#Before30BucketList: Get A Job

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that and noting each goal accomplished and maybe adding or editing some items, if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

Once upon a time a girl had dropped out of school and needed to find a job. One day, while eating some tacos at her favorite taco joint, she had an epiphany — she needed to work there, immediately. (It was only a block away from her house, after all.)

So one day, after eating there with her friends, all wild-eyed and wild-haired and wild-clothed, she asked the owner if he was hiring. She still doesn’t know why, but he took a chance on her. She was 17. The year was 2005.

Over the next seven years, the girl and her boss went through some serious ups and downs in their own lives, involving each other, and sometimes involving coworkers. She would leave the job and come back. The boss would be an asshole and she would swear it was over but it never was. (You see, her first job had prepared her for almost anything any boss could throw at her.) It wasn’t all bad though — these two had a connection and he continued to take chances on her and made her feel like family.

Eventually, one sunny day in February 2012, the boss had enough. The girl’s car was breaking down so she called someone in to cover for her but it was the new girl and she showed up half an hour late. Oh, and the girl was using again.

So the girl and her boss went their separate ways. Kind of. She still ate there frequently and stopped in just to say hi and got him to cater her son’s birthday parties and eventually, in 2016, her wedding. (Everyone thought a taco bar was a bad idea but then raved about it afterward.)

Then, in Spring of 2017, the girl’s husband told her she needed to get a job and stop being such a waste of life (those weren’t his exact words). So she went back to her trusted old boss and told him to hire her back. He had seen that she had been getting her life together, so he took another chance.

In April of 2017, after a five year hiatus, she started filling in when help was needed or people requested off. It was working out well.

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Check our cook Diego creeping in the far left.

It took her a short time to remember all the specifics, and she felt at home almost immediately. Her boss still bitched from time to time, and she still bitched back. But at the end of the day it was always “Good job, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

Now the girl had money to contribute to the bills and buy her $4 daily lattes that her husband always bitched about (and cigarettes, but she’s working on quitting so we won’t mention those). She got out of the house and away from her kid (though she still loves him) and started to feel good about life again, contributing and all. It may only be a small-time waitressing (and take-out and prep and sometimes delivery) gig at a seven table restaurant with no AC to most people, but to her it’s a way of living. A good one.

On May 8th, 2017, the girl was officially put on the books and had a real job.

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T-Bone and Reds, taking selfies before lunch rush.

The girl’s boss and she were very happy that things were going so well.

Now, in June, it seems there’s no end in sight. The girl is working as much as she can (though still part-time, but that’s perfectly okay) and the boss seems quite alright with that. He pretends to be irritated with her often but deep down he knows he’s happy she’s around.

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Literally today: “Reds’ Rebels ready for Sunday Funday!”

And they all lived happily ever after. Hopefully. Or maybe died horrible deaths. Who knows, their stories aren’t over yet.

(P.s. If you live in or visit the South Jersey area, come in to Red’s Jersey-Mex Cafe in Ocean City. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Also, if you’re a stalker please don’t stalk me there, I have work to do.)

Companions: Boss, Co-workers, Customers, Insanity, Hilarity

Cost
I got the job by spending approx. $1 on gas. But then I bought a bunch of “work related” clothes. And I use gas every day to get there and sometimes for deliveries. So really it’s impossible to know how much I spent, because also I’m sure I’ll buy random “presents” for my boss (such as stuff I think we need or items that are outdated), but then I make money so everything will have to be calculated at the end of the year. I write down how many days I work and how much I make each day in my trusty planner, and I’m going to add in how much I spend. Because I’m anal as hell. So check back when the bucket list season is over in March 2018, and I’ll figure out if I made enough to offset the costs of this whole thing.

Goal Total: $ To Be Determined

13th Goal Accomplished
List Item #79: Get A Job
On 05-08-2017

Bucket List Total: $182

#Before30BucketList: Make A Family Tradition

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that and noting each goal accomplished and maybe adding or editing some items, if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I didn’t mean to accomplish this one when I did.

I thought about it a lot. It seemed easy enough and important because Mike technically just became a part of our family last year, and I tend to push my old family traditions on him because I don’t like to let things go (hence this whole bucket list). So coming up with a new one for my son, husband, and myself seemed like a great idea.

We went through a few different options. I thought of “Just Because I Love You Day” in which we would pick a specific date every year, not too close to any major holidays, and make each other cards and get each other little gifts (something simple and probably unnecessary, like from the dollar store or Five Below).

Mike wasn’t too thrilled about that idea and came up with Water Park day, which changed to 6 Flags day (since that’s something on my list this year anyway). We might still try to do this every year, but once I noticed we repeated something this year that we had done last year that was closer to us and cheaper, I jumped on it and made it our new tradition.

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My son was such an excellent reader in school this year, he won a badge allowing him free rides for four hours, from 1 to 5, on May 6th. Family members could join for $20. My husband and I both had work until about 3:30 so my son’s best friend’s mom took them, and she bought the $20 pass. Once we got off work, Mike and I relieved our friend of kid-duty, let her go home, and took over the activities for the next hour.

My son loves the log flume. He always looks terrified but he would go on it again and again if you let him. I, however, hate the log flume because I’m not too fond of roller coasters and I hate getting wet. But because it was for him, I went on it.

It wasn’t that bad. His best friend hated it and said he’d never go on it ever again for the rest of his life. I went and paid the million dollars for the keepsake picture because why not, when I realized that my son and Mike had taken the same exact picture last year.

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So although I’m not in 2016’s photo and Mike’s not in 2017’s photo, we were both still there and my son is in them both, so we’ve decided to make this our new yearly tradition. Every Spring, right before Summer, when Wonderland opens but isn’t too insane, we’ll take the boy and (from now on) throw all three of us on the log flume and pay for the keepsake picture and keep adding them to my son’s wall (where the other two are) until the whole damn thing fills up and we have to improvise.

I hate water, and everyone hates having unflattering pictures of themselves, but I am so excited for this every year. And before you know it we’ll be 80 and he’ll be 57 (or something, I’m tired and bad at math) and we’ll be one of those ridiculous families recreating old kid photos and it will be awesome.

Companions: Husband, Son, (this year son’s friend)

Cost
Gas: $1
Parking: $2
Picture: $12
Ride Tickets: This year we got them free because my son won a free pass for doing some sort of excellent reading assignment in school, but the ride itself costs 5 tickets per person so in future years we can expect to spend about $15 on the ride itself (although sometimes they have sales and if you buy more they’re cheaper and I almost always find a few old tickets lying around, so let’s just calculate the cost for this year).

Goal Total: $15

12th Goal Accomplished
List Item #49: Make A Family Tradition
On 05-06-2017

Bucket List Total: $182

#Before30BucketList: Get An Expensive Handbag Or Shoes

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

This one came way easier than anticipated.

Originally I just put this on the list because I had read it on another list and figured what the hell. It was a fairly easy item, but also one I wasn’t too concerned with because I’d rather spend that money on experiences than stuff.

I did look into some things I would like and how much they cost and then searched places like Groupon (which has been my knight in shining armor for this list) for deals. I found a pair of Chinese Laundry shoes I sort of liked for a sweet deal of $10, and I liked the company because my mom’s wedding shoes were Chinese Laundry (or something), but I ultimately decided not to go that route because it defeated the purpose of getting something expensive.

I kind of put this idea on the back burner and checked the interwebs every now and then, but wasn’t overly worried about getting something. Then, the same day I finished reading The Bell Jar, I went to my in-laws for dinner (which we often do on Sundays or Mondays). I told my father-in-law about my list and he asked to read it, agreeing with many things and questioning others and ultimately making fun of me for this one.

But then he told me he had a Dooney & Bourke bag that his mother had ordered right before she passed, that arrived after she passed, so it was literally brand new and had never been used. It still had the packaging in it and everything.

Apparently they looked it up a few years ago and it was worth about $400 and they tried to sell it but no one was interested so they just put it away. And even though I didn’t buy it, technically my list says “Get an Expensive Handbag or Shoes” so this totally counts.

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I took about a thousand pictures with this thing but I’m no good at selfies that aren’t close-ups.

I would just like to say how awesome all of my in-laws are, because they’re always so accepting of my shenanigans and encouraging and surprising me with amazing stuff.

Companions: Husband, Son, Father-in-law, Stepmother-in-law, three dogs-in-law

Cost
Nothing because my in-laws are awesome.

Goal Total: $0

10th Goal Accomplished
List Item #55: Get An Expensive Handbag Or Shoes
On 04-23-2017

Bucket List Total: $167

#Before30BucketList: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I got pretty excited about this one. I found it on another list about things for women to do before they turn 30, not just anyone in general. Although I have weird views on what a woman is and all that, I do identify as a woman in most instances and have dealt with society’s views on women for my whole life. Plus, reading is pretty much my life, and for some reason I find that I haven’t read nearly enough “classics” that I should know like the back of my hand by now, so I jumped on this pretty quick.

I kind of chose this book randomly. First, everyone knows about Sylvia Plath. I follow a blog called The Belle Jar. I’m deeply affected by mental illness (though I’ve never been suicidal), and am constantly interested in how women lived during different eras because fuck, man, I couldn’t even imagine.

I was afraid it would be slow-reading, as many older books are to me, but I delved right in and didn’t stop. Between all of other lifely duties, it took me only a few days to finish the book. Some parts were riveting. Some parts were confusing. Mostly it left me with a sense of empathy and pride — because I understand what it’s like to not understand, and because so many of us have persevered to make a different world from the one in which Sylvia Plath lived.

Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

Do you think she imagined someone like me reading someone like her when she was alive?

(I’m not going to write a book review or summary because that’s not really my style.)

Thankfully, I didn’t get depressed after finishing this novel, as I usually do when I read (or finish reading) books, which is kind of odd considering the material. Maybe it’s because I was more excited to have crossed another item off my list.

I absolutely recommend this book to everyone. Whether or not you take anything away from it is up to the way your brain interprets things, but either way it’s a good story.

Companions: Sylvia Plath

Cost
Book: $9

Goal Total: $9

9th Goal Accomplished
List Item #15: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman
On 4-23-2017

Bucket List Total: $167

#Before30BucketList: Learn Astronomy

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I was worried about this one. I didn’t even think twice about adding it to my list when I saw it recommended on another, but I had no idea how I was going to go about it. I can’t afford to take college classes right now, nor would any astronomy class count toward my degree in teaching high school English, and I absolutely didn’t have the time to randomly research stuff online — and even if I did, what stuff?

I tried finding free or cheap classes at my beloved libraries but was disappointed. Then, an awakening.

I don’t know if you have this where you’re from, or if you shop at ACME, but for a few months they were doing some Monopoly game in which you collected pieces earned from certain purchases and along with the pieces came either a coupon or a chance to win more stuff online. I hated it, because it took up a lot of freaking time setting it all up and figuring out which pieces I had or needed and which coupons I wanted and if I cared enough to try my luck online. But then I found one with a free online cooking course from Rouxbe (which I’m currently still taking, and since “Learn To Cook” is on my list, you’ll read about it soon enough).

Realizing that if they had online cooking courses, they probably had online anything courses, and if ACME Monopoly was giving them away for free I could probably find other deals. So I went to Groupon, and I was not let down.

I found an Introduction to Astronomy course from International Open Academy for $5. If you go to their webpage classes are around $100-$200. Do not do this. If you want to take any of their classes, check Groupon. I don’t know if you’ve heard of International Open Academy, but they act like they’re super accredited and your certificate of completion will be accepted by fucking NASA and the CIA, but odds are it won’t even be accepted by your community college or 5-employee company.

Nonetheless, I’m not doing this stuff to become a genius and land a 6-figure job. If I wanted to do that, I know I would have to spend more than $5. I’m doing this for myself and for simple I-like-to-learn-stuff purposes, so to me it was worth it.

There’s all sorts of funny-business that you should know if you do decide to take one of these classes. Read the fine print. You have a certain amount of time to redeem the groupon, then you have a certain amount of time to start the class once you enroll, then you have a certain amount of time to finish the class once you start. I think Astronomy was 45 days or something. I finished in about 4.

Given, I did spent all of my time at the computer taking notes and tests (yes, they have real graded tests but you can look at your notes — or google — so they’re not really that difficult). It wasn’t the most I’ve ever applied myself, but it also wasn’t the least. I did try to remember as much as I could and I wrote everything important down so I can always access it later if my memory fails me.

It was basic, elementary astronomy. I read a review where someone said you learn all this stuff in middle school. However, I’ve been out of grade school for 12 years and can’t even remember what I learned that last year, let alone way back to sciencey stuff I wasn’t interested in back then. So I did learn a lot.

For instance, you know how they got rid of our beloved Pluto? Well, it turns out they just downgraded him to a dwarf planet, of which we have several others in our solar system.

They’ve discovered other Earth-like planets in other solar systems. You can see certain planets with the naked eye, others with binoculars, and others with telescopes. Meteor showers often happen yearly.

Those are just the simple, easily-remembered things I learned. They went into further detail about the moon and stars and constellations, comets and meteors and meteorites and asteroids. There’s so much out there, and common folk like me look up and the sky and think we know nothing about the beyond, but really we know quite a bit. We just need to take the time to learn it.

So overall I was very pleased with my Intro to Astronomy Course. It may not be college-worthy and I definitely won’t be on my way to becoming an astronomer simply because I took it, but it opened my mind to more possibilities and happenings all around us. I look forward to using the binoculars my mom’s friend gave me to search the sky for things I’ve never thought about before. I’m excited to re-read my notes and put some of my new findings into action. Another list item is to watch a meteor shower, and now I have a much better understanding of what exactly they are and when/where to see them.

Also I have a fancy certificate, even though it doesn’t mean anything.

Certificate

Companions: My notebook & pen & computer & the sky & binoculars

Cost
Course: $5
Binoculars: Courtesy of Mom’s friend
(Also my husband complaining that I ignored him for this class.)

Goal Total: $5

8th Goal Accomplished
List Item #30: Learn Astronomy
On 4-20-2017

Bucket List Total: $158