Tag Archives: Work

When I Was Young, I Wanted to Be…

Dad, mom, and me on a trip to Montana.

What did you dream of being when you were a kid? I mostly dreamed of…well, just being a kid. I didn’t look much beyond what outfit to put on my Barbie next or what horse book I would read. Unless it was to remember what time the next episode of Tarzan the cartoon or Mary Tyler Moore was on.

I fell off a bike and broke my arm the summer after third grade. This resulted in the neighbor lady from two doors down getting me a book about being a nurse. I pondered what it would be like to be a nurse but that’s as far as it went. I was too busy being a kid to spend time on such ideas.

I fell into my first jobs. I babysat the two youngest kids that lived next door, Marc and Janelle. That was fun because although they were quite a bit younger than me, I enjoyed playing with them sometimes anyway. I just stayed up later than them and was old enough to call for help if it was ever needed. I’m sure the fact that my mom was always next door was a big factor.

My second job was from the same neighbors. Their three boys each had a paper route. They were also in a variety of sports-basketball, wrestling, football, baseball. Our town’s newspaper was published as an evening edition, so the stacks of papers were dropped off for delivery in the afternoon. This interfered with the sports which were all after school. So, I started delivering the papers for whichever boy was currently enrolled in a sport. When their entire family went on vacation, which luckily was only once a year in the summer, I would deliver all three paper routes. This covered most of our small town. With the boys being in that many sports, I was delivering at least one route a good portion of the year. I remember one or two days during the winter of The Blizzard of 1978 when their mom took pity on me and took me around in her car to deliver the papers.

When it was time to sign up for college, I felt the need to pick an actual career so I would know what to study. I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone that I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian. Vying for second place were forest ranger and zookeeper. But being a vet stood way out in front.

My last job before I started my professional career was at a pet store. I worked at Pet Kingdom during a college summer and over breaks. I loved that job! It was a small store so only one person worked each shift and I got to do everything. Dusting and rotating stock wasn’t so great, but dealing with the fish, small animals, and birds was right up my alley. We also sold puppies and kittens, but most of them were given to the store by local people who had accidental litters and needed to find homes for them. One of the perks of the job, at least in my mind, was that I could come to work early and walk the puppies.

To my knowledge, the store only ever had one litter of two purebred puppies for sale. They were supplied by a lady who lived in a nearby town. These turned out to be Shetland Sheepdogs. One of the puppies sold. The other did not. Our area was not wealthy, and the price of the mixes was a better fit with the local economics. The second puppy was set to be sent back to the breeder.

Anyone who knows me, knows where this story is going. That was my first sheltie, Bream. (Pronounced Bree-Um) Bream went off to college with me and many adventures thereafter. He saw me through a couple failed classes, several moves, marriage, and divorce. He was my rock. He cemented by love for the sheltie breed. More on this in a future tale.

My career? I never did end up becoming a veterinarian. There were only 17 veterinary schools in the United States at the time, so the competition was fierce. I experienced this in the classes I had with pre-med students and there are a lot more med schools around than vet schools. I remember asking a pre-med student in one of my classes if I could copy his notes from a class that I had missed because I was sick. He said no.

I couldn’t really decide what else I wanted to be. Zookeepers barely made any money and were all located in major cities. I wasn’t aware of many forest ranger or conservationist positions at the time. So, I settled for majoring in Biology. It was a general science with a wider range of options.

After graduating college, I hung out with my live-in boyfriend, and worked at Sea World of Ohio for a brief time. I was only tagging merchandise and cleaning for the park’s season opening. The best part of the job was at lunch time, I could go into the viewing area and watch the penguins in their exhibit or wander by the beluga whale tanks and touch them if they swam near. My best friend Becky worked there too, so I could see her before and after our shifts.

I had only worked at Sea World a few weeks when the opportunity for my first career-related job came along. I occasionally stopped by Kent State main campus and checked the job postings in the recruiter office. This was before such things were computerized. There was an opening in my county for a laboratory technician in a water/wastewater laboratory. I applied and soon interviewed with my future bosses and soon-to-be friends, Bill and Howard. Thus began my career in the field of water treatment. I just sort of fell into it. It suited me well. The department was composed of a small number of people who were close and hung out and helped each other outside of working hours, as well as during. It was an opportunity to help the environment and I ended up working that job and retiring from it after 32 1/2 years. I found it rewarding and feel I served a purpose.

Would I choose the same career again if given the choice? Actually, no. I should have stayed the course and tried to become a veterinarian. I never lost that love of animals. I did eventually find an outlet for that love. After taking in a number of animals, I realized I could not save them all on my own. So, I got into animal rescue work. I volunteered for a number of groups over the years before finally founding Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. It takes a village as they say, and I found my village.

I do use my career choices to encourage young people to pursue the careers of their dreams. The working years are many. Follow your passion!

Retirement Is a Lot of Work

This has been my foot ware for the majority of the summer instead of my new sandals. Why, you might ask?

Generally these are my gardening clogs because they can be washed in the shower. I’m wearing them most of the time now because of an encounter with the spud bar gone bad.

We were working on a drainage project and I needed to break some PVC pipe to fit in the trash can. That ended with a score of pipe-1, foot-0.

I’m finding that retirement is a lot of work with helping with projects like laying the drain pipes. Also notice the paint spots on my clogs from painting new siding panels.

Ahhh, country life.

On Not Lounging

Well, today I was NOT sitting in a lounge chair enjoying the patio. And not just because it was so hot.

First I helped tie up some loose ends from a construction project. Then I picked up nails from said project. After that it was time to pick green beans. Picking beans seems to be my new hobby. Either that or cleaning and snapping them.

This afternoon consisted of making rice pudding for this evening’s dessert and then working on cleaning up the office. I never did get around to writing which was the whole point of cleaning up the office.

Oh well, as a line from a great movie says (in a wispy southern accent), “Tomorrow is another day. “


The key to great things is planning ahead. See that lily pad shaped plant in front of the back stone wall? It is a hollyhock. Hollyhocks are biennials and don’t bloom until their second year.

I grew the one pictured above from seed and it is in its first year. The blooms won’t come until next summer.

Pictured here is the hollyhock I planted last year. It is about six and a half feet tall. I have fertilized it, kept it weeded, treated it for Japanese beetles, and staked it.

A garden can be a metaphor for our lives. If you want good results, you have to put in the work.

A Day in My Life

Today was one of those days where I got a lot of necessary things done. Those things that you don’t like to do, but it feels good to have them done.

Our township provides a dumpster that is at the township garage for one weekend each year for spring cleanup. Anyone in the township can use it to dispose of large items, until it is full. And you need to get there quick, before it gets full. Today was the start of that weekend. I hauled two loads up to the dumpster for disposal, consisting of an old, musty Christmas tree, a couple pieces of decomposing wicker furniture, and various odds and ends.

This afternoon, I spent a few hours doing various forms of paperwork for our dog rescue group. I worked on some financial paperwork, some filing, and some educational material. Not fun, but things that are necessary.

And since I was on a roll doing dog stuff, I decided to give three of our dogs their annual DHLPPP-type shots that were in the refrigerator. Followed by cleaning litter boxes and picking up poop outside. I clean up our dog yard every time the dogs go outside now, because we have two who apparently consider themselves to be connoisseurs of poop. Even so, I sometimes run around with the scoop yelling “drop it” while chasing the offender. It’s a fine line between following the defecating dog around closely enough to get there before one of the other dogs grabs the result, but not so closely as to interrupt the dog doing his business. Such is my life.

As a reward for a productive day, I made Indonesian stir fried noodles for supper. Noodles, vegetables, and fish. Yum!

Just a day in my life.

The last couple days have been filled with gardening.

Yesterday we split enough hostas to fill the back of last year’s new raised bed. We also started lining the English ivy bed behind it with hosta.

Hubby used the tractor to haul decomposed wood chips to the vegetable garden. I split one of our smaller groups of daffodils and ended up planting 51 bulbs. I also split my comfrey plant in two. I like the comfrey because it draws hummingbird moths like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Today we tilled a smaller, new flower bed to prepare it for planting. I also transplanted a columbine, and planted a lily that I overwintered on the side porch. Hubby transplanted a volunteer cedar seedling.

Then, I sat on the patio with the dogs and read. To be honest, I am kind of hoping for rain tomorrow so I can have a break.

Preparing the Gardens

Geese Begone

Zekie has indeed found his calling. Our neighbor phoned again yesterday and said the geese were back and would I come over again with the dogs. It took us longer to walk next door than it did for Zekie to run the geese off! Baxter came along to supervise and leave extra canine scent.

As we approached the pond, I reached down and slipped Zekie’s collar and leash off. I don’t leave them on just in case he should get tangled in some weeds under the water. The birds were on the water swimming but Zekie immediately ran at them and into the water just far enough to drive one out on the opposite shore. Then Zekie got out of the water and sprinted to the opposite side of the pond. The goose on the shore and the one still in the water took flight and were gone, honking their displeasure as they left.

Zekie didn’t even go after them. He knew his job was done and he should stay near me. He check out a nearby shed but still stayed nearby. He looked so proud. He knows he was a good boy.

A Proud Moment

Zekie was a good boy yesterday. Here he is, resting up.

Zekie has a new job. He chases geese off of our neighbor’s pond! Our neighbor called on Thursday to ask if I could come over with a dog and try chasing the Canada Geese from her pond. My husband had spoken with her previously and suggested it. He knew I would be happy to give it a try. So, I took Baxter and Zekie over to see what we could do.

I knew that Baxter was the most obedient of the two, but Zekie had the intensity that I thought might be needed for the job. Both dogs enjoyed running the perimeter of the pond. I kept instructing them to “get those geese” and pointing at the birds.

Walking around, I could see why our neighbor wanted to be rid of the birds. That was a lot of poop! She had already tried a pair of swan decoys, to no avail.

The dogs seemed to catch on to the idea, but the geese swam into the water and kept away from us. The dogs both went in the water up to their ankles, but that was it. We finally gave up and went home. We reported to our neighbor that we didn’t have much luck and she thanked us for trying.

On Monday, our neighbor called and asked if I could bring the dogs back. Turns out that the geese left later on the day we had been there and the pond was goose-free for a few days. We thought maybe just the scent of the dogs had keep the birds away. So after lunch, I leashed up Zekie, and took him and Baxter for our second attempt at goose removal. Baxter doesn’t need a leash. He responds to voice commands.

Baxter didn’t have much interest in the geese this time, but he did enjoy running around the pond. When I let Zekie loose and told him “get those geese” and pointed, he began frantically circling the bank and jumped in the water up to his knees. I keep praising and encouraging him to get the geese. I could tell after a few repetitions that he had figured out what we were doing. Zekie kept running the shore to where the geese were and jumping in the water towards the birds!

Finally Zekie jumped in the water up to his shoulders and the geese took flight! Our neighbor was on her deck near the house and began clapping. The geese flew away toward the tree line and Zekie chased them the entire way. They crossed the tree line and flew out of sight. Zekie was still chasing them at a full sprint. Finally, he reached the trees, and realized I was calling him and turned to start back. He had the biggest smile of joy on his face.

I knew Zekie’s intensity would have a use. We only had to find it.

A Tired Dog Is a Good Dog

Zekie had a great couple of weeks. He has a job now and it suits him. He is my husband’s shop dog. Every day he’s been heading across the driveway with my husband in the morning when it’s time to start work.

My husband paints, runs the saw, and uses the automatic staple gun. Zeke lays under the plywood sheets on the sawhorses or under a workbench and supervises from there. The noises don’t concern him too much. He doesn’t really like them but they are a small price to pay to be near one of his humans.

If my husband doesn’t get out to the shop early enough, Zeke sits by the door and gives him the look. Come on dad, we have work to do. He even went across the driveway with my husband one Saturday when I was home! Work calls.

My husband is taking the pellet stove out of the shop and one day last week he pulled out the old flue pipe which left a hole in the side of the building. As soon as the hole was visible, so was Zekie’s head. He shoved his head through the hole in the building to see where my husband had gone and what he was doing.

That Zekie. Always on the job!

Having a job tires Zekie out. Burning up some energy is a good thing. A tired dog is a good dog. And Zeke needs all the help he can get.