappers, all of them empty.  Then I looked just a tiny bit further and saw it laying in there like a flat, flaccid, fleshy, rubbery shell of a penis.  It was a used condom.  God fucking dammit, I thought to myself. God dammit god dammit god dammit.  Back to the kitchen I went and returned with three plastic grocery bags.  I would've preferred a hazmat suit, but this had to do.  I spread one of the bags open and laid it on the floor.  The empty wrappers I so foolishly pulled out a few minutes ago would be thrown into it.  The other two bags were put together, one inside the other, and placed over my right hand.  My plan was to reach inside that nasty science experiment-of-a-pocket and scoop it all out, in one fell swoop, without looking, without examining, without throwing up.  As I sat, bags on hand, trying to convince myself that I hadn't already contracted hepatitis, my son walked through the door.

"You don't want to know," I said and finally mustered up the courage to just do it already.  I took a deep breath and held it, reached into the pocket without looking, and swept my hand along the entire inside of the pocket, hoping with all hope I'd get it in one try.  I brought out my hand, quickly folded the plastic bags over the contents that once belonged to someone who somehow managed to continually get lucky as a fucking gamer, and shoved it all into the bag I had laying on the floor, glove and all.  With my left hand I scooped up the empty wrappers and threw them in as well, again followed by the glove.  With a fresh pair of gloves I grabbed the cleaning spray, the one with bleach, and a roll of paper towels.  I zipped up the pocket, vowing to never touch it again, sprayed the entire seat with the bleach solution and wiped down every nook and cranny I could find, then I sprayed the floor and cleaned that up too.

Once I felt that the chair, my person, and the surrounding floor had been adequately disinfected, I placed what I soon referred to as The Condom Chair in the corner of  my meditation room.  A lovely plum throw was placed over it and there it sat, a little vinyl whore all cleaned up and ready for redemption.

Exactly one week later I needed to waste a few minutes on my way to work so I decided to head into to Wal Mart to pick up a container of wiper fluid for my car.  As if by divine miracle (more like divine cruelty to be honest), I took a route to the back of the store that I wouldn't have normally taken, and I came upon a display of about twenty boxes of the exact chair I had searched for the week before.

Never had a chair been so quickly disposed of as was The Condom Chair as soon as I arrived home with its brand new replacement.  This one sat in the same corner, its chastity intact, and would beautifully suffice as the cradle of repose in which I would read, write, and relax in my sacred room.

To this day I try to understand why the Universe found it necessary to play such a cruel joke on me.  Maybe there's a lesson in there somewhere, like that I need to slow down and think before reaching my hand into a pile of someone else's DNA.  Maybe I took one for the collective I-need-a-banana-chair team, and my disgusting experience caused the Universe to put an APB out to every Wal Mart in the area to put out every damn banana chair they ever had because someone could have died.   Or maybe I'm just being a tad over-dramatic. 

Here's to relaxation, meditation, and chairs that are not full of semen...

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Healing Room

There's a spare room in our house that's all mine.  ALL MINE (having said that, anyone is welcome to use it).  It's a tiny little room meant to be a bedroom, and I spent almost three months making it into exactly what I wanted - a sort of meditation/yoga/quiet room, and I'm not disappointed with how it turned out.  Granted, it's very sparse and not exactly what you'd write home about, but it is the most calm, peaceful room I've ever had and I absolutely love it. 

SO.  If you're ever in town, or staying at our house, or whatever, and you want to sit in a very awesome space, come to the Healing Room.  It's perfect for what ails you...

In one corner is a little quarter-pallet I stole from work and sanded and refinished, not really knowing what I'd do with it but feeling it would find a home in the Healing Room.  It quickly became a good place for a candle (more candles to come eventually) and the Himalayan salt lamp (which has a candle inside) that I got from Amanda for Christmas.  It also holds various trinkets and books I find valuable.

 One of my most treasured trinkets is a little tiny (maybe 1" tall) figurine of The Buddha.

Another treasure, the meditation cushion Erik got me for Christmas.

And last but not least, a little spot for Charlie.  He loves hanging out with me while I'm reading, or meditating, or writing, or even when I do yoga.  Doesn't hurt that he gets a treat whenever he lays down in his bed like the good boy he is.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Amy's visit

If there's anything Amy and I took away from her visit a couple weeks ago, it was that we need to get together more often.  Once every few years just isn't enough.  I miss her already...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sisterly visit

There are seven kids in my family, five girls and two boys.  It's not uncommon (even to this day) for my parents to introduce me to their friends as child number five, daughter number four.  Maybe it's easier for them to remember our coordinates than it is to remember the names they bestowed upon us at birth, because for the longest time I was either Paige, Amy, John, or Holly (David and Piper were the oldest two and by far the coolest - they didn't mingle with us younger peasants, therefore their pristine names were not mixed with the mud of ours).

Anyway, I spent my childhood attached at the hip with Amy (child number four, daughter number three for those keeping track).  She's two years and three months older than me and was several inches taller until I hit my growth spurt in junior high, and we were raised like twins.  We were two of the gangliest little dorks I've ever known, running around the neighborhood in matching sunsuits and dirty hair, looking like little street-rat boys.

We shared a bedroom, often times falling asleep to the soundtrack (on vinyl of course!) to the movie Annie, and if we weren't sleeping we were fishing.  (Picture a sea of dirty clothes between two twin beds, each of us clasping one of Mom's yardsticks, screeching loudly as one of us "caught a HUGE one!!" only to get caught and after promises to get to sleep, we would whisper loudly as we each CAUGHT A HUGE ONE!!)

We shared that room until she turned twelve, as it was likely the eldest had flown the nest and a room became available.  What a sad time that was, the glow of the stereo my only company.  I remember climbing into bed with her even as a teenager when I had nightmares, her presence immediately calming and comforting. 

When Amy was a junior (I think?) she robbed the cradle and met a young man who was in the year between us at school, the man that took her away from me for good (although I was a prominent third wheel and wore that title proudly until we all graduated high school), the man with whom she would birth five kids. 

We don't talk much nowadays, but thanks to Facebook and texting, we keep up in the capacity that fits both our busy lives, and that's OK.  Having said that, Thursday evening she is flying in to visit for a few days.  Just her.  I was nervous at first, as we never have company and I worry she's going to be bored out of her ever loving mind.  But as the time gets closer I am becoming more and more excited to see my "twin" whom I haven't seen in four years.  I have no idea what we'll do while she's here - maybe just enjoy one another's company.

I can't think of a more perfect visit. 

This collage was made after a visit I made to her house back in 2008.  We're hoping to get some updated pictures while she's here!  :)