February 13, 2009

Jobs I've done: Gardener

This is not one job I was glad to do. Not that it was degrading or anything, heck I needed the money so it was worth my while. I got this job while I was waiting for my Medical Assistant diploma to come through so I could start looking for work in that field.

Someone at church got word that I was basically not doing anything and they knew someone who needed basically a warm body to dig, mulch, plant and move stuff around for a couple of weeks...(how in the heck did I get stuck?!?!). This was during that time in one's life when you don't know how to say no and don't want to disappoint people who think you can and want to do everything and also at a time when the last thing I wanted to do was be home available for my mother to ask me to take her anywhere. So I drove to the address I was given and showed up at the door of a very nice house in the North end of Houston. The very nice lady opened the door and showed me her yard, the mound of sand and dirt she had in her driveway and the projects she wanted done, how many days it was supposed to take and how much she was going to pay me (no negotiating--not that I would have known how much to charge her anyway!).

I realized in the first hour of doing this job that it was a huge mistake, ha, ha, ha!! I was not cut out to do hard labor!!! Still I figured I had given my word and I honestly had nothing else going so I went for it. I moved rocks for hours in a wheelbarrel and took a water feature (or was it a pond?) apart. That was just the first day of work. Over the next week and a half or so I dug out part of the back and front yard because they were sick of mowing/watering grass and wanted more flower beds. I had to take the grass out and move it to a dumpster, including more rocks! I then put plastic protectors on the ground before laying soil and planted flowers and plants of different kinds/shapes and forms. I hated it!!!!! I probably must have snapped at the lady a time or two, or at least made sure she knew that I hated being there, because somehow or another word got back to my parents that I was having 'attitude issues', LOL.

By the time I was done, I had blisters on my hands that lasted for another two or three weeks! My body was sore and I honestly don't think I had done any kind of hard labor like that before---or since! : ) But hey, I did a good job, bad attitude or not, the yard looked nice and it was good to get that accomplished. The best part was that I got paid hard-cold cash and it was all mine!!! I learned lots of lessons from this experience, not just for the obvious ones about hard work. I learned that I don't always have to say yes to everything people ask, I could have said no thanks (of course I could have spent two weeks at home, loaffing off but broke!). I also learned that although it was not exactly the line of work I was facing as a career, it gave me an appreciation for how hard it is to do that kind of work for not much money to be honest...The biggest lesson of all was probably that once I committed to it, no matter how stupid and physically wrenching the job was, it was important for me to do it completely and finish it, even at the expense of my aching muscles, sore hands and crappy attitude.

I remember years later doing landscaping at my house a couple of years ago. I really was hard work again, laying bricks, digging, planting and doing lots of the same stuff again, but this time I had a different motivation and the circumstances were not the same, of course! I do love to grow vegetables in a garden though! I tip my hat off to those who gardening and landscaping, it is hard and difficult and I have outmost respect for them, because every now and then remember what it was like to have blisters and put my lazy hands together in prayer to thank my lucky stars that I don't have to do that kind of work--unless it is a weekend project for the house in which case I have no choice!!

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