My Job From Hell

What is the worst job you ever had?  When I was about 19, I walked into a pet store and accepted a dog washing job out of desperation and under the misguided belief that it would be fun.

Pulling their ear hair is not fun.

Clipping their toenails is also not fun.

Being bitten repeatedly is awful.

Having a clean dog you just washed roll around in its own diarrhea repeatedly?  Beyond awful.

But having to do I don’t want to say what to a dog’s unmentionable area?!  NO!  JUST NO!


It’s A Shame When You Spray An Innocent Stranger In The Crotch

When I was growing up, we drove a Chevy Malibu station wagon that had wood paneling.  I’m not sure how uncool it looked back then, but people were jealous when my brother and his friend hooked it up with the ability to spray the innocent and the not so innocent.  With an extra windshield fluid reservoir and an irresistible red button on the dashboard, we wreaked havoc all over town.  And on vacation.

My mom was an office aid at our school, but to the kids she was “Recess teacher” or simply “Recess”.  It drove her nuts.  “I do other things at this school!”  Well to them she was the lady who made them stand by the fence if they acted up, broke up their fights, etc.  Later she was the lady who chased one of them up “Spanish Hill” with her new powers.  Steve casually glanced over his shoulder to see who was coming, but his demeanor immediately turned to panic and he pedaled his heart out in vain.  Mrs. J. loved a good joke.  It was a hot day.  Mrs. J. loved her new squirters that poked out of the grill of her car.  It ended with his backside being sprayed.  Poor Steve.  I don’t even know if he deserved it or not.   Probably not.  But I think this story would be funnier if she had yelled, “Call me ‘Recess’ one more time!”

Other kids would beg Mrs. J to spray them and of course she was happy to honor those requests.  Then my dad sprayed some kid in a parking lot on our way to Lake Tahoe.  He looked down at his leg in horror.

The feature was most useful when we drove on the freeway because we were going fast enough for the water to go up over our car and hit cars behind us, so we used that against all tailgaters.  They would immediately back off, wondering what the heck was up with the car in front of them. The most validating moment was when they had to turn on their windshield wipers.  We never did follow through on our idea to fill the reservoir with green water to make them feel extra concerned.

I think Mom’s best friend finally decided she should get a taste of her own medicine.  We were heading to the movies and when we stopped at the 7-11 to get candy, some of us waited in the car.  When Mom walked back out and in front of it, her friend pushed the button, thinking there was one sprayer in the middle, but no.  There were two squirters that were not down the middle.

Carolyn completely missed my mom.

Carolyn successfully sprayed a complete stranger right in the crotch.  He looked down at his pants.  He looked up in horror at Carolyn, who was probably peeing her pants for real because she was laughing so hard, then back at his crotch.  There was a half smile, almost like he didn’t know whether to be offended or impressed.  I don’t think he liked being sprayed in the crotch.  I think he secretly wished he could spray other people in the crotch.  His facial expressions will be etched in my memory forever.

I think I can share this because surely the statute of limitations for crotch spraying has passed.  I think.  Just in case, I cannot confirm or deny that my mom sprayed innocent children or that her best friend made a grown man look like he peed himself.

May this fictional, yet true story live on forever!


Babysitting and Perverts

When I was about 11 years old, I got my first babysitting job for our next door neighbor.  It was such a convenient thing for both of us since I could walk and I was happy to be earning more than a dollar a week in allowance.  I was paid $1.50 an hour and at one time was given a generous $20 in one night.  I was so excited!  Luckily they didn’t fire me after my first time when their 5-year-old locked himself in the bathroom and sprayed athlete’s foot spray in his hair.  Not my fault they didn’t child proof the cabinets.

Eventually we moved to another house in the neighborhood and they still wanted me to babysit.  I wasn’t thrilled with the new arrangement because the dad always drove me home and something just didn’t feel right to me.  It’s not that he did anything.  I just had a bad feeling.

When I watched their kids, I had a rule that they were never to answer the phone because the last thing I needed was someone knowing there was no adult there.  If I answered, I would just say the parents weren’t available at the moment . Then one night as the phone was ringing, the little boy ran towards it as I frantically yelled, “NOOOOOOO!!!!” Before I could stop him, he was blurting out, “My parents aren’t here, but my babysitter is.”

I couldn’t even believe my ears when I picked up the phone.  The one time Carl managed to answer, it really was a pervert?!  First the guy muttered something I didn’t understand – probably because I was quite innocent and didn’t even have certain words in my vocabulary.  I said, “Excuse me?”  If I recall correctly, he asked if I had ever been “felt up” and I didn’t know what that meant.  Again I said, “Huh?”  Then he asked, “Do you have big boobs?”  “BUZZ OFF, CREEP!!!” I yelled.

I started shaking and I immediately made phone calls to arrange a ride to my house with the kids.  My mom didn’t answer, so I called a family friend.  The man sounded exactly like the kids’ father.  Exactly.  I’m not sure I ever told my parents that because it’s a pretty serious accusation to make.  There was no way I was going to face him when he came home or get in a car with him.  I left them a note saying they would have to come pick the kids up.  I never babysat for them again and they also never asked me again.

Disturbingly, the same pervert called my house weeks later, only increasing my suspicions that it was the dad.  Whoever it was had to know me personally.  You see kids, this is what life was like before Caller ID and *69.  What’s *69?  We used to dial that for a fee to see who just called.

Years later when we hired babysitters, one in particular looked like she had something uncomfortable to ask me.  I didn’t have to guess.  I said, “I just want you to know, my husband will NEVER drive you home.  I know that feeling and I would never put a girl through that.”  She looked relieved.  Yes, that was exactly what she wanted to bring up.  It feels rude to say it, but it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask for.  When my daughters start babysitting, that is a rule I will have to make clear with the parents.  “If Mom can’t drive my daughter home, I will pick her up.”

I’m not sure what brought this story to mind, but I wanted to share.  Have any babysitting stories?  Or stories about obscene callers?


Mistaken Identity: When Someone Scares the Poo Out of You in the Middle of the Night

Over ten years ago when my husband was in construction, I was visiting my mom with our toddler son when I got a phone call.  My husband said he injured his back at work while using a sawzall. He had been holding it above his head when it kicked back and the pain was so bad, his arms were kind of stuck in the air.  His boss drove him to the ER where he was prescribed strong pain pills and muscle relaxers.  They said he would have to be closely monitored to make sure he kept breathing.  He told me, “I already took them, so will you come home?”

I have always been a light sleeper and was expecting to be even more so that night as I worried about him possibly dying.  That night of all nights, I fell into a rare, wonderful, deep sleep.  Not even our son was waking me up!  Then about 2am, my husband started shaking me.

Him:  There’s someone at the door.

Me:  Yeah, whatever.  (I’m thinking, “You’re on drugs and you’re imagining it.”)

Him:  No, there really is!  They’ve been knocking for a long time.

Me:  Uh huh.

That’s when I heard the knocking.  Oh no.  Who knocks at 2am except for a serial killer?  I moved cautiously towards the door, replaying various horror movies in my head as I was determined not to be the character who makes the worst move humanly possible like running up the stairs instead of out of the house for help.

I quietly started inching towards the phone as if the serial killer wouldn’t come in and kill me as long as I was very quiet.  Isn’t this the part where the man was supposed to get up and check on things while the wife and child remained safe?  Oh that’s right. He couldn’t move.  This would end badly.

Again I heard a knock and this time a man yelling, “OPEN THE DOOR!!!!”  Oh no.  The serial killer was angry we wouldn’t let him in to off us all!  “Oh nooooooooooo ……” my voice trembled as I tried to remember the number to 911.


The police?  Maybe I should have called 911 anyway to verify that it wasn’t a serial killer claiming to be a cop, but I walked in front of the door in a scared, but still very disoriented state.  “What’s going on?”


I decided since he was no longer using individual words, I should open the door.

Actual cop (who wasn’t a serial killer):  Ma’am, we got a call that there was a domestic disturbance here.

Me:  Huh? ……………. Are you sure you have the right apartment?

Cop:  Yes, we’re sure.

Me:  *staring in confusion*

Cop: Where’s your husband, ma’am?

Me:  Asleep ……

Cop:  Can we have a look around?

Me:  Uh huh …….

The cop entered part of our apartment and briefly shined his flashlight around.  I thought he was going to go into our bedroom and maybe determine I had put my husband in his disabled condition, but thankfully not.

Cop:  I guess we have the wrong place.

Me:  Yep.

I’m still dying to know, did our neighbor hate us and make a false call?  We were in A201.  Did the dispatcher hear it wrong on the phone?  K201?  J201?

I think it took me about three hours to fall back to sleep after that.