Stormy Seas

Well.  In case you don’t have news of any kind for some strange reason, the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean are currently being ravaged by hurricanes.  Right now my home and family are pretty much in the direct path of one of the most devastating storms in history – and I’m thousands of miles away, unable to do anything.

This is not the first time I’ve had to watch and wait and pray they are okay from afar. Thirteen years ago (lucky number!) I watched helplessly from my dorm room in Georgia as Ivan skirted across Florida, as Frances crept up on it, and as Jeanne gave it a double whammy.  In fact, riding out Hurricane Frances with my family was one of the reasons I moved back to Florida.
I even made this whole story about it for my final class project before leaving the school.

 

This is, however, the first time I’ve had to watch it from afar while owning a house there. The idea of losing everything while you can’t do anything about it, is simultaneously terrifying and rallying.

I’ve always found that extreme situations kick me more into gear than anything else.  I secretly enjoy less devastating hurricanes (I stood by through Katrina in Florida, Rita, and Wilma), and I get a little excited every time I have a medivac at work.  It’s not that I enjoy seeing people get hurt.  I think it’s just that at that point I finally feel useful, like I have a purpose, something worthwhile that I can do.  Not many of my skills are directly useful in typical humanitarian ways, but organizing and logistics has always been a strong suit of mine.

In the past year, I lost my job, my dog, and my love.  Now, I sit here on the verge of possibly losing my house, and pretty much everything I own, and in the very same week get a new job offer.  But somehow, part of me is still not satisfied.

How can I even claim to be suffering when so many places have just been completely destroyed?  Many of the islands I’ve spent so many days on are practically gone.  My work has somehow always felt selfish in a way.  Cruise ships will change itineraries, go to less damaged islands, but how does that help those people who depended on their business for so long and now need it most?  I had the idea today that it would be wonderful if someone would charter a cruise ship to bring volunteers and supplies to some of the islands they are so used to visiting but that are now destroyed.  It would certainly be good PR!

At the end of the day, we have to remember that what is important is people.  Not money, not homes, not fast cars and smart phones and Apple Watches, but people (okay, and puppies).  I can’t claim that I’ve done much with my life thus far, but if I could do something good that even just one person will remember forever, I will feel better.  At this cross roads in my life, I might have that chance.  But for now, we must wait and see.

 

Advertisements

My Life is Your Vacation

I’m writing this about 3 weeks into my current vacation from ships.  This time, I left the ship in Jolly England, so decided to delay my flight home a week and explore some of the country.  I spent a few days staying with friends down south followed by a couple days partying and sightseeing in London- it’s what I would call a proper vacation.  Since being home though I haven’t done much besides watch TV (I had to download all the updated episodes of my favorite shows once I finally got decent internet again!)  I also have spent way too many hours editing all of my photos and videos from my last 7 months on the ship.  This just made me more stir crazy.  So stir crazy in fact, that I decided to see if they needed some help in a different position for the summer.  Turns out they did.

So now I leave again in two weeks to go back to Jolly England and the ship I just left this month!   The funny part is, the day I left (somewhat begrudgingly), I told everyone I would be back some way at some point.  I guess sometimes the universe really does take your suggestions!  Definitely a different mentality from my last “vacation”.

When I leave the ship again, I’ll have three weeks home before I leave again for the other side of the world.  I guess when my work is your vacation, why would I want to be stuck back at your work?!?!?

New Bucket List for Cruising

Working on ships has opened up opportunities for me to do so much new things!  Here’s a few I hope to do on this contract and my next…

  • Dog Mushing
  • Spelunking
  • Hike up a mountain
  • Bike through a town
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Visit a Beer/Rum/Liquor factory
  • Horseback ride in water
  • Horseback ride bareback
  • Stand under a waterfall
  • Ride a camel
  • See Mayan ruins
  • Pub Crawl (in a foreign city- Key West counts!)
  • Kayak
  • Visit the Ice Bar
  • Lumberjack show
  • Help in a beach cleanup

     

    Sidenote:

    It’s hilarious to read Shore Excursions for Tampa- they go to UT and Ybor city- in other words- they do about $100 what it costs thousands of college kids thousands of dollars to do.

Forget Two Cents, I’m Giving You My Two Dollars!

I was recently made aware of a Bill in Florida in which they are trying to cut server’s pay in half.  Right now, we currently make about half of minimum wage per hour.  And over the past few years people have started tipping less and less (a phenomenon for which I still blame Oprah as she told everyone it’s fine to only tip 8% because the economy is so bad- but that’s a whole other rant).  When I first started serving 7 years ago, our hourly wage was $2.13/hour, which is what they want to lower it back down to.  What they forget to consider is that the cost of everything else has gone up at least a dollar since then.  Multiply that by a lot of things and you can see how the cost of living has gone up at least a few hundred dollars per month.  Now you might not think that that extra $2 per hour should make a huge difference, but consider this:

1) People often forget that after all the tables leave and no one is tipping us any longer, we have about another two hours worth of extra work to do, for which we are essentially not getting paid.

2) We do not get sick days.  Or personal days.  Or paid vacations.  So if we need to take a day off because we’re sick, or our kid is sick, or we just need a day away from all you people for our sanity- we don’t get paid at all.  Which could very well mean neither does out rent for that month.

3) On top of not having sick days, most servers do not have health insurance, so when we do get sick (which is often from touching all you people’s germy plates and dirty napkins that you feel the need to leave everywhere like an uncivilized pig) we have to pay an arm and leg and at least three days worth of tips for the doctor and some antibiotics.  Or worse…

4) We can’t afford to take off from work to go to the doctor, so we come to work sick, getting everyone else sick and, o that’s right, touching your food.  Remember that the next time you don’t want to tip your server- they are probably working despite a 100 degree fever, passing their illness to you because you, the government, and everyone else could not spare them a few dollars for their services.

5) This one is my favorite!  How much is your pay check every week?  $300? $500?  1000?  5000?  Have you ever worked a full week and received a pay check for $0?  And as if to spite you even more, it says, “This is not a check”, as if you might try to cash it for $0 anyways?  By the time they take out taxes, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, insurance premiums, most servers don’t even get a pay check.  In fact, I have worked overtime before and instead of receiving a bigger check, I get one saying I OWE them money!  How is that for your exhausted overworked mind to wrap around?  If they lower of wages, we will have to PAY TO WORK!!!!!  How much longer would you be going to work if instead of them paying you, you had to pay them?  If you’d still go then you must be fortunate enough to have already made your life’s savings.  Most of us, however are not.  So if you want to lower our wages, you’re going to have to lower taxes too, because I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would go to work for free.  Or worse, pay to go to work as so often happens.

Karma’s a B**ch

Let me preface this my saying that my work has been really short staffed the past month or so because they fired a bunch of people for bull shit reasons (always seems to happen this time of year).  So now, those of us left have been worked into the ground and are therefore all sick, leaving them with no one to work.  But this is not the point of this post.

This weekend is the weekend before Valentine’s day (a holiday which has no significance for me ever, but does for a lot of my coworkers).  Apparently, people have a lot of plans in the next few days, but are hindered by having to work.  I woke up this morning feeling bad that a coworker called me in desperation to work for them tonight because their girlfriend surprised them by coming into town from up north.  I even considered missing my friend’s birthday party (which they are counting on me to bring part of the dinner for) because I love a good love story and I felt bad.

Then I realized that I don’t have enough hours (God forbid we get overtime) to work for any of these people.  And why is that?  Because none of them would work the other night when I begged people to so that I wouldn’t be stuck working almost 30 hours in two days.  I am sick and hitting overtime.  So now I feel less bad.  Karma’s a b**ch!

#karmasabitch

#OverWorkedUnderPaid

#PlanAhead

P.S.  Pretty sure Karma for this post will come back to kick me in the arse fairly soon!

 

The Glass is Half Full… of Poison

So I was having a discussion with my mom (at least it wasn’t with myself this time!) about life and work and getting ahead and why I need to get away from Tampa, and I forget what she said leading into this line (which sucks because it would have made writing an entire blog post about it more necessary) but I replied with: “Everybody lies, cheats, and steals…. God I sound like House….”.  Perhaps I watch too much TV.  But it does seem like the people that are usually successful are the ones that lie, cheat, steal and manipulate to the top and into others’ hearts … just sayin’.  I will never get it.  #PeopleSuck

Want Ads

Whoever said “It’s easier to get a job when you already have one” has clearly not tried finding a job in the past few years.  I’ve never not had at least one  job in the last seven years, but I’ve always been looking for a different/better one, and have yet to get any!  I reply to want ads every few days, most either never respond, or respond right away with pre-generated spam designed to steal your personal information.  I have found this makes me pretty leery of most postings, especially on Craigslist.  So I have started to take some liberties and have fun with it.  The last posting I responded to promised a “casual work environment”, so I started my cover letter with “Hi!”.  They didn’t even list the name of the company, so who was I supposed to address it to?!?!

I have a theory too:  getting a job is like getting a boyfriend/girlfriend (which I also suck at, by the way).  It is a non-scientifically proven fact that girls always fall for the asshole.  Therefore, by acting like an asshole, the potential employer is more likely to fall for you (i.e. hire you).  It does seem that the people who walk into a place with the “you’re going to hire me attitude” are more likely to get the job.  I am still testing this theory.  And this attitude.

I would like to leave you with my favorite act of job seeking assholeness- my so-called ‘satirical’ resume.  Some of you may have already seen it, but the more exposure the better, right?! (Hey, it works for sunscreen!)

 

Hi, my name is...  (you are only privy to that if you might hire me)
CONTACT: Reply to this posting...
OBJECTIVE:  To lay all my random skills out there and see if anyone can find me a job that fits at least most of them.  I have a genius IQ and can't get a job with my real resume.  I am told I would be the ideal candidate for asissting an eccentric philanthropist, but I'm willing to explore my options.
EMPLOYMENT
2010-Present 		Private Tutor
  • I tutored my coworkers in math, international relations and western civilisations (because I’m smart)
  • I helped them write “A” papers (this proves I’m a good writer AND can meet deadlines!)
2006- Present 		A Popular Casual Dining Restaurant Chain
Jane-of-all-Trades (Server/Bartender/Trainer/ToGo Person/Expeditor)
  • I can put up with even the most obnoxious people with a smile on my face
  • I can take contradictory orders from different leadership sources
  • I can make delicious drinks
  • I can teach other people how to do menial things
2007-2009		Theme Park Halloween Event
Performer
  • I learned how to scare people so badly they pissed their pants
  • I learned how to tolerate being kicked, spat on, sat on, and almost pissed on
EDUMACATION
University Class of 2007
  • Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management (Magna cum Laude)
  • Bachelor’s of Business Administration in International Business and Trade (Magna cum Laude)
  • Participated in the Hospitality Management Society
  • Was District Treasurer for Circle K (the service organization, not the convienience store) and in charge of the money and budget for the whole state and helping organize large conferences
High School Class of 2003
  • I was an overachiever, graduated in the top 20 of my class, was in multiple clubs (most of which I was the treasurer for), performed in school plays, and recieved my International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma (you know this is true because I can spell “baccalaureate”)
AWESOME RANDOM SKILLS YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
  • I have quite an aptitude for learning languages, including:
    • French (semi-fluent)
    • Italian
    • Restaurant Spanish
    • Bible Class Hebrew
    • Arabic
    • American Sign Language (I especially like signing songs)
  • line dancing (I dance so awesomely everyone at the club tries to copy me)
  • swing dancing
  • I can find pretty much anything on the internet
  • alphabatizing things (I may have a mild case of C.D.O.- It’s like OCD but in alphabetical order)
  • I can walk and perform on drywall stilts
  • I have an uncanny ear for “that’s what she said” opportunities (this just shows that I am a good listener!)
  • I can drink whiskey straight from the bottle with no whiskey face (I don’t know how this is useful but people find it impressive at parties!)
  • I can make a delicious cocktail out of even the most odd and random selection of ingredients (you’ve been a bartender way too long when…..)
  • I make friends everywhere I go (it may have something to do with these awesome useless talents)
  • C++ programming (it’s been a while since I’ve done it but I bet it’s like riding a bike!)
  • I can french braid my own hair without even looking in a mirror (again, not sure how this is useful but it is impressive… and shows my dexterity)
  • writing poetry (I’ve had 9 poems published in anthologies)
  • I’m also good at writing other things (remember those papers?!) — I have a blog!
  • did I mention my genius IQ?

Come on Down to Homelessville!

It has been requested of me to write a post on the homeless people we see all around town, so, being the good natured person that I am, I figured I would oblige this request.

First of all, to anyone who hasn’t been to Tampa, FL, I’m not sure you know how bad the homeless problem is here.  Unless maybe you live in another big city, but I digress.   If you drive down any street around here, especially one leading to a major interstate or US Highway, you will most likely see people begging on the median for change (and not the kind Obama offered!)  I do like that the city makes them wear bright yellow and orange caution vests so I don’t hit them in the road.  Sometimes, they offer you something for your change- like a bottle of water or the Sunday paper or some flowers.  This is actually respectable, I think.  Newsies back in the day were pretty much the same thing: poor, homeless people and orphans.  If you’re going to pay money for the paper anyways, you might as well help the guy out and buy it from him, plus you won’t even have to stop anywhere on your way to wherever to get it.

Then there’s the people that you have to wonder if they are really homeless or just lazy scam artists.  I remember my high school government teacher telling me how he went to Washington D.C. one time (where they apparently also had a large homeless problem) and saw a guy on crutches begging for money on the side of the road.  At the end of the day, he was driving back to his hotel and saw the same guy get up, throw his crutches in the back of his Ferrari, and drive off.  Apparently panhandling in D.C. really pays off!  Another friend of mine told me how she was downtown waiting for a tow truck after she was in an accident one time.  The homeless guy who had been begging at the median came across and asked is she needed any help, after politely declining, she watched him walk into HIS HOUSE! The homeless man had a house!  Another friend told me he saw a homeless man begging on one corner of he street, and on the corner across was a Flying J that had a “now hiring” sign.  When he pointed this out to the homeless man, he just said “They wouldn’t pay me enough”!

Then there’s also plenty of cases of where they say they are starving, so you offer to buy them a cheeseburger or something and they politely decline saying they already have food.  Well, then clearly they are not starving!  This is why I won’t give money to any of them, you can’t tell who, if anyone, is legit!  It’s sad that people are so lazy.  I work a crappy job so I can pay my bills, I’m sure they can find something!

Then there’s also the countless bums walking around places like Ybor and downtown St. Pete.  These bums are more scary I think.  When you see them, you are generally not protected by your car.  Then they tend to follow you around no matter how many times you protest and claim to only have plastic on you.  Most of these guys just want beer money.  If they were honest about it, I may even be tempted to help them out.  But let’s be honest, I need beer money too!  There are some homeless people that have a little more pride.  They, like the waterboys and newsies, what to give you something in exchange for their money, so they give you whatever random things they collected, like seeds or bags full of condoms.  Again, at least they are trying to help you out too.

I guess, when all is said and done, the homeless problem will never be as bad here as many other places.  Still, if you want my money you have to work for it.  Have a clever sign.  Offer me something in exchange for my money.  Show you are somehow going to ear my hard earned money.  Don’t try to scam me, it insults my intelligence, and that is one thing I will not tolerate being insulted!

Racist much?

The most rediculous thing happened at work tonight. For those of you who don’t know, I work at a fairly popular restaurant chain.  Tonight, I had a table of two black ladies, a black guy, and a white lady with a baby.  I took all their drink and food orders and brought their food out.  I check to see if they need anything a few times, then I have my trainee bring them some to-go boxes.  One of the black ladies asks my trainee “why you serve the white girl first?”  First, let me state that that is a direct quote.  Secondly, I wish I had been closer to answer ” a) She didn’t serve you, I did. Are you trying to say all white girls look the same? Who’s racist now? b) I gave her her food first because it was on the edge of the tray and I’ve already reached my allowance for dropping stuff this week.”  But alas, I didn’t get to say either of those.  Then, the white lady and the other black lady ask for a cup of juice for the baby.  I say sure and proceed to ask the mother what type of juice.  The first lady pipes in and says “yeah, get it for the little white baby”.  As opposed to all the other invisible babies at the table?! Why do you have to point out the race of the baby when you could just say “the baby” and I’d know exactly who you were talking about?!  I am not a racist, I just hate all stupid people, the color of your skin is your own problem.  Oh, and guess which half of the table tipped me better?  And they wonder why they are stereotyped….

The Roof is on Fire…

C’mon, you all know the song!

“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! We know need no water let that motha-f**ka burn! Burn motha-f**ka!”

Every disgruntled employees dream-  yesterday after I left work, it caught on fire.  Well, sort of.  Since we live in Florida, and don’t use our heating systems but two weeks of the year, they tend to collect a lot of dust and stuff.  Well when you turn the heat up to high temperatures, all that collected dust and such burns.  And emits A LOT of smoke.  And blows ashes out through the vents.  Unfortunately, firemen and a not too bright HVAC crew were able to get the place back up and running and open a mere couple hours later.  O, did I say UNfortunately? Freudian slip.  I guess it can’t burn down while I’m still broke anyways.  And no one was hurt, so yay!

True story.

I always miss the exciting stuff.  O well, another day, another dollar!

Blog Stats

  • 3,329 hits